Monday, October 19, 2009

Social Media for Service Professionals

I did a presentation about the use of Social Media to a great group of people who mostly are different kinds of service professionals (attorneys, accountants, consultants, etc.). I promised that I would do a follow-up post with some thoughts out of the presentation and providing links. This is that post.

Value of Blogging

I started the presentation talking about the value of blogging. But rather than believing me, listen to Tom Peters and Seth Godin:

.

Seth Godin

Doesn't matter if anyone reads it.

What matters is the metacognition of thinking about what you are going to say.

How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something.

You are doing it for yourself to become part of the conversation even if it's very small.

Tom Peters

No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important in my life than blogging.

It has changed my life. It has changed my perspective. It has changed my intellectual outlook. It has changed my emotional outlook.

Best damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude.

Both

And it's free.

Other thoughts on the value of blogging: Value of Blogging - Thanks Tracy, Common Questions and Some Thoughts Around Blogs and Blogging, Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog.

But from a value perspective, it really comes down to the numbers I showed for my eLearning Technology blog.

image

Over the past 12 months, I've had roughly 284,000 people come visit that site and get exposed to things I write. I have more than 10,000 subscribers and roughly 1,000 per day see my posts. Of course, those are highly suspect numbers from Feedburner. But the web site visitors are accurate.

I'll be doing a keynote presentation in a week or so where there might be 1,000 people in the room. The good thing about that is that most of those people don't know me today. The bad news is that my blog gets about that many new visitors each day. If I can do a good job with my blog content, then I can effectively be doing a keynote per day. It's great reach.

Similarly, I reached about 45 people in my presentation. Undoubtedly, this post will reach far more than that.

While I will continue to do presentations, there is a real question of which is the better use of time.

Blogging Tactics

In the presentation, I spent a fair bit of time discussing some different things you might want to do as a service professional just getting started. I'm hoping that others will help point me to other resources around this topic.

A few things we discussed:

Focus. Before you begin to blog, you need to decide on your audience and focus. Each blog post should be something that will interest that audience. And you shouldn't stray from that.

Be Interested and Interesting. Before you begin to blog, you should plan to subscribe to other bloggers who blog in your planned area. Get to know them. Be interested in what they write. Plan out how you will interact with what they are writing.

Separate Blogging from Marketing. I keep my blogs separate from by company web site. I do this intentionally because I don't want to have people feel I'm hitting them over the head with marketing messages. Instead, I think of it like a presentation. I never sell at a presentation. Don't sell on your blog. Readers will figure it out.

Services Pages. That said, it's pretty easy to add a page like: Tony's Speaking and Workshop Services when there are some services that really relate more to your blogging than to your company.

Importance of Search. You'll notice that 60% of my traffic comes from search. That's actually lower now than it used to be. As a blogger you need to continually be thinking about building a blog that does well in search. Unfortunately, that means that every post you should stop and think about the title and maybe even research it using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Will this title and URL be effective getting traffic. This is also true of your domain name. Choose wisely.

Use Feedburner or Feedblitz for Email. Sign up with either Feedburner or Feedblitz to provide email subscriptions to your blog. Make the subscription box fairly prominent on the site.

Engage other Bloggers. Link to other bloggers' posts. Form blogger carnivals. Comment on other bloggers' posts. Interview other bloggers. Send email to other bloggers when you post a really good post. Make sure that other bloggers get to know you. And make sure you spend time visible networking.

Linkbait. Create a top 100 post or top 10 list or something like that. It's great link bait. It will get other bloggers to link to you.

Twitter. Tweet your posts. See below.

Topic Hubs. Put yourself in the middle of a blog network. See below.

Twitter Tactics

I next talked about how I use twitter. I looked at a couple of specific examples, where I ask for help from my followers. But it's probably better to take a look at something like Twitter 101 if you are new to Twitter.

I discussed my use of TweetDeck and particularly the groups. I have groups for Close Friends and SoCal. So out of the people I follow, these are the people I most closely follow. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't be able to handle it. I also like TweetDeck for my iPhone.

Some other things I mentioned:

Find People to Follow. Use Twitter Search to Find people to follow. Also MrTweet.

Auto repost your blog posts. I use twitterfeed to do this.

Retweet your bookmarks. Delicious + twitterfeed.

LinkedIn Tactics

Then I went through a lot of what I've already talked about before. See my posts:

By the way, this group didn't all link to me after the presentation on LinkedIn. That was a big surprise. Maybe they are waiting for the follow up email. But someday you may want to connect with me. You are better served to take this opportunity to exchange cards, and in my case, that's link on LinkedIn.

Other Tactics

Some other tactics we discussed:

Link Searches – Use BackTweets to search for anyone who has linked to you in Twitter, and IceRocket to search for anyone linking to your blog. Subscribe the the RSS feed for each of these.

Use Ping.fm to update multiple statuses.

Create your own Network using Ningsee LearnTrends for an example.

Create a Topic Hub - Your goal should be to put yourself in the middle of the network of bloggers who exist in any field. Contact me about using Browse My Stuff to do exactly that. You can see examples like eLearning Learning which gets more traffic than my eLearning blog.

Other Thoughts

Common questions I get at the end of a presentation like this are:

  • Where can I go to get help getting going?

  • Where do I find out more about getting going?

I'm trying to build a network of people who can help with this as I discussed in Los Angeles Social Media Starters. One person I'm talking to about this is Tom Humbarger who recently did some visible networking with me in his post: Visible Networking with Tony Karrer – Los Angeles Social Media Starters. I'm going to blog some thoughts about his post shortly.

I didn't cover these, but I think that service professionals should really take a look at my Tool Set series, specifically Work Skills Keeping Up, Better Memory, Information Radar, Processing Pages with Links, Networks and Learning Communities, Collaborate, Search, Browser Short Cuts and Twitter as Personal Work and Learning Tool.

1 comment:

marvin said...

Blogging has become popular nowadays. Most of students tends to use blogs to express their thoughts and ideas. Having said that, there are lots of elarning tools related to blogging that we can use to get started with blogging.