So, um, THAT sucked. You’d think since I’ve liveblogged about 27 SES New Yorks in this venue that I’d know the layout and be able to find everything. But no. The hidden concourse level? Who’s ever heard of the hidden concourse level? NOT ME!
I hope you’re all having a fantastic afternoon. We are kicking off Affiliate Summit with a female-packed panel of speakers. On stage we have panelists Lisa Picarille, Michael Buechele (token male!), Trisha Lyn Fawver, Jen Goode and Stephanie Lichtenstein. Females, FTW!
Okay, let’s get started. (Stupid hidden concourse level.)
Lisa starts off asking how many people knew the speakers before today. Two people raise their hands. Lisa assures us that most people would recognize these folks and that two years ago they were just newbies like most of the people in the room. And now they’re FAMOUS. Or something. I really have no idea why that just happened. Maybe later the rock star panelists will break a guitar over the podium. I’ll keep you posted.
We’re going to start off talking about social networking. As soon as Lisa figures out how to work the projector. I say that not teasing her. I’m so happy I don’t have to wrangle those things.
Getting involved in social networking
There are a lot of different social networking sites and ways for you to get involved in the conversation. Trisha starts off.
One of the most important things to do when you’re in social media is to be yourself and to be a real human being. If you try to create a persona or some wacky morning radio show outlook on things, then it’s not going to work because you’re going to turn people off. Especially if you just go start marketing to them right away. Social networking is like a party. You don’t walk up to someone and give them the hard sell right away. Just be sincere. That’s really helped her in social media. It allows you to just talk to people as yourself. And natural conversation gets around to business. The great thing about social networking is that you can do it from anywhere and you can connect with people anywhere.
Michael says to just create good content. He ties his Facebook account to this Twitter account. I groan at him. He’s one of those people. He says NOT to do the auto DMs. They’re not good and he doesn’t click on them. Lisa comments that those auto DMs go against that whole “being genuine” thing. They’re also just horribly annoying.
Jen says to get involved from the response end, not just from the asking for responses end. Leave comments on blogs. Talk to people on Twitter and get involved. Go to Twitter Search and search for the keywords for your business. Find people asking questions and help them. You’ll gain sincere followers that way.
Twitter isn’t a numbers game. You don’t have to have ten thousand followers. It’s better to have a small group of people that you’re connected with. You don’t need all those random people. Lisa actually has to approve who followers her because she doesn’t want spammers. She only has about 950 followers and she’s been on Twitter for three years. She just doesn’t approve everybody.
Stephanie talks about the app Selective Twitter Status. It allows you to pick which tweets you want to send to Facebook so that you can segment your streams if you’re into that. Stephanie’s a big fan of blogging. She says to start a WordPress blog on whatever you’re passionate about.
How to find good blogs to read/comment on?
- Look on the blogrolls of other blogs you like.
- Search Twitter for good posts.
Make a positive impression
Trisha made a good impression by commenting on A LOT of blogs. That led to speaking gigs. You want to find blogs that are relevant. If you sell pet food or pet supplies, find a blog about pets. Follow those people on Twitter. Get connected with people in your niche. It’ll start a conversation and lead to more evolved relationships that can help you with your business.
You have to make a good first impression for everything. Keep that in mind when you’re on the Internet at home. You can’t just be a jerk online (lies!). You have to be professional wherever you go (more lies!). Don’t get into flame wars because that stuff can come around and bite you (Or, you know, you could use flames wars.)
Michael believes in meeting people IRL. Back at an Affiliate Summit in Boston he put a “thank you” video on a thumb drive and handed them to important people. That got word about him out there.
When Jen got into the industry, she created little “goodie” bags (her last name is Goode. rimshot) to hand to people to help them remember her. Stephanie says that people should be genuine, stand out and always smile. (awz) Get to know people, be positive and don’t just talk about yourself.
Trisha takes a lot of notes and that helped her learn a lot really quickly. It seemed criminal to keep that to herself and to not share it. So she does. She has a blog, as well as a podcast where she talks about what’s going on and her take on things.
Stephanie is also a fan of podcasts. She listens to The Spew with Missy Ward. Podcasts help her come up with blog topics. She says she doesn’t blog often but when she does, they’re long. Ask questions. Try to get a mentor. You’ll naturally start speaking to people and you’ll find people you respect and who will help you. People will be willing to take the time to help if you’re excited to learn.
Michael’s a horrible blogger so he created a video blog. He thinks its quicker and it’s easier for him to keep up with. He uses Skype to create “mastermind groups” where people can get together virtually once a month and talk about what they’re working on. It helps everyone. When people video blog your visitors will spend a lot more time on your site.
Jen comments that if you don’t have a blog of your own and don’t want to make that commitment, you can guest blog for other people. Blogger Linkup lets you submit posts and then set guidelines for who can take it.
Face to face networking
Your online persona needs to match your IRL persona. Stephanie says face to face networking is her favorite. When you see people in real life, it’s like camp because you’re suddenly with all your friends and you can connect with people. You’ll find friends you’ll have forever.
Michael calls affiliate marketing a loner industry. If you’re in it, you’re probably working alone, which is why coming to Affiliate Summit is so great – you get to see people. Hee. Social interaction, FTW!
Trisha advises joining local organizations or using Meetup.com to find like minded groups. Stephanie was in a social media club, she’s in a WordPress meetup, etc. It’s refreshing to meet new people who “get it”. She always has to tell her mother and her friends that she’s not just “playing” on the Internet. She’s actually working.
Jen says its important that you’re consistent with your brand. If someone googles you, they should be able to tell that you’re the same person on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook, etc. People won’t do the homework to connect you. That’s your job. The easiest way to do that is to use the same logo/icon/avatar on all the different platforms. She uses a penguin as her avatar. It’s very recognizable.
She doesn’t think everyone needs a personal brand. If you’re a consultant, you do. If you’re selling a product for another company, you need to find some continuity in what you’re providing and who you are. Don’t just jump onto the personal brand bandwagon.
Trisha says that sometimes you brand yourself by accident. She has one picture she really likes so its become her avatar for everything — she branded herself with it without realizing. I admit, I’ve probably done the same thing. A picture is the most sincere way to represent yourself. It’s important to pick something that you’re comfortable representing you.
Stephanie has stopped changing her FB picture frequently since she started branding her face. When you change your photo, you need to change it across the board. Also really think about what name you’re going to use. Think of something easy to remember and something you’ll want to stick with.
Stephanie concludes the session by telling everyone to follow the panelists on Twitter. We’re then greeted with a screen of all their Twitter accounts.