Social Media Persona

As you are branding yourself through social media channels you have probably noticed that you are creating a persona for your brand. The words you use, the attitude you take, the kinds of things you retweet, favorite or like all help form your persona that is an extension of your brand. This can be a personal brand for you as an individual or it could be for your business of many people. It’s because social media is constant and quick that it is easy to create a persona almost immediately and fit into that role. Masters of Disguise When you are promoting more than one business because you are a n ambitious entrepreneur or because you are in the social media business promoting for others, you probably find yourself going in and out of roles like acting in a one-person play. You’re the perfect homemaker for one business, a fashionista for another, a caregiver for yet another, and then you let loose as the snarky person you are under another moniker that may or may not be your own. Image Matters Your image takes shape as you keep posting under that persona, but your literal image—the picture you use—matters. I think sometimes people forget that the photo says as much about their persona as their words. A member of the media who has a photo of herself wearing a slip dress with boudoir-red wallpaper in the background tells me not to take her seriously as a journalist. The image says romance, fashion, evening out, but her tweets are about local politics. It’s awkwardly incongruent. Choose an image that is consistent with the persona you are playing. Divide and Conquer We all have inner dichotomies that if we expressed fully it might seem as though we have multiple personalities. However, you might feel as though if you don’t express both, then you’ll explode. By all means, release the pressure! It’s easy by dividing those attitudes and creating another persona. Angels and Devils can both love your product after all. Imagine you have a mommy blog that is very successful with ads and product giveaways, and maybe even a book deal based on your posts—the whole kit and caboodle! Your reputation is based on being extremely gentle with new, nervous parents. However, you notice that there are some recurring really stupid questions (yes, there are stupid questions, I firmly believe that,...
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Website Angst – What you don’t say, can hurt you

I have finally turned over the files to my web developer for my new website. It’s taken me months—maybe it’s been a year. I’m not sure. What I do know is that I dragged my feet. It wasn’t that it was hard to get rid of the old one. It was dated and although better than the version before it, it was not helping me. In fact, I know that in one case it actually hurt me. I discovered this in a bizarre conversation I had with a potential client. We chatted about my previous experience with clients like the one she represented. She seemed to enjoy my telling her of my experiences, the challenges of previous clients and how I was able to help solve them. We talked about messaging, which I contend is the center of any good campaign. The channels you use to tell it are secondary although extremely important––print, broadcast, and online in its myriad forms.  Then the conversation was cut short when she told me she looked at my website and it didn’t say enough about social media so she didn’t think I was the right person. It was strange because she didn’t ask me about my experience with social media. That would have been a different conversation entirely. The next day I hung an “under construction” sign on my website. It’s still there now but will be coming down, I hope in the next four weeks. So why would I drag my feet? It seems that I would need a pretty urgent remedy. The reason is simple and one that makes me empathize with my clients. Simply put, it’s because I don’t want to get it wrong. I don’t want to leave out that nugget that resonates with potential clients and affirms what they believe they need. I don’t want to say too much so that it is verbose and boring. I want it to be straightforward but not pedantic. I want the right images that reflect the energy of my work. It takes time but now I’m ready. The layout, the copy, the images and colors are all brand spankin’ new and about to come together to create my new online presence. If you are in the same boat, I can help you too––with the patience or urgency that you need. I won’t do the coding (you should be glad), I will...
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The Cost of Saving Time & Money

Because of the Internet, there are a lot of indie options these days for businesses of all types. If you’re an author, you have a much wider array of self-publishing options than just vanity presses of days gone by. If you are a crafter, Etsy gives you a much wider audience 24/7 than the seasonal craft fairs from days past. Garage sales and consignment shops are second now to eBayand Craig’s List. These services have a modest fee and might offer a few perks here and there. If you weren’t choosing to do it independently, there would be more fees you’d be paying shrouded in a higher price point. One of the things that would be covered in those fees is marketing. Depending on your product, that could mean advertising or other promotions, merchandising and display, and possibly a social media push for your product. These are the elements that often get overlooked by the indie sales person who wants to cutout the middleman. The truth is, that middleman is offering valuable services for their fees. If you are going it alone, are you implementing a marketing plan of some sort? To promote anything effectively on your own requires a balance of time and money. If you have a lot of both, then you’re golden! Chances are, you don’t. Likely, you are struggling for both or the DIY route would not have seemed so valuable to you. If you have the money, definitely consider hiring someone to help you. If you don’t have the money, then you definitely need to spend more time. Don’t let that overwhelm you. It starts with a plan, even just a part of a plan to get you going. I recently met a self-published author who uses Amazon’s publishing program. Looking at where his books come up on search listings, it appears that Amazon is definitely helping him out with SEO to pump-up the pre-sales of his next book. However, this author has dropped the ball in all other areas of marketing. Here is the bare minimum that I would suggest for a self-published author, or really anyone trying to sell their wares independently on the Internet: Twitter Profile updated regularly Facebook fan page – just a personal page where people have to request to be your friend is not enough Blog – with entries related to your product, not just photos of your...
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What Came First, the Audience or the Product?

This isn’t a trick question. It should be easy to answer that the audience (your user) came before your product. This user is your target market and is therefore to whom you are communicating with first and foremost. So how are you delivering your message to them? I often see people promoting their service or product in a way that misses their audience. Sometimes it’s a mistake and sometimes it’s outright arrogance. Some people are so enamored with what they’ve created that they think their audience will see them out. They rely on the promotional activities that they know and are comfortable with and completely miss their target. Think of an audience sitting in a theatre waiting to hear your pitch. You’ve imagined a ready audience like this or you would not have created the product. You would not have come up with this unique service that you are offering if you didn’t think there was a need. How do you plan to meet their expectation? They are staring at the curtain, anticipating its opening and being enthralled by whatever is behind the red velvet. Unfortunately, what I’ve seen companies and organizations do is to try to make the audience conform to their way of communicating which perhaps might be the most cutting edge mechanism. Instead of developing something for the stage right in front of their audience, they have put all their money in an ad on a jumbo screen outside in Times Square. Of course this is an exaggerated example, but it fits today’s world. For instance, you cannot only rely on social media for all audiences. You have to assess how your audience communicates and meet them with that media even if “social media is where it’s at.” If that paradigm shift to electronic media has not happened for the sector you are trying to reach, you might as well be shooting arrows away from the target. Within social media, make sure your target market is using the mode that you are using. Today’s adolescents are rarely on Facebook, opting instead for Instagram, SnapChat, Vine, Kick, and YouTube videos. Are you trying to reach them? Then see them on one of those platforms, not MySpace.         If you are not meeting your audience where they are expecting to find you, then you might as well be speaking a foreign...
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Showing What You Value to the Core

There’s a lot to consider when you’re marketing your business or your organization. Your branding needs to be drenched in what you stand for. In other words, what you are communicating needs to show the core of what your business or nonprofit means. In essence, your mission needs to be singing the loudest with your core values carrying the tune. This has to come through everything you do. It takes you right back to the marketing mix: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. Whatever your mission is––whether you are the best at creating golf umbrellas or working to eradicate AIDS––everything has to meet your supporting core values. Most of the time, the core values are about serving the customer. In these two examples you can easily imagine that a maker of golf umbrellas wants to deliver a good product that serves the user—keeps the golfer dry in rainy weather. Their core values might be quality, excellence, high-performance. The AIDS organization wants to educate the public so that AIDS is not spread, they might also support research to create a cure or vaccination to prevent AIDS. Their core values might be health, integrity, holistic. From those goodhearted goals, comes the product or service to help people. Following that is the price that meets the market, the place where the need is most prevalent, and the promotion to reach the market in the language that they speak (literally and figuratively). Unfortunately, what we sometimes see is promotion that is offensive, hurtful and denies the presence of goodhearted goals. I just saw a quote on Facebook that essentially told me that the business who authored the post was greedy. Their goal was to make money, not serve the customer or better the world in some way. I am definitely in this business’s demographic and that small post turned me off completely. It reminded me of reading a health magazine years ago and the inside back cover was a full-page cigarette ad. It ruined the magazine for me and I cancelled my subscription. Their decision to accept tobacco money flew in the face of what I perceived to be their core values—healthy, excellence, empowerment, wellness. Simply put, when your marketing is not congruent from top to bottom, through and through, it fails, even if it’s just a Facebook...
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