Archive for August, 2013

Do you need to respond?

August 29, 2013

I get about 100 odd email messages a day. That number is per email inbox. I have 4.

I am not alone. Email, with its fast bad self, is way too easy for even the half witted among us to create. Some even consider hitting send on a half finished email communication. #guiltyascharged. Or, better yet, they communicate verbally and then send an email confirming they spoke. #gross

I have had enough but luckily, as my inboxes burgeoned, my capacity to figure out what email messages require responses grew too. Here are my tips:

If your boss writes you, RESPOND. Duh!
Ok so maybe your boss writes a lot of email. You despise them secretly. Poor you. Hah! No one above you in your organization (the flat organization is NOT reality kids) thinks that so stop being not so smart and respond to their email queries or at least acknowledge what has been sent. Why is this important? 4 reasons: Bosses are busier than you are. They pay your salary. They do your performance reviews. Responding strokes their ego and any boss who claims that is not important did not work their way up an organization. It’s not about sucking up – responding to email from superiors is also a way of showing R E S P E C T.

Family first. Kinda.
Ok so your aunt Edith forwards you jokes. Ignore. But if your husband writes you or your kids, find time to respond. Hey, being a great parent these days includes digitally being there. Don’t slip on the close family email and hey, once in a while, send aunt Edith a hello too.

Respond to potential mentors
You want to work your way up. You are hoping to get noticed. Then you get copied on a mail from someone important and you don’t respond. #stopthemadness! Hit reply, change the subject and send a short note. Getting noticed can be hard but reaching out digitally can help you network. Remember though, important people get busy – don’t expect a response back. Chances are they are a boss (see point one) but they will read it eventually or at least remember that the young bright one from department x wrote them a note offering help as needed. Hello “new go to person”.

Get off mailing lists
I still have my first email account. I subscribed to school enewsletters and, when the Internet was young, I willingly shared my email address in the hope that irrelevant, never to be revisited store/ website x,y AND z would “add me to their important mailing list”. That’s where the 100 email messages to my personal accounts were born.

Be smarter than I was then. NEVER subscribe. Or do what I do now, unsubscribe to any mailing list email you have not read (and can recall) the last four messages from.

Oh yeah and silly rabbits out there – don’t give your work email to mailing lists! You want to be a boss one day – all those email messages should be from people that need you – not Victorias Secret. (I still subscribe to them though – hello Jammie’s!)

Oh yeah and last tip – add aunt Edith to my blogs subscription. After these tips I may lose some of you. 🙂

Hugs

What’s in a Name?

August 22, 2013

So you are opening a company. Congratulations – you are doing what just about every person under 25 is doing these days. As Generation Y and Z become increasingly disenchanted with the hum drum of the multigenerational workplace, they are opening their own businesses. First stop? Choosing a name for their new “start up”.

And that’s where the landscape has changed. Where as companies of the 2000s (ie: the first decade of this century) got away with calling their companies all sorts of odd names (Yahoo much???), today’s world is a bit more simple. Few are the company names that evolve into verbs like Google. Also gone are the names of the 1950s too -” Sanford and sons” type names are now non existent. Why?

Enter the importance of a front page Google result (or Bing if you dare).

As businesses fight for search engine optimized space, as tags and meta tags continue to dominate how businesses are found in search engine results, business owners are becoming (and rightfully so) more savvy in the names they select for their companies. Think Jones Communication Consulting instead of Joneacorp.

The public is more impatient than ever. We don’t want to wait for you to explain what we do. We want info as quickly as Search engines can find it. So the choice of a name is important and choosing a straight forward business name is smarter than an artsy fartsy name.

Be straight forward in your brand name and you’ll win every time.

Hugs

Thinking of Social Media brand management D.I.Y.?

August 19, 2013

ImageYou’ve heard all the success stories. Start ups and entrepreneurs that build amazing brand awareness and business by promoting via social media. So now, when those businesses are now going multi-platform (i.e.: expanding beyond one social media site) you are thinking of taking your “Facebook Plan” to the next level by going beyond your friend base – ALL BY YOURSELF.

Wake up and smell the multi-platform reality.

Social media D.I.Y. (do it yourself) brand building was successful for entrepreneurs 3-5 years ago because it was new. Growth was easier back then. Audiences were pretty much captive to one site and EVERYTHING was cool. 

Back then, social media was like the world to a toddler. Everything your social circle did online was awesome and you HAD to try it out. It was “rad”/ “killer”/ “fresh” or basically any cliche social statement of youth that is now totally passe. Social media has grown up

Need another example? Ok. 

Back then social users said things like: “Oooh my BFF just liked (insert cool boutique name). They MUST be cool. Let me like it too by clicking my mouse.”

ImageToday social users are less wowed by the same activity saying: “OMG my Facebook friend just checked in at (insert boutique name). How lame that store’s not even on Instagram. I just un-followed my BFF bc their check ins are TOTALLY killing my smartphone battery.” 

If you don’t get the difference. Let me spell it out. The social media audience is no longer captive or easily wowed. We can’t stand “social spam” and chances are, we’re checking sites via our smart phone where battery life is king and frequent is less appealing than newsworthy. Social recommendations (recommendations by friends via social media) need to be AUTHENTIC and not business generated to be meaningful. 

Re-enter the PR profession. 

Around the world PR company CEO’s (likely all now under 50 with the older generation being kicked out in favor of those who understood this ‘digital age’), are breathing sighs of relief. The more savvy among them are saying “I told you so”. Why? History gives us a good reason to know why ITUSO (I told u so) can so easily be “what’sapp”ed throughout the PR world. 

Social media evolved as advertising did initially (somewhat so anyway).

Before the rise of the newspaper, stores advertised with simple signage. They depended on word of mouth from customers and good signage to make their business grow. Then billboards, radio and newspapers entered as ways to reach the public and more focus was put on them to help grow business. Word of mouth always remained important but the media by which to capture attention of the public became more complex. Expertise was needed. The PR agency was born. Today PR is reborn because the varying ways to reach audiences online have evolved WAY beyond business posting signs in their online business window. 

In addition to there being more channels – there are simply more social media users. Those store window signs just don’t cut it anymore. Businesses need help. 

So is social media D.I.Y. impossible for businesses? Not impossible BUT then again, its not impossible to solve a Rubik’s cube on the first try either (of course, you can Google ways to do that too!). So how do you grow your digital brand in today’s social media landscape? 

Hire a digital media consultant. There are a few of us out here with actual social media track records. DO NOT JUST HIRE AN INTERN (glad I got that off my chest)! Whether you hire someone certified in social media with a track record of growing a variety of business social media presence or a large scale agency,  digital media consultants work with various budgets.

To reminders here

1. Don’t be cheap – you get what you pay for. 

2. Empower yourself with enough education to at least have a sense of what the consultant is doing. (Stay tuned – I’ll have an offer to help you with this in the coming weeks). 

As you educated yourself, keep in mind that savvy social media management is not “a post here” and “a post there” – its a STRATEGY with set targets, goals and measurable milestones. Where to start?

Think about why your existing channels (ok we know its totally ONLY Facebook for 99.9% of you out there) have likely plateaued in growth or engagement. How? Look at your content and ask – what’s new here that will make customers/ fans/ friends come back.  

Get that answer then find a partner in a specialist. Tell them your vision. Agree on clear objectives. You focus on growing your business and let them work for you to help grow your digital brand. 

Hugs!