Timing is Everything

Albert Einstein once said: “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”  Obviously Einstein never saw the way some dealerships post in social media. Consider the example of the dealership which posts pictures of the proud customer standing by their new car shaking hands with the happy sales person. Great idea, but not the way the folks at a dealership in North Carolina do it. Every Saturday they post a dozen or so pictures of customers on their Facebook page in a 5-10 minute time span. These sales didn’t happen all at once, but the postings did.

Look, Facebook updates only stay active for a few minutes or hours if you’re fortunate. Generally, users who are online at the exact time you post a picture may see it, like it, comment on it and even share it. However, unless they only like a few pages and have a small number of friends, they most likely will not see your pictures if you post them all at once. True, it’s easier to post in the fashion, but it is most likely a waste of your time. Therefore, it is most advantages to post more frequently and spread your updates over time. Don’t forget that posting pictures, links, updates and videos on the weekends will get your page more comments and sharing. But who has that kind of time for Facebook, especially over the weekend?

Here’s the solution: Schedule your status updates to appear when you think your customers and friends are on Facebook. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Go to your status update box and share a status update, picture, link or video.
  • In the bottom left-hand corner you will see a small clock. Hover over the clock to assign a date and time.
  • Select the appropriate year, month, day, hour and minute you wish to have you post appear.
  • Click on the schedule button and you are finished.

You can also edit the scheduled time and date of the post by highlighting the Edit Page, selecting Use Activity Log, then select the scheduled post to edit, and change the date to whatever you like.

This little tool makes it very easy for you to spread the good news over Facebook whenever your fans may be reading.  Everything does not happen at once. Why would you post that way?

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Bet You’re Missing Out!

One of the key skills in consulting is being able to assess people and organizations quickly and efficiently. Professional consultants are constantly honing their assessment skills and abilities. However, when it comes to social media, it is easy to determine if an organization is not leveraging the power of Facebook in an effort to build relationships with current and future customers.
If you are part of a leadership team or organization that believes the following, you are most likely missing out:
1) The only thing people talk about on Facebook is what they’re doing for lunch or dinner!
2) Our policy prohibits employees from “playing around” in Facebook on a company computer or on company time!
3) We delegated our Facebook Page to __________ because they are under 30 and understand that computer stuff!
4) We measure our Facebook success by the number of “likes” we get!
5) We tried it for a couple of weeks and it didn’t do anything for us!

Trust me! If your leadership team is guilty of any of these, you are really missing out on the Facebook movement.
In a recent survey, over 57% of the respondents indicated they spent more time talking to people online than in real life. Like it or not, social media is where the “talking” is happening. Social media success is commonly defined by how effectively you build relationships and social capital. It’s not about what people are doing for lunch. Unless, of course, you’re talking about an event which your company is sponsoring.
If you are not leveraging the power of your team by encouraging them to be Facebook ambassadors and creating a social media policy which describes key dos and don’ts for them to follow, you’re missing out.
Let me ask you this: Would you allow your Facebook page administrator to appear on the noon news to represent your company or organization? Would you hold them accountable to develop and maintain customer relationships? If your response was no, you’re missing out!
Facebook isn’t a quick fix. Facebook success will not come overnight. In fact, success will be an ongoing venture. Furthermore, meaningful measurements are critical to creating a successful Facebook strategy.
When it comes to Facebook, if you believe the aforementioned five points, I bet you’re missing out!

Social Media and Symbiosis

Scientists and biologists have talked about symbiosis, a word derived from the ancient Greek meaning syn- “with” and biosis-“living” since Plato was a pup. In the late 18 hundreds, social scientists began using the term in connection with people living together in mutual relationships. In nature, there are three common types of symbiotic relationships, mutualistic, commensalistic and parasitic. It is my assertion that these three relationships are also present in our social media world. Which relationship type are you?

Mutualistic relationships are described as a relationship wherein both parties benefit. A great example from nature of this type is the Clown Fish and the sea anemone. A sea anemone has hundreds of poisonous tentacles to ward off predators, but the clown fish is immune to the poison. He hides from his enemies in the tentacles, eats small invertebrates and his waste feeds the anemone. Let’s not take this analogy too far, but the best types of relationships in the social media world are mutualistic, where both parties benefit. There are many great examples of businesses sharing educational and entertaining posts which enhance the lives of their fans. Their fans, in turn, visit the business and serve as ambassadors for their store by recommending you and your page or site.

The Chevrolet MirayCommensalistic relationships are recognized as those in which one party benefits and the other is not harmed or helped in any way. There are few examples of commensalism in nature and in social media, but I think a good example is my photograph of the Miray from the NAIAS. Several dealerships have “borrowed” it for their Facebook cover picture. They benefit by having a striking cover picture and I, in no way am harmed or will I benefit in any way.

Parasitic relationships exist when one party benefits and the other is harmed. We all know people who behave in a parasitic manner. The best thing about social media is, when people act parasitic, you can block or delete them. For what it’s worth, don’t be a social media parasite and don’t accept them in your life.

Social media is based on people “living with” and relating to each other. You and your team can build healthy social media relationships by focusing on becoming more mutualistic.

Administer Your Admins

As Facebook continues to expand it’s focus to include the business world, they finally have created a way for page owners to protect themselves from page hijackers. One of my basic keys to success in social media is to have a policy. A policy which includes removing all passwords and administrative abilities. But, the new levels of admin helps protect you, the business and page owner. Let’s take a brief look at each of the five levels.

Insight Analyst– This is the most limited level and can only view the page insights.

Advertiser– This level can view insights and create ads. Both of the first two are probably most appropriate for third party providers.

Moderator– A Moderator has the ability to do the previously mentioned activities and they can add or delete comments on the page. They also have the ability to respond to messages.

Content Creator– This admin level can do all the aforementioned functions and they can create posts as the page, edit the page and add apps.

Manager– The Manager has full access to the page and they are they only people who can add administrators and set permission levels for said admins.

Facebook Admin Roles

I’m a big supporter of employing what I call a “Social Media Squad” within your organization to fully leverage this incredible tool. However, I strongly recommend you review your Admins and assign the proper level of control each has on your most valuable Page.

Secrets to Social Media Success

The recent surveys show us that over 71% of respondents use some sort of social media to help make their purchase decision. Let’s assume for a moment that this number is inflated and only half of your customers use some sort of social media in making their decision. How well does your biz leverage social media to build relationships with your on-line community and help them make their choice? There are plenty of keys to success in social media, but here are four absolutes which lead to building solid relationships with and garnering recommendations from your customers:

Leaders Lead– Our experience and research tells us that organizations which do the best job of leveraging social media are those wherein the process is clearly driven top-down. This doesn’t mean you cannot have a successful Facebook presence by delegating it to an employee in the back-end of the business or by simply outsourcing the entire effort. However, the most highly effective social media efforts are typically led by the organizations natural leaders.

Focus on Relationships– By now, this is not a secret. Social media isn’t about selling; it’s about building relationships, referrals and recommendations. People follow businesses and brands which help them learn to make their life better, or simply enhance their day. If your page is focused on marketing and increasing your click-through rates, your analytics will ultimately be weak and your relationships will not be productive. In social media, some say relate or die, I say relate and thrive.

It’s our Culture– Building social media capital must become part of your organizations culture. If Facebook and Twitter are check boxes to show you are “playing” in the virtual world, it will not be very effective. If on the other hand, social media is woven in the very fabric of your stores interaction with current and future customers, you will then enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

Make it about Them– Now hear this, your social media strategy must be externally focused! Everything you do must be geared toward your social media fans followers. By making their world a better place, they will appreciate you and your organization. More importantly, they will tell others. Make it easy for them to recommend you and your business. Expect recommendations. Recognize recommendations.

There are countless keys to success in social media, but if you lead the process, focus on relationship building, blend it into your culture and make it about your followers, you will be well on your way to being successful in social media world.

 

 

Connecting on Facebook

People who have heard me speak about social media and Facebook in particular know, I believe everyone should follow the three “E’s” of content. This is more of a VLOG than a BLOG this month…enjoy the first of many very brief videos on connecting in social media. Check out this 1:13 video entitled cleverly enough…Connecting in Facebook!

Enjoy and stay connected!

Are Your Connections Mutualistic or Parasitic?

Scientists and biologists have talked about symbiosis, a word derived from the ancient Greek meaning syn- “with” and biosis-“living” since Plato was a pup. In the late 18 hundreds, social scientists began using the term in connection with people living together in mutual relationships. In nature, there are three common types of symbiotic relationships, mutualistic, commensalistic and parasitic. It is my assertion that these three relationships are also present in our social media world. Which relationship type are you?

Clownfish/ Anemone

Mutualistic relationships are described as a relationship wherein both parties benefit. A great example from nature of this type is the Clown Fish and the sea anemone. A sea anemone has hundreds of poisonous tentacles to ward off predators, but the clown fish is immune to the poison. He hides from his enemies in the tentacles, eats small invertebrates and his waste feeds the anemone. Let’s not take this analogy too far, but the best types of relationships in the social media world are mutualistic, where both parties benefit. There are many great examples of fan pages who share educational and entertaining posts which enhance the lives of their fans. In turn, they remain loyal to your brand, store or biz. Moreover, they recommend your biz products and services.

Commensalistic relationships are recognized as those in which one party benefits and the other is not harmed or helped in any way. Birds follow cattle or horses as they graze in an effort to feed off the insects which are stirred by the movement of the cattle. The four legged creatures are not affected in any way. There are few example of commensalism in nature and in social media, but I think a good example is my photograph of the General Motors concept car, Miray, from the NAIAS which several dealerships have “borrowed” for their Facebook cover picture. They benefit by having a striking cover picture and I, in no way am harmed nor will I benefit in any way.

The last one exits, unfortunately, in many relationships, not simply in social media. Parasitic relationships exist when one party benefits and the other is harmed. We all know people who behave in a parasitic fashion. The best thing about social media is, when that happens, you can block or delete them. For what it’s worth, don’t be a social media parasite and don’t accept them in your life connections. When fans feel you are “parasitic” they will unlike your page and quite likely your biz.

Social media is based on people “living with” and relating to each other. To build healthy social media relationships, focus on becoming more mutualistic. Healthy relationships between people, on social media and in life, are connections wherein both parties benefit…remember this in your social media efforts.

TMI-Timeline Marketing Ideas

Facebook Timeline is coming to your Fan Page soon.
DON’T PANIC!
Sure it’s a change and sure it’s going to take a bit of work, but I think the new format will be Facebook an even stronger marketing and relationship building tool.
Besides, you don’t have a choice!
Here are Ten Tips which will help you and your biz leverage the new timeline:
1) Even though Facebook strictly forbids blatant marketing on your cover pic, it’s still a great place to market. We know that 21% of the people who visit a new profile will click on the profile pic. Let’s assume it’s less than that, it’s still worth taking the time to type in a brief description of your business. Did you see that word brief? I’m talking mission/vision or brand statement or tag line. Visit mine at http://facebook.com/terry.wisner and see what I mean.
2) Let your cover pic be a welcoming visual and post your logo as your profile pic. Facebook recommends your profile pic be 180 X 180 pixels for best results.
3) Humanize your brand! Take a couple of hours and fill in a history of your biz. Tell people when and how it was founded. Share key product/services which have been added over the years. Remember, people often select a biz simply because of their years of experience.
4) Having the analytics at the top of the page serves as a good reminder how you are doing…don’t hide it.
5) Here’s a cool tip, you can move an older post to the top of your Timeline to highlight it again. Just hover over the posting, click on the little pencil in the upper-right corner, then click on “pin to the top”. It will stay there for seven days.
6) While we’re on the topic of manipulating posts, you can also change the date of a post to move it out on your timeline. Not sure why we would want to do this, unless you were to feel your more recent posts are more relevant but yet you don’t want to hide a particular post.
7) Another cool tip on posts, especially with awesome pics, hover over the post, click on the star in the upper right-hand corner and you will “highlight” that pic or post. This is especially cool if you have a product you want to feature.
8) THIS IS YOUR LANDING PAGE! No longer can you select default pages for people to land on. Make it great!
9) You can now take customer concerns and complaints “off-line” by asking them to message you directly. This has a great deal of potential.
10) Last, but certainly not least, take this opportunity to clean-up your “About” tab. Ask yourself this question: “Would I read this?”
Convert over to the new Fan Page Timeline and begin to experiment. It won’t go live until you tell it too or on March 30. Why wait? If you feel panicky, give me a call. We are offering very special Facebook Coaching and Consulting rates for the entire month of March.
Enjoy!

Automated Love!

Professional speakers and trainers tend to spend many hours using free wi-fi in sandwich and coffee shops across the land. We meet clients, write, read, and maybe most importantly, watch the interesting interactions of the people who cross our paths. One such day at the local Panera Bread, three young ladies took the table next to me and began to rave about the “awesome” white sports car one of them had recently purchased. Not only was she a proud new owner of her “first new car” but her friends were obviously envious of her new wheels as well.

Then the conversation took a very negative tone.

The young lady disgustedly proclaimed how she had just spent $36K with the local dealership where her family had done business for years, and all she got was a “bleeping” automated email. “I mean what the bleep, I spent more money than my parents did for their first house…and all I get is a “bleeping” automated email to thank me?”

As a dealership, whatever client services or relationship management software system you use…make it personal!

And that doesn’t mean merely typing in their full, given name from the contract.

“I consult and train dealerships on building strong customer relationships, do you mind if I ask you a quick question?” I said. After the typical “What’s with this guy look” she nodded and agreed to entertain the question.

“What could the dealer or sales person have done that would have made you happy?”

“They could actually show me that they care! I don’t that’s too much to ask.”

Automated love doesn’t leave customers feeling that the dealership really cares. Nothing can damage or stifle customer relations more significantly that a “personal contact” that is perceived as highly impersonal. Don’t get me wrong! Friendly reminders and the occasional educational communique can be routine and automated, but thank you notes must be personal. That’s right! Just a simple thank you note will go a long way. For those who have forgotten the lost art of handwritten thank you notes, here is a brief reminder:

Address them directly: Start off with a “Dear ….” greeting or if it’s a long-time customer you can call them by their first name if more appropriate.

Keep it simple: There is no need to get all syrupy and cutesy. Keep it simple and specific. Thank them for coming to you for their transportation needs and welcome them to the dealership “family” or make a statement that will tie-in to the dealership tag line.

Sign-off…don’t sell: Sincerely thank them again and tell them how important their relationship is to you and the dealership. Reassure them that you will be their to meet their continued needs. DON’T UPSELL or even thank them for their BUSINESS. This is all about personal relationships!

A simple thank you note would have made our first time buyer Panera Bread friend much happier. In fact, thank you notes will make everyone happier. The next time you use a “Automated Love” email “Customer Relationship Management” software system, think about the young lady in Panera Bread…how did it make her feel?

Kill the automated love! Relationship building starts with a simple thank you note. And thanks to Panera Bread for the Wi-Fi.

Steal Something!

One of my 101 Selling Tips on Facebook is…Steal good ideas! When you see an idea that works or influences you, adapt and apply it to your selling techniques. Whenever you are persuaded to take action or find you like any communication about another product or service take note of what motivated you to act on that stimuli. If it convinced or influenced you, ask yourself how you think it might influence your customer or clients.

Let’s face it…there are no new ideas! Everything has been done before, we just improve and modify things to suit our current set of needs. One of my Facebook friends, Marilyn Suttle, author of “Who’s Your Gladys” offered a series of daily posts of what she called “100 Days of Apprectiation” where she listed people, places, or things she truly appreciated. Sharing a list of things is not new. Showing others how to live in an appreciative mindset is not new. In fact many of the perspectives that Marilyn has shared are, in fact,  very common…Marilyn Suttle Day 69 of 100 Days of Focusing on Appreciation: Today I appreciated waking up to the sounds of birds chirping. I’ve heard them for the last few mornings. They sound so happy!” Trust me, in Michigan on the first warm morning in five months…we all appreciated the chirping outside our window.

Here’s the deal…Marilyn gave me the idea to start sharing a selling tip every day and do it for 101 days. I liked the idea and sat down on a snowy morning a few days later and made a listing of 101 tips for selling. The feedback on Facebook has been phenomenal, and yes I plan to turn it into a book. Maybe a FREE eBook!

NOTE: Remember, always honor copyrights and trademarks! This just makes sense, don’t you think?

Here’s the deal. As you strive for mastery in the selling profession, you must follow the attributes of a Chief Performance Officer. Define your Prosperity, Identify your Priorities, Develop your Plan (and steal ideas from others), Select a Partner, and Party when you succeed.