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Give your brand a Karma check with social media site

March 25, 2010

Filed under: General

The world’s biggest brands are under the spotlight with the launch of a new Australian social media website which ranks good and bad brands based on categories such as how they treat their customers, the environment and their employees. As reported in B&T today:

Launched yesterday, Brandkarma aggregates comments on 300 iconic brands providing each with a score. At the heart of the platform is the Brandkarma flower which has five petals focusing on how the brand treats its customers, employees, investors, suppliers and the planet. Users enter comments about one of the five areas and grade the brand with a colour from bad (red) to good (green). The colours are then reflected in the relevant flower petal, depending on the number of responses.

Brands featured on the site - which include Google, Apple, Tesco, Toyota, Nokia, McDonald’s and Nestle among others - can also be compared on the five criteria and overall ranking score. The site, which is currently in beta testing, was designed to help people make better brand choices as well as influence brand behaviour for good.

Increasingly people are understanding there are consequences around the things they buy, and not all brands are made equal. Most people want to do the right thing, if they knew what it was, and they knew where to start and it didn’t cost them much money. And finally people increasingly rely on friends, family, colleagues and strangers more than they rely on business leaders, governments, NGOs and experts and certainly marketing. Brandkarma is a way to pull those things together.

It represents the ever changing dynamics between the five key stakeholder groups which are customers, employees, suppliers, investors and the planet. It is all five of these that gives you an indication of the brand’s karma.

Users need to register at the site where they can fill in their profile details. News feeds about the brands are also included and users who are active are ranked on how much they “Doo” or contribute on the site, enabling them to attain “Super Doo’d” status.

Brandkarma will not moderate comments unless they are flagged by other users.

Tags: brandkarma, customers, social media

Improve Your Network And Your Business

March 17, 2010

Filed under: Business

Networking? Does it give you the jitters? What’s the right thing to say or do? Networking is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re one of the many that are unsure on the protocol when it comes to networking, you’re not alone. Lynette Palmen is the founder and Managing Director of Women’s Network Australia (WNA) and she’s come up with 5 cool tips to help you “soar through the roof” when it comes to networking.

Rule #1
No-one has the legal right to add email addresses collected whilst out networking to their subscriber lists unless permission has been sought to do so.

Email those you meet and invite them to join your subscriber list. But you will need to give them a good reason and value for opting in. So make that email your best work.


Rule #2
Start listening to others and what their needs consist of, as opposed to pushing your own agenda. You'll be amazed as to what you learn by asking people about themselves. 

Be open and genuine in your questioning - it is not an interrogation of sorts.


Rule #3
Never call someone to try and promote your agenda or sell anything unless you have exchanged business cards and made eye contact with them. Don't ever confuse authentic networking with cold calling, they are completely different methods.

Learn the valuable lesson that two authentic contacts made at any networking event will always outweigh 20 business cards collected randomly.


Rule #4
If you say you are going to follow up - make sure you do so. Ensure that you systemise a process for the activity so it happens within a reasonable time frame after the original contact took place.

If you have no intention of following the person up with a call, tell them that you look forward to connecting with them at the next event.


Rule #5
Don't expect to turn up to a couple of networking events and then have your phone ringing off the hook. It takes about 18 months to build relationships that develop into the ignition of trade within your networking circle. It all takes time, repetition and consistency.

Networking success is not based on how many sales you make or the number of leads or clients you obtain. You may never make a sale but you could connect with an idea that turns your entire business or career around for the better.


Are you ready to get out there and start networking? Drop us a line if you have some useful tips to share.

Tags: networking, business, connect

7 Ways to Be Worth Following on Twitter

March 9, 2010

Filed under: General

‘How do I get followers on Twitter?’ It’s a question everyone is asking. In a recent post, Twitterholic, Jo-Lynne (follow her at @dcrmom) shares some tips on being the kind of Twitter users people want to follow. Use Twitter to build relationships, to keep connected to the outside world and to find articles and information that you wouldn’t discover otherwise.

Choose carefully whom you follow on Twitter. As with any other social network, there are ways to grow your community. In Twitter-speak, this means to gain followers. Jo-Lynne has put together this list based on the characteristics of the people she most enjoys following on Twitter. We found it to be informative and are happy to provide an excerpt from her article:

1) Be Interesting
It’s fine to announce what you’re doing and thinking and what you had for lunch, as long as you do it in a way that is entertaining to your followers. Twitter is micro-blogging, and like on your blog, if all you do is give a play-by-play of your mundane daily happenings, you will lose followers. The people I enjoy following find a way to make me smile with their quips and one-liners, even if they are just informing me what they had for breakfast. Here are a couple of examples from the past few days.

@subdiva could have said, “Packing to go to Disney tonight!” but instead she wrote: “Packing up to ring in the New Year on the happiest place on earth. No, not the wine store…”

@rocksinmydryer could have said, “I hate dieting” but instead she wrote: “May I just say, for the record, that PORTION CONTROL STINKS? Thank you, that is all.”

Of course not everything you post has to be clever, but if you’re just sharing your thoughts and happenings, try to make it worth reading.


2) Be Informative
Not every tweet should answer the question, “What are you doing right now?” If you are going to participate in the Twitter community, you need to give something back. I love it when people post links to helpful articles or leave bits of advice and information. Post whatever comes naturally to you. @skinnyjeans reminds her followers every day to get up and drink a glass of water and gives us a much-needed pep talk in the middle of the afternoon. I love this! @problogger always links to the articles he is reading, and I have found lots of new bloggers to follow this way. Not all helpful information has to be your own. If you see a good tweet, do a “retweet” so your followers can get the benefit of the information that is being shared. 


3) Be Interactive
Don’t be a “hit and run” tweeter! In other words, don’t just log into Twitter to tell people what you are doing or link to your post and then leave. Respond to tweets, ask questions, answer questions. Twitter is a conversation, not a monologue, and the more you participate, the more you will get out of it, and the faster your community will grow. 


4) Be Promotional
Yes, it’s okay to promote your own work, as long as it’s not all self-promotion, all the time. I love it when people link to their recent posts on Twitter. I almost always follow the links, especially when it’s done in a thoughtful way. I can’t always log in to my feed reader and catch up on my favorite bloggers, but for some reason, if they post a link in Twitter, I usually take the time to follow it, especially when they introduce the link in a thoughtful and interesting way. Which brings me to my next point. 


5) Be Personal
For a while I used a plugin that automatically tweets a link to every new post I write, but I have turned off that feature and opted, instead, to write a more thoughtful introduction to the link I’m sharing. Maybe ask a question, or make a comment or introduce the link in a way that pertains to the subject of the post. No one likes to feel that they are getting spammed. And they are more likely to read it if you make it sound like it will be interesting or helpful. Don’t, however, be tempted to use the old bait and switch tactic to get readers to follow your link. They will wise up and you will find yourself unfollowed.

And while we’re at it, TURN THE ROBOTS OFF. It’s impersonal and insulting. I unfollow and block people who use automated responses. Period. The end. 


6) Be Considerate
This is definitely a case of “do as I say, not as I do” because I KNOW I am so totally guilty of this. And yet, it bears mentioning because it really does get annoying, at least when other people do it. Sometimes we get into so many conversations or we have so much we want to share that we find ourselves clogging the Twittersphere with a long series of tweets. This is annoying. I won’t promise never to do it again, but it’s something to keep in mind. If you find yourself going back and forth in conversation with one person, it’s time to take the conversation to Direct Messages. Or email. Or text. Or, gasp, the phone. Believe it or not, some people DO still use the telephone.


7) Find a balance
Finally, balance all of the above. If all you do is promote yourself, people will tire of you. NO ONE is that important. If all you do is update your daily happenings but never respond to others or give anything back, people will tire of you. NO ONE is that interesting. Balance is key.  

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Tags: twitter, social, community, blog, tweet

Help Your Business Market Itself

March 1, 2010

Filed under: Business

For so many small business owners, generating leads, converting customers and creating a predictable flow of business is a constant battle. While there are many reasons for this, the primary one is that most small businesses focus all of their marketing attention on selling, when they should really focus every fibre of their being on creating a better customer experience.

According to John Jantsch, a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.

John advises the best way to generate more leads is to create a customer experience that makes people talk. The best way to convert more sales is to create a customer experience that puts sales and marketing on the same team. The best way to create a predictable flow of business is to create a customer experience that builds trust over and over again. Here is John’s advice on how your business can market itself:


The logical path
Marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like, and trust you. Once you’ve established know, like and trust, you can more easily move to creating try, buy, repeat and refer.

These seven steps make up what John calls, the Marketing Hourglass that produces a logical progression of steps from the point where a prospect first becomes aware of your business to where they voluntarily work to help you grow it.

Creating a marketing system that addresses and offers products and processes at every step along this logical path is how you teach your business to market itself.


Plug the gaps
Almost every business attempts to move from know to buy, without addressing the phases in between or after. This causes gaps in the customer experience and often leads to generating a customer that’s not a good fit or one that doesn’t value your unique way of doing business.

By carefully plotting how a prospect comes to know your business, how you help them understand and like the unique benefits of doing business with your firm and how you build trust by showing them customer proof and expertise, you properly prepare them to try and buy your products and services.

Of course once a prospect decides to become a customer you must work equally as hard at plugging any gaps in customer service, delivery, packaging, communication, and even finance. In every fashion that your business comes into contact with a customer you are in that instance performing a marketing function.

Ask yourself this question: Does every department in your organization produce positive customer experiences?

Here’s how to find out.

Become a customer of your business. Follow an order or service request around your entire business from advertising to asking for a referral and see how many gaps you can find.

Gaps come in many forms, but the two most common are gaps that are produced intentionally – a process that doesn’t make sense to anyone but Bart in customer service, and unintentionally, no follow-up process to make sure your customer is thrilled.


Process and product
As you teach your business to market itself, you need to arm it with products, services and processes that can make this notion a reality.

If you sell a product, surround it with services that allow you to create a better product experiences and repeat sales. If you sell a service, ask yourself what products might enhance your services or be used to create a trail priced version of your service. Ponder these lists of questions as you consider your gaps.

Product/service questions
• What is your free or trial offering?
• What is your starter offering?
• What is your “make it easy to switch” offering?
• What is your core offering?
• What are your add-ons to increase value?
• What is your “members only” offering?
• What are your strategic partner pairings?

Process questions
• How do you identify an ideal customer?
• How do you use content to build trust?
• How do you nurture new relationships?
• How do you present your offerings?
• How do you orientate a new customer?
• How do you assess value delivered?
• How do you teach and educate?
• How do you handle problems?
• How do you create success stories?

If you can address and fill the gaps from know to refer with products, services and processes that create a winning customer experience, creating a well-oiled referral engine will be your reward. Good luck!

Tags: business, marketing, customer

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