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John Bair
John Bair
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Radius of Influence Conference: Lessons Learned

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Last week I had the privilege of attending the 4th annual Radius of Influence Conference in Austin, Texas. The conference is geared towards word-of-mouth marketing strategies that help you build your business through nurturing your relationships and reputation, rather than through the more traditional marketing approaches (think: billboards, television commercials, paid search placement on the Internet, etc.).

Here are the big ideas our team came back with:

Blogging

  • Don’t say what’s already been said: Do a quick search on the topic you want to write on. Don’t parrot a conversation that’s already been had.
  • Blogging should be a conversation: Provide useful content, don’t sell, and invite feedback.
  • Don’t pontificate: Don’t include every last piece of information on any given topic. Leaving out some of the information facilitates conversation.
  • Make it personal: Blogs don’t need to be general. If you’re writing for a particular audience, speak directly to them.
  • Organize the post: Subheads make the blog post easier to read and are indexed by search engines, along with titles.

Social Media

  • Provide useful information: Do the “so what” test—post what matters to your intended audience. Don’t post anything just for the sake of meeting a quota.
  • Make it shareable: Don’t ask a lot of your audience. Make your messages clear, concise, and easily shareable.
  • Diversify the information: Don’t broadcast the exact same message across all social media outlets. It’s boring and can cost you readership.
  • Focus on the quality of your followers, not the quantity: The goal of using social media in business isn’t to collect followers; it’s a vehicle for sharing useful information across different channels. Share the information your online community will find most useful.

Branding

  • Be consistent: Keep your company photo and message consistent across social media sites to make you more recognizable.
  • Branding is a marathon, not a sprint: Branding your company doesn’t happen overnight. Make sure you develop a clear idea about what you base your business decisions on and how you want your company to be perceived. Gear your content and collateral around that to brand your business over time.

Relationships

  • Be altruistic: Make sure your audience, clients, and potential clients know you’re there to give, not just to get.
  • Leverage personal stories in marketing content: When listening to someone talk or when reading a piece of content, our brains automatically search for connections. Utilize storytelling to relate to your audience (e.g. client testimonials, personal stories, etc.) and create a “we” experience.
  • Know where the referrals come from: Referrals are the largest source of business for most small companies. Where do the majority of consumers get their trusted referrals? Friends and family. Keep that in mind when asking for business.

Consumer Behavior

  • Gear your content around behavior:
  1. Online: Online consumer behavior is guided by ego, information, emotion (in that order).
  2. Offline: Offline consumer behavior is guided by emotion, information, and ego (in that order).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Key Terms: Figure out which key terms your company should rank for in a search query. Use those terms not only in your website, but also in blog content, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (One caveat: don’t just overload everything with key terms; it looks awkward).
  • Google-favored sites: YouTube is owned by Google, so creating useful videos and posting them on YouTube can be a big SEO help. Quora is also a site that Google treats well in search results; it can be a great tool for establishing yourself as a knowledgeable expert in a given area.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend you visit the ROI webpage and consider attending next year’s conference. If you’d like to learn more about the speakers we heard, you can learn more here:

Thom Singer

Leslie Hancock

Patti DeNucci

Virginia Miracle

Simon Salt

Haley Odom

Chris Treadway

Spike Jones

Andy Sernovitz