Building An Online Community Through Live Events, Teleseminars And Webinars!

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

dinnerWhen it comes to engaging your audience with an event, most people have a preference for interacting either face-to-face or virtually. But it’s best not to think “either/or”. Instead think “both/and”.

Several years ago, I interviewed Jeremiah Owyang, a former Forrester analyst for social media. Jeremiah is a master at building community. I’ll never forget when he said, “Effective community building is not done solely online or solely in-person. It requires both.” Jeremiah went on to tell me that when he travels, he makes a point of arranging a meet up and inviting his followers on social media.

Taking a page out of Jeremiah’s book, I emailed my list last summer with the following, before traveling to Chicago on business:

Hi <first name>,

What’s better than eating at one of my favorite restaurants in all the world? Meeting up with kindred spirits, to feed body, mind, and soul.

Join me on July 19, in Chicago, for a meetup of remarkable individuals. You’ll meet members of my “brand community” who are smart, accomplished, and interesting.

After years of gathering my “tribe” online with virtual events (e.g., webinars, teleseminars), the in-person event had a special appeal – for me and my audience.

In the process, I learned a lot more than bridging the gap between online and in-person engagement. I became aware of the role of three basic human desires in creating engagement:

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Meetup.com Marketing Strategy: Bridge the Engagement Gap

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

meetup-logoWhen I saw that Firepole Marketing was having a contest for an Awesome Engagement Strategy, I knew that the work I did this summer was worth sharing.

What do I really do? Good Question!

Before I tell you about my engagement strategy, I’m going to tell you what I do and why I needed an engagement strategy in the first place.

I’m a Communications Advisor, Coach, Facilitator and Instructor who helps individuals and teams understand their workplace communication styles and behaviors. I do this through workshops and team-building sessions that are customized for each of my clients. The work I do helps them have fewer misunderstandings, stronger teamwork and more productivity.

I know that when people understand how and why misunderstandings occur, they can participate in developing strategies, goals and tactics to overcome them and move forward with less stress and more fun.

But… that’s not what I’m known for…

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How to Get More 1-on-1 Coaching Clients, for Coaches and Consultants

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

stream-of-clientsAre you a coach or consultant?

Clients, be they one on one, or as part of a group, are the life blood of your business.

Without clients, you have no business… and boy do we know that feeling. Perhaps you have just enough clients to keep you ticking over. Perhaps you could do with a few more. But without a reliable engagement and conversion strategy, the chances are that instead of every lead turning into some sort of paying customer, you may be stuck in a place where each fumbled lead increases your self-doubt.

(Hey look, we’ve all been there. I *FEEL* your pain.)

Now the thing is it’s not because you’re terrible at what you do. In fact, it’s more likely that you’re outstanding at what you do… but how frustrating is it when you can’t seem to demonstrate that value to potential clients who land on your site, or end up in an email conversation with you about their problems – their problems, that on some level they want you to solve, else they wouldn’t be contacting you, right?

Maybe you find these interactions a big drain on your time. Maybe you wish you had better quality leads with people who can afford and want to buy your services. But how on earth do you go about creating that? How do you attract better leads, and then engage them in such a way that you can show case your value, and command the price tag you know you’re worth?

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Transparency in Business: Engage Readers by Revealing Royal Screw-Ups

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

screwed-upDo you have a rather lifeless, arms-length relationship with your readers?

Are you afraid to be human, vulnerable, transparent and reveal your weaknesses? Have you felt obliged to focus on your strengths and paint yourself as the perfect go-to expert in your field?

If so, you might be creating a passive, unresponsive community that respects you but doesn’t really trust you.

I was in that exact situation and it was awful.

Let me explain…

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The Strategy for Storytelling In Business That Will Spark Massive Engagement

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

single-videoEver wondered what the difference is between sites that engage magically and those that are just meh?

Have you ever wanted to learn the secret to inspiring your visitors to take action instead of just inspiring them to leave?

Like all of us, I’ve tried different ways to encourage my audience to engage – from installing social media buttons on my blog to just asking people to leave comments, but I never truly figured out the secret of inspiring true engagement until the day a friend sent me a video by San Francisco baker Chad Robertson. It was a simple video that didn’t pitch anything at all. But by the end of it something interesting had happened – I’d been transformed into a fan.

And not just any fan – the best kind of fan.

The kind who bought his product and who shared his video with my friends on Facebook. And all without having heard of him before that day.

Keep reading and I’ll show you Chad’s video, plus I’ll dissect what he did in detail. And for bonus points I’ll even lay out a complete engagement strategy for doing the same thing for your website and business.

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3 Live Video Broadcasting Formats That Will Captivate Customers and Make You More Money in 2013

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

live-broadcastSo it’s 2013.

My plan for engagement is to incorporate Live video broadcasting into my content strategy, like, A LOT.

Bandwidth is cheap. 62% of american adults have access to high-speed internet.

Webcams are cheap. Decent audio, also cheap.

The argument for broadcasting video live from my webcam is fairly simple. To grow my own reach and deepen my engagement, I could either

A.) Spend 20 hours researching a blog’s audience, pitching the publisher, then take another 15 hours to write a guest post, hoping it’ll get some comments. or…

B.) Spend the same time researching the audience and working with that blogger to do something live for an hour, offering viewers one on one, real time interaction.

With option B.) I’m still doing research and preparation, but the content creation lasts as long as you’re broadcasting.

Also, viewers don’t “scan” a live stream. There’s no “skipping to the good parts” they’re either there, or they’re not…

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Facebook Marketing: Achieving Success by Becoming a Welcomed Guest

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

facebook-successWant to grow your Facebook fan page fast, and receive your daily portions of ego-massage while you are still a newbie?

Here’s how I did it…

Last spring, my friend and I created our first Business Page on Facebook. We were really excited.

But then the question came up – how could we grow it FAST and without investing a lot of money in it?

It was a new venture… no website/service available, just a rough idea to test the market, so we decided to start all activities inside Facebook.

Of course, we followed all the basic Facebook marketing ideas:

  • Invite all your friends, that gave us ~100 fans,
  • Run Facebook ads, $10 investment resulted with 100 extra fans,
  • Tagged our friends and celebrities on pictures – that didn’t work with me so well. (You can make people you tagged really irritated. For example, an Indian artisan tagged me on the picture of his new basket. “Where is the connection?” I wondered, “I don’t like this basket, I don’t want my friends to see it…” It was okay, when he did it once. But when it happened 3-4 times, I cancelled his subscription.) Overall  results from  this tactics were rather poor.
  • “Pay” with a Like. For example, there are special forums in LinkedIn Groups to promote your page. You have a list of participants who will like you after you Liked them. This one is also not my favorite – very time consuming, and people can be offended if you forgot to like them back.

Weeks passed… my friend became busy, so I stayed mostly all alone with our page, keeping updated it daily. Though my dream – to open my account in the morning and see hundreds of new Likes, Fans and comments – remained just a dream. Instead of hundreds of Likes, I was getting 1-2 per day.

But one day the miracle finally happened!!!!!!

It was amazing and inspiring, especially since at first, I didn’t know where all those visitors came from…

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Marketing Giveaways: I’m Selling My Chops, But Giving My Gravy Away

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

gravyWhen I began writing, I shared the common delusion that one day I might be rich and famous.

I still may be someday, but that is no longer a consideration for why I write. I am not as concerned about selling books as I am being read. I would much rather sell 10 books to people who read and share them than 100 that sit in a shelf picking up dust, nothing but literary furniture.

I’ve read much about freebies and marketing giveaways, and I used to think it pointless, even counter-productive. How will I become rich and famous giving away books?

I see things differently now, and I think, better. I have a novel scheduled for launch next year, and I’m trying a couple of things sales-wise that strategically places some tasty marketing  giveaways.

The great thing is these ideas should work for any book, fiction or non-fiction…

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10 Secrets to Fantastic Customer Engagement

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

Blogs and social media are designed to be… social.secret-engagement

When you see people posting their links in groups in Facebook or LinkedIn and never responding to comments or questions, you know what kind of people you’re dealing with. When you see comments on their blog go unanswered, are they committed to engagement?

I don’t think so.

So what’s the secret to online engagement? It comes with changing your perspective from just thinking about you, to thinking about what would delight other people. When you understand what most people want out of their online experience and help them get it, then you’re well on your way to generating goodwill and improving your overall level of engagement online.

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Building Engagement by Doing What Scares Me (Taking Business Risk)

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

tight-ropeSo, I’ve been making money online (here and there) for 5 years now – going on 6.

I started as a freelance writer, decided I didn’t like that. Then I moved into IM, and focused on product creation. While it “worked” to a degree, I never saw the amount of money that I knew I could be making. (Like a car that only gets 5 miles-per-gallon when it should get 30.)

Something was very wrong with my business and I wasn’t sure what. I took a big step back and asked myself if I was really cut out for this business entrepreneurship thing . . . The answer was yes. I loved it. I needed it like I need air, food, and my husband. But it wasn’t working the way it should.

I started the search for answers, and in the meantime bought more domains, put up more sites, made my products even better, expanded my topic base. And nothing changed. I knew the money was there to be made, but I also knew I was missing some crucial “thing.”

Then, thanks to a few marketers and bloggers, Danny Iny and his team being some of the most influential, I realized that I had no audience!

There was absolutely no engagement on my part. People weren’t finding me – and how could they? The issue wasn’t with the business plan (for the most part,) the problem lied with me – or the lack of me that there was online.

I was lost in cyberspace, and holy crap I had no idea what to do about it!

Fast forward through reading Danny’s books, being on lots of webinars, redesigning my blog, and overhauling my online image.

Now I actually have an engagement strategy! Go me!

A lot of it revolves around doing things that force me into the open, that make me a little bit (or a lot bit) vulnerable to the world, and making sure I stay unapologetic for being me.

It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t truly finished – but if I said it was perfect you’d know I was lying, and you never finish something like this. Ever. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and no engagement strategy ever survives contact with the cynical masses.

But here is my plan for right now… [Read more...]

Will You Marry Me? (Audience Engagement Strategies That Work!)

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

marriage-fearDo you want to know what the scares people the most?

Nope, it’s not spiders.

Nope, it’s not Freddy Krueger.

And no, it’s not even Donald Trump’s hair. ;-)

The big, hairy monster I speak of is fear itself… fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of being utterly, utterly, utterly alone in this world. It’s scary to put yourself out there and commit to the pursuit of a dream. It’s hard to know where to start in overcoming fear.

Whether it’s dating, starting a business, or in my case, starting my humorous blog in order to gauge interest in my writing, the beast I speak of keeps the average Joe from succeeding.

The reality? I had guts, and it paid off. My blog, Everyday Underwear, is more successful than I imagined it would be at this point and I’ve been given opportunities I could never have dreamed up. Still, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you how scared I was when I hit “Publish” that first time…

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Pop Your Brand: How to Start a Podcast to Amp Up Exposure when Things Get Stale

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

Starting-a-podcastYou wanted to start an online business to promote your brand right?

You wrote a book, started blogging and thought you were in business. The problem is, you didn’t realize just how hard and time consuming creating a “platform” really is.

You’re a year into this thing and you still haven’t gotten a publisher, your blog sucks, you only have a handful of loyal followers and a few measly comments about your writing…

What’s the deal? Are you missing something? [Read more...]