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Topic: social media

Social Media Risks

When I talk to business owners about social media and blogging, it is always the risks they are worried about.  What are the social media risks and how to do minimize the risks while still capitalizing on the social media opportunities?

Some businesses block access to twitter, facebook, myspace and more as a way to minimize the risk.  In some instances, this could be appropriate.  For example, in the medical area, if you have professionals that need to worry about HIPPA and such, it might be better to take any chance of leaking information that would put the organization at risk off the table.  Saying this will not be popular with social media professionals that think everyone should have access, but it is just the hard reality.  Sometimes the risks outweigh any potential reward.

That said, if you care about marketing, PR, customers and website traffic, the risks for not using social media probably are higher than risks using it.

The key to minimize the social media risks is training and documenting your policies.  What constitutes appropriate computer use at work?  Can you only use social media at work if it is in your job description?  What about people that talk about where they work while at home and off the clock?

Many law firms are now offering social media handbook services to help you craft this strategy.  Just be sure that the law firm understands the risks and rewards of social media.  If you could benefit from it, you do not want a policy in place that completely shuts it down.

Does your website say you care?

I have been giving a lot of thought to traditional websites, social media, blogs and all those other things that make up someone’s online entity.  There is a huge disconnect between people that get social media and people that say that their business has a website.

If you boil down why someone should do more than a business website, it comes down to one simple thing.  By participating in the social web you show you care.

  • A blog demonstrates your commitment to educate your audience.
  • Twitter shows you are interested in other people.
  • Video helps people get to know you.
  • Podcast shows show you want to have a conversation.
  • Social Bookmarking shows you want to share resources with others.

These are just some examples.  It is not the individual pieces that you chose, so much as it is the commitment to care about what is going on online, care about what people are saying and thinking and showing you care enough to participate as best you can.  I cannot remember the last time I visited a static (old style) website.  I don’t care about them, just like they do not care about me.

Twitter for your Business

The new social media platform Twitter has taken many bloggers by storm. We’ve found a lot of practical ways to use it, like for note-taking, time management, and setting up meetings. However, we’ve also found out that you can maximize its use for your business. Imagine, a free micro-blogging website doing wonders for your business. Not bad, eh?

Believe it or not, there are already plenty of companies who use Twitter in their business. For example, Cisco Systems and Whole Foods Market use Twitter to provide product or service information. You can also do the same for your business. If you have a new product that you’re about to launch in the market, you would want people to get excited about it. So, satisfy your customers’ cravings by letting them know what your product is about and when it’s going to be available. This is the modern way of spreading the news, so give it a shot!

You may also use Twitter for emergencies. In fact, the Los Angeles Fire Department used this technology during the California wildfires in October 2007. In the workplace, you will also experience emergency situations that need to be blasted to the right people immediately. Say you have a presentation with a client but the file on your thumb drive becomes corrupted ten minutes before the presentation, you would need somebody to send you a backup file ASAP, right? Through your mobile phone, you can blast a message to your team and let them know that you need a backup file sent to your email ASAP. That one simple message will be immediately sent to those who are subscribed to you or your group. One message sent to the rest of the team. No need to whip up your phone and make phone calls. No need to show your panic to your clients.

There’s a daily deal store called Woot that used Twitter to provide their customers and potential clients with snippets of information about their latest deals. You can actually do the same for your company. Is your company planning a big sale? Or will there be a conference or event where you want to invite potential customers? Blast it in Twitter and get their responses! You’ll be amazed by the replies that you will get, because some users might even give you an idea on how to make your product better.

Know what your customers want through Twitter. When you create a product, of course you want to make something that people would buy. And what else should help you figure out what your customers want? By asking them! A simple question that’s easy to answer should do the trick. For example, how much are you willing to spend for a career coaching session? That way, you’ll gain an alternative perspective of what people really want to spend their money on.

Finally, another great way to use Twitter is during your brainstorming with your team. Remember that you can opt to send a message to a particular group privately by using the direct message function. If you’re in the middle of your product development phase and an idea or concept pops in your mind, you can easily “tweet” this idea to the rest of the group so they can begin testing or analyzing its feasibility.

There are many other prominent uses of Twitter, these are just some of them. You can use Twitter as a business advantage. It’s free, convenient, and easy to use. Maximize the use of this free service today!

Guest Post By:

Maria Elena Duron, CEO, Buzz to Bucks, helps you build compelling connections through career upgrades, business growth and increased influence. Re-Invent, Re-Brand, and Re-Design YOU!

Buzz to Bucks provides online profile management services, social management and reputation management – helping key employees to establish higher visibility and provide consistency in branding as well as establishing the expertise in their industry for entrepreneurs.  Maria Elena Duron focuses on building visibility and a broader network for busy people who just don’t have the time to do it well.

Maria Elena Duron is Chief Buzz Agent™ and Inspiring Identity Coach with Buzz to Bucks Connections.  The agency focuses on visibility, credibility and profitability for individuals, professionals and small businesses with programs designed to Re-Invent, Rejuvenate and Re-Brand. To claim your FREE gift, Crafting Your On Brand Intro Toolkit, visit her site www.buzz2bucks.com . Join our online growing community of people inspired to develop their identity at www.inspiringidentity.com

I Made the Ryder Cup US Team

OK, getting on this great list may not qualify as really making the team.  I think it is more of a metaphor.

I feel especially honors to be part of this list because of the comment from Buzz Canuck:

Unlike some of the social media- and tech dedicated marketing and media bloggers, these broad-minded bloggers and company heads (below) have distinguished themselves by helping visitors understand how ideas spread, online and offline, through a range of different strategies and tactics and each recognizes the importance of having brands getting noticed, talked about and advocated in a 2.0 world.

In my opinion, they are much closer to explaining the purpose and benefits of a range of new media, web 2.0, co-creation, social networks and other web, cultural and social phenomenon.

He gets it.  It is not just about the cool tools, its about getting people to care enough to talk about you.  Thanks Sean.

Stop Wasting Everyone’s Time

is anyone listening? OK, this one will piss a couple of people off.

Why do so many developers keep thinking their social media network is something new.  Sure, they may have a new feature or two, but since most people want to keep it simple, maybe development is too easy and now we are all just having our time wasted by everyone trying to promote their version of the same old thing.

I am a huge fan of innovation.  I love new technology that is interesting and makes life easier.  I hate me too sites.

The same could be said for blogging.  So I do not consider myself immune on this.  When I started my company 10 years ago I was a true thought leader on education and technology.  Now I feel like a social media pimp.

On the one hand, I can really help people be successful online and in new media.  However, since most people that we help spend far less time than me doing this, they really only need basic advice.  So no pushing the envelope or looking at the broader picture of how these tools will shape the world and someday stop being a mess and start making life easier.

I am calling on the Developers and Writers of the world to Stop Wasting Everyone’s Time.

No more me too technologies.   Any website can be cloned – that is not the point.  Any slightly curious person can set up a social network – but are you making the world a better place or adding to the noise?

Welcome to the Age of Noise

Forget the Information Age.  We are now living in the Age of Noise.

Until some technologies pull together the diverse oppportunities and opinions better, we will all just continue to get more distracted, more frustrated and work more dilligently than ever to game the system  in our own little way.

I think the people at Google know this.  They have had this discussion and are building many different pieces and they will eventually be able to say, “The web is too noisy, just play in our universe and get more focused and valuable information.”

I do not mean today.  They are still learning evaluation techniques, what people find valuable, etc.  Eventually they will be able to pull all those pieces together.  Even now, think of the number of websites that they never generate traffic to because they do not rank highly.

The Death of Advertising

Lots of people got excited when it seemed formal advertising was on the way out.  It is only less effective because it has gotten lost in the noise.   Now it just needs to be in even more places to reach the same number of people.

But You Love Social Media?

Sure you do.  Doesn’t it feel good to know you have 2 new friends you have never met every day or 5 new followers – you must be very important and interesting.  The numbers make your feel good, but wouldn’t you trade 100 virtual friends for one real friend?

Thinking Deeper

There is so much noise and distraction that people are losing the ability to think deeply.  I am talking about relaxing someplace with no cell phone or computer and really puzzling out problems or interesting issues.   I am talking about the kind of thing that can solve big problems, not just contribute to minor marketing or productivity increases.

Humans are most interesting when they think deeply.  When you wonder why people are not responding well to you, maybe it is because you are just creating more of the same old noise, and it is only special to you because you created it.

Am I a Hypocrite?

Yes and no.  I have been taking some time off to go for walks or sit in the hammock, and really think like I used to.  I am going to keep going through the motions (I have to eat) but expect changes.  My passion is to change the world for the better, not to teach people how to use facebook.  I am still pondering how it will all fit together.

NOTE:  This is an official rant.

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Social Media Manager or Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Buzz Assistant can easily also be called a Social Media Manager.

What are the differences?

  1. A Social Media Manager is full time and explores all kinds of ways for developing relationships and great information online.  A Virtual Buzz Assistant focuses on the specific social media tasks as defined by their client.
  2. A Social Media Manager can handle complaints, bad reviews or negative comments.  A Virtual Buzz Assistant will point these items out to clients and the client should act on them.
  3. A Social Media Manager is doing many social networking tasks.  Virtual Buzz Assistants focus on fewer high value tasks and leave experimentation up to the client.
  4. Social Media Managers need to create great original content about the business.  Virtual Buzz Assistants might create content, but rarely are they the main messenger of the organization.
  5. Social Media Managers monitor the web for information EVERY DAY.  A Virtual Buzz Assistant can, but rarely do clients schedule enough hours to include the service.  It is time intensive.
  6. If you employ a social media manager, they should go to all kinds of conferences and group meetings, because those online relationships actually get stronger when you meet people face to face.  A Virtual Buzz Assistant can do that for you, but it is unlikely you will want to send a VA.

This post is not to say that Social Media Managers are better than Virtual Buzz Assistants.  It is a budget issue.  They are both great options.  If you cannot afford a full time social media manager then a Virtual Buzz Assistant, with some great involvement from you, is the next best thing.

Read: Example of what a Social Media Manager would do

Free Video – Why Blog?

- Watch a free video on why to blog -

I do presentations all the time about social media and blogging.

In fact, next week I will be talking to a bunch of CEO’s about why they need blogs for their organizations.

Since I only have 30 minutes, I am breaking it down into answering the 7 questions I get most frequently, and inviting them to follow up with me after (hopefully in the paid, consulting kinda way.)

Since I have been trying to improve my video skills of late, I did a shorter version of the presentation.  If you are on the fence about blogging, watch this presentation.  It should answer your questions and be realistic.

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Social Media Careers

The old door...Are there really careers in social media and networking?

Thanks to Womma for pointing this one out – The 7 Best Jobs forFacebook Addicts.

The fact is, online social networks are places of vast influence.  Any company that wants to tap into these groups needs to either hire a full time person to just focus on these audiences, or  hire a Virtual Buzz Assistant to do it for them.

I find that the biggest problem to running a successful business on the web is that marketing takes up so much time that I sometimes forget about the product and the business.  Social Media sucks you in.  Hiring someone dedicated to only growing influence online is a smart move.

Yes You Do Have a Content Marketing Strategy!

Eslite Bookstore in Taichung Chung-yo Departme...Image via WikipediaI just read an excellent post at Chris Brogan’s blog about Content Marketing.

If you think you do not have a content marketing strategy, you are wrong.  It is just that your content marketing strategy stinks.

Do any of these describe your stinky content strategy?

  • You have a website that never changes
  • You started a blog but it did not produce sales so you stopped
  • You write about things every once in a while but no one seems to care
  • Your enewsletter has a small audience and a low open rate
  • You write directly about your products that you are trying to sell all the time

The #1 reason I love Chris’ post is that he is discussing content marketing, not blogging.  When I talk to people about blogging, they think that setting up a blog and posting occasionally should do something for them. It may, but people usually give up before it kicks in.

If you instead understand that you are considering a content marketing strategy, then everything changes.  It is not about the technology (wordpress hosting) but about how you are going to build an audience and content that generates leads long term.

Now lets imagine that you are starting a TV show.  Is your TV show a success because you filmed 10 episodes?  Or is your TV show a success because you have built an audience and advertisers want to sponsor it?  Obviously the latter.

If you want to have a serious content marketing strategy, you are going to have to write about what people want to read, not what you want to tell them.  And you are going to need to learn how to write artilces for search engines as well as people, and how to build links and how to use social media to not be invisible.

Does it sound like a lot of work?  It is.

You’d think that all the great free martketing tools and low cost publishing solutions would benefit the small business owner.  It does not.  The constantly changing landscape and the skills that are needed to use them well mean that creating the audience and producing content is a bigger part of your job than running your business.  And lets face it, you probably do not have the time or the money to do it right.

That does not mean that you are not going to get results.  It does mean that you are very unlikely to get big results unless you make a big effort, which means all those “free” tools are not so free because you need people feeding them great, original and interesting content.

This is not something new

Years ago we went into business with a great eMagazine publishing system.  We got a fair number of clients and we were not a cheap hosting solution.  The problem we found was that our big clients (Universities and Magazine Publishers) were using the tools every week and getting fantastic results because they had people committed to publishing emagazines on a big scale to audiences that cared.

Our smaller clients, usually small businesses,  liked the idea of publishing emagazines and they were paying clients – but they were not getting a good ROI.  Why?  They liked the idea but they did not actually use the tools consistently.  I hated taking their money, even though we were providing them with a good solution that had the potential to create huge value.

Flash forward to now.  Web publishing solutions are everywhere for free or for a very low cost.  But you are still not getting it.  It is not about the tools, it is about having a solid content marketing strategy.

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Offline Activity that Drives Website Traffic

Because online marketing is newer than other forms of marketing, it is easy to think of them as two different worlds.  However, if you think of business being about relationships and providing value, that barrier breaks down right away.

The question is not whether online will work for you.  The very legitimate question is, Do you have the time and inclination to use online tools to extend what you are doing?

I do not do direct mail.  I don’t want to, and while I may be losing out on some clients, I do not care because I do not believe in direct mail as an effective marketing tool in most cases.

For many business owners, they have a website, but they do not believe in internet marketing.  That is fine as well.  It is your choice, and it is less about whether it works or not, and more about your inclination to try to do it right.

Something that is often lost is that online extends off-line.  Here are some ideas on how to use your real-world marketing and online marketing to form a great marketing alliance.

  1. Speech Teaser – When you give a speech, mention the limited time but let the audience know where to go on your website to find a video of 5 more secret tips.  Ideally it is after they sign up for the newsletter.
  2. Direct Mail – Go to the website and sign in to get your secret discount code – or to see if you have won a prize.
  3. Brochure – Expand your paper brochure with a website address that has video of your product, service, etc.
  4. Business Card – Don’t just list your main website.  List your blog or other resources.  Use the back of your business card to add value.
  5. Networking – When you have a chance to meet people and work with people, use sites like LinkedIn to connect and leave testimonials and endorsements.
  6. Cold Calling – When you call someone and they are interested in your offer, get their email and send them a link or two to video or resources that will interest them but not be too sales oriented.
  7. Print – Always have ways to get more information by visiting the website.  I recently saw a whole proposal done as a public blog to demonstrate the companies commitment to social media.
  8. Advertising – No matter what your advertising, they should be able to explore the topic more by going online.

If you are doing all of these things, you could say that you are doing Internet marketing, you could say you are doing traditional marketing, or you could just say you are a damn fine marketer.

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