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#1

Almost isn’t good enough by Wayne Elsey.

#2

Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy.

#3

UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. by Scott Stratten

#4

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion  By Gary Vaynerchuk

#5

The Thank You Economy By Gary Vaynerchuk


Fine Print: These are in no particular order. I have not received any money for my endorsements. I did receive my copy of Branding Yourself for free because I hassled Erik to death about it:) The Links are to my affiliate Amazon account.
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I’ve been reading Almost isn’t Good Enough: The Human Connection Changes Everything. This isn’t  a book review. That will come soon. This book is written to people who are running or involved in not-for-profit work.  The author is standing the world of not-for-profit on its ear and challenging some long standing traditional view of how a not-for-profit is run, and how it takes on the basic clear task of following a mission.

As stated, this is not a book review.  Wayne Elsey is a proven man in the world of for-profit business and not-for-profit organizations. He “gets it” on such a deep level.  I’m reading this book because of my interest in both worlds. So let’s look at some takeaways that I’ve gathered so far from this book that can be applied to any business.

Making a difference
When teaching in the corporate world, I ask companies about their philanthropic works. I often suggest that they strategically support those not-for-profits and the community with their online influence.

“Making a difference in the life of someone else, though, is something that everyone has the capacity to do, regardless of where one is in life and career…

It will create energy around you that will attract others, change lives and offer the opportunity to leave a legacy of change in the midst of a culture of access. “

Clarity

“Success, wealth, and impact are not philosophical ideas to be debated within the halls of academia. They are characteristics grounded in a focused effort over a long period of time that lead to transformation.”

Many times we associate the words mission statement with not-for-profit, but a business should have one too. If you’re not clearly focused on achieving that mission, you’re just working.  If you find the clarity of your mission and follow it, you will be on the path of success, wealth and impact.

Valuing People


Janet Effron wrote a great post called: Company Policy in there she asked

“Is it your practice to hire stupid people?”

That stuck with me. When I work with companies, I often ask to train, not only upper management, public relations,  marketing, and sales people to use the tools of social media, I ask to train support staff, and a variety of other positions within a corporation.  Why? Because, people are what make your company strong. It is the people that you have trusted to represent your brand in the real world, that make your company shine. You should trust that they will make you proud online too, with proper training of you policy, goals, and a clearly defined strategy.

It is our “belief that everyone is at the table because they bring something of value. To that end they are expected to bring that value everyday” You want to “create a culture of empowerment…

It’s vital that we not create barriers to conversations but empower the experts we retain to perform at their highest levels.”’

Are you creating a culture of empowerment, and valuing the people you have chosen to be a part of your business? Do you give them a platform in which to express their knowledge of your product or service, and to become branded themselves as an expert in you field of business; and thus your business is branded thru them? Or do you simply let the PR guys get this new media stuff?Wayne “gets it” no matter if you are talking for-profit or not-for-profit :

“It’s all about the people.”

Southwest Airlines has long been a leader and innovator in social media. They do things differently and are not afraid to step out to try new things; to be the first guy on the dance floor, if you will.  They are known for their antics and humor online, in the terminal and in the air. But how do they deal with serious issues? With style and grace.

Does every complaint matter on Twitter? @SouthwestAir says ‘yes!’

The above article outlines the story one man’s response to a major renovation in the airline’s rewards program. This one man made a stink and he was not shy about publicly letting Southwest know that he was not happy about it.

Who was this guy?

It wasn’t Scott Statten, who’s lead some very successful campaigns about how airlines treat their customers, with only a few tweets and his army of almost 77 thousand social savvy followers of his @unmarketing twitter account.  It was @SJCsouthpaw With is 106 107 followers that were genuinely upset with the company’s new program. He wasn’t the only one, but Southwest chose to answer him. Why? Because at Southwest “Our strategy is every customer matters, every customer’s opinion matters.”

Was that the right move?

Critics wondered.  Frank Eliason,  senior vice president of social media for Citi, says the airline made the right move, viewing Twitter as a customer service venue, not a PR podium.

“The number of followers is meaningless,” he says. “Today, every customer is an influencer.  If your concentration is follower count, then all you’re doing is managing a PR situation.  In this case it would appear to me that they are servicing their customer.  Nice job, Southwest.”

Are you responding to influencers?

Frank couldn’t have said it better: every customer is an influencer. If your company ism’t monitoring and responding to your brand on twitter, you are not responding to an influencer.

Many companies today use only Facebook campaigns to promote their brand. They delete negative feedback to protect the brand. What they’re missing is that all social media can be used as a powerful customer service tool. If your brand is one that practices the above and uses it only as a promotion tool, or your brand is on twitter, but it is linked to your Facebook, and you’re not responding to comments or complaints on twitter, remember @SJCsouthpaw and @unmarketing – If you delete them on facebook, they are still influencers on twitter, where they can carry on the conversation about you – good, bad, and ugly.

You have a choice in how you use your tools in your tool box… use them wisely.

Finding inspiration is hard

It’s 8:50 PM and I’m still trying to come up with my inspiration for blogging today. I have blogged every day with the exception of Christmas Day and Christmas eve, including the days of my procedures.

Giving other people courage

There have been more and more people telling me that they’ve been inspired to blog.  They’ve seen my dedication to posting daily, but more than that they’ve seen other people, and their dedication to blogging. I don’t think  it’s that we’re doing it every single day that’s inspiring these people; it’s that we’re choosing to find things that are meaningful in our lives we feel worthwhile to share. I think because we have the courage to let our guard down, and share intimate thoughts, that gives other people the courage to do the same.

Join us

If you’ve been thinking about taking the blog-a-thon challenge, but you’re too intimidated to do it every single day, just do it. Start today, make that commitment. Maybe it’s not everyday, maybe it’s once a week, or every other day. Whatever it is, make a commitment to YOU.   Start up that blog, and share with us the things  you need to say. Share the things we need to hear.

You Matter

If you’ve been blogging, please know the things you’re saying are reaching people that desperately need to hear your message. Please continue even if you’re struggling with it. We’d love to hear from you, feel free to share your blog in the comments, or to share another blog that has touched you.

 

If Today Was Their Last Day by Dan Perez

This blogger is not one of the blog-a-thon participants,

but this post moved me today.


Letting go of control

Sometimes, those of us who habitually spread ourselves too thin over too many things have to let go.

We like to feel like we are in control in business, life, and relationships.  We micro manage the details to the extreme. And because of this dedication to detail we seem to be successful.

It’s an illusion

The ‘control’ we think we have is an illusion.  We think we are on the right path with our life and career, that we have the reigns of destiny.

One drunk driver, one heart attack, one stray bullet can bring our well crafted, well intended futures crumbling down around us.  Often it’s not until then, when we are left to sift through the rubble, that we realize we never had control in the first place.

I have control of my brand, and my business

No you don’t. With the wide-spread acceptance of social media as a means of communication, a business can no longer hide behind the illusion that it’s in control of its brand by choosing to moderate comments or by choosing not be on social media at all.

Deleting negative posts

When a brand decides to maintain brand reputation by deleting negative feedback, let’s say for example on their Facebook fan page, they assume they are controlling the conversation.  The problem is that the conversation stops between the brand and the consumer and continues consumer to consumer.

People will continue to speak about good and bad service that your brand has provided even if you are not willing to participate.

5 things to consider before you decide

to promote your brand online:

  1. Are you willing to give up control?
  2. Are you prepared to deal with negative feedback?
  3. Do you have a purpose?
  4. What are your goals?
  5. What are you willing to risk?

If you’ve not thought through your goals and laid out a plan that fits your purpose, then you’d better be willing to risk it all.

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