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Social Media and Your Company, WHAT PLAN? Don’t People Buy From Me Just b/c I am on Twitter?

Social Media and Your Company, WHAT PLAN? Don’t People Buy From Me Just b/c I am on Twitter?

Chris Brogan wrote a great article on Social Media, “After the Kumbaya” questioning business owners, markets, tweeters, etc… on what their real plan is and how they are measuring results as it relates to SM. I couldn’t agree more but the problem is, most companies have a difficult enough time defining target market segments let alone defining, designing and most important MEASURING their marketing plan. It is kind of like joining an association or business group but not being active, just because you are a member doesn’t mean people know you exist.

Many “experienced” SME’s believe that this is OLD news and that there are bigger things to take on, which may be the case with large companies but I still see Facebook company pages with no interaction with their fans or minimal activity at all and blogs that post once or twice a month, the list goes on and on. What are you trying to accomplish through SM?

  • Increase brand recognition
  • Define your brand
  • Introduce new changes
  • Reach a niche market
  • Launch a new product
  • Find and recruit talent
  • Have a presence just because your competitors do???? Ok this one doesn’t work

Some companies do an incredible job, Anvil Knitwear for instance has a great Facebook page and it is apparent that they are trying to showcase their sustainability/green efforts and work with US farmers. They also have a lot of posts targeting communities and college/university age students. Pictures galore and activity on a regular basis.

What are they measuring? I am not sure? How are the measuring? I didn’t ask… yes that is step 2, we have to measure how well things are working!

Just like the days of newspaper ads, coupons/coupon codes and referrals we need to know where our customers heard about us. Having someone dedicated to SM is costing you money, even if it is you so you have to be consistent and track the dollars spent, even if it is payroll dollars. There are companies you can hire or software you can use that will track these things for you. I have not researched enough in this area to make recommendations, but I am sure they are available.

In the field of recruiting and employment branding, you cannot use your twitter or FB page just to talk about the jobs you are recruiting for… BORING! You will only be reaching a small group (those connected with you). You have to be engaging, exciting, interesting, add value and be inviting. WOW, yes, you have to be all of those things and consistently.

In B2C environments the demand is the same as above or you just another mouth shouting out, buy from me because I am no twitter… It doesn’t work! Start my mimicking your advertising plan, even if it is one you used a year ago. This way you aren’t trying to do too much at once, and you will also see vast improvement on your new tactics which will motivate you for future marketing efforts.

B2B is still similar and in each environment let me add something more, you need to be the expert and you need to add VALUE… yes big boring overused word that is never really defined. What is value as an expert? Well it varies from market to market, but you need to provide something to your followers, customers, prospects that they would have to research to find on their own. It should be something of relevance to your audience and you should be solving a problem or at least acting as a resource.

In summary, SM is no quick fix! Chris Brogan said it best, “You Can’t Eat A Hug”

Best Kept Secret on Closing a Deal: Getting People to Like You

I was doing some of my daily reading and came across a great post by Guy Kawasaki on Increasing Your Likeability and I thought to myself, well, I like people to like me so how can I get them to like me more?

In his infograph there is a great tidbit on how Zappos has a turnover rate that is over 9% lower than the national average which I hope to get to addressing in a future post because what I really want to focus on is this, “the best negotiators spend 40% of their time finding shared interests with the other party.”

40%

This is a very large number and to me makes perfect sense when I look at how I personally choose to build relationships and what my relationships look like with those I partner with whether as a vendor or customer. This is also the reason why so much business gets done on the golf course, well, maybe not but we now have data to take to our SVP or CFO as to why that expense really does have an ROI.

When you have shared interests with someone it is easier to relate to them, right? I don’t want you to run out and create a survey to send to your customers and prospects of their hobbies, I am sure they will see right through you.

How to create and understand shared interests? Much of this is sales 101:

  1. Ask open ended questions about events happening in your community such as a play, sports team or musical acts that are in town currently to see if there are shared interests.
  2. Are you involved in a Charity: Review their LinkedIn page for Board seats they hold especially involving charities is their an opportunity to share fundraising ideas?
  3. Open up and be personal: Talk about what you did over the weekend and open yourself up personally first but please use caution in the timing of this. You are not looking for a new best friend with someone you have just met, that makes everyone uncomfortable. “I was thinking of taking my family to the community theatre to see Peter Pan, have you been or heard any reviews” sounds much nicer than “I have 2 extra tickets to Peter Pan would you like to join my family and I.” Especially early on.
  4. Be sincere and genuine! No one wants to be sold to, ESPECIALLY when it comes to personal interests. If you see that they have a signed jersey from a team you despise, don’t fake it. If you find out that they love opera and you are clueless, don’t say that you love the opera, let them know that this is something you know nothing about and you are curious as to how they gained exposure to it.
  5. Write it down! The worst thing you could ever do is have a personal interchange with someone and then mix them up with someone else a few months down the road re: their favorite hobby or sports team.
  6. Know what you are good at but don’t flaunt it. If you are an expert on local restaurants, where the best deals are, specialty beers, etc… Share your knowledge but don’t be pushy. If you become a resource to your potential customer they will be reaching out to you sooner than you know, even if it is on the best red wine!
Here is the infograph from Guy Kawasaki’s post, isn’t it fabulous!

Enchantment - Increase Likability

Which is it: Feed Your Followers or They Will Die? OR Have Something Interesting to Say?

Which is it: Feed Your Followers or They Will Die? OR Have Something Interesting to Say?

I have to admit that my tweets are pretty boring. I do not do a great job of creating a buzz or even contributing to the buzz. Why? I forget, well that and I fell like the energy and work that I put in to my blogs are enough, or they should be. Jessica Merrell-Miller writes about creating the buzz as recruiters, employers, executives and sales people so that people are interested and engaged with you; one of my favs is why people follow and un-follow you. It sounds simple and common sense enough, that simply posting a job that you are looking to fill is not going to excite anyone.

Maybe I should look at myself as the Laziest Recruiter Ever (rather than job seeker) if I am not going to do all that it takes, I cannot be frustrated when I am not gaining results using certain tools like Twitter. Isn’t that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing in the same way expecting a different result? I would say it is also the definition of a know it all. I think I have all the answers and know what I am doing.

The problem with me is that I have a bit of recruiter ADD sometimes, I put my plan together and map it out, but then I get distracted. I move down a path and start seeing some momentum and keep going and then that takes me to a new path and I move down that and by the time I am ready to wrap up the day I have 4-8 windows open (none of them are shopping sites). I know that other professionals have this same issue; typically this is when there are 5 people in and out of your office door or you have sent a plan for review and it takes on another life.

With Twitter you have to remember that you have to start following and listening to what others are saying and share that with others who are following you. I know many of you are saying this is a lot of work and how can 140 characters be valuable or make an impact? Well, even if you are not a recruiter, it is important to understand what recruiters are saying about Twitter and how they use it.  Think about it, in business, you want to know what your competitors or the experts in your field are doing to stay on top, right? Then it is in your best interest whether you are corporate HR, business manager or job seeker to know what recruiters are doing to find the best talent.

The common thread and theme I have found that really resonates with me re: Twitter is to BE SOCIAL!

  • You have to work it in to your daily lives and ping.fm and other tools make it easy to use your other social media content and incorporate them all together.
  • Follow people that you find interesting, you will be that much more likely to check in, interact and be inspired
  • Add the Twitter feed to your phone, when you are waiting in line at the grocery store check in and retweet
  • Know what your specialty is and find and follow others in the field
  • Believe that you are a person of interest and share your ideas
  • Question and poll your followers with something you need an answer to (be sure it is relevant to others)
Feed your followers or they will die? Maybe, but then I have to investigate why I follow people and really it is because they have something interesting to say not because they retweet my stuff.
Image borrowed from Carlos in a 2009 article re: Twitter and if it is stupid or not and that people can’t figure it out so he created some visualizations!

You Are Never To Old To Try Something New: Motivation & Age ARE a State of Mind

Sometimes getting out of bed, talking to someone new, giving a big presentation, starting a new job or sky diving are equally as terrifying, depending on who you are talking with. It is easy to get caught in our own trap of misery, sadness, elation, or even feeling invinsible and unstoppable. Feelings and emotions don’t last forever but you do have the ability to prolong feelings and emotions based on your actions and reactions.

There are certain people that I have met in my life who, in my opinion, hang on to the negative feelings:

  • I will never get a job because: I am too old, too young, too experienced, I don’t have any experience
  • I can’t loose weight, quit smoking, get out of a bad relationship because: I am too busy, I have a medical problem, I have tried everything, it is too hard, I don’t want to (out of fear of the unknown)
  • I will die alone: I am too old to meet anyone, I have too much baggage, see excuses above
  • I will never get promoted: they like so and so better, they won’t give me more responsiblity
There are others in my life who through adversity and difficult times create success:
  • Grow up without the best role models: create mentors and relationships with successful people
  • Have an abusive relationship: surround yourself with the best of possible friends
  • Have nothing of materialistic value: volunteer
  • Can’t have a family of their own: help out children in need
  • Lose their job, their home, their spouse, etc…: find ways to see the good that comes through change and strength many times by taking up a hobby, creating a support group or helping others
This entire topic came about recently because of conversations I have been having recently with the wiser generation (those over 70). I was talking with a man who is 83 years young and he was on his way to his ballroom dancing lesson. We got to talking and I disclosed that I have 2 left feet and lack rhythm and I made mention that it was something I just didn’t think I could pick up. He then said that he started dancing 4 years ago, at age 79! He went on to share that it is a form of excercise, it helps him socially and it keeps his mind sharp, remembering all the steps. He said he still gets nervous about making a mistake or what people will think, and some days are more difficult than others, but that he likes that he can push himself.
About a week ago, I was talking with a couple in their early 80’s who were acting like newlyweds and so I just had to ask how long they had been married, 7 years!
The bottom line is, we are going to be on this planet for a while, God willing, there is no reason to hold on to the negative thoughts about ourselves or others. There are dances out there for all of us!

New In Town: Building Your Business Tip #1

So I was talking to a woman yesterday who is new to Asheville, she moved to the area because a few years ago she saw a special on Good Morning America about what a great place to live it was. When her mom passed away this past year she decided to pack up and move. Courageous for sure! She is at do it yourself, build your own network type of person but she has fears just as strong as the rest of us.

She is a massage therapist, artist and muralist who is later on in her career and can’t see herself in a salon or punching a clock. Many can relate.

Earlier this week she went in to a restaurant and sat at the bar, she says it’s a great way to meet people. Typically she gets talked to because she is alone, but not on this particular day. On this day there was a woman at the other end and she was surrounded by a swarm of people all talking and laughing and carrying on. Come to find out this woman is getting married this weekend. So what does my new “friend” do, she offers the soon to be newlywed a free 1/2 our massage as a gift to her. The pre-bride came in for her massage, had a wonderful experience and took a stack of cards and said, “I know a lot of people, so prepare to be busy!”

The morale, sometimes you have to give just a bit away to reap some big potential returns. Oh yeah, and don’t be afraid to take some risks!

Can the Groom Pick the Groomsmen Garb? Letting Go of Control

Can the Groom Pick the Groomsmen Garb? Letting Go of Control

I am not sure if I made mention or not, but I am engaged to be married next October (2012); I believe in long engagements, we have been engaged for over a year now. So it is starting to get in to planning time and there is a debate in our house over what the groomsmen will wear, now that we have decided we are having more than 2 people in our wedding party. I should state for the record that my fiance has an incredible sense of style, in fact not only does he dress himself, he selected 90% of the paint colors for our house and can pick out clothes and shoes for me without hesitation (and they are usually better than what I would pick).

So that leads me to a recent conversation I was having with some dear friends of ours, future groomsmen to be precise but let me give you some background. G and I were debating, meaning I was debating, about what the bridal party would wear. We both agreed on casual, no tuxes, no formalwear or satin, sateen or other form of bridesmaid gown that will never be worn again. G wanted the guys to wear khaki pants, white shirts and ties… I cannot get the vision of my 8th grade semi formal out of my mind and as cute as my date looked, NO WAY. So I have been looking on line at all of these DIY blogs like Green Wedding Shoes for hours on end late at night when I can’t sleep. I have seen a few really great looking casual, bohemian style, weddings where the guys are wearing suspenders and it looks great.

So, I bring up the suspenders to G, let’s just say that I am 1/2 bohemian and he is about 1%… I show him the pictures of some of the weddings I like… NOT HELPING. So what do I do, I let it go, just to bring it up a week later with different pictures and examples. Are you noticing a pattern here, did you read about my garden? I was determined, I mean absolutely convinced I was right about this. Yes, it is OUR wedding, but I know when I have something in my head I am usually right… hmmmmmm wait just one second….

Did I just fall in to my own weird web of advice where I should take a step back, really look at the situation, etc… I did that but still believed I was right.

And then there was Kenny. So Kenny is a near and dear friend of G’s whom I am very lucky and blessed to say is a dear friend of mine. Kenny is tall, really tall, Kenny comes from a old farming family, his parents are immigrants and literally made a living and raised 7+ kids or something crazy off of the $50 they came to the country with. NO JOKE. Kenny is the tall guy to the left of G in the picture of the 3 of us and the pic of the 4 guys well that is the crew, minus G’s dad.

So back to my conversation about suspenders with Kenny. He says to me with such seriousness, “D, I could understand if you were marrying a guy without any style, but you aren’t and you need to really think about this, do you think he is going to put us in something that isn’t going to look great?” I am so happy that Kenny has really given this so much thought, so quickly. My immediate response as I was completely overwhelmed with the image of my wedding day, that I said, “Kenny you are exactly right and I definitely can’t have you and Will (our other very very dear friend who is my height…sorry Will) standing next to one another in suspenders!”

Bottom line, I choose not to be a control freak in a number of aspects in my life. I recognize that this is a choice that I make so that I don’t drive others and myself crazy and so that I can continue to grow and take on new challenges without feeling bombarded by details that at the end of the day, I really don’t have that much stake in. Yes, that’s right, wedding pictures, the day of my dreams… he can handle it, that is one of the reasons I am marrying him.

So even those things that you think are traditionally yours to conquer, prioritize and delegate. I will share in a future post how we decided to prioritize everything, that is a great story!

Fitting in at a Whole Other Level: I Joined a Fantasy Football League

There are certain things you must be able to talk about in order to fit in, be well rounded and feel social whether in business, a cocktail party or when meeting new people: the stock market (or at least the economy), news stories of relevance and sports (typically baseball & football).  Football and I, well, I grew up near Buffalo and although it was fun to watch the Bills, especially live, I was never a true fan and I didn’t go to a big college football school so it was never a huge priority for me.

Last year I started paying more attention because G was on a fantasy team and it was fun to be able to watch certain players and cheer them on. This may have also had something to do with watching the game on a big deck outside in the warm weather of the south vs the snow of the north. It was time for me to get in the game.

What I didn’t know until I went to our LIVE draft was just what kind of pressure and stress I would be under. I studied, I was prepared, notes, charts, piles of data and a true plan. It was like I was getting ready to give the sales presentation of my life, but I was ready. So I thought.

I was going 2nd, so I knew ahead of time what I would do for my first pick and even was prepared for number two and 3 but the rest was an absolute blur. At about pick 6 my strategy went out the window because the others weren’t reacting the way I had planned, I mean picked. So I started to question my theories, they waited FOREVER to pick Quarterbacks and were all about the RB/WR… what happened to defense?  I still picked my defense much sooner than 95% of the room, it was 2 picks later than I had on my schedule.

The bottom line is I let the moment and the pressure get to me. In the end I stuck to it in a round about way and used my instincts to adjust in the heat of the moment and my team ended up pretty good (in my opinion and in Yahoo Fantasy’s) but then again Brees could get injured … and then what? The bigger question to me was did I prepare so much because of my competitive spirit or because I did not want to look foolish in front of people whom I assumed knew more than me. You know what they say about those who assume…

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