Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Facebook Users’ Goals and Benefits

Randomly selected Frequent Facebook Users have responded as follows to my questions about their goals in the use of this Social Medium, and what benefits they have derived from it:


Connect with interesting people and potential clients.

Keep up with friends.

Reconnecting with high school and college friends and staying in touch with family members.

Getting to know clients on a personal level.

Building my brand and promoting my business.

Added visibility and brand awareness.

“I sort of have to be there”.

It’s a showcase for my products.

Attract buyers.

Provide industry-related tips.

Build name recognition.

Promote my blog.

Provide support and motivation to others.

Develop a following for my company and its brands.

Rolling out products and services.

“Spying on my kids. LOL”

Communicating with friends, clients, family, colleagues, association members.

Creating on-line portfolios.

Getting more business than expected, including international.

Selling books and getting speaking engagements.

Being chosen as an example of effective social media use by a nationally-known publisher.

“I seem to be building a community.”

Increased web site visits, newsletter sign-ups and webinar attendance numbers.

National name and face recognition.

Great motivation, support and kick-in-the-butt.

Being able to “let go” – voice opinions, express feelings.

Saves time; no more phone calls.

Some new assignments and many leads.

Easy to use, compared with other Social Media.

And you? Post your goals and benefits in a brief comment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Web Site as Hub of Media Outreach

Still writing about last Friday's and Saturday's Social Media Integration conference . . .

One of the nice things of conferences such as this one is that you go at least in part because of "The Big Names", the celebrities and near-celebrities who headline the event and then the surprise often comes from a not-so-well-known presenter, who has a lot of good stuff to share.

That was the case last Saturday with Jesse McDougall ("a social media consultant and web programming geek living in the woods of Vermont") of Catalyst Webworks, whose topic was "Make Your Website the Hub of Your Social Media Outreach".

What he said made perfectly good sense (my clients will benefit from my notes!) and the best way for me to pass it on to you is to suggest you take a look at the companies Jesse mentioned:

Lonely Planet
Seventh Generation

Even though these companies may be a bit bigger -- if not lots bigger -- than yours, study them for ideas you can use on your own site.

SMI Conference -- Five ideas from Shiv Singh.

His presentation started with: “The purpose of a business is to create a customer”. (Peter Drucker).

Shiv’s expansion: “The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers”.

Not an original thought – it was already posted by Sean O’Driscoll on Ant’s Eye View on January 22, 2009.

Maybe Drucker said: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Who knows and does it matter?

I actually do not like the idea of “creating” customers; I like the idea of “attracting” them. For me, “creating a customer” has a feel of manipulation or even coercion to it. When I talk with a prospect, I hope I am able to convey to him or her that my skills as a writer and what I know as a Social Media strategist are of value to their business or career and that for that reason they want to hire me.

O.K. – on to the five ideas:

  1. Create a digital franchise, e.g. a platform for a cause (or multiple causes) to support while getting your message out. Example, PepsiCo’s Refresh Project.
  2. Reinvent display media. Example: add a Facebook “like” button to your banner ads.
  3. Rethink the market model. It is more important to take care of your existing contacts than to acquire new ones. “The consumer experience is everything; branding is second to that.”
  4. Redefine the agency model. Shift from the tradition of client’s brief - the agency’s Big Idea - the execution (with TV ads the main focus) to the new model of “consumer insights, the brief, a group of ideas, many agencies”. (Good for small businesses to know perhaps, but who among us hires an advertising agency for our marketing campaigns?)
  5. Use a SIM (Social Influence Marketing) score to measure results. I don’t ”do math”, so let me just refer you to two others’ take on this:
Social Times:
Social Commerce Today:

Coming back to the point here: your image matters; be sure that you participate in the conversations about you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Decorum on the Conference Podium

So, I was at this conference, looking forward to the keynote address; well-known speaker, “corporate celebrity”, from way out of state – truly, in media parlance, “a get”.

The agenda simply said “Keynote Speaker”. The auditorium was well populated. On the podium, we saw the conference chair, with the keynoter to his right and a little behind. Imminent introduction anticipated.

This is what happened:

The conference chair took the microphone and talked for 10 to 15 minutes about the conference, gave out an award, mentioned another award that would be given out later in the day. The keynoter was completely ignored.

The conference chair introduced another person (co-chair?), who spoke for a minute or two. Keynote speaker still on the podium, still ignored.

Supposed co-chair introduced another person, who started talking about the conference. The keynoter, still ignored, now by the third speaker in a row, exited stage right.

The person kept talking – the conference, the organizers, the theme, the venue, the need for volunteers and sponsors for the next event, etc.

The microphone was handed back over to speaker number 2, who, in two sentences, lamely introduced the keynoter – finally! – who then came back on the podium.

Lessons for conference organizers:

  1. Stick to the agenda. If it says “keynote speaker”, do not add awards, promotions and self-congratulations.
  2. Don’t let the keynoter stand on the podium like a potted plant, while you carry out a different agenda.
  3. Have the highest-ranking person present (Conference Chair, Mayor, Chief Sponsor) introduce the keynoter. 
  4. If the keynoter is not immediately introduced, keep him or her offstage until the introduction takes place. Then give him/her a rousing welcome, commensurate with the speaker’s corporate/celebrity status. Not two sentences that sound like an afterthought to what has come before.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Nice to Women"

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal were guests on "Oprah" yesterday, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Love Story.

Talking about Farrah Fawcett, ONeal's longtime love, who died last year, MacGraw described her as "a lifelong beautiful girl who was nice to women."

Sort of sad that women being nice to other women should be noted, but it's indeed a far from common experience.

Kudos to Ali MacGraw!


One of the saddest aspects of “pro-business” I see is the stream of small businesses that join Chambers of Commerce as members, expecting to make important connections and reap benefits, only to discover that the Chambers’ interests lie with developers, bankers and politicians, not with small businesses.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day 2010

America got its name from Amerigo Vespucci (Italian explorer, 1454-1512), but we have no Vespucci holiday in this country. Instead we have Columbus Day, named after Christopher Columbus (Ital. Cristoforo Colombo , Span. Cristóbal Colón ), another Italian explorer (1451-1506).

Juan Ponce de León (1475-1521) was, historical data tell us, the first European explorer to set foot on the U.S. mainland (April 2, 1513, somewhere in Florida). We don’t have a holiday for him, either.

Happy Columbus Day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Going to a Conference?

Conference season is in full bloom in Atlanta. Your mailbox is probably just as full of invitations as mine is. What makes you decide to go or not to go? These are my criteria:

1. Does the topic interest me?
2. Do I want to hear these speakers?
3. Do I have time to attend?
4. Is the location convenient for me?
5. How much does it cost?

What makes me say “no”?

Three-day conferences (who has the time?) and hidden costs (who wants to go through menus with multiple clicks, and the need to provide contact information BEFORE the conference fee is revealed?).

Is Blogging on the Decline?

Hardly, it seems. More than 144 million of us have blogs and many of us post frequently.

Technorati reported last year that the typical blogger is male, between 18 and 44 years of age, more affluent and better educated than the general public.

While there is a plethora of blogs that are essentially public journals, satisfying the writers’ creative needs, the trend is toward serious business blogging. There will always be people who claim interesting niches and find a large readership; their blogs become sales platforms for their products, services or events.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Three “Networking” Failures – and how to avoid them …

You probably know people who believe that “networking” does not work. You may even think so yourself. You’ve been to a networking event, not met anyone of interest to your business or career pursuits and not been able to sell anything. Why do that again? It does not work, right?

Several years ago, I received an e-mail from someone who had recently attended a networking event I had organized. “I will never come back,” she wrote. “Every time I go to a networking event, I make a sale. Yours is the first event where I did not sell anything.”

This was for me a unique experience: the first such e-mail in more than a decade of offering networking opportunities. But the sentiment the writer expressed has not been unique.

Here are the three common networking failures, and what you must do to overcome them.

Not showing up. You join organizations – professional groups, referral clubs, Chambers of Commerce – but you only sporadically attend, or maybe not at all. You cannot expect business, or referrals, from people who do not know who you are, or what you do, or do not feel a connection with you. Solution: attend as many of your organization’s events as you possibly can.

Not participating. Showing up is not enough; you’ve got to participate! Serve on committees, volunteer for tasks, such as staffing an event’s registration table or introducing the speaker, or host something, e.g. a fundraiser for the organization. Solution: become known, make yourself visible, and contribute to the organization’s success. “What goes around, comes around” – trite but true!

Expecting to make a sale. Networking is about meeting people and creating relationships. It is very much NOT about making a sale! Solution: participate in conversations, get to know others in the room, ask questions, listen to answers, detect common interests, send a note in the mail, suggest a coffee or lunch to talk more about those common interests (maybe you are both runners and you discovered she, like you, had run the Peachtree the past two years and you had both been thinking about the Boston Marathon for next year). She works in HR for a manufacturing company and you work in finance for a staffing agency. Over the course of getting to know each other, she may mention to you that her company is planning to add a dozen or so temps for a special project. You get the picture?

Networking is an excellent practice for growing your business or advancing your career. Do it the right way. Avoid the failure traps, and you will succeed.