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Chris Brogan Is a Proud Freak

Marketing Podcast with Chris Brogan

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Chris Brogan, founder of Owner magazine and author of The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

Freaks Chris BroganChris Brogan has embarked on a bit of a mission. He’s proudly telling his story and the story of many others who might not always end up on tidily scripted news shows. Brogan is calling them “freaks” but he’s doing so as a badge of honor, not as a put down.

One of the primary objectives of this mission is to provide some hope and encouragement for those who feel somehow they are different and are struggling to stay on that path as the world tries to push them back to its idea of normal.

He is building a community or place where people can start to believe that maybe there is a place for them. Check out his #proudfreak hashtag to meet some of those people. (Ironically, people who don’t feel like they fit in maybe aren’t the best people to try to corral into a group of some sort, so community might not be the exact term.)

But Freaks is also very much about turning your idea into something that has business value in your very unique way. In Freaks he also shows you how people have begun to find and serve a community and then how they have developed a marketplace around that.

One of the most interesting points in the interview is when I ask Brogan if his treatise is autobiographical. He claims in fact that he wrote this book for his children who he affectionately calls weirdos. In that he means that he never sees them finding their passion in a cubicle and this book just might help them understand why.

In Freaks you’ll meet dozens of other “weirdos” in what amounts to a fun filled romp through what it can mean to own a business these days.

If you feel like you’re a little different, your idea is a little off beat, then dive into Brogan’s new book and you just may find solid evidence that you’re not only right, you’re not alone.

 

How to Social Surround Your Customers and Prospects

social surround

photo credit: aenimation via photopin cc

While the title of this post could sound a little stalkerish, the fact is you can better serve your customers and attract new ones when you use social media to create a more complete picture of your ideal customer’s world.

Employing tools and routines that give you a deeper glimpse into what your customers care about, are doing each day, can’t find enough of, are looking for, just accomplished, just completed, just lost, just attended or just got let down by is how you discover ways to serve, add value and build deeper relationships.

Below are five elements of a social surround game plan.

The usual suspects

It should probably go without saying that the first step is to friend, follow and like. Make sure that the social network activity on the biggest networks is at your fingertips. Social CRM tools like Nimble make it easy to view a more complete customer record and browser add-ons like Rapportive bring social data into email tools such as Gmail. Create Twitter lists of customers and prospects and quickly scan them for actionable bits using a tool like Hootsuite.

Go deeper

Don’t stop at simply connecting with your customers on LinkedIn. Take a good hard look at who else they connect to, who influences them and who they report to. Most networks will show you who someone follows and understanding this can lead to opportunities to connect deeper through already shared connections, find new avenues for expanded business with existing customers and better understand how your customers network. Look at a customer’s “favorited” Tweets, check out Klout to see who your customer interacts with most and see what Groups your customer participates in on LinkedIn for additional clues into what your customer’s passions might be. Sometimes learning more about who else your customer is connected to is more important than simply connecting.

Custom listening

Now it’s time to get smarter about what’s going on in your customer’s world and using that information to add value. Use a tool like Talkwalker to set up custom alerts that relate to your customer’s market or product and look for ways to share this information with your customer. Create industry or keyword specific pages in Scoop.it or aggregate the best blogs posts on a industry by using a tool like AllTop and simply share four or five interesting links in what amounts to a custom newsletter.

Subscribe and join

Don’t forget to subscribe to your customer’s blog and newsletter. Sign up for their in person and online events and use your listening tools from above to keep up on announcements and news. Make sure that you have easy access to all of the content your customers are putting out as it can often provide clues for new opportunities and relationship building discussion points.

Create connection

My final point is a big one. When you effectively mine your customer’s social graph looking for deeper understanding you are more prepared to help them meet all of their objective, even those not related to your business – and that’s how you create unbelievable value and loyalty. Use your listening, connecting and mining routines to look for opportunities to create connections for your customers. Introduce them to journalists you’ve built relationships with. Connect them with that killer programmer you saw them Tweet about needing. Help them fill the VP of Sales position they just mentioned on LinkedIn.

When you employ to right tools and routines to monitor and engage in this manner social media participation will always pay off.

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