…or What I learned from my social media management partners E-Merge Online Marketing about social media, blogging, and SEO.

That’s quite a sub-title, I know. As I noodled on ideas for this month’s blog posts, I was determined to embrace the month of looove with a capital “L” while reminding my readers and clients that showing customers love all year long drives engagement, and ultimately, conversion.

How do you court your customers or clients for engagement when we spend so much of our time online? The answer is to leverage your blog (content marketing) and social media prospecting to develop a relationship with your ideal customer like you would your ideal mate.

I’m going to share tidbits I’ve learned from my business partners, and mentors, at E-Merge Online Marketing alongside the changes I’ve made to how I approach my clients that have resulted in greater engagement in just two months. As our plans progress, I’m confident we’ll reach conversion.

With their permission I’m drawing on two of their blog posts: Blogging and SEO; and Social Media Prospecting

Finding your ideal mate means knowing who you know and what you want.

Here’s what E-Merge Online Marketing has to say about finding potential customers through social media prospecting.

“With more than one billion monthly active users on Facebook and over two hundred and thirty million monthly active users on Twitter, you likely already recognize the enormous potential social media offers for getting your name out there, spreading your content and driving more people to your site.

You are likely already engaging your existing fans and followers, but what about the people out there who could use your products or services, but don’t even know you exist? This is more commonly known as your second-degree network, and this is where your opportunities lie.

That’s where social media prospecting comes in. It’s the art of searching the social web for your potential prospects, identifying influencers who have an audience you can prospect to, engaging them and drawing them to your site to convert them into leads. …

Start by writing down the top three keyword phrases that describe your ideal customer. Remember, everything is shorter on social media, keep your search phrases brief.

Sign into the appropriate social media site. Using the search function, look up the keywords identified above and list five pages or users that could be potential leads for your business.”

Gone are the days where your only venue to find a mate was a bar or social outing where you’d cross your fingers that the man or woman you want to meet is there. How do you find appropriate dates with online sites like Match.com or OKCupid.com? That’s right, you search for keywords.

What I learned: One line of services I provide is training. When I searched for clients, competitors, and influencers, I found people who sold tickets to individuals for training workshops. This isn’t exactly what I do. I practice adding the words, “employee, team, or group,” with training in my keyword searches. The results? I’m finding more of the people I want to talk to and with whom I want to work.

Making the first impression takes planning and pizzazz.

When I started dating after my divorce, my most pressing question for the first date was, “What will I wear? What impression do I want to make?” If you’re courting new readers for your blog, your prospective customers, put as much time into that first impression – the post title – as you would your first date wardrobe.

What E-Merge Online Marketing has to say about blog titles and SEO.

“Begin the process by applying some focus on the title of the blog itself. The title is the first time your keyword(s) will become important. Settle on a blog title that contains keywords you can use throughout the body copy of the blog article. In this blog post, the title is “Blogging and SEO”. You’ll notice one of the header tags in the article uses those exact keywords, and I’ve even been able to incorporate the keywords again in the previous sentence. Titles draw traffic and are designed to capture the attention of your potential reader so be creative. It’s also important to keep the number of words to your title to ten or less.

That said, here is a really cool website from HubSpot called the Blog Topic Generator – enter a couple words about what you want to write about and they give you some examples of what to title the article!”

My takeaway on keywords in a blog title is this; if the title doesn’t have relevant concepts for your prospects and SEO, how will people find you? Think of it as the rose on the table that Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail used to signal to her online interest. It’s how her mate found her at the coffee shop. Keywords are your rose.

What I learned: My background in education influenced the blog titles I wrote before I started Intentional Growth Strategies. Can you say textbook chapter titles? Dick Fisher of E-Merge Online Marketing and I went back and forth about titles and voice until I finally realized this: I was talking to myself and my previous audience – students. Now I put on my best “outfit,” I make sure it’s on brand, fun, and I deliver on the title’s promise. Every time.

Title Before: An Integrated Approach to Change

Title After: 3 People You Must Meet When Networking

To get that second date or engagement, listen more than you speak.

We’ve all been there. You know the date that loves the sound of their own voice. At the end of the evening, you might get a question, “So, what do you like about me?” I’m facetious, I know, but don’t you feel that way when brands do nothing but talk about themselves? E-Merge suggests engaging with your influencers first.

“On Facebook, Like and comment on relevant page content as well as consider sharing relevant content from their page to yours. For Twitter, retweet some of the content they have shared and click favorite for tweets relevant to your industry. On LinkedIn, join industry relevant groups. Participate in conversations in those groups where you can add value [through] your comments. Like the content that others are sharing in the groups as well as pose questions to the group.”

In other words, givers gain. Take the time to listen and share value before you make a pitch.

What I learned: For the sake of transparency, please note that E-Merge Online Marketing handles my social media planning. We collaborate on post and tweet concepts, wording, and links — then they execute while I get back to what I love, writing. As they posed their questions for my social media strategy, I discovered influencers in my space from whom I loved to learn. I still read their posts and articles, and now I post comments and suggestions. It’s a two-way conversation. I was recently followed by one of Inc.com’s most popular columnists because I retweeted and responded to his content. Ok, I’m a little starstruck.

My February Newsletter talks about giving away your attention to gain customer loyalty. If you like the sample, sign up here.

Throw out the 3-day before you “call” rule from dating.

With text, IM, and all the social media outlets it’s no longer cool to play it cool. If you’re interested in the guy or girl you met; let them know. Similarly, if you’ve written a post you think your ideal prospect will love, why wait for them to come to you? Here’s what E-Merge has to say about using social media after you make your blog post.

“Once your post is completed, drive traffic to if from your social media sites. This added link traffic is visible to the search engines as well. This gets a little complicated when it comes to certain social networking sites and the impact social buzz has on the results but at a minimum, it is always a good idea to drive link traffic back to your website or blog article when possible. Sharing it on social networking sites may also get the attention of an influencer who may mention or link to your blog article in one of their blog posts – that link traffic would give you an immense amount of SEO boost!”

What I learned: This concept has been a big lesson for me. I love to write yet I get stressed about distributing the post through social media. I’d lose my momentum, and it would take me days to get back to writing information products, curriculum, or training materials–and that’s my bread and butter. I would lean on social media to distribute my content when I had time instead of when it was most helpful to my clients, readers, and influencers. It’s not that I can’t manage my social media. It’s that my partner, E-Merge Online Marketing, can do it so much better and with more love and attention.

Judging by the metrics on Google Analytics that show I have 50% new and 50% returning customers, I’d say I’ve got the second date, don’t you?

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Soma