Category Archives: Social Media

Stat Counter

by Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano

Okay, so now you have your website up and running, right? You update it once in a while to show new products and events, right? Excellent! Now – how many visitors do you have each week? Each month? Where are they coming from? Which pages are they looking at? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, then you need to find a way to measure these statistics. You need a stat counter.

Stat counters are nice little tools to keep track of … well, you guessed it … stats. Have you been to a website and at the bottom there is a set of numbers that may look like your car’s odometer? That’s a stat counter. You can find free ones with a quick internet search and if you can make your own website, then you can easily add a stat counter to it. Fortress Publishing, Inc. uses for our stat counting needs.

Stat counters do more than just keep track of how many hits your website gets. You can get a daily count, so you can see if you’re getting more hits before or after an event that you participate in. In fact, you can see how people are getting to your website. Google? Yahoo? A friend’s website that has your link? A book store that carries your material. You’ll see if people searched your name or your book title.

So, if you feel like you need more data to analyze, then get yourself a stat counter.

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Filed under Guest Blogger, Social Media

Break or Take a Break

By Gail Z. Martin

I was behind someone in line a few days ago and couldn’t help hearing part of his conversation with his companion.  What caught my attention was the man’s comment that he hadn’t had a vacation in fifteen years.

Wow.  While I’m sure this man was proud of his diligence and hard work, I couldn’t help wondering how badly burnout might be affecting the value of his output.  In my experience, you either break or you learn to take a break.

Now I know that with some of the ups and downs of the economy, “staycations” have replaced vacations for many people.  The point isn’t about leaving town, staying in a hotel, or going somewhere exotic.  For me, the essential point is to step away from the swift current of your busy life for even a day, an afternoon, a weekend and rest, relax and refresh yourself.

Some people like to brag that they are so essential, their business couldn’t last a few days without them.  Usually, this means they have avoided developing procedures and delegating trivia, or that they have made themselves the roadblock, either out of a love of being important or the need to micromanage.  Eventually, the stress catches up and the business is forced to do without them while the indispensable manager recovers from a heart attack or other stress-related ailment.

Other people have never learned how to relax.  Maybe they were told that it was bad not to be active every minute–“idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  American culture has the unfortunate habit of undervaluing rest and restoration and overvaluing activity for activity’s sake.  If that’s your hang-up, let it go.

When we allow ourselves to take a break, wonderful things happen that actually enhance future productivity.  By taking a step away from the normal flow of things, we often gain new and valuable perspective.  By resting, we preserve our health and prevent a longer, possibly destructive interruption due to illness.  When we move outside our normal routine to go somewhere new, do something different or have a new experience, we become open to unexamined possibilities.  And when our break frees up time for us to nurture our family and close friendships, we preserve the relationships that support us and enable us to do our best work.

This summer, make a commitment to yourself to take a break at regular intervals and see what new possibilities emerge.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Social Media

Carousel of Customer Service

By Gail Z. Martin

We’re big Disney fans in my household, and usually, Disney is synonymous with exceptional customer service.  That’s one of the expectations with a Disney vacation—all of the usual hang-ups and headaches that come with traveling, hotels, etc. just don’t happen when you’re with the Mouse.

We forget that even Disney employees are human, and one of them provided a real case study in customer service on a recent trip.

We were on the Carousel of Progress, a moving theater where the audience’s seats move around a stationary core with an audioanimatronic show.  We had barely gotten started, when a voice came over the loud speaker telling everyone to stay in their seats, that it was not OK to leave the theater.  Now on this ride, there are four audience sections that are divided so they can’t see each other.  No one in our section had moved.  We’d been yelled at, but no one knew why.

The ride stared up again, but a few minutes later, the same voice came one again.  It was uncomfortably loud, and he was telling everyone to get back in their seats and sit down in a voice that was more first-grade teacher than entertainment employee. No one in our section had moved, so we were looking at each other wondering what was going on.  This time, we had to sit through one part of the show twice because apparently, someone somewhere was misbehaving.

This kept happening until it got to the point where the guy on the PA system was totally strung out, shouting at adults to get back in their seats, threatening all kinds of things if everyone didn’t listen.  Now, people in our section (who hadn’t gotten to see any of the show uninterrupted) were getting up to leave.  Kids were crying because the announcements were painfully loud.

What went wrong?  For one thing, the guy on the PA didn’t make it clear up front that this attraction was different from all the other Disney theaters, where the live host actually invites people who have to leave to just quietly find an exit.  Because the audience section moved, having people leave caused a safety problem, but first-time guests wouldn’t know that.

Secondly, the host forgot that we were his guests, not his subjects, or its kids.  Instead of just stopping and offering to let everyone out who wanted out, he tried to force a largely adult group to stay in their seats like children.  He forgot that it was our vacation, and he was there to make it enjoyable.

And third, he lost his cool—big time.  By the end of it, he was shrieking at us over the PA system like a stressed out parent about to go postal.  He’d gone from ordering us to threatening us, to shouting us into submission.  He forgot that he worked for us.  Our admission tickets paid his salary. But he also tried to control something he couldn’t—the actions of other adults—by force.  Had he explained the safety issue, and given people a chance to leave if they wanted to, odds are that the rest of the show would have gone smoothly.  Instead, it became a show no one will ever forget (and from the line of people who gathered afterwards and demanded to see his supervisor, I don’t think he’ll forget it either).

The moral of the story—lead, don’t force, and always remember to serve your customer

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Social Media

Clear Vision makes the Difference for Online Marketing

By Gail Z. Martin

What, specifically, is your vision for your online marketing? If you don’t have clear intentions for your online marketing, it probably isn’t working as hard for you as it could.

Online marketing includes your web site, any paid ads you run online such as banner ads or Facebook ads, your presence on blogs and podcasts, online press releases, web videos and audios you’ve created, teleseminars and online events—everything about you on the web.

Does your online presence tell a consistent story? Do all the pieces reinforce your position as an expert? Are you showing yourself in your best light?

In order to have a clear intention for your online marketing, you need to focus on your top business goal and your #1 target audience.

Everything you do should support achieving your top business goal by successfully connecting with your #1 target audience in a way that moves your audience to take strategic action.

What is the action you want your audience to take? Do you want them to move down your sales funnel from free download to expensive consulting product? Do you want them to sign up for an upcoming event? Are you hoping they’ll invite you to speak? It’s OK to want all of those things, but you’ll need a carefully structured online effort to reach multiple audiences with multiple goals.
Start simple. If your #1 target audience did just one thing to make the biggest impact on your bottom line to help you achieve your top goal, what would it be? Once you know, align all of your online marketing efforts toward encouraging your audience to take that single action.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Social Media

Social Media Success Begins with Clear Intention

By Gail Z. Martin
When you log onto Facebook for your business, do you have a clear intention in your mind of what you hope to achieve?

Without a clear intention, you’re likely to lose your way. Facebook and other social media sites are full of distractions, from comments by old friends to videos of cute kittens. If you’re not completely sure what your mission is when you log onto Facebook to promote your business, you can drift, dawdle, and find that you’ve wasted several hours.

The key to having a clear intention is to keep your top business goal in mind. Next, remind yourself who your key target audience . That audience will help you achieve your goal, and that’s who you’re on social media to meet.

Go armed with content that you’ve already written that targets the needs, interests and concerns of your target audience. Provide tips, ideas and expert suggestions that showcase your expertise and, most importantly, provide something of value for your target audience.

Take the time to make a personal connection to just two of your current friends. Comment on one of their recent posts, ask a question, share an interesting link. Then invite 5 – 10 people to friend you and “like” your fan page by selecting people who are part of one of Facebook’s many groups dedicated to a topic that relates to your expertise.

With a clear intention, your time on Facebook will translate into a stream of new prospects and qualified traffic to your web site.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Social Media

Are you in the Witness Protection Program? (Your Facebook profile said so)

By Gail Z. Martin

Have you ever gone out to someone’s Facebook or LinkedIn profile only to find a gray outline instead of a photo?  That image always reminds me of the people you see on the news who are only shown in profile because they’ve ratted on organized crime and fear for their lives.  They’re anonymous because they’re in the Witness Protection Program and they don’t want to be identified.

Those people have a reason to hide, but if you’re on social media for business, you don’t have any excuse.  The truth is that people like to do business with people—not with companies, web sites or products.  Customers want to meet you out there on Facebook and other sites.  They don’t want a photo of your dog or a creative snapshot.  They want to get to know a real, live person well enough to trust that person (you) with their money.

Getting to know someone before making a purchase is one way buyers decrease decision risk. That’s why it’s so important to have your photo on your social media profile, and why it’s a great idea to use web audio and video to give even more of a sense of who you are.  Your prospect may never meet you in person, but a photo, audio and video can go a long way toward creating a sense of trust and confidence.

Make a commitment to completing your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media pages with a current professional photo and complete business information.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Social Media

Intuition and Social Media

By Gail Z. Martin

Does it seem strange to talk about something as high tech as social media in the same breath as something as “woo-woo” as intuition?  It shouldn’t.  I believe that intuition  is part of everything we do—if we listen for it.  Intuition is definitely part of business, although men like to call it “having a hunch” or “going with your gut.”  Women are often afraid to speak about intuition in business settings at all for fear of looking soft on metrics.  But our fear of speaking about or acknowledging intuition doesn’t make it less real.

How does intuition play into social media?  Have you ever had  a “hunch” that you should (or shouldn’t) talk about a certain topic?  Ever felt like something was pushing you to comment right now on a topic?  Have you ever thought about a friend or colleague and opened Facebook only to find a new post or message from that very person?  Better yet, have you ever felt internally pushed to contact someone you hadn’t talked to in a long time, only to discover they had the key to a problem you were trying to solve?

All those factors play into our social media presence.  Do you have an inkling that a certain topic would be hot with your readers?  Run with it.  Something in the back of your mind tell you not to weigh in on a popular subject?  Better listen.  Feel drawn to answer a particular question on a forum board or recommend a person you haven’t seen for a while on LinkedIn?  Do it!

Social media is just a large-scale, virtual model of the water cooler or small town grocery store where everyone gathers for news.  Don’t be afraid to let your intuition guide your conversation when you interact online, in the same way it should be prompting and prodding you when you meet with people face to face.  You might be surprised at the results!

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intuition, Social Media