Don’t Be a Wall Flower in Your Marketing

Marketing is like attending a party. All the other attendees at the party are your potential customers. If all you do is decorate the wall, you are limiting that potential customer base to just the handful of people in your immediate vicinity.

Until you start mingling and working the room, you aren’t going to broaden your reach. But there’s more to it than just walking the room. If all you do is walk around looking at the floor, no one is going to notice you or converse with you.

It’s the same for your business. Just being there; having a website, having a profile on social media sites; isn’t going to help you grow your business. You need to make it easy for your customers to converse with you and you need to respond back. Start the dialogue and keep it going.

The same as at a party, once you’ve started that dialogue, a person is going to stick around you if you show interest in them and not just focus the conversation on you.

The same goes for your website and your social media discussions. Don’t make it all about you and what you have to offer.

Talk to your customers to find out what is important to them; develop the relationship and the rapport – the trust. Then you can mention how your product or service can help meet their needs and goals.

And if you help your clients and make their life easier, they are going to want to help you by continuing the relationship with repeat business and referrals.

You’re going to have more fun at the party if you put yourself out there and ask people what’s important to them rather than tell them what’s important to you.

Tips on Marketing on Twitter and Facebook

Writing for Facebook and Twitter isn't that different from other web writing. It's likened to micro blogging.

Writing a tweet is similar to writing a good headline - action words, leave out the articles (a, an, the) and start with the specific key words.

LinkedIn is more B2B, where as Facebook is more B2C when it comes to companies using it.

Using Facebook and Twitter for marketing always has to be for the customer, not the company. The customer is always listening to WiiFM (what's in it for me?).

So, tweets and wall posts always have to provide a benefit for the customer or provide for their needs not be marketing the latest product or service for the company.

You can get away with that occasionally provided there's lots of other stuff for the customer.

If you're not already on Twitter, I'd suggest signing up and searching for "social media" for people to follow and learn from them. Follow me on Twitter @jason_clements

Copyblogger ( is a good place to learn about writing titles and blog posts.

Have any other tips on writing for Twitter and Facebook?


7 LinkedIn Profile Tips and Tricks

The profile you present on social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is your personal brand and needs to be managed effectively.

Here are some tips to ensure you're presenting your best self online
  1. Headline: Don't just put your job title. Target this to your benefit statement or 30-second commercial
  2. Profile Photo: Don't leave as default. Use a professional head shot of yourself.
  3. Websites: Use "Other" to create your own label with keywords for your site(s)
  4. Public Profile URL: Edit to create a URL with your name
  5. Add Skills, Certifications, Publications: Include keywords
  6. Education: If your diploma/degree was a long time ago you can omit grad year by selecting " - " for years.
  7. Groups: Join a few of the larger groups to quickly expand your network.
    Bonus Tip: If you're doing a number of edits to your profile, turn off your activity broadcasts under Settings until your last edit.

    These tips are specific to LinkedIn, but are also relevant for other social media profiles. Consistency is also good with profile photos and descriptions.


    How To Help Your Clients and Make More Sales Through Proper Web Writing

    People don't read every word online like they do in print.

    For the most part when you go to a website you have a particular task in mind and even specific words you're thinking about.

    When you land on that page you are going to scan the page looking for some indication that that specific page is going to help you complete your task.

    In the 8 seconds most people spend on a page, if they don't see the words that are in their head, they are going to hit the back button.

    So, you need to think like your readers. 
    • What words are important to your readers? 
    • You need to make sure those words are on your web pages in easy to spot locations.

    Jakob Nielsen has done eye tracking analysis to determine where the key locations are to catch your readers attention.

    Basically it shows an F-pattern where readers look at headings and scan down the left side of the main body of text.

    So, this is how your copy needs to look.

    And it needs to be loaded with keywords in the headings and subheadings and at the start of paragraphs and bullet lists.

    Good content doesn't need to be read. 

    Tips to Help Your Readers Scan Your Pages OR 
    How To Make More Sales and Get More Leads
    • Relevant heading - put key terms at the top of the page, in headings
    • Brief content summary or introduction
      - Use terms that your readers are familiar with and that they would use and think of, so when they’re scanning for a topic, they will see the words they’re looking for
    • Focused subheadings
    • Bundles of content and bulleted lists
    • Reorder by importance -  keywords first in titles, subheads, bullet points
    • Integrated and logical hyperlinks
      • Hyperlinks stand out and distract the reader, taking them away from your page
      • Put related links at the bottom of the document to move reader forward; call to action
      • Don’t use underlining for headings or emphasis – underlining is reserved for hyperlinks
    Learn more about the Jakob Nielsen's F-pattern:


    What are you "working forward to?"

    I drove by a car dealership today and noticed a really nice red corvette sitting in the lot. I've never driven or ridden in a corvette, but have always thought of a corvette as my dream car. I turned to my wife and said I should go take one for a test drive.

    She didn't think that would be a good idea as then I would want to buy one (sooner than later).

    In a bit of a tongue tied moment I said taking one for a test drive would be incentive as something "to work forward to." I had meant to say something to look forward to, but my mind mashed that together with something to work toward.

    I thought that was a great new saying and had visions of trademarking it and writing a book and starting a whole motivational series; however, a quick google search showed I'm only one of over 200,000 people to come up with this saying.

    Originality aside, it is still a great thing to think about. What are you working forward to?

    It is so easy to get into a routine of getting up each morning, going to work and putting in your day, coming home, having supper, watching TV, going to bed, getting up in the morning, going to work...

    If you don't know what you're working forward to, how are you going to move forward? You could wake up one morning and find your life has passed you by. Einstein said, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

    Everyone has dreams and looks forward to travelling; owning a corvette (insert your dream car); spending time with your family; ...

    So often we have an attitude of entitlement and "look forward" to everything being handed to us when we retire, but what action are you taking to make that happen, to get ahead in life?

    What are you working forward to? Think about this so when you wake up tomorrow morning you can start working toward achieving that.

    Me, I'm working forward to having the time and money to travel, to buy that red corvette (sooner than later), to provide for my family... I would like to have the financial resources to allow me to go to Japan or some other disaster relief location.

    Feel free to comment and share what you are working forward to.


    Ultimate Guide to Facebook And Netiquette and tips for Twitter

    Here's 2 great articles I came across today that I wanted to pass on:

    The Ultimate Guide to Facebook (from Gizmodo)

    So I’ve set up my Twitter account: now what? Netiquette and tips for Twitter

    I've already set up Twitter Feed, so (cross my fingers) you may have actually ended up here from my auto tweet.

    A note on Facebook, privacy, the article is really long, but I really encourage you to take a look at your privacy settings. And the ability to set up groups for your friends so, for instance, your grandma doesn't see this weekends party photos, is a really good idea.

    (Though when I tried to go into my privacy settings it hung and the page wouldn't load. I guess loading the 1300 page privacy policy was hanging things up.)

    Marketing Tactic / Scam Warning

    I was watching a marketing webinar the other day and it brought to mind thoughts of a shady/slimey salesman.

    The idea is to register a domain name that starts with com.  Something like Then you can have a subdirectory like walmart or microsoft or whatever.  You would then end up with addresses like and

    On the webinar it even said to avoid registering something with  .com domain extension because people may notice it. And to register long, even nonsense domains, like com-11–, to distance the com at the front from the end domain extension.

    So, this whole marketing strategy is designed to trick people into thinking they're on Microsoft's or Walmart's website to gain their confidence so you can get them to fill out a survey of buy a product thinking it's from or endorsed by a reputable company.

    In today's world of social media and online conversations and openness is this not bound to backfire? If/when people realised you tricked them I'm sure they would want a refund.

    Not to mention the chances of this getting in the wrong hands and someone sending you an email saying your bank account may have been hacked and ask you to log into something like

    The guy on the webinar even said to quickly register com- domains because he didn't know how long they would allow them to be registered.

    Now what does everyone think of this?


    If you aren't using QR Codes yet, why not?

    Your magazine ad or billboard relies on your customers to take note of your phone number, email address, website or other action you want them to take and then the customer has to actually take action by phoning, emailing or visiting your website.

    With a QR code in your ad they just grab their smartphone and scan the QR code and your contact information or calendar event is automaticallly added to their phone. Or they could be redirected to your website or product page.

    Get a QR Code That You Can Change
    Most QR code generators that you find online are one time things. You create it, you print it and your customers take the same action every time.

    You can get more bang from your marketing if you subscribe to something like QR Jumps or ScanLife. These sites provide stats on the use of your QR codes and also allow you to change the action.

    QRJumps is free, ScanLife is free for individual use, but there's a cost for commercial use.

    The benefit of being able to change the action is that you can promote whatever contest or promotion you have on at any given time.

    What is a QR code?
    If you don't know what a QR code is, chances are you've likely seen them in magazines and maybe even on billboards.

    QR stands for quick read and is a two dimensional image similar to a bar code and has information encoded into it.

    There are various apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone to read QR codes. ScanLife has their own app available for all smartphones.

    Mortgage Rules Miss the Mark by a Mile

    The new mortgage rules are meant to reduce Canadian household debt*, but I think there are lots of other things that Flaherty could do that would actually be helpful in achieving this.

    Mortgages changes effective March 18
    • Shorten maximum amortization period to 30 years from 35 years
    • Lower the maximum amount homeowners can borrow against the value of their homes t0 85% from 90%
    • Withdraw insurance on home-equity lines of credit (effective April 18)
    In many cases the purchase of a home could be the largest financial transaction a person makes in their lifetime. Although I believe that owning your own home shouldn't be considered an investment, there are financial benefits to building equity in a home.

    Benefits to Equity in Your Home
    The equity can be used to refinance and pay off credit cards and other debt that carries a much larger interest rate. That equity can also be used to provide capital for investing, such as purchasing investment properties,  or starting a business.

    These new mortgage changes, in addition to last year's changes, make it even harder for people to buy a home. With the deadline looking for these changes it could actually encourage some people to recklessly rush into buying a home before the March deadline; perhaps a home that they can't afford or that isn't suited to their family and lifestyle.

    Yellow Signs on Every Corner
    I think there are many other things that the Canadian government should be focusing on. There has been changes to credit card regulations, but the glaring problem that isn't addressed is those yellow signs that are becoming like Tim Hortons or Starbucks with one on every corner. I'm talking about the payday loan stores.

    Most people are living pay cheque to pay cheque. If an unforeseen event occurs requiring them to get an advance on their pay, these loan stores can (legally) charge up to 60% interest!

    How is someone already living pay cheque to pay cheque going to survive on 60% less pay? They will be forced to go back to the loan centre before their next pay and it will start a vicious downward-spiraling cycle that they will never get out of.

    What is the government doing to address this?

    *Household debt was at 148 percent of disposable income in the third quarter last year according to Statistics Canada data.


    The Superbowl for Hollywood

    The Oscars are Sunday night and everyone is trying to take advantage of the captive audience at this live event.

    "Marketers are paying $1.75 million for each 30-second slot on ABC's Sunday night telecast."

    With big names like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Cindy Crawford, marketers are betting on the audience using Twitter, Facebook and other social media to get even more bang for their commercial dollars.

    Procter & Gamble has already seen it's Facebook membership increase 25% since announcing Jennifer Lopez as the star of an Oscar spot.

    And Best Buy actually made the Superbowl connection with an online vote to pick an alternate ending to it's Justin Bieber Super Bowl ad. The new ending will air Sunday night during the Oscars.

    And I'm sure many of these big-name commercials will end up on YouTube very soon after if they aren't there already for more exposure and sharing.


    How a Topic Trends on Twitter

    Interesting article linked from this Gizmodo post.

    I'll admit that the format it was posted in is not very readable and the whole academic aspect of it turned me off. So, I didn't read the whole article, but the Gizmodo post is a good enough synopsis to explain it.

    Basically if a tweet originated from a news agency then it is more likely to be picked up and retweeted. Also the resonance the topic has with people helps.

    The report also reaffirms how fleeting it can all be and that even though something is picked up and retweeted a lot it isn't going to stick around for long.

    I'm sure the six degrees of separation is fairly evident on Twitter so it wouldn't take long for something to make the rounds.


    Lose the Hero Shot

    This is a great article by Gerry McGovern explaining how you will gain more trust and your visitors will put more faith in your website and your content if you remove any hero shots of smiling people.

    Also avoid large buttons that look like banners or else fall prey to banner poisoning.

    Your copy competes with the large images
    Lots of times you see a large image across the top of the webpage and this just causes more work for your customers having to scroll down each time they visit a page to get at the actual content.

    So, lose the hero shot and you have an effective and meaningful website that helps your clients get answers and take action.

    Contact me for a comprehensive review of your website that includes Information Architecture, Online Content, Website Navigation, and Usability.


    Fear of Commitment

    It's a common theme in movies today. The hero or heroine has gone through life single and enjoying many short-term relationships. Then along comes "the one" and the person does everything they can to sabotage the relationship.

    It usually falls to the best friend in the movie to point out the good points of the new love interest and help the hero/heroine see that this person is the one.

    Businesses can be like the hero only going half way or doing something to sabotage the relationship with their customers, like starting a blog but turning off comments. The blog then becomes like every other newspaper or TV ad with the message pushed to an audience and no way to get feedback.

    Social media specialists need to be like the best friend to the businesses that we work with. We need to talk up the benefits of social media and the benefits of the two-way communication with customers.

    Social media is great, it's like running a focus group where you're getting feedback from your entire customer base not just some small (hopefully) representative sample base. Like when GAP put out a new logo. They listened to their customers and quickly scrapped the new logo when customer feedback was negative toward it.

    Too often companies are stuck in the traditional, familiar mind-set when it comes to marketing and dictate to the customer what the business thinks the customer needs.

    Like any relationship, there needs to be a two-way communication with your customers and social media can help facilitate this.

    What do you think? What are some benefits that we can highlight to companies to show them the benefits of social media and the two-way communication?


    Social Media Needs to be a Part of Your Communication Strategy

    "Social media is part of our communications strategy so, ... we didn't have a big powwow about it saying, 'oh, we need to get out the message via social media'. It is already assumed that is one of the channels we want to use," says WestJet emerging media advisor Greg Hounslow.

    This quote totally sums it up.

    Marketing special report: Social media by Mary Kirby is a great article discussing how airlines are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to get their messages out.

    "Social media isn't the way of the future - it's now," says Jessica Green of Greenwin property management.

    Mobile phones (and even cars now) give your customers easy access to social media and the online discussions are immediate.

    You don't have time to debate about a response, so a social media policy needs to be in place and the people monitoring them need to have the authority to respond immediately.


    Why do companies prevent staff from being effective!?!

    I could go on and on about the benefits of letting employees have access to the Internet and social media, but this is a really good post and the commenters also have some great feedback.

    So rather than me ranting and raving, just check out this post by LaDonna Coy.


    Life Events

    There are few events in life that can really affect you.

    There's the good: new job, marriage, birth of a child.

    And then there's the bad: loss of job, divorce, death of a loved one.

    It's easy to prepare for the expected events such as marriage or birth of a child, but often times the unexpected, bad events can really throw you for a loop.

    I've learned that having an open relationship and communication along with financial planning can help you get through those unexpected events. (I would think thought that having an open relationship and communication could actually prevent one of those tragedies.)


    7 social media lessons from Nestle's Facebook missteps

    Just wanted to share this post from's top 5 stories on social media.

    In this case study Nestle doesn't get that they no longer own or control their brand.
    Your brand now is the top 10 results in Google when your customer searches your company name or your product name.

    The issue and online conversation was around Nestle using palm oil in its products and palm oil being linked to environmental harm. Nestle's response was to tell people not to post their logos.

    One commenter sums it up: "It’s not OK for people to use altered versions of your logos but it’s OK for you to alter the face of Indonesian rainforests? Wow!"

    In the post, provides 7 really good lessons that any professional communicator needs to know and ensure their executives or clients know.

    To sum them up:
    • You need to listen and understand both the issue and the tools before jumping in.
    • It's a conversation and sharing of ideas with your clients, it's not one-way (push) like traditional advertising.
    • You need to give up control of the message and take the good with the bad. You're not going to please everyone and there will be bad feedback.
    • It will require time commitment and dedicated resources (people) to follow, listen and participate in the conversations.


    By the Numbers: Internet 2010

    Here's a great article with some stats on Internet use and growth in 2010.

    Notably, here are some social media stats.

    Twitter doubled the number of accounts and Facebook grew by almost a third.

    (Although as a side note, I noticed my nephew adding Facebook accounts with reckless abandon on the weekend just so he could create more towns for some game! That's just wrong. He also pumped up the number of email users by creating random Hotmail accounts for the Facebook accounts.)

    Social media
    • 152 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
    • 25 billion – Number of sent tweets on Twitter in 2010
    • 100 million – New accounts added on Twitter in 2010
    • 175 million – People on Twitter as of September 2010
    • 7.7 million – People following @ladygaga (Lady Gaga, Twitter’s most followed user).
    • 600 million – People on Facebook at the end of 2010.
    • 250 million – New people on Facebook in 2010.
    • 30 billion – Pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) shared on Facebook per month.
    • 70% – Share of Facebook’s user base located outside the United States.
    • 20 million – The number of Facebook apps installed each day.


    Always Learn and Share

    I'm sharing a post from copyblogger about the new age of teaching.

    He has some good points when it comes to online marketing. You can't always be shilling your wares online. People will be quick to "unfriend" you if that's all your messages are.

    "Your authority and credibility no longer depend on credentials — it depends on mastering skills by practicing them in the real world. You must be sensitive to what your prospective students want to learn, instead of forcing them to learn whatever you decide to teach them. And there’s no such thing as tenure. You stay relevant and useful or you lose all your students."
    Specifically Josh Kaufman is talking about his online teaching business, but the same goes for your clients. You need to know what they're interested in and provide solutions that meet their needs and desires, not push your latest product or service.

    You always need to be sharing something new that people want to learn or that will benefit them. Then, as I'm doing with the copyblogger post, your followers will share and spread your message.


    Immortality through our online connections

    I started this blog a few years ago with the greatest of intentions to write every day, but as my archive of posts shows I haven't been successful at that.

    My blog title, "ego scriptor proinde ego sum," along the lines of I think therefore I am, means "I write therefore I am". In a way social media and all the self-published content is a way for everyone to achieve a bit of immortality.

    Today this really hit home for me. A coworker has been battling cancer for the past year. To keep everyone up to date and I'm sure as a way to help her, she started a blog to keep track of her journey. (Thankfully she's just received the official diagnosis that her cancer is in remission.)

    However, through her blog she came into contact with someone else fighting cancer and who is also blogging about her life and battle with the disease.

    Today, my coworker's post was that this person who had touched her life, and yet had never met, passed away this weekend.

    Until today I had never heard of Daria Maluta, and yet through these online connections I was made aware of her life and how she touched other's lives. A note of caution, when I followed the link I was left with a lump in my throat after reading the last few posts of her life.


    Getting started in social media

    To follow up to my commitment to social media and writing in this blog, I plan on working my way through these four stages.

    Four stages to marketing and promotion.

    1. Sign up, observe, and educate yourself (sometimes called lurking). Many people stay at this stage for a long time, simply soaking up good information.

    2. Participate. Start to make yourself known. This could be as simple as making status updates, posting photos or sample writing, or creating a profile.

    3. Share something and grow relationships. Focus on what you give people or what you can share that's of value. As you participate and share with others in the community, and do things for each other, relationships grow and develop.

    4. Ask for help. This is when you might actually put your connections to work as a means of soft or hard marketing. Maybe you want to tell people to pre-order your book on Amazon on a specific day. Or you're hoping that your network will spread the word about an upcoming event you're hosting. So you ask.

    People who know you and trust you will be more likely to help you. That's why it's important to establish relationships far before you market and promote a product/service. The relationships have to be meaningful before they have value in a marketing/promotion effort.

    Note: The above is from my own notes from a workshop or seminar but unfortunately I didn't note the source when I wrote the notes. So, I don't profess to the above being entirely my own thoughts. It's probably came from Groundswell.

    A New Year, A New Commitment

    We're already half way into January of 2011. My last post was early January 2010! :(

    I've signed up for two social media courses through Algonquin Colleges distance education and renewing my commitment to take on this social media storm front on.

    I'm on Twitter (@jason_clements and @moviesinlondon) and I'm on Facebook and LinkedIn but I've never fully committed to any of these and have never regularly logged in or posted to any of them.

    So, there you go, I'm putting myself out there and the social media courses will be my inspiration and will make me accountable to post here regularly and hopefully dive into the other sites.