Three Marketing Shortcuts that End up Costing you Dearly

By now, social media is a core component of your marketing plan. You have surely realized by now that using platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram can amplify your story more effectively than any tool we have ever known.

The issue arises when you misunderstand these platforms and use them as a sales tool, as opposed to what they were intended to be, platforms to listen, engage, and build relationships. I see people make that mistake constantly, and it hurts me every time.

With that in mind, I’d like to save you the trouble of going down a dark path. Here are three very painful examples of mistakes you or someone on your team might be making on social media:

1. Please stop mass tagging.

This one is one of my biggest pet peeves, especially on Twitter. Imagine the following scenario. I have my iPhone configured so that I get a ping every time someone mentions me on Twitter. You are starting to use Twitter to promote your brand and decide it is a good idea to share your new blog post and tag me, along with 10 other people in the tweet. 

You do this because you want us all to read the post. You want to get on our radar. Let me tell you what happens next. I get pinged about a blog post I didn’t express any interest in reading, and then, if you get your way, every one of the people you tagged begins to reply to the tweet, which by default–thanks, Twitter–is set to reply all. 

The notifications begin to pour in, one by one. Let me tell you how much of that “get on their radar” goal you have accomplished: All of it. You are on my radar. I will now be blocking you on Twitter and not engaging with you or your brand any time in the near future. Congrats.

Stop mass tagging people on Twitter or any other platform. Engage. Be personal. Be authentic. You know, like you are offline when talking to people.

2. Opting people into your messages never works.

I have been asking this question for many years and no one has offered a sane response as of yet: What was Facebook thinking to let someone add me to a group without my consent?

Just because you can add me to a group without my consent does not mean you should. In other words, you want me to join your group, follow you on Twitter, engage with your content? Give me a reason to. Don’t force it on me.

As I once heard from the guy who invented the Like button on Facebook, he wanted to give people a way to show their appreciation for good content. Instead, marketers ruined it and started to beg for likes.

Let people opt in because they recognize your value. By forcing me to opt in, you are essentially forcing me to opt out.

3. Cold pitching is something you should avoid at all costs.

Cold pitching on social media doesn’t work. People can just ignore your messages.

Instead, reach out to a journalist, engage with their content, build some trust. No, I don’t mean trick them into thinking you care and then going in and pitching them. I mean, really care.

Build relationships with relevant people in your industry not when you need them for something, but do it much before. Listen to what they have to say, hear their needs, learn their interests. Care.

This is the way we behave offline. Somehow, online, we think it’s acceptable to sell non-stop, force people to listen when they are not interested, and spam random folks in the hopes of getting a few likes or retweets.

You have Twitter. It’s free. Use it. The same goes for other platforms — start using them to listen and learn.

As someone smart once said: “You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that ratio.”

How These Entrepreneurs Are Making Rebuilding California’s Fire-Ravaged Communities Their Business

“Any business here in L.A. is impacted to some degree,” says Sean Kelly, co-founder and CEO of Snack Nation, a Culver City, California-based company that delivers curated boxes of healthy snacks to businesses. At least five of his 170 employees have been forced to evacuate their homes. The company is coordinating product donations to firefighters. “It’s not just the community members, it’s also the firefighters and the people who are really responsible of containing the flames, who we could argue are in need of more help and support than anything.” 

Why is Walmart Catching Up To Amazon?

As Walmart’s online sales are exploding (some analysts are expecting a 40 percent growth this quarter which would be on top of a 40 percent growth from the quarter  before) Amazon is realizing that – like Walmart – it can’t just be a one channel company. Sure, selling on the internet is important. But so is selling in a physical store. That’s why Amazon is opening physical stores around the country. Unfortunately for them, they’re a little late to the game. Walmart already has the presence. Now, with some marketing, money and savvy, who knows? Maybe we’re going to Walmart.com to buy our next product instead of Amazon. Or just to a local store. Or having my wish granted on the same day. It’s happening more and more and Walmart is doing it better and better.

How to Improve Yourself With Little to No Effort

Over the past month, every time I walk somewhere, I open my language learning app and start learning Greek. As I walk, I listen to new words, repeat them. There are hundreds of free and paid applications available to expedite your learning. Two I like include Babble and Duolingo. 

Sure, I may look crazy talking to myself, but who cares. In six months, I’ll have mastered the language while a passerby will have long forgotten about me. Learning a new language can open up new business opportunities abroad and can help you better connect with clients, employees and partners from different backgrounds. 

4 Obstacles to Success for Women Entrepreneurs, and How to Counter Them

Here are four of those obstacles that have threatened my progress the most, and how I counteract them. My guideposts for this ongoing journey are inspired by those outlined by Tara Mohr in her book, Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead, which is one of two books I give away and recommend most to other entrepreneurs and other women.