Wednesday, 9 March 2016

What to Write? What to Right? - part 2

Here I am with enough on my mind to barely fill an update, much less create a whole post.  Where do I  go for ideas?
My favorite place is LinkedIn Groups.   Second come newspapers and blogs.    And now I state why, with no class or holding back: " There is always someone out there saying something stupid that I have an innate need to refute! (and also the expertise)"   The controversy generates ideas and arguments and brings out the best of my writing abilities, as limited as they are.  A well formed argument becomes a stand alone post for my LinkedIn Profile.  Well written and complete, it can become a stand-alone post in the LinkedIN Group from where the idea came.  Posted as a response to the original article, a well formed argument can generate views, reviews and a hearty discussion, bringing up the volume of views garnered by your profile and  Social Media sites. 
Why post in LinkedIN Groups?  The articles are far reaching.   Every group member, whether connected or not can see the post.   -- and the posts are of natural interest to the group as you are of course, choosing a topic about your professional life that you are an expert on.   Groups attract a diligent readership since the group filters topics for you and give you a starting point.    They allow for comments and an exchange of ideas.   Group discussions are by default, interesting to your connections since they are posts are about your working professional life and areas of expertise.  
.....   and a good post is no more than 300 words long -   so how hard can this be?
#SocialMedia is about useful information exchange.  #LinkedInGroups

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

What to Write? What to Right?

One of the biggest issues people have with #socialmedia is: What to write?  If this stumps you, not to worry, you’re not alone – at one time or another, everyone gets stumped with that!  But you don’t have to look as far as you might think to come up with some great ideas for social media and blog posts.   
Mark Twain said, “Write what you know.” Great advice! You’re an expert in your industry. But not everyone else is. Position yourself as the ‘go-to’ person in your field. And write what you know.
Let’s look at some examples of sources for inspiration:
1.     What are the 2 (or 3 or 4 or 5) key misconceptions about your industry? What are some of the most common myths surrounding what you do? Be the mythbuster! Social media is a great way to disseminate the information that will set people straight.
2.   What about your industry has changed within the past 5 years? What’s new? You’re the professional. Let people know that. Since you’re the one with your finger on the pulse, use that. Change within your industry is the important stuff that people need to know. Share it on social media.
3.   Think for a moment. What are the questions that you are most asked about your industry; about what you do; about your products and services? Elaborating on the responses to these questions can provide you with plenty of inspiration for social media and blog posts.
4.     Finally, and this is really important: What is the call to action? Make sure you include something. Once you have people’s attention, what is it that you want them to do after they absorb all of the useful information you’ve provided via social media? Well, ultimately you want them to buy your products; you want them to use your services. And how do you leverage social media to entice them to do that?  That’s your call to action. And you want the call to action to be an immediate response. It might be to call or email you to request further information about your services, or even better, to set up an appointment (don’t forget to provide contact information where it will be easily seen - and in the case of an email, link to your email address right there). Or it might be to come into your store/offices/workshop to purchase what you sell (again, a very visible address and a map to your location should be included on your social media sites – not to mention a link to your website). Or you might want people to subscribe to your newsletter or blog (and yes, you can write those, too! Piece of cake!). If that’s the case, ensure that you include a “Subscribe” button that people can click on right then and there. Easy!

Posting to social media sites isn’t rocket science, but it does take some time and thought. It’s also a necessity in business these days if you’re going to be competitive. I defy you to find one big business that doesn’t have a social media presence. I’ll bet you can’t! And there’s a very good reason for that. In today’s climate, if you don’t have a social media presence, you pretty much don’t exist. Just some food for thought…
Want more help with your foray into the realm of the social? We’ve got just the course for you! Join one of our Social Networking for Business workshops today! (See the call to action??)

Friday, 18 December 2015

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! (For Growing Your Business Network)

Ahhh… the holiday season…parties, giving, high spiritedness and goodwill toward men. Can you think of a better time of year to network? And grow your business or move forward with your career? Think parties, greeting cards, holiday emails and holiday social media posts. All wonderful ways for you to connect, re-connect and develop your business network.

So, get into the holiday spirit!

Thinking of skipping your holiday office party? That would be a mistake - a missed opportunity to become more intimately acquainted with the people in your company who could make a positive impact on your career. Use the time to bend the ears of your superiors – to make an impression so that the next time you pass them on your way to the lunch room, they notice you, remember you, and address you by name. And do I need to spell out that when I say, “make an impression,” I’m not talking about you getting so plastered on the free alcohol that you try to pull the CEO out onto the dance floor to partake in your drunken version of the Macarena. Use common sense where the open bar is concerned. You know what you can handle – don’t overdo it. One or two drinks are plenty.   

If it’s an industry party, all the better. Bring plenty of business cards - and your A-game social skills. This isn’t the time to be shy – let your inner social butterfly take over and take advantage of the abounding good spirits! Introduce yourself or request introductions from your current contacts and acquaintances.

And do you know what the most important part of networking is? The follow up. If you get thirty business cards, put them in your contact lists and then do nothing with them, what’s the point? A follow up phone call or email within a few days is all it takes to connect. Don’t be lazy about it… I know you’re busy over the holidays, but this is important.

And while we’re on the subject of emails, a nice “Wishing you a Happy Holiday…” greeting email that includes a festive image is all it takes to remind people that you’re still around and that you’re ready, willing and able to be of service. Or, you can send a card via regular snail mail… that works as well. The point is that you just reach out with a light touch periodically, and the holidays provide you a perfect opportunity to do that.

Last but not least, the holiday season is the time to create a joyously themed social media campaign that will make people stand up and notice your brand. Social media platforms are there. Use them! Decorate your profile and cover photos so that they’re Merry and Bright! Create a holiday themed offer for your clients and prospects – perhaps a limited time Christmas offer/discount on your products or services. Organize a holiday-themed game or contest and offer a prize to the winner(s). Or a give-away is always a popular thing. Maybe something like a “12 Days of Christmas” give-away where a prize is awarded on twelve consecutive days.

The point is, no matter what, the holidays are the perfect time to network. Leverage that and take advantage of all the Holiday Cheer! And of course, spread a lot of it around!

Have a happy and safe holiday, Everyone! And enjoy!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Feeling Lucky Today–Or Not? Origins of the Friday the 13th Superstition

From Wikipedia: The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: "triskaidekaphobia"; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning "thirteen").

Did you know that over half of all Canadians are superstitious and believe that the date Friday the 13th brings bad luck? People actually cancel flight reservations, doctor appointments and the like – and some of us take it to the extreme and refuse to leave home on Friday the 13th. Hell, there are even articles published in medical journals illustrating the fear surrounding the dreaded date.  

So, what is it about Friday the 13th that people are so afraid of? How did it become a thing? How did it become a date so shrouded in superstition? I mean, there are a ton of things that we’re superstitious about: crossing the paths of black cats, breaking mirrors, walking under ladders – I could go on… But there’s something about Friday the 13th (beyond the whole homicidal-maniac-in-a-hockey-mask-whom-we’ve-come-to-know-as Jason thing – although where do you think the idea for the film franchise came from??).

I have of course been aware, for as long as I can remember, of Friday the 13th and its alleged curse, but I’ve never really paid much attention - not being all that superstitious myself. So this morning, after overhearing some kids talking about their considerable fears of what the day might bring, I thought, rather than scoff at their silliness, why not  conduct a little research and find out the origin of this particular superstition. Here’s what I found out:

Unfortunately, there’s no evidenced historical background on which to base the Friday the 13th phobia. First of all, the number 13 in and of itself is considered unlucky. I know people who avoid that number at all costs; I’ve been in numerous buildings where a 13th floor is non-existent, etc.. Most accounts of the origin of Friday the 13th are based in theological history. Have you ever heard that having 13 people to a dinner party is bad luck? There’s a legend which states that if 13 people sit down to dine together, one of them will die within a year. Well, here’s where the biblical references come into play. The Bible recounts that there were 13 people present at the Last Supper – and that one of them betrayed Jesus, which precipitated His crucifixion. And we all know what day the crucifixion took place on. It’s also been recorded that it was on a Friday that Eve tempted Adam with the apple – and that the Great Flood began on a Friday.

According to Wikipedia’s page (and please check it out to see all references) on the subject, other possible origins of the superstition are as follows:

An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th:
He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.

Rossini by Henri Grevedon
It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth,[9] contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.[5]
A suggested origin of the superstition—Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of theKnights Templar—may not have been put together until the 20th century. It is mentioned in the 1955 Maurice Druon historical novel The Iron King (Le Roi de fer), John J. Robinson's 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and Steve Berry's The Templar Legacy (2006)

So, historically, Friday is just a bad luck day – and put it together with the number 13, as in Friday the 13th, and, well, you’ve got yourself a double whammy of the bad luck!

I personally don’t put too much stock in it, but clearly there’s something to it. What about you? Are you afraid of Friday the 13th?