Professional Mojo Moves Its Blog to ProfessionalMojo.com

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In online reputation management, you get what you pay for.

ProfessionalMojo Marketing - Trusted Partner

Choose your social media partner wisely. We can help.

While doing some research, I recently came across a company who said they were specialists in “protecting your online reputation” and “managing your Twitter, Facebook and blog assets”.  Then, they pointed the website visitor (in this case, me) to their Facebook page and Twitter account as evidence, I suppose, of the quality of their work.

Here is what waited for me on those pages:

  • Bad grammar, typos and misspellings galore: How can a company possibly represent your brand when they can’t even utilize correct grammar and use the spell check?  The type of syntax reminded me of what you find in those spammy emails from foreign countries, which made me suspicious if the “posting” was being done off shore.
  • A propaganda stream: While one of the blog posts talked about social media being a dialog, there was zero indication that they lived by what they preached. There were few retweets, few replies and a steady stream of nonsense and propaganda.  At Mojo, we pride ourselves on tight messaging and relationship-building.  Again, they didn’t know what to say on their own stream, how in the world could they represent someone else’s brand?
  • Inappropriate comments: Would you want folks to see curse words and, um, racy remarks?  Well, whoever was posting to this stream sure did.  What if that was your brand? Your B2B dialog with partners, vendors, alliances, customers would be at risk…ugh.

Look, in this economy, we are well aware that the “new normal” isn’t really normal at all. As business people we are looking for ways to maximize revenue, increase profits and decrease expenses. It’s as simple as that.  However, you should not cut corners where your brand is concerned.  Putting your online reputation, one that is potentially cached forever, into the hands of companies who don’t speak the language well, don’t understand your business and have no proven methodology is just plain craziness.

Before you decide to contract with a provider, take a hard look at what they are doing.  Unfortunately, there are quite a few companies out there like the one I mentioned above. They decided to set up shop to capitalize on social media, not to create a long-term client relationship built on real results.

Be careful and vet them thoroughly:

  • What is your methodology?
  • Who else have you done work for?
  • What were the results?
  • Will you show me your own streams and community?
  • What testimonials do you have?
  • Who is doing the work?

Your reputation is easy to mess up and hard to fix.  Just sayin’.

If you are interested in vetting Professional Mojo, we welcome it.  Our Mojo Messaging Methodology is tight, we have over 20 years of marketing experience and we know how to develop an online portfolio, website and print suite that works for your business.  Contact us for more.

Social Media Policy: It’s Sexy After All

Professional Mojo Social Media Policy Toolkit

Policies protect your business.

I know what you are going to say.  Policies and procedures? Ick.  In fact, I recently gave a talk to a group about policies and procedures and posted about it on Facebook.  The only comment from our fans:  Sounds exciting.  Heh.

Say what you will, but it has never been more important to have clear, written policies and procedures in place if you are going to use social media marketing to grow your business.  Let me count just three of the reasons why:

1) Social media is informal:  Because people tend to treat social media communication as an informal channel of conversation, they are more likely to say something they shouldn’t. They use it like conversation at the watercooler…but…with social media it’s instanteous and often permanent.  Real life example:  Suzie sees Tom emerging from the HR office and he’s upset. Suzie tweets out, “Tom just left HR. Upset! Bet he got the whack!”.  Panic among the ranks ensues.

2) Social media is forever (almost): One of the reasons that social media marketing is so powerful for your business is because it creates a digital portfolio of who you and your business are.  An online picture of your products, services, people and culture begins to emerge.  Much of that content is cached, which means that even if you delete it, someone has already seen it or Google has it stored somewhere.  More importantly, an online faux pas may be very hard to undo. It’s like weight: easy to put on, really hard to lose.  Once you’ve made an online reputation management error because you didn’t have good policies and training in place, it’s difficult to undo the damage.

3) Social media requires experience:  Mhm. This is one of my favorites.  Businesses routinely put the digital portfolio and online reputation in the hands of inexperienced folks because they are afraid of the technology (which in my humble opinion is secondary to the business case).  Does Johnny have the experience to deal with negative comments or positively represent your business as the front-facing persona? What if someone presses Johnny for an answer or a competitor masquerading as a prospect asks for proprietary information? Is Johnny more likely to yield that information because he’s on Facebook or LinkedIn?  You may be surprised.

Here are few things to keep in mind when planning a policy:

1) Understand your culture, industry requirements and philosophy:  There are some edgy, loosey-goosey organizations that are fully embracing the best and worst of social media. Their policies are limited. If you are taking a more limited approach, then your policy should reflect that.

2) Inventory and define what could be considered confidential or proprietary information: You probably already have these things in place, but ensuring that you extend it to the social media realm is key.

3) Create examples and role-plays for your employees:  There is no better way to learn than to look at the various situations that could arise from engaging in open, authentic, transparent conversation with prospects, competitors, vendors and customers.  What is the next step if Johnny Tweets something he shouldn’t? Who does he tell if a negative comment is posted? How do we respond to information requests that seem out of the ordinary? How do they know if they are sharing personnel information they shouldn’t?  Often, the communication lines are blurred in social media between personal and professional. You’ll want to help them to define those, too.

I could talk and write about this topic for days because I feel strongly that while social media is a boon to business, it carries inherent risk and having a solid, written policy is key.  Here at Professional Mojo we were asked to create a policy toolkit for that purpose, one that would include templates.  Rather than create something from scratch, we did the research and have partnered to offer one that has the basics to get you started at a reasonable cost. We like to provide value.  If you’d like, check it out.

Hey, we’re happy either way – just as long as you think through what you need to do to protect your business.  Now, isn’t policy sexy after all?

Facebook’s New Look – What you need to know now.

Facebook just rolled out a new home page layout that is supposed to improve your user experience.  My first impressions are that it is easier to find the things I use most on my homepage. Let’s take a tour and if you still have questions, make sure you sign up for one of our cost-effective, business-focused online workshops

1) Quick view friend requests, messages, and notifications: Notice three new icons on the top left area of the home page. You’ll see little red numerical indicators when you have items that need your attention.

2) Easier access tool area: The left sidebar now holds the key areas that you might use most, including messages, events, photos, friends, and more.

Facebook's new look

Facebook's new look

3) Quicker and easier to see who’s online and to chat with them: I’m growing fond of the Facebook chat feature, but disliked going to the bottom right corner to see who’s on. Seemed cumbersome. Facebook has remedied that with the “who’s online” feature.
4) Easier access to the Home, Profile and Account options: These often-used tools are now in the upper right corner of screen. One of the nicest changes is the more intuitive Account menu, which gives instant access to friends, account settings, privacy, credits, and more. You can logout directly from that menu, as well.
5) The Photos area is much more powerful:  Search is at the forefront of Facebook’s new design and it’s clear when you click on Photos. the pics are larger and the search bar is prominently displayed.
Facebook's New Look - Photos

Facebook's New Look - Photos

Our overall first impression is pretty good. Everyone has their preferred way of accessing most-used tools, but for me this was a welcome change. I found the left sidebar more intuitive, the messaging a help and the improved search a big benefit. 
What do you think of the changes?
For more on using online marketing to reach your customers, members, donors and prospects directly with the right message, visit Professional Mojo. Our cost-effective monthly group mentoring, online workshops and full service packages can make the difference in your 2010.

Online Marketing Predictions for 2010

I promised and here they are…our Mojo Predictions for 2010. What are yours?

Social Media Predictions
Mojo’s Predictions

#7:  Social media gets sane.  In the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2009 every company, both for profit and nonprofit, was jumping on the bandwagon – many without plans nor concrete objectives. They did not integrate their social media efforts into their overall marketing nor did they track results. They threw it at the wall and hoped it stuck.  That will change in 2010. Like other new marketing channels, best practices will emerge and companies (like Mojo) who have been advocating methodical, integrated, approaches will rise to the top.

#6: Marketing and search will get local once again.  Back in the day, marketing was about building communities of customers and prospects, suppliers and vendors, locally.  Social media is particularly well-suited for that, and yet, companies have been looking at it as a way to reach everyone all the time. That will change in 2010 as they realize, as we do, that it’s best to reach who you want when it’s convenient for them with the right message.

#5. Churches and nonprofits will need to have a much higher level of engagement and become community hotspots, serving up a variety of needed resources.  It’s not enough to serve a small segment of your prospect population. Embrace diversity, be transparent about your projects and finances and then offer community resources on a wider scale (community workshops, debates, classes, and more).

#4.  Your marketing will get filtered out at alarming rates as prospects figure out how to harness technology to see and read only what they want to.  You will have to provide true relationship-building and value-oriented content, served up when and where they want it, to get through the noise.  Added benefit: Google’s new Caffeine search system will reward fresh, updated content and social media begins to trump traditional SEO.

#3.  Your online brand is more important than ever. I’m talking about you as a person, a volunteer, a pastor, a nonprofit director, an employee, an executive, a professional service provider.  In fact, more than 80% of professional recruiters plan to use social media platforms to screen job applicants, and source “passive” candidates – people who would consider a better offer from a different company.  You are what the Internet says you are.

#2.  Networks will consolidate and your choice of platforms will diminish, making your initial strategies and choice of social media tool more important than ever.

#1.  B2B companies will begin to get it. Other industries, such as faith-based organizations, will also act quickly so they are not left behind.

A lot of what we have been talking about over the last 7 months is coming true, and that’s good. You should be taking action now. Any residual fears of social media marketing and social media search optimization need to be laid to rest for good.  There are just too many opportunities to miss.

Are Your Social Media Eggs in One Basket?

Are your social media eggs in one basket?

Are your social media eggs in one basket?

Finally. The craziness surrounding all things social media has died down a bit, and businesses are finally getting down to the task of evaluating platforms and evaluating results in a disciplined way.  Those of us who are not new to this rodeo and have grown businesses are elated to see this change in the climate. 

Part of the discplined approach to planning is investigating all platforms to see a) who their users are b) how the users actually use the platform and c) if the technology supports your business objectives.  Over the last several months, all the attention has focused on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Yes, yes…those are the big dogs, but there are other platforms that may be of use to you. Before you put all of your social media eggs into one basket, do your due diligence.

Check out FastPitch!FastPitch!: FastPitch! focuses less on the social aspect of networking and more on the actual business of business.  Some of the unique aspects of FastPitch! is its ability to distribute press releases, classifieds, newsfeed, letters and more.  In fact, I would characterize it as more about your business than about you.  The new look and feel, which was just unveiled, gives you better control over your social media assets, too.  Like most networks, there is a subscription fee to get to the cool stuff.
What about Ning?

Want to create your own social network?

 Ning: Ning is an online social networking service – with a twist. Unlike MySpace or Facebook, where you join one huge network, Nings networks are “independent” and you belong just to that social group.  You can create your own social network that other folks can then join. Additionally, Ning allows users to customize their social network, as well.  If you wanted to created your own, private network for customer service, internal communication or even based on your product or service, Ning could be an interesting choice.

There are a number of options in the marketplace, so take your time and make wise choices about which technology will give you the results you desire. It’s all about your business.

If you are using either FastPitch! or Ning, leave us a comment and let us know how you’re using and if it’s been effective for you.

Unsure about your next step or would you like to update your marketing to position your organization for 2010? Consider the Monthly Mojo Mentoring Package. It’s a cost-effective way to get a once-month reality check on what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better. Contact us for more information.

Facebook: Top Questions Revealed!

Professional Mojo answers your top Facebook questions

Lee & Rachael answer your top Facebook questions.

I’m proud to say that we’ve trained hundreds of folks who prefer the do-it-yourself route when it comes to social media.  Yes, we have other clients, too, with whom we develop a strategy, build or upgrade their website…but there are those independent spirits out there who are determined to tackle the social media universe on their own.  It is in their honor that we reveal what Professional Mojo has found to be the top Facebook questions (both non-techy and techy).  Enjoy!

Top Non-Tech Questions

5)  Isn’t Facebook for youngsters?:  Nope. In fact, if your current prospects/clients/vendors/partners aren’t on Facebook right now, they will be soon. The fastest growing demographic is the 35+ crowd.

4) How much should my personal profile and the business stuff overlap?We routinely recommend that you keep your personal stuff private. Trust me, posting pics of you or your spouse on vacation in Bermuda will do more harm than good – no matter how good looking you think you are.

3) Isn’t Facebook a big black hole sucking up all my and my employees’ time? Well, that depends on if you think developing relationships with prospects and customers is a waste of time, too. Remember, it’s not about the platform, it’s about how  you use it, track it and monitor it. If you think your time is wasted…honestly, friends…you’re not doing it correctly.

2) Why can’t I get any fans/members to my page/group? You need to see #3 because you’re probably not executing on a good plan.  When we evaluate social media  efforts, we find that a failed Facebook presence is usually a symptom of these ills:
                  * Poor moderation/administration: Not asking questions, not responding to comments, not updating regularly, spewing unilateral sales-y propaganda
                  * Not reaching out: Not friending/fanning others, not commenting on other pages or groups, not asking your contacts to be your fan
                  * Poor or little integration with your site and other marketing: Treating Facebook like a stand-alone silo, not promoting it on your site (prominently), not promoting it in your other marketing efforts
                  * Bad content: making it all about you and your organization, not having fun, not being a resource for your fans, not giving them relevance and useful info

1) Do we even need to set up a Facebook page? Do you care whether or not you are left behind when your competitors reach more and do more? Then, yes, you probably do. NOTE: If you are unable to commit to it or create a plan that fully leverages Facebook, then don’t do it.

Top Facebook Tech Questions

5) How can I save time? Use both Facebook and third party applications to quickly and easily integrate your Facebook info into your site and your other social media assets (blogs, Twitter, etc.) into your Facebook fan page.

4) Can I set up a business page without a personal account? Yes, you can. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and choose your settings. At the end of the process, Facebook will ask you if you have a profile and you choose No.  Then, simply enter your email address and your birthday. That’s it. No profile set up. CAVEAT: you can do all regular admin tasks this way, but if you want to notify others to be a fan or search within Facebook, which we recommend, you will not be able to do that without a personal profile.

3) Can I customize my page with cool graphics? Yep, you sure can. Although Facebook is notoriously persnickety about customization, you can use various HTML and FBML third party apps to add links, graphics, and a general customized look and feel. Keep it simple, though.

2) I have a group. I want a page. What do I do now? This is related to #1.  Again, Facebook isn’t use friendly on this count, but you can follow these steps: a) create your biz page, populate it b) go to the group and begin messaging them to move over and fan your new page (I let them know that the group will be closing in X days) c) after your group members are fans of the biz page, then manually remove every group member. When you remove them all and then yourself, the group goes away.

1) Should I set up a group or a page? This is the #1 question and the answer really is based on your social media strategy (please tell me you have one). If you need a private, invitation-only, members-only area, then a group is for you.  Many NPOs have had great success with groups.   On the other hand, if your strategy is to promote, engage, and build community in a broader sense, improve your SEO rankings, use ads to promote your page, etc., then a business page is the way to go. 

What are your top questions?  Let us know and we’ll collect them for another edition of Top Questions Revealed! Starring Lee & Rachael.

Interested in online workshops, website design, social media monitoring and content creation? Then give us a ping.
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