Posts tagged Business

Social Media Interview with Nevada Business Journal

I was recently interviewed by Doresa Banning for the Nevada Business Journal about Social Media and business. It was an enjoyable experience. Some of it was just thoughts on some of the major players: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. We talked a little about best practices, including social media policies for HR. And even a little about the future of social media.

Read the full article. 

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Les Schwab Does Good Business

I know that we all have different experiences with companies – sometimes good, sometimes bad. In fact, good brands want to make that experience as consistent as possible from person to person. On this post, I’d like to compliment Les Schwab for the experiences I’ve had with their company. For about five years now, I’ve been visiting Les Schwab for all of my tire needs (although, I recently discovered they do much more than tires well). They’ve earned my trust – and I believe that is paramount in any successful relationship (be it personal life or professional life). Les Schwab is one of the few companies I’ve encountered that I trust to not rip me off. I have a long history of sales experience – I understand how it works, how up-selling works and pushing goals to increase the average transaction price per customer. Businesses can get carried away with this sales mentality, and forget to value the relationship with the customer. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Les Schwab.

I can’t tell you how many times my wife or I have taken our cars to Les Schwab only to have them find ways to save us money, tell us that something would be unnecessary, or simply give us a service for free, thank us, and send us on our way. Are you kidding me? This from someone in the automotive industry – an industry notorious for ripping you off (come in to get a filter changed, and end up replacing your transmission). Now, Les Schwab could easily tell me I need to replace all my tires with the top-of-the-line performance tires. But, instead, they’ll let me know I only need to replace two tires, and then suggest a model that will perfect for my car and find a way to give me a 10% discount on them. Thanks. Just last week, I brought my car in because my brakes had been squealing. I asked them to inspect the brakes and replace them. They inspected the brakes, cleaned them up a little bit and then informed me that they looked great and I was good to go – free of charge. Many other automotive companies would have replaced my brakes anyway, even if they were perfectly fine – and they would at least charge me for the brake inspection.

So, kudos to you, Les Schwab. You value my trust, and you have earned it – and along with it, my continued business. You need to be recognized for that.

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How Good Are You at Spotting Fakes?

 

smile

photo by strollerdos (via Flickr)

I took a very interesting test recently in which I was shown video of 20 people smiling, and was asked to decipher if I was looking at a genuine smile or a fake smile. I got 17 out of 20 correct. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I think that we are all programmed with pretty good bullshit detectors. We can usually tell if somebody is lying to us, giving us a fake smile, or isn’t genuinely interested in us. This can be a client, a new acquaintance, a cashier, a potential love interest or a customer service agent. And we don’t need to see their faces to tell if someone truly cares or if they’re just going through the motions. It’s generally very difficult to glean tone via text alone, but it is easy to tell if a person, company or organization is “phoning it in” even in e-mail or social networks. Yes, it will take you longer to respond to people, and to post new information, but take that time to make it genuine. It may seem like you’re accomplishing a lot when you re-post the exact same information across a dozen different networks or to your entire e-mail database. But, I assure you, you are accomplishing less. We can tell you don’t care about us. We can tell you’re not treating us special. We can tell you’re giving us a fake smile. Take the time to be real and make us feel special.

By the way – TAKE THE TEST

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Twitter for Business

I have read a TON of articles about using Twitter for business. Most of them pretty good. I think it is a brilliant tool for the businesses that are willing to participate. That keyword needs to be repeated – PARTICIPATE. Use Twitter like it isn’t just another outlet for your promotional message. Are you the kind of tool who goes to a dinner party and tries to sell something to everybody you meet? That’s how some businesses use Twitter. BUT – the businesses that treat this like an opportunity to have a conversation and a relationship that is valuable to its followers, they WIN.

Below are the slides from an Ogilvy Twitter for Business presentation. Not brand new, but a good collection of tips for businesses that want to use Twitter to engage their end users and to listen to unfiltered conversations about their brands. 

Ogilvy Twitter for Business

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Gary F’in Vaynerchuk Talks About the Future of Social Media

If you have never heard of Gary Vaynerchuk and you have anything to do with new or social media – get familiar with his work… fast. Also, if you are a fan of wine, the New York Jets, or foul language, you will REALLY like Gary. He has some kick-ass energy and I love the guy (but hey, I’m married, and I’m a Cowboys fan, so I don’t think it would work between the two of us. But I digress…)

REPOST from Mashable.com

The wine and web marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk was canvassing on the streets of New York on Wednesday night: bringing the “Yes We Can” mantra to the web community.

The meetup, co-organized with Mashable, began as a cozy indoor networking affair. But with high volume levels inside, the group gleefully marched out to the street for an upbeat pep talk; a location much more suited to the themes of improvisation and resourcefulness.

Video: Staying Upbeat in a Down Market

The full video of the “sidewalk keynote” is posted below, courtesy of CenterNetworks. (Warning: contains strong language throughout.) Or skip to the “7 Points” below for our summary.

Gary’s 7 Points on a Social Media Upturn

1. “Hustle” – improvise, be resourceful, do whatever it takes to care for your community. Tough times require creative solutions.

2. “Next 24 months are the biggest opportunity for social media” – social media is mature. “It’s a baby. But it’s mature. It’s a baby with a mustache.”

3. “Large companies will cut social media because they don’t understand it” – the longer the big players stay away from new web technologies, the greater the opportunity for new entrants.

4. “The new barrier to building a brand is your time, not your pocketbook” – nobody can stop you from starting a global media brand from your house; all you need is time.

5. “Telling main street about Twitter is a waste of time” – keep it quiet; knowledge of new web technologies is your competitive advantage.

6. “Take Your Money” – go to Google, type in the keywords in your space. Look at the ads next to the results: these are people who pay to market in your niche. Call them. Convince them to spend those dollars on you instead.

7. “Anything that gets eyeballs is monetizable” – 2500 unique visitors a day should be enough to live on.


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People Must Really Want LinkedIn to Work

LinkedIn

I guess people really want LinkedIn to not be another dead-end business network. I have a LinkedIn profile. Many people do. But, I don’t use it that much – do you? I have heard LinkedIn referred to as an “online Rolodex” more than a social network. While the debate about people using it remains, it has been growing rapidly – in fact, according to Nielsen Online, LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social networks between 2007 and 2008, growing 187% (yes, that’s more than Facebook, which grew 77% from 07 to 08). I think last time I checked, LinkedIn was approaching 10 million unique visitors. Hard facts aside – anecdotally, I rarely find somebody who USES LinkedIn after they sign up and make some connections. It seems the only time people go back to LinkedIn is to accept a connection. 

So, is LinkedIn really going to take? Are people going to use it as a legitimate business and networking tool? In the past few days, I’ve gotten updates that LinkedIn is going app crazy. From ways to create projects and collaborate, share information or customize your profile. Here’s a short list (full disclosure – most of this section is LinkedIn’s wording). Maybe this will help?

Work collaboratively with your network:

Box on LinkedIn: Share files and collaborate with your network.

Huddle on LinkedIn: Private workspaces to collaborate with your network on projects.
Share information and keep up to date with your network.

Amazon on LinkedIn: Discover what your network is reading.

TripIt on LinkedIn: See where your network is traveling.

SixApart on LinkedIn: Stay up to date with your network’s latest blog posts.

Present yourself and your work in new ways:

Google Docs on LinkedIn: Embed a presentation on your profile.

SlideShare on LinkedIn: Share, view and comment on presentations from your network.

WordPress on LinkedIn: Promote your blog and latest posts.

Gain key insights that will make you more effective:

Company Buzz by LinkedIn: See what people are saying about your company.

How to Use LinkedIn

There’s also a blog dedicated to using LinkedIn (tough to say how deep the connection between the blogger and LinkedIn is). But, there are some decent tips there: The LinkedIn Personal Trainer – ways to use LinkedIn. There is actually a pretty interesting article about how people in the financial industry are using LinkedIn a LOT in the past several weeks.

The Future of LinkedIn?

What’s your take? How do you use LinkedIn? DO you use LinkedIn?

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