The "Oprah Effect"
Last week (4/17/09) Oprah Winfrey joined the Twitter community.  I originally wanted to put a link in this article if you missed it, usually you can find 100's on You Tube, but the HARPO Publishing empire has had them all pulled, that is an amazing feat in itself! I did find news coverage of the event, and you can see that here.

The impact? Traffic on Twitter was up 43 percent compared to the previous Friday, and 24 percent from the day before the segment aired (see chart below for a visual perspective).  Estimates put the number of new users signing up in the post-Oprah days anywhere from 500,000 to 1.2 million. Added to that was the "first to hit a million followers" competition between Ashton Kutchner and CNN (Ashton won).


What does that mean to you and your business?
It means the opportunity to get in front of a lot more people. To increase your visibility and thereby increasing your online traffic. There are a whole bunch of newly minted Oprah followers, housewives who may not have had any previous social media experience. They don't have many followers yet, and they don't know what to do. Well I do!  ENGAGE them. 

Start by taking a look at who is following Oprah, if they seem "new" take a couple under your wing and show them what to do, what the etiquette is, etc. Pretty soon you have started a conversation, and they will tell people about you, and hey, by the way, I also do this service, or sell that product, and you are no longer a stranger, but one of the tribe.  Familiarity goes a long way.

What not to do? Immediately starting "selling". Not going to work in ANY social media environment, and you are going to turn off a lot of potential new clients.

Now get out there and make some new Twitter friends!

 
 

I often hear the statement, "I can't blog, I don't have the time." And while it is true there is a certain amount of time needed to blog, it is not as much as you think. For most businesses these days, a blog is essential. It is something that can be a key differentiator between you and your competition.

When it comes to frequency it is not a matter of blogging daily, but rather setting a consistent schedule that your readers are trained to anticipate and then providing good content. Blogging once a week is perfectly acceptable, as long as you set expectations with your audience and the content you are provides value to your readers.

Ideally you should have some sort of editorial calendar created to assist you with organization and schedule. This can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet. The calendar should lay out the topics you want to cover for the next 3-6 months. The best thing to do is to sit down and brainstorm to create a list of potential ideas and then map them out from there. Larger topics can be broken out into a series over several weeks.

Ways to generate ideas:
- Take a recent experience and share it.
- If your personal story had impact on your business share or expand on it.
- Trends in your industry
- Thoughts and advice for your clients, customers, patients
- Comment on other blog articles
- Guest posts: think of people you admire in your industry or would like to interview
- Gather (to later publish) a list of links of items you find relevant or valuable

That is just a few examples. You should be able to get 5-10 posts out of your brainstorming session - that is 5-10 weeks if you blog on a weekly basis!

Now if you blog 4 or more times a week, you can do a summary in your monthly newsletter. You can do a brief summary of the topics and then links to the articles/posts. Voila! Now you have newsletter content as well!

Need help with getting started, drop me a line, I'd love to help!


 
 

I have had a couple of requests for this, so I thought I would make it this week's post.

Do you check yourself or your business on Google? Google is every brand's new home page. If you are not checking out what comes up in the search results you are missing out on a very effective tool. What about your competitors? What about industry news? There is a very simple, powerful and free - tool that is available to everyone. The Google Alert.

To begin, go to the Google Alerts main page.

Next, enter the search words you want (one set at a time) and choose the type, how often and to what email address you want it delivered to and click on the Create Alert button.  Having used the tool for awhile, I suggest the following words of advice, for type select comprehensive gives you the best view of all media types, you would be amazed and the interesting blog stories or videos I have come across. For frequency, if it is a highly unique term, like your business, then selecting "as it happens" should not be too overwhelming, but for more generic industry or trending terms, you will want to go with "once a day" otherwise your in-box will be flooded!

You will then get a page that lists your Alerts. At the bottom of the list, there will be a link to create additional ones.  And that is pretty much it!

P.S. Yahoo also has an alert tool, but I don't find the results to be as good, or the tool as easy to use.