Brainstorming The Future

Apologies for neglecting my weblog posts, reality keeps me from what I love to do. Some unfinished brainstorming for a Clubhouse friend prior to her Digital (Auto) Dealer Conference presentation ‘Digital Dopamine’ in Florida last week. Broken down into four Instagram posts there’s content in here to apply to your overall thinking. I enjoy applying my experience in retailing and retail advertising / marketing and adding in current shifts in buying trends and expectation. Of course also what is state of the art coming down the tracks at us all. If you’d like to add commentary and your own ideas as a collaborator please feel free to do so in the comments. As ever, please Like, Comment, Share & Save especially the latter which are vital to being on the correct side of the altered Instagram Algorithm. Are you aware of this? The brief was to think tank external influence on selling mid pandemic, post pandemic and through the era of disruptive businesses. Feel free to contact me if you would like to add to the discourse, it’s an ongoing project.

1.Path to sale

Tribes & Influences, Restrictions, Budget, World View, Brand Values (fairness, Green, ethical investors etc.) The Big Picture, Media, Contemporaries, Dominating Values, Funding, Research

2.Inspiration & Decision

Brand attitude to staff and customers, Socially Aware, Reaction to newly taboo methods like fast fashion, plastics etc. Personalisation, Greater Purpose, Entertainment, Engagement, Trust,

3.Buying Experience

Convenience, Feeling Appreciated & Valued.

4.The Sale & Follow Up = Path To Next Sale

Serving (Explaining & serving not selling) Simplicity, Speed, Courtesy.

5.The Future

The End Of Pandemic (Withdrawal of stimulus, furlough), The Creator Economy, Blockchain uses. More recombination industry disruptors. Social Funding / Universal Basic Income – impossible to avoid?Security & Intellectual Property, Artificial Intelligence, 5G / Internet of Things, Sensitive to Sustainability, Protection of Employment, Reduce Consumption, Re-Use & Repair, Alt. Energy & Products Yet Unknown, Gamification, Transhumanism.

Clubhouse – Hashtag Mastermind 10/05/2021

Dan Martinez  / Briley Jo Curbey #hashitout #helpmehashtag / Social Media Hashtag Mastermind – Sunday 9th May 2.30pm EDT on Clubhouse App.

I was grateful to be asked to be Lead Educator / Social Media & Hashtag Best Practices expert on this subject. The room arranged by two of the most progressive young Car Sales Marketers in the United States, both successfully self branding on Instagram and other Social Media platforms. #DealinWithDan & #BuyFromBriley

Conversation around hashtag best practices, predominantly Instagram and Twitter and we touched upon Facebook & Tik Tok which demand a whole new forum.

There are proven strategies discussed, so if you are not applying them you could immediately increase your reach / engagement / profit even make new friends!

Apologies if I attribute a strategy to the incorrect contributor, from memory!

Hashtags are broadly the indexing equivalent of SEO and keywords on websites page name / title / subtitle / body copy / tags / categories  / alt. tags behind photographs and photo descriptions.

Instagram allow 30 hashtags

Of which 10-15 should be post relevant

Think, who is your target audience.

The remaining 15 you may be creative with local towns? Similar brands. Check out the hashtags of popular posts and ‘Social Listen’ to your ideal clients. I have a post on Social Listening on my IG and Google Gary Vee on the same subject.

Try using hashtags with 10K and 500K posts.

Go Local! Look at local hashtags with lower total posts e.g. Not (say) #hairdressers (5M posts! no chance of dominating) instead try #[insertyourtown]hairdressers which may have 100 or 500 or 10000 posts, you still have greater chance of engagement.

Use all hashtags you can, if you think it’s spoiling the aesthetic, or not compatible with your age group, use dots as line breaks and list your hashtags at bottom of page.

Banned hashtags – Google this and keep a not of the list. Better still check the hashtags by searching and see if they’re noted as banned ‘May contravene the Terms of Service of the platform’.

Shadowbans – If you inadvertently use banned hashtags in your posts too many times you could find your posts receiving low engagement because you are Shadowbanned, this is when the post will only appear with a specific hashtag search or a user seeing posts on your evergreen grid.

Set your account to Pro on Instagram to analyse your posts and ROI.

William – The William J Way #thewilliamjway (my old school Jim Alexander Ad Guru analogy Trust Cuff Miller would now be #trustcuffmiller and also sign write company vehicle rear screens with the branding hashtag.

Briley – We live checked some local Jackson, Tn hashtags and found #jacksoncarsales is dominated by one local dealer!

Kim – Reels engagement many times improved by optimising hashtags

Kim – Followers App gives you intel on who follows you and who leaves.

Steve – Hashtag Expert

Steve – Cleanse followers of those who do not contribute to Likes / Shares / Saves / Comments. Go organic, do not chase the follower count for so called Social Proof.

Carson – Save hashtags to Notes to cut and paste in future.

William – * Go Hyper Local * * Ultra Niches * check out hashtags of significant local businesses either Bricks or Clicks and piggy back them. E.g. a local holiday complex or A. N . Other Industry may have hundreds of thousands of searches, check out the hashtags they use and see if some are compatible.

Thank-you for your contributions. Anything I’ve missed please reply.
Hashtag Best Practices

The Dream Operators

My Instagram account is new, it’s business development focussed and not a home for photographs of my stable of little used Hypercars (I wish!). Yesterday’s Insta blog post, which employed a great deal of what I’ve learned over the last few years about social media barely scratched the social surface and today is likely forgotten by ‘The Algorithm’. But it’s evergreen content and could be of use to readers of the future.

On the other hand, there are posts from similar accounts with thousands of likes, they’re longer established and selling a dream.

Selling dreams is big business, achievable with vision, discipline and a little luck. But from a low baseline perspective further off than they would suggest.

On the other hand, if you employed the content of my post, I guarantee an uplift in your sales and focus in the next quarter, with ongoing increases if incorporated into your future business reviews. Incremental improvements add up!

If you continue to follow my posts you’ll find more reality. Perhaps employing Fergie Time mentality & a sale on the final day of the month that avoided a loss. How to cope with unexpectedly losing two thirds of your business funding. Or how I successfully negotiated a year long HMRC Tax Audit while remaining focussed on business objectives at virtually zero cost and compliment from lead inspector. There are many cases of resolve in over three decades.

On the upside, elite results with 6 and 7 figure business turnarounds that have resulted in an income not dissimilar to that suggested by the Dream Operators.

It can be done, and I’ll describe in my posts, but our feet need to remain on the ground. Remember, work to SMART objectives


What’s Your VISION?

Always concentrate on your VISION.

For years (now into the second decade) I was sucked into commenting on countless social media posts about politics or social issues I had zero influence on. We all have an opinion right? I even deleted my former Linked-in account because it seemed to be populated by people even more vociferous than myself posting comments from a perspective I could never agree with. In a low level way this made me angry too. Pointless!

But I have come to realise, albeit late in the day, that this effort is doing nothing to further my VISION.

I am by no means cured, it requires a realisation that a post reply will be a waste of energy and has nothing to do with my VISION.

I may never own a Koenigsegg Agera RS or join the Ghost Squadron, but I’ve got more chance by concentrating on what I can improve in my life than by commenting on the ‘Price of fish’ (topical not tropical)

What’s your VISION and what prevents you from achieving it?

Have a great day.

High Vibration, Vision, Motivation, Koenigsegg,

Anger Is An Energy

“ANGER IS AN ENERGY!” Remember or ever listened to Rise by Public Image Limited? John Lydon yelling repetitively “Anger is an energy, anger is an energy” well, he certainly made it sound like it were! Yesterday I heard a Social Media Tip that proves it.

On Tik Tok, the algorithm promotes posts with greater Comments. This is a platform where the top age demographic (not mine or John Lydon’s I might add!) are very vocal and that includes the Haters, so you need a thick skin before you go dad dancing there fellow Gen X’ers.

But here’s the twist. Haters are leaving a Comment! Then if someone pro your post contests them, or more than one, that’s more comments. More grist to the comments mill.

So, with Tik Tok, the Haters literally drive your post towards the For You Page. RESULT!

Anger, as an energy.

May the road rise with you.

Steve Coulter is a Social Media Enthusiast and Social Selling Evangelist with experience of building websites and e-commerce since they were written in HTML, you logged on with a modem and were desperate for Yahoo to rank your site to take off! ‘Overture anybody?’

Is your Social Media engagement Gold Standard? If not please send a DM and let’s chat. How may I help you?

It’s The e-Conomy Stupid

Today Car Gurus published the results of a survey across 1500 participants but this information applies to any retail product. It completely vindicates the transformative Social Selling approach to marketing now and in a post-pandemic world. Remember, after the 1918-20 Spanish Flu pandemic there was an economic boom ‘The Roaring Twenties’ so hold tight!

Here are three of the takeaways;

Car buyers start the process full of uncertainty. 72% undecided when to buy at the beginning, over half undecided on make and model.

– An absolute nailed on reason to be interactive with your own customers online and in the groups and forums they discuss buying and ownership. You must be the preeminent dealer and trusted source in the field and be number one for publishing the benefits of ownership. Leave features to manufacturers, broadcast the benefits of the product. If you can buy online and have a product delivered you have to be on the top of the 100% Completely Satisfied Customer Service metric, encourage 5 Star Reviews on Google Business and shout both from the rooftops. Publish testimonials in your evergreen social grids and stories. Be creative with buyer involvement, photography, video and sharing too! Or, a seller 500 miles away who commands the space will deliver a product of your brand to your next door neighbour and keep the margin! Are you Social Listening too by researching your customers? Are you checking for your most effective posts and hashtags? Are you thanking followers for joining your Social Club and asking how you could serve them from first contact? Are you commenting in threads and receiving recommendations from others or having your trusted business and personnel tagged into a thread by a customer?! Priceless.

Buyers narrow their consideration significantly before taking action. 86% wait to submit a lead until they’re at least somewhat certain the vehicle is a good fit.

– More justification of Social Selling underpinning all your marketing. What’s more important than price? Trust. You can build trust without ever meeting a customer if you have third party proof of your values across the Internet. Of those 86% who would they contact first when they have broadly decided on the product spec? Yes, the dealer who is Authentic and has Gold Standard Reviews, and a friendly face in their social marketing. People buy from people.

Due to the pandemic many buyers are considering buying a car online for the first time. Before Covid 42% now 63%.

– How many people outside of business had heard of Zoom or Teams before March 2020? Now we are all becoming familiar with a quick Zoom or even FaceTime to receive some on the spot video shared knowledge. Technophobes, older generations (Boomers are cash and asset rich) and even Luddites are coming around to the convenience. People hate being jumped on by a poorly trained sales executive in a store, peer to peer video is accepted now and eradicates the selling dinosaur and in a recombinative way may demolish the store too. Legislation like Distance Selling Regulations and The Consumer Rights Act have your back should something be awry. But once again, you’re not expecting that to be a problem if you already trust the supplier before purchase.

All the above is basic management, but combined with Social Selling it’s a must to stay ahead of the competition in a world that is less reliant on bricks and far more so on clicks.

If you’re in business and the above resonates with you please contact me to discuss Social Selling, Content marketing, or any other gaps in your online sales process.

I am an early tech adopter and Social Selling & Customer Service Evangelist. How could I help you?

Fun Sells

Fun Sells. If it was your objective to sell the product, imagine the social selling potential of tapping into the interests and contributing to the social media discourse of young people who might consider (say) buying a Fiat 500 car. Social media is an opportunity for business brands to create buyer awareness, to be holistic, not just advertise the features of a random new model as the manufacturer is already spending millions on that! But if you don’t provide any value you won’t attract invested followers which means they will never convert into a sale. By all means include a product in your Social Selling, but be subtle and make it fun.

Try to follow a 80/20 ratio. 80% building brand trust with authentic posts and stories and 20% advertising, make it stylish and colourful. Use filters like Mayfair with photographs on Instagram which is a powerful filter to stop a scrolling potential follower in their tracks. Make the post content entertaining and avoid duplicating hashtags too much. Go local, use localised hashtags to have a greater chance of appearing at the top of the feed. Be entertaining and approachable.

We all like to be liked, but with Instagram it’s more important for people to comment, save and share posts, and in Stories to share and ‘pull up’ the content available at the bottom of the screen as this all has a more positive effect on the algorithm versus simple likes. When posts are shared, your audience and reach grows. All this can be monitored in the Insights section of a Pro account and you can run similar posts to compare the outcomes of your chosen metric. Gradually creating the perfect post for your ideal buyer.

Social Selling can seriously influence your potential buyers, and prospects who over time following your interaction have formed trust in your brand and products. Also they are more likely to buy at ticket price and recommend others too. That’s a Win-Win!

How may I help you improve your Social Media effectiveness and Return On Investment? DM or call me today for an informal discussion.


Play The Game

Struggling with your Instagram post reach & interaction?

My own Instagram account is very new, in fact it’s a week old today. As such, even as somebody I would hope you would trust with advice on digital development, social selling and content creation, I don’t think you would expect me to have thousands of followers. I am not going to say no, nor discourage you to have a significant follower count, if, and a big IF, they are interested in you and your product or brand and regularly interact with your posts and content. Social selling!

Followers alone is a fickle metric. If you have thousands of followers, which for a price are available to buy, each time you post the platform algorithm will measure response, likes and interactions. If these followers have no real interest in your post they won’t interact and the algorithm will bury your post. We both want your post to reach the perfect follower, someone invested because they may in the future want to buy from you. When you’re not dealing with your ideal follower no amount of posts will make them buy.

Tip. It’s worth regularly cleansing your followers of accounts who never interact. Posting solely to true fans has a positive effect on the reach of subsequent posts!

Achieve great engagement by tuning your post with relevant hashtags and speaking directly to them, satisfying a demand and including a call to action, the more people who Like, Share and Comment will boost your ranking in the algorithm and it will assume your audience likes and relates to your content.

Your post will be seen by more people and if the system is sensing your content is desirable and relevant it will appear in more searches. A virtuous circle.

Go Pro!

Tip Of The Day. If you elect to run a professional Instagram account you will activate Insights data and Promotions functions. The data is invaluable to compare the performance of your posts. The Promotions data will give you important reach and Return On Investment (ROI) statistics.

The advertising guru and pioneer of data in advertising & marketing David Ogilvie once said ‘Not using data is like a General going into battle with no tanks’ so please do it today, if you’re running a business or promoting a personal or business brand, switch to pro.

If you have any difficulty, DM or call me and we’ll work it out together. Go Pro!


Social Listening

My philosophy is to use Social Media to buy Social Currency, your authenticity builds trust and you give value to followers. The objective to be in the Box Seats when these new followers are in the market for your product or service.

Occasionally though, yes, let’s throw in some unobtrusive offers – specific to your followers. But how do you ensure that your followers are interested and proactive? The answer is Social Listening.

For example, your brand, let’s say ‘Fitness Supplements’ can drop into similar accounts and forums who are discussing this product or discipline, find relevant conversations and engage with interesting comments. These same people will check out your feed, follow and even click through to your website and be captured by your e-mail marketing system. But back to social media, once they are following you, either do a global platform offer, or target the offer to them personally via Direct Messaging (DM). Hopefully by then they trust you as a supplier and have seen the great testimonial of others – publish those they’re hard won!

You can stay on top of industry keywords and the competition and make this a central part of your Social Strategy. When in the past was this even possible?! It’s also free, or low cost if you employ a specialist.

You will also identify which platform your buyers use. Numerous times a week the question is posed? Which are the best platforms for my business or product? Well, the answers are out there if you go looking. Using this intel can only be positive towards your outright social media goals.

Thanks for listening (socially!)

If you would like to work together to improve your website content relevancy and / or social media effectiveness please contact me for an informal conversation.