Authentic Automation for Social Media

How to write and engage in a meaningful, timely way (with less stress)

There are many who would say that “Authentic” and “Automation” could not be used together when referring to social media messaging.

There is a delicate balance and a fine line between convenience and connection.

I know this because I’ve walked the line and fell on many occasions.  Now I have a solution that is working for me and could be the lifesaver for many others who are where I have been.  Maybe you’re in a place where you recognise that social media is important and also realise that there are only so many hours in a day to do the other essential activities required to run a successful business.

What I’m saying is that many business men and businesswomen REALLY don’t have the time to devote to social media to get the results that they want.

This is the reason why many business people have opted to automate some of their messaging.

The downside of automating or outsourcing your social media messaging  is that you may spend more time broadcasting in a social, relationship based environments than they do listening and engaging.

Social media is meant to be “social”. This means having a healthy balance between broadcasting and listening/engaging.

But how?

If you’d like to know

  • What to write
  • When to broadcast
  • How to do it in an authentic way that has benefits to your time and your business, then read on.

There IS a way to automate specific types of messages and still retain a high level of authenticity. It’s called V3E and stands for Values, Vision, Views and Events.

This strategy also allows more time to listen and engage, therefore, putting the “social” back in your social media.

This video provides a high-level of my V3E strategy and was delivered to a few members of The Business Wealth Club in Birmingham.

Watch and enjoy

V3E at The BWC

It’s All About Flow (Cash Flow, that is)

Are you heading for a cash flow ‘heart attack’?

Cash is as important to your business as blood is to your body.  As the leader of your business you are at the heart of the business. If you are unclear on how much cash should be in your business 30, 60 or 90 days from now, then a 15 minute low tech exercise could ge the first step to gaining clarity and confidence around your cash flow.

This video is an introduction to the i2i IPA Flow Planner.

IPA Flow Planner Intro Video

For more information on the IPA Flow Planner and Free* i2insight session on how to use it, contact me at marcellus@marcelluslindsay.com

*In order to qualify for the session you must complete a 3 minute survey and give a small donation to one of our charities is required to qualify for the free 40 minute session. www.bit.ly/i2insight01

Money is NOT the root of all evil

The last step of ATM is a doozy.

So far you’ve learned the importance of getting the attention of the people you want to serve,

You’ve learned how essential it is to spend quality time with them to let them know how you can add value to their lives

Now you’re at the point where you can see if they really value what you have to offer, you’re at the last step where it’s time to put up the ultimate ‘applause for a job well done’ and ‘sign of commitment and interest’…. It’s the money step.

Money. Despite the misquotes and slander, money is NOT the root of all evil. The actual quote is “the love of money is the root of all evil” 1 Timothy 6:10

In fact, there can be a number of inhibitors and blocks for people taking the ‘money step’ can exist on both sides of the transaction. Yes, YOU can be the block through your own behaviour, attitude and perceptions about money.

It’s fair to say that YOUR perceptions about money can often be the greatest block. For that, I’d suggest a few sessions with your life or business coach.

I say all of that to say this….

When you can get and keep the attention of an audience. They are have invested in you on one level.  They have given you a small part of themselves to test the waters before they invest a larger portion by spending time with you.

During this important exchange it is your responsibility to make good on the promise you made when you gained their attention. You have to provide real and connected value that is of use to the people who  you share your message with.  You have to prove yourself, credible and worthy of further investment of time.  And when over the course of time you have proven yourself, they will exchange something that you value and can use….. money.

Money is a means to an end.  Money is a clear indication that they want to continue to invest in you and themselves. It’s for mutual benefit.  You will give them something that is of greater use value to them than the financial value that you have requested.

Attention, Time and Money. Straight forward yet far from simple. It’s sort of like a maze. And like a maze it is far easier to navigate if you have the benefit of a guide or a map.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

What does your brand communicate? Has it been engineered to gain and keep their attention?

Are you making good on the promises you make after you get the attention of the people you wish to serve?

What is the clear pathway, product matrix or product staircase that you’ve created to continue to serve your customers as time goes on?

If you’d like to find out how to build your own product matrix and product staircase, you can visit your nearest branch of The Business Wealth Club in the UK or USA. Alternatively, you can get a 1:1 ‘i2insight Session’

This is a 40 min session discussion specifically about YOUR business and looking at quick wins to grow, have more impact and make more money.  The qualify for that session you have to complete the following three steps

Complete the questionnaire (takes 3 min) [ www.bit.ly/i2insight01 ]

Select and make a donation to one of our four charities (min £10 donation)

Book a meeting time with me [ www.bit.ly/i2ischedule  ]

During the session we are likely to discover ways for you to generate NEW business and more profitable customers. This will pave the way for increased cashflow and opportunities for you to invest in the business.

I look forward to connecting with you.

The second step to fill your personal ATM

Trust leads to revenue. Trust takes Time.

OK, so I think I’ve got your attention.  Well, in fact, if you’re reading this you’ve already proven the validity of the next step the principles of ATM.

How many times have you sat at your computer with the intention of doing one thing and found yourself doing something else? It happens to a lot of people, in fact, companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and the like BANK on the fact that you will do just that.

It seems that we’ve moved into a new age of communication.  There was a time when we were in the information age, when we were hungry for access to information and the new ‘information superhighway’ (as the internet was called back then) was the place were everyone wanted to get a fast track to the fast lane.  As the old saying goes

“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

Now, as my coach Scott Smith has noted, we’re in the age of ‘information overload’.  If you think about it, we’ve taken a very distinct change from getting information on everything to only wanting information on what we want, when we want it and in clear, distilled, limited to 140 characters, up to the second information.

I say all of that to say this….

Once you have the attention of your potential client, customer or partner you want to create a way for them to spend time with you.  This can be in the form of the written, spoken or presented word.  In my V3E strategy, I stress the importance of shaping your message so that it is aligned with your values and vision for yourself and your partners.  Regardless, the way to build trust and relationship is to create and master ways to spent time with the people you want to work with.   Ideally, you should have a product staircase or product matrix that you can clearly map out the pathway for your customers.  The product staircase is a way to let your customers take steady steps from product to product as they learn more about you, trust you, and decide if YOU are the one to solve their problem e.g.

Attention:  0 – 10 seconds

  • Your headlines
  • Your Logo
  • Your tagline

Time:  10 seconds – 30 minutes

(in order of typical duration)

  • Your tweets
  • Your audio blog (audioboo)
  • Your podcast
  • Your Facebook or LinkedIn messages
  • Your blog
  • Your videos
  • Your webinars

These are just a few examples and ideas that are progressively longer and longer and provide an opportunity for people to hear what you have to say, the value you have to offer and learn to trust you.  And what is a clear indication that they find value in what you have to offer? Well, that’s for the last step

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Take a look at your favourite brand or product and consider the path that you took from first giving them your attention and then your time.  Consider the other pathways that they have created to allow you and other customers to spend time with them.

Do you have a product staircase or matrix? If you do, then what do you have in place to ensure that the steps are easy and comfortable transitions based upon the services that you offer.  If you don’t, then consider checking out the product staircase strategy at www.thebusinesswealthclub.co.uk to visit your nearest club (if you are in the UK).

The staircase is the structure, V3E shapes the content. The next step is the step that keeps you in business.

Make Your Business Into Your Personal ATM

If you want cash from your business, fill your ATM

After 25 years in business, both as an employee and being self-employed, I’ve picked up a few things along the way.  One of them is being VERY aware of the fact that

Cash is King.  Without cashflow, your business is dead.

This begs the question “How do I keep the cash flowing?”  There are a number of models, theories, strategies and techniques that are publicised and taught in various forums.  There is, however, a simple set of principles that – from my observation and experience – that they all rest upon.

Attention, Time & Money

Whether you are looking at your marketing strategy, sales pipeline or communication policy – Attention, Time and Money (ATM) principles apply.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll send a little time on each of these elements.

Attention

The DNA of ‘Attention’ as it relates to the ATM Principles

  • Duration of time:  0 – 10 seconds
  • Typical Modalities:  Visual, Audio
  • Products & Tools:  Logos, Advertisements, Signage

If you live an a city of any decent size in one of the Western nations, chances are that you are exposed to over  3,000 ‘brand impressions’ per day.  That’s based upon one study that I read and I suspect that if you live in a city like New York, London and the like, then it’s a lot higher.

Think about it…. from the logo on the packaging of your breakfast and the badge on your car (or other mode of transport) to the ads on your mobile apps or on TV – there are thousands of organisations vying for your attention.

As a consumer you are getting more and more discerning about which brands or messages get your attention.  In fact, marketeers are getting more and more sophisticated about doing it. Now technology is used to create communicate messages deep into your unconscious mind so that when the next message in the series (i.e. campaign) is sent, it will have a familiar ‘feel’ to it.

There are very clever, very well paid people who study semiotics and advise organisations how to communicate in powerful ways just using shape, form and colour and do to so in a fraction of a second.

Your brain is constantly filtering out things that are not of interest to you in order to let things through that you told it are important.  No wonder women are tired after a day of shopping.  It’s not just the walking and carrying of bags, it’s also that they have been making complex decisions between wants and needs / logic and intuition while the powerful messages are bubbling up to the surface of their minds.

I say all that to say this….

Really, when you step back and look at it, you don’t want to give your attention to everything.  It would be overwhelming. You’d be stuck at a place of inaction because your TIME would be taken up with the collective ATTENTION items.

The purpose of the Attention Principle is that it allows your brain to be aware of something and then assess whether or not you will

  1. give further attention and, therefore, time to it
  2. store it or
  3. ignore it

Getting customer’s attention is getting more and more difficult, but it is the mandatory first step before they will give you their time or their money.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

What message are you conveying in the first ten seconds of ‘experiencing’ you or your brand? Does it reflect your values? Is it compelling? Does it invite others to spend time with you?

Maybe it’s time to pay a little attention to the first impression that you make when you first ask for or gain the attention of your audience, potential customers, partners or employees.

Whether it’s your logo, your office or even your appearance. Gaining attention is the first step and the crucial first qualifier before we will spend time with anyone or anything.

Invisible, But Essential

The magic of appreciation

Are you in a role within an organisation where you work hard, do the right thing and don’t get the appreciation or recognition that you feel you deserve?

As a programme and project manager a significant part of my duties are administrative.  As with many administrative roles, you’re often given near-impossible tasks with unrealistic deadlines and when you achieve the task the typical response is…..

“OK, thanks….. just leave the report over there”

It’s not that we – who do the day-to-day operational work and don’t necessarily get appreciated – aren’t guilty of doing the same thing.

In fact, I’m sure that today when you turned on an electric appliance you probably didn’t call your electric supplier and thank them for the complex infrastructure, administration and work it took to make it possible for you to flick the switch.

Recognising this, I have, as a standard part of inducting staff into my team, made sure to manage expectations by highlighting this particular fact of life

To illustrate it, I refer to an episode of the deep, philosophical treatise of life on planet earth…. Futurama. In series 3, episode 20 (aka “Goodfellas”) the character ‘Bender’ (a robot) has a conversation with ‘God’.  During the conversation ‘God’ notes the difficulties of leadership (or being God).  “You can’t do too much for them or they’ll get dependent on you.  And if you do too little for them, they lose hope.” Ultimately….. (watch the19 second video for the profound insight)

I say all of that to say this….

Even when you do the right thing and do it well, you may not get recognised. In fact, people may not even acknowledge that you are even necessary.  This is why it’s important to be your own best publicist.  Not that you should always shout about what you do.  Maybe you should allow others to shout about you.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Do you know your own value? Have you taken inventory on your successes and reminded yourself of your accomplishments?  Have you taken time to thank and acknowledge the accomplishments, work and contribution that others make to your life?

If you are going to show your gratitude, please ensure that you follow a few simple guidelines to saying thank you;

  • Be sincere and authentic
  • Say it when it counts
  • Say it or show it in a way that THEY would appreciate

What often happens from here is magic. And it’s likely that no one will even know you did it…. but that’s OK that’s the way it works.

No More Cold Calls.

SME’s & SoloPreneurs – Turning “Cold Calls” into “Warm Conversations

Have you ever received a phone call from a salesperson that you did not invite to call you or show interest in their product?  The call could have been at home or at work but there’s one thing about a phone call that is received at any time that you weren’t sitting there waiting for the call;  the  a phone call is an interruption.

Based upon the fact there you’re usually not sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring –  and for the purpose of this blog –  I’m going to make a broad, sweeping statement, primarily for illustration.  That  statement is:

“All phone calls are interruptions.”

I’m not the first person to say this, the first person I heard say this was Tony Robbins during his “Time of Your Life” program. And when you think about it……that is SO true. I mean, really, whether it’s a cold call from a salesperson or a call from your mom, a phone call is usually an interruption and a distraction from something.

The real question is “how you will handle the interruption?” And behind that, is “what is the basis for how you will handle the interruption?”

Let’s imagine that you were doing some housework and, while we’re at it, let’s imagine you kind of enjoy doing housework (I know this may be a stretch for some people, but bear with me.) As you are doing the housework the phone rings……   (Brriiiing, Briiiiinnnnnng)

Scenario 1

You have the standard set of choices:

  • A) ignore the call and let it go to voicemail.
  • B) let it go to voicemail and screen the call to see if it’s important.
  • C) answer the call and stop what you’re doing
  • D) answer the call but tell them that you will return the call or to call you back at a specific time that is more convenient.

Let’s say that it is someone near and dear to you that is on the phone. Because of your relationship with them you choose letter [Insert your choice here]

Whatever the choice, normally you will feel fine with it and the person on the other end would be fine with it because you respect each other’s time and know that you have time to achieve the outcome when it is mutually beneficial. No rush, no pressure, no problem.

All of these choices will depend upon the relationship that you have with the person who’s calling. The relationship has been built over time and you have specific values, views, ambitions, genetics or at least something in common with that person. The key here is the depth, breadth and importance of RELATIONSHIP.

Scenario 2

The call is from a company that you

  • do not know,
  • are not expecting a call from them and
  • you did not express an interest in their products or services (to expect a call).

You still have the same choices but there is a different feel to this situation. For some (and may I say this particularly applies to the high number of polite, British people who wouldn’t dare say “NOT INTERESTED” and then hang up) there can be a sense of fear that they may get trapped into buying something. Or, possibly, that they will end up on the phone for longer than they would want to be away from the activity that they were doing – all the while feeling pressured into doing something that they had not planned on doing.

This is a cold call. What’s missing here is depth or breadth of relationship. And as you may not have expressed any interest in the product or service

“the call has no importance and becomes more than interruption it becomes an annoyance.”

And who wants to start a relationship with someone that is an annoyance?

I say all that to say this….

With the advent and growth of social media, users are giving enough information about themselves (for free) to the social media platforms to allow more targeted marketing than ever before. As such,  it seems a bit’ old hat’ to call people who have neither shown interest in the product or service or that are unaware of your particular organisation.

“There are plenty of ways to find that common ground to establish some depth or breadth of relationship with a potential customer before making direct/one-to-one contact.”

In fact, there are ways to make the relevance and importance of the call greater than that of a cold call for next to nothing per lead – if you know how.

The way to do this is to use some of the features built into the advertising choices on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This will allow you to do a “bullets not bombs” campaign that could save you hundreds and make you thousands (depending upon your budget, product or service).

I will discuss some of these strategies in a future blog as space does not allow at this time.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Are you aware that you can advertise on Google for free? Granted, there are techniques that you can use that will make it more effective and it should be part of a marketing campaign/strategy, but Google will fund your first exploration of their advertising platform.

If that seems a little too technical then I would suggest that you attend one of the many free workshops that are available online, in person or in books/magazines.

If even that seems a little bit too much like’ hard work’ then you can always seek out an expert in this area who would be happy to do it for you, at a price.

The techniques and strategies that are used to transform cold calls to warm conversations are actually part of the curriculum within The Business Wealth Club (an organisation in the UK and USA). I endorse this organisation as they provide its Members with the strategies, skills and support to not only understand how this all works but to also use it in a way that grows their business.

For more information please visit www.thebusinesswealthclub.com and request a voucher to visit a local club. The voucher, worth £99 is only available from the club mentors, members or head office (just so that you know). Tell them “Marcellus sent me