Name checking tool for social media sites

Awesome, lovely superb…. just finding which social media sites exist today is hard but having to chase round and research available ‘names’ on each one for a new client – time consuming.
Thank heavens for the wonderful people at NameChk.com

They do the grunt for you.

Now all I need is to go register the name…. there’s a handy text download file option that gives you the URL you could get for each one.

Just don’t expect me to know what they all do!

NameCheck social media name availability

5 Tips on how to beat a video conferencing interview

Interviews are always a nervous ordeal but more often than not a well-prepared candidate will always rise above the rest of the pack and successfully take the job. That said, many candidates make the mistake of preparing for a video conference interview in the same way as a face to face interview which can leave an interviewer unimpressed. Here are my top 5 tips to help you beat a video conferencing interview:

1. Remove all distractions

If your video conferencing interview is taking place at your home then make sure you deal with any possible interruptions before the interview. If Fido has a tendency to barge into the room every now and again I am sure he wouldn’t mind playing in the garage for a while until the interview is over. Similarly, if you have kids who tend to be quite loud, it will make you and your interviewer lose concentration as well as making you look much less professional. Get hold of a babysitter or have them spend the day at your parents or friends. Whatever you do, just try to be home alone when the interview takes place.

2. Look at the camera

Just about every interview guru will tell you to make regular eye contact with your interview and a video conferencing interview is no different. This can catch out many interviewees since it is a common habit to look at the computer monitor instead of the actual camera. The camera is transmitting the picture and therefore if you don’t look at the camera it will look like you are looking away from the interviewer thus giving the impression that you are not interested in the interview. If you find this particularly difficult to do then try putting a picture behind your camera which will make it feel like you are talking to an actual person when you are looking at the camera.

3. Proper grooming

When doing a video conferencing interview it is easy to forget that you are being interviewed for a potential job offer. You may be at home but that does not mean that you can take part in the interview in your favourite carrot fit jeans with a T-shirt that has some a funny comment on it. Make sure you dress like you would if you were participating in a face to face interview as it will make you look more professional as well as making you feel more confident.

4. Set the scene

When carrying out a face to face interview, you go to the interviewer which means that the interviewer will make his decision based on you and you alone but on a video conferencing interview, the interviewer will be able to see you and your room, therefore, your room should also give a professional feel. I am not saying that you should completely redecorate but make sure all dirt has been cleaned and the room looks well organised. In addition to this, temporarily remove any posters which may embarrass you during the interview although sensible pictures and paintings can help create a more sophisticated atmosphere. This will help to give a positive first impression and will start the interview on a good note.

5. Practice makes perfect

Rehearsing your answers to popular interview questions as well as general interview techniques is essential for a successful interview but a video conferencing interview brings with it its own challenges and therefore more factors need to be added to the mix when rehearsing. You will need to get into the habit of talking out loud when nobody else is in the room so set up your own video conference system prior to the interview and ask your friend to interview you. After the interview ask your friend to give you some feedback.

Website holding page – how to use for marketing gain

Taking your website offline is rarely welcomed by the marcomms team.  sometimes you have go do it.

Brand Glue did a great job of making a strong message come through their holding page.

In fact, since I took this screen shot, the timer doesn’t seem to have ‘counted down’ any more…. wonder if it’s really a permanent thing.  Tho they have added an article below it about their newsfeed optimization service.

in any event, don’t allow a 404 redirect to show up if you can avoid it.

Plus, having a ‘timer’ on the page keeps the focus  pressure on the team building the new website.

Which’ll probably be late.

That’s life.

Good practice: A website holding page

Following on from yesterday’s post about delays publishing a new company website – take a look at this one:

What I like about it is

  1. it sets a deadline (the counter is clocking down all the time)
  2. it still says what the company does – USP – so the holding page continues to sell the brand
  3. contact details are still there
  4. there’s an invitation to subscribe to notifications about the re-launch

Does your brand demand a launch date that can’t be changed?

Website holding page for BrandGlue

Marketing using Business Christmas Cards

Corporate greeting cards can be used in many ways to promote your business and to show appreciation to supportive clients; some traditional and some a bit more creative. However, there are some rules and tips you should keep in mind to get the best return on your investment of sending out a Business Christmas card:

1. Procedure/mailing list

Make sure you keep your company contact information up-to-date on a regular basis and take your time to add new contacts you gain throughout the year.

A good way to control if your contact details are up to date is by including your return address so that the post office will return the card if the address is no longer valid. It will also serve a dual purpose by providing your contact information to your recipients.

2. Timing is everything

Don’t send your cards late, set yourself a deadline. December 15th is a convenient cut-off date for having your cards in the mail. If you’re sending business Christmas cards internationally, they’ll have to be in the mail much sooner. Here are some helpful links for recommended Christmas mailing deadlines: NZ Post, AUS Post, Royal Mail, USPS, Canada Post. If your Christmas card arrives after the holidays, you have just sent the wrong message to your customers. Read more

Cold email introduction – copy this campaign

Want to use cold emails as part of your customer acquisition?  We get dozens of approaches by digital media agencies usually picked up by our clients’ spam filters.

Today we’re publishing one of the better ones as a crib for you to copy for your own use if you want to buy email lists and try to start working cold call emails for your B2B brand.

Here’s the copy

Subject: Oneupweb would like to work with you

Cold Email example text

What do you think?

A short, neat message.  Starts with reassurance – do what you’ve always done.  But we all know how that sentence ends…. “and you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

Nice use of the word “earn” in the second sentence – they are going to work for you to gain trust.  I like that.

The words for the services list are all hotlinks with custom tracking codes – good practice to see where your campaign is working.  I clicked on the link and it took me to a standard page… no special landing site after the page had rendered using the tracking code.

Bullet points

A neat filtering tool is used here.  By quoting fees or likely media costs for services, they filter out any brands who can’t afford to pay $2,000 per month for Search Marketing or $15k for social media campaigns.

Be attracted by the big names they’ve worked for but be put off by the fees = you are not my target customer.

Interesting that it came in to my private email address.  It’s a dot com so maybe the list buyer figured I must be in USA and it’s a long-registered domain (2001 approx) and short so again, it maybe didn’t filter me out for being a person not a business.

Call to action

A question as a call to action is a subtle approach.  Do I think next week is a good time to talk?

Enough time to get into my diary and a question that can be easily answered.  Interestingly, no easy-call buttons for direct line phone numbers added here.  Wonder why?

Footer has company contact information and the usual range of social media links plus an unsubscribe.

What happens next?

We sent a reply – will let you know what happens next.

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Twitter competition ideas

There have been a few good quesitons around recently with Public Relations agencies in particular seeking ideas for competitions that can run on Twitter.

Running a competition is a good way of building new followers for social media communication channels – it also helps for brand awareness.  A contest doesn’t need to be expensive, or complex but the prize must fit the audience and be desirable.

Here are a few suggestions for Twitter contests:

  1. Short story – include an opening, middle and end in 140 characters
  2. Announce a photo theme and get uploaded photos on the theme
  3. Trivia question – allow funny, serious and absurd answers
  4. Buy a product and announce the invoice number on Twitter to enter a contest for a free prize
  5. Threadless tweet submisssion for printing on a t-shirt
  6. Collaborative songwriting / include your phrase or name in a song
  7. Joke sharing like the #bandfoodpuns on May 17th
  8. Munich beer contest to promote an expo – visit site and when the beer glass is empty the last person to RT the URL wins

Some marketing management suggestions

  1. Hashtag# the contest so you can track entrants
  2. Unique phrase with retweeting gets topics trending
  3. Contest entry added to follower request builds a following/community
  4. Use the contest to relaunch your twitter identity
  5. Frequent $100 prizes beat a big $500 prize
  6. Short deadline contests create urgency

Twitter competition prize ideas

  1. money
  2. music album downloads
  3. free product from your company
  4. a digital gadget – camera, phone, MP3 etc
  5. gift card from a recognised store
  6. a free service from your company
  7. a trip
  8. pay for a service for them from the winner’s favourite supplier (massage, haircut, car wash, online data backup, membership of a group / team fanclub)
  9. Music prizes – albums, concert tickets,

An example of a current twitter competition

Take a look a the Social Media Experiment at Glastonbury 2010 running now which I learnt about from the Chinwag group on LinkedIn.

The Social Media Experiment will take place on Friday the 25th June between 1pm & Midnight, and will feature a number of comedians, musicians, performance artists and live shows incorporating social media and interactive web technologies.  the prize is the chance to perform live on stage at Glastonbury

In order to win, visitors to the site are asked to join the competition group on Facebook and post a link to prove that they are a in a band, an artists etc. The winning act will then be chosen from the group at random in this ‘flash mob’ style competition.

Thanks to these people for providing me with ideas for the list above Trey Ratcliff, Alexandra Samuel, Internet marketing, Bob Baker, James Norris
4 Profile raising icon 2 Marketing Communications icon

Social Influence marketing – how it helps your biz dev

Razorfish, the global marketing agency, has released “Fluent” a report on social influence marketing.  There is a big buzz on influence and perception or sentiment analysis towards brands going on recently – and I think it is a small red herring; a phase the internet is going through.  Whether customers buy is the really important metric to know.  What leads to that buying decision is where your business development skills can be put to work.

I had a read through the report – it has a reasonably short summary of findings and a detailed appendix detailing the project methodology (really interesting if you like stats, research and algorithms).

The main statements that affect business development and how you should change your biz dev tactics and strategies are

  • The world expects brands to “do” not just push messages

I think this applies equally to B2C and B2B brands – showing a leadership in a niche can be demonstrated by activity. It needs to be activity that benefits the customer in some way.  I worked with Websters Accountants as they set up their site about auditing service charges for multi-occupied buildings.  We set a strategy for them to “give away” a service of offering an aggregated news feed about service charge accounting.  It’s a subject covered in a range of journals, blogs and websites – bringing together into one place is a service to their customers and prospects.  An example of a B2B brand doing something, not just pushing messages.

  • If actions speak louder than advertising (and they will), what is your brand doing?

Showing off your CSR is no longer enough.  Acting on the brand message, being the public ambassador of what your brand stands for and delivering on your promises in consistent ways (not necessarily kookie show-off ways) is what gets you noticed in the long term.

  • Social influence has an equal effect on active and less active users

This is definitely borne out by Seymour, my 90 year old relation who follows me on Plaxo and declares himself delighted to know what I’m up to.  He’s a reader and a watcher rather than a participant in the conversation.  But be clear, he is “in the conversation” but just not saying much right now.

  • Increased reliance on personal influence networks for purchase decisions rather than branding messages

Obvious really.  When does your belief in the marketing message get most cynical – when you are close to purchase.

  • As customers move through the sales funnel, reliance on word of mouth increases effectiveness the closer to decision you are

As above.

  • Independent blogs carry more weight than corporate blogs – but these are helpful in the awareness phase (page 12)

And so there is a place for corporate messaging – but be clear about where it has influence and where it does not. 

  • Brands must focus on value exchanges

Again, as Don Peppers said – I give you something, you give me something back.  Now that was in the era of early stage CRM but it was in the context of getting data to populate your database…. something only the customer knows about herself.  What can you give me of value and what can I give you of value first?

Take a look at this summary diagram.  Spells it out neatly.

Social influence hasn’t changed – but it has moved online in a way that marketers can track, measure and participate in.  Now that is something worth thinking about.

Actions for your brand / business / enterprise:

  1. What are the characteristics of your marketing communications at each stage of the sales funnel now?
  2. Where do you lack material?
  3. Can you find places online where those conversations are being recorded?
  4. Can you align the conversations and the ‘sentiment’ with your brand to stages in the sales funnel?
  5. Are there ways to adapt your marketing and customer services operations to step into those conversations in an appropriate and brand-aligned way?

influence_fluent

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Guest Post: How to Create a Powerful Sales Presentation – Chris Gallagher

As a business development agency with an involvement in the entire sales process, we help our clients to influence the brands we’ve created opportunities to pitch to.

This article of insightful tips helps you to structure a professional and powerful sales presentation so that you can pitch your agency with conviction, confidence, and clarity.

Tip 1: Define the objective of your presentation

Are you looking to persuade (e.g. sales meeting), inspire people into action (e.g. budget decision makers) or educate (e.g. brands will want to know you understand their industry and target audience therefore new interesting insights will add credibility to your presentation). In a pitch or sales meeting situation, you will be looking to do all the above. The presentation content should then reflect your objectives, which can be measured quantitatively or qualitatively.

Examples of measurements are:

Sales:Did you win the project or progress to the next stage?

Inspirational:When questioned, do the decision makers commit to both the principle and action associated with your presentation topic?

Educate: Did your insights create further discussions?

Tip 2: Understand your audience and venue

Sometimes the presentation title defines the audience.  Sometimes it’s the audience who define the title.

Things to consider on your audience are:

* Who are the people attending your presentation (marketing, finance, procurement)?

* How many will there be, and from what backgrounds?

* How will your audience be dressed, and expect you to dress (ideally the presenter should be aligned in appearance to the audience. In large corporations, shirt and tie is expected. In Marketing Communications, if you are targeting other agencies i.e. white labelling work, it’s more likely to be smart casual. Pitching this wrong can create a barrier to building rapport with your audience.

In terms of venue:

* The size of venue needs to be appropriate to the number of expected attendees.

* Ensure that you know exactly what technology is available to you and take what you need to with you. Even where the venue supplies this, always have a back-up plan. A decade ago this meant having printed copies for all your audience. Now it’s more likely to be a laptop and USB to store your presentation content

Tip 3: Using PowerPoint or flash presentations

Using a poorly prepared and visually unattractive presentation can decrease the overall value of your content, as well as the perception of its delivery.

A few simple rules to avoid this happening are:

* Make the presentation visually interesting. In an ideal world, flash should be used, but this can be impractical if you need to edit your presentations frequently (e.g. sales), where PowerPoint will suffice. That said, you can easily embed a mini-flash presentation within an otherwise editable presentation. This can be driven by some small headers on the front page of a presentation, alongside your company logo (typical headings for a sales presentation can be “testimonials”, “financials”, and “proposal”)

* Do not overuse words and bullets. The rule of thumb here is that if I can present or read the content of your presentation without you being there, then it is a poor presentation. Only rely on key phrases or topic headers. Additionally, a thirty slide PowerPoint with nothing but bullets on it will bore your audience to sleep. Imbed “interest peaks” into your presentation (see below).

* Do not under use or over use animation. Often people feel the need to overuse animation, which can become distracting and over the top. Equally, dropping an entire slide into view means that the audience will inevitably read ahead of where you want them to be. Bring each salient point in as required.

* Make sure that you know in advance how much time you will have and plan your presentation accordingly. In sales presentations, if the client reduces the time you have to pitch, do not rush through a one-hour presentation in fifteen minutes. Discuss the most salient points or re-appoint to another time.

Tip 4: Create “interest peaks”

A standard presentation is 40 minutes in length. In this time, your audience will be at their most attentive in the first 10-12 minutes, and the last 5. This is because people “drift off” during presentations that are heavy in content, visually dull, or poorly presented. To counter this it is important to continually keep your audiences attention by offering new, interesting stimuli in terms of content and delivery.

Good methods of achieving this are:

* Anecdote – People like to hear a good, relevant story.

* Quotes – It is common to open and close presentations with quotes, which make an important point related to the presentation title, or to inject some humour.

* Jokes – On that very subject, jokes can keep audience energy high, but only if they are tactful, relevant to the presentation, and funny.  Do not stop and wait for rapturous applause, because if it isn’t forthcoming you will look very silly indeed.

* Video or film – Changing the media you use will inevitable re-engage those lost during the presentation.

* Using different presenters – A single person for a long period can become dull. If it is realistic, and assuming both are good presenters in their own right, this can help to keep a longer session more engaging.

* Activities – It is said, “you remember 10% of what you hear, up to 80% of what you hear, see and actually experience yourself”. Where possible get your audience involved in appropriate activities.

Tip 5: Body language

The key mistakes made by inexperienced presenters are:

* Shuffling from side to side

* Playing with pens, watches, or anything you’re holding

* Staring at a single point or at the back of the room. Equally it’s poor etiquette to look at the screen whilst presenting. You should know the content, and even if you do not, use confidence cards for guidance. Remember YOU are your best visual aid in making presentations interesting.

Chris Gallagher is the Strategic Development Director for UpFront Business Development

This article was first published on UpFront’s Knowledge Centre.

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