Sunday, August 30, 2009

My New Best Friend Twitter

I love you Twitter, oh yes I do, I love you Twitter, this much is true!!!  I was never a cheer leader but I think this is how that cheer starts.  I have fallen in deep love with Twitter.  I am in mini-blogger heavan.  The good news is you can love it too.  It is official, I have been using Twitter for 10 weeks now and I have learned a lot in that short amount of time.  So I thought I would tell you why I love my new best friend Twitter.
  • I have met so many new friends, as of today 436 to be exact. I love to read their tweets and I hope they love mine.  I find myself gravitating to those who tweet about personal growth, inspiration or business.
  • You are limited to 140 characters.  Short and sweet and I love that.  Nothing long winded and it is a challenge sometimes to limit those thoughts but so much fun to figure it out.  
  • RT's - Retweets!  I love RT's - I actually retweet a lot of information.  When I find something someone else has said and that I like, I will quickly RT it.  When you retweet you are giving recognition to the person who originally tweeted it.  It feels awesome when someone gives you credit for your own thoughts or work and it really feels great to give someone the credit and kudos they deserve for their work.  Note - if you want to be retweeted try to keep your tweets to 120 or less characters to give the RT'r the room to add your user name when RT'ing.
  • # - called a hashtag.  Usually tweets are individual thoughts that sometimes start a conversation but if you would like to create the community feel for a topic you can include it with a hashtag and watch the conversation unfold.  For example, one hashtag I follow is #LCTwitizens.  Just put that in the Twitter search box and you will see the stream of conversation.
  • Using Twitter you can easily share files, photos and video as well as much more.  You can simply type the URL in your tweet (using a URL shortner if necessary)
  • These last two I have not used personally but have watched them work for others.  First you can raise money for worthy causes.  The sheer size of twitters audience makes this possible.  Recently there was a Tweetathon to raise money to fight child hunger in the United States called 12for12K.  The idea was to raise $12,000 in 12 hours by passing along tweets and getting donations.  They actually ended up with a little over $14,000, a true success story.  Second if you are in business you can use Twitter as a customer service tool.  It is designed to have immediate results which is exactly what customer service should be.  You can resolve customers issue quickly with a personal touch and hopefully, if you are doing it right, build positive brand recognition at the same time.
These are just a few of the things I love about Twitter.  I could go on and on but won't.  OK maybe later but for now I will end with this - Twitter is a fast paced, I agree, but for me with a little focus I can see the huge potential for individuals and businesses alike. 

Friday, August 14, 2009

To LinkedIn or Not To LinkedIn

Recently I took two classes on the advantages of using LinkedIn. To tell you the truth I had never even heard of LinkedIn until a couple of weeks ago. I took a quick look at it and thought that it probably wasn't going to be for me. It looked like a site for people looking for a job - it reminded me of a resume'. I didn't consider myself to be actively looking for a job. I have to admit though that my two instructors have opened my eyes to the possibilities of LinkedIn.

The first class was taught by Barbara Giamanco, . Barbara is a Sales & Social Media Builder and she outlined 4 main reasons to use LinkedIn.

  1. Control your professional brand - you control what people see on your profile.
  2. Network and reconnect - connect with past colleagues and classmates. Those people all have other connections which could expand your network as well.
  3. Share your knowledge and expertise - ask your network and experts worldwide questions and/or answer question .
  4. Receive opportunities - whether that be a job with the company of your dreams or a consulting gig or even joint ventures.
She went on to explain that having a LinkedIn profile gives you great visibility through search engines. LinkedIn along with other well known sites such as Twitter & Facebook are well trusted by search engines so when you post information to them and someone searches for that information it is ranked very high on the list.

The second class was an advanced strategies class taught by Raymond "Chip" Lambert, . Another very informative class but this one focused more on the business development side of LinkedIn. How to use it to promote (brand) yourself and your business. I was very impressed with Chips knowledge and methods. He spoke extensively on knowing your:

  1. Goals - specifics example he gave 100 teleconferences in 100 days - that specific!
  2. Perfect Client - specific characteristics - monetary, geographical, age, gender!
  3. Sales & Marketing, Business Development - what works for your business. Speaking engagements, joint ventures, referral partners, etc.

At this time LinkedIn has over 40 million members so I thought I would put it to the test. I started my profile, To be honest it took me a few days to get it done but that is because I only had small bits of time each day. Actually LinkedIn is telling me I am only 85% done with my profile but for now it is close enough. It is quite comprehensive but once I got to a point where I felt like I was comfortable with my details I was off and looking for connections. This was actually the fun part. I started finding people from my past employment as well as people from my address book. I was actually quite surprised at how many people I knew that were on LinkedIn. If you are reading this and on LinkedIn I would love to connect with you. At this moment I only have 10 contacts but those 10 people are connected to an additional 7,000 people. Then those 7,000 people are connected to an additional 925,000 which means that through a few introductions I could quickly expand my network. Thus the reason to use LinkedIn - It's not who you know, It's who they know and are willing to introduce you to.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

5 Steps to Social Media Relationship Building

Hello All - In my last post I told you that I am starting to learn about the world of social media. I am in the process of taking a class from called Social Media University. 1st I should say that the class has been amazing and well worth the money but this is not a promo for the class - just an observation. We have had about 6 class so far and have learned a lot about Twitter and Facebook as well as why we should be using social media. I find it amazing how quickly social media has sky rocketed in the last year or two. We are a society in love with immediate gratification and social connection and social media gives us both. But what I have learned in the past couple of weeks is that the most important aspect of Social Media is building a personal relationships.

A relationship is defined as a connection between two people or objects - the dealings and feelings that exist between those two people. So how do you build a relationship with total strangers in cyberspace? People need to first know you, then they can like you and only then they will trust you. Building that trust is the key to success in social media. So again how do you build that relationship?

  1. Put yourself out there! Are you making yourself available to meet people? What does your bio say about you? It is important that your bio be interesting and intriguing so as to create the desire for someone to take the time to find out more about you. Are you smiling in your profile picture? Yes you MUST have a profile picture.

  2. Reach out to others! Are you following people on Twitter or are you a friend or fan on Facebook? You must extend the first hand, get out of your comfort zone and make the first move. You will actually find some interesting and exciting people out there. Do not go crazy and add hundreds of people at one time because that could actually get you banned from some sites instead you should have a plan. How many people do you want to add each week? How many would that be each day? What you will find is that a lot of those people will start to follow you as well.

  3. Share information about yourself and your passions! On a daily basis you should post something that you find to be relevant to your life. That may be an inspirational quote, a comment on something newsworthy or it may just be a statement about your day but it should be something that lets people get a feel for who you are. You can do this multiple times a day but note there is such a thing as too much.

  4. Interact with people! There are multiple ways you can interact with people. On Twitter you could re-tweet something someone said that you found interesting, direct message or @reply people to ask them questions or make a statement about something they said. On Facebook you could comment on something they posted or write on their wall. The important thing is that you took the time to engage them in conversation, although it may be a short conversation.

  5. Help people - don't spam them! Take the time to provide them with information that is relevant and important in their lives. For example, if you read a great article about personal growth you could share that link so that your followers could read it. If you have experience in a certain area provide people with tips that can improve that area of their life. Do not continuously send them information and links promoting your products or services. A great rule of thumb is 10 non-sales contacts for each sales contact according to Social Media expert Nancy Marmolejo.

At this point you will have given them the opportunity to know you, by providing them information about you, then like you, by providing them with valuable and helpful information for their life, and then and only then will they trust you. Now you have to focus on keeping their trust! It is not as hard as it seems. Be genuine, kind and helpful and you will be amazed how many people will want to trust you.