Inbound Marketing Education is in Middle School

Posted on July 25, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Content, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

HubSpot Inbound Marketing System

HubSpot Developed an Efficient System for Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has been around for several years now. It’s the subject of bestselling books by David Meerman Scott and HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. In fact, HubSpot has surpassed the 5000-customer mark for the Internet-based content management system they invented to put all of the pieces of inbound marketing together.

Yet, when I sit in a roomful of business owners and ask how many people know what inbound marketing is, frequently all hands stay down. Or a hand will shoot up and the eager contributor will say, “Social Media.”

It’s clear to me that we inbound marketers have a lot more work to do educating the marketplace about the approach. Yes, social media is a component of inbound marketing, but it’s only one.

There seems to be pretty widespread awareness of other inbound marketing components, too, like SEO, blogging and email marketing. Yet there’s little awareness of how all of these efforts can coalesce in an effective and measurable process. This post is one of a number I’ve written to help flesh out the process in a way that’s meaningful to business people.

At heart, inbound marketing is just marketing updated to reach our potential customers where they are – online – then to get their interest and win their trust so that when they buy, they buy from us. These days, it’s harder, if not impossible, to find our prospects by advertising in newspapers (why they’re shrinking), by telemarketing (think voicemail), on TV (thanks to TiVo and DVR) and other traditional channels. But future buyers are almost all online – at least enough of them to keep our businesses growing.

Business owners and managers I speak with will often say, “Well, we’re driving lots of traffic to our website, but we’re not sure what it’s getting us.” Then I ask, “What’s your bounce rate? And what are you doing to convert traffic to leads?”

They begin to understand inbound marketing when I explain how it serves as a lead generation and lead nurturing system. When they realize that inbound marketing can be planned and implemented with the objective of helping them reach revenue goals, it becomes a much more interesting idea to explore. It becomes a compelling idea when they recognize that analytics can be integrated and success measured.

There are a lot of steps to inbound marketing. It can seem daunting at first. It does take some re-thinking about how you do marketing. And it does take an investment of time, staff resources and budget. But, properly done, it works and pays big dividends.

I use HubSpot’s content management system for my own company’s inbound marketing. There are other ways to approach and handle inbound marketing using multiple sources. But for me, HubSpot offers the best system, education and support – especially for small to mid-sized companies I work with.

As the product matures, there’s now a developer’s marketplace growing up around HubSpot that’s yielding and will continue to produce plug-ins, variations and customization for the original software, similar to WordPress. They’ve also made some recent acquisitions that will beef up various aspects of the product – including middle-of-the-funnel and larger enterprise functionality.

At minimum, HubSpot walks the walk regarding sharing useful information. The company is a virtual content factory and you can immerse in free educational downloads, blogs and other information, free webinars and a free trial to get a good feel for how inbound marketing works.

In the interest of disclosure, I’m a HubSpot Value Added Reseller in addition to being a user. But I don’t mean this post to be a commercial. I became a VAR because HubSpot is the most intelligent and efficient inbound marketing system I’ve found. It can help my clients to grow their businesses and I can help clients to better utilize the system from the VAR position.

Have you learned enough about inbound marketing to begin implementing it in some form?

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Twitter: Still Misunderstood

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Communications, Content, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Twitter Misunderstood

Not!! Twitter's Power is Misunderstood.

At a moment when we’re trying to get our arms around Google+ and its Circles concept, I continue to have people asking me about how and why to use Twitter. I’m beyond a novice about Google+, having just gotten in today for the first time. And I have no idea yet whether it will swallow Twitter.

But I continue to love Twitter – a highly searchable micro-blogging platform for identifying and staying in touch with defined communities – Circles?

Some of you may have read one of my Tuesday Tweets features where I review individual tweets from my Twitter feed. I intend these posts to serve as a tutorial about Twitter and how to use it effectively as part of online/inbound marketing.

To figure out Twitter you first have to spend some time exploring via Twitter search to find people and organizations with whom you want to engage. Take an hour and keep plugging in search terms that have to do with your company, products, services and industry. Do this until you find yourself viewing a Twitter stream that you can benefit from – by sharing your expertise or gaining the expertise of others — and best of all, both.

Image via jmilles under Creative Commons license.

 

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Tuesday Tweets

Posted on July 19, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Content, Inbound Marketing, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Tuesday Tweets

Perfect Tuesday Tweets Graphic! Thanks to Freshalex Online Under CC License

AppJudgment @AppJudgment This iPhone Survived a 13,500-Foot Fall http://gizmo.do/qddCFM

Couldn’t help but click to see what this link might hold. Pretty wild. I’ve seen iPhones that worked for awhile after the screen was smashed – but they had fallen out of a car – not from the sky. Put this story into the A-mazing category. Some of the comments will give you a real giggle!

CoachNotesBlog CoachNotesBlog by GrowMap I voted for @GrowMap in the #SMBinfluencer Awards – please vote! http://t.co/0qbVStD via @SmallBizTrends #smallbusiness #socialmedia

I don’t know about you, but for me the quantity of @names, links and hashtags gets in the way of meaning. I couldn’t make myself read this it looked so confusing and unapproachable. Once in awhile you have to pass on an audience or consider sending a couple of tweets in the interest of people understanding what you’re trying to communicate.

WSJBusiness @WSJBusiness WebMD Lowers Its Outlook http://on.wsj.com/qw2T8O

As someone who has done a lot of work marketing in the medical sector and in healthcare technology, I’ve followed WebMD closely. This nice clean tweet of potential alarm from the Wall Street Journal grabbed my attention. I followed the link to a précis of the article which implied the problem is attributed to loss of customers for WebMD’s private portals – rather than the well-known public site. In addition to picking up a good morsel of info – I gave Rupert and James Murdoch a chance to entice me to subscribe to get the full story. I declined after tuning in for a little while to their testimony before Parliament earlier today.

JulieTNL @Julie Lead Generation: A closer look at a B2B company’s cost-per-lead and prospect generation http://lnkd.in/s4yBQc

As an inbound marketer, I feast on lead generation case studies. This tweet definitely got my attention. I was pressed for time when I saw it and almost passed, but them took the time to look. @JulieTNL had plenty of characters left to say the link was to Marketing Sherpa – a respected source that lots of us IM consultants read. I had seen and saved this post. A bit more info would have saved me the time of clicking. In this case less might not have been more. I’m guilty of this, too and will pay more attention to letting the choir know when I’m singing songs to them that they may have already heard.

JasonPeck @JasonPeck In case you missed it: Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, Super Mario and social media/email motivations in the same post: http://ar.gy/UM0

I met @JasonPeck almost three years ago at the Inbound Marketing summit inBoston. I’ve been following his tweets ever since. He knows his Web marketing stuff and shares good info. I also enjoy seeing him get all excited when one of the sports teams he follows is in the playoffs – or the dumps. The tweet caught my attention for two reasons. The headline was compelling and Jason posted a gravatar I hadn’t seen before – sporting a cool western hat. I’ve had the same image up for a long time now. Maybe it’s time to freshen up my online persona.

 

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Put Your Company First This Week to Drive Client Success

Posted on July 18, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Marketing is a small business priority

Make Marketing a Business Priority

Welcome to Monday. After a very lovely weekend break – my darling Jeff and I jumped on the Harley and did 150 miles each way on an overnite to the Berkshires – I’m back with my nose to the grindstone. First on my agenda is how do I move my business ahead this week? I consider this a fundamental focus for getting better results for my clients.

Following is my list – in priority order – for today. You’ll notice that before I implement one client project, I’m focused on my own marketing. If I don’t ensure that I can keep my company moving forward, I can help no one else. And then my company has no reason to exist. After Monday I spend more daily time on client projects, but I dedicate time each day to my own marketing — and so should you.

Monday morning:

  • Write a blog post for publicizing and publicizing later in the day. (This is the one for Monday)
  • Check my website and blog stats and see what’s resonating with my audiences. Based on that, establish marketing objectives for the near and longer term.
  • Read and comment on trade blogs and news to keep abreast of market developments.
  • Write/Edit my co-authored column for theFairfieldand Westchester County Business Journals.
  • Write collaborative letter for joint marketing affiliation.
  • Spend time on my Hubspot content management system to plan traffic and lead generation and lead-nurturing campaigns.
  • Touch base with affiliates and networking groups and set personal get-togethers for the week.
  • Work on responding to requests for proposals.

Afternoon:

  • Read and reply to imperative client emails.
  • Review projects and create client to-do list for the week.
  • Work on strategies to meet client objectives.
  • Research, write, review, edit, publish client content and perform SEO activities as required by online project timelines.
  • Email clients to obtain sign-offs on previously submitted concepts and content to move projects forward.
  • Make calls to clients to expedite project issues that are better served by phone that email.

Although the list seems longer for a.m. activities, there are far more moving parts in implementing successfully for clients.

The point of this post…Our clients are our primary focus, but if we don’t put our own businesses first for at least a morning a week – and for some concerted time each day, we’re abdicating our ability to remain successful contributors to the business world.

Image by Banalities under Creative Commons license.

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Online Marketing for Small Business: Helping a Diverse, Ill-Defined Group

Posted on July 13, 2011. Filed under: Business Management, Communications, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Nonprofit, Not-for-profit, Small Business, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Online Marketing for Small Business

Regardless of definition, small businesses need help putting it all together online.

Because I write for this blog for small businesses – a very ill-defined segment –I’ve decided to talk today about who you are from my perspective. You’re a group that ‘s quite misunderstood in terms of your diverse human characteristics – everywhere from government statistics to media coverage. Truth is, you’re not a monolithic group, but you do face similar marketing issues.

Although I keep up with the latest advances in web technology on your behalf, as I speak with you, I know that’s not necessarily what’s top of mind for you. Most of the companies I’m working with – or who are calling me in to help them get to the next level online — are very savvy. They have an earlier generation website, they have social media channels going, they’ve set up an ecommerce store, they’re doing email campaigns, have attended LinkedIn seminars. They know that online is where the world is and will continue to go. They’ve done the best they can.

But they need help figuring out how to make it all pay off for their businesses and how to organize online marketing into a manageable system. Time and limited resources are the enemy.

I can also tell you that small businesses defy easy categorization. We all see references to SMSB – Small to Mid-Sized Businesses. But the definitions of who they are and how small/large these companies are is all over the map. Attempts are made to define them by revenue, number of employees and other metrics. But in my experience, that’s not enough. So who are they?

Here are some of the varied characteristics of small businesses I’ve worked with:

  • Main Street mom-and-pop bricks-and-mortar stores marketing locally.
  • Start-ups with great ideas or products and bootstrap budgets.
  • Established businesses with a few employees that market nationally or even globally.
  • Growing regional companies building infrastructure.
  • Exciting businesses – and nonprofits, too — transitioning from the original entrepreneurial founders to management with next-stage experience.
  • Established bricks-and-mortars launching ecommerce divisions.
  • Start-ups with angel funding.
  • Divisions of larger companies with Round ‘A’ venture funding.
  • Entrepreneurships with varying levels of experience and previous success.
  • Billion dollar enterprises with three employees looking for the right kind of strategic marketing help.
  • Manufacturing and service companies with revenues up to 150 million dollars.
  • Established innovators ripe for acquisition with the right positioning and visibility.
  • Any and all of the above trying to gain recognition for any number of strategic and tactical reasons.

What you and the aforementioned small business types share is that you need scalable help making the web work for you. Regardless of revenues or budgets, you have limited time, staff and/or budget resources and need to get effective and efficient outside advice and/or implementation help.

The objective of this blog is to help you understand the current and emerging environment, for sure, but at a level that does not forsake the practical advice that will help you make the best use of what you have available.

Conversation is part of the equation, so please continue to send your comments, questions and ideas.

Image from deanmeyersnet under Creative Commons license.

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Tuesday Tweets

Posted on July 12, 2011. Filed under: Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Great Twitter Tweets Graphic

Let's tweet in harmony!

Welcome to Tuesday Tweets where we take a look at tweets from my Twitter feed for do’s, don’ts and best practices. Keep in mind that what we examine here is in no way personal. We’re all learning about building audiences online. In that spirit, if you disagree with my assessment, let me have it! I’m learning, too!

Tweet 1.

  • @recovengineer Conflict Resolution Lessons From A Lifeguard: A Drowning Man Doesn’t Care About You http://tinyurl.com/3d85rwp #leadership

I retweeted this. The tweet was provocative. And when I clicked on the short link, the post behind it was meaty and full of psychological analysis – very interesting to me. Whether it is to you or not, the point of this review is that if you write it right, you’ll attract the right people.

Tweets 2. and 3.

  • @michaelbathurst Dismantling Fukushima reactors will take decades: Japanese expect it will take decades before the FukushimaDaii… http://bit.ly/ogFMpz
  • @michaelbathurst Missing woman a murder victim: The body of a young woman found over the weekend  near Uxbridge has been identifi… http://bit.ly/pfuNGb

Sometimes you follow people because they follow you. Putting together this week’s Tuesday Tweets, I focused on these two consecutive tweets from @Michaelbathurst. All of a sudden I said to myself, why am I following this user? I went to his Twitter profile to see if this was a fluke and it wasn’t. The bio said, ‘We are living in very exciting times. All walks of life are opening their hearts and minds to understand the nature of the universe.’ And there was a link to a Follow Friday popularity website. Nothing wrong with any of the above and he has about 25,000 followers. But the time I spend on Twitter is focused in a different direction. Moral of the story…You can always click ‘Unfollow.’

Tweet 3.

  • @Alex_Carrick Calling it a nite. Sweet dreams @Donna_Carrick & all T-pals in Eastern Time Zone. Every1 else please don’t stop (as if you would). Tweet on!

I don’t know. What do you think? A lot of people sign on and sign off of Twitter each day offering good mornings and I’m having coffees and time for an afternoon siestas and good nights. And plenty of people who have great social media credentials.

My vote is out. While I believe in a consistent presence on social media that are relevant to your audiences, having the feeling that people live their lives on Twitter or any other social media makes me question their sense of balance. Would you hire a consultant who tweets every 15 minutes?

If you share some of your Twitter questions and issues I’ll try to find examples and discuss them in future Tuesday Tweets. Thanks!!

 

Image by petesimon under Creative Commons license.

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Short Post on Facebook vs Google+: Is the new solving old problems?

Posted on July 11, 2011. Filed under: Facebook, Google, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Old vs New

Does the New Solve Old Problems?

Sometimes having a new online marketing tool gets us thinking about what it is about the old tool that we’ve just been putting up with because we had no good options. Until today, I wasn’t that focused on Google+, the new social media service from Google.

If you’ve read – or go back and read – my last few posts, you’ll see that I’ve used the launch of Google+ to focus on the fact that most businesses haven’t yet nailed online marketing basics – let alone what’s new coming down the pike.

But today I realized that Facebook would be much more helpful if we could attach other info than video and image files and outside links. I was posting basic info about an event being put on by an account I administer. It would have been helpful to attach a copy of the flyer or press release to give more details. No dice.

I searched around and came up with a Facebook-centric posting service called PosterWall.com that didn’t seem to intuitively solve the problem – although if I play around with it I might figure it out. But at least in the process I learned that lots of other people are frustrated by the file sharing limitations of Facebook.

To make matters worse today, in the process of playing around with various ways I might share the desired files, I accidentally deleted a previous post and there’s no way to undelete it.

As a subscriber to daily emails of Chris Brogan’s blog, I’ve been following his excellent and ongoing reviews of Google+. As a non-invitation-holder to the current field trial, I have to rely on trusted others to get me up to speed. Chris’ explorations have been very practical and give a visual peek into the Google+ world. You can see for yourself at www.chrisbrogan.com. No need for me to re-invent the wheel here.

But as I watched a very helpful ‘screen cast’ Chris put out today of the Google+ environment, it looked to me that in the area that corresponds to the Facebook Wall, there was no option for posting, say, a Word file. I left a comment to that effect and will let you know if I get a response. Plus I will do additional research.

Looking at the idea of Google+ Circles (different groups and communities that you can define for purposes of what to share with whom) I’m wondering what the difference is from the Lists in Twitter. I started making lists when Lists was first introduced, but as my Twitter followers have increased and people follow me from various arenas, I’ve stopped taking the time to figure out what lists they belong on.  Will that be the same with Circles?

I guess the point of this post is that what gets us interested in the new is when the old doesn’t meet our needs. If the new doesn’t meet them either, then it won’t surpass the old.

Image is from Mrs Logic Under Creative Commons License.

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Getting Started With Inbound Marketing: Take Small Bites of the Basics

Posted on July 8, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Business Management, Communications, Content, Facebook, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

New Orleans Music - Inbound Marketing Basics

New Orleans Music - Inbound Marketing Basics

Today I’m blogging to music provided in the latest post of a very interesting person and ethnomusicologist (Google it. I did.) whose blog is called SocioSound. We ‘met’ through our blogs. Anyhow – SocioSound just shared five favorite New Orleans tunes. Two of them are also faves of mine by the Rebirth Brass Band.

I happen to have the album in my collection. So I’m going to share one of the tunes – Feel Like Funkin’ It Up — here and pass along an upbeat experience to boost you into the weekend. Of course, you control the play button so only listen if you want to.

All week I’ve been thinking that although social media and other online and inbound marketing techniques have been widely accepted and as they say, “…are here to stay,” there’s still a lot of learning to be done about the basics.

This morning I read a really interesting post about how people are using QR (Quick Response) codes in their marketing. I agree that the ability to help people connect with your website and various marketing offers by scanning QR codes with their mobile phones is very cool. But, for many, that would be running before walking.

Case in point: A bit later I had lunch with a newspaper editor friend of mine who scheduled a Twitter tutorial with me because she still hasn’t gotten up to speed. And Twitter is a particularly good tool for journalists. Plenty of people are still catching up with basic tools that have been around for awhile.

As I started to explore in yesterday’s post, there’s something new to learn virtually every day in online marketing and it’s truly difficult to keep up, even if it’s your profession. That’s why I’m recommending to many companies that they not worry about every new thing coming down the pike until they get the basics in place.

To me, the basics still begin with figuring out what you want to accomplish in your business. How many new customers to generate how much new revenue in what period of time? Once you know that, there’s existing technology to help you build and utilize a web presence to achieve at least some, if not all, of your objectives.

From what I can see, among smaller and mid-sized companies, very few are really using the web effectively for business development. Even though some studies show smaller businesses building Facebook pages at a pretty impressive clip, that’s only one small piece of a well-constructed online marketing program. And if you sell B2B, you may not want to be on Facebook at all.

It helps to take a look at the big picture first and then determine a logical plan for your company. If there’s a move afoot to update your website, you’ll get more bang for the buck if you take the opportunity to review your overall marketing.

Yes, your site is a central focus of online marketing. So explore what kind of site with what capabilities will contribute to success of the overall plan. Have the plan first. I still see lots of new sites with no SEO and people are till putting up sites built all in Flash, which search engines simply don’t see. So they can’t accomplish even the first step in inbound marketing – getting found.

Recently, I was speaking to a marketing director for an area business about inbound marketing and how it could be used in his industry. He was interested and requested that I get back in touch in a month. They were redoing their website, he said, and couldn’t undertake any other marketing until that was complete.

I suggested that a great time to begin developing an effective online plan is during the website redesign process. It would be unfortunate to invest in a website and then learn a month later that you should have gone in a different direction.

If you have a small company, invest an hour or two with a consultant who can give you a clear overview of the inbound marketing process — from making sure you can be found online right through closed loop analytics to assess the ROI of your efforts and improve where necessary.

Then you can begin to identify effective steps that are realistic for your company to accomplish. You don’t have to have the whole meal at one swallow. It may go down easier with everyone in your company if you take it one bite, then one course at a time, finally enjoying the fruits of your labors for dessert.

It must be the New Orleans music that made me finish with food metaphors. Have a tasty weekend!

Poster image by dingler1109 under Creative Commons license. I chose this image because it’s about a fundraiser to help the reconstruction of New Orleans and it also supported childhood learning – a concept not at odds with our learning the basics of Inbound Marketing.

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Emily Post Online: About LinkedIn Etiquette

Posted on July 6, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Blogs, Communications, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

 

Etiquette

Should Be Called Netiquette

I’m probably dating myself unmercifully by referencing Emily Post (who I learned about in childhood) in the headline. According to Wikipedia, Emily Post (1872 – 1960) was an American author famous for writing on etiquette. She is survived by the Emily Post Institute, which she founded and which subsequent generations – now fourth – of her family continue. Visit emilypost.com for all things etiquette and manners – in both personal and business life.

Well…almost all things. Though the Emily Post site has a Social Media tab, it serves to take one to the various Post social media accounts. I was hoping to find some tips for proper Web 2.0 behavior but did not. So I’ll just have to take a stab at recommending better etiquette for an incident that happened yesterday.

Working at my desk, I saw an email come in announcing that I had an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. When I looked at the invitation, which was from a woman currently running her own online business – a mom blog — here’s what it said:

Hello Ms. Becker,
Terrific article in the Fairfield County Business Journal! I am reaching out to you to inquire if you are currently looking to bring additional marketing communications professionals into your organization. I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss my experience with you. Thank you.

The ‘invitation’ referenced the monthly column I write on Inbound Marketing. At the end of that column – both in the print edition and online — is the email address where I can be reached. Additionally, my email address is in my LinkedIn profile.

To be blunt, I was offended at the use of a LinkedIn invitation from a total stranger to pitch herself for a job. If she had emailed me at the address provided, I would have, at minimum, been happy to steer her in some positive directions to find a marcom position.

Even if I were looking to hire right now – which I’m not – this unsolicited applicant would not be at the top of my list to work in a business that requires client representation and concomitant good judgment. At minimum, it requires that anyone I engage understands social media best practices. Now, in every way, the inviter used perfect Emily Post etiquette – addressing me as Ms Becker and saying ‘Thank you’.

But in terms of social media etiquette, even though she commended my column, her invitation was more about her needs. Rather than showcasing her knowledge of social media, she demonstrated the opposite. For me, LinkedIn is about mutually beneficial networking, not overt selling. I’ve blogged about this before.

I decided to try to contact the woman to explain my reaction and why I did not want to connect with her on LinkedIn. I have a responsibility to those in my network and I won’t connect with someone who might subject them to a similar approach to the one I received.

So I went to her LI profile (which is quite impressive, by the way), did not find an email address, but did find a link to the website she operates, where I hoped to find her email. The only option for contacting her was to fill out a form on the contact page. No email address.

By that time my desire to communicate my concerns about her invitation and maybe help her avoid turning others off in her job search went out the window. Instead, I decided to turn the experience into a blog post and maybe get some discussion going on LinkedIn etiquette.

Maybe the person in question will see this on LinkedIn where it appears in my profile, recognize her invitation and comment.

Do we have to build our networks thoughtfully on LinkedIn? Or, am I being too curmudgeonly about this?

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Today Ken Blanchard Followed Me: How Social Media Builds Influence

Posted on July 1, 2011. Filed under: Blogging, Business Management, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Leadership, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

This will be a short post as I try to head out for the Fourth of July weekend at least a bit before traffic. I wasn’t going to post, but as I finished up my last task or two at the computer, I saw an email come in from Twitter. It informed me that Ken Blanchard @kenblanchard – author of 50 books, including the One Minute Manager — is following me.

Ken Blanchard

Follow Ken Blanchard @kenblanchard

I don’t follow him yet. He followed me first.     ;-D

As of the time the email arrived, Ken Blanchard had 24,594 followers and was only following 4,046 – including me.

It took me just a minute to figure out the chain of connection that led to this follow. My friend Peter Cook is an incredibly creative management consultant, rock musician and founder of the corporate training companyAcademyofRock in the UK. He’s the author of a well-regarded book, Sex, Leadership & Rock ‘n’ Roll: Lessons from the AcademyofRock. Author Tom Peters (in Search of Excellence) wrote a testimonial for the front cover. I really like how Peter thinks and have blogged about him recently.

Peter and I met in a LinkedIn group, Jazz in Business and hit it off on a number of levels – not the least of which was music. We subscribed to each others’ blogs, follow each other on Twitter and engage in a number of mutually supportive ways – re-tweeting, commenting, etc. We’ve recommended each other in Follow Friday #FF tweets.

From Peter’s recommendations of people to follow, I began following Tom Peters and author Kevin Eikenberry. Kevin has a venture with a couple of others called Bud to Boss. They began following me the other day as a group and individually. I followed back.

As I extended my community beyond the social media crowd and focused more on what the conversations are around business management, I began getting numbers of followers in that community. I’ve also stepped up my blogging and engagement in social media and have raised my visibility.

Morals of the post: Six degrees of separation is extra true online. Engage actively in social media among people with whom you share interests and values. Widen your circles. Share generously of your knowledge and support the efforts of others. The world – including famous authors and just plain great people — will find their way to your door.

I’m going to go and follow Ken Blanchard back now and send him a DM thanking him for the follow!

Please share your six degrees of separation stories in the comments. And for my fellow Americans – Happy Fourth!! See you back here after the holiday!

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