John’s Law

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If you are a regular ready of my blog, you know that I recently participated in the Orange County Social Media Summit.  The cornerstone of my presentation at the #OCSMS, and my business in general is promoting others more than I promote myself.  I still promote my own business through various channels and communities, but promoting others is more important to me. 

I believe in promoting others so much that I have developed a scheduled activity to ensure it is part of my business. I call it John’s Law.  The basis of the law is this: spend one day per week promoting others more than myself.

Let’s take a look at how I approach this:

John’s Law

  • One day per week, I promote someone from my network or community.
  • This promotion focuses on their business or a cause they are passionate about or possibly an upcoming event.
  • I enlist others throughout my network and communiites to re-share and Retweet.
  • I ask permission first, and then ask if there may be areas of their business that needs more attention or more promotion.
  • I follow up by asking them who they need to meet.

This is old-fashioned, referral based marketing. I am promoting others, after gaining their permission and finding out what they need or want promoted and then I further the promotion by introducing these professionals to my network and communities. 

You may be asking yourself, “what does he get out of this?” I’m glad you asked. I get the satisifaction of promoting others; or doing something that’s not about me. It provides my friends and associates with an opportunity to gain new contacts and potentially business opportunities while building my relationship with the person that is being promoted.

So, I ask you; Who Are You Promoting Today?

Social Media Misconceptions

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If you are a business owner, I strongly suggest you stop resisting social media as a platform to build relationships,  your brand and to connect with clients!  Just as businesses resisted building and promoting a website, a portion of them are now resisting social media.Why?  Is it because you don’t understand it or you think it’s a fad?  It isn’t a fad. Is it fear of the unknown?  You have more resources available at your fingertips to learn about social media and how it can help your business starting today!  Guess what?  Your competition is already involved with social media and if you can’t be found online today, you are not found period.Before you jump into social media, let’s clear up some misconceptions.Social media is inexpensive, or even FREE! We need to put this misconception to rest once and for all.  Yes, many of the tools and the sites that are involved with social media are free to sign up and use.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendfeed and others do not charge you to sign up and create an account, but you will discover, that is where the free part ends.It takes time to properly create these profiles and to maintain them.  It takes time to develop and produce content; to refine what is working and what is not. Social media is and should be part of your marketing campaign.  As a business owner you need to make this plan part of your overall business plan.  Some companies spend as little as a few thousand dollars on a social media campaign. Others spend upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 or more.  This is a form of advertising and marketing your company; tools for building your brand.  Treat it as such, budget for it and plan for it.  You didn’t go into business without a business plan (did you) so do not start a social media campaign without a plan.Anyone can build your campaign for you. Well, if you spend any time on Twitter, you will realize that thousands of “experts” on social media are promoting themselves.  You will discover social media “experts” that barely have two-thousand followers; so remember this, there are no experts.  We are all students of social media and it changes so quickly that no one can become an expert.I recall a conversation with a retail store owner about his website.  In an effort to save money, the store owner was having a local high school kid design and launch his site.  I visited his store six months later and the site had just launched;  three months behind schedule.  Approximately one year later, a Google search, with specific parameters included that relate to his business and that should have been keywords for his business, resulted in his site being found….on page three. Was the cost savings worth the amount of lost business to his shop because consumers couldn’t find his site or his store?  Do you go past page one on a Google search?  Hint: consumers typically do not.I use the previous story to highlight the importance of hiring a true professional to build and launch your successful social media campaign. A campaign that is integrated with your marketing efforts as well as your website. You should also interview the person or firm that you decide to choose as a partner! Have they created successful campaigns in the past? Do they integrate video into their campaigns? What does their portfolio look like? Ask for references and specifics of those clients they have worked with successfully.You can make a big splash in short amount of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and typically your social media campaign will not make a big splash or build a strong or loyal following in a short amount of time.  It can, but those are exceptions to the rule, not the norm. If you are already a star or have a big name in business, then you can make a big splash; if not, it takes slow and steady work. Twitter is great for building a following and driving traffic to your site, your blog, your website.  Use video to acquaint your followers with your company, products, services and staff; but remember it takes time!You can handle a social media campaign internally. Maybe. Most companies rarely employ personnel that are well versed and experienced in social media campaigns.  Even if they have the experience, do they have the time?  What do you pay them to do and how much?  Run the numbers and then hire an experienced person or firm.  Another advantage to using an outside person or firm?  Their contacts and their network. Chances are, it’s larger than yours.  Do you do your own business taxes?  Do you represent your own company in legal matters?  Why would you try to run a social media campaign internally without the right people, with the right experience?People will automatically find you. That misconception reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, Doing a good job around here is like peeing in a dark suit, It makes you feel warm but nobody notices” Jason Bolt. People will not automatically find you, but word of mouth, or spread by the click (mouse) can help!  Using tools like Twitter, StumbleUpon or Digg helps, but your network, combined with traffic driven by the professional you partner with for your campaign, will help the world find you!You can’t measure social media results. Sure you can. Just as you can measure traffic to your website and responses to advertisements in traditional media, you can measure social media results.  Using Google Trends along with other analytics can provide you specific statistics on who is finding you, who is clicking on your links and sites and how well your campaign is working. With the recent changes, you can find out the number of views, clicks, demographic breakdowns and more on your Facebook Fan Pages.Approach a social media campaign just as you would any other aspect of your business; carefully, with planning and the right professionals involved.Those are my thoughts. What say you?

An Insider???s Guide to Social Media Etiquette

Thank you Chris Brogan for this post and for graciously letting me share it with my readers.

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I receive a lot of questions about various points of etiquette with regards to social media. I also observe instances where I wish people knew some of the more common etiquette, because they seem like wonderful people, who maybe have made a mistake because they didn’t know better. To that end, I thought I’d give a brief set of ideas around social media etiquette. You’re very welcome to add to these in the comments. There will be a mix of do’s and don’ts, and remember this above all else: you’re doing it wrong.

Social Media Etiquette: Your Appearance

  • Your avatar picture shouldn’t be a logo. We don’t meet logos at parties, do we? You can include a logo, but make it you.
  • Unless you’re a fictional character, more often than not, your avatar should be you. Amazing Simpson-like renditions of you are interesting for about four hours.
  • Your Facebook profile pic can be not you, but it often means that others might not accept your friend request. It feels creepy friending a four year old kid (avatar).
  • Your picture can be you from 10 or 15 years ago, but that first face to face meeting is going to be jarring.
  • It doesn’t take a lot of work to take a decent pic. Why use those “me cut out from posing with someone while I have red eyes” photos?

Social Media Etiquette: Friending

  • You’re not obligated to follow/friend anyone. No matter what. Not even your mother. (I follow my mother, btw).
  • If you decide to unfollow someone, don’t make a big stink and announce why. Just leave.
  • It’s okay to let the competition follow you. It’s okay to follow the competition.
  • Famous people don’t always want to follow back. I’m looking at you, Justin Bieber!
  • You can set your own rules on Facebook. I’m in the process of moving everyone to a fan page and just keeping VERY close family and friends.

Social Media Etiquette: Conversation

  • Commenting about other people’s stuff and promoting other people’s stuff is very nice.
  • Retweeting people’s praise of you comes off as jerky. Just thank them.
  • If you retweet something interesting, always give credit for who found it first.
  • Facebook wall comment streams can get long. Don’t grumble. If you’re along for the ride, it’ll end some day.
  • Promote others more often than you promote yourself. My long-standing measure is 12:1. (If it doesn’t work at first, it’s because maybe you’re not sincere in your promoting of others).
  • Listening is important and commenting is important. Be the #1 commenter on your blog. (See next one)
  • It’s okay to NOT comment back for every single comment you receive. It’s nice when you can respond, but don’t litter the comments with a bunch of “Thanks, Judy.” People know you care, if you’re doing it right.
  • If you are talking about someone in a blog post, link to them. Steve Garfield is a pro at this.
  • If you’re really nice, you’ll think about link text and help them even more by linking to Internet video expert Steve Garfield. Make sense?
  • Links do matter to Google and to the people you care about. When you can, give them a link.

    Social Media Etiquette: Disclosure

    (Note: I’ve written about disclosure before).

    • If you’re writing about a client, add (client) to the tweet/post/update.
    • If you’re selling me something with an affiliate link, disclose that in the tweet/post/update.
    • If there’s a material reason (or perception of such) that you want me to take an action or click a link, tell me.
    • Tell me once in the post, and once again on a disclosure page. I use part of my about page for disclosures. See also: one of my other favorite disclosure pages (for cheekiness).
    • Make sure your audience comfortably knows your motives, and everything goes better.

    Social Media Etiquette: Promoting

    • Promote as if you’re at a cocktail party. It’s not the same as your email blast list.
    • Promote others, and it’s much more likely people will help promote you when it’s your turn.
    • Leave room for retweets. Writing 139 characters won’t get you anywhere.
    • Promoting on Facebook is MUCH nicer on my wall than in my private messages. (Do you agree?)
    • It’s probably okay to promote something 4x a day on a social network, so that you hit all the time zones appropriately. In the last hour, you can always give it a couple more pushes, but that’s about it.
    • Direct messaging people for promotion help is often annoying. It happens much more than you know.
    • Your cause isn’t always our cause. If we don’t want to help, don’t badger.
    • Things where you have to get 1,000 tweets to raise money are litter on Twitter. Things to get 1,000 “likes” on Facebook are fine. (Remember, however, that a “like” gives your demographic data to the thing that you’ve liked, plus permission for that page to message you privately.)

    Social Media Etiquette: Content Production

    • You can post as often as you want on your blog. It’s your blog. Monthly will probably fade from our memory. Weekly could work. Daily is my favorite. Some people post many times a day. It’s up to you.
    • You can tweet as often as you want, but people unfollow “noisy” tweeters (I get unfollowed often).
    • You can update Facebook often, and if you’re running pages, you might want to update 3-4 times a day, I’m starting to observe.
    • Depending on your blog’s purpose, be wary of over-selling. (I ran into this personally.) Make sure you’re still providing great community value.
    • If you find great content from other places, use it only after you understand whether you have permission to do so, and under the terms that the people have set.
    • If you’re linking and sharing someone else’s blog post (which is good to do), it’s also wonderful when you add something to it. Add some commentary. Add a thought or two as to why it matters to your community.
    • If someone’s work inspires your own post, it’s a nice thing to “hat tip” them with a link to the post that inspired you, somewhere in the post (usually down at the bottom).
    • If you go a long time between blog updates, don’t write a “sorry I haven’t written lately” post. No one cares. Just publish something good.

    Social Media Etiquette: Sharing is Caring

  • Every blog I know has a share/like/tweet/stumble button at the bottom or somewhere. They’re there for a reason. If you like the article, pushing those buttons is a “tip jar” for the artist. Push it. It doesn’t take long.
  • If you’re reading in Google Reader, sharing is as simple as “[SHIFT] S” and that goes to everyone who reads your shared items.
  • Tell the blogger when you love something they’ve done. People’s #1 complaint to me when they’re starting out blogging is that they lack any feedback. It’d take you 30 seconds to do, and would change a person’s perspective for a whole day.
  • Comments in Twitter are temporary moments in a stream. Comments on the blog post itself are forever, in the best (and worst) of ways.
  • The web thrives on links and social sharing. The more YOU do to participate, the more people will create material for free for you to enjoy.

    Your Mileage Will Vary

    For every idea above, there’s an exception. For every idea above, there’s a great reason to do the opposite. If you’re doing it differently than above, you’re not wrong. You’re doing it your way. Okay, I lied: you’re doing it wrong.I look forward to your thoughts, disagreements, counter-posts, additional thoughts, sharing, and more.

  • John’s Thoughts

    Chris nails the topic of Social Media Etiquette; and if you think about it, most of what we are talking about here is common sense.  I believe one of the powers of social media is the fact that we can support and promote each other.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take effort!What are your thoughts?

    An Insider’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette

    Thank you Chris Brogan for this post and for graciously letting me share it with my readers.

    I receive a lot of questions about various points of etiquette with regards to social media. I also observe instances where I wish people knew some of the more common etiquette, because they seem like wonderful people, who maybe have made a mistake because they didn’t know better. To that end, I thought I’d give a brief set of ideas around social media etiquette. You’re very welcome to add to these in the comments. There will be a mix of do’s and don’ts, and remember this above all else: you’re doing it wrong.

    Social Media Etiquette: Your Appearance

    • Your avatar picture shouldn’t be a logo. We don’t meet logos at parties, do we? You can include a logo, but make it you.
    • Unless you’re a fictional character, more often than not, your avatar should be you. Amazing Simpson-like renditions of you are interesting for about four hours.
    • Your Facebook profile pic can be not you, but it often means that others might not accept your friend request. It feels creepy friending a four year old kid (avatar).
    • Your picture can be you from 10 or 15 years ago, but that first face to face meeting is going to be jarring.
    • It doesn’t take a lot of work to take a decent pic. Why use those “me cut out from posing with someone while I have red eyes” photos?

    Social Media Etiquette: Friending

    • You’re not obligated to follow/friend anyone. No matter what. Not even your mother. (I follow my mother, btw).
    • If you decide to unfollow someone, don’t make a big stink and announce why. Just leave.
    • It’s okay to let the competition follow you. It’s okay to follow the competition.
    • Famous people don’t always want to follow back. I’m looking at you, Justin Bieber!
    • You can set your own rules on Facebook. I’m in the process of moving everyone to a fan page and just keeping VERY close family and friends.

    Social Media Etiquette: Conversation

  • Commenting about other people’s stuff and promoting other people’s stuff is very nice.
  • Retweeting people’s praise of you comes off as jerky. Just thank them.
  • If you retweet something interesting, always give credit for who found it first.
  • Facebook wall comment streams can get long. Don’t grumble. If you’re along for the ride, it’ll end some day.
  • Promote others more often than you promote yourself. My long-standing measure is 12:1. (If it doesn’t work at first, it’s because maybe you’re not sincere in your promoting of others).
  • Listening is important and commenting is important. Be the #1 commenter on your blog. (See next one)
  • It’s okay to NOT comment back for every single comment you receive. It’s nice when you can respond, but don’t litter the comments with a bunch of “Thanks, Judy.” People know you care, if you’re doing it right.
  • If you are talking about someone in a blog post, link to them. Steve Garfield is a pro at this.
  • If you’re really nice, you’ll think about link text and help them even more by linking to Internet video expert Steve Garfield. Make sense?
  • Links do matter to Google and to the people you care about. When you can, give them a link.

    Social Media Etiquette: Disclosure

    (Note: I’ve written about disclosure before).

    • If you’re writing about a client, add (client) to the tweet/post/update.
    • If you’re selling me something with an affiliate link, disclose that in the tweet/post/update.
    • If there’s a material reason (or perception of such) that you want me to take an action or click a link, tell me.
    • Tell me once in the post, and once again on a disclosure page. I use part of my about page for disclosures. See also: one of my other favorite disclosure pages (for cheekiness).
    • Make sure your audience comfortably knows your motives, and everything goes better.

    Social Media Etiquette: Promoting

    • Promote as if you’re at a cocktail party. It’s not the same as your email blast list.
    • Promote others, and it’s much more likely people will help promote you when it’s your turn.
    • Leave room for retweets. Writing 139 characters won’t get you anywhere.
    • Promoting on Facebook is MUCH nicer on my wall than in my private messages. (Do you agree?)
    • It’s probably okay to promote something 4x a day on a social network, so that you hit all the time zones appropriately. In the last hour, you can always give it a couple more pushes, but that’s about it.
    • Direct messaging people for promotion help is often annoying. It happens much more than you know.
    • Your cause isn’t always our cause. If we don’t want to help, don’t badger.
    • Things where you have to get 1,000 tweets to raise money are litter on Twitter. Things to get 1,000 “likes” on Facebook are fine. (Remember, however, that a “like” gives your demographic data to the thing that you’ve liked, plus permission for that page to message you privately.)

    Social Media Etiquette: Content Production

    • You can post as often as you want on your blog. It’s your blog. Monthly will probably fade from our memory. Weekly could work. Daily is my favorite. Some people post many times a day. It’s up to you.
    • You can tweet as often as you want, but people unfollow “noisy” tweeters (I get unfollowed often).
    • You can update Facebook often, and if you’re running pages, you might want to update 3-4 times a day, I’m starting to observe.
    • Depending on your blog’s purpose, be wary of over-selling. (I ran into this personally.) Make sure you’re still providing great community value.
    • If you find great content from other places, use it only after you understand whether you have permission to do so, and under the terms that the people have set.
    • If you’re linking and sharing someone else’s blog post (which is good to do), it’s also wonderful when you add something to it. Add some commentary. Add a thought or two as to why it matters to your community.
    • If someone’s work inspires your own post, it’s a nice thing to “hat tip” them with a link to the post that inspired you, somewhere in the post (usually down at the bottom).
    • If you go a long time between blog updates, don’t write a “sorry I haven’t written lately” post. No one cares. Just publish something good.

    Social Media Etiquette: Sharing is Caring

  • Every blog I know has a share/like/tweet/stumble button at the bottom or somewhere. They’re there for a reason. If you like the article, pushing those buttons is a “tip jar” for the artist. Push it. It doesn’t take long.
  • If you’re reading in Google Reader, sharing is as simple as “[SHIFT] S” and that goes to everyone who reads your shared items.
  • Tell the blogger when you love something they’ve done. People’s #1 complaint to me when they’re starting out blogging is that they lack any feedback. It’d take you 30 seconds to do, and would change a person’s perspective for a whole day.
  • Comments in Twitter are temporary moments in a stream. Comments on the blog post itself are forever, in the best (and worst) of ways.
  • The web thrives on links and social sharing. The more YOU do to participate, the more people will create material for free for you to enjoy.

    Your Mileage Will Vary

    For every idea above, there’s an exception. For every idea above, there’s a great reason to do the opposite. If you’re doing it differently than above, you’re not wrong. You’re doing it your way. Okay, I lied: you’re doing it wrong.I look forward to your thoughts, disagreements, counter-posts, additional thoughts, sharing, and more.

  • John’s Thoughts

    Chris nails the topic of Social Media Etiquette; and if you think about it, most of what we are talking about here is common sense.  I believe one of the powers of social media is the fact that we can support and promote each other.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take effort!What are your thoughts?

    Promoting Others More Than Yourself

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    How often do you promote yourself?  How often do you promote others?

    Lately, especially on Twitter, but on Facebook as well; self-promotion has not only reached a fever pitch, but I think it’s reached a point that  people are being turned off.

    I see “social media consultants” doing it; and as I shake my head, I also wonder why.  Does this person and others not have a strong enough network to promote  their posts, their tweets and important activities?  Or do they think “this is how social media” is done?  Maybe they don’t believe their network is strong enough. My next question is, wouldn’t their time be better spent building a network and then activating it to promote on their behalf?

    In their book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust, Julien Smith and Chris Brogan presented what I believe is a powerful idea: promote others 12 times more than you promote yourself. What a concept…promoting others!

    We all know that promoting others ultimately contributes to our own material getting promoted; but personally that is not why I do it!  Promoting others builds trust in what you have to say, but only if you build your network; and you do this by genuinely working to help others!

    So, if you are seriously interested in helping others, here are some ideas on how to do it properly.  And remember the most important rule: You promote without expecting anything in return.

    1. Spotlight Someone You Believe In: Shine the spotlight on a colleague or business partner through a Facebook post, a genuine Tweet,  your blog or newsletter. If you have many followers or subscribers, it’s as good for the person or brand you’re featuring as landing a cover story. Even if you do not have many followers, it provides them with exposure to your network! The value is that someone in your network could be beneficial to that person!

    2. Face-to-face Conversations: Make a connection or like what someone is doing?  Sit down and talk with them.  Interview them for your blog, or just talk with them about how you can help their business or how they became successful!

    3. Ask the Expert: If you want to tackle a topic you’re not familiar with or have been asked a question you don’t know how to answer, bring in a friend who can answer that question for you on your blog or e-mail newsletter and invite them to promote their services.

    4. Lend a Local (Foursquare) Hand: Become the biggest cheerleader in your community by checking in and writing positive reviews of local restaurants, shops and other businesses you frequent.  Use services such as Foursquare to check in and promote these businesses!

    5. Advance and Retweet: If you can’t think of anything nice to say, spread what someone else is saying by retweeting . Do it the old-fashioned “RT” way so that you can add a few words of praise. Just don’t get carried away, retweeting everything you see. That’s annoying.

    6. Like It: As with retweeting, the “Like” button on Facebook allows you to approve of others’ messages without a second thought.  Spread the love around!

    7. Show Up: Simply stated, there is NO substitute for actually attending someone’s event. Be there for the people you care about. And once you’re there, start tweeting and Facebooking to encourage others to come out. Oh, and bring a friend or two!

    How do you promote others? Share it with us all in the comments.

    Build Your Alliance: Online & Offline

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    I believe most of us have confidence and faith in our own abilities.  We believe we can accomplish quite a bit on our own, and traditionally, we don’t like to ask for help.  In life, as well as in the business world; we need to get past this outdated way of thinking and build an alliance. This alliance can and should consist of both online connections and offline, or real life connections.

    More simply stated, we cannot do it alone.  It takes the help and support of others to reach our goals in business, in life, in everything we strive to accomplish.  I admit that I need help in certain areas and thankfully I am part incredible alliances that I have built over the years.My network is strong and it is growing each day; but make no mistake, it takes time, energy and effort to build and maintain these alliances.  How do you build an alliance?  Here are some simple steps:

    Online

    • Consistently Connect – the proliferation of social media profiles and platforms have made this easier than ever.  Whether your preference is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or others, you must consistently connect and provide valuable content for your alliance members.
    • Promote Others – spend considerable time online promoting others in your alliance or network.  Open up your network to the people that you trust, respect and recommend.  We all have different alliances & networks and promoting others to your alliance is beneficial to all.
    • Respect Your Alliance –  if your alliance doesn’t want to promote someone you believe in, respect their wishes.  If they do not want to take part in a project you are involved with, it’s okay. It just  may not be for them or their network; so respect your alliance and do not take advantage of them!

    Offline

    • Meet Regularly –  this can be accomplished by meeting for coffee, lunch or a business meeting at their place of business.  This will enable you to see their environment and what is important to them. For valuable members of your alliance, scheduled regular meetings;  do not leave this to chance!
    • Make Connections – much like promoting others, you can work to make connections for your alliance members.  Who do they need to meet? What itch of theirs can you scratch by making introductions?
    • Never Assume – just as your time is valuable, so is the time for your alliance members.  Never assume that they have time to just chat by stopping by their office.  Respect their time and what they do and never assume!

    Notice how the tips are similar for both online and offline?  That’s because they apply to any type of relationship, alliance or professional partnership.  In building an alliance of people that will help you, you must FIRST help them. If you approach building an alliance by seeing who you can help; you will have one of the strongest alliances possible.Those are my thoughts; what say you?