Category Archives: online marketing

mDimitry: Branding Yourself by Doing

I recently spent some time on the phone with my friend Alex from That One Adventure Couple.  We spent about 40 minutes talking about branding and marketing. The focus of our conversation came down to this next idea. You need to develop your brand by doing the things for which you want to be known.

mDimitry’s Branding Strategy in 5 steps.

1. Know Thyself:

The first step in trying to get yourself to be known is to know yourself. You can’t expect others to recognize you if you don’t know what your goals and dreams are in life. So some soul searching is a must. What is it you are trying to do?

First of all, it’s ok if you aren’t sure exactly what you are about- as long as you are doing some deep searching and exploration. I recently talked about the direction I want to go with my blog (see mDimitry: Yourself as a Business.) A lot of that is me saying I’m planning on learning by shifting my view of myself from a person to business.

Therefore, I’ve pulled examples from the past where I was successful and trying to bring those lessons to my world today.  It’s fumbling- or also known as experimenting with an eye on the past.

My facebook page Dimitry Sells Cars is a bit better. The title says a lot. The main job I have is selling cars- therefore it’s a page for me being a car salesman. Trying to stick to a pretty narrow set of things I put out keeps me from getting distracted and on point. I talk about personal accomplishments as a car salesman. Recently I started doing car walk around videos. I show happy customer photos. It’s a pretty 2-dimensional page- and seem to be working.

In conclusion- You have to try and figure yourself out. On that note, to know yourself is to watch yourself grow. I recommend having a blog, or even a private journal, to keep track of who you are. As you write, learn, you’ll better understand what it is to be your brand.

2. Know your Audience:

Since you’ve figured yourself out (I’m kidding, you’ll never actually have yourself figured totally out, step one is an ongoing process)- you need to understand your target audience.

This is pretty tough if you haven’t figured out who you are- but it is still doable. I’ve managed to do two things that have helped me understand a bit better what is my audience. First- I have been attentive to my analytics programs. People who look at your stuff are your audience. This works only if you are generating traffic. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other things along those lines have been very helpful. Seeing the numbers roll in from one thing vs another is one way can tell you a lot.

Seeing the numbers roll in from one thing vs. another is one way can give you a lot of information. Interests, what they engage with, and where they spend their time. How they move through your site. It’s pretty impressive.

The second one is to pursue a particular group of people. For example, on my Dimitry Sells Cars page, my major target audience are former clients of mine. It doesn’t matter if they don’t follow me- I still want to cater to them. I try and post their pictures. I try to find their accomplishments and celebrate them. If they run a business- I try to promote them. The goal of the page is client retention- so I try to do stuff geared at them.

To wrap it up- you have people looking at your stuff, and then you have the people you want to look at it. Try and figure out a way to make both those groups happy.

3. Put the Two Together

To wrap it all up, you have to figure out a way to position yourself in a way that fulfills the needs of your people. To do the positioning- you have to know who you are and what you have on offer. You have to know how that relates to your audience. And then you have to figure out how to do it.

For example- I know that one of the reasons my clients at Dick Hannah came to our dealership is because we have a “Belive in Nice” policy.  We’re supposed to treat everyone like they are a much-loved family member.  Therefore I try and be nice. Being nice happens to also one of those things I believe in personally as well. In the past, I’ve been known to volunteer at various organizations. One of my favorite organizations is Share Vancouver. 

Consequently- when they were looking to promote the belief in nice policy-I had the opportunity to participate. Check it out:

I’ve taken this- and posted it on Dimitry Sells Cars page, and now I’ve talked about it here. I’ve used it for my Instagram, and LinkedIn as well. It’s all over the place.

So- what do you guys think? Probably, you have your thoughts? Any extra advice you’d give my readers? How has this helped you?

mDimitry: Branding Like a Boss

Have you ever given someone some advice- but really meant it to be pointed at yourself. I recently talked to one of my friends, Michael Lindberg, at the rock climbing gym about branding- and told him to “Just do it” in reference to putting himself out there more often. He did that next day. Check out his Instagram.

If you follow me Dimitry Sells Cars you’ll see that I have been growing. I’ve been posting a ton, but this month I pulled back a bit of my budget. I have been trying to do things a little bit more organically. More posts- adding money only if they appear to be getting traction. I did also have a long-term ad campaign with the walk around videos that Dick Hannah Volkswagen did for 4 VW models. If you haven’t- watch these videos below: 2017 VW Golf Alltrack with Dimitry Makhanov

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan with Dimitry Makhanov

2017 Volkswagen Passat with Dimitry Makhanov 

2017 Volkswagen Jetta with Dimitry Makhanov

I’ve had some mixed results. Overall my page is growing. I think it’s easy to really get super excited about how much. I mean- take a look at all the green numbers!

Stats for Dimitry Sells Cars from Mar 31, 2017 – Apr 27, 2017.

But I’m not satisfied. The numbers look great- but I’ve only had had 2 concrete appointments from this effort this month. 5 Prospects- but only two people showed up. Who knows how many other people see this effort and are thinking to themselves – maybe soon I’ll need a car and I’ll reach out to this guy. I know I need to build better sales funnels- In fact, I’ve worked a little bit with Steven Howsley of Begin a Brand.  He’s been helping me develop audience groups for my videos.

So- what’s the point of all this struggle. Why the Title- Branding like a Boss. How does this help me as a reader? I see you are working on… something? The idea behind branding is to associate yourself with some task or product. I happen to sell cars. I want people to know that I sell cars- so that I can sell more of them. The goal is to build Brand Awareness, which then leads to… Leads. I turn those Leads into sales- which then turn into loyal repeat customers.

Building Brand Awareness to build Leads, Sales, and Loyalty

In this effort- what seems to be working for me.

  1. Consistency. I am posting on my facebook page 1-3 times a day.2

  2. Persistence. I don’t stop. It sounds like consistency- but it’s not. If something doesn’t work- it doesn’t mean you should stop doing it all together. Just try and learn what you need to from it.

  3. Humility. Don’t worry about what it will look like if you don’t get it right the first time- or someone gives you a negative response. You are learning- and have a long way to go. In fact- if you get a negative response- ask for advice for next time. Ask for help.

  4. Having fun. I am trying to gamify this whole process for myself. Yes- it is how I’m trying to grow my business, but it’s fun to try and out do yourself. I got 50 new followers in my last 28 days. The time before that I only got 16. That’s huge. Now I have to get 100 this time around? Setting

  5. Set goals. I got 50 new followers in my last 28 days. The time before that I only got 16. That’s huge. Now I have to get 100 this time around? Why not 150?

  6. Don’t forget the point- branding is to help you build leads- not make sales. Actually forgetting to do the sales part is something you can fall into. I have actual leads and existing business I can lose track of if I spend too much time playing around with this ‘branding campaign.’ Never lose track of your existing business.

  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People love helping people. I’ve been working a bit with Steven– If you need help branding- try him. Or ask me. I have lots of cool connections.

  8. Build out new stuff- especially if you found it worked out in the past in other endeavors. I’m about to start a new Instagram and follow my old guide on How to Build an Instagram Following. On that note- Please Follow my new Instagram.

 

Tools I use for Blogging

I had an English teacher turn me onto writing at a relatively early age. I believe I was 13 years old; I had an English teacher, Mr. Carter. I remember him standing on his desk quoting Walt Whitman. His slightly crazy eyes were looking over our class as he, with his best orators voice, yelled, “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” It was the start of the year, and I remember him getting me so pumped on these old writers.

He had a creative writing assignment where we were to write a short story. We talked about writing novels. We were asked to keep a journal. A journal is this weird thing that happens with a notebook; you know like blank paper bound together, within which one writes. If you date it, you have a pretty good record of your life. Writing helps keep track of your thoughts and progressions in life.

At some point I realized my penmanship was atrocious, and if I typed out my entries I could read them again later.  I began keeping it on online platforms. Then it began to be popular to have blogs. I think my first real blog was on Xanga. I tried MySpace and Facebook’s solutions as well. I went blogger, and now I’m on WordPress.

There are some tools that I use to do my blogging.

  1. Site Location/Design:

I have purchased a bunch of different domains on various websites. I mostly use GoDaddy. I have added HostGator to this for my web hosting. They make it easy to setup a WordPress site from the control panel.

I currently favor using WordPress for an actual framework for the site. It seems to make it pretty easy to integrate it with a few other programs.

  1. Monitoring:

Once you get the site up and going, I recommend you set up Google Analytics. Also, make sure you head over to Google Webmaster Tools and Adsense.

Google Analytics lets you monitor how your site is doing, where you are getting your traffic, and how much time people spend looking at your site.

Google Webmaster Tools give you a pretty good understanding how you are doing on Google rankings, as well as if there are major problems with your website.

Adsense allows you to make money on your blog. Having Adsense ads on your site is a double-edged sword. They clutter your site,  but they might have the potential to make your money. If you have lots of traffic, they could help pay for your efforts, but they could also frustrate your viewers.

  1. Content:

I don’t use anything but my brain to develop content. I use my personal experiences to find things about which to write. I do have problems editing my work. Making sure your content is relevant is important. But also making sure it’s legible is pretty significant as well. I’ve been using Grammarly since an embarrassing mistake I made while working for PICR. I thought I had proofread my writing, and I also showed someone else as well. I know that Grammarly would have fixed a bunch of what was wrong with the writing as well.

  1. Promotion:

I like it when I get feedback on my work. The idea that someone will read my work makes me strive to make it worth reading. I could write an awesome guide to buying a car, or growth hacking your Instagram, but what’s the point if no one reads it?

I’ve been getting lots of success using Social Media. Facebook, in particular, has a way of allowing things to go viral. I hear you can have the same thing happen with Twitter, still trying to figure that out. Instagram and LinkedIn have been pretty good to me as well.

SEO is an important part of traffic. It relies on good content. But there is also a little know thought about the internet; it rewards interest. Finding out what words looked for online, you can build your blog around those topics.

The final thing is making sure you get people to link to your website. If you get people to share your articles on their websites, it helps with how search engines few your site! So- please link back to this! 😀

(I plan on working on this as I change things up, or learn more.)

mDimitry’s Guide HowTo Grow your Instagram

Ever wonder how people get huge Instagram accounts, every photo liked 100’s, 1000’s, of times?

I don’t. It’s easy.

Be awesome!

Save that, it might take a bit of work and consistency. There are a few… hacks to get it to grow quicker. Now- warning- they might seem a bit of gimmicky and spammy so be aware of this, and take into account that they work. So let’s cover the non-spammy stuff first.

  1. Don’t spam. No one wants to see 15 photos of the kangaroo you are looking at the zoo. Or your meal, every single bite. If you want to have a good Instagram presence, post consistently- 1-3 posts a day. And those typically hours apart. This Huffington post has a pretty good article about when to post.

  2. Keep content interesting. I like to post man crush Monday’s of myself. I add a Kanye quote, and then some sort of inspiration or encouragement for life. My followers expect it, and I imagine giggle a little as they like it.

This is really hard to do, keeping the content interesting. It takes a lot of thought. Before you post anything, think about it- and why your followers might like to see it.

  1. Always evaluate what you are posting. If one post gets 100 likes, and another very similar post only gets 5… try and figure out why. This constant self-evaluation has taught me a lot about my audience.

  2. Keep in mind- your audience is going to have characteristics. I’ve been helping a hairstylist friend of mine to build her page, a lot of her followers are women- fashion designers/makeup artists/ hair people. These are the people she is targeting. Thus, she tries to put stuff up that they might find interesting.

  3. Hashtags are your friends. #hashtag everything. I like to write long posts. After the post- I post the image with the long post- I immediately post a comment with all of my hashtags.

Finding the right hashtags is very important. I usually go to the search page (detective glass) and look for applicable hashtags. There’s an option for “Trending” and to the right of it says “See all.” I’m pretty bad, I grab anything that even remotely relates to what I’m posting.

I also add stuff that I know is relevant. For example, I post selfies on Monday’s- so #Monday #mcm #mancrushmonday #mancrush. If I was in Miami -#Miami. If it was a sunny day #sunny. You get the picture.

  1. Have fun. Unless it’s your job, then stress out or hire an expert. If you have any more question you can ask me.

Now for the Hacks.

The big one I use I call Churning. Not sure if this is a name for it… but whatever. I add and drop followers. This might seem super simple, but there is a trick to it. And some things to remember.

  1. Limits. Adding a ton of people might seem easy, but for some reason, it works much better if you have more followers than you are following.

There is a maximum number of actions you can do per hour. As of the writing of this post, you could only follow 160 people per hour. Conversely, you can only unfollow 19 people per hour. If you use a program, you have to be careful to follow the rules. Instagram will suspend you if you break them.

  1. Apps. I really like the app called InsTrack by Innovatty. It allows you to manage a few accounts. Yes- you have to pay for some of the features.
This is the simple interface of the program I use to manage my churning.
This is the simple interface of the program I use to manage my churning.
  1. Rhythm. I follow a bit of a rhythm. I will follow people at the peak posting times. Around 4-5 pm. I then choose a time to do my unfollows. On the hour works for me. That way I can just keep track. It takes a lot more time to unfollow people, so getting the most out of the day is important.
  2. Target. When adding people, don’t be random. When I want to start adding people I think about the type of audience I want to build. I post a lot of Kanye quotes- maybe I’ll find a Kanye Instagram account and follow of those people. (That was actually a pretty terrible idea.) If you are a hairstylist- find other hair stylists and follow their followers.

  3. Metrics. Keep track of how well did with everything. For example. I tried following Kanye followers. They didn’t like me. I didn’t get as many followers following them.

I recently found a self-help guru with a ton of followers. Her followers love my Instagram. Because I’m keeping track, I know now that the best use of my time is self-help people.

  1. Like and comment on anything you find interesting. When I am Churning I go through my news feed and immediately like and comment on practically everything. The more engagement you have with people, the more likely they will follow back.

  2. Drop everyone. When I am done clearing out people who aren’t following, I go back and unfollow people I don’t want to follow. If you are selling something, I’ll probably drop you. If you post 12 selfies in a row. Or things that are very negative. I’ll prune the people I follow down to people I actually want to follow.

  3. Repeat. Then I’ll start the process all over again.

  4. Feel free to follow my Instagram. @mDimitry

 

Social Influencers: Working the Instagrams

If you’ve watched me over the last couple of weeks on Instagram (@mDimitry) you’ll have noticed a sudden increase in my activity. I’ve gone nuts on the liking, following, commenting. In some ways, Instagram has become my whole life during my free time. And it’s because it’s a big feature of my work experience right now.

And I can’t believe how much fun I’m having. It’s absolutely insane, it reminds me of Myspace, but in all of the good ways. There’s this solid feel of the wild wild west, gold rush, with a solid feel of 1920’s fashion and music mania. Instagram is tons of fun.

The reason behind all of the activity is work-related, of course. I’ve been working on Hipture. Hipture is a mobile app that allows you to take photos directly off of your Instagram, or camera roll and have them printed and framed. It’s easy, simple, clean, and beautifully engineered from the ground up.

We’ve launched a Kickstarter and it’s chugging along. That whole process is very interesting. So much preparation, so much effort. It is incredible how much work is involved.

Where do I come in? We’ve been trying to create a buzz among social influencers. I’ve emailed 100’s of people in the last month. Cold emails- trying to generate interest and support. We’ve been trying got get our actual product into people’s hands and they would share them on their feeds.

I’ve managed to have some posts from some pretty awesome Instagrammers. Here are some of my ‘successes.’

It’s amazing that there are so many websites and apps popping up for printing @instagram photos. Many of them produce excellent work but I’m shocked that none of them do anything with framing. Frames have the ability to greatly enhance or distract from a photo, and many people often choose the cheapest option that does poorly displays their beautiful work. I’m stoked there’s now an app like @hipturelife where you can seamlessly create a framed photo collage of your own photos in just minutes. They sent me this collage of a few my photos from my first trip to Yosemite National Park last year with my good friend @stefanjunir. The frame and print are both gorgeous! Check them out when you have a chance. Their Kickstarter just got funded! #letsyosomewhere

A photo posted by Joey Brantley (@oddsome) on


So why have I been working with these specific Instagrammers? Because they are social influencers. What is a social influencer? Anyone, everyone. You are the social influencer, your brother Charlie Brown is a social influencer. That’s the beautiful thing about the social web. It literally means everyone. It is incredibly empowering. You no longer have to be a movie star to influence society.

These specific Instagrammers happen to be into photography, travel, hiking. These are people who love to explore the real world, take pictures, and then post them on Instagram. A lot of the team I’m working with at Hipture relate, and felt that that would be the best way to get our name out to that demographic.

What’s cool is that these guys have enormous loyal followings. It’s so neat how following your passions, fostering excellence, puts them in a place of prominence.

The prominence that gives them all sorts of great opportunities, including getting free swag. And that’s what brings me back to why I’ve gone crazy on Instagram. It’s the swag, my friends. Swag.

How to Get Rich Quick, or Die Trying.

I’ve been with my company for a few months now. I recently noticed that haven’t blogged nearly as often as I would like. And since I’ve cleared this blog of all of the old content, this site has become mighty bare. I’ve wanted to kind of follow my progress through the business world, but by the time I’ve learned something I’m moving on to a new little bit.

I have been learning a ton.

So, the company I work for does internet marketing. This has become my field of study, my playground, my obsession. The internet has been one of those things that my family got when I was around 14. It was already well on it’s way to being the crazy beast we see today. AOL chat rooms, forums, email chains. Text based mmo games. I even remember setting up my first online community in order to post and share homework.

I’m sure everyone my age can remember the Myspace experience. I remember those crazy people that started become famous on it. Bands, musicians, artists were one thing, but then you had people like Dane Cook, Katy Perry, and my favorite Tila Tequila who could be said to really have gotten their fame over developing followings on myspace. Youtube was a game changer. There are YouTubers that make millions.

As the amount of people using the internet continues to grow, and the opportunities to make money online along with it. Now the title of the post is “how to get rick, quick.”

The secret is this: you can’t, without like winning the lottery or building something that explodes because it’s just that awesome, get rich quick. But you can, slowly. There are a lot of different ways to do it too. But I think they all start with a basic understanding of how things work.

The internet is huge. Like, like really really big. There are millions of websites two billion people use every day. Just think about that for a moment. They are reading thing, clicking like, buy, check out. They are spending money across the world.

I often think of the internet in terms of our water cycle/ ecology. I’m sure they analogy will break down moments after I start writing about it. But it involves clouds, and flows, and gravity. In this analogy water is money. Topography dictates where the water flows, as well as falls. Some regions get more rainfall, and others less.

Mountains form huge barriers that cause rainfall in some regions, which then is driving by gravity into streams and creeks. Those are funneled into rivers, or sink into the water table, or hit lakes, or go back to the oceans.

The ecosystem, the life, is sort of the internet. Forest retain water, and actually increase rainfall by keeping the air over them cool, which leads to precipitation. Givers give rise to ecology, and irrigation is artificial and effective- so long as you maintain it.

Channels in which water flow grow deeper, unless they are filled with silt. The bigger they are the more likely they to spread out and create marshes. All of it is connected.

We want to build a system that has weight, and collects water, and retains it. It has is vibrant and provides a habitat for our families, friends, family. You know what it reminds me of? Beavers. The trick is to be a beaver. Beavers build dams that force the water to slowly flood an area, which then causes natural wetlands that are entirely unique and vibrant ecosystems. Over time, they become stable, but initially they take a ton of work.

Here’s a full length documentary on beavers from animal planet.

If we have a ton of funding, we could perhaps build synthetic damns. Perhaps eventually we should, but initially we can start by using soft materials. I think of that as content online. I have another blog that I don’t really post much at anymore. It does have something like 80 posts. With out any effort, the site gets around 20-50 visits per day. And it’s entirely personal, entirely benign, and yet it is something. It’s like the random debris that forms at bends in creeks. Eventually, if I keep writing and adding to it, the the sheer amount of crap I put there will pool water. Money.

The difference between a debris dam and a beaver dam is very little, and primarily focuses on organization. Putting up a bunch of content is one way to make money, but putting up a very organized bit of content will also make you money. Both require quiet a bit of work.

Most people are like fish, they just swim in the stream. They pump water in and out of their gills, but that’s it. So let’s leave the analogy- because it’s beginning to wear thin. 😛

It seems to me that in order to money online, without building a actual company like Etsy, or Amazon, or what ever, is to build up good content. I’ve been working on this online advertising thing and I’ve noticed a HUGE lack of actual content that is relevant to the subjects I am interested in. Which is primarily online marketing. I have skimmed through forums, read countless blogs, signed up for news letters. I’ve watched youtube videos.

And most of the content it is itself is marketing for marketing. The weird thing is that apparently the only people who know how to do this stuff are doing it, and they don’t want to create competitors; but want to make money off of the competition by creating the feeling like they are about to reveal the secrets.

And I’m no better. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months; but I signed a contract to keep it on the DL. haha.

But the truth of it is this: Do it. Just do it. Like Shia LeBouf said in that crazy video.

And I will. I plan on bringing you what information and knowledge I can, and am allowed to. I’ll try to do it in an organized form, nothing like this post. I’ll try to be more consistent with it. And I’ll try to do lots of it. I’m going to work hard at it, while gaining benefit from experience and actual revenue ; hopefully.