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Establishing and managing your community and business audience.

"Relationships are the sources for 60 to 80 percent of job offers."

- Alex Freund on Personal Branding Blog

General Advice

  • Michael Stelzner's "Elevation Principle" (excellent, timeless article):
    • Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth!
      • Offer great content that addresses needs and problems
      • Other people: reach out past your readers - e.g. to industry experts whose content you share
      • No marketing: instead of "what can we sell you", ask: "how can we help you?"
    • Consequence: you demonstrate expertise, build a platform, alliances, following
  • Build a targeted community
    • Organic: useful, relevant, share-worthy content
    • Paid: e.g. FB ads
  • Check for comments regularly and respond - personally, specific!
    • "I read your message first thing this morning. Wow! Already shared feedback with my team!"
    • "I met with the team this morning and we decided..."
  • Deliberately listen to people, care
  • When answering questions: be brief! (Clinton/Obama: 60-90 secs)

Where to find the Audience

Split-Testing: Copyblogger Podcast

  • Step 1: get out there and listen to your prospects, learn what they're about!
    • On social media
    • In forums
    • Communities
    • Groups
    • Reviews (e.g. Amazon)

Establishing Relationships via Social Media

Podcast/article on Social Media Examiner, Jan 24, 2014

"A lot of brands believe that they need to get as many likes and followers as possible so they can broadcast to them. It’s not about broadcasting, though—it’s about building relationships."

  • Feature your own name prominently on your profile
  • Monitor people's Twitter conversations or FB profiles to see what they talk & care about
  • "Look people in the eye digitally"
    1. Always address them by name
    2. Mention sth. from their bio (or ask them about it)
    3. Show you listen (e.g. reference conversations)
    4. Look for personal connection points (e.g. what resonates with you in their bio)
    5. Link up on different platforms
    6. Give recommendations, testimonials
    7. Send helpful content "just because"
    8. Use lists/circles to keep favourite contacts present
    9. Ask for their opinions
    10. Pick them from the crowd (say hi in person)
    11. Say happy birthday - uniquely!
    12. Take it offline
  • Share something personal on your social profiles
    • Talk about who you are instead of what you do
    • People want to know who they're working with
  • Be a friend to people
    • Explain things (e.g. why something doesn't work out)
    • Address their concerns
    • Even if you can't fix a thing, be there
    • It's a return to corner-store vibes (guy behind the counter knows you!)
  • Pay attention!
    • Go to their profiles
    • Read what they post
    • COMMENT and ENGAGE

Getting Attention

  • Guest Posts: get bylines with the explicit goal of attracting clients
    • KEY: How will I positively impact their bottom line?
    • Include examples from sites I've written for (below headings of my topics, ~3 each)
    • Bylines: Tom Ewer recommends combination of "Hire Me" page and bylines (on clients' pages!)
    • Link to my page ("[name] is the founder of [...]") + Hire me page ("and freelance writer available for hire")
  • "Hire Me" page: persuade prospective clients of the benefits of my service (compelling headline!)
  • Controversy
  • Be different
  • Viral Posts: cross-reference others e.g. in “Best Of” or “Top 10” posts, they may re-blog you
  • Get interviewed
  • Enter contests: winning means traffic

Building Trust, Loyalty

  • Provide personal tidbits about myself! (excellent article from Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income)
    • On social media
    • Mention interesting things in my life in podcasts, blog posts
    • One entire post / episode about getting to know me
    • "About" page
    • In public speaking
  • Ask your audience to e-mail you and tell you their biggest problem! Benefits, features:
    • You learn (ideas, inspiration)
    • You bond (respond in person! Readers will love it)
    • You sell (depending on what they need)
    • It's work (well worth it!)
  • Ask the community questions, then listen!
  • Give value and show results to build trust and legitimacy
  • Don't mention your product early on. Help people! Care!
  • Anticipate and meet your audience's needs
  • "Signs of Quality" on Big Brand System: about creating a product and service that boosts trust

Managing Negative Feedback

  • Blog: set up a comment policy
    • Define what's unacceptable
  • Moderate comments
    • Be careful with deleting/blocking
  • Ignore trolls, respond to others

Grooming Relationships

  • Touch base with past clients (or possible future clients):
    • Personalize your e-mails.
    • Pick up an "old conversation"
    • "I have x free time upcoming. Need help?"
    • Make it short and clear
    • Keep checking how they're doing
      • Build a personal relationship!
  • Build friendships and keep in touch!
    • Rename "Past Clients" folder to "Dormant Clients"
    • Stay in touch on social media
    • Forward or share a link
    • Send them material they might like
    • Say hi
    • Meet up at conferences
  • Ask happy clients for testimonials, then referrals