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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Are you an Original?

November 22, 2009

Do you love sharing original ideas with others?  Have you found that when you do conversations start and collaborations form? 

For over 15 years, one of my favorite friends to talk with and work with is Clay Stubblefield of AZWebcasting

Clay is the ultimate professional and so creative.  One of his creations is MeetTheTweets, showcase of videos introducing us to people we hear from on Twitter. 

One of my creations is a little project called #BeOriginal – a place on Twitter where friends share their Original Ideas. 

We thought it would be fun to combine them, creating #BeOriginal Week on Meet The Tweets. So we put instructions out on the #BeOriginal Blog and let some of our #BeOriginal Contributors know where to find them.

And, since I am ‘the original #BeOriginal’, I created a little video message to kick things off.

Here it is.  Let me know YOUR thoughts. And don’t forget to be on the look out for new great videos from other Originals.  Just follow @MeetTheTweets on Twitter so you do not miss any.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Sorry, I’m not a LION.

November 16, 2009

No, I’m not talking about this majestic lady – Queen of the Jungle, I’m talking about LI-ONs, Linked In Open Networkers.  People who pledge to connect to everyone on Linked In who sends them an invitation.

You can normally tell a LION by a profile that reads LION or by their membership in a LION group.  Some people make the mistake of assuming that someone that has 500+ connections is by default a LION, and that can be a costly mistake.  It can result in a DNK or I Do Not Know this person response.  Get too many of these and your Linked In privileges can be restricted.

The Laws of the Social Jungle are Relationship Based

Successful networking, whether it is face to face, or profile to profile in cyberspace is about creating relationships.  Once the relationship is formed, then you can move on to real conversations whether it is in the business world or the personal realm.  When forming relationships, it is important to understand how the other person chooses to communicate and share information.  It also helps to understand the boundaries or personal space preferences of the other person and adapt your behavior to theirs.

Listed below are my personal boundaries.  That does not mean they will be the same for you, but they might give you some ideas when you form your own.

Linked In

  • Inclusive – CorePurpose, my company, has a linked in page to share information.   I also share ideas occasionally on a number of Linked In groups including Lead Change, MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix, Continuous Innovation, Corporate Planning & Global Industry Segmentation, Forbes Woman, and Marketing Partners
  • Exclusive – I limit my Linked In connections to people I actually know and have done business with.  Having been on Linked In from almost the very beginning, I still have quite a few, but every single one is someone I know and can personally recommend to others.  This enables the true power of Linked In – quality introductions.


  • Inclusive – CorePurpose, my company, has a Facebook page.  On it you can find blog posts, articles, and links that I choose to share.  Facebook pages are highly inclusive.  Like web pages or blogs, anyone can choose to see them or follow them.
  • Exclusive – My personal profile by definition is more exclusive.  If Facebook is for friends, then my personal choice is to keep it to friends and not connect to every person who finds my profile and wants to connect.  I want to know what my friends are doing – and to do that, I intentionally keep the group smaller so I can actually find them in the crowd.


  • Inclusive – On Twitter, I am at my most inclusive.  I look for like minded people and I auto follow back the people who follow me. But more importantly, when people engage and talk to me with @mentions or non- automated DM’s, I engage with them and join the conversation. 
  • Exclusive – My exclusivity comes into play when people wear out their welcome.  Spammers, scantily clad avatars, porn, and hateful people are quickly unfollowed or even blocked.  I also go in once each month and clean up my accounts,  You can see how I do it here,

It was an article on,  Defriending Can Bruise Your ‘Digital Ego’, that got me thinking about all this.  You see, I probably was “this one woman”.  The message is one that I use frequently when contacted by people on Linked In that I do not know.  It is not meant to be unkind, or rude,  Just realistic.  If I do not know you, I can not recommend you, and that is how I use that particular tool.  ‘I only connect with people I know, and hopefully our paths will cross one day.’  I am not that hard to connect with and engage in other areas.  Really – just Google me.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

What would you do if your friends all disappeared?

September 29, 2009

Poof!  Where did everybody go?Have you ever had a dream where you were surrounded by people and then in an instant you were all alone? As if a wizard waved a magic wand and all of your friends disappeared? 

Hopefully in the waking world, there are no powerful wizards to wave a magic wand and make your true friends evaporate, but in today’s wonderful world of technology, it can seem like everything is fine and then… Poof – your Twitter account is gone, or you have lost your email and phone contact list, or worse you have lost EVERYTHING on your computer! 

Suddenly you are looking around saying “Hey – Where did everybody go?!”

It would be great if this too only happened in fairy tales; but, I have heard too many real life stories from friends who have it happen to them.

Perhaps the information was on a work computer and they lost their job.  Or, their Twitter account got taken away for a reason only Twitter knows – and good luck getting someone to tell you why any time soon.  And even if they do the damage is already done.  Oh no,  those little green meanies attacked – a computer virus infects your computer and your phone all at the same time and a lifetime worth of contacts disappear in a puff of smoke.  Now this is the stuff that any business person’s nightmares are made of.

It can happen to anybody and happen it does – frequently.  Every one of these scenarios happened to friends of mine in the last few weeks.  So it helps to add a little redundancy to your life.  Here are a few tips…

For Twitter

1.  If you are on Twitter and your Twitter ID is linked to your job, start a personal Twitter account that is not work related and ask you real friends on Twitter to follow you there too.  That way, if you change jobs, you have not lost all your friends across the twitterverse,  You know, the ones you spent all that time developing relationships with.

2.  Use a free service like TweetTake to down load a CSV file in Excel once each month.  I do this regularly after my monthly clean up process.  Another free service, Tweet Back will soon have this process automated so you can do  it every day.  That way if you do have a problem you have list to try and restore your friends list from.

For your personal and business contacts

1.  Connect with friends on multiple platforms like Facebook, Plaxo and LinkedIn.  That way if your personal computer systems fail or your job goes away, you have not lost all your key contacts. An added plus to these systems is that as your friends move around – you get the updated information too.

2.  GMAIL is a great free back up plan, even if you do not use it as your main email address or client.  Simply export your address book from MS Outlook or other program to a CSV file and upload it to GMAIL.  Now you have a free back up on the Google network of servers.

Like it or not – your life is linked to your computer

1.  Have multiple computer back ups!  Back up your computer regularly and have more than one back up file so that if one gets corrupted the other one works.  (This is also critically important if you also keep key personal or financial information on your home or laptop computer not to mention all your pictures and other priceless digital keepsakes.)

2.  Remote Back Ups are like Fire and Casualty Insurance – just common sense.  For your home or for your office and especially if your home IS your office, having everything in one location can be a problem.  Fires, floods and break ins can and do happen.  A remote back up system can be a life saver.  There are a number of systems out there, one that is very reasonably priced (<$5/month) is Mozy by Decho, for larger systems, like an office, I have had also had great results with Data Preserve.  There are lots of services out there, but which ever one you ultimately choose, having a remote backup is not something to WISH you had the day AFTER you have a problem.

Yes, your digital life can change like that – Poof!  It never hurts to be prepared with a little magic of your own.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

One Twitter User’s Guide to House Cleaning

September 17, 2009

Is your Twitter account starting to look like the house of that little old man down the road who never weeds his yard and never throws anything out?

Is it full of clutter, empty boxes, things that are broken, or that you never use.

Do you still have people on your Christmas Card List that  sent you a card in 1995 and you have not heard from since?

Perhaps when you read this, you may think I have  taken a page from Oscar the Grouch, but there are times when you need to bite the bullet and Clean Your House.

For me, the whole point of Twitter is to build a community of people to exchange ideas with, keep in touch with, and engage in conversation.  If you follow one or more of my profiles on Twitter or follow my blogs you know that I believe that solid relationships – business or otherwise start with conversations.

If you are using Twitter for business, another important factor comes into play.  Understanding who you are talking to and trying to determine if they are even listening.

It’s like the newspaper.  They may have a million subscribers – but how many actually read it cover to cover every day.  For all you know your ad or letter to the editor is the happy pad for a new puppy, the bottom of the bird cage, or in a soggy pile at the bottom of the driveway.  If you do not take the time to understand who is actually reading the papers, your time and the money you money spent in putting your message there ends up where the paper eventually does – in the trash.

So a few months after starting to use Twitter, it was time to clean house. I set up a system for a clean up day once per month.  Here is what I do.

1.  Run my Twitter account through TwitChuck.  This free service will scan your follower base for known spammers and Chuck Them Out.  You can even WHACK them with a block if you are feeling particularly grouchy. (Pay attention when you do this – TwitChuck uses an algorithm and it is not perfect.  Look at the Avatars to see if you recognize real friends that may have gotten scooped up with the trash.)

2.  Run my Twitter account through Twitter Karma (another free service) and look at it with 2 different sorts:

First I sort by Only Following to see the people who are not interested in what I have to say.  These are people who I may have followed after a keyword search or who followed me and unfollowed later.  For what ever reason – my message is following on deaf ears.

Then I CHECK ALL using a convenient button, and then un check sources I want to follow anyway like news services or information sources that often do not follow back. Then another magic button – to unfollow – and they are gone.

I then wait a few minutes for the program to do its work and then do a sort again, this time looking at the last time tweeted.  Sorting this way I can see the people who are not there anymore.  Same process – check the boxes of anyone who has not been there for over 30 days and unfollow them.

After all – the lights may be on – but nobody’s home to visit with.

This is also a good time to do a quick scan of Avatars for folks with no clothes on, the same pic on multiple accounts – a BOT characteristic, or other disreputable folks you may not want to be associated with,

A FEW CAVEATS: 1) Twitter Karma works best with FireFox.  2)I have been told not to use this after you get to 8,000 friends as it can hang up. 3) When looking at last time Tweeted – pay attention to tweets that come up as a NEVER tweeted. Some of these are spammers – but others are people who protect your tweets.  Be careful not to WHACK your Great Aunt Sally.   She may cut you out of The Will.

Your first time can be painful

The first time you do a major cleaning, it can be a bit painful.  You just might find that you have quite a bit of clutter to throw away.  When you do, be prepared.   YOUR FOLLOWER COUNT WILL GO DOWN.  Many accounts will automatically unfollow you when you unfollow them.  So if this is important to you, please don’t call me screaming.

It also takes a little time at first; but after the first time, it goes much faster.  It only takes me about an hour total  to clean up all five of my accounts.

Plus – with a little daily dusting – BLOCKING spammers that send me DMs or @ replies, the process gets that much faster each month.

So what’s the ROI on cleaning house?

Remember my goal is sharing quality conversations with people.  Here are the benefits I have found…

  1. My twitter spam – that daily annoyance – has gone way down in my stream.
  2. When I talk to my publisher or marketing team, I can share with them our count of “ACTIVE Followers”.  They may not be listening all the time, but at least we know they are picking up the paper and MIGHT actually read   the message.
  3. My brand is less likely to be tarnished by porn or other garbage when others look at who I am following or who follows me – and PEOPLE do!

So if your goal is to engage in conversations that have value on Twitter – and to spend your time (which is money – don’t ever forget it) sharing your message with people who might actually listen and respond back, then it might be time to Clean Your House.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

The Power of Building a Community

September 14, 2009

There are few things as powerful in this world as when people come together as a community to make something happen.People's mandala - 12 hands

In it’s simplest form, a community is defined as a unified body of individuals.  In it’s most powerful, it is a force that can accomplish  almost any goal.

In the world of business, our professional communities are where we go to exchange ideas, to study, to learn, and  to bond together to address major issues.

Our customer communities can give us insight into how our products work,or how they should.  If we take the time to listen, user communities can light the way along the path to innovation.

Without community there can be no innovation.  It is our community that accepts our invention, validates it, accepts it and adopts it.  Then and only then is innovation truly real.

But the power of community is not limited to business – it is around us in every corner of our lives.  Community can be family. For many it is the congregation of those who share beliefs and faith in something greater than themselves.

And today, in our evolving technology world, we are seeing new communities emerge across social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, connecting people – many who have never met or may never meet in real life -but yet hold common interests, form bonds, and support each other in a myriad of ways.

Sometimes community relationships last a life time, and in others they form and disband quickly after the need or project has has passed.  But while the community exists, it can be a powerful force and a source of inspiration.

For me, great examples of the power of what communities can do are all around.  Here are just a few:

The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation

OTEF started when Francine Hardaway set out on a mission to help at risk populations find self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.  She reached out to her community of friends and to the greater community of entrepreneurs for help.  Projects like this need funding – so in the true spirit of entrepreneurs – they created a product and took it to the marketplace.  In this case that product was the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences.  Each year entrepreneurs gather to hear ideas from others on what it takes to build a community, to launch businesses, and to realize goals.  ALL of the speakers donate  their time and talents, and ALL of the conference proceeds go to support OTEF’s mission.  Now going into it’s fourth year, entrepreneurial leaders like Michael Gerber, Pat Sullivan, Gary Vaynerchuck, Robert Scoble, and Matt Mullenwig have shared the stage with over 100 local CEOS, all sharing ideas while supporting OTEF in making a difference.


Some late night musings, evolved into a blog post on how to be original.  With an  idea that it would be fun to share original ideas with friends in a place where we could all find them,  I blogged it as Why #BeOriginal to let my friends know.  Over time a community formed across the broader Twitter community made up of people who love to share their own ideas with others.  Just look at all the insights that have been shared to date and with more and more coming every day.  Another friend helped set up a TWUB so we could make the sharing even easier.

Communities lend a hand

Not long ago, a friend  experienced one of the deepest of tragedies – the loss of his son at a time when on top of the emotional burden, the financial one was more that he could handle.   Members of his community came together – not just to offer friendship –  but to offer dollars to help with the funeral expenses.  The call went out across Twitter and Facebook, and the community responded.

But it is not just in times of sorrow.  Communities can gather to celebrate wonderful events, the birth of a child, an anniversary, or a wedding.

It was a converging of communities that inspired this blog post.

I read a story, written by a young Mom, that I had come to know through our exchanges on BloggersBase.  Her name is Kathryn and she writes as Kaytii or RMS Snowdrop.  On   9/11 she shared a story – Open Your Hearts to a Stranger. In it she told the story of a young couple who were planning to get married.    They had two other special people in their lives – their best man and maid of honor.  The couple wanted to share their joy and special day with these two important people.

Then came the news that the best man would be deploying to Afghanistan.  To have him at the wedding, they would have to move up the date by almost a year!  Financially, they were not ready.  Good friends decided to help.  Through online communities, people have come together to offer little things, small donations of money, a topper for the wedding cake, help with flowers, and simple things to help make the young couple’s dream come true.  The wonder of it is that many of these people have never met each other, and maybe never will.

But together they are a community – people bonding together at a place in time – to make a  difference.

I think I like that definition of community best of all.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Author’s Note:  After reading’s Kaytii’s story about Shauna and Derrick, I sent her a tweet with my phone number and suggested we talk.  We got together on the phone and shared ideas on how we could help make a dream come true.  One of the ideas was to share her message with my community – adding it to hers.  And that is what I just did.

Oh, and I also DID make a contribution to the wedding fund.  If you would like to share in a little piece of the community that is trying to grant a very simple wish – here is the link.