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It’s Dec 26th – 20 Updates to Make to Your Profiles

Not everyone is recovering from Christmas Day or enjoying Boxing Day, so this is a great time to look at your social media profiles.  It is an even better time to update your profiles so that they are top-notch for 2014.  Here are 20 updates that you can do this week:

Forgo pet pics for your avatar - image Courtesy of soundcloud.com

Forgo pet pics for your avatar – image Courtesy of soundcloud.com

 Twitter

  1. Update your Avatar – This is your Twitter profile.  Why not use a good photo of you?  Be recognizable.
  2. Add your location – I love knowing where people are that I am connecting with.  I am not alone in this.
  3. Complete your Bio – I tend not to follow people who share nothing.  This is social media after all and it is about building relationships.  If you can’t share anything about who you are…you seem unfriendly.
  4. Make Use of the Header – This is a great way to show more about who you are.  Use it.  Don’t leave it blank.  That is just boring.
  5. Add a URL– Add your blog or website URL.  Again it is about sharing more about who you are.

Facebook

  1. Understand Different Features – For example, if you use Facebook for both personal and professional purposes, you may wish to make use of different lists for your friends, colleagues and business associates.
  2. Complete your “About”section – Fill this section out with as much information that you feel comfortable sharing.  Remember that you can set your security settings to share with friends only.Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 10.56.55 AM
  3. Set your custom URL – Go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ and get your custom URL for your personal page and/or any pages that you administer.
  4. Update your Avatar –  When is the last time you updated your Avatar?  And…forget the cat pics.
  5. Have a unique cover photo – Standing out in a sea of social profiles is something that people usually want to do.  Having a custom cover photo shows personality.  Have fun, but remember that it is public and anyone can see it.  Don’t be Stupid – Social Media Can Get You Fired.

LinkedIn

  1. Photo – This is definitely the place that you want a professional photo.  This is your living resume and brand.  This is your time to shine.  Sharing a photo with another person is just weird and confusing.
  2. Be sure to get your custom URL – Like your photo this is important.  This helps in searches.
  3. Complete your summary – This is probably one of the biggest misses for people using LinkedIn.  This can be your elevator pitch.  Keep it short, accurate and punchy.  Whatever you do, don’t write about yourself in the first person.  That too is just weird!
  4. Get Recommendations – This is a great opportunity to showcase your skills and accomplishments.  The fact that others take the time to write you a recommendation speaks volumes.  When people prepare recommendations for others, it says just as much about that person as it does you.  People do not enter into recommendations lightly.
  5. Highlight & Describe your Experience – Another faux pas that people make repeatedly is only listing their jobs, and not outlining their experience.  Even if you are not looking for a job, this is your time to showcase your experience.  People use this information when recruiting for Boards of Directors, mentors and more.

Google+

  1. Think about SEO – Don’t over do it on keywords.  That won’t really get you a higher SEO rating. The unique algorithm used by Google will likely look at your variations on the same keywords as spam.
  2. Use a Good Avatar – This is a consistent message of this blog.  We all like to see who we are connecting with.  Some might think it fickle, but it is reality.  Go with it.
  3. Select a Solid Cover Image – Like in Facebook and Twitter, choose a good quality image.  Grainy images that are distracting is not the image you want for your brand – be it personal or business.
  4. Get your custom URL – This is still “relatively” new.  If you are able to get your custom URL, do it.
  5. Complete your About section – This should be a no brainer after reading the tips above.  It also applies to Google+.

These are just some tips for improving your profiles.  They don’t take long, so why not use this “quieter” time of year to update your profile.  You will have a head start on the New Year!

7 Considerations To Choose the Right Corporate Spokesperson

The choice of corporate spokesperson should never be taken lightly.  Never.  Having the wrong person representing you can damage your brand in the best case scenario.  In the worse-case scenario, it could destroy your brand.

Courtesy of evercleanservices.com

Courtesy of evercleanservices.com

The person or persons chosen need to be creditable, knowledgeable, well-spoken, but above all empathetic and likeable. There have been a few tragic situations over the last few years when brands seem to have forgotten this fundamental rule.

Over the course of many years in Public Relations and Crisis Communications I have been both a corporate spokesperson and coached others.  It is not an easy task. When dealing with death, there are just no words that can make anyone feel better. That is why it is so critical that you have someone who can give information and facts and most importantly have real and genuine empathy. You can’t fake empathy. You can’t fake the terrible feeling that you have knowing that a human-being has died. At this point the spokesperson must do his or her best to share information that will help make some sense of the tragedy without inflaming victims and loves-ones who are experiencing complete and utter loss, disbelief and anger.

A few months ago I listened as one corporate spokesperson spoke on a very, very tragic situation here in Canada. I did not envy him or anyone who had attempted to coach him. This level of tragedy was unknown in our country and facing those left behind was not going to be easy. Suffice it to say, the conversation did not go well. The words chosen and even the tone used, were wrong. I listened in disbelief. Only days later I listened to a follow-up interview. My only words to describe what I heard was:  why isn’t someone saving him from himself? Again the words chosen would only inflame the victims’ families.  

Brands can mitigate this by having the right person in place.  I offer the following advice to brands to avoid having the wrong spokesperson:

1.  Know the abilities of your employees, including your executives.  Choose a spokesperson based on knowledge and the ability to be empathetic and likeable, not based on position.  While it is true that PR people will “typically” recommend that the most senior person speak out to “take responsibility” in very serious circumstances, avoid this if your most senior person does not come across as caring, patient, and likeable.  

2.  Have a regular cadence of training for your spokespersons.  Don’t wait for a tragedy.  Have mock interviews with cameras, people playing probing and tough reporters. Be sure to watch and critique the interviews with the spokespersons.  

3.  Get 3rd party impressions of the spokespersons.  Play on-camera interviews with the audio turned off.  Ask what people felt about the spokesperson.  Did they feel that he or she was telling the truth or hiding something?  Did the person look angry, sincere, or arrogant?  You need to know this before an issue emerges.  

4.  If necessary, retrain after the the feedback.  If there is no improvement, replace the spokesperson.

5.  If the unthinkable happens and the spokesperson is called into duty, respond quickly.  The longer you wait, the more inflamed people will be.   Review and assess the person’s experience.  Be honest and really critique the situation.  This is the time that you need everyone doing the right thing for the victims and their families.  

6.  Change spokespersons if necessary. Do it and do it swiftly.  

7.  This one is most important:  Be human.  You are dealing with a tragedy.  Remember that.  You are not the victim. 


Tragedies are never easy.  The role of the spokesperson is do the best job to provide the facts and not inflame people.   

(Note:  a version of this same blog appeared previously in my old blog.)

 

 

3 Things We Can Learn From Angela Ahrendts Jump to Apple

There is no question that Angela Ahrendts has a lot of street cred when it comes to creating a brand.  The rise of Burberry and timing of Ahrendts joining the company are definitely tied together.  So, what can we learn from her jump to Apple?  Plenty!

Photo courtesy of harmonylo.com

Photo courtesy of harmonylo.com

1.  Apple is repositioning

Ahrendts is well known for turning around the Burberry brand and making it desirable again.  Apple has been going gangbusters for some time, but people have begun to ask what is next for Apple.  Unlike Blackberry, Apple has realized that it can’t rest on its laurels.

2.  Women are increasingly important for the Apple brand

Bringing on Ahrendts in this senior role triggers a different message for Apple.  Currently there are not a lot of senior roles filled by women.  With her reputation and capacity of previously and successfully filling a CEO role, this would suggest that Apple is looking to reinforce the importance of women in buying decisions.  The question of course will be fully answered if and when they add her to the board. If they don’t, that could also be telling.  What influence will she carry?

3.  Renewed Global Interests

Ahrendts is responsible for outstanding global growth during her tenure at Burberry.  With her finesse in global markets, it could be a sign that Apple is going to focus or refocus attention on the global market.

With the announcement just being made, there will be much analysis about Apple’s gain and Burberry’s loss.  What do you think about this change?  Hit or miss?  Will Ahrendts be able to shift gears from a luxury brand to a brand that reaches the masses?  Or, is Apple wanting to shift gears and focus on the luxury market?

25 Cool Online Resources to Grow Your Business

Small and medium business owners are always on the lookout for great resources to help them grow, but they don’t  always have time to research, read, and sort the wheat from the chaff. So I’ve done the preliminary work for you.

Here are 25 helpful small business resources covering everything from naming your new business to creating content for your marketing strategy, to increasing sales.

Entrepreneur

Image compliments of entrepreneur.com

In no particular order, here a list of SMB resources you’re going to want to bookmark:

1. Entrepreneur Solutions Playbook – 25 Small-Business Challenges [PDF]: A great discussion on the Top 25 Small Business Challenges

2. The Simple Guide to Branding Your Small Business [Infographic]: Looking for great advice on branding?  Check out this visual.

3. 5 Startup Naming Rules from SXSW: This article discusses how to position your business, including Do’s and Don’t’s.

4. Facebook – Small Business Page: Great up-to-date ideas and information for small businesses plus you can contribute your ideas.

5. Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy: Whether you’re just getting started with content marketing or you’re at it for awhile, this article to shares best practices.

6. Small Business Mobility Meets Big Business Needs: Learn more about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

7. Reuters Small Business Resource Center: Looking for a well-rounded source for starting a business, employment law and more, check out this resource center.

8. CNN Small Business Community: Join the CNN Small Business Community for interesting posts from CNN Money.

9. Smart Bizz – Small Business and Startups Internet Technology Resources: Another good source for a broad range of subjects from e-commerce, productivity and more in this resource center.

10. NFIB – National Federation of Independent Business, the Voice of Small Business: From healthcare to sales and customer service to finance and accounting, get topical posts to help you advance your business.

11. Smallbusiness.com – a Free Wiki: Get local-based information based on your State.  Check out this community portal to learn the latest happenings in small business.

12. Wall Street Journal – Market Watch: Looking for an aggregate of great news-related posts for your small business? This is another great one-stop shop.

13. CitiBank Small Business Resources: Learn more about risk and financial security.

14. AT&T Strategies and Insights:  Access posts on how to attract customers, increase sales, build relationships and more on this handy site.

15. IT Business Edge – Small Business Computing: Get how-to guides, small business tips and more on this site.

16. Bank of America Small Business Community: Learn about small businesses of the month, ask the community questions and more.

17. Network Solutions – Small Business Center: Get a roundup of small business news all in one spot.

18. Cisco Small Business Resource Center: This center has articles, customer stories news and more all in one spot.

19. Small Business Guides: Get the latest guides on financing, training and events.

20. Go Small Biz: Looking for a go-to on tax/accounting, sales, HR, risk and tech in one spot?  This could be your go-to.

21. All Business – Your Small Business Advantage: Get access to the top stories, All Business experts and more.

22. Information Week SMB Technology for Small and Midsized Business: Get access to weekly email updates, SMB stories right from SMBs and more.

23. Microsoft Business for Small and Midsized Business: Learn new ways to use Microsoft tools get tips and marketing research.

24. DuctTape Marketing Blog: Blog posts, free ebooks and information on courses abound this site.

25. AMEX Open Forum: Recently redesigned, exchange advice, get ideas and learn small business success.

Note:  a version of this post appeared on the Salesforce blog that I wrote for them in August of this year.