Engagement

Is your Intention purely Self-congratulatory or is it Selfless?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

When browsing the internet, my apple news app and the social media networks, the content speaks volumes.

The content largely is self-congratulatory, especially on Facebook. There is very little value in the content that gets posted whether by the news media, your friends, colleagues and the hundreds of strangers that you are connected to. 

Everyone is trying to distract us from our attention in the moment and engage with their story, bring us into their world view and opinions. Mostly it's #fakenews and sucks us in to express a like, heart, laugh, cry, wow or mad, and if we can be bothered, write a comment. 

 

Whether you believe the research or not, they say it takes you 25 minutes to return to the original task after only an 11 minute interruption. That is an absolute age, have you ever tried to sit still for 25 minutes? It's impossible and lasts a very very long time. 

So why do we do this to ourselves?

Don't get me wrong, I like social media, I really do, well maybe I did and I am starting to wonder how much time I have actually wasted on social channels, whereas I could have been creating some fabulous stuff and change my life for the better?

Realising that social isn't going away soon I have started to re-assess my activity there. I used to post 3 times per day via my favourite scheduling app, Buffer, but now I only post once per day. I paid for the 'awesome plan' so that I could have all my channels there and post to all of them and now I just have the free plan with only a few channels to post to. I continually had to search for new and interesting content from other channels, I even have a feedly account to locate all that content. The stress of having to keep finding content was crazy at times, when I saw my buffer of content emptying, I panicked and had to spend a few hours to find more stuff to load it up. I am feeling like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders by not having to do that any longer.

But did it actually work and did I get a return on my investment. I never truly know whether it did or not and my hunch is that it probably didn't. My engagement is no better or worse as a result of reducing my content sharing. 

So what about the way forward? Pretty much as the image says really.

  1. Be impartial.
  2. Inform next steps and offer guidance.
  3. Answer questions.
  4. Solve problems.
  5. Listen, respond and be helpful.
  6. Make people smile, laugh and sometimes give them pause.
  7. Design engagement and customer journeys across screens, platforms and networks so they are seamless.
  8. Create experiences that are delightful, memorable and shareable.

How about you, what have you noticed?

@stayingaliveuk

Are you aware how disappointing you are?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

As a consumer, I genuinely want to help the companies I buy from. Sometimes it comes out as criticism, but there is always a genuine intention to assist. Sometimes they just don't listen until you give them more direct and sometimes hurtful feedback. Take LinkedIn for example. I have been giving them feedback for years now on their customer service. I have even resorted to writing about it. You can find my articles here and here.

When you want to give feedback to brands and companies and nobody takes you seriously your love for them dies a tiny bit every time until one day you may turn around and say enough is enough. It's like the whole world falls in all at once, but it never did happen all at once, it happens a little bit at a time, usually over a long period of time. 

My wife and I stayed at a recent venue for a short retreat and when checking out, I wanted to give the receptionist, whose sole duty there was to check people out, some feedback on a couple of things during our stay.  Her answer was not unsympathetic but she answered by saying to include our comments on the feedback form, which would be emailed to us. Needless to say the feedback form was very impersonal, no place to add your own personal details and just one generic box to add comments. My love for them died a tiny bit. Not huge but it did hurt a little and whilst I could have been a raving fan, I'm now just a fan. It won't take many more incongruent experiences for me to no longer be a fan.

Brands and companies across the board struggle with this. I do understand, nowadays comments can be flying in from all directions. In the old days the only way you received customer feedback was when they were directly opposite you or you received a letter of complaint.  There was no mistaking how that feedback would be received. Now the comments can arrive in at least a dozen different ways and actually they will never find their way directly to you. They just exist in the cloud and potential customers find them, read them and decide their action. 

We are wired to think negatively or rather we have a survival instinct. This means that when we read negative reviews about a brand or company, we take them seriously. Even if it's just about food, which as we all know is highly subjective. Our primitive brain assumes that if the food is bad we could die, so we will avoid it at all costs. Yes people can get food poisoning however, I personally don't see that many stories of people dyeing in restaurants. When we absorb reviews about places to sleep, we too believe that we could end up feeling threatened in some way. Our physical or mental health could be under threat. 

I do get it, brands and companies lose customers every single day and it's natural to do so. You buy your loaf of bread from one outlet one day and then maybe some other outlet the next. And this is because very few brands and companies really think through the whole buyer's journey, from reading reviews, seeing their network's comments, adverts, the physical buying experience online and offline and the follow-up. How many times do you get a call from your baker to ask you if you were happy with your loaf today?  Not that many right?  It's just an extreme metaphor to make the point.

As the image suggests, true engagement is something you feel!

What's your view? Answers on a postcard or in the comments field below will do nicely!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #customerservice #help #feedback #reviews

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals.  Feel free to click through and book a call with me http://styin.me/discovery-call-20mins.

So, what's it like in the Rabbit Hole?

Whilst being active on social media, our objectives are essentially selfish. Let's be honest, we can list our desires from social in a very short list.

  1. Wanting to get noticed. 
  2. Wanting to get noticed. 
  3. Wanting to get noticed.

The advice for getting noticed runs in the millions of posts across the web. It is literally deafening and equally overwhelming. There is so much stuff out there that we have gone blind. Our brains are zoning out the noise, our subconscious has been trained to ignore the majority of content that's being pushed out in front of us. The major social networks are managing to convince us that to get noticed you have to advertise, organic content isn't going to hack it.

Unless you make a conscious effort to seek content out for a particular and motivational reason, you are actually ignoring most things. Again they are hoping that advertising will make a difference to this.

However the most engaged conversations that I witness is when someone posts a controversial comment, accuses a big corporate of bad service or they say something about themselves that is deeply personal. After all we are very very curious (nosey) and interested in other people’s bad news or controversy. The, let's call it, old fashioned media have known this for centuries. The bad and controversial news about government leaders, business and celebrities is what interests people the most. Good news stories don't sell newspapers or online clicks for the advertisers.

Just pause for a moment. What was the last good news story you remember? Please do share it in the comments below, we all love hearing a good news story, there's so much bad news out there.

We are all ‘social media-holics’ in one way or another. Granted there will be people not on social media yet, but have a look at the stats, they are astounding.

3 Billion active social media users on the planet and growing every single day. Facebook has a mission to get Africa on the internet for one primary reason, allow them to get onto Facebook. 

LinkedIn has a mission to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, last count there are 3 billion of those! Their platform is at half a billion currently, so they have some distance to travel and no doubt they will do it. 

Can you imagine how much content is going to be posted on these platforms when developing nations achieve massive internet access in the remotest parts of the world?

All the social platforms know that the western world are highly addicted and eventually will start dropping of members, so they have to look at other nations in the world to keep their billions of revenue coming in.

Nothing wrong with that of course, except creating more addicts in the world, more 'social media-holics'.

If you have managed to cut through the noise and found this article, well done to you!

My advice to you and I'm only talking to you directly, nobody else. 

Reduce your social media posting to just one post per day of your own content. Then spend more time if you wish, on just one platform of your choice, engaging with your connections' content. 

And with that I mean real conversations not a link post as such. 

Just do this once per day, spend just 20-minutes researching your connections and respond to their real conversations.

That's it, it's my new minimalism social media strategy.

Looking forward to having more meaningful conversations with you.

@stayingaliveuk | #makesocialworthtalkingabout

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me http://styin.me/discovery-call-20mins.

Are you guilty of using the ‘sheep dip’ approach?

FullSizeRender.jpg

 I am sorry to say, I'm guilty!

It's not that I'm not wishing to be super personal and to engage with one person at a time and appeal to their specific goals and aspirations.

The truth is there are just not enough hours in the day to engage with every new connection request and every new follower at a level that I would ideally like. So some automation is inevitable. I'm still experimenting too and have already adjustedsome things.

I'm not using autobots as such, but I am manually adding new connections to my CRM and an automated process and messaging them with the same template message. And no, I don't feel great about it, but it's working at the moment.

My goal is to be engaging and strike up a conversation, share some valuable content and information that is free and at the same time being careful not to pitch anything. Its totally not my intention to do any kind of pitching. Eventually I'd like to have a conversation, which I call a discovery call. And that again is to provide some value, not to pitch.

I have carefully designed this process after weeks of testing it and receiving some deeper level of engagement with new connections, especially on LinkedIn. Anywhere else it's much harder to do. Email is still one of our default go to apps each morning. I know it's Facebook for most too.

I state very clearly in my auto emails that my purpose is to engage at a deeper level and invite recipients to unsubscribe if they wish to and indeed some do, but not as many as I had originally expected. Maybe one every 2-3 weeks.

I do receive a fair bit of engagement from these new connections and I also notice a lot don't. I'm surprised because they asked to connect with me in the majority of cases, at least 95% of them are incoming requests. Usually with no reason given for wishing to connect by the way.

The real engagement occurs when after a few touch points, which are a combination of engaging with their profiles and sharing some content and information, you manage to get agreement for a discovery call. When you are able to engage in a conversation with your connections, more clarity about who they are and what their goals are means that you can start to look out for clues and understand better how they'd like you to engage with them in the future. Over the years I've come to realise that this is by far the best method.

The goal always is to end up having a conversation. I believe by phone and usually Skype with video is best. I'd like to try other methods too, like Facebook messenger with video, although having tried it twice, it's still a bit unstable.

If you'd like to skip all the automation and go straight to a discovery call then by all means go for it and head over here,

http://www.stayingaliveuk.com/lets-talk

in the meantime let me know how you're feeling about my automation and by all means share your ideas and strategies that are working for you? 

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and@gapingvoidhere: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Occasionally I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk



#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

How do you know if your content is any good?

And how do you know if your content is appealing to the correct audience? Data suggests that there are around 200+ million blogs in the world. I researched some data up to 2011 suggesting 181 million, so I've conservatively increased it. 

Can you imagine just for a second that all these bloggers are looking for eyeballs to engage with their content and in some cases its advertisers. That is an awful lot of competition!

Then add to that the amount of social media posts and sound bites in the form of likes, shares and comments that are also competing for eyeballs.

As of April 2017, there are 2.907 billion active social media users in the world of which Facebook owns 1.968 billion active users. All these active users are engaging with content in one way or another and that makes the job of content marketers even tougher. 

Facebook spotted the trend for companies needing to get more eyeballs on their content and that organic engagement was declining rapidly. Therefore low cost advertising is growing allowing many small businesses to get into the advertising game and getting involved with the chase for more eyeballs on their content and products.

Now big and small business are competing with each other for eyeballs like never before.

But how do you know whether you are targeting the right audience? Well advertising nowadays is so sophisticated that you are able to target every single aspect of that prospect's life! This is why Facebook ads are probably the most popular advertising platform around. 

Facebook will make nearly $61 billion per year from just mobile advertising by 2021.

Whether you are targeting Millennials, Baby Boomers or Gen X you can now do this with super laser accuracy. And you thought the ads in your Facebook newsfeed were random!

As a consequence the amount of Facebook ads consultants are expanding rapidly. Not that it's difficult to master the ads platform, the trick is to know how to write the copy, choose the right images that will appeal to that Millennial, Gen Xer or Baby Boomer and know the right keywords and all the other multiple targeting options. There is a lot to consider for sure and in the process of learning and failing you will make Facebook a little richer in the process.

Personally I would recommend that if you are serious about getting closer to your target audience, that you plan a better and more personal engagement plan. Yes it might be slower but it will potentially develop long term raving fans one person at a time. 

Experiment, experiment, experiment with ads, with email, with calls, with meetings and develop an understanding of what your audience engages with the best. 

I would love to hear what's working for you today or what you are experimenting with currently to ensure more eyeballs on your content.

Success!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Is ‘WHY’ really the best question to ask yourself?

@linkedin & @gapingvoid

@linkedin & @gapingvoid

We have Simon Sinek to thank for making this word famous, very very famous and now many trainers, coaches, digital marketers incorporate this question in their discussions with clients. Me included of course. It's almost like we have been infected by it when we realised that actually ‘WHY’ haven't we been asking that question of ourselves.

Simon made us realise that we spend more time promoting what and how we do things and we forget about the ‘WHY’ completely. 

‘WHY’ do you think that is? 

Well, maybe it's because it's easier to answer what and how and much and much harder to answer ‘WHY’.

I don't know about you, but I witness many things in the world, whether it's in the news, on social media, in the things that people say, their presentations, their social media posts, all the content that's floating around, the faults and strange decisions that social networks like LinkedIn make and the one word that always comes up in my head is ‘WHY’. 

I often wonder now that when I witness that something, I realise they never asked themselves the question ‘WHY’, before they shared their content. 'WHY' would anyone want to know or care about this content that I'm sharing right now?

Of course now you are wondering whether I always as the question ‘WHY’ before I create and/or share anything. And the answer?

Of course not! I rarely do, but I can tell you now, after writing this article, I will be making sure to do so from here on in.

To be true to my word, let's discuss briefly my ‘WHY’ for writing this article, specifically featuring the image that's in this article.

A number of years ago I came across @gapingvoid, the handle for the artist Hugh McLeod and was totally inspired by his drawings. I had never seen anything like it and to this day I still haven't. I subscribed to his daily newsletter, which has a new drawing every single day. I then came up with the idea of saving the daily drawings to Pinterest and now I have over 800 pins of Hugh's art. But also his cultural ideas. I'm such a big fan I even purchased some business cards through Moo.com with his art on it and some cool messages on the back. My business card is always a big hit when I hand it over. 

Then LinkedIn came out with an eBook, which contained all his art and some appropriate messages in connection with content marketing. I loved it so much and decided that each page in the eBook would lend itself brilliantly to me writing some articles and blogposts with my thoughts about each of the messages contained within it.

That is my ‘WHY’ for this article.

I'd love to hear your 'WHY', will you?

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

linkedinlectures.com

linkedinlectures.com

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Are you sure you like change?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

Seriously though do you? 

I was browsing the news app on my iPhone early one morning in the past week when I read that there is a new social media channel on the rise, like Twitter but no spam or trolls and a Tweet is called a Toot.

The new network is called https://mastodon.social. And it has the picture of a cute mammoth holding a smart phone.

My first thought was, oh no not another social media network.  And I felt a heavy feeling with the prospect of having to master yet another Social Media platform. Of course I decided to investigate and was actually pleased to learn that registrations have been paused to ensure the quality of existing subscribers. Also they refer to ‘Instances’, another new language to learn. Give us a break please?!

The trouble is the digital news media have been all over this like a rash and this is what causes ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) in all of us.

Anyway no doubt if it catches on and millions flock there from twitter. Might see you there or then again maybe not.

Now back to ‘Change’.

The hardest job in that world is actually to change yourself. Just try brushing your teeth with your other hand or put your trousers (pants for my USA friends) on with the opposite leg first.

If you wish to change a habit or start a new habit it is incredibly tough, because you've hardwired your habits over years of regular repetition. The neurones in your brain are fused together forever or are they?

The good news is that your brain is plastic, a term neuroscientists came up with when they discovered that your brain can change even if its damaged and for the purpose of this article you can re-wire your habits, it just takes the same amount of repetition that caused you to develop your habits in the first place.

Coming back to why this is all important in the new digital and social landscape. 

If we want to get attention for our product or service, we have to change our learned habit of spraying and praying. Instead we have to get up close and personal. Deal with people one-on-one and treat them like individuals instead of a commodity. 

Stop email newsletters and instead send personal emails. Stop adding connections to email lists and instead tell them that they can opt-in if they wish and they can unsubscribe at any time they want. Don't cloak a mass email as if it was a personal email. I have witnessed so many bad and quite frankly stupid practices that my jaw literally hit the desk in amazement. 

Nobody by the way is waiting for your email message, your new product or service, your new book, your next blog post, your Facebook live video or even your next Social Media post inside LinkedIn and Twitter or your story in Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and no doubt others.

Why? Because everyone is overwhelmed with too much stuff. This article will hardly receive any views or engagement, because a hundred thousand other articles were posted in the same week and actually your real attention is on fear, like Donald Trump or Brexit or Syria or your own focus on getting your own content seen.

We all have to change our habits with publishing content or trying to get attention, become relevant and build relationships with real people who might if you do it right become a 'Raving Fan'

Because that is your only mission and 'spraying and praying' is not the way to achieve that.

I'd love to hear what you are looking to change in your approach to Social Media, Social Selling and content marketing. Let's change together forever.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

http://linkedinlectures.com

http://linkedinlectures.com

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #change

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 4 - The END

@stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

Now you know that everyone thinks in stories and that we all love them too. What do you think a marketer should be creating when they are promoting their product or service?

Correct! You guessed right... they tell stories.

Then there is just one final thing you need to be aware of and that’s ‘VAK’.

V stands for Visual

A stands for Auditory

K stands for Kinaesthetic

When you listen to or watch a story you are either taking in visual cues from the story or you are literally creating your own visual representation of that story. You will often relate it to yourself, i.e. you put yourself in the story as if you were experiencing it.

If the story has any audio, in the case of, say, a radio programme, a movie (video) or a podcast, then you’ve got an additional way to absorb the story more meaningfully. When you are reading a book and they describe sounds, then more than likely you will create that sound in your brain without actually hearing it. Do you ever wonder when you read a book, whose voice do you actually hear? In fact whose voice do you hear right now when you are reading this? Okay, I’m probably getting a bit deep now, let’s move on.

Kinaesthetic refers to learning something by doing it or feeling it. When it comes to storytelling it refers to how it makes you feel after hearing or engaging with the story.

Take all three together - Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic - and you have the best possible formula for the viewer to engage with your story. Tell an engaging storythrough visual graphics, add a voiceover with some music and ensure the story itself leaves them feeling an emotion and the story will literally wire a new neural pathway in their brains.

The END

Do you have any great examples how storytelling has won you business?

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #digitalmarketing #storyteller #visual #auditory #kinaesthetic #nlp

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

How do you really know that your community is engaging with you?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

In June 2013 I wrote an article for ‘The non-significant journal of business & consumer psychology’.

The title of my article was ‘Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

Nothing has changed, we’re more addicted to Social Networks then we were in 2013. Sure, you do hear about the odd unplugging campaign and of course the Mindfulness movement, but it’s not really working is it? The overwhelming addiction is very well established and will only grow to mammoth proportions in years to come.

See image below for the forecasted growth of social network users by 2020.

Okay, so it's here to stay and you want to maximise your presence for business reasons. After all everyone has told you for years that you can promote your services for free. But really is it? Seeing as Facebook is by far the biggest social network on the planet, more businesses are using Facebook advertising as a method to get in front of their ideal buyers. So something that has been free for years, getting noticed means you now have to pay. Just have a look at how much Facebook is going to earn from mobile advertising in years to come. Breathtaking!

 

And all to get more engagement with your content. Is it worth it? Making Mark Zuckerberg the wealthiest entrepreneur on the planet might make you feel a tiny bit sick in your stomach. 

Is the answer coming off Social Media altogether? Well, maybe!

Watch the TEDx talk by Dr. Cal Newport called ‘Quit Social Media’.

 

Many of us believe, really believe that having thousands or maybe even millions of followers is the answer. Some of us are made to believe that receiving likes, comments and shares are social proof that you or your business is popular, appreciated, meaningful, ahead of others and beating the competition. 

In truth what you believe is that you are being ‘loved’.

After all this is what you crave the most. 

So how do you create engagement that means something, really means something?  At any stage of the buying process nothing happens until the person trusts you or your company. Your work is only ever about developing trust, nothing else. And trust can not happen unless you touch your buyer at a very deep emotional level.  They literally need to feel loved by you. Instead of you needing to feel loved by them.  Do you get the difference?

Infographic shared with permission from  www.nallure.com

Infographic shared with permission from www.nallure.com

I'd love to hear from you and how you are making your buyer feel loved, totally, completely and unconditionally. Use the comments section below to share your thoughts on engagement and content strategies.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 3

@stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

It is said that narrative thought creates stories that are coherent of particular experiences, temporally structured and context sensitive (Baumeister & Newman, 1994).

On a day to day basis you take in millions of bits of data and in order to make sense of it all you literally develop your own daily story with all that data. 

You are actually the biggest storyteller yourself.

This means you are already very accustomed to stories and therefore anything that comes your way in the form of a story, you will accept quite readily and weave that into your own story with its own characters, outcomes and timeframes.

Let’s take your trip to the gym. Some of you go daily, 3 times per week or just at the weekend and some of you may not have made it yet.

However, we all have a picture of what a gym looks like. Lots of exercise machines, weights etc., maybe a pool, a cafe and many other amenities.

When you think about going to the gym you almost certainly create a short story in your brain. You see yourself getting up, doing whatever you do, changing into your gym wear, travelling there and doing whatever you like doing the most and travelling back.

You may not include the travelling part, you may just see yourself doing the exercise. Just enough to get you motivated to follow through.

Everything you think about, well nearly everything, develops in the form of a story.

What have you been thinking about lately? Share your answer in the comments below.

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #digitalmarketing #storyteller

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Do you clearly articulate your purpose in your content?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

In the image above, the part of the sentence that grabbed my attention is ‘we stand for something meaningful’.

Deciding what content to write and publish is the easy bit. Seriously it is becoming easier, because there are so many great content writers out there, which means our subconscious is absorbing it and eventually this comes out in our own content.

The tougher part is making it connect to your purpose, your passion and making it meaningful. 

Most content nowadays is forgettable, even the headlines are so sensational that they are becoming a massive turn off. The professional media is trying desperately to get our attention.

Whether you are in employment or running your own business, you have a desire to feel valued, for your contribution to be meaningful and deliver something that will have an impact on people’s lives. Most of us have those desires. And even if we don't have those desires for our business, we will have those for our family. 

There is a meaning, a purpose to all our lives and maybe you are not fully aware of it yet, it is vital that you understand what it is when you are writing content.

If your content is just about what you do and how you do it, i.e. selling yourself then you are, sorry to say, going in the wrong direction.

Simon Sinek is a master at teaching us how to become better at defining our purpose, our WHY? I have included his best video to explain this below. It's only had 30+ million view so far, so he must be on to something right?

Our ‘why’ has to be evident in what we say, what we write and how we market. Basically all our content.

The reader has to feel a connection with you beyond the words, the facts and the content. She needs to be convinced that you are congruent with your content and have written it with the right intention and with purpose and meaning.

If you are not clear on how to do this, start with thinking about why you do what you do? What you love about what you do and how you would like to make an impact in the world or maybe closer to home in your community. Once you start getting clarity about this and portray this through the content you write or share, your audience will feel a closer connection to you, a deeper feeling of trust will develop and a greater connection will emerge.

Defining yourself by metrics alone is never enough. Awards and league tables are the result of ego and self congratulations. You can only ever measure yourself, your business, the impact on your community, by the amount of change that is taking place as a direct result of your purpose.

How are you articulating your purpose in your content?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help us out and share your answer below.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 2

@stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

Telling stories isn’t always that simple though is it? Let’s take the scenario of a product or service.

This is what most people believe.

  1. You have to share what the product/service does.
  2. You must share how the product/service performs.
  3. You’ve got to demonstrate, through testimonials, how the product/service has helped others.
  4. You’ve got to give people an incentive to purchase your product/service.

Wrong! Your buyer will think, ‘so what? My problem is unique, nobody has my problem, I am the only one with this problem and I can’t see how your product/service will help me.’

The reason they come up with these objections is the fact that they haven’t emotionally connected with your company or product yet. The only way you can create emotion in anyone is to have them buy into your story first. This could be about you personally, your company or your product.

How interesting would it be if you told the story of how your product was created and road-tested. Even more powerful would be to share who was involved in the product creation and how long it took you to come up with the idea, prototype it and then manufacture it. How you got consumers of the product involved in testing it and giving their feedback. How the feedback made you shape the product/service and made it even greater.

You may remember Apple’s iPhone 4 ‘Antennagate’ a few years back where consumers had reported that the signal was poor when your hand obscured the antenna. In the end only 0.55% of buyers complained but Apple gave everyone free bumpers to stop them from obscuring the antenna. In an unprecedented move Apple showed us a strange room where the iPhone was tested. Not everyone will have seen it but it’s the only internal room that I have seen in Apple. It gave me a fabulous insight and increased level of trust in them. Apple never shared how the product performed, they just shared with us a story of how it was tested. Do you get the difference? 

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

So how do you create more relevant content?

I really and honestly haven't got the answer, if I did I'd probably be on a beach somewhere during the freezing winter months.  Are you feeling cold right now?

If you do think you can answer my question, please skip to the end and I'd love to hear your perspectives and of course we all need to know, urgently.

What I will do is share what content personally turns me off and what attracts me. And in the words of Tony Robbins we are either 'moving away or moving towards something', this could be pain or pleasure and in this case content.

Turn-offs (no way a complete list, but what comes to mind for now an I may continue to add as they come up in the future).

  1. Too many adverts saying 'buy me'.
  2. Self congratulations, which portray a message to say, 'aren't we clever?'
  3. Newsletters, I just don't get those anymore, they're such a complete and utter waste of time nowadays.
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat and even more multiple repeats of the same content.  I'm guilty of this too!
  5. No context around someone else's content you are sharing. Just sharing for sharing's sake. Ouch!
  6. Live video here, live video there, live video here, there and everywhere. Too many notifications to suggest that everyone is joining the bandwagon. Although I have to say the Instagram version is attracting me a little!
  7. Autobot messages via 'commun.it', oh dear what is everyone thinking?  Autobot messages are so 2014.  Stop them, stop them now!
  8. Articles with the top 5, top 10, top 25 and even the top 50 of suggestions we really never take action on. Do share if you ever have please.
  9. Adverts that have animals starring in it to jolt our emotional brain neurones into saying awwwwww and apparently remembering the product for longer.  And now even giving away toys of said animals if you purchase the product.  Readers in the UK, will know exactly what I'm talking about.
  10. Re-marketing ads.  They are really, really doing my head in, because unfortunately you can't get them out of your head. I bet a very clever psychiatrist at Google suggested this one.  Aaarrrggghhh!

Okay that's enough for now, turned out to be a bigger list than I had expected.

Attracts

  1. Videos that are educational.  Ted-talks and Ted-Ed are brilliant and I could watch them all day long.
  2. Content that answers my question when I search on Google for the answer to a problem I need to solve.  Thank you to all those amazing trainers, coaches, educators out there, we appreciate you! 
  3. YouTube. For making my home feed relevant to what I like watching, coming up with new suggestions or ideas and allowing me to scrap them if I wish. Also making the list of new videos from my subscribed channels easy to navigate around.  I love YouTube, it's visual, engaging and quick.
  4. Animated GIFS, as long as they're funny and clever.  I've even started to have a play with producing them myself.  Great fun!
  5. Comedy.  Who doesn't like having a good laugh, there isn't enough laughter in the world and social media can be a real tonic for the soul.
  6. Real-live stories.  In the last year I have seen more real people stories coming through even on LinkedIn and as you would expect they are stories of overcoming adversity in some way.  They are hugely motivational and at the same time make your so-called stresses seem so small.
  7. Content that provides great learning for where you are in that moment and time, whether it be your personal or business life.

Right then do you have the answer?  What content inspires you?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help me out and share your answer below.

---

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

 

 

 

Is ‘Empathy’ a thing that you can measure?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

Unfortunately most of us are in a flight and fight status. This means we come from a place of needing to be heard instead of a desire to listen.

True empathy will only arise when you place yourself in selfless position to listen.  When you are an active listener you learn things you would never have learnt if you remain in a position of needing to be heard.

An example I share often is the first meeting at a networking event or maybe even a party. Almost in the first sentence spoken is the question, ‘what do you do?’. My advice always is to avoid answering the question and instead say, ‘why don't you go first?’.

And when they do go first, you follow it up with more questions, placing you in a great position to listen and learn. Often the speaker will even forget to ask you again what you do. They are so wrapped up in the moment of sharing their own story, loving talking about themselves and appreciating you for asking inquisitive and probing questions. Just nod knowingly and avoid responding. The speaker will feel listened to and you come across as having empathy.

The same approach is advisable for the social web.

Listen and ask more questions rather then transmitting your stuff in order to be heard.

Twitter is losing its shine and I wonder why? If you look carefully it's all about transmitting and needing to be heard. The social web has had enough of being transmitted to. We are naturally curious beings and as such the platforms, which have moved towards stories are on fire, because when your stories are being appreciated you feel that your viewers are displaying empathy towards you.

And actually ‘empathy’ = ‘love. 

What we want more than anything in the whole wide world is to be loved.

I wonder if you could answer just one question in the comments below please?

What's the one thing you love about being on the social web?

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone’s ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don’t really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me. I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Originally published on Medium

Do you really think your content is so special?

Think again! I call it the 'Falling Tree'. There is a tree falling over in a forest somewhere on the planet. In fact there are probably many trees falling over in forests right now, maybe thousands and nobody is there to witness the event, nobody.

This is probably happening to your and my content right now. Our content are just trees falling over and nobody is there to witness it. So why do we spend so much time creating, perfecting, worrying and measuring? Because everyone tells us to?

 

There are so many coaches, trainers, authors, storytellers, SEO experts, influencers, copywriters and any other title you may care to conjure up, who are advising us to create more and more content, to pick the right times, the right days, the right platforms, the right demographics, the right advertising campaigns and all just to get our content noticed. 

You may have come across a term that is often used in the world of learning, 'Sheep-dip'. We are all being 'Sheep-dipped' by the experts who tell us what we should be doing.

Is it because we wish to achieve mass market domination? Granted probably only in your sector right, your Niche (Neesh or Nitch)?

I believe it's time to think about a different strategy, to think authentic, to think personal, to examine a different approach. 

What would it take to start a campaign in your organisation, no matter how big or small you are, where every single person who works for you calls a specific customer, a named individual, in your customer's company and asks them personally whether you're doing everything that they would expect from you? 

That would be different right?

No survey, no customer service call, no external company making the call. Every single person in your company.  And if that means it's only you in your company, then that's perfect too.

And there is only one question. Let's repeat it.

"Are we doing everything that you would expect from us"?

Can you think of some other non 'Sheep-dip' approaches that might get you to stand out from the crowd?

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling

Have you located your company’s Holy Grail of ‘Engagement’ yet?

With everything that's being thrown at us how are you truly differentiating yourself to ensure that your prospects, clients and readers (let's call them ‘engagers’) do actually wish to ‘engage’ with you?

We're all witnessing an amazing revolution in media. With media, I'm suggesting everything from the Press, TV, Entertainment, Online Video, Online Learning, Blogs, through to Social Media and beyond.

There has never been a more important time to truly understand how and where your future audience will be engaging with content. 

To start with, the producers of content are usually the ones that are engaging with it in the first place. That means you as a producer are always researching where the most engagement will take place with your content. By researching it, you will be engaging wit the content there. For example if you decided that you want to use Medium to post your blogs, you start producing content for that media channel and it's inevitable that you will be engaging with other content whilst you are opening an account and doing your research.

I call this ‘Empty Engagement’. Content producers looking at content produced by other content producers don't really engage with that content as such. They are just scanning it, to learn from and how they can best borrow the ideas and concepts for their own content production. 

In addition platforms have created clever bots that suggest what content producers you should be following, they may even auto follow categories and as a consequence the authors too. Clever stuff and ‘empty’.

Nowadays your process for obtaining engagement means you have to get close up and personal. This means reaching out in a personal way to your audience and engaging with them one person at a time.

I've been noticing how @buffer do this really really well. For the past 2 weeks, I jumped on their weekly #bufferchat. There I noticed that they respond to specific tweets by the contributors. Not just liking or retweeting, they do actually mention the individuals and respond very directly to their answers to the questions in the chat.

Pretty impressive actually. It confirmed for me that this personal touch and direct communication, one to one is truly the only way to get engagement growing with your audience.

I hope this gives us all something to consider, reaching out to specific audiences and grow engagement on a very personal level, one ‘engager’ at a time. 

I would love to hear what's working for you with growing engagement. Thank you so much.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling

Are you really being heard?

When LinkedIn first released the functionality for all members to publish articles, the amount of views, likes and comments of those articles were in the multiple hundreds. It's very likely that this article will get less than 30 likes and probably less than 5 comments if any. Now, in order to get seen by the many, we're asking colleagues, connections and complete strangers to like, comment and share our content.

It's not that your content is less interesting or less useful, it just means that the amount of content being written, shared and distributed across all Social Media is colossal. All of us now scan news feeds in lightning quick fashion. We are attracted by images, videos, Facebook Live and other ways that Social Networks are experimenting with us to get our attention.

Just scan this Infographic below to learn how much data is being generated every single minute. There's just no way that anyone can absorb even a nano-second of all that data. Sorry there's no date on it, but it's likely to be around 12-months old, which means it's probably gone up by a third at least. Shame, no LinkedIn data!

All marketing departments in all organisations are searching for the Holy Grail called 'Engagement'.  In trying to locate it, they are all pushing out MORE content not LESS.  Every time a new platform joins the rat race, they're all over it, until of course it dies a slow painful death.  RIP Vine. Have you heard of Woo Woo? Watch the video below!

Really it's not about MORE, it should be about LESS, a lot LESS and also SLOWER a lot SLOWER. When you restrict the amount of content, the likelihood is that your audience will want more. When you are sharing with abundance, they will switch off. Scarcity is actually a strategy used often by many marketers when they are selling their products, so why not with content? Just saying...

The message here is all about taking care, a lot of care, when we create content and making sure that we are crafting a message that can truly be heard. When you take the time to do this, you won't have time to firehose content to your channels, you have to review what you're creating and be proud of it. 

So it's time to review what you're doing, what you're sharing and how you would like to be heard? And that goes for me too!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.

@stayingaliveuk

In Social Selling, Building Trust Starts before You Connect

Learn how thorough research and honest communication can build trust with buyers, with these social selling tips from Staying Alive UK’s Michael de Groot.

image.jpg

This blogpost was first published by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on the 13th August 2015 and is part of a blogpost series to promote the eBook '33 Social Selling Success Tips', which was curated and published by Michael de Groot (that's me!) in 2014 and re-purposed by LinkedIn.

 http://sales.linkedin.com/blog/in-social-selling-building-trust-starts-before-you-connect/

The first person who said “patience is a virtue” probably wasn’t in sales. For salespeople, patience can be costly. Waiting to respond to a trigger event or failing to follow up to a prospect’s question can cost the sale. There’s an understandable desire for hustle, whether you’re a sales leader or a sales manager.

But we must be careful that a lack of patience doesn’t make us take shortcuts that lose potential buyers. One part of the sales process you should never rush is the research phase before you reach out to a prospect for the first time. Thorough research arms you with the information you need to make a connection request that builds trust.

People buy from people they know, like, and trust. Before they get to know you and come to like you, buyers will be evaluating whether they can trust you. Here are two steps you can take to build trust before you connect.

1.  Research

Do your research first on the individual and the company. Follow the company on LinkedIn and research any articles where your potential buyer could be mentioned or featured. Check industry news sites for mentions and of course LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator could do the heavy lifting for you in terms by finding relevant company news.

There are two very useful ways that you can keep track of your buyers without making it obvious to them. In Twitter, you can create a private list and add Twitter handles to your buyer list. You will be able to see what buyers are tweeting about to give you an insight to their interests and industry specific articles or opinions. In LinkedIn, you can save someone to your contacts without making a connection request. When you save them, add a tag that will let you filter your contacts for each account. This allows you to do more research on them and find commonalities in their profile, their tweets, or their shares.

image.jpg

2.  Be Direct

Once you have done your research and built a relevant, compelling case for making contact, then you can send a connection request.

For the best chance of a response, show your trustworthiness by being upfront about why you’re asking to connect. Let the prospect know what led you to reach out to them, and what you would like them to do next.

With a LinkedIn connection request, you will know 100% for sure whether or not your request is accepted. Your prospect will receive reminders from your invitation at least 3 times to either accept your connection request or click ignore. I would leave the request open for 3 weeks to see if they accept. If not, remove them from your connections database as a lost potential and focus your energy elsewhere.

In the fast-paced sales environment, it’s important to remind ourselves to slow down when we need to. Take the time to build trust with a prospect before you connect, and that time investment may pay off in a better sales relationship.

For more actionable social selling insights from experts in the profession, download 33 Social Selling Tips by Social Selling Thought Leaders.

Editor’s Note: In this series, we feature quick and tactical social selling tips from thought leaders in the profession. This installment features trust-building advice from social selling tips Michael de Groot, Social Selling Director for Staying Alive (UK) Ltd who collaborated with other social selling trainers and originally produced the social selling tips eBook.

Are You Sharing Stories?

 

With the explosive growth in Social Media, there's a massive need by brands, businesses and individuals to acquire your attention, likes, comments and shares.

Almost everyone is wanting to be noticed and apart from brands and celebrities there's really no chance of any of us as individuals in business or in employment acquiring millions of followers (fans).

The only thing we can possibly hope for is some thought leader influence for a small group of connections via a few social channels.

So how do we get noticed when there are literally billions of social media posts being shot into cyberspace every single day.

Share Your Story...

Since we were small children we’ve enjoyed stories. Whether they were the stories our parents told us, the films we watch, the books we read, the TV programmes we enjoy or even the adverts we absorb.

It makes sense therefore that we spend more time sharing our story.

Let me explain further. 

We all have a tendency to over-promote what we do instead of thinking about how we can share our story with our audiences. 

As we all love stories, it means our audiences will be more interested in reading or watching them. And because stories are more memorable, they will live longer in our audiences brains. 

To prove the point, can you think, right now, about your favourite book, film, TV programme, advert and how many years back can you remember some of those? I am sure you were able to recall several. Maybe Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers, Cadbury Flake advert, The Meerkat Advert and many more I’m sure.

How do you create interesting stories?

In simplistic terms?

  1. Problem statement
  2. Infusion of ongoing pain if problem not resolved
  3. What could a possible solution be
  4. The solution you offer for the problem
  5. What life would be like without the problem

Where to share your stories?

  1. LinkedIn - on your summary, plus extra media
  2. YouTube - with video stories
  3. Twitter - with a #hashtag
  4. Pinterest and Instagram - with photos
  5. Google+ with all of the above
  6. Facebook - well if you have to.

Maybe you can use a specific #hashtag like #problemsolved or #problemsolver. Take your pick.

Share stories and get noticed. I still see too many adverts on social media. By all means do a few now and again, but keep it at a minimum. Instead share stories.

Feel free to add your own ‘client problem solved’ story in the comments. You never know who might read it!

@stayingaliveuk

Image Credit: @gapingvoid

Are You a Modern Seller?

2015, I hope, will be the year that Social Selling goes mainstream. With that I mean that no longer should we be calling it ’Social Selling’. I prefer us all to be talking about it as ’Modern Selling’. The fact is Sales has always been a Social activity and in some ways Sales Professionals can be confused by the term ’Social Selling’.

In some cases I have witnessed some really awful practices on Social Media, where bombarding folks with constant promotional material and ads are thought of as Social Selling.

Let's examine ’Modern Selling’ in a bit more detail. 

First of all what are some current practices that look like they are going to be killed off by ’Modern Selling’.

  1. The Cold Call. Although this can be at times a useful method, it is definitely starting to drag everyone down. Who actually enjoys receiving a Cold Call these days? This most definitely will be dead and buried in B2B selling by the end of 2015, if not sooner.

  2. The Cold Email. This is a tough one actually. Email is still such a fantastic tool to get in front of folks. It's on people’s phones and therefore it's quite tough to avoid, unless you have set up a super duper filtering system and who has time to figure those out? However I know that more and more people are hitting the delete button for email.

  3. The Email Newsletter. This has been an annoying and nagging interruption for many years now. Who really wants to know about all your great achievements in the past week, month, plus reports on how great you are in the eyes of your latest customers? Nobody cares, really nobody does. I have been unsubscribing from newsletters for about 2 years now and still they continue to add me without asking my permission. I'm guilty too, because I have tried it and well failed, because I haven't felt comfortable about it and you do run out of ideas of what to say. I stopped. I do have downloadable content on my website and it’s completely optional if folks wish to be added to an email list and I state completely upfront that I don't send regular emails. Only now and again will I share some content that is in line with the content they've downloaded. Often that content has nothing to do with me, it's someone else’s content who are able to convey and support my own thoughts much better.

  4. Brochures. Yes some folks are still keeping the printers employed by cutting down trees and distributing brochures to prospects and well anyone who will have them. It's time that these are thrashed, because your prospect will anyway. 

  5. Features and Benefits. This is the biggest one to crack. I would love to see this one dead and buried. Sales professionals spend most of their time practicing these in order to memorise them when in front of prospects and clients. Marketing professionals also spend countless hours presenting these in many different formats, to convince buyers to make decisions based on how their products compare with others. It doesn't make any difference to your buyer. She wants to buy your product to solve a problem. You would be better off listing problems and solutions, so she can see her problem listed. 

What are the alternatives I hear you cry!

  1. Personal Brand. You, whether employed, self-employed, freelance, consulting or any other process you identify yourself with and if you reading this, are already a ’Personal Brand’. This wasn't necessarily possible without Social Networks. Social Networks and by being on them, have allowed you to become a ’Personal Brand’. You HAVE to take this responsibility seriously and if you don't, the consequences can be very harsh. This is the starting point, without this recognition you will struggle to get recognition. You have to craft a great story about yourself and make this consistent across all the Social Networks you exist on. Whether these are personal or business networks. Social is Social, keep the story the same across all. Folks will check you out across all of them and if they aren't in synch you will come across as random.

  2. Conversation. The ultimate aim for anyone in Sales or in Business is to have a conversation with a prospective buyer. Therefore your ideas, approach, strategy and intention should be about how you can have a conversation with your buyer. Your buyer won't be interested in you, the only thing on her mind is juggling and solving her problems. You are most likely an interruption to her day and as such you need to be able to convince her that time spent with you will be well spent! All your actions, communication, social posts, will be to support why a conversation with you will be interesting and more importantly a very worthwhile interruption to her day.

  3. Engagement. This is the holy grail. We all would love to have our connections become potential prospects and at some stage they will have either liked, commented, shared and loved what we posted or have written. Instead of focussing on what you can ’get out’ of your connections, instead focus on what you can ’give’ to your connections. What free content can you share with them that will help them. Share their stories and updates with your network and help them to get more exposure. The route to engagement is trust. This is all you can shoot for to start to develop a relationship. Folks will do business with people they know, like and trust. Once you build trust, which can potentially be developed online, they can start to know you through a conversation, which can be done over the phone. The ’likeness’ can only happen when they start comparing your profile with theirs and get to know you a little better. Folks are always searching for ’likeness’ when meeting new people and if there are some areas of commonality, likeness can develop quite quickly.

  4. Personality. Let your personality shine through at every opportunity. Avoid writing in the third person and reduce the amount of ’I’ statements. It actually isn't all about you. Share ’Why’ you do what you do, as this resonates so much better compared to only making statements about ’What’ you do. If you're able to share passionate insights about how you are helping folks this will also help viewers reach a better understanding about you.

  5. Gratitude. Showing gratitude to new connections for accepting your invite or in response to their invitations is an essential part of the ’Modern Selling’ recipe. Furthermore when it comes to invites, I experience too many invites on LinkedIn that have the standard default text. Asking people to give up their time to look at your profile, read it and decide whether to accept your invitation is actually a big deal. Sending a basic and standard invite therefore is actually saying that you don't respect their time, but you do want them to accept your invitation. I also liken it to talking to someone with your back turned when you meet them for the first time. Something you would never do. You can also show gratitude by engaging with your connections’ posts by liking, commenting, re-sharing, retweeting and favouriting (Twitter). 

We are all learning how to do all of this much better. I still have masses to learn and all of our journeys on Social Media are still very very new.

Take it step by step and think about all your actions and interactions carefully and thoughtfully. When you take your ’Personal Brand’ seriously and you have respect for your connections, you can achieve great things.

@stayingaliveuk