Yeah, me too.
I’ve never hung out my shingle as a social media expert, but I am a member of Charlotte’s Social Media Club so that I can rub shoulders with those who are. Like a frog crossing a big pond on a series of lily pads, I’ve jumped from one social media platform to the next as my needs have evolved and the limitations of platforms have become intolerable. I thought Facebook was a long-termer, but now I find there’s a fresher pony coming through town.
Here’s where I’ve been and where I’m headed. If you’re a skimmer, the subheads will help you find what you’re looking for.
My history with social media through 35 dog years
LinkedIn. Although social media hasn’t been around for too long in the scheme of things, I began riding the LinkedIn wave on November 21, 2007. Looking back, I was a social media evangelist of sort, spending an inordinate amount of time explaining what LinkedIn was and why my friends and business associates should join this thing called my “network.” Five short years ago (35 in dog years), many people who knew me well still declined my invitation. “I don’t need it,” they usually said. I’m still there, visiting as needed for my own work or when someone asks for my help. It’s for business networking. Period.
Twitter. Ah, Twitter. The original Twitter was addictive. It was my portal to an uncensored universe. In addition to meeting some great new friends who became friends in real life, I actually landed a few clients there, since I was around to chat about market-moving events with financial and business professionals (my clientele). I was reluctant to join Facebook, but as Twitter began to get spammy, I decided to give it a try. You can still find my Twitter account, but the only thing that appears there is “robo shares” from my posts elsewhere.
Facebook. I heeded great advice from friends who were ahead of me on Facebook. They said to publish a PAGE for content I wanted the world to see without my permission. Having a PAGE meant I could wish friends a happy birthday over on my personal account while sparing everyone else that kind of small talk. I use my PAGE to talk about my work, travels and advocacy.
Until it didn’t.
Gains and losses on Facebook
Since I’ve already given away the punchline in the title — you know I’m leaving– I want to evaluate my experience on that platform so you know how I’ve thought my decision through. Maybe something I say will resonate. In sum, Facebook has been a mixed bag for me. I’ll list the wins first, then the losses.
Facebook Win: Reconnecting
Facebook has been a boon to reconnecting with friends from high school, college and with long-lost relatives. It really has. But there’s a tremendous downside, and that’s my lack of time to sift through all the junk in the way of the updates I really care about. More about that in the “losses” column below.
Facebook Win: Meeting and strengthening
Facebook been a wonderful way to meet people and strengthen relationships.
I’m eternally grateful to Facebook for introducing me to the group of Canadian and American women motorcyclists in the group Conga for the Cause, which led to my book, Live Full Throttle. My involvement with that community changed my life for the better.
But is Facebook the only way to meet new people and solidify existing relationships? Not at all.
I can hear you screaming “But Tamela, everyone’s already on Facebook and it’s too cumbersome to move!”
I’ll get to that point.
Facebook Loss: Hacker culture
This article on “tricks” Facebook uses to mine and sell our personal information, combined with friends’ experiences with Facebook hacks, make my blood boil. Here are five of the “tricks” in brief:
- The Single Button Trick
- The Tiny Gray Font Trick
- The Tiny Hidden Info Symbol Trick
- The Action Line Trick
- The Friendly Talk Trick
I believe businesses, like people, have DNA. Facebook’s DNA is hacker culture. End rant.
Facebook Loss: Meaningful content
The most ancient self-help advice I know of came from the Oracle at Delphi: Know Thyself. One thing I know about myself is that I like substantive content. Here’s what isn’t working for me on Facebook.
- Two words: GAME REQUESTS.
- Baby out with the bathwater. Facebook doesn’t give me a way to block messages without blocking messengers. Election years are tough on me since I’m nonpartisan and a peacemaker at heart. Some people in my stream are more strident and prolific in sharing their political views than others, but my stream of updates is tilting toxic these days.
- No control over my content. Election years aside, there’s a whole lot of fluff and not a lot of fiber in the update stream. Facebook gives me no way to dial up the frequency of posts from nonprofits I support and to dial down the frequency from people who post their daily horoscope. (Hint of things to come as you read further: there’s a service that does that!)
- Clogged arteries. The more people I “friend” the more cluttered my stream becomes. Many’s the time I’ve accepted a friend request from someone I don’t really know who shares a mutual friendship with someone I do know. These “friends” have, in one way or another, given me the impression that I might enjoy seeing them in my stream. Sometimes these people are batshit crazy, in which case I have no problem “unfriending” them, but as often as not they are nice people with a penchant for sharing fluff. Fluff by the truckload. As a result, if I really want to know what’s going on with someone, I end up visiting their timeline because I can’t find them in my stream. Yes, I post fluff sometimes, but some people post fluff all the time.
Facebook Loss: Getting my message out
Did you know that only about 10% of your friends and family see your Facebook posts? If you have a PAGE, as I do, you can remedy that by paying Facebook to show a post more widely. That’s fair, after all, since there are no free lunches and Facebook has bills to pay. But what do I get for my promoted post expenditures?
- Fewer than 100 people have signed up for my newsletter directly from Facebook.
- Maybe ten have bought my books directly from a Facebook ad or promotion.
- No one has hired me to speak or write their book directly from my Facebook presence.
That’s not to say relationships that began or were fostered on Facebook didn’t lead to list subscribers, book buyers or clients, but I can’t measure the unknown.
Facebook takes the liberty of filtering my stream (see above), but I want a service that I can control.
G+ to the rescue: it’s a control thing
I’ve been itching to get more active on G+ but lacked the time to ramp up before my summer road trip. This week I’ve been doing just that, starting with reading Guy Kawasaki’s nitty-gritty how-to book called “What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us.”
Here’s why I’m making the move:
- On Google Plus anyone in the world can follow me (unless I block them for being a stalker or nutjob). I don’t have to approve who follows me, but I have complete control over who sees what I share. This means I don’t have to maintain two “presences” as I do with Facebook (my personal stream and my PAGE).
- If I share an update with the G+ circle called “family,” for instance, only those eighteen people will ever see it. I can have a circle with just my spouse or a circle of millions of people I’ve never met.
- I can lock ANY post so it can’t be shared. It’s all within my control.
- I can share posts with “the public” which means even people who aren’t on G+ can see some of my posts, and that’s frankly good for business. Search for the term “financial ghostwriter” and you’ll see me. Search G+ with those same terms and I’m at the top (or search for me by name) where you’ll get a sense of the person you might consider hiring to write your next book or white paper.
- If I want to share something with you, and you are not on G+, I can email the update if I have your address. Wow, the power of integrating Gmail with G+.
- I can control the amount of content in my stream from my various circles. For example, I can dial up my circle of friends in Charlotte when I’m gone all summer on my motorcycle, and I can dial them down when I return.
Before you point me to the statements I made about privacy with Facebook I’ll point you to the statements I made about DNA. Google has made its mis-steps and has breached some privacy walls, but at the end of the day I trust Google more than Facebook. Google’s DNA is with two PhD candidates who hired an experienced management team to run the shop from the outset. ‘Nuff said.
You’re screaming, “But nobody’s over there!” and I say, oh yes, plenty of folks are there. And remember, if only 10% of my posts are getting through Facebook’s filters anyway, I don’t have to meet a ton of G+ users to make up for the volume.
You say it’s cumbersome to move? I dunno, I imported my email databases, a simple task, and got a bunch of folks already on G+. But you’re right, I can’t import my Facebook lists. I accept that.
You say, “I’m not joining one more social network?” I ask, “Would you consider joining my list so we can stay in touch?”
Facebook in my future = my rear view mirror
Here’s how I plan to operate on Facebook through the end of 2012.
First, I’m giving my personal information a colonic. I can’t keep up with Facebook’s hacker culture habit of making changes without advance notice, and I’m not going to try to keep up with news alerts on the matter.
Just as I’ve kept my other “legacy” social media accounts (see the 35 dog years section), I won’t close my Facebook account. I’ll “robo post” there and check in on my stream once a week or so. If you ping me, I’ll eventually get to it. By January 1, 2013 Facebook will be in my rear view mirror, which means I might check in once a month.
However, if you REALLY want to get or stay in touch, you can do so on G+ or through the return address on my email newsletter.
Oh, you say you’re not a subscriber? That’s easily fixed!
Why G+ will win
For those who think I’m jumping on a sinking ship, here’s what Kawasaki says* about Google’s inevitable success with G+. (Kawasaki said Apple would dominate technology back when it was almost bankrupt in the 1980′s, for what that’s worth.)
- Google has a track record. Google has delivered better mousetraps when most people didn’t think better mousetraps were necessary…
- Google is dead serious about this business. Insiders tell me Google+ is one of the top priorities of Google. It’s not an experiment or project buried within another business unit…
- Google has infinite money and talent. Infinite money and talent doesn’t mean an organization is infallible..(b)ut infinite money and talent doesn’t guarantee you’ll fail either. Google is assaulting two big companies on their established turfs, so money and talent are necessary in this battle.
- Google owns the river. Google owns one of the biggest rivers of Internet traffic (search), and it can divert people to Google+ anytime it wants. For example, when Google put an arrow on its search page pointing to the button to click to join Google+, hundreds of thousands of people joined.
- Google owns the playing field. Google can do more than merely tilt the playing field, because it owns the playing field. For example, Google integrated Google+ into search results, and Samsung phones and tablets come with the Google+ application pre-installed. Google bought Motorola’s phone business, so we can assume similar integration will happen with Motorola phones and tablets too. Gmail account holders automatically have a Google+ account. In the future, Chrome, Google’s browser which recently passed Firefox in popularity, will incorporate Google+ also.
The folks at Sherpa produce excellent annual email marketing benchmarking reports. The latest proves three things, in Sherpa’s words (my emphasis added):
- Tactically, email appears to have unlimited potential especially when integrated with emerging marketing channels like social media.
- As a mature tactic, performance improvements are no longer measured in quantum leaps but in incremental steps.
- But when multiple improvement tactics are combined, performance is accelerated.
This is great news for people who’ve seen incremental steps instead of quantum leaps in their e-newsletter efforts and wonder if they’re “doing it right.”
It also reinforces my evangelizing to use email alongside social media platforms. Once you’ve produced highly relevant content recycle and promote it! If you do nothing more than place your newsletter articles in your blog and promote it with a tweet, you’ll reap rewards.
Takeaways for financial professionals who start with e-newsletters
Producing “highly relevant content” is a challenge for everyone, according to the report (see below). Regulated financial professionals have the added burden of compliance concerns with their relevant content, so it’s understandable, but not wise, that some opt for cookie cutter solutions.
My clients don’t work for the kinds of firms that churn out white papers and newsletters like snowflakes in Siberia — nor do they want to. But they know they need to produce quality content — from blog posts to newsletters and social media updates — on a regular basis. They often struggle to imagine how they’ll fit research and writing into their agendas, which is why they hire me.
Enter the editorial calendar
The first thing I do with a client is map out an editorial calendar. This gives us a publishing schedule and a backbone of subjects, which we supplement with news from the 24×7 media machine. I speak in more detail on this in the video below. It might help you think through ways to use a ghost writer or editor.
The importance of a ghost writer with subject matter expertise
If you want to work with a ghostwriter or editor, before you hire someone on the basis of their ability to use proper grammar and punctuation, I suggest you also ascertain how much they know about your field. Someone who knows your competitive and regulatory landscape will be easier to work with and can cross-pollinate best practices.
For example, because I write primarily for attorneys, financial advisors and accountants, I’m tuned into the news items that have the greatest bearing on their practices. I understand the implications of topics like an SEC ruling and Fed Funds Rate changes. My clients can rely on me to suggest topics to supplement the items on their editorial calendars, which eases their content production burden.
Help me help you*
One way to help your ghostwriter is to forward news digests from your professional associations and Google Alerts. One of my clients, an attorney, has certain publications on email auto-forward, which gives me plenty of material for two or three weekly blog posts and the occasional series of articles on a hot topic.
Bottom line, you can stay focused on your work AND produce quality content at a regular clip with the right team. Get with it!
*one of my favorite lines from Jerry Macguire
Since I’m an avid BMW motorcyclist now, I came across this video on a forum I belong to.
Don’t dismiss it just because you’ve no interest in motorsports — there’s an important takeaway for professionals who want to connect at a deeper level with clients and prospects.
Involve = Engage
This video underlines the importance of engaging with clients and prospects instead of broadcasting to them. BMW could have splashed its logo on the screen and called it a day, but wasn’t it a better idea to involve the audience? Even to the tiny extent of telling them to close their eyes?
The emotional nature of the message, “Look inside yourself…” and the novelty of the message’s delivery seared the brand into viewers’ memories. Granted, establishing an emotional connection in a novel way is more difficult for a lawyer than for BMW, but it’s being done every day.
Start with key messages that resonate emotionally
What are you selling? It’s not financial planning, accounting services and legal advice. Take it deeper. Is it security? An edge? Peace of mind? Reliability? These are emotion-laden terms, and they resonate where descriptions like financial planning, accounting services and legal advice clank and thunk.
If you can’t distill your key messages to something emotional for your audience, you’ll miss your mark. You’ll waste your time and your money.
Social media involvement
Social media is a natural way to engage clients and prospects. I know business professionals arriving late to the social media party with misguided expectations that a Facebook Page or Twitter account will work for them the way it works for a colleague or competitor who’s been at it for a while. Like everything else in this world, social media produces a yield for those who do their spade work.
Spade work means “involving” yourself in the lives of your prospects and clients by giving away some of your expertise in the course of conversations and interactions. Yes, giving (some of ) it away. And yes, plural conversations and interactions. Social media success isn’t magic — it’s working a strategic plan over a period of time. Spade work.
This is easier to do when you’re producing content – newsletters, blog posts, ebooks, white papers, books, videos, podcasts or presentations. When you’ve stocked your content pantry, it’s easy link that content to someone whose Tweet or status update indicates they need your expertise. Valuable content is a real “follower” magnet, too.
Connecting with audience
Being in front of a captive audience isn’t enough to ensure they’re engaged in your message. Take it a step further. Several months ago I wrote about providing an audience with a note taking guide along with my presentation. Throughout the session I drew their attention to the guide and invited them to share their notes and observations with the rest of the group. This worked on a couple of levels — helping them stay with me and enlisting their fellow audience members to re-enforce my points.
As the video says, “Tell me something and I will forget. Show me something and I can remember. Involve me, and I will understand.” Therefore, in every marketing plan, every communications plan, every pre-conference plan, in every thing, ask how you can involve and engage others in your emotional message.
- raise money for my expenses and the National Breast Cancer Foundation
- get news stories in four states during my trip and hours of local coverage
- find co-riders throughout my trip
- earn sponsorships from Caribou Coffee, AAA and BMW
I asked how many of the Business Sorority members used the same tools for their businesses and was surprised how many used Facebook and how few used a blog; here’s the final tally:
- Twitter used by 10%
- Facebook Pages used by 90%
- Video by 5%
- Photos by 0%
- Blog by 30%
The most important social media tool
In the Q&A one woman asked which I felt was the MOST useful/important of these applications. I answered using the Swiss Army Knife example — in social media you’ll use a couple of the tools more than the others, but when you really need that tooth pick/Tweet, you really need it.
For example, when I reached Bend, Oregon (my westernmost destination) I wanted my hometown NBC affiliate to take the feed from the Oregon station and run it in the Charlotte market so I tweeted asking if anyone had a connection to WCNC. Sure enough! While WCNC didn’t get the feed from Oregon, they did three times more than that: they covered my arrival home, featured a live interview with me on their morning show and used footage from my arrival and interviews in a feature story about women motorcyclists.
YEAH, that’s the power of the right tool at the time!
Start with a blog and Facebook page
While YMMV (your mileage may vary) from project to project, I think you’re best served to start with a combination of a blog and Facebook (FB). The blog is your hub and the only asset you truly own. Any of the free online apps can change their terms of service on a moment’s notice, making you vulnerable to losing data or functionality at best and money at worst. For the 90% of Business Sorority members using FB, for example, I asked what would happen if FB decided it was only going to keep the last 3 months of updates? There is no satisfactory answer to the question if you don’t have a blog.
Why Facebook over Twitter? Notwithstanding my success with Twitter, if you’re a beginning social media user, it’s easier to use and a critical mass of most everyone’s friends and business associates are already using it. The key is to place content in your blog FIRST and then link to it from your FB page. That’s not to say you shouldn’t upload videos or pictures to FB, just store them on your blog for safekeeping.
The versatile blog
I use a WordPress theme on my own url (not the free one on the WordPress site). Unlike FB or Twitter, a blog lets me write posts of unlimited length and insert multiple graphics, videos and sound files in each. Facebook allows you to embed ONE thing and with Twitter you can only insert links. I drive traffic to my blog using all the other apps but also send traffic out to those apps via widgets. Take a look at my home page for example, where you can follow my tweets, watch my recent Vimeo videos and connect to my other social media outlets.
I feel like a kid on the first day of school telling my classmates what I did on my summer vacation!
I think most of my regular readers also follow me on Twitter or Facebook, but for the record, I traveled across 20 states with a pink bra strapped across the windshield of my motorcycle to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. Along the way I interviewed financial traders for a book I’m co-authoring with Matt Davio called “Tradeoffs: Leveraging the Longs & Shorts of Life.”
Up to speed
The last time I spoke of my trip here I didn’t have a motorcycle and hadn’t completed my training. Happily, I’m now the owner of a BMW G650 GS that carried me 7500 miles across the country without incident!
I posted a series of videos on my travel blog from a breast cancer fundraising event in Charlotte, NC this month. If you watch the entire series you’ll learn the basics: how I prepared, what I saw and did along the way, lessons learned and how advances in treating breast cancer have benefited other cancers. Here’s the first segment; the rest are available on the road trip site.
Let’s talk about the presentation
If you set aside the obvious things like the audience being seated to the side of the screen and other items of ambiance outside my control, my performance illustrates a few things I’ve been preaching about here on the blog for a while.
Zen slide design
Sometimes I have the advantage of working with a talented designer like Andy Ciordia, but when I have to go it alone (which was the case this time), I do my best to employ Garr Reynolds’ advice about structuring and designing a presentation.
Oh, and if you need a speaker for your next event, please think of me. I can talk about my travels, breast cancer, or how I used social media to promote the trip and garner media coverage.
Last week FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 10-06 to finally address how those it regulates can participate in social media. Anyone regulated by FINRA already knows this, and I’ve got nothing new to say about the notice.
I do have some questions about linkedFA, a new service that purports to comply with FINRA’s guidelines. This part of the standard seems to be the most onerous for services like LinkedIn, Facebook and the rest to comply with:
Every firm that intends to communicate, or permit its associated persons to communicate, through social media sites must first ensure that it can retain records of those communications as required by Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and NASD Rule 3110. SEC and FINRA rules require that for record retention purposes, the content of the communication is determinative and a broker-dealer must retain those electronic communications that relate to its “business as such.”
The linkedFA site allows advisers to create three separate profiles to interact and display different information to clients, peers and recruiters. By capturing and storing communications for six years, founder Brian Byrne says everything is “extractable and reportable.”
Ho hum, where’s the value proposition?
I’m not willing to join a network of CPAs just so I can see what mine has to say about the profession, so why would the general public join linkedFA just for the privilege of communicating with their financial advisor? Social media depends on the network effect. Unless linkedFA intends to collaborate with the entrenched networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al through some sort of API I don’t know how it would expect to gain traction with the general population.
Since I’m not a developer or social media genius I asked my friend Andy Ciordia (who is both) to weigh in.
I think it must be recognized that we have mature social media platforms out there. The real question is what is being done to leverage their power to create further value in something like linkedFA.
There are plenty of social networking platforms out there for professionals. Most of them at the very least allow you to bring in your content from other social streams. Sadly many of them lacking real programming budgets do not allow the same beyond an RSS feed to others. That’s not real interactivity.
So what is l`inkedFA really adding? Looking at the wrapping around the site and watching their video I feel shaky at best that it’s going to be something that blows the doors off of using LinkedIn. Tamela and I had a great phone conversation on this and we both agreed that this type of service would be fantastic to siphon from all the streams and have it act as the archive, the record, the authority. However to build just another networking site and then have to have everyone make new accounts (I didn’t see OAuth or another federated solution to make life easier), seems like a lot of work just to help communication along. I communicate fine over the phone and email with those financial services in my life. Why would I hurdle barriers to entry and a dubious data portability to go see them over there?
API or not this style of service is going to have an uphill battle and they’re going to have to separate themselves from the pack through some logical yet ingeniously implemented ideas. More than not I could see LinkedIn move their resources around and allow for FINRA compliance.
How about it, advisors, what has the FINRA notice done for you?
Is your firm promising a new policy for social media interactions?
How many of you are participating in social media behind an avatar and pseudonym?
Interesting article in WSJ about email’s younger, prettier communication sister: social media.
For those not using Twitter, Facebook and other means of connecting with the outside world, this WSJ quote explains the difference between them and ye olde email: “We all still use email, of course. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.”
The story quoted Alex Bochannek, curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA: “The whole idea of this email service isn’t really quite as significant anymore when you can have many, many different types of messages and files and when you have this all on the same type of networks.”
What’s this bode for email newsletters?
The article doesn’t make my point explicitly, but sets it up well. Email newsletters and all THOUGHTFUL communications have a place OUTSIDE social media. Said another way, to communicate thoroughly, thoughtfully and confidentially, if you can’t meet in person, start with email.
This mirrors my own experience, as a fairly active Twitter(er) who averages 30 daily updates. For those of you not yet using Twitter, don’t take the impression that I have that much to say about myself — my tweets are usually in response to news items posted by other users or part of a conversation with my “followers” (feels a bit Jim Jones-ish calling them that, but oh well…that’s what they’re officially called).
Sure, I occasionally tweet out the odd “gonna clear my head by taking the dog for a walk” message, but the fun thing about social media is how people find you on the basis of these throwaway tweets. I now have a number of followers who send me pet food coupons and even Cesar Millan aka The Dog Whisperer follows me!
Belt & suspenders approach
Back to the topic at hand. For THOUGHTFUL, well-written communications, there is no substitute for email. The only thing that comes close is what you syndicate through your RSS feed. However, people get busy and forget to check their readers. An occasional email poke to check the RSS feed will probably always be in order.
- My website is home base. It’s the hub of external communications
- Primary communications spokes
- Blog and its RSS feed
- When I post to my blog ( my website is actually a blogsite), it automatically sends a tweet with the title and a link for all the world to see. It also sends out an excerpt of the post through my RSS feed for those who’ve subscribed and to those directories like Alltop, that carry my content. Those who are linked to me via LinkedIn can see this excerpt on my profile page. Anywhere that anyone sees an excerpt of my blog posts, they can click to read the whole thing on my blog.
- I use Twitter to entice the Twitterverse to read my blog posts. With 140 characters per tweet, I use the url shortening service bitly to get the links down to 16 characters, then use what’s left to tease with leads like “Why Email Isn’t Dead.”
- I also use Twitter to ask specific people to read or comment on posts, according to their inclination and expertise. I know who wants to read my posts about SPAM and who wants a financial blog writing prompt and who’s the best expert to comment on one of my posts. If I’m fortunate, some of my followers will “reTweet” what I’ve sent so their network of followers will have the opportunity to read something they would not have otherwise known existed.
- When I get comments on the blog I Tweet that out to keep the conversation going. This helps those who’ve commented get their ideas in front of a wider audience, too. The least I can do.
- My newsletter promises three things every month: something on whole-brain communications, a bit on brevity and updates on topics related to email marketing and newsletters. Eventually everything from the newsletter shows up in the blog. For those who don’t want to read every blog post or remind themselves to check my RSS feed in a reader, they can read my monthly newsletter and click through to anything else that might interest them in the blog. The newsletter is an efficient portal to all the information I offer.
- I reserve email for my most formal and private correspondence. It’s also how I communicate with those not on social media. As the WSJ article says, some things require attachments and confidentiality and email is the next-best thing to a tête-à-tête
OK, that’s my communications methodology. What am I missing that works for you? Do tell (if you comment, I’ll tweet it out)!
Advice for those who need a ghostwriter
As a writer with some tech savvy and a general tendency to extroversion, social media works very well for me and and I’ve found a way to bind all my efforts together strategically. My experience is that those who invest the time in social media will benefit, but not everyone will want to make that investment. Fine.
If you’re a professional of any stripe, start with a custom newsletter written by yourself or a ghostwriter — not something you stick your logo on and call “customized.” No idea what to write? I offer news-driven writing prompts, if that helps.
Keep a consistent publishing schedule and maintain a searchable repository of your articles (not just prior newsletter editions, the individual articles) on your website. One of my clients does this so that we can eventually compile his newsletter articles into feature articles for professional journals. Another client’s newsletter articles go into his blog and will eventually become a book. Re-purpose your material.
My observation is that people are often reluctant to start small when they have big aspirations, but every desert is composed of tiny grains of sand. They add up.
Further evidence of the power of Twitter: this morning one one of my tweeps, @derekhernquist, brought this video to my attention:
(Note from Tamela) When I spoke to the Carolina Professional Saleswomen & Entrepreneurs in June, I promised a follow-up on their questions about Facebook. I turned to my good friend and social media genius, Andy Ciordia, who built and maintains my wonderful blogsite, for a guest column on the subject.
Andy Ciordia speaks
Facebook, Facebook, Facebook.. Unless you’re under a rock someone has talked about it and usually I hear this:
“An old highschool friend [who I may or may not desire to find me] has found me on facebook. I’ve connected with everyone I used to know.”
“I am losing at least a few hours a day just flipping through Facebook. I can’t believe how easy it is to just get lost in.”
Do I need Facebook?
With every new technology there are those who are already there, those who are in transition, and those who are defiant to it. Unfortunately time is not on your side, the new usually always beats out the old and even the most stoic convert eventually. Remember cell phones?
But do you need Facebook? No, of course not. It’s an application, a medium of communication. You’ll never find yourself in a desert and think, “If only I had Facebook”, haha! However, as a medium it courses with information. Information that can allow us to grow, to understand, and at times get lost in. Like any technology there can be abuse, but that’s not the question at hand.
While you may not desire Facebook and the level of transparency you can gate a large percentage of that through their options. In the budding age of social networks I recommend people getting online, checking out the tools, and share only what is comfortable to them and lock out the rest until they find a purpose to it. At the core of the thought is that you should be aware of what is going on in the internet space and this is where a lot of growth is coming from. If you miss this age you might be even further out when the next layers come down.
What does Facebook mean to business?
A good question and one central to anyone in modern business. You used to be able to not be online. Remember that? Oh I don’t need a website. My how times have changed. If you are not online you can hear a collective consumer sigh as they switch gears and Google your competition. Now we’re entering the social media age, which was really there all along but it’s never been so easy to tap into. Before this was mainly limited to the relationships fostered by brick and mortar establishments. Now the power of the individual business through social networking can establish healthy relationships with people from around the world!
While social media is undoubtedly something you will want to integrate into your marketing portfolio the uses of it and Facebook is a bit more unclear. Some markets it is required for, national brands, local outposts, grass root campaigns, and many others. However it’s not always critical to the success of you or your brand.
Facebook works best for the personal or group mentalities. After watching many come to Facebook with the expectation of huge sales and followers only to be hit on the head after hard sales approach many can walk away dejected due to the misunderstanding of the media. Facebook requires you to culture more of who you are, show it, relate with others, while developing and fostering relationships.
Social media takes time
These medias which unite us together and create a stronger representation of self, what you stand for, and your business are fantastic but it comes at a cost. Your time.
In the old sales channels how often were you out beating the street and meeting others. Knocking on doors, or picking up the handset? Quite frequently if you want to keep your business up. A relationship is a relationship. You’re still going to have to build and maintain it. What happens differently in this medium is there are elements of entertainment. Well we are really good at being entertained and all of a sudden your day is done but how many new people did you meet, how many people did you really interact with, and did any of your goals from the onset get met? You have to be careful.
One step at a time
I challenge you to get involved by taking small steps. Like Tamela often asks me, ‘Which part of the elephant are we eating today?’ The domain of all of this knowledge is large, the nuances subtle, but the payoffs can be large for you personally or for your business. Enter the arena slowly, watchfully, and aware of what you are exposing. Be honest and share what you can with who you want and evolve the relationships naturally.
Andy Ciordia works for Nuance Labs Consulting helping small businesses to establish their brands, identities, and strategies online with a hands-on personal approach. You can find Andy on LinkedIn and Twitter helping others in the community. Feel free to reach out and connect with Andy for the beginning of a great relationship.