VerticalResponse marketing team members, Ellery and Colleen, recently attended the BlogWorld Expo in Los Angeles. This is the fourth in a series of posts on their learnings from the conference. See the first three posts here, here and here.

The phrase “get real” was conjured up in US colleges during the 60s, and later reached popularity circa 1987. It may not be the 80s anymore (though my choice of karaoke music may seem to indicate otherwise), however, at this year’s BlogWorld Expo, there was an underlying theme in each presentation: The (proven) idea that if companies want to succeed and grow, whether it be through email marketing, social media, blogging, etc., they should stop overly marketing to their customers, and ‘get real.’Now, I personally like to imagine that I’m totally authentic and as ‘real’ as they come; yet sometimes learning how to eliminate the inner marketer in us is easier said than done. So if we really want to resonate with our customers, how do we truly walk the talk? By bringing authenticity back. Below is a compilation of findings/advice from various presenters at this year’s BlogWorld that’ll get you back on the authenticity track… for real.

‘Reeling’ them in: Don’t go fish.

Michael Stelzner, CEO of Social Media Examiner, presented Proven Social Media Strategies to Rapidly Grow Your Business. His thoughts about marketing: “We treat people like fish,” Stelzner says. “We think if we create a better lure than our competition, our customers will bite… What people really want is insight, access to other people, and recognition.” What’s Stelzner’s solution to getting real?

  1. Focus on people: Meet the core desires of people by solving their problems at no cost.
  2. Rethink the rule of reciprocity: Give gifts (i.e., valuable content) without strings attached.
  3. Shine the spotlight on others, including outside experts and successful peers.
  4. Shift from the mindset of, “How can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?”
  5. Demonstrate your expertise via (free) content, ideas and shared stories.

I’m looking for a real love: Establish Relationship Marketing. 

Mari Smith, Social Media speaker and author, presented The New Relationship Marketing, in which she explained that building better relationships with our customers will ultimately result in customers for life. So how does she propose you befriend your customers?

  1. Don’t think B2C or B2B; think P2P (people to people).
  2. Acquire tech skills + soft (people) skills.
  3. Humanize your branding/messaging by being genuine, passionate and caring with your customers.
  4. Create, give away and curate quality content that is relevant and timely to your audience, but also combines a mixture of personal and promotional.
  5. Be consistent, and provide clear offers and calls-to-action.

Is this real life? Become a business superhero.

Lisa Barone, Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer of Outspoken Media presented Creating Your Blogging Superhero, in which she stated that there is a downside to ‘full authenticity.’ What’s her deal with being real? “As (bloggers), full transparency makes us look crazy and unstable,” Barone says. “It encourages us to whine and complain. Being a successful marketer doesn’t mean letting your nasty bits hang out.” So how does she propose we demonstrate the best version of our real selves?

  1. Magnify and strengthen your marketable traits. “We fall in love with people who represent who we want to be,” Barone says. “It allows you to hone in on your marketing strategy, it heightens your personality and will connect with your readers.”
  2. Identify your place in the market – Ask yourself, “What three things do you want people to associate with your brand?”
  3. Become a great storyteller. Use personal stories in your business.
  4. Lose everything that doesn’t relate back to what you want to show your customers; the rest is a distraction. Reinforce your brand.

So on a twist of words from my favorite 80’s song by Janet Jackson, let’s stop asking ourselves/customers “What have you done for me lately?” and start asking, “What can I do for you?”… It’s been real.

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