If you are what you tweet, what shouldn’t you say?
We all have a voice. We all want our voice heard. There’s no way to circumvent the need for love and belonging and acceptance. It’s part of our nature.
And in the WordPress space, we like to take all of our complaints to social media. This can be good and bad.
Firstly, public venting is almost never a good thing. Rather than posting publicly, it is better to use private Facebook groups, SnapChat, and friends to text or call.
Client Shaming on Twitter
As an aside, I’d love to see client shaming die a long, painful death. I’ve seen it in every industry I’ve been in. Twitter is supposed to make you approachable. When people see your tweets shaming clients for not understanding DNS, they will be more afraid to talk to you, let alone hire you.
It’s not the client’s responsibility to understand tech. That’s why they’re hiring you. Right? You deal with DNS and passwords and image sizes and naming conventions day in and day out. The fact that they could even find their passwords was a victory in their own eyes.
Instead, be a bridge. Be a resource. Educate. Empower your clients.
You shouldn’t be annoyed that they don’t understand what you do.
Marketing is basic communication of your goods and services. Simple enough, right? So why do so many WordPress developers fail to tell their potential customers that they are available?
There could be many reasons, but let’s start with a simple, actionable goal.
Audit your website and Twitter bio.
Audit Your Website
You may need a third party on this one. Don’t look at the code or the design. Instead, look to see where a potential customer would know the following:
Are you accepting new work?
What kind of work do you specialize in?
How does someone contact you?
You could go further with:
Do you have a portfolio?
Do you have recommendations?
Do you list your clients?
But that is way extra credit.
Your services page should be clear in the main navigation and not buried. This is for potential customers and for your friends who are looking to refer you. If your friends are like me, they check your website first.
Audit Your Twitter Bio
What does your Twitter bio say? Does it say you’re a “WordPress Developer.” That’s awesome. Your peers know who you are. But does the general public. I’m going to say a hard “no.”
If you build websites, and taking on work, I’d strongly suggest that your Twitter bio says “I build websites” in some form.
Here are a couple of quick Google Search Screenshots that should help convince you.
Notice that it says “web designer” or “website” in most of the suggestions. Also, the “People also ask” section is a good source of headlines for future blog posts like, “How Much Does It Cost To Hire Someone to Build A Website?”
Oh, and please put a link to your website on your Twitter.
These days you hear a lot of complaining about online costs. People think “online” means “free.” It doesn’t; nor should it. So what is the cost of doing business online? In this post I’ll detail my software as a service expenses to give you an idea.
Software as a Service (Saas)
Software as a Service basically means you can get a service through a webpage. Wikipedia has a better definition. The point is, that digital space has a cost. Software over the cloud has a cost. Clouds are not free.
Traditional services like accounting and law typically charge retainers and charge by 15 minute increments. We never question this. So why not value our own time?
This also includes monthly, recurring costs like cable (internet provider), electricity (to power and charge the devices you use to get to the cloud), cell phones to work remotely and call clients, as well as a percentage of your mortgage/rent or co-working fees.
This isn’t the place for it, but please. Understand your costs as an agency. Understanding your costs allows you to charge for your value.
My Monthly SaaS Costs
I spend quite a bit of money for cloud-based tools that I deem necessary to run my Marketing Consultancy.
Here are my monthly costs rounded to the nearest dollar:
Website Hosting at Pressable $25
Postmatic (for content delivery and commenting) $20
Communication is a science. I’m frankly tired of seeing it categorized as a soft skill as though it’s less important. Of course communication includes data. The trick with communication professionals is that we read and respond to data live.
Business people (marketing, sales, finance) are not inferior to software developers, engineers, and/or front-end designers. Every specialty has its training and technical side. Let’s respect expertise for what it is — expertise.
Thanks for commenting, Bridget. I did not create the Venn diagram, nor do I endorse it or its labels. It is used as a counterexample for classifying data science in an over-exclusive way.
Firstly, the fact that one didn’t create an image doesn’t remove one’s responsibility for it. What if it were hate speech? Why is it acceptable in the tech community to demean soft skills?
To be fair, this diagram and discussion brought something to the surface that I’ve been encountering since I began marketing as a career.
Data Requires Context
Sure. Pour over the data you have in Google Analytics. Make charts. Create ratios. Create forecasting models. That’s needed. I’m not against data.
But data alone isn’t the whole picture. Recently, a client noticed a drop in leads from Yelp. Is it because Yelp isn’t effective? That was the conclusion all too easy to jump to. Yet, what has changed? Quite a lot, actually. We began advertising on Facebook, we launched a new website with regular blog posts, and we started an Instagram account. Yelp isn’t less effective, it’s simply no longer the only star in the sky of data.
Context, a story, matters when interpreting data. That comes with soft skills. Anyone can collect data. But can you ask the right questions to interpret the data?
Brené Brown is now famous for saying, “Maybe stories are just data with a soul” in her TED talk. Stories give context to data. This is what makes data powerful. Otherwise any data can be manipulated for any purpose.
“Figures often beguile me particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'” Mark Twain
Are soft skills scientific?
They are. This is why behaviorism is a part of psychology. There are plenty of studies that look at inflection, tone, word choice, gestures, facial ticks, and body language. All of this is data. It’s being streamed through our senses and interpreted in real time by our brains.
Soft skills are scientific. We call them soft because it’s hard for us to define.
Those with business, marketing, sales, and communication skills read a different kind of data: it’s human data. It’s behavior and behavior patterns. We analyze body language, inflection, and tone. We decipher patterns and predict behavior in real time in order to adjust the conversation for affinity.
Whether online or in person affinity is key. Affinity leads to loyalty. Loyalty leads to sales. Of course, data is important, but it’s good to be reminded that data is a look at the past, not in the moment. Collected data is the autopsy. Soft skills are the preventive medicine.
“I’ve concluded that that data has the most impact when it’s wrapped in a story. …Data won’t get you standing ovation; stories will. Stories inform, illuminate, and inspire. Tell more of them.” Carmine Gallo, Harvard Business Review
So, you’re a small agency or freelancer. How do you market your WordPress freelance or small agency? My recommendation is content marketing through creation and distribution.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is using resources to bring your product or service to the attention of your customer (the market). So you have to dedicate resources (time, personnel, and budget) to tell people about your business. What are the best ways to do that? Here are some of my ideas.
So, Neil recommends tweeting during peak hours. Yet, that is a lot of volume to compete with. That said, people usually check Twitter during the times they take breaks. Think about before work (7:30 a.m.), during lunch (noon), and when they’re sick of sitting at their desk (4:30 p.m.). Read more Yep. Twitter Works if You Work It.
Dear website developers, implementors, + SEO consultants: Did you know you don't have to be a superhero at all things? Do what you love + what you're good at, then refer out the rest. You'll be happier, clients will respect you, + you'll have greater success.
I think it's time again, to talk about the "good-fast-cheap triangle." You only get two. And really, I don't even think cheap + good is a thing. You can't have that. Maybe "passable" + cheap… pic.twitter.com/uq1fVQr90L
Thinking we can do everything is not only delusional, but distracts us from the things that really make us money. We’re in business for a reason, right?
If you’re a roofer, be a roofer. Go horizontal if you want, and do HVAC, but don’t start installing windows.
If you build websites, build sites. Go horizontal and make apps, but don’t start making videos.
Do what you know. Do what you can do well, efficiently, and make a profit.
How do you refer?
Knowing that we should refer and knowing how to refer are two different things. If you refer the right way, you’re still providing a valuable service to the client. It’s not losing business, it’s about being that go-to person, the expert, and the well-connected person.
If someone asks me if I do Facebook Advertising, I say,
“Sorry, John, I don’t do Facebook Ads, but my friend Jason at Thought House does.”
You can either give your client their contact information or write an email to them both. “John meet Jason. Jason meet John. John wants Facebook ads, I told him, you’re the best.”
This way, you’re making an introduction, and keeping your brand top of mind to all parties involved.
How do referrals grow my network?
Referrals work on the human emotions of trust and reciprocity. Firstly, by referring, I am extending my brand to another. I am saying, I trust this person, you can, too. So be careful about referring to people you don’t trust.
Secondly, if you send enough business someone’s way, they will also begin to refer you. That’s reciprocity. Heck, if you are just a nice person, your network will send people your way. I cannot even tell you how many dozens of people have sent others my way in the last four months.
Sometimes, they come in the form of public tweets. I have amazing and generous friends.
I have been a marketer for nearly forty years and a social-media dilettante for ten.
Bridget regularly drops insight bombs that amaze me with their insight and direct relevance to the marketing challenges we all face. https://t.co/AwumLJvnDB
Twitter is the best platform for B2B marketing. It serves several marketing purposes including brand awareness, public relations, listening, content curation, and relationship building.
Watch the Video Here
Brand awareness is high-level, less-tangible, and difficult to measure. It’s almost a word-association game. I say “tissue;” you say “Kleenex.” I say “photocopy;” you say “Xerox.” You want your brand to be able to be associated with your purpose. Recognition of the logo on Twitter because of your presence is a great way for a small business to compete with the bigger operations. The big guys rarely invest in social media.
You have news. People want to know it. Share Promotions, sales, new ventures, employees that join in, partnerships, case studies, etc. Write on your WordPress blog everything relevant to your audience and publish it on Twitter. Every brand has the ability to publish and gain influence and audience.
Listening is the most powerful thing you can do with Twitter. It’s so important to understand who you audience is and what they want, need, and how they think. This allows you to become a better communicator — meaning, you’re communicating in a way that resonates with them.
Once you’ve built your lists you now have the tool in place to curate content. People often ask me what tools I use to curate content. I tell them that I’m a People Curator — a People Broker, I say. I curate content by curating people. It really is that simple.
All business happens because of referrals and word of mouth. Think of the last time you had a new client. How did you acquire them? Think of the last time you found a new service. Did you search for them online? Google? Yelp? Almost no one does business with a total stranger. Use Twitter to build relationships. You won’t regret it.
You blog. But do you know your audience? Do you use Twitter analytics? Do you know how long should your content be? What should the grade level be? Is your well-crafted persona even correct? Let’s look at Twitter’s Analytics to see what kind of information is there.
Influencers need an audience. Businesses need an audience. The truth is that we all have audiences. We all influence someone. With the age of social media, we’re all publishers now. But who is that audience — exactly?
Do you find your audience and write for them or write and then find your audience? Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
I test the way I cook — it’s an experiment. It’s not formal. If someone likes it, I continue. If I hate it, I fix it. You can A/B test without heavily relying upon data.
I know what you’re thinking — that a post about analytics should be data centric. But what is data? Without context it means nothing. You can waste hours in Google Analytics or Twitter Analytics studying the wrong thing.
For example, 57% of my audience is interested in “fresh & healthy” lifestyle. That means I could experiment with writing about how I started using the Asana Rebel Yoga App and posting some of my Yoga photos from Instagram.
Traffic. Comments. (For example, after I started using Postmatic for email delivery and commenting, I’ve gotten a lot more comments. The comments encourage me to write more.) Comments also help give me ideas on what to write about.
You also might see those posts performing well in the Top Tweets of your Twitter Analytics.
How often should I look at Twitter’s Analytics?
I need gimmicks. So first, you need self-awareness. Then you need routine. I have Maintenance Mondays at my house. So I look at Twitter’s Analytics every Monday. For clients, I record data monthly in a Google Sheet. For myself, I go on intuition.
Start. What are you waiting for. You might be surprised.
Branding has an allusive attraction — like a magic word a SEO professional will use that you know is important but don’t fully understand.
Not having a MBA in Marketing myself, I had often pondered this question as well.
What is branding?
Branding is listening to a thirty-year old Michael Jackson song on the radio and recognizing the Eddie Van Halen guitar solo.
Branding is making a decision between using a restroom at a gas station or the restroom at a Starbucks.
Branding is being reminded of your beloved uncle when you smell pipe tobacco with a hint of cherry.
Is Branding A Logo?
Yes and no.
In many ways, branding is the connection of your sensual experiences. When I see a Diet Coke can, I become thirsty. Why? I remember the feel of a cold can in my hands, the sound the can makes when it pops open, the tickle down my throat, and the taste afterward. All of those memories are tied into the Diet Coke logo.
Human history is full of seals, rings, flags, coats of arms, and crests used to distinguish families, tribes, and nations. The human condition is curious; as much as we long for group acceptance, we still desire to be distinct and recognized.
Although the etymology of branding is varied, we can all imagine a rancher using a hot iron to brand his livestock. Each ranch had a distinct logo that made a permanent impression. Though originally intended to distinguish ownership, the logo reflected on the rancher, whether good or bad.
Branding is the practice of creating the look and feel of your brand. Brand marketing is the practice of establishing your image, voice, and persona which identifies and differentiates you from your competitors. #tsomediapic.twitter.com/x52n76rkK1
In our day, branding makes a permanent impression, too. These impressions are based upon a person’s experience interacting with your company (brand) and there’s only so much of it you can control. With the introduction of social media, individual impressions gain a much greater audience.
Case in point. Twenty years ago I went to a pancake restaurant and there were cockroaches crawling on the table. Regardless of how many coupons they offer, how many all-you-can-eat pancake events they hold, I will never go to any of their restaurants again. That one experience made a lasting impression. Their advertising (branding) is no longer effective with me. My experience at their store made a permanent impression (branding).
Big brands, like Diet Coke, are often used as an example because we all recognize them, making the lesson relatable to a diverse audience.
How is online behavior branding?
The question always is: how will that translate for me and my business on social media?
It’s simple. Behave online the way you would want to be perceived. If you want people to think that you’re professional, behave professionally. If you want people to believe you do quality work, produce quality content.
You Have Valuable Advice, Bridget!
$90 of $500 raised
Have you been helped by the content on this site? Lattes are my favorite luxury. 😉
Thank you for being part of my community.
*Adapted from an article I wrote while working at Riggins Construction and published here.
Getting leads from social media activity is always the barrier — mentally — for people to accept social media marketing as a legitimate part of their marketing tool belt.
Twitter, my favorite of the social media networks, allows you to do so much of your marketing ask: brand awareness, customer engagement, customer service, promotion, discovery and validation, and, of course, sales.
And with sales, I say this. Stop expecting first-click leads.
I say never, but it’s probably an exaggeration. Asking social media to solve your lead-generation problem is short sighted at best.
First of all, it will fail — miserably. Secondly, your focus on leads will cause you to consciously or even subconsciously make decisions out of fear and desperation. Those are almost never good decisions.
Pardon a crude example but to put it bluntly, getting leads without effort is like hiring a prostitute for sex. You may solve your immediate needs but you’ve built no relationship, have poor client expectations, and will only have favors for money. That’s not a realistic view of social media marketing or a good way to build a reputation.
If someone asks me about ROI one more time, why I’ll …
No seriously. When people ask about return from investment (ROI), I think they don’t get it. Because they don’t.
But I’ll break down relationship marketing into three main areas: affinity, discovery, and validation. These principles can be applied to nearly any social network, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll talk about Twitter.
Use hashtags like you would search in the yellow pages to be more successful on Twitter. I suggest geolocation (like #OrangeCounty) and categories like #automotive or #plumber. This allows people to find you — we call that discovery.
Validation is the process by which people check you out after discovering you. This may be an introduction at a Meetup or after they hear you present at a Chamber of Commerce.
People will search for your name and see what comes up. Have you done a search? What are the results?
When a customer discovers you, you are on the path to getting leads from social media. This is part of their journey. The journey to a lead begins with a thousand Google searches. Well, maybe five. You get the point.
How do you optimize the validation process?
You can optimize the validation process by publishing good content that matters to you and your audience.
I shouldn’t post about real estate. Why? Because I’m not a real estate professional or a mortgage broker and I don’t do social media for that industry. Real Estate isn’t bad; it’s not relevant to me.
What is relevant is social media strategy, tips, and WordPress community posts.
Where are these things published? I publish on my blog, I post on Facebook, I tweet, I write posts on Medium.com, I am a guest author for friends, I appear on podcasts and shows, I participate in my industry.
Your website is for your business. Isn’t it worth $25 a month?
Don’t go cheap. I’ll leave this tweet right here.
A thing about some of the "cheap hosts" is that they don't have optimal configuration for WordPress and really limit performance. Then, when your site gets a lot of traffic and slows down, they try to upcharge for increased bandwidth or disable it completely. Not worth it. 👎
On a monthly basis. Internet Access, gasoline, coffee, office supplies, happy hour, prepared food, newspaper subscription, digital entertainment, various utilities, ride hailing services, retirement 401k, Trade and research publications. All of which could be easily subdivided.
Valuing volunteerism is a two-sided coin. It’s always nice to be appreciated by the nonprofit we serve, but we also need to understand the cost. Volunteerism isn’t without a cost or a value. So in our effort to not just recruit but retain and manage volunteers, how can we have a proper respect?
It really starts with ourselves. We need to understand our personal costs and values.
Do is the new give.
“Do something great.”
Many of us believe in nonprofits and we donate both time and money to support the causes closest to our hearts.
I believe in supporting nonprofits financially and with my time and I’m public with this donation that appears in my sidebar. As a business, I want my clients to know that I also use funds to make this world a better place.
(This is partly why I rant so much about job costing and sample time tracking if you’ve ever spoken to me in person.)
If we don’t understand how we spend our time, it’s too easy to say yes to everything. But at some point, there will be a cost. That could be suffering client work, personal relationships, or health.
Another very easily solved reason is a lack of appreciation. But that’s on the “managing volunteers” side of this conversation.
So, what if our volunteerism had an invoice?
Time is one of the only unsustainable resources we truly have. Our time has both a cost and a value.
Sometimes to gain perspective is to tie our time to a dollar amount. Though it doesn’t speak to all of the value, it’s one way to show others and ourselves that our work, though unpaid, matters.
Maybe if we treated our volunteer work like it was a client, it would give other people a perspective of the worth. To gain a perspective for myself, I ran the numbers on just one of my volunteer efforts.
What if WordCamp Orange County was my client? This would be the invoice based upon my current pricing.
Five months of weekly 1/2 hour meeting:
20 meetings at 1/2 of my rate $75 = $1500
Social media management:
Facebook: $350/mo x 5 = $1750
Twitter basic: $350 x 5 = $1750
Total in kind donation $5,000
Maybe if we treated our volunteer work like it was a client, it would give other people a perspective of the worth.