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Business Insights from Andrea Hill

Big Business Brand, Small Business Budget

28 May 2014
Small business owners must compete with large corporations for customers, so branding for the small business is more important than ever. This video teaches the basic elements necessary to create a Big Business Brand on a Small Business Budget.


Welcome to this presentation of big business brand Small Business Budget. In the next hour, I'll be showing you how to take your precious cash and time and maximize them through an effective branding process. During this presentation, I'd like you to keep one word in mind. Leverage. First, I quickly introduced myself, I am the owner of Hill Management Group. My name is Andrea Hill. My company has four brands serving small business owners StrategyWerx, which provides strategy consulting SupportWerx (renamed WerxMarketing in 2016), which provides marketing services, MentorWerx, which is engaged in professional development and JewelryWerx, which is a news site for small business owners in the jewelry industry.

I've spent most of my career as a fix it specialist for ailing companies and I've been the president and or CEO for companies ranging in the 45 million to 600 million dollar a year revenue ranges, including companies like Rio Grande in the jewelry industry and Fulcrum Direct, which had several catalogs in the apparel industry. Over the years, I've developed considerable expertise in the strategies that facilitate growth and profitability. I am known for my marketing and branding successes, and all of the companies I've run have been marketing and branding intensive.

In 2007, I left my last corporate post to form my own company because I wanted to take what I had learned over the years and bring it to small business owners so that they could compete more effectively in our increasingly boundaryless world.

So let's get started before you can achieve a compelling big business brand on a small business budget, you have to understand what a compelling big business brand is. So here's what we'll learn today. First, you may be surprised by how many people don't really know what a brand is. So we'll be covering the meaning of brand and how that meaning has changed over the last 50 or so years. Next, we'll review the building blocks of Brand so you can make a plan for how to get all your own building blocks in place.

Once you know what to do to create a brand, we can start discussing how to express the brand. We'll discuss how to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck by fine tuning the ways you express your brand through all of your media personnel and service exposures. And I'll show you how to maximize your brand exposure using the most powerful tools of our times. So let's get started. Start by thinking about this, what is a brand? Is it an identity, is it a perception?

Is it an investment, a promise or all of the above? If you said all of the above, then you're absolutely right. A brand is all of these things. The first aspect of brand is its expression of identity, a roll of toilet paper isn't just toilet paper, it's comfort. Soft toilet paper cheese isn't just any cheese, it's Sargento cheese. The concept of branding goes back to when cattle ranchers grazed their herds from the pastures in the west to the meat markets in Chicago.

Even if a cow got away from the herd, the ranchers brand on the cow identified the owner of that brand.

For many years, that's all a brand was - it was an identity mark, then in the 70s and 80s, brands took on more meaning because company brands took on more power versus the brand being associated primarily with products. And now a brand is even more pervasive. Brands today speak to the character, the cool factor and the identity, not only of the companies that have them, but also of the customers who affiliate with them. Brand has changed a lot since it was just a burn mark on a cow.

I'm willing to bet you remember your first kiss, just stop and think about it for a moment, you may have had some amazing kisses since that first one. You may have been kissing the same person for thirty five years now, but nothing will replace the memory of that first kiss from its stronghold. In your mind, it was first and it made a big impression to business thinkers that I admire. Al Reis and Jack Trout once wrote that a brand is getting first into your prospects mind representing a clear perception, first into your prospects, mind representing a clear perception.

That doesn't mean just first, because if your first but you don't bring a clear perception, you don't stick. And it doesn't just mean giving customers a clear perception. You have to be the first with that clear perception. A long time ago there was a first in place advantage. For instance, if there was already a general store in a small town, it made little sense to open up another general store nearby. Later, there was a first mover advantage, but the Internet and emergent technologies have reduced the barrier to entry for almost every sort of business.

So first mover advantage isn't what it once was. Now what we're left with is first impression advantage. But it's not just a first impression. It's to be first into your prospects. Mind representing a clear perception. If your brand is saying the same things that the other brands, your competitor brands are saying, then you won't be first and your brand won't benefit from a clear perception. You'll be all the other copy machines after the Xerox. So you have to define for your brand what your clear perception should be.

You want to be your customers first kiss. To demonstrate the point of stickiness, I always like to ask audiences whether or not they like the following things and I usually ask for a show of hands. Do you like escargot or dim sum, softshell crab, overeasy eggs or all of the above when I'm doing this presentation with a live audience. Very few people like all four and not one of these things will get all the hands raised in the audience.

But do any of these foods suffer for lack of an enthusiastic audience? Not at all. The point is that you don't need all the customers. You just need the right customers. Escargot has a customer base that's different than the overeasy eggs customer base. They likely have some overlap, but they're not the same. You must figure out who your customer base is and then convey your brand and its unique perception to that base. You are creating fans for the idea of what you have to offer even before they become consumers of what you have to offer.

You need a flavor and an enthusiastic diner. One without the other is insufficient. But when you put the two together, that's what makes a brand sticky to demonstrate the power of stickiness. Are any of you craving any of these things now that you've thought about them? That's what happens when a brand is sticky to a particular group of people. You can easily trigger their interest and enthusiasm.

Sticky is awesome. People often tell me I can't afford to be a brand, brands are expensive and I don't have the money to make that kind of investment. They are partially right. Brands are expensive. They can be expensive in dollars. For instance, if you want to be a theme park producer and go up against Walt Disney, you must have a Disney esque marketing and brand budget. Even brands that aren't Disneyesque will require some financial investment. But the investment that isn't as obvious to most people is the investment of time, energy and discipline.

To be a successful brand, you have to execute on all the things I'll speak of today. That is a significant investment and it never stops. You harvest the benefits of each effort and immediately plant again for the next. So a brand is an identity, a brand is a perception, a brand is sticky. A brand is an investment. And a brand is a promise. Or more important, it's a promise kept. A brand can evolve and progress over time, but it must have some principles and values at its core to which it always stays true.

Once you make those commitments to your customers, you must keep them and continue to build on them. There is no such thing as a brand that is a flash in the pan. Some exciting business ideas and products come and go, but to be a brand you must have staying power. And to have staying power, you must make and keep a commitment to your core customers. Now that we've talked about what a brand is, we'll get into the building blocks of a brand which include your secret sauce, your graphical elements and your offering of services and products.

Before you can do any successful marketing, you have to be really clear on your strategic elements. This is what I call the secret sauce of your business strategy is all about differentiation and competitive advantage. Differentiating alone is not enough and competitive advantage alone is not enough. You must have both. You also can't be strategic with just one element. Even if you sell the coolest thing in the world, there is no such thing as a silver bullet product strategy. You still must wrap other elements around it, like the way you sell your intimate knowledge of the people you sell to your amazing service offerings.

The type of knowledge and information you share with your customer base or the things you do for your customers that keep them coming back. It's outside the scope of this session to teach you how to do that work. But assuming you have done it, you need to distill your strategic secret sauce into three primary messages who you are, why you matter and what makes you different. These messages will be the foundation of every marketing thing you do. And I mean every there is so much noise in the world today that it's terribly difficult to penetrate it and get consumer or business owner attention.

If you come out with a different sounding and feeling message every time, you'll never have any impact. Why? Because you have to register on a potential prospect's radar 20 to 50 times before they make a meaningful mental note of who you are and start to pay attention. So if you go out there with four different messages, then you've expanded the impressions you need to make to 80 to 200 times 10 different messages, which is not uncommon, by the way.

Then you have to hit them 200 to 5000 times. So be compelling, but also be consistent. That's why you need to know your secret sauce.

Once you know your secret source, who you are, why you matter and what makes you different, then you can start to create these elements of your brand, your core values, your words that matter, your color palette and your typography. Are you surprised that I didn't say logo? Many people perceive that the logo is a primary brand element. Actually, while the logo is very important, it's a secondary brand element. It's a design element. In fact, you can't even create the logo successfully and by successfully, I mean consistently with the brand unless you have defined and adopted these four brand elements.

First, let's start by talking about your core values. Your core values are a distilled version of your secret sauce. They provide the basis for all your brand messaging. For some companies, the core values statement is a set of bullet points. For others, it's a paragraph or even six paragraphs. Now, if the core values take more than a page to express, you're probably saying too much work on editing it down to the most meaningful and compelling aspects of your secret sauce.

This may seem like a philosophical element, but it's really a very tactical element. Once you define your core values, you must make sure that every single thing you do from the services you offer or choose not to offer to the greeting on your business phone to the user experience of your website and yes, to the messages you put in any advertising and promotion. You must make sure all of these things conform with your core values and express those values. Clearly, the message in a bottle analogy is a good one.

If you put a message in a bottle, you have limited room to express yourself. One page, maybe two. It's certainly not a novel. The message must clearly express where you are and what you need. Most of the time when you are expressing your brand, you will be doing it in bite sized elements. You have to make sure that the cumulative effect of all those elements is a clear understanding, a clear perception of your brand. The core values form the foundation for all that work.

Once you've defined your core values, you can develop a limited list of words that matter, what you see on the screen is the StrategyWerx list of words that matter. These are all directly derived from our core values. Words are at the heart of all marketing and promotion. If you don't know the words, you can't develop the graphics. In fact, an advertisement that is pure graphics will only work if there were very, very clear words behind it and if the graphic was designed or selected based on the words the advertiser wanted to convey.

In some ways, the words that matter are just another distillation of your secret sauce. You take the secret sauce and turn it into a core value statement, and then you take the core value statement and you distill it again into words that matter. This is how important your secret sauce is. If you want to create a clear perception of your brand, then you must express the same ideas over and over and over again. Note that all the words that matter or the words in the words that matter graphic from StrategyWerx have equal weight.

That's because our biggest ideas are small business and answers. Our next biggest words are strategy. Experts experience and succeed. And right behind those ideas we have support and advice. And then we have a lot of other supporting ideas like seminars, education, inspire profit and methods. Every employee of StrategyWerx has those words that matter posted in a highly visible place in his or her workspace. We produced a high quality image. We laminated it and it gets distributed to everyone.

It's framed right at the front of my desk. So I see it every time I look up. This kind of constant brand awareness leads to the consistency that is essential to being sticky with your target customers and with keeping your brand promise.

After you have your words that matter figured out, then you move to typography, typography is an art form and it should not be taken lightly. A font can express a lot of ideas, seriousness, playfulness, productivity, sensitivity. And if you do the work, you can find fonts that express the ideas in your words that matter a few things you must consider when selecting typography for your brand. First, you have to use easily readable, understandable fonts, fonts that work both in print and on the web.

Now, this will eliminate a lot of fonts right out of the chute. Next pick no more than two fonts and then stick with them for everything. I know this can be hard. If you like fonts at all, you probably really like messing around with them and picking fun fonts to express different ideas. But from now on, there is only one idea your brand and you must express that idea singularly. This means that you choose fonts that work for your big idea and you use the same ones for all your small ideas.

I happen to be a big font lover. I love being able to pick fonts for other companies because I don't get to pick any more fonts for mine because clarity and trustworthiness and consistency are such an important part of our brand. We picked a super simple, clear font as both our headline and our body font and it's open sans. And now we just use that thought for everything. It can take a while to select your typography. A good process involves trying a lot of different fonts in different combinations and in your various messages and graphics.

Your graphic designer will help you with this part of the process. If you can express the ideas that the typography needs to show, then a good graphic artist will understand the thoughts that are available to express those ideas.

And again, once you make it, your typography selection should be used in everything, even the typeface of your email. Remember, you are seeking to create a singular, consistent brand image. So if it's in type, it's in your typeface. Your brand also requires a color palette. This palette is the StrategyWerx palette, and every company's palette is different. Believe it or not, the palette will also come from your core values and your words that matter.

That's how consistent you want to be. The field of psychology has given us lots of information about how people respond to colors and what colors mean to people. There's no such thing as a universal truth about a color, and there are definitely cultural differences and influences in how we view color. But these good, broad guidelines are better than no guidelines at all. To select your palette, you take what you know about your brand and you think about how those words and messages would be best expressed in colors.

And it's not just color, it's saturation and hue and tonality. A palette typically requires four or five colors to be expansive enough to cover all a brand's bases. For instance, the primary colors of our brand are the blue and green you see on the left. But well, here's a good example. In this PowerPoint presentation, the blue was too dark and the green was too light to be effective as the major colors. So the orangey brown was perfect to anchor the presentation and the red would have been obnoxious.

It's just a highlight color. You must also be very specific in your color selection. Anyone who does marketing or graphics for you once you've selected your color palette, has to have the HTML, RGB and communicate color codes for each of the colors in your palette. The usage has to be precise or it won't be your brand color. And now maybe you can see why the logo should be developed after the primary brand elements are developed, you need to know your values so you can decide upon your words and messages and then your typography and then your colors.

And then the logo will make sense and it will be powerful within the context of those elements. If you have a known logo, I'm not a big fan of rushing out to change a known logo. If you've already built brand equity, by which I mean recognition into your logo, then changing it could do more harm than good in cases like that. What we do is look at ways to tweak the existing logo to keep it as close as possible to the logo that they already know.

You may want to change the font of a subtext that always runs with your logo or modify the color of the logo, but leave the graphics the same. Just keep in mind there are ways of making adjustments for a known logo that don't have to involve a complete do over. Now, if you do not have known equity in your logo, this is a great time to actually design the logo that goes with your brand elements. And you'll find that that design process will go much better than any previous logo design process, as you've been through, because you will actually know what makes sense and what doesn't.

And that's it. These are the elements of your brand, your core values, your words that matter, your typography and your color palette. So now let's talk about the last two building blocks of your brand, which is services and products. If your services, communication style and engagement practices aren't in alignment with your brand strategy, then even a one hundred thousand dollar brand package from one of the hottest New York branding agencies won't help you. For instance, if your brand words say warm, supportive service and caring, but your service policy doesn't allow for returns that are at least as generous as your competitors, that's brand dissonance.

If your brand colors say bright, enthusiastic, innovative, energetic, but your receptionist answers the phone like this. Good afternoon. Thank you for calling Energetic People, Inc.. That's brand dissonance. If your brand suggests that you are communicative and interested in your customers, but you never, ever respond to their comments on social media, that's brand dissonance. It's also really bad social media practice test every type of customer interaction from your service policies to your sales approaches and including the way your staff dresses and presents itself outside your business at industry events and networking.

In fact, if you've ever struggled with a business attire policy, having your brand nailed down will help you with that. Use your brand to define it. If your brand says casual, hip and earthy, but you're making your staff wear nylons and suits, that's brand dissonance. On the other hand, if your brand says formal luxury, high end, you can explain the attire requirement within the context of your brand. So as you can see, every way in which you interact with your customers through services and sales, engagement is part of your brand.

And all of those things need to be consistent with the brand. Now, you probably got into business because you knew how to make or acquire something that you could sell, most likely you have a passion for that thing. And if you're a passionate product sort of person, then it's possible that your passions are also evolving over time. It's also possible that you become bored with one thing and get excited about another. If you want your business to survive and your brand to thrive, you must ensure that your product development evolves in a consistent manner with your brand.

It doesn't mean that you won't have opportunities for change, but it does mean that you have to manage change within your brand boundaries. You also have to ensure that every product you release fulfills the promise of your brand. In the software world, there are software companies that are known for putting out products on the bleeding edge of technology. It's OK with their customers if they have bugs in their product releases because it's the promise of the bleeding edge that is so exciting to their target buyers.

On the other hand, if SAP, which is a leading business operation software provider, puts out a product with bugs that makes their customers crazy, SAP doesn't promise to be bleeding edge. Their brand promise is to be reliable and stable and steady so their customers can focus on running their businesses. If your brand promises to be stylish, then it's not OK if your designs are dragging behind fashion trends by two or three years. On the other hand, if your brand is about being timeless, then you better not be trendy.

Use your brand to guide and focus your product development and then test every product against your brand. This will help you maintain consistency in your brand promise. And interestingly, it will also introduce you to exciting opportunities for innovation that you may not have otherwise considered. And there you have it, the building blocks of your brand are your secret sauce, the elements of core values, words that matter, typography and colors, your services and engagement and your products.

Now that you know how to put your entire operation together in a tight little brand package, let's start talking about execution. The first thing we do is a brand inventory, and there's a there are three steps in a brand inventory. The first step is your marketing materials. Now, if you look at this diagram on the right, you'll see that lead generation is coming from public speaking social media. Your telephone, outbound phone calls inbound, answering direct mail, advertising, email articles, press releases, things that aren't on there, include your website, paid Internet advertising.

Even on a small business budget. You must include most, if not all of these various media types in your marketing strategy. And most of you probably already do. So for step one of your brand inventory, you gather together all of your marketing materials, advertisements, packaging postcards, flyers, brochures and even print screens of your Web pages and any Internet advertising you do. Don't forget your Facebook, Twitter, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, page headers, not everything that you have in there, but at least the page headers for your page.

What spread them all out in front of you. Just get a big conference table and spread everything out. And what most people discover at this point is that there is a lot of variation. Make a to do list, make it to do list of every change you need to make to get your marketing materials all lined up with your brand elements. This includes your colors, your graphics, your fonts, and particularly your messages and voice. You may not have time to do all of them right now.

You may not have the budget to do all of them right now, but make your to do list so that you can start picking them off one at a time. The time is going to go by anyway. So it would be much better to get six months down the road and find you finally got everything put together then to be six months down the road, still thinking about the fact that you need to do it. So step one of your brand inventory is to gather all of your marketing materials and identify what changes you need to make to start presenting a consistent brand presentation.

The second step in your brand inventory is your physical environment, you're basically going to do the same thing with your physical environment. You're going to walk through it with a highly critical eye, make sure that every element from the colors and displays that the customers see to the work area and the messages and posters on your walls, things that influence employee attitude to the way that your shop is set up or your back room is set up and what it says about your feelings about quality.

Make sure every single thing in your physical environment is in sync with your brand elements. And again, if there are things that need to be brushed off, touched up, replaced or changed, make your to do list that you can start working your way through it over time. And step three of your brand inventory is the atmospherics. Now you're going to spend some time listening, mostly listen to the way you answer the phones, listen to the way you talk to the customers and even the way you talk to each other, what music is and is playing, not just the music that's out for the customers to hear, but also the music that's playing in your shop.

How does your environment smell? Are there any tactical elements in the environment, you know, surfaces somebody might run their hand across or chairs that they would sit in. Consider how every single atmospheric element does or does not contribute to your brand and once again, make a checklist of things that you're going to touch up, brush off, change, replace whatever you have to do to get your atmospherics in line with your brand.

Now, you may think I'm still telling you stuff about how to make a brand and wondering when will I get to the part about how to do it on a small business budget? But that's exactly what I've been doing so far. Remember, I asked you to think about the word leverage at the beginning of this presentation? If you want to maximize your brand impact on a small budget, you need leverage. You need to make sure that every single tiny detail is in sync, optimized and maximized before you pay for even a five dollar Facebook post to different theater.

Troupes could put on a production of rent. They could be using the same exact script, the same costumer and their performers could have equal innate talent. But it's the troupe that manages every little detail before the curtain ever opens that's going to have a terrific production. When you manage every little detail of your brand through a brand audit, you're maximizing your brand and marketing budget. And as I said before, you may not be able to afford to make every change you want or need to make right away.

But with your punch list, you can make those changes as the dollars come available because you'll know where your priorities are. Sound simple? Well, it's definitely not rocket science, and yet it works miracles. The only reason I can think of that, more companies don't do this aspect of branding to a level of distinction is that it takes a lot of discipline, which is also a lot like doing a stage production. Now it's time to talk about some exciting tips and tricks to magnify your exposure.

When it comes to getting press coverage, it's often a case of who wore it better. Editors are inundated with press requests and they must make choices that fit with their editorial direction and add value to their publication. Now, a magazine like US magazine may get a certain amount of benefit from showing the don'ts, but your trade editors never want to make you look bad. So the first rule of thumb is to have your act together since you've done a brand audit.

You can be confident that everything the editor sees about you represents one unified, streamlined, well-dressed story and that will get her attention. What will keep her attention is the story itself. Editors see tons and tons of new this and knew that, but they don't always have good editorial angles to work. There's really only so much room for pretty pictures, but you can do the work for her. You see, you figured out who you are, why you matter and what makes you different.

And it's that information that makes press releases come alive. Try to make your press communications feel like a serial novel. Each installment should build on your brand story. You'll maximize your editorial appeal and you'll offset some of the dollars you would otherwise have to spend on advertising. When it comes to advertising, layering is required to be successful layer after layer after layer of consistent messages that culminate in one strong brand awareness. McDonald's has always been the genius of this.

I mean, come on, it's not like the food is all that good, but they have a powerful brand.

First, they trained us to look for the golden arches and they did that for years. Then in the 1970s, they got harried moms to look at them as a time and sanity saver. And today we're just loving it. They may run thousands of little product ads and promotions, but they always have one main vein of promotion running. That careful, consistent, memorable theming is what turned McDonald's into the powerhouse brand they are today. Now, their marketing department probably gets sick of it long before we as consumers do.

And there's a reason that they continue with this method today because they know that no matter how big you are, you have to be repetitive and consistent to make your message stick. Even McDonald's doesn't get a silver bullet. I used to be the CEO of Rio Grande Jewelry Supply when I got there in 1996. They enjoyed very little brand recognition outside their immediate region. We changed several things during those first few during all my years there. But the main change was that we stopped advertising every laser welder earring back and hand tool.

Instead, we started advertising the brand. Because when you're advertising a bunch of little products and we had 30000 to choose from, we never created one cohesive message. So when we advertised the brand, we started getting brand awareness outside the region and we didn't just advertise the brand. We advertise the brand as a friend to designers and our brand awareness grew exponentially. If you want to create exposure to increase your exposure through advertising, then make every single exposure work for you as a player in a greater whole.

Why spend 20 exposures making twenty different impressions when you can spend 20 exposures and have it all add up to one clear perception? Now, it's tempting when you're speaking to your industry or trade to abandon the brand messages, you directed consumers and go for more tactical messaging, but don't do it. Hold steady with your brand in everything you do from your signage to your terms and conditions and purchase order forms and everything in between. There are two reasons for this.

First, the people buying for businesses are also consumers, and the same psychology affects them even if their spending behavior is ultimately different. And second, when retail stores buy into your brand, they'll be far more successful with selling your products if they become another piece of your consistent brand messaging. So your brand has to be clear to them so they can help you carry it through. Now, let's talk about moving your brand into the Internet, don't make the mistake of thinking that if something is on the Internet, it's social because we're going to really focus on social.

But it's two different things. This diagram by Forrester Research illustrates the various channels or media that you have for marketing, and the ones in blue are specifically the ones that are social. So here are some things on the Internet that are definitely not social or which may not be social. Search is not social. Your website may not be social, but it should be. Please go to my website and grab the free video called Changed. The way you think about social media, it's in the community section.

Under videos, you'll get a much deeper discussion of this Internet advertising that would be paid search and banner ads. Those are only social if you design them to be social. And if you have a mobile app, it could be social, but it's not necessarily social. For the not social elements of the Internet, the rules for increasing your exposure are the same as what I've already covered for PR and advertising. Carry your consistent theme through on every Internet element.

And again, make sure you're using a good mix of all the elements available to you. A lot of people think that a social media strategy alone is sufficient for marketing and branding, but it's not. We are going to talk a lot now about social media and how you can use it to expand your brand exposure, but it's not on its own sufficient. OK, so it isn't social that your opportunities to expand your expand your brand of change up a bit.

Social media is the Wild, Wild West and consumers on social are influencing brands as much as brands influence consumers. And they present some exciting opportunities for small business. But it also introduces challenges. For the most part, small businesses aren't making huge mistakes in social media. Rather, they're just being sort of met. There's a social media game to be played, but most small business owners haven't really joined it yet. Everything we've talked to up until now has set you up for consistent, interesting, sticky branding.

So now let's talk about using social media to take it to the next step. If you just do social media without all the preparation we've already discussed, your social media efforts will be weak and lame. You need the foundation of messaging we've discussed to pull off the sort of social media efforts that lead to genuine brand awareness.

The exciting thing about social media is that it can expose you to hundreds of thousands of potential customers, customers that you wouldn't have been able to reach in previous decades without spending money on prime time television advertising. But it's not magic and it doesn't happen overnight. You have to work each social media channel effectively to have it pay off in brand awareness. Now, what does effectively mean?

First, it means you'll be staying within your brand elements. Your voice is particularly important in social media because much of what you communicate will be in writing. And yes, images are a very big part of social media, but your voice plays a powerful role. If you speak out of voice, then you lose the thread of the impression that you're making. Don't waste your breath. Stick with your brand voice. Second, it means that each social media channel has its own conventions.

That's true in traditional media as well. For instance, you don't write a novel on a billboard. I mean, you could, but it won't work. And in radio you have to go with very tight and interesting scripting to get a big message across in a very short period of time without having people space off. So every media has its own conventions. I don't know that social media's conventions are so much different than traditional media, but people aren't as familiar with the conventions yet.

If you don't take the time to understand them again, you'll be spinning your wheels and wasting time and money on your social media efforts. So let's talk about how to maximize your social media exposure and how to play within those conventions and really expand your brand awareness. Now, since we're talking about building a brand on a budget, one of the most important things you can do is spread brand awareness far and wide. And like I said, it's possible to do that on social media, but it doesn't happen by itself.

So first, we'll review which social media environments you need to be in. We'll talk about some alternatives you might want to be in, and I'll review the main ways to build audience in the top environments and also how to maximize the value of that audience once you have their attention.

Here's your minimum. If you are a product seller in a luxury goods industry or in any consumer goods industry, really you need to be in these five categories. This is true if you're selling wholesale or if you're selling retail. Now, why these five Facebook and Twitter are your bare minimums for social media? They're the big kahunas of both lead generation and engagement. LinkedIn is the place where executives who aren't social media driven hang out. If you want to get the attention of business owners, you need to be on LinkedIn.

If you're thinking this doesn't apply to you, if you're a retailer, then think again. You want the attention of the heavy hitters in your community and they are also on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram give you powerful exposure for your product images. What you sell is always highly visual, and Pinterest and Instagram can get your images in front of more eyeballs. So now let's talk about some of these environments and how to get the most out of them. You've probably seen something like this before.

I know there are versions for donuts and hamburgers, but I like seeing it in the context of jewelers. It's funny, but it also gives you really useful information because it helps you quickly focus on the essence of each platform. So you'll probably want to come back to that again. And if you want just a copy of this graphic, if you go to Twitter and look at the hashtag #jckAndrea, you'll be able to find it there as well or link to it.

First, let's talk about being social. You know, it's not social getting followed by people and not following them back, you know what else isn't social putting post after post of things you want to sell, but never looking at anybody else's stuff. Forgetting to thank people when they share your posts is not social. Forgetting to share other people's content is not social. Putting up a post that is made entirely of hash tags and hurts the eyes is not social.

In other words, use your manners. And it's not just because Emily Post says to social media is kind of like social. Anything else. If you're the person who only talks about himself at parties who expect people to pay attention to him but doesn't pay attention to anyone else and who doesn't find other people interesting, then you're not going to have many friends. Right. They'll glaze over when you start talking and wander off to hang out with someone more interesting.

Social media is the same way. If you want to get the benefits of social media, you have to remember to use your manners and be social. Now, does this mean you won't encounter doofuses and trolls out on social media? Yes, you will. And you'll probably block them or ignore them. They're not getting any business out of it. And maybe that's not even what they're there for. Remember to be social and follow these polite conventions and you'll create a lot more engagement and awareness on social media.

Let's start with Facebook. Facebook can be very challenging to build audience in. It's much harder, in fact, than Twitter, but there are more people there. So you really want to build your audience and Facebook. It can be done, but you have to pay some real good attention to it. Now, I do say this with a caveat. Less and less page content is making it to followers. In fact, we believe at this point it may be as little as one to two percent of organic content is making it to your followers.

So if you only have a thousand Facebook fans, then only 10 to 20 of them will ever see your page posts. Obviously, that's not worth the effort. So to make your Facebook pay, you have to build your audience. And most people that are getting good engagement that leads to sales on Facebook have 25 to 35000 followers. The primary way to build your audience on Facebook is by a combination of inviting people to your page and sharing interesting content.

It's both as simple and as difficult as that. You can use Facebook custom audience to build your page fans. This feature allows you to upload all the contacts in your contact database to a Facebook ad page. And what Facebook does with the data is they compare it to all the email addresses already in their system. Facebook matches your customer data with current Facebook members, many of whom are not likely to be following your page yet. And then you're able to send a Facebook ad to all the members of your custom audience and invite them to like your page.

Now, those your list is not shared with anyone else other than Facebook. Facebook has your customer list. So that's the thing you have to think about. But it does allow you to take a very targeted audience of people and invite them to participate with you in a social environment where they'll get more engagement than they're probably getting right now from you. Facebook is also a terrific platform for hosting incentives and contests and games. You can use a simple tool called Short Stack to create Facebook apps for about thirty dollars a month.

You can build as many games, contests and interactive experiences as you want, and they have almost 100 premade templates. Again, that product is called Short Stack. Make sure that many of these interactive experiences ask for an email address. So tell the customer, hey, we have this game or this contest or, you know, rate the picture, whatever it is, vote on the design. But to participate, they have to give you an email address, which, of course, you're going to put in your contact management system so that you can email these customers and talk with them in other forums as well.

A few housekeeping things you can do to build your Facebook following is to make sure you have your Facebook link in your email signature and also a Facebook like button on your website. And finally, get creative with other Facebook page owners. Find a page owner with a similar clientele to yours and do a cross promotion with them. You encourage your followers to follow them. They encourage their followers to follow you. And you guys both offer some sort of incentive to the two groups.

So there's no magic here. There was no wizardry. It's just work. But if you're putting out messages that are very consistent with your voice and you're using similar colors and similar imagery, every time you go out there, then you're going to build impressions faster than if you were doing lots of random things.

And that combination of building impressions faster and really working on building your Facebook audience will get you a broader audience to communicate with. And obviously more people who know your brand.

Twitter is different than Facebook, it's more active you it's very difficult to over tweet, but you can definitely over Facebook. You know, the Twitter crowd is talking all day, every day. If you have eight hundred followers on Twitter and you're excited about that, then I'm afraid I'm going to burst your bubble. The bare minimum of followers that will benefit you on Twitter is 2000, and your goal should be to get to 60000 or 80000. The good news is that there are a few fantastic tools for doing just this.

My favorite is just unfollow. I'll show you some screenshots of that in a moment. We'll talk about it in more detail. But before we go there, let's look at a few pointers about good Twitter usage. Twitter has a custom audience feature just like Facebook or it's similar to Facebook's. If you're doing the Twitter advertising, it's a really good idea to use this feature. And also like Facebook, you should create reasons for people to join your mail list, your email list.

You should add a Twitter link to your email signature. Make sure that there's a link on your Web page with Twitter. You have to test, test, test. Now, every test should be within your brand. It has to be your voice. It has to be your pictures. It has to be consistent with who you want people to see you as or think about you as. I also strongly recommend having a face of a company out there on Facebook and Twitter and not just a logo.

It's really hard to connect to a logo and it could be a couple of faces that rotate through there. The logo can definitely be someplace else on your header information, but people connect with people, not with things. So whatever you can do to make it a personal connection and not a corporate connection is very beneficial. OK, so you're going to test, test, test all these different things. Don't hold out for the perfect idea. You have an idea that might get some attention.

Put it out there. If nobody retweeted and nobody favorites it there, it's just, you know, well, there's two possible reasons why don't you put it out at the wrong time. And it didn't really hit with anybody, but more likely, it just fell flat. Nobody saw any good reason to respond to it. There will be a lot of those. What you're going to do is watch the results of everything you put out there and see what gets the most attention.

And eventually you'll get better and better at putting out things that get likes and our favorites and read tweets. Just do it all within your brand voice. So you continue to build your image whether what you put out there is a hit or a dud. Twitter's a really big universe with a few major subgroups within it, the biggest subgroup of Twitter is social media. For social media's sake, these guys are trying to make money off of social media. The next subgroup is for is people for whom social media is a game or a means of entertainment.

They collect followers and they sort of let their hair down online. And the third group is the one that uses Twitter as a news and information feed. They're not participators. They don't care how many followers they have. They just want to see what's passing through. And then after those three groups, there are thousands of little subgroups, but those are the big ones. The good news for you as a consumer goods luxury goods seller is all of these people could potentially buy jewelry.

So you're going to cast a very big, very big net and let the wrong fish swim on out and the right ones will stay.

And they will ultimately expose your brand to their friends and followers who are also interested. So you want to cast as wide a net as possible on Twitter, because Twitter will give you far more followers far more quickly than Facebook ever will. And you can bring more of those Twitter followers over to Facebook to join you there. And and then you're engaging them in both places. And that increases brand awareness. I'll tell you how to do that in a moment.

So first, let's look at this product called Just Unfollow. Just Unfollow is a tool for building your Twitter visibility and engagement. It does also work on Instagram. But right now, the tools more powerful for Twitter. There's a free version that's good for one account. Like if you just have one Twitter account, there's a ten dollars a month version that will let you manage to accounts like Twitter and Instagram and at twenty dollars a month version that will let you handle five accounts.

And then there are larger subscriptions for people who are doing social media management.

By the way, I don't get any endorsements or money or benefit from just unfollow or who did I mention before short stack. These people don't even know I'm talking about them. It's just these are the tools my company has chosen to use after testing a lot of tools. And I figured I'd save you the testing and tell you which ones we think are best to use. OK, here are the things just unfollow will do for you. It will show you who your fans are, which of course are different than friends.

Right? See, with friends, there's reciprocation. Think about what I said earlier about being social. You should make sure you're following the people who are following you so it will show you your fans and make it easy for you to follow them back. You can also see who unfollowed you unless you're just really enjoying their posts. It makes it really easy to unfollow them and keep your Twitter news feed filled with only the people you're actually engaging with because they're seeing what you're posting.

You can also see who followed you and follow you and follow them back. You may be surprised to find out how many serious Twitter users will unfollow you in just a few days if they don't see that you've reciprocated and followed them. And you can see which of your followers are inactive. For a long time, I didn't pay very much attention to my Twitter account. And then I got interested and I started working it. I had about fourteen hundred followers then, and of those, over 700 of them hadn't been active in six months or longer.

I wasn't getting any value out of them. Worse, I was assuming that my posts were potentially getting to fourteen hundred people when they were getting the less than seven hundred. So these are the main things that just unfollowed does. Let's take a look at a few screenshots. This is a screenshot from my Who Followed Me analysis, so at the top I can see new followers by day. I have twenty one new followers since the last time I checked, and I usually check it twice a day.

And this example, I had four hundred and eighty eight new followers on Friday, May twenty third, which is right up here at the top. Right. That kind of information will cause me to go back to my tweets for that day and see what I shared so I can do more of it. That gets that many followers. After that I see my new followers and that's toward the bottom right. And the green plus sign to the right makes it super easy for me to follow them back.

Now, this is a screenshot from my inactive following analysis, and my daughter is right at the top of the list, I guess Twitter just isn't her thing. The red minus sign to the right makes it easy for you to unfollow your inactive followers. So why delete the inactive and the ones who have unfollowed you? Well, you don't always I won't delete my daughter, nor will I delete Barbe a few rows down, because if either one of them get back on Twitter, I want to know.

But for the most part, you don't want inactive and non followers in your follower account. This obscures the real impact that you're having because you feel like you're talking to more people than you actually are. So using good Twitter hygiene is a really important way to stay on top of your brand messaging and reach. Now, this is where Just Unfollow gets really fun, I can copy the followers of Twitter users that I believe have the type of followers I want to have talk about building custom audiences.

So here you can see that I've decided to copy some followers from the MJSA. I put their username, which is mjsatweets in the follow box, and I tell it to show me their followers. It sorts the list of followers from their most engaged to their least engaged. So I see the best followers they have and it hides the followers who I'm following already. All I have to do is click the green button that I'm following them. Now, why is this good?

Well, A, I'm getting more relevant information in my news feed, but B is the big reason. Remember how conventions on Twitter are to follow back? A very good percentage of these active Twitter users will do just that and you'll be building your audience. And the hashtag follow works the same way here I use the hashtag #jck2014, and then I was given the most engaged users of that hashtag to follow.

So I use the copy followers and the keyword follow to grow my answer or my audience.

Now, what I do with my Twitter feed is I go in and follow about 200 to 250 people a day and it's when you're over two thousand followers, you can follow more than that. There are Twitter limits. You'll just hit them. And Twitter will make you wait two or three days to come back and follow anyone else.

But I follow two hundred two hundred fifty a day and then I go back to the Who's Not Following Me screen and I unfollow the oldest one hundred fifty or so that aren't following me still.

And that way I know those are people I followed, you know, two or three days ago and they haven't come back and followed me yet. And so I just drop them and I go after some new users and I just cycle through that all the time and pick up lots of new followers.

Here's some information that may be really useful to you. It's the users of each platform that are currently using other platforms to read this chart. You read it from left to right. For example, looking at the top row, you'd say, of all my Twitter users, 53 percent of them are probably on Instagram, 35 percent of them are likely using Pinterest. Thirty nine percent of them are also on LinkedIn, and 90 percent of them likely have Facebook accounts.

Understanding these relationships between the platforms will help you decide where to place messages. For example, a lot of business owners committed to LinkedIn before they were willing to give Facebook a try. Some of them are still on LinkedIn, but not using Facebook yet. Obviously, from this chart, it looks like 17 percent of them that are on LinkedIn aren't using Facebook yet. So you may find that you have 800 contacts in LinkedIn, but only 73 fans on your Facebook page.

Did you know that you can download your entire contact list from LinkedIn as a spreadsheet file and then you can upload those email addresses as custom audiences and Facebook? Again, you could do the same thing in Twitter.

According to the chart above, you can expect approximately 83 percent of your LinkedIn users to also have a Facebook account. And then you could send a targeted ad to your Facebook custom audience or to your Twitter custom audience, encouraging them to like you or follow you. Why would you want to do this? Well, a couple of reasons. One, you want to engage your customers in as many different places as possible. If they see your ad in a trade magazine and they get your postcard in the mail and they also see you go buy in their Facebook news feed and they chat with you once in a while, and then you show up in their Twitter feed and you put something interesting on Linked In and they also encounter you at a trade show.

All of these impressions are adding up to one big impression, particularly if you're using all the conventions we've talked about today and you're building this powerful brand image.

Also, think about it in the term of how LinkedIn is.

You know, when you're comparing the networks, LinkedIn is the least social of the social environments. LinkedIn conversations are very focused on hiring and networking and selling services. So if you want your customers to have a more meaningful engagement with your company, you really need to draw them into where the conversations happen. That's actually mostly Facebook. Or you could think about it in terms of a different social context. If you run into someone in the lobby or the elevator of your office building, you're more likely to have a brief or more formal conversation with them.

Then if you happen to sit down next to them in a bar or catch them at a social event. In this case, LinkedIn is the lobby and Facebook is the bar. Neither one's better than the other. They're just different. If you want to build a more complex relationship with someone, you need to meet them in a variety of scenarios. Have you ever had the experience where you see someone at the coffee shop that you usually see at the gym and you don't recognize them?

Context is important to how we recognize people. You want to be known in multiple contexts to your prospects and customers, and that's going to help your brand and your message be more sticky.

Here's another cross promotion from my own Twitter and Facebook pages. So on Twitter, we posted that we'll be live tweeting this presentation under the hashtag #jckandrea. But we also told them that we'd have richer content on our Facebook page because we don't have the character limits. And then there's a link to the Facebook page now that would get my Twitter followers that I have a lot more of, like my Facebook page. And then we did the same thing in reverse on Facebook.

We let people know that if they weren't following us on Twitter, they'd get different types of information on this speech, on the Twitter feed and they were going to get in Facebook. Doing this sort of cross promotion helps you bring followers from one network to the other, which multiplies your opportunities for engagement, which builds your brand.

Using social media to expand your brand is important because social media does deliver the numbers, but impressions alone don't mean much. Some people say they don't mean anything, but that's not quite true. If you're following all the guidelines I've offered you today, you are creating a cumulative impression with your brand, and that is meaningful. It's the subliminal sticky stuff in the sea of data that is the Internet. But you have to have really large followings on social media to make it work.

So build your followings, spend 10 minutes per day on Facebook, sharing information and posting new brand cohesive, consistent content, searching out other people with similar target, with pages, with similar target customers and inviting new followers. Spend another 10 minutes each day working. You're just unfollow following new people and cleaning out your own followers and your inactive followers and then watch your engagement metrics to indicate whether or not your content is resonating with your followers. If you're posting content and nobody cares, you're wasting time.

A really easy way to do this is with clout.

So what's Klout? Well, it's a free service that does a decent job of measuring engagement on social media. A Klout score of 50 or higher is a good sign of engagement. I have a goal of reaching a Klout score of eighty two by the end of this year. I just set that goal. It's random, so we'll see how I do and you can see how I do because you can see anyone's Klout score in the image. On the left you can see the red cloud flags it kind of toward the just in the bottom half of the screen.

This is from my smartphone. The one the flag on the right is mine. And the flag on the left is a Twitter user named Founding Mom, who's an influencer in small business circles. So I'm currently chasing her Klout score, which is two points higher than mine. It was five points higher than mine when I set her as my goal. And once I pick her all or what I pass her, then I'll pick a new social media influencer to meet and beat.

And in the image on the right, that's where I've opened up my Klout. And it shows me how much my Klout score has gone up in a day, how much it's gone up over the last week, and how much it's gone up over the last month. If your Klout score is going up rapidly, like I once in a while, I'll get a day change of like a point. Then I immediately look at what I did that day and see if I can replicate it when my Klout score goes down.

It's usually because I haven't been active enough, but it's a very immediate rating. You can see your score change two or three times a day.

Now, I haven't talked about how to maximize your followers and brand with all the different social media environments, largely because we only have an hour today and I'm already at risk of running over. What I will tell you is this all roads must lead to sales, so. As long as you're using this is the most powerful part of this program that you're using one integrated, consistent brand approach, so every single impression has an exponential effect. Wherever they see you, you're the same company.

And all those exposures can be turned into genuine engagement, which can be turned into sales. And that's the order it's getting on their radar, inciting enough interest to follow your join you, getting them engaged with you, using that engagement to build enough interest to have a desire to buy from you and then taking them to the sale. And the faster you get them from awareness to sale, the more successful you'll be.

This is how it should feel to your prospects.

And customers like every page is just a piece of a cohesive story, all moving together, moving them toward engagement and then desire and then purchase. And then loyalty. So to wrap it up, here's how to build a big business brand on a small business budget. Figure out who you are, why you matter and what makes you different. Create a powerful set of brand elements that are cohesive, consistent, and tell a shared story. Make sure all of your services and customer engagement also tell the story and engage as many senses as possible and make sure your product offerings are consistent with your brand story.

You want to get more value out of every dollar in traditional media by ensuring that your impressions all layer together to form a cohesive whole. And then you're going to use social media to cast a wide net. So you have this constant funnel of new prospect, a funnel that's much larger than you could afford without social media. And what you're going to do is pull everything back to your website and your store and your brand. So why is this the secret?

Because this approach gives you leverage. It allows you to build your brand faster and with fewer dollars, then an approach that has you all over the map. It allows you to make much more significant impact than if you were using multiple messages, images, colors and voices. Small business owners have less money to work with than big businesses, but you're competing for the same customers. You have to use every bit of leverage you can get, and this method gives you brand leverage.

I want to thank you for your time and attention, and I really appreciate you being here with me today. This is Andrea Hill and you've been enjoying another training experience from StrategyWerx.