How Can All The Personalization Opportunities Possibly Scale!?

I recently attended a half day of training focused on the roles and nuances within the business networking group I belong to. While extremely enlightening and really useful as I work to get a grip on my new role as president in my chapter, I’m struck afresh by the spectrum of differences that we each have as humans.  In the case of the discussions I had, they focused on personality types and learning styles as they pertain to the other members of the group. Extend those classifications to digital marketing, especially as an entrepreneur, and you can begin to feel overwhelmed. It’s one thing to write, say, a message for an email campaign in four different ways to accommodate four personality types, but take the personalization further to learning styles, cultural and generational differences, best channel for communication, etc. and you just might feel that going back to a broadcast “one-size-fits-all” style is just easier, and it used to work OK, so just go for it.  Or maybe walking around wearing a sandwich board!

Not a great idea, although the sandwich board might be pretty good exercise…

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What is Social Proof and Why Should I Care?

You’re always looking for quality shortcuts. Anyway and anything that can help you make a good decision (I don’t Need help making bad decisions…). The Internet has taught us all very well:

  • 80% of consumers search for a product or service online before purchasing it.
  • 70% read online reviews before making purchase decisions.
  • 68% of consumers begin their decision-making while searching for a keyword.
I know that I always begin my search for a purchase or more information about something that may result in a purchase (even something like the weather differences between the Oregon coast and the California coast….could result in a short vacation decision sometime…) by reading reviews and recommendations of many kinds. It’s a way of figuring out who to trust.  Unfortunately, we’ve all heard tales of the system being gamed: bogus reviews on Amazon, Expedia, or Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest followers purchased, questionable endorsements on LinkedIn, and numerous “thumbs-up”s or “+1″s purchased or comped in some way.

What’s real and what isn’t?

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How to unlock your authentic and remarkable voice!

A spectrogram (0-5000 Hz) of the sentence &quo...

A spectrogram (0-5000 Hz) of the sentence “it’s all Greek to me” spoken by a female voice  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have an untold number of things that make you different from the next person. Just ask your roommate, significant other, or neighbor!  You may feel, like I do sometimes, that you don’t have something truly unique to say.  Don’t get hung up on that.  Just say it better and say it your way.

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3 Pointers for a Better LinkedIn Profile

Simple things can have enormous impact. I come across profiles on LinkedIn that are very well thought out, complete, updated regularly, provide a view into the person’s professional credentials and experience, showcase recommendations that are pertinent and have well-designed headlines and summaries that make it easier for anyone who is looking for someone with a particular skill (recruiter, prospective customer, whomever…) to find what they are looking for.

I also come across profiles that barely qualify as blank pages. If you are going to use LinkedIn as a social channel, there are several things you need to do to improve that first impression. Here are 3 pointers that can help you get to a better profile from the beginning:

  • Upload a good, professional pictureNo squirrel pictures allowed. There are people who wish to present an edgier first impression for a number of reasons, but generally you don’t want a visitor to your profile to wonder what you look like. If the goal for your use of LinkedIn is to get a job or attract new customers, you want to look the part, only better. There are any number of good professional photographers who can deliver a great head shot, so splurge a little. As a side note, selfies tend to actually look like selfies, so avoid them. One example I saw was a selfie of someone who was averagely dressed, but I couldn’t help noticing the six pack of beer in the background….
  • Use pertinent key phrases in your headline“I Rock!” is not a headline, by the way. LinkedIn has reworked their Edit Your Profile page to give you suggestions, which can be quite helpful. If you’re unsure what to use, consider the role you are looking for (if you’re looking for a job) or concise phrases describing your experience that you may then expand upon in the summary. You have 120 characters available in the headline and 2,000 in the summary. Use them wisely and don’t be afraid to edit and re-edit to get it right.
  • Get some well-written recommendations“She was great to work with!” is a sentiment, not a recommendation. When you ask others to write you a recommendation, you can help them out by suggesting a couple of projects for which you really did the “heavy lifting”. A vague request for a recommendation often results in something relatively vague, which doesn’t really make the case for you. The more specific the recommender is about the value of your work, the easier it is for the visitor to your profile to make the judgment call on how valuable your contributions would be to their project and business. If your recommender sends you a recommendation that is too vague or isn’t really as helpful as it could be, you have the option of sending it back to them and asking (very kindly, of course…) if they might make a few edits. Don’t feel like you have to take the first draft. Once again, a visitor to your profile is looking at the recommendations for a reason, so they need to reflect your value as accurately as possible. Get them right and get them solid.

While there are many more actions you can take to ensure you have the best profile possible, these are a good start. Here are some other resources you can check out that will help:

Social Media Examiner: 12 Resources to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Business2Community: 5 Killer Resources To Help You Dominate LinkedIn

LinkedIn Blog: Creating A Killer LinkedIn Profile: Tips for Link Humans [INFOGRAPHIC]

Hongkiat: 10 Tips To A More Professional LinkedIn Profile

Forbes: 22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won’t Tell You

HubSpot: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn

If you come across others that you find particularly useful, please post them to the comments.

Reliability and Finding the Right Expert for Your Business

During a fruitful first meeting with a new colleague and collaborator this week, she mentioned something that really disturbed me.  She has a very healthy graphic design and publishing business and works with a broad array of customers.  She focuses on what she does very well and gives referrals, like any good business, to other businesses that she works with and trusts. However, in a couple of instances she has had to give referrals to customers for solopreneurs she didn’t know as well, particularly in the digital and social media marketing areas.

Sadly, both she and her customers “got bitten.” Although I haven’t gotten the complete story, apparently the solo businesses gladly took the referrals, promised the moon, seriously under-delivered and then disappeared. My colleague looked bad and her customers had a less than wonderful experience, as well as losing money and time.

Wow.  Just Wow….

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What am I part of?

Community
I use a lot of different tools in my work every day, as I’m sure you do. Like many computer-bound professionals, I use Microsoft Office apps like Outlook, Word, Powerpoint, and Excel (although I have had a hard time
getting used to viewing Excel more as a tool and less as an adversary, but that’s another story…). I use more than one Internet browser, since each provides different kinds of efficiencies. I use a to-do list app, a social media monitoring tool and a couple of analytics tools, and I use Evernote for all my note-taking and snippet needs…oh, and Windows Media Player for tunes (as a former pro musician, music helps me focus).

As a user of each of these, am I part of a community of experience for each of them?  Well, kind of.

Do I think of myself as a REAL card-carrying Member of these communities of experience (whatever that is….)? Not so much…until I need help or want to try something different with any of the tools.  Then I search diligently for where the associated community hangs out online and look for some guidance.

No one I know has the time to  play around with tools and services to force something. We all have timelines and milestones, and most of us want to go home at 5 PM. If someone else has done it first and better, I want to find out how they did it and model that behavior….not ‘hunt-and-peck’ around it until, hopefully, eventually, maybe I stumble across the right way to do it.

Um…..no.

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