Saturday, September 22, 2012

7 Random Rules to Live By

Here’s a confession… I love reading self-help articles and blogs (the more the merrier) and do so whenever a spare minute presents itself (like when avoiding all those work projects I should be tackling...)

Articles or posts with the topic of “Rules to Live By” are especially compelling.

Some of the material is timeless and profound, such as Dalai Lama's 18 Rules to Live By.

Other times, though, self-help "rules to live by" blog posts remind me of snacking on organic Tortilla chips:  they might give the trappings of being beneficial,  but ultimately one is ingesting sustenance of questionable nutrition.  

Offered more under the guise of "self-help as a snack," noted here are '7 Random Rules to Live By' - rules that have been swimming around in my head for months and months: 

  1. Any day that one has the chance to audibly utter the phrase “Harrumph” is a good day.
  2. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between Bluegrass-style banjo or Clawhammer-style banjo (it could happen...),  always go for the Clawhammer.
  3. “Yee-haw” is better than “Woot’ as an online exclamation.
  4. Remember that the power of good habits trumps force of sheer will.

  5. If you ever find yourself in a group sing-along (again, one never knows!), sing loud and with passion, no matter your abilities. Never just mouth the words.
  6. Don’t ever purchase a dog. Dogs adopted from shelters or humane societies are the best dogs on the planet.
  7. Always remember: neither red wine nor coffee contains Gluten.
Everybody must have a few 'Random Rules to Live By' - please share them below! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

5 Things to Love About LinkedIn

More than 160 million professionals can’t be wrong!
The globe's business professionals are joining LinkedIn at a rate of 2 members per second. Amazing when you figure that’s nearly 170,000 new LinkedIn members every 24 hours.
The BtoB Blog has looked at LinkedIn before, and our enthusiasm hasn’t waned a bit.
LinkedIn combines the best features of social media and business networking to develop personal and business connections with a range of colleagues.  It has also been amazing to see the new features regularly rolled out or accessed via LinkedIn Labs.  
From networking to job searching, from sharing best practices and thought leadership to keeping current with industry trends, there’s a lot to love with LinkedIn.  Here are five standouts:
  1. Connect one on one. LinkedIn lets you virtually network with individuals related to your field.  Even when you’re not job-hunting, it pays to connect with a professional network. As an example, LinkedIn has let me maintain professional connections with folks I’ve met at marketing conferences a few years back.  As a solo practioner, I’ve also been able to share information and pose questions to individuals in my network – something of great value when you work on your own. This wouldn't have been possible pre-LinkedIn.
  2. Connect with groups.  With  LinkedIn Groups you quickly discover the most popular discussions in your field.  LinkedIn Groups let you engage with influential people in your field. 
  3. Connect with information. LinkedIn quickly delivers fast access to the latest articles in your field.  The introduction of LinkedIn Today a year or so back was by far one of the best features the service provides.   Have you noticed that every time you log in to LinkedIn, you see top articles shared by people in your network? You can see who shared the article and what they said about it. Your homepage is customized to your industry, network, and areas of interest. LinkedIn does the work for you, curating the most timely and informative articles your peers are reading.  Priceless!
  4. Get email updates. Keep track of your group with cool weekly emails.  If you opt in, LinkedIn automatically sends out a summary of what your group is doing – new jobs, new titles, new posts etc. For those of us who live and die by the email inbox, this is a fast way to stay connected without even logging into LinkedIn.
  5. See open jobs of interest.  This is a no brainer. LinkedIn job listings and the ability to save job searches or get job alerts (free!) are some of the more robust features of LinkedIn.  If you fully complete your profile, you will automatically see job listings that match your skill set.  Again, priceless!

While there is a lot to love with LinkedIn, this article does a good job of aggregating some annoying behaviors 


All in all, since I got so fed up with Facebook (read this insight here) and deactivated my account, LinkedIn is now the go-to social media community! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

5 Things You Should Never Do on Twitter

I know, I know.  This post has such a negative slant!  Next time I’ll frame this all more positively.

But after a few years in the Twittersphere on behalf of various business-to-business clients, and a few blog posts here and there about Twitter, compiled below are five tips to help companies make the most of their Twitter programs.

1) Don’t wing it when developing your Twitter bio.  The first task faced when developing a Twitter profile is to create a Twitter bio.  Be sure to include concise text that portrays an accurate picture of who you are, and use keywords that relate to your business or profile. By all means, include a URL to your website in your bio. More great tips here

2) Don’t be fake! Don’t be tempted to buy fake twitter followers.  What’s the point?  Yes, having over 5000 followers might make your Twitter presence look impressive, but if the goal is relevant, social engagement, the chance to interact with your fake Twitter followers is Zippo.   Read this if you need more proof

3) Don’t let a Tweet go out without a relevant hashtag. More details about hashtags can be found here. Take time to explore relevant hashtags that relate to your area or interests. Take time to explore tools such as “What the Hashtag”.  Are you Tweeting about science, or dog training, or retirement planning ?  Believe it or not, there are relevant hashtags that will link you to a larger conversation in each area.

4) Don’t sound like a robot. You Tweets should be human, timely.  Social media assumes you are “social” … don’t treat Twitter as another place to distribute press releases or generate leads.  Connect, engage with folks where it makes sense.

5) Don’t set it and forget it.   A previous post suggests that Twitter is a powerful branding tool.  As that post notes: “what does it say about a “brand” when the Twitter feed hasn’t been updated in over 12 months?  It doesn’t say anything good that is for sure.   If you start a social media marketing program, by all means maintain it in a timely fashion.  It is a detriment to the brand a Twitter account goes through a ‘set it and forget it” process, and the last post was over a year ago.

A Promise
Next time I’ll be more positive and share “to dos” …in the meantime, please share any Twitter “don'ts” you might suggest…  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Like Dr. Seuss Says: The Shorter, The Better

The writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Dr. Seuss 
I’ve written a lot about blah blah text, marketing buzzwords and the fact that in business-to-business communications, less is truly more. 

And here I go again!

Concise text makes it easier for readers (prospects) to comprehend meaning, since most folks scan marketing-related content and rarely read every word.

Especially on a website, web visitors are impatient and don’t wade through overly promotional text.

The following is a fictionalized example of website copy which might be rewritten for  a client project.  This example might seem over the top, but it is a common scenario.  While the actual wording has been changed to protect the innocent, the essence of the rewrite is authentic.

Each version shares the same message – but one version is nearly 100 words longer. Is shorter better?  You decide.

ORIGINAL "About XYZCleaners" – 132 words:
Since 1998, XYZCleaners has provided comprehensive custodial services to help the area’s leading financial institutions, retail stores and education institutions access high quality custodial care.  With a unique perspective on custodial services,  XYZCleaners was a pioneer in bringing improved custodial services to their regional market.  Meeting the rising demand of companies looking for new and better ways to serve their customers, XYZCleaner’s vision and commitment to customer service and custodial innovation have helped the company become an industry leader in custodial care. Today, with over 120 employees, XYZCleaners provides the largest selection of services of any custodial service provider in the area. Our team of highly trained custodians and cleaning professionals are proud to offer a diverse set of janitorial services and customized programs for all building, retail and office cleaning needs.

Revised "About XYZCleaners" – 38 words:
XYZCleaners provides the largest selection of quality custodial services in the XYZ City area. For over a decade, leading financial institutions, retail stores and education institutions turn to XYZCleaners for customized services delivered by highly trained cleaning professionals.