The following is a guest post from GL Hoffman, who wants to help you in this time of economic uncertainty.
No one wants to be anonymous. We all want recognition and appreciation for who we are, and what we do. Most of the surveys say that recognition is what we most crave from our workplace. And, it is the determining factor to why people stay at their job. How can you make sure you are not anonymous at work, how can you stand out amongst all the others? Here are some ideas for you to try:
1. See work. In most companies, jobs are almost always bigger than the person. You can make your job bigger and better by simply seeing work that needs to be done, and then do it. Most of us work in small companiesâ€¦there is always work to do. Do not wait around for someone to point out work to you. Get a reputation as someone who can see work, especially un-assigned work. Chances are good that the baby boomers at your workplace are not using Facebook, Twitter or blog. Seek them out and offer to teach them. They wonâ€™t ask, but we all know they do need the help.
2. On time. Be on time in everything you do. Complete projects when you say you will. Show up on time in the morning or after lunch. This is a small thing, making this a workplace habit will pay off. There are tools in every email product that allows you to coordinate meeting spots and times, be the one in your office that uses it.
3. Be perfect. Understand that even though no one is perfect, your boss expects perfection. You never know when your poor grammar in an email will negatively affect your career. Learn to be your own worst critic. Always improve. Even though the business community is getting lax with abbreviations and LOL, you should be careful and consider the audience.
4. Can Do. Exhibit a â€œcan doâ€ attitude. Remember that the company can pay a lot of people a lower salary to NOT do your work.
5. Do the job no one else wants. Careers have been made on this reputation aloneâ€¦do the toughest, the worst, or the jobs that have caused others to fail. Search out the toughest tasks.
6. Be sales minded. Most companies need revenue. What can you do in your job to add sales? Always be looking for ways that you can impact sales in your company.I guarantee you there is no faster way to move ahead in a company that being seen as someone who can meaningfully impact the sales. Chances are, your VP of Sales is behind the curve on social media tools. Show him how he can use them to stay in better contact with his customers and prospects.
7. Customer-focused. How does your job impact the companyâ€™s customers? If you donâ€™t know how, find out. Every business needs customers. And every job touches the customer in some manner. Become an expert on how your job positively impacts the customer. Do your customers use Facebook? Is someone monitoring the blogs from competitors. Donâ€™t assume that the â€˜higher-upsâ€™ have an in-depth understanding of new tools and media
8. Always improve. Improvements do not have to be gigantic to gain attention. Make sure that this month you are doing a specific task better than you did it last month. Small incremental improvements in your performance get noticed.
9. Donâ€™t whine, gossip or complain. Save whining for after work and only to your partner, spouse and only if you absolutely need to. It is so common for people to get together and complain about work. The more you do, the worse you will do.
10. Become an evangelist. Most businesses have a leader or boss who is really-really-really good at presenting the business in an exciting, positive way. You can also do it, even if only to your co-workers, customers, family, friends. Think of it this way. You meet someone at a family reunion and they ask you what you do. What do you tell them? Does this person leave the conversation understanding more about your job and company? The goal should be to get THEM as excited about what you are doing and your company as what you are. Young people make think this is NOT cool, I understand. But in small companies, especially, your boss knows who are evangelists for the company. With the new, under-used social tools you can make a name for yourself, by becoming the in house evangelist that uses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even blogs about your business.
G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. He has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal and other local business publications and newspapers. Find out more at Dig Your Job
This guest post comes from John Meadows, an original thinker and podcaster from Canada. I first met John at PodCamp Toronto, I believe, so it’s fitting that his guest post comes a week before the third installation of that event. John asks why we can’t be friends.
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
It is sadly ironic that for so many social media projects, where the focus is supposed to be on communication and conversation, start off with poor communication between business, consultants and IT. Instead of listening to what the other is saying, we tend to listen to our own stereotypes, no matter what role we are playing in a project.
The folks from I.T. look across the table at the Social Media consultants. They see people who not only don’t understand technology, but don’t see the need to understand technology at a nuts and bolts perspective, and look at it with disdain. They see people who consider hands-on work with servers, networks and application code to have a somewhat menial tinge, as compared to the highly strategic, value-add services provided by the consultants.
For their part, the social media consultants, looking back across the table at the I.T. folks, see people who seem to feel their sacred duty in life is to rain on parades. They are the “Knights who say No” and are never happier then when they can point out flaws and dangers in proposals being presented to them. They are lost in the details, with no appreciation for the grand vision, the big picture.
And in the middle of all this is the business customer; watching I.T. and Social Media go at it, each side lobbing acronyms or buzzwords at each other like mortar shells. He or she feels like a witness to trench warfare, standing forgotten between two implacable foes wondering “Why isn’t anyone listening to me?”
It is hard to see a successful project as an outcome of so much bitter contention. While these role-based generalizations are born of experience (and yes there are I.T. folks who delight in saying no, from sheer laziness or fear of change, just as there are consultants who dismissively see I.T. as cyber-janitors to be threatened with off-shoring if they get “uppity”), these negative experiences only become stereotypes when you apply them to everyone.
How can we get past this? Only by stepping out of our respective comfort zones, and learning about each others concerns and accountabilities as stakeholders. I myself come from the I.T. camp, and can fully appreciate its concerns – long after the designers of a program have moved on, it will be up to an I.T. support organization to keep an application running, make sure it can handle whatever load is thrown at it, and make sure it doesn’t pose a threat to the security and stability of the organization’s infrastructure. The I.T. representatives in a project know full that is a project results in disruption of the infrastructure, or a security breach, they will be the ones on the carpet in front on the CEO; not the social media consultant. The knowledge and expertise of the I.T. professional needs to be leveraged, not dismissed, or avoided as inconvenient.
To address these concerns and needs, a successful social media consultant will either develop some enterprise IT skills on their own, or bring along someone who does have those skills, who can speak and understand the language of Information Technology. Someone who can respond to security questions, discuss the choice of platforms and programming languages. Someone who can be an implementation partner instead of just someone who throws an install disk at I.T. and tells the customer if anything goes wrong it must be a problem caused by the I.T. group.
Now of course, this needs to work both ways. Those of us in I.T. must truly internalize the concept that I.T. assets only have value when they serve the needs goals and strategies of the organization. We need to lift our heads above our keyboards and telnet session windows to take a hard look at how what we do can serve our organizations not just today, but in the future. Being conservative with the I.T. family jewels isn’t a bad thing, but we also need to be receptive to new ideas and new business needs, and find a way to help realize them. Just saying NO reflexively does nothing except reinforce the stereotype. If we have a concern with a proposal or project being pitched by a third party consultant, we need to raise the concern using language the business can understand, and frame what we say in a manner that drives a solution-based discussion. “How can we make this work” rather than “This will never work.” We cannot afford to let our own imaginations atrophy, and we should welcome challenge.
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with archeology will be familiar with the Rosetta Stone — an ancient stone artifact with a proclamation in three different languages/writing systems, including a hieroglyphic system that scholars had been struggling to translate. The stone brought the three languages together, and thus allowed the scholars to make great strides in unlocking the hieroglyphic system. If we, both as social media experts and I.T. experts work as hard to understand each other’s languages, concerns and needs, together we can similarly unlock a third language, one of customer success, and sustainable innovation.
And oh, what a lovely language that would be.
Get more from John Meadows at meadowsonline.com
The following is a guest post by Christopher S. Penn, Chris Brogan’s PodCamp co-founder and ninja.
Way back in the 1980s, when big hair and plastic pants were de rigueur, America’s fascination with all things ninja took off as a pop culture sensation that never left. Beneath the surface silliness of throwing stars, turtles, and late night USA network movies laid a philosophy that has never been more relevant than today.
Ninja master teacher Stephen K. Hayes called ninjutsu the art of winning, especially winning against impossible or improbable odds. Despite the deck being stacked against you, despite every obvious advantage that the opposition has, you still have to win.
Now granted, you may not be facing a crazed samurai wielding a four foot razor blade, but you’re still probably facing long odds in this economy. Let’s look at a ninja example for more clarity.
Imagine you’ve got a sword and you’re on the field of battle. A well armed, well armored samurai is charging you, you clash, and you’re about to be overrun by what’s effectively a high speed steamroller covered in chainsaws. As you clash, you try to hold your ground but realize you’re screwed, so you strategically give way, step aside, and drop your sword on the guy’s neck, and the encounter is over.
What does this teach you about a recession? Simple. You’re being overrun, by banks, lenders, creditors, and non-buying consumers. You won’t hold your ground against the tide of the economy any more than you could hold your ground against a charging samurai. Knowing this, look for the opportunity to step aside and change your perspective – literally.
Here’s an example. If you’re in management, you need to leave your office right now, put down all the reports and slides, and go talk to your customers. If you’re in B2B, talk to your customers’ customers. Get out from inside the battle and see the conflict from a different perspective.
There is almost certainly an angle you’re not seeing. If you’re caught up in the fury of the moment, wrestling for control of a situation that is a losing battle, you will get squashed. You have to step aside, give way, so that you can change your perspective and see the opportunity that is there, but invisible to you in the heat of the moment.
Do you see operational inefficiencies from your customer’s perspective that your product or service could address but you never realized? Have you ever watched your customer use their product or service in their real, daily life, rather than the sterile product testing and Q&A lab? What can you see if you step aside and look?
Disengage from the battle, step aside, and look for the opportunity that is there. As ninja grandmaster Toshitsugu Takamatsu once said, happiness is waiting there in front of you. Only you can decide whether or not you choose to experience it.
Christopher S. Penn is the producer of the Financial Aid Podcast, co-host of Marketing Over Coffee, and co-founder of PodCamp. He’s also a 16 year practitioner of ninjutsu at the Boston Martial Arts Center, unsurprisingly located in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo credit, Financial Aid Podcast
The following is a post from Alex Howard, brilliant tech writer, passionate local human, and someone I’m glad I know.
I I share Chris’s enthusiasm for public radio and for WBUR in particular. "Local Social- How WBUR Gets the Public in Public Radio" was a great post. And @EricGuerin, it was great to meet you in person.
I grew up listening to WHYY in Philadelphia and then to WMEW in Maine. WHYY was part of the rhythms of my family’s daily life during commutes, cooking meals or on weekend errands. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston, however, that NPR became much more closely woven into the fabric of my daily life. For the past decade, WBUR has consistently demonstrated over and over again just how good public radio can be at reporting on a community and telling deep, compelling stories about the what’s happening on the streets, in the cafes and around the boardroom table. (The station has won some well-deserved awards along the way.) I’m hesitant to call WBUR the best public radio station in the country but I’m certain there isn’t a better one.
Clearly, I’m a fan. As you say, Chris, they get it. Robin Lubbock and Ken George are quietly setting a new standard for social engagement through social media outreach. Just follow WBUR on Twitter to see what I mean. Keith Hopper is similarly blazing a new media trail for the Public Interactive group at NPR.
They’re all using the same social software and platforms that businesses and other organizations are leveraging on the Web now to interact with their listeners and audience. I heard Andy Carvin on Morning Edition today; his conversation with Scott Simon demonstrated exactly how well much NPR’s social media strategist ‘gets it.’
What’s exciting to me as both a long-time listener of public radio and citizen is how perfect the fit is between NPR and social technologies like blogs, podcasts, microblogging and virtual worlds. NPR has been at the forefront of podcasting, a natural evolution given their rich, deep catalog of syndicated shows. The challenge as they move more into this space is how to support the considerable expense of supporting the news coverage around the clock.
I hope that the technology for fundraising and direct electronic donations will catch up to the lightning-quick pace that advances in communication platforms have seen in recent years. Chipin widgets for blogs and microgiving campaigns using Twitter using services like Tipjoy hold some immediate promise in 2009. For instance, Web listeners streaming WBUR or other NPR news stations could immediately give a micropayment at the point of contact, replying to a tweet containing a story or clicking on a button below the “listen here” link on WBUR.org.
I’ve heard similar cases made for micropayments used for readers of the NYT, WSJ or Economist on a Kindle. It’s not a stretch to imagine an NPR application for the iPhone or G1 that has a similar “click to give” function during fundaisers. I dream about the day when I can donate and then be able to listen to programming free of the earnest pleas of the pledge drive — except, perhaps, for Ira Glass. His requests for money are always hilarious.
The WBUR tweetup on Thursday was an experience that will stick with me for some time. The conversation you led was, as you described it “all over the place.” When we talked about “business models for displaced journalists,” it was in the context of Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub, one of the best hyperlocal blogs around, who joined their ranks this past week. (My only regret from the night is that I missed Keith Hopper’s discussion. Fortunately, we can all listen to an Open Conversation on Hyperlocal News at KeithHopper.com). Questions about how newspapers, magazines and radio stations will make the transition through the massive disruption to their business models aren’t a matter of speculative fiction. As William Gibson has said,”The future is already here â€“ it’s just not evenly distributed.”
He’s right; it’s happening right now, here in Boston. Time to go do some dishes while I stream Morning Edition through my iPhone.
You can read more from Alex Howard at Digiphile.
What follows is a guest post by Josh Peters.
What is the holy grail of marketing? WOM! Just let it roll off your tongue waaaahm.
WOM (word of mouth) is the ultimate goal of anyone who wants to grow their business. It’s a simple fact, we as humans trust other humans more than we do advertising and marketing. Even if those people are “strangers” they have more influence over our purchases than any other factor. But how do you get that moving and growing?
One of the examples Jay Levinson cites is about a local restaurant owner wanted to boost his sales so he set about figuring out who else his customers patronize. He soon discovered that he had some customers who went to beauty salons fairly regularly so he sent gift certificates to local beauty salon owners for 2 free dinners. The owners ate, loved it, talked about it, and as a result the restaurant owners reservation list was completely full all for the price of a couple free meals.
How can you get that same result using social media? Well it takes time but it can be done even more effectively than when trying to figure it out offline where people don’t post profiles telling you all about themselves. Just by scanning your communities friends, groups, products they like etc, you can gain an insight into who their onlineinfluencers are. We’ve talked about using comments to build a benefits and features list and if you’re using a social commenting system like
I don’t mean in a Fatal Attraction kind of way I mean in a look-at-where-else-they-comment sort of way. If you find that many of your users, community, members, etc also read and comment on another blog you can discern that there is a correlation there and viola you now have your beauty salon (figuratively speaking). Give that blogger / business owner some of your stuff for free and ask them to do a review on it. This review of course now can reach many more people than your local salon. It can be stumbled,dugg , saved to delicious, tweeted, fed out over FaceBook, emailed, etc. It can spread to thousands of people just moments after it’s published.
By identifying and learning more about your community you can also figure out what “boxes” they fit into. Lawyer, Doctor, Mother, Author, Realtor, Father, etc. Then use the same method to wooinfluencers in that area with free stuff.
If you find yourself to be in the position of being one of those influencers who is approached then take a page out of Chris Brogans guide book. Disclose, disclose, disclose. Chris has given us insight into everything from
This, much like using guest posts, is a great way to add credibility and value to your product. It gets more eyes and more diverse voices talking about you and gives you and your product more credibility and face value.
This is the part where I talk about Me and You. Examples given will also get linked from the Guerrilla Social Media Marketing Resource page so that’s inbound links all around!
Me: I’m going to break the mold here and tell you how this worked on me. PCMech was given one of the new Flip Mino HD‘s to play with and I was so impressed with the video and audio I went to buy one from my local BestBuy. They were out of stock and have been every week since, so this week I ordered one online! Free exposure for them and at least one new customer in me.
You: Have you ever been influenced by a review or a sponsored post? Have you ever used this type of tactic to gain business and exposure? Whether it worked or not I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Post links, wax poetic and tell us a story.
When done right by targeting the correct communities and influences this is a great way to spread the word of your company, gainun-biased reviews, and engage in a whole new community.
Thank you for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters
This is part of a year long project about taking offline guerrilla marketing ideas / tactics and applying them to social media marketing. If you enjoyed this post and would like to host one of the Guerrilla Social Media Marketing series on your blog please email me shua (at) shuaism.com. To easily follow the series please subscribe to my feed via RSS or Email.