Archive for June, 2010

4th Post- Tips for Pruning Your Twitter Tree

It’s been 2 weeks since I started my “30 Days to Success” series and I have increased my Twitter “Follower” account by 25%! I did this by following tips in Posts 1, 2, and 3. I deem this “measurable” as successful in that those following me are REAL people within the verticals I have identified (Social Media experts, Real Estate Professionals and Entrepreneurs to name a few). My future posts will speak to where you ultimately want to get to which is to start conversations and promote click activity within your posts. For now, let’s focus on this valuable community building exercise.

It’s very important to clean out the base of people that you are following for many reasons. One practical reason is ridding yourself of spam posters, repeaters and those just trying to sell to you.  Secondly, Twitter introduces limits to your account once you are following 2,000 people or more. From the Twitter Help Center: “When you hit this limit, we’ll tell you by showing an error message in your browser. You’ll need to wait until you have more followers in order to follow more users—basically, you can’t follow 10,000 people if only 100 people follow you.” I recently attended a seminar where the expert shared that this ratio is 10%. If you are Following 2100 people then you must have at least 1,890 Followers.

I have started to spend at least 30 minutes a week on “Pruning” the group of people that I follow on Twitter. I have checked out applications like Friend or Follow and the manage friends function at Social Oomph (this site is a paid application that is super rich in features but one that may be too much for many at the beginning stages of network building). I recently stumbled on Echofon and downloaded the Pro mobile version (one $4.99 charge for both my iPhone and iPad) and I am very pleased with the user interface and functionality.

I plan to jump onto Echofon for my iPad (they have a free Mac version where you can do the same) as much as I can to do the following:

1) Go to the “Users” tab where Echofon neatly displays thumbnails of all of the people following you in alphabetical order;

2) Click on each thumbnail and browse their stats. The Echofon window tells me everything I need to know so to make the right decision about the person I am viewing.  I choose to unfollow those who fall into these categories:

a. They do not follow me (where they are not a celebrity I like to stalk or a news feed that provides daily content)

b. They have not tweeted in weeks (they are not active therefore not connected to me)

c. Their tweets are spam-like, repetitive or just uninteresting

d. They do not fall into any of my “List” categories (more on lists in future posts)

3) For those who I choose to continue following I categorize by placing them in a list that I have already created in Twitter. I urge you to get in the habit of immediately placing new people you follow in a list so to make your content browsing and community pruning activities as efficient as possible.

I am now at a ratio of 932 Followers to 1193 people that I follow. I plan to take this 28% differential down to 12% over the next week using the above approach. The auto-unfriend capability that some apps provided in the past is gone due to Twitter penalizing this type of activity.The above may seem too manual to engage in but well worth your time and effort.

Please share your process for achieving a healthy Following/ Follower ratio so we can all benefit from the Twitter platform!

3rd Post- Staying Engaged on Twitter

Here we are at the 3rd Post in the 30 Days to Success series. If you have followed the 1st Post and 2nd Post recommendations for getting a qualified base of Friends and Followers  then you are well on your way to mastering Twitter.  This post is all about supporting you through these beginning days and ensuring that you keep the moment and avoid the pitfalls that most people face early on.

Mashable’s post “How to: Help new users stayed engaged on Twitter” is a “spot on” piece which identifies the problems which force newbies to stall or even give up on Twitter.  I highly recommend that you read this article and push on through so you can soar using this amazing Social Media medium.

Here are the reasons people disengage with my recommendations noted:

1) People only follow those that they know

In the beginning of my Twitter engagement I used the Twitter tool that reviews your Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn and results is a list of people that I knew who were already on Twitter. I immediately began to follow them. Many within this group were not active and posts were lifeless. My turning point: I happened upon active Twitter people like @hungrydomaine and I began to follow who they followed and would strike up conversations with them. This resulted in my breathing life into a once listless Twitter stream!

2) They only follow celebrities

Reading Lindsay Lohan’s ramblings and watching conversations fly between Ashton and Demi are fun activities. After a while you feel like a voyeur and a feeling of unworthiness and frustration begins to surface after mentions or conversations you start with them go unanswered. I started an Entertainment list and fed my desire for celebrity banter while parsing this activity from the base of people that I  focused on interacting with.

3) They are not having conversations

I must say that starting conversation was a very intimidating thing for me. The “@” and “#” symbols took getting used to. In time I would answer questions from people I knew or request recommendations with great success. Jump in and join the conversation!

4) They don’t think they are interesting

I remember the days when I felt like “who really cares about what I have to say”. My perspective changed to one of sharing and I got in the groove of tweeting.   Sites like PopURLs offer great articles to share and the location based application FourSquare has literally put me on the map in NYC and is a great mobile tweet interface. The key is to start sharing and to get mobile with Twitter. Install your favorite client (more on this in future posts)- mine is Hootsuite for the iPhone.

Have patience, persevere and start having fun. There is no wrong way. Please share your Twitter turning point with us!

2nd Post- Start by Casting a Wide Net with Twitter

Welcome to Day 2 of the “30 days to Success”.  My previous post centered on how to get started on Twitter. I want to stop here and explain why I chose to focus on Twitter for my first series of “Success” posts.

Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter presents the opportunity to attract followers from any geography with several degrees of separation from your sphere. Getting your Twitter engine up and running is the first level in the Social Media marketing funnel offering the most opportunity to gather a significantly sized community.

The great news is that there are methods and tools that if used properly and consistently will result in REAL people, with the attributes you dictate, following you! In the previous post I introduced Twellow– the Twitter Yellow Pages. Here is one more tip for connecting with your ideal client through Twitter via Twellow. Identify 10 “Gurus”, people who have the set of followers that you would like to attract. Type their name in the Twellow text search bar. For instance, if you are a Real Estate professional you would have Barbara Corcoran on your Guru list, if you are a network marketing or coaching pro then Tony Robbins is your man. Start with a list of 10 Gurus then see everyone that is following them. Choose to follow the individuals that you connect to best.

Another “hunting for Followers” technique is to jump onto Twitter Search. Type in keywords that your ideal client would most likely have within the body of their tweets. Here are the search results using “NY Real Estate” as a keyword. Start following people who have quality posts and are active tweeters.

I recommend that you go on this hunting expedition for new Followers at least once a week (35% of the people that you choose to Follow will return the favor and follow you back). I will tell you what to do about the 65% of the people that choose not to follow you in my next post.

The method that I outlined is THE best way I have found to naturally build your Twitter base. It’s quality over quantity that we are after. Please try this method and share your results. If you have any other process that results in highly qualified contacts- please share!

The Thrifty Hog- A “Must Visit” New Chelsea Boutique

The Thifty Hog (located at 11 W 25th Street, between 6th & Bway)

I love living in NYC! You never know what or who you will happen upon. I strolled down 25th street (my street) on Saturday morning and an adorable new store called The Thrifty Hog immediately caught my eye. I walked in and was surprised to find out that it was a thrift shop- every piece of clothing was freshly hung on matching wooden hangers and the designer shoes and bags looked untouched.

My new passion of connecting to local businesses and especially those which support others in need consumed me. I dropped Biscuit back at the apartment and hurried back to  meet up with the owner Deborah Koenigsberger. I set up my Flip SlideHD and shot an unscripted video with Deborah. The visual beauty of the store and it’s owner was over ridden by the positive giving energy pulsing through this lively space (and the carefully chosen soundtrack helped to further elevate the mood).

Please meet Deborah through viewing this video and bring your wallet and unwanted treasures to The Thrifty Hog soon!

1st Post- Twellow Your Way to Valuable Followers

Welcome to the 1st post of my “30 Days to Success” series. Just in case you missed it, I posted mid week here about test driving tools and services directed at building a qualified contact list in the most efficient manner.

My friend Denise Winters is an amazing photographer and has been a great Social Media buddy for me over the past few weeks. We made a commitment to absorb as much as possible and check in with each other to share content and progress. One tool that she raved about was Twellow which is a site that can be best described as the “Yellow Pages of Twitter”.  I jumped right in and spent Tuesday night checking it out.

As you can see in the chart embedded in this post, the people choosing to follow me on Twitter increased at a much higher rate after I set up my profile on Twellow (on 6/16). The new Followers were not spammers- they were real people. This higher level of contact is achieved because I was chosen as a result of being in a category they follow. I also gained new Followers as a result of people returning my Follow favor.

This is what I did to get myself going on Twellow:

1) I created an account and then set up my profile.

2) I reviewed the all categories page and started to associate myself with ones that described my interests.

3) I looked at the advanced search tips and searched on categories such as “New York & Real Estate” to see individuals with these keywords in their Twitter profiles/ categorized as such. I started following the large players/ interesting real people within these sub sets.

4) I looked at the Followers tab and drilled down into categories within a profile by clicking on the “more info” button to the right of his thumbnail. For instance, Barack Obama is categorized under Executive and I can see everyone else in this group ranked by community size. They are probably people that I would like to follow.

5) Twellow offers a Suggested Users tab and I was so pleased with their selections for me. I followed many of the people that Twellow suggested to me.

By “Following” you gain “Followers” in that most people return the favor.

Please take a test drive and comment here to tell me about your success and other methods you use to drive qualified Twitter “Followers”!

8lbs of Fat Lost in 30 Days

Please take the time to view this piece. It’s an off the cuff (see me setting up my Flip Camera at the beginning) testament to how consistency and a proven method yields results. In health and in business, it’s the same formula. Chart a course and stick with it!

Call Mike at Personal Training Institute and tell him that this video convinced you to sign up for a COMPLIMENTARY one on one workout.

1st Day of the Rest of My Life

If you are like me, then you are reeling from the noise that is being thrown at all of us from Social Media coaches and advertisements of tools that promise to transform your business. Your bookshelf (or Kindle) is stacked with books that you are meaning to get to. The guilt is racking up and you beat yourself up for not having an organized contact list that is growing at great rates. The race is on and you feel like you are way in the back with the 10 minute+/mile runners. Whew! Can you feel my pain?

I have always approached my life from a problem solving place and my commitment is to share and make this world a better place for us all (and life experienced with a bulging wallet is much more enjoyable ;-) ). From this day forward I commit to doing something that will bear measurable business results. You will experience my approach, the tool(s) that I used to drive results and how doing this impacted my goal.

What is my goal? Simply put, my goal is to build a valuable contact list and community that grows daily and to do this in the most efficient manner. Across every vertical and in all businesses the most important element is your contact base. How you organize them, what you say to them, and how you stay in front of them drives dollars. In today’s online environment this means managing the line of sending content of value without turning people off. You want them to buy from you and refer others to you. In the world of Facebook and Twitter “refer” means “Like-ing” your posts, re-Tweeting and engaging.  The more they do this, the more Facebook fans, Twitter followers and email list subscribers you receive. A portion of them will want to buy something from you.

Are you in? If so, please subscribe to this blog so to automatically receive my posts in your inbox. “Like” me, re-Tweet me and share the love. Good things come to those who give and I want your days to be filled with miracles!

3 Tips on How to Transform Yourself into a Professional Adviser

I am so fortunate to be out in the field and connecting to real estate professionals as well as people driving new ventures (I just had lunch with Teri Rogers who is rocking a great new Real Estate blog called Brick Underground). The common thread of many conversations is how the internet is challenging their livelihood and how they cannot keep up with the advances in technology.

With that said, the way we live online is drastically changing the business life of what I am now referring to as “solo-preneurs”- those individuals who are not in the corporate mindset full time. Professions like real estate agency and job recruiting are feeling the effects of disintermediation with sites like Monster and Sales Ladder connecting to the consumer directly. The positive side is there has never been a better time to introduce a new approach and connect to people that you would never have met in previous years.

The train has left the station- we cannot prevent the onset of these direct service models, we need to embrace this new environment and establish our true value as professionals.

The following is an approach that I shared with Eric Barron of NYREI (we shot a 3 minute film to be posted shortly!) which is directed towards Real Estate agents. I feel that this concept applies to any solo-preneur vertical in that it takes one back to a consistent hands-on approach that they can use to supplement the mass marketing (monthly newsletters, quarterly reports, holiday cards)  that many agents solely rely on.

Instead of sending out thousands of emails and mailings as a real estate agent traditionally does (which I liken to hoping to win the lottery as Seth Godin describes here) take control of your production and commit to doing something that will:

1) Secure customer loyalty

2) Increase your market knowledge and

3) Establish yourself as a market leader.

My recommendation for you to test is one which promotes going from a Transactional Agent to a Professional Adviser. Here are my tips for taking your career to the next level:

1) Review your contact list and identify a group that you feel would value a personalized service. My first recommendation is to come up with 30 people for the initial approach.

Call each individual and in the example of the real estate professional your conversation would be:

“Hello Jim. I am reaching out because I am offering a new service for a select group of clients. I am calling to see if you would be interested in a Real Estate advisory service. It is free and would consist of me sending you a tailored report that supports your real estate goals. The last time we spoke you mentioned that studio living is getting old and you have a desire to be in a loft in 8 years. My approach will be to study the market for you and suggest the moves we need to make to get you to that loft. This is much like how a Financial Advisor works. In return, I would just ask for you to engage with me and refer me business where it makes sense.” If they agree then they make your list. Be very selective because this is a time and effort commitment on your side.

2) Set aside 30 minutes per day and craft a tailored report for that client. In the real estate example it would be a market analysis of their property, movement in the types of next step properties and an assessment if this is the right time for them to consider a move (like your financial adviser would suggest selling stock and acquiring new positions). Send this report to your client via email.

3) Take that work and develop a blog post (not naming your client- describe the desire, current market condition, and your personal assessment). Add a link to this blog post on your Facebook Fan Page and tweet it.

Try this approach and tell me how it is working for you. Be a Go Giver and sell more!

Mindflex Over Matter

I am a self proclaimed “life long learner” and spend each day trying to improve myself so to contribute to the overall common good. The BP oil disaster emphasizes the point that we are all connected, one person’s actions affect more then themselves. Like the story of the two men in the boat where one drills a hole on his side. The other asks “what are you doing?” and the drilling man replies “the water is only coming in on my side”. We need to take responsibility on what we can affect (changing ourselves) so to elevate the entire world.

So what does this concept have to do with the Mindflex game by Mattel? I was super intrigued by this game (even though I was late to the party- 6 months after it hit the market, very unlike me ;-)) after it being mentioned in a magazine article on realizing your dreams. I have one on order and plan to share my experience. The game developer claims that by increasing one’s concentration the ball can be raised and decreasing concentration causes it to drop. Where else can we see such an immediate demonstration of “cause and effect”? I’m sold!

So back to our everyday relationship with cause and effect. The bottom line is that we need to stop creating worry (propagating bad fear) which in turn drives chaos. I have been practicing embracing what I can control: self improvement, creativity, surrounding myself with positive people.  I find that when I am sharing that I have the best days and witness miracles (those coincidental moments, “wow” experiences).

So just as this game demonstrates that “mind over matter” is real- get out there and create your positive life. You’ll be doing us all (this entire world) a favor!

15 Twitter Followers 2 Minutes After I Posted This

I am all about sharing and excited to tell you about something that worked for me on Twitter.

I received a very smart email from Very Short List (get on their email distribution if you are not already!). I viewed the video about the European lending crisis (that they recommended in their email) and tweeted the link mentioning @veryshortlist in the body of my tweet. @veryshortlist THANKED me for the tweet and minutes after this posted (@veryshortlist has thousands of very intelligent followers- people that I would like to connect to) I received new followers. Not SPAM, real interactive people.

The message here is to find communities (such as those following @veryshortlist) and engage!