Day 13: “Get Out There”

So in today’s world we wake up, go to our computer, put out fires, answer emails, engage with our social networks, play “Farmville” (or the game of your choice), write blogs, write content, make a few calls and then it’s time to go to bed and start all over again tomorrow.

On October 13th I received an email from Don Crowther which stated that he “…realized I originally met virtually EVERY person who has had a major impact on my business at a live event of some kind!”

My friend Cathy Cunningham Hankinson and I decided to meet at a Networking Event called LIQUID here in Atlanta. She made the statement “People would get a lot more business if they just got out there”

So “Get Out There” and meet people. Now granted since I help others with social media I believe you can connect through social media, but you also need to “Get Out There” and rub elbows.

Last year I probably attended over 30 networking and live events. This year it has been closer to 6 or 7. I have noticed a sharp decline in my business opportunities as opposed to last year.

I made a conscious decision to be more focused and strategic with the events I attended this year (and I still believe in this strategic focus concerning the events you attend) but there has to be a happy medium between 7 and 30!

If you look at the platforms like Google+ and LinkedIn they are discussing and promoting live events all around the world that have specific goals of people in  technology or photography or other like interests meeting face to face.

With everything new we learn and adapt to make it the most productive it can be. Social Media is learning that it needs both the online community interaction and the face to face interaction to truly bring people together and create great ideas. Just look at TED.

So be strategic, be focused, and GET OFF THE CHAIR AND GET OUT THERE! It will make you feel more positive and help your business grow!

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and an International 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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Social Media Expert?

      So is there such a thing as a “Social Media Expert”? Lately I have been seeing a lot about this subject on the group “Social Media Today” on LinkedIn  and Google +. As well as several other blogs. Yesterday I was in a meeting where I was called a “Social Media Expert” several times but I do not consider myself an expert, just someone who has been working with Social Media for over 6 years and understands how to make it work and also I keep my eyes on what’s new and what the new trends are.

I don’t believe anyone can be an expert on Social Media or any industry for that matter unless you keep learning about the industry and the changes that happen within that industry.  When I first started working in Social Media I used to love to ask people who said they knew all about Social Media if they had heard of Second Life and Kaneva. Most said no, so that told me something.

For those of you who don’t know they are virtual worlds that allow individuals to interact in a social way using an avatar and many businesses are using this as well.

Here is what I wanted to say. I have seen many lists and many opinions on what to look for when looking for a Social Media Strategist or so-called “Expert”. I agree whole heartedly with most of these but I have one big question.

How are the people who are deciding what’s on these lists coming up with the information. Yes it needs to work, it needs to be more than how to create a FB (Facebook) page, and it needs to be a part of a holistic strategy. But who is right?

One of the big ones I see all the time is that if you have 1008 followers on Twitter and you follow 1010 people this is a flag that you may not be a social media ex… But I have to ask the question, does having a large following on Twitter make you an expert or does what you communicate to that audience, no matter the size of the audience, matter more?

I have been thinking about this for a while and just wanted to state that just because someone thinks that you have to be a certain way in order to be a Social Media Expert doesn’t mean that you should let them have the last word. You should pick consultants and firms to help you with your Social Media based on your relationship with them, their knowledge of social media overall, their knowledge of integrating it into your current business processes and (here comes a big one) – helps you build trust and affects behavior with the social media strategy and implementation you are, or plan on doing.

See, couldn’t help myself, had to give my own opinion. But keep in mind that this is a young industry and remember that the “Experts” used to state without a doubt in their mind with many measurable results that the “World was Flat”. This was a common and accepted thought for years. So the next time you see a list (and I have some out there) or someone stating how to pick a Social Media Expert just keep in mind that it might be a good idea to think that it is just their opinion.

The World is not Flat it is round but we did not figure that out until one man overcame this old thought which was prevalent in the first half of the 20th century. Not that long ago. So lighten up out there on what you think or don’t think a Social Media Expert is.

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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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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100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media

Chris Brogan

You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. – Tyler Durden, Fight Club.

Branding one’s self in an online environment built on entropy and go-baby-go is difficult at best, and impossible if you forget to take your happy pills. To that end, I’ve come up with a quick list of 100 things you might do to help with these efforts. Feel free to add your ideas to the comments section.

If you like this one, please don’t hesitate to stumble, blog, digg, bookmark, and otherwise promote the hell out of this. That’s another tactic, by the way. : )

Listening

* Build ego searches using Technorati and Google Blogsearch
* Comment frequently (and meaningfully) on blogs that write about you and your posts
* Don’t forget the conversations hiding in Twitter (use Summize.com) and Friendfeed. Be sure to stay aware of those.
* If you can afford it, buy professional listening tools, like Radian6 or others in that category.
* Use Google Reader to store your ego searches.
* Use Yahoo! Site Explorer to see who’s linking to your site.
* Use heat map tools like CrazyEgg to see how people relate to your site.
* Listen to others in your area of expertise. Learn from them.
* Listen to thought leaders in other areas, and see how their ideas apply to you.
* Don’t forget podcasts. Check out iTunes and see who’s talking about your area of interest.
* Track things like audience/community sentiment (positive/negative) if you want to map effort to results.

Home Base

* Home base is your blog/website. Not everyone needs a blog. But most people who want to develop a personal brand do.
* Buy an easy-to-remember, easy-to-spell, content-appropriate domain name if you can. Don’t be TOO clever.
* A really nice layout doesn’t have to cost a lot, but shows you’re more than a social media dabbler.
* Your “About” page should be about you AND your business, should the blog be professional in nature. At least, it should be about you.
* Make sure it’s easy to comment on your site.
* Make sure it’s easy for people to subscribe to your site’s content.
* Use easy to read fonts and colors.
* A site laden with ads is a site that doesn’t cherish its audience. Be thoughtful.
* Pay attention to which widgets you use in your sidebar. Don’t be frivolous.
* Load time is key. Test your blog when you make changes, and ensure your load times are reasonable.
* Register your site with all the top search engines.
* Claim your site on Technorati.com
* Use WebsiteGrader.com to make sure your site is well built in Google’s eyes.

Passports

* Passports are accounts on other social networks and social media platforms. It’s a good idea to build an account on some of these sites to further extend your personal branding.
* Twitter.com is a must if you have a social media audience. It also connects you to other practitioners.
* Facebook and/or MySpace are useful social networks where you can build outposts (see next list).
* Get a Flickr account for photo sharing.
* Get a YouTube account for video uploading.
* Get a StumbleUpon.com account for voting.
* Get a Digg.com account for voting, as well.
* Get an Upcoming.org account to promote events.
* Get a del.icio.us account for social bookmarking.
* Get a WordPress.com account for its OpenID benefits.
* Get a LinkedIn account for your professional network.
* Take a second look at Plaxo. It’s changed for the better.
* Get a Gmail.com account for use with reader, calendar, docs, and more.

Outposts

* Build RSS outposts on Facebook. Add Flog Blog, and several other RSS tools.
* Build a similar outpost on MySpace, if your audience might be there.
* Make sure your social media is listed in your LinkedIn profile.
* Add a link to your blog to your email signature file (this is still an outpost).
* Be sure your social network profiles on all sites has your blog listed, no matter where you have to put it to list it.
* Make sure your passport accounts (above) point to your blog and sites.
* Use social networks respectfully to share the best of your content, in a community-appropriate setting.
* Don’t forget places like YahooGroups, Craigslist, and online forums.
* Email newsletters with some links to your blog makes for an effective outpost, especially if your audience isn’t especially blog savvy.
* Podcast content can have links to your URL and might draw awareness back to your content, too.

Content

* Create new content regularly. If not daily, then at least three times a week.
* The more others can use your content, the better they will adopt it.
* Write brief pieces with lots of visual breaks for people to absorb.
* Images draw people’s attention. Try to add a graphic per post. (Not sure why this works, but it seems to add some level of attention.)
* Mix up the kinds of pieces you put on your site. Interviews, how-to, newsish information, and more can help mix and draw more attention.
* Limit the number of “me too” posts you do in any given month to no more than three. Be original, in other words.
* The occasional ‘list’ post is usually very good for drawing attention.
* Write passionately, but be brief (unless you’re writing a list of 100 tips).
* Consider adding audio and video to the mix. The occasional YouTube video with you as the star adds to your personal branding immensely, especially if you can manage to look comfortable.
* Brevity rules.

Conversation

* Commenting on other people’s blogs builds awareness fast.
* The more valuable your comments, the more it reflects on your ability and your character.
* Use your listening tools to stay active in pertinent discussions.
* Try not to brag, ever. Be humble. Not falsely so, but truly, because a lot of what we do isn’t as important as saving lives.
* Ask questions with your blog posts. Defer to experts. Learn from the conversation.
* Be confident. Asking for external validation often is a sign of weakness.
* Good conversations can be across many blogs with links to show the way.
* Try never to be too defensive. Don’t be a pushover, but be aware of how you present yourself when defending.
* Disclose anything that might be questionable. Anything, and quickly!
* Don’t delete critical blog comments. Delete only spam, abrasive language posts, and offensive material. (Have a blog comments policy handy, if you get into the deleting mode.

Community

* Remember that community and marketplace are two different things.
* Make your site and your efforts heavily about other people. It comes back.
* Make it easy for your community to reach you.
* Contribute to your community’s blogs and projects.
* Thank people often for their time and attention.
* Celebrate important information in your community (like birthdays).
* Be human. Always.
* Your community knows more than you. Ask them questions often.
* Apologize when you mess up. Be very sincere.
* Treat your community like gold. Never subject them to a third party of any kind without their consent.
* Knowing more about your competitors’ communities is a useful thing, too. Learn who visits, why they visit, and how they interact.
* Measuring your efforts in building community grows out your brand as a natural extension.

Face to Face

* Have simple, useful, crisp business cards to share. Always.
* Be confident in person.
* Clothes and appearance DO matter. WIsh they didn’t, but they do.
* Have a very brief introduction / elevator pitch and practice it often.
* Ask questions of people you meet. Get to know them.
* Don’t seek business relationships right off. Instead, seek areas of shared interest.
* Know when to walk away politely.
* Don’t try to meet everyone in a room. Meet a half dozen or more great new people.
* Never doubt that you are worth it.
* If you’re terribly shy, consider finding a “wing man” for events.
* Doing homework ahead of time (finding people’s most recent blog posts, googling them, etc) helps one feel “in the know.”
* Make eye contact. It’s MUCH more powerful than you know.

Promotion

* Use Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us and Google Reader to drive awareness.
* Promote others even more than you promote yourself
* Bragging isn’t useful to anyone besides your own ego
* Linking and promoting others is a nice way to show you care about people
* Don’t digg/stumble/link every single post. Save it for your very best
* Another promotional tool: guest blog on other sites
* Another promotion tool: make videos on YouTube with URL links
* Another promotion tool: use the status section of LinkedIn and Facebook
* Try hard not to send too many self-promotional emails. Wrap your self-promotion in something of value to others, instead.
* Sometimes, just doing really good work is worthy of others promoting you. Try it.

You probably have some great ideas to add to this. I’d love to hear what you want to add, or feel free to blog your own list and add value to the project that way. In any case, I hope this was helpful, and I wish you great success in your efforts to brand yourself and show the world what a rockstar you are.

The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.