“Social” Networking? – Stop using the standard LinkedIn connection request

I love social networking.  It’s part of my job, it’s part of my personal life, and I just enjoy connecting with people and sharing info, ideas, and more.  For business networking, I think LinkedIn provides a tremendous amount of value so I try to make connections there when possible.  I have connected with friends, colleagues both past and present, customers, thought leaders, vendors, and more.  If I receive a connection request from someone I know, it’s nice when they personalize the connection request but I understand if they don’t.  (For the record, early in my LinkedIn years I sent several non-personalized requests out to people I knew closely)

With that said, I continue to be surprised by the amount of connection requests I get sent from people I don’t know, from companies I don’ know, who don’t have a picture, I don’t share any connections with, AND don’t take the time to customize the connection request.

See below for an example:

 

If I received this request and it said “Hi, we haven’t been introduced but I work in Customer Service for XYZ company.  I came across your name when I was searching for XYZ and I thought it would make sense for us to connect on LinkedIn.” I would be much more inclined to accept the request.

If you are taking the time to connect with someone, especially with someone you don’t know, why not take the extra minute to type up an introduction?  Social networking is about being social.  I wouldn’t just walk up to someone I didn’t know, hand them my business card, and say “here.”  By adding some customized text explaining how you know someone or why you want to connect, you show that person that you can add value to the connection and that it makes sense to connect.

Be social, but don’t be lazy!

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“Social” Networking? – Stop using the standard LinkedIn connection request

“Social Secret Sauce? There is none.” And other notes from the B2B Corporate Social Media Summit

What is the meaning of life?  Why is coffee so delicious?  What are other people doing for B2B social media?  What is the secret to social media success?

This week I attended the B2B Corporate Social Media Summit in Philadelphia from Useful Social Media to get answers to some of my questions.  While I unfortunately did not learn about the meaning of life or unique molecular components of coffee, I did get a few other questions answered.   This turned out to be a great event and I met lots of interesting people from Marketing Managers to VP’s of Social Media, and everything in between.  For me, one of the best things I learned from the summit is that different people and organizations define social media success differently, and while there are many best practices out there, even the social media teams at very large corporations are still trying to figure out exactly what tools to use, what content to share, and more.

The following notes are the things I found important enough to write down:

Many tools (Some paid, some free) exist to help make social media easier, more efficient, and measurable.  I am going to check into some of these:

  • Radian6 was mentioned a lot for monitoring/analysis
  • Twiangulate was mentioned as a great tool for finding out more about your followers.
  • Sprinklr was talked about several times for social media management, monitoring, analysis.
  • Topsy was mentioned as a great search tool.
  • Cmp.ly‘s CMO was in attendance and their platform sounds great for organizations wanting to use social while maintaining compliance or regulatory standards.
  • HARO is a free service you can sign up for to connect with journalists for PR opportunities.
  • Spredfast was recommended a few times as a good social media management tool.
  • Finally, Tweetreach was discussed as a good way to see the reach of your tweets.

Memorable quotes:

  • Stalk before you talk.
  • Content is king!
  • Content is NOT king!  The customer is king!
  • You don’t have to be on every social network.  Be on the one(s) that make sense for your organization’s target audience.
  • For B2B, why are more people not focusing more efforts on LinkedIn?
  • You will be more successful at social if you plan your posts (ie editorial calendar)
  • People trust people, not brands.
  • Humanize the brand.  Post staff pics.
  • When someone comments negatively, use it as an opportunity to show others how you respond quickly and fix it.
  • Hit the influencer
  • Customize your content to fit the platform.  (Facebook users like video/pics, Twitter is ok with text, etc)
  • Social is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Finally, the most important tip I learned was that when it comes to social, there is no secret sauce.  Successful social takes time, consistency, creativity, a desire to have fun!, and being human.

The speakers were all fantastic!  Kudos to these folks.

“Social Secret Sauce? There is none.” And other notes from the B2B Corporate Social Media Summit

How I made my cubicle an office and stopped multi-tasking

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Like many people, I work in an open office (aka cubicle filled) environment designed to promote teamwork, transparency, group-sharing, etc.  Unfortunately, I have found it really just promotes nearly constant interruption, distraction, and stress.  People toss around the term “multi-tasking” as an excellent skill set to have.  In fact, I have seen this as a requirement on many job listings, usually written like “must have ability to multi-task in dynamic environments.”

I personally think multi-tasking causes people to just do multiple things poorly at the same time.  For some people the open office environment may work well, but it just doesn’t for me.  So two days ago, I decided to make my cubicle an office using one simple step.  No, I didn’t go all “Office Space” and start moving cubicles/walls around.  This fix was much easier.  Headphones.  Yes, I said it, headphones.

I had been trying to re-write and condense a 25 page proposal document template for our sales team for about 2 weeks.  It wasn’t a high priority task, but it was time I got around to finishing this up, but every time I started working on it I was side-tracked after 10 or 20 minutes until I would try again a day or two later.  This went on for almost 2 weeks, until I had a light-bulb moment.  What if I put headphones on, and cranked some music to drone out the all the noises, hallway conversations, and cross-talk?

I took my iPhone earbuds out of the box, loaded up the Pandora app, and created a pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) 15 page proposal template with all new graphics, diagrams and text, in 1 day.  Now I know what you’re thinking, how is it possible that I didn’t get interrupted for a day.  Well, I still did.  I took 5 or 6 calls and did answer several emails.  But, the difference in this case is that as soon as the call or email was complete, I pushed play on my iPhone and immediately I was back on track working on the task at hand.

Obviously this method may not work for everyone at all times, but if you are like me and can get distracted easily in a cubicle environment when you have a large and daunting task to complete, why not give this a shot?

How I made my cubicle an office and stopped multi-tasking

2 years later

Okay okay, I know what you’re thinking.  It took 2 years to post a follow-up from the start of this blog.  Pitiful right?  I agree.

With that said, a lot has changed in 2 years, both for me and for the industry in general.  I moved out of Sales and into Marketing/Biz Dev about 6 months ago.  I have my work cut out for me, especially with updating our website which has been a bit stale for at least a few years now.  I’ve  started a social media presence (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +) for us and am working on updated collateral for digital and print.

Lots of other exciting things coming up, so check back soon!

2 years later

Let’s get it started!

Every blog has it’s obligatory first post so without further ado, here is mine.  I am excited to be starting this blog and look forward to learning and sharing about my interests and hopefully hearing from other people with similar interests.  What are my interests you ask?  Here is the short list that this blog will focus on:

  • Sales, Marketing, and Social Media
  • Business news and strategy
  • Technology, specifically Data Centers, The Web, Gadgets

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Let’s get it started!