Don’t become an Influencer for the Wrong Reasons

Don’t try to be an influencer for the sake of being an influencer.

Don’t become a personal brand for the sake of becoming a personal brand.

Rather, focus on providing value to others. Let the influence come to you as a result.

I think that’s a recipe for failure and a losing strategy. Perhaps, it will bring you short-term success, but you’ll lose in the long-term because the people who become truly influential and remain relevant are the ones who have a message, who stand for something, and who bring unique value to the table.

That means they say “no” to things as much or more often as they say “yes.” They make conscious decisions based on their values and will turn down quick cash if it means maintaining the health and integrity of their brand.

There is a lot of money in the influencer space right now and we have influencers on all platforms — bloggers, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more. Almost every kid nowadays wants to be one and thinks they can do it relatively quickly.

I have worked with influencers, primarily on Instagram. It concerns me that many people are not focused first and foremost on providing value to their audience. They simply want to be an influencer and get all the rewards that come with it. But an influencer or a personal brand will only engage and inspire if there is substance and authenticity behind it.

If you’re only doing it for the fame or money and you’re willing to collaborate with any brand as long as it pays, you will eventually lose credibility with your audience.

When you’re not being authentic and genuine and true to your brand values or if you don’t actually believe in the products you’re promoting, people will catch on and get turned off.

People can smell a faker. So, make sure you’re becoming an influencer for the right reasons.

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Social Media and Content Marketing Is Not A Quick-Fix Solution

What is the ROI of content marketing and social media? How quickly will it take to start generating leads or sales for my new business?

This is an important subject that frequently comes up and one that I want to address and unpack over a series of posts.

Content marketing and organic social media marketing help a business establish a brand. Branding is the purest form of marketing. And, it’s a long-term investment. You’re putting out value and creating a community of interested followers with the hopes that eventually, you won’t have to do as much selling.

Instead, your audience will come to you.

It will cost less to acquire new customers and strengthen the loyalty of current customers. This usually corresponds to the “top of the funnel” brand awareness and engagement. Or, as marketing nerds call it: “First touch attribution.”

The one caveat is that it takes time to get people to know about, care about, and trust you. It often takes a number of interactions over a period of time before people will pay attention and remember you. The results are cumulative. If you’re a new startup or small business, it’s a good investment to make. But, you also need short-term ca$h flow.

How Do You Do Social Media Marketing for a Boring Business?

What do you do when your business or your client doesn’t have a “story” or anything interesting to share on their blog or social media?

“We sell garbage bags. What are we supposed to talk about?” “Nothing exciting happens here.”

Sure, you understand that stories sell. But, how do you story-tell when you’re in a “boring” business? How do you turn people on when your business isn’t sexy? 💋

My advice:

Go beyond WHAT you do when creating content on social. When coming up with content to share on social media, dig deeper into your WHY — the reason you exist, the problems you solve, and the role you fulfill in the lives of others. 🤔

And, then expand beyond what it is you do for a living. Because the truth is we’re all short on time and attention spans. Your target audience doesn’t want to hear only about you, your industry, or what you do.

They’re interested in themselves and the things they care about.

So, when crafting content, you don’t have to make it all about your business, product, or service.

In fact, you should focus primarily on what will educate, inspire, or entertain the audience. That will give you the attention equity you need before you can ever hope to generate a lead or make a sale. 🌈

It can be as simple as sharing an article about something relevant to your audience and featuring your take on it in the caption.

It might be simple tips, pieces of advice, or short funny clips that relate to your audience’s pain points. 🎥

Your blog, social pages, vlog, or podcast can be the trade journal, TV show, or radio show of your industry. 📺

Regarding the example above, you can feature content that highlights neighborhood heroes who are cleaning up their communities.

Think outside the box and have some fun with it! 😀

Are You Thinking About Short-term Cash or Long-term Legacy?

The other day, a client asked us to do something that requires a bit extra effort and time on our part than is required by our arrangement.

“How much will it cost?” he asked. I was a bit surprised.

Until this moment, I hadn’t even thought to charge him extra for this service. “No extra charge at all!” I told him happily.

Thinking about it the next day, I realized that some people might have used that experience as an opportunity to make a little extra easy money. 💰 And, yet here I was feeling so great that I was able to tell him that it was no charge.

I realized that I genuinely feel happier providing value by giving the client a little surprise and delight than I do getting some quick cash. Obviously, we need to make a living and provide for ourselves and our families. I don’t work for free or on the cheap. But, I’m focused on the long-term. I strive to build positive values and long-term thinking into my company. Now, I don’t expect that this client will necessarily stay with us or refer us or even give us a good review, because of this event. But, I do think by doing good and putting out good into the world, we will earn a reputation and a legacy which will pay off greatly in the future.

 

Riding the Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship

Expect the unexpected. That old phrase rings especially true for entrepreneurs. 🛎

One day things are cruising. 🚢 The next, you may be in crisis mode. And then the next moment you may experience unprecedented levels of growth! 📈

Yesterday morning: Closed a new deal and followed up with two leads.

This afternoon: One client still deciding if they are staying or going. Signed a renewal with a current client.📝

This morning: Lost an account and gained a new one in the span of an hour.

Some leads take months of negotiation and nothing happens. At other times, I’ll receive a message or phone call out of the blue and we start right away. 📱 Sure, some will insist on the importance of process and develop a system to minimize the unpredictability. And I’m certainly a fan of having a process. But, at the end of the day, business is business and in the real world 🌎 , not everything can be reduced to a neat little academic formulaic system.

This line of work is certainly not for the faint of heart ❤️ who enjoy stability and predictability. For those who don’t mind or even enjoy the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship, it’s the ride of a lifetime. 🎢 😀 #entrepreneurship

Is There a Fine Line Between Follow-Up and Being a Pain in the Ass?

You’re in a meeting or on the phone. You’ve made your pitch and the other party sounds interested. Then, they say: “We’ll be in touch.” They’ll call you (or email or text or DM).

Now, what?

Do you push and not leave the room or hang up the phone until they have signed on the dotted line or paid you the money? I certainly don’t believe in waiting for people to get back to you if you really want the account. But how much time should one give the prospect to decide? In my experience, most people who contact you aren’t actually ‘ready to buy’ just yet.

Is there a fine line between follow-up and being a nuisance?

I find it interesting that I often get so many contradictory responses to this question. Some will say that you’re not doing your job of following up until you’re told how annoying you are. At the other extreme, some are timid and caution against coming off as “desperate.”

I believe in being relentless, but I also believe it can be done tactfully without turning someone off. Do you agree? Disagree?

What are your thoughts?

Branding is Telling Your Story

A storyteller.

That’s what I am.

That’s what I’ll always be.

I didn’t choose that role. It’s something I was born into.

Long before the word, “storyteller,” became a buzzword and way before the whole “marketers are storytellers” thing became a cliche, I was telling stories. Whether it was making up games and writing short stories and manuscripts as a kid or creating content for brands and communicating their message, it’s all from that same place.

While writing is my primary passion, and it may be yours as well, there are many ways to tell a story — Film, pictures, audio etc. We’re living in a time where content creation and distribution is democratized and cheaper and easier than ever before. That also means there’s more competition. But if you’re talented and you’re persistent, and you pay attention to the needs of your audience, you’ll break out of the noise.

So, start that podcast or that blog or that vlog or whatever suits your communication style and start communicating your story — your truth. When you tell a story that has people’s attention, countless opportunities will open up for you in life and in business.

Building a brand is ultimately what will help you differentiate and stand out in a crowded market.