Twitter Unfollow Limits

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You’ve found yourself with a lot of dead accounts, accounts that just don’t post often, accounts that have changed from interesting to offensive. You want to clear your account from dead weight but you’re not sure how many accounts you can unfollow at one time. Well, I can tell you there’s a lot of wrong (bad) advice out there. While I cannot give you an exact answer, because Twitter doesn’t provide that information, I have had several years of experience.

It’s possible things may change once you cross the 10,000 or higher barrier so I would recommend keeping the number of unfollows reasonable if you only have 2000 to 5000 connections for example. There are probably cases of someone unfollowing everyone in one day but I don’t have that information, yet. Once I find it I will share it. Meanwhile let’s think more in reasonable percentages than numbers.

Ian Gray says don’t unfollow more than 400 per day – I have surpassed that number frequently on multiple accounts. I unfollow as many as 1,000 per day and do so regularly.

Gail Gardner reported, “I have unfollowed thousands in one night (one at a time).” At the publishing of this short post she had about 80k followers.

A Warrior Forum user says, “For Unfollow their is no LImit I have been unfollowing 5-10k users daily with 1 accounts Just use that in nice delay.” [SIC] (Please do not take that site as anything more than just water-cooler yammer between people with little to no experience or verified knowledge.)

More of what Twitter is concerned with is “flipping” followers. If you follow 2000 accounts today and unfollow that same 2000 tomorrow it’s almost certainly going to raise a flag with Twitter spam control. The reason people do this is usually to build their follower list while keeping their following list low. It’s a way of gaming the system beyond the original intent. In fact that’s a better way to think of what is acceptable and what may not be–just ask, “does this violate the intent of Twitter?”

5 Biggest Mistakes YouTubers Make

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Twenty (20) videos on YouTube have been viewed over 1,000,000,000 times. Gangham Style has been viewed over 2,500,000,000 time. Two billion, five hundred million. If the earnings from that video are $1 per 1000 views that means $2,500,000 earned; Just from views! I’ve been told, however, the minimum you can earn is .0033 per view which translates to $3.30 per 1,000 views. That math doesn’t work on my videos but it’s good to know.

Why am I bringing this up? I make hundreds of dollars on my videos just by having them online. I am by no measure a prolific video maker. If your goal is to earn revenue, build your list of contacts, or even sell directly from your videos, these few points may be the difference between people clicking away or watching your videos.

First a humongous disclaimer: there are exceptions to every rule. I have seen YT channels which consistently break all of these rules that still have large subscriber bases and respectable view numbers…none of them that come to mind are businesses or for business purposes. Capiche?

MISTAKE ONE: LONG INTROS

This is very common among YouTubers and it’s a big reason people click through or click away and that’s long intro clips. My best viewed, highest earning videos have an intro less than 10 seconds long.  In fact FullScreen.com says, “Consider reducing the length of your intros in future videos to 5 seconds max.”

Making your viewers suffer through 60 or even 40 seconds of your super exciting intro doesn’t work on YouTube. The reason it works at the theater and on broadcast television is because the audience has no choice. I have seen no less than 20 YT videos with a Star Wars-esque intro that lasted just about as long…click, Bye!

MISTAKE TWO: BLARING BACKGROUND MUSIC

People who watch YouTube videos often do so at work, in class, in bed, or even in church. Having thrash metal pounding in the background of a business related video probably isn’t the wisest choice. Additionally when there is dialogue (talking) in the video it’s difficult to hear the words over loud music. This is another way to drive viewers to click away. Wistia has a great short article with video examples to help get the hang of music volume. Let me continue by saying having no background music at all is generally also a mistake.

MISTAKE THREE: BAD AUDIO

And I don’t me the local punk band. If you cannot hear or understand the dialogue (speaking) in the video then your listeners can’t either. One of the biggest complains about how-to videos is not being able to hear or understand the person doing the speaking. Using higher quality microphones, editing the sound to clear out noise, and using a digital compressor go a long way to helping clean up the audio for a better user experience.  I like what Adam Tarwacki wrote a couple of years ago at GCC Creative, “Good audio is HALF of a good video.”

MISTAKE FOUR: BAD VIDEO

From lighting to angles to exposure and focus there are a lot of ways to screw up video. Even the process of rendering your video from your editing suite can trash otherwise good video. Screen captures that are blurry are about as useless as a screen-door on a submarine. Take time to learn a little about lighting, angles, and other techniques to improve your video. The better the quality of the video the more likely people are to not slam you for having crappy video. Kind of goes without saying, right? Google gives some basic tips on uploading for quality. Some videos look great on your computer but bad after uploading.

MISTAKE FIVE: GOING WAY TOO LONG

If you can say it in 60 seconds–get it done and move on! We don’t have all day to watch you string your guitar, tune it, then play a C# chord. Planning what you want to shoot and what you want to present in your video then skipping all the irrelevant stuff will help you make much better videos and keep your viewers. Remember the average attention time for YT viewers is down to the 3 minute range. So unless you have a really loyal fan base, a super entertaining video, or you’re paying people to watch–they’re going to click through or click out.

How Many Views Did My LinkedIn Post Get?

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LinkedIn, like other channels, occasionally re-designs their forward facing user experience. It came up in a conversation today that finding the view stats for posts is no longer as straight-forward as it once was. Here is how to find the view numbers for your LinkedIn Updates:

  1. Starting from the “Home Page” hover over “Profile” until the drop down comes out. The clock on “Your Updates”.
  2. Click on “Published”.
  3. Now you will see each of your posts with the view count.
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Figure 3

This Will Destroy Your Online Marketing Efforts

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It’s not like we plan to fail. Rather, as the old saying goes, it’s that we fail to plan. Can you have success without planning? Yes. Can you have success without developing a strategy? Yes. Can you have success without execution? I don’t know of a good example how. And it all hinges on you. Don’t you just love Venn Diagrams?

planning-strategy-executionStart With You

The one constant everyone has, assuming that constant is somewhat stable minded, is the “you” in the equation. You know what you want your end result to be–or should have a good idea. You know what resources are available. You know your skills and abilities. Importantly, you know your personality–at least to some degree.

Most of us, we solopreneurs, have limited resources simply by the virtue of having only one set of hands, one brain, and a limited number of man hours per week. If you have a few associates on staff or contracted to work with you that certainly improves what you can accomplish provided you have the right strategy, plan, and execution of that plan.

Make a short list: number of available hours, short term budget, fulfillment resources, ideal target audience. Now develop a plan that uses all phases of your business. This isn’t a marketing plan–it’s an operational plan. Most of us don’t even have an operational plan. What we do have includes things like what time we consider ourselves “open for business” and a generalized version of what products/services we offer. Then we often don’t even stick to those.

dad-meetingHave a meeting. If it’s only you and there truly is not another person for you to bounce things off then have a meeting with yourself. This requires a tremendous amount of discipline because you’re either a “yes man” or a “party pooper”. Writing down your thoughts and leaving them aside for 24 hours is one way to have a meaningful self-evaluation of your own plan. You may want to consider spending a few dollars to hire a Life Coach or Small Business Adviser to help you. They can ask questions you may never think of and help you solve your own pain before you set out to solve the pain of others.

Build Your Own Strategy

It’s time to develop a strategy. The strategy tells you what needs to be accomplished in the greater world; your market. A strategy deals with the long term function of your organization. In this case we’re concerned only with the Marketing Strategy.

By now you should already have a good idea where your ideal customer can be found. Perhaps it’s in social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Instagram. It may be that direct mail or radio works better for you (a higher return on your investment).

Develop Your Own Plan

Make measurable, achievable goals. The plan involves the steps you will take, or assign to others, to achieve your goals. Your plan deals with short term steps needed to implement your strategy.

You should have developed your product/service line and know what you have to offer. You should know who your realistic target audience is. You should have a general idea of how many hours are required to deliver your product or service. Use that in formation and develop a plan of how to let your target audience know what you will do for them. Don’t know how? That’s where research, education, experience or/and a professional comes in. Yes, you may need to spend a little funds to do it properly (read that “without wasting a lot of resources on things that don’t have a chance of working).

Your marketing plan should include steps required to do what needs to be done to implement your strategy. Take it to the level of detail where if you needed to take a vacation you could turn your plan over to someone else and they could make sense of it and carry on in your absence.

Implement The Plan To Satisfy Your Strategy

Go forth and do! Rinse. Repeat.

There is a reason the plan should involve measurable way-points. If you don’t know whether or not your plan is working or has worked there is a very good chance you’ve wasted time and resources. Some say, “that’s the cost of education”! If you’re like me you can’t afford too much education and you need results.

Cheapening Words You Should Drop From Your Vocabulary…Now

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Everyone can pick a few favorite “pet peeve” words and phrases. It’s not uncommon to see them mentioned on social media. Why is this such a “bone of contention”? At the end of the day these words and phrases are recognized as borrowed, or stolen, and serve more as fillers than meaty content. I used a couple–or more– in this paragraph. So, did you spot them?

Filler Words Eat Intellect

filler-words-speech-englishWhen the speaker or writer uses a filler word or phrase, known as speech disfluencies, they run the risk of contaminating the other words they are using. To write or speak with power demands eliminating fillers and filler words: like, uhm, aaah, so, you know, and uhm, you see, listen, basically, actually, at the end of the day, as I was saying, my point is, and others. Perhaps the writer or speaker uses these fillers, words, and phrases in their regular speech so they don’t even realize they are doing it when it really matters.

Many speakers today begin answers to questions posed with “Ok, so…” or just “So….”. These fillers are often used to allow the speaker to “ramp up” to full speech speed. All fillers are not always used in this way. Many professionals who speak, notice I did not say professional speakers, even use fillers. What I encourage you to discover is the power of replacing these fillers with words that mean something and impact the hearer or reader.

Killing “Okay, so…”

The first time I heard “So…” at the beginning of every answer to questions was in a business meeting with a young man who had been somewhat successful on Wall Street as a mid-level employee for a major brokerage. He was fortunate enough to have left the industry just before the downturn and took several hundred thousand dollars in earning with him. He is also a graduate of a major University and an otherwise dynamic individual. By the end of that two hour meeting the memory that hangs with me today some eight years later is his beginning every answer with “So…”.

The reason I am singling out “so…” is because it is prevalent in all levels of speech including television interviews, radio interviews, and business presentations. In the last of those it can be a deal breaker. Not only this one but others. As an exercise I recommend recording yourself giving a presentation. Not practicing one–actually giving one. Our habits and weaknesses become more exposed under pressure.

Replacing Fillers With Words of Value

Once you have identified that you use fillers and you realize the possible or probably impact they may have on your audience you’ll want to eliminate them. What could be better than replacing them with powerful words that induce action or inspire emotions in the hearer and reader?

Preparation and practice will go a long way toward eliminating these words in both writing and speaking. Speaking offers a unique set of challenges due to the environment of dynamic activity. Motion in the audience, sounds from outside of the venue, misplaced notes, or even a dim teleprompter can throw off thoughts and rhythm.

One trick I learned to use many years ago helps avoid using fillers at the beginning of sentences when replying to others in a live environment: Pause. It is not a requirement that every second of time be filled with noise coming from your body. Try this the next time you feel the word “So…” or any of the others about to leave your mouth at the beginning of a sentence: firmly place your hands on the podium, table, or together, while smiling. Then begin your answer with the proper word instead of a filler.

Edit Your Writing

Great news for you bloggers–you can edit out filler words. If you don’t know what all filler words are you can discover them simply by removing the word and seeing how it changes the meaning of your sentence. So, from now on, when push comes to shove or at the end of the day, you’re going to be thinking just a little harder on how to write and speak with more power and authority. Am I right?

What is your most used filler? What fillers can you think of which aren’t already mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

2016 Focal Points for Online Marketing

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So you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Tumblr, Flickr, Vine, Meetup, Tagged, and Ask.fm–plus a few you can’t remember. Good for you. My guess is that of those 12 probably 8 or 9 really suck. By that I mean you touch them perhaps once every 3 months if you remember and you find the time. Think about it; if you spend just 30 minutes a day on your social accounts and you have 12 of them…that’s 6 hours a day. And realistically 30 minutes isn’t enough time to do justice to realistic community building. Therefore it’s time to cut some clutter, focus on what has proven to work for you, and up your game on those networks in 2016.

For me Google Plus has been almost a complete waste of time. YouTube has been very good for me, probably better than everything else combined. Twitter is a close second to YouTube and Facebook is a lagging 3rd place. The rest, including LinkedIn, are trailing a long way behind. So guess where I’m focusing my time in 2016? You bet! Anything new–which I will then create a video for and put it on YouTube.

What Works For Me May Not Be The Same For You

In almost every class I teach I am very careful to warn people their results may (and probably will) vary from mine. My passion shows in video and become contagious. That’s why I have several videos will 20,000 or more views. They aren’t even that great and the branding is all over the place. Still, they work for drawing traffic and creating engagement–more so than any other social network where I have larger connection groups.

Since part of my marketing and content creation job is tracking and analytics, it should go without saying that I have narrowed down “which” social channels work best for me–but more importantly “why”. It has a lot to do with investment. Some of the investment is time connecting and engaging, some of the investment is in creating a specific type of content for that channel, and some of the investment is in dollars. Obviously YouTube has liked a different type of content than say Google Plus, and a different type of engagement as well. On Google Plus (like Twitter and Facebook) it’s more important to engage with your prospects directly. On YouTube good content along with simply replying to comments on videos is enough to work. In other words I don’t have to spend hours every week commenting on, liking, and sharing other people’s videos to be successful on YouTube.

I Can’t Tell You Exactly What To Do

While this statement is true, I can share my technique for determining where to focus. You can then apply it to your own strategy. Lucky for all of us it’s pretty simple: where do I generate the most income? Like I said before, for me it’s YouTube. I know this because I direct people back to my website (this one and iCobb) from YouTube where people can place an order or use a contact form. Many times they go straight to the order form. I know they came from YouTube because of one of a few things: (1) they used a form that is only linked from YouTube, (2) they selected YouTube from the drop down, (3) Google analytics shows them coming from YouTube then converting, (4) they told me they found me on YouTube.

Have A Hub You Own And Control

Facebook may be a great place to have a business page but if you’re depending on that to be your “website” you’re making a tremendous error. Facebook could shut you down. You could lose all of your content and all of your prospects in a split second. I recommend either having a WordPress website (which I can help you with) or a custom coded solution with a few widgets, bells and whistles, and a good back-up and recovery system (which I can build for you). The important thing is your own domain on your own server space. Not even wordpress.com — while they are better than Facebook you can still get in a sticky situation. Get your own WordPress hosting account and do it right.

Use Google Analytics

If you don’t know how to use it…learn! GA can be one of the best tools you have as a marketer to gauge return on investment of your time and dollars. Setting up custom reports and creating custom links can be a bit daunting at first but I can show you how to do so in just a couple of hours together. When you have everything set up like you need it you can really make some educated decisions based on real performance data. What happens as a result can really be powerful to your business.

Syndicate Your Content

When you only use syndicated content across channels you can do more damage than harm. Make sure you’re not just syndicating your posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, etc., and that you are also engaging and live posting on those channels as well. For me a blend of no more than 20% syndication works quite well on most channels. On Twitter I do about 10% syndication (automatically posting blog content), 40% automation (though I hand select what to pre-schedule), and 50% live Tweeting. On LinkedIn it’s pretty much exclusively manual. On Facebook it changes with the wind! I use Buffer, HootSuite, and other tools to help. I also use a couple of different RSS syndication tools to push my content to social channels.

Don’t Ignore Offline

Okay so I said “online”. There’s just too much neglect for offline channels. Leads groups, MeetUps, TweetUps, print, broadcast…they all have their place. Again, what works for some of my clients and me may not work for you. That’s the beauty of the marketing profession. I have spent millions of dollars on traditional and new marketing and have learned millions of dollars worth of lessons. One of the biggest lessons is that even the most successful marketers aren’t 100% correct about what is going to work. Big companies can afford to throw big dollars and that’s why they bring in expensive, multi-national marketing companies. My readers need every dollar to count, just like mine.

With all that said I ask you to join me in 2016–as in subscribe to my email list up there at the top of the screen–and let’s continue to explore together. Then follow me on Twitter @thekencook and be sure to list to Social Media Edge Radio every Tuesday (or the replay at BlogTalk or on iTunes).

 

5 Skills Of A Good Social Media Marketer

5 Skills

Everyone who does social media marketing, whether it is for their self or an employer, wants to achieve a certain level of success. I can admit with a great deal of transparency that I have had to learn much the hard way. I suppose it’s cool to have been a pioneer but what that really means is we had to find the way to make it work. In the beginning there were a lot of “new gurus” who just said whatever sounded like it should work or regurgitated whatever the “bigger guru” said that just sounded like it should work. Now we have data. Data is our friend.

We’ve Learned Something Else, Too

In addition to learning what actually works we also now have a good 10,000 feet high view of the habits of successful social media marketers. There really isn’t anything mind blowing in this list. If you’re like me just seeing them all tied together is about all you need to get you squared away and back in the parade–hopefully somewhere out front.

Skill One: Organization

Surely everyone who blogs, tweets, or posts in any other way is highly organized, right? As for me I occasionally have to stop and re-organize. This happens when I get too into things that don’t really matter and start letting go of what does matter. Almost every pundit agrees organization is a key to success–or at least to manageable, reproducible success. Have a schedule, stick to it, keep your clients separated, save time for yourself.

Skill Two: Improvisation

The clock, as they say, just keeps on ticking. If your calendar says you need to post 12 times on a particular day and you haven’t done enough research and your internet is crawling because the rest of the office is streaming replays of “Office”, what do you do? Improvise. Maybe you reach for print. Maybe you get on the phone and call a fellow social pro or someone who is a subject matter expert on the topic you are writing about. Of course that’s just one example of the need to improvise and to be able to think way outside of the box, color outside of the lines, and still produce valuable, meaningful content that inspires engagement and transaction.

Skill Three: Salesmanship

There, I said it. Content marketing is often the first, second, third, and final step in the marketing funnel. It’s often just a one person operation meaning the social marketer creates the content, posts the content, tracks the ROTI, and files the analytics reports. Even on larger teams the content creator and social marketer often have the task of selling the product–maybe without sounding sales motivated at all. This is one of those skills that requires us to understand the sales process and how to use the psychology of sales without the town crier/carnival barker technique.

Skill Four: Investigation

If you’re really good at “the Google” that’s a great start. If you know how to dig up information of value that isn’t on Google you’re a champ. Pick up the phone and call a SME. Go in person to where your information originates. Send emails to influencers who may answer. If they don’t it’s no big deal just keep on plugging. Finding answers that aren’t easily available on search is a great way to bring value to the community and could score big for you.

Skill Five: Listening

By listening, of course, I mean reading mostly. If you’re the kind of person who can read between the lines and get to the point someone is trying to make even before they make it you’re going to excel at the service part of social marketing. If you can tell people want green leather shoes by what they are posting before they even say green leather shoes it stands to reason you’re going to be the first one to the game with the solution: green leather shoes. Of course if they’re still talking you need to still be listening because they may give you even more information. Listening to the channels is one of the most important social marketing skills of all.

There are many more nuances and skills to social marketing but if you have these five it’s a high likelihood you’re going to be pretty good at the game. I’m so very glad you took your time to read all the way to here. Just because you did I’m going to give you a copy of my eBook 10 Secrets of Crushing It Online just for commenting on this post.

Social Media Image And Graphics Sizes

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Down and dirty, straight to the point. Updated 10DEC2015

Twitter Graphics Sizes
Header 1500×500 – 5MB
Profile 400×400 – 2MB
In Stream 440×220 – 5MB (gif to 3MB)

Facebook Graphics Sizes
Cover 851×315
Profile 180×180
Post Image 1200×630

Google+ Graphics Sizes
Cover 1080×608
Profile 250×250

Instagram Graphics Sizes
Profile 77×77 (Crops to circular)
Photo Thumbs 238×238
Photos 641×641

Pinterest Graphics Sizes
Profile 60×60 (Crops to circular)
Board Display 216×146
Pin Display 236 wide

LinkedIn Graphics Sizes
Profile 120×120
Banner Graphic 646×220

YouTube Graphics Sizes
Profile 120×120
Cover 850×176

Estimate Keyword Results With Google Keyword Tool

ESTIMATING SEARCH

Step One – Login to your Google AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

Google keyword planning tool how-to
Click the image to enlarge.

If you do not have an account you can create one while you are there. The basic version is free. There is a bit of a learning curve but there are literally hundreds if not thousands of tutorials available both from Google and from third party sites.

If you already have an account simply log in and proceed.

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Step Two – Click on the link that reads “Get search volume and data trends”.

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Step Three – Type or paste your keywords one per line or separated by commas

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Step Four – Use the targeting options to narrow your results to your needs

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Step Five – Click save on your parameters/filters then click Get search volume

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The Competition column is an indicator of what you should should expect when bidding for these words or phrases. The Suggested bid is a challenge for new users. It is based on the assumption your website has a high Quality Score for search results; meaning you have exactly the information Google’s search customers expect to see. This dollar amount will almost certain go up. If not then you’ve done a very good job with your website.

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This has been a very quick look at how to use the Keyword Planner to estimate costs but more importantly tells you, on average, how many people are searching for those words or terms.

What Twitter Data Tells Us About That Channel

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“I don’t get it. What is this?” That’s what  I said in early 2007 when I started my first Twitter account. It wasn’t until later, mid-2008 that it clicked for me. Since then I’ve learned more and more, partially from guests on Social Media Edge Radio and more-so from painful trial and error, what works for me. I should emphasize the “for me” part because what works for me may not work for you. This is a primary concept in my classes (which are currently being offer through The Alliston Group by the way) making sure each student knows they need to experiment, track, and adjust often.

Years Of Data: But The Last 30 Days Are Most Valuable

The most tweeted tweet of all time is not necessarily an indication of the direction and interests of Twitter today. After all Twitter content interest changes with the daily news. So the fact that a certain personality had the most re-tweeted tweet in 2013 doesn’t have any bearing on the interests of people in 2017. When planning your Twitter strategy it is important, for most Tweeters, to follow current trends which are performing well as opposed to the greatest of “all time”.

Why “The Most” Usually Doesn’t Matter To You And I

Unless you are a reporter with TMZ chances are most of the top tweets are irrelevant to your social involvement plan. By that I mean a tweet by Harry Styles (of One Direction) “All the love as always. H” isn’t going to do anything to help your business. Although I did just do a little experiment expecting zero activity:

All the love as always. K

What Does Twitter Tell Us About Tweeters?

It’s actually unimportant for our purposes; small business marketers looking to add prospects to our funnel. Truly it is. The most popular accounts are celebrities and politicians. The fact that a singer fell off the stage likely has very little to do with your Fuller Brush Catalog Sales and the death of a politician should never be leveraged for sales and marketing purposes.

No this isn’t a “trick post”. The idea is to start your thinking in a different direction than trying to keep up with the Cardishians (tic) or whomever be the flavor of the day. Chances are thinking locally and having a few hundred local, engaged Tweeters is much more valuable to your local business than having tens of thousands of unknowns from around the globe. Unless, that is, your business model can benefit from them. Then by all means forget all of this, follow the trends, make lightning when you can, and carry on!

So What Should I Do?

twitter-statsDiscover what works for you. Chances are an article on my site or any other site, regardless of by whom it was written, isn’t going to exactly fit your business, location, and clientele. We can provide you a good launching point–a place to begin and that’s about it. From there on you’re either on your own or you can hire a professional to counsel you or even do the heavy lifting for you. There are, quite literally, hundreds of us.

Tweet something. Watch the results. If it works–do it again. If it doesn’t work–adjust it and try again. A/B test; tweet almost the same thing at almost the same time and see what happens. If one works better than the other, recycle it. Use images. Use video. Use audio. You, or a professional, can’t know exactly what works for you until it does. This is the exact reason you can never trust anyone who says they can create viral content for you. There are far too many moving parts (most of them human and unpredictable) to positively nail down specifics.

Generally Speaking

The more followers you have of high quality the better your results are going to be. If you’re a local real estate listing agent and you need to do some social media marketing on Twitter chances are very good you’re going to do better with local contacts than with international ones. The one exception in that point would be fore people moving specifically to your area from elsewhere. Focus on what matters. Where (from which demographic) do you traditionally expect to find your clients? Go after them. Find them. Follow them. Interact with them. Promote them. Be their “buddy”.