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Posts tagged ‘social media’

Discovering the Positvie Impact of Groups: Lifestyle Business Insider

I don’t do groups. In fact, as a child my mother decided one day that I should go to group counseling because my father was an alcoholic. Before anyone gets any ideas about this presumed tragedy, my parents divorced when I was three-years-old, I lived with my mother who had sole custody and was a working trust fund baby, plus I had an older brother who lived with us and lots of family friends creating a rich support system. It wasn’t a difficult life. As for my dad, he was very much around, involved in my life, and my parents remained good friends. Sure, he was absolutely an alcoholic, but the effect that had on my  life was practically nonexistent. He was a jovial drunk and no one had any illusion that he was a responsible adult, including me, whether he was sober or not. So, expectations were always quite low as far as “parenting,” but he was a fun playmate! He worked, too. He was a prolific professional artist, a muralist mostly, and revered well enough in all the right circles for most of my life. There really wasn’t much to complain about, honestly. So, picture me in group with a bunch of kids who were literally going through hell with their alcoholic parent(s)–many suffering abuse, financial hardships, neglect, embarrassment and shame… whereas my dad would drink way too much scotch and get up and sing with the band at the Yacht Club, and everyone thought he was the life of the party. He never tried to drive drunk with me, so safety wasn’t an issue. He might have a slight hangover in the morning that would delay our planned trip to the beach that day, but that was really the extent of my suffering.

Needless to say, I didn’t really participate in group. I just sat there quietly. It was all rather uncomfortable hearing the other kids’ stories–I felt like a fraud. I hated “group.”

That was my first experience with groups: negative, misfit, outsider, and self-conscious are words that come to mind. “Groups” meant other things to me later in life: group projects in school, where I tended to do most of the work; group assignments at work, which tended to follow the same patterns as school; team-building group exercises, team breakout sessions, and shared accountability management systems–please shoot me, it’s so awful!! My friends, colleagues and employers all would joke that “Daphne doesn’t play well with others.” Instead, they’d just give me impossible problems to solve and incredibly challenging tasks to figure out, and I’d hide away in a closed room eventually emerging with the impossible solved. Then, we’d all gather teams together to execute the strategies.

Then, one day I’d met my match. A woman far smarter than me! She was an absolute lunatic–impossible for most people to work with, mean, temperamental, petty and hands down BRILLIANT! She became my best friend and mentor for about 11 years. While everything I said about her is absolutely true, it’s also true that she was the most encouraging, generous and supportive mentor and teammate imaginable who gave me every opportunity to grow and learn and implement anything I wanted to do. Most importantly, she believed in me more than even I did, and I’m pretty cocky! She pushed me in every area of my professional life until I exceeded a standard I didn’t even realize I was capable of achieving. I can’t say that she taught me everything I know–instead she kept challenging me and held tireless faith in me until I learned and applied every professional skill I currently hold. Many of these skills she doesn’t have herself. For her, it wasn’t about her trying to turn me into a clone; it was about pushing me to become my best me. After more than a decade, I began achieving consistently at very high levels, and we both knew that I was now soaring on my own. What started as a brutal form of mentoring and coaching eventually shifted to just brutality, however. The pain crescendoed, and there came a time when there was nothing left to learn in that space, and the abuse was no longer followed by a reward. It was just painful and empty. It was time for me to move on–we agreed. And so it ended. And every day I’m grateful for the full experience. Was there an easier path to take to get me where I am today? Nope. I’d have been too hard-headed to come this far without all of that.

Yet, I still never learned to work well in groups, exactly, but I learned how to lead many groups of people and project manage like a champ! Mostly, I learned how to work exceptionally well with an equal or better-skilled partner. This was a huge breakthrough for this loner!

After a couple more years, I stumbled into the life and work of yet another extraordinary person–just as dynamic and brilliant as the one before, but minus the mean streak and abusiveness and who was also far more successful. Up until now, I’ve always had a mentor in my life, and this other extraordinary person normally would have become my next–wickedly smart, extremely successful businesswoman and entrepreneur… She’s everything I’d want to learn from next! But, we never allowed a mentoring relationship to form. Instead, we entered into our relationship as a partnership of equals, each bringing different skills and expertise to the game, and every challenge, frustration or dispute we’d have within our working process was always approached with this incredible level of mutual respect and love. Occasionally, we’d even openly discuss this wonderful phenomenon. Four years we worked together, almost inseparable though she travels often, without one real argument. There was one enormous problem, however. After four years of creating exceptional work, only two out of 10 large projects were fully completed and launched (though many smaller ones were wildly successful). Everything else was abandoned for one reason or another after getting 60% or even 75% complete. I always blamed her for either stalling projects (sometimes due to legitimate conflicts of interest that would arise) or just never scheduling ample dedicated time to sit down and finalize them with me. I could only get so far on my own–using her ideas and vision–because this is her brand and life. I actually need her to help me polish and complete. I’d voice concerns from time to time, even get a little annoyed and frustrated. She always avoided discussing it… So, I of course assumed she understood and agreed with my point of view, hence the avoidance. Right? Wrong! It appears she’d been blaming me for these unfinished projects this whole time, and two huge arguments erupted as a result. We’re working through this, I’m very relieved to report, but not without some difficulty and a few hard blows along the way.

Believe me, I no longer blame my partner solely for these unfinished projects. What I am doing is gathering up all I know about her and infusing it in the works on my own to reach a finalized stage. That’s not to say that she won’t join with me to polish it pre-release, but I’m going rogue to get to the finish line, because I’ve learned that this is what these projects actually needed all along. I needed to be bold enough, and have enough faith in all I know about this person, to dive in and create the final works. That takes a big set of brass ones to do–to make grand assumptions about someone’s life and opinions, but the bolder I am about doing this, and the more committed I become to this vanguard process, the more confident I become in knowing that this was the missing link all along. This was absolutely the role I was meant to take, but was too timid to shoulder up the responsibility previously. And, yes, I have her blessing. We never had an issue with trust–she knows I know her stories, her heart and intentions–we just struggled furiously with each other until I chose to take a wildly ambitious path. As unusual as this is, it’s gorgeous how it’s all working out!

Still, without launching any of these large projects I’d created, my cash flow is not what I had originally anticipated, to say the least. So, I picked up other freelance clients and maintained others I had planned to phase out, helping me get by as I still work towards finalizing then launching all of this work I’d started. I’ve been frustrated, lost, overwhelmed, feeling isolated and abandoned, and even a little despondent at times, but I never gave up–I knew not to do that. And, here enters the theme of the “group” once more…

Stephanie Frank, an esteemed business coach whom I became acquainted when I first decided to work on my freelance career full time about 5 years ago, started a Facebook group called “Lifestyle Business Insider.” Look, I’m a big fan of Facebook–I socialize on it, debate on it, spread ideas there, tell stories there… instead of being a substitution for real-life, it’s been a brilliant extension of real life for me, and has had a wonderful positive impact on my business. I am also a member of several “professional groups.” Most are fine, but the one Stephanie developed is extraordinary! While I continue to grit my teeth and plow through the completion of these projects, most importantly a specific book project with two additional co-authors, I have been able to share some of my professional struggles, successes, stories and goals with other pros. There’s an eclectic mix of people from varied backgrounds, expertise and levels of achievement on their journey, and though this group is rather new, the feedback, support, sharing and resources presented have been incredibly beneficial! I think I’ve fund a “group” where I actually fit in–I’m not the smartest person in the room here (and I never want to be), instead there’s a beautiful, equitable level of give and take that I believe is creating a synergy far greater than the sum of its parts.

I’m still holding my beloved beast (this big book project) dear to my heart and nearing the end, finalizing the first complete draft of the manuscript next month. Though it’s been an incredibly difficult time, there’s never been a doubt that it’s an absolutely worthwhile journey with an astoundingly worthwhile colleague, partner and dear friend.  And this group, just being able to share with the group, ask questions and give feedback and process in this space has helped me to plow through some really tough barriers. I’m so grateful for each member, and of course Stephanie.

I’ve gone from being a complete misfit in awkward Ala-teen groups and bulldozing my fellow students throughout high school and college group projects, to finally being able to lead teams and work with a partner… and now I’m fully embracing a group of dedicated peers and professionals who join together in a virtual space to support one another, share resources and experience growth. I’m blessed, and I think I’m starting to like this whole “group” concept!

streetmedia logo FINAL

The Day the Web Went BLACK–the people still have mad power in government!

Link to full article here: http://saintpetersblog.com/2012/01/battle-between-old-world-media-and-new-media-the-new-kids-have-teeth-and-so-do-the-people/

I recently wrote an article on the web blackouts. Old media versus new media and all that jazz. What happened? Minds changed in Congress, including the authors and major supporters of the bills. Why is this an epic turn of events? The people, armed with the new media tools (social networking, emails and websites) and old school tools (phones and conversations) were heard and made change happen. How? Read the link above.

With the old guard of the powerful recording industry and motion picture industry working hard with Congress to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and Protect I.P. Act (PIPA) in the Senate.

New media giants answered back wielding a powerful sward—the support of the people. Facebook, Google, Amazon and many more have been communicating directly with Congress on ways to improve the proposed legislation without impeding progress in technology and communications whilst rallying worldwide awareness through their massively popular sites.

And one by one, emails and phone calls poured into Congress opposing the bills from all across America. Petitions were signed in mass and brought forward. The internet giants were quickly impacting politics in a fashion never seen before.

How did they do this? January 18, 2012, the internet went black. Well, not exactly. Several internet sites went dark in protest to SOPA and PIPA. This marks the first time in history that major internet sites used their substantial power to communicate a single message to the people and to the government. It worked.

Wikipedia and reddit were among the most dramatic internet sites to “go dark” in protest. Neither of these sites were accessible when you went to their sites on this fateful day. Wikipedia did have a few different ways you could get around its blackout and still use the site if you insisted, such as via mobile phone and tablet apps.

Other internet big shots used their power to communicate with a mass audience in different ways. Google put a black banner over its famous Google logo that lead to an on-line petition against the proposed bills, which it encouraged its users to sign. Facebook took on a life of its own in the social fashion that is all Facebook—its users spread the message on a viral scale…

AND

While protests are notorious for making a lot of noise at worst and raising awareness at best, this one had teeth. . .

While the premise of preventing piracy is a legitimate concern to protect the intellectual property rights of creators and those who lay claim to the ownership of such things, most agree, upon hearing a resounding cry from across the land, that the legislation proposed needs significant changes. These changes include language that ensures progress in technology continues and people can continue to use this platform in innovative ways.

What might possibly be even more significant than all of this change of hearts and minds is that the people have learned, first hand, that they have not lost total control over their government. Perhaps with support of new media and the platforms they provide, change, meaningful change, is possible.

It’s worth studying this grand accomplishment to see how in the future, the people can wield this powerful sward again. Yes, the new media giants had a lot to do with this change as well. But, it wasn’t until the people spoke up that Congress echoed its collective change of heart. Now, let’s do this damn thing again!

Again, here’s the link to my full article: http://saintpetersblog.com/2012/01/battle-between-old-world-media-and-new-media-the-new-kids-have-teeth-and-so-do-the-people/

New Media Communications Consulting: for the beginner–how to avoid scams and paying for ineffective strategies

So, you want to hire a communications consultant to help boost your on-line marketing effectiveness? That’s a great idea. But they keep talking in acronyms you barely understand such as SMO and SEO without really telling you want it all means–why it’s valuable to you.

SMO and SEO are acronyms of great meaning in the world of communications consulting and new media marketers. If your idea of social media optimization (SMO) is posting all your family vacation photos AND videos for your “friends” to see in a couple clicks from your mobile device, you’re not alone. However, this leaves you in a difficult position when you go to hire a communications/marketing consultant to manage your business’s social media campaign.

Social Media Optimization is all about driving unique visitors to your website and business and ultimately creating customers and supporters of you brand/products/services/cause. At its best, SMO will identify and attract unique visitors of a certain profile who are most likely to be current customers, potential customers and/or supporters who will help spread the word about your brand/products/services/cause. Clearly, this could make a huge positive impact on your business’s success.

This is similar to another buzzword, search engine optimization (SEO), where a set of strategies, used properly, will help drive unique visitors to your website and business. Again, at best, the strategies employed will target a particular type of visitor who has already demonstrated some interest in a topic addessed by your business as evidenced by their web search interests, etc.

So, what we are focusing on here is not just SMO or SEO but target marketing. Marketing that targets a group of customers whom businesses have decided to aim their marketing strategies/messages and likewise their products and services.

Why does this matter? You will have far better success in turning 1,000 unique visitors to your website into customers/supporters if they are already interested in your products/services or at least show signs of fitting your target market’s demographics. For instance, it isn’t very helpful marketing a new micro-brewed beer to a group of individuals who are responding to blog posts on how to survive unemployment.

While this may sound obvious, I’ve said all of this to say this: beware of communications consultants/ marketers who try to feed you an SMO (or SEO) plan, which doesn’t strategize for target marketing. I’ve seen far too many consultants pad up clients Facebook “friends/likes” and Twitter “followers” with thousands of fellow marketing professionals whose personal profiles contain thousands of “friends/likes/followers” whom they follow and whom follow them.

For the most part, this is a worthless strategy, attracting nothing but marketers looking to pad their followers numbers and who have no interest in your business, products or services at all. They will not interact with you and help you build meaningful collaborative relationships, and they will not help you gain more customers or supporters. What they will do is often fill your view of messages from followers with endless chatter and make it difficult for you to decipher a true supporter from one who is just padding your numbers.

I say for the most part, because there are exceptions where this is useful. These exceptions exist when you are referring to income generated from ads and click-throughs etc. In some of these cases, large numbers of followers can help generate revenue for you, but certainly not the loyal supporters of your brand/products and services you need for true business sustainability. Plus, it doesn’t represent the best that social networking has to offer in terms of augmenting relationship-building, two-way communication and loyalty among customers and potential customers.

Beware of consultants who can’t or don’t map out a SMO plan for you that includes target marketing. There are far too many in this field who are looking to pad their own pockets with your money for merely padding your numbers of social media followers, conning you into thinking they’ve done a great job. What value was brought to the table for each strategy implemented? That’s the question you need answered. This will determine the value of your consultant.

Want to know about events and Tampa Bay greatness?

Check out Brand Tampa: www.brandtampa.com and say hi to Julia Gorzka, founder of Brand Tampa.

Say hi to Julia Gorzka, founder of Brand Tampa

Daphne’s List of 7 (Part 3): Social Media Communication Etiquette–Be nice!

Daphne’s List of Seven: Social Media Communications Etiquette

1. Do not spam:

a) If you said it once, take your time before saying it again, and please at least reframe it so that you’re speaking differently, perhaps to a different audience.
b) Even if your information is marvelously different and compelling, please don’t keep posting it within a short period of time. Give your audience time to read your content, absorb it and think about it before you provide your next eight great bits of wisdom. Use a blog to post lots of content often vs. mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

2. Do not have an agenda to arbitrarily build your friends or followers on social networks. Specifically, please do not send friend requests to individuals you do not know and whom you have not had a meaningful interaction on the web or in person.

3. Communicate:

a) Build a two-way dialogue on-line with as many of your on-line friends and followers as possible. This is about networking and communicating. Ask questions, respond to other’s questions and ideas, and please take the time to personally respond to direct messages and postings directed specifically to you as your time allows.
b) As you mind-cast or post compelling content, think of ways to engage your followers with this content. What are some ways to entice them to interact with you and your content?

4. Be friendly and polite:

a) Even if your postings are all about business, it’s okay to reach out to people and comment on things related to life and society. Think of this as hot sauce, and use it to personal taste. Some people like it hot and others just want a little flavor. I’m just recommend that you avoid bland. People want to see that there’s a person behind the great content.
b) Sometimes, some people can be rude. Please don’t be one of them. Being polite is a direct reflection on your character and the image of your business (if you’re representing one). Respond with please and thank you (or Plse & Thx), respond to people who are communicating with you, give credit to other people for their great ideas and repost their great ideas.

5. Keep your cool:

a) Don’t let someone on-line get under your skin, and if this is unavoidable, please do not let it show on-line. Step away and respond with a cool head.
b) Please avoid personal attacks. Honestly, this just reflects poorly on your image.

6. Think of ways to increase transparency:

a) Transparency is more than a buzz word, it’s a way for people to get to know you and your company (if you represent one) and increase trust.
b) Ways to do this include, admitting if you make a mistake and posting a correction, posting links to reports on measurable objectives and outcomes (if you have them), inviting followers and friends to ask questions about products and services and your business in general, etc.

7. Have fun and get excited!:

a) If you have fun and get excited, it shows, and it’s contagious.
b) You will attract more people to you with your positivity, excitement and fun-loving nature.
c) Most importantly, it’s fun to have fun!

MONEY IS INFORMATION and you can manage information

Money is information. It is agreed upon values, which fluctuates based on the information surrounding your worth. If information says you are more valuable today than yesterday, the strength of your currency rises.

$$ Built by Information

If the public agrees that the information surrounding your brand says that your brand is more valuable today than yesterday, it is more valuable today than yesterday.

Learning to manage the information surrounding your brand is vital to business development and sustainability.

What is the information surrounding your brand today? What information would make your brand stronger/more valuable to your publics? What are a few actions you could implement to get that information out into your publics’ hands and encourage them to pass the information along–making the impact of that information stronger, more-widespread, more credible and hence valuable than ever before? Communicate!

Yes, you’re seeing it right–this is all about strategic communication management. Identify your audience. Engage in a conversation with your public. Learn what they value. Be responsive to those values. Interact, learn and grow based on the needs of your audience. Let them know that their input and conversations about your business and industry caused you to change something in a meaningful way: your customer service, your philosophy, products, services, etc. You are not only engaged and listening and responding. You care. You care so much that you respond to input by changing. 

If you are in business, your business is to serve. The strength of your brand depends on your ability to demonstrate that service, and your value is determined by your responsiveness.

All things being equal, people will tend to do business with those they know, like and trust. Be that person. Dare to be great! 

To find out more, contact me at daphnestreet@daphnestreet.com
Visit my website: www.daphnestreet.com

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