There Is No Online Invasion Of Privacy!

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Last week I read an article by Matt Wilson via PR Daily. Titled, “Microsoft reportedly accessed blogger’s email to trace rogue employee”, the company was called out legally snooping in the blogger’s email, despite its Hotmail privacy policy.

Long story short, Microsoft is reviewing and “evolving” their policies after being reminded of its extreme criticism of the big G.

At the end of Matt’s article, he asks you if Microsoft’s promise to be more careful is enough. GO THERE to post your answer. [Read more...]

Are Google+ Communities A Thing Of The Past?

English: Google+ wordmark

English: Google+ wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the day I pull the plug on Bloggers Unite, the Google+ community I so eagerly and quickly established to build a place for we bloggers to qvetch, klatch, and ‘raderie.

It worked. For a bit.

In the beginning, as with most things new on the Interwebz, the sharing and energy around Google+ was #RockHot. Everyone wanted in on the action, and my community became a friendly place for peeps to read new material and cascade a few plusses around the sphere.

After that, the invasion of the non-English bloggers happened overnight. One day, we all knew one another, and the next folks from Latin America, Europe, and South America joined and posted blogs in their native tongues.

As owner of this community, it became challenging to support and share blogs I couldn’t read. Yes, someone did inform me to use Google Translation; however, my time is limited.

Segue.

It’s All About Time

What did Google+ communities offer beyond a Facebook group or LinkedIn group? The chatter wasn’t different (in my community, at least). We who jumped in together were already connected on other social channels.

Although I did try to jump start the conversation, it seemed bloggers posted something and took off to greater confines where the engagement was more robust. I get it, so did I!

Amber-Lee Dibble, kindly accepted the role as co-manager of the community, and then she got swamped on a wild horse adventure (no kidding, she lives in the Alaska interior).

Are Other Google+ Communities Thriving?

Like you, I joined some really robust communities back in the day. When I was publishing my first book a year ago, Writing With Verve on the Blogging Journey, (if anyone wants a free copy in exchange for jumping onto my list, let me know!), I joined APE The Book managed by Peggy Fitzpatrick for Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. With 3,400 members, it’s easy to get lost and lurk.

After I gleaned all I could (it was crazy with information), I had to turn off notifications as it became too much sensory overload.

Viveka von Rosen owns a community of 600 members about LinkedIn, her specialty, and I still see those notices rolling in my in box.

Maybe that’s the ticket to success for a G+ community? Specialty topics everyone wants to learn about?

Could be! And, what do you think? Are you still involved in any #RockHot Google+ communities?

Please list them here and tell us why as I’m now seeking a new home to visit!

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10 Steps Using Social Media For Business Development

Institute of Technology and Business Development

Institute of Technology and Business Development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all need new business, right? Doesn’t matter if you’re a solo professional, small business of five or larger, everyone has to keep the pipeline full and the leads rolling in.

Digital marketing is absolutely the tier-one method, and I recently met an incredible expert who does it every day exceptionally well. And, the process is highly strategic requiring expertise learned over time and years of testing the methods.

Social media provides another business development methodology that everyone can do and probably does do without knowing it.

The other day, I tweeted, “If you ignore Twitter, it ignores you.” Indeed. When you fall off the ladder into the rabbit hole, it’s hard to jump out. There are a variety of reasons making that hole feel comfortable and safe and most of it has to do with being challenged and trying what’s new and different. While it’s easy to tweet and reshare everyone’s posts all day, what’s the gain besides burn out?

Let’s be more strategic and help fuel your lead generation. And, I’m not talking about inbound marketing right now; I’m talking about good old-fashioned networking.

10 Steps to Fuel Business Development

Step 1: Set Goals

There are four simple goals for using social media for business development:
1. Identify your target list
2. Elevate your personal brand
3. Ask for a meeting
4. Earn the business

Step 2: Track With a Spreadsheet or CRM System

If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a CRM system, then use your QuickBooks or Excel to track lead generation and prospecting. If you’re really on a budget, then perhaps index cards?

Step 3: Develop a Tier-One Target List

Everyone has a wish list of a company with which they’d like to work. Put your list of five or so together. Maybe you select a few out of each category that are different sizes.

For sales teams, this works, too. Select the company with which you most want to do business and get that target list active on a CRM system (but then I don’t need to inform sales how to prospect, right?).

Step 4: Who is the buyer of your services or product?

During the time I was in HubSpot school (I made a major investment in this platform to learn inbound marketing from the big guns), the words “buyer persona” appeared on my radar.

I had to think about the audience most likely to purchase my services and describe them – age, gender, expertise, values they appreciate, and more.

From the list in step one, select the title/role of the person most likely to buy your services or products. Get that title/role into your tracking system.

Step 5: Audit The Company

Here’s where social media comes to play. Using your tiered target list, begin exploring social media activity by the company. Record on your tracking system/CRM each of the channels and which is more powerful for shares and content.

LinkedIn (example). Does the company have a company page? How about a group? Who are the folks who work there? Can you find the title of the person most likely to buy from you? Better yet, take a look at your network; who in your network knows someone at that company to send an introduction on your behalf?

Step 6: Social Sharing

  • Google+. Similar to LinkedIn, check out the business page for your target company on Google+. Perhaps you’ll also find the folks who work there and you can do a search. (Not to mention, you can also do a name search on Google itself, of course!) Begin to +1 posts on Google+ by the company and also reshare it if you think it’s worthy.
  • Twitter. Companies tweet, obviously. Star the company into your Faves List and begin retweeting posts you like from that company. Pay attention to who’s tweeting; it may be an agency and there may also be initials on the posts indicating someone on a team.
  • Blog. Here’s where you can really influence and elevate your identity and brand. Visit the company blog frequently; in fact, subscribe and never miss a post. Read for a week or two (depending on the frequency of blog posts) and get a feel for the topics the company is writing on. All the while, you’re preparing to comment on the blog while resharing it on social media channels.While the blogger for the company may not be on your target list, you can still use the fact that you commented and shared that company’s blog post in your eventual pitch.
  • Your Blog. If you really want to make an impact and impression, invite the person you’re targeting to do a Q&A with you, write a guest post or to link. You can also follow them on the Interwebz; but, do not be a stalker! Use discretion and caution, please!

Step 7: Engage and Build Relationship

We who have been on social media longer than five years know how to build relationships with total strangers. It’s what the channels were built on. Today, that ‘raderie is next to nil; yet, people appreciate genuine authenticity with real professionals and people.

Use that concept to build upon the relationship you started. Of course, your goal is to get a meeting and perhaps earn some new business; however, there should be a common interest you can draw upon to build a true and solid foundation.

Step 8: Ask for a Meeting

If you’ve done a great job making small talk, sharing content and following your target list, then it’s time to ask for a meeting. Make it casual under the guise of networking because that’s what it is. No one wants a hard sell, and the recipient of your attention is smart enough to know a sales shakedown when it happens!

Essentially, be you and be real.

Step 9. Stay in Touch

If the meeting doesn’t product the result you wanted, do not fret. Sales pipelines sometimes take months to fill and business also takes time to close. If you drop off the radar, what happens when your prospect wants to find your name and number and can’t because you fell back into the comfy rabbit hole?

Step 10. Smile and Show Me Some Personality

I needed a step 10 to round this out, and maybe it’s the most important step in the bunch. Think about when you get a cold pitch; how’s your demeanor on the phone? Abrupt and impatient, right? Now think about paving the way to a prospect with smiles, laughs, personality, kudos and more. How do you think that person will feel about you with all that in front of the ask? Selling with heart couldn’t be more important, and think of it this way – if you get a “no thank you,” then move on to the next one and pretty soon it’s like riding a bike.

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Google Outage A Business Wake Up

Credit: Mashable

Credit: Mashable

Where were you when the lights went out in Georgia? How about when Princess Diana was killed? Or when Michael Jackson was pronounced dead?

In an unexpected show of the mighty servers, Google inadvertently strengthened its image of world power when an internal software bug shut down Gmail, calendars, Google+, and documents for an hour on Friday Jan. 24, 2014. Where were you and with what Google feature were you engaged?

Life as we knew it was disrupted.

For those among us who didn’t know a mishap was brewing and wanted to share a post, we continued to click and try to get G+ to obey only to see five different shares of the same thing eventually turn up. (That was my experience.)

If Gmail was your primary email, you were screwed just when you were doing the Friday scurry to the weekend. It’s a bit scary, isn’t it, to rely on a behemoth like Google which keeps growing and expanding into new sectors of innovation? Is your business 100 percent dependent on Google for email, social media, calendars and document sharing?

Wake Up Business

Do you remember the days of yore when there was no email. We relied on the phone, fax and snail mail to communicate and instant global engagement was nil.

What we experienced was a first-hand feel for the powerhouse Google has become. I have to think in a boardroom deep in the confines of Google HQ that some executives may be grinning along with the grimace — just a tad.

  • Does your company rely strictly on Google for email, calendars, document sharing, analytics, and many other services?
  • Do you rent space on Google servers for blogging?
  • Maybe you rent space on WordPress.com, Yahoo! or MSN for a website, blog, message board, or other shared-server situation?

Perhaps back in the day, it was easier to just go with what’s “free.” At the risk of your privacy, online security, hacking, and outages you cannot control, among other horrors we’ve yet to experience, your business is subjected to the new whims of the Internet, and you never know what’s coming.

How will you prepare?

Author Rank Guidelines (Infographic)

Google+ Author Rank is a topic that is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s heating up again. The folks at Vertical Measures have done a fabulous job with this infographic. Let’s start the conversation again with this:

The Author Rank Building Machine #verticalmeasures #Infographic #Authorrank
Data Graphic by Vertical Measures

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