Even The Social Media Newbie Needs Tips, Especially The Newbie…..

Liver Cancer Pin

Be Yourself: Social media is just that. It’s social.  People want to see who you are and what you stand for.  Join the conversation; show some of your personality. But don’t try to sell your readers. One of the biggest turnoffs is being sold to.
Be Humble: Those just starting out in social media often try to establish themselves as experts or gurus within their field. Like in real life, no one likes a know-it-all. It’s crucial that you learn how to engage your readers fans without alienating them.
Find Your Niche: Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are not the only social networking platforms out there. When creating your social media strategy, it is more important to find out where your clients and customers are than it is to have a presence on Facebook or Twitter that may not get you the conversion rates you seek.
Follow Interesting People: Everyone needs a mentor, someone who is experienced in their field and who is willing to share their knowledge.  Asking questions is a great way to gain knowledge.  And remembering to pay it forward is also key.
Don’t annoy your followers: A good social media goal is to be helpful first. Trying to shamelessly promote your brand or business is a sure way to annoy and alienate your followers.  Remember, engagement comes first, then sales will follow.
Numbers aren’t everything: Social Media isn’t about the number of followers you have or how many fans. It’s about creating a conversation with your audience that will hopefully lead to the creation of loyal, repeat customers for your business. Don’t be discouraged by your number of followers or about one rude person you encounter in cyberspace.  Focus on creating good content, establishing real relationships and being helpful
Share The Love: Great content is meant to be shared. Posting, re-tweeting and +1 are all way to say to your followers that you value what they are doing.  And you’ll likely find that the more you do for others, the more they’ll do for you.Give Credit Where Credit is Due: When you borrow someone else’s stuff, give them credit. Plagiarism is still plagiarism, even in the cyber-world.
Follow Back: No explanation necessary.  It’s just the nice thing to do!
Know when to turn it off: When all is said and done in this 24/7 world of social media, sometimes you have to know when it’s time to shut it down. It will still be there when you wake up.

Bill Kizer
San Diego, CA. 92083

sage summit 2013

Bill is recognized as a top performing senior level executive with multiple years of proven success in sales, management and business development

He’s considered a leader in Sage Software ERP solutions, business-to-business direct sales and business development. He’s developed successful sales teams. He’s adept at analyzing growth opportunities to meet corporate objectives. He’s also been successful in building an online Sage LinkedIn Community with 8,200+ World Wide members.


What Not to Say to a Social Media Strategist…

Kim Garst Head Shot

Kim Garst

Written By Kim Garst @kimgarst / CEO, Entrepreneur, Social Media & Personal Branding Strategist & Mentor to Business Owners. Forbes TOP 50 Social Media Influencer

1. They pay you to do that? I thought social media was free! 

Well yes, it’s free to have an account on every social media platform. Some of the tools to increase efficiency in social media aren’t free. And that doesn’t even get into the issue of whether it’s cost effective to put yourself through the learning curve required to use social media effectively – posting fresh content regularly, writing at least 2 blog posts per week, and creating videos just to name a few. To use social media well takes time and a consistent strategy. I haven’t even mentioned marketing knowledge yet!

2. I know how to use Facebook! How do I start?

I think developing a social media marketing business is a great way for people to break out of traditional work environments – especially people like stay at home moms, retirees, etc. However, just because you use Facebook doesn’t mean you are ready to hang out your shingle and call yourself an expert! There are many other social media platforms, not to mention running a website or a blog. Plus, the endless hours of learning online marketing strategies – which are very different than standard marketing strategies.

3. You just play on social media all day? What kind of a job is that?

Honestly, while there are certain activities that go into every social media marketing campaign, every day and every client has unique needs. So while I know what kinds of activities I’ll be doing regularly, there are many days that I never know what is going to happen by the day’s end! (But I can assure you, it’s not just “playing” on any platform, be it Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or the rest!)

4. Pinterest and Twitter for business? I thought that was just for housewives or college kids!

Marketing is about providing your message to your ideal customers, wherever they are. Social media and content marketing takes that one step further and provides valuable information across multiple channels that helps you find, then develop relationships with the people most likely to be interested in the services or products you offer. Where is your ideal client? Chances are,  they’re on Twitter and Pinterest!

5. Social media is just a fad!

As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, betting against social media now is like betting against the Internet. Six years ago, what was developing into social media was called “Web 2.0″ It was where the internet was going, and developers knew it. While social media platforms may continue to evolve, the likelihood that social networking will cease to be part of people’s everyday lives is as high as the likelihood that movies or television will stop existing all together. They may be made and distributed differently, but they’re not going away. Neither is the need for businesses to engage with their customers online.

6. Since we’re friends, can you help me out for FREE?

Unless you would also ask every friend to provide professional services  for free (and if you would, let’s talk about professional manners! you should also expect to pay for the professional services of someone handling your social media strategy. Besides the cost of access to tools that a professional social media strategist incurs, if he or she is serious about business, he or she also has invested a great deal of time and money learning the skills of the profession, just like any other professional. And one last thought…do you work for free?

7. My granddaughter is into computers; I’ll just have her do that for me

It’s important to understand that social media isn’t about the technology. It’s about understanding that whoever is providing your social media updates, designing a Facebook contest that doesn’t break the Facebook Terms of Service (TOS) and creates fresh blog content regularly is the face and the voice of your company to anyone who reads your content. It takes work and a strong strategy to provide a voice that indeed sounds like someone from your company. Building your brand as a company takes time – and it only takes one misinformed Tweet to ruin it for a long time to come.

8. Twitter? Do People Really Use That For Business?

Yes Twitter is used for business.  I can’t begin to tell you how many paid clients have first connected with me through Twitter or as a result of content I’ve shared via Twitter. You would be amazed at the power of 140 characters to make or break your brand.

Are You Still Missing The Social Media / Blogging Train?……..

Don’t Be This Guy, He Missed The Train

Since Sage Summit I’ve been talking to a lot of companies of different sizes & different industries about the importance of getting on the social media train. Social media is not a fad, it’s here to stay.

Consider these statistics from Econsultancy Network Statistics Quarterly Compendium

  1. Global Wi-Fi usage is up by 240% between Q2 2011 & Q2 2012
  2. 76% of marketers plan to increase their YouTube and/or video marketing
  3. 25% of corporations have at least 1 staff member who works exclusively on social media
  4. 57% of corporations have their social media team within their marketing department
  5. Most corporate social media is used for Communications, Marketing, Customer Service & Reputation Monitoring
  6. 62% of corporations intend to increase budgets for social media
  7. 90% of corporations say social media is becoming a more important part of their marketing strategy
  8. A LinkedIn profile can bring many opportunities in your direction. If you’re sure what to do ask someone who has had success utilizing LinkedIn and to a lesser degree Twitter and Facebook The other area that I’m stressing to companies is blogging and that’s because most of them  don’t have a blog because most people don’t think they can write.

    I employ a very simple methodology that proves that ALL people can write and they shouldn’t be afraid to.

    Below are my reasons why I think blogging is so important to a company:

    a. It gives the company a face & more visibility
    b. It helps build a trust relationship
    c. If your blog is about your industry it helps mark you as an industry expert
    d. Some people are leary of “Push Notification,” be careful that you don’t come off as being pushy with your sales pitch. As a matter of fact, don’t try to sell anything other than yourself and your quality company
    e. A blog can generate leads & business provided your blog isn’t one huge sales pitch

There are more reasons to blog, these are but a few. I’m sure that you can come up with a lot more of your own. While you’re contemplating a company blog ask yourself two questions;

Are my competitor’s blogging? Are my customers blogging?

If you answered “yes” to at least one of the questions then you should be picking up the phone & calling someone who is an expert in the art of setting up company blogs.

I just saw a statistic at Sage Summit that made me smile; approx. 65% of all businesses blog. I wish I could remember which company it was that shared that with me. Even it’s off 5-10% +/- that means that over half of all businesses are utilizing a fantastic tool that most of didn’t use just 5 years ago.

So, are you willing to get on the train or are you going to be left at the station wishing you had jumped on? My suggestion? Get on the train, now!

The 7 Deadly Mistakes of Using LinkedIn & How To Avoid Them

The 7 Deadly Mistakes Using LinkedIn & How to Avoid Them

Since starting 3 LinkedIn Network Groups, the largest is the Sage Partners, Employees, Alumni & Analyst with 7,500+ members in 60+ countries and the United States & the group has become a daily reading staple for many of the Sage NA executives. The group was created with the idea of members sharing ideas & opinions on current Sage changes, events & general take on the Sage environment with each other.

Since May 2008 I’ve seen many mistakes that members continually make about setting up their LinkedIn profile & utilizing it to its maximum benefits.

Below are some of the most common mistakes. This was taken from a presentation that I gave recently at Sage Summit, Sage’s Annual Partners & Customers Conference In Nashville

#1 / Never Complete Your LinkedIn Profile
Don’t Open Your Professional Profile to 175mil LinkedIn members worldwide
Don’t List Your Accomplishments & Certifications
Don’t Include Your History, Current Position or Core Competencies
For mediocre results keep you profile at less than 100%

#2 / Use The Ghost Avatar
Does Anyone Really look like this?
Does Remaining Anonymous Really Help?
Don’t Build any Social Media Credibility

#2a / Use A Cartoon As Your Avatar

Pets & Children’s Photos Have NO Value on LinkedIn. If You Go To Spring Break Every Year & Consume Copious Amounts of Alcohol & Lose Your Clothes, Please Keep Those For Your Private Collection.

#3 / Don’t Contribute To Your LinkedIn Profile
Stay Secretive About Yourself & Don’t Let Anyone Know Who You Are
Don’t Share Your Industry Knowledge
Let Others Determine & Shape Your Online Brand

#4 / Don’t Ask (Or Answer) LinkedIn Questions
By All Means Keep Your Unique Business Acumen All To Yourself
Don’t Become An Expert in ANY Industry, Remain an Enigma

#5 / Don’t Invite Others to Your Network
Keep Your Network Your Own Private Domain
Reduce The Number of Your Relevant Connections(Or Just Don’t Get Them In The First Place)
The Less Connections You Have Will Result In Fewer Search Results That You’ll Appear In

#6 / Don’t Give Or Ask For Recommendations
Don’t Let Your Colleagues Say Anything Positive About You
Remain An Enigma In The Virtual Word
Don’t Send Any Recommendations To People You’ve Worked With

#7 / Don’t Include Any Current Contact Information
Make It Impossible To Contact You
Make People Guess Where You’re Currently Working
Don’t Answer Messages or LinkedIn Invitations

These are but a few of the mistakes that I see people making but they seem to be the ones that continually show up.
Remember that an intriguing & complete LinkedIn Profile will help you Take The Work Out of Networking

Bill Kizer
Creator Sage LinkedIn Partners, Employees & Alumni Networking Group
LinkedIn Profile: http:// www.linkedin.com/in/bkizer  ~  williamkizer52@gmail.com

Robert Wood; 2012 Co-Presentor
DDF Consulting Group, Inc.
Linkedin Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bertowud  ~   robertw@ddfcgi.com

Social Media Enthusiast or Expert/Guru/Genius?

I’ve been reading GaryVaynerchuk’s book titled “The Thank You Economy.”  I’m also reading his other book “Why Now Is The Time To Crush It.” Both books are very well written by someone who has mastered social media. If you don’t know of his social media pedigree, go to You Tube and listen to some of his talks at conferences or take the plunge and purchase his books through Amazon.com

Essentially social media has been around for about 14-15 years with the advent of the first recognizable social network site launched in 1997. SixDegrees.com allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and, beginning in 1998, surf the Friends lists.

Since that small inauspicious beginning there have been literally hundreds of (SNS) or Social Networking Sites with members, friends, connections counting in the millions.

So where am I going with this? Okay, since you asked I’ll tell you. There are thousands of people in the United States that refer to themselves as Social Media Experts, Social Media Gurus etc. Some of the more humble call themselves Strategists and bill out to other companies to tell said companies how to build a social media strategy that will guarantee an almost immediate ROI.

Granted most companies have a FaceBook, Twitter & LinkedIn profile but have no clue as to what to do with that profile to make it work for them. I know this to be true because I’ve been given the privilege to talk to Sage partners and I would estimate that 80% of those that have a profile don’t know how to utilize it. How did I come up with that percentage? I always ask at the beginning of each session and the number has remained pretty consistent.

So what do they do? They find someone who will work inexpensively and promises to increase their Social Media profile if they will just do the following…blah…blah…blah…etc…etc…etc…

But the partners trust them because their business cards says they’re a Social Media expert and they wouldn’t stretch the truth on their business card, would they?

I just corresponded with a business partner whom sat in on my session at Sage Summit 2011 and afterwards he wanted to talk about increasing his profile and tailoring it for his needs. Guess who is helping him? His girl friend because she’s his girlfriend. Good luck with that.

In a business arena that is as young as Social Media is there are very few experts. There are, however, people who have learned how to monetize Social Media and I guess that makes them experts in making money. There are also those who have studied it enough to be able share their knowledge with others.

I don’t have anything bad to say about someone who is lucky enough to work for a corporation that believes that Social Media is our future, because that’s what I would like to do. No, my problem is the Experts and Gurus out there who are giving the rest of us that really care about our customers a black eye by taking the money and running.

To borrow from Gary’s book “The Thank You Economy” Blockbuster didn’t think that the Internet was going to be around very long and basically they handed the business to NetFlix. Can anyone tell me who is no longer in business as the direct result of not recognizing the power of the internet? The same goes for Borders, they handed a goldmine to Amazon, as the Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos says, “If I had a nickel for every investor that said that this (Amazon) wasn’t going to work”……. 

I recently changed my e-mail signature to read LinkedIn Enthusiast because I am very enthusiastic about all things LinkedIn & Social Media as a whole.

Be leery of those that call themselves experts, ask to see their certification, ask them for business referrals, ask them if they wouldn’t mind you calling some of their customers (that you get to pick)

Embrace the Internet and Social Media, they’re here to stay and if you’re not spending time there you’re missing out because I’ll bet your customers are spending time there.

Blogging For The Sake of Blogging

1953 Chevy Belair Side View

When I first started blogging a couple of years ago there weren’t many people blogging and those that were actually had something to say that was of value. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve written my share of blogs that had no value to anyone other than myself, but I’ve attempted to write on relevant topics and to only write when I feel compelled to do so.

Fast forward to 2010 and just about everyone has a blog, most of them are good but there’s a percentage of Bloggers that shouldn’t be writing anything other than a grocery store shopping list.

I’ve enjoyed writing since I was in elementary school when I wrote Book Reports. There was a long period of my life when I lived in foster homes and when I wasn’t in a foster home I was in protective custody at juvenile hall; reading and writing was my escape. I watch my two small sons now and they both devour books, write more Book Reports that the rest of their respective grade levels & have the ability to tell you in detail the contents of that book. Every once in a while I’ll try to throw them a curve ball by putting a character in a book that they’ve read & they’ll correct me as if I’m the one in the 2nd grade!

I used to love to read John Steinbeck because he brought pages and words to life. I could smell the cheap red wine that the poor immigrant paisanos shared out of a gallon jug for-going the ritual of using a glass. I could feel the chill of the winds coming off the Pacific Ocean and Steinbeck could actually make a young man think that living under the stars was a ideal way to live.  I wanted to become an author just like Steinbeck. It didn’t take long for me to discover that there was only one Steinbeck and in order to write just like him would have involved some form of plagarism.

When I got old enough to drive I remember making Monterey my first road trip in my $75 1953 Chevy Bel Air to see if there were any paisanos that I could share some Red Mountain wine with. The only thing I found were a bunch of free spirited hippies in a V.W. van that I drank and spent a week with instead. I had a great time, I think, as the 60’s & 70’s were a bit hard on the memory.  I never made it to Monterey but Santa Cruz was just as good.  

 Sorry for the little side trip into my youth but it happens. Here’s the bottom line about blogging. Treat it the same way that you do presentations to prospects or current clients. Differentiate yourself and write from your heart about things that you know something about. There are no rules about the regularity of blogs, if you don’t feel like it, don’t write, but if it’s a topic that you feel strongly about then write.

I enjoy reading a good blog but don’t become a blogging whore just because. It’s boring, and doesn’t make for good reading.

Have fun!