LinkedIn invitations don’t add value

Linkedin conenctions do not add valueMonths ago I ended what had become one of my living nightmares over the past years: invitations to be connected in LinkedIn.

This has cost me months of procrastination and indecision.

The disquiet resulting from not being able to answer each and every one of these invitations has been such that I’ve even considered closing down my LinkedIn account. Yes, the account that provided 35% of my annual turnover in 2011 and 20% in 2012. How is it that I’d even consider annihilating something that is profitable for me? Very simple: right now, it only offers me hundreds of requests to be connected, taking up time that I’d rather dedicate to more important things for the people who are really in my reach and for myself, of course.

The pace ran me down

Everything was fine until summer 2012 when I started losing the pace on LinkedIn: the time taken by actively taking part in groups, taking an interest in my network and contacting six or seven people with whom I considered I should be connected every week. Also, the time dedicated to personally and humanly answer everyone who had invested their time in sending me a connection request, regardless of whether they had sent a ‘template’ message or whether they bothered answering back after that. I continued doing it. I believe in human relations as the basis for the social web.

The more you connect, the more multiple connections you get

More and more invitations kept coming. I tried to use the weekends to answer between 60 and 100 invites. However, the more I accepted, the more I answered, the more new invitations I’d receive. This is easy to explain: the more requests you accept, the more visible you become in each contact’s homepage, the more visible and exposed you are to further connections. This would be great if those connections added value. However, from my experience, barely 5% of my contact network is useful to the end result, or to help other people. It therefore becomes a huge drawback as the more people you accept, the more requests you get from other people; especially nowadays when it seems that connecting through LinkedIn has become a national sport.

Changing things to improve the result

Result: more than 4,100 requests to answer. The dilemma for me is that I’ve always wanted to answer every request personally. Unfortunately, I cannot face such a deluge. It would only involve a meaningless sacrifice that I’m unwilling to make. The use given to LinkedIn no longer adds value. It’s become saturated.

So, in order not to give up my LinkedIn account or the human touch I wish to maintain, from a few months to now on I will only respond personally to those people who explain the reason for contacting me and those who can benefit from connecting with me. All other invitations I will accept without answering back. I think this is a fair exchange: I’ll bother with people who bother. Anyone else, if they want or need anything in particular, make this clear; at the end of the day, it’s you who started any action, so the result will depend on how you start it. Any of the people whom I’ve contacted through LinkedIn knew my purpose right from the start.

LinkedIn invitations add no value; the value lies in the connection you’re trying to make.

Photo credit: Deb Nystorm.

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Content is your best product, definitely

content is your best product

If you value your content like you value a product, you realise that you have the opportunity to “sell” your product every time you create and publish content. Usually, like a product, the only content that really sets the difference is that which we create ourselves, our own crafted content, not the one we’re taking from somewhere else and simply sharing.

Take a look:

Newsletter / RSS / Database

To provide quality content that makes a change in a free private newsletter take a look at what Carlos Bravo is doing. Monday or Tuesday could be a great day for this. Perhaps you may consider doing it over the weekend, aiming to create a tribe outside the noise of the busiest days. That’s exactly what Chris Brogan does, with a long, active database that he nurtures, giving him a competitive edge. I’m currently working on the daily RSS subscriptions to my blog and they continue to rise. The greater the audience, the more new people I “bump into”. This has led to an increase in the average business opportunities (“leads”) coming through my blog: increasing to 0.9 per day (up by 0.3 compared to 2012).

Audio / Podcast

Provide audio content. Have you considered carrying out a weekly podcast that your audience may listen to while they’re practicing sport, working or going from one place to another? Juan Merodio has been doing this with his posts for a couple of years and they have now been listened to 200,000 times. Another idea is turning this audio content into subscription podcasts published through a programme (for instance, iTunes), allowing you to choose your own periodicity.

Video

Video as content. In his channel, Valentí Sanjuán entertains, connects and has something to say. With his videos, he reaches more people than any other blogger in Spain. His reach and impact continue to grow daily as a result of the significant emotional bond that his audiovisual content provides. Valentí has created a line of branded content that is tightly linked to a community of followers that continues to grow with every video he publishes. It’s easy to see how he cleverly “calls to action” in every video, pointing towards other videos that may be of interest to his audience. This maximises the experience, contact and bond with the content, making a huge impact. In the case of Valentí this is further strengthened by the great personal brand that he’s building around himself and his work.

Ebook / Book

You can compile your best and most valuable posts into a book or ebook, for offline or online use. In that way, people can read you while they travel by train or plane. This has worked for Seth Godin, or Guy Kawasaki with “What the plus!”. However, you don’t need to be a celebrity to compile a book based on your articles or posts and turn it into an ebook; anyone can do it, with next-to-nothing marginal costs involved. This makes it possible for anyone who writes to become their own publishing house. If the content is good, you will reach thousands, hundreds of thousands or, who knows, maybe millions of readers. Couldn’t it work for you? I’m going to try this out. I’m currently preparing my second book, which I was writing at the same time as my first. Let’s see what comes of it!

Sharing content is really great, but tell me something: why look at you if you do exactly the same as anyone else?

Bonus: perhaps that “anyone else” has been doing exactly that for many years.

Photo credit: Gauravonomics.

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How to Market your Online Store through Social Media

Before we get started, let’s get back to basics: you need to have a great customer service that is fast, efficient and useful. If you also send your orders in less than 24hrs then you will have come a long way. Similarly, it is equally important to have a well-structured e-commerce platform that is practical and easy to use.

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

9 Ideas to Promote an Online Store through Social Media

1. Prepare a Launch Campaign: spotlight news on your website, sending a newsletter to your database (offering them something, don’t just send an email), a special promotion.

2. Pinterest: create boards; for instance, for a clothes e-shop, the boards could be ‘T-shirts’ (distinguish between men and women), ‘Accessories’, ‘Shirts’, ‘Jackets’. Categorise according to your range of products. For better social media optimisation (SMO) include the original link to your website. Also, include the price (check here to learn how to do it) and a description that is rich in keywords. To avoid too much work, you can import them directly using the “pin it” button on your browser.

3. Instagram: publish only the most relevant and attractive items together with a link and picture. If you wish, you can adorn them using the effects available in Instagram.

4. Facebook: as your store probably has many items, a good option can be to publish something daily, marketing a concept: for instance, “a souvenir for today” or “recommended item”. This can be done daily, every two days, weekly; it will depend on your target audience. Don’t forget to measure the results of these actions.

5. Google + : H&M has the most popular  Google + page. They don’t sell directly but when when you check it out you realise they’ve done a good job of it. Take a look for yourself. They use lots of pictures (also by importing them from Instragram), videos, etc., not to sell but to create conversations that will later generate traffic.

6. Foursquare: if you have real-life premises (that is, a place where our products can be located besides our online store), you can include the best items from one or more stores, choosing 4 or 5 for each store. Choose always what you believe will sell best. Don’t forget to add links to purchase the items directly and your “call to action.”

7. Yelp: Business pages on Yelp can advertise their promotions and the products located in the store (considering we have a physical store). The more adverts you publish, the greater the visibility.

8. Flickr: open photo galleries with your products on Flickr. It is in your best interest that your items are found. For the “Flickr” search to work correctly, all items need to be named, described and tagged correctly and, of course, include back links.

9. YouTube: use the photo shoots that you’ll be carrying out for the website or for promotional images to create videos with them (a “making of”). Publish them but make sure that you make them more human and less superficial: tell the story behind the pictures. Another alternative would be to show your products in the form of a video. Also, you can have someone for the company talking about each product in different episodes. That may help as a prescription element.

All of this work must be supported by working on community engagement, creating conversations, providing answers, clarifying doubts, seeking information, connecting, measuring, analysing and evaluating.

Photo credit: Daniel Broche.

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Community Leaders and Social Media Managers In Depth

I want to go beyond some simple advice for community managers, the keys to handle social media efficiently, how to increase sales on social networks or tricks to optimise your social media strategy. I believe there are some aspects regarding the community manager and social media scene which have to be looked into in depth to understand their implications.

community management in depth

Understanding the play between Social Media and Online Community Leadership

These are some of the things we should pay more attention to when working in the field of the social web so that we’re able to understand what we have on our hands, what we’re facing and how to do something of relevance.

Hybrids

I have always believed, and have confirmed, that we will never be a simple Community Leader/Connector or Social Media Manager but a hybrid, located somewhere between Social Media, Community, Marketing, Digital, New Media, Communication, PR, Sales, and HR. That is where the potential lies. Oh! And also in remaining human.

That is, many tasks which aren’t fully defined or detailed. Are you dedicated solely and exclusively to leading online communities? I very much doubt it. You’re likely working also in Marketing, Communication, even PR if necessary, Sales Management, Customer Services and even in screening job candidates. We’re hybrids. You can take a look at this role in depth and how to develop it, here.

Online Leaders of your Brand

This is a delicate matter. Would you put your company’s Facebook page in my cousin’s hands? Probably not. Well we’re talking about the same thing here. There’s no one better than someone on the inside to learn and progress until they’re capable of taking on all of these tasks and responsibilities. There is an added complexity –and risk- in giving this task to an intern; representing the brand in the online sphere is, after all, a vital role, and isn’t limited to using Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Remember these people lead people, they’re not directing things.

How to Connect with the Community

Quite simply, don’t invade their space! We live in the era of permission marketing, an interruption of the system, processes based on a human attitude that intends to do something with a meaning, open innovation, creation and chaos. This isn’t an era of communication and marketing, once the interruption created an over-communicated society through intrusive marketing and mass communication a while back.

Now we’re at it again with the social media. Our sole intention is to get our message out there and for our message to have an impact on as many people as possible; feedback is unimportant if we have many likes and comments. That’s ‘short-term gain, long-term pain’! The people who want to reach you will do so because of your content, your interaction, your attention, humanity, closeness, humility, truthfulness and credibility. The only thing you need to do is to be visible at all times and create relevant content that engages your audience. Then, make sure you remain human at all times.

What to Do

Test, try, do something, review what you do, make corrections, launch something again, try one campaign, another one, and then another one, one of them will work, try not to risk too much, remain loyal to your brand value, what you represent as a brand and as a person, make the brand truthful, make the person behind the brand visible, manage the whole online fabric, follow the conversations, observe and measure your content’s scope, the state of your community; if you’re launching a campaign, whether you need to review your Apps, your landing page, the comments, likes, repercussions, etc. Creation and distribution means actions carried out with your content.

You can do whatever takes you where you want to be. You can specialise or not; the advantage of doing so is that you focus on a niche, and the smaller, the better.

How to Coordinate

Work in the distribution of tasks, create GANT charts, timelines for the different parts of the projects and actions, anything that helps you in the structure and architecture of your objectives, responsibilities and team work. This may help you.

Internal or External

An example: we work with a multinational company as Advisors and Online Project Leadership Team. When we arrived at the company and during the first few meetings to carry out an online audit, the topic arose of who would lead the online community operations. The company said it did not have the human resources and that none of them would be able take on any of the tasks as they were all up to their ears with work.

We always recommend someone who’s been trained on the inside. First of all, it’s easier to act as a consultant and educator and to train someone inside the company in the knowledge necessary to carry out the job than to bring someone from outside who needs to adapt to, understand and work in new surroundings.

However, what we did in this case was to bring an outside person; not an intern, but someone knowledgeable in Social Media, Communities, PR, Communication and some Marketing. We established a part-time job for six months (working Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 14:00). During the first month, this person did no online work but simply learnt about the company’s departments, lines of business, products, staff, culture, company ethics, suppliers and other important details necessary for them to carry out their job in an efficient, professional and results-oriented manner.

Once the month was up, this person (a freelance worker) understood the running of the company perfectly and was ready to start. It all went so well that this person now works permanently as part of the company as Head of Social Media and Online Community. We’re happy that this is the case.

Going Beyond

All of this goes beyond what we think is going on. I’m talking about leading, connecting, aligning, developing, integrating, implementing, managing, updating, building, consolidating, driving, comparing, executing, measuring, following, monetizing, listening, reading, commenting, understanding, acting, doing something, remaining human.

Photo credit: Text100.

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8 tasks that define a social media workflow

In 2010 I spoke about the social media workflow to handle and optimise the time and effort you dedicate to social web activity. I updated this in 2012 with a new version that included a graph designed by Luis Calabuig.

While adapting this for a new project, I quite recently realised that this workflow could be further completed by describing its steps and adapting them to the current times.

Which 8 tasks define a “social” workflow?

The following tasks will optimise the time and effort you dedicate to your social web workflow.

1. Reputation – Active listening.

Monitor and follow up on key words regarding what people say about the brand from one day to the next. Analyse and classify mentions according to their nature (positive, negative or neutral.) A new tool has recently appeared to help you with this: SocialVane. It has an interesting ‘artificial intelligence’ feature: the more you use it to filter words out, the more it can classify mentions according to their nature, offering better search and filtering results. There are other tools on the market that can do this, such as Pirendo or Mention. The latter is quite complete, boasting a more comprehensive search feature that searches not only across social platforms but in other channels too.

Once you’ve gathered and analysed this information, select the results that are of greater interest to your organisation. Present a daily report or document with active links to each news item, mention or post.

2. Updating and interacting.

First of all you will need to define your social objects according to a content plan (a day early or even previously for the entire week or month; see below.) Now you need to create this content and disseminate it using the different channels available, not only social platforms. Interaction is another significant moment in your workflow: respond to comments, offer and get feedback, provide information and connect with the brand’s community through bilateral interaction on any of your ecosystem’s platforms.

3. Content marketing – Distribution

Draw up a content plan for the next day (or for the next week or month) and decide how to promote and circulate your content through different platforms and channels. Decide also what pieces you will create: press releases, videos, audio, newsletter, pictures, etc. You must also take into account the call to action linked to every piece of content you publish and how you will measure its result: what action are you expecting once the content reaches your community? Make sure that the result is in line with your objectives: subscriptions, visiting the online store, download of ebook or podcast, contact form requesting more information or a request for a quote.

4. Blogging

If you have a blog or offer news on your website, you should previously define what this section will be like as part of your content marketing strategy. At this stage you simply have to write, optimise and publish your post, news item, event or whatever it is you will be publishing. If you’re writing a post that is meant for the following day, leave it ready to be posted by scheduling it. Consider sharing it on platforms or using tools such as Buffer, Twylah or ScoopIt.

5. Planning and brainstorming

It may be interesting, even advisable, to spend up to one hour every day thinking about creative actions, contests, promotions, campaigns and other tactics that are in line with your objectives. They must add value to your community and your brand. By doing this on a daily basis you will be able to run a tight operation that works constantly.

6. Community engagement

Identify the conversations held by your community and take part in them. Share content that is valuable to them, engage with them by putting them in contact with resources, allies or people that meet their needs and interests. Do this by being one more in the conversation, not the one dominating the conversation or the flow of content.

7. Search and analysis

Monitor how your organisation performs in online conversations. In this case, intervene in the case of both negative or positive comments (acting to put a positive spin on things or, in the latter case, to reinforce such comments). Remember to watch your tone in doing so!

8. Eventualities

The chances are you’re not only in charge of the “social” side of things. You therefore need to combine all of the above with any other duties you have outside this area. Don’t worry if you can’t always follow this workflow strictly; there will always be other distractions: emails, phone calls, unexpected meetings, you co-worker’s love life, etc.

Find your own formula

The best thing about this is you don’t need to follow the precise order of tasks and responsibilities I set above. Distribute them across your day however they work best with your strategy and time. You can repeat more than one task within a day; some may take two hours, others 15 minutes. This will depend on your objectives, the time you can dedicate to online tasks or how relevant all of this is to your organisation.

Everything boils down to what you require. The idea is for you to define and structure what tasks need to be carried out. Don’t approach them all at the same time and dedicate time to each one separately. Online activity is increasingly integrated into the day-to-day running of companies, so perhaps they’re part of customer services and you need to integrate the social media workflow into your own workflow mix.

What is your workflow like? Are there any other tasks you think I left out?

Photo credit: woodlyewonderworks.

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Improve your results using the social web

improving your results using the social webWhat goes on out there when we use the social web to communicate our product, improve our organisation’s marketing or connect with our potential target? After a year spent observing, analysing and measuring actions and cross-referencing behaviours, this is the pattern that I’ve seen repeated the most by brands, companies and even people and professionals.

Current strategy

  • Four tweets regarding business purposes.
  • Two or three updates of the company’s Facebook page; photos and videos mainly.
  • Spending about $400-600 per month on Facebook Ads campaigns to increase the official page’s fan base.
  • A couple of images in Instagram and Pinterest.
  • One or two links shared on LinkedIn and perhaps another in the group that is closest to our industry and has the most members.
  • Perhaps posting a news item on Google+; you know, for SEO purposes and stuff.
  • Very occasionally, carrying out a promotional video about our company or about what we do, basing it on a current reference that we liked.
  • If we’re lucky, our SME, business or personal brand has a blog. Perhaps we might publish something once a week or every two weeks; more often than not, on a monthly basis. Then we massively (sometimes, intrusively) promote our post (and blog).
  • Sending a commercial newsletter to every contact that has ever given us a visiting card, whoever we exchange emails with, whoever subscribes to our blog or whoever’s in our database through subscriptions.

I’ve also seen lots being said about content marketing and strategy. Although there are some large brands using content marketing (very well in some cases), there are still many smaller companies and organisations, personal brands and self-employed workers out there. I’ve read about 40 posts that talk about content marketing as the trend for 2014. Wasn’t it the trend for 2013? Of course, content marketing is very different from filtering and publishing links that are coherent and that build towards a common goal. This is what I’m talking about.

So, it’s hard to measure change. However, I know that when you’ve done the work that matters, your social media efforts will decrease and be more focused. The more people turning their heads to take a look at you, the more things you should be creating.

The deal here isn’t the content but, rather, the results you get. Create processes that help you achieve your goals. The following ideas may help you improve your results using the social web.

What else can be done?

  • Instead of (aimlessly) publishing on Twitter, try to link with your potential audience more and pay greater attention to your customers. Look for conversations, analyse and measure them and then take action in them.
  • Set up your fan page as a place to get test samples, special offers, peripheral services that are only carried out on this platform (for instance: a form for free samples). Publish blurbs from your customers or show different ways your product can be implemented.
  • Focus your Facebook Ads budget on achieving leads to your end point of sale on your website or online store.
  • Carry out visual contests through Instagram with attractive incentives. Use Pinterest as a catalogue for your products, experiences or featured services. In the case of products, include the price so they can appear in lists of “gifts”.
  • Try to connect through LinkedIn with the contacts that can strengthen your organisation. A sales agent in the UK, a legal adviser in Colombia, etc.
  • Create a community in Google+ with the people who have things in common with what you do and share with them. Use your Google+ page to tell funny, surprising and attractive stories that resonate with your industry.
  • Create a video every month or two explaining the craft involved in the work your organisation carries out (for instance, how you prepare your rye bread or how you prepare fruit milkshakes)
  • Publish the most important thing you’ve worked on at least once a week, explaining what you’ve learnt from it and whatever may serve as a recommendation for your potential target.
  • Work on content marketing based on your strategy, defining the actions you carry out and, most of all, measuring what happens with each piece of content. It should help you.

Was this useful? Did it help your ideas? How do you use your social web to get results?

Photo credit: ntr23

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How to save time on the Internet and make something happen

save time on the social webGiven the increasing number of emails that our inbox receives each day, the hundreds of tweets we write or receive each day, toxic meetings and tons of information running to our door every day, there’s only one thing we can do: set boundaries separating work that really makes a difference from work that is merely good or completely mediocre and useless.

I’ve discovered a few boundaries on the Internet that help me save the time needed to make things happen and to get the work that matters going.

Meetings and events

Forget about meetings in person unless they’re indispensable, they have a purpose, a limited time frame and all attendees have a role appointed. Instead, you can set meetings on Skype or Hangout. My estimates are that a daily meeting with your work team shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes; a meeting with a supplier, 15 minutes; and any important case, never longer than an hour. When you meet through Skype or Hangout it is always easier to get out of the meeting at the right moment.

Isolate yourself from networking events, conferences, workshops, seminars, presentations, webinars or blogtrips. That’s when you should be working. The best time to switch on is when everyone else switches off.

Social Media

  • Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn won’t make it happen. These are only platforms that will strengthen what you create and maximise your reach. Keep them open, it’s great if they pay you not to lose track of any conversations, keep track of people who mention you or answer messages or friend requests right away.
  • Use your tablet PC or smartphone as a recreational tool when you’re outside your workplace, on the tube, on the plane, train, on your way home for lunch, at home on the sofa, etc. It is then that you can check to see what’s going on in social media. Try to produce work when you’re sitting at your computer or standing in front of an empty blackboard and make the most of the time when you’re answering simple emails (those you answer to with an ‘ok’. ‘wow’, ‘great’…) to check Twitter, to Check-In, upload photos to Instragram or Pinterest or to record a video.
  • If you practice sport, consider making the most of your time by doing all irrelevant work then – checking on Twitter that a meteorite hasn’t fallen to earth.
  • Programme the post you want to publish in your blog the night before, and also what you’ll be tweeting about it. Answer any comments at the end of the day you launch. You’re not going to generate further change or earn more money by answering straight away.
  • Believe that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Give your community time to digest the information you publish. Distribute it according to a logical timeline.
  • When you join a LinkedIn group, ask for the “weekly digest” rather than a daily summary.
  • Sharing one extremely useful item of content a day is much more worthwhile than sharing 20 things that are run-of-the-mill.
  • Deal with any requests you receive from people with precise, straightforward questions. The aim is to have a more precise, well-defined and direct way to help them.

Mobile

  • Don’t use WhatsApp with your professional contacts, followers, suppliers or clients unless you want to be bombarded frequently. WhatsApp makes sense for 3 messages to the point; after that, you’re better off calling.
  • Ignore phone calls from unknown or hidden numbers. If something is important, they will leave a voice mail or they’ll let you know who they are and what they want.

Email

  • When you’re on the 5th message in the same email chain, make a phone call and get it sorted, you’re already wasting too much time.
  • Use different email accounts for each client/project. This may seem crazy, but it’s a great way to classify, optimise and centralise topics and such volume of information. I currently handle 20 email accounts.
  • The less words you use in your communications, the more time you’ll be saving. You’ll also realise that you can say as much in 200 characters as you were going to in almost 1,000. Simple is beautiful.
  • Unsubscribe from all newsletters you don’t wish to receive. And make a claim if you continue receiving them.

Processes

  • Keep a copy of everything you do in Evernote: emails, projects, proposals, ideas, reflections, etc. You never know where an idea can come from or, maybe, where you can use it again in a similar context.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts. If you work with a Mac, the spacebar works a treat!
  • Write down your ideas as items or doodles. It’s simpler, faster, easier to understand and more direct.

What other shortcuts do you take to save time on the Internet so that things can happen more frequently?

Photo credit: mgribby.

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How to succeed quickly in the Social Web and the Internet – disruptive version

success easy internetI usually get asked questions by email which seem very specific but are as vast as the universe itself. These questions are of the following kind: “What can I do with my brand/company to position it on the Internet quickly?”, “How can I reach all my potential audience on the social web?” or “I need some advice to increase my company/brand on the Internet, help me!

Some are even more bold and direct: “What do I do to be successful in social media?”, “How do I maximise my effort on the Internet and social networks to obtain real results?”, “I need any type of advice you can give me to get results in social media” or “Could you give me any idea to sell more online?”

Success awaits you

Clearly everyone wants to be successful on the social web and Internet. And, of course, they, want that success to be fast, simple, effortless and using a special trick you download from the Internet. Oh, and I forget! It must also be free.

This is the answer to those who ask how to quickly be successful on the social web and in social networks overnight:

  • Help out a lot. Helping out isn’t taking advantage of a situation.
  • Share large amounts of useful and valuable content. Sharing doesn’t mean your own content.
  • Make it visual: use photos and videos. Remember they must be useful and valuable.
  • Say what you think. Be yourself. Use your own voice.
  • Just accept that many people won’t like you. That will help you focus on those who do.
  • Decide what it is you want to do and do it.
  • If you have something to say, say it.
  • Create chaos, start revolutions, bring about disruptive innovations, go against the flow.
  • Launch as many ideas as you can. Start things that are easy and quick to start, take on small risks.
  • Adopt a small movements strategy – those are the ones that matter.
  • Market what you do, make the most of every occasion, however small. Everything can be communicated. Marketing involves coherence, intelligence, subtlety and results. However, self-glorification means laziness, selfishness, despair and babble.
  • Do whatever may create change in people/customers and show it to the world.
  • Make your strong point your life constant in your daily work flow. That’s how you’ll be creating something that no one else usually does.
  • Come up with a blog that serves a purpose to both you and your audience, a blog that makes them better. Create it, launch it against the market and blog 366 days a year (yes, you read it right, 366!).
  • Don’t work for the likes, comments or RTs. Do it to get deeper into the problem and find the solution.
  • Consider euros in the bank as your end measurement. And work towards achieving them.
  • Invest time, Sundays, nap times, holidays, vacations and Christmas to creating your personal brand.
  • Connect in the most human way possible with the people you know in the social web. That’s what they’re expecting.
  • Use the social media universe  – not the other way round!
  • There’s life beyond LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest – just kidding!
  • Forget about online reputation and invest time in monitoring, analytics, ROI and online branding.
  • Ignore Whatsapp.
  • Be very active. You should be everywhere at all times, helping and being useful.
  • Don’t take calls while you’re doing important work.
  • Close Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and your email and do what needs to be done to make an impact.
  • Don’t accept meaningless meetings, only those with clear objectives, a defined agenda and with people in charge at every step. That is, accept only 5% of your meetings.
  • If you want to do business, go do it. But don’t say you’re going to network at an event if you’re there to do business.
  • Don’t go to so many conferences, seminars or workshops. Instead, spend more time with a blank sheet of paper and do, experiment, fail and try something different.
  • Being an expert won’t help you to be successful. It will only serve to see how wide, round and deep your own bellybutton is.
  • Change masters degrees and advanced courses for blogs, videos, TED conferences and your own experiences.
  • Trace your own plan, establish your goals, develop a strategy and find your spark.
  • Don’t say you’re an online/social entrepreneur, prove it!
  • Use all your followers, readers, fans and connections to promote those beneath you. It’s easy, doesn’t take much time and it seems to be a strategy that works.
  • If no one offers you to take part in an event, workshop, initiative or movement, build one yourself and invite yourself. Think of something amazing.
  • Results are king, not content.
  • Take the maximum possible number of fans, followers or whatever you want to call them to your website.
  • Use calls to actions wherever you go.
  • Take care of your community.
  • Talk to clients and ask them in what other ways you could help them.
  • Stay human and value human relationships above everything else.
  • Transparency, honesty, authenticity, coherence, being consistent and passionate, excitement and determination are the keys for anything to work.

I told you, overnight. You want to be successful? Then go and be successful.

You don’t claim or pretend victory, you win it!

Photo credit: marsmet541.

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How to make the social web work for you

I often receive email requests with a very specific question that, nonetheless, can involve something as wide as the universe itself. Questions such as, “What can I do with my brand/company to position it on the Internet quickly?”, “How can I reach all my potential public present in the social web?” or “I need some advice to make my brand/company grow on the Internet, help me!”.

How to make the social web work for you

I’m outside social media

I don’t really care how others are using the social networks or social media. I used to care but not anymore. What I care about is discovering new paths to make the social web and Internet work in such a way that new business may be fostered, designing new digital roads beyond the social media and making a personal brand, agency or company more useful, connected and valuable. Using the social web and the Internet to develop your knowledge and expertise towards creating change, leveraging your influence towards new opportunities, strengthening processes, people and brands, building scalable ideas and launching new projects beyond the digital noughts and ones. That’s it.

How to get “this” to work

That’s what takes up my time, making sure that you get the tools, platforms, channels, strategies and tactics that form the social web working for you. This is how I do it:

  • Build your own attack. Write posts for your blog, prepare videos for YouTube, create your own social news, organise hangouts, tweet. Anything that helps you get your story across. However, make sure you stay human and interact with people rather than beating them with your message.
  • Form an ecosystem. Segment platforms and define your core value: Facebook to find people you know. Twitter for having conversations, searching and interacting and so forth in other places where you set your online presence. One use, one objective, one action, that’s enough.
  • Create your own framework. No one should trust other people’s framework or job structure. Modify them, hack them if you have to, make them work to suit your needs. Tactics, strategy, time management, work timetable, vacations: find a strcuture that works the way that you work and make it work. As Hugh McLeod use to say “ignore everybody“.
  • Learn from the outside. Extract ideas, learnings and feedback, learn to learn from the social web.
  • Negotiate your time. Use any lack of attention in your favour and create a defined workflow the allows you to structure your personal and professional tasks so that you can optimise each step of the work chain.
  • Do, make and show. Work on your project or idea, experiment, check and then share what you obtained. Seek inputs that can improve your output.
  • Burn the handbookDon’t pay too much attention to any social media preacher. For instance: if you hear that so-and-so only publishes once, try publishing twice that, then thrice that and continue trying out and experimenting, analysing where the breaking point is. Perhaps some won’t like what you do (for instance, publishing too much or placing an interstitial in your website to increase your database) but you may gain visits to your website and end up selling more.
  • Jump on the bandwagon. Take a look at what is trending in social media and jump on the bandwagon by also linking to that content. It will probably help you too. Netiquette establishes that if you find valuable content from a large brand that someone has shared, link to the person, not the brand.
  • Online reputation and blah, blah, blah! Forget online reputation and invest the hours you spend worrying about looking great in doing work that has a great result.
  • Measure whatever makes sense. Focus on metrics that measure what’s important to you; that is, your ROI. Forget the likes, followers or RT unless your job is to collect nonsensical figures regarding an overrated action. Measure the increase in orders, percentage increase in sales compared to the previous year and the one before that. Active users in your database, how many join it daily and how many unsubscribe. How many App downloads you have every week or month and the income received if it’s not a free App. How often is the content you publish shared or how many leads are you capable of taking from your social platform to your point of conversion. Whatever makes your bank account grow will make a great indicator, it’s what you should be measuring.
  • Human sells. Are you selling something? Even if your blog’s main aim is to sell, remain human, be interesting, become involved in what concerns you and add value to your audience. This isn’t the Internet we used to know. Now we have amazing tools that remind us that in order to create digital business we must start by being human. Let’s use it in a different way.

You define it

You know the best thing about it? This sleeps with you every night. It is the product of your work. The best news I’ve heard in years: Choice and not opportunity define your work…or fate!

Photo credit: Ralph S.

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Human Media Metrics – Measuring Human Interactions on the Web

Human media ROI - isra garciaThe pulse for social media has grown over the last year, social media is a reality that should be in almost every marketing campaign. But, How good could be the efforts in new media if you don’t analyze its human impact from a target-oriented perspective? Surprisingly, since the campaign hype starts (see Gartner hype cycle), the launching and all the “social blah blah,” some marketers forget the essential part: identifying human marketing metrics. These will allow you to track the progress and measure the human ROI – both of them are vital parts for the success when applying Human Media.

Luckily, we can use a bunch of analytics tools that are already in the market to do so. Popular measurement systems such as Google analytics, awe.sm, Sysomos, Radian, TrackUR, Techigry, FlowTown or Brandschat, we all know that they help you to track leads, conversations and real numbers, but they also offer an opportunity to gather human information. Then, what areas should we paying attention to so we can measure human metrics?

Here you have some essential aspects for monitoring Human Media.

Human Metrics

Human Business: make use of tools such as awe.sm so you can track human activity that can be turned into profits. Any human interaction that resonates with a business generates a connectivity effect that should end in getting closer to the customer: newsletters, subscriptions, new members, pre-orders, adding an item to a wish list, online budgets, etc. Ensure that you follow every single interaction and study if it creates behavioral patterns.

WE-B Activity: everything related with your command base and yourself – business – as part of the ecosystem core. You can include here the number of times that you interact along the day, subscriptions from each platform – blog, web, facebook, RSS. Bear in mind that for a successful activity you should generate multi-dimensional conversations across the platforms, communities and users (the best way is measuring comments and responses) search if your blog or site it’s being referred by other sites or platforms too. Identify what human patterns happen.

Engagement: every community interaction, it doesn’t matter if it’s through blog comments, facebook likes, foursquare tips, linkedin recommendations, retweets or Pins on pinterest and so on, they are extremely important, mentions are too. You should track positive mentions as well as negative and then compare and contrast the quantity and its quality. It may occur that you would get key insights in terms of human branding, and an understanding of the relationship of your brand with the market.

– Connectivity leads: how many people connects with your content? How it affects them? how many of them say “I have to share it with my friends”? put the distribution of your content in chunks and have a look to the statistics. Is there any brand sentiment through these interactions produced by the content? What is the most engaging action? What methods I use to connect? Where? How? Who does it? Consider what you can do to create closer ties with your community.

– Network: Who do you connect with? Discover the people behind the numbers, followers or fans – and why they are exposed to your content – How do they interact? Do they interact in a community way – among them? What does inspire them? What could you do to inspire them?

– Time: Once they arrive at your platforms. How human do you appear to them so they can stay longer? Time is not the most important thing, but how you use it, think about quality vs quality (not quantity) What do they look for when they come to you? How can you help them as fast as you can?

– Human Activity: Broadly speaking, how many people interact with your ecosystem? Take a look at your active database and compare the response rates and thus leads, with your active community. You should be able to develop campaigns to improve human interactions. Regularly, you may want to make a comparison and always try to reduce the ratio of passive interactions.

It’s not About the Tools

As you probably have observed in all these metrics, it is not about the tools, but what’s behind them, people and their interactions. Still, with so many tools available, there is no reason to not monitoring the human side of communication and the marketing that happens on the Internet.The information you get, it will help you create a greater connection with  people in your community, resolve any problems with them, identifying patterns, and then successful processes – and the one that don’t work –  and this will drive your efforts and resources to where it has to end up, creating human business interactions.

The new marketing is not about social media, complex technologies or last-generation software, it’s about human relationships, resonance and alignment with people. Although, I’m not saying anything you don’t know already.

Photo credit: transprism.

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