How to set the difference as a freelance worker

Freelancing, for me, is possibly the best profession there is. Maybe this is because I consider myself part of a legion of agents of change. Freelancing is a job where you can decide how to make a difference, how to stand out, how much you’re going to work, where and how you’re going to do so. You work for a living (the money factor is involved) but, moreover, you work to be happy doing what you love. That is, you choose yourself to the fullest extent.

freelance - how to stand out

Freelancing is a way of life where you need no one’s permission, only your own drive. There’s no one there telling you exactly what to do and how to do it. This involves great responsibility and also a great opportunity. You decide exactly how much of your own time, effort, passion and interest you put into it. The outcome hangs on this.

How to set the difference as a freelance worker

This post includes a number of practices that could be the fuel you need for your freelancing work to stand out, tweaking whatever you feel needs changing. After all, it’s up to you:

  • Create your own personal / professional brand: a freelancer without a personal brand is like the weatherman without a Meteosat satellite. You can find  some tips, here.
  • Ask yourself three direct questions (or more): 1. Choice: why do you want to start freelancing? (Tip: here are some valid answers: being master of my own time; not obeying orders, but leading; working on what makes me happy; living the life I always wanted to lead). 2. Change: what are you going to do differently from other freelancers? (Tip: look for your answers in the micro-segmented services offered to specific online communities). 3. Grabbing attention: how am I going to discover you? (Tip: use your creativity).
  • Communication: everything you do has something to say about you, so you must align your online and offline activity to convey a unique, cohesive, human and truthful message.
  • Choose your clients: be careful with what you do, say, share, respond to, sell or discard.
  • Use connected marketing: find your audience (those interested in what you do and say) and ask them or research how you can add value and be useful for them. And then, do just that!
  • Show your vulnerability: be yourself, mix what you do with your own peculiarities or eccentricities. Counteract criticism by doing your best work and openly talking about what you do best and the results you get. Find an opportunity to face your most critical audience and present yourself to them the best way you can. This wouldn’t be wrong; quite the opposite: it can lead you to meet people who value what you have to offer and who want to do business with you because something in you resonates with them.
  • Social media can help but isn’t creative: if you don’t have an idea, project, initiative, product or service that changes things in your target market, one that is really worth taking the plunge for, then my advice is don’t bother working on the social media aspect: it won’t fix anything. Continue working on something that is at odds with the world. Social media helps to show yourself to the world; however, your creation is what you have to show the world.
  • If you generate waste, you’ll amass waste: if you spend your time talking about others’ failures, pointing your finger every time someone makes a mistake, sending tweets complaining about the lack of professionalisation in your industry or gossiping about the poor work your competition is doing, then waste will be creeping up on you at home. Your own cynicism and negativity will prevent you from seeing all the ways you can fail and how you can get back up to grow further and stand out.
  • Online reputation: As long as you don’t decide that it’s a good idea to show up to a meeting with potential clients stark naked; as long as you don’t appear shirtless in photos, “cross-eyed” or kissing a girl who isn’t your girlfriend; or as long as what you say and do causes no harm or suffering, or can’t be considered to be stalking other people or breaking the law in any way. As long as you don’t do any of the above, don’t worry about online reputation; worry only about achieving results.
  • The best marketing: keep your promises. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it and keep your word. The worst marketing is doing otherwise.
  • Your goal is what matters: the great drawback to being self-employed is the responsibility involved. Working freelance requires a much higher level of responsibility than being a hired worker. Essentially, this is because you go from being the person who does whatever their boss or area manager tells them to, to being the person who has the drive, takes the risk, plunges forward and makes things happen. You need well-defined objectives for this.
  • The new king or queen: it isn’t content but the result you achieve. So leave content aside for a while and focus on your work to exceed market expectations or to get your product to your client in less than 24 hours. If you do all this well, results will speak for themselves and get everything else rolling.
  • Build your digital empire: you must establish your online operations centre. Attacking: traffic, leads, conversations, branding and connection. Defending: active listening, monitoring and community. Use the platforms and tools that best suit your purposes so you can get your message and history out there, finding the drive that will get people to find you.
  • Work flow: organise your workload. Freelance workers are their undertaking’s own managers, administrational staff, bosses, interns and technical staff. Productivity is essential. Find ways to be efficient and prioritise your workload in a way that allows you to move forward.
  • Work structure: define the tasks you need to carry out weekly and monthly so that all areas involved in your work are complete. Take into account the deadlines of the different projects you’re involved in, meet up with people who can collaborate in your projects, think about their part in the project; and remember to invoice your work, prepare sales pitches, retrain professionally, get your brand going (posts, podcasts, videos or any actions you define), etc.
  • Learning process: find the best way to learn about your field of specialisation at all times, spending at least one hour every day (two if you don’t sleep much) staying up to date with any developments that interest you. Tip: be careful and try to be strict in regard to places and contents, the blogs you subscribe to, hangouts or webinars you attend. Otherwise, you will be overwhelmed and can end up spending more time reading and handling all this information than working!
  • Blog: my opinion, experience and results, and that of many other work colleagues who have at some point or other been freelance workers (or who still are): Juan Merodio, Carlos Bravo, Paco Viudes, Víctor Martín, Aitor Contreras, Álex Rubio, Berto López, Amel Fernández, etc., is that you should create a blog to expand on your personality, skills, attitude and specialisation beyond the people who you are in contact with in real life.
  • Productivity: find tools that make your work easier, either by investing the same time to create more or working less to live more.
  • Leverage: if you’re a freelance web designer who’s been working long enough to have gained ample experience and your personal brand has been developed in such a way that a considerable amount of people are interested in what you do, then you can use your influence to develop projects that are leveraged by your current work: for instance, training, writing a book or starting a consultancy company.
  • You don’t work for everyone: since you have to meticulously choose where you invest the limited, valuable time available and your limited resources (compared to any organisation), this is the time to work only for the people you feel at ease with, those who value your work, the jobs you enjoy doing and that you feel can contribute to change (and viceversa).
  • Keep your ego in check: no one escapes this. Perhaps being self-employed, making it ‘on your own’, not having anyone run your life, control your time or supervise your results (clients aside) may make you fall in the trap of making you believe you’re better than anyone else. You could pay for such mistake but it will be interesting for you to run into that wall!
  • The rule to success: you want to make it? Get to the top? Get it all under control? Then you must be prepared to work without a rest, without a break, holidays, days off and work more nights than you’d ever wished for and over Christmas for the next 5 years. Being ready and willing to go through all of that is getting there!

You’re self-employed and you have one of the best advantages life has to offer: being master of your own time. Stand out and set the pace, decide what it is that you feel like changing, find out how and then do it.

Photo credit: Steve Kodis.

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13 ways to add human understanding to the Internet

If the Internet is made up of people, I don’t understand why brands use the Internet to communicate and market their products in a way that keeps them at a distance from human relations. If human relations are the essence of the social media, I don’t understand why no one is connecting and humanising instead of just sending out the same message 100 times, aiming to have an impact or simply wanting us to click on an ad in Facebook, LinkedIn or during a YouTube video.

add understanding to the internet

How to add the human touch and understanding to the Internet

Thinking about this, I hope some of the things included here may help us to understand the term “humanise” in regard to the Internet and social media.

1. Establish the foundations for listening: spend your time processing everything that’s being said about you or your organisation and do something with this. For instance, you can offer an answer to your audience. You may not know this but they’re the new “killer App”.

2. Respond to LinkedIn invites in a personal way, reviewing the other person’s profile, taking care in how to word your message to connect with the other party. Offer individual personalised answers and don’t use templates. It works for me. The same goes for emails.

3. Start or finish any comment, message, tweet, recommendation, review or shared content by naming the person you’re addressing.

4. Always answer any comment made and try to do what you’d like people to do with you: leave a comment, RT, “like”, “recommend”, “vote” or mention.

5. Speak positively, deal with situations with optimism, even when faced with harsh criticism or comments. Don’t lose your nerve and let humour reign. Researchers from Georgia Tech found that staying positive, useful and resonating is a tactic that leads to the trust and credibility needed for people to purchase at our store.

6. Look for ways to be innovative, staying true to yourself. For instance, use a word or catchphrase that is close to you, even one you make up. For instance, “rock on”. It may seem daft but try it out and see.

7. Look for conversations that are close to your interests. For instance, the contact made between a designer and a programmer to create a new blog, or contacts made between food lovers and the cooking blog you’ve discovered. So, make that introduction, connect!

8. Take an interest on subjects that may also be of interest to your audience and offer them information. For instance, if you’re a hotel, recommend tour routes. If you’re a dinner restaurant, talk about places where you can go for a drink later or recommend clubs. If you’re a club, recommend a good after-party.

9. Filter information that may be useful to your community and transform it into actionable points you can work with. For instance, if you provide a guide on how to install plug-ins in WordPress, explain exactly what plug-ins you need to install and summarise the steps you need to take in a direct way. Otherwise, you’re not really contributing anything new.

10. Perhaps through your experience and knowledge, even through your failures, you may extract conclusions, reflections or moments –transferred into content- that may connect with your audience and which betters them. This would be equipping them. Try talking about when you lost your nerve with a client, when you launched a campaign with the wrong target or when you paid your Facebook “Ads” with the wrong credit card.

11. Look for conversations regarding your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ (hint: look for hashtags and keywords). When you find them, engage in them, contribute your point of view, share, recommend, provide information or clarify doubts.

12. Every time you want to read something interesting, spend 5 minutes looking for it among the content posted by your audience / followers / fans. You’re sure to find something worthwhile, something you can share and recommend. We’ll be grateful!

13. Ask your community what they want from you, don’t be afraid! Then, work towards making it possible if you can’t offer it right away. For instance, if people complained that there weren’t enough women in your last event, work to fix this in time for the next event.

Obvious?

I honestly think I’m not really discovering uncharted territory here. Neither is it a cure for all. Similarly, discovering humanity on the Internet or in social media is a greatly complex task. A paradox perhaps? What do you think?

Photo credit: al shep.

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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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8 Ways to Increase Engagement of Facebook Posts

Brands have always accepted Facebook as a key marketing tool to generate engagement and branding. The question is whether Facebook creates more engagement, visibility, traffic and experience than other tools. Searching for an answer to this for some time leads to understanding how the different attributes of Facebook posts have an impact on the number of “likes”, comments and “shares” that a post gets.

How to Increase the Number of Likes in Facebook Posts

Below, I identify 8 ways to increase the number of “likes” a post receives:

1. Focus. Stay up to date. I’m talking about messages that relate to holidays (Christmas), festivals, gigs, world issues, relevant events, anything related with current affairs. Perhaps they won’t be directly related to the product’s or company’s essence but they will be perceived as something more personal and, hence, better accepted (more so, even, than promotions.)

2. Express yourself through photos. Every picture tells a story. A photograph communicates something personal in a fast, easy way. You also have to make an effort to match a suitable text to the picture. Images from your company’s product catalogue generate greater engagement than other types of content.

3. Share what we love. Sharing success stories and also failures, achievements, prizes, apologies or thanks make you more human, accessible and familiar to your community. Many will also identify with the brand. When they “like” a post, they’re telling their network of friends why they identify with the brand.

4. Branding. Don’t hesitate to promote the brand and its products. When your customer visits your Facebook page, they should leave with a good impression of your brand and products/services. The public will visit the walls of the brands they’re interested in.

5. Humour rocks. Laugh and everyone will laugh with you. We all enjoy a laugh. Make your posts fun as funny posts get many “likes” and will be shared a lot. For instance, funny pictures. Being funny is an art.

6. Humanise the brand. Inject emotion to it. Brand communication starts by using the “human” side of social media. The community loves messages that turn a wall into a living object that expresses human emotions in the form of videos, images, or real-time personal statuses, for instance. Facebook is a communication platform rather than a production channel. Shar0ing posts that contain emotions helps connecting with the community. In turn, they share these emotions with their network.

7. Educate and equip. Create content that is informative. Brands sharing content that is useful to their audience get greater exposure and engagement –more “likes”–, especially in the case of information designed to improve and enrich the brand’s fans. This education could include the company’s history, the product creation process or the state of the market, for instance. When fans interact with this type of content, they’re creating educational content which is shared in their network.

8. Ask to be “liked”. Ask and you will receive. It’s simple. If you ask to be liked, like for instance Veuve Cliquot does in their posts, you’ll get more “likes”. Ask in a polite, fun way, and don’t overdo it; otherwise, the cure may be worse than the disease!

What other ways can you think of, do you know of or do you implement to increase Facebook engagement?

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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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13 Quick Tips To Optimise your LinkedIn Profile

1. Set a personalised URL with your name. The same name you use with other profiles: your brand.

2. Create a unique extract. Can you summarise everything into a single sentence that makes you unique and special, something that sets you apart from everyone else? I bet you can!

3. End in a clear, direct and powerful way. End each section in your profile with something that really makes an impact on the reader; we always remember what we read last better than what we read first. It is quite common to start strong and end weak. Remember, go against the current! No one else does.

4. Achievements and tasks. One of the best profiles I’ve read lately has been the one set up by Víctor Ronco. His way of listing his achievements and the tasks he was in charge of is sensational. Of course, you do need to be a doer and a tryer for that!

5. Media. You can create a media section showing all your appearances in the media in a Presentation/PDF (slideshare plugin).

6. Skills and expertise. Don’t mention your management, business and consulting skills only. Include also something more personal: your human skills, abilities and characteristics… as it happens, this side of things is mainly what’s missing in our environment right now and rarities have an added value. Think about what you’re like as a human being, that’s the key!

7. Interests are key words through which you may be found. Catch the drift?

8. A blog makes your profile much more attractive and powerful.

9. Recommendations. Ask for recommendations from people who may have something interesting to say about you which is valuable.

10. Have you taken any courses that expand, improve and prove what you can do? Include them!

11. Move forward! This involves taking part in groups, setting up your own blog –did I mention that earlier?- and reviewing your profile for 10 minutes every week to streamline it.

12. Show what else you do. Do you have online presentations? Are you showing them?

13. Header. The header is the best opportunity available to position yourself. There are already too many experts in social media, senior community managers and marketing directors. If you’re doing what everyone else does, in what way are you standing out for me?

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15 Tips and Howto’s to Empower your Social Media Career

practical advice on social media

I’ve been asked several times for some students, that I should put together practical advice on going through the social media pathways and how to avoid the pitfall. Well the pitfall – meaning failure – is part of the game – However,  I can definitely take some concepts that best have been worked for me through these almost 4 years of adventures and experience in Social Media and list them.

15 Tips and Howto’s to Empower your Social Media Career

1. Hang out!

Meet people outside the Social Web. You’ll engage with them by meeting them personally in real-life. This is goal of Social Media. isn’t it?

2. Be an  entrepreneur

Start things, try, fail, make things happen, make business, set up social media initiatives, create needs, anticipate trends, trust in your gut…

3. Screw it, let’s do it!

Life spent wishing is life wasted

4. Manage your Social Media Time (idea by ChrisBrogan)

In order to engage, connect and interact with the community, you need to set up a social media policy, which allows you to manage your social media time, not for the sake of your time, but for creating the perfect relationship between the community and you.

  • Reading/listening: Spend 2/4 of your time reading and listening blogs, posts, updates, comments and so on…you’ll have a full understanding of what’s going on in your community, not to mention learning, thus gain insights and expand your knowledge, which is always great!
  • 1/4 Commenting: How do we expect people connect with us if we don’t reciprocate? We just expect comment from other people, but what about themselves? If we do so we’ll build a trust-based relationship with our audience and suddenly, we’ll realize that we’ve influencers and “high value partners”
  • 1/4 Creating: And the last one, create content, your content is important and is also essential to get you known – I’m not talking about quality and relevancy, we assume that – but at the end is auto-promotion, so my advice is promote your content 1 time for 20 times you promote others’ content.

5. WOM is your best friend

Nowadays, the WOM is the best marketing ever. The good news? In Social Media he’s our best friend, let’s see how we can make an effective use of him…

6. Social Media World

Offer social media platforms to collect feedback and at the same time-sharing and interacting.

7. Learn to say thank you

Say it! Do it publicly and please, customize your message, avoid mass untargeted messages.

8. Connect!

Connect your audience, create your tribe, start with a small group of people first. It’s a hard and slow process, it requires consistency, transparency charisma and imagination. But, let me tell you, that when you start seeing the results, it’s worth to make this effort.

As SethGodin says, you don’t need a keyboard to lead, you just need the desire to make something happen.

9. Network

Hell, yes! We’ve not talked about it yet!  Build a network, join social media associations or communities as Social Media Today, Social Media Marketing, word of mouth marketing association, third tribe marketing, mashable, techcrunch, adictos al social media, social mediopolis, life hacker or inbound marketing to name a few.

In all this groups, there’s a great amount of information exchange about social media and other related subjects. These are fantastic places to get in touch with what’s hot in social media, upcoming trends, but also to connect and engage with other professionals, enthusiasts and even businesses. Here, in Social Media, the opportunity has no name!

10. Breakeven point

Find you breakeven point – between professional and personal life. Establish beforehand which platforms are going to be for professional use and which ones for a more personal and private use – if you think you may have – In my case, I use Facebook for chilling, bragging, whining and so on with my people, I like to know what are they up to. I’m afraid, but unless I know someone who had me as a friend, I’m not going to friend her/him. However, they can always find you on LinkedIn, Twitter, foursquare, blogs…Does it make sense?

11. Multi-task

Be ready for being a multitask, owning your own Social Media brand, working as a freelance for big agencies, setting up synergies for collaborating in bigger projects, working for big brand, travelling, giving business talks, teaching Social media classes, posting regularly, commenting every single interaction, helping out others, having friends, family and even girlfriend/boyfriend…It’s OK to have 30 or 40 windows opened, it’s OK to have 100 passwords, is ok following and managing 10 communities, is Ok Posting each day in 5 or 8 blogs…at the end you are a Social Media Rockstar, right?

12. Always IN

Forget vacations, I said that because with Social Media you always should be on the top of the wave, doesn’t matter if it’s with a laptop or with a smart phone, always IN

13. Plan for failure

As we said before we’re on the gates to a new world, so there’s a lot to discover, learn and win. Nevertheless, as we don’t know what’s going to happen, you’d better have a plan B, C D and even E. Have always a contingency plan.

14. Your Spark

Everybody has a spark, if we take it from the foundation that we’re all different, and we won’t find another person identical to us. Then, as everybody has something that makes her/him unique – call it the Spark – You’ve one, Did you find it? Yes? How would you apply it? Is your Spark the ability to connect with people? To be open-minded? Catalyst for change? Heretic? Leader? Think about how you can use your Spark to boost your Social Media rock star Career…

15. Attitude

Did it mention before? A strong willing attitude for being remarkable, following your dreams or make a difference are sings that you are a social media rock star and if not, no worries, you can learn them, nobody is born being social media rock star.

What’s your opinion? What other tips would you add to the list? What’s left?

Related Posts:

40 Tips on Social Media for personal branding

One topic, which is discussed this days, and is also very hot is HOW TO use Social Media for personal branding, and yes, uncle Isra is going to strip it.

40 tips from Isra Garcia

Let’s move on, and talk about how we can boost our brand – either personal or business – using social media. I’ve gathered some powerful concepts that I’ve learned through this all this years. It’s been showed that they have worked for people really well – and hope for you too…I’m going to give you 40 tips for empower your brand using social media.

40 tips on Social Media for Personal Branding

  1. Be authentic: Each of us is completely different from the other, don’t communicate in lousy and boring way, don’t settle for good enough and do it for the best, be what you really want to be without imitate others. Sure you know how, right?
  2. Your identity: Did you find it? Nice now Stick with it everyday of your life!
  3. Share: Share, share…Sharing what can be from interest of others – It shouldn’t need to be your content, but others’ – will grant you with a respected voice that people will listen. Consequently, your public will start to see you as an authority in your field.
  4. It’s not about you: Not about me, neither about us, It’s about them…give them the voice, be empathic, try to focus on what they want form their own approach, not yours. Suddenly, everything changes! Surprise?
  5. Be Friendly: Think that every interaction give you the opportunity of being remarkable, how would you act?
  6. Start local: Before attempting to be the king of your country, try to be the king of your own place! Do you get the idea?
  7. Always practice the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, easy, isn’t?
  8. Realign yourself: Be what you want people see. Align yourself and don’t lose a single opportunity to market yourself!If I would like to hire you and we’ll see each other everyday, how would you act?
  9. You are the same: Transparency, probably the most important characteristic, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in front of the laptop or not, think in it as an extension of you. The more human you are, the more people will follow you.
  10. Never quit: Really? Don’t be everything for everybody, quit what doesn’t make you happy – and what doesn’t give you any money – You’ll say, what about what you said before? Stick with it and don’t quit! It can work sometimes, but…Do you remember the macho-man saying: “Winners never quit!” Screw it! “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time”
  11. Best Marketing ever: Your crowd, they have more power and influence than our brand, difficult to understand, but essential to assume. If you want to use them, you’ll get disappointed, instead they’ll use you, best thing to do, join, melt down and team up with them.
  12. We can do it: Attitude, there’s no bad skills, but bad attitudes, remember that people see you as you are – even if you are behind the networks – the only way we truly engage with people is having the right attitude
  13. No Sales pitches: If you do that at first sight and with everybody, you’re dead man!  The first step is engaging, after they’ll come to you, if they see us interesting, of course, they’ll buy from us.
  14. Build Credibility: Build a relationship, be interesting, listen, support your people, help them, talk with them, share with them and you’ll have it!
  15. You’d better take a seat: It’s gonna be a long journey, it doesn’t mean that because its social media it is going to grow faster – bigger yes – but not faster.
  16. Focus on make a different in your community: Understand your community, know what they want and focus on what they expect from you – and what not –  Do all of this, without asking nothing in return and before they’ll ask you. if you make a difference in their life you’ll be indispensable, and you know what it means, right?
  17. Set up your goals: short/mid/long-term goals as a strategy plan
  18. Coolhunter-trendstter: You should know what’s going on in your industry…What or Who Will Continue to Shape our Social Media World? The faster, the better…
  19. Privacy: be careful, Privacy is unbreakable, for them: don’t spam others with your messages, even if you think they’re interested in…for you: take this game seriously and think of you as a brand, keep what should be private, in private – forget permissions and control what people publish and say about you. If it’s not public why do you publish it? Think in how what you do in Social Media can impact on others – and on you –
  20. Keep your profiles consistent; Customize your profiles and updates to align with the values and uses of each social media platform – but at the same time, keep up a common theme through
  21. You are the brand: It’s hard to build a reputation if you keep changing, If you don’t switch your personality from time to time, why should your brand do it?
  22. you are your brand: And as you’ve grown up and developed skills, traits and abilities through the years, your brand requires a similar kind of development.
  23. Help: Help help help, no matter if it requires some time (not all your time) it will pay off for sure, you’ll have your reward
  24. Human Relations: remember, It’s all about human relations. Connecting in an honest way can bring in new supporters for your product or brand.
  25. Commitment; Everyone talks about passion, but commitment takes into account, if you’re committed you’ll success or at least you’ll will be respected and trust by the audience,
  26. The brand called you: Be consistent with the tone and approach, so all your profiles feel like you. Don’t forget people use social media to connect with a real person. Develop an identity you’re not only proud, but also you can stand behind.
  27. Be human: Think about the image you want to present. We use to act one way around in different situations, with the boss, our girlfriend, our best friends…even if we’re the same person.
  28. Productivity: Set a time to focus on your community, plan and put your efforts on keeping a regularity.
  29. Give: Create stuff that interest others and give it for free, it’s the first step to gain visibility and exposure
  30. Take care of yourself: Be aware about what people say about you. As you use monitoring tools for your clients, use them for you too!
  31. Reputation: Your reputation is built in what you do, what you get and how you get it. It’s important what people say about you, but more important is what you say about people.
  32. You’re not: Don’t try to be everywhere, realign the social media platforms with your strategy and goals
  33. Know your community: Know who is your audience and give your tribe what they want from you differently in each platform. Customize their need according with the target.
  34. Listen: In order to be understood, understand them first, truly understand them! Listen what they have – and want – to say, perhaps you’ll find that isn’t what you thought it was…
  35. Expectations: Clarify what you expect from your audience. Remember that you’ve build credibility on them, so they trust in you, don’t fail them
  36. Don’t be a real pain in the ass: Hey! Give them a breath, give them time to digest your content, it doesn’t matter if you share, create or comment it. Build a logical timeline where you interact with them and give them plenty of time between interaction.
  37. SM platforms; Identify each social platform, know its target and look for the ones that best meets your needs, then set up goals and milestones for each of them
  38. Leverage: This is about leverage! People can help you to get you known, but they’re busy.  If you want to make a great start, I’ll recommend you listening and commenting their posts
  39. Dislike: Honestly, not everyone is going to like you. You’d better accept it.
  40. Shut up and do it: Social Media takes commitment and so doing a little often is a better way of getting results and not showing up sometimes. Remember: if you only show up some of the time, what does that say about you?

Does it makes sense? What other tips would you add to the list?

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My Twitter strategy, how to become an efficient twitter professional

Getting started

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I started twitter as a consequence of starting to focus on social media, I read a post in the Guy Kawasaki’s blog talking about twitter and it immediately grabbed my attention, suddenly I found myself surfing The Internet in the search of more information about twitter and its world…Then I signed up, had an account and began to follow people,  as days went through I began to understand it better and better…

Working on twitter all this time has led me to think in it as a marketing tool and I like to use it when is possible. As I’m among friends I feel more confident to discuss what I really think twitter is and how you become an efficient twitter professional:

Twitter, the popular micro-blogging site, publishes messages with a most of 140 characters, whatever you want to say you must say it in this amount of characters, It is hard sometimes, but it’s one of the reasons I love twitter, no matter the message, statement, advice, offer or opinion, you must struggle to do it with just a handful of words, which really compel us being more creative and imaginative than ever. Consequently, most of the time we’ll have a very effective communication with prospect, providers or whoever is following us. Currently, twitter has an estimated 4.1 million visits to the site and is growing very each day faster than other social networking in the U.S. alone. It’s one of the most viral social media tools freely available in the market. Many brands and professionals attempt to use the tool to sell their services and products, but the successful brands and professionals use twitter to listen and engage with their stakeholders, as an earlier conclusion we can talk about twitter as an approach to create conversation between prospects and businesses or we can use it as an engagement tool, too.

Getting deeper…

Interact with other twitter seems easy, but if you don’t know how it works don’t. Each message you post is known as a “Tweet.” In social media and social networking industry, Twitter facilitates a process known as micro-blogging or micro-sharing. Every user identifies himself/herself by putting a “@” sign in front of their name (for instance: @Israel_Garcia, here is mine). It’s the common way of communicating on twitter. Joining Twitter has value for many people and businesses, but as I said before it can also be a waste of time if you don’t understand how the medium works and how best to use it. Instead of approaching Twitter as a place to broadcast information about your company, think of it as a place to build relationships. It’s also a good idea to include additional contact info, like email addresses or your blogs.

Listen regularly for comments about your company, brand and products and be ready to discuss concerns, offer customer service or thank people for praise.

In addition to keeping an eye on your @messages, you can use the Saved Searches feature to easily track mentions of your product, brand, company, etc. From your Twitter home page, simply run a search, and then at the top of your result’s page, click “Save this search.” A link with your search term will appear on the right side of your page, and when you click it, you’ll get real-time results for that query. To drop a search, just head to the top of your results and click “Remove this search.”

My twitter strategy

Let’s talk openly about how you could be an efficient Twitter professional…

1. Set a target or purpose for your twitter.

It could be:

Promote your blog

Gain more affluence and traffic in your social networking

Establish a networking between your customers and your business

Increase your website traffic

Increase brand recognition

Built a reputation as an expert in the field you work on

But (and this is a great but…) I strongly suggest you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What approach should I take to be more appealing to the rest of users? What makes me different from rest of users?
  • What kind of content I’m delivering? links, advice, opinion, quotations, RT,feedback…
  • How often I’m going to tweet Once a day, twice, every 5 minutes, when something interesting comes up…
  • Are my twits aligned with my twitter strategy (step 1)? Develop, establish and follow a clear but simple strategy
  • Did I choose appropriately the best twitter strategy (step 1)? Occasionally check your strategy and implement corrective measures to re-align your strategy in case of changes.
  • Is twitter really meeting my needs? Am I in twitter for a purpose or just because it is trendy? If you are here, certainly you have a purpose. On the contrary, you’d better go shopping in Milan, undoubtedly more trendy…

2. Twitter could be stressing and addictive.

At the beginning is easy to manage twitter, nevertheless as the number of your followers and follows grow, you’ll realise that you cannot deal with such amount of tweets, tweeps, connections, information, links, advices, opinions and so on. Take a breath and be aware of… It is the first step for being successful (at the same time you’ll be honest with yourself). Also, make sure you don’t fall in what I like to call the “dark side of twitter” which is the one used by hundred of thousands of people who are also in, but don’t use it for business. LET’S BE CLEAR, YOU ARE READING THIS BECAUSE YOUR TIME IS PRICELESS AND YOU WANT TO BECOME A TWITTER PROFESSIONAL, I don’t care if my neighbour is getting up a 10 am. for preparing herself/himself a bowl of cereals with orange juice before going shopping…

3. Follow the people who best meet your needs.

For example, If you are a musician and you want promote your website, MySpace or blog, you should look for people interested in Music, producers, record labels, music agencies, clubs or even musicians for instance. As you give them value you’ll have a tribe ready to follow you. The question is…are you ready to lead? It’s the same principle as growing a blog – if you help enhance people’s lives in some way they are more likely to want to track with you and read more of what you have to say. As a result your conversations should ‘matter’ on some level. Sure you can throw in personal tweets and have some fun with it – but unless you’re providing something useful to people (information, discounts, entertainment, news, education etc) they probably won’t follow you for long.

Also be wary of always trying to sell your product or service. Your followers don’t like to follow people, who are always trying to sell them something. Try adding links that make people laugh or something really curious or odd, but use good taste. This way they can’t wait for your next tweet.

4. Be Strict and censor with your ‘anti-prospect’.

There are millions of people using twitter for different purposes, some of them are here for professionals matters, others don’t…If you aren’t interested in someone who isn’t decided between cooking boiled eggs or smashed potatoes… avoid them!

5. Take advantage of the twitter apps to manage twitter efficiently.

I highly recommend use apps to manage your time in twitter efficiently, here you can find which I use the most:

With tweetbeep, you can set up alerts that will help you keep track of keywords on Twitter

Twitscoop shares what’s hot on Twitter at any given moment.

Set up tweetscan to make sure you don’t miss any @replies, and to get alerted of your search queries.

Twitterlocal With this service, you can see tweets from Twitter users in a specific location

Use tweepler to organize your tweeps based on whether you’re following them or not.

Twubble will expand your Twitter bubble, picking out people you may like to follow.

Twitdir, you’ll be able to search for people, and exploring categories including top followers and updaters.

Who should I follow Using this site, you can get good recommendations for Tweeps to follow.

Twellow find Twitter users in a specific industry using this service

Mr. Tweet is a personal networking assistant for Twitter, helping you find relevant followers

Moreover, you can go to this site, which offers more than 100 twitters apps 100 Twitter tools to help you achieve all your goals

I want to give you a piece of advice, some of the apps could be very helpful, but some of them are useless and a completely waste of time. It depends on your twitter strategy, I recommend study them before the installation is being made.

6. Don’t stress if your number of followers doesn’t rise.

It takes sometime people get interested in what you’re doing or saying. Take twitter as a refined flower you recently bought and it needs to be treated with meticulous care to develop all its beauty within its cocoon. If times goes through and your number of followers doesn’t grow you don’t need being afraid anyway, why? Because twitter is not about the follower count, it’s about conversions. A carefully cultivated list of 1000 followers can beat a list of 10,000 twitter followers anytime when it comes to spreading content or getting traffic/sales. A social mediafollowersstrategy that only involves mass following all sorts of people and shooting out links to hook buyers or readers is quite inadequate. Forget about the people who follow you without a reason these are auto-follows or just  low-value followers. Not because they are dumb or socially inferior but because a good amount of these followers are not ultra-targeted, active or responsive. Many of them are self-promoters, spammers or automated feed accounts. These people aren’t interested in you. They don’t care about you. They didn’t REALLY opt-in. They even followed you automatically, didn’t they? So play the Twitter game of mass adding and dropping users for a few months. You may even meet some cool people but don’t assume that you have 50,000 users who actually read your tweets or pay attention in you. They aren’t. And you’re irrelevant to them. I have to recognize that is hard to find productive twitters, people interested in you, in what you do, in what you say, in what they get from you (ie RT links) they follow you because they have reasons to. You’ll know when you find them, they’re very active and in most of  the cases will share common things with you.

7. Key points

At a glance I would recommend:

  • Ensure you want to set up and support relationships
  • Be authentic
  • Be consistent, reliable and friendly – don’t take anything personally
  • Listen before you speak
  • And while numbers are seductive, remember the opportunity is in establishing quality relationships and providing quality tweets for your followers, whatever your message
  • Forget direct messages, they’re impersonal, unconvincing and it seems that don’t like to twitters.
  • Carefully choose the people you follow. Do NOT automatically follow everyone who follows you.
  • Selectively choose and search for TOPICS that interest you, then join in those conversations.
  • Support worthy and compelling conversation by selectively RETWEETING those messages that you think are interesting/informative to your followers.

Your take

You? Whats is your strategy?

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