Archive for April, 2009

18
Apr
09

Social Media Sensation: Susan Boyle

susan-boyleThis is interesting.  As I’m beginning this post, the Today Show is doing a spot on Susan.  Susan Boyle is quickly becoming a household name.  She wowed judges on Britain’s Got Talent just a few short days ago.  Now, she’s everywhere.

If you take a quick visit to Youtube, you can simply search for Susan’s name.  That will get you what you’re looking for.  As of my viewing of the video, there were well over 25 million views to the site.  Going by the date the video was posted (April 11), that’s 25 million views in a week, or about 3.5 million views a day!

Now, go to Facebook.  Search for her name.  You’ll find numerous groups, with the official fan page group having over 500,000 fans.  Not bad for someone who just wanted a chance.

I see numerous takeaways from this story, but I’ll share just a few.

1. From a business standpoint, how could social media give your business this type of buzz?  Like Susan’s voice, what outstanding attribute does your business have that could make customers fans of yours on Facebook?  What sets you apart?  That’s more than a social media question.  That’s a fundamental business question.

2. Never judge a book by it’s cover.  Enough said.

3. When you have a chance to show what you’ve got, bring it!  Shine like you never have before because this may be your one shot.  Susan did just that and it has changed her world as she has changed ours.

Thanks, Susan.  Thanks for sharing your talent, your story and for your willingness to shine when you were given your chance.

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17
Apr
09

Twitter apps

So, how can you make Twitter more effective?  Here are a few side applications that I use to make my tweets a little more effective.

TwitterFeed-I use TwitterFeed to automatically post things that I do to a tweet.  For instance, when I publish this post to the web, TwitterFeed will automatically tweet that I have a new blog post.  It will include the title plus a TinyURL link to the article.  Automatically.  I also use this to follow my Shared Items on Google Reader.  When I tag an item as “shared”, it automatically will post a link to that web page to Twitter.  I love automation.

TweetLater– I use TweetLater for a couple different things.  You can schedule tweets to be posted at various times in the future.  For instance, if you’re going to be away from your computer and not have internet access, you can schedule tweets to happen while you’re away.

You can also use TweetLater to search Twitter for certain key word terms that you might want to see what people are tweeting about or talking about.  Want to know if anyone is tweeting about your company or city?  Add these terms to your keyword search list.  You can receive a report sent to your email at various time intervals.  I get one every 4 hours.

You can also use TweetLater to autoatically send a direct message to new followers.  It’s a quick way to respond to those new followers even if you’re not around.  You can also have TweetLater begin to automatically follow those new followers.

TweetDeck-TweetDeck is like your personal browser for Twitter.  You can sort and pull out certain people you are following.  You can search for key terms.  Send direct messages and also post tweets from TweetDeck.

So what’s your favorite Twitter application?  Let me know.

Have a great day!

14
Apr
09

Twitter for Business

open-for-business

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twitter_logosequalsquestion_mark

I think the most frequent question I’ve received regarding social media is the one Naples Girl posted in response to my post yesterday.  How do I use Twitter for my business?  Great question.  I mean, after all, you’ve only got 140 characters to work with, right?  Through approximately 45 words to this point, I’ve already surpassed that number of characters.  So how am I supposed to use this for my business?  I’ve got a lot to say about my business.  The world needs to know what we have to offer them, but I can’t do that in 140 characters!  AAAGGGGGHHHHHH!

Hold on.  Deep breath in……out……good.  Now, let’s move on.  First, remember that your primary goal with Twitter, as with any social media, is to engage your customers.  Engaging your customers is MORE than just announcing you’re open for business, so come and buy, buy, buy.  Sorry, not interested.  And, now I’m offended.  I don’t want to be sold something on Twitter, but I might be interested in finding something that might help me.

One other thing to remember, you may be limited to only so many characters with Twitter, but here’s the question: how much value can you create in a limited space?  What can you tweet about that will provide the most value to your customer?  Just something to think about-you can post pictures, YouTube videos, links to websites and blogs in your tweets.  Take a look at the first sentence of this post.  I gave you 2 links in one sentence.  Those links are meant to enhance your experience with this post because you can see my post from yesterday and you can also check out one of my friend’s blogs.  The link to Naples Girl’s blog kind of makes it more personal.  Not merely just the generic “letter out of the mailbag” approach.  Get it?  Good.

So, how can you use Twitter to help your business?  Let me give you a few ideas.  These are merely general suggestions.  Real life examples would be dependent upon your business and industry.  Here we go:

  1. Promote your blog. I’ve seen a few companies that use this to promote certain individual’s blog posts.  For instance, the CEO, company president, IT guy, etc. Please only do this if this person’s blog engages the customer and provides something of value to them.  I’m kind of jumping ahead here, but I’ll let you know ahead of time what I’ll be posting later this week.  I use Twitterfeed specifically for this purpose.  Everytime I post on my blog, Twitterfeed sends a tweet to my Twitter account with the heading “New blog posting:” and then the title with a TinyURL link to the post.  Happens automatically-everytime.
  2. Give your customers an inside peek. If you have a fun corporate culture at your company, you could try this approach.  This approach assumes that your frequent customers understand the culture and what your company is about.  And, you probably are on a first name basis with your regular customers.  Let me put this in context: If Twitter were around in the 80’s, Sam Malone could have easily posted about the daily happenings at Cheers! A tweet could have merely read, “Norm!”  In this context, your regular customers will get it, and your prospective customers may dig a little deeper to find out what you’re about and jump in the fun.  Who knows, you may be able to inadvertently recruit a great employee who fits the company culture.  Just a thought.  WARNING: IF YOUR COMPANY CULTURE IS NOT FUN-DO NOT USE THIS.  YOU’LL SCARE AWAY YOUR CUSTOMERS.  NO ONE WANTS TO KNOW YOUR NEW POLICY.  Sorry.
  3. Share links to company or industry specific news. Did you find a great blog post or article on something that your customers would find valuable AND interesting?  Post it.  If you use Google Reader, you can do this through Twitterfeed with one mouse click.  If not, you’ll want to utilize TinyURL to shorten the link and make it fit into the space.  Remember, the two key words here are VALUABLE and INTERESTING, both from the customer’s point of view.
  4. Post pictures and YouTube videos. Twitpic can help with the pictures.  If you post the URL for the YouTube video in the tweet, it will automatically pull up the preview box for your visitors to watch it right on your Twitter page.  Pictures or videos of events where customers are having fun would be ideal.  Again, trying to show your company culture, if it’s worth sharing. 🙂
  5. Exclusivity/Insider Access. Ok, this is a direct sales pitch, but it might be a way to engage your customers with something of value.  I’m just throwing out ideas here. How about offering your Twitter customers a certain discount or % off a purchase for a specific period of time?  You can set up the stipulations, mention Twitter, tweet about your experience with our company, tell what you like about us, etc.  Shaquille O’Neal has been known to give away game tickets on his Twitter page.  This will make your Twitter customers feel special and like they have access to something the others don’t.  Oh yeah, make sure that they become “followers” of your feed and vice versa.

So there’s 5 ideas to get you started.  Kick them around.  Try them out.  Let me know how it works out.  Just general ideas.

Stay tuned.  More to come tomorrow!

Have a great day!

13
Apr
09

Twitter!

twitter_logosFor this week, I’m going to focus on Twitter.  Many people I talk to seem to be intrigued by Twitter and how to use it.  Most I’ve talked to seem to feel as if it is a worthless way to tell someone that you’re heading off to work, combing your hair or getting take out for dinner.

It’s actually much more than that.  Well, at least it can be.  As with any tool, it depends on how you use it.  There are some practical uses that you could possibly use for your business and that’s what I’ll cover this week.

Twitter seems to be the “media darling” of the social networking sites at this point, as everytime you turn around, someone is talking about it in the media.  Actually, a lot of the media have embraced this technology.  CNN, FoxNews, & ESPN all have Twitter pages updating breaking news.  Sometimes, the traditional media even find the news breaking on Twitter, as I’ve mentioned before.  So even though it has a funny sounding name, Twitter is a legitimate social network.

I’ve already got some ideas to talk about concerning Twitter, however, I want to hear from you.  What would you like to know about Twitter?  Specific questions-leave a comment below and I’ll address them.

Have a great day!

09
Apr
09

LinkedIn-Recommendations–Building your reputation online

People with their thumbs up meaning a great business plan

One of the features that might be the most valuable on LinkedIn is the ability to give and receive recommendations.  Recommendations are, just that, your professional network testifying to your abilities online.  The recommendations are posted to your LinkedIn profile for others to read.  If you use your LinkedIn account correctly (tell others about it, put it on your resume header, link in your email signature) it can be a powerful tool for you.

Aside from the benefit of having someone speak favorably of you, two other positives happen: 1) you get a “thumbs up” icon with the number of recommendations you have on your profile next to your name and 2) your LinkedIn network is notified when you are recommended by someone or recommend somone yourself.  Both will build your professional credibility.

One rule that I use, and I believe is an absolute must: if you receive a recommendation, you must return the favor.  Currently, I have a few recommendations to write myself for individuals who were kind enough to write one for me.  I’m grateful for their willingness to help me and so, I will return the favor.

Have a great day!

08
Apr
09

LinkedIn-Networking through groups

people-around-lightbulb

One of the nice features of LinkedIn is that it allows you to join groups online.  The groups are formed around various interest groups, alumni associations, companies, etc.  Our local Chamber of Commerce, is using LinkedIn groups for a couple of their groups.

These groups allow for interaction for the group’s members through a couple different formats:

  1. You can view what other LinkedIn members are part of that group.  This gives you a source of common interest that you can begin networking with other professionals about.  You’re part of the same group, so you know you have at least some common interest in that area.  It’s a conversation starter, at the least.
  2. News:  You can post web addresses of article that you’d like for the group to review, discuss, and debate.
  3. Jobs: You can either post a job to the group’s site or look for a job.  If a connection has posted a job you might be interested in, guess what, you have a possible connection to the person or company hiring for that job.  Congratulations and welcome to networking!

The groups can be one of the more interactive pieces of LinkedIn can create real value for you and your company.  Check it out.

07
Apr
09

LinkedIn–Telling your story on LinkedIn

man-with-megaphone

To start the discussion about LinkedIn, one of the most important parts of the process is to let people know who you are, what you’re capable of, and what you’ve accomplished.  As the great Zig Ziglar has spoke about, in today’s times, you need to focus on employment security instead of job security.  That’s a little different thought process.  If your job disappeared tomorrow, could you find employment farily easy?  Something to think about.

LinkedIn can be a valuable venue that allows you to list the positions that you have held and tell, briefly, what you have accomplished in each of those positions.  Historical information like this can lead to more connections in your LinkedIn network as you can search for past colleagues.  Plus, it gives you a place to add that information that you may not get to place on a resume. There’s also a way to link your blog (supposing that it is a professional blog) to your LinkedIn profile.  For instance, within a few minutes of this blog being posted on my WordPress blog, a link to it will also appear on my LinkedIn profile.

Oh, and by the way, IMPORTANT TIP here: when you first sign up, your web address will be  something like http://www.linkedin.com/in/8aga7agdg6.  The last part will be a meaningless series of letters and numbers.  You have the option to change this to anything you want.  I would advise you change it to your name.  Simple and easy to remember.  For instance, mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/marklabutis.  Easy to remember.  I didn’t even have to look that up.  This is a personal branding issue.  You are talking about “You, Inc”.  Fill in your name where the word “you” was in the last sentence.

Now, how do you get people to your LinkedIn profile?  Good question.  Here’s a few quick tips:

1. Ask if you can put your LinkedIn profile web address on your business card.  You may need to work with various departments in your organization to get this accomplished.  Depending on where you work, this may be a new thing to some employers.

2. Put a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature.  The link is a quick and easy way to let people view this information and gives them easier access to your profile.

3. Put a LinkedIn badge on your webpage, blog or other social networking sites.  Cross promote your online presence from site to site.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at the email address to your right.

Have a great day!