Monday, December 24, 2012

¡Merry Christmas and The Very Best on 2013!

I want to take this opportunity to wish you the best in the world, not only during these holidays, but for each of the days on the New Year which is to start in just a few days!

I also want to thank you wholeheartedly for having accompanied me on this adventure again, for supporting the articles I post here, for helping me learn through your comments, for letting me go into your lives, and business, and for allowing me to share with you my honest, professional thoughts about this wonderful world of marketing, advertising, social networks and, in brief: business!

I will restart posting on January 7, taking these days off to enjoy the best gift God has given me: my wife and kids!

Obviously I will also take advantage, as a good blogger that I am, to organize several articles I have to write, which I am sure will be of your interest.

May these Holidays be a wonderful time to share, enjoy and cherish moments of joy, brotherhood and love with all your loved ones, your friends, your partners and all the people around you!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Suffering Of "Tunnel Vision" While Managing Your Business?

Suffering of "Tunnel Vision"?
We all know that having goals is necessary, we could even say it's mandatory if we want to know whether the actions we are taking, both in our marketing efforts as in life itself, are effective or not and, therefore, will enable us to make proper decisions in a timely fashion.

But it often happens that the "achieving goals" thing becomes a crying rally and, behind it, many entrepreneurs put themselves into a frantic race towards achieving those goals as if the intensity or cruelty of the race itself was in itself their goal.

One of the things I like about driving is that, if you look around, you can make yourself aware of many things: the landscape, a particular building, signs announcing different things (some important, some not so much), other cars , and so on.

However, when you enter a tunnel, have you noticed how everything suddenly changes?

Inside the tunnel your focus is on the road ahead and the exit if you have it in sight.

Your focus is on the light you see at the end of the tunnel or, in the best case scenario, you stare at the car in front of you. After all, there is not that much to look at while inside the tunnel, or is there?

Inside the tunnel, there are very few elements that assit you in creating an overall view of what's happening on your surroundings, allowing you to be aware of what's happening around you and how all this can affect your ride, yourself and those who are with you in the car.

Does this sound familiar to you? This is the way in which many entrepreneurs, perhaps yourself, manage their business: fully focused on achieving their goals.

They simply go straight forward, driving without looking around, not paying attention to the things around them and without giving any importance to the influence, positive or negative, that these things can have on their achievement of those results, business profitability, and therefore satisfaction of all people related: stockholders, employees and partners.

How can you change this way of managing your business and be more effective?

Well, you must start by not thinking as if you were inside a tunnel. Don't keep you focus only in your goals and achieving them, but concentrate on coordinating and  managing, the best you can, all neccessary actions you should take to achieve the goals you've set.

And for doing that and being more effective, you should use all the information that is around you. If you pay close attention to your surroundings, you will surely find new opportunities, avoid difficult situations for your company such as that driver who is zigzag driving at a very high speed and whom, if doesn't maneuver quickly, will destroy your car, and will hurt people inside of it, including yourself, of course.

Open your eyes and ears to enjoy the scenery. Gather information. Develop alternative plans. Who is to know? Maybe you come to find a shortcut that helps you achieve your goals in half the time you expected? Maybe a "business angel" interested in funding your project? How about a competitor going bankrupt and leaving an open spot for you?

Related Posts:
Marketing: Where Can We Find The "Starting Point"?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Facebook: A City Full of Street Vendors.

Vendedores en cada esquina.
Last week I published an excellent article by my a friend of mine, Pilar Perez Baz (@PilarPerezBaz), in which she talked about facebook comparing it to a city full of people who gather there to share things about their lives, interact with others who are interested in the same kind of things, and, generally, hang out.

In my case, for instance, Facebook allows me to keep in touch with my family, a part of which is in Venezuela, and the others spread out through Chile, Germany, Trinidad, and me, my wife and kids here in Spain.

It also allows me to regularly chat with friends I have in the United States and, in brief, Facebook has helped me stay in touch with the people I love, with those with whom I want to nurture relationships along the road and to develop new ones as well, forever destroying geographical barriers.

Today, there are street vendors on every Facebook corner.

However, what began as a platform that you can use to keep in touch with the world, has started to become a street market, where traders will sell their products, stand on street corners with big horns and begin to demand your attention, so that you to buy from them and not anyone else.

They will invite you to follow them, will become your friend, but at the end of the story, they just want to sell you something.

And that's fine: They are merchants. They have products. They need to sell. The problem is that, with their horns and banners, we can’t see the beauty of the city in which we live, in some cases, their noise interrupts conversations we are having at a square or in a coffee shop.

When we’re walking down the boulevard, those guys try to sell us things putting their goods in front of our face, not even allowing us to salute that friend with whom we arranged to meet there.

The problem is not about what they do, but the way the do it.

Obviously if you are a trader, facebook gives you a great tool to get in touch with your audience, to develop long-term, lasting relationships, breaking geographical barriers that may limit your business, add value to relationships, and above all, generate more business.

After all, your marketing efforts must ultimately focus on bringing in more sales, more business.

However, your desire to sell ain’t bad itself. The problem lies on the way you are doing your things. If you want to keep blowing the horn, standing in one corner of the street, yelling to the top of your lungs to the world how good your products are, probably people will end up covering their ears, completely annoyed.

What can you do to take advantage of facebook and bring in more sales?

  • Provide relevant content to your audience: identify the areas of your business that may be of their interest. If you sell security systems, for instance, provide tips on how to better protect your house, what precautions to take when going on vacation. Even talk of other products that may be of great interest, such as doors and security gates, even though you consider them competition, the can add a significant value to your customer’s life.
  • Share news, videos, posts and other material you find that somehow can improve your customers’ lives, bring new ideas, fresh, altruistic, interesting and innovative.
  • Join groups where they discuss topics of your interest: Share the knowledge that makes you an expert within your business, provide tips, offer help, stay always available as a company and as a person.

You will always have traditional tools to promote your business, such as sponsored post or paid facebook ads, however, if we remain faithful to the idea that gave birth to facebook, which was to unite people with people, You’ll do an excellent job if you follow the tips recommended above, make your presence on facebook a little bit more “human” and you’ll be making more money.

Keep in mind it’s not about taking a megaphone and shouting from the rooftops how good your products are, but to prove you're a company which wants to interact with its audience, willing to share and add value in a world increasingly interconnected.

Related posts:
From Conversation To A Brand New Sale in 6 Simple Steps.
“It’s not called Sociale Media for notihng.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Facebook: Neither With You Nor Without You.

Facebook: Ni contigo, ni sin tí.
I think the social network in which I spent most of my time is Facebook. But surprisingly, it isn’t the one I like the most. And so, why do I then keep sharing bits of my life through it?

A few days ago, a colleague asked me what my thoughts were about facebook and what came out of my mouth surprised me: I still think I'm on it mainly because the people I want to share moments with are particularly active users of this  successful social network.

But is that all?, How do I feel about facebook?

No, it’s not all. I will try to define facebook as a social network on my own way and will then try a reconciliation. For me facebook is like a big city full of life, and very, very noisy.

The citizens of facebook (its users) reside in small apartments (personal profiles). Each of these areas reflects the personal touch of its tenants, also becoming a perfect spot to manifest their own lifestyle and mindset.

These apartments can have the door open for anyone who wants to drop by without calling first or conversely, its residents may choose to close the door and decide who goes in or not (through a friend request).

I would recommend configuring your privacy settings as you like, and therefore control some of your life in such a chaotic a city, ruled on one hand by the absence of Mark Zuckerberg and secondly by these rules we know as "facebooknians".

To succeed on facebook, you’ve got to know what its main purpose is.

To succeed in this virtual city you must have a very clear understanding that your main purpose should be to share updates about your tastes, feelings, hobbies and so forth. At least that was the idea on the beginning.

Like in any big city, there is a big avenue (newsfeed) where you can freely wander around to keep up with the latest updates from your friends and greet them, or comment on their status.

Sometimes you can even enjoy a nice chat with some friends about specific subjects without even noticing it. A good way to draw your friend’s attention and interact with them on something you want, is as simple as mentioning their name or labeling them.

What if you don’t feel like talking to your friends? It’s ok. You can also enjoy a great ride by doing some window-shopping in the main avenue (visiting professional or business pages).

Facebook pages help professionals in business, companies and brands to connect with their audiences, improve customer communication and build brand loyalty. Facebook pages are an important marketing tool.

Feeling like talking about something specific? What about joining a Club?

If you just want to talk with people who have similar interests as you do, you can join a social club (or what they call "Groups" on facebook).

In the facebook "Groups", not all members have to be friends with each other, but they have become a useful channel to meet people and exchange ideas on a common theme.

So far, the way I feel about facebook is not strong enough as to invite me to undertake a full reconciliation with this social network everyone is talking about, but now I see clearly how I feel about it: What I actually don’t like about facebook is not its system, but its constant failures.

Hey, by the way ... Do you have Facebook?

Author: Pilar Perez BazI am from Zamora and love my roots. Love them so much that I can’t stay away too long from my roots but I also love Galicia, the land that welcomed me and where I gave birth to my only daughter Sara, Galician by birth and conviction. I'm enthusiastic, I like to share, love technology and the internet. @Pilarperezbaz

Related article: If you had to pay to be in Facebook ¿Would you continue to use it the same way?

Monday, December 3, 2012

From Digital to Real Life: An Amazing Experience.

In case you're wondering about what it can mean for your business to get into this issue of social networks and all these stories, I'll share with you from my own experience, last weekend when I attended the "Social Media Marathon", organized by Juan Merodio at the Convention hotel in Madrid.

It started well before the event.

Days before the event, the nerves began to be felt. It was a strange feeling: to finally meet all those people with whom I have been in touch for months, by phone, chat, email, facebook, sharing, tweeting, retwitting, commenting our publications, in brief... it was a weird feeling.

We started to share, like old friends. Messages coming in and going out. Counting the hours. As two people who are meeting for their very first time, but this time it was not two but thirty people, maybe more, getting together.

Some came from far away, others not that much. I drove all the way up from Alicante, a four-and-a-little-more hours ride, to meet with my friends, who had been just "virtual" until that night.

We created a group on "Whatsapp" and made each other company during the trip.

I left Alicante at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and took the highway. I was expecting to arrive in Madrid around 8 pm. Not a big deal.

To my surprise, at 4:30, I got a message on my mobile: My friends had created a group on Whatsapp to keep us all in touch and coordinate our arrival in Madrid along with our meeting for dinner!

Every so often, we did check in, indicated our position and estimated time of arrival at Madrid, and among jokes and stories we made our ride lighter while we’re getting to know each other a little bit better.

And finally our first meeting: The digital friends become offline pals!

The big moment came. ¡The meeting! The faces we had previously only seen on social networks profiles, became flesh and bones, real people, my friends.

It didn’t pose any major effort for us to continue with the conversations we were having through social networks for such a long time, we laughed, joked, and we showed our human face which, until then, no one had seen.

Think for a moment those girls you see in the picture above are meeting for the first time!

And how all this applies to your business, and how can you take advantage of it?

It is very simple! Would you like to interact with your customers in the same way?, Would you like to have a channel that allowed you to establish authentic, lively, relationships with them, one on one?, Would you like your customers come to your store and feel like they are at their home, relaxed and confident?

Well that's the greatest benefit you can get for your business by building a social networks presence: It will assist you in generating an enthusiastic community around your company, brand and product, one that will be committed, interested, and will happily receive what you have to offer, buy your products and recommend them to their friends. A community that will stand next to you when you have problems with other customers, because they believe you're doing your best.

Of course your next question is: How do I accomplish that?

You must start by understanding that selling in social networks should be taken as a consequence of your job being properly done rather than your primary goal. Follow these tips:
  • Find where your audience is, connect with it and get off the “I’m the big company promoting my products” pedestal.
  • Take a real interest in what they do, try to find out what triggers their interest, what doesn’t, show yourself as a social enterprise, non-commercial, share topics of interest, be as authentic and genuine as you can.
  • Get involved and bring your community alive.
  • Create opportunities to meet with them. Don’t get so worried about selling, and concentrate on developing long-term relationships.
  • Show them what you offer, your product, your services. Open your doors for people to search for what they need, allow them to buy without having you on their neck selling them stuff. 
If you do things right, your customers will liaise with you, they same way me and my new friends have kept in contact since we met over the last weekend, and... go figure!: We've even talked about doing business together!

How about that? Would you like to join us in this ride?

Related post: Relationship Value: What can you expect from social media?