We’ve talked about listening to the online conversation. And we’ve talked about assessing where your customers and prospects are already participating online.

These should have done two things for you:

1) Helped you see a pattern of where people are talking about you, the company, or the industry (i.e. blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.); and

2) Helped you understand where the people you already do business with are spending their time.

Armed with that information, you’re ready to build a platform where it makes most sense. Once the platform is built (it’ll take you less than an hour), you’re ready for the next step in creating a digital presence.

1. Listen
2. Assess
3. Engage
4. Measure
5. Refine/Improve

Create Your Conversation

OK, I’ll be realistic. You might very well be saying, “But Gini. NO ONE is talking about us or the company online.” This is going to be especially true if you’re a small business or a business-to-business company.

That’s actually better news because you have the opportunity to create the conversation vs. joining one that already exists. And the best way to do that is to harvest stories from your customers.

You’ve likely done customer testimonials in the past. In fact, if you have a LinkedIn profile, your recommendations can serve as stories to be harvested.

This is the easiest part in the process.

Buy yourself a Flip camera (before they’re forever gone) and, when you’re with customers, ask them if they don’t mind giving you a 30 second soundbite on what it’s like working with you.

If you speak at conferences or participate on panels, ask two or three attendees to stick around and get a quick interview with them afterward.

Make sure anyone you have on video signs a release form so you have their permission to use it in marketing your own business.

Then, plug your camera into your computer and upload the video to YouTube. You’ll need to create a YouTube channel (15 minutes, max), it’ll ask you for your username and password, and the work is complete!

Depending on where you’ve decided to build your digital platform(s) is how you’ll use the videos. You can easily embed them into your website or blog. Or you can use the social networks to drive, and engage, viewers.

Of course, the stories can also be written or in podcast form, but those are more difficult to get because they take more time.

The things about stories is they create a reason for people to care about you. When people care about you, they want to do business with you. And the more people who do business with you, the more stories you have to tell.

Suddenly, without a lot of time, you have content that is engaging, loaded with search engine optimization, and driving qualified leads.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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