The New Year rang in some wonderful free tools ideal for lead-capture, conversions and putting muscle behind your social media posts. Here are two reviews for Snip.ly and SumoMe, both free and both worth your time.
Snip.ly: I took App Sumo’s new tool, Snip.ly out for a test-run this afternoon, and I’ve gotta say, this tool has some serious power. They’re doing a free one-year subscription to the Pro package and I suggest you get it while it’s hot – (it’s a $300 value) and no, I don’t have an affiliate link to them… (yet…) Here’s a quick 4-minute video showing you the back-end:
Snip.ly not only abbreviates your long urls, but it allows for embedding a call-to-action button right onto your landing page with a one-two punch. I used it to promote my affiliate hosting site, Midphase with their 40% off sale and my tutorials for Serif WebPlus. It allowed me to promote BOTH pages on 1 post in both Facebook and Twitter (now how cool is that??)
SumoMe: I’ve gotta admit, this one was a little confusing (still is…) in that I don’t always see the lead capture box show up on my website. I put a device up on my home page (lemme know if you see the bugger…) to give away my free report, “The Top (Dirt-Cheap) Tools I Use to Get Noticed Online.” Some leads have come in, but not an avalanche. In all fairness, I haven’t promoted this to the max – I may use the power of Snip.ly to drive traffic to my pages that house the SumoMe lead-capture device and see if that works a bit better. Nonetheless, it is easy to install, just not always easy to see it all the time, especially if you’ve put in commands that it only show once a month so as not to pester loyal followers of your website or blog. Here’s the scoop on SumoMe and a few other GREAT tools:
So if you’re playing with your website over the weekend, take these two tools out for a spin and let me know what you think of them in the comments below.
I know, I know – I groaned too when I heard there was yet another social media platform to play with. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have a problem with Facebook ads. I DO have a problem with them owning all of my content. I DO think the way they monetize by boosting your post is cumbersome. I like how YouTube uses AdSense and rewards you for good content. That’s how it should be done and happily, Tsu has taken this to a higher level.
I’m promoting my new program Tell Me – Tell the World where I teach you how to create your own lead capture devices to get more clients. I was about to post about it on LinkedIn when Caleb Wright’s FANTASTIC review of Tsu hit my screen. Do yourself a favor and read his whole blog, watch the videos, they’re worth your time.
Here’s a quick video showing you how to setup your Tsu. Go ahead, sign up and follow me on Tsu. Let’s see how much we can bank together.
I’m getting ready for the retreat I’m teaching called The Click in mid-September. Someone private messaged me on Facebook and it took me awhile to respond back to her. Here’s what she asked:
“I’ve been in business for 7 years now and it’s been rough. The recession, banks not lending and my credit score taking a nosedive have made me think I need to get a job, but no one will hire me. Okay, they’ll hire me, but not at a living wage. So I’ve been dealt a bad hand and I’m trying to make the best of it. Will The Click help?”
Wow. I wish I knew the answer to that one. I can guide, set up a marketing plan, build a website and e-commerce stuff, but no one knows how to deal with a bad hand… or do we?
I put my cell phone down and picked up a deck of cards. I played the only game I know next to “Go Fish,” and that’s “Solitaire.”
So I dealt a hand. And I lost.
I dealt a second. And I lost.
I dealt a third. And I won.
So what did I do once I had won? I dealt again. And I had one of those “aha” moments. Whether I win or lose, the result was the same: I dealt again. Why?
“Hey Vin, what do you do when you lose a game of solitaire?”
“I deal again.”
“And what if you win?”
“I deal again. But I don’t play it like you do.” This gave me pause.
“How do you play?” I pushed my cards aside and he showed me the solitaire game on his phone. “Each time I play, I accrue points, so it gives me more incentive to keep playing.” Accrue points; experience. Each time you play, you learn, right?
Keep playing… So no matter whether you win or lose at Solitaire, we fold up the cards, shuffle, and play again. Just like in business. I remember when I had my corporate handcuffs and how people discouraged me from starting my own business.
“Business is risky – work in the cable industry.” So I worked for Adelphia. And they folded.
Deal the cards. Shuffle. Play again.
And I created (and re-created) Got Clicks along with many other companies. Some did very well, some not so well. But I kept playing and learning and accruing not points, but knowledge and experience on how to do it right more quickly.
Ready to Play?
Here are some tips on getting it right in your business:
Stop Putting Cats in Dresses: My last blog post talks at length about this and it’s the number one reason businesses fail – lack of customer research. Do your customers want what you have to offer? Ask the RIGHT questions and learn what your clients are hungry for.
Simplify Your Messaging: Stop talking over your audience’s head. How do you describe your business? “I do Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management and build websites and landing pages,” was how I used to lead my elevator pitch and I found people would nod and politely walk to the cash bar. I now say “I help businesses get noticed online.” Much less scary, more engaging and memorable.
Make it Easy: Make it easy for a customer to buy from you. Think about how you want your customer to receive your product or services. Is your website concise? Is it easy to understand what you have to offer? Do you engage with the right people on your social media? Are you on social media with a purpose or on there because somebody told you to be there?
Success is not defined by how much money you make, the money you make is directly related to how much success you accrue. If it doesn’t work? Fold. Shuffle. Play Again.
After sleeping on friends’ couches, bunking in spare rooms, having our dog mark her new territory at the most inappropriate times, I finally came to the end of my patience. I snapped. I cried. I felt disoriented – muddled and couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag even if I wanted to. Chaos gives you the gift of seeing what really matters and my First Mate, Vinny, is at the top of the list. We have stepped into the unknown and it is as terrifying as it is empowering. As I broke down for the 1,000th time, Vinny quietly brought me out in the kayak onto Lake Rescue (yes, it really is called Lake Rescue…) and pulled my boat up alongside his. “We’re in this together – I’m sorry if my words hurt you earlier today, but I love you very much.” Stinging words, lashing out, endless crying jags, lack of sleep and mountains of stress result in one winged-out Sarah. It is at these times when things are at their darkest; when you question everything including the point of your own existence.
I’ve never met Cheryl Hanna, the law professor who was a popular commentator on WCAX who recently committed suicide. I don’t watch TV, so I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard her before. But I can certainly feel her – that dark, lonely place where no matter what you do, you just can’t pull yourself out of a long, dark depression.
Eva Sollberger’s post rang true, brave and honest. She wrote:
“So I’m taking off my social media mask for a moment to be as human as I know how to be. Let’s be kind to each other as we all try to figure this beautiful and sometimes terrifying life out. Rest in peace Cheryl. You fought so hard and accomplished so much. You make us brave.”
While I’m not sure if Cheryl’s action made me feel brave; Eva’s tender commentary did make me think.
Do we really need to wear a mask on social media? Is it all too real for those of us who show our persona’s in the public hot lights – where the cloak of social anonymity somehow makes the timid say the most rancid comments, all in the sake of “being honest?” Cheryl was concerned someone would “find out” about her illness and “take her down.” So she (and many of us,) continue to mask it until it spills out in the weirdest ways. There’s a fine line between being “honest” and being hurtful. I used to tell my son, it’s so much better to be kind than clever – especially in the world of social media. But then, what a world if we all ran around as mindless Pollyanas with our rose colored glasses slipping down our collective noses as we pass judgement upon those who dare to say, “I’m having a really shitty day.” You can choose joy all day long, but eventually, it sounds hollow, fake and lacks the altruism originally intended. I’m not saying to be a Debbie Downer or Pollyana – I AM saying… be honest. Post with integrity.
I love posts that make me think, and especially the ones that make me FEEL… No, I don’t know Cheryl, but I really appreciated Eva’s brave, honest words – letting down the costume mask and sharing a commonality those of us who have dealt with depression endure. That’s when it stops being social media and starts being human.
Lake Rescue continues to resuscitate me, but it’s always nice to have someone pull your kayak up alongside them when you’re too tired to row against the tide. Thanks, Eva, you’ve made me more mindful to write what matters, what makes me feel and stay true to it. We need to be kinder by helping each other navigate safely to shore or to pull each other up when we drift off course.
I recently worked with a large Vermont company to obtain a contract to manage social media for them. One of the topics that came up repeatedly surrounded the ethics a public company faces when posed with less-than-flattering posts from trolls. How do you handle it?
I had this question come up when I taught a seminar in Lake George where competition between hotels and B and B’s is fierce. Many of them relayed stories about competitors posting negative reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor. So what DO you do? Is the response for a small hotel or BnB in Lake George different than what I would advise a large, publicly traded company? Suddenly, my ethical compass was tied in a knot. As I went sans sandwich or bathroom break and we were closing in on 6 hours of grilling, the magical question came up.
“If faced with a negative comment on our social media page, how would you handle it?” I was asked as my potential new client leaned forward.
“It depends.” I said. “Is it a common problem that more than one person has posed? If so, you may want to address it internally and then respond on your social media outlets. But it needs to be communicated clearly internally so the message is well thought out before broadcasting on social media. However, don’t sit on it for a week – Social Media is immediate and demands attention or you’ll be seen as uncaring in the face of adversity.”
My interviewer leaned back in their chair with a decided frown briefly crossing her face.
“No, that’s not how we work here. We are a publicly traded company.”
“So, what do you do?”
“Nothing. We don’t respond.”
Wow. She explained it further to me,
“If we give attention to someone complaining on our social pages, it leaves us open for liability.”
“Do you offer to reach out to them offline via email or customer service line?”
“No. We also do not post news stories that are unflattering to our customers.”
I shifted in my chair. If it’s a troll and they just post on a large corporate entity’s page to get more attention,I agree, do nothing; most intelligent people will understand that the person’s not worth your time. What’s even sweeter is if you’ve taken the time to cultivate a loyal following of your brand, many of THOSE customers will step up to the plate and address it for you – establishing something that money simply can’t buy and that’s customer loyalty.
However, in a situation where there is genuine customer dis-satisfaction, my gut just tied in knots over their answer of doing – nothing. If you make a mistake in your company? Fix it. If it adversely affects others? Tell them. Fast. Give them an idea when you’ll be able to solve it just as Buffer did a few weeks ago when they were compromised. Posting unflattering stories of your clients I don’t recommend, but I also don’t think it’s right to bury your head in the sand, either. Does your customer know the story’s out there? What’s their take on it? Perhaps you could offer a platform to your customer that the traditional news media hasn’t given? It’s a slippery slope for a CEO to determine what is released into the Wild, Wild, Web. That’s why Buffer’s story is so wonderful:
1) The CEO addressed the issue directly.
2) They responded within 10 minutes of the breach. On a weekend.
3) They could have lost customers, but instead, they gained the magic glue that’s been holding companies together long before the Internet: TRUST.
Yes, if you have a chronic Negative Nellie posting on your wall and it’s minor, let it go. However, if it is customer-affecting, is seen as a sore-spot and you can take action to resolve it, take action.
Planning Posts Prevents Poor P.R.
Get your ducks in a row internally first, so that you have a game plan. Then, by all means, communicate with those who put you in the driver’s seat in the first place – your customers.
About a year ago, I spent so much time extolling the features of our products (Social Media Management, Search-Engine Friendly websites, ) showing my vast knowledge of Internet Marketing that I would miss the tell-tale signs of client burn-out: eyes glazing over, arms crossed, leaning back in the chair and looking out the window wishing they were anywhere but in my office… What did I miss? Showing my customers not only the WHY of social media (they already know it intuitively) but the HOW?
I saw this happen at a recent workshop I observed on Social Media. It was excellent material and I was completely enthralled. However, I heard questions from the audience that I didn’t feel were answered:
- I don’t have TIME to manage Facebook – I really don’t want a second full-time job.
- How do I know if anybody sees my posts on Facebook? (ie, ‘is this mic on?’)
- How do I get people to “Like” my page?
Granted, you can’t always answer everyone’s needs in a one-hour workshop. However, showing slides of statistics, graphs and quotes will do nothing but disengage your audience. Business owners already know they need to be on social media; they just don’t know the how yet.
Time Management: Pick ONE that you love to post on – Facebook or Twitter and TIE them together. That way, you post on one and it’ll show on the other. Now, I realize there are pros out there who will squawk at this advice and you are absolutely right – in a perfect world, ALL the posts should be unique. However, we live in the real world where time is money. Tie them together – save yourself a headache. The other nifty tool? Hootsuite. It posts to all of your networks. You can schedule your whole week out in advance. Just make sure you check in daily to see if any new comments are in.
Getting Posts Noticed: With all the algorithm changes, it IS very hard to get professional pages showing in newsfeeds. I’ve found if I share my posts from my Got Clicks page onto my personal Facebook page, it helps with the number of people who see it. If I have a seminar, I ask friends that I think would benefit to share it on their pages. I shared fun photographs of my friends supporting one of my seminars (you’ll see the Selfie my good friend, Jerry took of him hanging one of my posters for my upcoming seminar in Middlebury and Williston). If it’s fun, interesting and gets the point across, go ahead and post it!
Getting Likes to a Page: Let’s say you don’t have a ton of friends on your personal page in Facebook, let alone your business page. Find friends of yours who do have a regular following and ask them to recommend your page. Another way is to have an offer – “Like” my page and get a gift certificate to ______” Make it relevant to your business. If it’s a gift card to Starbucks, so what? But if it’s a discount to one of your products or services, it does 2 things: allows people to check out your stuff and gets them buying with an upsell opportunity.
It’s Not All About YOU… Don’t forget to LIKE other pages that compliment your business! Not only should you “Like” them – COMMENT on their stories. Chances are, they’ll comment back, or be more likely to share your content. Don’t be spammy, be relevant.
Something in Common: Find companies that compliment what you already do. This is easily accomplished in Twitter. Simply type in one of your keywords with a # in front: #social media #paintedfurniture. Do this and you’ll see which companies commented most recently. Follow these pages, then look them up on Facebook to have a cross-promotion.
BUT… You could do ALL of this and STILL have no “Likes” to your business page. Why? Because you may have missed the most important lesson of entrepreneurship that no Facebook page, no blog – heck, no website could ever fix. If you’d like to learn what that is, don’t miss “Got Clients” workshop. The next session is listed HERE.