One Little Vote Could Change Everything

I am not very good at asking for help. I like to believe I can ‘make it on my own’. So, as you might imagine I really HATE begging!  However, we are nearing our deadline to qualify for this grant and I REALLY REALLY need your help (yep, you <pointing finger>). So, imagine me down on my knees begging!

Here is a blog post I wrote and poster over at Glynne’s Soaps today. It makes voting easy with step by step pictures. Now I just need you to take action. If you’ve already voted, please ask a friend to vote also 🙂

Help us Qualify for a $250,000 Grant

 

Last week I received the most incredible call. Our friend Jan Tabor (no relation) called to ask a favor. Jan and her husband Louis own the local Firehouse Subs restaurants (one very near our house). I love their roast beef sub and well, we share a last name and therefore, we’ve gotten to know then. Jan knows I do a lot with Social Media and she called to ask a favor.

They had entered a contest by Chase and LivingSocial to fuel entrepreneurs and small businesses. There is three million dollars in grant money available to twelve businesses. Each of the twelve businesses chosen will receive a $250,000. To qualify for the grant, each business MUST get 250 people to vote for their business. Jan wanted to know if I would help them reach 250 votes.

Of course, I was happy to chat up my favorite sandwich and some extremely nice people! Then Jan said, you may want to apply for your business. Jenn and I talked about it, and even though the deadline was less than 10 days away, we decided to go for it and see if we could get 250 people to vote for us in nine days.

So here we are on day seven and we have gotten 174 votes!

 

That’s only 76 votes away from our goal. I’m not sure we really have a chance of winning the whole thing, but as my dad used to say, “someone is going to win, may as well be me.’ (As an aside my dad entered every Readers Digest and Publishers Clearinghouse giveaway, and never won a thing).

We would really appreciate your vote! (and one for our friends at Firehouse, too – if you don’t mind). Here’s how:

1- Go to www.missionsmallbusiness.com

2 – Sign in with Facebook

3 – Search for Glynne’s Soaps

4 – Vote

Repeat steps 3 and 4 for “Firehouse Subs”.

Thank you!

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How Relationships Improve Sales (post from Chris Brogan)

How Relationships Improve SalesJanuary 2, 2010 · Comments

glynne soaps I was in the shower yesterday morning and found myself thinking, “we’re almost out of Glynne soaps.” Now, what’s weird about this is that Glynne soaps sent me review products last summer, and it was good, but let’s think about it. It’s soap. I can buy soap very easily at my grocery store, where I go all the time. Why should I have Glynne Soaps in my mind? Why should I buy them?

 

Relationships Help Sell

It doesn’t hurt that the product is really good, but what made them come to mind was all the times we’ve chatted on Twitter, and/or seeing their social media conversations unfurl on Facebook and other platforms. They’re friendly. They’re part of the story. They’re here.

It’s not enough, obviously. Being around and chatting with me on Twitter doesn’t help if your product stinks. But here’s where it helped: when I realized that I was almost out of soap, they were top of mind. 

How Do You Stay There?

I think this is the meat of most marketing. How do you stay top of mind with your customer? Let’s stick with soap. I’ll presume you use it daily (or mostly daily), but it’s not something that you think about.

In the old days, advertisers kept a brand top of mind by repeatedly pushing ads into our vision. Axe spends tons and tons convincing me that their products will make women go wild if I use them. Dove tells you that you’ll be very beautiful if you use them. Soap, of all products, is well known for working hard on staying top of mind. Remember the “soap” in “soap operas?”

To stay top of mind in the modern space, I think you have to be there. You have to be one of us. At least part of it is that. I can’t see Ford throwing away their campaigns and just count on Scott Monty to build relationships (though he’s definitely wearing the Ford colors in a powerful way). But it has to be both. 

The Difference Might Be the “Both”

If you’re Glynne Soaps, you can’t pay for full spread magazine ads and soap operas. You can spend time on social platforms meeting people, talking to them about their stuff (and not just soap). Maybe you don’t pick up the ad campaign for a while, but that would be at an inflection point.

If you’re big, you do both. Ads alone don’t cut it. If you’re Pepsi, you maybe do the campaign, but you also put the humans in the game (like Bonin Bough and team).

It depends on the product, I believe. There are “commodity” transactions where I don’t care. But the other thing is, we all have different opinions on what we care about or don’t. For instance, I don’t really care who changes the oil in my car, but because of my conversations with Sullivan Tire on Twitter, that’s where I’ll probably go because they’re top of mind. 

What Can We Do?

I think it’s a choice. I think that if you’re a bigger brand, you have more to think about. If you’re a smaller brand, this almost feels like a “must” at this point, trying out social media conversation channels. You might not get the mix right. You might have to experiment until you find what gets people to respond and take action in a relationship-minded way. But without starting to experiment, you won’t find it.

Will soap companies that make relationships on Twitter clean up? I’ve got a hunch they’ll do better than not. But is it all just a matter of working us up into a good lather? I don’t think so.

Start by observing other brands in other verticals and how they’re getting it done. Then experiment. Try making relationships before trying to sell. And be ready to apologize. You will likely make mistakes. But I think there’s some gold in this, done right.

Want some people to observe? On Twitter, check out:

@Glynnesoaps
@RSHotel
@SullivanTire

And maybe you. Are you a smaller brand building relationships one at a time? Brag it up in the Twitter feed.

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How Can I Help

We all have experts we trust. Whether it is your uncle Joe, a Teacher, a Mentor, or just some person you know through the internet. We all have those people. Hopefully it is a group of people and not just one person. One of my trusted advisors is Chris Brogan. I have been a faithful and dedicated reader of Chris’ Blog for quite some time. I also follow Chris on Twitter.

If you have read my about me page, you know I own a business which makes All Natural Soaps (actually, it’s now skin care as we have lotions, body scrubs, etc in addition to our soaps) anyway, back in the spring I send Chris a DM (direct message via twitter) and asked him if he would use my soap, if I sent him some. It was a new product for us, Beer Soap. Evidently, I peaked his interest and he agreed to use our soap. He subsequently wrote about our soap and more importantly our social networking via his blog. This single act solidified my love of social media.

Since that time, my soap business has grown. My social networking has increased. I had reached a point where others were seeking my advice. Then I was presented with an opportunity to assist other small business owners with using twitter and facebook in their own businesses. I have the attitude that anything I can do to help a fellow traveler would help me, even if just for the joy of sharing knowledge.

I see Biz Buzz Social as a means to help other small business owners overcome the hurdles associated with learning a new means of communication. This may take the form of consultations, help getting set up and started or actual maintenance of accounts.

Let me know how I can help.

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