3 New Ways to Find New Business and Grow Your Follower Base

The internet offers no shortage of advice for networking, finding new business and building your follower base on social media. But rarely do we read an article or hear a bit of advice that we haven’t read before, or even tried (with less than stellar results).

One thing I’ve learned from 20 years in the marketing industry is that finding new business is not something you can ignore while your funnel is full. I’ve seen it several times: an agency or freelancer is so busy with existing clients and work that they don’t make time for selling. And then they’re shocked when the void hits – their largest client gets bought out by a competitor, or a new leader is brought in who wants to use a different agency – and just like that the well is dry and they’re scrambling to stay afloat.

You have the tools to avoid that same fate. Take 15 minutes each day to focus on new business. What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll be so overwhelmed with business that you’ll need to begin hiring a staff… and that’s a problem no one minds having. With that in mind, here are three old-school ways of drumming up new business, along with a revised tip you probably haven’t heard before, much less tried for yourself.

  1. Your LinkedIn profile is critical to your success as a small business.

Something Old: Pay attention to users who look at your profile. Shoot each a quick note introducing yourself and hoping to stay in touch.

new businessSomething New: When you publish a blog post on LinkedIn, pay attention to who “likes” and/or comments on the post. This offers another perfect opening to connect. Send a short note saying that you’re glad they found the article useful (customize this as appropriate) and asking to add them to your connections.

  1. Twitter is an ideal platform for the first stage of social selling.

Something Old: Along with your regularly scheduled tweets, look for the ones that received the most activity and promote them. This may or may not work to your advantage. Try a test first, and pay attention to the followers you gain. Are they in your audience segment? Could they represent a new audience you haven’t thought of yet?

new business

Source: Google images

Something New: Look for industry-relevant Twitter Chats and jump into the conversation. Twitter chats provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded people and showcase your knowledge and personality. You’re more apt to gain followers in your key audience demographic, you can showcase first-hand knowledge of your background and expertise and, best of all, you get to have conversations with people that fit your key demographic

  1. Social media works best when you focus on the social aspect.

Something Old: Don’t let your local LinkedIn connections gather dust. Take advantage of being in the same city and invite one local connection out for coffee each week.

new business travel

Source: Google images

Something New: Traveling to another city? Open up your LinkedIn connections and search by that city. Invite each of them (separately) to meet you for coffee while you’re in town. Use Twitter to let your followers know what city you’ll be in and invite them to meet f2f. Search beyond your connections as a way to make new LinkedIn connections in that city and grow your reach.

new business

Source: Google images

The one-two punch: If you don’t already, try using the Twitter-LinkedIn method for new business success. Take a closer look at your Twitter followers. Invite those that are most active with you to connect on LinkedIn. From there, invite local connections to meet f2f over coffee. Keep in touch with those outside of your location and find ways to reach out to them and strengthen the relationship.

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Tweet Chat Rules of Thumb


Source: google images

Since i started participating in tweet chats a few years ago, I’ve become a bit addicted. Depending on my schedule, and the topics, I might jump into three or four a week. Some of them at the same time!

But I digress. Let’s back up for a moment. What is a tweet chat? A tweet chat is a group of people who come together on twitter to talk about a specific topic. A hashtag is used to identify those in the chat and allow you to connect with those in the conversation and drowns out the rest of the twittersphere so that you can focus on just that conversation during the 30-60 minutes of the chat.

Why would I want to participate in a tweet chat? There are several reasons people get involved. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to others in your industry. It can help you increase your follower base. It can provide relevant information about a topic of interest. And, it increases your engagement levels on Twitter.

How do I find these tweet chats? TweetReports published a nice list of resources here. Hashtags that include the word “chat” are also a dead giveaway, and you can click on the hashtag itself to get to the chat.

Screen shot 2014-04-24 at 2.19.27 PM

Now that you know what Tweet Chat’s are, why you might want to check them out, and how to find one right for you, a few rules of thumb to go by:

#1 is this: Treat every tweet chat like a work meeting. Think of joining like walking into the conference room.

Why? Read on…

#2 If you join late, feel free to say a quick hello, but please don’t ask “What questions have been asked?” or “What are we talking about tonight?” And don’t tweet this: “Someone get me up to speed.Just… Don’t. Would you walk into a meeting 20 minutes late and then ask the room at large to please stop and catch you up to speed?

#3 Stick to the topic at hand. Answer the questions and try not to veer too far off course.

#4 Don’t be so concerned with answering the questions that you forget to listen. It’s a lost art! But if you stop and listen to what others are saying, you just might learn something useful.

#5 Don’t use the tweet chat space to sell your product or service. I see a lot of links being thrown out, “deals” and “offers” – it’s not the place. Stay connected, be real, be open, helpful and kind. This in turn will bring in new followers and connections, and then you can tout your wares to them directly. Later. Not now. Capisce?

#6 Don’t get discouraged if you participate in a Tweet Chat that is too difficult to keep up with. Some of them have very large attendance, which can make it hard to keep up. Apps like TweetChat can help in that they will auto add the hashtag of the chat for you. Personally, I find that they are slow to load and prefer to use the native Twitter app. Some people also find it very difficult to follow along using their smart phone and prefer a desktop. Try it a few different ways until you feel comfortable.

A side note: A good moderator is absolutely essential and can make all the difference! They are there to keep the conversation moving, to keep people on track, segue to new questions, etc. @SteveCassady and @LollyDaskal are two great ones!

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Clearing Up A Little Content Marketing Confusion

I just read “4 Things That Can Go Wrong With Content Marketing,” a blog post shared on Twitter by Bo Woloshyn. While Bo didn’t write the blog, he shared it on Twitter, and I read it (as I do much of what he shares) because, well, @BoKnowsMarkting. But seriously, I’ve been following him via Twitter for several years and I respect his opinions.

The post, by CustomerThink blogger Anand Srinivasan, listed four strong opinions about Content Marketing.  While I strongly disagree with two of the author’s points (and I’ll clear up that content marketing confusion below), I have to admire the post, because as I’ve said before, great blog posts do several things:

1. They take a stand. Even in the face of controversy, if you can make your point and then back it up with statistics or sources, more power to
you, I say.

2. They make ya think. Even if it’s just about all the ways you disagree, that’s okay. Because usually all that thinking will lead to…

3. They provide great ideas for blog posts of your own. Which is the reason for this blog post.images

Mr. Srinivasan’s post did all three of these things.

But I digress.  The author begins his blog post by stating that not all content is made equal. “According to a survey conducted by Fleishman Hillard, marketing content like coupons and promotions fetch higher value among consumers compared to generic content pieces like expert advices and how to advice. In other words, customers like receiving direct promotions as compared to “high authority” pieces that work towards establishing authority and brand name.”

Confusion No 1. Those are two different types of content in two different parts of the funnel with two different goals.

Those coupons and promotions are (or they should be) Bottom of Funnel (BOF) content pieces meant to drive sales – they are intended for an audience of customers who are ready to make a purchase.

In contrast, “high authority” pieces that establish authority are meant for Top of Funnel (TOF), and their intent is (or should be) to establish credibility and trust with your audience.

Saying that customers prefer direct promotions over high authority pieces is like saying your audience prefers breakfast over dinner. It just depends on where they are in their buyer journey. If it’s 9am, most of them are going to say breakfast, right? They just haven’t gotten to dinner yet. They’ll get there, they just want to have breakfast and lunch first.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for Content and where it fits in the sales funnel:

imagesTop of Funnel Content = brand awareness. This is where you educate and entertain in order to build trust. eBooks, how to videos, blogs and infographics are all ideal – and don’t be afraid to use humor!

Middle of Funnel Content = Evaluation/Consideration. Your audience knows about you, now they need a better understanding of what you bring to the table. Establish credibility with product demos, case studies, testimonials and in-depth blog posts.

Bottom of Funnel Content = Purchase/Decision Time. This is where your qualified lead turns into a buyer. Free trials, custom estimates, and coupons are all valid at this stage in the buyer’s journey

Confusion No. 2. The author’s fourth point, Not Measuring the Right Metrics, is fair. It’s a common enough problem. He suggests that “The right way to measure the success of a content marketing campaign would be to track the number of leads you generate or the sales you bring over a long term period using a content marketing strategy.”

While I agree that measuring the right analytics is important, don’t be so quick to throw out those “vanity” metrics. We have to remember that it depends on the objectives of the content marketing campaign. What are you trying to achieve? Obviously the long term goal is always sales, but it’s important to look at shorter term goals as well, especially given that content marketing is not a quick fix. This is not traditional advertising. We’re building relationships. As Jay Baer says, “Eventually your content marketing must create action, not just attention.” True enough. But yes, you can absolutely measure likes, shares, new followers and downloads to help determine how well you’re doing in building audience base, and your position as a thought leader. The lesson here is that all metrics matter, and together, they paint a complete picture of how well your content is working to tell your brand story, build your credibility and, eventually, drive sales.

No confusion here: I agree that having a lead capture strategy is important. You have to define your measurements for success before you begin. I also agree that we should be tweaking the content strategy in real time just as you would handle A/B tests with an email marketing campaign. While it might not be cost effective to create two different infographics or two versions of an eBook, it’s simple enough to create a series of tweets and posts for social channels using various hashtags, statements and questions to see what garners the most interest and engagement.

Thanks to Bo for sharing this post, and to Anand, for getting my content marketing wheels turning. This, of course, is what content + social media marketing is all about!


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6 Tips for Handling Sensitive Topics on Social Media


Whether politics, religion or an unfortunate tragedy, it’s difficult to know how to handle sensitive topics on social media platforms, and tougher still when managing social profiles for your brand, or a client’s brand. As a professional who’s active in social media, and someone who has managed multiple social media profiles for clients, it’s important for me to know how to behave professionally not only on my own profiles, but in my clients’ best interests. So, I’ve pulled together 6 simple rules that can help you navigate the complexities of sticky situations in the very public eye of social media.

Rule #1 Sit Tight. When tensions are running high and news first breaks, the best thing to do is sit back and watch what happens. I know the first instinct is to jump in and make your opinion known, but especially in light of Twitter’s ruling that every single tweet can be searched and found, I promise you it’s best to stay silent for the time being. Just as you learned early on in your career that the first time you sit around a conference table at a client meeting, it’s best to take it all in. If you have something constructive and positive to say, then by all means, go ahead. But if you’re going to speak out with a one-sided opinion without knowing all of the facts and hearing both sides of the full story, it’s best to stay quiet. Don’t speak up just to be heard. It’s an amateur move that will cost you later.

Rule #2 Know this: just because people don’t agree with your views does not make them bad people. You can, and should, agree to disagree. This is what makes intelligent conversations. It’s what this country was founded upon. And it’s a sign of intelligence. So, don’t prove us wrong here, folks. You are intelligent. Opposing views are okay – good even! Don’t alienate a client or potential client by being disrespectful of their views. Be careful with your word choices. I saw a tweet from one young professional that read “This guy is an idiot.” She had included a photo of the “idiot” in question. I’m quite sure she alienated half her followers that day. Remember what your mother told you… If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Not sure if it’s nice? Refer to Rule #1.

Rule #3 Keep It Separate. If you simply must speak out, stick to your private social media accounts. This is why I’ve always said it’s best to keep personal and professional accounts separate! Alienating friends is one thing, alienating your clients is quite another. Unless of course your friends pay your mortgage.

Rule #4 Rise Above – The John O’Leary approach. Some of you know him. Many of you have heard of him, or have read his blogs. http://rising-above.com/the-movement/ If you haven’t, I highly recommend you take a moment to do so. Here is someone who has clearly been through a great deal in his own life. Yet, he has turned his own tragedy into a life that means something and he knows that people are listening to what he will say and write about when the proverbial shit hits the fan right here in our own town. And he did speak up. But he did not take a side, at least not publicly. Certainly he has a position. But what comes through loud and clear on his blog, his website and each and every public profile is this: Compassion. For both sides. For all people. It makes everyone sit up and listen. Consider this tactic if you must speak up. Take a bold stance… for the middle. And stand on a platform of love and understanding. Amidst all the violence and hate, choose instead to bring a voice of hope and compassion to the masses.

Rule #5 Don’t Fake It. If your clients look to you for advice on how to handle the situation, and you aren’t sure yourself, don’t fake it. Tell them you’ll get back to them once you’ve considered all the possibilities

. The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision just so that you have something to say immediately. Give yourself time to weigh the pros and cons. I have a client whose twitter feed was exploding with hate from both sides during one media maelstrom. We chose to remain silent about the events because A) my client has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. And B) my client has customers on both sides of the debate. It does no good to alienate anyone and we can see both sides of the issue. Regardless of what my client’s personal beliefs are, those beliefs have nothing to do with the products he sells and the customer service his company provides. What we did do, and this is very important is…

imagesRule #6 Review and Revise! Take a close look at any posts and tweets you have scheduled that may be taken the wrong way during this time. For example: Let’s say you are XYZ Laundry detergent company. And you have scheduled tweets to go out every day of the week. On the day of a shooting incident, a scheduled tweet will go out at 2pm that says: “XYZ will get out even the toughest stains.” Not good. These are the types of things you must double check. Any time there is a crisis, or major disaster – check your social dashboard for any scheduled posts or tweets to ensure nothing you have scheduled can be misconstrued.

It can be difficult to watch heated conversations flying across the digital landscape and not get involved. But when it comes to professional profiles, tread carefully. If you feel compelled to speak up, do so with compassion. And keep it brief.

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7 Steps to Creating Better Content


If it were, easy, everyone would be creating successful content. According to a recent Kapost survey, 60% of marketers report that hiring marketing content talent is “somewhat difficult.” In any case, here are seven tips to help get you off to a good start, whether you’re creating content on your own, or hiring out.

  1. Know your audience. Good marketers know that audience is important. Great content marketers understand just how vital it is to gain as much deep insight into their audience as possible. Don’t just ask what their title is, or what size company they work for, dig deeper: what are they hoping to achieve in their careers? What are their biggest barriers to success? What do you want them to feel after reading this piece of content? What kind of kids were they? What appeals to them? Do they love nostalgia? Or are they more in tune with current events?
  2. Do your research. Come to the table prepared. Interviewing a subject matter expert? Stalk their social media profiles and Google their name. Watch YouTube videos of their TED talks, read their blogs. Your thoughtfully prepared questions will not only impress the interviewee, it’ll show your client that you’re interested, that you care, and that you’ve come to play.
  3. Find a theme that works.  When we’re truly excited about the work we’re doing, it shows. So what to do when the topic is highly technical and difficult to understand much less enjoy? Find a way to relate it to something you can wrap your head around. I watched one writer struggle through understanding a very technical topic until one word from an expert caught his attention – exploration. It was something he could understand and sink his teeth into. He took that one word and ran with it, creating a theme that built on the analogy of adventure and exploration and within a few days had written an eBook that drew readers into an adventure they couldn’t resist. It also gave the designer an idea she could grab hold of, and the result was a massive success.
  4. Write simple. And write well.  Kapost reports that 5% of marketing teams surveyed said the main quality sought in content marketing hires is strong writing and editing skills. Fact: Big words don’t a smarter person make. You might be able to  impress them at first with your big talk and your industry lingo, but it won’t last. Early in my career, a mentor told me that if someone can’t explain something complex to you in one sentence, using plain English, they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s true. Take that advice, and be sure you can do the same next time you’re tasked with explaining a complicated subject. Which leads me to #5. Next time someone explains something to you with lingo and words you need a dictionary to understand, don’t be afraid to …
  5. Ask Questions. Clients really just want to know that you hear them, that you understand what they’re telling you. There is some really technical stuff out there and they don’t expect you to know it all after the first meeting. If your fear keeps you from asking questions, you’ll only serve to under deliver when you hand over the first draft. Remember what your teacher told you all those years ago? It still holds true today: asking questions is a sign of intelligence. It shows you’re paying attention, that you’re interested, and that you want to do well. Once during a call with a new tech client I was getting lost. Really lost. I finally had to speak up and say, “I’m sorry, guys, but… I’m a writer. Can you break this stuff down for me?” I got a laugh, and an apology. And then the client explained in plain English what he’d been saying. It made a huge difference in my understanding, and more importantly, in the outcome of the content pieces I wrote for them (an eBook, infographic, presentation, and video script).
  6. Add Credibility. Use examples, case studies, thought leader quotes, Q&As, anything you can that will give your content credibility. And find statistics from reliable, well-known sources to back up your claims.

And finally, #7. Don’t mail it in. Sure, you can punch out a quick blog post or 800 word article without too much thought, but that’s not going to drive numbers or impress anyone. Why not spend the extra time to do some background research? Find out what’s missing in the space, what’s trending, what subject lines are the most clickable, dig for interesting facts, and put your own spin on the information for an angle that hasn’t been heard before.

Content is value. And at the top of the funnel, that means awareness, thought leadership and entertainment. Sales is a long way from the top of the funnel. But if you do it well, it’s all down hill from there.

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Content Marketing Lesson #36

Back in November, I attended the Incite Content Marketing Summit in Chicago. Here’s another quick takeaway for you:


There’s gold in that there story.

There is a story behind every brand, every product. Even the technical, the B2B. Find it. Most of us marketers tend to get all of our information from the SME (subject matter expert) or industry thought leader. And while that’s both smart and beneficial, leveraging
your long time consumer – the brand loyalist – is smarter still. How to do it? Try social listening. Reach out! Ask! The what is just the feature of your product. The why is the benefit. What has your consumer gained from the experience of using your product? What do they stand to gain? Is it about universal acceptance? Is it about freedom of choice? Look for the bigger story and you’re bound to reach more hearts and minds. Appeal to your consumers’ emotions. Look for the nugget around which to build a story.

To wit: In all of the research on their target audience of preteen girls, Always found that at puberty, girls’ confidence plummets. They took that bit of information and built an entire campaign. #LikeaGirl was born and took on a life of its own. That’s a why. What makes your audience tick? Don’t make the story about you. Lead through storytelling and you’re sure to connect on a much deeper level, and win hearts and minds in the process.

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The One Thing Jimmy Fallon and I Have in Common

I’ll admit it… I’m neurotic. I’m never good enough. There’s always someone better.

I was watching an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – have you seen this show? Jerry was having coffee with Jimmy Fallon and part of their conversation stopped me in my tracks. It went something like this:

Jerry: “Do you ever wake up and think ‘I can’t get in front of these people’?”

Jimmy: “Always!”

Jerry: “How close to when the curtain goes up and you walk out do you think ‘I don’t think I can do this’?”

Jimmy: “Right up until it opens.”

Beth M. Wood

Jimmy & Jerry on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

That’s when I paused the show. Paused it right there and hit rewind. Listened again (I had to have heard it wrong). Jimmy Fallon – The Jimmy Fallon – doubts his talent, his ability, every night before that curtain goes up?

Hearing this validated all my feelings. It gave me a huge sense of relief. I’m not alone! Someone as talented – and happy – as Jimmy Fallon feels the same way I do?

And then it occurred to me that maybe we all feel like we’re faking it sometimes. Then again, maybe it’s this neuroses that makes me a decent writer. Maybe it’s because I’m so worried that someone will think my writing is horrible or find out that I’m just a big fake – that drives me to push myself to write better, spend more time digging for the right quotes, stats, research, to understand my audience, to get it right. Of course, Jimmy can’t project that. Neither can I. And neither should you. No one wants to hire a professional who doesn’t believe in herself. It’s part of why we watch Jimmy. He’s confident but completely unassuming. He’s happy but completely devoid of ego. Jerry describes him as “a lightbulb suspended from thin air.” And it’s true. The guy is just… light.

But the thing is, he’s doing exactly what he was meant to do. And that’s why he’s light. In that conversation with Jerry, Jimmy goes on to say that once the curtain opens, he knows “this is exactly where I should be.”

Being nervous or worried – or even a bit neurotic – has nothing to do with happiness, or knowing you’re on the right path.

Start with love. 

I was 30 years old and two years shy of my Bachelor’s Degree when I decided to go back to school. I’d spent five years in marketing and really enjoyed it, but on the account side there’d been a lot of late nights and traveling. Not a great fit for a mom with two young boys. All I knew for sure is that I wanted my college degree.

I made an appointment with a counselor at Webster University to choose a major. With my background in marketing, we started there, but the classes didn’t thrill me. There was just something missing. I must have looked a bit defeated, because the counselor closed the book and leaned forward.

“Let’s back up,” she said to me. “Forget where you’ve been and what you know. What do you love?

“What do you love to do?” she prompted me. When my blank stare didn’t go away she prodded on. “If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?”

This time, she got me. I answered immediately, without thinking. “Write. I’d write.”

“Really?” she leaned back, smiling.

“Well, yes,” I stammered, needing to explain my foolish response. “I love to write, but you can’t major in writing.”

“Sure you can.”

She opened the catalog to the English department. And there under “Writing as a Profession” was a list of classes I couldn’t have dreamed up any better: Writing for Advertising, Editorial Writing, Business Writing, Sports Journalism, Entertainment Journalism, Creative Fiction. The list went on and on. I signed up for my first semester then and there. And walked out clutching the course book, tears in my eyes.

At the time, I didn’t know what I’d do with a writing degree. But I knew I’d chosen the right path. I knew I was starting with my truth. With love.

Maybe you don’t know where it will take you. Maybe no one thinks it’s possible. But I find we work harder at the things we really believe in. When we’re proud of the work we’re doing, we take more time, put more of ourselves into it. It’s akin to artists. But it doesn’t have to just apply to creative careers.

My older brother was what we affectionally called a “computer geek” back in the 80s (remember the movie “Weird Science”?).  He had a Commodore 64 and he used to sit in his room creating programs that made the screen write your name over and over –or whatever. He built a modem to talk to the neighbor across the street. From a young age, computers were his passion. He still writes computer programs – now he gets paid to do it.

While he was in his room tapping away to the sounds of Def Leppard and INXS, I was down the hall listening to Michael Jackson and Madonna, writing in my diary and journals… I’d make up short stories, write lyrics to songs, poems and letters. And when I wasn’t writing, I was reading every book I could get my hands on. I’m still reading. And writing. Now I’m getting paid for it.

So no matter how nervous you get just before the curtain goes up, or turn in your manuscript, or give that presentation or present a new product… whatever… take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are exactly where you should be.

And if you’re not? If you’re unhappy in your career, if you don’t look forward to Monday mornings? Think back to those years when you could choose how to wile away a day. And ask yourself what that college counselor asked me:

If you could do anything in the world… what would it be?






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On Social Media: Your Brand Doesn’t Have a Choice

social presence

I read a blog post before I left the office last Friday about the top 5 reasons brands/companies really do need a social presence.

I’ve got news for you. You’ve got a presence on shared media whether you built it or not. Consumers are LOOKING for things to talk about on social platforms. Just like brands, they’re trying to drum up likes and comments on their own posts, photos and videos. They actively search for cool, fun, trendy, even highly controversial things to talk about.

blogpic2Just this past weekend on my personal Facebook feed, I came across a positive review for a kids’  movie, a review for the Fox theater and a personal rating for a live show, a major complaint about a local dry cleaner that ruined a wedding dress, a post about a car dealer, and on and on. There were posts seeking recommendations and actively looking for advice. And not one of these was an advertisement by a company. These were just regular people dishing about their most loved – and hated – brands.

social presence
Guess what brands? You’re on social media whether you’ve asked for it or not. The best you can do is jump into this shared space so that you can a) benefit from the positive earned media and b) respond quickly to the negative comments and reviews.

It’s vital because this is where the sales funnel feeds! The consideration and loyalty phases – both ends of the sales funnel – get fed through social media! Your future consumers will be looking to social media in both of these phases, so believe me when I tell you that you need them as much as they need you there.

You certainly don’t have to take an active role in social media. You can choose to stick with owned, paid and/or earned media. But chances are really good that your brand name will pop up in shared media, too. And I’m willing to bet you don’t want to miss the opportunity to be a part of it.

Building your brand’s social media presence can be overwhelming. I’d love to help you figure it out and then lay out a plan for getting there. Let’s put our heads together and create something fantastic! Reach me directly 314.540.0705.






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The Verdict on 4 Top Rules of Communication

communication rules
Some rules are in place for a reason. Others are made to be broken.

Regardless of your industry, chances are good that you’re called on to communicate, be it in speaking or writing. Especially now, in the age of social, it seems that everyone has become a writer. That certainly doesn’t mean everyone knows how to write – or communicate – clearly – and in the best way possible. So, here are four of the top rules. Some have stood the test of time, others have had to change with the times. I’ve given them a verdict of “Follow It” or “Break It” so that you’ll know next time you’re faced with communicating, whether that’s online, via social platforms, in front of a live audience or in a blog post, which ones are worth following and which ones are worth throwing out.

Rule #1            Write What You Know

This is a common rule among writers. One of the first things we learned in college. Write what you know. The theory behind it is that you are more passionate about the things that are important to you, so it stands to reason that you’ll write with more passion, more knowledge and confidence.

The Verdict:     BREAK IT

The internet has opened countless doors to experts and research that just weren’t available when this rule was made. Now… if you don’t know about it? Find out about it. Google it, ask followers and contacts for help, learn, grow, and become an expert. Just like a great singer can wow us with the phonebook, a great writer can make any topic worth reading about.

Rule #2            Keep It Simple

There are more than a million words in the English language. It’s no wonder then, that there are so many different ways to say the same thing! But communication shouldn’t be a chore. If you can say it in five words, don’t use 10. And always, always choose the shorter, simpler word. It doesn’t make you sound smarter to say that you plan to “initiative a scholarly extrapolation.” Just tell them you’re going to make an educated guess.

The Verdict:     FOLLOW IT

As Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Have you ever sat through a meeting or presentation with someone who just loves big words? It becomes exhausting just too listen, doesn’t it?  As C.S. Lewis said, “Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very'; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” A simple word will get your point across just fine. It does not make you look smarter to use big words, but only like you are trying really, really hard.

Rule #3            Write Specifically for Each Audience

Social media has opened the floodgates on communication, giving people the opportunity to share their thoughts with the world. Make it a point to know what type of demographic fits each platform and tailor your message for each specific audience.

The Verdict:     FOLLOW IT

One size messages do not fit all. We must be sure that we are communicating to each of our audiences specifically.

Especially in social, each platform has different demographics and will respond differently to your posts and tweets. For every blog post, write 10-15 different tweets and posts, covering each demographic you want to reach. Test humorous headlines, serious ones, questions, and leading statements and track which ones work best for each audience.

Rule #4            Keep Blog Posts Short

Who made this rule? And what constitutes long, anyway? I’ve written very short blog posts (under 200 words) and much longer posts (1,000+ words) both with success, and sometimes without. But their length had little to no bearing on that success. What matters is the quality of the content. If you’ve got a well thought out, well written article, then it’s as long as it needs to be – however many words that turns out to be.

The Verdict:     BREAK IT

But do so carefully! Always break up longer posts (anything longer than 600 words) with subheads, numbered or bulleted lists. This makes it easier for readers to digest, so that they can skim your article and take away the most important information if they’re short on time. Including relevant visuals such as graphs or charts that explain the copy will also help.

As with any rule, it doesn’t hurt to understand why it was made in the first place, but then determine if the ruling makes sense for you. Sometimes they’re worth following. Other times? Breaking the rule can open a door and make communicating a little easier, and isn’t that what it’s all about?


Blogs, feature articles, presentations and infographs are ideal for sharing content, positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry and increasing awareness about your company, but they are time consuming. If your goal is to increase content creation, create a new blog presence, or improve the one you’ve got, I’d love to help. Let’s connect and create something fantastic!













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The True ROI of Social Media

“I’m going to ask you the same question I ask all of you social people.”

Uh-oh. I knew what was coming. Three little letters. I played dumb. “I have no answer!” I cried, horrified. She smiled.

We were at a business lunch, having been introduced over a mutual friend and business associate, and had easily decided that the three of us make a formidable team. Aaron (with his many connections, strong client base and background in graphic design) and I (with my marketing agency background, many years as a copywriter, and social media addiction) had worked together on a few projects in the past. And both being right brainers had come up with some awesome fun ideas but just couldn’t seem to take them from concept board… to board room. Enter Alli (of the left-brain, MBA-clutching, society), a driven, data loving, go-getter.

Three professionals with a shared affinity for whiskey. Done.

But I digress. She had a question to ask of me.

“How do you measure the ROI of social media?” And before I could answer, she followed that up with: “Because no one I’ve asked has really been able to answer that question.”

No pressure Alli. Uh, pass the whiskey.

But even as I attempted to answer her question with some mix of intelligence, I could feel myself getting sidetracked, because there is no neatly wrapped 30-second answer to this question. This isn’t television, folks. Where we simply add up the Nielsen data and decide where to place our :30 spot.

So, Alli, let me try to clear up my answer for you. Because after all, I’m a far better writer than speaker. I think more clearly, here, on “paper.” And in case anyone else has every wondered the same…


Just like with any marketing campaign, the first thing I ask any client is: Why? Why do you want to run this campaign? What is your primary objective? The WHY is vital. If you don’t know the WHY, you can’t determine the HOW. And you won’t be able to determine measurements for success. There are many reasons a company might want to have a social media presence:

  • To build brand awareness
  • To introduce a new product
  • To reach a larger audience
  • To give personality to a “dry” brand
  • To provide a way for customers to reach you 24/7 (customer service)
  • To engage with your core customers in real time (build a relationship)
  • To provide helpful information about industry related topics (to become a thought leader in the industry)
  • To provide a portal for contest/sweepstakes/promotion entry
  • To help your brand appeal to a different demographic


The one thing you’ll notice that is not on this list is: Because everyone else has one. Not good enough. True, the numbers are staggering. And chances are excellent that whatever demographic you’re trying to reach, they are on some social media platform. But creating a Facebook page just because everyone else has one isn’t going to do you much good. What’s a “like” do, anyway? Not much if you don’t know what to do with it once you’ve got. Just like a cold call lead won’t do you any good if you don’t follow up with it. Knowing which social platform your company should be active on is also very important. Leverage New Media designed this Social-infographic to help you determine which is best suited for you.


Now that you know your WHY, and you know on which platform(s) you need to be active, you can determine how to measure your ROI. You’ll want to select the right tools to help you measure. I highly recommend using a dashboard tool like Sprout Social. But here’s the thing. The true value of a social media community is often undervalued. Companies want to measure for an immediate ROI, when what they should be looking for is the value of their social community. How do they find this? In a nutshell, Elasticity’s Brian Cross once explained it to me (okay a room full of professionals I happened to be among) this way: Take a closer look at your social community:

  • How many followers are customers?
  • How many of them can be converted to customers?
  • How many can be moved to higher tiers (additional or more expensive products, higher levels of service, etc.)?
  • What is the length of your relationship?
  • How much is a typical sale worth?


I would add to that the following: Beyond your community strength, look at your leadership standing in your industry. Are you asked to speak at industry events? Does your company name or hashtag trend? Have your sales increased since you became serious about investing in social media? How do you rank in Google searches compared to your competitors? Does your target audience know your brand name where they didn’t before? Are your customers satisfied with your level of service? Do you come highly recommended among your core demographic? Are online reviews favorable?

Yes, Left Brainers, You Can Look at “Real Statistics,” Too.DownloadPDF

Some of these measurements for success might include some of the following:

  • Newsletter sign-ups
  • Online purchases
  • PDF downloads
  • Filling out a contact form
  • Social interactions
  • Video views
  • Blog post shares
  • Quote requests

These are all things that can be traced to sales or pre-purchase behaviors. But don’t forget that your social community followers are your Brand Advocates. They are your tribe… Your unpaid advertisers and promoters. Remember the sales funnel? Your consumers’ Purchase Consideration phase consists of online research and social influence. They are getting recommendations from the influencers. No longer does your brand tell consumers what to buy. It’s consumers that tell others consumers (peers) what your brand stands for. So it pays to put dollars behind your social media community.

It’s All Social.


And remember… Your marketing efforts must be integrated across all channels. Your customers are everywhere – on mobile devices, online, at retail and on social platforms. You must be there as well. The lines are surely getting crossed, muddled and blurred. Soon enough, we will no longer have social media, mass media and print media. We’ll just have media. And it will all be social, in one way or another.

Take a look at what you see every day.

On TV, The Today Show has The Orange Room, with what’s trending on Twitter. On the Voice, Tweets from the four judges pop up on the screen after each performance or steal.

In magazines, like More, you can hold your phone over bar codes on some ads for more information, to watch videos, find out pricing, check sizing, even purchase an item or entire outfit right then and there.

Offline has gone online, and online has gone off, as we shop, live, eat, talk and play. Certainly we have some acclimating to do. We’ve got to find a balance at work and especially at home. But the future is clear, especially in business. Those who don’t understand the social landscape will surely be left behind. 

The problem is that many businesses are beginning to understand this – but what they don’t understand is what to do once they arrive. They stand in the corner at the party, not sure how to mingle. Or they are the obnoxious insurance salesman always trying to sell their wares, pushing their business card into everyone’s hand, rather than just shaking hands and getting to know people. The social aspect really is lost on some.

Agencies in particular tend to be impatient. Small B2B companies tend to not understand why they need to build relationships – they want to see sales right away – they want to know where the “ROI” is right now. Social media is not a fast sell. It is a building of relationships. The sales funnel has certainly changed. Businesses must understand that

 – in both the Consideration and Post-Purchase phases, where your brand ambassadors live. It’s been studied and proven that your customers on social channels are worth much more to you than those who simply purchase in store or online. Those who follow you, and engage with you via social channels are much more invested in your product and brand. They are your brand ambassadors. They are the ones who will provide recommendations, share your product information, give glowing reviews, and tell your story for you. They are worth your time. Social is money well spent. Build up your social community and you are building your future sales funnel.

And remember, too, that it’s ever evolving. As more strategies and tools are developed, we’ll have new ways of capturing analytics and will be able to dive deeper into how well our communities are working towards our WHY. 

Discovering your WHY can be difficult. I’d love to help you figure it out and then lay out a plan for getting there. Let’s put our heads together and create something fantastic!  Reach me directly at beth@bethmwood.com or 314.540.0705.


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