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reid_hoffmanFor someone whose original ambition was to become an academic philosopher, Reid Hoffman has done very well as an entrepreneur. After deciding that the world of academia would not allow him to make a big enough impact, Hoffman decided his future lay in digital start-ups. On the back of the success of first Paypal and later LinkedIn he has built an estimated personal fortune of $1.9 billion.

While Hoffman’s latest company LinkedIn has been highly successful, he has also had his share of failures. His first start-up flopped and PayPal nearly went under many times according to Hoffman. Through these experiences Hoffman has learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work when you are an entrepreneur. To learn from his experience here are the top 12 entrepreneurial lessons from Reid Hoffman.

Don’t Focus on How to Make Money Too Early
Hoffman criticizes the idea that entrepreneurs should be working out their business model early on. For seed stage companies they will still be experimenting. While you might have an idea of what the business model could be, it will probably change in the future. Trying to monetize too early can hinder the company’s growth and future options.

Solve Big Problems
Whether you are trying to solve a big problem or a small one you will still need to turn up for work everyday. Therefore you may as well focus on the bigger opportunities. When looking for opportunities focus on those that could completely change or dominate an existing industry. Paypal revolutionized payment processing and LinkedIn completely changed the way that people professionally network.

 

Launch Early To Get Feedback
Hoffman states that if you are not embarrassed by the first iteration of your product then you are launching too late. He advises that you launch as early as possible so that you are able to get feedback from the market. You can then use this feedback to add or remove features that your customers desire. You can also ask your network what they think and pivot accordingly.

There Is No Rulebook For Entrepreneurship
When it comes to successful entrepreneurship there are many different ways to succeed. While some entrepreneurs have found success in one way, it doesn’t mean that this is the only way to succeed. Sometimes if you want to be successful you need to be willing break the rules that others have laid out.

Keep Your Focus
The founder of Zynga once asked Reid Hoffman when LinkedIn would be adding games. The answer was “Never!” It is easy to be swayed but what seems to be working for your competitor but it is important to stay focused. While you want to be responsive to the market you should still have a core vision of where you want your company to go and to stick to it.

Fear Can Help You
Many people believe in order to be a successful you need to rid yourself of fear. However Hoffman believes almost the opposite. He says if you are not paranoid then you won’t succeed. He also says even after the success that LinkedIn has experienced that he is still fearful and that it helps to keep him focused.

Your Failures May Bring Benefits Later On
Reid Hoffmans first start-up was SocialNet. The business was largely a failure but it did help to build the foundation of Hoffmans extensive network in Silicon Valley. This network would become very useful later on for Paypal and LinkedIn. Even early failures may bring ancillary benefits later on.

When It Comes To Financing You Need To Think Ahead
Hoffman advises that as soon as you have completed the first round of financing for your company you need to start thinking about the second and third round. If you sit back on your laurels and are satisfied with the first round you will find that you are not prepared when you need more capital.

Look For Team Players
Being able to work in a team is one of the most important skills to look for in new employee hires. Hoffman learned this lesson from Paypal founder Peter Thiel who advised to choose employees who had been involved in some sort of team sport. Hoffman himself played in a soccer team. Being able to shift and pivot as is needed is important but they must also be able to do this as a team. If some people resist the changes the business will lose focus.

See The World From Their Perspective
Whether you are designing a new product or forming a business relationship you must be able to see the world from someone else’s perspective. When creating a product you need to be able to understand what it is like to be in your customer’s shoes. The same is true of creating authentic networking relationships. You must understand the world from their perspective.

Hire People Who Can Learn Fast
For early stage start-ups one of the key characteristics he looks for in employees is the ability to learn fast. He says this is more important than experience. He would choose someone with the ability to react quickly to changing circumstances, to someone with 20 or more years of experience. This is essential for start-ups because the business will usually need to pivot frequently once it is exposed to the market. An example of this is Paypal. In the early days of that company there were many different ideas of what the company could be, so it pivoted often. Originally the company was named Confinity and was designed to serve only as means to transfer payments between palm pilots) If the employees of that company had not been so flexible it would have failed.

Be First or Second
When looking for opportunities try to be the first player in that space. If you have a unique variation on the business then being second might also be ok. However if you are third or fourth then you are too late. Hoffman uses the example of Groupon. A second variation on this Groupon might be successful if executed correctly but a third or fourth variation will likely fail.

 

Author Bio Tom writes for valuatorclick here to learn more about what your website may be worth and what it may fetch when selling.

 

SeoCustomerHotTricksAndTips2013Q101_frontI am very happy to show you this Complete SeoCustomer Guide 2013 Q1. And it’s still free for all members of SeoCustomer.

This guide contains all the post and articles from 3. Quarter 2012 about SEO, SEM, Social Media Traffic and Link Building – 97 pages.

After a while the older articles are no longer visible here on www.SeoCustomer.com but you can still get a lot of tips and tricks from the posts.

So I have collected all the articles in an eBook (PDF) – so you can get a hot cup of coffee (or tea) and sit down and read about it all.

You can get the Complete SeoCustomer Guide 2013 Q1 here free after signing up for the weekly newsletter.

As a bonus you will also get the Complete SeoCustomer Guide 2011, 2012Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4. All together 6 ebooks now.

 

Have a great day out there.

Carpe diem, Henrik

facebookpicAre you looking to increase the number of likes and fans you have on your company’s Facebook page? Running a Facebook contest is the perfect way to spread the word about your business and attract new customers.

However, as with any new marketing tactic you might want to try, it takes a good bit of thought and strategy to run an effective contest or promotion.

Below are a few tips and suggestions for you to follow to make running a Facebook contest as easy and as successful as possible:

 

1.     Know the Rules

Facebook has set aside a few very strict guidelines and rules when it comes to running any type of promotion or contest. The most important thing to remember is that ALL Facebook contests or promotions MUST be run through a third party application.

There are many third-party applications available to build and administer your promotion, such as Woobox or Shortstack. Facebook requires any business running a contest to identify to your audience that your contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered or associated with Facebook.

What this means is that Facebook wants it to be clear to entrants that they are not a part of your contest. Another thing to keep in mind is how the winner is contacted once the contest is over.

The safest way to contact the winner of your contest is through the personal email address they provide when they enter the contest. Announcing the winner of the contest on your Facebook wall is prohibited.

For more information and a full detailed list of the rules, be sure to look through Facebook’s official contest rules.

 

2.     Set Goals

Every good Facebook contest requires a good deal of planning and thinking. A successful contest should be entertaining but also relevant to your business.

Remember that you are competing against other businesses on Facebook for the attention of Facebook users. You will need to select a contest and prize that sets you apart from your competitors.

Be sure that you select a prize that is related to your business offering and appeals to your target audience. The goal isn’t to get as many random likes as you can, it’s to increase likes from those who could be potential customers.

When you offer a prize that isn’t relevant to your business, users are more likely to enter the contest and then unlike your page once it’s over. If you sell a certain product, you could give away what you sell on a day to day basis.

If you are a service based company, such as landscaper, you might want to give away a free winter landscape cleanup or a free bed of flowers.

 

3.     Promote Your Contest

Now that you have set up your contest and picked the perfect prize, be sure to promote it. Just because you can’t run the contest on your Facebook wall doesn’t mean you can’t promote it there.

Be sure to offer instructions on how to get to the contest and what they will need to do to enter. Be sure to leave your contest up long enough so that people can start talking about it.

Be sure to promote it on any other social media channels, such as Twitter or Google+.

 

4.     Follow Up After the Contest

Once the contest is over and you have contacted the winner, take some time to look at how you did. Did you meet your goals? How many new likes did you get? When you run a contest, often times you collect email addresses.

Now you can use those email addresses for email marketing. Be sure to continue to communicate with Facebook users and thank them for participating in the contest.

Remember to continue to provide insight and information so that they can continue to interact and learn more about your brand.

Now you have a few tips and suggestions to help you get started. While the rules and steps to setting up a Facebook contest seem strict and a little bit overwhelming, the overall benefit of gathering new fans and potential customers is priceless.

 

This guest blog post was written by Full Media, an Atlanta SEO firm. Specializing in internet marketing and website design in Atlanta, we offer a high level of expertise and service to organizations of all kinds, regardless of size or industry.

 

facebookpicIn a way, Facebook Marketing is just like traditional sales, it’s about building relationships.

But where it differs is where the real sales conversions start – forget everything you know about the competition, forget everything you know about sales and forget everything you know about your market – you need to redefine it all and then watch the sales conversions start pouring in.

Social Media Marketing is about working that virtual room in a collaborative, personal and non-selly way.

 

Not all Facebook Likes are Created Equal

There are different kinds of likers on every Facebook page. Most are fairly valuable, a few are worth their weight in gold.

Identifying the type of liker and using each liker to further your sales conversions is the best way to create direct sales.

 

Tip 1: Bums on seats Facebook Likers

These are the likers you get from “like exchanges”, “like ladders”, “Facebook marches”, “promote pages” and other networking pages designed to help startups.

You swap likes with a bunch of other Facebook noobs and 95% of them hide your statuses before you make your first post. They’re good because they make up the numbers a take away that “new page cringe”.

True or not, the perception of a new Facebook page will be that you don’t know what you’re doing, so you’ll post too much, sell too hard, and generally clog news feeds with rubbish. Bums on seats likers remove that fear.

 

Tip 2: How to Get the Most from Chatty Cathys

A Chatty Cathy won’t buy anything from you. They’re your high school friends, your mom, people in your network, complimentary businesses and Facebook likers who just enjoy hanging out on your page. They are extremely valuable if you play your cards right.

Chatty Cathys make EXCELLENT brand ambassadors – especially those who are just Facebook addicts who sit on Facebook all day chatting on pages – these are worth their weight in gold. How? Well, you need to cultivate the relationship, get them talking about themselves, about Facebook, about their friends – in short, become one of their friends.

While selling on Facebook is not the way to go, you should make these likers aware of why your brand is superior to competitors. When they leave your page, they go chat on other pages, like minded pages, “Find it on Facebook” leads pages, their networks, their mommy groups and their clubs.

They are the ears and mouths of your business and there is no sales pitch like a trusted word of mouth sales pitch. When a sales opportunity arises, your Chatty Cathys start chatting about you – delivering nice, primed, ready-to-buy Money Likers to your page.

 

Tip 3: How to Treat Money Likers

These are shoppers or buyers that like your page because they are planning to buy or ready to buy your product. These are GOLD – and rare.

This is not the norm for Facebook – if 10% of your likers are Money Likers, you’re doing well! These arrive at the recommendation of Chatty Cathys, via Google, via Facebook searches or via your interaction on other pages in your network.

To be sure you get the very most out of a Money Liker, set your landing tab to your photo tab filled with beautiful, enticing, well labelled photos (if you have a visual product) or a custom landing tab with an incentive to like and a link to your website.

Ensure that your info page is filled with branded messages about why you’re the one to buy from and that they get a nice warm welcome and make it easy-peasy for them to hand over their moola.

 

Tip 4: Facebook Networking – Where the Money is REALLY at

This is where Social Networking comes in, not social media marketing. Social Networking is where the money actually comes from. Social networking is about being warm and fuzzy, it’s about interacting and chatting and commenting and liking and contributing to complimentary business pages. (If it doesn’t sound like you, don’t do it, hire someone or get the 19 year old on reception to handle it – she’ll probably be great!)

Choose some nice, talented, professional networking candidates, preferably with a more established page than your own and start working the Facebook room.

Everyone wants great Edgerank and a happy, interactive social page – so businesses that offer services or products that are complimentary but not in competition to your own will appreciate your 2 cents on their wall.

They’ll appreciate your comments, your interaction and even “shout outs” from your page. Build a nice strong network, shout out regularly, do joint giveaways and competitions, celebrate their victories on your wall, tell your likers about their new products and watch them reciprocate.

Once you build the friendship up, something amazing will happen, you’ll start to see referral business. This is where the money is really at. Let’s say you are a web designer. You network with graphic designers, copywriters, programmers, shopping cart designers etc.

When your graphic designer’s client needs a website, it’s you who gets the work. When you need a copywriter for a client, you’ve got one ready to go – and when your copywriter needs a web designer for her client, she’s got you.

 

Tip 5: Make It Easy

  • Make it simple for people to spread the word, interact with you and buy from you.
  • Add your website link to your company information box in the info tab so when your page is shared, there’s a link to your website.
  • Make Facebook part of your Website Marketing plan
  • Add Social Media buttons to your website, email, guest blogs and other internet and real world interactions.
  • Label your products clearly and with individual names or numbers so it’s easy for likers to order.
  • If postage costs apply, label products with domestic and international rates.
  • Have trust building guarantees and a recommendations tab.
  • Watch lead generating pages like Find It pages like a hawk.
  • Run competitions and cross promotions and give valuable prizes
  • Have a contact tab and reply promptly if there are complaints or inquiries

They say that Facebook has low conversion rates but I say,” they” are the ones still using tired old traditional sales methods in a new media environment. Getting great conversions from your Facebook Marketing is about working that virtual room in a collaborative and friendly way. How very pleasant new media can be!

 

Dana Flannery is the Creative Director at Content Marketing firm, Talk About Creative. She specialises in Social Media Strategy and SEO Copywriting.

 

 

SeoCustomerQFPI am very happy to show you this Complete SeoCustomer Guide 2012 Q2. And it’s still free for all members of SeoCustomer.

This guide contains all the post and articles from 2. Quarter 2012 about SEO, SEM, Social Media Traffic and Link Building – 92 pages.

After a while the older articles are no longer visible here on www.SeoCustomer.com but you can still get a lot of tips and tricks from the posts.

So I have collected all the articles in an eBook (PDF) – so you can get a hot cup of coffee (or tea) and sit down and read about it all.

You can get the Complete SeoCustomer Guide 2012 Q2 here free after signing up for the weekly newsletter.

As a bonus you will also get the Complete SeoCustomer Guide 2011 and 2012Q1.

 

 

Have a great day out there.

Carpe diem, Henrik