Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What You Need To Know About Your Social Networking Style

I’ve always been style conscious. It’s the way my mama raised me. I combed fashion magazines and browsed through boutiques from an early age, not just searching for bargains, but for ideas on how to put outfits together.  For me, fashion is an artistic expression of who I am, in that moment, for that occasion. 

I’ve had periods in my life where my style fit a certain category -  classic, edgy, romantic, conservative or trendy - until the day I realized I didn't fit just one label and that my style was a unique and authentic expression of who I am - a part of the statement I make about my personal brand.

So it's no wonder that I approach my social network interactions with the same consideration.

I’m not talking posting pictures of my newest shoe purchase - although there might be a moment when I do exactly that. I’m talking the style in which I choose to interact on social networks. In an age when 74% of online Adults use social networking sites and 87% of all US Adults are online, this deserves some thought. 

So I ask you - do any of these styles sound like you or someone you know?

The Traditionalist - They engage - but not too much. They share without comment so we don't really know what they think - but what they share tends to be useful. They know they have to have some digital presence but secretly wish this social networking thing would all go away. They definitely put thought behind their posts - perhaps at times, too much.   

The Lurker - The Lurker has a social profile, most likely limited to Facebook to stay connected to family and friends and LinkedIn for professional reasons - but they don’t engage. They observe. They know everything every one of their friends does online. They'll tell you at a cocktail party how they read all your blogs and how much they enjoy them but never once liked or shared any. They're the person who comes to the dance but never dances.

The Trendsetter - The Trendsetter is not afraid to speak their mind. They share their own ideas and they share others ideas. They seek to influence. They look to see what is trending on Twitter but they also harbor a deep seated desire that one day a hashtag they create will trend worldwide. 

The Spewer - This is the person that any little thing that pops into their heads they feel obligated to share - like what they had for breakfast that morning or what they think of that car that just cut them off. There is no thought nor any concern for how something might land or what the repercussions might be. They tend to shoot from their hip which appears to be connected 24/7 to their Facebook feed. It’s never once crossed their mind that what they are saying now lives for eternity on the Internet. 

The Erratic - You might at first glance confuse the Erratic with the Spewer. This is because while there is no consistency in their social presence, when they do decide to interact they try to make up for lost time by posting a dozen links, one after the other, without coming up for air and usually unrelated to each other. There might be something really terrific in there they are sharing - but you'll never find it because it is resembling the Spewer, who you stopped paying attention to a long time ago. 

The Attention-Getter - Like the Spewer it might at first glance seem as if there was absolutely no thought whatsoever in that seemingly inconsiderate or irreverent comment they just posted or outlandish picture they put up on Instagram - but the truth is - there probably was. Think Miley Cyrus. Her social network interactions may seem to have occurred in a moment of haste, but my personal belief is that they are part of a grander marketing plan created with intention.
The Non-Responder - They post. Constantly. All day long. They may even have a huge following - in the hundreds of thousands. But they never acknowledge a comment. They want to be heard. But they are not interested in listening. They seem to not understand that what has made  social networking grow exponentially is that it is about engagement and conversation - not simply pushing messages. Think the big corporation who is using new digital tools and old marketing methods.

The Eclectic -  The Eclectic mixes it all up. They interact differently on different social networks. They are more likely to press pause and think before hitting publish. They understand that engaging as a two-way street is what makes social networking so powerful. They think. They understand their personal brand now lives online - forever and that they are in a position to take control. They know their digital selves might very well be the first impression someone has of them and that there is no delete button on the Internet.

This is where I strive to live. 

But no matter which style category I fall into on a particular day, the one constant is that in the same manner that I pause to check the weather before I choose the shoes I wear, I take a moment to think before I post. 

What about you?

Want to improve that online profile? Sign up for my next YOUR DIGITAL YOU WORKSHOP! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How To Decide What To Share On Social Media

I'm not a yeller. Nor would you expect a slew of four letter expletives to fall from my mouth.  Therapy and lots of personal transformational work has quelled the bursts of emotional ranting that were common in my younger years. In other words I’ve learned to press pause before I open my mouth.

The exception to all this is when I drive. When I get behind the wheel of a car, all bets are off. My fuse is short. My calm and grounded persona disappears and my emotions flare. I have less than nice things to say about every car and driver that cuts me off, changes lanes without signaling and makes a sudden stop without warning. 

It's as though an alien power takes over my body and I flip back and forth between the woman who practices meditation and the one that emerges like the Loch Ness Monster when another driver does something stupid.

I warn people who have never driven with me. 

But sometimes I forget. 

In which case I explain after the fact, apologizing profusely until the color returns to their face, their body starts to relax again, and they stop gripping the door handle.

While this is a part of what I like to call my multifaceted persona, it is not what I consider my best and most engaging side. 

Which is why I won't be tweeting an episode anytime soon. There will be no requests for my passenger to video the outburst and post it on Facebook or Instagram. 

Why then, you might ask, am I even bringing it up here? 

To make my point. Not every aspect of who we are, where we go and what we do needs to be shared. 

I might not have control over the person I become when driving, but I do have control over what I choose to share on social media. 

When deciding what is share worthy these are the questions I like to ask myself:

  • Is it useful?
  • Is it relevant?
  • Is it representative of whom I am as a brand?
  • Does it educate,entertain, inspire and/or convince?
  • Is this something I wouldn't mind seeing on a billboard?

The person I become when driving  would never make the cut - unless I am using it to illustrate a point - which in this case is that not everything is worth sharing.

YOUR DIGITAL YOU - the blueprint - a workshop designed to improve your digital profile is back! Two dates just added for Fall! Register here and use the code EARLYBird to receive a 10% discount if you sign up before October 1! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Things That Can Happen When You Don't Know Where You're Going

When I was still trying to figure out this next phase of my life I went to a book launch by a man I had never heard of before. The book was called World Wide Rave and the author was someone named David Meerman Scott

I was quite taken with David, his story and his perspective on what he referred to as the new rules of Marketing and PR. He had worked for large corporations and had been fired from them. So we had a lot in common. 

I started to follow him on the social networks and became a regular reader of his blog. I learned a lot from David. He has always impressed me as one of the few marketing gurus out there who actually walks the walk. He doesn't just preach engagement and sharing, he practices it. He has a no gobbledygook rule that I have adopted. To say his thinking helped to form my own on how to use digital tools to brand and sell is an understatement.

In one of those synchronistic twists of fate that first meeting was at the Kimmel Center at NYU - several years before I joined the adjunct faculty. 

When I first started to teach Digital Marketing  and was in search of a textbook, the only thing that I found that could come close to being a comprehensive overview of what marketing in a digital world looked like was his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

I let him know and made both his book and his blog required reading. 

David has a new book.  As part of his research he solicited ideas on perspectives on selling from his readers. Needless to say, with twenty-five years in sales and sales management to my credit, I had a lot to say on the subject so I sent off an email.

David responded and said he wanted to do a phone interview.

That was a year ago in September. I remember hanging up the phone and trying not to get too attached to whether that interview would actually make it in the final draft. Instead I exercised extreme gratitude that a handful of years after first meeting someone whose work impressed me so, my story might even be considered for one of his books.

I guess my gratitude worked because I am honored to report back that I am in the book! 

I have no idea what I said - I'll be back to you after I get my copy - but David tells me my story is perfect. The official publication date of The New Rules of Sales and Service is September 2, 2014. 

In the meantime, David is practicing the marketing methods he preaches and offering this great slide presentation to give you a peek at what you will find in the book. 

When I started this part of my journey back in 2008 I had no idea where I was going. What I've discovered along the way is that as long as you're willing to put one foot in front of the other and keep yourself open, you will meet the people you need to meet, you'll learn what you need to know and you will never cease to be amazed at the synchronicity of it all and the delightful surprises that will occur. 

Like being quoted in The New Rules of Sales and Service

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Tribe Of Origin

Mom, Dad, me and my brother.

I grew up in a tribe. The nucleus of my tribe was my father and mother and brother but it extended far beyond the four of us.

Mom was one of seven children and Dad one of five. This tribe I was born into included their siblings, their spouses and their children. Being Greek, that also meant the tribe extended to include the cousins of our cousins as well as close friends of my parents.

Imagine a less exaggerated version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and you have a typical gathering of the tribe. Lots of food, music, dancing, laughter, people talking over each other and a love so strong you could almost see it in the air.

According to the definition Seth Godin uses in his seminal book, Tribes, "A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea."

Our connection was our Greek blood lines with roots in the villages of Apidia and Kalamata in the Peloponnese region of Greece and to Crete -  as well as a desire on the part of our immigrant grandparents to keep our ancestral culture strong and alive. 

Seth Godin's definition continues:  " A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate."

When we were young it was easy to communicate. With the exception of one of my mother's brothers, both sides of my tribe lived between Brooklyn and Queens. Family gatherings were not limited to Christmas and Easter, to weddings, christenings and funerals, but were every day occurrences. Someone was in the neighborhood, they stopped by - no appointment or “play date” necessary. Last minute phone calls to see what we were up to and if we could come over for dinner were welcomed and not seen as an intrusion. 

Community and the idea of tribes were not trendy words reserved for marketing circles with the underlying intention of how we will make money. They were organic at a time, no one used that word to describe customer growth or the kind of vegetables they bought. 

It was just about family. 

The belief of my tribe was that in the end, there is no substitution for the connection of family - those people who get who you are with just a look in your eyes, who tell you what they think when you are not asking, and who will love you and stand by you no matter how many mistakes you make.

That was then and this is now. Lives take flight. People move in different directions. Our families take different forms. Stuff happens. The tribe splinters.

There was a time during my teenage and young adult years when I was okay with that. I wanted to get as far from my core tribe and my Greekness as possible. I was in search of me and I thought that as long as those connections were as strong as they were I was never going to find the person I might be.

Today I cling to them - even as I feel them slipping through my fingers. Today I understand that those connections are the foundation of who I am.

Within the last two weeks, I have lost two aunts. My Aunt Jean was my dad’s youngest sister and the last of his siblings. My Aunt Helen was married to my father’s brother. They were both strong women who loved and respected me and part of the now dwindling “village” of aunts who made their mark on my life.

Aunt Jean holding me at my christening. Aunt Helen looking on.

One of the key tenets of this tribe has always been that no matter how far away our lives get from each other, we all show up to support in these moments. It is not questioned. It just is what our tribe did, what it always did. It was the way we were taught. 

We show up for our parents, our grandparents, for the ancestors that laid the groundwork that took us to today, for each other and for ourselves. The gathering of the "tribe" in their honor reinforces the values they stressed - of family bonds, community, and unconditional love.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Yet through it all I found solace in the faces of my extended family who all showed up to pay their respects. Amidst  the hugs, the faded photographs of a world that didn’t include cell phones and computers, the sharing of memories and recollections of moments I had forgotten I felt a sense of being home. I was with my “people”, my original tribe. The ones that remember stories about me or my father or my mother that I don’t. The ones who look at me and still see the young girl who lives inside.

I couldn’t begin to count how many other ‘tribes’ I have been a part of to date. But that tribe - my original tribe is the one that no matter how far away I might get from it, I am always welcomed and always loved.

In the death of my two aunts I’ve experienced so much sadness, it’s difficult to get out from under. The only way I know is to focus on the gratitude I have - for the richness that each contributed to my life and for the “tribe” I was raised as part of that they helped to create. 

The tribe has splintered along the way,  no doubt, but its roots stand strong. They are at the core of who I am today. For that I am forever grateful.

RIP Aunt Jean and Aunt Helen. May your memory be eternal.