Showing posts with label relationships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label relationships. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Online Engagement: A Brief Sales Perspective

I was recently asked how I leverage Linkedin as a sales tool. Since we all sell something, I realized that a lot of my thoughts could relate to most online engagement. Here are some highlights when leveraging online engagement as a sales tool: 

Feeling Comfortable Online
It's important to have a particular comfort level with both social media engagement and even social media marketing in general. I have been leveraging the finer attributes of many social media platforms for a few years now, and so I am able to easily stay up to speed as they evolve.

Transparency in the Marketplace
I believe you can be 100% transparent in your personal convictions while maintaining a positive professional demeanor. This is more of a delicate art on Linkedin than the often crude, unforgiving nature of facebook or the relentlessly rolling feeds on Twitter, but it can be done.

Creating New Relationships
With social media, it’s not about connecting with who you know that’s important - that’s the easy part. Developing new relationships is lot more challenging but unquestionably more rewarding when interacting with individuals, businesses, groups, and organizations on a professional level. 

I like to think that there is a road between Marketing and Business Development and Sales. Somedays, I just wear my Marketing hat, while other days I might start out in the Business Development land but end up in Sales city. But no matter where I start, online engagements help me travel between each.

How do you leverage online engagements to improve your sales strategies?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Delicate Art of Getting Things Done

Whether you're following your regular work calendar or having an impromptu meeting about the recent lack of ROI from your marketing team, today you will break up your schedule into the smallest units of time to get things done. You'll find yourself saying things like:

"I can have that to you by next week."
"Give me five minutes."
". . . just a second"

All of which you might be saying to others, yourself, or even your computer which is always slow to process whatever you're working on at the most inopportune moment. This process never ends as you map and plan out tomorrow's schedule.

And planning is, of course, a good thing.  In fact it's completely necessary - especially when it concerns our professional lives.  But when our professional lives become so dependent on time that we have to make time for family and friends, maybe it's time to stop and reevaluate how you spend your time. 

When reappropriating your time, consider:
  • Time for yourself:  topping the charts, this may or may not include time with family and friends, but it definitely excludes anything even remotely work related.  Stopping to smell the roses not only rejuvenates the body and mind, but it also allows you to reboot and take fresh perspectives for work, family, and personal activities.  This also includes mandatory physical exercise of the body and mind nourishment such as reading books and listening to music OUTSIDE OF YOUR CAR!
  • Time for your relationships:  from the family and friend side, this is ensures that you're not a negative topic that others roll their eyes at or hide your posts in facebook.  From the work perspective, your interpersonal relationships need to be nurtured to cultivate new ideas and conversation and not just talk about shared projects and upcoming meetings.  If you're going to play golf for example, play golf; but just play golf.
  • Time for work:  this has less to do with filling in your Google calendar and more to do with following your passion.  If you spend more time worrying about gaining or retaining clients and less time about the process of why your working with or for them, then you're wasting your time.  Work should always be pleasurable, and if it isn't, then it's definitely time to find work that you can feel passionate about.
Filling in a calendar can be easy enough, but realizing the delicate art of getting things done is more challenging and more rewarding.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Don't Underestimate the Marketing Value of Volunteers

Have you ever volunteered for an event, or cause?  Did you feel underappreciated or that your effort and time were abused?  You're not alone.

While I must admit that this thought stems from experiences in my life from community and industry led volunteer efforts, I'm sure you have your own war stories.  When your volunteerism is devalued, it creates unnecessary drama and heartache for both you and the organization, business, or group you're working with.  And who needs drama in their lives . . . unless, of course, you're watching a good movie or live theatrical performance.  

For the organizations, groups, and businesses leading a cause or event, volunteers can be some of your greatest marketing assets.  By treating volunteers respectfully, everyone wins:  the leading organization, group or business, the cause or event itself, and even the volunteers.  Volunteers help the marketing effort primarily through viral marketing, spreading the word about your cause or event to people you might not otherwise reach.  But if you abuse their time you lose them and the people they know.

Here are some considerations to show appreciation for volunteers (or for volunteers to look for in a volunteer-driven cause or event):
  • Some volunteers are okay with casual or even formal word-of-mouth or paper certificate recognition (and some are fine with nothing), but most appreciate those little (or big) extra perks.  In my experiences, community organizations often put limitations on the perks or rewards because they feel they will get a better ROI; don't do this.
  • Just because a volunteer runs a business and has expertise in a specific area that they might otherwise charge for, doesn't mean that the business, group or organization asking for volunteerism should expect they'll get everything for free.  I have found this unfortunately and primarily true for industry led and business partnership volunteer efforts.
  • Organizational and (especially) business leaders sometimes automatically expect that the volunteers should be as professional as they are and should devote countless hours toward the volunteer effort; this is simply not true.  Let the volunteer arrange for their time and effort.  In my experiences, this is more often a problem for community organizations holding events requiring hours and hours and volunteer preparation time.
Asking a lot from a volunteer is also asking a lot from their own personal and business relationships.  This a consideration never to be abused.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We Are All Children on facebook

The recent social media frenzy of people taking opposing positions on gun control after the Sandy Hook massacre reminded me of something I've been thinking about for quite some time. We are all children on facebook. All of us. This is true for social media across the board, but facebook (perhaps because it has over 1 billion users as of 2012), brings out the worst in our interpersonal communication skills.

We are all having to relearn how to communicate with each other through social media.  Personal networking, on facebook in particular, is like being in an elementary school yard playground.  There are different attitudes, cliques, and social perspectives.  All of them impact our interactions online and sometimes even in person.

Facebook is like a toy.  Perhaps what you call a toy is called a tool by some. It can be a tool to learn from, but a tool becomes a toy when it becomes a distraction.  When was the last time you let a week or even a day go by without logging into, reading about, or hearing someone talking about facebook.  

Perhaps it's because we all have different reasons for using facebook.  For most of us, it is about making and maintaining personal connections with new and long forgotten relationships.  But, just like our face-to-face relationships, we have to learn (or re-learn) why we want to connect or even stay connected.  So, what are some ways we can improve our facebook interpersonal communication skills?

Be transparent
Say (comment, post, share) thoughts you would also say in person.  Since thought is nested in speech (and our written communications), there is nothing wrong with speaking (or writing) what's on your mind.  It's easy to be a social media lurker or hide behind snide comments and smiley faces. But if you are transparent, you will soon learn who your online friends really are. 

Take time to read
If you see a comment from someone that relates to an article, read the article before formulating a response.  Comments and quotes taken out of context demonstrate a desire to share but not necessarily a complete depiction of someone's thoughts or intent.

Take time to write
Don't be a victim of the texting mindset.  Facebook offers you a place to form complete thoughts that aren't limited by characters or time.  Even if you're a lousy speller, use punctuation and capitalization correctly to avoid misinterpretations.

Spam happens
No one likes spam in their inbox, so why would you want it in your facebook feed?  By writing, "Touchdown!" you're assuming one, we're watching the same football game, and, two, that we even care about football.  It's okay to say what you feel on facebook; just make sure the rest of us know what it is you're talking about.

Your wall vs your friend's wall

How would you like it if I showed up to your house for dinner, and, while you were cooking, told you how stupid it was to be cooking the way you were?  It's one thing to voice an opinion on your own wall (and expect that others will disagree), but it's quite another to berate people on their own wall. 

Don't take it personally
Unfriending on facebook is not the end of the world just as friending on facebook doesn't create (or re-create long lost) friendships. I have developed many wonderful, meaningful online relationships with people I've never met. Conversely, I've connected online with people I've met in person and ultimately unfriended them.  

You can't possibly predict how others will react to what you say on facebook. But, if you are transparent and true to yourself in your thoughts and actions, you'll soon learn who your real friends are. 

What interpersonal communication skills have you learned from facebook?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Connecting Across the Social Media Universe

A majority of the people I work with are small business owners. One of the most common concerns I hear about revolves around how to manage all of their social media marketing efforts in the most time efficient manner.  

My response typically involves explaining the difference between Social Media Marketing and Social Media networking. Both involve relationship building, and both are crucial to business success. However, Social Media Marketing is about helping the business as a whole grow, whereas Social Media networking is more about helping the individual grow.  

Focusing on Social Media networking is a great place for small business owners to start. It sets the stage for personal growth, but it can also lead to establishing the individual as a thought leader. So how does an individual make the most of Social Media networking? 

Be Accessible

Recently, I communicated with a friend of a friend through facebook messaging. She is applying for a position that requires knowledge of social media marketing, and she wanted to know if I had suggestions in how to show the employer that she possesses solid Marketing acumen. I looked for her Linkedin profile and couldn't find her. I then asked if she could forward me the link for her Linkedin profile; she never responded. Additionally, I sent a facebook connect request. She told me that she didn't like to connect with people she didn't know online.

The first step of effective Social Media networking is being accessible. Employers, customers, professional acquaintances - anyone and everyone should be able to see your personal and professional profiles across social media platforms. As a small business owner, you are your business' first and best marketing resource. Chris Brogan & Julien Smith refer to this concept in their collaborative book and now coined phrase, "Trust Agents". Other terms exist as well including "thought leader" and "expert", but what is most important is that this is how others perceive you and not how you should refer to yourself.

Participate

Years ago, when I first became actively involved in construction, I started noticing CSI and other initials behind various people's names. As it turned out, being a CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) member was held in high regard by construction industry professionals. Moreover, other certifications one could get through CSI were held in even higher regard because they demonstrated a person's knowledge of the construction industry and a thorough understanding of the construction documents.

I also started seeing that people (including an ex-employer) were paying dues to be able to use the initials but then never participating. Yeah, sure, they might show up at an event or two throughout the year, but they would never volunteer to be on committees or boards.

Social Media, like industry specific groups, isn't just about connections; it's about how you engage with other social media participants. With social media, the old adage, "if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem" holds true. If you only have social media profiles because everyone does, then you're only creating online clutter. Why would anyone want to connect with someone who only wants to friend, circle, or follow other people to build up their contact list but then not engage on any level?

There are various ways to actively participate online: posting questions and articles that you think others might glean knowledge from, joining groups and giving insightful perspectives, writing white papers / technical papers for your industry and sharing them, and blogging are all great ways to stay engaged and involved. 

Building Relationships

Whenever I connect or am asked to connect with a person on one social media platform, I always cross reference their name across other platforms. There are several reasons to cross reference, not the least of which is determining if they are spammers or a real person or business entity. I also do it to see how innovative they are. Lately, my measurement tool has been Google+, the largest, newest social media platform. If a person is on facebook but not Google+ and they claim to be a progressive thinker, I have to wonder if they're being truthful.

Not all social media platforms function the same way or serve the participants in the same ways, but all of them can be used to build meaningful relationships. Additionally, there's no reason you can't have business messages on facebook and playful banter on Linkedin. And now, with smartphones and tablets, there's definitely no reason that concise communications can't be achieved through instant messaging on social media platforms as opposed to, say, emails.

Connecting across the social media universe is a rewarding and life-enriching experience.  It has become just as important as networking face-to-face; not more important, just another great step to successful relationships. Whether you're a student looking to learn from a business professional in your field of study, a product representative looking to connect with an architect across the country, or a follower of a blog from someone on the other side of the world, online connections set new bearings for relationships.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Social Media Marketing Classes at TechLove Coming Soon!

Social Media Marketing Classes at TechLove Coming Soon!

posted by Stirling Morris
Market Integrations is partnering with TechLove to offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced Social Media Marketingclasses in Albuquerque!

Located just east of Nob Hill, TechLove is a great venue for these classes.  The facility offers the Albuquerque community a place to share their love for technology, innovations, business, music, and art.  

Find more information about TechLove visit them at www.techlove.us, and for more information about the Social Media Marketing classes dates and times, subscribe to Market Integrations Events.  

Social Media Marketing Classes at TechLove Coming Soon! - Market Integrations

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marketing Know-Meow: Love the Dog, Trust the Cat


We can learn a lot by looking at the world around us.  In architecture & engineering, there is a concept called biomimicry which examines nature's elements, systems, and processes as inspiration for creative design.  In marketing, we can develop a lot of marketing know-how by examining aspects of the natural world.  For example, we can learn a lot from our canine and feline family relationships to further understand marketing concepts.  

On the feline front, a cat will be smug and make you work hard to win its affection, and then, ultimately, do what it wants anyway.  This is comparable to what keeps us on our marketing development toes - always looking for the next innovative idea no matter how it may be received.  These popular marketing ideas may be short lived or long lasting.  But, either way, these ideas are successful until they evolve into the next great concept.  Like the Egyptian's perception of a cat, this allows us to see other worlds and other possibilities.

Conversely, you don't have to work very hard to win a dog's love and affection.  Once a relationship is established with our canine cohorts, a dog will return that love and devotion without question.  In marketing, or even business in general, this is tantamount to having positive relations with customers.  Your devotion for each other is ensured once established.  However, there is a danger that this will ultimately stymie creative thought and new marketing ventures.  We can get too comfortable with the tried and true.

So, what does this teach us?  Love the dog to create and maintain positive marketing relations, but trust the cat to bring new and improved thought.  Meow, what do you think?