Category Archives: Leadership/Management

Latest Reads: Week of March 12

Here are a few of the latest reads for this week. Happy reading!

More than half of consumers ‘overwhelmed by brand messages’ on social media (Ragan’s PR Daily)
I appreciate the top highlights in this study that was published by Ragan. If you read nothing else, here are the findings that were spotlighted. If you are engaged in social media on behalf of a company’s brand, DON’T POST every day, give people something meaningful, and more than anything – keep it simple. 

  • 40 percent of respondents felt that brand promotions are too complex to enter;
  • 20 percent felt incentives are not worth the effort;
  • 75 percent said that one or two Facebook messages per day is too much to receive from a brand;
  • Nearly 40 percent don’t want to share brand interactions with friends
  • 20 percent proactively post messages to brand pages.

15 Most Frequently Asked Questions by WordPress Beginners (WP Beginners)
I love WordPress, and I loved these FAQs! Hope this is helpful! Want a blog or Website?  I enjoy BlueHost’s How To Use WordPress tutorial too! Check out the Playlist.

What People Are Pinning on Pinterest (Mashable)
By now, you know I love Pinterest (Pinterest InfographicWhat’s So Awesome About Pinterest). Well, the latest article shares what eople are posting. Top categories for posting are Home (17.2%), Arts and Crafts (12.4%) and Style/Fashion (11.7%).  No big surprise there! 

A Store in Your Pocket: Retailer Mobile Websites Beat Apps among US Smartphone Owners (Neilsen Wire)

The latest Nielsen study shows that smartphone users prefer to visit mobile sites rather than mobile apps. As more and more companies start thinking about how to use mobile technologies, I always urge for mobile optimized sites, rather than creating dozens of apps! Ask yourself, what makes your app something a user can’t live without. If you can’t answer it, maybe you should wait.

Infographic: How To Train Your Employees To Handle Your Social Media  (MindFlash)
Arming employees to use social media in a way that is safe for the company and safe for them is a critical project for me in my current role. Once I roll out, I’ll be able to share some of our results and best practices on my blog, but for now – enjoy this infographic from MindFlash! 

Appreciating the Anti-Social Side of Social Media Managers

If you’re taken the Myers-Briggs, what are the ABCs of your personality? Well my results always teeter totter on that first letter of those four letter results. Oddly, the others always remain the same. Today and most days, mine is INTJ – I being for introvert. In more uncomfortable moments, I play chameleon and land on E.

For those of us who do digital and social media for a living, the expectation is that we are, in fact, highly social beings. Business requires us to be extroverts, especially those of us in social business, so where does that leave introverts who need time for themselves and do businesses/companies appreciate the introverts who just need a social time out?

In my Sunday morning TED video binge ritual, I came across Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” It left me feeling a little empowered, and yet a little frustrated. Empowered because I want the change, and understand that if you want something, you must demand it and have the courage to not just believe but to act. Frustrated because it only stirs up moments of self-doubt and frankly guilt for my need for solitude.

In January, Forbes published an article entitled, “The Secret Power Of Introverts” highlighting Cain’s book – Quiet. I’ve included a video of Cain’s TED talk below. In the video, she talks about the advantages of introverts, the need for us to share our strengths and talents, and the need for a societal shift to appreciate introversion through behavior and action.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (TED talk)

Susan concludes her talk with these 3 Call-to-Actions:

1. Stop the madness for constant group work
When I graduated from undergrad, I remember the incessant amounts of group work. Yes, we do need to learn the skills of working together, but we also need to learn to work in solitude. As I get ready to start my MBA, I am fully aware that the program will require LOTS of group work. Ideas are often sparked by interactions, but there is supreme value in autonomy and independence – for introverts and extroverts alike.    

2. Go to the wilderness
I love her call for us to unplug. We live in a constantly connected world. I spend approximately 85+ hours of my week engaging and interacting with people, whether online or offline. So, when it comes time for the weekend, especially Sundays, I need a time out! For years, I felt shame and guilt for my need for solitude. Now, I mainly think, “Screw it! I need me-time.” And that’s perfectly okay.

3. Look inside and share what’s in your suitcase.
Many of us forget to listen to our own voice – find time for reflection and deep thought. We’re running. Running here, running there, running off somewhere. But rarely do we make the time to commit to ourselves. I may not come up with genius or innovative ideas or thoughts that I’ll share with the world, but I believe in process. And hopefully, as I process through those ideas and challenges for my company and our world, I may make some sort of lasting impact. So although I may not open my suitcase to everyone, all at once, we introverts can give little peeks.

And, what about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your thoughts on Susan Cain’s “Power of Introverts”?

 

You’re Popular, So What?

Courtesy of StuffosaurusYou’ve met these folks. The ones with 2 million followers, 1.2 million people who like them on Facebook. And those with a Klout score 5 times higher than you. Cue the musical medley. Do you hear it? It’s the sound of Kristen Chenowith … ah yes, that’s “Popular.” But really, what does it all mean? Should we measure our worth by the number we wear?

Last month, I attended a KC/IABC program on ROI. In this discussion, one of the presenters exclaimed, “Measurement is easy! Social media measurement is easy!” The room fell silent, as we all said to ourselves, “Well, if it was easy, 60 other people in this room wouldn’t be here.” Measurement is not easy, and social media measurement is especially in question. There is no consistent model and no one is right, meaning no one is completely wrong. So, what do you do if you’re implementing or thinking about implementing social?

For me, social media should be measured by engagements and the impact they have on conversations and traffic, not the pure volume of friends you bought or happen to accumulate over time. As we sit down and talk to clients about ROI or ROE, we have to look at two distinct things – our outputs (activities) that lead to our outcomes (metrics). The importance of viewing your social media participation through these lens is to get a tangible grasp of what we can measure, which we hope will answer the question of “Why are we doing this?” Popularity goes beyond simply being the loudest person in the room. And to be honest, we should go beyond trying to be popular, and try to find purpose in being a credible, valuable resource.

A ROE/ROI example can be found below, showing the output versus outcome discussion, shared above.

Output Outcome Results
Tweets you send Increased number of followers Increased word-of-mouth exposure
RTs you share 1:1 engagement Increased word-of-mouth exposure
Responses and conversations via social 1:1 or 1:few engagement Increased word-of-mouth exposure
Blog posts you publish Shared content, content liked by others, comments Sentiment; Blog traffic; monthly unique visits, page views
Facebook posts you share Shared content, content linked by others, comments Sentiment; increased traffic to Facebook; increased traffic to other sites

How are you looking at measurement and engagement? Do you use a similar model or a different model?

5Ws to Community Management Part 1: Advisory Committees

This week, I spent some time listening to lawyers, regulatory folks and marketers share their struggles in terms of social media. Knowing the importance, yet not understanding how to overcome the fear and maybe even ignorance. As we polled members in the room of who was listening and monitoring social media, I was shocked at the number of hands not enthusiastically waving in the air. So, if you recognize the need, why haven’t you started?

For some, this world is scary, complicated and overwhelming. As communicators, it’s our job to make it feel fun, free, simple and yes, maybe even easy. But we know better. So, take the fundamentals of what you already know, and apply it to something that feels scary and a little risky. For me, it’s like knowing how to skateboard, and transitioning that to snowboarding.

In terms of community management, let’s take one piece and pair it with something we PR folks know best — the 5 Ws. Since we’ve talked a lot about external communications, I want to focus a little more on internal, employee communications – and how to get the right people in the room, at the right time. Internal buy-off is essential and will set the foundation for your success as a community manager or social media champion.

Who? Who makes up your social media council or advisory board? This is an incredibly difficult question, and it plays to several pieces – getting what you need and playing into the politics of your organization. You’ll struggle with people who want to be involved, because it’s seems fun and shiny, and then you’ll need others who are resistant.  As you think about your company’s divisions, be sure to include: corporate communications, PR, marketing, customer service, legal/regulatory, IT, and your advocacy or foundation folks, to name a few. This committee that you are working to create must be collaborative, and the key is that each person must have a willingness to take some level of risk.

What? What can you say and not say, do and not do? I’m a big fan of rules, after all, I was a criminal justice major. This point speaks to the need for guidance, both internally and externally. However, today, it goes beyond that. The trouble with guidance policies is that they can be too broad for those who are implementing content development and distribution, and engagement and relationship-building. Work with your SMAB to create a framework what content requires what path of review or sign-off. Also, outline the timeline for response. Social media is does not work on a 5-10 business day cycle, and if you’re working in that space, you shouldn’t either. You need to distribute the accountability to others, to ensure that it’s the most accurate, while also mitigating risk for your company, and even you.

When? When do you meet? When do you update guidelines? All your guidance policies and framework documents, or guiding parameters, are fluid. They will be updated and they need to be updated. I think a safe bet is a standing meeting with the core team to discuss things that are going well, things that aren’t twice a month. Also, guidance policies need to be updated at least twice a year. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be in frequent communications with the team. Since materials will require internal discussions, it’s likely that you’ll connect with at least 1-2 members of the committee once a week.

Where? Where will your presences be? And, bigger picture – where do you want to go? Have a vision for your engagement, have a purpose. Time and time again I’ve heard a variety of poor reasons to be engaged in social media – it’s free, someone else is doing it, everyone is talking about it. It makes me feel like I’m back in grade school – Lindsey has a new pair of Doc Martens and we find ourselves begging mom to head to the store that night for my very own! Except this time, social media isn’t a fad, and it’s not going away with the newest fashion trend. It’s changing the way we do business and we need to have a vision for what we want to achieve if we are going to succeed.

How? How are you going to achieve this? Social media isn’t free, because it takes resources and that means headcount. If you’re hiring an agency to do your social media engagement, have someone (maybe it’s you) to be the direct voice from the SMAB. Map out an action plan, and start small. It’s okay to start small. There’s no need to go out their guns blazing. Test the waters, see what works and understand that you will make mistakes.

Why? This is the hardest question, and I’ve caught myself asking this in the hardest moments. Why do this at all? Your answer can be, “Because I have to,” but it can’t end there. It’s how you finish that sentence that matters. I know that social media is a commitment, and yes, breaking down silos in your organization is frustrating and it’s hard work. Know your end goal, and know the impact that you’re making. Each person at your table might have their own reasons, but at least 1 of those, needs to be shared.

Does your company have a social media advisory board or something similar? If so, what have you experienced? Any tips?

Tales of a Social Extrovert – Pros and Cons

For 10-12 hours a day (sometimes more), social media strategists spend our time going meeting to meeting. Then, we work. Then, we rush to another meeting whether it’s for a networking function, a professional organization, or an organization we volunteer for. Then, we get home and we frantically check out Twitter accounts, news alerts and email. I don’t want to count the hours I spent “working,” but I can tell you that the time I don’t spend at the office, in a meeting, at an event or sleeping is getting pretty sparse.

A few weeks ago, my colleague did a post on “Confessions of a Social Media Introvert,” and he challenged me to do one on being a social media extrovert and what I get out of it. The truth? I’m an introvert who likes extrovert activities. I like being social. I like volunteering. I like challenging myself and I like being part of a team. But mostly, I like feeling like I’m contributing to something bigger than myself. Sometimes work gives me that. Sometimes it doesn’t.

There’s probably a lot of you like me out there (I hope). The folks who raise their hands for everything and have an addiction to the word, “yes.” Maybe we should start a support group? Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a closeted introvert, wannabe extrovert, yes-aholic. The thing is – there are pros and cons to being us. So I compiled a list of the pros/cons. Check them out!

Cons:

  • Burn Out: This is the biggest fear for companies, right? Run us until we’re on empty. Well, what happens when we run ourselves on empty? Who is at fault? For me – it doesn’t matter. We have to make the choice to make a change. For some people, that means finding time for yourself like working out, drawing, or taking a class. I still need to find that thing. Any ideas?
  • Over Commit, Underachieve: Stretching ourselves too thin is a common mistake. My calendar has been triple booked, but for some reason I still think that I can make it to three different events in different parts of the city in one night. What happens? You’re thinking about the next thing and never focused on that person, that conversation or the task at hand. Sometimes, it’s bad to be 3 steps ahead.
  • It Costs More: From a financial perspective and also from a personal, relationship perspective. After the memberships, event admission tickets, $4/gallon gas, and drinks/food – your wallet can hurt. I’ve had to consult my handy dandy annual budget to see if I can take on another volunteering activity. Also, I spend less and less time with my partner, hanging out with my brother and parents, talking to my cousins and spoiling my godson. And all of a sudden, this self-less thing starts to feel really selfish.
Pros: After reading these three negatives, there have to be positives, right? You will have your reasons, but here are my top three.
  • People-First: I’ve met incredible people and expanded my network for the activities I’ve taken part in. I’m smarter and more inspired for having met them. When I’m having a rough day and I’m anxious about the time it takes me to get back to the office after a luncheon program, I walk into an IABC event and everything changes. I remember the reason why I came in the first place. Social media is about learning and sharing and that’s the beauty of being a social media extrovert – online and IRL. You learn, you grow and you share. Knowledge is addictive.
  • Practice Makes Perfect:  One of my mentors always stressed the importance of volunteering on boards because the skills learn help you advance in your career. Serving on committees and boards gives you the leadership skills you need in the office – from presenting to pitching, to coaching and leading, to following direction. You can practice your management skills without the risk of a formal performance evaluation. Also, you learn the importance of a team and the dynamics that makes for a successful one. Plus, I can plan an event like a mad wo
  • New Doors: Being a social media extrovert builds your brand. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for my volunteering roles, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Your volunteering roles can give a company a glimpse of who you are as a person, what you value and where your priorities lie. It gives you an interesting story to tell on your resume, but it also gives you experience you may not get in  your day-to-day job. For example, I had done some social media work in my previous role, but it was my board position that opened my eyes to social media and then opened doors to my current position. man. Also, for some companies, these are new business opportunities (and although it sounds a little sneaky, it was pretty smart).

What do you think about the pros/cons to being a social media extrovert? Did I miss anything?