The really cool thing about Laurie is that she has a huge presence across all of social media, and she has used that to really leverage her personal brand, her company, and the Interior Design Community to open doors that would have not been possible, had she not done such an amazing job cross-promoting herself and her businesses.
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When Laurie started the Interior Design Community, the strategy was to create an entity that would lift up the industry itself. She brought on experts in various areas of the industry to serve as moderators for the community, so each would have their own opportunities to shine. As the community grew, the association with it as a moderator has opened up even more opportunity for these experts, such as sponsored trips to trade events.
The community itself boasts true community-building ideas, such as a group Pinterest board, “Brag about your Blog day” (via a pinned post in the Google+ community where people can leave a link to their blog in the comments).
As a result of these efforts, more designers are following Laurie and through her, the Interior Design community. Most importantly, Laurie is growing her business indirectly because her efforts to bring together such a targeted audience is noticed by brands who ultimately buy custom printed wallpaper.
Cross-Promotion isn’t a bad thing
The debate of “do I schedule posts?” is an ongoing one, with valid arguments on both sides. Laurie’s approach is excellent for time-strapped business owners:
Schedule all your content, participate in-person for conversations.
Making Google+ a home base for social lets her cross-post her original content (using Friends+Me) to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. ViralTag takes care of Pinterest so as not to flood her followers’ home stream. HootSuite (the Hootlet app) is for sharing content she discovers along the way. Each service has a purpose, and helps her not only save time, but also keep a presence on many platforms at once so she can bring users from other platforms back to Google+.
In the end, Laurie has put out a ton of content automatically, so she schedules time to go back to it all in person and interact with everyone who has interacted with her along the way. Two to three times a day is all you need, and you do not lose the human connections that people who criticize automation often cite.
Interacting, Networking, and Hashtags
Laurie’s industry, interior design, has a lot of in-person events. Trade shows, for example, are prevalent, and Laurie has a fantastic approach to using social media in this regard:
- Find the hashtags associated with the event
- Start networking before the event with the people using the hashtag
- Add your own personalized hashtag together with the event hashtag to grow exposure for your brand
- Set times via social to meet up, share experience on social during the event
- Follow up with the event hashtag afterward and connect with new faces for next time
Becoming an expert in your niche
Laurie is in the digital space, but is not a digital marketer. She sells custom printed wallpaper, but because she “gets it” in digital marketing, her industry (and community members) look to her for advice. Interesting opportunity here…
Laurie spends time on Google+ interacting with people like myself, Ben, and others who track the changes on Google+ so she can communicate the most relevant information to her community. Remember, interior designers are not tech-savvy. They do not care about every change Matt Cutts announces, but they do care if they have to make an important update to the way their title tags are written for SEO.
Being a go-to person in your industry for something your industry doesn’t understand very well is an excellent opportunity to grow your influence. In Laurie’s case, she can recommend professionals and experts for web design, digital marketing, social media, etc. Brands and trade show coordinators can bring her in as an expert on these subjects, and they get the benefit of exposure to the entire community of targeted individuals.
Bottom line, this platform-building approach has opened up more and broader opportunities via social media (specifically, Google+) that go beyond just selling product.
That’s our show for this week! Thank you Laurie and the Interior Design Community for being a role model for us as a collaborative platform for industries. Be sure to tag +Laurie Laizure (Google+) or @CustomizedWalls (Twitter) when you share this story on your favorite social network. And join our email list to get the skinny on upcoming guests for our show!
See you next week on Google+ Business Spotlight!