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HED: Increasing Sales Leads Through Social Media Listening Tools

by Jeffrey Hayzlett
by Jeffrey Hayzlett

There’s an old saying in the sales business that I firmly believe in, “Go where your customers are.” Nowadays, your customers are frequenting one place in particular above anywhere else, and that place is social media. Never before has it been easier for customers to get in touch with a business—and actually get a reply back—but thanks to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, a simple comment to a company can elicit a response in a matter of seconds. Which is great for customers, but for salespeople, who already have a million tasks on their plates on any given day, sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to carve time out of their busy schedules to communicate with customers via social media. If you’re not working for a large corporation with its own internal social media department, oftentimes either you or someone else on your team is stuck with the task of managing social media accounts. But before you complain, hear me out. Social media is a great resource for increasing your sales leads. And the best part is that there are dozens of social media listening tools out there that make it easy to stay on top of your accounts. However, before I get into how social media can increase sales leads, let me first mention a couple social media listening tools that I use daily that I think could be beneficial to you, too. 

1. Google Alerts

At one time, this was one of the only social media listening tool available, and even today, it’s by far one of the easiest to use. Basically, using Google, you set up a keyword search or alert for any topic that interests you, from specific companies to subjects you enjoy following. Every time something is published online relating to your selections, you’ll receive a message in your Gmail inbox with a link. One alert that I highly recommend is your own name. Sure, it may sound a little bit vain and Kardashian-esque, but in all honesty, it’s far from it. Google Alerts is a great way for me to be notified every time one of my articles or blog posts go live, as well as a good resource for when I’m mentioned in other people’s articles.

2. Hootsuite

It feels like every day there’s a new social media platform launching, it can be time consuming to have to post to each one of them separately, let alone keep track of postings. This is especially the case if you’re managing social media for a company. That’s where Hootsuite comes in. Hootsuite works across 35 social networks and lets you schedule postings for different times of the day, monitor feedback from your posts, and receive in-depth analytics across all of your platforms. If you need to be everywhere at once, this is the listening tool for you.

So now that you know a little bit more about social media listening tools, how can they help increase sales leads? There are a few ways:

• They can help you find new leads. Like I mentioned earlier, never before has it been easier for customers and companies to connect, than now. Sure, back in the day a customer could stroll into your store to make a purchase and you could have a face-to-face conversation, but thanks to technology, this kind of sale seems downright archaic. Rather, customers are relying on the Internet to make purchases via e-commerce sites like Amazon.com, and I’m willing to bet that this mega corporation wooed many a customer away from its competitors by using social media as opposed to traditional advertising methods like newspaper or radio ads.

• They can help fine-tune your pitch. Say you sent out a tweet that had a particularly successful response rate. The reason you know this is because you’ve been tracking your analytics on Hootsuite or a similar tool. Once you have a better understanding of why this tweet garnered so many replies, you can apply a similar strategy to future tweets. For example, in my own experience, I’ve found that tweets structured as questions have proven successful, because they encourage people to reply back with an answer.

• They can help you solve customer’s complaints. Perhaps one of your customers is unsatisfied with your company, or product, and they posted a scathing review on a site like Yelp. Unless you’re scanning Yelp on a daily basis, most likely you may never see this person’s review. But with a social media listening tool like Google Alerts, their complaint will find its way into your inbox and you’ll be quicker to reply to help solve the issue, and hopefully salvage your relationship in the process. As a customer, there’s nothing worse than not having your concerns heard, but by sending a (polite and professional) reply, you’re one step ahead of the game.

• They can help you check out your competitors. While you’re setting up a Google Alert for your company, take a second to make one for your closest competitor, too. This way you can stay on top of any social media campaigns they roll out, and maybe even learn a thing or too that you can apply to your own accounts.

Now, tell me, what are some ways that you’ve used social media listening tools to your advantage as a salesperson?

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television and radio host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, FacebookLinkedInGoogle+ or www.hayzlett.com.

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Growth Human Resources Personal Development

Executive Briefings: Intersection of Leadership and Social Media

By Thomas White for Huffington Post

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently sat down with Rob Harles, Head of Social Business & Collaboration at Accenture Interactive. Rob joined Accenture from Bloomberg LP in New York where he was Global Head of Social Media responsible for developing and managing Bloomberg’s social media strategy and initiatives worldwide.

As a leader in social media for a long time, both at Bloomberg and now Accenture, what changes do you see in what expectations customers have of companies?

Customers have higher expectations than they’ve ever had. Social has acted as a catalyst for people to express their views, support, lack of support for brands, and what they expect brands to do, to live up to their promise. Only ten to fifteen years ago you wouldn’t have been able to do that. Brands were lucky enough to be able to tell you what they stood for and hope you believed it. Now you have to prove it, and social is acting as that catalyst.

We call it the ultra-transparency situation, and it affects how companies engage with customers. How would you describe this phenomena?

The phenomenon with social is really about people wanting to feel that they matter, and they want to be able to express that. It’s been around since the dawn of time, when we were just a nation of shopkeepers. As we grew and had to come to terms with the challenges of scaling businesses, we got more and more distant from our customers. The result was that we had to do standalone market research at a set point in time just to see where people’s needs or demands were going or how they felt about us. Now that’s changed. It’s 24/7. They’re telling you exactly what they need. They’re telling you exactly how they feel. Sometimes they’re telling you the extremes of that because there is less of a filter.

What do you see in the next five years? How is social media going to change as a medium, and how is it going to change the way we do business?

The advantage of real-time information is that we are addressing people’s issues faster. We are being more responsive. Organizations and brands are using the insights that come out of social to improve themselves, and that’s a good thing. But with that always comes challenges. This is where organizations go off the rails. At Accenture Digital, what we’re seeing is that companies are almost too ready to take data and do something with it and not really think about the implications. Also, it comes with the challenge of where do you draw the demarcation line in terms of privacy? How do you think about protecting the rights of your employees or the rights of your customers? There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t a headline about something like this. It’s creating great opportunities on the one hand, but it’s also creating a lot of challenges in terms of sensitivity and the law. Eventually we find our path. Eventually we figure out the right way to do something and sometimes we only do that by making mistakes. Sometimes the consequences of those mistakes are actually quite precious, but it still makes us better.

Let’s shift gears. As a leader, what are the traits that you most admire in other leaders?

Everybody is different. That’s the thing that I’ve recognized, and good leaders recognize that. We’re a little bit more open than we’ve ever been and don’t self-edit as much. Great leaders are ones who have a vision and are willing to be tenacious enough to drive that forward. An example would be if you say you want to have an innovative culture. It’s another thing to actually create an innovate culture. Great leaders are ones who are a little more flexible than they’ve ever been, but have great vision and can really motivate people to bring more than what they’re just asked to do. It’s like a puppy dog scenario. I love it when people come to me and they have an idea, it might not be a perfect idea, but it’s a start. They’re thinking. The worst situation is where you stifle that.

Along your way to becoming the leader that you are today, who has inspired you, and what about them inspired you?

I have to pay homage to some of the great thinkers and entrepreneurs that we’ve had in just the last few decades. Whether it’s Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or Steve Wozniak and many more. In so many ways they represent the unique American spirit of trying to do something that no one has done before. It’s high risk. I admire the people who are the unsung heroes who have tried something and it hasn’t worked. Most entrepreneurs, if they’re really honest, will tell you, “So much of our success is built not just on hard work or creativity.” But their little secret is luck and being able to see it and take advantage of it and run with it. Not everyone has that luck, but they have all the other things. Sometimes those unsung heroes drive us forward through the missed opportunities and the failures just as much as those who we venerate. I like to see people, generally, who try things and are okay with failing and picking themselves up, learning from it, and moving to the next thing.

 

Categories
Growth Human Resources Personal Development

Executive Briefings: Intersection of Leadership and Social Media

By Thomas White for Huffington Post

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently sat down with Rob Harles, Head of Social Business & Collaboration at Accenture Interactive. Rob joined Accenture from Bloomberg LP in New York where he was Global Head of Social Media responsible for developing and managing Bloomberg’s social media strategy and initiatives worldwide.

As a leader in social media for a long time, both at Bloomberg and now Accenture, what changes do you see in what expectations customers have of companies?

Customers have higher expectations than they’ve ever had. Social has acted as a catalyst for people to express their views, support, lack of support for brands, and what they expect brands to do, to live up to their promise. Only ten to fifteen years ago you wouldn’t have been able to do that. Brands were lucky enough to be able to tell you what they stood for and hope you believed it. Now you have to prove it, and social is acting as that catalyst.

We call it the ultra-transparency situation, and it affects how companies engage with customers. How would you describe this phenomena?

The phenomenon with social is really about people wanting to feel that they matter, and they want to be able to express that. It’s been around since the dawn of time, when we were just a nation of shopkeepers. As we grew and had to come to terms with the challenges of scaling businesses, we got more and more distant from our customers. The result was that we had to do standalone market research at a set point in time just to see where people’s needs or demands were going or how they felt about us. Now that’s changed. It’s 24/7. They’re telling you exactly what they need. They’re telling you exactly how they feel. Sometimes they’re telling you the extremes of that because there is less of a filter.

What do you see in the next five years? How is social media going to change as a medium, and how is it going to change the way we do business?

The advantage of real-time information is that we are addressing people’s issues faster. We are being more responsive. Organizations and brands are using the insights that come out of social to improve themselves, and that’s a good thing. But with that always comes challenges. This is where organizations go off the rails. At Accenture Digital, what we’re seeing is that companies are almost too ready to take data and do something with it and not really think about the implications. Also, it comes with the challenge of where do you draw the demarcation line in terms of privacy? How do you think about protecting the rights of your employees or the rights of your customers? There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t a headline about something like this. It’s creating great opportunities on the one hand, but it’s also creating a lot of challenges in terms of sensitivity and the law. Eventually we find our path. Eventually we figure out the right way to do something and sometimes we only do that by making mistakes. Sometimes the consequences of those mistakes are actually quite precious, but it still makes us better.

Let’s shift gears. As a leader, what are the traits that you most admire in other leaders?

Everybody is different. That’s the thing that I’ve recognized, and good leaders recognize that. We’re a little bit more open than we’ve ever been and don’t self-edit as much. Great leaders are ones who have a vision and are willing to be tenacious enough to drive that forward. An example would be if you say you want to have an innovative culture. It’s another thing to actually create an innovate culture. Great leaders are ones who are a little more flexible than they’ve ever been, but have great vision and can really motivate people to bring more than what they’re just asked to do. It’s like a puppy dog scenario. I love it when people come to me and they have an idea, it might not be a perfect idea, but it’s a start. They’re thinking. The worst situation is where you stifle that.

Along your way to becoming the leader that you are today, who has inspired you, and what about them inspired you?

I have to pay homage to some of the great thinkers and entrepreneurs that we’ve had in just the last few decades. Whether it’s Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or Steve Wozniak and many more. In so many ways they represent the unique American spirit of trying to do something that no one has done before. It’s high risk. I admire the people who are the unsung heroes who have tried something and it hasn’t worked. Most entrepreneurs, if they’re really honest, will tell you, “So much of our success is built not just on hard work or creativity.” But their little secret is luck and being able to see it and take advantage of it and run with it. Not everyone has that luck, but they have all the other things. Sometimes those unsung heroes drive us forward through the missed opportunities and the failures just as much as those who we venerate. I like to see people, generally, who try things and are okay with failing and picking themselves up, learning from it, and moving to the next thing.

Categories
Growth Personal Development

PR & Marketing Secrets for a Successful Book Launch

The 7 Absolute Musts to Boost Book Sales

Finally! You finished your book and it is ready to publish! You’ve spent months – possibly even years – perfecting this literary masterpiece and now that the hard work is over, it’s time to sit back and let the royalties roll in…

If only it were that simple.   

Whether you decided to self-publish or if you chose the traditional route, if you launch your book without a marketing plan, the truth is FAR fewer people will read it. With over 4000 books published each day in a growing crowd of competition, it takes careful planning and an action-oriented marketing strategy to get your book the attention it deserves. Even if your publishing company has its own marketing department, remember, no one will fight for your book as much as you will.

So now that the launch date is set (or almost set) what do you need to do?

Google provides an overwhelming list of book launch to-dos, but our team of book marketing experts whittled it down to the 7 ABSOLUTE MUSTS for a successful book launch. The following advice shows both self and traditionally published authors how to stand out from the crowd and get more eyes on their book.

1. Create a Launch & Marketing Plan:

Your launch plan is a blueprint to your entire book launch. It outlines what you need to do, when you need to do it, and the resources, people, and tools you will need to get it all done. A successful book launch begins with a marketing plan. (Luckily for you, the following list is everything you need for your marketing plan.)

2. Create a Media Kit:

When a journalist or reviewer asks about your book, you need to be prepared. The purpose of a media kit is to grab the attention of journalists and producers and make them want to write a review, article, or do an interview with you. The media kit should be a one-stop shop with all the information needed to get this done.  

The basic information you should include in your media kit is:

  • Contact Information: Your name, email address, phone number.

 

  • Book Facts: Website, release date, retail price, purchasing information.

 

  • Book Details & Author Info: Brief author bio, and a short book description or synopsis. (Remember, brevity is key. Your bio and the book synopsis should only be a few sentences each.)

 

  • Attention Grabbers: This is where you can get creative and really sell your book!  Why do people want to read it? Does it fill a void or respond to a current trend or need? Perhaps you want to include a bulleted list of interview talking points, or a few article headlines or pitch ideas. At the very least, include a few sentences describing the main reason to buy.

 

  • Reviews / Awards: What are people saying about your book? Has it won any awards or gotten positive feedback? The media should know! The review doesn’t have to come from a famous critic or top news outlet – but if you have one, that’s great! –  A positive Amazon or Facebook review works perfectly.

 

  • Images: One or two high resolution photos of the book cover and one author headshot.

 

  • Media Release/ Press Release: Almost all of the above items can be included in a media release or press release. A press release is formal in tone. It is written like a news story and includes information that is more factual than promotional. Even if you are not sending it out on the official wire (through a service like PRweb), there are specific style and formatting guidelines you should follow to ensure journalists can read your information quickly and easily. In contrast, Media releases are less formal and more visually appealing. They can be sent via email to media contacts and in our experience, these are the best way to get interviews and print placements.

There are a variety of different ways to organize the above information in a media kit.  Some authors make giant media kits filled with every document, pdf, and picture related to the book. Others include only the nitty gritty. We recommend organizing the information into 2 PDFs (one fact sheet and one media release) and several images.

3. Get your Social Media in Order:

You likely already have a personal profile on Facebook, but creating a public author page is also important. This tip might sound obvious, but because we see so many authors make this mistake, the case for public profiles had to be included in this list. So here it is:

In general, public pages have better tools for advertising and promotions and they have more capabilities and plug-ins which will give your fans (or anyone who views your page) a better experience. Pages give you the ability to add “call-to-action” or “buy-now” buttons, review pages, landing pages, and so much more. They provide in-depth statistics and insights into your fans’ behaviors so you can better target ads.

In addition to just looking more professional, Facebook pages are optimized so that people can find you more easily (and since many people today use Facebook like a search engine, this is important.)

4. Website and/or Sales Page:

You don’t need to be an internet wiz or spend a fortune hiring HTML coders, but a good landing page is crucial for book sales. Your website should include a compelling description of the book, photos, reviews, and information about you as the author. Above all, it should contain all purchasing information and links with a clear “call-to-action” to buy.

5. Get Book Reviews:

Reviews aren’t just important, they are vital. Reviews give books greater visibility and a greater chance of getting found by more readers. They provide social proof that your book is worth buying. Your reviews will go in your media kit, on Amazon, on your website, and more. You’ve probably received ringing endorsements from your friends and family – (and if you haven’t, or if you haven’t gotten them in writing, what are you waiting for?!)

Remember, the more people that read your book, the more reviews you will get. Send advanced copies of the book to everyone in your close network and ask them to review on Amazon, Facebook, or other social platforms. Even a positive feedback sent via email is great for your arsonal of endorsements.

Amazon and Facebook reviews are great. What’s even better? Reviews from trusted news sites or medias authorities. To get your book reviewed or featured by established media outlets, send advance copies of your book and media kit to book critics, bloggers, and review sites. If you don’t have access to a media list or database like Cision, you will have to do some Google research to find the right person to speak with. Also, be sure to include a personalized note explaining who you are and why you think they would be interested in your book.   

6. Get the Word Out – Media Attention:

Media attention is the best way to boost sales and get the word out about your book. Doing author interviews (radio, podcast, tv), writing a newspaper opinion piece, or getting quoted in a magazine will give you more credibility and social proof than anything else.

A compelling media pitch is key to landing these placements. Your pitch should outline why your story would be a great fit for their show (or magazine, news site, etc) and what their audience would gain from what you have to say. Remember, unless you are reaching out to the media with an explicit request for them to review the book, your pitch can’t sell the book too hard. (Pitches that are too promotional get sent to the sales department to buy ad space.)  Instead, your pitch should sell you and your message and they should be customized to fit to the outlet/contact that you’re pitching.

Once you have a killer pitch, make a media list of who to send it to (include outlets on both the local and national level.) Again, if you don’t have access to a media list or database like Cision you will have to do some Google research to find the right person to speak with (usually a journalist, editor or producer.)

7. Recruit a Launch Team:

When launching a book there is so much that needs to be done. The above list includes only the most important items and even this list is overwhelming! That’s why you need a launch team. Whether they are hired help or volunteers, your launch team will help you pull everything together (from soliciting reviews, booking interviews or media appearances, scheduling bookstore events, organizing the launch party, and promoting on social media…even just hearing you vent.) Recruit a few close friends and/or hire a professional to ensure things run smoothly and you make the most out of your big day.  Remember, behind every successful author is a great support team.

Have marketing questions?  Want to strategize? Need to vent?

Farrow Communications has got your back.

Call us at 866-949-6868 or click HERE to schedule a free strategy session.

Categories
Best Practices Culture Growth Health and Wellness Leadership Skills Technology

Your Privacy in the Wake of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal

While Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to play out,  one of the big “AHA” moments has been the discovery of the amount of information that Facebook has captured on it’s users. 

The fact that Facebook captures data on users is not really a surprise, but the breadth of data captured was stunning to many, as were the lax safeguards in place to protect that data.  The scope of Facebook’s data collection is still a bit of an unknown, as we haven’t learned of additional data captured by Instagram and What’sApp, both of which are owned by Facebook.    Facebook’s empire is a data collection machine that powers the marketing campaigns of business around the world.

And Facebook is not the only data collection machine.  Most tech companies collect data for marketing purposes, and privacy and data protection varies on each..  Google collects data  via search, Gmail, maps and Google applications.  But also captures data via Android phones, Waze driving applications, and it’s Nest home automation subsidiary.  

So what are we supposed to do?  Unless you are willing to completely abandon the digital world, you have to accept that privacy is elusive online.  But there are few things you can do to minimize the amount data collected and the accessibility of that data .  Here are a few tips that could help:

Be aware of the information available on you and adjust your privacy settings accordingly.   Both Google and Facebook will let you see a good portion of the information they collect on you.  It doesn’t cover all of the data collected from related businesses, but it is still helpful.  For example, I found out that Google knew the 10 different cities that I lived in my life, and was making that information publicly available.  While I couldn’t delete the information, I could make it private. 

Close unused social media accounts.  Many of us have tried new networks, but ultimately abandoned them.  Despite our neglect, your information is still out there.  Use justdeleteme to jog your memory and delete as many old accounts as you can.  Some do not make it easy. 

Don’t use Facebook’s or Google’s single sign on for other services.    When you start using a new service or retailer and are asked to “create an account”, many will ask if you want to login via Google or Facebook.  While it is convenient and one less password to remember, this service also allows Google and Facebook to track everything you buy with that retailer. 

Don’t use third party applications on Facebook.  Those cute quizzes and other entertainment might be fun, but they are also data collections devices.  These are the type of applications that supplied the data for Cambridge Analytica.  Some applications just collect data, but some require that you submit personal information that is often the subject of commonly used security questions.   Don’t play along.  The fun is not worth the risk. 

Delete unused applications on your phone, desktop and other devices.   Many of us constantly add new applications, but are less diligent about deleting old ones.  Applications collect a lot of data, even when they are not being used.  So if you have not used an application in a while, delete it.  I purge applications every six months, and end up deleting more than half the applications on my phone.   

While digital privacy remains elusive, you can take action to minimize the breadth of personal information out there.  Take control!

Categories
Best Practices Growth Management Personal Development Women In Business

Our Addiction to Social Media

Apps and social media are stealing our attention. We have become obsessed with likes, retweets, and finding the perfect gif response to post.

We miss the amazing play or moment at the concert because we are updating our Instagram.

We miss the bus because we are enthralled with the latest video on one of our YouTube subscriptions.

We miss our floor on the elevator because we were reading Twitter. We miss the green light because we are checking Facebook.

The CEO of a technology and data company recently shared with me his frustration about one of his senior leaders who appeared to be addicted to Candy Crush. In every spare moment, his director was online and had to be counseled twice in one week. The leader tried to explain it was his form of relaxation but after much questioning, he reluctantly admitted that his workload had fallen behind, he had emails in his inbox that hadn’t been answered for five days, and he was two weeks behind in developing a database for a client. Remember, this is a smart, functioning adult.

Maybe you don’t play Candy Crush but you feel a need to check every notification of a new email, text, tweet, or post on Facebook or LinkedIn, or maybe you have created Pinterest boards to plan your perfectly designed office or maybe you monitor every like you get on Instagram?

Gut check time: How much of your attention is being stolen by apps and social media?

Do we really have to include in our employee policies that people can’t play Candy Crush or check social media at work? Possibly. Some of our obsession is driven by habit and some of it by boredom. And it could be that the voyeuristic interest in other people’s lives is more exciting than whatever work is in front of us.

Regardless, the addiction is real. Technology, social media companies, and app development companies are competing for our attention and intentionally feed our addictions in hopes we will spend more time on their systems, enveloped by their tools. Either way, it demands are decaying our ability to truly connect in a meaningful way with others that is mindful, intentional, and purposeful.

I doubt anyone on their deathbed will say “I wish I’d posted one more tweet or picture.” Instead, I bet they’re likely to say “I wish I’d paid more attention to the people I was with rather than those on social media.”

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