Social Media 101: Why?

Social Media 101: Why?

Social Media isn't going anywhere.

I promised I’d be better about writing for Professional Mojo, not just for our clients <smile>, so let’s start 2011 off right with a series on the fundamentals. If you check the archives, you’ll see that we’ve talked about the fundamentals before, but it sure seems like folks are conveniently forgetting.

More than ever before we see random digital strategies cropping up like weeds in abandoned fields. This is caused in large part because companies, and their leaders, are beginning to “get it”. And by “get it” I mean understand that there is value to meeting their customers, prospects, vendors and partners where they are.

Unfortunately, with the stampede to adopt, strategy takes a backseat. Ask yourself a few questions before embarking on social media and online portfolio development:

  • Do you have a marketing strategy in place for your organization and, if so, how do you see online portfolio development fitting into it?
  • Do you have hard metrics in place for your other channels? How are they performing? How do you hope social media channels will work with those efforts?
  • What about your website? Is it performing?
  • What do you want from the social media effort? Be as concrete as possible.
  • Do you understand that it is about relationships and communication, not about fast cash?
  • How much time, effort and money are you willing to invest in doing this right?
  • What’s your timeline?
  • Who are your target audiences? What platforms do they use? How do they use them? What do they expect from being part of a community?

There are hundreds of other “qualifying” questions we ask our clients because like anything worth doing, developing a meaningful online portfolio is worth doing well.  The online portfolio significantly impacts your reputation in today’s world. Take the time to determine why you really want to do this and then seek out the information, knowledge and expertise to do it right.

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Professional Mojo Marketing offers consulting, social media audits, training and full-service management for both for-profit and non-profit clients in almost every industry. Our print and websites rock, too. Contact us for more.

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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.

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.

What’s with a Wiki?

A wiki is a useful social media tool that can be used to preserve corporate knowledge

A wiki is a useful social media tool that can be used to preserve corporate knowledge

Once upon a time, back in the pre-Internet highway days, people documented business knowledge on things called paper. Or in items called books.  Or, held critical information in the round thing called their head.  Then, came the computer. Businesses rapidly adopted knowledge management systems, which Wikipedia itself describes as “for supporting creation, capture, storage and dissemination of information.”  These systems preserve business continuity, so if someone is hit by the ubiquitous bus, the knowledge of what they do and how they do it can be transferred to others.

Then came the wiki.

A wiki is a free or cheap browser-based web platform that allows your employees to contribute information based on their expertise and knowledge. They can edit content within the articles, too. Together, this material creates a knowledge base for your organization that relies on the integrity of the additions. 

Many companies are using a wiki to create their own knowledge management systems for retaining corporate knowledge, training and collaboration.  Used correctly, it can be a very valuable free resource that helps create a central repository of knowledge for your organization.

Here’s some wiki wisdom:

  • A wiki relies on the integrity of the author, so there is the opportunity for mistakes or even sabotage. Fortunately, wikis are designed to make it easy to correct errors and have a “recently changed” feature so admins can quickly determine what’s been done and by whom.
  • Some training might be required. A wiki promotes meaningful topic association so the user can easily navigate to related ideas.  Be sure to show your employees how to make the links.
  • A wiki is an interactive, living and breathing tool. It’s only as good as the involvement of your employees.

Interested in saving time and not having to reinvent the wheel every time an employee leaves? A wiki might be for you.  Check out this site to find out more about wiki software and how to get started.  A few tutorials are listed below:

Slide Share tutorial on creating an educational wiki using pbworks 
Using Wikispaces

For more information on Professional Mojo and how we can help you create a better website, integrate your social media and drive business success, contact us.

Social Media: It’s the Why not the How

Embrace the WHY of social media to grow your business. Last week I attended a local leadership meeting and was honored to make a mini-presentation to the members on social media. I didn’t realize that the hardest part would be explaining why they should get involved. They wanted to know about the mechanics of the how. That’s the wrong approach.

    The Right Approach is the Why

1) Social Media is, well, social. Social is good! Don’t you attend local meetings? Reach out network at community events? Volunteer? Create lasting relationships to generate sales and satisfaction? Why should you be engaging in social media? For the same reasons.

2) It’s one-to-one, but your reach is one-to-many. Where else can you get your message out to hundreds or thousands in an instant? For free? It bears repeating here that your posts, your Tweets, your status updates, etc. should still smell like a personal conversation. You’ve heard me talk about authenticity. Your conversations need to feel real and be targeted to the person – not your 600 followers.

3) The conversation is happening – either you’re in or you’re out. I’m amazed at the number of businesses who still think social media is folly. Folly, I say! That’s just crazy talk. It’s only folly if you don’t plan, don’t create a strategy and a policy, and walk into it blindly. Hear me: Prospects are talking about you and your company. And they will continue to talk whether or not you’re in the game. How is that smart?

4) Social media is not going away, so live with it. I know I’m being a little ornery in this post, but there is no time to be coy. Remember back in the day when your mom announced that email would never be the primary method of communication? No one thought instant messaging and texting would be around for long? Hello! They are now ingrained into our social communication consciousness. Social media is not going anywhere, but maybe your organization is if you don’t move now.

Ok, I’m passionate about this for lots of reasons. If you’ve read some of our other posts here, you know that I feel strongly that this is the now and the future of relationship building with your customers, prospects, vendors and partners.

But, you have to embrace, internalize and believe in the why before you jump on the how.

You can visit Professional Mojo to find out more about onsite and online training, keyword talks and custom social media plans toolkits created for your needs.

Piggyback Technology with Going Green and What do You Get?

Employees are up to 40% more productive working remotely.

Employees are up to 40% more productive when working remotely.

You get a virtual work environment. While not all careers lend themselves to working in a remote work space away from the traditional brick and mortar of company headquarters, more and more folks are opting for part-time and full-time telecommuting options. The advantages are incredible, but the discipline is demanding.

So, what are the top ten real advantages of going virtual?

1. Saves money for the employer and the employee (travel, office space, etc.)

2. Employee is generally more productive in his/her own environment (Some reports indicate increases of up to 40 percent through telework programs.)

3. Reduces health risks and lost days due to illness (less stress!)

4. Reduces job hopping and subsequent training requirements

5. Grants employee a mix of personal and business time during the day, rather than asking for time off to attend to personal matters

6. Allows for a better pool of employees because you get nationwide reach

7. Preserves the environment by decreasing transportation-based greenhouse gases

8. Promotes safety by reducing numbers on the highways and your operation can continue even in the face of a crisis (i.e., severe weather or a natural disaster because they can literally work from anywhere)

9. Conserves energy (office equipment, vehicle resources, etc.)

10. Your employee is generally happier as they achieve balance for their work and family mojo.

Many employers are hesitant when it even comes to the mention of going virtual. Don’t be. It’s a fabulous alternative for the right employee. Just ask me and Lee. We’ve been doing it for over 19 years.

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