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It can be hard to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know without being seen as a nutter, but if you have something in common, it’s quite a different scenario. At a conference, we are quite happy to talk to strangers in the coffee queue at break time about how great the last session was because we have something in common. At a rock concert, it’s OK to chat to the person next to us about the band because we are both there to experience the music. At a football match when the team is losing, it’s OK to moan and groan to the person in front of us about the team’s poor performance today and reminisce about the glory days because we both love the team. Smokers will stand out in the freezing cold weather to get their ten-minute caffeine fix and chat to other smokers from different departments at the office, because of commonality. Commonality is the key reason that talking to a stranger is acceptable. It’s human nature I suppose, although I have no answer as to why just because we have something in common with another person, we feel quite happy to strike up a conversation. Two teenagers would not strike up a conversation at the check out queue but they would perhaps if they realized they were wearing the same cult T- shirt under their jackets.
I can remember building websites one keystroke at a time—labouring over the headings, the text, the backgrounds and the colours. Back then there were no content management systems, and each website was created page-by-page, image-by-image. I was very excited by the possibilities of this new medium, but its value to business was still unclear. We didn’t know how to: Measure its value to the business or our customers Fit the web into our business-as-usual patterns Think outside of the publishing world that we knew Protect or copyright our work Train our teams
This is the part of setting up a business that I love! Giving your startup enterprise a name (and subsequently developing a logo) makes it all that more real, and therefore it can be an exciting exercise, if not a bit daunting and sometimes frustrating as well. Having gone through this process numerous times in my professional life, as well as worked with numerous startups—not necessarily in naming them, but working with what they had as a name (for better or worse), here are some thoughts I’ve had along the journey. (NOTE: these tips can also apply to the naming of a new product or service, or an event you’re running—essentially anything that will be a sub-brand of your overall business). 1. Make sure you can get the domain name. This will probably be the ultimate determinant as to which name you go for; you might have a brilliant name for your business, but if you can’t make it work from a web domain perspective, then you’re pretty much back to square one. Let’s face it, your website is probably your most important marketing tool today; if your domain is not congruent with your business name, forget it! This is why you see many online businesses make up words (Google, anyone?) or change the spelling of existing words (e.g. Flickr, Flippa) or join two words together (Airtasker, Facebook, MailChimp, PayPal, HubSpot, etc). If it’s the only way to get the .com, .com.au or .co.nz domain, then it’s worth considering. 2. Try to ensure there’s a story behind your name. What is the purpose behind your business, its reason for being? How and why did you come up with the name? I do some work with a startup called SplitIt.com.au—they’re a comparison and switching website, but unlike their competitors, rather than keep the commission they receive from service providers, SplitIt.com.au splits it 50/50 with their customers. Name says it all really! Take a leaf out of how marketing and PR people name their agencies. For example, Man Bites Dog is a personal favourite of mine—it’s a B2B PR firm from the UK and refers to a classic truism in PR and media circles, which is: If a dog bites a man, it’s not news, but if a man bites a dog, it is news! Nice one. Another fave is Threepipe Communications, which was inspired by one of the world’s most insightful and creative minds, Sherlock Holmes, who was quoted as saying: "It is quite a three pipe problem.” (As in, he needed to stop, think and smoke for 50 minutes to think about a particular problem.) Threepipe’s mantra is: “We see what others don’t see, leading to solutions others would never find.” I think in this age of social media, content marketing and online communications, this is definitely an area I would be focusing on. (I once named my consulting business ONE19 Communications after Geelong’s 119 point demolition of Port Adelaide in the AFL Grand Final! Nothing to do with the business, but hey, it was a great conversation-starter!) 3. The shorter and sharper, the better. We live in an information-overloaded world; the marketplace is crowded and noisy. A long and convoluted name won’t do you any favours. You need something that’s preferably short, sharp and memorable. Look at the big names, the two-syllable ‘monsters’—Apple, Nike, eBay, Virgin, Twitter, Intel, Starbucks—they were (mostly) relatively small companies once. Think small before thinking big! But ultimately, you need to like your business name because you’re gonna be stuck with it for potentially a long time! Good luck! Trevor Young | Consultant | Speaker/Trainer | Content Creator | Author - 'Micro Maven Manifesto'
This is the second in a series of three posts on creating a successful Facebook Page. In my last post I covered a few key points on what a Facebook Page is and the things you need to consider before launching your Facebook Page. In this post I will explore techniques for building content your audience will like and growing a community.
Are you one of the many small business owners or other professionals who find it a challenge to make sales appointments with prospective customers? If so, you're not alone. And if like me you are not a “born salesperson” who loves the game of sales, even the thought of calling to set up a sales appointment with someone you haven't met can be daunting. If your budget will allow it, you might hire sales people to do this for you and maybe even to handle the whole sales process from start to finish. For others of us, the choice will be to get those appointments ourselves, or miss out on the revenue from sales we don't make. Here are five key steps that I've found work well for getting sales appointments with decision makers: Research the company or organisation. Understand key concerns of the industry. Find out who the real decision makers are. Use your network. Make the gatekeeper your friend.
Facebook. Now there is an idea I reckon every small business owner wishes they had thought of. For those who use it already I am sure you will agree it is definitely a social phenomenon. For those who aren’t on it, my advice simply is to sign up. If you don’t use Facebook yourself as a personal user, you are not appreciating the huge potential Facebook offers for small businesses wanting to reach prospective customers. Three facts you may not have realised about Facebook: In Australia today there are 11.5 million people over the age of 13 who use the platform. 7.7 million Australians on Facebook are 30 years or older. In fact there are 1.8 million people over the age of 55 on Facebook. Facebook is not just about sharing photos of your holiday; it is also a powerful advertising medium. For as little as $100 per month, you can start publishing advertising that can be targeted to people in a specific town, to a specific gender, specific age group or even those who you know have an interest in the services your small business offers. There is very little wastage. So how do you get started? This post is the first of three providing tips to small business owners on making Facebook part of your marketing mix. The three posts will cover: What is a Facebook page and things to think about before starting Engaging your audience with compelling content and building an audience Facebook competitions and evaluating your Facebook efforts What is a Facebook Page? A Facebook Page is the equivalent of a Facebook Profile for brands and organisations. In many ways Facebook treats a Facebook Page the same as a personal profile; however, there are a few differences: Friends versus Likes: Rather than friends, your Facebook Page will generate ‘Likes’. Once a user has ‘liked’ your Page, your updates have the potential of appearing in their newsfeed. Facebook Page Tabs: A Facebook Page has ‘Tabs’ that enable you to create customised pages to host competitions, present product information and even house eCommerce platforms where you can sell your products. Page Admins: Unlike a personal account, a Facebook Page can have multiple ‘Admins’ of the page, enabling multiple staff members to access and control the Page. Measurement and Analytics: A Facebook Page has access to detailed measurement analytics, which enable you to see how many people visit your Page, the content they interact with the most and detailed demographic information about your community. For more information about Facebook Pages you can visit this detailed guide by Facebook. Things to think about before launching your Facebook Page Unlike a web site, a Facebook Page is a platform for two way engagement with your customers. As such, there are some things you need to consider before you launch: Community Management: The person who manages your Facebook Page is typically described as the community manager. Depending on the size and engagement of your community this role will scale, but at the very least your community manager should be checking the page daily for comments that need responses and planning content so that your Facebook Page is updated regularly. Social Media Examiner has good advice on selecting a Community Manager. Q&As: Before you launch your Facebook Page, spend time with a variety of staff to brainstorm potential questions community members could ask on your Facebook Page. Speed is of the essence when responding to questions on Facebook, so as best you can pre-plan your responses. Think about the worst case scenarios. Hopefully they won’t be required, but it is best to be prepared. Escalation and response procedures: In conjunction with your Q&A document, you should also develop escalation and response procedures. This document will help business owners ensure community managers know the right response to provide and also ensure they know how to escalate questions within the business to the right people. The diagram below, created by David Armano, a colleague of mine, should give you an idea how these things work. Stay tuned for additional advice in the coming weeks. Facebook Pages are a big opportunity, but they do require some new skills. I would love to hear your thoughts on the above and your own experiences in opening a Facebook Page for your business. If any of the terms I have used above are unclear to you, visit this very comprehensive glossary that Facebook itself has created. Matthew Gain | Director, Brand and Digital Marketing - Edelman
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