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...]

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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7 Social Media Tools Reviews Via @TomPick

As the use of social media marketing tactics have expanded and matured, two consistent challenges that remain are 1) finding enough time for all the tasks that need to be done, and 2) measuring the impact of social media marketing activities.

Into these voids have stepped all manner of developers and entrepreneurs with tools for social media monitoring, management, measurement, and more.

Need to find out how widely one of your links was shared on Twitter? Identify your most influential fans and followers for outreach efforts? Automate repetitive social marketing tasks? Find new industry influencers to engage with to help optimize your overall web presence?

Social Media Tools

Here are helpful reviews of tools to assist with all of those tasks and many more from half a dozen social media experts.

  • Nicole HarrisonNicole Harrison is “adamant” that, properly managed and executed, will deliver measurable financial results to a business, and provides brief reviews of 11 free social measurement tools including Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and TweetReach, which she calls “a great tool for tracking a campaign or conversation on Twitter.”

Douglas KarrDouglas Karr shares an infographic which showcases 25 helpful social media marketing tools across five categories: social listening, social conversation, social marketing, social analytics, and social influencer identification. The infographic also identifies high-profile customers, strong points, and ideal users for each tool, as well as whether it is free or fee-based.

Nicholas ScaliceNicholas Scalice highlights his favorite social tools across eight categories, such as Social Report for analytics, Klout for Business for identifying “your most influential fans and followers,” and Bitly for link shortening.

Sheye Griffin reviews three social media management toolsóHootSuite, Agency Platform, and Sproutófor their value across three areas: ability to capture streams from multiple social networks; keyword search and geographical/trend analysis; and ease of engagement with followers.

Ian ClearyAsking “Do you struggle to get all your social media tasks done every day? Do you find that you perform repetitive tasks?,” (questions likely to elicit two “yeses” from many social media marketers), Ian Cleary reviews more than half a dozen time-saving social tools, including Social Oomph and Zapier (a tool similar to IFTTT).

Priit KallasPriit Kallas reviews 69 free social media tools, divided into two groups: “the services that I use regularly or seem interesting to check out immediately” and “an alphabetical list of tools for you to play with.” Included in the first group are popular tools like SocialBro, TwitterCounter and Klout.

About The Author

Tom-Pick.jpgTom Pick is a digital marketing consultant who helps clients increase their visibility, credibility, and business success online. His expertise in web presence optimization, SEO, search marketing, social media, content marketing and social PR has helped b2b technology clients ranging from single-person businesses to $1 billion+ corporations. Tom is managing editor of the Webbiquity b2b marketing blog, and a co-founder of: WPOinc, a provider of web presence optimization metrics; the B2BMarketingZone.com portal for B2B blogs; and the Social Media Informer social media content aggregation site. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and .

Blog Owner’s Note: Here’s a perfect example that guest blogging is NOT dead! Thanks, Tom!

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12 Most Do Now Online Reputation Punch List Items

Soulati-Media-logo.jpgWhen you sell, buy or build a home, there is a punch list of items on the to-do list to close or complete the deal. Bet you didn’t know social media had one, too? When you engage on social channels, you are building online reputation. You want it to remain pristine. That’s why these punch list items to uphold your personal brand are so important. You should take care of your online self just as you do your vehicle (5,000-mile oil change), your HVAC unit (annual inspection), teeth cleaning every six to nine months, or annual doctor visit.

Every six months or so, consider these online reputation punch list items for your social media presence:

1. Your Avatar Had A Birthday. The little picture you post in all your profiles is called an avatar. If you never change it, you stay forever young. That feels really good as you gaze at a gorgeous you, but what happens when you meet someone IRL (in real life) and they say, “My, you look nothing like your avatar!” What they’re really saying is, “You’re so much older!”

2. Delete Old Photos. While nothing is ever gone from the Internet, you should try to control which personal image you want captured on websites. When you update profile images, ensure the image you’re deleting is nowhere in use on other social media channels. Basically, you’re trying to limit the number of online photos people get to use.

3. Consider Using Gravatar. When you sign up with Gravatar.com, a WordPress.com tool, you upload a photo and brief bio. This photo and personal info populate automatically across the Interwebz (all the online social channels). If someone needs your photo for a blog post or other marketing, they can grab it from Gravatar.

4. Update Your Bio. As you grow professionally, you accomplish more and the list of achievements grows. Every single bio sketch you have ever written must be updated on a consistent basis. If you’re at all like me, I update my bio sketch every few months. This means when you update it in one place you have to keep going and update it everywhere.

5. Delete The Year Of Your Birth. Facebook recently informed me a friend was having a 62nd birthday the next day. Shocked, I posted in my news feed that Facebook was infringing on privacy! No, actually, when you set up your Facebook profile you can elect not to include the year of your birth. That means people can wish you a happy birthday, but they won’t know how young you’re getting! Go to your Facebook settings and delete the year of your birth.

6. Check Privacy Settings. On every social media channel with which you engage, click on settings and carefully review the boxes you’ve checked for privacy. Do you want only “friends” to see your profile and share with you? Do you want to receive third-party junk mail (spam)? Do you want to block the ex-husband or stalker girlfriend from your stream? Be very aware of privacy settings although we all know sharing/living online is nowhere near private (right?).

7. Check Third-Party Apps. When you sign in to a new app or online tool using Twitter or Facebook, you’ve essentially given permission for that app to crawl personal information, friends’ lists and liking behavior. Click the settings buttons on Facebook and Twitter until you find third-party apps or permissions settings. Delete the apps you’re no longer using or engaging with. This is important to pay attention to, and few do.

8. Google Yourself. Everyone should Google themselves! When was the last time you did? You need to see what’s popping up under your name and whether you need to kick into high gear and fix anything negative. If your name is the same as a serial killers, well, that’s going to be a problematic for your online reputation. There are things to do to ensure your reputation remains stellar, and the steps what to do require an entirely new blog post!

9. Update Your Website. Never forget to update your “About” page on your website. You can be a maker of artisanal jewelry or the CMO of a mid-tier company. The information about you is critical, and it cascades across all social media profiles beginning with LinkedIn.

10. Add Personal Info To Comment Systems. When you blog, you get to use a comment system like CommentLuv, Disqus or Livefyre. For each of these, you also can add an avatar (typically automatically taken from an existing photo on Twitter or Gravatar) as well as a tagline describing what you do. Here’s my example to help clarify. I use Livefyre as my blog’s comment system, and I used to have “B2B Social Media Marketing with PR” as my descriptor. It appeared next to my name and avatar. Because I recently updated my professional tagline, this now says “Hybrid PR” with my name and avatar. Do take advantage of things like this; it helps you build your professional brand.

11.Add Your Twitter ID To Social Sharing.Add Your Twitter ID To Social Sharing. For bloggers who use social sharing buttons from AddThis, AddToAny, Shareaholic and others, you are able to customize the retweet content of that blog post share. Let’s say someone wants to share your blog post and they click on the Twitter sharing icon. When it pops up, they see 1) @Wordpress.com 2) @AddToAny or @Shareaholic 3) no personal branding at all. What you want instead is your Twitter ID on every retweet so you can see who’s retweeting your content at various levels of sharing. You’re not owning your content without this type of personal customization; you’re allowing the share bar vendors to capitalize on your content marketing.

12.Use BrandYourself.com. This is the most fun and easiest way to develop an online reputation. See Number 8! If my name was the same as a serial killer’s name, I would run to this website and immediately engage. You add positive links about yourself, your bio, your avatar, and this site tells you how to boost each link for maximum search engine exposure. If you lead a highly professional online life, like me, then privacy is out and working daily to keep a positive online reputation is in.

This post originally appeared on 12Most.com, July 17, 2013 (and it’s still relevant!).

The Happy Friday Series: 5 Always Reasons To Be Happy

Kitties.jpgNew Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday. I like the edge of things, the precipice. I like the feeling of a shared global experience. I like that you can say Happy New Year! to anybody you like. It’s happiness you can spread.

The secret to enjoying the new year is not to make resolutions. My family either focuses on a theme, or else I think about life changes in February – when the gym is less crowded.

5 Factors Contributing To My Happiness Right Now

1. Snow. It snowed last night. I love snow when it’s not inconveniencing me. It’s pretty, and I throw a mean snowball.
2. Prevent guest blog crime! I hate the camera, so I was surprised when I had a blast filming this video for the Communications Network (the association for communicators in philanthropy & nonprofit). In their Zero to Ninety Series, you have to give one takeaway for your viewer in fewer than ninety seconds. Watch my video and you’ll find out how to steer clear of guest blog crime. Plus I think the video is really funny and I’m proud of it.
3. Math. My stepson actually enjoys having me grill him on his multiplication tables. What!
4. Kitties. Two new kitties came to my house for Christmas. Their names are Johnny Shutup and Ernie Shutup. They are extremely affectionate. I’m working from home today, and they still want their lap time. Here’s a picture of them snuggling together when we weren’t looking.
5. Seattle. I’m going to Seattle in June for my sister’s graduation. Seattle is my favorite place in the US, hands down. I can’t drink coffee anymore and I still love Seattle. St. Ignatius Chapel, known as “The Gathering of Different Lights,” is my favorite place, hands down. You really should look at the pictures here even if they don’t do it justice.

I’m still thinking about a theme for this year for me & my family. What do you think it should be? I’m sincerely stuck. Maybe the year of no regrets? The year of new experiences? The year of kitties (that’s my stepson’s suggestion). I’ll be even happier if we can figure this out.

Jenn-Whinnem.jpgAbout The Author

Jenn Whinnem has been more than a loyal member of this community, she has been a stalwart (is that a noun?). She is a communications guru, maven, and #RockHot mastermind (there, I used them all) at the Connecticut Health Foundation by day. In other moments, she’s waxing jargon on Facebook and contributing to this blog while working behind the scenes to keep Jayme in top form. Connect with her on Twitter @TheJenn. Love this girl.

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