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Automate your social media marketing

One of the biggest time wasters for small business is social media marketing. Not that social media marketing is a time waster. But constantly feeding the beast can consume an awful lot of your time without ever showing much benefit.

Many small businesses attend seminars or read articles on the power of social media. You have to be on Linkedin. You have to be on Twitter. You have to be on Facebook. You have to make videos. You have to have a blog.

Yes, you do have to have most of these things to market yourself effectively online.

But what happens is that folks walk out of individual seminars or click away from a marketing article and create accounts for each social media site. They then start a blog and post a few articles.

Awesome.

Two weeks later, they discover that they are spending all their time writing content and posting it separately to all these accounts.

And nothing is happening.

The missing element is that you need to get all these different worlds working together. And the best way to do that is to automate a lot of the process, so the only real effort is creating your compelling content.

So how do you automate the process? Well creative use of RSS feeds is one way.

A few weeks back I wrote about the “Not-so-secret Google tool you should use” in regards to Feedburner.

Well each of the social media big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) can use your feeds to automatically update your status.

How much time would that save you?

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

For the purpose of this article, I’ll assume you already have an Facebook Business page – similar to this one from one Linkedin sales trainer, Kurt Shaver.

What we used to connect Kurt’s blog, Twitter and YouTube accounts to auto-update his Facebook page was an app called RSS Graffiti.

So now Kurt only has to concern himself with creating videos, writing new blog posts and keeping up with his tweeting – things he would be doing anyway.

And what happens is anyone who has “Liked” his page, will then see these updates on their Facebook newsfeed the next time they log in.

We also set Feedburner to auto update Twitter, which also auto updates his  Linkedin status.

RSS Updates and LinkedIn

To update your personal LinkedIn profile with your latest blog posting you can install one of these two apps Wordress or Blog Link. Both do the same job. They take the RSS feed from your posts and connect them to your LinkedIn profile.

From your Linkedin company page you can also add your Feedburner feed to display and distribute your blog posts to folks who are following you.

So, if there is a lesson to be learned for everyone when it comes to setting up your social media, it’s that using the free tools all around you will save you time and move your business into the social media arena, without causing you to burn through hours of your day updating everything manually.

In order for Linkedin to work, you have to participate

In order for social media to work, you have to participate

Over and over again, I hear it from clients and prospective clients. “I don’t see the value in Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc.”

“I’m on all of them and I’ve never got any business from them.”

Here’s the thing. The big difference between social media and advertising is that you have to be social and add value to the conversations if you want to build relationships and make some sales.

It’s not enough to build a Linkedin profile, create a Facebook Fan page or start a Twitter account. This isn’t a field of dreams. just because you build it doesn’t mean folks are going to beat down your door.

It requires a bit of work – not a lot – but some.

So if you only use Linkedin and all these other great tools to broadcast announcements about your amazing products or services, even the crickets will soon tune you out.

So here is a simple Linkedin strategy.

Set your account to get a daily digest from each of your groups where prospective clients hang out. And then each morning, browse the topics. If something is interesting or you can help someone out – do it.

The trick is to establish credibility and not come across like you’re always trying to sell something.

If you have something worth buying, and folks recognize that you can add some value to their business, then LinkedIn can actually become one of your biggest lead generators.

The best part is you can do this in as little as 5 minutes each day.

A new way to promote your book

Do you have a book? Do you have a site for your book?

Everyone and their dog has a website these days. It’s how we do business.

So when you have a new book, you obviously stick it up on your site for sale.

How is that working for you? No need to answer. It’s not.

I know this because I’ve worked with multiple clients who sell their books on their own sites.

Often they choose to sell the book themselves instead of simply providing a link to Amazon and letting the big guys take care of fulfilment.

The reasons for doing this are many – but they generally come down to the same thing, money.

Amazon takes a whopping 55% of your retail price. So your $20 book becomes an $8 book. And then you have to take care of printing costs.

But compare how many people go to Amazon each day with how many people come to your site.

You can sell 1 or 2 books a weeks yourself or 1 or 2 hundred through Amazon. You make more per copy yourself, but you’ll generally make a lot more money if you sell a lot more books through Amazon.

So then why do you need to have your book on your site?

Well the job of promotion is still yours.

Recently I did some thinking about how authors could promote their books more effectively online.

I think I came up with an interesting approach that may sound counter-intuitive.

Give the book away.

Not all at once. But in dribs and drabs.

I toyed with this concept a few years back with a client. We posted a new chapter each week to a custom site built around the book and also created videos around each of the chapters.

That was way back in 2007 – a million years ago in internet terms.

Last week I reached out to this old client to ask permission to use that content to create a proof-of-concept site where folks sign up to receive a free chapter each week accompanied by a video delivered directly to their inbox.

Each mailing comes with specific calls to actions that encourage people to not wait for the full 15 weeks to accumulate the whole book in separate PDF chapters – and just buy the book from Amazon or grab the ebook from Smashwords.

Have a look at the site – www.promoting-a-book.com.

[Update July 14th 2012: Check out this new one for Craig Price – Realist-Revolution]

Here are the key benefits:

  • A dedicated blog specifically for the book
  • Complete integration into Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (share with networks, friends etc.)
  • Auto responder let’s anyone sign up at anytime and start at Chapter 1
  • Links on every email encouraging folks to buy
  • List building opportunity.
  • Search engine optimized site

I really think this is an option that most authors should consider. If this is something you might want to explore, send me a note.

Do-it-yourself marketing for speakers

It’s entirely possible to take care of your marketing without any help. You just have to invest the time and effort to do it right.

The calculation you need to make is how much is your time and effort worth?

If you get paid between $5000 and $20000 a day for an engagement, then you have to consider the cost of each day you personally spend doing your own marketing in those terms.

If you are new to speaking or make considerably less on your average engagement, then there are things you can do to market yourself more effectively without having to spend a lot of money.

Let’s start with the basics. If you don’t have a site, you’ll need one. You can save yourself a lot of time and money, if you arrange for your own hosting and domain name. The good news is that you don’t have to be a tech-head to do this yourself. A quick search for cheap hosting will bring up thousands of choices. To save you a bit of time, I’m going recommend Siteground.com because that’s the one I use. And I think they do a fine job.

But feel free to do some research for yourself. Like I said there are literally thousands of hosting companies out there to choose from. And just before you make your decision do one more piece of research. Type “domaincompany.com sucks” into Google and see what complaints show up.

One of the biggest mistakes folks make is building a static site that is virtually impossible to scale upwards. If your goal to be successful, then a little planning now could save you thousands of dollars in the future.

For this reason alone, I recommend using a Wordpress.

It comes with thousands of free and paid extensions to make it very easy to integrate the latest and greatest tools from around the internet.
www.wordpress.org

Many hosts use something called a cPanel that let’s you install WordPress with just a few clicks.

It comes with an few out of the box templates to choose from, but you can also find free templates online or hire a programmer to custom build something for you. My experience tells me that you should look through the free templates first and then hire a programmer to customize it for you.

I’m actually using an out-of-the-box solution on this site.

If you don’t like any of the free ones, you can find hundreds of Wordpress designers on Upwork.com

The next step is to define your marketing position from the viewpoint of a visitor. Too many speakers believe people care who they are. Assume that each visitor to your site is someone who doesn’t know you, but has found you through some research or a referral.

What is it you’re offering them? That’s the reason they are there and that’s the only reason they are going to hire you.

If you have a site that is all about how awesome you are, nobody will care.

Offer real solutions to real problems and you won’t have to look very hard for clients.

The good news for speakers when it comes to web marketing is most of your competitors’ sites are terrible. They might look shinny, sharp and cutting edge, but if you peak under the hood, they aren’t search engine friendly.

If your name is Johnny Speaksalot and your site comes up number one, when someone searches for you specifically, great. But it’s far more important to reach those who are looking for a keyword or phrase that relates to what you do. Johnny would be much better served if the content on his site attracted folks typing “conference speaker for widget convention.”

There are a number of ways to do this, but for this article I’ll give you two quick ways to bring in more qualified leads through search use the words you want to be found for into the actual content of your pages and have a proper site map so that Google and other search engines can easily find and index your content.

One of the first things I do when I visit a potential client’s site is look for a sitemap ie www.example.com /sitemap.xml . If it isn’t there I know there is work I can do to help them.

Site maps are so valuable and yet I’m constantly surprised by how many folks don’t have one. If you are one of those folks, here is a great free tool to generate one within a few minutes:

http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

Once you’ve done this upload the site maps to your site and submit them to the Google, Bing, Yahoo.

Here are the links:

http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=http://www.website.com/sitemap.xml
http://search.yahooapis.com/SiteExplorerService/V1/updateNotification?appid=YahooDemo&url=http://www.website.com/sitemap.xml
http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=http://www.website.com/sitemap.xml
http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?siteMap=http://www.website.com/sitmap.xml

Web marketing isn’t rocket science, but it does take a bit of time and effort. Do it yourself or hire someone else. But don’t underestimate the power of the web to help you find clients from around the world.

Other things to promote your self online

Invest in a bit of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). How much is your time worth? Should you really be the one looking for keywords and trying to figure out how to get a better placement on Google? Use Scriptlance for this.??Install Analytics on your site. Find out how many folks are actually coming and set a realistic goal for improvement. www.google.com/analytics??If you have videos, create a custom YouTube Channel. How many folks come to your site compared to YouTube? Build the channel bring your content to a whole new audience. Then use a module to bring those YouTube videos to your site.??Link all your social media together. Whenever you send out a newsletter, publish a blog post or update your status – let it show up everywhere automatically. Create a podcast and update it once a month. You’re a speaker. Speak.

http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/creatorfaq.html. Try a webcast. This is a great way to engage your existing clients and even get some referals. The secret is simple. 1 hour consisting of 50 great content peppered with 10 minutes of subtle pitching.

Gotowebinar.com let’s you do this for $99 for up to 1000 attendees. Imagine the impact of reaching that many potential clients without even leaving your room. Look into POD (print on demand) services that will get your books onto Amazon sites across the world. Lightningsource.com is a great resource to get your book distributed around the world! Turn your books into ebooks through Smashwords.com. They now provide content for Apple’s Ipad, the Amazon Kindle, Sony e-reader and Barnes and Noble Nook.

You can do it yourself. So the decision is yours. Do you have the time and the inclination to do this or would you rather hire a web marketing expert to take care of it for you?

If you are looking for the latter, then please contact us and we can make this the most profitable year in your speaking career.