The Birds or Giant Eagles? | Social Media’s Prevalence in Business

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door –

“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –

Only this and nothing more.” 1

I doubt I’m the first person to make a reference to Twitter being The Raven from Edgar Allen Poe. While I could draw many similarities to the constant updating and blast of a normal users feed, that is not the point of this article. Twitter was not the first, nor is it the most pervasive. It is just one of the many…which is the point.

I have a hard time not finding this amusing. We are literally bombarded by social media in our daily lives; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are only a small few. If I chose to write up the name of every outlet I would run out of digital paper. The second largest search engine in the world is YouTube after all – a social media video site! 2 The question is no longer “Do we accept social media into our lives?”, but how do we keep it under control so that we can manage its use in our lives and business while not letting it control us.   As a business professional, I have spent a lot of my time out in the community attending events, seminars, trade shows, etc… Social media is by far the most prevalent thought, most discussed topic, and most misunderstood tool in the business realm. Everybody wants to hear speeches when the topic is social media; everyone wants help figuring out how to incorporate it into their business. But is it worth it?

I think we’re in real trouble. I don’t know how this started or why, but I know it’s here and we’d be crazy to ignore it… The bird war, the bird attack, plague – call it what you like. They’re amassing out there someplace and they’ll be back. You can count on it…3

People start and run businesses to make money. We are told by everyone that every business has to be on social media because everyone is on social media. GM stopped using paid Facebook ads in May because they weren’t generating the desired revenue,4 but that’s just one example. We also know that social media drives a lot of revenue across the board. “Social media has a bigger influence in decision-making and is now considered as the new (and probably more effective) word of mouth channel,” general manager, Sam Shetty says. “Netregistry, which helps businesses get online, says businesses operating in the fashion and baby products sector have seen a better response compared to B2B providers. Return on investment should not only be measured on revenue, but also in brand recognition and popularity,” Shetty says.5 Shetty’s vision of social media is reminiscent of Frodo’s while being carried out of Mordor by the Giant Eagles.

Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here, the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? I think you’re the cause of all this.3

This is where the hair on my neck stands up. Should return on investment (ROI) be measured in more than revenue? I am pretty sure most people did not get into business to generate good will and feeling. While many people work for that, it is all because they are means to a profitable end. While there are many things that lead to higher revenues, such as good will, popularity and brand recognition, those are means, not ends. Measuring ROI based on subjective content will not fly in a standard business plan (or a business loan, especially in these days). Hard numbers are what count.

This leads me to the crux of my point. The most useful thing about online marketing, whether it be websites, SEO, or social media to name a few, is that anything done online is easily track-able and measurable. How many people saw your ad? Easy. How many people clicked on your ad? Easy. How many people bought because of your ad? Easy. How much revenue did that generate? Easy.

Traditional marketing (rightly so) has been slammed for years because the nature of it makes it much harder to track and calculate a detailed ROI. Thus marketing over time developed the reputation of being the part of the business that is just a necessary expense. Now, because the business world is experiencing its infatuation with social media, it has apparently relaxed its standards of measurement. This is not right. Social media is and can be a great tool for your business, but it must be treated like all the other tools in your belt. Measure it. Test it. Figure out how much time and expense actually leads to a profitable ROI and then stick to it. I know too many people that spend all day playing on social media, call it a job, and end up flipping burgers on the side.

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted – nevermore!1

(Image courtesy of Elisa Vegliante)

1 http://www.shmoop.com/the-raven/poem-text.html

2 http://www.melaclaro.com/2010/10/05/youtube-the-second-largest-search-engine-so-what/

3 http://www.finestquotes.com/movie_quotes/movie/The%20Birds/page/0.htm#ixzz24OW5Ob1k

4 http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/15/autos/gm_facebook/index.htm

5 http://www.smartcompany.com.au/internet/051372-is-social-media-advertising-really-worth-the-time-and-money.html

Referral Based Marketing | Why it Pays to Have Trusted Business Relationships

Could this post BE any more about pop culture placement? As much as I would love to spend the entire article making sly references to New Zealand’s 4th most popular folk parody duo, this is about marketing your business through referrals. Simply put, there is no better or cheaper way to market than to utilize referral marketing.

Case in point: I have a networking friend, Albi (names have been changed to protect the guilty) with whom I am also a customer. He runs a real estate office of multiple agents. Because of our networking relationship, whenever someone would mention to me that they were either buying or selling a house, I would give them Albi’s name as an option and suggest they contact him to see if he would be a good fit. Since I knew him, I liked him, and I trusted him, it was a fairly easy referral to give.

The reason for that is not because I used him for my own house purchase first (in fact, that will come later), but because as responsible business marketers and networkers, we understood one KEY principle. People do business with people they like and trust. Albi and I spent time building a trusted business relationship. It starts small, with easy ways to try out a person’s trust level. We met for coffee, lunches, and even brought our wives in for an evening out. We decided for both of us it was important enough to know the quality level of the person, so that we could speak with honesty and integrity. After all, whenever you refer someone, you are ultimately putting your name on the line for them. Trust is HUGE.

When it became “Business Time” and my wife and I decided to buy a house, we chose to give him the opportunity. When we personally experienced his level of service and quality, we were even more blown away than we could imagine. I already knew and trusted that Albi would do a great job, and my expectations were fulfilled – even more than I thought they would be. Not only do I have a long term, trusted relationship with him, but it was tested with personal experience. Now he can’t keep me from talking about him. Who would not want to gain new customers this way?

Do people in your local area know you? Do they like you? Do they trust you? I encourage you to take a moment to think and see what you might be able to do to develop trusted relationships with business around you; think of the advantages it would bring you. Just don’t use too much tape.

(Image from www.gawker.com/flightoftheconchords)

Marketing Psychology | Phil Stalnaker, Pro/Vision Coaching’s Business Development VP Speaks to Coldwell Banker Bain Agents

Originally posted on March 27, 2012 at Pro/Vision Coaching.

On Thursday, March 22, I gave a training presentation on marketing to a group of CB Bain Agents (both live and watching online). In it, I addressed such marketing topics as Target Audience, Marketing Message, Marketing Strategies, and Evaluation of Methods. I also discussed the psychology behind marketing and spoke about things like the concept of demand resistance (why don’t people follow through?), the reasons people buy (pain vs. pleasure), and how the human psyche handles purchases.

The entire presentation can be seen on the link. Enjoy!

http://bit.ly/GLgtwt

Philip Stalnaker Interviewed about Marketing on Chat With Women Network

*Originally posted on October 13, 2011 at Pro/Vision Coaching.

In case you were not able to listen to the radio show live, it is available online at the following link:

http://www.chatwithwomen.com/media.php?do=details&mid=364

Thanks again to Jen Westby and Julie Wells for having me on the show – I hope that I was able to provide some insight and support to all the listeners out there!

Gotta Love the Quick Fix | Business Problems and Easy Solutions

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

I vaguely remember an old movie starring Michael J. Fox and James Woods entitled “The Hard Way”. I couldn’t tell you what it was about or even why I saw it, other than I assume it has something to do with doing something in a more difficult fashion. I certainly prefer doing things the easy way, and that is one of the main reasons why I love duct tape.

“Iowa Chrome”, as many call it is a tape that can hold virtually anything together. Originally designed for duct work, its main purpose was to hold the metal ducts together against heat and sometimes even water. For a roll of tape, that’s pretty impressive! The mid-nineties witnessed the rise of duct tape pop-culture, a fashion statement that included designer duct tape suits. I once made a wallet out of the beloved material, though I regrettably never used it. It is just so simple – one roll of tape that can fix basically anything – who wouldn’t want to use it for everything?

Most people did. It became such a popular household tool, that sales have consistently risen over the years, and, according to a recent article about a spike in sales due to Hurricane Irene, proves that Americans will pretty much use duct tape for anything. Why?

According to Florence and the Machine, duct tape is simply the quick and easy solution to life’s problems, and causes situations when not readily available. “I got in a lot of trouble from my stepfather for using his duct tape, to tape up my school skirt. So the inside of my skirt was done up with electrical tape. I always find in daily life, it’s like, don’t you kind of make your own uniforms in a sense. It’s really weird.” Duct tape is simply the quick and easy solution to your fix-it needs. This is why Iowans use it so much.

What does this tell us about life? It tells us that we are all about finding the quick and easy fix to our problems. It’s been often said that necessity is the mother of invention and, since the industrial revolution, America has prided itself on its ability to figure out faster, easier solutions to problems. While Eli Whitney was brilliant in figuring out ways to make plantation life easier, the impacting result today is unquenchable desire for the next get rich quick scheme.

Hard work is considered a bad word in many parts of our culture. Even during the recession struggles of the past few years, I personally have witnessed multiple people choose laziness. This shows itself in the business world as well. While I am in no way saying that multi-level marketing is, in and of itself, a scam, it is often marketed as an easy way to get rich quick. “Discover the Hefty New Online Revenue Source To Get Rich And Generate At Least $31,650 Every Month On Complete Autopilot! Now You Can Learn The Step-By-Step Methods This 21-Year Old College Dropout Used To Make Money Fast And Generate His First $1,000,000! The Secret Is Now Revealed To Public” (http://21butrich.com/ – please do not visit this site, used only for “journalistic integrity”).

The truth is getting rich quick doesn’t work. “In an October 15, 2010 [USA Today] article, it was stated that documents of a MLM called Fortune reveal that 30 percent of its representatives make no money and that 54 percent of the remaining 70 percent only make $93 a month”.

Success and financial independence can certainly be earned, but it takes time and hard work. Whether or not you have decided to go the multi-level marketing route, it still takes work – lots of it. There are plenty of people out there helping others reach their vision, business coaches (Yay for shameless plugs!) being a good place to start. However, regardless of how many people you have helping you, there is no way to avoid hard work. If you want to strike it rich, my suggestion is to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and invent something better than duct tape. Or at least make a bad movie with an aging movie star.

What is Wrong with the World Today? | The Four Reasons People Do Anything

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

It seems that the issues we deal with are so ever-present and ever-encompassing that no one has any time for things that don’t require tissues. But what are the issues? What is it that keeps everyone paying “the man”? The video below is a beautiful look into those issues and brings up some interesting points from a business perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4g8TF1uYa50

In the world of business coaching, we often deal with issues that different business owners and professionals face, and many of those issues can easily boil down to areas of motivation. Why do people act? Why do people buy? Why do people participate in reality TV? The topic of motivation can answer many questions along this line. Understanding why people change can make a drastic difference in the sales meeting, board room, and international sweat shop. After all (as the video points out), why does the price of sneakers keep rising when production keeps their overhead so low?

Here it is: no one will ever make a change of any kind until the pain of changing becomes LESS than the pain of staying the same. At the base of every decision, there is an underlying reason. No one will go to the effort of picking up a glass of water until the thirst for that water becomes greater than the effort it would take to pick up that glass. No one will buy a $1000 pain relieving pill unless the pain they were feeling was greater than the pain of spending that $1000.

Listed below are the four main reasons that people change—do anything. They are general but powerful, and can revolutionize the way you talk with people and motivate someone to listen to what you have to say.

The 4 Reasons People Change

1. Pleasure in the Future | You’ve been saving up for years to buy a cruise and it’s only six months away. You cannot wait and are totally excited, to the point that time crawls slower than Congress’ ability to get anything done. While waiting, you come across a sale for the super-powered computer of your dreams, and with your cash, you can have it today! Which one do you choose?

2. Pleasure in the Present | That computer is awesome. It actually has real intelligence and can do more than just follow programs. It’s going to take every penny that you have saved (and considering it was made by SkyNet you are slightly worried), but it’s worth it! That is until you consider the fact that you already have a computer, and though it’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger, you force yourself to debate the necessity. Does your money go to the early edition Terminator, or do you hold onto the cash knowing that your 1987 jalopy probably only has a few more years left?

3. Pain in the Future | An old Jalopy is an ugly nemesis, and as any good financial steward, you sacrifice the computer so you can be prepared to replace “Clancy” (the name you gave your car after having too many White Castle burgers one late night). Thus, you’ve decided to put that money back in the bank, so it will be available when it’s needed. Satisfied with your financial willpower, you decide to do a dance in your living room while listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After all, that group is the reason for your super long hair. Turning the music up loud enough to head bang properly, you forget about the screeches that come from Flea. When they hit, your living room windows literally jumped outside and ran away. Since you’d rather not air condition the entire neighborhood, do you use the money to replace your busted windows, or hold on to it for the car at some point down the road?

4. Pain in the Present | Coming to terms with your ability get more money later, you go ahead and fix the windows. After an exhausting afternoon watching the handyman replace the windows, you decide two things: 1) it’s time to cut your hair, and 2) you are really thirsty. Even though you would need to run to the grocery store, your senses can already feel the fresh, cold fizz of a tasty Coke. Do you take your leftover pennies and splurge on that Coke, or do you risk one last head bang?

We are faced with choices every day, and those decisions are affected by the above motivations.  Test time: who will be the first person to comment on this post with the answer to this question – what is the most important reason for changing and why does that reason trump the other three? Keep it funky, my friends!

E-mail Responses and the Perceptions they Hold; Especially in Istanbul

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

There are times in one’s life when decisions just have to be made. What decisions, you ask? Life. Altering. Decisions. These are the decisions that change the course of your life – the ones that once are made, will forever change your direction and ultimate success.

One-ply or two-ply? Margarine or butter? Boxers or briefs? Ok, these are all very important decisions that need to be made, especially the two-ply issue, though I couldn’t imagine why anyone would choose one-ply; that’s just crazy. What I am talking about is deeper than that, one that affects the very core of your existence and the perception of everyone you meet. Inside the world of business, it becomes crucial. What type of email responder are you?

This is a bigger issue than when Constantinople changed their name to Istanbul! Which, since we’re on the topic of Istanbul, is why you should never make a business decision based on a pretty girl; it’s just not thinking clearly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IqJXxHi6RwQ

Anyway, the matter of your response (and response TIME) is hugely important in the business world. Who do you want to show yourself to be? Listed below are a few potential options for response times and the perceptions they hold:

1. Immediate | How needy do you want to look? If you’ve been invited out for coffee after a networking event and you jump in the car before they tell you where to meet, you might find yourself in for some disappointment. The issue of time is one to be respected, and if people know they can grab you whenever they want, they will never be around when you want.

2. Within 24 Hours | Short-term responses can be incredibly powerful. Once you have given enough time to process and understand the request, a timely response goes a long in way showing that you respect their time, which in turn should grant you the same favor. People in the business world will already assume you are busy, so getting back to them quickly will show you care about their time as well.

3. Within 24 Weeks | This strategy can be very helpful, especially when working in post-apocalyptic times. Since zombies have already established themselves as the ruling class, it is to be expected that one can go weeks without an internet connection. In fact, if it’s been a while since zombies took over, 24 months can be considered a very timely response.

4. Invisible Responses | Originally created and popularized by The Acme Corporation in the late 1920s, invisible emails were all the rage. You could write whatever you wanted and no would ever see it because they couldn’t see it! The problem was that the un-invisibility potion was not created for another seventy years, thus rendering the ability to communicate impossible. Simply put, if you don’t reply, you lose all ability to communicate.

How and when you respond to a person goes a LONG way in the ability you will have to influence, befriend, or sell to that person. Take the opportunity to consider their needs before replacing the statue you took from them with an obviously worthless replica. If you respect the time and effort they put into communicating to you by doing the same, they will notice.