What Have You Done for your Mother Lately?

So today is Mother’s day and if you are lucky enough to still have your mother with you then I hope you either were with her today or at least spoke to her over the phone or internet to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom and DadMy mother is my hero. She is by far one of the smartest and most accomplished woman I know. Not just in my eyes but others as well. She has been, a nursing student, an undergrad that paid her way through university through performing nursing duties, began two Nursing Schools, a professor at #MarshallUniversity has a PhD from #OhioStateUniversity in Adult Education and built the Allied Health and Nursing Program up from pretty much nothing to grow it and allow it to become what it is today at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, NE @MCCNEB. Now my mother is a very humble woman and would downplay her accomplishments but those who know her would agree with all the above and more. So what have I done for my Mother lately? I heard a statement today that said that Mothers only want happiness and health for their children and that when they are a mother the rest of their lives is wrapped up in their children’s happiness or lack there of. So what have you done lately for your Mother.

Currently I am attempting to grow my business and improve my life both personally and in business so I can give my mother the peace of mind that I will be financially and mentally healthy. (All the heartaches I have put her through as a teen and then young adult, I owe her that much.) So that is why I am revisiting a 30 day plan that I created in 2011and also implementing the strategies in 4 Hour Work Week and Sleeping Your Way To The Top In Business

I am sharing what I learn here on my blog. In order to get ready to begin implementing these strategies there is a homework assignment from 4 Hour Work Week from Chapter 3: “Dodging Bullets” Fear-Setting and Escaping Paralysis Businessman Thinking on Steps

  1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you were considering?. (This is what you are considering doing outside of your current position or job)
  2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
  3. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios?  (These are positive outcomes or benefits)
  4. If you were fired from your job today, what would you to to get things under financial control?
  5. What are you putting off out of fear?
  6. What is it costing you-financially, emotionally, and physically-to postpone action?
  7. What are you waiting for?

A little insight from Ben Angel-

five-lies-about-social-media-marketingWhat your clients really WANT

  • a relationship with you and/ or your business (on their terms)
  • to know they can call a real person who knows the answer when they have a query – without being put on hold for thirty minutes & transferred through to half a dozen people who  they struggle to communicate with;
  • to connect with personality types within your organization that make them feel safe by virtue of being just like them; (We will discuss Thinking Preferences later from a Whole Brain Perspective- not a Ben Angel concept but similar to personality types).
  • to feel, ‘I’ll do business with that guy because I trust him’;
  • to do business with people recommended to them through their trusted personal network;
  • to avoid at  all costs the cowboy service providers they read about on Twitter last week…

We begin by doing the homework assignment and considering what your clients really want. So what have you done for your Mother lately? I am hoping that this helps you do something that makes your mother proud, but more importantly makes you proud of yourself and helps others around you.

Profile PicLes Adkins is the CEO of Orange SMS Consulting and an International Social Business Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn Join us on FB and Google+ as well.

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Social Media Intern – Why can’t they do everything?

Tracy Raiteri who I am connected to on Google + posted the below video and comments.

youtube.com – By Author of Socialnomics (Erik Qualman) a Social Media Intern’s take on Social Media ROI.

Originally posted by Vlad Gorenshteyn (Google +)

“If your boss is asking you the following questions:

- What’s the point of social media?
- What’s the ROI of social media?
- Why can’t we just hire an “intern” to handle all of this social media mumbo jumbo?

Then, you should ask your boss these questions:

- Would you like our brand to be around in a few years?
- What is the cost of not listening and properly responding to your customers on social channels?”

I personally  have spoken at several events and  sat on several panels discussing the above issue and get the same question- “Why can’t I just have an intern do everything?” (regarding social media)

I always stop and wonder how this person/company accomplishes their other work that is required for day to day business and the things that help that company be successful. So I usually ask them this question:

” How many interns do you have currently on staff?”

The answers I get range from 0 to 30 depending on the size of the company. I then ask:

“What do they currently do?”

This answer ranges greatly. Some do coding (technical), some do marketing, some work with promotion and writing and the list continues for mostly general work under the supervision of someone else.

Then I ask the pointed question:

“Would you let an intern run your entire organization?”

After the laughter settles I explain the following.

Social media is more than just creating a facebook page or twitter account or creating content to post. It is a way of communicating with your vendors, prospects, customers  and employees on a long term basis. It’s the new way of doing business.

In order to do this correctly and to maintain your brand you need a consistent message and this message needs to be part of your overall strategy. This strategy must come from the executive suite. It must include your objectives and have a defined audience. You also need to have a group (or the better option is to have all employees trained) to handle and listen to what your prospects, customers and employees are saying, and responding to those comments. It is a dialogue with your audience. This dialogue needs to be continuous and consistent. And you need to be honest about who is posting the information.

There are many companies that will help you in the implementation, and consultants that can help you with a strategy, but at the end of the day any social media needs to be generated from within by the overall organization.

How you handle social media will determine the health and longevity of your organization. There are lots of professionals out there who can help you navigate these new waters. Please don’t relegate your entire Social Media strategy and implementation to an intern.

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and a Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn

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How To Get People To Trust You!

This seems to be the biggest mystery of the universe. Oh don’t get me wrong, there are people out there that can give you a zillion ways; techniques and tricks to do this but how do you manage to gain trust in today’s society? If you google “How to get trust” you will get over 430 million results. Thought this was  pretty good from Forbes “In Pictures: Nine Ways To Get Someone To Trust You” There are books, video series, CD’s, MP3′s on “How to Build Trust” so you can find these things if you’re looking.

But most of us know this already; right? Maybe not. So how do you build Trust in a World that seems untrustworthy? I heard something at a network meeting today that made me write on this subject. They said that people buy from those they like and trust. I would agree but I would say that now in order for someone to buy from you they need to trust you, have a relationship with you and then like you. Semantics right, wrong.

The world used to be built on tell me you have the greatest product or service and the best price and I as a consumer or business would buy. But now a days through technology I can find your dirty laundry if you’re lying.

Today it is all about transparency and being genuine and engaging that person face to face or online to build trust. No matter how high gas prices go up, or how bad the economy gets if the person you are trying to influence does not trust you they won’t buy from you.

I have several people who I like but don’t trust. Don’t you?

Les Adkins CEO Orange SMS


Why are you still not using Social Media?

So according to David Nour (Relationship Economics)

Social media is not a fad! It is changing the fundamental manner in which we engage and influence our target market. The more you learn about this evolving technology, the more you realize the power and promise of social media as a platform for mass collaboration – with prospects and customers, employees, and suppliers.

I was reading The Economist December 18th, 2010  (forgive me it was the print edition) and found a little statement that made some sense to me. Investors are now investing in startups that are geared toward social media and social currency.

Social Media companies are like Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare. Social Currency companies are like Groupon, Gilt Groupe (a luxury-goods seller), and  Zynga (a social-gaming firm). Companies like Kaneva are combining the two. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith in their Book Trust Agent define  a type of social currency as social capital,

….social capital is different than other kinds of capital. When people come together and share a meal,  they not only end up fed, they also become tighter as a group. The mere act of gathering means that they will exchange things- stories, favors, and laughs- and will grow richer as a result. It may sound touchy feely, but these things have real value. And we don’t just mean that they keep you warm on a cold winter night, either; we mean they have real value, as in “you can take it to the bank” value. …..Just think of your favorite television cop drama and how often the phrase “you owe me a favor”, is uttered. These things are real.

So what does this mean for you? We see that social media and social currency startups are getting investors and that social capital is real and that there are companies using both to make real HARD COLD CASH. Oh and that this whole thing is not a fad.

SO WHY ARE YOU STILL NOT USING SOCIAL MEDIA?

There are books, webinars and companies out there that are all offering help for both large and small organizations. Marketing companies have even gotten in the mix as well as PR companies. Every one is trying it so why aren’t you?

The world as we know it is changing. Look at Egypt, Jordan, and Tanzania. These are extreme examples or are they. The younger generations are demanding change. Your customers are going to be demanding change (if they aren’t already) in the way you work with them and the way you sell your product or service to them. And what about your employees ( the few you have left)?

There are many blogs and articles discussing this topic but soon the topic will stop being “Why Are you not using Social Media” and start being “Companies that are failing due to the inability of them to change the way they are doing business”.

Moral of the story – It is not too late to start and there are many resources to help you get started. There are some posers out there as well so be careful but if they are talking about social media strategy, social currency or building social capital then they are probably on the right track.

Don’t be the one or one’s left behind in 2011. You know that we may still be here in 2012 so what are you doing to make sure that you remain one of the lucky ones still in business?

Les Adkins, CEO Orange SMS

Socail Media – Technology First?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Hi5….. the list can go on and on. I have spoken to several business owners lately who have someone tweeting, posting and creating a FB page for them.  The reason, “someone told me I needed to be on (fill in your favorite social media platform)

Technology seems to be the goal today for most Social Media Strategies. I had a meeting earlier today where the question was asked more than once, what tools should we be using? And by the way there are some cool tools out there. But if you have read any of my other blogs  you will know what is coming next.

Social Media is not about using tools or building a Facebook page or making sure that you are posting every day. It is about building relationships with your employees, customers and prospects. Knowing what they are saying so you can react to them in a positive way. Whether there comment is negative or positive. It is about having a conversation and building trust.

At a recent networking event I came across a gentleman who said his marketing company was tweeting, posting and writing blogs for them. When I asked him a couple of questions:

Are those reaching your audience?

Are you involved in the discussions and building the content?

I lost his interest and he smiled and said I just know they are making sure I am using social media. Really? Someone is making sure that his company is using social media but if asked I would wager that he could not tell you what his last post was about. Or even if the message is cohesive and meeting the objectives of his audience.

It is important for companies moving forward in this new business world of Social Media to know that there are two camps doing business with them and looking to do business with them.

Those over the age of 30 and those under the age of 30. Whether your audience is consumers or businesses both those camps still apply. Individuals make buying decisions, companies don’t.  So going back to my style of training, we need to ask the question.

Why is that important to you, the business owner or executive?

People over the age of 30 still believe in not airing their dirty laundry to the world. (Bear with me, these are general statements and I am not saying that all individuals over the age of 3o or under the age of 30 believe or act the same way.) But for discussion on Social Media is important to understand the difference. Those under the age of 30 believe in transparency.

Right now is a transition period. As a business you have to keep both camps happy. But if you plan on moving your company into the future you need to start moving toward transparency. Even the government is learning that lesson.

So to end this rant, whatever you are doing with Social Media, please take into account your audience, what you want them to do. Then build a strategy to make that happen and build the relationship and trust with your audience on the platforms that they are using.

If you are a car salesman and tweet all day, chances are you won’t sell many cars. But if you are on a group that is talking about the type of cars you sell and you build the relationship by giving them information that helps them with buying cars, maintaining cars and answering their questions. Then the chances of you selling more cars is greater because now you are a trusted advisor and not just another car salesman.

So the next time someone recommends a great Social Media Tool. Ask yourself the question:

Does this tool help me reach my audience, if not, don’t use the technology.

Technology without a Strategy is like buying 4 tires and not owning a car.

Les Adkins CEO Orange SMS (Social Media Solutions)

Tools to help you Stay Connected using Social Media

So some times we talk about how to….This time we are just going to give you a list of tools and links that you can use to stay connected to your audience, prospects and clients.

 

These first few links you have to be on LinkedIn and then sign up for the groups that provide this information.

First Group – Social Media Marketing (You have to be signed into LinkedIn to open the links below)

Go to the discussion:Can Anyone Recommend a good Social Media Monitoring Tool

Go to the promotion ” Comprehensive list of Social Media Links – tips, tools, apps and guides. What would you add?”

For those of you who are not on LinkedIn. (NOTE: If your audience is there or if you are trying to make professional connections you need to be.)

But anyway:

10 of the Best Social Media Tools for Entrepreneurs by Barb Dybwab

Social Media Tools for Small Business by Kate Trgovac

Top 100 Social Media Tools by Steve Dale

So that should be enough to keep you busy for a while.

Last Minute Tips:

  • Don’t try to use all the tools at once. You will go crazy.
  • Make sure you have a strategy before you start using any tools.
  • Remember that tools are a means to an end. It takes a hammer and nail to build a HOME
  • Find the right tools for your strategy
  • Find the right consultant to help you use these tools if you feel overwhelmed.

Tools are great but they need to be used in an overall Social Media Strategy: Remember POST:

P eople = who is your audience

O bjective = what do you want them to do?

S trategy = what will be different when you are done? what will success look like to you?

T echnology =which is best for you and where should you implement your strategy?

For this blog we will also make the “T” stand for Tools

Have fun with your new-found toys.

Les Adkins, CEO Orange SMS (Social Media Solutions)

 

Staying Connected to your Audience

The first thing you need to do in order to stay connected to your audience is know who your audience is.  I have already talked about this in First Step – To Create A Social Media Strategy . Once you have broken that magic definition of who your audience is you have to go where they are. The people you are trying to stay connected with are more than likely not on your website. You are trying to get them interested in your product or services but as we have discovered in Build Trust to Sell Stuff it is about the relationship. You have to build the relationship in the communities they are visiting and having a conversation.

I just realized that some of this is redundant but it is worth repeating. So bear with me. So where is your audience? Chances are if you are looking for executives and businesses they are on LinkedIn. If you are not currently on LinkedIn you need to be if you are looking for professional connections, prospects or if your audience is business to business. Within LinkedIn there are many diverse groups. Some of the ones that I belong to are:

  • eMarketing Association Network
  • Google Universe
  • Linked: Golfers
  • Social Learning for Professionals
  • Social Media Marketing

You get the picture I hope. The groups above and many more are where my audience is. It is your job to find the groups where your audience would hang out and talk, share and ask others for advice and help. Another business one that is still active, but not as popular, is Plaxo

If  your audience is the consumer you need to definitely be on Facebook with over 500 million members chances are your consumer audience is there. Ask Coca Cola why they are there. No really go to the link and ask them. They have over 14 million members plus several subpages like Coca Cola Australia. And with FB’s new groups and dynamics there should be many more to choose from.

Another way to stay connected is to listen for key words that your audience is talking about that would define them as your audience. You can do this through a number of services but I have found that HootSuite is a good one. You can monitor mentions and also schedule posts. We’ve already talked about Listening Stations, which are a great way to monitor what is being said and finding your audience that way.

There are many more places your audience is hanging out at. It is your job to find them.

  • Twitter
  • Bebo
  • hi5

And many more!

The important thing is to stay connected and to do that You Have To Know Your Audience. Social Media is a tool for you to have meaningful and not so meaningful conversations with your audience. Let them know you are in their world and you care about what they have to say.

Les Adkins, CEO Orange SMS (Social Media Solutions)

Build Trust to Sell Stuff

So this week we are talking about Building Trust and how to go about it. One of the most important things to remember when building trust for companies and organizations is to be sincere. That means don’t be fake! In today’s new market you have to build true relationships with the members of the community you participate in before you can sell to them.

There is song by Train “If it’s love” that has the line:

I’m not in it to win it, I’m in it for you.

This is a great line when it comes to building trust and selling in this new environment. I can hear the “A” personalities in Sales screaming and saying crazy phrases like,

Sale, Sale, Sale and Always Be Closing

I have over 25 years of sale’s experience and yes started selling in the 80′s where you learned how to make the sell, and use all the tricks to do it, but as I have said over and over it is a new market and a new economy. Don’t get me wrong I am not against selling, as a matter of fact I am all about selling.  But in today’s Social Media and Sale’s environment. The relationship comes first. You have to be about the other person. You have to truly care about their needs and understand how they think. You have to be “in it for the customer”.

Scott Goodknight “The Breakthru Guy” talks about helping others get what they want and you will get what you want. In social media it is about building the relationship first and then building trust and then and only then can you recommend a service or product.

From the Blog “TheValue of Trust In the Attention Economy: Influence is the New ROI” Robin Good  talks about attention economy he states:

Today, the relationship must come before the sale, not the other way around. By creating and nurturing your community and by making customers your good friends it is possible to develop new relationships and loyal supporters which can be an invaluable asset for any company in the market today.

Once you have a community of passionate fans and followers, it becomes easier to share your commercial recommendations and advice in ways that are more spontaneous, natural and credible.

I want to take it just a little bit further. You don’t have to have your own community you can join another community where your audience is and start building trust by adding value that enhances their lives.  To do this you must have a relationship and know what they are interested in.
Example:
  • If you are a web developer discuss the top 5 things to look for in a good web developer.
  • If you are an attorney blog about how to find a reputable attorney or what to wear to court.
  • If you are a roofer describe horror stories about independent roofing companies and what to be aware of to not get conned.
  • If you help companies with Social Media, blog about how to use Social Media to build trust. (Forgive the self plug)
You get the idea?  I’ll leave you with this quote about relationships from George Benckenstein:
Leveraging your relationships is a great way to increase awareness of your product, service or brand – but you actually have to become a respected and trusted member of your community and nurture your own network before you can tap into it’s potential.
  • You can’t fake a relationship
  • Relationships come before sales
  • Business is not the first order of business
  • Your personal brand comes first
Hope you are starting to see the difference between present and past. One last thing. The methods of the past are still working today and making people money. Do more than make money build a community of relationships that trust you and you can build an empire in the future.
Les Adkins, CEO Orange SMS – Social Media Solutions
Speaker and Entrepreneur

Fourth and Final Step – To Create a Social Media Strategy

So before we get to the last step of creating your “Social Media Strategy” I thought it would be a good idea to review the first three steps. By the way I wish I could take credit for this process but I need to give credit where credit is due. This is the strategy that is outlined in “The Social Media Bible”. Unfortunately I have not heard much from them lately, so be sure to check out their book. It is a great resource guide for building and implementing your Social Media Strategy.

So let’s review:

Step 1 – Decide on your Audience. Ask the question ” Who is your audience?”

Step 2 – Decide on your Objective. “What do you want your audience to do?”

Step 3 – Decide on your Strategy. “What will be different when you are done?” “What will success look like to you?”

So what is the fourth and final step? Well if you have been reading you know that it is usually the step most companies and people do first. They decide on the technology to use by creating a Facebook Business Page or they sign up for Twitter or join discussions on LinkedIn. All without knowing the first three steps. Audience, Objective and Strategy.

The fourth step to creating your Social Media Strategy is Technology. Which technology is best for you to implement your strategy? After discovering the first three steps you should have a pretty good idea of where to put your message. You use the technology or social media platform that your audience is participating in. Now you see why the first three steps are so important.

Deciding on the technology may be a little bit more complicated than you think. You have to do research here as well. You need to decide where your audience is. They may be on Facebook. They may be on LinkedIn. They may be on Twitter. Or they maybe on any of the 100′s of Social Media Sites that are out there and being created daily. Here are a couple of lists as a good starting point.

Top Social Media Sites

List of Social Media and Social Networking Sites

You may also need to create your own if you have an internal audience that consists of hundreds of employees and thousands of customers, or if you have the next “Big Idea”. IBM has their own internal Social Media Site and so do several other organizations. I personally am involved in creating sites for training organizations and a news organization. But this is a decision you have to decide on for yourself.

REMEMBER TO MAKE SURE THAT THE TECHNOLOGY IS BASED OFF OF THE FIRST THREE STEPS:

AUDIENCE

OBJECTIVE

STRATEGY

Sorry for the capital letters but I don’t want you to forget that point. What would be really sad would be if someone is reading this blog and signs up for one of the sites on the lists above before they did the first three steps. So you should tread lightly when deciding on the technology. It needs to be focused. Remember you need to maintain this strategy for quite some time to be successful. Do I have to mention the Tortoise and the Hare again?

Pitfalls at this point are as follows. The one thing that should be in your Strategy is your messaging. Social Media is not another venue for you to put your marketing message out. It is a place that you need to build trust before you can ask for business.

A few tips on messaging:

  1. After deciding what technology you are going to place your message on, spend some time being a voyeur.
  2. Read what other people are saying and talking about on the community and participate in that conversation and that conversation only.
  3. Spend a minimum of 12 weeks putting out information only. Don’t sell your wares. This information can be on how to pick an attorney, what goes into a business plan or anything else that directly relates to your business, but “Don’t sell your wares”
  4. Your objective is to build trust before you can start offering your services.When our grandparents were looking for a roofer or someone to fix their car they did not go online or look in the phone book or Google it. They asked the folks in their community who they trusted and they went with their recommendation.

To be successful in Social Media you need to build Trust!

So there you have it the Four Steps to creating a Social Media Strategy.

Audience

Objective

Strategy

Technology

I hope this has helped some of you. My goal is to have people and businesses use Social Media effectively and correctly. Social Media is supposed to be Social. You need to join the conversation, not just talk at your audience but talk with.

I believe any Social Media Strategy should have at its core the ability:

To Add Value to Human Kind

It is your job to determine how your business fits into that goal. Be creative, remember Social Media is supposed to be FUN!

Les Adkins, Founder and CEO, Orange SMS

Third Step – To Create a Social Media Strategy

So you have decided on your audience and asked the question “Who is your Audience?”.  You have decided on your Objective, what you want your audience to do and now what. Well you have the information you need to move to the next step. Keep in mind that the first two steps take a little bit of time. You may have never asked yourself “Who is your Audience” or “What is your Objective”. So even if you do not desire to have a Social Media Strategy the first two questions are great ones to find out when you are in business. You would be surprised at how many businesses struggle with those two questions. But that, as I said previously, is for another series of blogs.

So now you need to decide where to put your message, right (No sorry that is Wrong). This is where people get bogged down. They think they have all the information to move forward, but not quite yet. This is one of the most important steps. It is the step where you decide how you are going to become a  “Trust Agent” (If you haven’t read the book by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith you need to.)  We will spend some time on this in the next few weeks, but if you get the book you will be ahead of the curve.

The third step to creating a Social Media Strategy is to decide on your Strategy. You need to ask yourself another question. How are you going to fulfill your objective to meet your audience needs? You need to have a map and that is your strategy. This is how you become a Trust Agent to your audience. Don’t make the mistake of so many and begin selling your wares, whatever they are, before you build the trust. This is just one part of the strategy. So for those of you who want a very detailed definition of “Business Strategy” please follow the link by clicking on Business Strategy.  For this blog we are going to use a much simpler definition.

Alternative chosen to make happen a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.
When we talk about strategy I have narrowed it down to a very black and white statement.
What will be different when you are done? What will success look like to you?
If you can keep those questions in mind you will be able to narrow your strategy to an achievable action of time, resources and effort. The strategy that you decide on is as important as the first two steps. It will guide you on what communities to join and become part of the conversation, it will help you with your messaging, and it will keep your messaging consistent throughout your entire Social Media Strategy.
For some reason this step is a hard one for most. It is the step that people spend the least amount of time, but it should be the one that you spend the most time on. Coming up with a great strategy will help you succeed in the least amount of time. Remember that Social Media success goes to the Tortoise not the Hare. (If you don’t know the Tortoise and the Hare story ask your parents or your kids or what the heck click on the link).
Here are  a few hints to help you start developing your strategy (Remember it is a Social Media Strategy)
  1. Research where your audience is spending their time in social media.
  2. Ask colleagues and customers what social media sites they use and more importantly which ones they count on for good information.
  3. Start keeping a record of the answers you receive from the above.
  4. Set up a “listening station” See “Listening Station” for step by step details.
  5. Don’t develop the strategy on your own,  have a team or colleagues help you.

(These are just a few ideas to help you get started. You can go as deep as a SWOT analysis if you want.)

There is only one more step so stay tuned.

Les Adkins, Founder and CEO of Orange SMS