Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

How to Create Beautiful Content That People Love to Read

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

We all want to create beautiful content but somehow we can’t get our heads wrapped around it. You don’t need to be Shakespeare to write great content. All you need to do is give your reader useful information and let quality reign!

I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to create excellent content that your audience will love to read.

  • Avoid spelling misstakes – see how bad this looks? Typos and grammatical mistakes would lower the quality of your content. It would be ashamed to work for hours and hours to write fantastic content only to find – after you published it – an ugly typo or glaring grammatical mistake. Worst yet, your audience finds it before you do.
  • Avoid using texting language like “cuz” instead of “because” or “u” instead of “you” otherwise you would appear like someone trying to act too young for their age.
  • Don’t use quotes unnecessarily. I’ve seen content where technical jargon is quoted all over the place and it looks really messy. You should only use quotes when you’re quoting someone.
  • Make sure you use the correct word for the context. The one wrongly used word that drives me mad the most is when people use the word “loose” instead of “lose” as in “I’m about to loose it!” Lose the loose when you’re about to lose it!
  • DON’T USE ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING. No one likes to be shouted at so don’t shout at your reader. Besides, it’s really hard to read.
  • Don’t use unnecessary bolding because this also looks like you’re shouting. Too much bolding makes your text look loud and garish. Your reader would get a headache and leave your content in a New York minute. Only use bolding to emphasize important information.
  • Don’t use unnecessary italics otherwise your text will be hard to read. Too much italics could slow down and frustrate your reader. If you’re like me, you would get impatient and – yes you guessed it – look for the nearest exit. Use italics for titles or file names.
  • Be consistent and don’t use too many different fonts and bullet styles. Several years ago, I had to revamp this manual because not only was it a complete mess, it also had about 10 different font styles. My brain raced every time I had to go through this content. Added to this chaos were several different styles for the bullet points – dots, arrows, check marks and dashes. It took me weeks to get this madness under control so the average human can digest the material. Don’t do this to your reader.
  • Always pluralize correctly. Don’t pluralize with a “z” instead of an “s” as in “shoez”, “dreamz”, “accentz” or “namez” otherwise you would risk looking unprofessional if done in the wrong context. I’ve seen this pluralization in business names but I can see this fad dying out really quickly.
  • Lose the corporate speak – fast! There is nothing more annoying that trying to decipher corporate speak nonsense when I’m reading something important. Yesterday, I was reading an article (won’t say where) that discussed the US “normalizing relations” with Cuba. Oh for crying out loud! Couldn’t they say “make peace with Cuba” or “cooperate with Cuba” or something like that? I know my version is not perfect but at least the reader would get an idea of the meaning.

These are a few of the many ways you can create excellent content that your audience loves to read. If you remember just these few suggestions, you’ll be well on your way!

If you got other tips to add, let me know in the comments.

How Social Media Revolutionized Marketing

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Effective marketing is of paramount importance especially in today’s marketplace. The concept of KYC, Know Your Customer, is also very important. You need to study your customer like a scientist who studies a specimen under a microscope and ask the who, what, when, where and why questions:

  • Who is your customer?
  • What makes them tick?
  • When is the best time to reach them?
  • Where do they “hang out”?
  • Why would they buy your product?

By understanding your customer, you can target your communication and marketing much more effectively.

Social media is becoming the new platform where business can become visible to their customers. You no longer need to spend vast amounts of money on fancy advertising and slick brochures. You can communicate to your customers through your blog, podcast, online news sites, and even by posting on other businesses’ blogs.

I believe that social media will revolutionize how you market your business. Why?

  • It is much easier to produce content using social media tools such as blogs, podcasts, webinars etc. than traditional tools since there is practically no learning curve.
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow you to network with your current and prospective clients. These tools are very useful to me as a business owner. You’d be surprised how many people I connected with on LinkedIn. I use to have only 15 connections but now I have almost 100! Some people believe that social networking sites are impersonal, but I don’t agree. I network just as effectively with people on LinkedIn as in person.
  • You can educate your current and prospective clients about your products by hosting webinars, podcasts, and telephone seminars. Some business owners even post presentations on YouTube to reach many prospective clients who may have never heard of them.

I am sure there are many more ways that social media will revolutionize how you market your business. What is your experience? How has social media revolutionized your marketing? Let me know in the comments.

Need to expand your client base? Try social media

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Social media is the new marketplace where businesses connect with clients. If you’re not using social media, you run the risk of being left behind. “But what do I say?” is the question most commonly asked. Think of social media as one big room. While the medium is different, the same basic networking and presentation techniques apply.

Know your customer. Who are your target customers? Where do they “hang out”? Which social networks do they visit? What are their problems or challenges? What do you want your customers to do? Buy a product? Learn something? Perform a certain action? Ask yourself these types of questions to know your customer well.

Listen up! Before your company can have effective conversations in social media, you need to know what customers are saying. It’s easy to set up tools to monitor conversations, but the tricky part is choosing keywords that yield the best results. One social media monitoring tool is Social Media Firehose, which allows you to track brand or product mentions on social media sites such as Facebook, myspace, flickr, twitter, friendfeed, digg, etc.

Don’t mix business and pleasure. Present yourself professionally. Include a professional looking photograph and explain what you offer. Remember the basics: no typos, no foul or offensive language, and no hype. In all social contexts, there is a time and place for everything. What you say on your personal profile may not be appropriate for your business profile. I have separate profiles. Facebook is my “playground” where I socialize with friends. LinkedIn is my “office” where I network with clients and conduct business. Clients are not interested in your personal life. They have a business need or problem, and peruse your profile to decide whether you can meet their need or solve their problem.

Participate. Don’t just “sit” there. You wouldn’t sit around and expect to meet people at an in-person networking event. You would approach a person or group, and participate in the conversation at the right moment. It works the same way in social media. Participate by asking questions, posting an article or blog, sharing information, or answering a question. Clients will see you as an expert, and soon come “knocking on your door”.

Watch other people. If you’re not sure how to present yourself, look at other profiles. When you see a profile you like, emulate them; but don’t copy them word for word. Ask your colleagues for advice and feedback.

Reach out and “touch”. Reconnect with colleagues or classmates and tell them you’re expanding your client base. Don’t be afraid to connect with people you don’t know. Do your due diligence by carefully checking their profile for professionalism. If you like what you see, connect with them! It’s a small world, and you may be only one degree of connection away from meeting the next client.

Tell nothing but the truth. Don’t lie or exaggerate your expertise. You’ll soon be caught and quickly gain a bad reputation. One click on the mouse and bad news goes viral almost instantaneously. So, be careful. Don’t leave out important information. Tell the complete story so clients can understand clearly what you offer.

Don’t share too much personal information. Think of your business profile like a brochure. You can include a picture of yourself and a business description. Provide the same information as you would on a brochure. Don’t divulge personal information such as your home address, nationality, date of birth, etc. You won’t include that in a brochure, so why include that on your business profile?

Jazz up your profile. Give presentations, write blogs, and launch webinars, videos or podcasts. Share interesting and useful information. The best type is “how to” information that explains how to do something or solve a problem. Clients are hungry for information and like quick solutions. Present your business as a solution provider, rather than just a business looking for clients.

These are some lessons I learned in my social media travels.

How have you used social media for your business? Share your thoughts in the comments.