Success Tip: See yourself as others do

February 8, 2011

The key to success is not how you see yourself.  It is how others see you, speak of you and think of you. 

Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to work with some fabulous companies and look at what their social media map had to say about them through their own words and the eyes and words of others. 

As part of our annual CorePurpose brand assessment, I pulled the text of the CorePurpose Blog, CorePurpose website, the @Replies from all five of our primary Twitter Ids along with other online sites and mentions and ran them through a program to get the top words in a cloud.

 jkw cloud

What you see is what we got.  If you were to do the same exercise for your company, what words would you find?

Your brand is how OTHERS see you.

Social Media and the wider web is a powerful tool.  Today more that ever, as entrepreneurs, marketers, and individuals, we have the opportunity to help  shape our brands.  What is out there is at the fingertips of every customer, investor, employee and employer. 

Our words and actions shape how others see us. 

What we say, what we write and what we do form a body of evidence that will follow us for a very long time.  What we don’t say and don’t do can have an equal impact.

If you want to succeed in today’s world, here are some things that anyone can do to build an online body of evidence about who they are and what they offer to others:

LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to tell your professional story.  Make sure it is complete and accurate.  Your LinkedIn connections are your professional network. Guard them well.  Use judgment in making and  accepting connections and keep it professional.  You never know when someone might want to check you out.

Facebook

On the personal side, how you interact with your friends says a lot about who you are.  Are you sharing and caring?  Funny or smart?  Facebook is a great place to let your hair down and interact – but remember to use a bit of tact. Professional contacts just might stop by to see the “real” you. DON’T embarrass  yourself by sharing things you might wish you had not later… and that goes for your photos too!

For your business, project, or group, set up a Facebook page. It’s a great way to share news, ask for feedback and interact with people who have something to share about what matters most to your business or organization.

Twitter

What are you doing, reading or thinking about?  Twitter is a great way to share it and find out what is interesting to others too.  With a wide range of tools and apps to help you find your way around, Twitter let’s you connect to a larger world than the one you may have built face to face.  If you are interesting and willing to reach out and show interest in others, interesting people WILL find you and you can find them too.  Twitter is the place to be inclusive.  Cast a wide net and you just might connect with people that you would never otherwise get a chance to meet and share ideas with.

Blogs

Have something to say or share?  Blog it.  Be creative and consistent.  You might be surprised as to who might be interested and willing to join the conversation.  Let people know when you share something on your blog with a Twitter update or Facebook post.  There are even tools that will do this for you automatically. You have gifts and knowledge to share. Don’t be stingy.  Put it out there.

Websites

Over 25 years ago, a friend shared with me that the day will come when if you do not have a website, no one will believe your company is “real”. That day has definitely arrived and with so many easy and inexpensive  ways to build one, there is no excuse not to.  Whether your website is a simple 5 page brochure on your products and services or something much more sophisticated, your website tells people who you are and what you have to offer.  Don’t make them  guess.  They probably won’t bother.

The power of any tool lies in the hand of the user.

What you see above is a selection of the most common tools you can use to  build your personal or business brand in today’s socially connected world.  There are many, many more. But a tool is only a tool.  It becomes useful in the hands of the craftsman. (Yes, that’s you.) We use tools to build things up and tear things down.  How you use your tools will say a lot about how others see you.  Be remarkable and people will build your brand for you.  Be invisible and your brand will be too.

Don’t assume anything.  Check! Audit your social media presence.  Track what people are saying and be sure to respond with a “thank you” when it’s positive and a solution to the problem when it’s not.  When you do, you just might find that who you or your company have to offer is written in the  clouds.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   Beginning on 2009, she decided to learn more about the evolving world of social media.  Today she is connected to a community of over 150,000 and the lessons she has learned have been profiled in The Social Media Bible and The ROI of Social Media.  You can find more posts about what she has learned along the way by clicking here. To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.

CorePurpose  is a registered trademark of CorePurpose, Inc.  CoreAlliance is a  service mark of CorePurpose Inc.  All rights reserved

Free – Isn’t

January 12, 2010

There is a lot of talk about all of the things that you can get for FREE these days.  Not surprising in an era where budgets are stretched and we are all looking to get more for less.

Last week, I had the pleasure of listening to Lon Safko, co-author of the Social Media Bible speak to a group of counselors from SCORE and the SBDC as a prelude to Greater Phoenix SCORE’s Social Media Event this January 14th and 15th.

During his presentation, Lon kept emphasizing the reasons, excellent ones BTW, that businesses need to pay attention to and utilize social media.  And repeatedly he punctuated his message with a continuing theme…Oh Yes!  It’s FREE!

But is it?

While access to these new social media platforms is free or in the case of some emerging premium products relatively inexpensive, let’s look at some of the costs.

FUNDING and Economic costs

Based on reports from Tech Crunch, the four most prominent platforms in their categories (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google) raised over $1 Billion in equity funding to get to where they are today.

  • Twitter is free – $160M in funding to date according to this time line from TechCrunch
  • Facebook is free – $716M in in funding to date according to this time line from TechCrunch.  With over 350 MILLION active users worldwide (if you are a demographer an interesting side note is that if Facebook users were a nation, they would now have exceeded the population of the United States of America making the Facebook Nation the 3rd largest country in the world!) 
  • LinkedIn is free (although new premium features carry a price)  – $103M in funding to date according to this time line from Tech Crunch. With more than 45 million users representing 150 industries around the world, LinkedIn is a fast-growing professional networking site that allows members to create business contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients.
  • Google Search and many applications are free.  The search engine activity has been estimated at over 2 Billion searches each day with a related estimate of 300 Million unique users daily.  Google received $25.1M in funding according to this time line from TechCrunch

And that does not take into account that these are simply mediums across which information is shared.  The platforms have no value without content creation – think people sharing information –  and that takes time.  If we estimate that a combined 1 Billion visitors spent just 1 hour on the platforms entering/sharing their content each year at MINIMUM wage of $7.25/hour – content creation across the platforms would cost $7.25 Billion dollars – and that is for only 1 hour per year at minimum wage!  Now think about what your time is worth?  How many hours have you actually spent?

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

We’ve all heard it.  Heaven knows who said first.  “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”  I’ll attribute this one to my Grandma, she may not have been the first to say it – but she was the first to say it to me.   Everything has a cost, whether in time, money, or the opportunity cost (what you could have gotten if you used your time and money in a different way.)   Until you truly understand costs, you can never calculate value since cost is a key component of the value equation.

Value = Benefit – Cost

The concept of a wanting a free lunch is pervasive today across our entrepreneurial and business communities – not to mention our society as a whole.  Whether the benefit is accurate information provided by media outlets, advice from thought leaders, time with business advisors, or creative content like books, films and movies – there is a growing perception that in the new information age, knowledge and content is free.  But if we continue along this line of thinking, we may begin to find it is just the opposite.

No need to buy the cow if you already have the milk.

This was another favorite “Grandma Quote.”  For those of you who are smirking, no this post is not going down THAT avenue.  This maxim took on an entirely new meaning when I moved from a salaried position in corporate America to the role of an entrepreneur whose livelihood and business was based on providing valuable information for a fee.

In the early years of my business, I was actively networking and sharing ideas.  Soon my calendar was filled with invitations for FREE coffee, FREE Lunches, FREE dinners where a new business friend wanted to ‘pick my brain’ or ‘share’ an idea.  But more often than not, all that came out of the exchange was a few more inches around my waistline.  Over those meet ups, I would answer their questions, offer contacts, help create solutions.  And more often that not, my potential new business evaporated.  They had gotten what they needed from me over lunch while all I got was a hamburger and a diet coke!

Then Grandpa, an attorney, came to my rescue with some simple advice.  “The first exploratory hour is FREE, after that you go on the clock. Your time and knowledge IS your business.  If you do not value it, no one else will either.”

I’ve gotten better over the years.  (Although, I have to admit that I still give away “gallons of milk” because I often share a lot of ideas in that first hour and enjoy connecting with new people or volunteering within organizations that help entrepreneurs.) But now, when someone asks to come back to the table for second, third or fourth helpings, I am a bit wiser about knowing when to graciously decline those invitations to just get together and ‘chat’ over lunch.

For as Grandpa helped me understand… if you can’t find a way to run a profitable business, the business won’t be around to help others profit.

Google has figured this out and is making money.  Eventually, the other social media giants will too.  Old media will need to learn to monetize their ventures in new ways and the new cadre of consultants emerging from the rolls of corporate layoffs will learn the same lessons I have.  There is no free lunch – especially when you are the one serving up all the free information.

Well enough of all this for now. I need to get to work.  Understanding how to use Google Apps for a new project is the next item on my To Do List today.  To quote my friend Lon… “and did I mention that – it’s free?”  Well except that it will probably take all my ‘free’ time for the rest of the week to figure it all out.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


A Busy Person’s Toolkit for Social Media

April 14, 2009

social media bible

Are all the choices and options for social media making you dizzy? As a business person are you wondering if social media is a useful tool or a productivity disaster as employees or you personally ‘waste’ time on line? As a job seeker, are you looking at social media as an answer to all of you problems.  As a parent are you concerned about who your kids are connecting with and why?

With all of the choices, opinions, strategies, and continuous change – who wouldn’t be dizzy!

OK, here comes the BIG disclaimer.  I am NOT a social media expert.  I do not claim to be, do not want to be, and probably never will be.  What I am is a business owner and executive who never has enough time.  So I use technology for what is is, a tool.

Every tool must have a purpose, and in the case of social media, its purpose is to start and continue conversations.  Conversations are what I am good at. Conversations identify issues, uncover strategies for change, bring us up to date information, and keep us connected. 

So lucky for me, I have friends and associates who ARE experts.  I started a conversation with them and they helped me put together a toolkit that accomplishes what I need to do and then looked over my shoulder to make sure I did not mess it up.

In my case, my tool kit looks like this:

Purpose Tool/Profile
Connect with Business Contacts and Showcase Qualifications Linked In
Online Resume so Search Firms and Companies can Hire Me Linked In  and Bright Fuse
Sharing information and making updates to multiple profiles by cross linking accounts*.  One for business info, one for friends.  Note – never sell to friends if you want to keep them connected. Personal Twitter
Company Twitter
Online address book and place to share and receive updates from business associates on business interests and activity Plaxo
Stay connected with Friends – share info, ideas, updates, and fun stuff.  Facebook
Share more detailed thoughts and ideas, build your brand, have longer conversations, publish articles on line, comment on other peoples ‘conversations’. Blog TypePad
Blog WordPress
Share Videos of yourself or others making a difference You Tube
*  Time Saving Tip – Set up a Business Twitter account and a Personal Twitter Account.  Connect your Linked In, Plaxo, Facebook, etc. to the appropriate RSS feed.  Then from HootSuite you can access both accounts – post updates – scan for news, replies, etc. and do it all quickly from one dashboard. You can even schedule your Tweets so it looks like you are always engaged even when your busy elsewhere. 🙂 HootSuite.com
*  Time Saving Tip – News Sites Consolidate information and so do some powerful Tweeters, newspapers, and magazines.  AllTop let’s you pick the blog sites and publishers that you want to watch and puts them all on one page.  Examples of Major Tweeters also provided. AllTop and tweeters: @GuyKawasaki, @Time, @WSJ, @NYTimes, @PhxPublisher, @AZBizReporter

So now that you have had a peek inside my Social Media Tool Kit, think about what you want to have in yours.  Here are some great resources to help you decide what tools are right for you…

Want a manual?  The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko and David K. Brake.  (John Wiley and Sons) releases May 4, 2009 and is the most complete guide on the subject ever published.  It’s a complete reference with 840 pages!   Don’t worry, it’s well indexed so you can find what you need.  I just ordered my copy on line for early delivery on Amazon.com (<$20) and saved myself a trip to the book store…

Want a Symposium:  Check out the  CABIT Symposium (coming up April 23 and April 24th at ASU for the all the latest in Collaboration from Social Media to Cloud Computing.

Want a Class?  Jennifer Maggiore owns a firm specializing in development and management of Social Media campaigns.  Her experience includes both the private and non-profit sectors for small businesses and national organizations.  Jenn is offering hands-on classes to help you get started in the ASBA Computer Lab this month.

Want a Club?  Check out the Social Media Club Phoenix  founded by local social media icon Francine Hardaway of Stealthmode Partners  

Want a tutor? Local Experts like Steven Groves at Steven Groves.com and Dave Barnhart of Business Blogging Pros might be just what you need.

Want a complete end to end corporate social media solution?  No Worries.  Reach out to Lisa Ellis at Metro Studios or Ben Smith at The Lavidge Company and they’ll fix you right up.

Ok – one last gasp on the subject.  How long does all this stuff take?  Well,  learning the ropes and the initial set up takes some doing, but like a tool chest you can add pieces one at a time.  Once you have your tool kit, just slot some social media time in your schedule.  An hour in the morning (to read what’s happening in world and post a few comments) and a half hour at night to check back in does the trick for me.  I wish I could get through my emails half as fast.  🙂

Stay Tuned…

– Joan Koerber-Walker