Business Speaker on Social Networking
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include social networking and how to understand social media. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). There are a number of chapters in this award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) that lay the foundation by explaining the trends that have led to social networking and underpin the social media revolution and they are included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. Also, Patrick’s perspective on social media marketing, the new rules of online engagement and the opportunities to integrate various social media platforms together is summarized below.
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Keynote Speech about Social Media Marketing
Patrick is best known for his keynote addresses about social media, and you can read more about those programs here. Indeed, social media is revolutionizing the way business gets done and it is critical for businesses and self-employed professionals to understand what it is and why it’s happening. Patrick has a number of chapters in his book that explain the underlying trends behind social networking and social media (see below) and he does a masterful job of delivering that content for business conferences or conventions. He has been referred to as “America’s most inspiring social media speaker” and will motivate and inspire your attendees. Please let us know how sophisticated your audience is (with respect to social media) so Patrick can adjust his presentation accordingly.
Chapter 44: Conversations are Markets
How can you access a market on today’s social Internet?
I get asked this question all the time. And whether you realize it or not, we’ve been talking about this subject throughout this book. It all boils down to one simple idea. If you focus on this one concept, your Internet marketing practically takes care of itself.
Conversations Are Markets
If you want to access a particular market, you need to participate in the conversation surrounding that market. By participating in the conversation, you’re engaging that community and becoming known within it. It all starts with awareness. Awareness leads to interest, and interest leads to demand. But it all begins with awareness(relates back to previous sentence). If they don’t know you exist, that’s where it ends. By linking to other bloggers and content providers (Chapter 40), you are engaging in the conversation. Those other bloggers will see that you exist. And they will start to be aware of your thoughts and insights. By subscribing to other top bloggers in your field (Chapter 41), you will stay current with the conversation. Knowing what these thought-leaders are blogging about will give you an opportunity to chime in with your own perspective and expertise. By contacting and interviewing those very same thought-leaders (Chapter 42), you will introduce yourself to them and help deliver their expertise to those searching for it. Doing so will position you as a conduit of thought leadership in your industry. And by submitting your posts to blog carnivals (Chapter 43), you are once again engaging your community and contributing to the conversation.
But there’s an even bigger opportunity. Not only can you participate in the conversation, but you can actually facilitate that conversation as well. Think about the people who built any of the large forums or bulletin boards on the Internet. Those people gain credibility by facilitating the conversation. Think about the people who built Facebook or Digg or Twitter. Think about Barack Obama and his campaign website hosting the blogs of more than 60,000 supporters. No matter your political affiliation, there’s no disputing the fact that Obama’s campaign website facilitated an enormous conversation, and he benefited as a result.
In the previous chapter, we talked about blog carnivals—how to post to carnivals in your field, host your own carnivals, and have other bloggers submit their posts to you. Hosting your own carnival is a great and simple way to begin facilitating the conversation in your field. All the active bloggers will quickly know you exist if you have your own carnival that you publish regularly. Installing a forum on your blog is another strategy. There are open source options in this area including Simple Machines, vBulletin, and others. If you have a substantial audience, a forum can quickly bring your online identity to the next level.
And of course, the standard blog functionality of allowing comments on your blog is another strategy to encourage the conversation. In fact, posting comments on other people’s blogs is a great way to drive traffic to your website. (We’ll talk more about that in Chapter 53.) People sometimes ask me if they should edit or delete derogatory comments on their blog. My answer is simple. Unless the comment is either spam or intentionally malicious, I would leave it up. Controversial comments are the best ones. They show you’re being completely transparent. They prove you’re authentic. And they encourage further dialogue among your followers. (See Chapter 28 for more information about negative comments.)
Any opportunity to foster interaction and communication among your users is good. And if the thought-leaders in your field start participating as well, your traffic could grow quickly. Conversations are markets. If you want to access a market on today’s social Internet, participate in and facilitate the conversation. If you engage your community in an authentic way, you’ll be amazed at the response you’ll get.
Conversations are Markets: Implementation Checklist
Find the conversation in your field.
Actively participate in the conversation.
Facilitate the conversation if possible.
Encourage the conversation to continue.
Negative comments are not always bad.
Authentic interactions build credibility.
Compare notes and ideas with a colleague.
Chapter 62: Social Media Mantras
Content is King … or is it?
This is a very common phrase on the Internet. And in years gone by, it was very true. The single most important ingredient for online success was good-quality content. Today, with the social media revolution in full effect, I no longer agree with that statement. To me …
Content is … Queen.
When the first version of my book launched, one reader was quite offended by this analogy. She argued it was sexist. So let me be clear: in no way am I making any inference about the sexes or which deserves to be on top. As far as I’m concerned, men and women are equally valuable in our society.
The point is that “content is king” implies that content is the single most important ingredient. That’s no longer true. So what took its place? What’s now in the top spot?(“Community Engagement” should be boldface and centered, not a big title)
Community engagement is King. There is a very clear reason why this is true. Here goes. Bad-quality content combined with community engagement beats good-quality content by itself.
Bad Content + Community Engagement > Good Content
Now, if you have good-quality content and community engagement, you win. No question. But even bad-quality content can find an audience with effective community engagement. So what is community engagement? It’s your participation in the conversation. It’s what we’ve been talking about throughout this book. When you make a contribution to your community without trying to sell a product, you’re engaging your community. You’re participating in the conversation. Community engagement is the essence of the modern Internet. Community engagement is at the center of the social media revolution. Conversations are markets. Embrace this mantra and your journey on the Internet will be far more productive. So, community engagement is King. Content is Queen. What’s in third place?
Authenticity and Transparency
Authenticity and transparency are critical on the Internet. For better or for worse, the days of secrets are behind us. As soon as you try to put a spin on something, your audience will drop you like a rock. If you’re caught in a lie, you’re finished. The best thing you can do today is freely admit your weaknesses and your failures. People are people. We all have shortcomings. Strive to be flawed. Perfection is passé. What do you think when you see a perfectly produced video? You probably assume it was done by a professional marketing company. And as enjoyable as it might be to watch, you probably trust it less than an amateur-looking alternative of a real person with a real message. Authenticity makes you a person, not a business. And transparency adds credibility to your message. Adopt these mantras and your actions will speak to the masses. Ignore them and your message will fall flat.
Social Media Mantras: Implementation Checklist
Community engagement is King.
Good-quality content is Queen.
Authenticity and transparency comes in third.
Participate in the conversation.
Always provide value to your audience.
Be a person first and a business second.
Compare notes and ideas with a colleague.
Chapter 63: Social Media Integration
Are you too busy?
It’s usually about this time that people start throwing their hands in the air. If you started at the beginning of this book, you’ve gone through 62 chapters so far. We’ve discussed a lot of different things. How are you supposed to do all these new activities when you’re far too busy already?!
Indeed, there are lots of platforms that all represent opportunities for you to build credibility and gain exposure online, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on each one. Turns out, one of the biggest trends of our day is integration. Many of these social media platforms integrate easily with each other. And once integrated, your activity on one is automatically announced on the others. That means you could do something on one platform and have four or five different audiences (or more) notified all at the same time!
This stems from the primary difference between blogs and websites that we introduced first in Chapter 27. I can subscribe to a blog. I can’t subscribe to a website. Blogs have what’s called an RSS feed. Well, so do all the other social media platforms! In that earlier chapter, we discussed how Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can all subscribe to your blog. Well, they can all subscribe to each other too. Your Facebook profile has an RSS feed. So does your LinkedIn profile. They all do. So they can all be connected together.
Let me describe how I have my own accounts connected. Basically, I want everything I do online to eventually end up on my Twitter feed. If I post something on my blog, I want it announced on Twitter. If I upload a video on YouTube, I want it on Twitter. If I update my status on Facebook, I want it on Twitter. The easiest way to do that is to route everything through FriendFeed.
Create a FriendFeed account at the FriendFeed.com website and click “settings” and then “add/edit” to configure everything. It connects with everything! Then select the “Twitter publishing preferences” to push everything (except tweets from Twitter) to Twitter. The result is that everything you do online ends up on Twitter. I also have my blog integrated with my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, so my blog posts automatically populate Facebook and LinkedIn. I push my YouTube channel and Meetup group to Facebook as well. Hmmm. Anything else? Probably. Bottom line: I try to integrate everything I can.
The point of this chapter is to encourage you to leverage these platforms and to do so in the most efficient way possible. They’re extremely powerful and don’t cost anything to try. So what’s the harm? Setting it all up takes a little time. But once that’s done, your online presence is integrated.
Different people use the Internet in different ways. Some like blogs. Some like videos or photos. Some like audio recordings. And some just spend time on social networks. Find ways to tie them all together so your contributions are automatically distributed to each. Multi-platform integration is at the center of the buzz these days. You’ll see more and more of this as time passes. Get started now so you can ride the wave that’s driving the Internet into the future.
Social Media Integration: Implementation Checklist
Create an account on FriendFeed.
Integrate everything on FriendFeed.
Push all your online activity to Twitter.
Push your blog to Facebook and LinkedIn.
Push YouTube to your Facebook profile.
Push Meetup to your Facebook profile.
Always look for more integration features.
Compare notes and ideas with a colleague.
End of chapter – click here to buy the book on Amazon.