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The one thing successfully people keep doing

April 22, 2014

Over the past couple of months I have read several articles about things successful people do that make them successful. Everything from “build your network,” to “don’t be afraid to fail.” These tips are helpful, but what do you think is the root cause – the one thing at the center of the success strategy that everything else flows from. Let’s talk for a moment about the one thing truly successful people do over, and over, and over again. They ask a simple question of themselves, and make powerful decisions based on the answer.

How do we make it better?

Think of a few great innovators. Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Florence Nightingale; what do they have in common? They kept trying to find new ways to improve. Apple is still revolutionizing the mobile communication industry (among other things). Ford made a better automobile and improved the manufacturing process for thousands of companies. Modern nursing wouldn’t be what it is today if Florence hadn’t challenged the status quo and developed new ways to treat patients. Thousands of other examples are out there, can you think of one that inspires you?

The one amazing thing each of these people had in common is their ability to adapt to a changing environment, and make something better. They refused to stop innovating because there was always a way to make it better.

Now think about whatever goal you are working on right now and ask yourself one question: how can you do it better?

Post your answer in the comments below and let’s talk about it.

Facebook Promotion Guidelines Update

August 27, 2013

This just in, Facebook has released an update to their Official Promotion Guidelines removing the requirement for promotions to be run in a third party app.
Previously, as many of you know, the rule was: “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or an app on the Page Tab.”

NEW RULE: “Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted?.

This seems like trading one barrier for another, but I suppose change for the sake of change is just the Facebook way.

How do you think this will impact your contests.

Carry on.

Weed Out Social Media Wieners

May 12, 2011

Social Media Wiener!

Raise your hand if you have sat through a boring social media workshop presented by a social media guru, ninja, Jedi, maven, etc. They talk about theories and tell you about how much social media can do for your brand/company/product/service, but can’t show you examples or results.

These are the social media wieners! I want to share a few tools I use to help separate the real professionals from the wieners. This process takes about five minutes.

Google

Type their name into Google. If they really know how to use the web and social media effectively, you will find their name and social media profiles in the top 10 Google results. You should at least find their Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook profile/page. Look at each of their profiles and see how they interact in each platform. What are they sharing? Who are they connecting with? If they are not in the top 10 Google results for their personal brand, what makes you think they will do any better for your business?

Twitter

Look at their Twitter feed. Can’t find an active Twitter feed? This is a bad sign. Remember, if they can’t create exposure for their personal brand, what makes you think they can do it for your business?

Do they Tweet often? Is 90% of their Tweets Foursquare or Yelp check-ins (bad sign)? Do they share valuable industry related information like links to blogs, retweets from reliable sources, and engaging messages (good sign)? Do they share often (good sign)?

Facebook Page

If they are a social media professional I can almost guarantee they manage at least one Facebook Page. Find it by searching Facebook for their name, brand, or company.

What is your first impression of their Page? Is it pleasing to the eye? How engaged are they on their Wall? Do they have real conversations, or are they broadcasting? Once again, if they can’t do this for their own brand, what makes you think they can do it for yours?

LinkedIn

This one is quick and easy. Do they have a LinkedIn Profile and is it complete. This is more of an attention to detail check. It takes less than one hour to complete your LinkedIn profile, and very little time for maintenance.

Here are some examples of great looking LinkedIn profiles for real social media professionals: Amber Naslund, Chris Brogan, and Pete Codella (he’s a local guy).

Real social media professionals are out there and when you get the chance to hear them speak at conferences and workshops they offer a level of experience that is extremely valuable. In contrast, posers are easy to spot and make you feel like you just wasted an hour of your life.

Learn from the best; avoid the wieners!

Do you have any other examples for how to spot a true professional? How do you spot the wieners?

How-to: Create a Facebook Business Page

May 9, 2011

Learn How to Create a Facebook Business PageI am tired of seeing businesses and organizations set up personal profiles on Facebook to use for business. First of all, using a Facebook Profile for your business is limiting your ability to share and engage with your customers and stakeholders. Besides:

  • Creating a Facebook Profile for your business is a violation of the Facebook Terms of Use (Section 4.2)
  • Profiles are limited to having 5,000 friends (Pages can handle millions!)
  • Profiles can’t use Facebook ads or Facebook Insights (measuring ROI?)
  • Etc… this list can get pretty long, but I am sure you get the point

For these reasons and more, take the extra time and create a custom Facebook Page for your business, brand, product, special person, etc.

Quick sidebar: Before you can set up a Facebook Business Page for your business or organization you have to have a Facebook Profile (personal). Don’t worry about using your personal profile to set up your business page. You can enable all kinds of privacy setting on your profile and still act as an administrator for a Page. Just remember, if you do not have a Facebook Profile you cannot be added as an Administrator on a Facebook Business Page.

So, without further blathering, let’s create a Facebook Page:

  1. Log in to your personal Facebook Profile
  2. Go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages
  3. Click “Create Page”

    Learn how to create a Facebook Business Page

    Some items in this image have been blurred to protect the innocent...

  4. Select the Page type. As you will see, there are several options. If you are uncertain which to choose, click on one and look at the categories in the drop-down box that appears. If you can’t find something that makes sense for your business, choose a different type. Feel free to explore these options until you find the best fit.
  5. From the drop-down boxes, select the appropriate “category.” In most cases it is pretty obvious which one you should choose based on your business products or services. Again, feel free to explore. This can be changed later so don’t stress out about it.Learn How to Create a Facebook Business Page
  6. Complete the other fields related to the business type. Be honest and don’t type something in one of these fields you would regret. When the page goes live, most of this information is automatically placed in various fields like “about us.”
  7. Agree to the Facebook Pages Terms by checking the box. It is a quick and easy read.
  8. Click “Get Started.”
  9. CONGRATULATIONS! You have a Facebook Business Page. Now take some time and explore your page. Fill out as much information as you can and don’t forget to use keyword rich content. To wrap it all up, link to your Twitter and YouTube profiles.

Social Media Strategist Job Description

April 19, 2011

Social Media Strategist Job DescriptionCompanies all over the world are scrambling to hire someone to help lead them into the world of Facebook, Twitter, Quora, or any other social network that will be emerging as the next giant over the next few years.

Different companies use different titles to describe this person; social media strategist, social media manager, social media marketing manager, community manager. Some people are even referring to them as gurus, ninjas, experts, or my favorite, Jedi’s (these titles actually make my skin crawl, please avoid them).

One thing is apparent, there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about what kind of experience and knowledge a social media strategist should have. Over the past few weeks I researched social media job postings in a variety of industries. From that data I compiled this job description. As with anything this may not exactly fit with what you are trying to accomplish, so please feel free to modify as needed. Also, please leave a comment and link to the job posting should you decide to use this description.

Social Media Strategist

Responsibilities:

  • Develop and maintain a comprehensive social media strategy that defines how social media marketing techniques will be applied to increase visibility and traffic across all [insert company] brands and products
    NOTE: An effective comprehensive social media strategy will manifest itself in the form of a “road map” that can be used by all brands/departments within a company to develop section specific tactics. This offers a certain level of autonomy and creates opportunities for creativity.
  • Lead the development of organization-wide social media management standards, policies and rules of engagement for social media
  • Define key performance indicators and implement enterprise level measurement, analytics, and reporting methods to gauge success
  • Mentor and provide training to communication and management professionals throughout the organization on best practices for creating, managing, monitoring, and developing content for social networks
    NOTE: The person must have the ability to effectively communicate complex and technical theory and information in an understandable manner
  • Work with all [insert company] brands to explore and identify ways to integrate social media into business strategies and marketing campaigns
    NOTE: This is where internal communication skills and the ability to adapt come in. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of working with administrators and executive level management to coordinate projects.
  • Apply marketing research and development methods to learn and understand emerging trends and technologies and to communicate this knowledge clearly and concisely
    NOTE: Part of the social media strategist’s job is to make sure your company stays on top of emerging trends. In the interview, ask candidates how they stay on top of their game. Do they read blogs? Which ones? Do they participate in industry specific Twitter chats? Which ones?

Experience:

  • BS/BA degree from an accredited college or university and 3-5 years experience in advertising, communications, marketing, or public relations
    NOTE: I have seen many people posting jobs where an advanced degree is preferred. This is fine if we are talking about an executive level position, but ideally, the social media strategist would overlap into a variety of departments including communications, human resources, IT, R&D, etc. True integration happens in more than just one department.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of graphic design best practices and principles for both print and web projects
  • Strong technical background with advanced computer skills
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team, as well as independently
  • Aptitude to develop and maintain strong working relationships with both internal and external stakeholders
    NOTE: the social media strategist will be charged with managing online communities. To be most effective, look for someone who has experience volunteering with non-profit groups in their community, or serving on the board of directors for a community organization. These people are more likely to have the skills necessary to your social communities.
  • A solid understanding of ethical search engine optimization techniques
    NOTE: Test this! Google the name of your candidate, if they know how to apply search engine optimization they should appear at least a few times on the front page of Google results, even if they have a common name.
  • Exceptional leadership capabilities and strong interpersonal skills
  • Extremely strong communication and presentation skills
  • Demonstrated experience and a passion for the social technology universe (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, Flickr, blogs, wikis, RSS, social bookmarking, discussion forums and community software)
  • Experience with online monitoring and measurement platforms including but not limited to Omniture, Facebook Insights, YouTube Insights, Google Analytics, HootSuite, TweetDeck, and Social Mention.
  • Experience with creating and identifying quality social media content related to [insert industry specific topics here. I.e. healthcare, fitness, healthy lifestyles, parenting, etc.] is preferred
  • Experience developing and launching email and text messaging campaigns preferred
  • Ability to work effectively under deadlines and juggle several assignments simultaneously
  • Ability to distinguish and behave with a good sense of decorum; acting as a brand ambassador is absolutely required
  • Data, analytics, and metrics oriented

Technical Addendum:

  • Experience using:
    • Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook 2007 or 2010
    • Adobe Design Suite CS4 or CS5 (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash)
  • Strong understanding of HTML and CSS
  • Knowledge of web usability best practices, website navigation design and flow, content classification, and content management methods and systems

Is there anything I missed? Is there something that I included that you don’t think is necessary? Please, leave a comment and tell me about it.

Facebook Contest Rules

January 25, 2011

Facebook Promotion GuidelinesOn December 10, 2010, Facebook released a revised edition of the Facebook Promotion Guidelines. Summarized, these new rules state:

  1. A contest must not use any part of Facebook such as Liking, status updates, photo tagging, etc.
  2. A contest must be administered in an “application on the Facebook Platform” (Static FBML, mailchimp, and flickr for example), not directly on a Page Wall.

How serious is Facebook about enforcing these rules?

As you may have guessed, Facebook has outlined consequences for violating these rules. Specifically, “In addition to our other remedies, we may remove any materials relating to the promotion or disable your Page, application or account if we determine in our sole discretion that you violate any of our policies.”

Facebook obviously doesn’t have the time or the resources to constantly police every page to ensure compliance to the Terms of Service; however, considering the consequences, it may be a good idea to follow the rules anyway. If you need more convincing, keep reading.

Should you follow the rules on your Facebook Page?

To really succeed in social media it is important for companies and social media professionals alike to follow the rules and guidelines of social media platforms. Why? Because breaking the rules is bad for your image and leaves the reputation of your company, brand, or person, open to long-term ridicule and damage.

Is it really worth it?

How to run a compliant contest (EASY!)

In this case, following the rules is really not difficult. Use a third-party app where people can “enter” your contest. An entry can be signing up for an email list (mailchimp), submitting a photo (flickr), or visiting your website to complete a specific action. Notice that each of these contest entry ideas requires using an “application on the Facebook Platform,” as stated in the rules. You can’t just say “Like our page to be entered,” or “Like this post to be entered.” That breaks the rules.

The third-party apps I just mentioned are already there, they just need to be added to your page. No technical knowledge or coding required.

If you have tips for running contests that meet the new rules, please leave them in the comments section below.

Social Media Expert/Guru

September 27, 2010

Photo by: graur razvan ionut

I was at a conference a few weeks ago and met a gentleman who introduced himself as a “Social Media Guru.” He must have caught my slight wince at the title because he felt the need to legitimize his use of the word “Guru.” After listening to him for about ten minutes I realized he was not quite as savvy as he would like others to think.

The fact is, there is no such thing as a Social Media Guru/Expert, period. Anyone who actually works in the industry would never use such a title. If you meet someone who does, run away.

Think about it this way, how long has there been a place in business for social media professionals? A few years, maybe a decade at best. Do you really think there could be a guru in that short amount of time? I don’t think so.

If you are looking for someone who knows how to use social media; someone who will really be able to help your company or brand expand marketing efforts into the social realm, don’t take a person’s word for it. Google them! If they don’t hold at least four (hopefully more) places in the top ten list when you Google their name, they are not worth it. Look for a blog, Twitter handle, Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, etc. This information will tell you what you need to know about the individual. My new friend from the conference appeared one time on the first page of Google results when I searched him (a Twitter account). Not impressive.

What if the person has an extremely common name like John Smith? If they really know how to get positive exposure online and in social media, common names don’t matter. A true social media/web professional has a solid understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) and social media best practices. They know how to rank high on Google and other important search engines. If they can’t do this for their name, what makes you think they can do it for your brand?

Thoughts, questions, concerns? Do you know anyone who uses Social Media Expert/Guru as a title? Tell me about it.

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