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How To Always Lose To Your Competitor

I’m writing this at Starbucks, but I wish I was writing in the little coffee shop just across the street. However, I can’t because they lost me (and others) just a couple of hours ago. Let me explain.

This morning  the power in my neighborhood went out, and I got a report that it wouldn’t be restored until later in the afternoon.  This took away my internet and my ability to drive anywhere (car is in a garage that requires power, and thank you for the suggestions of a manual override but unfortunately it’s not an option in this case) which really leaves me stuck, as my job is to create and oversee online social media campaigns for Fortune 500 companies.  I live in a beautiful neighborhood, and one of the things that makes it beautiful is the lack of businesses.  I have two coffee shops that have wifi and good tea, practically across the street from each other, 2 miles away from my house.  I put on my backpack and started the hike.

One of the coffee shops is a locally owned and operated cafe, the other is Starbucks.  I try to support small businesses whenever possible, and though it was a bit more inconvenient, I trekked to the local cafe.

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6 Things You Need To Know About Running A Social Media Program: The Product

222-facebookThis is part 2 of 6 in the series “6 Things You Need to Know About Running A Social Media Program”. You can read part 1 “The Client” here, it has a full introduction.

I’ve created this list of “things you must know” mostly based upon very positive experiences I’ve had, but also from negative ones…things that I’ve either experienced myself or seen others do. This isn’t a tactical post, I think I write plenty of those. Instead, this is my advice to those that are going to lend their expertise to others, and hopefully by checking these off you will avoid some common mistakes that often result in unmet expectations, from one side or the other…or both.

Know The Product

I think this is the single biggest mistake that I see over and over and over again…lack of product knowledge when you are doing work for somebody else.You may be running a campaign for a durable good or a service. Sometimes it’s just brand awareness so there is not one thing you are pointing to, just the brand. No matter what it is, if you don’t know the ins and outs of what you will be marketing you are doing your client, their customers and yourself a huge disservice. I’ve been invited in to too many conversations that go something like this:

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6 Things You Need To Know About Running A Social Media Program: The Client

111-social networksPart 1 of 6

Over the years I’ve run a lot of social media programs, sometimes for companies or services that I own or manage, sometimes for organizations that have hired me to consult or drive their efforts in the various online communities.  This article is primarily aimed at those that do the latter, although several points can apply to the former.  That is to say, if you are a consultant or work at an agency whose primary focus is running social programs for somebody else, I’m writing this for you.

I’ve created this list of “things you must know” mostly based upon very positive experiences I’ve had, but also from negative ones…things that I’ve either experienced myself or seen others do.  This isn’t a tactical post, I think I write plenty of those.  Instead, this is my advice to those that are going to lend their expertise to others, and hopefully by checking these off you will avoid some common mistakes that often result in unmet expectations, from one side or the other…or both.

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My New Role In Social Media Marketing and Strategy

logo-v1Those of you that have been following my adventures for a while know that I put my heart, soul and mind into social media.  Since writing my own blogging platform a decade ago (the billion dollar idea that I never capitalized on…) to my almost-obsessive fascination with brand interaction on channels like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, I am constantly observing and strategizing ways to make the interaction and engagement between companies and customers better through social media. I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of years consulting businesses of all types and sizes regarding their engagement (or lack thereof) within these online communities.  From Fortune 100 companies that distribute hardware all around the world to non-profit agencies that are doing their best to make a difference in the world, I have worked with groups to lend insight, support, ideas and action to social media programs. Given all of that, I’m quite pleased to announce that I have taken a new role within the industry.

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How To: Run A Mobile Office

mobile-officeAlthough I do most of my work in my office, I am constantly on the move, and as such I need to be able to move my office with me.  If you are a consultant or a road warrior, or just want to be more efficient away from your primary workstation, I hope this post will offer some good suggestions for you. Running a mobile office should be simple, but can get a little tricky.  Don’t be caught coming up short when travelling, just remember that today’s work is important, and in a recessive economy even a simple mistake like not being able to take a phone call when you don’t have a cell signal may cost you a job.  As always, I welcome any tips or tricks you have, please drop a note in the comments to share. With that in mind, let’s get started!

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How To: Prepare For A Pitch Over The Phone

dsc_0124I advise companies about how to optimize social media for brand exposure, adoption and support.  Because of this I am constantly talking to potential clients on the phone, discussing their goals and desires for an effective online campaign.  If you are in the business of consulting or are thinking about moving in that direction I’ve put together a short list of tips and tricks for preparing for that phone call, because as I’ve learned the hard way, if you aren’t prepared you’re not going to get the job. With the economy in the condition it is, every call is critical.

  1. Know the client.  There is nothing worse than being asked a question about the company that you are pitching and not knowing what they are talking about.  I’m not talking about obscure facts, this is about their core competencies.  Make sure you have done your research, have at least a general familiarity with the key leaders, products, services and areas of operation.

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Using FriendFeed To Follow Your Twitter Friends

Easy integration with other social networks is new for FriendFeed

Easy integration with other social networks is new for FriendFeed

I’ve recently been getting a lot of emails from FriendFeed letting me know that somebody new is now following me over there.  I have started receiving so many that I decided it needed to look into it…was I suddenly interesting whereas I was not before, or was there some change at FriendFeed that I needed to know about?  Turns out I’m still not interesting, but there are some exciting changes at the social media aggregator FriendFeed, including the ability to import all of you Twitter friends’ feeds.

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First Look at Windows 7 Release Candidate

windows-7-rcI’ve just downloaded and installed Microsoft Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC)  on my laptop, and I’m happy to report that it was quick, easy and I’m loving it! I installed the beta when it was first released, and even for a beta release it was surprisingly not buggy at all.  Given that, I was excited to get the RC up and running.  Although I’ve only been running through it for a few hours, I want to give you a quick how-to guide, my experience with installing my “must have” applications and my overall initial impressions.

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How To: Filter The Noise On Twitter

swine-tweetOkay, I get it…the Swine Flu is big news right now and it’s dangerous and I need to wash my hands and not lick toilet bowls in Tijuana and all that.  I think I’m taking plenty of precautions.  However, my Twitter stream is lighting up all day long with stuff about the Swine Flue and I don’t want to hear about it anymore, so what to do?  This very simple trick will show you how to filter out all mentions of Swine Flu, or anything else for that matter. And yes, I do think that it is ironic that I wrote this post on the same day that I have mentioned the Swine Flu at least three times. And yes, Chumdinger is a friend of mine, and I loved his link in this screenshot :). Keep in mind that this tutorial is specifically filtering out one key word, but you can use it for anything, to remove or to search.

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