General principles of Community Building
What every business needs is a team that is active 24/7/365 who want to spread the word about what you do.
This is the equation. Generate passion, include them in the process of growing and developing your business and they will tell the world on your behalf.
Right now I am getting ready to head to the main industry conference for Social Media – Social Media Marketing World.
Based in San Diego, and for my third year in a row, I will be speaking on ‘Google’ and social.
What I have found over the years though is a degree of comfort within the community where I have met a lot of great people, established myself as an authority and formed long term friendships.
There are a load of things I have learned along the way though, and for those newcomers (mainly) interested in learning from my mistakes then I hope this post gives you some handy tips. All of which should help you make some quality connections.
Before we get there…
What does it mean to connect with someone?
When you attend networking events you want to come away with ‘connections’, so let’s look at what this means really.
In essence, what contributes a connection looks something like this:
- the person knows you name
- they know your face
- they have some context about what you do
- they may well know where you are from
- they can recall the conversations and interactions they’ve had with you
- they may have some idea of people you both have in common, and ideally they have a positive vibe about you when they see your face again as an avatar on your social media accounts, when they pick up your business card, or when they receive an email from you.
In other words, being truly connected means a person has the information stored in their brain, and the more contact points you make with a positive outcome, the more the ‘map’ of who you are is built.
Let’s take a moment to consider what happens when you connect with someone in the real world after you’ve connected with them online beforehand.
Every +1, every comment, every tweet, every hangout, every Skype call has created moments, micro-moments that a person experienced (assuming they are paying attention online, i.e. running their own account).
Then you meet, and they are suddenly 3D. They are real. There is a ‘leap’ in your brain which adjusts the historic relationship you had. Your brain, your memory changes, and it cannot be reversed.
As such, the impression you make really does matter. The clothes you wear, the language you use, the people you are with all matter to create that impression.
And it happens ‘both ways’, as both parties have built a schema of events into an internalized representation of both ‘who you are’ and ‘how you are’.
This is a great opportunity for you to reinforce all the relationship building you’ve done online, and truly deepen the relationship.
Ok, here come the tips for networking:
1. Everything is public.
What do I mean by this? Well, people take pictures and listen to conversations that are happening around them. I experienced a jump in my awareness the first time someone (Mike Gingerich) was tweeting a conversation I was having at the time with Sue B Zimmerman.
It took me a moment to adjust, then I saw that every conversation, every interaction mattered. Obvious now. But it means you may want to think about being ‘on’ 100% of the time.
2. Don’t try to sell yourself too hard.
You are an equal…but you may not feel it. As such you may well over compensate and feel you need to ‘get somewhere’. You don’t. Simply…
3. Focus on the relationships, and think long term.
Imagine you are going to do business with everyone you meet, but not going to do it today/next week/or even this year.
In other words, just enjoy connecting with people.
4. “I have a podcast”, you say.
And as it happens I do, and I will be recording at the conference. But…you don’t need to ‘close the deal’ there and then if you have a true, felt connection.
There is time to catch up online with people afterwards, so don’t fret.
5. “Look into my eyes…”
I mean it, make eye contact with people. Not in a creepy ‘in your face’ kind of a way, but pay attention to people and…
6. Pay attention to people.
I mean, ‘be here now’ sort of attention (h/t Chris Brogan), don’t just look like you are and be thinking ‘I am only talking to Martin until Gary V shows up’, I mean suspend your inner voice as much as you can.
7. Get lots of sleep; get up early.
I know, there is a lot going on. But it is intense and you need sleep.
And join people for walks in the morning. This is a great time to connect.
In fact, you will have more time to chat than you may think. Myself and Eric Tung started a friendship from this base.
8. Walk the hallways.
Instead of always going to all the sessions, look to walk the hallways and connect with other people passing by.
Consistently, this has led to me having quality conversations with people I would not have met otherwise. It is likely you’ll meet the speakers have a coffee and chilling, perfect for a quick chat. And far less rushed than you would find them after they give their presentation, surrounded with hundreds of people wanting to ask questions.
9. Don’t be ‘that guy’.
..or girl. You have nothing to prove to anyone except to show people you are friendly and deserve people paying you quality attention too.
(oh, and that includes “don’t try to shag everything that moves…”, especially if you are married)
10. Avoid playing ‘influencer’ bingo with selfies.
Think about relationships and connecting first. You want them all to ‘take your call in the future’ and having a great conversation is likely to get your further than having trophies for your online cabinet.
p.s. I don’t mind having a selfie with you, just know that I would probably rather truly connect as well.
11. Be a connector of people
Helping people connect is never a bad thing. Be that person, like the host of your own party whenever you can. And I mean everyone, and anyone, not just the speakers. People are people and you never know what could happen if you simply play this role.
Also, if you see someone standing on their own, it is a perfect time to introduce them to someone else you may know. Everyone wants to feel part of the experience, help them to do so and you’ll win hearts and minds.
12. Don’t bother mentioning how many followers you have.
No-one really cares. Trust me, I have over 1.3 million, and they really don’t.
(people do care about how you make them feel though.)
Find the people who you get on with the best, and you’ll probably find you share the same sense of humour.
14. Drink Water.
Yes, drink lots of water. And wear comfy shoes. I think Kimberley Reynolds (who connected with Mike Stelzner all those years ago, well, it was at least 2) taught me that.
15. Be friendly and walk the hallways
I’ve consistently found that be friendly opens up conversations with just about anyone at a conference. You are all ‘in it together’, so people are usually happy to be approached. Simply saying ‘Hey I am Martin, what’s your name?’ or if they have a badge on saying ‘Hey I’m Martin. Good to meet you, Brian’ is a great way to start.
Also, look at this phrase when the time is right and you’ve connected – ‘How can I help?’ – you may find it opens doors.
Enjoy yourself. I mean it, have a good time. To me conferences are work, despite very often meeting great old friends.
I am 100% but also I love the intensity of connecting and re-connecting with people from every corner of the globe. It may well be life changing…As I say, just about everything I have included here (apart from maybe, maybe #9) has come through reflecting on what has worked to build good relationships, and how I have fallen short in many cases. Hope it helps you have an awesome experience connecting with the people who matter most to you, and everyone else too.
Want to connect with me more to talk business? I run the PYB Academy, and Agency – hit me up here and let’s chat!
Virtual Reality is the next platform, and as a marketer you should be aware this is a bit like the leap we took with mobile but far more advanced than you may imagine.
And Augmented Reality is going to take off once ‘Meta’, ‘Magic Leap’ and ‘Hololens’ deliver but until then we simply don’t know what will happen. So let’s focus on VR for now…
As you can see from Google Trends, it is really taking off (again!) but this time is it ‘for real’.
If you think you’ve tried VR by putting on Google Cardboard for 5 mins, you have not seen what is on the horizon. I love the concept of Cardboard, and other similar units, but it is the Oculus experience that shows you the ‘leap’.
And that too is getting a lot of attention in Google Searches:
So, why is it so different?
Well, when you enter Oculus, it feels like a newer, fresher interface than anything we’ve seen before:
You move your head to the left and you can select and view a huge amount of content in the store. You move your head to the right and you can ‘tap’ to enter your library.
It is a waste of time me trying to describe it. You are just going to have to dive in yourself using a Gear VR or an Oculus Developers Kit (until your new best friend down the road gets the full release version from April).
When it comes to getting your ready as a marketer, this is what you need to know about VR, and Oculus in particular:
- Apps – it is all about Apps in the Oculus App Store right now.
If you are in this space you’ll know it already, and if you are not you either need to contact Dialectinc.com about getting involved, or look for other opportunities.
- Target Demographics – the big trends will be ‘gaming’ , ‘adult content’, ‘social’, and the age group to first get the units is likely to be 13-18 years old. There will also be a fair amount of geeks to market too that are 30+
- The range of devices – tethered devices give a far more immersive experience, but units like the Gear VR are a solid play.
The new Oculus unit will be on everyone’s Christmas list for the next 2 years, but there are solid competing devices on there was too.
Take a look at any new platform that has a social element. There are people who will lead the way. And when you have integration within apps of Twitch, Vimeo, and YouTube, you can see social becoming something new, as such here are some consideration:
- Shared marketing experiences – people watch videos together, which can be done in Apps like AltSpaceVR and Oculus Social Alpha. And I understand Vtime has some amazing develops on the horizon.
This is an opportunity for all marketers, irrespective of ‘selling something’ in the Oculus Store.
- Influencers will rise in VR – before long those with the most trusted information, those best connected to the new cool companies will surface in the eco-system and become the next stars.
- Transfer of information is quicker – what is happening with ‘the latest’ new gadget the conversation that comes up time and time again.
If you have something cool to promote, there will be hives of people waiting to spread the world.
- Home? – you will need to look where you house your community in VR, and how you can easily communicate with them outside of any one single app.
- ‘Attention’ is complete in VR – you will find people will pay much more attention, for longer.
When someone is in an app, it is more effort (psychologically) to exit that app and go and try out a new one. At least to start with, people are not ‘flipping tabs’ on their browser in the same way.
- ‘Immersion’ – this means they are ‘there’ but what about them moving that attention to action. This is going to be a large consideration. What are you seeking for people to do? You won’t be able to say ‘enter this URL’ as they have their headset on.
You can’t ask them to call a number without taking off the headset.
There is an opportunity here to solve the problem of connecting with people who are paying attention, after the attention holding mechanism e.g. a video, or a presentation in VR, has ended. Finally…
- 360 live streaming – I believe that more and more people (within 3 years) will have an ‘always on’ attitude.
As soon as 360 cameras can stream content from people’s homes (and further afield), platforms will rise. Free, and paid subscriptions.
People will stream their lives, helping viewers to connect in a more raw way.
It will be like BB’s diary room for some; and full time real life streaming for others.
This is the one area that will meet any markers budget, and I would say the first platforms to discover the content are not far away.
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Blab is a new broadcasting platform. And a fun one at that.
You’ll find it here: blab.im
There are four ‘seats’ available, and the display looks like this:
I know what you are thinking, “Do we need yet another way of communicating?” and “I’ve only just got 10,000 hearts on Periscope, and now you are telling me about this!”
But let me explain…
Every platform is different, yes. Every platform develops a culture, and a user base guides it. And right now there is a reason people are exploring Blab – they are doing some of the work for content creators, making it easy to take ‘a blab’ (broadcast) and have it automatically delivered as MP3, MP4 and embed codes for your site.
Personally I find Google Hangouts to be a very flexible too – both on air and off air versions, yet can see the appeal after playing about for a day or so.
One BIG bonus with Blab is the ability to toggle the event on and off air. I think used well, it could really save time editing post an event – loads of ideas around this, but maybe for another day.
Thanks to Arianna and Hermine Ngnomire for their guidance, and to Ian Gavin for his tips too.
First off, here is their official Tips and Tricks guide here…
I see one of the main business applications as podcasting, but as with all community building platforms (you can have people follow you, subscribe for scheduled events) it is good for brand building.
And more than anything, it is really new, so could well attract some content creators that work out cool applications soon as well.
Here are a few features:
The overview page will show you the events that are live now, and ones scheduled:
Setting up a broadcast
It really is easy to host a Blab. And you can choose in a 1,2,3 step process a Title, tags (good for surfacing), and ‘now or later’
When you are in a Blab…
1. One of the main, best features is the ability to go on/off air – i.e. only recording the bits that you want.
2. They will send you an MP3 (e.g. add to Soundcloud, or upload to iTunes), and MP4, and an embed code (apparently within 10 minutes of the broadcast ending)
3. You can easily tweet people that you/others are live
4. Stream of comments to the right on a desktop
5. People can request to enter, or can you ‘lock it’ and prevent that functionality
6. People can ‘like’ – clap – an individual’s screen and give some love, but these do not show post event on the recording
7. You can use /q to draw attention to a question
And it will show:
8. You can use /topic to change (take over) the Blab name
There is also this on their blog: “/shrug or /tableflip to express yourself. ;)” (try that one for yourself!)
9. You can star/like someone’s comment (like a plus one, reinforcement in the stream)
10. You can reply to someone’s comment, and it will auto populate with their @name
11. You can follow them on Twitter, just a click away.
12. I’ve started to add people to a Twitter list to make the most of connecting across platforms.
Tip: if you are having issues with your camera, click on the ‘lock’ in the upper right of your browser and you will get this window – change your permission by clicking on that tab.
This really is just the beginning, and with new features promised it will be interesting to see how people’s creativity flows.
It is different to the rest and deserves your attention, if you dig such things. And let’s face it, we all do.
Every week for the past year of so, the awesome Mary Stovall and a few dedicated PYB supporters and pulled together a round up.
But what is the value of the being included?
Take a look at the clicks on the content we included on this week:
If you want to support your members even more, look at bringing together their news for the week and track the clicks with a URL shortener.
An extra 400 relevant visitors may well be worth the price of membership, if you decide to move to a paid model for your community.
Let me run something past you…
Imagine you’ve built up a following on your Google+ Page of 10,000 people and you get great engagement when you post content.
Would you give anyone admin rights to this Google+ Page?
I mean, would you ‘just let people post their content’?
You’ll probably say ‘no’. Right?
Well, let’s take this thought experiment a step further.
Let’s say your page, with 10,000 people associated with it, was actually created in a way that enabled other people to simply be able to share what they wanted, and instead of being a page it was called ‘a public community’.
There is a culture that communities are there for people to use as distribution channels.
And for a long time I’ve been troubled by this.
Why? Is that what a community is?
When people simply share their content into a community, and don’t care about a conversation?
I am increasingly seeing a different view:
A community is there to support its members.
And the members support the community.
As such, we are putting the members of the Plus Your Business Academy members at the heart of our business.
We are seeking members who want to improve themselves and their business.
And we give them the keys to the castle – the place to distribute their content.
Right now people at Level 4 and Level 5 can submit content to be shared via the PYB Page, and can share their content (inc. events) into the community as well.
This will become open to ALL members soon (as long as they understand the basic G+ principles of serving good content to the audiences).
This is the privilege of being an Academy (paid) member or a supporter i.e. working on a project with us.
“What is the reach people will gain by being a part of it?”
In fact we have the following…
Plus Your Business:
Page – 11,500 followers
Community – 17,000+
Plus Your Life:
Community – 13,000
Page – 200,000+
“As a non-payer, what is ok to share into Plus Your Business then?”
Content, no. This will now be removed.
Support, you know we are super friendly, and will do our best and give advice, and links to blogs wherever we can.
I am working on shaping up Plus Your Life in the same way too.
Why make a change now?
Running communities take time, effort and energy; and I feel after two years we need to reflect on why we are doing what we do.
I love the broader ‘community’ on Google+, but we had that before the advent of ‘communities’. Now they are established – and I am talking primarily about Plus Your Life and Plus Your Business – we have can support our members better by shifting our minds a little to the right, freshening our perspective.
If people want to connect with me in general, I post every morning on Google+, just come and say hi. Or email me at [email protected]
I know this is not how many people see communities, and that is AOK, I am talking about the ones I run myself. And I like to do experiments, and see what happens when we change the culture, the expectations, of how things ‘should’ be around here. Onwards!
Here is a really enjoyable interview with the one and only Sue b. Zimmerman!
We chat about Google+, Instagram, and the importance of building relationships on and offline.
Martin: Hello! This is Martin Shervington. It is 12 o’clock in San Diego. The sun is just coming out, so I’ve got my shades on. And I’ll probably keep them on for the duration, as it’s a beautiful day here. So I’m very happy.
And I’m even happier to be joined by the one and only Sue Zimmerman. Now you don’t know what Sue does necessarily. May not know who she is. But you will after this interview. And if you do already, that’s great. Sue is a phenomenal networker. She’s a lovely person. She does a lot with Instagram, which we’re going to touch on, but we’re going to talk more about Google+ today. And she’s super smart. And I wanted to interview her, having met her in real life at the social media marketing world conference a few weeks ago.
So, no further adieu, I’m going to say hello. Sue, how are you? I’m just going to bring you upon the screen. How are you doing?
Sue: I’m great! So here on the East Coast, 3 pm, it is raining and dreary. But I’m with Martin, so the sun is shining in my eyes, so I’m good.
Martin: You say the sweetest things!
Sue, let’s just dive in. A bit of background, first of all. I mentioned the Instagram thing, which we’ll come onto a bit later. What have you done for the last however long, in relations to business, relationships, life?
Sue: Oh my goodness! That’s a loaded question. So I’ve been a very passionate entrepreneur ever since I was a young girl, about 13. And to date, I’ve had 18 different businesses. And they have not all been in the same place. They’ve all been in a place that worked for me and my family.
When I raised my 3 daughters and they were younger, I had very different businesses than I do now. I have just always been an entrepreneur, and always able to see opportunities as they are presented to me, dive in, seize them, and quite frankly monetize them. And I always-always-always have fun doing it. If the fun isn’t there, it’s not happening.
Martin: I’m glad you mentioned about the fun. So let’s tell the story how we met.
Sue: Do you want me to tell it, or you?
Martin: No, you tell it!
Sue: Okay, so I happened to fly into San Diego a day early, because supposedly there was going to be a snow storm in Boston, and I did not want to miss the networking event that was taking place on Thursday night for the speakers, because I was a speaker there.
So I flew in there early, and I’m so grateful that I did, because when I meandered into the Hyatt Hotel bar, I met a lot of interesting people right now. And someone told me that you were the Google+ guy, and you were famous. And being the Instagram expert, I always seize photo opportunities as they’re presented to me. So I absolutely knew that I had to have a photo with you.
So I think I even interrupted your conversation that you were having with Ian Clary. So I was like, come on you guys. We have to go take a picture! And we will hashtag it and at mention it, and it will be great. And you look at me like, okay Sue. I have followers who are on Instagram, but I’m not even on Instagram.
Martin: I actually said, I have 87 followers on Instagram at that point. Didn’t I? That was it.
Sue: Okay, well now you have over 100 –
Martin: I actually had an account. But before we even get to that story, I’m going to let people know, so what happens – Sue’s right. I had no choice in this connection at all. Sue pretty much sat me down and said, right. That’s it. Tell me about Google+
Sue: I sat you down as you I was eating my salad, and you started eating my salad because I was done.
Martin: You didn’t have to tell everyone that.
Sue: And we chatted for a good 45 minutes. And what was so great about that is you were sharing your passion for Google+ and explaining to me who you are, what you do, and that you were excited to be a speaker.
And I in return was doing the same, sharing my Instagram passion and talking about photo visual curation, and how it’s so important for your business. And we both just totally gelled in that space of doing what we love and helping others do what they love better.
So I think that was our attraction. And then of course we took at least three other Instagram pictures after that.
Martin: That was it! Now this is where we can dive into some content for people. Visual curation. This is something that you talk about a lot. What does it mean for you? And you talk about storytelling as well. So how does this play out?
Sue: So in terms of playing out in the online space for your business, I really think that so many people are more interested in connecting to you and your story. And once they really get to know you, like you, and start trusting you, they want to do business with you. I mean, it’s just the way it goes.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing relationships that have started online with a lot of people. And with you, obviously it’s in the reverse. I met you in person first, and now we’re having conversations daily on Google+ and chat, which is so cool.
But typically I’m meeting people online, and then when the opportunity presents itself to meet in person, it’s even that much more magical, dynamic, and fun, because you have a starting place. You have a starting place of, oh, I saw the picture of you hanging out in San Diego. Or I saw your kids. Or I saw your dog. Or you look like you were having fun on vacation. And you can immediately start a conversation.
Now, I’m not saying to open up online obviously. But I really can connect with somebody deeper than just what they do for a living. It has so much more meaning. And I have always loved doing that. And in fact, Martin, let me just take you back about 8 years ago. One of the businesses that I had was a double-sided tape. I’m going to show you some pictures of what I did. You’re going to actually like this a lot.
So it was a double-sided tape that brought photos to life. And it was a toupee tape that you could use to embellish photos. And it was called Treasure Tape. This was one of my businesses that was in the craft industry.
I was actually on QVC selling this tape at 1 in the morning, and we sold so many units that they invited me to come back on. The thing about the tape is it had the wow factor and it embellished photos. So it’s so ironic that fast forward 8 years, here I am in the visual curation, specifically teaching Instagram techniques and strategies on how to really bring your photos and your visual content to life, beyond just a drabby photo.
And photos have always been my most prized possession, so it just makes sense that I can passionately teach how to do visual curation.
Martin: I’m trying to explain what happened next in relation to me. You got me started on Instagram when I was on the Mia Voss show with you. Even though I had the account. Some people followed me. And I really didn’t understand what I was going to be getting and how it was going to be. But what you just talked about in relation to trust and in relation to the story and in relation to broadening the perspective of a person is very much what we’ve talking about – myself and David Amerland and Ronnie Bincer – around the use of hangouts, and how hangouts bring you closer and allow that connection.
I’m going to give a shout out to the people watching – Stan Bush and Roxanne Davenport, and Sid Rust, Anwar, Naban, Natalie, Rennie, Carrie, Duskin, and Natalie – oh there’s two Natalies. But I could continue. That helps us feel connected.
Now the thing with Instagram I’ve been finding since you’ve been – I was going to call it pushing; let’s say coaching – coaching me (which I’ve enjoyed – it’s been great!) This content that I put in there that I wouldn’t really consider putting all of it, like a picture of my curry that I did the other night. I wouldn’t put that on Google+.
I could. But it wasn’t that great of a picture, and I would rather put stuff out that I think is more, well, I don’t know, it’s just different on Google+. But nonetheless, there’s engagement. There’s conversation. There’s people being included in part of my life. It’s part of what’s going on for me. I go out and eat Thai food and Indian food and I go to the beach and take a picture of a Rubik’s Cube, which I’ve got here. And I do these things.
So how are you finding then, doing it the other way for you, that the storytelling on Google+ is different for you? And how are you experiencing this platform?
Sue: So I am so grateful that I met you and Mia Voss and Ben Fisher and Ian Clary all at the same time. It was like this swarm of energy all in one room, and I felt so fortunate that this was my first intro to set me up for a great 3 days at Social Media Marketing World.
I am now on Google+, I do not understand everything about it. But like you said, I’m smart, and I’m a quick learner, and I have great mentors and coaches that aren’t pushy and have been helping me. But I totally get and understand how to set up a personal page, a business page, and now Stepan taught me how to do a community page. So I’m understanding the vastness of Google+ for my business.
And quite frankly, I’ve been spending way too much freakin’ time on Facebook, and I should have been on Google+. But that’s okay, because I’m there now, and I am totally making a mark. And what I love about Google+, and tell me if I’m wrong with this observation, I think it’s primarily (at least the people interacting with me) very smart men that are figuring out ways to have a business online where they’re figuring out ways to have a business online where they have a flexible lifestyle to do what they want when they want and have the freedom to live from anyplace as long as they have an internet connection.
And I say men, and another than Mia Voss, mainly because they’re the ones that – they’re all asking me to do, they want to do a Google hangout with me, which is awesome, and I’m saying yes, and also the guys that I’m meeting, they’re so smart. And on Facebook, quite frankly, I find that it’s a lot more people fishing and looking for ways to communicate. And so much of the information is minutiae that I’m not interested in listening to or watching.
I think Google+ is filled with insanely awesome content if you want it right in front of you. So that’s been the biggest mind shift for me in embracing Google+. And I’m so excited about how much more I have yet to learn and how much it can help propel my business and my brand, and quite frankly my story of being a multi-passionate entrepreneur my whole life and hopefully to help other people understand how to use it, because it’s so freaking powerful.
Martin: And I will add, I think there’s very smart women on here as well. I think demographically we’re looking at 65-70%, looking at my YouTube stats. That’s the ratio of guys to 30-35% women. And I think that there’s two types of user, if we’re going to break it down. Those that are just interested in the relationships for relationship’s sake. And then there’s the people who are interested in utilizing it and understanding it for that purpose. And sometimes it may be because they’re looking at brand management for themselves or for other people, or the entrepreneurship and so on. I think that there is that mix.
I mean, I’m looking at the comments now, and I’m thinking through the people I’ve connected with. And there’s definitely a passion. I do think there’s a geekiness to all of us.
Sue: I wouldn’t say –
Martin: No, I think there is. Certainly in the early days. Because there is so much that you not only have to learn if you really want to get what’s going on, but that you want to, and you get involved with. So I think you’re the same as I am with that. What we try and do is help and make it easier for people to grasp, and it’s the same thing you’ve done with Instagram and I’ve been doing with Google+, because you want it to be an inclusive process. We want it to be accessible.
Sue: Absolutely. Yeah, and I don’t mean to discredit any of the women watching.
Martin: You’ve got all the guys because you’re friendly and fun. We get that. We got it Sue! We know what you’re saying!
So ladies, all of you that are currently watching, Sue needs some more female followers to balance out these –
Anyway, let me just pick up on a question. Brian Shea came up with this question here if I can show you. It says, how do you find photos compared to video in terms of interest? This is an Instagram question, but I think it’s a good one generally. He prefers photos, but many seem to like the videos. What do you think about that?
Sue: I think they’re both powerful, and I get a lot of engagement on my Instagram videos if they post, which is where you can upload videos and sequentially play them. And then you can find the story just a little bit more entertaining.
So I love the app called Flip-O-Gram, which if you’re following me on Instagram @SueBZimmerman, I just did a really fun Instagram video of Martin and I when we were like in the pre-show, just to show you guys that when you do it right in Instagram, you can create some fun content that you want to share with your viewers as well.
I don’t prefer one over the other. It’s all a matter of what content I want to be sharing and what’s the best way to deliver that content. So if that was just a picture of me and Martin, it wouldn’t be nearly as powerful because Martin has such an awesome accent and we all love to hear it. So I wanted all my followers to see how playful we can be when we’re interacting. And you can’t get that in a photo. Does that make sense?
Martin: Yeah. That is a good answer. And what you did with that video, which it’s pretty worth giving the detail. You did three different angles, essentially, didn’t you? You did one, which somebody took it from the side. And then you did one where you could see the hangout where I was speaking. And then you did one where you were in front of the hangout and you could have both of us. That was because you could do a start and stop.
That sort of creativity is what sets you apart from me. I know that I would have just gone, right, just press the button. But when you learn that you can be using these things in a different way, it tells a story.
Sue: Yes. And that’s – bingo! That’s it. Telling the story.
So now Martin, people will feel more connected to us from watching this hangout. And if they go over to Instagram and start following me, and I know that you’re going to repost that Instagram, because that’s how you roll now
They’ll just feel like not only do I get these two characters on Google+, but here they are, buddies on Instagram too.
Martin: We were talking about this one on the other day. And I’ve talked about it for the last two years. That cross-platform connection actually starts to give you slightly different relationships with people. And even though I spend, as everybody knows, 99% of my time on Google+ in terms of online, there’s still value in experiencing those other perspectives, both in other people experiencing me – my obsession with Rubik’s Cube continues.
Look everybody. It’s just gradual, what I’ve done. That’s the next stage. You see that. That’s how the top gets done. The middle bit’s done. I’m not in a hurry. It’s been 33 years. It can wait another year or two.
But the thing is it’s story telling. And for me, because I connected with Rubik’s and on Google+, continuing to share and tell that story, it’s part of me. And if people relate to it here, they can relate to it there, and maybe they can get more content. And that’s what you’re really helping people to do.
Sue: Yeah. And you did a beautiful job of starting that image on Instagram, and then bringing it over to Google+ and then getting the attention of – was he the creator of the Rubik’s Cube?
Martin: Yeah. Exactly. That’s when Ernö Rubik shared it.
Sue: And that was really cool. How you leveraged that without knowing it.
Martin: Absolutely. And I didn’t ping him on it. We’ve already connected. We’ve had lots of conversation. But that wouldn’t have happened unless I was using that app creatively and saying, I’m going to put something up, which was the sunset and the Rubik’s Cube. And again, it allows content to flow, because it sits on my phone. It doesn’t just sit within Instagram, so obviously I can reshare it here.
And for me, content, I like – I did one the other day, and you commented, why didn’t I do the skipping rope lady as an Instagram thing? But that was an Instagram idea really. It just happened that the video was a little bit too long, so it wouldn’t upload. But it meant that here lots of people engaged with it. And that’s again part of the story of me living on Pacific Beach.
Sue: Which is cool. Let me just pause for a minute right here Martin, because I just want to add to what you’re saying in terms of people that are just starting out on Instagram or trying to figure out if they want to add it. What’s so cool about Instagram, and there are so many things, but I just want to talk about this one specific thing, is that you can tag people on Instagram. So whether or not they’re in the photo with you or you’re thinking about them because of the visual content that you’re sharing, you can tag them and they will get a notification on Instagram that they were tagged, very similar to Google+, and that’s why I’m talking about this.
An example of this is if the guy that developed that Rubik’s Cube is on Instagram, it would be added value to have tagged him on Instagram –
Martin: For sure.
Sue: – and when people touch your photo on Instagram, they will see the tags and then he would get more followers because of you.
Martin: And when you’re saying tags, you’re talking @mention.
Sue: No. It’s two ways to tag. So yes, one is an @mention. And then one is within the app, you can also tag people. And it stays there permanently.
Now you cannot tag videos. In fact, I just did a YouTube video that’s going up I think tomorrow, if not tomorrow, next Wednesday. Martin, every Wednesday I share on YouTube, one Instagram tip that’s under two minutes to digest. So one of the things I teach is how to tag on Instagram. I’m just saying that for that purpose.
Martin: That’s great. Now I don’t want to go too deep into the Instagram thing, because I want people to stick with the Google+. So I’m just going to come up with a very positive –
Martin: You like Craig. She’s fantastic.
Let us come back to Google+ and talk about relationships. Because this is why I wanted to do this hangout, so people can see how you are, who you are. Yeah, you’re into Instagram, and you’ve got a lot of tips there, and we can give shout outs for people to connect with you towards the end.
What I want people to understand is how relentless you are in terms of pursuing your relationships and how good you are. And that was the thing. You’re an exceptional networker.
Sue: Thank you.
Martin: But you keep the promise. Because as we said, we would connect, you’d get started on things. You’ve encouraged – I wouldn’t say pushed – you have encouraged me.
But you’ve one of the only people I’ve probably spent that much time to get going, because I see the potential. And I know lots of other people can see that as well. So that’s what I wanted directed. What do you think for people? What can you give people as tips, as an approach?
Sue: Yeah. That’s a great question. So for starters, I am very comfortable with who I am, and I know exactly how to walk into a room and connect and reach out to people without being shy ever.
Like I like to walk into a room and be seen. And not be seen in a snotty way, but be seen with adding value to the people in the room in some way. So what that might look like is being high energy and friendly. And I really do my best when I go to a networking event to meet as many people that are actually there and not just talk to 1-2 people because it’s comfortable to just be there and talk to 2. I like to talk to everybody and connect, because you never know who’s going to be there. And you never know where that relationship can take you.
Craig’s a perfect example of that. He lives not too far from me in New Hampshire. And he made a point to reach out to me on Google+, which I loved, and said, I’m not too far from you. We totally should connect some time. And ironically there was a meet up in Framingham, 15 minutes from my house. So he and I had time to chat in person. And of course, I said to him, we have to take a picture.
I mean, taking a picture for me is not only a memento of that experience, but it’s something I call the opportunity to use it elsewhere. So whether you can use it on Google+ or you can tweak that picture or use it in a blog post, as you and I talked about earlier Martin. A photo is worth 1K words. And my brain thinks in images. So for me, it’s like I have to have a photo if there’s an experience of value in my life.
So I’ve always been that person who’s confident and comfortable with who I am. I really don’t care what other people think of me. I hope it’s always good thoughts, but I know that not everyone’s going to like my approach and like the way I do business. But I’m okay with that, because at the end of the day I really feel as though I attract my ideal followers if you will, and potential clients, and people who lift me higher and make my life more meaningful.
Because I’ve been a successful entrepreneur my whole life, I come from a place of success and not failure. So I’m not ever holding any kind of negative grudge. All I want to do is teach people how to experience the success and happiness that I’ve been so fortunate to have my whole life. I can’t imagine my life any differently. I can’t imagine waking up and feeling like, oh gosh. It’s another day. What am I going to do? I can’t wait to dive in and make things happen online and in person.
I thrive on that.
Martin: I love that. And those were great comments, picking up from Cheryl. Being there with yourself makes it so much easier to be comfortable with others.
Sue: Thanks Cheryl. And Cheryl is someone who has been chatting with me, and I so appreciate that. She and I are doing a hangout together soon about hashtags.
Martin: Great. And let’s pick up. There’s a couple of Instagram questions, I know we’re going to have to answer, because people are asking about that. But before we get to that, let’s talk about Chris Brogan. We were chatting before and do you want to explain what happened, just a little, at the conference? Because again this comes down to relationships.
Just to say, on PlusYourBusiness.com, there is a blog called Social Media Musts and Using Google+. And it has a very attractive [Plusto], which is this fellow, as a superhero, with a G on his chest. And I’ve told the story. And part of the story, in fact, Sue you’re going to extend it a little bit further, as to how this on-to-off-line relationship thing is building quicker.
Well, do you want to explain what happens? And I’ll stop babbling.
Sue: Yeah. So Martin, I actually met Chris Brogan at a HubSpot user meeting. And the only reason I met him was because someone told me he’s really famous. That’s Chris Brogan. I’m like really? I need to go get a picture.
So I got my picture, which is pretty funny. I can post that from four years ago if you want to see it. And then I had the opportunity to go to one of Chris’ live events, because he lives in the Boston area. So I went to a live event about a month ago, and then I went to another live event recently.
And here’s my little, hello! Instagram photo of me and Chris. And Chris is just awesome in every sense of the word. I call him a mensch, which is like a Jewish word for just an all around nice, kind soul.
Martin: I know that word.
Sue: Okay. Good. So he and I were at that event together and one of the things he said at his master mind is I don’t want you to leave the room until you leave with what you came for. And this was a two-day event. And I didn’t really have an agenda of what I came for. I just wanted to be around him and his awesomeness and what he was teaching at that master mind.
But on the second day of the master mind, I said to him, now that I think of it, I’d like to ask you if I can do an interview with you and talk about Instagram, because you’re not using it for business at all. He’s called @NothingLost on Instagram. And he’s not there for a business purpose. So I asked him if he would do an interview. And I thought maybe he would say yes, and would do it at the hotel. He said, sure, I’ll come to your house. I’m like, you’re kidding me. You’re going to come to my house. He’s like yeah!
So Chris Brogan came to my house. And that YouTube video is up. And what I love about the interview we did for ten minutes is he talked about this quote, and I’m going to hold it up Martin because I think it’s such an awesome quote. And it’s viral, on Instagram, and on Tumblr. Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.
So I told Chris during this interview that quote has gone viral on Instagram. He’s like really? I said yeah, and on Tumblr. I said, my entrepreneurial light bulb is going off. I said, Chris I really think we should put that on t-shirts and mugs, and I want to make plaques to sell. And he texts me, and he’s like partnership. Tell me what to do!
So I think Chris has some amazing quotes that come out of his mouth frequently. Ones that are so inspirational way and that could be marketed in a fun, Chris Brogan-esque way on shirts. So he and I are collaborating on coming up with products that representing him and his brand. But none of that would have happened if I wouldn’t have taken the time to go to his life event.
Martin: Sure. the funny thing is, we’ll just come back to the conference in a sec, which is where we started, he recommends going to a lot of conferences and meeting the people you want to meet. And I read that early on. He said that’s what he did early on. Get face to face. Build the relationship that way, which is why what we did really matters.
I just want to come around. So we were at the conference –
Evian’s saying great quote. Thanks Cheryl. And we’ve got lots of questions about Instagram for business. We’re going to need to come back to that.
But we’re at the conference and I’m speaking at the same time as Sue and Chris is speaking at the same time as us both. And you can tell the story Sue.
Sue: So I missed Chris’ segment, and obviously I missed yours, because we were all speaking simultaneously. And someone told me after I spoke, they’re like, Sue, Chris Brogan gave you a huge shout-out during his presentation. He was talking about Instagram and why you should be on it. But he’s like, I’m not the Instagram expert. You really need to meet Sue Zimmerman. She really knows her stuff. And she’s the Instagram gal!
And that exact same thing happened to you when they talked about Google+ right?
Martin: Yeah. And myself and Chris have been interacting since and back and forth on email, and the relationship has just developed more and more and more. And he’s so genuine, which is just the thing. And he’s consistent. I’ve got all good things to say about Chris Brogan. It’s been really good to meet in real life, to build that relationship, and to learn as well about how best to support other people, and how to give them good shout-outs.
Martin: But one of the key things, and this happened again today, you’ve got to be proximate. You’ve got to be on somebody’s mind. The reason Chris gave that shout out – he’s given that shout out before, which I appreciate, even though this was a little bit bigger. I have done the same thing for other people. But it’s because they’ve been there. And I met with Chris in real life, 10-15 minutes prior to him going on stage. And because of that, he then had me on his mind when that came up.
And I think that’s something with Google+. Every +1, every comment, every share, all of that helps to keep you present with people. And if you don’t interact in the digital world, then it’s not necessarily as fresh a relationship – well, rather, do it the other way. If you do interact in that way, then when you come to meet people, they already know who you are. Particularly if on Google+, you’re seeing their face all the time. They’re coming up on notifications. And I think that’s just such a powerful way to be present for people.
Sue: Absolutely. And Martin, just to take that one step further, when you ask people for things that you’ve met, and it’s not always about you, but it’s about giving and helping them as well, they’re more likely to say yes. Because I’m putting on a live event in Boston. And I asked Chris if he would come and be there. And he’s like, Sue, I’m speaking, I think in Florida the next day. But I will come, and I’ll do a book signing. I’ll shake hands. I’ll kiss baby. And I’ll bring donuts.
Martin: But that’s a really good point. This is now going about, looking at the community, looking at everyone, we’ve got lots of people watching, lots of comments.
What you do so well is you’re quite cheeky.
Martin: And I relate well to that. I think cheek’s good. In fact, I had an interaction with Chris yesterday. And I said, I’m replacing any shyness with cheek.
Sue: I like it!
Martin: It’s a case of asking sometimes. And seeing. And Guy Kawasaki said the same thing. Sometimes you’ve got to build the relationship a bit first before you ask for that thing, but ask.
Everybody’s human. Everybody’s approachable. Sometimes you’ve just to go warm people up a little bit to understand where they’re coming from.
Sue: And I’m not shy. I always feel comfortable asking, because that’s the first thing I’m doing. And if you know Gary Vaynerchuk, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, you give, you give, you give, and then you get.
Martin: Absolutely. And I think a lot of people on Google+ can see that certainly has been my approach. And content marketing in Plus Your Business approach is gradually build your relationships, and you build that and you build your trust. Every interaction matters.
Martin: So before we start to move to wrap up, I just want to pull up one thing here. Look at that!
Sue: Aw, you guys are awesome! Thank you.
Martin: So I’m going to ask you to in one little sentence, if you could give one tip of how people could use Instagram for business – now we talked about personal branding, relationships, and context, and people understanding more about an individual. That’s their brand building. What about for business more directly? Let’s say getting people to visit your website. How do you use Instagram to do that?
Sue: On Instagram, you can have a URL to direct people to your website, and you can create a custom bit.ly so you know it came over from Instagram, but if I were to give one piece of business advice to people listening, it’s to be really very specific and niche-y with the content that you’re sharing visually on Instagram, so that when people read the bio of who you are and what you do and what you deliver and share with the world, that’s the content that they’re going to get when they look at your feed.
Now Martin you’re an exception to that because of who you are on Google+. For you, Instagram is a place where people are getting to know you better and seeing what you’re doing in your day. It’s not like you’re using it so much – or least correct me if I’m wrong. It doesn’t appear that you’re using it so much to get business on Google+. you’re using it to build relationships. So if people want to use Instagram to build their business, they really need to deliver content that has value.
So when I say that, I have a featured account. I don’t want to confuse people. I don’t want this to be all about Instagram. I just want to tell people that my featured account, @TheInstagramExpert, is where I only share tips, tools, and strategies on Instagram. So if you want to only learn that, and you don’t want to see my life and what I do every day, you wouldn’t be following me on @SueBZimmerman. But of course, I want you all to be following me, because that’s kind of fun.
But anyway, my point is for business owners, if you’re going to start embracing it and using it, you need to give value so people want to connect with you, follow you, and engage with your content. Does that make sense?
Martin: That’s a brilliant answer. That’s great! I’m not even going to add anything to it.
You’re right. The reason I’ve added it is just to explore it. And the way it’s gone is just me being playful, a little bit creative, and post things that maybe I wouldn’t here. And that’s cool. And it seems to be fine. I’ll report back.
Sue: Good. I like what I’m seeing.
Martin: It’s good. But I think we can see both sides of it there. I’m just reading the comments. Marilyn’s a great friend of mine. Her and George Cohen. She says, got on to you and already a fan.
Sue: Aw, that’s so great. Thanks.
Martin: Look at that. Isn’t that nice?
Sue: I love that.
Martin: Catherine Tatum. Joined the hangout. Love listening to the Google Hangouts: A Complete Guide. Thank you for that, Catherine. I’m glad all that stuff is working.
Amazing quote from Chris Brogan – Anwar. Glad you liked that one. And yes, everyone’s very positive.
So hopefully now you can see a little bit more of Sue, her personality, her approach. And what I’d start to wrap up with what can we expect from you on Google+ in particular. Because it hasn’t been long so you got active. You’re already connecting with lots of people. But where are you going to go? If you could take a wild and crazy guess, where are you going to be in 3 months’ time?
Sue: I love that question!
Martin: What are you going to be giving to the community?
Sue: More than giving, I think I’m getting a lot of advice from people that are helping me. I’ll continue to share and give content that I think is relevant and valuable to people following me or circling me if you will on Google+. But I have so much learning and growing to do. But I think in 3 months I’ll be in a completely different spot. And I think you and I should probably do another interview then as a check-in.
It’s a hard question for me to answer because I’m learning so much.
Martin: We will. We’ll do another interview in 3 months or 6 months. We’ll work out the best point. I think what you’ve just said is a really good answer because I think that the first few months in a way, and I’ve said this before. If you allow the network to shape you, without trying to specify what you’re trying to get, then I think that you allow the relationship to alter who you are and how you are. And the opportunities come so much through the collaborations and the conversations. It’s incredible.
I know that the things that I’ve learned and the things that I’ve done working with David Amerland and Mark Traphagen and Ronnie Bincer and Stan Bush on the community. All these people, so many people. And George and Marilyn. I could continue. They’ve all altered how I’ve been.
Right I’m going to do the Google+ cause for this thing and this group. It’s good. So I think we can see that your enthusiasm is going to go somewhere Sue.
Sue: Good. I’m glad.
Martin: We don’t know where.
Sue: Well I’m waiting. And anyone can help me that wants to take me there.
Martin: Okay. So let’s now do the reach out. Where can people find you? We’ve done the Instagram plug. @SueBZimmerman and @TheInstagramExpert.
Sue: Yes. I have many accounts there, but let’s just go for those. The best way to follow me on Twitter is @SueBZimmerman. And then my website it’s http://SueBZimmerman.com. You can easily go there and follow all my social share buttons from that site.
Martin: And on Google+. What about YouTube? What’s your YouTube channel?
Sue: I’m really lucky. I have SueBZimmerman everywhere.
Martin: Okay. I’m going to come back to you for your passing comments, but the question that nobody’s asking but they should be asking – what’s the B stand for?
Sue: That’s my middle name, Beth. And more importantly, I fly around like a busy bee all day. And it’s part of my Sue B Doo logo. That’s my store on the cape.
Sue: Yeah. So that’s the B. That’s a representation of the B.
Martin: There we go! See – we got a story. Now we have it. So passing comments to everybody watching, everybody watching this in the future – what message would you like to send them?
Sue: You know, I think it’s really important to be authentic on all platforms and to be consistent with your branding and your messaging. And that’s exactly what I’m doing on Google+. I’m really trying to carry over what I’m already doing on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Instagram. And it’s just a new community. It’s a way to reach new people. And it’s really exciting, especially when it cross-promotes, and I get to see the same people on another platform coming over from Google+ or vice versa.
Martin: Great stuff. And a parting comment that I’m going to leave us with. Look at that!
Sue: Aw, that’s so sweet.
Martin: Thank you Sid. Sue’s become a good friend very quickly. So thank you so much Sue and thank you to everybody for watching. We shall return in the future for more fun on the Martin and Sue hangout.
Sue: Sounds great.
Martin: Thank you for watching. Take care.
Sue: Bye bye.
[end of transcript]
Google+ is different.
It has given so many of us to find out place in an online world more than ever before. But the biggest difference is the felt experience of community we have every day.
It also allows our content to reach people who care about it.
If content is king then community is its kingdom; and Google+ has enabled the King to expand its reach and grow its Kingdom.
Content is King
We’ve heard this for many years now, but using the tools Google has given us, we have been able to connect and reach like never before.
First we have Google Drive, which transforms working in teams…
Then we collaborative working is made easy using Google Drive and Hangouts…
Also, due to the reach of the Google+ eco-system, we can embed videos on our websites based on our setting within a YouTube channel.
Then there is the community itself….
Community is Kingdom
Without community your content would not be experienced in the way , and you would be a lone voice without any engagement.
Google has given us ‘Communities’ as a way of bringing people together, and just as with the Plus Your Business community, you can really support and enable the members.
Build a community around you that loves what you do, build trust and over time you will gain a reputation in your subject areas, leading to you becoming an authority.
In other words, the community gives you Search results based upon trust, reputation and authority building.
And it is ‘authorities’ whose content steps beyond the Kingdom, reaching outward into Google Search where it will find new subjects willing to engage and connect with it, and with you.