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28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty Series Now a Free E-book

March 14th, 2012

Whew!

After figuring out how to hurdle a number of technological hurdles, I’ve finally converted the entire 28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty Guest Blog Series into an e-book. You can grab it for free and with no opt-in required at my new site, Fierce Loyalty.

Click HERE to go straight to the download page. 

A Model for Understanding & Building Fierce Loyalty [Bonus Day - 28 Days to BFL]

February 29th, 2012

This is Leap Year Bonus Day of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Today I’m unveiling something I’ve been working on for the past several months.Strike that. It’s something I’ve been working on my whole life.  It is the culmination of everything I’ve ever done. Wherever I go, whatever job I have, whatever clients I’m helping, I build communities. And not just any communities. I build Fiercely Loyal ones. Read on to learn how you can do that, too. :-)

A Model for Understanding & Building Fierce Loyalty

By: Sarah Robinson| @SarahRobinson

Since the age of the dinosaur (I’m that old), I’ve been building communities. I built them in college, and I’ve built them for universities, nonprofits, political campaigns, blogs, businesses, clients – everywhere I’ve ever been.

I build them because they 1) make my job more fun and 2) make getting my job accomplished so much easier.  Over time, I’ve gotten better and better at not only building them, but at infusing them with fierce loyalty. And that’s the part that really excites me.

After picking apart my successes and researching what other super smart people have to say about community and loyalty (and with the help of the ridiculously talented trio of Janet Goldstein, Elizabeth Marshall and Les McKeown), I’ve put together a model that gives us a framework both for understanding how community happens and for what it takes to build fierce loyalty around whatever it is we are up to in the world.

Drum roll please………

Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities

The Frame:
All communities are framed by a common interest. This common interest might be in your product directly (for example people who are interested in organic dog food) or it may be about a bigger subject that is connected to your product (holistic pet care). Without this frame to hold everything together, community and fierce loyalty can’t evolve.

(I made these slides myself. So don’t make fun of them!)

Inside the Frame:
Within that frame are a wide variety of individuals who share that common interest. Using the example above, these individuals could be pet owners, veterinarians, animal trainers, pet sitters, etc.

Circle #1: What Some of These Individuals Need
A certain number of those individuals realize that they have a set of needs around this common interest. These needs fall into three categories:

1) Belonging

2) Recognition

3) Safety

Circle #2: Organizational Structure Shows Up

These individuals go looking for a way to get these needs met.  At this point one of two things can happen:

Option 1: Members of this subset find each other, get themselves organized and the structure for a community emerges (like the Occupy Movement).

Option 2: An outside organization provides the structure for a community and the individuals find their way there  (like Weight Watchers).

Either way, the organizational structure needed for community to happen includes these elements:

1) Predictability

2) Support

3) Connection

When these organizational elements meet those individuals who looking to fill their needs for belonging, recognition and safety, community happens.

This is the place where most communities reside. Conversations, connections and support are all happening in a predictable way. Community exists and everyone is content. BUT there is a vital missing circle. Vital, that is, if you want members of the community to feel Fierce Loyalty.

The missing circle can only develop after the other parts are in place and it can only develop when it’s given time to grow and flourish. The three crucial elements of that final circle are:

1) Pride

2) Passion

3) Trust

Pride, Trust and Passion cannot be manufactured or faked or rushed. They can, however, be encouraged, fostered and demonstrated. Given the right environment, they will take root and become the match that will ignite Fierce Loyalty in a community.

So there you are. – my Fierce Loyalty model. :-)

Clearly, I have a lot more to say about it and this is only the beginning of the conversation. In fact, I have so much to say that I’ve built a brand new website just for Fierce Loyalty. I’m thrilled to invite you to check out http://www.fierce-loyalty.com.

So…what do you think? Questions? Ideas? Comments? You always make the things I talk about so much smarter. :-)

Learning about Community from Online Games [Day 28 - 28 Days to BFL]

February 28th, 2012

This is Day 28 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Sadness!  Yesterday, Barry Moltz and Becky McCray gave us the inside skinny on how to use “local connections” to build Fierce Loyalty. I’m already implementing things I learned! Today, I am super excited to share my friend and online gaming geek, Jeremie Miller. If there were ever a fiercely loyal community out there, it’s the gaming community. Read on to discover what we can learn from them about building fierce loyalty!

Learning about Community from Online Games

By: Jeremie Miller| @Jeremie Miller

Jeremie's online Star Wars Jedi alter ego

Jeremie’s Timeline of Online Gaming Geekiness:

1989

    : Participated in a play-by-mail gladiator fantasy role playing game. You mailed in your moves. Your opponent mailed in theirs. A geek in California decided who won and mailed you back the results. One fight a month. Snail mail.

1990

    : Called into bulletin boards and played Dungeons & Dragons via message board posts. One text post a day. 0.3 kbps phone line modem.

1995

    : Played in a MUD (Multi User Dungeon) with 50 other players. Text based real time action. 9.6 kbps phone line modem.

1997

    : Played Ultima Online, one of the first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), with hundreds of players. 2D graphic real time action. 56 kbps phone line modem.

1999

    : Played Everquest, another MMORPG, with thousands of players and a built in social system of groups, guilds, and chat. 3D graphic real time action. 250 kbps cable modem.

2012

    : Playing Star Wars: The Old Republic with thousands of players and a built in social system of groups, guilds, chat, and community forum. 3D graphic real time action. 25000 kbps cable modem.

How does this timeline help us learn about creating fiercely loyal communities?

I could tell you what I think it shows us, but that wouldn’t be very interactive now would it. I would like to invite everyone to interact with today’s post in two ways:

1.

      Post any ideas about community building that pop into your head from looking over the timeline and we will discuss them here.

2.

      At 1:00 PM PST this afternoon join me at

www.livestream.com/yewbtv

    and I will talk about my takeaways from the timeline and answer your questions live.

Jeremie

Five years ago Jeremie Miller and his wife Ashlea quit their jobs and sold everything to move to their dream location in the beautiful mountains of Rossland British Columbia to raise their son Fionn. Now Jeremie combines a long time love of online gaming with his experience as a teacher, and training as a Certified Professional Coach, to help innovative business owners navigate the strategies, technology, and costs of expanding the reach and impact of their work to a global audience. You can learn more about taking your work to a global level at www.youreventwithoutborders.com

P.S. TOMORROW! I have a super special bonus post that you don’t want to miss – especially if you are ready to put fierce loyalty to work in your business.  

P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/

Build Loyalty by Being Local [Day 27 - 28 Days to BFL]

February 27th, 2012

This is Day 27 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. On Friday, the one and only Liz Strauss gave us 12 Ways to Connect With a Community of Fiercely Loyal Fans. If you haven’t starting put those into action, what’s your holdup?!  Today, Barry Moltz and Becky McCray, co- authors of the soon-to-be-released book Small Town Rules, show us how building fierce loyalty can be as simple as focusing on our local roots.

Build Loyalty by Being Local

By: Barry Moltz and Becky McCray@BarryMoltz and @BeckyMcCray

It is almost useless for a small business owner these days to compete by having the best product. There is always a larger, better funded, or more innovative company somewhere in the world that will beat you to it. Actually, the key to your success is to forget about having the best product. (with apologies to Steve Jobs) Instead compete for your customer’s loyalty. Most people are lazy consumers and would rather not switch to a new company. The customer may feel frustrated with their cable company, but the switching costs of inconvenience are too high to typically make a change.

Successful small businesses compete by rewarding their customers’ loyalty. This became famous when American Express put a date on their charge card which said “Member since 1981″. Wow… Not just a customer, but a valued member for all these years. One easy way to win the loyalty battle is to offer great customer service. In a world with no real boundaries for commerce, customer service becomes the only real sustainable advantage.

There is another way to gain customer loyalty by focusing on your business’ local roots. Studies show that consumers would much rather buy local, than from some anonymous company in another part of the world. Every small business has some local connections to work with. Manufacturers can “be local” by using local materials, buying from local suppliers, and incorporating local characteristics into products. Retailers can not only carry local products, but also reflect local tastes and tailor the shopping experience to local people.

Struggling to define local (urban and rural)? Small businesses get help from the “Eight Elements of Rural Culture” developed by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. http://www.kansassampler.org/rce  Any product or promotion can be developed with local characteristics built in from the beginning.

A competitor may beat you on price or on innovation, but no one can be “more local” to your customers than you can.

What can you do right now to add more “local” to your business?

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barrymoltz
Barry Moltz helps small business owners get unstuck. His latest book is called, Small Town Rules, coauthored with Becky McCray which how small businesses and big brands can prosper in a connected economy. http://www.barrymoltz.com

 

Becky McCrayBecky McCray is a business owner and speaker from Alva, Oklahoma, who focuses on small town business issues. Together.  Together with Barry Moltz, she co-wrote Small Town Rules (smalltownrules.com) about how the whole business world is like a small town and what we can learn from rural business successes. The book is due out from Que Publishing in early April.

 

P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/

12 Ways to Connect With a Community of Fiercely Loyal Fans [Day 24 of 28 Days to BFL]

February 24th, 2012

This is Day 24 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Mike Matchett’s post yesterday on a Heifer International community that was built on loyalty in Nepal was so incredibly moving. I was honored just to read it. We’re shifting gears today with the illustrious Liz Strauss who is giving us 12 practical, do-them-now ways to connect with a fiercely loyal community. And yes, I said do them now. :-)

12 Ways to Connect With a Community of Fiercely Loyal Fans

By: Liz Strauss| @LizStrauss

Ever been to a great restaurant or hotel where the mood is right; the service is grand; and every perfectly suits you? When you look around don’t you start thinking about when you’ll be back even before you’ve gone? That club or restaurant has made decisions that show they know who you are and that they share your values. How do they connect with you so well that you recognize them immediately? What makes you want to come back and bring your friends?

The businesses we love offer us an immediate sense of connection. Whether our dearest quest is about is about having fun, learning, meeting new people, getting work done, or making millions, people and places that understand our quest win our loyalty. They value us and our quest. They attract and introduce us to others who share the same loyalty. They are a community. We become fiercely loyal fans.

How do we build a community that inspires loyalty like that?

A community of fiercely loyal fans isn’t built. It offers space for a community to create itself. Loyalty like that comes by allowing people to bring who are and participate. Here are 12 ways to connect with a community of fiercely loyal fans.

  1. Be a person (or people) who likes people. People work with, talk with, and relate to other people not a business.
  2. Articulate a clear and passionate vision worth investing in. Live your commitment. Get your hands dirty.
  3. Seek out people who would love what you’re doing. Find them where they are already gathering and talking. Join THEIR conversations. Get to know them.
  4. Be a beginner, but keep the vision. Learn from everyone who’s been anywhere near where you’re going. Learn to sort wrong from unexpected or different. Ideas that jar you could be the best ones.
  5. Invite everyone who “gets” the vision to help build this new thing. Look for ways to include their skills and their passions.
  6. Keep participation efficient and easy. Curb the urge to add cool things that get in the way of conversation and sharing.
  7. Let trust sort things. Model the standards of behavior. Keep rules to a minimum.
  8. Be visible authenticity. Lean toward full disclosure, but avoid over-exposure. Most of us look better with our clothes on.
  9. Protect everyone’s investment. Forgive mistakes. Ignore little missteps. Eradicate what is destructive. Know the difference by holding thing up to trust, values, and the community vision.
  10. Stop doing what isn’t working. Be lethal about keeping things easy, efficient, and meaningful.
  11. Promote your members … and honor your competition! Secure communities need both to thrive and get new ideas.
  12. Encourage mutation. Let the environment change to meet the changing needs of the people it serves.
  13. Celebrate contagion. Make it heroic to share what’s going on!
  14. Be grateful and always about the people. The community wouldn’t be a community without them.

Those are the basics of building a fiercely loyal community. It’s a lot like opening your mind and inviting people to be a part of what you’re thinking. Put your quest out there and make room for folks who want to share it. Be a fan of the folks you meet and align your quest with theirs.

How will you create a community of fiercely loyal fans?

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Liz Strauss of lizstrauss.com is a brand strategist and community builder for corporations, small business, and service professionals. She is founder of SOBCon, a social business workshop that grew out of her website Successful-Blog.com.

 

P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyaltyplease sign up here.

P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/

A Community Built on Loyalty [Day 23 - 28 Days to BFL]

February 23rd, 2012

This is Day 23 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Wasn’t Eric Klein’s post yesterday awesome? I love how he addresses the inner work we must do the build fierce loyalty. Today is a real treat for all of us as Mike Matchett shares a Heifer Project International story about a community in Nepal that was built on loyalty. SO excited about this!

A Community Built on Loyalty

By: Mike Matchett  @mikematchett

Life lessons and inspiration can come from unexpected places.   When Sarah asked me to write about creating community and fierce loyalty, I immediately thought of the women I met through my work with Heifer International in Nepal.  These women have overcome staggering obstacles to lift their communities out of poverty.

They are not focused on their online communities, Twitter feeds or Facebook friends. But rather, quite literally, building the community around them.  The lessons I have learned from them apply surprisingly well to my daily life.

You can watch the award-winning short film that inspired this post is here: http://vimeo.com/31042623

12 Stones from Heifer International on Vimeo.

Heifer in a Nutshell

First, I need to briefly explain what Heifer International does around the world.

Heifer provides livestock and training for people in rural areas.  It’s kind of like giving someone a small business because the livestock are income-generating through sales of the milk, eggs, wool, etc. The secret sauce is the extensive training and education that each recipient receives—in caring for the animals, improving crop yields and much more. I’ll focus on one key ingredient—what Heifer calls the cornerstone of “Pass on the Gift.”

Pass on the Gift, is the commitment each recipient makes to “pay it forward.”  The assistance received from Heifer –an animal and training —is like a microloan that is only repaid when they “pass on” the offspring to others in the community.

The Story of Sita

Sita Poudel personifies this concept.  One of my true heroes, she was living in poverty in southern Nepal when she helped form a group of local women and sought the assistance of Heifer International.

Sita and her fellow group members wanted to escape the grinding poverty they faced on a daily basis.  Further, they lived in a society in which women had to ask their husbands’ permission just to leave the house and had no say in family matters, yet did most of the work.  Boys were sent to school. Girls were thought to be unworthy of being educated.

The group was formed to improve conditions in the village. They went to a local bank to request a loan to buy goats.  A goat is a life-changing asset in a country such as Nepal.  They are a great source of income due to things like the milk, cheese and offspring that can be sold. The banker was surprised to be approached by a group of women and admired their courage.   However, he refused their request because no men were guaranteeing the loan.

The women left the office vowing to one day start their own bank, so that others in need could have loans.  They called their group “namura” meaning “example” because they aspired to be role models for other women in Nepal.

A short while later they learned of the opportunity to work with Heifer, which agreed to supply goats and training.

The women had to commit to months of training on how to care for the goats, the land and how to sell the by-products before receiving the goats.  Because so many women joined the group, there would not be enough goats for each member. Many would have to wait several more months until the first goats had given birth.  The offspring would be “pass-ons” from the initial recipients.

The group nearly fell apart at that point because no one wanted to wait.  Young Sita led by example, and volunteered to be in the group that waited.  All were silent initially, contemplating Sita’s gesture. And then, one by one, other women stepped forward to join the second group.

Months later, the time came to pass on the offspring to the second group.  Many were reluctant, one even hiding her goats in another village.  After some drama, including kicking out a member who refused to participate, the first pass on the gift ceremony took place.

The goats Sita received at the pass on ceremony were the runts of the litter.  She was grateful, but vowed that when it was her turn, she would pass along the biggest and healthiest goats she could.  Gradually, through her leadership, passing on the best, to assure the recipients would be successful, became a point of pride within the Heifer women’s groups in Nepal. People who had never been able to afford to give anyone anything before were now giving life-changing assets in the form of livestock. And giving felt good.

Through the proceeds from the program, Sita was able to move from a shack to a sturdy cement house.  The structure she used to live in is now a barn.  The group members made sure all the girls joined the boys in school and today a generation of girls are being educated in this part of Nepal.

Today, these women who could not get a loan, have achieved their goal of having a bank by building up a microcredit fund of over $10,000. After centuries of being voiceless, political parties now ask for their endorsement.    They have built successful businesses and a thriving, tight-knit community.

And they didn’t stop there.

During regular group planning meetings, Sita and the others decided they should pass on the gift by helping women in other communities.   They began going to other villages to help form groups that would be assisted by Heifer.

At first, they only mentored women from their caste.  After some soul-searching, they decided it was time to reach across centuries-old caste barriers to mentor “untouchable” women in a neighboring village.   It was shocking to many who had grown up having to bathe after coming into contact with an untouchable. Yet Sita and the others knew it was the right thing to do.

Initially the women of the lower caste, which are now called “Dalits,” were suspicious of a higher caste wanting to help them.   But Sita persisted.

I have had the privilege of watching this and other villages transform over the years to become model communities.  Now, I see the castes mixing like sisters.

Sita has continued training new groups and passing on the gift, despite threats from insurgents in her region of Nepal who do not want women to have a voice.

Inspiration and Lessons Learned

I have learned so much from these women who, by our standards, have so little.   They made the most of an opportunity through their persistence, courage and amazing spirit. They focus on what is long-term and sustainable vs. the short-term, transactional focus we see so often in our society. Passing on the gift made for stronger, more loyal communities in Nepal and this contagious spirit is something that applies here at home, as well.

So, what about you?  Where do you find inspiration?  Do you listen for it from unexpected places?

 

 

Mike Matchett is a startup veteran, speaker and social entrepreneur.   A decade ago he took a detour from running an apparel company he co-founded to lead marketing for Heifer International.   Today, he represents Heifer in developing strategic alliances and partnerships and advises entrepreneurs and startups.  He is currently on an international adventure with his family in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

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P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyaltyplease sign up here.

P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/

How to Ignite Fierce Loyalty: The Inner Secret [Day 22 - 28 Days to BFL]

February 22nd, 2012

This is Day 22 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday Julie Steelman drew profiles of five distinct social “styles” and how they apply to our efforts at building fierce loyalty. Great “a-ha’s in the comments! Today, Eric Klein taps into our inner eye to teach us the secret of igniting fierce loyalty. He also drew a doodle just for us. :-)

How to Ignite Fierce Loyalty: The Inner Secret

By: Eric Klein| @EricKlein

I was at our local YMCA this week to swim laps.

To get to the lap pool, I had to walk by the family pool. A toddler was standing at the edge of the pool shaking in fear. His mother was in the water with her arms out-stretched. She was gesturing and encouraging him to jump in.

Watching them, I recalled experiences with my sons when they were toddlers.

They’d standing at the pool’s edge trembling in fear while I stood in the water coaxing them to take the plunge. It takes more than one request.

It takes fierce loyalty to take the plunge.

Think about that kid. His body’s telling him to stay put; that to jump is to die; that the water is life threatening.

What’s true for that kid is true for your customer or client.

They’re at an edge. They’ve gone as far as they can, based on the skills, knowledge, and actions of the past. And they’re stuck. You can see what they need and want to help them take the plunge; take the next step.

But they hold back.

They hesitate. And maybe even walk (run?) away.

How can you help them past their fear so they can benefit from what you have to offer? Through creating a relationship of fierce loyalty.

Fierce loyalty carries people past their fear-conditioned limits.

Fierce loyalty cuts through fear. Before fierce loyalty is ignited, people can only offer you fear-based loyalty.

Fear-based loyalty says:

I’ll follow your lead and let you influence me as long as you:

  • Support my beliefs
  • Reinforce my identity
  • Make me feel good

Fierce loyalty changes the game. Fierce loyalty says:

I’ll follow your lead and let you influence me even when you:

  • Confront my beliefs
  • Challenge my identity
  • Make me feel uncomfortable

What makes it possible for a person to make that shift?

To allow you to influence them to that degree.

The answer comes from studying your own life. Take a moment and reflect on this:

Who do you allow to influence you?

I’ve asked this question of over 2,000 leaders participating in my program on influence and communication. I had them make a list. (You should too.)

Then I asked them, “Why? Why do you allow these people to influence you?

They gave three basic answers.

One was fear.

Another was respect for technical skills or knowledge.

But the deepest reason and the only one that generated fierce loyalty was this: because they have my best interest at heart.

We give fierce loyalty to those people who have our best interest at heart.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

The implication is clear.  If you want to ignite fierce loyalty in another person – have that person’s best interest at heart. Really, deeply, honestly.

This isn’t a marketing tactic. It’s an inner commitment.

When you make this commitment, it transmits itself through your words and action.

People will sense it. They may not be able to put it into words. But when they’re standing on the edge of the pool frozen in fear – it’s your inner commitment to their best interest that they will feel. It’s your inner commitment to their best interest that will communicate.

Because what you hold deeply, truly in your heart will:

  • Shape your thoughts.
  • Shine through your words.
  • Transmit through your actions.

With this inner commitment you’ll be able to study science of influence and all the  marketing tactics and systems – without slipping into sleaze or manipulation.

Okay I can hear an objection.

The objection says, “Eric, I have a business to run. If I just focus on what’s best for them  . . . what about me, my business, my life?”

Great question.

Here’s the short answer: to have their best interest at heart includes your staying in business. It includes you having the financial flow and stability that will support you in having their best interest at heart.

There’s no conflict between your success and having their best interest at heart.

Unless there is . . . for you. But don’t worry. All you have to do is . . . embrace the principle of having their best interest at heart.

When you embrace this principle fiercely – it will bring to light all the ways in which you do not have their best interest at heart. Because even when you consciously choose to hold their best interest at heart – there are parts of you that hesitate, hold back, and are unsure.

There are parts of your mind that believe it’s you or them.

Revealing those parts of your mind that are fearful, needy, and distrusting – is part of becoming fiercely committed to their best interest.

It’s an inner process of that reveals the parts of you that

  • buy into magic bullets
  • get-rich-quick schemes
  • flim-flam manipulation tactics

All of which comprise your ability to spark fierce loyalty. All of which divert you from having their best interest at heart.

Being fierce about having their best interest at heart will show you those parts of your mind that are petty, manipulative, fearful. It’s not pretty. But it’s real.

What do you do when you see those parts of your mind?

You act like that mother in the YMCA pool. You look the fearful parts of your mind in the eye – with love. And you tell them, “It’s okay. You can jump into my arms. I’m here for you. Let’s create something beautiful together.”

As more and more parts of your being make the commitment to holding others best interest at heart  – the people in your world will feel it. They’ll respond to your fierce resolve.

And as you become more fiercely aligned with that commitment –people will naturally line up at the edge of the pool and when you invite them to jump . . . they will.

 

Eric Klein is one of the few people on the planet who is both a lineage holder in a 5,000 year old yoga lineage and a best-selling business book author. You can get his free book 50 Ways to Leave Your Karma: Freedom, Fear, and the Art of Getting Unstuck at www.wisdomheart.org/50Ways.

Eric has worked with over 35,000 people to infuse greater meaning, awareness, and purpose into their work and lives. His book You are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For won a 2008 Nautilus Book Award for being “a world-changing book promoting positive social change and responsible leadership”. He is the author of the best-seller, Awakening Corporate Soul: Four Paths to Unleash the Power of People at Work (over 200,000 copies sold) and To Do or Not To Do: How Successful Leaders Make Better Decisions.

He lives in Encinitas, California with his wife Devi. Learn more about their work (and get the free book) go to www.wisdomheart.org

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P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyaltyplease sign up here.

P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/

Creating Fierce Loyalty Is More Art Than Science [Day 21 - 28 Days to BFL]

February 21st, 2012

This is Day 21 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday John Haydoshowed us EXACTLY what to do on Facebook to build fierce loyalty. Really great ideas and discussion. Today, Julia Steelman draws on her YEARS of experience in the corporate world to draw five distinct social “styles” and how they apply to our efforts at building fierce loyalty.

Creating Fierce Loyalty Is More Art Than Science

By: Julie Steelman| @JulieSteelman

Long ago to build fierce loyalty, you had to be a fierce leader. You had to be the bravest warrior and most confident samurai. You had to have mad nunchuck skills and be willing to take a spear in the heart for your tribe. Gulp.

Today, the rules have changed: you have to be tweetable.

While it sounds simple, a good social media presence is more art than science. And as a sales mentor, I get this question all the time: “I’m spending time on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but I’m not making any money … what am I doing wrong?”

Ah, grasshopper, you’ve come to the right place; I have the answer. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve got a social selling style. I’m not talking about what kind of slippers you wear while you update your status; I’m talking about how well you play with others on the cyber playgrounds.

I’ve identified five distinct styles; two are effective and three are not. See if you can identify yourself.

I call the first style Ghosting. This entrepreneur uses social media because “everybody’s doing it,” but she has no idea what she’s doing or why. Her posts are inconsistent, vague and she’s simply going through the motions. If this sounds like you … stop it! You’re just wasting time. Social media is about building connections. You wouldn’t attend a meeting, shake the potential client’s hand, leave and expect to close the sale, right? Ghosters do.

The next style is Posting and Coasting. This entrepreneur hits the social media “easy button” by using other people’s material. She posts quotes. She re-tweets. And she shares links to other people’s blogs and articles. Problem is she’s not sharing much about herself, and she’s not establishing herself as an expert. Posting and Coasting is safe because you don’t have to be original and set yourself up for criticism. But I think Coco Chanel said it well: “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”  ‘Nuff said.

Style #3 is Boasting. This entrepreneur talks about herself incessantly. She is concerned with one thing and one thing only: promoting herself. Remember the ‘80s movie Beaches? Bette Midler’s character CC Bloom is a textbook Boaster. She asks her friend, “But enough about me, let’s talk about you … what do you think about me?” Boasting might get you fans, but they won’t stick around. Remember relationships create sales. And the only relationship in which a Boaster engages is the one she has with herself.

The fourth style is Hosting. (Now we’re getting somewhere.) This entrepreneur understands her job is to serve others by continually providing value. She hosts events, chats and conversations, and provides valuable information. She’s an expert in her niche and generously shares what she knows. Hosting produces great results because potential customers feel cared for. She refills their virtual glass before they even realize it’s empty. They trust her and want more. So they visit her site, attend her events, comment on her blog or Facebook page or re-tweet her tweets. They become part of her tribe.

Finally, the holy grail of social selling styles: Toasting. This entrepreneur’s style is the most effective, and she produces phenomenal results. Toasting combines Hosting with a well-defined Social Persona, which is the feeling, emotion, energy, words, messaging, and heart of who you are and what you’re here to do. She is authentic to herself, her brand and her mission. She effectively merges her personal and business life together in a way that creates profound messages. She energizes those around her and is an influencer. End result: her tribe becomes fiercely loyal.

 

So which style are you? Which style would you like to be? How can you take the first step today?

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Julie Steelman’s former clients read like a Who’s Who of big-name corporate giants with Apple, Microsoft, Toyota, CBS, Sony Studios and Universal Pictures in her rolodex.  She generated more than $100+ million in sales during her 30-year sales career. Julie is the author of The Effortless Yes! And is known as The Sales, Success & Bankability Mentor. Her heart-centered selling strategies make her the go-to guru for entrepreneurial business owners who want to master the art of selling and maximize their company’s bankability.  Julie retired at early and now lives in Hawaii with her husband.  She was recently featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com and MariaShriver.com.  Http://www.JulieSteelman.com

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P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/

Eight Ways to Engage Facebook Fans in Less Than 60 Seconds [Day 20 - 28 Days to BFL]

February 20th, 2012

This is Day 20 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. On Friday, Gini Dietrich gave us her personal and very specific strategies for building fierce loyalty. Continuing with that trend, today my friend John Haydon, author of  Facebook Marketing for Dummies, shows us EXACTLY what to do on Facebook to build fierce loyalty. I don’t know about you, but I really need this kind of specific guidance. Enjoy!

Eight Ways to Engage Facebook Fans in Less Than 60 Seconds

By: John Haydon| @JohnHaydon

One obvious requirement for marketing on Facebook is consistently posting interesting content on your Facebook Page.

Now don’t be scared by the word “content” – it’s definition includes a lot more than blog posts and videos. And status updates count.

Become A Status Update Ninja

I while ago, I conducted a few experiments with some Facebook Pages and my own Facebook Profile. I wanted to see how people engage with status updates alone (no links, videos, photos) versus shared URLs, videos and photos (with no status update). I found that folks were three or four times more likely to engage with a pithy status update over a shared URL, photo or video.

I wasn’t surprised at the results. Status updates are the language of Facebook friends. It’s what they engage with most of the time.

Eight Simple Ways To Engage Your Facebook Fans

  1. Don’t Be All Work And No Play – It’s ok to ask people what plans they have for the weekend, or if they saw Toy Story 3. Facebook users love sharing the human details of their lives. You’re human too – right?
  2. Ask Simple Questions – Ask your connections how they’ve been personally effected by your business’ cause. For example, the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (an Inbound Zombie client) asked “How has a Brain Aneurysm personally impacted your life?” which received a lot of comments.
  3. Play Tag With Like-Minded Pages - This is a way to create awareness about your Page on another Facebook Page. The best way to avoid coming across as spam is to 100% promote the other Page on your Page. For example, I noticed Mari Smith asking what people to share their goals for the second half of 2010. I simply shared her post on my Page in an effort to send her new fans.
  4. Tell Them You Love Them - Your Page connections (fans) make you who you are. They give you their money, tell others how great you are, and keep coming back. Say thanks once in a while. And mean it when you thank them. They deserve it.
  5. Shine The Spotlight – Facebook users love to look cool. They love to be recognized in front of their peers. Post a status update that expresses appreciation for one of your die-hard supporters. The other fans won’t feel left out.
  6. Comment Back To The Clusters – When your Page gets a lot of updates from fans, like during an event, don’t worry about responding to every single person. Ask yourself where your organizational voice is needed most. For example, focus on the posts that have the highest number of comments.
  7. Get Some Insight - Use your Page insights to quickly find the posts with the highest engagement. Focus your blood and sweat on those fans.
  8. Ask Simple Choice Questions – Try asking your fans simple preference questions. For example, Centerville Pie (another Inbound Zombie client) can ask “Which do you like better – Blueberry Pie or Apple Pie?”

Put On Your Lab Coat

As with anything related to Facebook marketing, result will vary. Stay true to your brand / mission / personality and season to taste. No two Facebook Page communities are alike. See what works for yours -and measure, measure, measure.

 

John Haydon is immune to kryptonite. He also wrote Facebook Marketing for Dummies

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P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

Stroke People’s Egos [Day 17 - 28 Days to BFL]

February 17th, 2012

This is Day 17 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday, Reese Spykerman taught us all about how design influences where and how we feel loyalty. The discussion was awesome! Today, it’s my friend Gini Dietrich‘s turn to spark our thoughts. She’s sharing her personal (and successful) strategies for building a fiercely loyal community, so sit up and pay attention. :-)

Stroke People’s Egos

By: Gini Dietrich| @GiniDietrich

I knew I should have gotten this blog post in on time. If I had, it would have run before Danny Brown, Shelly Kramer, and Britt Michaelian.

But noooo. I missed my deadline and Sarah had to push me back a week (special thanks to Liz Marshall for stepping up and taking my original spot) and now it’s going to look like I copied the three of them.

You see, building a fiercely loyal community means you must be fiercely loyal, you must be human, and you must be selfless.

Britt said it best: It’s not about you.

The secret to a fiercely loyal community?

Stroke people’s egos.

That’s all there is to it.

Starting from Scratch

Some people disagree with me. Mitch Joel, for instance, thinks blog comments are nice, but the real juice is in the content.

I agree. But I also think if you aren’t giving people a reason to comment, they’re not going to. If you don’t stroke their egos by visiting the places where they participate online, they’re not going to come to you. And this is very important, especially when you’re starting out.

But how do you go about doing such a thing?

Four years ago I began blogging for the sheer purpose of figuring it out so we could counsel clients on the pros, cons, and how to make a blog effective.

And something interesting happened along the way. I built a community.

It actually wasn’t on purpose. You see, I had 128 visitors the first month of blogging. No one commented; not even my mom.

But I began reading other blogs, and commenting on them. Soon, those bloggers came to my blog and commented on my content.

Well, let’s be real. It took me 10 months to figure that out. But when I figured that out, our traffic jumped, oh, nearly four thousand percent. Yes, four thousand percent.

All I was doing? Stroking other people’s egos by commenting on their blogs and being smart (and sometimes silly) about what I said.

The funny thing is that, when you comment consistently, the blogger wants to know who you are. So they check you out. And, if they like what they see, they comment, subscribe, and share.

Building Community

But, of course, for this double type A personality, that wasn’t enough. I really wanted more than traffic and comments.

I wanted community.

Back to Mitch Joel…I read a blog post he wrote about community. He said (I’m paraphrasing) that you don’t have a community until people begin talking to one another without your participation. Until then, it’s just comments.

And he’s right. You know you’ve hit community mecca when people come to your site to talk to one another, with your content as the conversation starter.

One of the things we did to really help build community was install Livefyre as our commenting platform. You see, it invites people to come back over and over and over again.

But it’s not the end all, be all. It’s only a tool. It’s in how you use it that makes community building successful.

The consistent content has to drive conversation. Create a polarizing opinion and watch people talk to one another (professionally, of course) about the topic.

Additional Things to Consider

So we’ve talked about stroking people’s egos, having good and consistent content, creating a conversation, installing Livefyre, and providing some banter.

A few additional things you should consider:

  1. Know what your vision is for the blog. It’s easy to forget when you read other blogs and you’re moved so much by what the bloggers have written that you want to write something similar. Unless it matches your vision, don’t do it.
  2. Have goals, just like you do for everything else you do in business. We started out with silly goals, such as “beat Danny Brown in the AdAge rankings,” which keeps me, particularly, motivated, but doesn’t do much for the business. Know what you’re trying to achieve and don’t take your eye off the ball.
  3. Your content should always have a call-to-action to it. This was a really hard lesson for me to learn. When I figured that out, this last year, our traffic grew 281 percent. Our community grew. And you know what else? Our sales increased because we gave people a reason to buy from us.

Four years of blogging. Nearly a 50,000 percent increase in traffic since the beginning. Ten blog posts per week (four from guests). A highly engaged community. And increased sales.

All because I believe if you stroke other people’s egos, your benefits far outweigh the cons.


Gini Dietrich
is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, the author of Spin Sucks, the founder of the soon-to-be-launched Spin Sucks Pro, and co-author of the forthcoming Marketing In the Round.

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P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.