Excellent tips on promoting a business with Twitter

These are some very good ideas, especially the one about sending trivia and historical info about pizza to your Twitter followers.

Other businesses can expand on this idea by developing "fun facts" related to their niches.

A dry cleaner could send out tips on how to care for clothing. A day care could send out tips about raising children or keeping them healthy. A pet supply store could send out pet training tips.

Think about what your audience wants to learn or would just find interesting and use Twitter to spread the word.

Follow me on Twitter at @charbrown

in reference to: http://socialmediava.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/twitter-marketing-for-restaurants/ (view on Google Sidewiki)

"Trust Agents" Case Study - 10 Ways to Differentiate With Valuable Information

I recently finished reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. It is an excellent book on the power of social media as a means for building trust and credibility.

Consider this quote:
Imagine being told by your government (through regulations and law) that you must sell exactly the same product as everyone else in his industry. You may not vary; you must disseminate the same information. You are held to the same pricing and cost structures. Everything must be the same. Now imagine that you're a marketer and are told to make your product stand out. That's what Christopher S. Penn has been doing for years at the Student Loan Network.

Penn has made his own game by delivering nonstop value with his show, The Financial Aid Podcast. People came to trust Penn, and by "people," we mean parents (who had the money), guidance teachers at schools (who told the parents where to spend), and the students themselves (who told the parents what they learned). Whereas everyone else tried to market to their prospects, Penn delivered a nonstop flood of value by showing them how to find scholarships and offering other information to help families do more with what they had. He became a trusted resource. He showed people how to save money, how to find deals, where to get the best information; and he provided extras, like music, live concerts and other things students would be happy to put in their iPods along with his show. All this helped him reach more people.

Notice how Penn approached his market. He focused on his target audiences, and what they wanted. He did not focus on what he wanted to sell to them.

In an industry that is heavily regulated and permits no way to differentiate the product, Penn set his company apart from the competition by delivering content. The content solved problems and gave information that helped students attend the colleges of their choice.

Here are some of the key factors to the Financial Aid Network's success:
  1. Penn focused on his audiences, not on the product he wanted to sell.
  2. He distinguished his three audiences (students, parents and guidance counselors) and delivered content specific to each one's needs.
  3. He offered information outside of the products he sold. His company does not make money when students receive scholarships or grants, but he gives them helpful information about them anyway.
  4. He gave information that made buying and using his products easier. He helped take away much of the confusion related to filling out loan applications.
  5. He positioned himself and his company as experts in the field of helping students pay for college educations.
  6. He willingly gave out free information, knowing some would take the information and go elsewhere, and others would use it to become customers.
  7. He distinguished his company by adding value and going the extra mile. He built "social capital" by creating trust before trying to sell.
  8. He made his podcasts fun. Not only did he use a teen-friendly medium, he also added content like music that made the more serious information consumable.
  9. He made their service "buzz worthy," which attracted news media and gave them massive free publicity. As a result Penn was frequently sought out for expert interviews on a whole range of topics related to college financing.
  10. Because he used the medium of podcasts, his information was mobile. This meant listeners could tune in while in their cars or on their skateboards. It also meant that it could be emailed from counselors to parents or others.

The real lesson here is that free information and educating customers gives a company a huge competitive advantage. Even heavily-regulated industries can focus on what information their target buyers want and need, regardless of whether that information is about specific products.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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Blogging For Business Presentation - March 16, 2010

I will be speaking about Social Media as a business tool on Tuesday March 16, 2010. The group is called "Arlington NetWeavers" and they meet at 11:30.

The location is: Shanghai Garden Asian Buffet, 1123 N. FIELDER Rd., PLAZA # 405 ARLINGTON, TEXAS 76012.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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Another Video Marketing Tip

The following Side Wiki was added to "10 Reasons You Need to Market Your Business With Videos."

Let me add this to the list: A friend of mine, who has produced numerous videos for his website, goes out on a lot of sales calls.

Inevitably, the person he is talking to raises an objection or asks a question. When that happens, this business owner pulls out his I Phone and says, "I have a video for that."

He then shows the person a video from his site that gives them the answer.

He has found videos to be the very best way to help him close sales when he is out talking to future customers.

in reference to: http://webmarketing-coach.com/videomarketing.pdf (view on Google Sidewiki)

24 Tips For Personal Branding Success

  1. It all starts with having your own blog. How can you get your own ideas out there if you don't have an online platform to call your own?
  2. Be generous. Use your blog and other social media tools to shine the spotlight on others more than on yourself.
  3. Be an idea person. A personal brand is built on the useful content you provide to others.
  4. Define who your audience is. Don't try to reach everyone. Determine who your "buyer personas" are.
  5. Create or link to content that solves problems for your particular audience. Providing problem-solving information makes you a resource (and an expert).
  6. It should go without saying that you have to be good at what you do. All the personal branding in the world won't help you if you aren't a quality product.
  7. That said, narrow your niche to what you are already good at. Lead with your strengths.
  8. Know what your goal is for personal branding: A new job? Moving up in your existing career? Or are you an entrepreneur seeking new clients?
  9. Get known. Use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flikr and others to let people know about your blog's content.
  10. It bears repeating: The content you produce IS your personal brand. Can you even think about James Cameron without thinking of Avatar or Titanic? If you are not creating quality content, you are not branding yourself.
  11. Make friends. Social media is not simply a broadcasting tool, it is a vehicle to cultivate real friendships.
  12. Be a friend. How can you help, encourage, praise, or even amuse the people you meet online? Think of Twitter/Facebook/etc. as a bunch of friends gathering in a friendly pub after work.
  13. Practice online random acts of kindness. Do or say something nice to someone who cannot possibly help you or put money in your pocket. An easy way to do this is to spotlight a link to someone else's blog or site.
  14. Help others grow their number of followers/friends.
  15. Go offline. Can your blog's content be repackaged as an article, CD or DVD? Shocking as it may seem, not everyone you want to reach is active on social media.
  16. Get out there and meet your online contacts in the real world. Attend events or Tweetups. Or just arrange to meet someone in a coffee shop.
  17. Create content that solves problems unrelated to what you sell, but that is very important to your target audience. It isn't about you, it's about them.
  18. Leverage your growing brand to make contacts with VIPs. Use the power of Twitter and other social media to network your way into elite circles. If you have created good content and been generous, this will be surprisingly easy to do.
  19. Don't let your old content stop working for you. If an article you wrote 18 months ago is still relevant, send out tweets or Facebook updates linking to it. Make your older stuff available to a new audience.
  20. Hang out at other people's blogs and websites. Post thoughtful comments and link to their better articles. Don't just swoop down and post stuff on their blogs without first being a reader of what they put out.
  21. Grow your brand by building up other people's brands. Promote them, spread the word about how much you appreciate this person's information.
  22. Join or create groups on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn that relate to the brand you are building. Be an active participant in those communities.
  23. Don't just use social media to spread your own message. Listen. You will be amazed at how much you can learn on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
  24. After you listen, share what you learn with the people who follow you. It isn't just about sending out links to your own content, link to other sites more often than you do to your's.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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