The key to making any social media site work for you so you can become memorable is to use the site regularly. That means posting something, either an update or a question/answer, every seven days at a minimum. Why? Because the more you use any social media site, the higher your “Google Juice” will be—in other words, Google’s algorithm will notice your regularity and you’ll get a higher ranking with Google than you would otherwise. Additionally, the more you interact and post on these sites, the more prominent you’ll become within your network—your name recognition in your industry will grow.
Remember that these days, people will look you or your company up online. That’s why you want a positive presence in the social media scene. For example, in 2008, I Googled one of my executive coaching clients Steve, a petroleum engineer, and got six results. Today I Googled his name in quotes with the words “Oil and Gas” after it, and I saw 475 results. All he did was put up a LinkedIn page, offer his expertise to others, and speak on his specialty in the US and Canada.
Even if you are an engineer, scientist, or doctor and already work over 60 hours a week, you still need to be present in the virtual world. If you can just pick one thing to do, pick LinkedIn. Then join a couple of groups so people with like minds can see what you are all about. If you have a recent article, post it. You don’t have to spend more than 30 to 60 minutes a week to at least be visible.
For aggressive, results-oriented business leaders, staying active on LinkedIn in particular is of paramount importance because you always want have an eye out for top talent. Realize that currently there are over 90 million LinkedIn users worldwide. One new user joins every second of every day. And unlike social media sites like Facebook where many people use the site for entertainment, all LinkedIn users are business minded. That means the connections you develop on LinkedIn are more likely to positively impact you or your company in some way, whether it’s now or in the future. Therefore, if you want better or more professional business relationships, LinkedIn is the place to be. Even if you have a business profile on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn makes a perfect addition to your personal or business branding efforts.
The following is the fourth in a series on social media.
Even though this is business, it’s okay to put some personal flair to your profile. After all, no one is all business all the time. Chances are you have some interesting hobbies or other areas of your life that people find intriguing. For example, maybe you collect antique cars, breed prize-winning poodles, tend a vineyard in your backyard, or have the city’s largest yo-yo collection. These are interesting tidbits of yourself that you can weave into your profile to make you appear more “real.”
For example, I have a colleague who is a professor of Organizational Development. His post doctorate work was in Counseling Psychology and Human Development. He has a young daughter and a talented, lovely wife who runs a not-for profit organization. The picture you may have in your mind is that of a mellow, touchy-feely PhD who is highly abstract and doesn’t know much about the “real world.” Does that sound interesting or ho-hum?
What if I told you that he runs marathons, has made a profit year after year in his own business, and is a proud member of the US Marines Corps Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Team? And to top it all off, he loves McDonalds French Fries! Does that make him sound more down to earth and “real”?
So before you put up a boring bio, think carefully about what makes you different. Don’t be afraid to look real. People like to do business with interesting people.
Additionally, look at the tools and widgets the business networking sites make available to you and use them. You can do such things as post your reading list, link your blog, upload your Twitter feed, and many others. People can get to know you by these additional applications. Even better, they’re very user-friendly and easy to integrate into your business networking persona.]]>
The following is the third in a series on social media.
Many people think they’re going to get business from being on social media sites. While you can get business from your online activities, this shouldn’t be your ultimate purpose. Rather, your purpose should be to make people aware of who you are by sharing your expertise.
Any business networking site is a place for you to give, not just to get. So to get business from your social media activities, you have to contribute meaningful content. You can find many groups to belong to that have strong, relevant conversations going. If you post something in the discussion that’s smart and useful (good content), then chances are someone will ask to connect with you. Now you have one more person to share your message with.
Other examples of good content are asking thought-provoking questions, posting a motivational quote, and sharing a business tip. No matter what you post, if you get a reply, acknowledge the person for their feedback or contribution. Just as you can’t take people for granted in the brick and mortar world, you can’t take them for granted in the virtual world either. Everyone who reacts to your content is a potential relationship and you need to treat them as such.
When you’re replying to a question someone else poses, you want your answer to be in that first page that comes up. That way anyone who replies or scrolls after you will see your photo and business information, as most people go to the start of the conversation and read several responses before they dive in. With that said, pay close attention to what the question is and don’t answer anything capriciously. Always remember that your reply is posted forever. Make it work for you. Make it count.]]>
The following is the second in a series on social media.
The goal of social media is to build relationships, not just to collect contacts. If you’ve been on any business networking sites, you’ve likely seen people with 500+ connections on LinkedIn or 4,000 friends on Facebook. At first you may think, “Wow, that person sure knows a lot of people.” But does he or she really know those connections? Or is this person just collecting contacts?
Rather than accepting and sending invitations to anyone, be mindful of whom you connect with. When you do make a connection with someone, look over his or her profile and then add a personal note to the person where you indicate a shared interest, club, affiliation, etc. For example, you could respond to someone by writing, “I see you attended Northwestern University (or are a member of the Miami Business Association, or have a pet beagle…). I have a similar interest in that I (also attended Northwestern…am a member of the Tulsa Business Association….have a dog named Summer…etc.).” You get the idea. Find a shared interest to build upon that will make you stand out and open the lines for real communication later.]]>
Email isn’t the only way to get your message across and isn’t the only communication-oriented technology tool at your disposal. There’s also social networking (also called social media). I use both Facebook and LinkedIn for business.
And let’s face it…regardless of what anyone thinks about social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.), the fact is that they are here to stay. Sure, they’ll evolve over the years and will likely look very different than they do today, but ultimately they’ll still exist. And while purely “social” social networking sites can have a business aspect to them, it’s important for business owners, executives, and managers to have a strong presence on the tried and true business networking sites (example: LinkedIn).
Why? Because your clients, customers, colleagues and others look to business social networking sites for evidence of your character. For example, when a prospect is thinking about doing business with you or your company, he or she will likely do a social media search. Never before did average people have the ability to research anyone or any company they wanted. While in the past background checks were expensive and time-consuming, these days a few mouse clicks and keystrokes can pull up a goldmine of information. That’s why you and your company need to be on business networking sites…and you need to be using the e-networking sites effectively.]]>
As a leadership coach, I come in contact with managers and everyday leaders who have no idea what they want in life or who they are without their titles. They might be able to tell me their roles in life, like mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, but they don’t have the foggiest notion of why they “do what they do” and “act the way they act,” especially under pressure.
Many times they don’t know their values. They’ve never given thought to their personal “non-negotiable.” Many don’t have a moral compass, a set of values that they will NOT go beyond.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” While that’s a little harsh, it does make the point that you must examine your life. For what? To pinpoint your “moral compass” – your true values. Leaders know their values, why those values are important, how those values play out in life and most important what they will sacrifice for those values.
You can’t have one set of values in your work life and a different set in your personal life. Your values go with you everywhere. A mess up in one area of life can easily affect another. For example, it was a seemingly personal value that distracted and somewhat derailed Bill Clinton’s career, not a business value, which shows that values are not compartmentalized. So if you don’t examine your life and know what you stand for, you can easily get sidetracked.
Getting to know yourself starts with honesty – with others and especially with yourself. While most people have “cash register” honesty, meaning they’d never steal money from their employer, they aren’t always honest in other ways.
Perhaps they tell the world they value one thing and display something else. Their insides don’t match their outsides. For example, some people will tout the value of hard work and claim they work harder than anyone else. Yet when you look at their work behaviors, you find that they’re spending much of the day on long conversations about how busy and overwhelmed they are. Some spend a lot of time on social media – things that don’t advance the company. That’s not personal honesty or personal awareness.
I’d invite you to take a half-day – go to a quite place and think about what values you will sacrifice for. If you’d like a template, below is a link to a list of values. Pick 10 and then pare it down to 5. You’ll be amazed.
I Googled “List of Values” and they can be found at listofvalues.com. You’ll see by the length of the list why I suggested a half-day of alone time for you to pare your values down to the top 5!]]>
The following is the fifth and final tip on meeting pet peeves. For more information on what the Jean Kelley Leadership Alliance can do for you and your company, visit www.jeankelley.com/our-solutions.
Pet Peeve #5: Listening to Unprepared or Ineffective Speakers
Nothing is worse than listening to a monotone speaker who says “um” or “ah” every other word…or having someone start their portion of the meeting by saying, “I really didn’t prepare anything for this, so let’s just wing it.”
While everyone should speak and offer ideas at these meetings, some people may have to give more thoughtful, polished information. These people should be identified beforehand so they have time to prepare. This is crucial, because in most organizations, to be promoted you must have solid public speaking skills.
Additionally, if someone simply isn’t good at giving presentations, no matter how much preparation he or she does, that person needs to get support and training to become more effective. Granted, no one wants to tell a colleague, “You need to work on your public speaking skills,” but offering support to others will not only make meetings more effective, it will also make the company stronger.
Do Your Part
Business meetings are a mainstay in our work-world, so no matter what you think of them, they’ll never go away. Knowing this, isn’t it time we all work to avoid the top meeting pet peeves? If we all do our part, we can make meetings more enjoyable, more productive, and more meaningful for everyone involved. And that’s one kind of meeting everyone will love to attend.]]>
The following is the fourth meeting pet peeve in a weekly series of 5.
Pet Peeve #4 – Using PowerPoint When It’s Not Needed
PowerPoint is an essential business tool, but it’s not effective for all meeting types. Unfortunately, many people believe that ALL meetings require the use of PowerPoint. Not true! Typical information sharing meetings require a facilitator asking questions and everyone contributing in round-robin style. Watching someone read PowerPoint slides is not how these meetings should run. After all, if people simply needed to read pages of text, you could just send them the file and skip the meeting completely.
Of course, if your informational meeting needs more of people’s senses involved, then use PowerPoint to add that visual component. Likewise, if you’re combining everyone’s data and showing it in chart or graph form, PowerPoint is great. But don’t use PowerPoint just for the sake of it. Know why you’re using it, and then do it right.]]>
Pet Peeve #3: People Arriving Late to the Meeting
The following is the third meeting pet peeve in a weekly series of 5.
How many meetings have you arrived to on time, only to have the meeting start late as everyone waits for others to show up? Even worse, if the meeting does start on time, it restarts 10 minutes later when a few people straggle in. Rather than continue with the meeting, the facilitator attempts to bring the late comers up to speed by rehashing everything that was just covered.
But why penalize the people who arrived on time? A better approach is to close the door when the meeting starts and put a note on the door that says, “Meeting in Progress.” Those who arrive late will know to sneak in as inconspicuously as possible…and, hopefully, they won’t make the same mistake next time. Additionally, unless the late person is the boss, don’t restart the meeting later. When meeting start times are enforced and honored, people will make the effort to be on time.]]>
The following is the second meeting pet peeve in a weekly series of 5.
Pet Peeve #2: Lack of Facilitation
Some people mistakenly believe that meetings run on their own—that all you have to do is get a group of people together in a room and they’ll automatically produce good results. Wrong! Getting the people together is the easy part; leading them in a productive discussion takes skill. That’s why solid meeting facilitation is so critical.
The facilitator’s job is to control the flow of the meeting, to help attendees work together, to provide structure to the meeting, and to get everyone involved. When attendees are allowed to have their cell phones ringing during the meeting, when one or two people are permitted to dominate the conversation, or when it’s acceptable for key people to not contribute to the discussion, good facilitation is lacking. Therefore, make sure all your meetings have an effective facilitator at the helm.]]>