Trisha R Jackson

Sales and Marketing in the Social World

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Twitter Defined

Posted by trisharjackson on May 11, 2009

I am asked countless times to explain Twitter.  While a simple tool, it’s uses and definition are difficult to explain without just jumping in feet first with 140 characters. Everyone has their own use for Twitter – some personal, some professional and like tweets from @trisharjackson, a little of both.

Twitter is a real-time discussion of sorts called a microblog . You can choose to follow everyone tweeting, or be selective and search for those with interests similar to yours. Let me explain using the frequently asked questions I receive from friends and family.

How I find people to follow

I take a blended approach to Twitter because my goal is to build genuine relationships – get to know people on both a professional and personal level. I am a student of many things so those I follow are broad in scope. The topics I tweet about are as such as well. For example, here are the topics I tweet about and topics I search for most frequently:

I look for experts I want to learn from in each of the areas and then follow them. I start reading their tweets and engage in conversations with them if it’s something I’m interested in. I also look for questions that I can answer from my experiences. Twitter allows you to see who those experts are engaging with – yet another person YOU may be interested in following as well. And thus, expanding your social network.

Rather than tweeting about what I’m doing, I tweet about what I’m thinking about, what interests me today, and what information could be helpful to others that are following me with regards to the above content. The combination of my personal and professional tweets allows others to get to know me more personally rather than just my professional side of life.

When I Tweet

Twitter is just another communication tool for me.  It’s integrated into my life just as texting is for those who choose to use their phones to communicate.  With the help of Firefox and IE7’s tabs, Twitter stays up on my screen at all times. I tweet while waiting for reports to run, during lunch, during Webcasts and conference calls, and when I just need a break from mind-numbing daily tasks.  Twitter is my “smoke break”.

I’m constantly asked how I find the time to tweet.  Entering in 140 characters typing at a pace of 60 words per minute takes hardly 10 seconds for me.  That’s a pretty powerful stat considering that I read even faster.  Think of all of the information I’m consuming in that amount of time!

How I Keep Up with 1000+ Followers

First, Tweetdeck is incredibly helpful in categorizing my followers.  I concentrate on the local Columbus folks and those tweeting about social media primarily and then the others as a secondary read when I have a few minutes of extra down-time.  So in any given period, I can scan and read through about 60 tweets in under 2 minutes.  I mark those I want to refer to later as “favorites” and go back later on to read the blog post, article or engage with that person later for more information later on.

Second, I’m not a big fan of watching TV so I have plenty of time to go back and read the blog posts linked within my favorite tweets after my daughter goes to bed or before I leave for work in the morning.  Stoplights,  waiting for trains, and standing in line while shopping have also been great times to get caught up on tweets from my smart phone. I was once asked “what about Trish time?”  My response – this IS “Trish Time.”

Learning about the topics above, especially social media,  is a passion of mine so finding time to read about these things isn’t difficult.  It’s the same time one may use to knit, scrap, or play a board game.  It’s one of the ways I decompress from my work day.

Twitter vs IM vs Email vs Discussion Boards

Twitter provides a way to easily digest a lot of information in a short period of time.  It allows you to talk with many people across the globe that you may not have met through the other tools.  Here are the limitations I find with those:

  • IM:  Usually already have to know the person you want to chat with to obtain their screen name. Can only talk with that person, or a limited group of people (if invited into a chat room) and can’t see their interactions with others.
  • Email:  Not a conversation – a push/pull relationship.
  • Discussion Boards:  You actually have to read an entire post to get to the point, question or concern.

Twitter may not be for everyone but I can prove value to even the biggest skeptics.  My husband doesn’t want the world to know what he’s doing at any given point in time – and that’s fine.  He’s also missing out on those that could be interesting to him such as other classic country music buffs, high school football fanatics, and incremental revenue opportunities for his real estate appraisal business.  A topic of ROI we’ll discuss in a future post.

How to start

Step 1:  Sign up – use your full name as your username/handle. It’ll be easier for people to find you and help you build your personal brand.

Step 2:  Read through the Help area to learn the lingo, do’s and don’t s

Step 3:  Fill out your profile using keywords that will attract people to you. When they search, you’re more likely to then show up in the results.  For example, my keywords look like this: Social media |Digital Marketing|Mom|Buckeye fanatic|Travel|Wine|Athlete|Animal lover

Step 4:  Create a few tweets that are relevant to your expertise (topics in your profile/keywords) over the first few days while searching for people to follow

Step 5:  Find people to follow in the area (your keywords) you’re most interested in learning from. You can use the search box to the right of the Twitter main area.

Step 6:  Start the conversation!

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Are you standing in your own way?

Posted by trisharjackson on April 15, 2009

In a fast growing social world, it’s  more apparent to me how many companies stand in their own way of success – both in sales and customer service.  I’ve found that employees are constantly divided between the old world  of standing firm behind their business practices, policies, and procedures; and the new one where their customers define how, when, and in what capacity they choose to interact with and buy from them.

Time in today’s world moves much faster than those of yesterday. Businesses must be able to think, act, and communicate quickly (and personally) on customer demands. Customers don’t care why the rules exist – they just want more control over the way they interact and buy from you. If their expectations are not met, they’ll buy from your competitor.

Are you standing in  your own way of success? Do you:

  • Make it easy for customers to find out how to to call, click or visit your business and allow them to define how they should communicate with you?
  • Talk with your customers personally?
  • Avoid “the small print?”
  • Act as a resource if you can’t meet a customer’s needs even if it means to refer them to a competitor?
  • Ask your customers how you can collaborate to resolve an issue?
  • Allow employees to do the right thing by give them the authority and opportunity to be the customer service hero?
  • Enable your sales people to build and grow relationships both online and off (getting out from behind a desk)?

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Building Your Personal Brand

Posted by trisharjackson on March 31, 2009

Have you Googled yourself today?  What are people saying about you? How engaged are you? What does this say about your personal brand?

Sales is not a 5 letter dirty word. We are all sales people – we sell ourselves to earn trust in friends, to find partners, to secure a new job, and even convince a child why they should eat their veggies.  At the same time, we’re building our personal brand.  Each conversation with have with someone tells them a little about who we are.  Those people build an opinion and decide whether or not to keep in touch with you.

In this sales process, your words and actions are a part of building your personal brand. Become a resource for those you meet within your community.  Offer to help them solve a problem if what they are after is in an area in which you are experienced.  Follow-up and share your knowledge with them – information transfer is very powerful!

Becoming a great resource to your community means a commitment to being an ever-learning student.  Stay on top of your game by reading the latest news and research (online or off), reading books and talking with other experts on topics you’re interested in. With the rate of information transfer today, you risk losing credibility if you’re sharing information documented in a book published 15 years ago.

What groups or communities are you a part of online?  Using online resources to learn about new local networking groups or community activities is a place to start such as Tweetups or local LinkedIn groups.  While offline groups like Rotary are still very important in some industries and for those that aren’t internet savvy, communicating online opens a lot more relationship building opportunities broader and faster than offline groups can.

Stuck on how to begin?  Consider using Twitter or LinkedIn to join in the conversation with people who share your similar interests.  With both of these tools, I’ve met some incredible people.  And it’s not all business – we get to know each other on a personal level which deepens both of our personal brands.

In the end, it’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.  I’ll go one step further – of those who know you, can they tell 10 others 3 positive things about you? And that’s how your brand recognition begins.

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