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Authenticity, Egos and Social Media

Sometimes I have a hard time watching the Social Media space.  I see people, business owners, doing "it" wrong, I cringe and want to say something, but don't (unless I know them REALLY well).  After all, who am I to judge... ? When it feels like you're in the space to wrack up some cash, it just smells bad. If you were a chef yesterday and an internet guru today, it makes me think twice about doing business with you.   I am not talking about people like Gary Vayhnerchuk, he's more then proven his abilities and expert status (plus he's a blast to listen to - go subscrube to his blog).  I am talking about someone you never heard of before, came out of nowhere and was forced to make a job change, so hopped into this space.  For all I know, the chef a brilliant marketing strategist and just kept it secret for decades, which is why I don't say anything... but... where's the build, where's the chat, where's the relationship building?  Perhaps this is the "rebranding" of a person that is yet to be completed, but it still smells bad. So here's a little food for thought... Who are you?  Let people get to know you.   Better yet, get to know yourself.  Is what you're doing what you really want?  If not, where do you want to be?  If it looks like you're in it for the money, it won't work - not in the social media space anyway.  There are ample life and career coaches to help you get in touch with your inner guru and break you out into doing what you are truly passionate about.   Maybe the [...]

The Rules of Engagement

As we close the door on 2010 and open to 2011, I have a thought I'd like to share... There are still a lot of people doing it wrong. Image by fredcavazza via Flickr They are using social media as a platform to yell, blast and spam out their goods and services.  At no time do they explain what they are about, who they help or how they work.  While the goal of using social media is awareness, the best way to get there is by encouraging people to talk, write, converse online and off. We live is a world where there are so may people / businesses / things screaming for our attention.  Sometimes the noise level is painful. Encouraging people to get into the conversation, by sharing things that are of interest, peek curiosity and by simply being nice is a far better use of Social Media tools. For example: Real estate agents typically post about an open house or a new listing in their Facebook status or Twitter stream.   Does this spark interest or encourage conversation?  No.  It's flat out boring.   Talk to me about the trek in the snow you made while showing the property, share tips on making the house show ready, talk about the goings on in the neighborhood, upload a photo of something cool you saw on the property... these things create curiosity and encourage interaction. Quick ideas: Post up on other people's pages Ask questions Be interesting Take an interest in others Be informative Be helpful It's never been about the tools, it's always been about the outreach.  Get the methods of outreach down and you can succeed in any platform you chose to use. Make a promise to yourself and your connections in 2011 to do social [...]

An evening with Peter Shankman: Inaugural Social Media Club of Tech Valley Event

The big take aways: Transparency Relevance / Ask your audience how they want to receive information Brevity / Learn to write Top of mind Sponsored in part by NewWard Development, LLC. Visit the Social Media Club of  Tech Valley to learn more or visit us on Facebook! Related articles Come meet Peter Shankman at Union College (timesunion.com) Social media | you can't buy friends or loyalty (swordandthescript.com) Facebook's New Profiles - A Shot through the Heart of LinkedIn? (shankman.com)

Twitter Tips (some basics)

The popularity of Twitter has sparked a whole new level of communication.  Being able to communicate well in 140 characters can be a challenge, but before we even talk about that, there are a few basics to remember: Image via CrunchBase 1)  Have a profile picture:  Leaving the default icon on your profile is just... well... lazy!  Put something up that is uniquely you.  An actual picture would be best, but if you are feeling shy, at least put up your logo or something that is representative of you. 2)  Your web site URL:  If you don't have a web site, then the alternative would be a link to a social networking profile (yes, even MySpace counts).  Something that will give people a closer insight of who you are. 3)  Fill out your profile / bio section:  This is easy and very important.  You must have something to share about yourself, even if it is your favorite hobbies.   Leaving this section blank does nothing to motivate people to follow you.   4)  Post some tweets prior to asking for followers:  How else are people going to know what you are about or hope to share?  Requesting followers with no tweet history is like saying "Hi, I'd like you to buy this widget.  I don't know what this widget is or does but you need one." 5) Your user name:  This should have been first... Select a user name that is either 1) Your name, 2) Your company name or 3) Representative of what you are sharing. Here's the deal:  Twitter is a great platform to position yourself as an expert in your field.  It is a great platform for sharing links and information relevant to what you specialize in.  Yes, there are spammers [...]

7 Non-negotiable Social Networking Rules

1)  Profiles are Personal - Facebook, LinkedIn, etc... profiles are about you.  Use a picture of yourself, talk about yourself, whether it's related to work or it's social.  Your logo is not you - your business is not you.  You may be there to network and promote your business, but people want to do business with people. Image by elycefeliz via Flickr 2)  Stop selling me- Don't talk about how good your "widget" is.  Don't pitch me or tell me that your service can gross me $10,000 a month.  Talk to me, share with me, teach me and I'll listen.  If I like what you have to share, I will come to you for the sale. 3)  I don't NEED your product/service - I need air to breath, food & water to sustain myself, and people to love and love me back, that's about it.  I'll decide if I WANT your product or service based on the value of the conversation we have. 4)  Truth and Transparency - be honest in your opinions and insights.  Own them - show me the real you and you will win my respect and earn my trust even if I do not agree with you. 5)  Move out of "Spam-a-lot" - If I haven't said yes yet, you can stop emailing me, really.  I'll ask you to stop sending me stuff once, if you don't listen - I will remove you as a connection. 6)  The Opt-In is Mine:  Did I opt into your mailing list or did you add me on your own?  If I didn't opt in, there was a reason, do not ever make that decision for me. 7)  Strive to make Connections not Sales:  You and I [...]

How is Social Networking going to benefit my Business?

During yesterday’s seminar one theme that kept cropping up is “How is this going to benefit my business?”  The key to online networking lies in being subtle.  When you are there to offer your information for the benefit of the community, people start paying attention.  The “in your face”, let’s make money, “I made $30,000 in a month” sales tactic does not work.  Today’s consumer is too suspicious and extremely cautious about how their dollar is spent. Don’t get bogged down in the plethora of details on how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like – they are only tools.  The mechanics will come with practice.  The real question is:  What is your intent?  If you are here to build relationships, make real connections and share your expertise, then you will succeed.  There is a lot of “noise” online – and most users of social networks filter out the noise to find the real pearls of wisdom.  Those are the people you want to make authentic connections with.  I know I sound like a broken record… but I can not stress the point enough.  People want to do business with real people, people want to donate to not-for-profits they see making a difference.  So, share your stories, offer up your knowledge and let your prospects come to you.   Don’t you want to attract the people into your business that already see the value?  It is so much easier to sell to a person who already perceives your product / service as a valuable asset then it is trying to convince someone they need you.  It’s easier then it sounds and I know it’s also risky.  You are putting yourself out there for better or [...]

A Day in the Life of a Social Networker

The past few days have been interesting at best.  I learned a lot about the social networking world and more importantly, about myself. The details: A few days ago Mari Smith posted a note on twitter about the Profile HTML box on Facebook.  I loved the application and installed it on my profile page and wrote a quick twitter post about it.  This prompted several questions from some Facebook connections.  Instead of answering each of them individually, I created a how to blog post about the application.  I included one very important element; I thanked Mari for letting me know about it.  Through my twitter feed, the post automatically went up on twitter, Mari saw it, came to my blog, commented and let her followers know about the post via twitter.  This generated a couple of hundred visitors to my blog.  It is always fun to watch a traffic spike! Lesson one:  Always give credit where credit is due.  If nothing else, it’s good karma. A day or two later Chris Brogan wrote his Pirate Ship post.  I loved it and after reading it, sent him a tweet about the “Lions and Tigers and Bears” post I wrote on Friday.  I guess he liked it, because he twittered about it and provided a link to his followers.  Again, this generated a couple of hundred new visitors to my blog and I got to watch another traffic spike. Lesson two:  Don’t be afraid to share, even if you’re not sure how well it will be received.  Speak your mind and share your heart.  If you are coming from your truth, you can’t go wrong! On Sunday I participated in a blog posting campaign about Digg and I wrote my “Yes, Sir May I [...]

Customers want YOU in the Conversation

Customers, especially ones that are active on Social Netoworking sites want to talk to you, the business owner.  When something goes wrong or they have something to share with you, today's consumer wants to break through the board room door and talk to you face to face (at least virtually). Today Emarketer wrote Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” said Mike Hollywood, director of new media at Cone, in a statement. “It isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion. I'll give you an example:  The other night I was on twitter and Paul Chaney (@pchaney ) was having a problem downloading his paypal report.  He mentioned this live and also noted "It figures, PayPal doesn't have someone listening on Twitter."  Hummmm,  sounds like a FAIL by PayPal to me.  On the other side of the coin, a blogger was writing about his expereince with JetBlue on Twitter and before he knew it they were following him to keep track of the conversation.  Good job Blue! Enabling your customers to contact you via Social Networks goes a long way to personalizing your relationship with them (do I sound like a broken record yet?).  People don't just want to buy blindly any more, they want to buy from a company that cares enough to invest in the transaction's overall experience.  Yes, I said experience.  You want people to walk away from any transaction or interaction with your company with a smile on their face and the trust and confidence in you to share that experience with their friends. Socail Networking tools are a proactive approach to customer service.  Retailers have long known that customers spread the word [...]

Are You Interested in Beta Testing Ping.fm?

If you are interested in Beta Testing Ping.fm use the beta code of "dreamofping".  Leave me a comment if the code stops working and I will get you another code to test drive the system with. Ping.fm is a web based system that allows you to update all of your Social Networking status' in one shot.  Log into Ping and enter your update into the box and almost instantly Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mashable and many other Social Networking  sites are all updated.  You can also set up any IM software, use email or your cell phone to update your Ping.fm status profile for you. If you are like the majority of my clients, one of the largest issues you face in Social Networking is time management.  A system like this helps you to keep your sphere of influence informed without you having to log into 20 different sites. This goes to my work once - get multiple results rule in online Marketing!