Showing posts with label Klout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Klout. Show all posts

How to get started in social media and maximize your impact


"True friendship consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and value." ~ Ben Jonson

Social Media networking is like the first day at school where you don't know anyone else. What did you do? Did you sit back and watch who is who, reach out to someone, sit back hoping someone notices you, or jump on in? 


Think of social media in similar terms.  It may help those apprehensive types whose only association is via press about online stalkers or individuals being fired for criticizing their employer online.   Others first introduction has been from watching their kids amazing adeptness at morphing  into the virtual world of Facebook.  Cool parents have a Facebook profile to keep in touch with friends and family, while others used it to monitor their kids online presence.   That was me.  I jokingly have said if I ask my teenager how they’re doing they may respond noncommitedly, but if you “comment” on Facebook you’ll get your answers, along with more of their thoughts than you bargained for, swearing, provocative photos of their friends or parties you weren’t aware of, for the whole of their “friends” to read, like or comment on.

In a bold statement, Gartner told us that “By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1293114 The article goes on to say: “The rigid distinction between e-mail and social networks will erode. E-mail will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering while social networks will develop richer e-mail capabilities,” said Matt Cain, research vice president at Gartner”

Tackle social media or networking the same way you would attending a business luncheon, conference or client open house.   Don’t think of it as having to have an “elevator pitch”.  Nor do you have to worry about having business cards on hand, can save the parking fees and wear whatever.  The beauty of it is you control when, who and how you interact with others.  Social media can be taught.  You can make it an enjoyable, rewarding adventure.   In the past number of weeks I have asked a colleague who has asked for advice to join Linked In.  His response was:  “I don’t do Facebook or Twitter or any of that ‘stuff’ “  Like it is bad or unprofessional.

That takes me back to last spring when I had confided to a friend and past colleague that I was contemplating what direction I thought my career should take.  She recommended that I get on “Linked In”.   Oftentimes, like most of us, we’re not receptive to trying something new unless we have a logical reason or curiousity.   How little did I know that it would leap me into the world of social media.  A journey that fosters my thirst for knowledge.

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take ~ Wayne Gretzky

COMMUNICATE

In a very short time, I’ve seen many benefits from embracing social media.  Granted, with my background in advertising, sales and marketing,  I may have been more receptive than most.   One thing I recognized was if I was truly going to be a top-notch sales professional, I should at least understand whether or not this new phenomena was going to impact how we communicate or sell.  A self-professed social media kindergartner, it followed a thread:
1.     Linked In for business networking,
2.     A Blog to capture innovative thoughts
3.     Create a personalized online brand
4.     Experiment with other branches like Twitter, Facebook
5.     Discover whether or not I can create an online presence
6.     Learn from the experts
I will share the areas I personally engaged on my social media journey, how I unraveled the puzzle, how they help, and the benefits uncovered. 

An innovative, all in one, business networking site.  If you decide to only take on one social media site, this would be the one I would recommend.  Like most things online, it evolves and continues to reinvent itself.  The startling discovery I had was how easy it was to reconnect with past colleagues, clients and associates from a professional front.   Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it.  For me, it is the best live CV one could ever ask for without broadcasting.  You can join groups upon groups, based on profession or interest, follow companies, compile recommendations,  chronicle professional history, share personal or professional books, promote a Blog, make statements or share quotes.

After joining groups, participating in discussions, not only have I expanded my knowledge, found an excellent arena to test theories, I have also made associations from global individuals that I would be honoured to meet, do business with or recommend.  You control who is within your network.  All communication is filtered on Linked In or whoever you set your preferences to send to your personal e-mail inbox.  You don’t have to communicate via your personal e-mail unless you share that information or respond directly through your personal e-mail.   The negative side is there are predators of a different kind:  they want to sell you something,  they want you to sell something for them,  spam you, send you their stock picks, etc.   Simple resolution:  report to your group manager or remove them from your network.  Another negative irritant is when less professional individuals almost quote your responses verbatim in another group. 

Blog
Blogging is a virtual phenomena.  You can voice your opinion on whatever suits you.  Or, you can establish your expertise on a particular topic.  The options are endless.  What you set your goals to be for a Blog are individual choice.  Who reads it, what you say, how it is measured, however, is within your control.  My first introduction to the term Blogging was by my daughter who was 16 at the time.  She used it as a means to journal.  To this day, I haven’t sought it out, waiting for her invitation to read it when she wants me to enter that world.

As an active member of Linked In, I really embraced discussions.    From there, I was asked if I had a Blog.  I embarked on a Blog to 1) expand/share the popular responses from the discussions, 2) use it as a vehicle to experiment with Social Media, and 3) see if my philosophy on sales based on real success would be of interest to others.  It has been and continues to be a wonderful learning platform. 

In and around the time I started to Blog, I was invited to take a Google Analytics certification course offered by one of their partners at no cost.  I was warned that there were many who were actively involved in SEO who hadn’t passed the 75% minimum pass mark.  I love a challenge but I had also developed a curiosity from Linked In and from Blogging – was what I was saying having any traction? 

By then, I had realized there were a ton of people tossing around the acronym SEO like crazy yet I’d hazard a guess that there were like me that didn’t  understand what it stood for.  I will attempt to translate it into a language that even a fifth grader can understand.   

 
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
Basically means finding people out there who are looking for what you are offering and making it easier to find you by having relevant information that attracts the most relevant audience.  Social Media venues like Linked In, Facebook, Twitter are conduits to communicate or increase your message and brand.

What I can tell you so far from my research, regardless of what format you use, the most "RELEVANT" will find its way to the appropriate audience.   Defining your audience, your message, who you want to attract, are you selling something, are you providing knowledge, what do you want people to do once they find you? 

Amongst many of the discoveries I can share, that isn’t exactly new, there is no field of dreams:  build it and they will come.  You have to communicate, share, promote your message, blog or website.  There is a fine line or balance between self-promotion and promotion that is only signified by who you attract.  Notice, I didn’t say trap.  It all comes down to engagement.  Online you will only engage who wants to be engaged or attract those who want to hear your message.   The onus is on you to communicate that message or fuel the interest towards your website or blog.  There are several avenues to create that awareness.

Twitter @optioneerjm
Entering the Twitterverse is exactly that.  A whole new dimension.  Personally, I dragged myself into it with a lot of preconceived notions not exactly foreign to my associate.  I didn’t want to get wrapped up in wasting my time based on personal bias of Twitter based on watching the well publicized CNN challenge by Ashton Kushner to Larry King on who would gain the most followers.  How could I am not be alone in the initial perception that Twitter was a forum for celebrities to broadcast where they were having lunch or a means to pacify their own egos? Now, I recognize that there isn’t anything as quick, viral, or vast as Twitter to communicate your message, share you latest Blog, thought, event, quote as Twitter.  Ironically, when having lunch with a professional marketing executive who once banked his pay cheque on creating awareness, driving revenue, said to me that Twitter could eat up too much of his time and distract him from his focus on promoting his business. 

There is a world within the world of Twitter that needs to be navigated, applied before you can truly understand the power.   Imagine plunking yourself into the Twitterverse with a handful of followers and you find yourself immersed within an entirely new language.   There are numerous new terms and abbreviations that you need to familiarize yourself with.  For example, #FF started out as “Follow Friday” as a means which Twitterers personally endorse like-minded individuals.  I’ve been on record to abhor synonyms yet with only 140 characters allowed, you have to be concise, get your message across in those few words.  If you’re brought up to communicate with precision, this is a daunting task.  "Twitter throws proper english out when u find urself using shortcuts 4 others 2 grasp context of ur meaning & RT to others" (125 characters - SWEET!) 

You're sunk when you  succumb to adrenalin rushes from endorsements like #FF, RT and shout outs that mention your name.  Your message or profile or "Klout"   unless you are a celebrity, determines how powerful your brand is.  A newly discovered forum is #keyword, groups, topics always proceeded by # to help you filter discussions amongst groups.  Then you start to filter by lists and mentally hi-5 when you begin to be listed and start snowballing followers. 

Facebook
Like so many before me, Facebook has been thought of as a social networking site to stay connected with friends and family.  In fact, Mark Zuckerberg (in case you've been alseep, is the founder of Facebook) has gone on record to say “that the negative effects of using the site outweighed the benefits it offers in terms of staying in touch with friends and family.” (Click here for more on the study.)

If you want to pass off Facebook, just consider the fact that Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide and can be checked into on their smartphones, iPhones, iPad, Android or Blackberry devices.

People create profiles, businesses create pages.  I admit that I am relatively new to Facebook.  However, I have used it to share my Blog, share articles, celebrate interests.  Apparently, Facebook is continuing to add functionality, specifically for businesses, by creating pages.  That appears to be the best source for businesses to access the most value from Facebook.

MANAGE

It would take an entire Blog in itself to relay various ideas on how to manage your online presence.  Many tools cross over from communicate to measure.  The recommendations I would have is to ensure that you include feedback or comments to your website.   Going further, it is recommended that you respond to the comments to expand interaction, which facilitates engagement.   It is encouraged to facilitate sharing your website, articles or comments via Twitter, Facebook  along with the multitude of other vehicles like Digg It, Stumble Upon, etc.

An area that I am by no means an expert and still working myself is getting my Blog exposure by third party sites by venues like Google Buzz or content promoters like Canadian Planet or the larger circuits.  As mentioned, it  is recommended that you allow sharing yet I am a fan of promoting page views, followers, klout score and blog score.  It is best to engage the more mainstream experts on how far your reach is or monitor the engagement of your followers to keep your integrity and to show transparency.

MEASURE

I recall sitting in on a learning seminar about 7 years ago on what was probably more about SEO than anything.  Most of us sat transfixed and focused on all the terms tossed around, attempting to grasp what all the technical terms meant.  Unfortunately, that organization is no longer around … probably well ahead of its time.  What I have realized more than anything is that Google etc have all become that much more sophisticated and adverse to the tricks that abounded from manipulating statistics and information captured.  I’d like to think that you earn your place based on one of my core philosophy:  success comes from doing 1000s of things right.

There are a multitude of sites that compile “algorithm factors” as to whether you are making progress, or what I call traction.  That old saying “you cannot manage what you cannot measure” applies.   Now, you can determine whether all your online efforts are recognized via “klout”,  rankings,  followers, statistics, peers.  POOF, you are back at high school and popularity is where it is at … again.  It doesn’t necessarily translate by the number of followers you have on your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook as much as it does by the number of influencers you have.

Most likely the most influential is the “Klout Score”.  It is a measurement of your overall online influence.  The scores range from 1-100.  It factors over 35 variables into three categories:  true reach, amplification score and network score.

True reach is the size of your engaged audience based on followers and friends who actively react to your messages.  Amplification score is how likely your message will generate am action (RT=retweet; @message, like or comment) on a scale of 1 to 100.  Network score factors the influence of your engaged audience, again on a scale of 1 to 100.  Your Klout Score is more than likely associated to your clicks, comments and/or retweets.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your online score, it may ordain who wants to interact with you.  I’ve seen it first hand on Twitter whereby some may look at your Klout score before following you back.  I remember my younger brother years ago telling me, as I listened in disbelief, that after asking a young lady to dance she grabbed the back of his shirt, flipped open the tag to reveal that although it wasn’t cheap, nor was it designer brand, said “as if” based on that label.  Today, the label or brand you develop online can have the same result.  KLOUT SCORE:  57

Hubspot's webgrader was referred to me by one of my online Linked In friends when I first began my Blog.  I sent an e-mail to my trusted advisers that knew me both online and offline to check out my Blog to get their unbiased opinion.  One very connected and experienced lady suggested that I go to this site and have my Blog measured.  

Additionally, they grade websites, twitter profiles, blog rank, etc.  It has been cool to watch my Twitter, Blog scores rise.  It isn't surprising to see my Facebook profile so low because I haven’t really done much there.  It does reinforce to me personally how authentic the results are:  Blog Grader 88/100; Facebook 9/100; Twitter 97/100

Blogspot.com
I decided to go with Blogspot.com to launch my Blog.  It was a nobrainer for me to utilize the blog facilitator by Google who is the number one amplifying mechanism on the web.  I trusted (and still do) that they’d had all the tools in place for amateur bloggers in place.  They do.  Behind the Blog they provide analytics to help.  I can see what are the favourite blogs (Forecast, Project or Dart Board) , where my audience comes from by Traffic Sources (Twitter, Linked In, etc.) by audience (United States, Canada, UK, Russia top 4 – yeah, who would have figured Russia, eh?)  It also informs me of what robotics have been to my site (i.e. Google)and where links are coming from.
There are other Blog sites like Word Press that appear to be popular amongst Bloggers.  Based on Hubspot, it recommends that I have a standalone website to gain more reach or standalone power … but I’m not done being the student … yet.

OTHER

One Forty
http://www.oneforty.com/
I’ve discovered a few other favorites amongst my arsenal of information portals, which I will share.  I wouldn’t have found many of my online tools without One Forty.  It is a social business hub that connects you to the tools you need to manage and measure social media.  It also allows you to rate the tools you like, view the tools that your online community uses.  Chances are if they engage you, you will take heed to the tools they promote.

Quora
 http://www.quora.com/
I really love this site!  I find that quora.com takes one of the best part of Linked In "Discussion Groups" to the next level.   From the horses mouth:  Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question.”   Quora allows you to ask limitless questions from where is the best place to stay, movie to watch, wonder about a specific business issue, parenting advice, etc.  If you do answer a question, it allows you to share both the question with a link to your answer to Twitter and Facebook.   You don’t have to belong to a specific group to access the questions, you can filter the areas you personally find of interest.  It allows people to vote, thank or comment on your answer.

Unfollowers

 http://who.unfollowedme/ 
It all comes down to engagement.  I have discovered it isn’t as much about the number of followers as much as the quality.   Granted,  like most, I will follow Donald Trump without a hope in hell he’d follow me.  Yet, with this tool I can at least be in control of who I follow, ensure the quality of followers, follow those that I want to learn from, like their links for articles, quotes and so on.  It also allows me to turf dead weight who is not adding any personal value.  Oh, and to expose the trick of some who follow you then, unfollow you just after you follow them with their hopes of appearing like they have more followers than follows … they didn’t get the memo that it has more to do with the quality of follows/followers than quantity.

OTHER TOOLS I USE


E-Vite http://www.evite.com/
An easy, free online invitation and social planning website. Save on stamps — and trees — while freeing yourself up from keeping lists and making phone calls to organize your events.Select your invitation design, add your guests’ email addresses and send via email.

Quotes www.brainyquote.com  I like to reinforce my message or drive home a thought with a quote.  Brainyquote is a great source for quotes by topic (inspiration, motivation, famous people, etc.).  Use it to capture interest on Twitter or Facebook.