How to use Twitter lists to build a client base

by @JohnGrimley

During a panel discussion at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said that the internet is poised to become so omnipresent in our lives, that it will seem at some point in the future as though it’s disappeared.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I believe what Eric Schmidt said last week is something that anyone in business ought to consider carefully.  Why?  Because if the internet has become this omnipresent (and few would argue that it hasn’t) — then the question of how – not when – to be active on the internet to generate new business — becomes essential.

Why Twitter? 

And if you’re going to become active on the internet as a means to build a client base – you’ve got a number of important options.  Blogging is in my opinion the most important (I argue here why investment bankers ought to blog).  But part of blogging is making sure your ideal potential clients are listening to you – and you to them.  And one of the most important places for this is Twitter.  Why is Twitter important for business?  In a nutshell, Twitter is a highly used, global messaging platform that permits business professionals to not only be noticed but to identify, follow and engage with potential customers.  

What lists to set up?

Once you’ve decided to adopt Twitter as a means to promote your business – arguably the most important thing to do next is – set up Twitter lists.  And for business – some of the most important lists will include those for existing clients, ideal prospective clients, industry journalists and industry trade associations – among others.  Essentially, seek to build lists where your clients and prospective clients — and information of importance to them — are going to be.

Move to advanced use of Twitter lists — while generating new business

By establishing Twitter lists, building their membership — and engaging with the members of these lists – you are placing yourself in a superb position to, at minimum, be the recipient of business referrals.  Utilized more scientifically (@MarkWSchaefer has some great suggestions for advanced business use of Twitter lists), you can use lists to reach out to prospective clients to arrange one-on-one meetings or discussions about how you can uniquely help them achieve some of their business objectives.

Before you get to the point where you’re list-building, however, it’s important to set up a Twitter account and become familiar with how to present yourself on Twitter and use Twitter effectively.

John Grimley

John Grimley

I provide clients with comprehensive communications services tailored to their unique needs.  You can reach me at: Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 Hong Kong: + 852 8170 3909, or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley

What should startups blog about?

by @JohnGrimley

Why it’s important for startups to blog

As Mark Suster (@msuster), startup entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and blogger at Both Sides of the Table Blog wrote in Tech Crunch about blogging for startups:  “If you care about accessing customers, reaching an audience, communicating your vision, influencing people in your industry, marketing your services or just plain engaging in a dialogue with others in your industry a blog is a great way to achieve this.”

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Inspired by venture capitalist blogger Brad Feld (@bfeld) and Fred Wilson (@fredwilson), Suster began blogging about his experience both as a successful startup entrepreneur and an investor – and “within 2 years [Suster’s blog] was getting 400,000 views [each] month and he had been voted the 2nd most respected [VC in the US].”

But what’s the ROI of startup blogging?

If you’re a startup founder you’re probably aware of the value of the internet as a means to connect and communicate.  But it’s also worth taking a look at what Alex Turnbull, CEO & Founder of Groove wrote about the ROI of blogging for a startup.  Turnbull outlined that:  “Blogging can be hugely valuable to your business. It can bring you more authority, more validation, more customers and more revenue…But only if you do it right. [And] doing it right means doing your best to publish valuable, interesting and useful content, and then doing everything you can to make sure that your potential customers see it.” [emphasis added]

How to find your blogging voice

Suster recommends asking yourself the following questions: “Whom do you want to target? Who are your customers, partners or suppliers?” “Blog about your industry” he says.  And importantly, he also outlines:  “If you’re going to pump out regular content that is meaningful, you obviously need to blog about a topic in which you’re knowledgeable, thoughtful and passionate. If you’re not all three of these things in your industry then I guess you’ve got a broader problem.”

Lydia Leavitt (@lydialeavitt) gets very specific about what startups should blog about in a post in TheNextWeb Blog.  She outlines: ”  “1 Create engaging, thought leadership content… 2. Celebrate the product or the people who use the product…” and “3. Curate content from various sources.”  Among legal start-ups – LegalTrek Blog (@LegalTrek) is a very good example of pulling all these three together.

Summing it all up

Leavitt cites “Shane Snow (@shanesnow), CCO of Contently, who outlines the key reasons why startups should blog: “Well-run blogs can be great for attracting talent and building relationships with prospective customers. And in the early days, positioning the founders as thought leaders through blogging is helpful when raising early investment and working on high-profile deals.”

With the wise counsel of these industry experts — any startup can begin to build the foundations of a blogging effort that will win more investment, more customers – and greater awareness of your brand and products by a wider audience.

John Grimley

John Grimley

I provide clients with comprehensive communications services tailored to their unique needs.  You can reach me at: Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 Hong Kong: + 852 8170 3909, or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley

4 reasons why a good blogroll is important for business blogs

by @JohnGrimley

An end-of-year blogpost by widely-read China Law Blog editor and publisher Dan Harris @danharris is a reminder of the importance of blogrolls to business bloggers.  In the post, entitled Goodbye to some great China blogs – Harris explains his annual end-of-year review of his own blogroll – and why he is removing some from that roll.  In Harris’ case, as would be the case with many bloggers – a blog which has ceased to be active would render it unimportant for readers interested in up-to-date information on the subject they’re looking for.  In Harris’ case – China law-related topics.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????This post prompted me thinking a good deal about the topic of this post: Why is it important for business bloggers to maintain a good blogroll?  Before listing and explaining my 4 reasons – I’ll briefly define what a blogroll is:  It’s simply a list of other blogs in the same or similar subject matter.  Often listed somewhere on a blog. In the case of WordPress blogs – usually placed via a “widget” that appears on the right hand side of a blog.  And why would this be so important – especially for business blogs? In a word – your personal and corporate business relevance.

In 2015, I believe we’re now past the debate about whether the internet is or isn’t important for business (see this recent Forbes article outlining why social media marketing is important for business).  It is now vital important for business to engage online as a means by which to be seen as an industry expert, to connect with others within your own industry and interact with clients and potential clients.  So whatever form your blog may take – a simple WordPress-designed blog often used by consultants and entrepreneurs – or a professionally designed magazine-like blog often utilized by corporations or professionals services firms.  Blogs/online magazines/digital journals – call them what you will – marketing with content online is here to stay.  And a blogroll is a sort of digital roadmap to more important similar sources of information. The better the map – the more will follow the mapmaker.  With that aside, here are 4 core reasons why if your blogging for business – your blogroll – regularly updated – is so important:

  1. Demonstrates you are aware of the most current thinking in your area of expertise – If a blogroll does anything well in the public realm – it demonstrates just how up-to-speed you and your business are with industry trends and expertise and the people responsible for those trends and expertise.  A savvy businesss blogger will, over the course of time – be made aware of – and link to via a blogroll – many of his or her industries key opinon-formers.  I can think of few things that say to prospective clients:  She or he knows what they’re talking about – than this sort of public list.
  2. Keeps you in touch with other experts in your field, and they with you – A blogroll not only sends an important message to clients and prospective clients – it also sends and important message to your professional peers:  I respect you enough to list your blog on my blogroll.  I trust your professional judgement. I want to know you more and get to know you more – and in some way I’d like to do business with you at some point if possible.  Too, it also says I’d refer work to you and would hope you’d refer work to me.  Importantly, when someone reads your blog – and clicks through to a blog listed on your blogroll – it reminds that other blogger of you by recording that click-through in the other bloggers site statistics report.  These and other similar reasons are all a win-win for everyone.  And the more you blog – the better a blogroll gets — and the more a resource it becomes – for everyone.
  3. Provides you with a readily available, unique source of content to share on Twitter and other key social networks — One of the key elements of business blogging is sharing your content and the content of others on relevant social media platforms – including Twitter, Facebook Pages and Groups, LinkedIn, Pinterest, GooglePlus and many others.  A blogroll contains content which is of likely high-interest to your readers.  Thefore, it provides a ready source of new, curated information of value to those who are interested in what you have to say and what those who influence you have to say. This makes your Twitter stream, your LinkedIn updates and other social sharing – that much more unique to your audience – further distinguishing you and your business as thought leaders in your specialism.
  4. Makes your blog a resource not just for the posts you publish, but also for the blogroll itself — A blog is a source of often highly-specialized information for a unique audience.  But the blogposts themselves don’t need to be the only information readers come to your blog for.  Apart from the written, visual, artistic or audio content – a well curated blogroll might just make your blog the first thing some readers turn to when seeking information on your industry.  What, for example, if your blog contained links not only to every major (and minor, arguably up-and-coming) blog in your niche – but mainstream media sources, YouTube channels, maybe even academic institutions with specialist departments in your niche. All these and much more – listed on your blog roll – increase the likelihood your business blog might just become essential reading in your industry.
John Grimley

John Grimley

I provide clients with comprehensive communications services tailored to their unique needs.  You can reach me at: Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 Hong Kong: + 852 8170 3909, or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley

Social media extends the networking reach of real estate agents

by @JohnGrimley

Real estate agents are superb at networking and building trust in order to bring buyers and sellers together.  And most often – this networking is done in person.  Social media is simply an extension of in-person networking.  And because it’s accessible 24/7 and around the world – it provides real estate agents with a cost-effective means by which to connect with many more potential buyers and sellers than would be possible from purely in-person networking.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And as statistics reflect, consumers want to interact with real estate agents via social media.  Too, as Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local has outlined:  “Gone are the days of using the Yellow Pages, Valpak and direct mail to successfully market your company. Today, savvy realtors use search marketing, search engine optimization and various social media platforms to market their companies.

More than 1 billion people in the world are on Facebook, including over 175 million Americans’that is, every 1 in 2 American adults. Twitter recently surpassed 400 million accounts. LinkedIn boasts over 200 million users. Many [real estate agents] are trying to take advantage of these trends.”

But where to begin and what to do?

A recent blogpost on Wishpond outlines options real estate agents have for adopting social media.  These include the what to do, where to do it and how to do it of social media – that many real estate agents will want to understand before launching a social media marketing campaign.  Here are the key highlights:

One of the key elements of any social media engagement plan is the creation of content that is of particular interest to your clients and prospective clients.  For example, real estate agents can establish a blog dedicated to their unique niche.  It might be residential real estate in a particular city.  It might be commercial real estate of interest to real estate investment trusts (REIT’s).

With or without content – social media engagement remains essential for real estate agents seeking maximum networking opportunities in the internet age.  The key social “channels” for this engagement include: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Pages and Groups, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram, YourTube and others.  In each case, the content that you might share which is your own – or from others — is likely to be both text and visual (pictures, videos).

The core effort here to is to build relationships with potential clients via establishing yourself as a trusted, go-to expert in your unique area of real estate specialization.

Extend your network via social media

In any case of a real estate agent adopting social media – the what, where and how will vary between real estate professionals based on specialization and personal affinity for particular social media channels.  Either way – it is to the benefit of real estate agents to utilize social media as a means to extend your reach beyond the personal networking you will already be doing successfully.

John Grimley

John Grimley

I provide clients with comprehensive communications services tailored to their unique needs.  You can reach me at: Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 HK: + 852 8170 3909 , or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley

Why and how to position your corporate management team as industry experts

by @JohnGrimley

Corporate executives can and should seek to become acknowledged industry experts via digital platforms like blogs – in order to build corporate reputation and shareholder value.  A recent blogpost from Burson Marsteller (@B_M) – outlines why it should be done.  Another a recent blogpost by Lee Frederikson of Hinge Marketing (@HingeMarketing) outlines in detail — how it can be done.

Why a content strategy is important in the internet age

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller has outlined on their blog:  “Traditional and Social media are being used in increasingly sophisticated ways to draw attention to issues and mobilize opinion; anyone can now broadcast their views instantly and broadly using the panoply of tools freely available. And with journalists and other opinion-formers using blogs, micro-blogs and other web-based media as core tools to track news and trends, seemingly anodyne issues can be amplified instantly.”

Importantly, as Burson-Marsteller outlines – corporate management teams are often left ill-prepared to navigate these critical, modern means of communication.

Position your corporate management team as experts in a digital age

Burson Marsteller’s 2011 report entitled: Managing Corporate Reputation in the Digital Age recommends  corporate management teams do the following in this new age:  Listen Closely and Be Seen as a Listener — Be Genuine — Engage Openly — Be Transparent and Prepare Globally.

In a case-study-style blogpost — Lee Frederikson of Hing Marketing highlights the case of Andrew Sobel, a “business consultant, speaker, and author who has carved out a niche for himself in the business world by helping executives learn to become trusted advisors and build long-lasting relationships with their clients.”

As Frederikson outlines, integral to Sobel’s success has been the creation of:  “‘A body of work with 360 degrees around me, and going out on different channels.’  He has written [eight] books…on different aspects of building great client relationships.  [He] also blogs, uses social media, creates YouTube videos, and is well-known on the public speaking circuit.  ‘Even if people love you, if you’re not on their radar screen, they forget about you,’ [Sobel] notes, ‘so you need to keep getting your name in front of people.'”  Importantly, as Frederikson notes:  “[Sobel’s] specialization has allowed him to differentiate himself, but he is careful always to be adding new value to his core theme of client relationships.”

Looking ahead to 2015

As CapGemini Consulting (@CapGeminiConsulhas outlined:  “Although the impact of digitization is not new, the digital economy is entering a new age that presents unprecedented challenges for all CEOs.”  Corporate management teams, therefore, look to 2015 and the certainty the internet economy will continue to increase in importance.  With this in mind, creating or building upon an already well-thought-out digital strategy should be among the most significant priorities of the new year for any corporate management team.

John Grimley

John Grimley

I provide clients with comprehensive communications services tailored to their unique needs.  You can reach me at: Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 HK: + 852 8170 3909 , or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley

How will publishing articles help your business?

by @JohnGrimley

As everyone knows – the internet has changed the way we live.  Most everyone has experience of interacting with friends or relatives online on Facebook.  Too, many people use the internet to shop for clothing or services.  The trends apply equally to those buying and selling professional services – or to small businesses operating in local communities.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????A study published in 2011 by Hinge Marketing (@HingeMarketing) about businesses seeking to sell their services online found that “Firms generating 60% or more of their leads online are 2X more profitable than those generating less than 20% of their leads online.”  The results of this and other similar studies reflect that as a result of the power of the internet – your business is going to be more successful if it engages customers online.

How to engage potential customers online

One of the best means by which to engage customers online is via publishing articles which effectively initiate or continue constructive interaction between you as a business owner – and customers who have or may have an interest in your services.   Hinge Marketing provides the statistical evidence of why being online is important.  In the case of articles in particular – Kymeshia Morris, Esq. (@KymeshiaMorris),  founder of BizCopywriters & San Diego Esquire outlines how publishing articles in particular can help you engage with your customers and potential customers:

  • Creating and publishing articles affords businesses or professional services providers with the opportunity to become an authoritative source of information in your business niche.  By creating and sharing compelling and trustworthy content – a business or professional services firm can attract an audience where those audiences are seeking information:  the internet.
  • Writing and publishing articles online helps a business “grow your online social community” interested in your services or products.  As Morris explains:  Interaction — not simply publishing — is also important.  This means businesses or professional services providers need to understand how to effectively engage on social media – where these articles are most often found and discussed.

Consider publishing articles to promote your business

This article focuses on just a few of the reasons publishing articles is helpful to business owners.  There is much more information available about how consumers are increasingly seeking services and products online.  As well, there’s also a considerable amount of research available outlining how content (i.e. articles) are one of the best means by which to attract and engage customers online.   The ultimate reality businesses ought to consider is the increasing importance of the internet as a means by which to connect with customers.  And secondly, that publishing articles is one of the most effective ways to connect online

John Grimley

John Grimley

I provide clients with comprehensive communications services tailored to their unique needs.  You can reach me at: Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 HK: + 852 8170 3909 , or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley

4 types of research that help support business blogging

by @JohnGrimley

Excellent research underpins the efforts of business blogging.  An article by Alex Turnbull (@alexmturnbull), CEO & Founder of Groove (@Groove), demonstrates why business bloggers should first research, and then write.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As Turnbull explains, research helps provide your readers with strong support for believing you.  He outlines 4 key types of research — all of which can be used by business bloggers to support key messages they seek to convey to their audiences:

Studies and statistics — Many studies and statistics applying to numerous business-oriented subjects are available via on-line research.  What’s important with use of studies and statistics, as Turnbull outlines, is demonstrating how the statistics or studies you’re using are applied in real-life business circumstances.  By doing so, you make the data come alive and therefore more effectively communicates your message.

Quotes from authoritative sources — Providing readers with statements from third-party sources who are already known and trusted serves to strongly support the case you are seeking to make.   These sources are often available via internet research.

Data from other sources — Since the advent of the internet, data once difficult to find is now widely available via online research.  Information from sources ranging from official government sources to corporate studies can effectively be accessed via good research practices. It’s vital to understand both how to find as well as effectively utilize these resources.

Your own data — Many businesses maintain a significant amount of data which can be repositioned for effective use in business blogs, white papers, media releases and other communications.  It’s important to use this data where appropriate to underscore key messages you seek to bring to your key audiences.

Use research to bolster business blogging efforts

Data, properly utilized, can serve to maximize business blogging goals.  Since the internet came into existence, access to data has arguably never been greater.   Given data’s demonstrated utility to business blogging goals,  proper adoption would be a wise move for any business.

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John Grimley

I provide clients with comprehensive communications services tailored to their unique needs.  You can reach me at: Tel:  US: +1 (213) 814-2855 HK: + 852 8170 3909 , or Email: jg@jgrimley.com, or by Skype: JohnGrimley