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Showing posts from 2015

Keeping the "Party" in the Business Christmas Party.

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I attended a Holiday Party this week. I mean, I think it was a party... This is not an article on the  validity of the War on Christmas or the value of replacing the word Christmas with Holiday. No this is business. And about a business Holiday party where not only was "Christmas" removed from the party, the partying was removed from the party.  And the fun.

Dickens knew how to throw a party - at least on paper he did. When I think of Christmas parties, I think of  A Christmas Carol's Fezziwig: young Ebenezer Scrooge's jovial boss. OK, I guess I think of Mr. Magoo's version first but I grew up with that Christmas Carol classic and still put "razzleberry dressing" on my morning toast. The point is that those were real Christmas parties back then. Plenty of food and spirits, music and dance, mistletoe and egg nog, and no liabilities. There was no drunk driving because everyone walked there - or perhaps rode a carriage pulled by a sober horse.

At …

Does Social Media Have a Place When Tragedy Strikes?

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It's one of the most debated questions in the social media realm.

When tragedy strikes on such a worldwide level as it did this past week, we are all compelled to share what's in our hearts and minds. Sorrow, grief, anger, outrage, depression, fear, vigilance - the emotions overwhelm and often so does our need to be heard. Social media has made that easy, enabling anyone with access to a computer or mobile phone to do just that and broadcast what we want to the world.

But should we?

Take for example the facebook trend you now see that places a translucent French flag over your profile photo. From French nationals living abroad it was a heartfelt tribute of sorrow and solidarity. But with proliferation, the obligation to do the same increases. It becomes less a symbol of solidarity and more a membership card. Many of those profile owners have never stepped foot in France, but that said, does it preclude them showing their support? Does it mean you don't empathize as…

Bridging a Social Media Marketing Generation Gap

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Social media best practices is often the topic of my column which is syndicated by several news services and tweeted to millions of readers. I've written two eBooks on social media best practices, and companies large and small hire me to create complex social media strategies and execute their plans. My newest client - the 19-year-old founder of Campus Thrift, (www.campusthrift.com) a new, online thrift store where only college students can buy and sell used goods - isn't much impressed with any of this experience. 

Then again, she also happens to be my daughter...

Like it or not, there is a generational gap that exists in the social media world, and it only seems to be widening. You're always going to to roll your eyes at the generation before you who did not grow up with that new technology - bet it the horseless carriage or SnapChat.  According to a social media demographic study last year in Business Insider, the demographics of who's on what social network are s…

Donald, Megyn, and the Curious Art of NYC Social Media

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Social media lessons we can all learn from the most outspoken, opinionated, yet fascinating Presidential candidate.
If you were slapped by a stranger, would you turn and run, restrain them, or hit back?  For many of us raised in and around New York City, a slap is returned with a closed fist to the jaw. Not fighting fair? The attitude is, if you make an unprovoked or unfair hit we will hit you much harder. This transcends socioeconomic class. Perhaps it's why one time New York City Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt would speak softly and carry that big stick.

The same applies to verbal slapping which has moved for the most part from the streets to the Web. Twitter seems to be the arena of choice where tweets fly quickly with stinging jabs.  A football player disses a rival team; a rapper calls out another for not having street creds. The retorts that are often crude, inflammatory, libelous even - but good fodder for our reality-obsessed public that relishes these verbal smack…

Feed and Speed Your Social Media Metabolism

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The best way to keep momentum in your company's social media efforts is to become a social media nutritionist and change the way you're consuming content.
"Eat many small meals throughout the day" is the mantra of many a nutritionist when teaching clients on how to keep their metabolism going.  Your body is like a locomotive gaining momentum and energy from the frequent small feedings. Social media I will tell you works the same way.

I've written about the importance of regular blogging, press releases, tweets but creating relevant content on a regular schedule isn't easy. It's not that we're lazy, it's that -- OK - we are lazy, or busy, or just fresh out of ideas. But that's unacceptable.

The reason these lapses occur is because most  people write only when things need to be written and postpone it as long as possible (remember college term papers?) But for those of us who make a living through writing know that writers write all …

Excellence? I Bet You Don't Want It.

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Some people (and businesses) often strive for the mundane and average because it's safer and easier. Before you ask for exemplary efforts from your employees, your team, your managers, your partner, first ask yourself: "Do I really want that?"
Everybody wants the best right? Wrong. We all have the ability to be great. And some of us for are willing to put in the work to get there and the additional work to stay there. But once we're there perhaps the most surprising thing is discovering that the rest of the world is perfectly content with being average.
Think about it. When most people talk about their favorite actor actress it's often not because under extraordinary talent. "I like that guy," they'll say. "He seems like a regular person." And read any dating profile online and most will state: "I'm just looking for someone normal."
We tend to do the same thing in business. We may want to be the best but often just …

Social Media Money Making is all in the Inception

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There is money to be made in social media. But it's not being made where you'd think -- or at least where I thought. The bulk of the money is being made by companies and individuals selling services to other companies and individuals with the hopes of making money in social media. Confused? Me too.

Thanks to social media, the days of the banner ads as revenue generators are behind us.  Pricing was based on traditional print advertising, but used visitors rather than subscribers as the benchmark. Then when tracking became available, advertisers charged by viewership or "eyeballs", And that morphed into click-throughs,  and later into conversions. To be honest, I don't think they were a good investment once the novelty wore off.

Today, I am never quicker with a click then to shut those pop in ads for newsletter subscriptions et al. You still see banner ads (mostly on mobile) but online ads were replaced with search engine ads and corresponding landing pages. Those…

Half-Baked Rules are Killing B2B Email

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Over the years, I've conducted every online and traditional method of business to business (B2B) marketing available, from social media to broadcast media, from telemarketing to network marketing, from to print ads, trade shows and direct mail. But the most effective revenue generating method I have used by far has been email marketing. Nothing comes in a close second. Nothing. Unfortunately, bulk B2B email blasts are nearly impossible to do anymore.

You can thank the scammers and spammers for that. There are so many canned SPAM laws that exist restricting and banning bulk emails. The regulations are so stringent that email marketing companies require more clearance than hitching a ride onto Air Force One.  These laws were created primarily  to stop all those male dysfunction, mortgage refinance, Russian bride and the like emails that wanted to scam and or harass the consumer. But those SPAM laws to protect also hurt the B2B landscape irrevocably.

Take this typical business-helpi…

Are You :-) or :-( with all those Emoticons at Work?

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Are emoticons making social media communicating easier or easier to avoid real emotions?How do you feel about emoticons?Well, maybe I should first ask, did you now that those punctuation marks that look like faces on their sides actually had a name? And that they have different names for the style type depending upon the expression orientation and where in the world they were developed or what software you're using? There's even documentation on the first known use of the original smiley-face emoticon and a kickstarter for an emoji keyboard. But like casual Fridays and Holiday parties, those collection of silly faces have become an accepted part of business communications despite their non-business like nature.

It seems that emotion icons, (better known by the portmanteau emoticon), and their pictograph close cousin emoji are part of every communication, built into email clients, Facebook, and many other platforms. Some applications will even turn your emoticons into …

When You Don't Fit the Corporate Culture

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As part of a clever promotion for the movie "Unfinished Business" with Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco (pictured above), the stars were Photoshopped into some iStockphotos of "realistic business" shots. The result is that those stock photos we see and use on Websites and emails which always appear awkward at best, never looked more out of place. Nor have their new "models".

It reminded me of my own foray into the business world. Fresh from the ivy covered collegiate world into a New York Wall Street firm, I spent whatever money I had saved from graduation gifts on suits and ties from the discount men's store. The weekend before I started I sprained my ankle playing basketball and that first month I greeted my new coworkers with a bushy black beard, pinstripes, and a cane, looking like a hipster version of DeCaprio's Wolf of Wall Street. I stood out like a sore thumb - or sprained ankle as it were. And it didn't get much better until I …

Have Social Media Grammar Police Gone Too Far?

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Full disclosure: Every thing I've written has had at least one comma or apostrophe out of place...Maybe a letter or word omitted in haste when meeting a tight deadline. I'm not proud of the fact, but it goes with the territory. It's not that I'm careless, or couldn't care less as it were, but like many writers I "see" the finished product in my head. I've always known about this shortcoming and praise copy editors as unsung heroes who make us better while preserving the sanctity of the written word in our increasingly video-obsessed society. 

Like the make up artists and camera operators are to the actor, editors and copy editors make us writers look good -- or at least better. (Heck, I even married my copy editor years ago, and not surprisingly, my column and scripts haven't read so messy since we split.)  So in short, writers need copy editors and we should all strive to be grammatically correct when we speak and write. Copy editors val…

Content Marketing: Let Search Engines Be Your Captain

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When I write, I try to do it clearly using words and thoughts which may impress, but my intent is always to enlighten. As a screenwriter, I write what moves me and what I feel will move others. But as a digital content marketing writer for business, I write what moves products.

As a digital marketing consultant, I'm often asked to write website content: from the wire frame structure, calls-to-action (CTAs), emails, eBooks, landing pages, and of course blogs. And often there are long debates and discussions about what to include and what to call it and how long or short it should be. Afterwards, I'm often asked to make the copy more ____*(fun, hip, youthful, financial, techy, you fill in the blank).

My reaction is always the same. If content is king, then Google is the King's Army. Just like that tense scene in "Captain Philips," I get serious, look the client in the eye and say: "Google. Google is the Captain Now. Google decides."

Today, smart…

Social Media: No One "Likes" Your Facebook Company Page

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Good news: you created a company page on Facebook for your new business! Bad news? The novelty is gone. Nobody cares anymore. No really. Well I certainly don't, and not  because I'm a cantankerous curmudgeon. It's because I know what will happen when I do.


Liking one page means Facebook "thinks" you'd like similar pages, so it's algorithm bombards you with similar page suggestions. And the real reason we "Liked" most pages in the first place is "likely" out of guilt. Friends, exes, work associates, work friends who became exes -- oh who cares! Just click the button and help the person get free publicity and some mojo going. That's just my point: it doesn't help that either. Being social media savvy, I try to explain this to those in my life but it never ends well. (OK the cantankerous curmudgeon plays into it as well).

The mistake companies make (be they large or small) is concentrate on sending the page to coworkers, friend…

Area Code Red: Our Increasing Phone Phobias

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I'd bet you can recite your parents home number as fast as your own cell number, but many don't know their spouse's or significant others cell number because it's programmed into their phone. There's no need to remember it, so we don't.  

But we dorecognize it.

Do you answer your phone when you don't recognize the number? Most people don't - perhaps fearing it's an ex or something much worse: a telemarketer. But it might be the doctor's office, your kid's school, or another important caller? So it's not really that we don't recognize the number, it's we don't answer when we don't recognize the area code.

I just changed my phone number to feel more part of my new community. OK it really had more to do with avoiding the increasing phone phobia. I was tired of hearing "Sorry. I didn't answer. I didn't recognize the area code. I didn't know it was you." We've reached an age where we panic…

Make it a Corporate Bio. Not a Lie-o.

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Everyone except writers hate writing. Correction: everyone - especially writers - hate writing. It's an arduous process. We often do it, well frankly, because often we can't find anything else we can do better. And are pleased with the end result. But no one, writer or otherwise, is ever pleased with a bio. Be it theirs or someone else's.
Everyone's been there. You get the dreaded email from marketing or HR:
"Can you write a few paragraphs about yourself?" Ugh. Great now you need to boil down an entire existence into three paragraphs (space permitting). You avoid it hoping the requester will forget but of course they don't. They pester (I mean politely remind you) so you spend hours on it. Hate it. Bring it home. Hate it more. Then finally you finish. And the results are always the same.
"I've done nothing. The End." The reason process is so hard and the results so unrewarding is because most people go about bios the wrong way. Peopl…

Wasn't that Super Bowl Amazing?! or Proactive Social Media

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New England. Seattle. What a game that was! Yes I said was. No, this article wasn't posted a week early. It's in fact timed perfectly because it's not about the big game, it's about the social media game around scheduled events.

Good luck getting your post noticed nonetheless your message received next Monday morning. The Web will be overflowing with Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagrams, blogs, and commentary on the successes, failures, bad calls, and great plays of Super Bowl 49 (Sorry. English Major here. I don't do Roman Numerals).

But today, rather than my words getting lost in a sea of Monday morning social media mayhem, you're reading this Super Bowl themed article. I've got your attention and you'll listen to what I've got to offer. Touchdown, and the extra point is good.

First rule in social media event strategy is say it first. You can run the risk of saying the wrong thing, but that can be avoided if you've got the right peop…

Is that Job Posting...Really a Job Posting?

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Many people devoted some of this weekend to updating their resume and look for a new job.

Back in prehistoric times, when resumés were printed on paper (Admit it my fellow dinosaurs.You remember), applying for jobs was a very different process. You'd check the local paper on Sunday, write targeted cover letters and address envelopes (maybe on that typewriter thingy?) carefully fold a copy of your resume, mail it out and hope for the best. And somehow it worked, and you got a call by Friday. But sometimes you didn't, despite the fact that you were perfect for the job.

In pre-Internet days, I remember seeing two piles of resumés on my boss's desk. In the first pile were resumés of people who were referred word of mouth by coworkers, friends, and/or other departments. In the second pile were resumés collected from newspaper job postings all still in their unopened envelopes. Those resumés would be "kept on file" until the next ad was posted six months later at whic…

Office Romances and the 3 Mistakes You'll Make

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Yes, I know she's "not like the others."

Yes I know he's cute, kind, smart, and smiles like he can read your mind.

But...

There's often no better way to find a compatible match than at the office as a recent study has shown. You get to see how they work, deal with stress, and interact with others. You've chosen the same career path so you have built-in commonalities. And they're sitting right across the cubicle from you so how's that for a short commute? It's how Barrack met Michelle. How Ashton met Mila. How I met the mother of my daughter. So I can't knock it.

But...

You need to think about this one. Really think. Because an office romance is a risk to your career. (Notice I said it is and not can be?) But like any great risk, in can bring great rewards so you just need to be smart about how you go about it.
Mistake 1: Working together and not "working together" One of my first corporate jobs was for a large company that hire…

LinkedIn or LinkedOut: Can a Split Profile Work Against You?

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If your career path has taken extreme detours, will an accurate and honest LinkedIn profile actually hurt your career instead of help it? As much as people like those "3 Reasons Why.." and "The Top 10 Ways..." articles, this is not one of them. This is about only one topic. One message in fact that I received from an old friend the other day regarding LinkedIn. He reads my articles and posed what I thought was a rather interesting challenge:
"You seem to have this whole LinkedIn thing figured out," he said. "But I don't. In fact, I think being on LinkedIn is actually hurting my career -- not helping it. I'm actually planning on deleting my account. I'm going to call you tomorrow and want to see if you can convince me otherwise." Challenge accepted.

I see articles every week on LinkedIn about improving or enhancing your profile, to generate leads, to increase your network, to get hired, to avoid getting fired, but they are a…