Beyond Likes, +1’s And Retweets

thinking differentYou can find me on Twitter and Google+. Hanging out and connecting with people and information in social media helps me keep in tune with what is going on and join the conversation out there. It also is a way I can give back. As I find information, I contribute. As I have thoughts, strategies and value to offer the world, I publish and post.

Of course there are always the marketers out there that want to turn something substantive into a channel. It muddies the waters and dehumanizes the process.

Social media means something different to everyone depending on your goals. Driving visitors, creating awareness or getting marketing feedback are popular and apparent goals. However, what would it look like if you were trying to build an asset instead? Your social media streams are valuable for what is current. A tweet from 2 weeks ago is irrelevant. Its context has little value today and so does the historic information, unless you wanted to get a sense of your activities and interest historically.

Instead, consider focusing on building assets. Bring value to the world by:

  • Writing more. You are what you write. What is it you believe? Conviction is powerful for building a following. Dont’ water it down. Let the world have access to your writing.
  • Think more. Getting sucked into the vortex of busy work every day is a wasted day. Henry Ford said, “Thinking is one of the hardest things to do. That’s why so few people do it.” To think you have to engage your mind with great conversations and books. If you need a start, check my bookshelf out. Books change you. They make you think and if you publish your thoughts, you clarify your thinking.
  • Have real relationships. Use your personal systems to facilitate, not replace, real relationships. People change you as well as books. Manage and grow what is real. I love using Google+ in this way. It is a great platform for serving my friends, clients and mentors in one place and driving the conversation. Provide real thought and lead. Your networks can stimulate you to continued growth as you are strategic in your relationships.

Time is passing us all by. We can get caught up in the hoopla of neat technology and toys. Or you can create a strategy and process which helps you to grow and help others grow. In all the noise in the world, people still want what is real and valuable. Fill the gap. Stop from creating more noise and instead build something long-term and valuable for you and others.

What are your thoughts?

Betting On Facebook Is A Poor Strategy

social-bubble-300x172

I caught the article on Zynga’s IPO (Facebook: Zynga’s Number 1 Frenemy) and it further exposes the reality distortion between a platform provider and a value producer. There is a temporary symbiosis between the gaming provider Zynga which leverages Facebook’s platform. Zynga’s valuation and revenue is derived from access to a marketplace Facebook created.

Facebook’s honeymoon period allows it to avoid the pressures and scrutiny of investors seeking profitability in its fundamentals. As soon as that happens, the game theory which will take place from the need for profitability to justify its valuation will create a hostile situation between the platform provider and its developers.

What does this mean to you? In my previous article on platforms and positioning, the encouragement is to ensure you manage the items for promotion in a cohesive way. There are a lot of platforms out there, many of which are on social media. It is highly convenient to develop a profile, content and promotion on one of the many social media sites. The problem is that it is not your system. If the rules change (and they do), then where does this leave you?

Building your own asset on your own systems is less convenient, but you have something which you can control as the world around you changes. I have seen some dangerous business moves out there in the hype of Facebook or other social media. Abandoning building systems that you control and presents your brand to the world in lieu of a Facebook page or another platform leaves you vulnerable.

The rules are continually changing. It may seem enticing to be on someone’s list as a provider of services or build ten thousand fans. However, you may be building someone else’s asset and will have to start over one day.

How about working on the substance of your value proposition and ensure you are social-proof. Your own tribe of people that care about what you offer coming to a place which you own may be less glamorous, but it gets to the real numbers of revenue, loyalty and value. Build your own assets.

What are your thoughts?

Google Plus Integrated With Google Apps

Google Apps users can work seamlessly with social media in Google Plus.  It is now a Google App within the navigation bar.  As Google continues to make headway into the marketplace and the thaw of Facebook and Twitter occurs over time, this is a valuable app for business users.

Here are some strategies to make this system work for you:

  • Set up a thorough profile.  You are searchable within the Google Plus social media system.  Be sure you have keywords in your profile and a close picture of yourself that is professional.  If you have already set up a previous profile, be on the lookout for the migration tool.
  • Create circles.  These are controlled layers of relationships which have varying access to your information.  It is an easy way to group people with different securities.
  • Plus 1.  This is one of the most powerful aspects of this new social network.  SEO value can be increased from weighted values of Plus 1 votes, similar to a Facebook Like.  Click this for articles and web pages you encounter via search.  Page rankings are affected positively for search.
  • Create remarkable content.  Use the forum for posting your ideas.  Ideas are larger than a Twitter tweet and can delve into what you stand for.  Being in a social network, this enables a deeper level of collaboration around professional topics.
  • Provide value.  Follow various conversations and get the hang of what your circles are talking about.  When you feel like you can add value, jump in and do so.  It is a place to connect and bring value to others.

Explore this powerful app.  Make connections and business happen.

It is still early to see how far Plus will work to help you grow your business.  However, being integrated with the suite of Google’s offerings gives real advantage to this system compared to competitors.

Feel free to connect with me on my Plus account and let me know what you think.

 

Committing To Google Plus

Google Plus Don Dalrymple Profile

I have been working on my Google Plus systemGoogle Plus has been out of the gates for a while now.  The challenge of not being the first mover in a new space, especially social media, makes it harder for people to adopt.  After all, how many logins do we want or need?  And for me, the important question is whether it is useful and profitable.  Any new system means full commitment.

Google Plus does have what we have come to expect from Google products:

  • Clean
  • Responsive
  • Connected
  • Fun
  • Easy

I have not found much use for Facebook beyond reconnecting with past friends that are content with voyeurism.  It lacks a real place for me beyond personal fun to broadcast what is happening and check in on other people’s lives.

Twitter is cluttered and full of marketers.  It is great for seeing what is happening in the world.  The Twitter stream keeps me tuned in on what is relevant.  I still like this.

My blog here is where I live.  It serves my customers and readers well.  I can deliver value from substantive thinking around a topic without truncation.

I can see this is a promising place for rich conversation.  In addition, it is a product of the largest search engine company.  Thus, tying into SEO relevance is a huge draw.

I am still navigating the system to figure out the strategies which will work for me to bring value and get value.  It’s still filled with early adopters that tend to be interesting people.

I like Chris Brogan’s article here on how to get started on Google Plus.  Check it out.  I am following some of his guidance to cut through the noise.

The user experience has been great.  Now to see how the value of content and connection with others on this platform is truly relevant.  My suspicion is that as it grows and the SEO value is realized, the world will start shifting over at an even accelerated pace.

If you get a chance, add me to your Google Plus circles and let’s connect.

If you are using Google Plus, what are you observing about it that makes it valuable?  If you are not, what is holding you back?

Why I Am Not On LinkedIn Anymore

I agree with David Meerman Scott’s classic blog post, “Why I Am Not On LinkedIn” (David Meerman Scott removed the post and apparently joined LinkedIn, thus the link has been removed). I had been reading several of his books over the past several months and can appreciate his common sense approach to marketing.

For me, it’s important to stay focused.  Doing too many things creates more distraction and inhibits productivity, execution and focus.  It’s easy to do with all the new toys and technologies in the new economy.  I can understand the pull.  LinkedIn was one of those systems that has lost relevance over time.

I was tired of getting solicitations from recruiters, strangers and salespeople looking to leverage the ecosystem LinkedIn has created.  It’s more for them than it was for me.

Why I Am Not On LinkedIn

LinkedInThere used to be a time when the novel aspect of LinkedIn worked for me.  I could make connections and keep up my address book.  Of course, the world has changed dramatically as well.  My activities were focused on outbound marketing and selling then.

However, with the explosion of social media and content marketing, the process for selling has changed.  Products and services are largely bought, not sold.  The business I do comes from this concept and approach.  My blog here and my Twitter site drive inbound marketing leads and deals.  Many business owners, executives and entrepreneurs that want to work on a venture or hire me for systems, strategy and process consulting reach out.  They can easily Google me to find me and learn more about me.  They can read my thoughts and approach to business and strategy here.  It is my home base and where I have control of my own systems.

Social Media Strategies

I think that the social media avenues everyone chooses will depend on their markets, personalities and commitment.  Musicians should use Myspace.  Personalities should use Twitter.  There is some fit for LinkedIn depending on your focus, goals and approach.  My take is that most people don’t want to be bothered.  They do want value.  When they want something, they search for it and usually find what they are looking for.

It is good to take inventory periodically and refine your approach and renew your commitments.  If something is not working, then freeing up your bandwidth and mind space is so important in this attention economy.

What I Am Committed To

I am committed to providing leadership and strategy continually.  I do this by reading, writing and speaking.  My publishing platforms are via this blog primarily to help hone valuable content and help make a difference.  Time I place elsewhere has to always be measured by the return on investment.

My clients can find me.  Those that need to connect can find me.  In a sense the world has become flatter and our systems allow me to always stay “linked in.”

If you are feeling spread out, take inventory and renew your focus by cutting out what isn’t working.  When things change, I change.  What about you?

Feel free to comment below.

 

Twitter And Facebook In Your Business

It’s easy to post a Facebook status or Tweet.  It’s difficult to build something that is of true value with these easy tools.  Social media is a powerful distribution channel to point to your real work.  It is metawork; it is work which refers to your real work.

The real work is the value you provide day in and day out with your service or product offering.  Social media augments your real daily work by helping people pay attention and keep up.  It also creates another two-way channel of communication for interaction between you and your potential buyers and referral sources.

Don’t confuse building something of value with being a social media junkie.  Talking about something and delivering something are two different things entirely.  The goal should be to use the tools of your enterprise for what they are meant to do.  Social media is another system which should be part of your overall business that you are building.  It is an access point which needs to be nurtured and managed with care and creativity.

Your Story And Your Audience

Telling your story in an ongoing and engaging manner becomes as much a part of your allure and brand as delivering the goods.  Building something means there must be something which connects you to your audience in an ongoing way.

An audience is the greatest asset you can have for your business.  They are following and paying attention.  They are engaged with your story.  It is what differentiates your offering.  When you are embedded into your service or products, then you are irreplaceable in the mind of your customers.  It is what makes the essence of your brand work.

David Allen, the productivity guru of the book and movement, Getting Things Done, built something that has an international audience.  His story and approach is part of the message.  He sells books, workshops, coaching and consulting to businesses and business people worldwide.  His audience is tuned in and listening.

He makes use of social media as everyone does today, but his hub is his blog and newsletter.  These connect with his large audience in a consistent way.

Furthermore, he has a forum which helps reinforce the methodology for the thousands of practitioners of his productivity approach.

Social media augments his core content which is published to his eager audience.  He sends out Tweets and Facebook posts pointing back to events and his content to drive people further into his hub.

All the while, his story is continually being told in a personal way and magnified through social media and word-of-mouth evangelism by his audience.  It is a great example of building something, nurturing an audience and amplifying the brand and message via social media.  The core is always within the David Allen systems on his site.

Likewise, avoid getting into the social media business.  It is a tool which needs to play its role in building your audience which engages your story on your own content systems.  But be sure to use the full power of social media to build your brand and invite people into your story.

Using Twitter And Facebook

There are many books explaining the use of social media and online marketing strategies.  The focus of this book is not on those topics, though you can find much about the topic at my company’s blog, The AscendWorks Blog.  I do want to share some high level strategies that will help you use Twitter and Facebook practically.  These are the two leading social media platforms as of this writing and the millions of users on these platforms make them important to your strategy for promoting your enterprise.

Where Your Audience Hangs Out

The audiences on Twitter and Facebook are different and find certain personas more appealing than others.  I look at each platform as follows:

Twitter:

  • Business-to-Business (B2B) audience
  • Content focused
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Current events

Facebook:

  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C) audience
  • Relationship focused
  • Promotions and stories
  • Graphics and pictures attract

You may use both in your strategy.  The crowds, conversations and demeanors are different.  If you are a B2B business then you will want to focus heavily on Twitter.  If you sell software to accounting firms, books to business executives or copywriting services to small businesses, Twitter is an ideal way to promote your work and your knowledge.

If you are a B2C business, then Facebook allows you to create a social aspect and grouping of your fans.  Restaurants, sports teams and shoe companies fit in this realm.  They may have promotions and coupons to promote on a Facebook page as well as continual customer stories and pictures which tell their story.

Keeping your social profile and posts updated creates brand awareness.  Thus, be committed when picking your platform.

Of course, there are many other social media avenues such as LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Google Plus 1 and Yelp.  It’s hard to have a number 2 position.  The mass of users on the platform creates its value.  Thus, the biggest games are with Twitter and Facebook.  On the internet, it is merciless.  One platform typically wins.

If you are in a niche industry, then take a look at them.  My advice is to be sure you will remain committed.  It takes time and focus to keep these systems up.  It damages your brand when you let them go stale.  The mix you choose should be tried and then measured for effectiveness based on the traffic it drives to your main site and blog as well as pure revenue.

The real work of what you do needs to be positioned on your hub – your platforms, rather than Twitter or Facebook’s.  Use the latter two for driving attention to your information assets.

What are your thoughts?

Choose Good Twitter Usernames

When you are choosing a Twitter username, or handle, it is important to think strategically about the impacts this will have for your branding long-term.  You will undoubtedly have many followers and tweets over the course of time.  The username you use will be important for a variety of reasons.

Changing Your Twitter Username

When you set up your account, you can pick your handle and if it is taken, you will be presented with other suggestions.  If you have already set up your account, you can edit your username in your Settings menu:

Don Dalrymple Twitter

They will provide feedback whether the username is available or taken.

If Your Twitter Username Is Taken…

If your username is taken, but is inactive, then you can read Twitter’s Inactive Account Policy by clicking here.  If an account has been inactive for a period of six months, they will release this in bulk.  If this is the case, you can reclaim this as well when it is released.

There are also guidelines if your username has a trademark which you can use to appeal for consideration of transfer.

If you want to track the usage of a username, TwitterCounter has a tool to track availability here.  Simply enter your name and email address to be notified if it becomes available.

Twitter Usernames For SEO

There are a few important guidelines and strategies when picking your handle for your branding and marketing strategies:

  1. Use keywords.  These can be industry keywords which help you get found on Google search.
  2. Use your name.  You want to own your name.  When someone searches for you, your Tweets will be indexed under your name.
  3. Use your company name.  Your company name may be a distinct account.  Be sure the bio contains information also of who is doing the Tweeting on your team.  It brands your company and indexes with Google.
  4. Use a derivative of your name.  If your name is taken, then use an underscore or adjective to augment your name like @therealdondalrymple to help your followers see your url with the respective name of your company or yourself.

As with all of your social media and online marketing strategies, using strong keywords will have an impact ongoing as you create authority on your handle as well as on your inbound marketing landing sites and blogs.

Are you happy with your username?

Buyers Or Friends?

Activity should never be confused with results, and friends should not be confused with buyers.  The intoxication of today’s marketing with social media is reminiscent of the dot com fever years ago.

Since when did being popular online become more important than what matters most for a business- revenue?  Being social can feel rewarding, but often, the reward is not tied to a sale.  Friends may never materialize as buyers because the benign engagement via social media only creates awareness about you.

The subsequent and necessary steps of an effective buying process facilitates the journey of strangers to friends to buyers.

Building friends is part of the equation.  This is easy.  Friends represent clicks.  Conversions are the hard part.  They require attention to preferences which the buyer is broadcasting via digital body language. This digital body language is represented in the responses of your marketing automation system set up to build trust and drive a sale of your value proposition.

Your social campaigns are a means to engaging your buying process if your marketing systems and approach are set up to win business.  Automated buying is essential in a world of popularity and inattention.  It connects, engages and closes in a personalized, relevant and timely way.