INTERVIEW: Social Sapiens and the Seattle Shrimp Tank!

Seattle Shrimp Tank pros and Me (Social Sapiens)

Seattle Shrimp Tank pros and Me (Social Sapiens)

I was asked recently to be interviewed on a podcast (of and for entrepreneurs and business owners…) of which I have been aware and have listened to a few times. Most of my familiarity with the content and tone of it, however, derived from my relationship with one of the co-hosts, Dan Weedin. Dan is a colleague, friend and fellow Rotarian, so familiarity bred a bit of lowered attention on my part, I admit.

Dan called recently and asked me if I would like to be interviewed for the Seattle Shrimp Tank podcast. It sounded like a load of fun, so I agreed.

Some of the things we talked about include:
  • Where did social media start, what’s going on with it today, and where is it going? (the short version!)
  • What is the importance of thinking about business goals, plans and strategies when considering digital marketing and hiring an expert to help?
  • How important is it to learn how to express yourself well online? What is the balance of listening, asking powerful questions, and understanding in developing an authentic and powerful online presence?
  • What else is there other than the “usual suspects” of social media (like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest and the like)? Is there more there?
  • What’s the right frequency to post online?
…and so much more. Check out the whole podcast here, and the shorter video follow-up here. We covered a lot of great questions and concerns.

If this interview brought up other questions for you about your business and professional presence online, please reach out to me and also look for some other information that’s relevant to you on my site here.

Mindfulness and Taking Stock

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

This past week was a good and difficult one.
One of the hard bits was working to get five + days of work done in three, as I had scheduled Thursday and Friday off to celebrate my anniversary and birthday. I work to do this every year and have been pretty successful to date, although banishing work from my mind is always a challenge as an entrepreneur. Still, it was good to get away from the screens and focus on each day and the moments each held, along with the commemoration activities.
I focus on this set of events for a couple of reasons.
First, I wish to celebrate life and relationships, and this is another way to mark them as memorable and life-giving.
Second, this particular birthday gives me pause. I am now the age my father was when he was consumed by cancer and died. That, along with the near approaching anniversary of the death of my younger brother in two weeks, I am particularly aware of being present in each moment and how this manifests itself in my “normal activities”…..”normal activities” being the usual, rather mundane things of every day.
You may be thinking (if you’ve read this far..), “Why is he writing about this on a business blog?” A fair question…

Continue reading

Loyalty, Customer Experience, and the Death of Your Business

Customer Experience

Customer Experience

The deeper I get into the research concerning customer loyalty and engagement, the more it is pounded into me that it centers on Customer Experience (CX for short). The kicker about CX is that, while there are certain common factors and processes that carry across most customers and audiences, it really is an individual experience with you and your business. What does this mean?

First let’s look at the percentage of Loyal customers / audience you already have. Recent studies propose that you may have between 8%-15% customers that can be considered Loyal (your mileage may vary, especially given the differences in businesses: e.g. a coffee shop may have a greater opportunity for “regular” loyalty than a real estate office…). Let’s posit that your customers (a) DO have the opportunity, given your product / service, to purchase from you again within 12 months (and can certainly REFER you at any time!), and (b) this product /service is of value to them and at a fair price. The end-to-end CX for them has been better-than-just-positive overall, hence their loyalty. Their post-purchase experience has also been “positive+” (better than just OK…).

As it turns out, that bit is very important! 

Continue reading

Loyalty, Strategy and Connection

Loyalty, Strategy, and Connection

Loyalty, Strategy, and Connection

I’ve written a lot about loyalty, strategy, connection and relationship-building. My recent post about loyalty went into some of the reasons that customer and audience loyalty is critical to your business. Another recent article about lining up your strategy with your actual problems perhaps deals with a bit more about problem-solving and identifying where your strategy, such as it is, might not be a fair representation or plan that works within the realm of the daily reality you face. Another article concerned connections, both real and perceived.

These are all related. Strategy is generally defined as some kind of innovation or reinvention process. If it doesn’t reflect the constant change the market and your business is experiencing, it isn’t strategy. It may be a corporate wish-list, a reason to have a kind of high-faluting retreat every year, or some kind of box-checking activity….although there are generally a lot of nervous, but well-meaning efforts aimed at it. However, if it doesn’t actually help your company break from old habits that are keeping you from at the very least repeating the same things every year, it’s not doing for you what it might.

Is loyalty a key component of your strategy? You realize that there is more to it than crafting good offers and making sure your customer service is stellar (both good things in the right priority….). It need not be itemized, but, since strategy with, hopefully, drive goals and action within your company (including what your employees are given as part of their roles and how they are incentivized…). Strategy that drives real change in a company is difficult, businesses rarely achieve extra-ordinary results unless they do something very strategic.

Continue reading

END OF THE SUMMER! THE BEST OF SEPTEMBER

Autumn is HERE!

Autumn is HERE!

The beginning of Fall is upon us and we’re all planning for what our holiday business is going to look like, right? In a final look-back on our collective Summer, here are some articles I found to be particularly arresting……

CLICK THAT HEADLINE!!!

CLICK THAT HEADLINE!!!

Great article…but the headline you wrote for it is a definite “…meh…”. Want to figure out how to get your audience to click through and actually READ it? Here’s some tips, backed up by data, that tell you how!

Continue reading

JUNE’S BEST – LinkedIn, Trust, and Making The Most of Your Content

July - Celebrate!

July – Celebrate!

July is upon us, and we here in the States are getting ready for our annual tribute to patriotism, fireworks and barbecues!
June was a bumper crop month for quality content across the digital marketing industry, and I’m only too happy to share the top articles I’ve read:

LinkedIn Ninja Tricks!

LinkedIn Ninja Tricks!

 

 
Facebook seems to get the attention from online sources (granted, cracking the 2 billion users mark is noteworthy…), but many of the businesses I speak with are still kind of scratching their head when it comes to LinkedIn. This top list of tips and tricks from Melonie Dodaro will get you to that next level of skill in using this great professional channel.

Sincerity

Sincerity

 

 
Sincerity and Trust have been the key components for strong customer and business relationships since forever. Building them online isn’t impossible, but it is different. This article introduces some areas of consideration about communication and how you do this. The line between communication and action is pretty clear.

Credibility

Credibility

 

 
Beyond getting found, your website needs to build and maintain your professional credibility. If you’re wondering how a website can do that, then you will find this article Laura Forer of MarketingProfs very, very valuable.

My Community

My Community

 

 
When I speak about online relationships, I refer to the mental model I call VACC (Visitors / Audience / Customers / Community). In this insightful article, Irfan Ahmad digs into how a business can approach this with Facebook Groups, an underutilized resource for most businesses. If you take this on, you’re ALREADY in the lead, since chances are your competition ISN’T doing it!

Social Media Posts

Social Media Posts

 
 
So, that post from last Tuesday blew the doors off in Shares and Comments! WOO-HOO!!!!! Now, how can you leverage what was obviously a Great Piece of Content again and take advantage of it’s quality and virality? Here are 5 ways to look at….

 

Reuse That Content!

Reuse That Content!

As a follow-on to the previous article, how do you take that premier article you’ve written and reuse (or “slice & dice”…) it in such a way that you can make the most of it. Here are nine ways you could repurpose it and reach oven more of an interested audience. Remember, everyone has a preferred way of communicating, and by doing this you are making practical use of that fact!

The Integrity and Priorities of Place

The Priority of Place

The Priority of Place

I recently wrote about how the things you actually spend time on uncover your priorities. A colleague of mine noted that what you spend money on does the same thing, which is partially true. There are a number of things you spend money on that are not discretionary, like food (if you are fortunate enough to have the money for food…).

Other interesting indicators of priority are your decisions made in the midst of radical change.

I recently read an article in the Guardian by a professor at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. I should say ‘former professor’, as the college just closed after operating since 1889. Rensselaer, IN has a population of just under 6,000 souls and is definitely NOT a place you might expect a college to be.  Ranked as a “Best Midwestern College” by the Princeton Review and U.S  News, it nonetheless announced on February 3, 2017 that it will temporarily suspend operations at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year. The article’s author, Jon Nichols, rightly interprets that to mean “Students: transfer now; Faculty & employees: you will need a new job soon.”

Mr. Nichols doesn’t want to move.

Continue reading

Reviews: Don’t ignore them! It’s Your Reputation…

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

How do YOU manage your reputation?

How do YOU manage your reputation?

I got the chance to speak to a large group of business leaders this week about online reviews and how to work with them. This is an area that continues to be of concern to businesses, and has gained particular focus in the past few weeks with the troubles that United Airlines has had.

First there was the eviction of a couple of young women from an airplane for wearing leggings (read more about this incident here). Without going deep into company policy regarding employee’s and their dependents using the United “pass rider” benefit, it is a bit vague and worth reviewing at the company policy level. The company took serious public relations heat for this.

Even more infamous was the recent incident where a paying passenger was forcibly evicted from a flight, apparently chosen at random, to make room for 4 United employees who needed the seats to get to an assignment elsewhere. The video that was shot by another passenger on the plane shows this person being forced by airport security, in a most physical and brutal way, from his seat and off the plane. To say that United Airlines has taken a HUGE hit to its reputation as a result is an understatement (a 5% stock drop amounting to more than $600,000,000, although by the opening bell the next day it had regained almost all the value, and news outlets and social media piling on them has been very visible). How the company communications progressed in the aftermath didn’t help their public case much either (read more about the “Apologies Timeline” in this New York Times article). United now says that certain policies have been altered and others are under review to keep this from happening again. The changes will need to demonstrable and highly visible before they can begin to rebuild the trust deficit they’ve experienced.

Continue reading

Business Critical: Listen-To-Understand

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Listening-to-understand

Listening-to-understand

I wrote an earlier article called Listening is Visual that was about a trip during my last corporate job to Florida to meet with some technical community leaders there. I had planned to do “the usual”: I had created a PowerPoint presentation that represented the bullet points I would talk to and would help guide the discussion.  However, there was no projector and no real place to project, anyway. So much for the presentation and what seemed like control of the meeting.

What originally looked like a standard meeting became much more valuable! The real listening, the responses, the dialogue that took place was really wonderful and very valuable. I came away with a great understanding of their passions and concerns.

Since that time I have made listen-to-understand my goal in every meeting.

…I cannot emphasize this enough…

Continue reading

Hire for Nice

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Hire for Nice

Hire for Nice

If the heart of all really valuable business is referrals, then “Hire for Nice” makes sense.  Consider it the foundational policy for any company wishing to survive in the blizzard of noise that is the competition for customers and clients.

I ran across an article this week on NBC News called “One CEO’s Secret to Success: Always Lead with Kindness” that triggered a distinct memory of this for me…

My family moved here a couple of years ago and the search for new services to replace the old began (you know: doctor, grocery store, barber, pizza delivery, pet sitter…). It had been awhile since my last haircut, so I looked up the local spots using Yelp and found Bon Cheveux with good reviews. I called and got an appointment for the next day (this would not happen where I lived before…if you didn’t book at least a few days out, you were out of luck). I arrived a few minutes early and was met by the friendly concierge at the front desk. As a newbie, she asked that I fill out a very short form for customer information. I then sat down with a cold glass of water for about 3 minutes before Tarra came out. I was ushered into the actual salon area and commenced the actual haircut. Since I was new, I had to try a describe what I was looking for, which isn’t easy for me (“Four weeks shorter than it is now” isn’t really much help…). Tarra was very patient and we worked through the process collaboratively, which was good. We also engaged in the usual chit-chat conversation, but it wasn’t forced and was enjoyable, especially when it would lapse for a few minutes into silence…..I’ve been to other barbers who are VERY uncomfortable with silence.

Continue reading