#FocusFriday – Foolish Friday Edition

It’s April Fool’s Day. I have written a few blogs on April Fool’s Day and here is my in the context of #FocusFriday.abraham-lincoln-quotes-it-is-better-to-remain-silent-3

There are plenty of quotes about being a fool or looking foolish. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “A fool and his money are soon parted.” – Thomas Tusser an English poet and famer
  • “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” – Chinese Proverb
  • “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

In a day and era when personal branding and personal marketing have become so important can we afford to look foolish? Will looking foolish hurt your brand or is being foolish sometimes worth the risk?

henry_ford_quoteNobody wants to look like a fool. If you do, people laugh, they call you out and they certainly remember it. A reputation as a fool is something that no one wants or strives for. However, to truly succeed we need to try, fail and learn.  Sometimes you may look or sound foolish. Can you recover?  In my view if the effort was well intended and if you had a goal in mind the answer is yes. Why can’t you recover? 2ae8593ca4e95aa4bb15be5b28a63382Trying and failing is essential; the recovery process may be long and it may come with pain and remorse. There is a road to redemption if the effort was well intended to begin with.

quote-i-didn-t-like-the-idea-of-being-foolish-but-i-learned-pretty-soon-that-it-was-essential-daniel-day-lewis-17-43-30Here is what some great business leaders of past and present have said about looking like a fool or being foolish:

  • “Too many men are afraid of being fools.” – Henry Ford
  • “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?” – Alec Guiness (as Obi Wan Kenobi)
  • “Dare to wear the foolish clown face.” – Frank Sinatra
  • “I learned pretty soon that it was essential to fail and be foolish.” – Daniel Day-Lewis, only three-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor
  • “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs

To achieve significant success and to stand out there is a possibility or likelihood of looking foolish. However, without risk there may be no reward. If you believe in what you are doing and are willing to take the risk of looking foolish, you may be rewarded opportunity and success. For many the experience alone is worth the journey.

steve-jobs-quotes-wallpaper-stay-hungry-stay-foolish-3Today there is a greater risk if your endeavors become a fool’s errand. Videos and all sorts of images when posted are seen by people all over the world. If you post something foolish, remember it will remain online for years, reverberating and potentially damaging your personal brand or career indefinitely.

  • “A fool is the one who fails to think about the ramifications of their actions and how they will reverberate and echo throughout his or her career.” – Bill Corbett, Jr.

The intent of my #FocusFriday blogs is to have people thinking about their actions. It is important to plan and act deliberately. Focus on what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Take the time to focus on what actions you will take and how this will impact our success and your career. Consider how each deliberate act will impact our plan and how you approach goals. Will this action impact your brand or your reputation?

Certainly plans and action can go awry and be misinterpreted. This is to be expected, the likelihood of them happening will be reduced by taking a slower and thoughtful approach before the action is taken.

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.

  • Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” – “I believe that those who don’t think, practice and plan run the highest risk of looking foolish in the worst way possible.  Those who think, plan and execute, may fail or miss the mark, however they will not look like the fool or be the fool. They will learn, grow and advance. The fool is the one who does not learn from these lesson or mistakes. His is destiny for fail and continue to look foolish.”

For more quotes on foolishness check out this story in Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy.

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

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#Focus Friday: Focus on Learning and Understanding Marketing

Do you know how to market? Do you know what marketing actually is? Do you have a plan for marketing yourself or your business or do you simply take periodic actions or coast along? It is not surprising for people to learn that many individuals admit that they are not following a plan in terms of their marketing. Most people have limited or no knowledge of marketing basics and fall short in terms of experience. It is clear however, and I have been told this many times, that people know marketing is important but the dont have the time to learn or they are not sure where to go to start learning.

No matter where you stand today in terms of your personal marketing, understanding marketing and learning how to use it is critical for your success tomorow.

The questions I listed above are all important. The fact is that if you are involved in business development in any way or you are seeking career success you need to have a marketing plan. You need knowledge, tactics and strategies to succeed so it is time to start studying and learning about what’s out there and what you should be doing.

I was recently asked by a member of the media writing a story on networking where people should go to learn about personal marketing and where they should start. The first step in this process is relevant to this blog series – focus on learning and understanding marketing. Make the commitment today to continually learn about marketing, marketing trends and marketing technology. It is vital you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and strategies. I would like to provide you with a complete outline and strategies, however let’s stick with the basics.

What do you need to know?

Newbies to marketing or those who need a refresher need to start with the basics. Read and learn about the core elements of marketing. These include:

Goals – An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe. In more simple terms, where do you want your marketing efforts to take you?  Define your goals. Goals can be: How many leads do you want, how many closed deals do you need, or how much customer engagement do you require?

Message and Messaging – Underlying idea or theme in an ad or campaign. You message is the central or primary content or information that passes from a communicator (you) to a receiver (your audience/customers).

Position – An effort to influence consumer perception of a brand or product relative to the perception of competing brands or products. Your position’s objective is to occupy a clear, unique, and advantageous position in the consumer’s mind. What do you want customers to think of when they hear your name, your product’s name or your company’s name.

Value proposition – An analysis or statement of the combination of goods and services offered by a company to its customers in exchange for payment. What value do you offer that makes you or your product preferable to those of your competitors?

Differentiators – Unique features and/or benefits of a product, or aspects of a brand, that set it apart from competing products or brands. Being different is incredibly important; highlight what you do differently and this will attract attention.

Competitive advantages – A superiority gained by an organization when it can provide the same value as its competitors but at a lower price, or can charge higher prices by providing greater value through differentiation. A competitive advantage results from matching core competencies to the opportunities. We are all competing against each other for time and attention. What do you do that your competitors don’t or can’t?

Marketing assets – Customized content such as presentations, brochures, email campaigns, and other promotional items used to promote products or services. Your website, your social media sites, PR coverage and videos are all assets that should be used to market your brand and company.

Marketing vehicles – A marketing vehicle is a specific tool for delivering your messages to a target audience. They are particular channels within a medium that you use to get your message across. Marketing vehicles are contained within marketing mediums. Like your assets, these tools give you the ability to communicate with your audience.

Audience – People or market segment at whom a message or campaign is aimed. Your audience includes your customers, referral sources, individuals from your industry and all those who interact with your company/brand, staff, products and services.

Ideal client or customer – A subset of your potential clients. Ideal clients are those prospects who will provide you with the maximum return on your marketing investment. These are the individuals who will hire you or buy from you. Recognize the fact that every customer or client may not fit the “ideal” client category.

Ideal referral sources – A person or company that interacts with your ideal client prospects and is willing to actively recommend them to you. For example accountants are considered by many as ideal referral sources because they work closely with business and individuals. They know their clients needs and they are trusted advisors, when they make a recommendation it is often acted upon.

*definitions include information gathered from online resources including businessdictionary.com, activedemand.com, trackmaven.com, eyeswideopen.com.au, and lisacherney.com.

Where can you go to learn?

We are living in the age of online learning and the internet. You can use books, blogs, podcasts, online courses, seminars, training programs and event individual training and coaching. As a trainer and personal branding coach I find those individuals that make the investment in some one-on-one or small group training get the greatest value. This personal interaction allows the student to ask questions at and get answers at their own pace.

What should be in my marketing plan?

Your marketing plan should start with your goals and build from there. Check out this blog where I discuss your personal marketing plan. You plan should include a timeline as well as time and financial budget. How much time and effort you will spend are important especially for small business owners and solopreneurs. A timeline of activities is also critical. Map out when actions will be taken, identify themes and schedule activities that will take place during each month. This includes the preparation work that needs to be done the month or two months before a campaign is launched.

An important part of a marketing plan is assessing success. You must examine what works and what did not work. Learn from this process and move forward. Don’t give up on campaigns and strategies right away, some may take months or even longer to show results.

How much should you spend?

Typically 5 to 10 percent of annual revenues is the standard that most in marketing consider to be appropriate. However this varies depending on the industry, business and how aggressive you wish to be.

Where can I go to stay up to date?

As mentioned earlier, there are tremendous online resources that are free or not very expensive. They will give you the ability to stay up-to-date and see what competitors or others with similar businesses are doing or are planning to do. You can create google alerts on topics of interest, subscribe to magazines like Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and others that provide quality content about marketing and business growth.

Learn by reading constantly and listening to podcasts. I find podcasts, while many have an underlying sales message, provide quality information and success stories. These are educational and motivational. Look to thought leaders, follow them.

Gary Vaynerchuck – #AskGaryVee podcast

Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income podcast

Chalene Johnson – Build Your Tribe

John Lee Dumas – Entrepreneur on Fire

Tim Ferris – The Tim Ferris Experiment

All offer great content in terms of books, videos, podcasts, examples, tools, resources and more.

Finally, consider attending local or national marketing, small business or personal development conferences and events. These programs come with a cost, sometimes significant. The value of this focused time and effort can be immeasurable. The quality learning, inspiration and ideas can make a profound impact on your business. These are some events that you might want to consider:

Entrepreneur Magazine Events

The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

14 Conferences Every Small-Business Owner Should Attend

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

 

Social Media Marketing During the Paris Terror Attacks

Blacked Out Eiffel Tower

The blacked-out Eiffel Tower following the terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, 2015.

Pre-programed and robotic posts show many “marketers” were out of touch.

Nothing is worse than looking insensitive and out of touch with your audience. During times of crisis your audience will shift its focus to the latest news and world events. We saw this happen immediately when the Paris terrorist attacks occurred on Nov. 13 and during the aftermath.

Breaking news and major world events requires an understanding of our audiences and the 24-hour marketing/news cycle.  We must constantly watch and monitor what is happening and have the ability to take action immediately.

Were you watching the events unfold in Paris? Were you or your audiences commenting about this on social media? I did and many of the people I know and with whom I am connected expressed their opinions, outrage and sadness. The ability to express our feelings and opinions as well as communicate with others is what social media is all about. We have the unique ability, like never before in history to communicate and interact instantaneously. However, with this ability comes a responsibility, especially for those of us who use social media as a means to market and build our brands.

I was shocked to see many social sellers, marketers and so called marketing gurus continuing to post marketing/sales information and content throughout Friday night and they continued through Saturday and Sunday. Their posts showed a real disconnect with the concerns and the focus of most people around the world. Posting marketing messages and inspirational “sales” quotes only demonstrated a lack of understanding of the global picture and audience interest.

These posts also made it clear that these marketers were using pre-programed or robotic messages. The use of software-based tools is not the issue.  In my opinion the problem is the “set it and forget it” attitude marketers take today. Yes, these tools save time and effort, but they come with drawbacks as we have seen in times of crisis. Attention must be paid to the messages and information being sent out. A poorly-timed post can damage a personal brand, the reputation of a business or cause other harm.

How can you prevent looking insensitive, greedy or just out of touch? The following are some strategies to consider:

  1. If you are marketing socially, monitor the news or have team members monitor the news every day of the week, including nights, weekends and holidays.
  2. Have a system set up that will allow you to react quickly. You may need to have the ability to post on all social networks at once an appropriate message or order that all posts stop. If you manage this yourself, this should not be an issue. Make sure to test your plan and, in addition, be sure you have the ability to shut down programed posts via your smartphone or remotely.
  3. Have the ability to quickly shut down or suspend programed posts and responses. This may be tricky if you use a digital marketing agency. When an event occurs, over a weekend or at night, there should be a policy or system your business and your agency have agreed upon. You need the ability to order the shut down or have a policy in place that will allow your agency to shut down social media activity. Make sure to discuss this with your agency when developing campaigns and when signing engagements. Poorly timed posts and those that continue on throughout a crisis can hurt your brand and your reputation.
  4. Wait to react socially to breaking news and trends. Often initial news reports about a major incident are flawed and inaccurate. Wait until the facts are clear to formulate an appropriate response. In the case of the Paris attacks, it was clear very quickly what had occurred. However, in many situations the root of a crisis cannot be determined so fast.
  5. Don’t respond because everyone else is responding. Sometimes being silent is the best policy. Consider carefully how you are going to respond and don’t post just for the sake of being seen.

Watching and being sensitive to horrific events unfold before our eyes is unfortunately part of the world that we live in today. Understanding the messages that we project during these periods of time is critical. Monitor your marketing and social media and be prepared to make changes or, in other words, react appropriately. Those who use social media spend significant time and energy building their brands and reputations. Don’t let poorly timed or scheduled posts cause damage that pre-planning should have prevented.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

To Be Memorable – You Must be Remarkable

Memory GraphicI recently researched the topic of “how to be memorable” in preparation for my presentation at a retreat for RE/MAX of New York Brokers and Agents. Being memorable is critical to success for both individuals and businesses. This is the first of a series of blogs on this topic which I will delve into to gain better insight as to what makes a person memorable and relate my practical tips on how to become memorable by letting others know you are remarkable.

I have been reading, researching and watching videos, including a number of TED Talks. I also looked into the growing subject of neuro-marketing. The challenge, as I see it, is that we need to recognize the fact that our brains are programmed not to remember, but to forget. We remember things that we do over and over again such as driving, dressing and cooking. These activities eventually become habits. These habits become part of our daily routines and we don’t think about them much. We don’t need to remember every detail of every experience we have every day, every hour, every minute.

So, we have a biological challenge and we also have a real world problem. The world is changing at a very fast pace. We are constantly distracted; technology and electronic devices are in front of us all the time. We can communicate with people in dozens of ways: smart phones and phone calls, video conferences, FaceTime, emails, direct messages, text messages, videos, social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others), two-way radios, faxes and even direct mail. We have the ability to speak directly one-on-one or in small or large groups. This is how we communicate, but we also are receivers of information from radio, TV, computers, tablets, websites, mobile devices, print materials and signs. We are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of messages each day.

Information overload combined with the desire of people today to have instant gratification, in terms of what they want when they want it, has created a major challenge for businesses and individuals.  Businesses and individuals in all sectors need to be heard and seen in order to make an impression and market.  We have to get through all of these competing channels and messages to be successful and to build both business and personal brands.

I experience these challenges myself. Nowadays, it’s important to recognize that to be truly memorable, we have to be remarkable. We have to be worthy of being remembered and to achieve this we have to be different, better and interesting. In short, we must seek to be remarkable in everything we do, whether it’s customer service, selling, marketing, branding, manufacturing, leading, speaking, creating, writing or interacting with others. Each of these activities requires thought and consideration. When building a memorable brand, we may fail to meet the expectations of a client, prospect or a team or our target audiences. But we have tremendous opportunities to create memorable interactions and memorable moments that will impact how people perceive us as we begin a relationship and develop trustworthiness.

Some first steps in the process of being memorable and creating a memorable brand:

Create Your Brand Story

Daymond John

Daymond John of CNBC’s “Shark Tank”

Being a remarkably good storyteller is vital for your brand. Tell stories to illustrate who you are and what you stand for. Telling stories (your own story or those of others) that you can use in context will make you and your message memorable. Some of the most memorable business leaders and experts that I have ever heard were superb story tellers. Watch what others do and learn from them. There are many great speakers; go to Ted.com to see hundreds of exceptional videos. Many speakers use their own stories to make the case for their brand and what they were “selling.” Two remarkable people I saw were business woman Fawn Germer and entrepreneur and NBC Shark Tank star Daymond John. Daymond related his life story including the risks he took, the challenges he overcame as well as his regrets.

Here is a video to one of his presentations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yKHIc-RO8Q

Fawn Germer

Author Fawn Germer

Fawn Germer used her story of success to motivate and inspire. I recommend you watch this exceptional business woman and speaker.  http://fawngermer.com/

Create an outline for your personal story

Identify experiences that shaped your approaches, your successes as well as your failures. This is your story so you can add to it as you go along, but write down and capture the important chapters and use this to put who you are in context. Remember, telling stories is how you will capture attention but it is also how you will make a connection with your audience. While the story is about you, never forget that the message is not about you; it is about your audience.  Provide them what they want, not what you want.

Create a Plan for Your Brand

I regularly write and speak about creating a plan for your brand. For those people who are not marketing professionals, it may be a challenge. However, your marketing plan for your brand does not have to be overly complex.

  1. Define your brand and for what you want to be known.
  2. Write down why you do what you do and make this a focal point of your brand.  Being memorable is about making a connection with people and telling them the reasons why what you do is important.
  3. Define what you do better than everyone else. This is your “Magic” or key differentiator. Your magic and how you communicate about it is part of why you are remarkable, worthy of being remembered.
  4. Set Goals. Every marketing plan has goals.These can be financial, but they do not have to be. Goals can relate to the number of interactions you generate, the number of shares you garner, the number of new connections you make, certainly the number of leads you generate and the number of sales you close.  Remember, social media and online marketing has branding value which may not translate immediately into sales.

Marketing Infrastructure

Depending on the industry and market, businesspeople or individuals must identify the best marketing vehicles to use to reach their target audiences.

  1. Identify your audiences and how they receive information and where they go for information.
  2. Create your real world support materials (your marketing or PR kit).  It does not have to be elaborate. It should contain:
    1. Business card
    2. Brochures and pamphlets
    3. Educational materials
    4. Photos
  3. Create your marketing video. If you do not have a personal marketing video, you are 2 or 3 years behind your competitors. Using your new brand message and story, create your first video and keep going. Create at least three videos a year.
  4. Build your online infrastructure:
    1. Optimized Website
    2. Blog
    3. Social Media Sites
    4. Photo Sharing Site
    5. Video Media Sites
  5. Create your print and electronic materials.

These are just the first few steps that you need to take to create and build a memorable brand.  Part II of this series will focus on the importance of creating your real world image and persona. Part III will cover your online brand and strategies for being memorable online.

As always I am looking for feedback, comments and thoughts. Let me know what you think.

For more information on this topic go to this Fast Company story that featured Bill Corbett.

Revisited 2015 – July 4th Independence Day – Lessons from the Founding Fathers for Social Media and Personal Branding

I wrote this blog 5 years ago it is still relevant today.  However, the world has changed.  Today Americans have more ways to market and communicate.  With smartphone technology in our hands we have enormous power to broadcast our messages and engage with others. I call smartphones, PMD’s Personal marketing Devices they can also be seen as your own personal broadcast center. (More on this in a future blog)

The technology we have however is not being leveraged effectively by small business people.  Many don’t see the opportunity because they are overwhelmed with time pressures and lack of understanding of the power that they have. Understanding marketing and why and how it must be done is also a challenge.

It’s time for small business people from across America to take charge of their destiny and bring their brands and messages to target audiences.   Failure to utilize the marketing tools that are available (for free) today will see many smart and capable people struggle to succeed in the new economy and within the new marketing paradigm.

As we look back at the lessons of our Founding Fathers below, consider what they would do today.  I believe that they would be regularly leveraging social media, blogs and video to get their message to the masses. They would engage in conversations and share their vision for the future.  They would be making connections, building relationships and beating their competition.

The pursuit of happiness lies in our hands both literally and figuratively.  Use marketing technology today as a vehicle for achieving success and your American dream.

First Published 5 Years Ago 

Today we celebrate Independence Day, July 4.   Beyond the fireworks and BBQs, we all should think about the great nation that we have the pleasure to be part of, and the many people who gave up their lives to give us the freedoms we enjoy.

Exactly 234 years ago, a group of brave, brilliant and industrious individuals met in a steamy Philadelphia room and agreed to do something that had never been done before—start a revolution.  The risks were great; the price that was paid was high in terms of lives lost, lives destroyed and money, but in the end the reward was unmatched in human history.  The American Revolution gave us a country where freedom is sacred.

Today despite a challenging economy we have the freedom to express ourselves and pursue our business as well as our personal dreams.  For many the dream is being an entrepreneur or a small business owner or simply pursuing a career in a chosen profession or industry.  Having this choice is an integral part of our national character and a driver of the entrepreneurial spirit.  While entrepreneurs and small businesses are under attack from many directions, the American entrepreneurial spirit lives on.

The information age has brought with it new media vehicles which are allowing individuals to voice their opinions, develop creative ideas and start new businesses.  Like the minutemen of Lexington and Concord, individuals can stand up, and take control of their own destinies like never before.  Like the “shot heard around world” that started the American Revolution a simple Facebook post or Tweet can literally be seen around the world just in seconds.

Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Adams, Hancock and the other Founding Fathers all understood the importance of individuality and expression.  They were passionate individuals with a mission, and the creativity and drive to achieve their goal – a free and independent nation.

While the Founding Fathers did not have social media vehicles and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Youtube, Flickr and Foursquare I am sure that they would have taken advantage of them as mediums for communicating with contacts, public, friends and others interested in “the cause.”  Social networking and marketing did not exist, but these individuals knew the importance of publicity, having a personal brand, word of mouth marketing, networking, effective writing, publishing and public speaking. Do these skills and approaches sound familiar?  These techniques and others are the same that individuals need to capitalize on today to build their own personal brands, the foundation for a success in life, in business and in any community.

Did Franklin and Madison have a Blog?  Not exactly, however they did have a printing press.  They were able to create a buzz using well written content, printed books, flyers and newspapers. Papers and printed materials were circulated in pubs and homes across the 13 colonies and beyond.  People held discussion sessions and analyzed the information they were provided.  They debated and came up with their own comments and then shared materials with others who they thought would be sympathetic to their dreams of an independent democratic nation.

Today’s social media and personal branding gurus like Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)Dan Dchawbel (@DanSchawbel),  Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki), Peter Shankman (@skydiver), Seth Godin and others are taking similar approaches as the Founding Fathers.  The Founding Fathers published articles and spoke to small and large groups to educate, motivate and inspire individuals to become part of a movement that included the individual but also was much larger than any single person.

Let’s look at some of our Founding Fathers and how they relate to personal branding and communications.  There is much we that can learn from them and ways we can apply these lessons to social media marketing and personal branding efforts today.

George Washington – Founding Father and First President of the United States of America.  Washington is also

known for his leadership abilities, speaking skills, political savvy and ability to stand out in crowd.  Although he did not sign the Declaration of Independence his leadership of the Continental Army made him a front runner to lead the country after the war.

During the Revolutionary War era it took weeks or months to get information or important messages out to thousands of people, or just one letter from one colony to another.  Hand written copies of the Declaration of Independence were circulated by hand around the 13 Colonies and read in front of groups gathered in pubs and in front of churches and other community buildings.

Today we can disseminate messages and blog articles in seconds using social media sites and digital communications.  The speed of distribution may have changed but the goals of communicating ideas messages and attracting attention remain the same.

We can learn from George Washington an important lesson, humility.  When offered the opportunity to become king of the new nation, he turned it down.  He also turned down the opportunity to run for a third term as president; instead he retired.  In today’s world full of online and off line self promoters and overexposed celebrities seeking the lime light, humility is a trait that seems to be in short supply.  We could all benefit from more people following Washington’s example of humility and grace.

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, agonized for weeks to find the right language and consulted with other Founding Fathers to craft this historic document.   We learn from this example that writing passionately and choosing the right words is important.  On Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other writing quality has certainly suffered. Today it remains true that quality writing and compelling content will attract followers, and poor and uninteresting content will drive them away.

In our fast paced mobile technology society we are constantly on the move. A telling example of this is that on average there are more than 3,000 Tweets being placed every second.  Jefferson’s quote: No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing,” is apropos for today.  Many people are always “doing,” (communicating).  However, how much doing is actually wasting time? How much time is being spent on social media marketing with no measured results? Social media marketing programs must be planned and have goals. Without goals or a plan, the “doing” is nothing more than wasting time.

John Hancock – We know the name and we know the signature, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and did so in large and bold script.   John Hancock knew the importance of standing out, making a statement and doing something different.  My favorite quote from Hancock is: “The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.” This statement is especially true today. To be successful in business relationships and trust need to be built.  To influence people to act, purchase products or services, information and proof of abilities need to be conveyed to the target audience.  Be bold, but also have objectives and consider how relationships are being forged.

Benjamin Franklin – Frequently clients ask what should be said or what information should be put out on social media streams?  This quote from Benjamin Franklin answers the question perfectly: Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

Benjamin Franklin was truly an original and individual who understood celebrity and personal branding.  His exploits, scientific experiments and inventions as well as his larger than life personality made him a celebrity in France before he arrived to solicit their support for the “cause.”

We have much to learn from Franklin but for now, his grasp on being relevant and authentic can be our take away.  If something interesting or newsworthy is done write about it, don’t just write something for the sake or writing something.

John Quincy Adams – Are you a leader or do you aspire to be one in business, politics or in another field? If your answer is yes then this quote from John Quincy Adams is most appropriate:If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” To be a leader you need to be relevant and interesting.  Self-promotion and self-serving actions will not attract the right attention or inspire others.  Remember that being successful is not what inspires; what motivates and inspires others are the stories and examples of overcoming challenges and hardships to become successful.

There is much we can learn from studying our Founding Fathers.  From humility to creating relevant content their lessons can be applied to many facets of business and life today.

Every day of the year we should celebrate the precious gift of freedom we have been given.  We continue to enjoy this freedom because of the sacrifices of those who came before us and those who fight for us today in foreign lands and on other fronts.  We can honor them by embracing the American entrepreneurial spirit and following the examples set by our Founding Fathers.

All comments welcome, Happy 4th of July.

LinkedIn – Good for business…If you use it effectively

 

Bill Corbett Jr.

William J. Corbett, Jr.

I have been intrigued by LinkedIn for several years. The site has grown steadily in popularity: as of July 2010 more than 70 million people have LinkedIn profiles. I know that many people are actively using the site, but far more are not using it effectively, and some are not using it at all. There have been numerous informative articles about LinkedIn and lots of tips given. I have posted several dozen tips over the past few months myself. I use LinkedIn regularly; I update my profile, add links and my blog is connected. I post updates and host a number of groups, including the Grow Your Personal Brand LinkedIn Group. All this activity has allowed me to meet new people and expand my list of contacts.

There I an ongoing debate about whom one should connect with. Should people connect with people they don’t know or don’t know well? I changed my tune on this subject earlier this year. In the past I tried to limit my connections to people that I “actually” knew in the real world. This limited my ability to grow my contact list and network. Several months ago I started to contact people with whom I had some connection with or who were members of groups of which I am part. (Note: If you are a member of a group, you can directly contact other members and request to connect.) This has enabled me to grow my contact list and create new relationships.

For me, creating and developing my own personal brand, growing my list of contacts and keeping in touch with people are my main goals for LinkedIn. The following are some tips and strategies for using LinkedIn for your business.

 

Growing your list: Your contact list can be grown in a number of ways. You can search LinkedIn for people you know and request that they connect with you (often you will need their e-mail address). You can even send bulk connection requests by cutting and pasting in lists of your own e-mail contacts. If the individuals you communicate with are LinkedIn members, you can quickly connect using this method. If they are not members, the message will ask them to join. If you know these people and they are in business, you are doing them a favor by suggesting they join LinkedIn.

Growing a list can also be done one person at a time. For example, you can go to the contact list of a friend and see to whom they are connected. You can directly connect to them or ask your contact to introduce you. This direct process comes from a referral and can help facilitate relationships. Remember, once you connect, keep the conversation going.

Caution: Often names of individuals are recommended to you by LinkedIn. These are people you may know or perhaps they are in the same industry or group. LinkedIn is aggressively seeking to prevent people from soliciting connections from people that they do not know (there has to be some mutual relationship, mutual group membership, school or employment connection). If you solicit people to connect with you who do not know you, I strongly suggest you send them a personal note asking them to connect and not simply use the standard request LinkedIn provides.  If you solicit people whom you do not know, they can report you, and your account could be limited or other actions taken. You have worked hard, so don’t risk losing your account.

Did you know that you can download your e-mail contacts from LinkedIn?

Follow this link for a brief demonstration video.

http://bit.ly/cprlinkincontacts

Join groups and show your expertise. LinkedIn gives you a tremendous opportunity to show your expertise and knowledge. Join groups and actively participate in conversations and discussions. Monitor the discussions; if someone replies to your comment keep, the conversation going or answer any questions that have been posed. Give thoughtful solutions and tactics they can adopt to overcome business challenges. Remember, showing your expertise and knowledge helps to grow your personal brand.

Bring the cyber world into the real world and vice versa. Armed with your list of contacts, you have a powerful tool to enhance your relationships. Review your contacts to see which people you would like to meet or get to know better. Invite them to meet for breakfast, lunch, a cup of coffee or simply a conference call. An invitation to a video conference would be something different, and if you both have the technology, go for it. On the flip side, if you meet someone in the real world, keep the relationship going through LinkedIn. Send them an e-mail to connect and exchange information. Communicate via internal InMail. Why communicate by InMail? People typically get fewer InMails even though the response rate is often better, and there is much less spam to deal with. However, most people tend to check InMail less often than regular e-mail.

Profiles and company description: We all have read boring corporate bios and company descriptions. Don’t let this happen to you; make your profile interesting, chock full of information, and try to tell a story. Remember, people recall stories more easily than a list of accomplishments. In your content on your LinkedIn site, use as many keywords as possible; this will help people find you when they go to Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. If you do not have a website, or a bio on your company website your LinkedIn profile can fill this gap. And remember if you move on to a new position with a new company, your LinkedIn profile and site stays in place. Your valuable contacts will have a way to contact you should your telephone numbers or other contact information change. (Note: always keep control of your LinkedIn profile user ID and password. Remember to have profiles proofread; there is nothing more embarrassing and unprofessional than having errors in your profile or company description.)

Don’t sell or spam: Many nonmarketing people confuse the terms “communication” and “marketing.” If you are selling anything or hosting a self-promotional event (an event where you will be charging and making money as part of your business), don’t use LinkedIn to promote it. This is considered inappropriate behavior and could cause people to disconnect with you or simply ignore you moving forward, which is the opposite of what you want to accomplish. LinkedIn should be used professionally, for discussions and as a forum to promote your expertise. If you are hosting a free event, speaking at an event or hosting an educational event, these should be promoted and used to bolster your personal brand and reputation. This is all done to enhance your personal brand and attract more followers and contacts.

Research: Use LinkedIn to research the backgrounds of people you know and people you want to get to know. With more people on LinkedIn every day, you are likely to find information about a person or a company that interests you. You can get information about where a person lives, which school he or she attended school and the organizations he or she belongs to. This is excellent information to have when seeking to start a conversation and a relationship. Use this information. It is easily available to you.

Quick Tips

1. Grow your list constantly – add your own contacts regularly.

2. Connect with people who share your interests and members of the same groups.

3. Join groups to meet more people and become part of the discussion.

4. Show your expertise and knowledge through discussions; it will help you grow your personal brand and reputation.

5. Bring the cyber world into the real world and vice versa.

6. Never sell or spam with In-Mail or with posts.

7. Update profiles and keep control of user ID and password.

8. Use keywords in your profile for search engine optimization purposes.

9. Make sure profiles are error-free.

10. Don’t solicit people whom you do not know to connect without a proper introduction or well-written personal request.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for all businesspersons interested in building relationships, growing their personal brands or simply communicating with contacts. I have found these tactics to be effective for me. Let me know if you have any other effective tips and tactics. I will include them in future blogs.

Do You Need to Have a Social Media Marketing Plan?

The answer is yes, a plan is needed for any kind of marketing program a business will embark on. The plan must include goals, objectives and budgets. Without a plan and direction the effort that will be made will be time consuming and will most likely not achieve goals or impact a business positively.

The buzz today is all about social media marketing. Many business people are focusing all of their attention on this, taking their eye off the ball and forgetting about other types of marketing. Social media will become a more integral part of marketing but traditional marketing, advertising and media relations should not be forgotten or put aside. Although the internet and social media marketing can drive sales and be a fantastic tool for brand building it will not work for everyone. What is really disturbing is that most people don’t really know how to use this kind of marketing effectively. Social media marketing can be time consuming and if done improperly will not achieve the return on investment desired. The return on investment for any marketing program should be measurable.

At Corbett Public Relations I regularly work with clients to create messages, set marketing goals and determine what image clients want to have with their target audiences. I would venture to guess that most people who have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts and are using some form of social media marketing did not and do not think twice about the image that they were seeking to convey to the general public as well as potential customers. This is a huge mistake and a topic for another blog entry. Most people dabble with social media sites and post information ranging from what they had for lunch to some type of new product or service they are offering. These mixed messages don’t work and confuse followers. Followers don’t care about these types of posts and that’s the worst thing that can happen, if they don’t care they will stop following, probably forever.

We saw in the early and mid 1990s the growth of the internet. Businesses started to create websites and the “Field of Dreams” movie quote “If you build it they will come” was often used. We found over the years that this is the farthest thing from the truth. The truth is that if you build it they might come but probably won’t. Search engine marketing and optimization has helped with this for websites. People can now find what they are looking easily on the internet. Businesses people now also understand that websites for the most part are marketing and branding tools, not direct business generators. Social media also allows more businesses and people to have a presence on the internet but just because you are doing it does not mean anyone is following or even cares what you have to say. This is why you need to have a marketing plan.

A marketing/social media marketing plan will help to remedy the situation of no one following your or caring about what you have to say. A plan will set goals for pushing out messages, acquiring followers and branding your business (or you personally). Each of these efforts requires planning and the use of the proper tools and having the right creative message and image. Simply put if you do not have a clear image or brand to promote your social media marketing or any marketing program is likely to fail.

Social media offers many opportunities, but how these opportunities are taken advantage of and used is the key. Do it right and do it with a clear plan.

I am compiling a long list of tips for social media marketing and will eventually publish this with comments and best practices for small businesses and individuals seeking to build their own brands. If you are interested in a copy of these tips feel free to e-mail me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com I will be writing over the next few weeks about creating the right online image and brand. This will be followed by how to communicate with prospects and friends to generate a buzz and business.

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