Who does that?

“Who does that,” he asked? But that was not his real question. The answer to that question was simply Google for someone.

I was talking with an associate about an animated instructional video I had found that illustrated how to use a complicated product. The video boiled the product down into its basic functions and presented it clearly and concisely. He wanted an animated video for his product that was equally as complex.

His real question was:

“How do I find someone who knows what I need and want, won’t take me to the cleaners, won’t frustrate me by making me responsible for the tiny details of the project and will just handle it? How do I find someone I can trust?”

Be that person and you have a loyal client for life.

Originally published at GerardMclean.com

Quit promoting yourself. Now promote yourself

Chis Brogan wrote this post yesterday about how to do SXSW right. Marjorie Clayman popped into the comments and said “Make sure you send out a press release” that started a debate of sorts.

I think Marjorie is more right, but I’m going to offer an abbreviated case study of how my company, Rivershark, helped “promote” a client on a recent speech he gave at St. Joseph’s University to a group in the retail and food industry. Short story long, he walked his own talk and stood out.

A week before David Rich of ICC/Decision Services was to speak at the annual Food Industry Summit, his company put out a press release saying he was going to be there and what he was going to talk about. It was short, direct and to the point. There were no platitudes, no grand statements.. just a standard 5W, AP-styled release. We posted it to his company’s web site, sent it over to PR Newswire and published it to trade associations like NARMS of which he is a member. (BTW, few people do this last step. Few trade associations do member news. All of them should.)

We then helped distribute through the various social media outposts like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.

We wrote a series of blog posts on social media and retail, one of them written by David. He had been writing on the use of social media in mystery shopping, customer intercepts and experience for a couple years so this wasn’t a “shell game” we were running. In fact, ICC/Decision Services is very much walking their talk and has been for a while. You can check out their blog posts, Google David for other connections about the use of social media in retail, find out he is the past president of the MSPA and all that. He has the credentials.

And I’m sure a lot of people attending the conference did just that. Some of them did it in real time.

The day before David went on, we wrote a blog post that gave a preview of his talk, outlining his main points.

The day after his talk, he wrote a summary blog post. All of this was supported by tweeting out, posting to LinkedIn discussion groups, etc.

Does this seem like a lot of work for a 15-minute speech to a small group of folks in the food industry? Sure does, but in the 365/24/7 business world, this is probably the new minimum. Being the leader in something means you are willing and able to do just a little bit more than the pack. The reward is you stand out.

Is this what Marjorie Clayman meant when she said “make sure you send out a press release?” Probably not entirely. Hopefully we are able to take that advice and move out into the social media space with a little more deft than thumping our chest and say, “Look at me, look at me.”

Hopefully all this helps our potential clients find us and make quick decisions about how legit we are. That we walk our own talk.

*I didn’t tell you EVERYTHING my company did for David and ICC/Decision Services nor everything David did for himself. That’s the part that cost money. :-)

Originally published at GerardMclean.com

The grown-ups are talking. Why Chrysler did the right thing

By now, you may have heard about the accidental f-bomb that an employee of New Media Strategies tweeted on the Chrysler twitter account. If you haven’t, it is here.

Social media has grown up. It’s what everyone who provides social media to business wanted. Yet the overwhelming opinion within the twitter elite leans toward things like “it’s just a tweet” and “you should turn this into a customer engagement moment” and “firing the employee was cruel.”

They are wrong. Two years ago, it would not have mattered. Today, the employee screwed up very, very badly.

Twitter can either be a serious business tool for companies to engage in social media or it is just a fun thing that nobody cares about. As a social media professional, you can’t say it is both in every situation. For a company like Chrysler, dropping an f-bomb or disparaging the City of Detroit on their twitter account is a terminable offense. Your brother-in-law who is driving in from Dayton, Ohio to visit you in Detroit saying the same thing on his twitter account is an opportunity for Chrysler to engage (unless he works for or supplies goods or services to Chrysler.)

AdAge is reporting that Chrysler is not renewing its contract with New Media Strategies. And rightly so. According to its twitter profile, New Media Strategies “established the world’s first social media marketing firm in 1999.” That has given them twelve years to establish account controls to ensure this never, ever, ever happens.

In 2011, mixing up client and personal twitter accounts is akin to a bank depositing funds in the wrong account. It just should never, ever, ever happen.

If you are pining for the good ol’ days of twitter where your audience was just fellow geeks and nerds, it is time for you to move on or grow up.

From the same episode of Mad Men* I borrowed the title, you can’t go out there, but I can. Because I am wearing a suit and tie. And you are still donning sandals, bell-bottoms, wrinkled shirts and peasant skirts. And you curse.

*Mad Men, Season One, Episode 8 The Hobo Code

Originally published at GerardMclean.com

Stay on target and ignore social media flak

I’m not a big movie buff, but there are some exceptional scenes that stick in my head that are so useful as metaphors for other things in life they are hard to forget. One of these such scenes is in the original Star Wars when Luke is attempting to drop a charge into the two meter square achilles heel of the Death Star while his commander repeated “Stay on target” into the headset.

I was working on a social media piece with a client this week. As I was going through all the pieces and parts that we had been accumulating, curating and massaging over the past three years, that voice went off in my head; “stay on target… stay on target.” What prompted this was a tendency of the group to veer off into the newest, shiniest new social media thing where everyone in the room would either get quickly overwhelmed with the out-of-control entropy that resulted in thinking about how to manage all of this or shut down and want to do none of it.

My job was to keep everybody focused on the target, to keep things simple, manageable, understandable and effective.

Stay on target.

Even as I was guiding the fighter into the narrow channel, trying to hit that sweet spot, a distraction popped into my email inbox promising even greater rewards if I just took my eyes of MY target and looked at theirs. But I’ve been flying these skies enough to know that their promise of success was not going to be MY success; it will be theirs.

Stay on target.

Remember why you are doing all this social media in the first place and learn to ignore all the other distractions flying around in your head. Without focus — and faith in yourself and your mission — you’ll never hit your target.

Originally published at GerardMclean.com

What scares business people about social media

This does.

I don’t doubt each one of these folks is an expert at implementing a social media plan for business and the service they are offering is spot on, but as a typical small business owner, the presentation in their profile photos is an immediate turn off for someone who is already apprehensive about someone who may or may not take them to the cleaners selling them something they may or may not need.

Small business people are already scared or apathetic about social media. They don’t need their worst fears confirmed by stereotypes.

Clean up the dress.

Tone down the quirky.

Use your indoor voice.

Wipe your feet.

And put your best foot forward.