Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What Social Media is NOT

I am preparing a presentation on what social media is and what social media is NOT.

I decided that social media is NOT:

It is NOT a one way street - I have talked before about my utter displeasure with people that constantly post or retweet articles - one after another - nothing they have written, nothing original. No one will know who you are or even why they should consider your reading recommendations.

It is NOT a platform to be someone you are not - in the social media world, you will be found out. LinkedIn links to Twitter links to Facebook and on and on. Feigning an interest or some uber-cool persona and you will be found out - you will be found out and you will not build trust. In order to build interpersonal trust online or off you MUST show integrity. ...so let your freak flag fly!

It is NOT just another sales platform - There are plenty of people and companies out there that just post sale information or offer their services through an automated setting. This is just tacky...The public gets that via traditional media, Television and Radio - automated sales pitches. Sure plenty of people may follow or fan you to get the inside scoop on specials you are running. But if you are only using social media in this way, you are missing out on an amazing opportunity to offer individualized customer service and build a real bond with your customers.

What other things is social media NOT?

Monday, December 21, 2009

I hate it when that happens

I am reading Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchk. To be more specific, I am on page 13. I have already jumped up from my chair once to bring an idea to somone down the hall.

My Twitter Bio says I am an "Idea Muse"...which basically means I have good ideas and take joy in implementing them. I wonder if I will ever be able to inspire the passion in others that he can do in a few pages. To ever be able to say more than "I have this gret idea for you, you should do it." I want to inspire action instead of "Lorri that's great! but what is my return on in?"...I want to scream...trust me just do it!..because when I KNOW something, I KNOW it in my gut, without a lot of concrete facts to back it up.

I can't wait to finish this book and see if there is any way I can have my inner Gary help me help them!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Black Belt in Simple

Last night I helped a friend by Digging her article. Since I logged onto Digg.com with my Facebook account, the article was also posted to my Facebook news feed. I mentioned this to her and she linked accounts also. Her response to me after doing this easy step, was "Do you have a black belt in this shit?"

I laughed and thought "NO!" all of this social media stuff is so easy, why are people so confused by it? Or maybe it is just me, I have been using social media for years - I have a great friend in Ohio that I have never met face to face, but we chatted on message boards, hers and mine. We found each other on Gather, MySpace and now Facebook. And now I can take those skills I learned at home and apply them at work. I have been clicking buttons for years and asking "What does this do?".

The one tip can I share with you about using and connecting your social media - Look for those "Sign in with Facebook or Twitter" and use them - it's that simple and you can get your Black Belt Too!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Video

My recent mission has been to figure out podcasting and streaming video. My conclusion has been that you should broadcast frequently about whatever you are passionate about. Don't be too careful, Be yourself and just put it all out there. Eventually, it should catch on with others with the same passions. Easy enough. And WOW had no idea it was so easy to add a video to my blog!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Link-ing In With a Little Help From My Friends

It's time for me to come clean. As much as I love social media, I do not spend the time on LinkedIn that I should. So I took a stroll through some of my favorite places on the net to find some usable advice that would be easy for me to make LinkedIn more manageable.

Some 'best practices" from the people I respect.

Everyone and his brother will tell you to be sure that your profile is at 100%. Not a problem, I always take those little percentage bars as a challenge and that has been done since day one.

First stop, Gini Dietrich over at The Fight Against Destructive Spin . She recommends "Spend 10 minutes going through your LinkedIn groups and answering questions where you have expertise and can position yourself as a thought leader."....OK I think I can do that over my after-work cup of coffee.

My Franchising Friend Paul Segreto recommends "making sure to use each networks "notifications" features effectively". I am pretty sure that when I set up my profile that I probably did not how to do this. Classic social media newbie that I was, I just didn't know how this could be effective and helpful. You can keep up with Paul on his blog Franchise Essentials .

The LinkedIn Man himself, Jason Alba, Author of "I'm on LinkedIn. Now What?" recommends on his blog, to use the questions and answers features to build your network and to be involved in intelligent conversation.

Decided: I can follow Paul and Adam's advice is Gini's recommended 5 minutes a day. If I become a LinkedIn addict....I am sure I can find plenty to do on http://www.linkedintelligence.com/.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Are You Engaging?

We are all familiar with the old adage "it isn't what you know it is who know". Well, there are many on Twitter that apparently have not heard this saying.

A constant barrage of articles you have read does not encourage me to engage with you. I can set up my own RSS feed or set up a reading list like the USMC Commandant has done. (for a list of what the well read Marine is reading click here ).

Twitter is about engaging, telling us who you are. Telling us why we care what you are reading. Any idiot can post links to sales articles, why should I believe you? Tell me who you are and what you are doing. I cannot respect your opinion if I have no idea if you are authentic. Do you have integrity and the respect of your peers? Are you honest?

I can only tell if I get to know you. So please go ahead and tweet me links to articles of interest, but mix in some info about yourself and those that you know, love and respect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Know Thy Customer

This post was originally published in the September 09 issue of the P29 Consulting e-Journal.
http://www.p29consulting.com/knowthycustomer.htm

The effective use of social media is to understand your customer before implementing a social media plan. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, having a fundamental understanding of the buying process of your customer is as imperative for social media as it is for any other form of sales, marketing or PR.

Best Buy and Ford Motor Company are two large corporations that have implemented social media programs that work to reach their customers.

Best Buy gives us a great visual of their “TwelpForce” in a television ad that shows one person getting advice from a stadium of Best Buy employees. Best Buy stock has shown gradual growth over the last six months and in July implemented “TwelpForce” .

What is Twelpforce?

According to the company website posted on 08-21-2009 04:08 PM

“Twelpforce is a new service from Best Buy for people to ask tech questions to Best Buy employees via micro blogging site Twitter.

The promise we’re making starting in July is that you’ll know all that we know as fast as we know it. That’s an enormous promise. That means that you will be able to ask us about the decisions you're trying to make, the products you're using, and look for the customer support that only we can give. And with Twitter, we can do that fast, with lots of opinions so you can make a decision after weighing all the input. It also lets others learn from it as they see our conversations unfold”

Best Buy employees sign up to be part of the TwelpForce visiting this website http://bbyconnect.appspot.com/about/ .The process, as well as Tips & Expectations are posted for employee reference.

Best Buy encouraged its employees who are already using Twitter and familiar with the practice to participate; the corporate office monitors the activity through the hash tag #Twelpforce. (A hash tag is the practice of using a # in front of a word to make it more searchable on the web.)

Best Buy understands that its customers normally go to their stores and ask the staff to help them make decisions about purchases. The customers believe that the staff is knowledgeable and can assist them in making an informed decision about a variety of products.


Ford Motor Company has approached their social media plan by recognizing that most customers are researching vehicle options prior to an automotive purchase, have strong brand loyalty and that our cars become part of our lives.

Facebook and Twitter profiles have been set up in the name of separate divisions and Models.

On Twitter: @FordDriveGreen addresses environmental issues and plans that are so important to car buyers recently. @FordCustService is monitored Mon-Fri 8 am - 5 pm EST by Shawn and Mike. They tweet about car maintenance and specials being run. Followers will begin to know Shawn and Mike as well as their local mechanic, thus making a huge corporate machine seem close and in touch with their needs.

@FordMustang and @FordTrucks have Twitter identities as well as Facebook pages. Information about changes to upcoming models is released. Pictures and video of the exceptional performance of their products are posted as well as pictures comments of their raving fans. Ford has been able to bring the local car show to the internet.

The best businesses are built on fulfilling customer needs. What do your customers need? If they need a lot of input and guidance, do as Best Buy has done and find a way to get them the assistance of more than one customer service representative. If your customer needs to be approached on many different levels, consider a segmented approach such as Ford.

The beauty of social media is that it is as flexible as you need it to be and can be customized to showcase your brand or product to your customers in a way that is best for them.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Social Media: an effective business tool

This post was originally published in the P29 Consulting e-Journal August 2009
http://www.p29consulting.com/augustnl.htm

As an introduction to Social Media, I should follow conventional wisdom and discuss the benefits of the "Social" aspect; I think, however, it is more beneficial for traditional business to focus on "Media". As a time and cost saver, social media is a practice well worth exploring.

On Wednesday, July 22th I read the following post on my Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com):

Big Day! Email I sent to Zappos employees today about the Amazon acquisition http://blogs.zappos.com/ceoletter


In less than 140 characters and a link to a blog post, Tony Hsieh (known as @Zappos in the Twitterverse) brilliantly accomplished two things: controlling the story and boosting public opinion.

Most importantly, he took control of the 850 million dollar news story about his company. Public information wasn’t left to be speculated on and then dispersed by mainstream media and talking heads. The public was able to read for itself, in Hsieh’s own words and tone, about the stock transfer. He dispels any myths about large cash transfers and corporate takeovers.

Secondly, we were all able to see the respect with which Hsieh treats his employees. In the Email, made public in the blog posting, he addresses employees’ top three concerns: job security, corporate culture and leadership as a priority. By addressing these issues the public sees that Zappos leadership appreciates employees as team members and values their contributions to the company’s success.

In the current economic climate, corporations are falling one after another and CEOs are seen as greedy and out of touch. This simple use of social media to disperse an internal memo to the public has probably done more for the Zappos’ reputation, than many thousands of dollars spent to have the story spun by traditional public relations and news outlets.

The reason that this tweet was not seen as a publicity stunt to thwart bad press is that Zappos had already built a relationship with its customers and the public with social media. Hsieh has built a Twitter following of over a million people with less than 2000 updates.

Zappos’ blog has posts about products and culture. It also has a CEO/ COO section that along with the above mentioned letter features a picture of Hsieh in a bunny suit handing out candy to children and a PowerPoint® about e-commerce lessons. We have already learned to trust him as a person and a business leader. So when he tells us that he is excited about a major change within his business, we believe him and are excited-not skeptical.

Now is the time to determine how you and your company are viewed by the public, your customers, employees and stockholders. Are you in a place socially, that should a major event happen within your company, that you can handle it as swiftly and successfully as Tony Hsieh did?

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Private You in a Social Network

You are probably at the point where you accept that participating in a social media network is valid but it just doesn’t sit right with you since you are a private person. A couple of things may make you feel better.

Under no circumstances are you required to update your network with what you are eating for lunch, if your pet hamster has a cold or make any comments on sex, religion or politics (general societal rules can still apply). I have checked and no social media police will insist that you divulge the intimate details of your personal life.

Because you have different levels of involvement, you can pick and chose what works for you because there are as many personalities in the virtual world as there are in the real world, and just like in the real world – the variety is what makes it fun! Keeping with the Cocktail party scenario that is Social Media – here is a quick guide.

Level One: The Wallflower
Sit back and absorb information.
Set up Google alerts, read blogs and watch videos.
Set up a Twitter account, activate all the privacy settings and just monitor conversations.

Level Two: Punch Server
Level One activities plus:
Leave comments to blogs that elicit a reaction from you
Re-Tweet comments that you find interesting

Level Three: Polite Guest
Level 1 & 2 activities plus:
Tweet links to the blogs you have read w/ topic
Join Facebook to monitor network ‘newsfeed”

Level Four: Here for the Party
Level 1, 2, &3 activities plus:
Tweet general information and comments
Become an active participant and fan on Facebook
Start a blog

Level Five: Party Animal
All of the above AND
Post links to all relevant articles and links to Facebook
Build and Manage your own Facebook group
Tweet, Re-tweet & Comment
Blog and guest blog
At this level you may feel the need to tweet your breakfast…go ahead as long as YOU are comfortable doing so.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

I have been accused of being an optimist. Maybe I am. However, I think "Random Acts of Kindness" is one of the best concepts ever. Can RAOK work in your business? If you want there to be a "World Wide Rave" about you and your brand - YES!

Remember that it is not all about you. It is about your customers.

There are 2 Starbucks close to me - I go to the one that is slightly further, because they make the experience - even at the Drive thru- about me. "How are you?", "Oh that sounds good!" in refernce to my order. "It's a great evening, what are you up to?" They are feeding into my need to be special. And I am thankful...because when it comes to my latte - it is about ME!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Act locally grow Globally

Most small business owners have a secret desire to be a global power.

Question: Are you a local power? Chamber of Commerce, JCC, Rotary Club - are you involved?

Do your local politicians know you by name? -

A great product and awesome customer service will keep the customers...but to grow them you need help, support and to play the game. Playing the game does not mean selling out, does not mean smoozing those you despise - but you must be open to dialog.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How Tweet It Is

I am loving www.TweepSearch.com!

pop in search terms and it crawls BIOs....woot -

Key word search and find tweeps by local, interest, job title...perfect for network building.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stop being a Wall Flower

Great! - You have set up a LinkedIn profile, are following people on twitter and have joined Facebook groups.....but where are the promised opportunities?

If you do not PARTICIPATE is social media - you are like the girl that wears a new dress to the dance and then stands in the corner.

Most social media platforms have an interactive element: discussion boards, Q&A opportunities, Comment sections -

Discuss! Answer! Comment! - Or else no one will know you are an expert in your field -

Be a good date, remember it isn't all about you, that relationships are a two way street or you will just end up serving punch.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Transparent Business

My last few posts have centered around your employees and the recession. Michael Schneider in his Blog Peer to Peer talks about being transparent with his employees. His post here .

Transparency - it's the buzz word of the moment - new word for an age old concept...'open honest communication'

Use social media to help keep open and in touch -

Follow each other on twitter - easy way to spread the praise, ask for help, and keep everyone in the loop. Particularly if you chose to implement virtual offices to cut overhead costs .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who knows Best?

You know your business' bottom line (if you don't, stop reading NOW and find out), but is there a slow bleed somewhere? Are you spending money that you think is necessary - but may not be.

Take some time to really listen to your employees - Chances are they feel some loyalty to your business, having invested time and energy into it...they aren't just there to bask in your charisma. Sure the paycheck is nice, but have you tried to live on what you are paying them?

Talk to them...but more importantly LISTEN to them. They will let you know if you are paying someone to text all day. They may not really want that perk you are giving them. They may be willing to sacrifice something that you hadn't thought of in order to save their jobs and your business.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Be a Lean Mean Economy Fighting Machine

It's Official we are in tough times. Time to take a look at your bottom line.

Are you wondering how to cut expenses in your business?

Take a look at where your money is going?
are you using all subscriptions? If the daily newspaper is stacking up in the corner unread..cancel.

Do you have services that can be provided in house?
use a water filter instead of a water service
cut cleaning or grounds services in half (If you own a cleaning or landscaping business offer part-time services and GROW your client base so you are ready to BOOM when the economy turns. )

Turn off unused energy sucking appliances
Adjust your thermostat a few degrees so that the AC or heat doesn't run so hard.

Do you have an employee that wants to go part-time - let them.

More tomorrow on getting your employees on board - they are experts on how your run your business...trust me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slow down you're going to fast

Social Media Networking...you have changed the world. But has the business world changed with you?

A few tib bits to remember -

In a bad economy - take care of those who have always been there.

Check them out - websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn...what ever you use - if your curent customers are there - fan them, friend them, tweet them and join thier network and rejuvenate your relationship- ....if they are not - Don't forget them.

With these tried and true clients - remember the tired and true way you got them. Keep calling them, Keep stopping by to say hi and check on how they are doing. What can you do to help?
Some relationships need to be kept the old fashioned way, but earning them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What are your energizers?

I spent my morning working on a script for a marketing video, early afternoon in a Strategic Planning meeting and the late afternoon working out financial data issues. Needless to say, I was exhausted on the drive home.

For me, Numbers are not an energizers - they are energy suckers. Days that I am able to do creative things at the end of the day - leaving me bouncing and my brain firing on all cylinders.

If you have a choice in your schedule - I highly recommend doing your energizing task at the end of the day.

I have always had a hard time working after lunch on Fridays - now with the onset of Social Media Marketing - I have found my clouds parting, chorus of angels singing task dropped in my lap. Website posting, blogging, networking...perfect - Thank you Gods of Marketing!

Monday, January 26, 2009

No, Really...

Yes, I do own a tiara. No, I did not win it in a pageant. I just believe that sometimes we need to see ourselves as special.

I am not the only one at work with a tiara - There is one other woman there with one..but she is not as bold with it...though we do occasionally, when things are crazy, declare a Tiara Tuesday. Tomorrow is not such a day.

Ocasionally I will be asked why I don't have it on. My usual response is "I don't need it today".
Most days I do not, but it sits on my credenza in case of an emergency that chocolate cannot handle.

Don't write me off as some silly administrative clerk. I am not...I am well respected in my position.

Which brings me to the point of this blog...to be successful, you must live outside the box.