Social Media vs Social Networking

LinkedIn on an IslandSince there is a LinkedIn icon on an island, I believe there needs to be a disclaimer about the following post:

This isn’t a “how to build your business on LinkedIn” post, nor is this a “10 tips to build your LinkedIn profile.”

You can find those types of posts anywhere.  This is more of a “what’s the value of using LinkedIn” post…especially if you are in business development.

On the surface, LinkedIn seems to have the most bipolar perception of all social media sites. Either people use it or they don’t.  But even beyond that, I have seen four types of users

  • The Resume Builder: Normally someone in the entry level side of their career.  This person goes on LinkedIn, builds their profile, adds their connections and then waits for a recruiter to contact them out of the blue.
  • The I was told to User: Should technically fall under the “don’t use” section, but these people use it because their supervisor or other senior company manager has asked them to use it.  This user is disengaged and rarely contributes to their LinkedIn page.
  • The Linked to other Social Sites Participant: The person who automatically has their LinkedIn account tied to another social site (i.e. Twitter).  This way when someone shares something on another site (i.e. Twitter) the message auto-populates onto LinkedIn.
  • The Power User: These are the cats who get it.  And by “get it” I don’t mean the people who find different groups to post a link to their blog.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I’m a recovering group blog poster).

I recently finished the American Bankers Association’s School of Marketing and Management (SBMM) and had the pleasure of learning from Jack Hubbard, Chairman and Chief Sales Officer of St. Meyer & Hubbard, Inc. One of the main points Mr. Hubbard pointed out about LinkedIn was this concept: Instead of looking at LinkedIn as a social media site, consider it more of a social networking tool.  Here are a few points that reinforce this concept.

Going Beyond a Resume

In addition to being a Marketing Director, I’m also the head of Human Resources.  Working in HR, people often state they only see LinkedIn as a resume tool; a way to get their name out there.  Though LinkedIn does fill that need for some people, it shouldn’t be seen as it’s only purpose.  In fact, if you’re in sales or any type of business development, LinkedIn has the potential to be a powerful tool.

LinkedIn UsageHere is an example of how people use LinkedIn in regard to the stage in their careers.  The blue represents time spent networking, and shows that every career stage spends a portion of their time networking, as well as reaching out to people on LinkdedIn.  With that in mind, take a look at your profile.  Instead of focusing on what you do, review your profile, and see if it shows what value you add to your customers and your target market.

Preparation

Before going on a sales call, how do you prepare?  Hopefully you research your customer, and their business; but have you ever considered performing a LinkedIn search?  You can view your customer, learn about their business, and see who else works at the organization.  You may even find that you have a connection to the business and the prospect that you were unaware of before your LinkedIn search.

Follow Up

After attending a networking function (i.e. an after hours Chamber of Commerce event) how do you follow up with those you met at the event?  How do you follow up with a prospect or customer after a sales call?  Finding people on LinkedIn and asking them to connect is a good way to follow up.  This can keep you in the loop with them (especially if they are an active LinkedIn user) and can provide you with insight to see what their needs are.

Final Point: Communication

The previous point suggest growing your LinkedIn network, but here are two pointers I have found beneficial:

Invitation: When you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn, there is an automated message LinkedIn uses:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Instead of using this impersonal message, try customizing it base on the person you’re connecting with and why.

Thank You: When you connect with someone, either by your invitation or their invitation, be courteous and thank them for the connection.  It only takes a couple of minutes and can go a long way.

To learn more about LinkedIn, especially if you’re in the banking industry, check out this post from Jack Hubbard and Jason Tonioli: 5 LinkedIn Myths Bankers Need to Shake.

What steps do you take to get the most of our LinkedIn?

 

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Never Wrestle with Pigs

Screen-Shot-2012-09-18-at-6.40.13-PMGeorge Bernard Shaw once said,

Never wrestle with pigs.  You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

Unfortunately as humans we are quick to point fingers, are quick to judge, and quick to blame.  Add the instant actions of social media and this can at times spell misfortune.  Before the world of Facebook, Twitter and blogs, if someone was quick to find flaws, they would simply share it with the friends around them.  Now with a simple tweet, people can now quickly spread their thoughts and opinions across the world.

  • Sometimes it sparks creativity
  • Sometimes it cuts to close to the bone
  • Sometimes it can come across just wrong.

On a national level there has been so much bad news within the past few weeks.  From Boston to Oklahoma, tragedy has affected so many people.  As a nation, we pause, pray and quickly find ways we can help.  But, as a nation, we are too quickly to point fingers, are quick to judge and quick to blame.

I’m not throwing stones, if so I would be hypocritical.  At times, I have been quick to judge based on my own prejudice.  Add to that my bad case of a short attention span, and..well let’s just say I can’t count the times I have put my foot in my mouth.

Rather I would like to make a request: Stop.

  • The next time you read a tweet that irritates you; switch off twitter instead of blasting back a scathing reply.  Stop and think about it.
  • The next time you see a Facebook update that rubs you the wrong way; log off Facebook instead of un-friending someone.  Stop and think about it.

Basically stop, take a deep breath and think about what you are going to say.  As much as someone has the ability to write anything online, you have the ability to turn away and not participate.  Of course there are exceptions, but is a comment from one person about an event really shaking your life and foundation so much that you MUST say something about it?  Will what you say to that person change their perspective or just add fuel to the fire?

After all, we’re all human.  We all have opinions and we all make mistakes.

Banks: Mobile Apps vs. Social Media

SmartphoneBanks are gearing up for strategic planning.  It’s the time of year where banks are evaluating ideas that have been tossed around all year and will decide what direction to take their company in 2013.  Two items that keep creating buzz inside and outside the banking industry are Social Media and Mobile Apps.  Both carry a good list of pros and cons that must be weighed out before an organization decides to test the waters.  Here are just a couple

Pros

  1. Communication: Social Media outlets are a great way to stay connected with you customers and allows customers to connect with your company in a unique way.  Until the last few years, companies sent talking points down via advertisements and press releases, but now customers can expand on talking points via twitter, Facebook and blogging platforms.  Depending on how many and what type of Mobile Apps your bank has, you can allow customers more communication to your bank.  They can check their account balances, post questions, report a stolen/lost Debit card and even deposit a check with their Smartphone.
  2. Education: Both Social Media and Mobile Apps allow you the opportunity to educate your customer base when it comes to financial responsibility, community involvement opportunities and general information about your Bank.  Banks can create a blog dedicated to establishing a “savings” mentality, or post a video on YouTube describing how to use online bill pay tools.  Mobile apps showing customers their spending habits can help people realize where they can curb unnecessary cost and improve household income.

Cons

  1. Communication: There is a possibility that a customer may give too much information.  There is also a possibility that a demented, frustrated banker may throw a wrench into your app and cause headaches for your customers.
  2. Education (or lack there of): If your bankers are unsure how to use your mobile apps, then how can they sale it?  Better yet, how can they provide customer service when someone calls about a problem?  If you have a Facebook page and no one knows about it, how effective is it?

Do the pros outweigh the cons?  Well if you ask me (a marketing/customer service driven community banker), then YES.  But that’s just one man’s humble opinion.

If you do decide to pursue either trending tech area this coming year, consider some of the following points:

  • Know Your Customer Base: If your customer base is small business owners who focus on B2B materials, would it make any sense to create a Pinterest account for your bank?  If your customer base is retail driven in a rural market, do you want to have an app specific to shopping in highly populated urban areas?  Think about your niche market first, then build around it.
  • Create a Diverse Team: I once heard a “Social Media Expert” brag about how they created their company’s Facebook page and how people in her company referred to her as that “Facebook person.”  That may have worked for that one person and may have even improved their Klout score, but would it not have been more effective if that person would have led a team of people in the company?  By pulling in people from different departments and locations, you will be able to get a better idea of what to create and know what possible obstacles lie ahead for your new app or social media site.
  • Get Buy-In from EVERY Level: From the Board of Directors to your part-time document imaging processor, everyone needs to know what is happening.  This will help with any customer issues that may come down the road and will keep everyone at your bank on the same page.

So, does your Bank plan on starting or improving your social media strategy for 2013?  Has your bank created a mobile banking plan for the coming year?

Klout: +K for Dale Carnegie

While finishing up Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, one thing is for sure: if Carnegie was alive and well in this era, he would be a the klout addict.  Throughout How to Win Friends and Influence People, Carnegie constantly reminds the reader to compliment people as often as possible.

  • Carnegie references famous, successful people stating they were able to become successful due to praising those around them
  • Real life examples from not so famous individuals are given from a diverse group of individuals that show a connection between true success and true compliments

Carnegie proves that giving true praise to people in a public forum not only helps the person who is being complemented, but the person who is giving the complement.

For those who use klout, that should sound familiar.  For those unfamiliar with klout (www.klout.com),  it is a website dedicated to measuring social media performance.  When a person logs into klout, they are able to award other people and/or companies a score (a.k.a. +k) in a certain topic.  The topic can be chosen from a list or the topic can be added by the person giving the +k.  The site links directly to facebook and twitter, so people can

Here is a real life example.  Recently, my wife Jenn and I decided to start training our dog, Audrey so that she would stop her unnecessary barking.  After performing a high level of research, Jenn purchased a bark collar produced by PetSafe.  The Elite Little Dog Bark Control was an excellent choice and we couldn’t be happier with the results.  Because of this success, I went to klout and gave PetSafe (@PetSafe) a +k in training.

Now will this cause PetSafe to make millions of dollars?  No, but it was an easy way for me to show my appreciation to an organization that helped our family.

If you are a fan of Dale Carnegie and haven’t tried klout, give it a whirl.  You may end up enjoying the experience.

Social Media Bodyslam

Growing up in Appalachia, I was naturally a big wrestling fan.  My weekends were filled with matches of Macho Man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and the Road Warriors (aka Legion of Doom).  Even in college, my roommates and I would watch WWF’s (now WWE’s) Monday Night Raw and laugh at the antics of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Shoot, I’ll even swing by a bar and watch a Wrestlemania pay-per-view every once in a while.

So when I saw that Monday Night Raw was celebrating its 1,000 episode, I tuned in to the historic event.  While watching the show, I was amazed to see how professional wrestling has embraced social media.

But was it too much?

  • Twitter: Though out the night, little graphics would run across the screen that read, “#TheRock trending worldwide”
  • Tout: The ring announcers would keep referring to tout, while encouraging fans to “tout about RAW.”  During the show, clips were shown of fans “touting” what they thought of the show.  To be honest, I had never heard of tout until that Monday night.
  • Social Media Ambassador: Charlie Sheen was given the title of “Social Media Ambassador,” which essential meant that Charlie popped in from time to time via Skype

By no means is this the first time the WWE has relied on internet interaction for publicity and ratings.  In fact it can be debated that the company helped pioneer online social interaction.

In 2004, the WWE introduced Taboo Tuesday, an event where fans could vote on stipulations for every match.  Fans could vote via text messaging and online polls.  Since then, the organization has invested time and money into boosting their brand online.

But back to the original point, is the WWE’s current tactics over the top?  It depends on who you ask.

Even though I may find it over bearing, it doesn’t matter what I think.

The company’s current customer focus is children and teens; not early thirty somethings. By utilizing social media in their televised live events, the WWE is creating a bond with their target market by using a communication tool they use on a regular basis.  Through testing the waters and branching out to various social media tools, the WWE will be able to find out what works best and capitalize on their “trial & error” research.

Who knows, it may only be a matter of time before Brother Love has his own podcast.

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