Social Media Love Lost – It’s not me, it’s actually you!

Isn’t it great – You’ve got your social sharing down to a science don’t you?

You log into Hootsuite once a week, or even monthly, and set up a series of
daily messages that broadcast out to all of your followers at specific times
each day?

You are just so efficient, right? Good for you!

There’s just one problem.

I actually wanted to have a conversation with you and perhaps build a
business relationship. However, I know you aren’t there.

You are on autopilot. Every single Facebook and Twitter post shows that you are
using an automatic service to spread your message while you are out and
about working on something else with someone else.

I’ve figured you out through my stealth observing. After all, you are doing
the equivalent of running down the hall broadcasting what you know, want and
feel.

hand holding

 

What do you know about me? What do I like? How do I feel? What do I have to
offer you? How much am I willing to spend when I find a product that I like?

Do you know?

You may think you know, but let me assure you…you don’t.

Right now I am moving further and further away from your business even though I’m
still slightly curious. It’s kind of like you are the popular guy or gal and I just can’t help myself, but in reality it just won’t work. Our values are different. We have different interests. We treat people differently.

It isn’t just your loss. It is my loss too.

We might have been a good fit.

You might have had a product that I would like and that I could share. Or, you might have
liked what I do and wanted to introduce your friends to me.

So sad. Our relationship is dying and the bad part is that you didn’t even know
it existed. You were just so busy automating that you didn’t notice that I wanted to
talk.

We will now part ways.

If we could talk, I’d end this all with a popular phrase with a bit of a
twist:

“I’m sorry. It’s not me. It is you. It really is.”

Communicating with Twitter – Share, Learn, Give, Receive

the Twitter logo

Who doesn’t know what this bird stands for – tweet, tweet!

Who HASN’T heard of Twitter? It’s on the news and websites all over the world. In fact, Twitter often breaks news long before any radio or tv station. You’ve probably heard how it has changed a life, spread an idea or started a rebellion.

The reality is it is another way to communicate…and it is on steroids.

Most people know to go on to Twitter and follow people, post stuff, and perhaps re-tweet here and there. Yet, just like any tool, it is all in how the user (YOU) leverages the tool that gives it power or …just fall flat.

Let’s take some basic Twitter functionality and talk about how it can help you – your idea, your business, and  your learning.

To do so, it would be best to use a real life example of an idea that is just getting started – Pennies of Time. Pennies of Time is a new blog developed by a talented woman (Sheila) who wants to ensure her two young boys know how to serve others AND recognize the joy that can come into their lives from doing so. What a great idea, right?

penniesoftimelogo

Pennies of Time just joined Twitter and so they are at the perfect point to learn how to spread their idea, make some great connections and influence others.

So, let’s get Pennies of Time started…

 

 

 

Seek out the best people and organizations  (Searching)

That’s what your parents always told you, didn’t they? Find good friends. Nowadays “the experts” keep telling us that it matters who the five people are that are closest to you because they influence your likes, dislikes, priorities, values, etc. On Twitter, this is accomplished by utilizing the “search” function.

You must find people and organizations to connect with on Twitter before anything else. Why? If you don’t, NOTHING that you post will be followed. People primarily see what they are connected to (unless they regularly search) and so you will be tweeting a lot and no one will know you are even out there sharing.

So, let’s start a search! Find the search box and choose a search term. Some search terms for Pennies of Time might be:

Photo of Pennies of Time founder and her two sons

The Pennies of Time founding Trio – Sheila and her two sons

  • Service
  • Service activities
  •  Children
  • Charity
  • Learning
  • Service projects

 For each search term, a list of different people and organizations should come up. Take a minute or two to browse through them reading their little paragraph about themselves. If you like what they say, or imply, connect with them! Tip: Take some time writing your little intro paragraph. It makes a BIG difference. That’s all people have to go one when they decide to follow you.

 Mix it up a bit because once you search, you are going to find things that you want to be able to share with your followers.

 In the Pennies of Time example, every search shouldn’t be “service.” Perhaps one day Pennies of Time can search and share on “good deeds” and another on “charitable organizations” or perhaps “providing children meaningful experiences.” The purpose of this is two-fold – to have a broader understanding of how you and your idea fit into the big picture AND to continue to connect to people that have a spectrum of meaningful ideas and resources that YOU can leverage.

What if the people and organizations that come up are competitors?

 That’s ok! You should connect even if just to be aware of what they are up to! But, seriously, it is great to learn from competitors and often competitors end up being the best conduits to more information, friendships and ..to, I dare say, more business? Yes, sometimes they may offer something that is a better fit for one of your clients and vice versa.

How many people should I connect to?

I’d suggest connecting to 20-30 people in your first week on Twitter. After that point, just add people as you feel fit. Twitter will bring up suggestions and people will follow you that you may be interested in following back.

Share what these great people and organizations have to say (Re-tweet)

 Don’t under-estimate the power of re-tweeting. Why do YOU have to come up with every piece of information you share? In normal everyday conversations most of us don’t come up with every idea that comes out of our mouth. We share what we’ve learned from the tv, the newspaper, and conversations with others. We share lessons learned. Why not share what others are sharing? If you’ve connected to the right people, there should be some great information streaming through your feed.

Plus, people LOVE when you re-share what they’ve shared. It gives them credibility.

Pennies of Time can start re-tweeting what other people like them are saying.

Through that process others will realize that Pennies of Time is interested in what they are doing and they often become curious about what Pennies of Time is up to and will spend that extra second, or minute or two, checking Pennies of Time out. Who knows, they might even want to partner on an upcoming event, contribute to each others blogs or start a cause together.

Screenshot of Pennies of Time navigation

 Organize Your Learning, Sharing, and Searching Activities (Lists)

Ah, lists, how I love thee. This is where you can bring focus to your Twitter experience. Plus, lists are a great gift to OTHERS. Nudge Village has been added to a list or two and there is a bit of a secret happiness in knowing that someone thought enough of our tweets to include them in their personal ist.

Creating lists allows you to have different online “buckets” to access when you go into your account. The list of who you follow can get quite long. You may never log into the system when your favorite tweeters are tweeting. If you put them on a list you can always access that list directly and have a very focused learning and sharing experience in your Twitter account.

In the case of Pennies of Time, here are some possible lists:

  • Charitable Organizations – put all the different organizations you are connected to in this bucket.
  • Service Ideas – there will be others like Pennies of Time out there. Connect to them and you’ll see that they are tweeting their new blog posts and resources on a regular basis. You may even want to replicate some of the service activities they are doing.
  • Inspirational People & Quotes – a lot of people out there have accounts dedicated to posting quotes from inspiring individuals. Can a good quote ever hurt? Hopefully not. But, they can definitely inspire.

 Tip: Don’t forget to tap into the power of others lists. Check out what lists that they’ve made and start to follow them. I’ve learned about many great new people, ideas and organizations by taking a moment to look through lists of some of my favorite gurus.

 Share You (Tweet)Photo of two business women walking

Typically we want to do this first, but it helps to learn a lot from others before we jump in head first. That is why I shared some of the other uses of Twitter before this “posting a tweet” thought. But, at the end of the day you are, after all, participating in Twitter to share someone about you – your idea, your business, your thoughts.

Here are a few quick suggestions:

  • Brief – well, do you really have a choice? Twitter limits you to 140 characters. So, sometimes you’ll take a few minutes to simplify and modify your message. It is amazing how creative you can get with a sentence when you are given a boundary.
  • Hashtags (#) – in Twitter these have special meaning. People search by them. It is used directly in front of a word – #Twitter – which signals that it has turned into a sort of a tag. If I want to search a topic on Twitter, I can often get more focused results if I search “#charitable” instead of “charitable.” Both will bring up relevant responses. However, hashtags have gained great importance for groups that are wanting to attract especially attention to a very specific topic (#mobilelearning), a specific cause (#green), a particular conference in session (#mlearncon2012) , a weekly discussion (#lrnchat), a widely used term (#servantleadership), etc.
  • Share links to your blog, your website, your Facebook, your Pinterest

Communicate one-one-one (@mention and reply)

 Remember, Twitter is a way to communicate. Don’t just “push” out info. That’s the equivalent of talking and not listening or not replying when asked a question.

Photo of teenagers on their cell phones

All talking. They are together, but who is listening?

See what your followers are doing. Reply to a tweet you enjoy. Ask a question. Share your thoughts about their tweet. On the flip side, don’t sit around replying to EVERYONE in your stream. None of us wants to see a stream of responses that don’t have context.

Tip: A lot of people use this function to go around thanking everyone that has re-tweeted them. I’d be more creative with the thanks. Instead of a typical “Thnx for re-tweeting me @learnemergency @nudgevillage@chicksconnect @heiditotten @bijagirl” it would be better to individually thank with a message like “@PenniesofTime. Thnx for re-tweeting. I just took a look at your site. Love the idea. Can’t wait to see more of what you are doing.” 

Give 92% (share and promote others more than you push yourself)

Believe it or not, people think about themselves upwards of 92% of the time. Who knew? Father helping son fix a car

Twitter isn’t the place to show tough love and disregard this fact. It’s a place to indulge others! In fact, it might be a good rule to flip this fact on its head – share and promote 92% of the time.

Point out others accomplishments. Highlight what they are doing. Share what they are sharing. Be real. We can see through a bunch of charming and over the top posts.

But, do what you’d do in real life. Give compliments, ask questions, don’t overload us, and promote those you feel are doing good.

Oh, and yes, it is ok to share what you are doing and what you are selling. Just make sure you balance it out a bit. Remember how real life conversations go and use that as your guide!

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, Twitter is one of hundreds of tools that we use to communicate. Notice we didn’t get into all the possible ways to use twitter to learn, to market, and to share. These are just a few and we are confident you will come up with your own list. Please do share. Each person has their own special way of communicating and you definitely want to bring that personality to Twitter.

Tip: If you are a critic, be wise. You can’t take this stuff back. Once in the cyber world, always in the cyber world. It may be hidden from you, but a lot of people can get access to it at any point in your life….in the future and when least expected. Best to be respectful to all, contribute positively and remember that how you use technology is an extension of your reputation.

Resources

Why provide you step-by-step application of Twitter if there are hundreds of resources out there at your disposal. Here are a few links that may provide useful.

General

 

Nudge Village Entrepreneurs – these small business owners know how to use Twitter for marketing their products & services

Connect with @NudgeVillage on Twitter! We’d love to re-tweet, share and promote YOU!

Chirp, Chirp, Tweet, Tweet – why YOU must start using tools like Twitter

woman searching the Internet on a laptop computer

Anytime, anywhere, anyway – most of us can’t get enough of the web

In 2012 the web headlines self-proclaimed that “the web is dead.” (Yes, even the web couldn’t help but share this with itself) It isn’t that the web is really dead, it’s just that we are using it in different ways. Mobile has played a big part in changing this dynamic as we demand just the right information and support without extraneous “stuff.”

How are you searching the web?

In 2000 I was a recruiter at XO Communications. One day another recruiter saw me conducting a web search and informed me that I was using the wrong search engine. She told me to type in http://www.google.com and in an instant my virtual life changed forever. The simplistic design of the page was a relief to my ADD mind and it seemed to bring up pretty good results.

However, in the past few years that has started to change…if only in subtle ways. Often we don’t trust the first page Google results anymore. After all, most have used some kind of SEO method vs. gaining front page based upon real value as determined by users.

So, what do we trust?

More often than not we trust people, groups and organizations that we know or that we have identified as sharing common interests.

It is time to recognize the importance of tools like Twitter.

I’m an avid Twitter user. I will admit to having 4-5 accounts. My accounts differ depending upon my purpose – one for my work persona, one for my entrepreneurial endeavors, one for just me being me and another for a hopefully hobby someday soon.

Twitter for Searching, Learning and Connecting

Twitter isn’t just for telling us what you like to eat, what you are doing right now or for promoting your product. It is a searching, learning and connecting tool!

I see a lot of friends and entrepreneurs using it just to push information out. They are missing out on easy, quick, and valuable ways to connect to more people, keep up with the pulse of the market and finding out the best way to meet their needs as well as their friends, customers, families, etc.

Communication, after all, occurs when there is an exchange .

Benefits

Friends sharing info with each other

You share and learn with people on and offline. Take the same techniques to Twitter and other social tools!

So, here are some of the benefits I’ve gained from making Twitter a part of my personal learning strategy:

  • News – you can search by any topic and find out the latest and greatest from any possible perspective you can hope for …and more.
  • Emerging Trends  – connect to thought leaders, magazines, colleges, think tanks, etc. You’ll be the first to know about what the new trends are and bring that knowledge and insight to your job, your entrepreneurial pursuits, your circles of influence and even parenting! I’ve saved money at work just by knowing a few facts that I found on Twitter. In other words, Twitter can help you know WHAT you should be learning in your field.
  • Inspiration – yes, a lot of people share daily quotes from every possible past president, prophet, author, etc. But, like Pinterest, you can get ideas and inspiration from what others are creating and designing as well.
  • Thought Leaders – yearning to learn from great thought leaders? They are all on Twitter. Ok, they are at least paying someone to tweet their stuff. It’s a great way to keep up with what they are saying and get connected to products and resources they think are important. Just this week I bought a book from Daniel Pink (author of A Whole New Mind and Drive – books I love and highly recommend) that I hadn’t known he was writing. I found out this information on Twitter.  Note – the book  just arrived at my door tonight and so I’m rushing to finish up this post!
  • Crowdsourcing – lately we’ve heard some great examples of how products, companies, and individuals have come together with other like-minded people to accomplish awesome things and help each other achieve their goals. Don’t think that Kickstarter.com benefits from Twitter? Crowdsourcing tools rely on tools like Twitter to spread their ideas and gain contributors for projects.
  • Like-Minded – are you into obscure sci-fi classics out of print? What about rare stamps? Perhaps even a nitch of a nitch? You can find them on Twitter. You can connect, share and grow with others that are interested in the same nitch!
  • Community Building – want to get more out of it than just searching and following? Start joining in conversations, make lists of different sub-group areas you’d like to hone in on, and be there to congratulate others are their accomplishments, successful product launches or their great tweets!

    Don’t be fake. Seriously, create conversations!

I’m not oblivious to the fact that Twitter is just one tool. Facebook, Pinterest, Squidoo, LinkedIn, Scoop.it, Paperli …the list goes on.

They aren’t technology tools. They are communication tools that happen to leverage technology. They are only as useful as the person operating the computer keys.  (-:

Tweet with us at @nudgevillage !

Financial Stuff – end of year and prepare for the next

Over Christmas break, I got the chance to interview my brother Craig Clark. It was informal and on a few topics, but thought I’d share them here. Plus, it was a chance for his business partner, Preston Anderson, and for him to get used to presenting on camera.

I think they did a great job. Listen to their interview to find out a few financial tips and lessons learned as they grow their business – Clark & Anderson Financial Services.

Financial Tips at year end

Setting up a business – lessons learned from Preston Anderson – tax advisor

Setting up a business – lessons learned from Craig Clark – financial advisor

Last but not least – partnering with friends in your business

Clarity Nudges

Yesterday I had another encounter with one of the people I wrote about in the Feedback Makes Me Angry post.

The person said that they still didn’t understand what I was trying to do with one of the initiatives that I’m leading. He asked if I could explain what it was, why we were doing it and what value it gave to him, our faculty and to the workforce that we serve. I have to admit that I couldn’t do it. Perhaps if I hadn’t been in the midst of an interrogation, I might have been able to blurt something out. But, these conversations can incapacitate my speech capabilities. A photo with a flower under a magnifying glass

…for a few minutes.

The real concern is that the person was having difficulty sharing the message with his leadership. So, he was a bit frustrated that I hadn’t clarified it for him so that he could clarify it for his leadership.

I was a bit annoyed because I had gone to such great efforts to create presentations, hold meetings, etc.

But, I did go home and create a draft executive summary. After all, I’m the Chief Nudger. I should be aware when people are trying to nudge me in the right direction. (-:

Inspiration for this draft came quickly. I even stayed home until my first meeting so I could focus. Was it perfect? Heavens no. Draft mode for sure. But, it was the act of putting it down that helped me start to clarify what the message was and how we could go about sharing it.

Tonight I have an even better draft and I think I’ll send it out to some co-workers for modifications and discussion. After all, I need them to understand the message so they can share it with their stakeholders and leaders.

Be grateful for those that have the courage to be honest with you. They help you more than you know.

In fact, some of the lessons learned in that environment are helping me clarify what I want to do with Nudge Village going forward.

Stay tuned!

Wine and Dine

It’s past 9:15 p.m. and I’ve just walked into the door of my great little getaway in Orlando. The typical thunderstorms that hit Orlando started right as I opened my hotel room door. Luck was on my side and I’m now able to sit in a semi-luxurious room and write this note as the rain pours down on the little geckos outside my abode.

Ok, this is starting to sound more like a novel…

I’m at a conference with a few geeky people, a few military people, a few contractor people and a few government people. With some luck, perhaps the Star Wars die hard people will be in town before this conference ends. Until then, I will be attending my conference and will actually be presenting tomorrow.

When I attend conferences, I like to have the evenings to myself. I like to take walks, drive around to explore the town, and perhaps drive through a McDonalds for a quick ice cream sundae.

However, tonight I met with a little company that we work with periodically. They heard I was going to be at the conference and they drove an hour and a half to come to dinner with me, on their dime. They didn’t need to, but they decided that they’d really like to get to know me better. Yes, they want my business. Yes, I’m sure they do this with all their clients.

But, seriously, these people are sincere people.

How do I know?

Prior to tonight I knew this about them:

  • Communication – they email us every week or so to see how we are doing or ask if we are going to be at  particular conference.
  • How can I help you? – they regularly ask how they can help us and sometimes write unsolicited white papers for us to consider. They tell us about resources they’ve heard of or share some of the projects that they are allowed to share with us from other contracts.
  • Innovate – they are constantly looking forward so that they can provide innovative solutions to us vs. us having to bring them up to speed on what we are pursuing. We are forward thinkers and so to stay ahead of us takes practice and perseverance.
  • Customer Relationship Managers – they have one or two or even three. Rare for many contractors. They are out to build relationships, not make a quick buck. And, they’ve been in business for over 25 years in an industry that has a lot of turnover.
  • Values that show – they are bold with their values and don’t make excuses. They are known to be kind, generous, and thoughtful while also delivering top notch results.

After “breaking bread” with them, I realized all of the above on a deeper level. Sometimes these attributes feel a bit surface level at first. You aren’t sure the intentions of the other party. You can be a little leery that they are just out to find out what $ you have to burn.

I didn’t feel that way. And, I often do.

These people talked and shared and let me talk and share. They let me guide the conversation, but asked the questions they needed answers to and the right time and without following a hidden agenda.

I felt like this company would take care of me and be good stewards of the money they would be receiving for certain product development efforts. Even if they weren’t working on anything with us, I know it would still have been a great conversation.

And one more key thing – I left motivated to be a little more like them with my interactions with others.

So, a little wining and dining (without the wine in my case and surprisingly theirs – did they follow my lead?) with them tonight took me beyond the surface relationship to a deeper client/contractor relationship.

Who do you think I’m going to think of the next time we have something that needs to be done?