Thursday, March 31, 2011

Left hand vs. Right Hand (Arby's Part 2)



Yesterday, I shared with the first part of my experience with Arby's and social media.

Click here to read how it all started.

Everything was fine. The person Tweeting for Arby's was helpful, provided links and I was happy.

I even mentioned on Twitter that I would be sharing this story:

ScLoHo: The Twitter conversation and follow up I had with @Arbys today will be the subject of a story on ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure next week .

Then a few hours later, I received an email from the Customer Service people in response to what I filled out on their online form.

Dear Mr. Howard,

Thank you for taking the time to visit our Customer Feedback website to submit your comment.

Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. is the servicer of the Arby's brand and currently owns and operates 1,100+ Arby’s restaurants. All our remaining restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees. Franchisees are allowed to run their own specials, issue their own coupons, and set their own prices for menu items. Please contact your local Arby's restaurants to find out about any specials they are running.

Contact us again if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Arby’s Customer Relations


This was clearly a form letter. I would have been happier if they never wrote back, but when they sent this email which demonstrated that they were not really listening, I wrote back:


Thank you for your reply.

However, I believe you are not understanding the problem.

My neighborhood Arby's lists a special promotion. The most recent & current breakfast promotion is a wrap combo including potato cakes, wrap and a drink for $2.99 plus tax.

4 times now, I have ordered this and had to correct the cashier when they wanted to charge me over $4.00.

With tax, the special costs $3.23.

No coupons are required, the posters are in the store windows, and yet there is a problem getting the person taking the order to push the right buttons.

If you are not able to help, then please give me the name and contact information of who I should talk to.

Thank you,

Scott Howard

ScLoHo Marketing Solutions

www.ScLoHo.net

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Direct: 260-710-7078




And I also went back to Twitter:

ScLoHo: Things were going good in my Twitter conversation with @Arbys . Then the form letter arrived via email. Will be an interesting blog post

I decided to write a 2nd part of this Arby's story which is what you are reading now.

The person who tweets for Arby's responded:

arbys: @ScLoHo Did you get a confirmation number in your email? If so, can you send me your number?

So I tweeted back the confirmation number and also this tweet:

ScLoHo: @Arbys All I really want to do is help with a customer service price issue. I really like & will continue to do biz with you

And they responded:

@ScLoHo We appreciate the feedback & your business! We will alert the franchisee regarding the accuracy of specials / promos as we definitely want you & all customers to have a positive experience at our restaurants.

So, the person on Twitter was better at customer service than the person(s) manning the website customer service desk.

This is a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, but fortunately the person Tweeting on behalf of Arby's took charge and took action.

I thought all was over, until I got this note in my email Saturday:

Dear Mr. Howard,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding the problem you encountered with your recent visit to one of our restaurants. We share your concern and frustration with the incident you encountered, and sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Please be assured that, at Arby's, quality and consumer satisfaction are our highest priorities. Thanks to consumers like you and the information you provide, we are better able to trace the source of a problem and take any actions that may be necessary to resolve it.

Your comments have been shared with both the Area Supervisor and the Director of Operations for the Fort Wayne Arby's. They are addressing this issue with the restaurant's management and staff to ensure that all orders are being correctly rung in and that all customers are charged the appropriate price for their meals. I have also requested that the Area Supervisor contact you directly regarding this issue since it has happened on more than one occasion.

Once again, our apologies for your inconvenience and I hope we can continue to consider you a valued customer.

Sincerely,

Jacquie Moore Arby's Customer Relations


Note that this is the first time that a person actually attached their name to the conversation.


I wrote back:


Thank you.

Please understand I am very happy with Arby's, and the store that I visit most often.

I work in marketing, advertising and consulting with regards to building customer relations and my concern is not personal, but only through my personal experiences have noticed this problem that some one should be aware of so steps can be taken to correct.


My reason for sharing all of this with you was not to scold Arby's.

Quite the opposite.

They stumbled a bit but they went out of their way to respond even 4 days later!


And the story continues:


Monday evening I received a phone call from the local store manager, which went to my voicemail.


He wanted to talk to me personally about my experience and he left his cell phone number and also mentioned that he would have the next couple of days off.


I decided to not disturb him on his days off, but this morning I returned his call and he was very gracious and honest in explaining what happens when they have special promotions and promised to improve on making sure the front line employees where more diligent in ringing up orders correctly.


The lesson to learn:

You are bound to make mistakes, what matters most is how you handle them.


Sometimes the best way to handle a customer service question is a face to face or at least telephone conversation.


Don't hide behind the technology or websites and social media. Use them as tools, but be sure to dig in until you have done everything possible to satisfy your customers and clients.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Testing... testing, anyone there? (Arby's Part 1)



So you've decided to try out this social media thing.

You were told it was good for something, not sure what, but something.

One of the primary functions is two way communication.

Customer Service is a biggie.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, we expect to be able to reach you and have you respond.

If you don't respond when we reach out to you, there are lot's of losers.

I lose because my issue is not resolved.

You lose because your name is diminished in my eyes due to your lack of response.

But here's where it gets really sticky.

Social Media gives everyone a voice.

And if I have a bad experience, I can share it on Twitter and Facebook and others can read and share and before you know it, your negligence and ignorance is spread to hundreds of others.

I'm going to walk you through an experience I had last week that inspired me to write this.

I visit Arby's at least once a week for breakfast.

I wrote about it briefly on my Collective Wisdom site:


Silly Pricing Games?

Is there any rhyme or reason to your prices?
Is confusion the best policy?

I swing by my neighborhood Arby's once a week for breakfast and the last two times I ordered their special offer which is advertised as $2.99 (plus tax).

When they tell me my total is 5 something, I drive around and correct them.
Even the front line employee screws up and I wonder how many of their customers are getting screwed by this one forgetful employee?


And the article continues....

I wrote that article a few days before it appeared online and sure enough, the day it appeared, I went to Arby's and had the same experience. Order was right, price was wrong.

So, I posted the following on Twitter:


ScLoHo: Dear @Arbys I like you but I wish your employees knew how to ring up my order http://bit.ly/g3VTpv Happened again today


I was expecting a response eventually, but after two hours I posted again on Twitter to see if they were monitoring:


ScLoHo: Feeling disappointed that @Arbys didn't respond to my earlier tweet http://bit.ly/hEV8uK


This time they wrote back, twice within 10 minutes:


arbys: @ScLoHo Sorry about that, we must have missed it.


And:


arbys: @ScLoHo We're sorry to hear about your experience today. Could you let us know more details here: http://bit.ly/dGboXi


I replied:


ScLoHo: @Arbys Ah, that's better, Thanks. I bet you were busy roasting more beef!


Let's stop a moment and see what we learned so far.

From a customer/consumer perspective, cut them some slack if they don't answer right away and give them another shout. Be Polite.

From a business perspective, listen & respond. Give your customers a way to communicate further. Be polite too.

When I clicked on the link they gave me I was at their customer feedback page which asked lots of questions, but that was okay because it was to help them focus on what department needed to follow up.


The next page asked for my contact info and details. Unlike the 140 character limit of Twitter, on their site I could use up to 2000 characters which was more than enough.

After I was done, I was given a follow up code both on the website and a few minutes later in an email:


This is how social media should work as a business. It is a tool to reach out to your customers, and for them to reach out to you.

You can move people to traditional communication methods the way Arby's provided me with a link to the proper page on their site.

But one of the worst things you can do is ignore your customers on social media.

What happened next? I'll tell you tomorrow at noon.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Which one are you?

More than likely, you are a combination of a couple of the Social Media personalities as described recently by Brian on his PR 2.0 Blog:

Behaviorgraphics: Discovering the “Me” in Social Media

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 08:53 AM PST

Social media is a deeply personal ecosystem that I lovingly refer to as the EGOsystem. As such, there is a “me” is social media for a reason. It is quite literally a world in which we are at the center of our online experiences, a place where everything and everyone revolves around us.

Placing ourselves in the role of this emerging social consumer for a moment, brands, businesses, and media aren’t sure how to see or reach us directly yet. We’re lured through creative attempts to follow them on Twitter or “Like” them on Facebook. But for the most part in social media, we are faceless consumers brought only to life through avatars, bios and a history of our online activities and connections.

Sometimes we’re part of demographic studies where we’re grouped by age, income, gender, education, etc.. Sometimes, we’re part of psychographic studies where we’re grouped by commonalities, shared interests and passions, and themes. And often, we’re lumped together through keyword mentions or online influence scores. But the real question is, who are we online and what makes us connect, share, and live online? Finding these answers is revealing and hopefully, inspiring.

If ignorance is bliss, awareness is enlightening…

Behaviorgraphics

Last year, I teamed up with my good friends at the JESS3 creative agency run by Jesse Thomas and Leslie Bradshaw to capture the essence of how and why people were “living in public.” The characteristics of online behavior were diverse to say the least. However, I documented recurring traits and organized them into 18 categories.

I’m happy to share that Behaviorgraphics is now available as a free high resdownload and also as a 22 x 28 poster.

Click below for various sizes(free):

1. Presentation/Slide

2. High Resolution

3. Poster

Which one/s are you?

At the center is Benevolence – The unselfish and kindhearted behavior that engenders and promotes recognition and reciprocity, and in doing so, earns the goodwill of those around them. This is the hub of social networking with a purpose, mission, and a genuine intent to grow communities based on trust, vision, and collaboration.

Problem Solvers – One of the most common sources of conversations and updates in social media are questions…people seeking information in the hopes that commenters will respond with resolution or direction.

Commenters – Providing thoughts, opinions, observations, experiences, and sometimes, unfiltered reactions to the information shared online. They are less likely to produce original content, but are compelled to share their views based on the introduction of content by others in and around their social graph.

Researchers – Peer to peer influence is prominent in social networks and researchers rely on their social graphs for information and direction to make qualified decisions. They are also active in championing polls and surveys to truly learn about the thoughts and opinions of those connected to them.

Conversationalists – Participation in conversations through proactive updates seeking responses or direct responses to other content, conversationalists fuel threads within and across networks.

Curators – In the context of behaviorgraphics, curators carry a different role. This group works diligently to find and only share what captivates them as filtered by what they believe will interest their followers.

Producers – Among the more elite group of online participants, their stature is earned by the amount of content they generate within multiple networks.

Broadcasters – Social media is proving to be both an effective broadcast and conversational platform. Broadcasters are mostly one-way communicators who either intentionally or unintentionally push information to followers without injecting conversational aspects into the mix.

Marketers – Profiles dedicated to marketing ideas, products, or services and may or may not include content outside of their portfolio, unless the account is focused on funneling beneficial and value-added solutions to specific audiences regardless of origin.

Socialites – Individuals who have earned varying levels of weblebrity, these new internet famous personae earn recognition and attention in online networks which is increasingly spilling over in real world fame.

Self-promoters – Unlike broadcasters and marketers, self-promoters are unconcealed in their intentions through constant updating of activities, events, and accomplishments.

Egocasters – Contribute to the “ego” in the egosystem and represent the evolution of self-promoters. Through constant promotion and the activities and responses that ensue, promoters graduate to a position of perceived prominence and collective unawareness. What they think and say is what they believe to be the reality for one and for all. They lose touch with perspective as listening gives way to telling…

Observers – Often referred to as inactives, lurkers, or simply consumers, Observers represent the majority of the social Web today, defined by those who read and also share information in the backchannel, including email, and also in the real world.

Social Climbers – Social capital is not only something that is earned in social networking, it is something that is proactively pursued by those whose sole mission is to rise to the top. These individuals intentionally climb ladders on the avatars, profiles, and social capital of others most often misrepresenting their purpose and stature to earn an audience based on disingenuous intentions.

TMI – The things some share in social media continue to blur the line between what’s relegated to inner monologue versus that for sharing with others in public. The state of sharing “Too much information” is dictated by those on the receiving end of the update, not those who publish it.

Spammers – Those accounts and profiles that are created to push messages blindly and without regard for those with whom they come into contact. Often times they’re tied to current events (using trending keywords or hashtags) or targeting influential voices to lure them into clicking through to their desired goal.

Leachers -Not included in the graph, but an important category to recognize as leachers take the good work of others and channel it into their own accounts almost exclusively for the sake of promoting their cause.

Complainers – When we love something, we tell a few people; when something bothers us, we tell everyone. Complainers are often sharing their discontent as a primary ingredient in their social stream. And, as customer service takes to the social web, these complainers are only encouraged to share their experiences to achieve satisfaction and earn recognition for their role as the new social customer.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Power of RT


RT

That's short hand for ReTweet.

One of the really cool features of Twitter is the RT feature.

I've talked about this a couple of times, but I really want you to understand this concept.

When you tweet something, those that are following you can ReTweet it with the simple click of a button and your tweet is spread out even further.

Say you have 200 followers and you tweet something that a couple of your followers decide to ReTweet. If each of those two followers also have 200 followers, then there is a potential of your tweet reaching an additional 400 or so, or close to 600. And it can continue a few more generations too!

Take some time to share with some of your followers some of the tweets you read and like.

Friday, March 25, 2011

You Don't Have To


Despite what others might tell you,

You don't have to be online.

You don't have to be on Facebook.

You don't have to be on Twitter.

You don't have to have a blog, a website, an email address. You really don't.

You can hide from all of this in the name of Privacy.

I know this because a co-worker of mine who we hired at our radio stations 2 years ago had none of these when he started.

Heck, he didn't have a computer and never used one.

He had a successful sales career selling aerial photography for 25 years to farmers.

Then Google came along.

Google Maps and Google Earth basically wiped out his business.

Now those farmers can go online and see their spread free.

So my co-worker started a new career at age 53. Wednesday he turned 55.

He has an email address. But he is functionally illiterate in this computer/internet/social media world.

See, I respect your decision not to participate but...

You are placing yourself at a disadvantage in a world that will be using these tech tools if they are not already.

Age is not the issue. I have another friend who bought his first computer 2 years ago. He is now 69 and doing more than my co-worker with his computer and online.

We have been entering a tech world that is going to separate the connected from the unconnected. And as each year passes that gap will grow wider and wider.

You don't have to know it all, no one does and no one will.

But if you DO want to do this internet/social media thing, there are plenty of free resources, including this website to help you.

I'll be back Monday with more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Linking It

Some of my friends use LinkedIn as their primary Social Media Platform.

If you are going to use it, or just establish a presence on LinkedIn, here's a few tips from MarketingProfs.com:

Three LinkedIn No-Nos

"People use LinkedIn to connect with coworkers and industry peers, get business advice, and even find new jobs," writes Diana Freedman at HubSpot. "It's a great place for businesses to make relevant LinkedIn users aware of their brand." But, she cautions, those positive outcomes won't happen if you make mistakes like these:

Failing to answer questions. When you respond to business-related questions at LinkedIn's "Answer" section, you establish yourself as an expert—and it might even generate new customers. "Take a few minutes each day to look at the new questions in your industry," she suggests, "and see if there's one you can provide a helpful answer to." Be careful, though, to reply without blatant promotion of your product or service. "If you were in a bind and reached out to a community of peers for help," she explains, "would you want the only response to be 'Give me your money'?"

Failing to complete your personal profile. If you want to build trust, you have to let others know who you are. "Describe your role at your current and previous companies," she advises, "and provide links to your website and any relevant profiles," such as Twitter.

Failing to post status updates. Don't worry about the apparent redundancy of posting updates at LinkedIn when you're already active on Twitter and Facebook. There's a good chance your LinkedIn network has business connections who wouldn't see your updates in other venues. "It's ok to re-purpose content across all of the social channels, as long as you're not duplicating the content," she notes.

The Po!nt: Active, transparent participation at LinkedIn will deliver the best networking results.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blogging isn't for Wimps

You may have realized that I am a believer in blogs.

I've been doing it since 2004 and have no intention of stopping.

Before you start, here's a list from the DLM blog of 10 things you should know:

10 Hard Truths About Blogging

Posted: 14 Mar 2011 10:33 AM PDT


With job satisfaction rates at record lows and more and more people looking to enjoy a higher quality of life, millions of people are desperately trying to leave their miserable jobs and are flocking to the world of blogging and Internet marketing.

If you're already a blogger, chances are you've heard of Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, and Leo Babauta. These names are synonymous with blogging success and the dream of living the "Internet lifestyle".

On the surface, blogging as a business seems like a dream job. You get to set your own hours, work from anywhere with little more than a laptop, connect with fascinating people from all over the world, and potentially have an impact on the entire world.

Now THAT'S a job!

The Truth

Don't get me wrong, blogging does offer all these things and more and beats the hell out of sitting in a cubicle working for the man every day of the week.

Given how many people are drawn to this lifestyle, the competition to stand out and become noticed is enormous. Millions of blogs are started each day and cover every conceivable topic imaginable.

What often begins as the thought of a life working on your iPad while sitting on a sandy beach, slowly transforms into the harsh reality of what goes into building a successful and profitable business from your blog.

Before you embark on a journey to quit your job and become the next pro blogger, you need to fully understand what goes into creating a sustainable business.

10 Things To Consider Before Committing Yourself To Blogging For A Living
  1. Time
    Blogging takes time, A LOT of time. If you want to get rich on the Internet, it can be done for sure. However, blogging is not the quickest way. Not even close. Be prepared to spend months or even years just learning the basics, building significant traffic, and becoming an authority in your niche.

    You need to really think long and hard and be completely honest with yourself about whether you are going to be wiling to invest your precious time into building your blog. The statistics show that most bloggers quit within the first 6 months and I think one of the main reasons is that the time required of them is too demanding.

  2. Patience
    If you were not blessed with an inordinate amount of patience, then you need to learn how to become so quickly. Blogging success will not come easy and if you think it will, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Does rapid success happen?

    Yes, there is always the chance you will hit the lottery and your story will be picked up be some huge player, but that's a rarity. Plan on the process of becoming successful as a long journey and if it happens quickly, then all the better.

  3. Commitment
    If your goal is to blog part-time and you just want to build it when you have the time, then that's just fine. Blogs can certainly be turned into profitable businesses by taking this approach; it just takes much longer.

    However, if your goal is like mine, which is to build your blog into a full-time income producing business and leave your job, you may want to consider making a stronger commitment.

    With this type of commitment, I'm talking about jumping in with both feet. And that often means living, breathing, and sleeping your blog. Personally, I think this is instrumental to blogging success. The funny thing is that when you really love what you're doing (which hopefully you do), you want to be completely enveloped in your blog.

    It doesn't even feel like work when you are passionate about it. Just remember, this is YOUR empire you're building, you should be committed like none other.

  4. Passion
    You had better be 100% sure that you have a burning passion for your blog and what it's all about before you jump in head first. One of the biggest reasons people fail as bloggers is that they choose a topic that they are lukewarm about.

    That's not good enough if you are going to become the leader in your industry and a sought after expert. You need to love what you talk about, period.

    Just take a look at people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim Ferris, they LOVE what they do. Their passion is contagious and your needs to be as well.

  5. Support
    This is something that you need to consider before attempting the long road to blogging success. You will be sacrificing nights, weekends, and sleep in the quest to create an incredible and profitable business.

    There is also a very good chance you will alienate friends and family in your quest for blogging greatness. If you are single, you should surround yourself with like minded people. If you can, join social groups, become part of a mastermind group, or build a closely knit network of peers.

    If you are married or in a committed relationship, you will have a much smoother journey if they are on board with what you are doing. The problem is that many non-bloggers don't understand what we do at all.

    Trying to explain all that goes into a building a successful blog is like trying to teach someone a new language. If your significant other doesn't get what you're doing, your job is to show them.

    One method is by showing them results. If you start bringing in revenue, they might not even need to understand what you're doing. They might just be happy by knowing that you are making money.

    If you're not making money yet, you will need to help them understand what blogging entails. Believe me, this is not an easy task.

    There is a very strong chance that their eyes will glaze over as you start talking about the importance of the placement of your opt-in box. Explain things a little at a time. The language bloggers use makes no sense to most, so take it slow.

  6. Balance
    Blogging can be all consuming. It can literally eat up all of your time. If you are in a relationship, it's imperative that you find time for your significant other.

    I can speak from experience here when I say that a marriage can suffer because of a lack of balance. It's incredibly easy to get wrapped up in your blog and forget about everything else. Don't do it!

    You must force yourself to spend time away from your blog and spend more time with your family. I have 2 small children who I love more than anything, but I often find myself so intent on working on something that I forget all about spending time with them. Setting a schedule will help with this.

    For example, set a timer for 2 hours and when time is up, you're done, period. Many choose to blog only at night after everyone is asleep. This is hard to get used to, especially if you have kids who like to get up early, but there is always a way to make it happen! It's all about sacrifice.

  7. Sacrifice
    Be prepared to sacrifice many of the things you have grown accustomed to if you are truly committed to become a professional blogger. Gone are the nights of playing xBox, watching tv, and partying.

    OK, it doesn't have to be this way, but you will need to forego many of these luxuries in order to give your full attention to your business. And why wouldn't you?

    Ask any business owner who is passionate about what they are doing and they will tell you that they would much rather be working than goofing off. Unfortunately, many people are not willing to give these things up and find themselves spending less and less time on their blogs.

    This usually results in an abandoned blog.. just another statistic.

  8. Learning
    The Internet is evolving at lightning speed and we need to be willing to keep up. If you think you have it all figured out, you're wrong. Any successful blogger (or business person) will tell you that the in order to remain that way, you need to be in a constant of learning.

    Internet marketing, the means by which most bloggers will build their business, is changing rapidly. Many of the core principles remain the same, but in order to gain a competitive edge, we need to be in the know.

    If everyone is marketing a certain way with their email newsletter, you need to do it better. How? Learn what everyone is doing and do it differently. Teach people something they don't know already. Cover stories that just broke. Do reviews on products that were just released. Use your imagination. Become THE expert.

  9. Trial and Error
    There is no manual on how to blog successfully. Scratch that, there are thousands of manuals on how to blog successfully. The problem is that they all work and none of them work.

    The ingredient that changes everything is YOU. These how-to books don't know you, your style, your voice, or your passions.

    Therefore, it's impossible to create a product that you can just plug in and become an overnight success. What you do with it will make you a success or failure. Blogging, like most other things, is a trial and error process.

    The good news is that we need this process in order to learn, understand, and grow. The experience we gain from this process in invaluable to our success.

    Ask any blogger who is earning a living online and you will find that they have tried (and often failed) at multiple different ventures. That's how we learn to be great, we try to figure out, through the trial process, what works the best.

  10. Positivity
    If you are by nature a cynical or negative person, you need to work on changing that immediately. With all the obstacles in our way to success, it's absolutely critical that we remain positive and actually believe that we will succeed.

    We will all become overwhelmed at one point and doubt and fear will want to overtake us. This is a normal part of this business. However, we need to keep our eyes on the end result and remember that we CAN do it.

    The only thing stopping us of from being a huge success is US.
Please note that this post is not intended to talk you out of your dreams of become a professional blogger, but rather to set realistic expectations of what lies ahead.

Keep your mind sharp and your vision strong and you will be well on your way.

Written on 3/14/2011 by Steve Roy. Steve is the owner of EndingTheGrind.com, a blog about escaping the daily grind of a 9 to 5 job, building an online business, and living your passions. You can also find him on Twitter at @EndGrind. Photo Credit: Annie Mole

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

5 years

Yesterday was Twitter's 5th birthday.

Two questions came to my mind:

1. What will the Social Media world look like 5 years from now?

2. How much further behind will the skeptics be if they continue to wait, (another 5 years)?



Most of us started using the internet before the term Social Media was coined.

Email, chat rooms, AOL Messenger, all in use before the current line up of Social Media platforms.

For me, I had a MySpace page and blogs 7 years ago.

I met my wife thru an online dating service 11 years ago.

For me Twitter was something I joined in October 2008 and then the following year started using.

Twitter released this video Monday:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Moving from Online to Face to Face

Social Media can create celebrities.

As you share your knowledge, your humor, yourself; you might create a Following.

Some of this Following includes friends that knew you before you were active on Social Media.

Some will include friendships that started online.

Some of this Following will never meet you face to face.

But there will be times when that happens.

Perhaps you are at a Social Media Meet-Up or Tweet-Up.

Maybe you will be asked to give a presentation or sit on a panel discussion.

Other times it will be more spontaneous, as what happened last week with me when I was busy running around town and a couple of friends decided to try and do ScLoHo sightings. Amber (@arecker1704 on Twitter) caught up with me for a couple of minutes on St. Pat's Day and snapped a picture to prove it.




Chris Brogan wrote about this last week with advice on how to be handle being a part of the Following and how to handle having a Following:

Meeting

Posted: 18 Mar 2011 07:19 AM PDT

Every Man

I get the opportunity to meet people all the time. It’s one of the best parts of my job. Sometimes, I feel really awkward when I’m meeting other people. I figure that I’m doing it wrong quite often. I’ve been thinking about what one might consider doing and not doing when they meet someone for the first time. I’ve failed at some of these moments myself. I get just as guilty at doing some of this at one point or another. Don’t look at this as me telling you how to meet me. This is me telling you what I’m thinking when I’m given the opportunity to meet someone.

There’s one experience that I observe more often than not when meeting people at events, and it’s a split one. On the one hand, people don’t talk enough about their main point enough for someone to get a read. On the other, people talk WAY too much about themselves and scare people off. It’s pretty tricky to figure out the balance, I’m thinking, when meeting folks. I have some thoughts on it.

Air

Often, when people talk to me, they seem to have the sense that they’ll never ever get the chance to talk with me again, so they work on cramming in everything they’ve ever thought to tell me. They speak as if every word gives them air in their lungs. Have you had that experience? It seems like the person is quite literally going to die if they don’t get out all their thoughts?

I think this is more real than not. I talked to a guy once a few months ago, and I think it was probably the first time in years that anyone ever gave him the time of day. It was cathartic, really, listening to him get his autobiography out into the air. Have you had that one happen to you?

Some Do’s and Dont’s

If it’s you who has the chance to talk to someone else, here are some thoughts about the blend of how you can say “just enough” to get your presence across to someone else. I’d love you to agree or disagree in comments or posts.

  • Confidence is EVERYTHING. You are good enough. You are important enough. You are worthy. Everyone is just someone. The biggest names in the world that I’ve met (people like Glenda Watson Hyatt, Ed Shahzade, Jon Swanson) have all been regular people when you get down to it.
  • Never ask someone to remember your name. That moment when you re-meet someone and you say, “Do you remember me?,” it’s just a chance of putting someone in a bad spot. I’m actually pretty decent at remembering names (kind of supernaturally so at most points). But when I’m meeting others, I lead with my name. It just takes it off the table.
  • Lead with the strongest point you hope to make. If you’re going to say, “I’m here to ask about a business partnership,” then start with that. Most people want to start with soft things like the weather, but in most cases, what’s really important gets buried in trivia. Don’t do it. Believe me.
  • The backstory is almost never important. I hear so much exposition explaining the main question or point and it takes paragraphs of language to try to warm up to what ends up being one sentence. Here’s the thing. One sentence is usually enough. And at least, it lets the other person ask, “Can you tell me more?”
  • Assume neither of you have lots of time. Try to keep the conversation moving and tight. This one is tricky, and you have to read the signs. Is the person you’re speaking to giving you the “I need to move on” signals? Are their shoulders turned away from you? Are they looking around instead of making deep eye contact? There you have it. Smile politely and make your exit.
  • Finish with action. Because you’ve kept it short, because you are letting this person go on to the next thing, your goal now is to decide whether there’s some “there” there. If yes, then move on to business cards and next steps. If no, then be clean and wonderful about it. Just say thanks and pleased to meet you, and move on. Believe me, that’s a great way to move on. I’m definitely fond of NOT moving forward more often than not. It’s the better way to figure out your business.
  • Business cards are for continuing business. If you’re done talking, exchanging a business card is great only when you have further business to do. Send your message quickly. Within 24 hours is probably the best way. Do you agree?

Your Mileage Will Vary

Okay, first, all you shy people who have been clenching your jaw while reading this, it’s okay. I get it. I know that it’s a lot easier to do this when you’re not shy. Hint: I’m always shy. I just push really hard to NOT be shy when it’s important.

Second, sometimes, things don’t follow a formula. This is a recipe, but you’re making leftovers sometimes. That’s okay. Do what makes sense in the moment.

Finally, I want to re-stress that this isn’t a post about how to meet me. It’s a post filled with thoughts on what works best in meetings. I’m thrilled and honored when you say hi to me at events. It’s the best part of my job. When I get to meet people (like you), the above is what’s on my mind.

What do you think?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Keeping track of the important


and ignoring the rest....

Last month I was one of four panelists on the Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne event.

The general topic was Managing It All.

And I noticed each of the four of us, do it a little differently, which is great.

But I'm not sure if I clearly stated how I do it.

My Twitter followers is in the 1700+ range. Over 95% of Twitter users have less than 500. I follow back about 2/3 of them.

Facebook and LinkedIn I use too but my connections there are under 1000.

I rely on two tools to filter out the noise and stay on top of what needs my attention.

Email and a setting on my smart phone.

Good old fashioned email. I get email alerts for Facebook, LinkedIn and Direct Messages from Twitter.

I also use a Twitter application on my droid that chirps when I get a mention or Direct Message, which alerts me to something that I should respond to.

It's that simple.

What do you do?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blogger or WordPress? (Part 2)

There just isn't enough time some days, or weeks.

Early Monday I was revamping what I was going to share with you at noon due to something that happened a few hours before. Click here to go there if you missed it.

Then Monday Afternoon, I received news that Google was going to update Blogger to be Better Than WordPress.

Here's the video preview.

(And I have saved the couple of articles that I was planning on sharing with you Monday and today for a future date.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blogger or WordPress? (Part 1)

I was asked recently why I prefer using Blogger over WordPress for my blogs.

The first reason was I started out using Blogger, or Blogspot as it used to be called and am the most comfortable with it.

But on my most visited blog, Collective Wisdom, I have a couple of ads running. I was invited by Forbes magazine to offer ad space, set my price and they manage it including sending me an occasional check.

If I was using the free version of WordPress, I could not do this.

Jim's Marketing Blog has more:

WordPress.com for business: Think first!

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 10:00 AM PST

WordPress is, in my opinion, the finest blogging software in the world. Little wonder then, that the vast majority of the world’s top blogs run on Matt Mullenwegg‘s brain child. It’s the only blogging software I use and the only one I recommend.

WordPress.com offer a free version of WordPress, hosted on their own servers, which has proven extremely successful, and this free version is what today’s post is all about.

You see, although the free WordPress.com service is amazing, it has significant issues for some business users.

WordPress.com, advertising and you

The main issue is the idea of building your blog, knowing that you do not have the freedom to use it the way you want to. This is a particular problem for those of you, who would like to make money from advertising on your blog or earn affiliate income; 2 of the most popular ways to monetize a commercial blog.

Even this blog, with just 1 affiliate, would fall foul of the terms regarding a free WordPress.com blog and would be suspended! This can be a lot more severe than it may sound. Here’s a direct quote explaining what can happen to suspended WordPress.com blogs:

“If a blog has been suspended for violating our terms, its domain/URL and content will not be returned.” From the suspended blogs page on WordPress.com

You will also be suspended, if you decide to run adsense etc on your blog. Here’s what they say on the advertising page, in the WordPress.com support section.

Adsense, Yahoo, Chitika, TextLinkAds and other ads are not allowed on free WordPress.com blogs. If you would like to run ads on your blog, one of these options may work for you:

We have a feature called Ad Control that lets WordPress.com bloggers with a lot of traffic (generally 25,000 pageviews/month or more) and appropriate content turn on AdSense and Skimlinks for their blog and split the resulting revenues 50/50 with us.

So, you can actually advertise on WordPress.com, but only if you get your blog delivering 25,000 or more page views a month AND you pay WordPress 50% of the money you make!

If you’re OK about working for years to build that kind of readership, and then giving half your income away, it’s an option. Why any business savvy person would do that is beyond me. To have that much traffic and give half your earnings away, just for some free hosting, makes no commercial sense whatsoever.

Automattic is right to charge businesses for a business service

Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, is totally right to charge for what they do, when business users want to benefit from their services. That’s my point. If you want to monetize your site with ads then WordPress.com is a paid for service, not a free one. Equally, there’s no option I can see, to allow you to use your affiliate accounts on WordPress.com – free or paid versions. (If you know otherwise, please let me know including links and I will update the post.)

Vague areas

My understanding is that you are allowed to mention your business on a free WordPress blog and even mention special deals you have, but there seems to be a great deal that’s unclear about what WordPress consider appropriate and inappropriate.

For example, in a section on WordPress.com regarding the types of blog you are not allowed to have, they actually mention pyramid selling and MLM in the same sentence, and seem unaware that one is a legitimate business whilst the other is illegal in most countries. Putting these in the same category is also rather insulting to those working hard and ethically in Multi Level Marketing, and makes it hard to see how an MLM business owner could use the platform and stay within their rules.

In my experience, it makes a lot more sense for you to simply build a blog, like this one, using the excellent WordPress software, and place it on the best hosting you can afford. It starts from around $5 a month. This gives you freedom to build your legitimate online business, your way and retain all your income. You are also free to use whatever plugins you need, giving you and your readers a huge amount of added functionality.

WordPress.com and you

As I said at the beginning, I love the WordPress software, but believe that their limitations may make their free hosting service a poor choice for some business bloggers and entrepreneurs. It seems WordPress agrees, as one of the suggestions they offer to people who want to make money from their blog, is for them to do exactly as I suggested and get a self-hosted version of WordPress from WordPress.org. I also have concerns regarding the vague nature of what a WordPress.com moderator may regard as inappropriate, (thus suspending your account.) Just look at how they categorised MLM and pyramid selling together.

I would like to know your feedback, regarding WordPress.com as a business blogging platform. Maybe you believe that their free hosting is worth the price (millions of people do)? Whatever your feedback regarding this amazing platform, I would love to hear from you!

Image: WordPress



Hey, it's me again. One other feature that Blogger has that I've been thankful for is the spam filter on comments. I used to have to approve comments due to the amount of spam that was being added.

Just a couple days ago, I decided to open it up again so anyone can leave a comment. I get an email notification if someone leaves a comment and Blogger still lets me verify those that look like spam.

There is more news about Blogger coming Thursday at noon. See ya then!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Multiple Personalities in Social Media?


Last week I was asked about creating separate Twitter accounts based on the subject matter being discussed.

Here's the question:


@lifeasclouds: @ScLoHo should I use different twitter handles if I want to tweet about more than one topic (i.e. Personal stuff, Govt mngmnt and religion)?

I answered back in a couple of tweets, but want to explain my answer in more than 140 characters.

My opinion:

Social Media Identities should be Brands.

This applies to Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, and other Social Media platforms.

I am on Social Media as ScLoHo which is a personal brand. I do not speak on behalf of the radio stations I work for, however I will update my Facebook Wall, Tweet, and write on blogs about them on occasion.

In other words, I am me, not my employer when I write as ScLoHo.

I do have administrator privileges with a couple of Facebook accounts that represent other organizations. Anything that I post on those accounts are appropriate for that organization.

I pulled a couple others into the conversation I was having with Chris @LifeAsClouds.

Amber:


@arecker1704: @scloho @lifeasclouds- good question. I have 4 twitter accts- 1 for me, @fwderbygirls @fiveonfivemag @cancersvcsni. But those are all orgs.


and...


@arecker1704: @scloho @lifeasclouds if it's just various aspects of u, I'd say let them shine through as u :) But if you rep a company, set up a sep acct.


Heather:


@HSchoegler: @arecker1704 @ScLoHo @lifeasclouds Just be you & talk about all that's important to you. Add disclaimer on your bio that they're your words.


And then Andy asked:


@awelfle: @hschoegler @arecker1704 @ScLoHo @lifeasclouds Is a disclaimer rly necessary? It seems superfluous & jst clogs up ur profile. Y do u use it?


I believe I know the answer to that one. Heather is a public figure who is the communication director for a local non-profit, and she has been the president of a local leadership organization, plus her husband is a television sportscaster. She does it to cover her butt.

My Social Media activities are all branded ScLoHo. I started doing this after a couple of years and a couple of blogs. I added ScLoHo to the name of all my blogs along with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and nearly everything I do online that is mine.

I do have separate blogs because each has a different theme. That is to create consistency for the readers of each blogsite so they know what to expect when they visit.

But this is different from what Chris asked regarding Twitter.

Here are the links to many of the places that you will find me online:

My home page is ScLoHo.net. Click Here.

My personal blog is ScLoHo's Really? Click Here.

One of my Advertising, Marketing, Media & Sales blogs is ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom. Collective Wisdom because it features wisdom I've collected from others. Click Here.

The other Advertising, Marketing, Media & Sales blog only features stuff that I write. The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo. Click Here.

You are reading my newest blog, ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure. Click Here to go to the home page.

I mentioned LinkedIn. Click here.

My Facebook page. Click here.

And besides the blogs, I am most active on Twitter. Click here.

What are your thoughts on all of this?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Making Connections on #BlogChat


A few weeks ago, I noticed that my friend Kevin @KMullett would use the hashtag #blogchat on Sunday nights for about an hour on Twitter.

I asked him about it and it seems that one of the uses of Twitter is to create virtual Chat rooms.

A couple weeks ago I joined in on my first #blogchat and it was wild & crazy.

Imagine you are at a large gathering with a few hundred people and everyone is talking at once.

Every once in awhile someone asks a question and you can listen to the responses or add your own comment. Sometimes someone will ask you specifically a question about something you said and of course everyone who is in #blogchat can listen and respond too.

Last night I decided to join in the #blogchat which occurs every Sunday from 9 to 10pm Eastern time.

The topic of discussion last night was what can business bloggers learn from personal bloggers?

Since my blogs and social media brand is a hybrid of business and personal, I tossed a few comments out, and joined in the conversation.

Then this morning, I discovered that something I said caught the attention of Allison Boyer who wrote about it on the BlogWorld.com site:

Overheard on #Blogchat: Share People Stories (@ScLoHo)

Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This Week’s Theme: What company blogs can learn from personal bloggers with @1680PR

This week, #blogchat was held LIVE at SXSW. Sad face that I couldn’t go, but happy face that there was still normal #blogchat at night for those of us stuck at home! Actually, I was so busy apartment-hunting that I didn’t get to the online version either, but moderator and host Mack Collier is nice enough to link to the transcript every week, so I was still able to pick out some awesome points to share with you all!

One that stood out to me just a few minutes into the chat:

@ScLoHo: Every business has people. Share people stories on your business blog

Business blogs are too often outlets for company press releases and nothing else. Think about your favorite brands in the world. I like Hershey’s chocolate. I like Gain laundry detergent. I like Dell computers (don’t judge me, that’s a debate for another day, haha). But really, I don’t like any of those companies enough to read announcements about their products every day – or worse, multiple times per day. It’s sometimes nice to know big changes that are coming, but I don’t need constant content that is little more than ads for your brand.

Corporate bloggers, write this down and post it by your computer: A blog is not a commercial.

Adding personality to your corporate blog is, in my opinion, the only way to go. But if you’re a major brand (like Hershey or Gain or Dell), doing that can be tricky, since you have a corporation to represent (not just yourself) and since you’re probably one of several people working on posts. Even as a small business owner, it can be tough to know how to go about adding personality to your blog.

That’s what I love so much about @ScLoHo’s tweet. Telling stories is something I do regularly on my own blog, After Graduation, and companies can definitely learn to do that as well.

  • Share the story of how the company was founded and how the business owners helped it evolve into what it is today.
  • Share awesome stories from people who work at your company. Feature everyone from board members to factory workers. Feel-good stories that fit your brand well are interesting and help promote your products.
  • Share stories from your customers. Not only are you promoting your brand, but you’re starting to build a community by getting your readers involved.

I think that personal bloggers can take some value away from this idea as well. Don’t be afraid to share your story and the stories of readers if they are relevant to your topic. It’s one of the most basic ways we can connect as human beings. Between the press releases, some human interest stories go a long way for corporate blogs, and for personal bloggers, this is a way to spice up your content, doing something different and interesting for your readers.



Today, more and more people are discovering Alli's blog post as it is being shared with links on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN.

This is the power of participating in Social Media.

Thanks Allison! http://twitter.com/allison_boyer/

Be sure to visit the original post at Blogworld and add a comment or two. Click here.

Tuesday on ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure, I will share a recent conversation regarding personal vs. business accounts in social media.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Serious Tweep (Part 9)


Okay, there really isn't a part 9 to this series.

I've enjoyed giving you a guide to Twitter the past couple of weeks and next week we're going back to some of the other forms of social media including more guest posts.

But it's time to give you links to all of the Twitter articles I've done so far.

It started on January 1oth with a weeks worth of Introduction to Twitter:

Twitter? Get Real! Part 1

Twitter? Get Real! Part 2

Twitter? Get Real! Part 3

Twitter? Get Real! Part 4

Twitter? Get Real! Part 5

In February, I answered a few Twitter questions:

Public or Protected Account

How Often Should I Update on Twitter?

What is #FF?

And then after a few requests for my in depth information on how to use Twitter, I launched the Serious Tweep feature on March 1st:

The Serious Tweep (Part 1)


The Serious Tweep (Part 2)

The Serious Tweep (Part 3)


The Serious Tweep (Part 4)

The Serious Tweep (Part 5)

The Serious Tweep (Part 6)


The Serious Tweep (Part 7)

The Serious Tweep (Part 8)

And there will be more articles on Twitter too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Serious Tweep (Part 8)


As I wind down this series, I keep getting more ideas, in response to the reaction to some of the previous articles.

Can you measure the impact of your social media efforts on Twitter?

Well, yes you can, if you want to look at raw numbers with a few insights, I'm going to share with you some of the programs and sites today that you can check out, but first a disclaimer:

You are most likely not doing this is a vacuum. There are other things you are doing online, and offline that will have an impact on your growth. I tell my advertising clients to look at the long term and compare month to month, or year to year if they've been around awhile.

But, for Twitter, there are a few things to check. And I recommend that you check where you stand this week and use the numbers as a benchmark for the future.

There is Klout.

Last time I checked, Klout classified me as a Thought Leader. Other Thought Leaders include Andrew Hoffman of @BeTheLink, and Evan Williams @ev co-founder of Twitter.

I checked a few other profiles, like my daughter @greenglasshero, and she is a Specialist. Other Specialists include Kevin @KMullett and @JillKonrath

There is a Celebrity classification which includes @CharlieSheen and CBSNews

There are other classifications like Explorer and Conversationalist but be sure to read the Score Analysis section too.

Another site to visit is TwitterGrader.com There are plenty ways to analyze the data, including finding out who the top Tweeps are in your area.

A few others:

TweetStats

Twitaholic

TwitterCounter

There are problems though with some of these sites, and that is they do not always screen out spammers and the comparisons between you and others may not really matter. It all depends on what you are doing and want to do on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Serious Tweep (Part 7)



Time for a few more wise words from others on being a Serious Tweep.

Sunday I was cleaning out my email and came across this article from Advertising Age:

Digital Marketing Guide: How Do I Increase My Twitter Following?

By: Irina Slutsky

It's important to remember that chasing numbers can be futile, since even those with envied Twitter followings may not have as many followers as the numbers indicate they do. Even so, the first thing many people do when they hear of a name, a company or a brand is search for it on Google and Twitter, so there are benefits to a robust following, especially if they are organic and engaged.

1. Tweet about stuff you know and love. Your passion and expertise will show and people will recognize it.

2. Make sure your Twitter account name reflects who you are and what you do. For those whose name isn't a brand in its own right (like, um, @irinaslutsky), pick one that's short and to the point. When third generation NYC journalist Jonathan Mandell decided to tweet about theater, he picked @newyorktheater.

3. Related to No. 2, make sure you fill out the bio that shows up under your account name. In case your name is your account name, put your city and description.

4. Follow people. Yes, some of them will follow you back and many won't, but to participate in the Twitter economy, follow. This goes for individuals and companies.

5. Read other people's tweets and ask questions, clarifications and followups. If you're a company, take the complaints offline -- but take them for sure.

6. Unless you're @nytimes or @cnn, don't just hose us with links to your stuff. Throw in observations, funny things you see during the day. Go ahead and break the unofficial rule and tweet what you're having for lunch once in a while. Because someone's going to say they also had a $5 footlong. And that someone could be your next big client.

7. Don't link and run. Even when you post links to your work and intersperse them with links to things you find interesting, stick around for the discussion. Attend to everyone who messages you and especially those who @ you. People remember if they didn't get a response.

8. Tweet consistently. Nothing is more depressing than looking up an account with one tweet from 2010 and two from 2009. Total. (Hi, @redlobster.) Hire someone!

9. If you hire someone to tweet for you or your brand, make sure you trust them. Because if you trust them, they'll be able to have a personality.

10. Remember the Murphy's Law of Twitter is (thanks to @kevinmarks) that being retweeted gets you more followers, but tweeting loses them. So be sure to say things that get retweeted!

Bonus tip: Only tweet drunk if your name is @louisck.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Serious Tweep (Part 6)


Time for some more basics.

First of all, my advice is to not use Twitter.com to tweet.

Twitter.com has many limitations that are overcome by using some of the other software applications.

Favorites include:

Hootsuite

Seesmic

and Tweetdeck.

I have used the last two and have never really been a big Hootsuite fan, due to the fact that most of the features I want are free with Tweetdeck and I'd have to pay an upgrade fee to use them with Hootsuite.

Check and compare.

I do use Twitter.com to do some organization like build my lists, and check Twitter profiles, but when I'm tweeting, I'm using Tweetdeck.

The current version of Tweetdeck allows you to post to multiple social media account at the same time. Everyday I post on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I only have to write it once, and then I can select which account I post it to.

Tweetdeck also allows me to schedule updates on all of these social media accounts.

Yesterday I checked out another service called Postling at Postling.com . My initial reaction was I don't like it. They want my money to do stuff that I am able to do already on Tweetdeck without it costing me anything. Yes they have a free option, but it is limited, more limited than Tweetdeck.

About once a month, I will do 24 hours of #FF or #FollowFriday. Once an hour I tweet a #FF recommendation. The only way to do this, at least for me is to pre-schedule them.

I also don't want to overwhelm my followers with too many tweets in a short period of time. Sometimes I'll schedule a tweet or RT for a later time.

One other basic about Twitter. As a Serious Tweep, I want to be able to respond when someone mentions me. Last summer I bought a droid phone which has enabled me to tweet when I'm away from my computer.

Currently I use a program called Tweetcaster on my droid and I have the audio settings to alert me when I get a direct message or a mention. I can check and respond if it is necessary.

What do you use to manage your social media?