Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/16/11

sm_expert.pngI Will Never Hire a “Social Media Expert,” and Neither Should You
Lets start things off with my favorite post of the week. Peter Shankman provides a wake up call for the so called “Social Media Experts” and the companies that have made the poor choice of hiring them in this entertaining post that puts everything in perspective.

Study: Marketers Reporting Social Media ROI of 100, 200, Even 1,000 Percent
Aprimo CMO Lisa Arthur highlights four key findings from MarketingSherpa‘s 2011 Social Marketing Benchmark Report via this post on Forbes.com.

6 Ways to Boost Return on Twitter
So you’ve found your groove on Twitter, but are your efforts as effective as they could be? Riverside Marketing Strategies President, Heidi Cohen provides “Six strategies to boost your Twitter return” via this post on Clickz.com.

7 Guidelines To Taking Your Global Brand Local Via Social Media. And Vice Versa
Enjoy some great nuggets of advice on how to make your big company more personable, or how to make your small company look bigger, via this post on MarketingVox.com.

Unfollow, Unfriend, Retweet: AP Stylebook Adds Another 21 Words
Keep your writing in check by getting a quick brush-up on the latest social media-oriented additions to the AP Stylebook via this post from Ann Handley on MPDailyFix.com.

 

 

“New Marketing” and “Social PR” are Simple. Talk With Me.

I constantly see chatter, blogs, articles and tweets out there about “New marketing” and “How PR works – or if it’s even necessary” now that social media is so mainstream, easy and accessible. Oy, I am so tired of the misconceptions that social media has somehow replaced these important roles in business. But I’m even more tired of everyone over-thinking this whole “new marketing” thing. Is it really that complicated? Here are a few quick “rules” to it that I think anyone can grasp:

- Social media is a tactic tied into a larger communications strategy. Key word: strategy. Have one. Actually, have more than one, because it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that there are different communications strategies across different parts of your business. Communicating with customers about a service issue is not the same as trying to sell to a prospect or get the attention of a journalist. Make social media a part of how your business communicates. But don’t tell me your “social media plan” replaces solid marketing and PR.

- Marketing has changed in that marketers (and others, like politicians) now have to talk with their audience, not just at them. One of my favorite quotes on this is from Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff in the book Groundswell: “Marketers don’t understand channels where you have to talk and listen at the same time.” That was in 2009, and I think that while many marketers are now understanding that they need to be on social channels, they still don’t know how to start actual conversations that lead to valuable interactions between their business and its audiences.

- New marketers (and PR execs) make their audiences feel important. You can only do this by building a two-way relationship. That means that you listen as much as you “talk,” even when the “conversation” gets uncomfortable (i.e., complaints about your business or products). Be prepared to handle both your brand champions and your detractors – but always let them know how important they are by talking with them. Ask questions, recognize them, make it clear in your content (Twitter updates, Facebook posts, videos, what have you) that you’ve listened to them. Need an easy example? Think Old Spice. People watched, listened, shared because they were a part of it – feeling important and recognized – even if but for a second.

- Share great content. You’ve heard this a zillion times -  but maybe it’s more important to say share interactive and meaningful content that others will want to share as well. Oh, and it should be relevant to your business, whether it’s meant to be a revenue-generator, a branding campaign or simply an awareness builder. A favorite example of mine is Life is Good Radio. It’s sticky content that ties in perfectly to their culture and company mission. If you don’t know how to build good content, get help. Seriously – without it, you are not marketing in today’s world.

- Remember, it’s not that complicated. It’s just changed. Quite simply, you can’t dance if you don’t stop leaning against the wall hoping someone will talk to you. You have to start the conversation. If you don’t know what this means, you probably shouldn’t be in marketing in the first place.

What are your best tips for “new” marketers and social PR?

The Way I Am Working Isn’t Working

SprinterAt least that is what I found out at my favorite SXSW session, “The 90 Minute Solution: Live Like a Sprinter,” with Tony Schwartz, bestselling author of “Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work and Live.”  If you are like me, always tired, always working too long but not getting enough accomplished and being distracted by too many things, then this is for you.

Most people would consider me a workaholic – I work hard, I’m not afraid of long hours and I thrive on pressure and on getting things done.  But here is what I found out. I am living by the myth that the best way to get more done is to work more hours.

I am operating like a marathon runner. In my life, I am working and living in a long distance race with no end. And as a marathoner, I am reserving energy – always holding some back, because I don’t know when I will need it. The result is I am never fully engaged in a task, and since there is no end, I am never fully engaged in rest. According to Tony, we are not meant to be “always on” like a computer – our bodies are meant to pulse rhythmically between working and re-energizing. He says, “the sad truth is that most of us don’t do either one very well.”

What I need to do is work and live like a sprinter. A sprinter is fully engaged for the entire race. A sprinter knows there is an end and can see it, so they can put everything they have into that race and then they rest at the end.

According to Tony, the best way to live like a sprinter is to build in a rhythmic workflow with intermittent renewal.   Tony explained in detail how sleep and rejuvenation are more important than food, and why our bodies demand recovery during the day every 90 minutes. His advice boiled down to this:

  1. Go to sleep earlier, because you can’t get up later – most of us are already getting up at the very last minute possible, but aren’t getting to sleep when we can. He said to prepare for sleep and make it ritualistic so that you ensure that you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Spend your energy more skillfully. Work in 90 minute bursts like you are sprinting in a race. Pick an activity and completely focus on that activity for a full 90 minutes. At the end of the 90 minutes, take a break. This could be taking a walk, breathing deeply, stretching, a 10 minute nap – but something that will allow you to rejuvenate and be ready for the next sprint.
  3. Do the most important task you have first. Chose this task the night before so that you can sleep knowing you have a plan. Give that task your full attention for the first 90 minutes of your day and you will see yourself getting more done.

What resonated with me most about his talk was when he said – we’ve lost our finish lines and we need to reinsert them in our lives. When we are engaged we need to be fully engaged. When we are resting we need to be fully engaged in rest.

I once asked my dad when I was a kid, “at work, how do you know when you are done for the day?” He told me, “I’m never done.” Like him, I have no finish lines. So I am going to give this a try, I am hoping it will make me be more productive, less distracted, better rested, and probably a much more enjoyable person to be around.

I’m interested – do you work like a marathoner or a sprinter?  Do you see any value to this advice and do you think it could make you better at your job and your personal life?

Note: I wrote this in 90 minutes. Time for a break.

Photo credit: Sheffield Tiger

Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/02/11

Measure Metrics6 Social Media Metrics for SMBs To Track
Congrats! You’ve finally launched your brand on a few social platforms and you’re starting to make some headway with your efforts – but, how do you really know if you’re doing it right or if its working? Tracking a few basic metrics will help keep you on track, and Lisa Barone suggests a few to help get you started via this post on SmallBizTrends.com.

Social Media And The Modern Startup
Fast Company Expert Blogger Aaron Arnold explains how “social media allows early adopters to share the experience without the risk of being the entrepreneur creating it” via his own personal experience.

Social Media Policies: Let’s Talk About What You Should Do
Creating a social media policy for your organization can be a tricky task. Its almost like you need to be controlling without being controlling, right? Most organizations base their policies on telling employees what they can’t do when it comes to using social media. This GigaOm.com post from 

Video and Social Media Marketing: Getting C-Suite Executives To Lead

How Barbie & Ken Were Reunited by Social Media
Mashable‘s Erica Swallow began writing about Mattel’s social campaign to reunite Barbie and Ken earlier this year, and I selected her initial post as a Persuasive Pick back in January. This week, she follows up with more detail about the campaign and shares the results of its success.

Image Credit: RambergMediaImages

Most sincerely and lovingly yours, Lisa – How should we sign off on business emails?

As PR experts, we field hundreds of emails a day, at least. Recently, I have become obsessed with how people sign off on their emails and with finding the best way. It seems like there should be some kind of industry standard on how to sign a business email, or maybe a few choices for clients, your boss, your co-workers, your vendors, etc.  But, given the variety I see daily, it’s clear that no one agrees on one best way.

I asked about this topic on Twitter and Facebook recently and the answers were not only varied, but in some cases, the topic got heated, especially when I explained my unadulterated hatred for “Best.”  Who knew people were so passionate about the way they sign off on emails.

Here are some of the responses I received:

  • Most sincerely yours
  • Thanks
  • Best
  • All the best
  • Best Regards
  • Warm Regards
  • Regards
  • Warmest Regards
  • Thank you
  • Yours truly
  • Sincerely
  • Cheers
  • Truly
  • Very truly
  • Warmly
  • None

I am really not a fan of any of these, but I don’t really have a better answer either.  I know that “best” or anything describing the warmness of the sender’s regards is like nails on a chalk board to me. I tend to use “thanks” for an informal email and “thank you” for more formal. But my colleague recently hipped me to her favorite, the “~ plus first name” sign off. I love it because it skips the awkwardness of pledging yourself to belonging “truly” to your copy paper vendor, keeps a business tone to the email, but doesn’t look too formal or unfriendly.

I am going to start a petition for “~ plus first name” to become the industry standard for signing business emails.  Who is with me? And who has other sign offs to suggest or ridicule? Please post your thoughts here.

~ Lisa