Archive for March, 2013

A Routine Doesn’t Always Mean it is ROUTINE

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

People ask me, how do you know all these people?

A Schedule

A lot of what I do each day isn’t seen by everyone at once.  But then i am pretty sure that is that same for all of us in one way or another.  When you are in the Marketing, Public Relations or Social Media fields, there is a certain “roll with the punches” attitude that comes with the territory. But there are certain things that I try really hard to do each day (even weekends) before that day gets away from me.

Challenge One:  Time?

Most of my “sleuth” work begins before many people are just rolling out of bed. (This excludes my early morning radio and TV friends).  I am a light sleeper so often I wake up in the middle of the night and rather that lie in bed with my head spinning of what I could be doing, I get up. Usually grab a water and start reading blogs or collecting information for future content needs.

I also check in of Facebook and LinkedIn and see who I haven’t been in contact for a while (many of my “friends” are business contacts) and see how they are doing.  Since so many people are of the thinking that, “Since I posted it on Facebook, everyone knows about it.”  But the algorithm that Facebook uses for news feeds there is nothing further from the truth.  Since I have recently crested 1,000″ friends” I have realized that many of those I haven’t contacted in a while aren’t in there.  Lesson:  Don’t expect Facebook to make sure you see every post you wished that you saw.

I check in on Twitter, always a helpful source for content that people share as well as what people are doing or what is going on around town/state/region.  I follow a lot of folks that are really “plugged in” and don’t mind sharing what they know.  Twitter is an easy and relatively quick way to get into the groove of things. I share, reply to folks and “retweet” as well.

I check Google+ and sometimes depending on what I have seen on Facebook or Twitter I may post a link there and comment on others information.  I am finding I am using G+ more and more as I develop my circles and share with potential and existing clients the information that I find.

Challenge Two:  Early Morning Meetings

I serve on community Boards as well as attend breakfast networking functions, some as early as 7:00am.  After my middle of the night “work session” I often go back to bed for a few hours but this is impossible on a morning when I have to be up, showered and out the door.  After the meeting or breakfast is over I find wireless someplace  and if I couldn’t get through my “TO DO” list in the wee hours then I finish it up then. Check my multitude of emails.  And sometimes this includes “the old fashioned” type of communication, writing real notes by hand or calling folks for a bit of “one on one.”

There it is in a nutshell.  I try hard to make sure I stay connected with folks, that is the most favorite part of my job.  The “virtual” part of my job has evolved over the years and having somewhat of a routine is really important to me. When no one is standing in your office doorway asking you for something makes this routine important to making sure my network is still MY NETWORK.

 

 

 

 

Forget About “Getting It”

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Over the years I have heard from business connections and friends – even old ones (because of Facebook).  That don’t “GET” some social media application.  Usually this is said in a disparaging tone and if  they  SAT down and learned about it then maybe they would.  Try taking time out of Facebook for ONE day and put that time into the application or platform that you don’t “GET.”

Any platform that is new is a bit uncomfortable at first and some of them are such “Flash In the Pans.”  They are gone before you get a chance to try it out.  In both cases this is frustrating because if you are in business you have limited time to learn new things.

Before you dive in, think of 3 things:

  1. What is my goal in using this new platform?
  2. Who is my target market?
  3. And if my business is a B2B, then who are my target market’s customers?

Let’s use Twitter, for an example:

1. Your goals can be simple.  If you are a sales or maintenance person on the road, it may be helpful for you to know if a business or plant is closing due to weather, water main break, fire or construction delays.  Perhaps your team may not hear about these things through tradition methods? 

Would you  want to communicate with the press?  Would you want the media to come interview you about a topic instead of your competitor? Make it easy on the media to keep connected with you.  We all like good publicity or stories and we don’t have to pay for it, all the better.  And if you haven’t noticed, the media uses Twitter.  So start following them, it is easy and free to do.

2.  Your Target – what are your potential and current customers using to communicate?  Go poke around and punch in a few names that you know.  If there is a customer out there that is unhappy with a product or your service are they making nasty comments about you and you aren’t listening how can you fix it?  Or if they have something going on at their business or plant, spread the word through your network.  Good Will matters.  Using Twitter especially to help someone is a lot more popular than just pushing out “BUY MY STUFF” messages.

3.  Supporting your base: If you got a phone call or text from someone saying,  “I am looking for ________  – do you know where I can buy it? ” When I get calls like that,  I think of who my customers are and go to that database in my head and recommend my customer first.  If I don’t have a customer then I refer them and often times it is someone I have been in contact through a social media platform.  Often it is Twitter.

A platform like Twitter is the new water cooler conversation, before the water cooler,  it was other conversations involving face to face meetings, church, kids activities other networking events.  Twitter is networking, connecting and getting to know a wider audience that you may never been able to reach before.

But back to a goal for a minute:  If you use Facebook then what was your goal there?  Watch out for your kids?  Are they on Twitter?

Follow Me if you like!  @LadyoTrout

What I did on my Winter Vacation

Monday, March 18th, 2013

I took a vacation.  Sort of.  Years ago I never understood the need for a 2 week vacation.  Since we started Sephone more than 11 years ago, vacations are difficult to achieve as the  “completely unplugged” kind. I think you need the first week to decompress then the second week to really enjoy yourself.  My vacation was one week as I said, “Sort of.”

Being a small business owner is a rush.  NO DOUBT about it.  Being part of a small business is too.  You feel like what you do is important and a vital part of  its’ success, because what you do IS vital.  Maine is loaded with small businesses as “Yankees,” (not to be confused with the baseball team), we like to do things our own way and we would rather buckle down and get the job done, treat people like we know they deserve to be treated and be part of their success.

What is my point?

My winter vacation is  normally in the Western Mountains of Maine – aka Sugarloaf Mountain, where I have been rooted since 1967. As I was out and about skiing, shopping and cooking, I connected with a lot of folks that know me.  So, of course I had questions from them and there was a small voice saying, “Hey it’s my vacation…”  But that is squashed down by the realization and privilege it is for people to feel comfortable in asking me questions. They trust me.  It is a great feeling when you think of it.  An honor, truly.

The next couple posts on this blog will be those that folks asked me about while on the chairlift, eating cheeseburger soup or drinking tea at my girlfriend’s kitchen table. Yeah I know, I took notes – on my cell phone actually so I wouldn’t forget. See what I mean about trying to be “unplugged?”  If there is something you would like to know, don’t hesitate to email me.

It also gives me great content for this blog, because if you want to know, chances are many others out there maybe looking for the same answer.  There are countless blogs addressing the various social media and online marketing riddles but finding them is tough and cutting through the “geek speak”  is even more challenging.

How can I help?

If You Are a Meathead in Person…You Can Still Be a Meathead on Facebook

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

“ARCHIE !”

Sorry for the Archie Bunker reference but it is better than some of the other alternatives.  Gets the point across without being obscene or throwing around a bunch of poor language choices (obscenities).

My points are these:

  • Not everybody wants all their “FRIENDS” on Facebook to know their life is sucking wind at any particular moment.
  • Many people are constantly driving their own agenda home, their political views, their own “deal” – please donate to my _____.
  • And more people don’t take the time to check in on their “Friends”on Facebook.  They use Facebook as a sounding board or a “stalking platform.”  I don’t mean this in the criminal sense but they are so full of finding out what YOU are doing, they don’t ever stop by and say “Hi.”   Or when you are in a group of people they tell you, “I don’t need to call you, I just look at your Facebook page and I know what’s up.

Well REALLY DO YOU?

Everyone has their own rules on Facebook and most of us are just writing them as we go along. Learning from others and learning what others do that works for us (and doesn’t.)
Many people have “Friends” on Facebook that they have never met in person and certainly may never want to.  But hey they are a friend of a friend and you accepted them – how did you know that friend (maybe a real one) doesn’t know them either?
Also have you ever been “guilted” into adding a “friend” or two – even though you thought they were flaming ******** (you can fill it in yourself) you felt obligated at the time to add them and you did.
As you gather friends on Facebook and if you get into the 350+ range, it becomes very hard to keep track of who you ACTUALLY know and who you don’t. If your Nana or Mom are your “Friends” you may not want to tell them on Facebook that you feel like your life is ending, work is eating you alive, etc. even though you may feel it at that particular moment.
With the Facebook algorithm if you have a lot of “Friends” you may not see everyone’s posts in your News Feed. So folks that post personal stuff as a look for support you may miss it.  Thus another potential Meathead moment.  And you may not be one at all.
In the end, I love the opportunity to read people’s posts and learn about them and their lives.  I almost always try to connect with them in some way so they know I am looking.  Facebook is definitely the “Look at me! Look at me!” Social Network.  But try swimming upstream once in a while and showing your real self.  Toot someone else’s horn instead of yours all the time.
Encourage those that need it, coach those that want it. Praise in their accomplishment.
But it takes time to manage those relationships just like in real life.  Oh…Facebook ISN’T real life?