Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Screenshot from Asif Premji's Tumblr. Click on the photo for the original.

Screenshot from Asif Premji’s Tumblr. Click on the photo to link back through!

This advice… It could turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done… or it could be the worst. Or, and this is far more likely, it could very well be not that big of a deal.

The number one rule of the internet is that there are no rules. Always. Never forget this. Print it out in gigantic big letters and plaster your office with it. The same applies to online social media tools. With the exception of legalities and terms of service, there are no actual rules.

What you’re better off doing is adapting and applying your style of communication to the tools. If you’re the type to dip your toe in the water and slowly ease yourself in, do that. If you like taking the risk of not knowing what you’re getting yourself into… then do that!

Where you don’t want to be is so paralyzed with fear or indecision that you make no movement at all.

But otherwise, your evolution into the online realm of connecting and communicating is only as fast or slow, easy or difficult as you make it. Take your time. Don’t let fear motivate you. That’s never a good place to be coming from. Instead, build your confidence. And enjoy the journey!

I’ve been around the interwebs a long time. And I’ve seen my fair share of behaviour. I’ve been caught up in the rantings of internet trolls, excited by extreme uses of social sites, overwhelmed by trying to keep up with as much as I can… and I’ve come out the other end with sanity restored. If you’re still trying to get there, here are some tips that might help:

1. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. This is the most important for maintaining sanity. Internet trolls just seem to like to provoke people. How do you recognize them? Easy. They complain. You try and make them happy. They complain more. The cycle continues and you end up nowhere. Break the cycle. Respond once in the same forum they have. Move on.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Make a social media editorial schedule (a tip I picked up from Matt Clark, @itstrue). Follow it as consistently as you can. If it takes you more than an hour to fill it out, you’re taking too much time. Schedule less tweets until you become more proficient. Speaking of scheduling, auto-schedule your tweets and updates (I use Hootsuite)! Just fill the in-between with real conversation.

3. Use the social media rule of thirds. Post one-third content from other people, one-third that’s on topic for you and one-third that’s personal.

4. Lists are your friends. Make topical lists on Twitter wherever you can. Check in on the important ones once a week and comment to people you’d like to connect more with. Don’t worry about everyone else.

5. Be selective about your interactions. Don’t worry about being everyone’s best friend. They don’t want or need you to be. Keep your focus on what you think is relevant and chances are you’ll attract similar minded people.. thus making you relevant either way. Nay-sayers? See point number 1.

6. Quality over quantity, my friend. Always. Don’t have time to spend a quality 10 minutes getting the most out of your time online? Don’t. I’m an advocate about doing as much as you can yourself, but if you must, hire somebody else to get you started. Social media and online marketing are supportive mediums. They’re also amplifiers. Positive word of mouth gets around online. So does the negative. Make sure you’ve got a solid foundation and processes to work from. Then dive in to telling everyone about it.

7. Take a day off, or a week. The interwebs will still be there when you get back. I promise. And it really won’t take you as long as you think to get back in the swing of things. Double promise.

8. Stay realistic about your expectations, whether of online results or of people. Be clear. Be direct. Be confident enough to ask for what you want. If we don’t see your one update about something, it’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we’re busy people too.

9. Set loose goals. Yep, loose. And change them often to suit your needs. The goal is progress, not perfection. Can’t keep up with 10 updates a day? Bring it down to 5. Not sure what your goals should be? Don’t let that stop you, if you’ve got the time, experiment. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but if people stop talking about social media catastrophes like BP (not to make light of the actual environmental catastrophe preceding it), surely they won’t remember yours.

10. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Right, I said that one already, but it’s the most important point! For real, that’ll save you hours.

You’re welcome!

Bonus: When writing blog posts, never publish your first draft without rereading several hours later, or even better, the next day. (Caveat: Unless you’re at least halfway through a bottle of wine).

Have you met a person, whether business owner or individual, that just doesn’t “get it” yet when it comes to social media? I have. In fact, I’ve met several of them. Many are on the brink, they’re trying hard to learn the ins and outs, find the value, and discover what it is they need to do to get involved. There are others who continue to turn a blind eye and think: “Hey, if I can’t see you… you can’t see me!” There’s another category of user out there though. It’s the one full of people who are on social networks, and yet don’t understand the idea of processed vs. organic growth, relationships, promotion, conversation, connection.. you get the picture.

It’s an analogy that Vince Fowler from Action Coach relayed to me during a coffee and social media chat. And it’s one that’s stuck with me as I’ve been explaining online word-of-mouth to those I meet along the way. People are smart. They can sniff out a plant faster than you can say information super-highway. And now, more than ever, it’s so blatantly obvious when it’s being done. A business attempting to sway opinions in any kind of black hat approaches might as well strap on a cone-shaped hat with D-U-N-C-E written across the top. You’re filling the pipe with processed food and expecting luscious and miraculous growth, when really, you’ve just got a lot of shit coming out the other end.

Social media’s not going anywhere. That’s a fact the rest of us accepted long ago. Those of you basking in social media success, good for you! Keep doing what you’re doing. For the rest of us, here are a few tips I think might help make the transition into this new land of real world transparency a little easier on you:

  1. Quit trying to buy our love and just be loveable. This means being the best you can be at what you do from start to finish.
  2. Take note, not offense. Learn from the feedback you receive, whether online or offline. Use both positive and negative comments to improve weak spots, or make strong spots sparkle even brighter.
  3. Take any outlying comments with a grain of salt, both positive and negative. Just because one person may think you’re the cats meow doesn’t mean the rest of us do. Certainly, be proud of pleasing a person or customer that much, but use it as an example on how to make every person purr that contentedly. Don’t stop until you’re rolling in praise. Same goes for any feedback you may not want to hear. It’s also a grain of salt. One outlying comment or two is not the end of the world. It’s when you keep on receiving it that it becomes your signal that there’s something more than just a grumple-puss behind it.
  4. Know when to cut your losses. You cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time. There are just way too many of them and only one of you. Do your best to right any wrongs. Once you feel you’ve done all you can, shrug it off and continue on. Remember that organic process? The rest will come. If you’re focusing on excellence in your industry, all you need is some time.
  5. Recognize what you have influence over, and what you don’t. The minute a person walks through the door of your business, or meets you on the street, you have influence over their experience of you. Once they’ve walked out of your life, it’s all over. Do everything you can to ensure every aspect of their interactions with you are the best you can muster given the current situation. The rest isn’t up to you.

Learning to roll with the punches and incorporate feedback, both positive and negative, is the most important first step in this space. You may have heard the term “listening” before. It means “to pay attention.” So sit up straight, turn and face the people who are trying to tell you something. And just listen. From there, your next step should become a little more clear.

As we each reflect upon our lives, whether it be relationships, business, finances, exercise routines, eating habits and so on, we seem to always ask ourselves one question:

What could I have done better?

It’s common to want to improve areas where we noticed weak spots to strengthen our overall game, but what if we flipped this around and asked ourselves:

What did I do right?

So many people are still trying to figure out this ‘social media thing’.  It’s new, it’s overwhelming, and the rate at which things change is scary.  Examples of what not to do are abundant, but how do you know what you can do right?

  1. Take a look at your existing business and identify your strengths, talents, and areas that are going well.
  2. Spend some time analyzing these areas and why they are your strengths, talents, and areas that are going well.
  3. Take what you’ve observed and apply them when you begin to engage in social media.
  4. Tweak and adapt as necessary to meet your objectives.

Chances are if you’ve had success offline, you’ll have success online. There are always the basic dos and donts, but they’re nothing more than acting in a publicly socially acceptable manner.  The rest is up to you.  So take a moment to look at all the things you do right and then rinse and repeat with social media.

Twitter passed the 2 billion tweet mark in May.  That’s huge.  Like the rest of the web, it’s growing exponentially, which means it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to hear what you have to say. The way I see it, you can do one of two things to be heard:

  • Speak louder; or
  • Get closer to your audience.

Sometimes speaking louder works.  It catches people’s attention momentarily because you cut through the background noise.  But stay at that volume long enough and people will tune you out as quickly as they tuned you in.

Other times, getting closer to your audience allows your message to spread farther and faster with less direct effort from you. But getting closer requires that you cultivate a longer term relationship with your audience. There’s no way they’re letting you get that close that easily.

For those of us with busy schedules, it’s easy to default to speaking louder. I’m willing to bet it’s what most busy people do. Except here’s the kicker:  most of us are busy too.  And we’re all adding to the collective noise level. 

The takeaway: Take a look at your usual behaviour. Are you the type to raise your voice to be heard?  Or can you whisper to those closest to you and have your message spread through the room? There’s no right answer here, but think about which approach you take and why. Does it work for you? When could a different approach work better?