7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Habit 6: Synergize to Engage with your audience.

Involve others where possible, hopefully from within your organisation, or seek outside assistance to discuss and create ideas.

As the Social Media coordinator within your organisation you are may feel you do not have all the knowledge, experience or content or time to do it all. That is where others come in.

The best people to write engaging content about your companies activities are the people doing it. Get the sales people to write blogs and discuss new technologies, ask the engineers on the road to write about preventative measure that could help avoid some of the smaller problems.

These same people can then actively engage in the discussion they create drawing people to your content. This all shows that your organisation has a variety of people with expert knowledge rather than just someone with a twitter or facebook account.

References and Inspiration in 7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Intro

7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Habit 5: Seek First to Listen, Then to Be Heard

Take a step back.

Look to see what people actually get from your service.

The old adage of sell the sizzle not the sausage has never been more true. Listen for what the end user will find interesting rather then the bit you want to talk about. Yes the yield to cost ratio of a blah blah blah may get you excited but having enough money in 2-3 years to pay for a child’s university education is what someone is more likely to be searching for when they find you. (If you do it right)

Once you understand what people are willing to listen to you can then ensure you talk about what interests them. Including all the correct keyword hooks that tehy want to hear.

As soon as someone is interested they will actually listen to what you have to offer, and how it will help them at that point your message will actually be heard.

References and Inspiration in 7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Intro

7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Habit 4: Think Win/Win

Win/Win is social media is just the same as in business,
– Lose / Win – you give all your knowledge away and people do it themselves.
– Win / Lose – you use the hard sell, links to product pages over the place, you may get some orders (you win) but there is no real benefit to the general listener
– Win / Win, you post useful info to inform and encourages people to engage with your subject (they win) , you become a recognised expert (you win) as people begin to use your snippets (they win) ultimately they recognise they can not do it all themselves and as you are their go to expert they ask you for your services (you win) you both grow an ongoing business relationship (win/win)
Note the order this happens in, They Win first, you give, they gain. Then you start to win too.

References and Inspiration in 7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Intro

7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Habit 3: Put First Things First

You need to cover all your bases, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube to name but a few, the advantage you now have is that you are using a single source, your website blog, so you already have the content that you can point all of these towards (thus reducing your overall workload).

Now, analyse your response, look where you get the most activity and give that some focus, however activity is often confused with results, take a second look. 10,000 followers on twitter, but only 100 clicks, maybe one purchase. 1000 people in your LinkedIn group, with  50 clicks and three purchases. Look to where your results come from and give it some real backing. You maybe surprised as to where you get your results.

There are plenty of tools for this,
Google analytics – Web analytics
Bitly – url shortener with analytics
Plus many more.

References and Inspiration in 7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Intro

7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Habit 1: Be Proactive

Get out there!

Do something and do it regularly. Effective Social media relies on consistently providing snippets that engage and/or entertain. Providing these regularly ensures you are kept in the forefront of your readers awareness. They naturally remember you when your subject is mentioned.

Therefore decide that you, or your organisation, are actually going to do it, and be serious about it.
If you go into social media half hearted, you are wasting your time (and therefore money). If you only dabble, you are likely to get minimal results, you may make some interesting contacts and hopefully get the odd bit of business, but you are unlikely to get the fantastic results you have heard about and were hoping for.

References and Inspiration in 7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Intro

7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Intro

Following attending a multitude of social media events recently I thought I would try to put some business perspective onto how to integrate a social strategy into your business.

To this end I have borrowed the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ from Stephen Covey and put a light-hearted social slant on them to give us the ‘7 habits of highly social media.’

Habit 1. Be Proactive
Habit 2. Begin with a blog behind.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Listen, Then to Be Heard
Habit 6: Synergize (Engage with your audience)
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Reference and inspiration from
Stephen Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®
Graham Jones at JCI UK Inspiration Day

Google analytics – Web analytics
Bitly – url shortener with analytics
Harry from Minimoko (at Tea and the Zen of Social Media )
Kathryn McMann (at Tea and the Zen of Social Media )
Sinead Mac Manus from 8fold (at Tea and the Zen of Social Media )
Lee Smallwood from digicoms

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Making the most of technology

I have known Positive computing for several years now and have always turned to them as a source of advice and equipment. So was really pleased to see that Julian Lewis has started a regular newsletter to inform people about changes in technology. I strongly recommend you sign up to the Positive Newsletter to enable you to keep  up to date.

In this issue Julian covers a variety of issues, a couple of which I can give testimonials for his advice

Dropbox, an excellent solution for keeping multiple pc’s/laptops in sync, while providing you a remote repository that is effectively an offsite backup.

Having been introduced to Dropbox by Positive around 12 months ago I now use it as my primary document location. This allows me to switch between a powerful desktop replacement laptop and a Dell netbook depending on where I am going and what resources I need on at the time, safe in the knowledge that I always have the documents I need.

Social Media, a great recommendation for Hootsuite, and advice on finding the right media strategy, ties in nicely with a couple of blog articles I have written recently about ensuring you have the correct message for your business. As Julian says in his newsletter there are plenty of Social Media Experts out there so talk to them about the how to do it. I would also add make sure you know your own message that you can then publicise about through the social media.

There is much more in the newsletter so go check it out.

7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Habit 2: Begin with a blog behind.

A slight adaptation of the familiar ‘Begin with the end in mind’ the often quoted 2nd habit from Stephen Covey, and I feel a valuable one.

We hear so many Social Media experts telling us how good all of the different social media channels are and that they can drive traffic to your site, but how or why?
Tweet this, Youtube that, Liking it on Facebook, or simply Linking it In,  just have a quick look at how much work you are doing, I have mentioned four and there are many more, are you quadrupling your workload by putting information on them all?

This week is Social Media Week, a series of workshops and presentations being held locally and globally, I have been to 4 so far in London, (http://socialmediaweek.org/london/ ) there are many more around the world, and you could pick up so fantastic information. I know I have. It has built on information that I have received from various events recently including JCI Inspiration Day www.jcireading.co.uk/id2011

Before I go much further I am advocating formulating a strategy, there are plenty of social media experts our there to advise you about each channel, my role here is to help you to create an effective and productive strategy from which you will profit for many years.

The main point of this article is to get you thinking. Why use social media in your business? Simple answer is usually ‘to get people to………’ to do what? Call you? Buy from you? Look at your website?

The overriding theme that is coming through is actually none of the above:
It is actually ‘engage people’
Once you engage them, you can interact, inform, influence and help them. All of these activities can be done by providing information via a blog which drives people to your website. This information is a central repository that all of the channels guide people too, once there they can read, comment, discuss all of which brings them one step closer to wanting your product or service.

So in short, ‘Begin with a blog behind’ save time by putting everything in one place (your blog) then promote it via the channels (that you feel suit your business) this focuses both you and your audience to one place. Be consistent about making updates so that there is regular new content that people will want to come back to.

>>related article: The Social for Business Revolution, How to effectively write for social media.
References and Inspiration in 7 Habits of Highly Social Media – Intro

of the familiar

The Social for Business Revolution, How to effectively write for social media.

Having just spent the weekend at the JCI UK Inspiration day hosted by JCI Reading (www.jcireading.co.uk/ID2011) focusing on Social Media and obtaining the best from it alongside what JCI means to some of its members, I thought a short article on Social for Business may be of use to some people.

We regularly hear that social media is taking over in terms of lead generation and that we should all be blogging twice a day and tweeting, facebooking, LinkinIning (think I just made that one up) about our informative blogs.

The reaction I see from most people when there here this is either;

I don’t have enough time to do that, I have actual work to do
What the hell am I going to write about without giving away all the knowledge I have spent years learning.

So let’s address these two point. So in reverse order, What and How:

What do you write about?
Whatever you write about it must be done with some enthusiasm, something that draws people into what you are discussing and shows that you are keen and able to help. One easy what to identify these is to know both your company and personal values. Once you know what you care about (and why) make sure you supply a consistent message to your readers. It also allows you to release responsibility to others to write some of the articles as you know everyone is ‘on message’.

How do you write without giving away all your knowledge?
By picking subjects that show you have knowledge you can are actually giving yourself ‘status’ showing that you are an expert in your field. A vast majority of what you know you discount as being valuable because you have already moved on to the next concept, idea or speciality. Therefore spending time working on what you do know that you can tell people ie Identifying your Resources, will be time well spent.

Moving onto having the time.

One of the main reasons most people feel they do not have the time is that they do not know the What and How, therefore they are constantly questioning themselves and what they are writing about. As soon as you know what is ‘on message’ and that you can quickly check that you are encouraging interest rather than giving away secrets you instantly cut out most of the time taken to write articles.

Therefore whenever you have an idea about what you want to write about you will be able to effectively write a short article that you can share on your blog.

Happy writing.

>> Related article ‘Begin with a blog behind

Email communication – Help yourself by helping the recipient.

Do you use email effectively?

(Answer – Some of the time!)

Are you getting your message across? Do you get the responses you expect?

I started writing this a month or two ago, but managed to speak to most the people that needed it so stopped writing. However I have noticed various other groups with similar email issues so thought I would get it all down on paper. Also I received a copy of the ‘Jelly Effect – How to make your communication stick’, and wanted to write MY version of communication to see how it would change whist reading the book.

Every day we receive emails, some good, some bad. We reply to those that are easy to reply to and spend hours hunting for that one snippet that we know is there somewhere, or worse still forget,  ignore them.

Golden Rule: Where possible try to keep your emails to single topics (note I say topic rather than ‘Subject’ we will get to that later.)

Things to consider:

1.       Subject line
2.       Content – relevant to subject line, ie stick to the topic.
3.       All relevant details
4.       Direction to Action.
5.       Who to send to. To, CC, BCC.
6.       Use the Reply to button or create new email.

1. Subject lines.
Emails have a subject line so that the recipient can tell what the email is about, it also acts to assist in filing / finding the email at a later date. Therefore make your Subject line relevant and specific. The analogy that is often used is that of a newspaper headline. A paper would never be published without a catchy headline and once reading it you would have content that matched the teaser. Well with most papers anyway ;o) Bad Subject – ‘This Thursday’ Good Subject – ‘JCI – Board Meeting – Thurs 3rd June 2010’ This could even have – ’18:30’ or ‘Minutes’ or ‘Action Points for SW’ to help distinguish it further. Stick to the facts, make it easy to identify and people will reply quickly. By having a specific subject you also focus yourself on the content ( point 2 and 3) of your email and also the expected response (point 4)

2. Content. Make sure your content is relevant to your topic.
If your subject is ‘JCI – Board Meeting – Thurs 4th November 2010’ Then that is what you should  write about. This prevents information getting lost and ensures you have a focused email that is easy for someone to respond to. Avoid talking about other projects, or potential meetings, as this information will be hard to find later.

3. Content. Is it detailed and to the point?
How many face to face conversations have you had where the other person assumes you know what they are talking about? ‘oh that meeting last week’ hmm I had 3 meetings with you last week, ‘Which one, what was it about?’ when you are there you ask. In an email you don’t get that instant feedback therefore you need to pre-empt the questions to ensure your point and expected response is 100% clear. Otherwise you end up with a protracted email thread with information scattered across several emails. (This is a great tip for general communication anyway, actually tell people what you want them to know, not what you think they need to know based on your version of their existing knowledge) Bad Content – ‘Just checking you are ok with the meeting next week’ Good content – ‘To confirm we have arranged a meeting at 10am on Thursday 21st October 2010 at the Regus Business Lounge (Davidson house, xxxxxxxx) Where we will be discussing strategies to improve communication within the organisation. The meeting is scheduled to last no more than 1 hour with 3 attendees, CG, SW and LH’

4. Call to Action
Great, you have sent an email with a great subject line that contains the relevant and detailed content. So, Who read it? Have they done what you were expecting? Hmm so maybe we need a little more. Lets add a Call to Action. So what do you need to know? ‘Please read and confirm you accept the actions assigned to you’, ‘Please confirm by return that you are able to supply xxxx by Monday 21st at 13:00’ When using this be detailed, everyone has a different take on ‘by’ Monday. Is that the end of Monday, do you need it for a meeting on Monday morning, are you going to be reading your emails over the weekend, if not then do you mean by 4pm on Friday so you have a chance to read it before you leave? In the example I have also given an immediate action, ‘confirm by return’ I will therefore receive an email today and know that the task is in hand rather than receiving nothing at 13:00 on Monday.

5. Who to Send to. To, CC and BCC
To: This person needs to read the email and expected to reply
CC: This person needs the information but is not expected to reply (but may have valuable feedback) – potential grey area here, with large recipient list people tend to split it between To and CC
BCC: Blind Carbon Copy, This person receives a copy of the email without the others knowledge.

Does your email have lists of points for different people, Do you have 6-10 people to send it to?
Well ask yourself if the content is specific enough. It could well be, it could be an attachment that is the minutes of a meeting, so everyone does need it.  But if it is in the body of the email maybe you need to revise the content and send several specific emails to individuals. Even with minutes of meetings I would be happier to receive 2 emails, 1 with the attachment of the minutes (sent to everyone) and another with ‘Action points for SW’ (This is without doubt me being lazy, but if I have an easy to find list, there is less time wasted hunting for minutes, opening the doc reading everything to check if I need to do any of it etc) CCing This detailed ‘Action points for SW’ email would also be a great benefit to the Chairman of the meeting so CC them in. They can and will ignore it. Marking them all as read in one hit. Safe in the knowledge they when they next speak to XX they can quickly find that persons action list and check on progress.

6. Use the REPLY Button
Does everyone need to see you say ‘Thanks’ – Simple answer No.

Does everyone need to see you say ‘ Yes i will complete that by xxx, here are the questions I have at this stage…’ – No.

Reply to the sender to say ‘ Yes I will complete that by xxx, I will be emailing separate questions to those concerned.’ Then create new specific emails, following the rules, as needed.

One thing I personally hate is getting emails that drift off the subject, that have nothing to do with me, or that are relevant to me but the question to me is lost in the noise.

In Summary

Help yourself by helping others, give them all and only, the information they need so that they can respond to you as you expect. Once you start doing this, they will pick up the same habit, as they will already see the benefits of what you are doing.

Feel free to include this link  ‘Better email tips’ in your email signature.

Comment on what you have read, and I can update the post. It’s all simple stuff and we must remember to use it.

Email communication – Help yourself by helping the recipient.