Social media measurers Klout announced that they reached the milestone of 100 million people with “Klout Scores” that indicate the individual’s influence from data across 10 networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. That’s a significant chunk of online users … Continue reading
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Business-to-consumer communication has been revolutionized with the advent of social media in the last decade. With nearly 80 percent of corporations now incorporating social media into their marketing and communication mix, the role of a social strategist is becoming more and more standard as a needed and respected part of the team. Mashable recently published an awesome infographic about what it takes to be a social strategist. Even if you have no desire to make social media your 9-to-5, what are some things you can learn from the social media managers and other social media professionals surveyed?Â
The characteristics identified as making these strategists successful at their jobs were, in order:
- âIâm multi-disciplinary and can wear many hats.â (58%)
- âIâm willing to take risks.â (46%)
- âI can rally different stakeholders across the organization.â (45%)
- âI can effectively lead a multi-faceted, cross-departmental effort.â (38%)
- âI have experience in social media.â (37%)
- âI have a long-term customer-centric vision for the program.â (24%)
- âI can communicate the ROI to executive leadership.â (16%)
- âI have been working at my company many years.â (13%)
What stands out in these numbers to me is that the key to success for these strategists has less to do with ROI or long-term plans and more to do with the ability to innovate â whether that be juggling disparate responsibilities and trying new things without the fear of failure.Â
Iâm convinced that the connection between the two isnât coincidental, either. Those who are able to take on a myriad of responsibilities â from creating content to coming up with strategies, analyzing metrics and adapting accordingly, spearheading campaigns, and evangelizing social media to stakeholders â are likely to manage participation in a myriad of media as well. They know how to work with varied audiences through varied channels, connecting consumers with companies adeptly, and they also know how to translate the benefits of social media into terms executives can appreciate and get behind, regardless of the executivesâ familiarity with social media themselves.Â
Proactive social media professionals are those who are able to change and evolve along with the new shifts that come in technology. They are the ones who remain on the bleeding edge of new technologies, adopting them early and then advocating experimentation with them. These forward thinkers use the new media intuitively and find ways to extract the maximum ROI from the tools (remembering that ROI in social media is less about sales conversions and more about building relationships and brand loyalty).Â
Likewise, to get the most out of social media, businesses need to be willing to try new things â and to try lots of different things as well. The benefit of social media is that most of the tools are free. Not having to invest much overhead to dabble in different platforms leaves businesses wide open to experiment with new initiatives and see what resonates with their customers. Be willing to adapt to and adopt new technologies and integrate them into different parts of the business cycle â from marketing and sales to customer service â and youâll be sure to find what works best for your particular business niche.
Are great salespeople born? Or can anyone learn the tricks of the trade that make for sales success? While certain personality traits and natural abilities translate well for those in a sales-oriented career, much of what creates a successful sales professional can be learned with proper training in three areas: attitude, ability, and action. Â
- Attitudes develop bit by bit over years. Those who believe they can and will achieve great things tend to succeed in whatever they pursue, as long as theyâre willing to couple that ambition with hard work. Switching over to a positive attitude requires effort if you tend to focus on the glass being half-empty, but in time, a can-do outlook will become second nature. Positivity isnât the only helpful attitude for sales. Other attitudes to cultivate include modesty, reliability, goal-orientation, curiosity, healthy competitiveness, and a lack of self-consciousness.
- Abilities, or skills, can be acquired, thanks to teaching, coaching, and repetition. According to Steve W. Martin of Harvard Business Review, there are four skills beyond the typical list â hard work, tenacity, integrity, empathy, etc. â that really make a difference for self-made salespeople: language specialization, modeling of experiences, political acumen, and greed. Language specialization requires becoming a maven in your sales field, going beyond the standard recital of a productâs benefits and features to discuss domain-area expertise â and in the fieldâs jargon, to boot. âModelingâ refers to linking similar data and experiences into predictable patterns that influence future behavior. Developing a methodology of analyzing sales calls and sales cycles helps you to learn from each interaction, successful or not, to breed future success. Using acumen to understand human behavior and actions based upon self-interests helps the salesperson to accurately map out a decision makerâs influences and motivations. Finally, greed in this sense isnât miserly or corrupt â rather, itâs a desire to be paid fairly for the time and effort invested in the sales process, pushing beyond the comfort zone to close a sale.Â
- Actions are the measurable steps you take to execute a sales strategy. These require planning as well as follow through and reporting. While the proper actions might seem intuitive to some, they can be learned by reading and studying from the plethora of sales advice available online and in print. Some actions to incorporate into your business cycle include setting sales goals in writing, tracking progress, reconnecting with customers every 30 to 60 days, and preparing scripts to overcome potential objections. Donât overlook the importance of continued education and professional development. Dedicate a set amount of time to researching your customerâs industry, attending sales training courses, or meeting with a corporate coach to improve your value as a sales professional.
Keep in mind that someone could have all three areas understood, and if they donât have an environment thatâs conducive to what theyâre selling, then theyâll still find an uphill battle. Those circumstances are rare, however. Once you learn the proper attitudes, abilities, and actions, youâll be on your way to sales success.Â
âNever answer the question âWhat do you do?â with a job title and a company, but rather something interesting that guarantees the answer, âHow do you do that?ââ â Patricia Fripp, author and success coachÂ Conversation is like a game … Continue reading
A business card might only be a few inches of cardstock, but that small piece of ink and paper plays a critical role in business networking. Itâs this card that you leave behind to remind someone that they met you and that you are someone worthy of their time and connection â but itâs also small enough to fit in oneâs palm, meaning youâre pretty limited by space with what you can say.Â
How do you develop a catchy business card that sums up the essence of YOU? Here are some ways to make an impression with the right information:
- Less is more â Intrigue is everything, according to message expert Laura Allen of thepitchgirl.com. âMy basic rule of thumb is, âclear and concise equals cash; vague and verbose equals trash,ââ Allen said.
- Be catchy â Coming up with a compelling catchphrase is the best way to make an impact that will draw the receiver in. âIf I meet 40 people at a conference, I donât have time to go back and look at their resumes,â she said. âBut if somebody gives me their business card and the front of it says, âclosed a $5.5 million deal from a cold call,â â¦ thatâs something worth following through on.â
- Be concise â While you should have a good message, make sure to keep it short. âItâs all about filtering down to the most important point,â Allen said. âYou take the 15-second pitch â four sentences â and make that even smaller.â
- Looks are everything â Remember, business cards are visual â much more so than a resume of LinkedIn profile. Therefore, rules of good design apply: using graphics to tell a story, paying attention to color theory (particularly the emotional responses attached to the hues you choose), and embracing white space as your friend. The most successful advertising campaigns often include iconography. You donât necessarily need a logo on par with Volkswagen or Pepsi to make an impact, but do try to determine a visual brand that ties in with what youâd like to be known for the most.
- Go pro â Just as design matters, production is important for a quality business card. Donât buy a packet of cardstock and print these off at home! There are countless design and printing vendors online who can create professional business cards for a great price. Start with a small quantity at first â this will allow you to adapt your card as you feel out how effective the first model is.
Take time to look at the business cards youâve received. Which do you like? What is it about these cards that speaks to you? Spending time to deconstruct what people have done well (or not) in the past will help you create a winning business card that leaves the right impression with those you come across while you network your way to success.
Although Ralph Waldo Emerson once called consistency âthe hobgoblin of little minds,â consistencyâs role in success should not be underrated. To achieve any goal â personal or professional â requires consistently doing what it takes to reach the objective. Â … Continue reading
The heart and soul of networking is to connect with other human beings, creating sincere relationships that may âpay offâ down the road with personal and professional opportunities. How do you create those relationships, though? Here are four ideas: Get … Continue reading
How do you establish a connection with someone youâve just met? A crucial element to kicking off any relationship is building rapport based on trust, understanding, and commonalities. Power networking works best when you can build rapport quickly and genuinely. … Continue reading
An old adage says that 80 percent of success is just showing up. But how do you accomplish that other 20 percent â particularly following a networking event like a tradeshow or membership meeting? What comes after collecting a stack … Continue reading