Want to get more followers oline? Real traffic? Here's a follow up to my Understanding Google's Mission video blog post. Here I'm kind of hitting on the same point somewhat but from a different angle. Both videos should help you begin to formulate a more effective plan for attracting people organically (not having to pay for them to come see you) and keeping them around. Things have changed so much in the last few years by way of how informaiton is shared and this posting is about how they have changed and what it means to you as a publisher (and by the way, you ARE a publisher).
Social Media really IS turning the business-to-customer on its head and this process is only beginning. The businesses which embrace this are going to stay ahead of this chaos as it happens. But if, as a business, you're afraid of change or too set in your ways, you're liable to regret it later when your competitors take a giant leap ahead by setting themselves apart.Let's say you're a dentist (this is fresh on my mind because I just visited a great one here in town and am still convalescing a little from their excellent work). The usual dental business model is like a lot of others: attract patients (customers), do the work, they leave, you follow-up at some point or schedule a follow-up right there. That's the way it's been being done for years and years, with some slight variations.
But can businesses "handle it"?
Does this idea make you feel a little uncomfortable? It might and I'd be surprised if it didn't because businesses have not been all that good about bellying up to that particular bar. When was the last time someone at a company really asked you for your honest opinion about a service they delivered to you, in a way that you were happy to tell them because you could see they handle the truth? Ever? (Note: I'm not talking about the constrained surveys that only let you numerically assign values to service or your likeliness to buy or recommend. I'm talking about real, braindump, unedited type responses, because that's what people are able to dishout now, via their own media channels (blogs, Twitter, Facebooke, etc.), if they so choose.
Social media, if it's doing anything else in the market place is starting to tear down the walls between businesses and the minds of their customers. Not only does the emperor not have any clothes on, but his subjects are willing to tell him and can with relative impunity.
As more and more people realize they have venues like UserVoice, Get Satisfaction and others like them (see article below), honest answers about your services and products will begin to flow out into the world, whether you like it or not.The best thing businesses could do is embrace this fully and early as possible and build "get honest answers" mechanisms into their existing customer/patient management processes. The sooner they do this the sooner they will also ensure that they are protecting their herd or tribe from poaching businesses. (After all, the ease with which customers can now get information means they have so many more choices than ever before.)
---How Social Media is Upending the Enterprise | Fast Company.
The power of social media has empowered the consumer to reach literally hundreds or thousands of people in seconds. And because we know a consumer’s closest friends are three to five times more likely to share the same preferences for products and brands, this newfound power is not to be underestimated. ...
The challenge for companies is figuring out how to manage this. A conversation could start with a tweet, be directed to a help forum, be responded to in email, updated in a blog post, and then broadcast on Facebook. How will this be tracked, measured and monitored? This market is ripe with opportunity for both brands and software platforms built to nurture the distributed web-wide conversation.
Added my weblog to www.alphainventions.com yesterday because a friend told me he got a big spike in traffic as a result. It actually worked!
It's kind of interesting site. It rotates through blogs kind of like a jukebox or something and you can pause the "Play" if you want. Because people a) add their blog and b) sit there to see if/when their blog pops up, it adds visits to your blog if it's part of the played sites.
Interested to see if this results in just an uptick on one day or a consistent flow of traffic. Looks like there is a paid version which purports to deliver "100x" the traffic.
The other day, I was talking to a business associate who has a non-profit site promoting a moral code for children. She was asking me about SiteBuildIt! (SBI!) and something she said just won't leave me alone.
SBI! is all about websites that get actual traffic and her response to something I had written about SBI! was she had "a site that she just sends people to" herself. The implication was she didn't really need something like SBI! as a service because she was just using her site as a big electronic business card, or as a follow-up tool in her sales.
This is all fine and good, but it struck me as contradictory. So I asked her a question: "If you had, say, 5,000 or 10,000 or more people come to your site every week, would that help what you're trying to do?" "Of course!" she immediately responded.
It was a predictable reply, of course, but this brief exchange was enlightening to me. It exposed something I think a lot of people who have websites feel.
My friend Raoul Widman just turned me on to this tool for blog publishing. I like it because it embeds itself into Firefox, my favorite web browser (so customizable!).
You can see here how ScribFire looks. It sits in the background and when you need it you just click on the orange icon at the bottom right of the browser window.
This is my first posting using this tool. How's it look?
The Quick Update
I've got so many things going on right now that I'm not getting a lot of blogging in.
One of the things I'm most excited about is Timemaker. It's a productivity software product I'm helping to import into the U.S. (and beyond!). What I love about it is that it is incredibly empowering to managers and business owners of "all shapes and sizes."
The thing that seems to hamper them the most is the lack of visibility within their organizations. What I mean is, using email (which is a pretty limited business tool when the tallying is all done) it's hard for them to see how coordinated (or uncoordinated) their teams are really being and whether the day's work of each individual is really forwarding the overall goals of the organization or department. The manager sends an email to someone to ask them to do Task A, but the question is, did it get done on time? Or was that person too swamped to really give it any attention?
In small organizations, it's relatively easy because you just do the rounds and see how your people are doing. But work is so global these days (remote workers) that it can be hard to do that kind of thing. So, you rely on verbal reports from employees which are usually glowing and can often distract from the real question: "is the task done?" And if not, when will it be done?
Multiply this by the # of employees and throw on whatever other organizational confusion d' jour may be presenting itself and important, critical-to-survival tasks can get a little difficult to track with any real consistency.
To put it another way, a friend told me he has about 700 employees in his organization. One day he realized that if each one were to fall a day behind on their tasks/projects, he's instantly 700 days behind. Even if the real-world implications are never quite that direct or cleanly stated, it's a sobering thought, isn't it?
Timemaker was built by an executive for executives, which makes it kind of unique as a product. Functionally speaking, it has all the features an executive would need to manage, and that's, after all, what really counts isn't it? It's all about how effective can you be--how well you're completing the right tasks which are forwarding the overall strategy.
In any case, much of my time is being spent giving live one-on-one demos to people while I get the webinars ready for action. I like this anyway because it helps me get a feel for the kinds of problems and issues that are facing today's managers and business owners.
Meanwhile my wife and I are having a lot of fun networking with folks as usual. This last week we helped 3 or 4 people connect with others in their field or who could use each other's services because, let's face it, it's always easier to promote other people than it is ourselves. And it feels more rewarding!
Have a great weekend!
Well I am forever pleased with www.typepad.com, the host of all my blogs. They have come out with yet another great tool for fast and easy publishing: the Typepad phone application. Now I can more easily publish to all my blogs from my Treo phone and I can tend to small details like assigning categories without having to double back to the post .ater when I am on my PC. This is brilliant and a smart move on their part. Now I am REALLY hooked!