Entries Tagged as 'social media'

twitter screws with your branding again

Peter K. O'Connell Twitter Graphic CHange

You probably didn’t get the memo.

Or if you’re like me (and God help you if you are), you kinda noticed something different on your Twitter profile but ignored it and moved on…until you DID notice it.

Twitter changed the layout of your profile, not a ton but juuuust enough to screw with your branding.

The little profile picture on your Twitter profile, you know, the one the shows up next to every tweet? The size of that got changed last week.

It used to be a square and now it’s a circle.

Big deal, you say? Who cares, you say?

Well maybe it’s not Armageddon, but depending on the size of your profile picture, the image may have gotten cut off, leaving your branding looking a bit sloppier than you may prefer. Prospects look at social media accounts and judge you on your branding. Just like you judge others on their branding.

Now is it a bigger deal for you?

The fix is easy enough (just more unnecessary work). Take your original picture and make it a bit smaller so the rounded edges of the new circle don’t cut off your image.

Then re-upload the pic to Twitter, resize if necessary and save.

Then wait for some body else at Twitter to unnecessarily change something else without letting you know.

Hope this helps.

3 Steps to Fix Your Twitter (maybe 4)

Fixing Twitter For Voiceover TalentsMaybe Twitter is working just fine for your voiceover business.

More likely, though, you don’t really have a focused business purpose for Twitter.

Twitter is designed to be very customized so even if two voice talents compared their Twitter feeds, likely it would be different…please don’t worry that you are doing it wrong. You’re not.

But you may be able to do Twitter more efficiently.

If you’re just looking at Twitter for fun, you don’t need a plan. But it’s also, in my opinion, kind of a waste of your business day if you spend any time there.

Should you want to use Twitter for a myriad of voiceover business objectives, putting some thought into it will help you make sense of Twitter and make it work for you.

‘But Peter,’ you whine, ‘this sounds like work.’

Yes there’s some work involved. We are talking about Twitter as business tool, you tool!

Relax, though, as I’m going to chart a course for you to help you think all this through.

I’ll also give some examples of what I do so you can either copy some of what I do on Twitter or run fast in the opposite direction…but at least you’ll have a plan!!

Peter K. O'Connell Twitter

  1. Decide what you need Twitter to do for you?

The assumption here is that you want to do more with Twitter than just play. You likely want to have some kind of objective, like:

  • I want to network
    • It could be with prospects, clients or your fellow voice pros
  • I want to be educated
    • I want to learn about industry trends (mine or the business categories I work with most); new technologies, or even social media trends from people smarter than you or me
  • I want to stalk
    • In a business way, not a creepy way – most likely involving prospects or current clients (maybe also your peers) as a way to learn about what topics, trends or observations are important to them — you DO already follow all your clients on social media, right?!

You may want to do one, some or all of these things and that’s OK. You may even want to execute something totally different. But as you look at your current and future Twitter connections, I would advise that you identify and follow your custom objectives with a specific agenda in mind because I think it will help you moving forward

  1. Identify your top Twitter targets

You want to network? OK, but with whom and to what end?

You want to be educated? OK, but what about and with whom do you want to achieve that knowledge?

You want to stalk? Which prospects do you want to follow and what do you want to achieve (awareness, new business, a referral)? Are they specific people or a category of folks?

Just following someone on Twitter is simple. And not likely to move the business or educational needle terribly far.

It would also be wonderful if these folks you followed on Twitter would follow you back, but that’s not a given. They might not initially be interested in you, as people don’t immediately follow back on Twitter like they used to do. Or they might not pay a ton of attention to Twitter. Everybody and company uses social media in different ways.

The point being you should have a kind of mental strategy about what you want to achieve with Twitter targets.

Twitter listsIf you can’t fathom a strategy quite yet, that does NOT mean you should not move forward with Twitter. You can at least get your ‘followers’ list organized and Twitter has a great internal tool for that.

It’s called Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists allow you to create your own lists within your entire list of the people you are following. You can also subscribe to lists created by others.

How is that helpful to you?

Viewing a timeline of just people from a specific list will show you a stream of Tweets only from the Twitter accounts on that list. While there can be some benefit to subscribing to other people’s lists, I personally just focus on lists I have created – occasionally checking other lists to see if I’ve missed somebody in a category.

For example, voice talents are always looking to get on voice talent rosters of audio production companies. How many audio production companies are you already following? How many are following you? (If you’re not sure, check out follow tools like http://unfollowerstats.com/).

My recommendation is that you create a Twitter List of Audio Production Companies and tag all your current connections to that list (a list as big or small a list as you want).

Then figure out what other lists you’d like to curate on your Twitter account (you can have one Twitter connection on more than one list if you like, it’s your list!). Again, this is valuable because with this list, you can see only the Tweets of those on the list. This is a big time saver, a great way to see customized conversations and trends — and all of it leading to the next big fix.

  1. Tweet thoughtfully

For some folks, the idea of Tweeting is truly butt clenching, for fear of not knowing what to say. For some folks, they just type what ever is on their minds (often proving they have nothing to say).

If you have focused on what you want to get out of Twitter (step #1) and from which audience you want to interact with (step #2), step 3 shouldn’t be as challenging and you won’t come off a s a moron (see above folks with “nothing to say”).

Rule #1 on Tweeting thoughtfully is to remember to treat each tweet like you’re speaking to a person…don’t be intimidated by 140 characters…just be you, for lack of a better term. Don’t “act” like an expert, your content will prove your expertise.

Rule #2 is tweet like you would like to be spoke to. For example: what do you like hear?

  • You like to be sincerely complimented
    • You can simply “like” a Tweet by somebody on one of your list (they’ll likely be notified of your like and may check out your Twitter profile – make sure that your profile page is updated and looks nice)
    • You can send someone on your list a compliment on their Tweet – throw something personal in there, more than “nice Tweet” or “thanks”
    • You can share the Tweet with your audience (people whose Tweets get shared usually get notified about that and it may help you get followed back)
  • You like to learn new things
    • If someone on your list has shared something that you really like, say thanks but tell them why it was helpful
    • You might try doing this via “direct message” on Twitter, and a conversation might ensue
  • You like to share things that are interesting to you and that you think others also my find interesting
    • So share what you like – if they don’t like it or aren’t interested, it’s no crime, people will move on and not think worse of you

The bottom line is you MUST offer content (i.e. Tweet) for people to begin to notice you but it’s best not to just Tweet for Tweeting sake – offer a thoughtful content that reflects who you are either professionally or even personally if you’re comfortable doing that

Make Friends First AudioconnellRule #3 would be don’t sell. This is more my rule than anything else but I have not seen one example of someone actually selling via a Tweet and people buying, at least not in voiceover.

At the very least, be indirect. For example: “I’m really excited that my new commercial #voiceover demo is done. If you like, check it out at www.audioconnell.com

When it comes to tone on Twitter (or Social Media or Life) my rule is to at least attempt to talk with people, not at them.

SO now what? What’s the follow up after I do all this?

Well, what you’ve done by creating these lists is you’ve got the start of a database. People you can learn from; connect with and possibly get some business done. So craft a plan to do something with all this information. Like what?

For example, from the aforementioned list of audio production companies, why not go to their Twitter account, click on their web site link and gather some contact data to put in your company database. Then send them a letter, introducing yourself and your information- maybe request to be added to their voiceover roster. Then a few days later, follow up by phone.

Did Twitter just become a lead generation tool for your business? That’s for YOU to decide.

Hope this helps.

thank you anyway but today is not my birthday

EDITOR’S NOTE: This has become an annual New Year’s Day post. Happy New Year!

January 1st is not my birthday. Never has been.

But for those social media outlets that demand a birth date in a profile I decided to make January 1st my Social Media birthday.

I’m not big on putting a lot of vital personal information out on the web, a birthday being just one example of a person’s personal identity puzzle that those with ill intent could use in a nefarious way.

So thanks for your thoughts and wishes. I accept them in the spirit of kindness and friendship that they are offered.

I hope your new year is blessed, happy and safe.

the 3 amivos podcast – my new canadian voice-over friends

I know it sounds silly, but I still get surprised that people read my web site.

Sure I know people visit the site, but when I talk to people that have read the site (cause there is a lot of stuff there), it’s a (pleasant) surprise.

I say all this because I got a call a few weeks ago from Garnet Williams who told me all about…me. He’d read about me and the stuff I’d done and asked if I would be a guest on his voice-over podcast, The Amivos and Friends Super Funtastic Happy Hour Podcast.

The ‘Amivos’ in the podcast (or VOdcast) refers to the 3 Amivos with include Garnet, Dave McRae and Mike Pongracz – all Canadian-based voice-over talents who decided to put together this show about voice talents.

They were under the impression that I was to be their first American guest on the 4-show old program (as their very first guest in Episode 3 was the great narrator and VO in TO co-mastermind Patrick Sweeney) but alas, they found that I have Canadian blood in me, even though I was born in the States. So I am an Americanadian.

The show was recorded while I was driving back from Pittsburgh, PA and I gotta tell you, that drive never went by so quickly. It was enormous fun because these guys clearly know how to run a great show and are fine interviewers. It reminded me about what was great about radio.

We talked so much that they had to leave out the fun story about how I signed with Tanya and Darryl at Ta-Da Voiceworks while at FaffCon in Ventura Beach and how I met Tanya as well as VO in TO co-mastermind Jodi Krangle at a Deb Monroe Voice-over class some years ago in Toronto (see, I get to hang out with ALL the cool Canadian voice talents).

With my sincere thanks to Dave, Mike and Garnet, I hope you’ll not only want to listen to the show that I’m on (ego? moi?!) but also check-out their past and future episodes.

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voice-over lead generation and avoiding the social media time suck

If you have any connections on Facebook in the voice-over business (or Twitter for that matter), you’ve probably seen some of the most famous and public wastes of time ever written. What do I mean?

Have you ever seen posts like:

“Just finished doing a voice-over session for Joe’s Choke and Puke Cafe…ready to do one for you!”

“Looking for voice-over talent for your business, I’m your gal!”

“Boy am I wiped out after doing a narration, a commercial, and an audiobook, phew! What kind of tea are you drinking?”

Oy!

I have friends who post this stuff…people I like and respect yet I cannot for the life of me define one legitimate SEO or financial opportunity such posts create. It smells to me like a complete time suck for voice talents who in reality spent about a 1/2 hour doing any kind of productive recording and the rest of the day on social media trying to make themselves feel and sound important in between P2P auditions.

It’s also possible they are way smarter than I am.

I know VO people tell me they make money off of their posts on Facebook and Twitter but it all smells of “Fiver” (desperation) to me. None of them are generating voice-over income six figures (but neither am I) and most of them I fear are praying to hit four figures by December 31st (this is where I hope to help them).

Harsh, no. Opinionated, probably.

The good news is I’m not really trying to start trouble or hurt anybody’s feelings – I’m leading up to a couple of solutions that will help your business.

I’m going to tell you what I think would not only be a more useful expenditure of your business time on social media but also an exercise that will be quantifiable.

You know, more ROI than BS. Less fishing for compliments or pity on social media and more target shooting for new leads.

And because it’s voice-over, there’s not a lot of math involved.

First, turn off Facebook and close your Twitter and Pintrest pages on your browser.

Now open LinkedIn. You know, the Social Media tool where you can access the email addresses of your connections? Yeah, that one.

NOTE: If you plan on using the emails of your LinkedIn connections to communicate with them (sparingly…very sparing I would add), I HIGHLY encourage you to say that someplace prominently on your LinkedIn profile.

For example, on my profile summary it says “When you connect with Peter on LinkedIn, you’ll be updated periodically via email on his many adventures…enjoy the ride!”

Under “Advice for Contacting Peter” I have also written “When we connect, I’ll share with you or email to you my new ideas, best practices (ask questions, offer answers and be a resource for each other) and even communicate about whether there are ways we might be able to do business together. If you prefer not to receive emails from me (however infrequently) on the above topics, we probably ought not to connect.”

To me, if you are THAT transparent and people take the time (like I always try to do) to review the profile of a totally new contact that they might want to connect with, then it is a fair and level playing field…carry on.

Next, open your “Groups” tab. If you belong to more than 5 voice-over related groups in LinkedIn, you need to decide which have been the 5 most useful or informative groups resign from all the others. You get 50 group joins and you’ll see soon how you’ll likely need the other 45 (at least) to make possible connections with folks you don’t know in a professional, thoughtful way.

#1 Connecting to Your Contacts’ Contacts
Go into your contacts. Don’t open ANY contact that works as a voice-over talent.

Rather look at your non-VO connections (please tell me you have some). Pick one maybe that works in advertising or media production. Then open up that contact’s contact list…as a 1st degree contact, you should be able to see them unless they’ve blocked that view (if they blocked you, move on to the next contact in your connections…there’s more than one fish in the LinkedIn sea).

Look at your contact’s list. Do they have a contact that maybe you’d like to be connected with? Yes? Good.

Now you’re not always going to easily connect with a relative stranger on LinkedIn. First of all, some people aren’t open to connecting to new people on LinkedIn; whether you agree or disagree doesn’t matter, it’s their call. LinkedIn also really wants people only connecting with other people they know (which makes the took fairly useless in my opinion) UNLESS they’ve paid for a premium LinkedIn membership.

But here is one way you can connect with someone else’s connections in an unoffensive way that could lead you to some valuable connections.

With the contact you’ve found with whom you want to connect, click on the “Connect” button. Since the person you are connecting with is likely a stranger, LinkedIn will ask how you know the person.

Here’s where “Groups” come in. In the most fortunate circumstance, in that list of “how do you know NAME HERE” there will be a button called “Groups”. This would indicate that you both belong to the same groups and you can immediately request a connection.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT. Write a short personalized note in your request to connect, do NOT use the stupid form words that LinkedIn provides. You’ll come off looking like a phony.

Not everyone uses Groups on LinkedIn and sometimes those that do use groups aren’t going to be in the same groups that you belong to…which is why I asked you to pare down your VO-related groups.

#2 Groups Where You Can Find Business Leads
Start researching Groups (in addition to your contacts’ contacts). See if in some of those groups there aren’t people who you would like to connect with. If you find 5-10 possible prospects, join the group.

First step after you get accepted to join would be to ask for a connection with those 5-10 prospects. Then look further into the group to see if there are other folks you might consider connecting with. Sort of like “Shampoo, rinse, repeat.”

The other thing that might prove valuable, depending on your depth of knowledge regarding the LinkedIn Group’s main focus is to possibly post question or even an answer in the Discussion forums of a Group.

And if you’re feeling really motivated, start a Group of your own! Boo-yah!!!

#3 What to do with all these leads
Collecting all these new LinkedIn leads could end up being a time suck if you don’t do anything with them.

First off, you now have email addresses for all these folks. If you’re doing a quarterly email blast or something, include them in that.

Second, make sure you export that LinkedIn database into your main contact database or contact manager.

Third and this takes a bit of work but can pay off in bigger dividends, research the FULL contact information of your new contact and send them a letter of introduction or maybe even a handwritten note of introduction. This would be better to do, in my opinion than just sending them something as part of a blanket direct mail campaign. The one to one connection always has a better chance of working in my opinion.

IN SUMMARY, to me what you’ve just done in THIS social media exercise with LinkedIn is alot more profitable that looking at videos of kittens on Facebook. You’re doing real marketing work…social marketing combined with lead generation. If you then combine that with a strong marketing plan…you’ve escaped the time suck.

Please let me know if you think this post was helpful or just a different kind of time suck.

If you want to know more, check out the Voice-Over Workshop.

Thanks.

LinkedIn…you are so NOT premium

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Dear LinkedIn,

How kind of you to contact me, your loyal member (your words not mine) to offer me in your email two free months of LinkedIn Premium!

Thank you!

Um, but wait, it seems for this FREE opportunity you want me to give you a credit card number. Specifically MY credit card number. This confuses me.

See, in my country, free is actually free meaning no financial transaction takes place. If the service is free then no money or credit card is needed.

I have the card and I could pay the fee but I don’t know whether I see the value. This is why I’d be willing to try it for free for 2 months.

I’m assuming you want to take my card information so that after the 60 days of free use is over, on the 61st day you can begin charging my card the $40/month LinkedIn premium fee. I say assumed because after you asked for the card, I stopped the process.

I had a credibility gut check on you, LinkedIn. I started to doubt you…I never thought that way about you before.

As a “loyal member” (remember?), couldn’t we trust each other enough that you would pull the plug on the free option on Day 61 unless I contact you (LinkedIn) and said sign me up?

Come on, we’ve been together going on 8 years. I’m loyal, you said it yourself. What’s the need for a free trial with credit card?

That credit card number thing sounds a bit too siding salesman or used car salesman to me. It seems well beneath what I perceive (perceived) the LinkedIn brand to be about.

But hey, LinkedIn, you have over 187 million members (I’m not sure how many of them are “loyal” like me) so you must know what you are doing.

I’m going to pass on the introduction to your so called free trial for your LinkedIn Premium service right now. It just doesn’t feel very premium to me.

And to be honest, neither does your brand at the moment.

Your loyal member,
– Peter