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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#AuthenticallyAwesome - Creating Authentic Partnerships



Those of us who own businesses tend to spend a lot of our networking time seeking out new leads and potential clients. I can hear you now, “Isn’t that the purpose of networking?” Absolutely.  However, if you are only seeking out new clients at these functions you are missing out on the valuable opportunity of building your list of power partners. What is a power partner, you ask? This article has a great definition and some examples of what makes a power partner.  Basically, this type of partnership involves small business owners that share your same goals, have a similar target audience, would not be considered competition, and that you can trust. 

An important part of building your tribe includes beefing up your list of power partners. This sort of professional relationships is quite symbiotic and allows both parties to benefit and support one another without stepping on each other’s “turf.”

While building a professional tribe may seem daunting and will require some practice, courage, and risk, once the relationship with your tribe has been established, it can be satisfying and mutually beneficial.  So how do you start?

Being Vulnerable

No, this does not mean that you have to share every personal thing going on in your life.  This means that you need to show that you are just as human – even the flaws and accomplishments – as the next person.  Don’t use jargon and big words in your communications just because you can – you aren’t trying to impress, you are trying to build a tribe built on trust and common goals.  Answer emails and texts as soon as you are able – even if it’s just to say “I got your message and I will get back to you.” 
Just be you.  This blatant authenticity will allow others to feel more comfortable around you and develop trust that will result in growing a tribe of Power Partners.  Yes, there will be those who reject who you are but no one needs that kind of negative energy within their tribe anyway. By allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable, the right people will be more drawn to your energy and will want to get to know you better.

Know Your Limitations

When the value of your time is taken into consideration, size does matter.  Studies show that most people can efficiently maintain up to 15 close relationships – this includes both personal and professional.  Determine the relationships you value most and build those.  Making your professional tribe too large can lead to less attention being paid to important details needed to maintain the mutually beneficial relationship.  The synergy developed by a tribe allows them to create something bigger and stronger than anything that could be created individually. 

Share Your Human Capital

The biggest way to build trust is to give more than you expect – this can be done by offering your unique skills to those within your tribe, helping others build their own connections that will benefit both parties, or just being a receptive ear when it is needed.  This help will not always be free, but it will earn the trust and respect from the members in your tribe.  Sharing your experiences and wisdom gained shows others that you are willing to put yourself out there to support them with what you have learned. Share the human capital you have gained to help others.  In return your tribe will step up to help you in times of need.

Give Credit  

The need for recognition is just as large a part of human nature as wanting to belong to a tribe of like-minded people.  Giving credit where credit is due may seem like a small thing, but it can build confidence and comfort.  Creating an environment where your tribe members feel comfortable being themselves while also creating an environment of trust and support. 

Share the Wealth

In addition to boosting confidence, it is important to keep in mind ways that making new connections is a priority for people when networking.  Assisting those within your tribe with desirable referrals that will be mutually beneficial can lead to good things for all parties.  Create these relationships not for your benefit, but because you know it will benefit the parties involved.  The goodwill that you are creating will make your tribe stronger.

Social Media Features

Social media is a good tool to build the bridges vital for business success and can yield some unexpected tribe members.  Featuring your power partners in your social media on a regular basis is a great way to support them and showcase their value to you. With any luck, they will reciprocate and share your information with their target audience as well. This is just one example (a very important one) of how creating authentic partnerships is healthy for everyone involved.


Building these authentic partnerships from your tribe may not be easy, and will definitely require a willingness to give more than you expect to receive.  However, building a strong tribe and working on meaningful connections through social media and in person will bring out the best in both you and your tribe. Plus, you will stand out as a shining example of how to #BeAwesome while networking and growing your professional community.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#AuthenticallyAwesome – Authentic Education in Your Branding



Marketing has changed drastically in the past decade. The days of telemarketing, direct mail, and traditional advertising are long gone. People are choosing how they consume media – including how they are being sold products and services. We fast forward through commercials, toss our junk mail, have spam folders, and avoid answering calls or doorbells from people we don’t know. Permission-based marketing is really the only way to connect with a target audience anymore. That is why content marketing and influencer marketing have had so much traction. Today consumers have complete control over who gets to market to them. This is why consistent, quality content is the way to attract potential leads and clients. We have to give our audience something they want to read, engage or interact with.

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
Seth Godin

Today’s strategies for reach revolve around creating informational and educational content that the right audience will want to consume.  Our rates of media consumption are off the charts right now, especially on our mobile devices. Never in the history of humankind have we been so connected or driven to consume data, media and content. The online noise is LOUD. How does a small business owner make an impact and be found?

The answer is: they provide content that people find valuable.

Enter stage left – influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has a two-fold effect. Many marketers focus on the benefit of the reach that can be found in connecting with the audiences of popular influencers. However, the other huge perk of interacting with, and then becoming, an influencer is that you are building credibility and establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

How do you establish yourself as a trusted expert and advisor? You offer education to your audience. This educational offering can take many forms…blogs, white papers, videos, webinars, or podcasts. Select the medium you feel most comfortable with and that you feel confident your audience will consume. You are a business owner for a reason – you have a skillset that others find valuable.  You provide value. Don’t convince yourself that you have to nothing to say or share. There are people eager to pay attention to what you have to say.

How do you make your educational offerings authentic? Don’t spend time attempting to copy or emulate someone else’s content. This is an easy way to get started but you have to give your followers something unique to you. They are following you because they appreciate what you have to say and how you express it. If you haven’t developed a “voice” for you and your brand – it’s time to do so. Authenticity is creating a voice and tone for your content that not only represents your branding but is also an accurate and honest depiction of who you are. That sort of content is what resonates with people.  It’s the way to create brand advocates – passionate followers who share your message wide and far….for free…just because your content impacts them in a positive way.

Incorporating education into your branding takes time and effort and doesn’t always have a measurable ROI. Finding a way to share this type of content in an authentic way is going to take some brainstorming and effort. However, the end result of this is a wider reach and a more dedicated following. What business doesn’t want that with their online presence?


Now go out there and create something AWESOME! I can’t wait to see you spread your message with the world.

Be sure to Follow us and Let's Engage!



Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Monday, April 3, 2017

#AuthenticallyAuthentic - How to Develop Authentic Messaging for Your Brand



As small business owners, we spend a lot of time and energy building our businesses and building our brands. When developing a persona for our business, we can get caught up in the process and overlook many of the reasons we started a company in the first place. Businesses forget to be authentic and true to their roots and mission. Customers buy from people they trust, not brick and mortar establishments. This is why authenticity is so essential as a branding strategy. Understanding this concept is not the same as putting it into action, so we’ve created a simply step-by-step process for building authentic messaging.

What Is Your Message?

This goes beyond a mission statement and a plague on the wall. In order to be trustworthy, you have to really understand your purpose and be able to share that with others. What is your reason for existence? If it’s only to make money – your clients will sense that and move on to another business with a greater purpose and reason for existence. This goes back to providing solutions to problems and resolving pain points instead of simply meeting a bottom line.

Understand Your Value

Where many solopreneurs go wrong is by not determining, and then focusing on, their own value. Stop pushing the product or service so hard that you forget to showcase what you really bring to the table. There is no way to convince a potential client of your worth if you do not own your own value. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.

Understand Your Competition

Get a feel for your competition, their online presence and what they are offering to your audience. More than just price or packages, what really motivates clients to work with them? What makes them stand out, makes them different? Then make sure, coming from a place of authenticity and being true to your purpose, that you are speaking to the same audience in a way that resonates for both you and for them. Mirroring the work of another isn’t genuine in any way and people will be more likely to respond to a fresh approach and story that resounds. Than a carbon copy of someone else’s ideas.

Draft Your Story

Got a handle on your purpose? Think you truly understand the value of what you offer? Found a way to stand out from your competitors? Then it’s time to draft the story of your work. Storytelling is an immensely powerful marketing technique. Without drifting away from who you are and what you stand for, create stories around your work, your brand and your leadership and then promote them as often as possible. Weave your story into your online presence and be prepared to share it over and over again with those willing to listen. Your clients buy into your story, not just your product or service. That story has to resonate with readers. Make it a compelling one (and don’t forget your calls to action)!

Build a Community
Those who hear your story and are drawn to your authenticity and messaging will want to find ways to work with you, and to share your message with the people they know. Make it easy for them to do so. Find a way to build a community around your tribe, your power partners, your clients and your cheerleaders.  Regardless of format, make sure to share your successes, and struggles, your calls to action and your stories so that they too can share your message with others.

Be Consistent

“Your words should match your actions and you should always endeavour to do what you say.”
Declan Mulkeen

Human beings have a variety of facets. Nothing is ever truly black and white. However, be very aware of remaining consistent with your message and your story. While there are many different aspects to your personality, straying too far from the path you have created could confuse your audience and drive them to other brands that have a clear, concise message to share.


Learn to wear the persona of your company in an authentic way and you have mastered the art of effectively sharing your message with the world.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

#AuthenticallyAwesome – An Authentic Branding Strategy



As a small business owner, you already understand the value of branding. If you’ve been following my blog, you’re also aware of the importance of personal branding. Now that you have the fundamentals, let’s talk about where many people go wrong with branding. We spend so much time putting together our strategy and our content that occasionally authenticity gets lost.

Have you ever come across any of the following?
  •      A brand that didn’t ring true to its own messaging?
  •      A business owner whose message felt forced?
  •      Content that didn’t seem to match up with the projected brand?
  •      Inconsistency or lack of clarity in a brand’s content?
  •      Drastic swings in message without a proper re-branding strategy?
I’m sure at some point, you’ve witnessed at least one of the above scenarios. It happens. Just because you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, doesn’t mean that you are a branding expert.

Authenticity

The path to authenticity lies in taking the time to discover who you really are. What does your company provide, what pain points does it solve, and how do you provide solutions to problems? What is your message? How do you want to present it to the world? These are the questions that have to be answered because, without this knowledge, you are not able to be authentic in your marketing.

“Authentic companies don’t try to be something they’re not, but instead recognize what they are, what they do best, and what customers value most about them.” 
Vision Critical




Consistency  

Where many businesses miss the boat is failing to remain consistent. Consistency is a vital aspect of branding. Your company, and your team, must live your brand story every day. It needs to be shared, in a variety of ways, as often as possible with your target audience. A clear, concise, consistent message will make a bigger impact than just throwing whatever out there and hoping for the best result. Understand your brand, understand your message and then develop a process where you are sharing high-quality, authentic content with your followers.

Brand Loyalty

Authenticity has a powerful return on investment. Honesty, integrity, and candor are highly sought after and valued. Opening up a window, allowing yourself to be a bit exposed and vulnerable, breeds trust within your audience. That trust converts into brand loyalty. Loyal brand ambassadors are the best, FREE, marketing strategy a company can have. Your tribe will not only follow and engage with you – those who trust your message will share it, whenever and wherever they can. This is the real return on being authentic in your marketing.


Don’t be afraid to shine. You have to put yourself out there. Toss aside the masks you tend to use for protection when you face the world and have faith that your authentic message will draw the right clients to your doorstep. This is a fundamental foundation to #BeAwesome with your branding.

Be sure to Follow us and Let's Engage!



Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.