Easy Tips to Help You Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Easy Tips to Help You Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

These are some basic tips for your LinkedIn profile. We can help you make your profile stand out.

3 Quick & Easy Tips to Freshen Your Social Media Profiles for Spring

Think Spring cleaning is just for your home?  Think again.  Our social media profiles, whether personal or for our brands can also use a freshening.  Here are 3 tips to freshen up your social media profiles:

Updating Your Social Media Profiles - Image of TaylorMade Solutions

Updating Your Social Media Profiles – Image of TaylorMade Solutions

1.  Update Your Avatars (Profile Pics)

This should be the most obvious on the list.  When was the last time that you updated your social media profiles pics?  If you still are using the “egg” for your profile pic on Twitter, it is time to crack that habit and lay the groundwork for a professional pic that enables people to recognize you.

The same goes for outdated pics across all channels.  If you are using a picture for LinkedIn from your first day on the job and that was five years ago, it’s time to update!  If people can’t recognize you by your avatar, then your impacting your personal brand.

For corporate brands, has your logo changed?  Are you using an image that is now outdated?  Shake it up and update asap!

2.  Update Your Bio

Like your photo, a lot can change over a year or a few years.  It’s time to wipe the cobwebs off of your outdated profile.  Hobbies changed?  New job?  New blog?  Remember to add the appropriate keywords for what you now do.

The same goes for corporate “About” pages, etc.  While your core business may not have changed, business terms and keywords do change.  Make sure that  you are putting your best foot forward by freshening up your corporate information and reflecting current business strategies and tactics.

3.  Create or Eliminate

Equally important for personal and corporate brands, if you are not listening and engaging with your audience in the right channels, then find out what channels you need to be a part of and carefully determine if it makes sense for you to be in that space as well. If you find that your audience (customers, prospects and competitors) are all in that space and you are not, then you are likely loosing out.

The same goes for channels that no longer work for your audience.  If you have found that you are spending  time and money in a channel that is getting zero engagement due to the fact that your audience is longer present, it’s time to re-evaluate.  If it is no longer working, exercise judgement and eliminate this time waster.  Focus on channels that net results:  leads, conversions and sales.

Looking for some additional tips for setting up your profiles in order to meet best practices?  Check out these resource for LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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Fake Twitter Followers - image courtesy of blog.conduit.com

Busted: Why Buying Twitter Followers Makes You A Fake

Each week I get at least a dozen “people” who start following me on Twitter with the sole intention of trying to get me to buy followers.  Needless to say, I don’t follow back and, more importantly I don’t buy followers.  While this is point of debate for some, I don’t believe in buying followers.  I think that it makes a person or a corporate brand a fake – A big inauthentic fake and here are the reasons why:

1. You Underestimate People

Social media practitioners preach authenticity.  Most of these practitioners that I know, are marketers by the way and they also preach authenticity.  “You have to be real” we say.  So, how can you be real and authentic if you are buying followers?

Yes, it is nice to have followers and a large network.  It makes us feel important.  And sure, when we see others with a large following we might automatically think that they are important and respected, etc. etc. And, they just might be!  I know many of the people I respect have large networks.  Then there are others that I hold in the same light and their “online” networks are not so large.  It’s all about perspective.

That being said, what do you think about a brand (a person or a corporate brand) that turns out to be not what you thought?  You might feel cheated right?  You may even be angry that you believed in someone or something that isn’t quite what they claimed. What if the person or corporate brand you followed on Twitter was suddenly exposed as having bought most their Twitter followers?  Would you be upset?

There are many tools to test the validity of followers, including those of your favourite brand.  One example is  Status People.  I ran a test on my Twitter Profile and found that I had “0% Fake,” phew!  And, these tools are usually free and available for people to check his or her own Twitter handle, or the Twitter handle of someone else.  And don’t think that people aren’t doing this for regular people. It isn’t just there for celebrities and politicians.

Test of @MacLeanHeather

Test of @MacLeanHeather

So, don’t just talk the walk…walk the talk boys and girls.

2.  Don’t forget the “Social” in Social Media

The original purpose of social media was to connect with “people,” share information and communicate like we have never communicated before, regardless of where you are.  So, that being said, social media has enabled us to reconnect with family and friends AND to connect with new people who have the same or similar interests to us.  The common word here is “connect”.  And, while some people have very large networks of real social media connections, most of us “still” want to get to know people on some level.

The same goes for marketing.  For the first time, we could connect with our customers and prospects in new ways and, at a very personal level. Despite this, many of us seem to forget social is different.  We seem to approach social media marketing with the “same old, same old” mentality of mass marketing and “push-only” messages. Some of us don’t even listen to what our audience is communicating about us, let alone to us.

When you are buying followers, there is no connection. Period!

3. You Don’t Understand “Audience”

When you are buying followers, you are buying numbers and not an audience.  When you have an audience, you have “people” who are interested in what you have to say.  You can engage with real people.  They can ask you questions and share information with you and vice versa.  When you buy followers, you aren’t getting engagement.  Just how many of those followers do you even think are real?  When was the last time that you were asked if you would like to sell your “following” status?  Ah…never, right?  If someone is telling you that they can get you additional exposure by selling you followers, reread this post and repeat as necessary.  You are buying empty fake Twitter accounts just to inflate your number of followers.  Empty = empty results.

There is no shortcut to building an audience and your creditability.  Take your time.  Find your voice and have fun getting to know people – both those with their own Twitter accounts and those behind the handles of the brands of companies.

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The Cost of Ignoring Social Media (What You Need to Know)

Is your company still in denial thinking that you don’t need to embrace social media? If so, you are suffering a great cost which can be documented through research. For example, McKinsey & Company research shows that unlocking value and productivity through social media is significant. In fact, the study reports that social media could potentially contribute between $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value across the four commercial sectors studied.

Research from Genesys points to the fact that more than half of customer-facing Fortune 500 Corporations “suffer from social shyness”. Specifically, 55% fail to list a Twitter handle and 51% fail to list a Facebook page on their “contact us” page.

The Cost of Ignoring (COI) social media is more significant to businesses than just being socially shy. It comes down to dollars. According to a recent Forbes piece, “social media is more pervasive than ever among customers: 50% of the population currently use Facebook and more than 37% use Twitter.”  This same post also suggests that only 16% of surveyed CEOs were participating in social media. The logical conclusion? Your customers are using social to connect and communicate; therefore, you should too.

The COI of social media comes down to missed opportunities. As a business, you need to question your opportunity costs. If you and your organization don’t have a listening and engagement plan in place, here are five areas where you are experiencing COI right now:

1. Customer Service

Conversations are taking place right now about your products and/or services. Some are very positive and helpful to you.  Some are very negative, perhaps even inaccurate. If you are not listening and engaging, you aren’t taking the steps to correct misinformation.  You are also not taking the steps for a rapid response to fix an issue and delight your customer. Rapid responses save time, which saves money.

2. Reputation Management

If you haven’t secured your company’s social identity, someone else will. They could communicate with your customers under the guise that they represent your brand. We all know that one of the things keeping the Boards of Directors awake at night is the possibility of a social media crisis that damages the company reputation.

3. Crowdsourcing to Build Loyalty

Perhaps one of the most effective companies at utilizing crowdsourcing for this outcome is Starbucks. They have successfully built brand ambassadors through contests and more. Best of all, when done well, it also engages their employees and results in profits.

4. Collaboration

Companies like Dell use their invention of IdeaStorm to bring collaboration to life. According to McKinsey & Company, improved communication and collaboration through social media could raise the productivity of interaction of workers by 20 to 25 percent.  This has huge potential.

5. Recruitment

Some of the savviest candidates have strong social profiles. They have their resumé on social networking sites like LinkedIn. They are researching potential employers through social sites, commentaries, and the social profile of an employer. Being absent can send a strong message to potential candidates.

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A version of this post previously appeared on the Marketing Cloud blog.

12 Questions Experts Avoid Asking in Interviews

As hiring managers or recruiters we all want to hire the best people for our organizations.  After all, a hiring mistake is a costly mistake.  While it is difficult to fully assign a concrete number that everyone can agree on, you do need to think about lost productivity, additional recruitment costs, training costs, etc.  On top of these quantitive costs, there are some qualitative costs to consider.  For example, impacts to team morale, reputation impacts if mis-hires happen frequently, etc. For cost reasons alone, getting to know your candidates is important.  However, the experts agree that asking outdated and predictable questions won’t net the results that you need.  Skilled candidates can answer questions with the answers you want.  So, let’s explore the most outdated questions that don’t produce results:

Image Courtesy of Linkedin.com

Image Courtesy of Linkedin.com

  1. Tell us a little about yourself?
  2. Where do you want to be in five years?
  3. What are your greatest strengths?
  4. What are your greatest weaknesses?
  5. If you were an animal, what would you be?
  6. What would your employees say are your weaknesses?
  7. What is the last book you read?
  8. What is your dream job?
  9. If I were to call your former employer what would he or she say about you?
  10. Tell me about a project you worked on that didn’t succeed?
  11. How would you sell me this book, pen or iPhone?
  12. Why should we hire you?

Some of you might be asking why these are outdated, and quite frankly terrible questions since so many organizations still use them.  My answer is simple.

  1. First of all these questions are highly predictable.  You can google them and find some good suggestions on how to answer them to make you look good.  Therefore, the hiring manager and HR is not learning about you.  They are getting a canned answer that doesn’t reveal anything about the candidate as a person and what makes them different.
  2. Likewise, as the candidate, you are not really learning about the potential employer.  After all you should be using this time to interview the potential employer.  These useless questions are taking up precious time.  If you are hired, you will hopefully want to spend a few years with the employer and you want to make sure that there is a cultural fit both ways.

A lot of these questions don’t really give any insight into the candidate and how he or she will fit into the culture of the organization.  If you made it to the interview stage, you should have the credentials to do the job.  The skill set that will really set you apart from other candidates is whether or not there is a belief that you have the ability to fit in with the company culture.  This is quite frankly the area that is missed most in hiring. 

As outlined in Bloomburg Business Week article, cultural fit is trumping qualifications in many cases.  In this highly competitive fast paced environment, people can’t afford high turnover rates.  Asking outdated questions doesn’t net the results that organizations need. There is a real need to get to know the candidate.  So, hiring managers need to rethink the process and HR Recruiters need to step up their game.  As the economy improves, competition for skilled resources will increase.  Are you ready?

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Be a Branding Genius Like American Pickers’ Mike Wolfe

How would you like to debut your brand to 3.1 million people?  That would be pretty amazing right?  Well, that is exactly what Mike Wolfe did in 2010, when his show, American Pickers debuted on the History Channel making it the highest rated debut since 2007.  This didn’t “just happen”.  When you dissect it, Mike Wolfe is a Branding Genius and you can learn from his success.

Image courtesy of the Mike Wolfe American Picker Facebook Page

Image courtesy of the Mike Wolfe American Picker Facebook Page

Now, before getting to Mike’s genius, let’s be clear what a brand is.  Far too many people think a brand is a logo.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There are a number of definitions for brand, but I think that Seth Godin’s best captures it:  “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”   Now that we are all on the same page, let’s break down what Mike did to create a brand that has resulted in growing his business and brand recognition that we all dream of!

1. Leadership and Vision

Before you can establish a great brand, you need someone who has a great vision.  On top of that however, you need a leader who can execute on that vision. (Click to Tweet)

Mike is definitely “that” person.  His business Antique Archeology has a different take on antiques.  In effect, he is creating and curating his own story all the way from the experience in-store to going out on the road with sidekick Frank Fritz to collect “rusty gold”.  He is unearthing great finds.  It truly is archeology.

 2.  Differentiation

In 2010 when American Pickers debuted, there were no other shows like it. In fact, Mike understands differentiation more than most.  As a result, it was important to have his on-site in-store person to be outside the expected norm.  Danielle definitely fits that bill.  Tattoo-Clad, ring adorned and burlesque-dancing Danielle is definitely not what you would expect at a traditional antique’s store. (Click to Tweet)

In addition to Danielle being an unexpected twist, Mike’s take on going antiquing is truly different.  Crawling through barns, garages, junk heaps and even junk yards, he is willing to go where no man has gone before on TV.  His cringe-worthy approach made us all think twice about the junk we see and what it might be worth.

Image courtesy of the Mike Wolfe American Pickers Facebook Page

Image courtesy of the Mike Wolfe American Pickers Facebook Page

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that his approach has definitely converted many men to rethink antiquing trips with their wives.  No longer is it about fancy or precious items that are to be looked at.  No, Mike has created a whole new focus by getting junk-drunk with “mantiques”.

3.  Consistency

For brands to be really successful communicating their brand value, consistency across all channels is essential.

Mike is using seven different channels:  TV, Website and of course social:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and ebay.  Across all these channels, there is a high level of consistency with colour, themes and content.  Mike continues to flawlessly curate stories.   You know when you are looking at a Mike Wolfe asset.  His touch and likeness are everywhere.  Everything you see you can tie back to Mike.  He stays true to his area of expertise and interest.

4.  Passion

Hand-in-hand with consistency is passion.  Mike has a passion for what he does. You can see it and feel it.  He specializes in a few areas, including bikes – both man powered and engine powered.  For the most part this is a real man’s passion.  Engines, testosterone and finding the ‘honey-hole” of picks – that is Mike Wolfe and the American Picker brand.

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How To Look Like a Recruitment Rockstar

According to Jobvite and its annual Social Recruiting Survey, social recruiting has become an essential HR practice with 92% of U.S. companies using social media to find new talent. By leveraging social for recruitment, you can position yourself as a rockstar saving both time and money and increasing your effectiveness while hiring. Here are six ways to deliver best-in-class results:

HA MacLean Photo

HA MacLean Photo

1. Have a Plan

Understand and know the persona of the typical candidate applying for a position at your company. Also, know what your company wants from a successful candidate.  Relying on a job description that was based on the person in the role previously may not be the best option. Interview hiring managers to understand their current needs and develop the job description from that point going forward. Be sure to incorporate the latest details from the industry so that successful candidates will be challenged.

2. Know Your Audience

Candidates go online to search for job opportunities as opposed to old standard searches. Understand the search preferences and ensure that you use the right channels to share your job openings. Remember that mobile should be an important part of your strategy and toolkit.  In 2014 and beyond, mobile is key to your recruitment efforts.  If you fail to incorporate this, you will lose out.

3. Leverage Social Media

Be sure to have well thought out branded social channels. To be successful, you must have the appropriate resources to post information to these channels, and someone needs to be actively listening and responding to potential candidates. Information should be fresh and in line with your overall brand.

4.  Leverage the Power of the Brand

Using branded social channels is only a part of the equation.  The real power comes from the leveraging the power of your brand.  As a result, we are seeing a significant trend towards marketing and Human Resource professionals working side-by-side versus being mutually exclusive.  With the economy improving, Human Resource Practitioners are realizing that they are in a selling role.  They need to be able to understand the brand value and what it means to be associated with the brand.  Candidates increasingly want to work for organizations that are respected and trusted.

5. Unleash the Power of Employees

Give your employees both the power and the tools to share job vacancies with their friends and families. Jobvite will also confirm that employee referrals are the highest quality, lowest cost source of hires at any company. To be successful, this means that you must not only trust that your employees will utilize social media appropriately during work hours, but you must actually give them access to various social channels in order for them to share.

6. Understand the Numbers

LinkedIn alone has more than 200 million members in more than 200 countries. More than 2.6 million companies have pages set up on the network. Facebook has more than 1.11 billion active users and Twitter has more than 554 million active users. You can learn a lot about current trends and skill sets available in each of these channels. This will help you hone your search.

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A version of this post previously appeared on the salesforce.com blog.

Mitigate Business Risks: Implement a Social Media Council

Collaboration and cooperation are important components of a business ecosystem. They can help us mitigate risk. We all know this. Interestingly enough though, not enough people consider this when developing and implementing different components of their operational functions and some of the communications associated with the various operational aspects.  For example, not enough organizations are implementing social media councils.  These councils are an important component of your operations; and here are the top 5 reasons to start your social media council immediately.

5.  Eliminate Functional/Communication Silos

Unless your organization is small and centrally located, then you have experienced the fact that different people in different departments could very well be duplicating efforts.  Some examples include communications with customers through such channels as Twitter for customer service. The last thing you want to do is to confuse your customers about what channel is the right one to reach you in the event of an issue. Approaching your social media as a collective can bring good ideas to the table sooner and ensure that everyone approaches it the same way.  A social media council will foster collaboration. Want tips on how to break down silos?  Check out Busting Silos: Workplace Design Offers a Smart Solution, Barbara T. Armstrong. Click to Tweet

 4.  Reduce costs

Silos not only increase confusion, they increase costs.  Creating a social media council can ensure that the right number of resources are identified and trained to monitor and engage on behalf of your company.  This will reduce costs.  Click to Tweet A social media council will also ensure that multiple resources are not carrying out the same function at the same time.

3.  Manage & Protect Reputation

Eisner  Amper’s 4th Annual Board of Directors’ Survey continues to show Reputation Risk at the top of the list, primarily due to the concerns around social media.  Developing and implementing a social media council is your first step in your defence. A social media council should be made up of people from different disciplines, including Human Resources, Legal, Public Relations, Marketing, Sales, etc.  Including Human Resources and Legal is absolutely essential.  Their approach will provide a different perspective that will make your overall effort more focused.  They will also learn about the issues of Sales, Public Relations and Marketing in a new context.  This will further foster collaboration and learning for all. Click to  Tweet

2.  Create an Informed and Educated Workforce

Creating a social media council, when done well, means that you are building a multidisciplinary   team.  This group of people should not only bring information, ideas and issues to the Council, they are also to bring information, ideas and issues back to their respective departments.  A successful, highly functioning Council gives and receives information.  It becomes a powerful communication channel for the entire enterprise – from the frontline workers all the way up to and including the C-suite.  Click to Tweet

1. Identify and Mitigate Risk

It all comes down to this.  If there is just one reason to implement a social media council, it is about identifying and mitigating risk.  When you look at each of the reasons above, it can all be boiled down to this.  I don’t know one organization that isn’t concerned about mitigating risk.

If you would like to learn more about social media councils and mitigating risk, let us know.  Check us out at TaylorMade Solutions.

50 Free or Low-Cost Apps for Small Businesses

For many small businesses, keeping up with all of the latest tools and apps can be tough. So, we’ll make it a bit easier for you.

Here are 50 low-cost tools and applications to check out today.

The best part is that many are completely free!

  1. Around Me – Search for the nearest restaurants, banks, gas stations, hotels, and more. Time is money and when travelling for business, this app will help.
  2. Award Wallet – Travel a lot for business and have too many reward programs to keep track of? Track it all and stay organized and in sync with your rewards.
  3. 1ShoppingCart  – Build, sell and grow your ecommerce storefront.  You can try out the tool for one month at no cost.
    1Shopping Cart
  4. Beesy – This low cost app enables you to take meeting notes and has automated To-Do lists as well as some nifty Task/Project Management
  5. Bizzabo – A mobile networking app for events and conferences to keep attendees, organizers and sponsors engaged. You can learn who will be attending in advance and make plans accordingly.
  6. Bump – This free app enables to smart phone users to actually bump their phones together to transfer contact information, photos, files, etc.
  7. Camera Awesome – The name alone is cool. This free app is touted as one of the best photo editors. Even the Wall Street Journal has endorsed it.
  8. Cloze – Overcome “inbox overload” and filter through the noise to get to those critical emails.
  9. Converter Plus – This free app not only helps you with currency conversion, but also comes with a mortgage calculator, fuel consumption tools, and more.
  10. Dashlane – Need a password manager and secure digital wallet for devices? This free app might be just what you are looking for.
  11. Dictionary.com – Need a dictionary and thesaurus on the go? This free app is the way to go. A bonus, you don’t need internet while searching words!
  12. Doodle – This low cost app is a great tool if you are in the position of setting up meetings with people in different locations, businesses, etc. Doodle app enables you to poll invitees to determine which date and time best accommodates people.Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.24.30 PM
  13. Dropbox – Another great free app that lets you store your files, including photos in the Cloud.  Access them anywhere and share with anyone. You will never have to worry about forgetting a thumb drive again. Or, if you can’t make a meeting, your colleague can access that all-important presentation and deliver it for you.
  14. EasilyDo – Your free personal assistant that checks traffic before your commute, checks weather, tracks packages, lets you know when there is an important date you need to celebrate and more.
  15. Blogger – Create your own free blog in minutes and leverage your other Google products to help promote.
  16. Evernote – Another free app that enables you take notes, make lists, sync files across devices and stores everything in the Cloud.
  17. Facebook Pages – Want to engage with your customers, stakeholders and community in general?  Set up a Facebook page to share information and communicate real-time.
  18. Find My iPhone – Not just for your iPhone, but really any Mac Product, this free app is one that you want to have. If you have ever lost your phone, you know the feeling of fear.  Help mitigate loss with this app.
  19. FlipBoard – Curate the news the way you like it in one place with this free app.
  20. Gate Guru – The winner of numerous Best Travel or Airport Apps, this freebee let’s you view your Tripit and Kayak itineraries, view/post airport security waiting times, see a structured list of airport food, shops, etc.
  21. Gmail – Looking for free email, with real-time notifications, multiple account support and more? Check out Gmail.
  22. Google Docs – Want an easy way to share documents with colleagues and be able to edit together simultaneously? With free Google docs you can be in one part of the world while a colleague or client is in another sharing and updating the same document.
  23. Google Hangout – Can’t make the meeting? Use Google Hangout to meet with up to 10 different people while seeing them online at no cost. Share information, photos and more all from the convenience of your office, or even the airport.
  24. Google+ – Looking for a social channel that is different and offers you the flexibility of distribution lists (circles) magazine style viewing on your tablet? Check out Google+.
  25. Google Translate – What a free and easy way to translate messages, signs or social posts?  Google translate offers both text and audio translations.
  26. Instagram – This free app enables you to take photos and video and then apply filters to improve the product, which is perfect for blogs, websites, and more.
  27. Lemon Wallet – Store digital copies of your credit cards, ID, etc. all for free in this app.
  28. Mozy – Looking for an industry leader in online backup? Mozy is a free app that helps you securely access all your backed-up files
  29. ooVoo – Need to conduct video calls? Check out this free app and join ore than 70 million other video chatters.
  30. PCalc Lite – Looking for a calculator that has more capability than the standard one on your device. This free app gives you a scientific calculator.
  31. Perfect365 – Looking to make people picture perfect for your website, blog, etc.  Perfect365 is a free app that offers one-tap makeovers, photo editing and more.
  32. Photo Editor by Aviary – Another great free option to edit your online photos.  Supported by multiple languages and numerous devices, the reviews are good for this app.
  33. Pic Collage – Looking to dress up your photos for your website, blog, newsletter or other collateral? Check out this free app!
  34. Pic Stitch – Want a different photo editor? Pic Stitch is a free app that creates interesting visuals.
  35. Podcasts App – Want an easy way to access your favorite Podcasts to stay up-to-date on trends and news? Want to customize your own station with your favorite podcasts? Check the free Podcasts app!
  36. Skype – Need to connect with a client or colleague and want to talk face-to-face? Or perhaps SMS?  Check out Skype’s free tools. Upgrade to the paid version and get more options.
  37. Skyscanner – Looking for an easy way to compare flights and costs? Check out this free app!  More than 20 million people are using this app to get better and cheaper flights.
  38. Square – Need a quick and easy way to process credit cards? Why not use your smart phone with this free app. They will even give you the free card reader!
  39. Survey Monkey – Want to get the pulse of your market or a sample at least? Try Survey Monkey. Create you own surveys on your schedule. Their free version lets you create a survey with up to 10 questions. Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.23.12 PM
  40. Tripit – Need to keep all your travel plans in one place, plus share with key people? Check out Tripit’s free app.
  41. Tumblr – Looking for a place to host your blog?  Tumblr may be your spot. This free resource hosts more than 108.2 million blogs.
  42. Twitter – Want quick news bites and to share quick news bites about your company in 140 Characters or less? Set up your free Twitter account.
  43. Viber Media – Want to connect with people around the world by phone for free? Then check out this free app.
  44. Vine – If you are looking for an interesting way to showcase your company with six-second videos, Vine could be your free resource. Be sure to sign up for Twitter first, if you haven’t thought.
  45. Wave Accounting – Like many small businesses, you need accounting! Why not try this free accounting software with unlimited invoicing, collaboration options and more.
    Wave Accounting
  46. Waze Maps – Looking for free GPS navigation with turn by turn? Waze may be your app.
  47. Weave –  This free Project Management tool will keep your organized and in the know of what is happening with your business.
  48. Wikipedia – This free online encyclopedia is a great resource that is used by researchers and general information seekers. Create your own Wiki page to showcase your business’ history and expertise.
  49. WordPress – A great free resource to help you create great blogs. With a variety of plug-ins, this is a great tool for your blog.
  50. XE Currency – Have the need to convert currency quickly? Check out this free app.

Don’t overlook how technology can support small business growth. With the right tech, you can grow faster, scale more efficiently, and delight customers faster. For more tips on communication, marketing and collaboration for the small business, be sure to check us out at TaylorMade Solutions.


Interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett – The Influencer Series

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author and as he likes to say, a ‘sometime cowboy.’  What he doesn’t say is that he is an industry influencer and people listen to him.  He also doesn’t say that he is someone you can actually speak to and get real and practical advice from.  It is for all of these reasons and more that I am pleased to have had an opportunity to interview Jeff for my Influencer series for my blog.  Be sure to follow Jeff at @JeffreyHayzlett. I know you will enjoy his posts. Now on to the interview!Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 11.49.15 AM

One thing you will learn from reading Hayzlett’s books is that he understands the complexity of issues around organizational change and also human nature.  He is quite up front with the fact that you sometimes have to make difficult decisions that result in people changes.

MacLean:  What advice would you give a CEO who has marketing efforts that are not meeting expectations?

Hayzlett: First of all CEOs have to ask themselves a question:  Am I being realistic? Is the dog eating the dog food?  If you are being realistic, then you’ve got to go looking for the problem.  Is it the team? Idea? The Budget?  Then you’ve got to fix it.  Sometimes it could be all three things, but typically the problem is in the execution because we hire smart people but something is stopping us from executing correctly.

MacLean:  Would you recommend hiring a CMO, particularly if they have no experienced marketing staff?

Hayzlett:  Certainly if the CMO possess key characteristics, particularly reliability and competency.

MacLean:  If realizing the company is missing a strategic plan – would you hire a CMO before or after going through the process

Hayzlett:  Definitely before! You have to think about who is going to implement the plan. You aren’t going to do it yourself. What CMO wants to inherit a plan someone else has built before they can tie in what they can do.

MacLean:  What advice would you offer a company that’s on the cusp of a major breakthrough in it’s life cycle but has employees that struggle with the change?

Hayzlett:  Change those employees. It’s the rule of thirds; 1/3 get it right away, 1/3 eventually will get it and 1/3 never do. You don’t want to drag people on a journey that they don’t want to take. It never works to take your kids somewhere they don’t want to go – that never turns into a good experience. Why would it be any different in business?

Hayzlett’s experience and advice are sound and provide good food for thought.  From experience I can say that having the right marketing resources are key to success.  If you are looking to expand your brand, be sure that you have someone who understands branding and the importance of the brand voice as well as the brand value.  If you are looking to expand your digital presence and build your assets, be sure to have someone that can lead those efforts.  When you are building out your marketing team, be sure to have a senior person with experience.  If you can’t hire a CMO yet, hire a senior enough person with the right skills, experience and education.  When doing your hiring though, do keep in mind to build your job requirements with great thought.  Combining some skills for your leadership might not be right.  for example, asking your leader to be skilled in PR and marketing is one thing, but adding art director to the mix is an unusual skill combination.  If you don’t have the background or skills in the marketing area, there are firms that can help you design the job and identify the right skills.

Looking for more resources on marketing and/or to build out your marketing team?  We can help.  Be sure to visit us at taylormadecanada.com