What can we learn about Social Media from the Carwash Business?

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What can we learn about Social Media from the Carwash Business?

This article originally appeared in Professional Carwashing & Detailing where I was interviewed about Social Media. I thought you might find tips and relevant information here for your business.

Earning likes and profits

How to use social media to build customer relations and improve business

APRIL 28, 2014
Social media is one of the biggest buzz words in the business world, and it’s something that everyone says you need, but not everyone understands how to use. Professional Carwashing & Detailing interviewed three experts in the field of social media about how carwashes can best utilize it for public relations and marketing purposes. And while Facebook is still the most important social media site, there are others that you should be using to help improve your customer realations and get the word out about your carwash, according to the experts.

The 800 Pound gorilla

Facebook may have lost some of its “cool factor” with the youth, but Blane Russell, president of Social Eyes Marketing, said it’s still the most important social media website. “Make sure you’re doing Facebook in a big way, because it’s the 800 pound gorilla,” he said.

Facebook and why works to improve profits for washes

J.R. Atkins is the author of the book “Social Media 2.0,” and also a speaker and consultant on social media. He said that “Facebook is definitely the place to start, and then grow based upon your market and what you learn from Facebook.” While Facebook isn’t the only social media website you should use, Erin Sullivan, social media manager, agrees that it’s the most important resource for carwashes. “For the carwash industry Facebook is still number one.” She said that both Facebook and carwash industry appeal to a large audience, which makes them an ideal fit.

How to maximize your Facebook experience

The experts have some tips on making Facebook a good use of your time. Russell said that using Facebook to give away free carwashes is one way that his clients have gained followers. The hard cost of the wash is very low, and the number of followers it can help you get is high, he said. Facebook isn’t just about selling you to people, it’s also about entertaining them, according to Russell. “Everyone’s natural nature is to try to sell all the time, but if you want to get liked, amuse them, and they’ll like your page” he said. “Ask open ended questions, like: “Does your car have a name, and if so, why,” and you’ll start a conversation rather than turn people off with a sales pitch. He also recommends that you post regularly, at least a couple times a week, and that you have some humor and personality in your posts, so that people appreciate them. More articles on: Social media Social media is about building up loyalty and community, according to Atkins. He said it’s important to respond back to people on Facebook that contact you, and create posts that are designed around the types of things that your customer base is interested in. Facebook isn’t just about getting new customers, but keeping ones you have, according to Atkins. He said wash owners he’s worked with tell him that by “using social media, my customers keep coming back, and don’t stray.” A loyal customer is very valuable to a carwash, so keep them informed about what’s going on at you wash. By creating a Facebook account, and not using it, Sullivan says you’re doing more harm than good. “It hurts the business more than anything when they [Facebook account owners] don’t pay attention.” People recognize quickly when you aren’t engaged in your Facebook account, and not only will they not like your page, but they might think less of your business, she said. Her recommendation is to show some personality, and realize that every post you make doesn’t have to be about carwashes. “Your customers are not simply carwash customers, they have other interests as well,” she said. Another tip Sullivan has is to link your other social media accounts to Facebook when possible, to eliminate extra work, and connect across multiple platforms.

Professional connections on LinkedIn

While Facebook is still the most important social media website, there are many others that your wash can benefit from using. LinkedIn is a place that people go to discuss business, and because of that it has some advantages over other social media outlets. Atkins said that it’s “where your professional credentials live online.” He added that LinkedIn is important for wash owners who are hands on, and looking to work with other established businesses. LinkedIn is a better place to communicate professionally, according to Sullivan, who said it is definitely a supplemental tool, but can be effective for certain business situations. Russell agreed with the other experts that the major advantage about communicating on LinkedIn is that “no one will get upset or offended if you’re direct with them” about wanting to talk business. Setting up a profile, and learning how to use LinkedIn is very simple, so while you may not see a big initial return from creating an account, you will have a “virtual resume” and a place to connect with other businesses, according to the experts.

The pluses of Google+

While Google+ hasn’t taken off the way many predicted, it does have importance as a social media tool, even if it’s in a way that you might not think. “If you own a business, you need to have a presence,” said Russell. He also recommends usingGoogle Local as the place all of your reviews are put through to improve your search rankings, and get the word out about the great work your carwash does. More articles on: Multi-profit centers Google holds a lot of power as a search engine, and adding your business to Google+ gives your wash a better ability to be featured highly when a customer searches for it, according to Atkins. When you use Google’s search engine for a carwash that has a Google+ account, you will see information for its Google+ on the search page. “Google+ is definite must have now,” said Sullivan. She explained why it’s so important for business owners. “If I have a Google+ page, I now control what shows up in the Google search. When it comes up in search results, it will have the carwash name, it’s pulling the name, the description, the information … you know can dictate through your Google+ page.” She added that it’s important to get your presence on Google+ now, while it’s still an overlooked medium. It may not be the place you will go to communicate with your audience, but if you’re not on Google+ you’re missing out on improving your search engine optimization, which is one of the major ways people find out about a business.

Getting the picture with Instagram

The experts see Instagram as a supplemental tool, but an important one none the less. And the best thing about it is how simple it is to use. Grab your smartphone, take a picture, write a caption, add a few hashtags, and you’re done. “The beauty of Instagram is that people are going to promote you if they get excited about what you’re doing,” said Russell. Instagram is particularly popular with young people, and learning how to use it now can keep you ahead of the pack. Instagram is the perfect place to host pictures you’ve taken for a charity event or to showcase something unique or interesting that happened at your wash, according to Atkins. Another great thing about it is that it can be integrated with other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. For example, Atkins said you could “promote your event on Facebook, and then post pictures of the event on Instagram.” The ability to place pictures across multiple platforms makes Instagram a tool that can help you increase your Facebook and Twitter as well. “People respond to visuals more than something they read,” said Sullivan, which is a major reason why Instagram has become so popular. She sees it as an additional tool, and one any wash owner can utilize because of its simplicity. “It’s a good sort of extra … I think it’s a clear winner for how easy it is to use, and connect with other platforms.” Signing up for an account takes minutes, and you’ll be snapping pictures and posting them on Facebook and Twitter in no time. Taking pictures is fun, and Instagram is so easy to use.

How to follow Twitter

While Twitter is a platform that seems pervasive in our society, it is also the one that most people don’t understand how to use well, according to Atkins. You might not use Twitter to cultivate a following, but it is a great place to get direct feedback from your customers, he added. Read also: How to start a carwash articles Twitter is the place that you can “turn a raving lunatic into a raving fan,” according to Atkins. The way you do that is by responding to people who tweet you. For direct communication, Atkins sees Twitter as a better tool than Facebook, “it’s like texting,” he said. If someone finds you on Twitter and asks you a question, it’s easy to grab your smartphone or hop on your computer, and immediately respond back. If Facebook is the place to communicate to people, Twitter is the place for people to communicate to you. “It’s a conversation more so than other social media sites,” said Sullivan. “You need to expect to interact.” Twitter, more than Facebook, is about a two way communication between you and your audience, according Russell. Sullivan recommends how you can use Twitter as more than a way to communicate with your customers. She said you start by following some hashtags, and seeing what successful carwashes and other businesses do when they’re tweeting. It’s also important to think of the phrases that your customers would be searching for, and post on those hashtags. Russell said one way to effectively use Twitter is to find the important people within your community, and tweet them. Twitter is a conversation, so just like talking to people, there’s ettiquette, and things you can do to make follow and unfollow you. Once you figure out how to have a conversation on Twitter it can be a great tool. Even if you don’t want to utilize it for communicating to your audience, you should have an account so they can communicate to you.

Taking it all in and having fun with it

Facebook is still the most important tool you have at your disposal, but there are many other sites that offer their niche that can help improve your profits. If you need to connect with a local business, there’s LinkedIn. If you want more people to find you on Internet searches, use Google+. Want to speak directly with your customers, tweet them on Twitter. Need somewhere to showcase all those great pictures from the charity even you did? Well put them on Instagram. Social media doesn’t have to be hard work; in fact our experts recommend that you make it fun. Come up with a contest, and hype it up on Facebook, respond back to your customers on Twitter, and use Instagram to show pictures of the event. There continues to be those who don’t think social media is a viable resource. However, as Atkins joked, “If you can overturn the government of Egypt [with social media], I think we can increase sales 10 percent.”


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Once you get your VidMill video produced, let Something Different Companies help you promote it via your Website, Social Media, Email Marketing or other methods.


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The Value of Quiet Time

Throughout my life, I have sought to balance the stress of life with a few minutes of quiet time. A recent week full of events, work and personal commitments caused me to take a closer look at the value of quiet time.

Author J.R. Atkins on the important of reflectionThink & Reflect Quiet time allows me to think about my life, activities, issues and opportunities and attach or remove meaning from them. When one project ends, what did I learn and how did I benefit from the project; how will I utilize those lessons in the future? When I get angry at someone or something, my quiet time allows me to re-think my role in the anger and the effect of the anger on my life.

Guidance It is during my still quiet moments that I seek guidance for my life; where I listen for messages, contemplate issues and prepare for action. Once I perceive guidance, I feel more comfortable about my plans and activities.

Prioritizing There are so many ways we can spend our time, money and resources, how do we choose what to do and when to do it? My quiet time allows me to think about priorities and make adjustments. After all, you can get more money, but you cannot get more time.

Author J.R> Atkins speaks on VisionReviewing Goals Occasionally I’ll look at my written goals, visions and beliefs. I write these at the beginning of the year as a sort of annual plan for my life. It covers mental, spiritual, financial, physical, emotional, recreational and relational goals. Each time I review these plans I make notes, adding and deleting to the plans as life dictates. Through my quiet time I get to be honest with myself as ask “are you doing and being the kind of person you say you want to do and be?”

Feed the Vision It is in our quiet time in which we get to imagine our future as we desire it to be. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill writes of the power of our desire and determination and how we can have whatever we want in life, if we simply use our minds.

Reading Good Books I enjoy reading fiction and it can feed my mind but when I speak of reading good books I’m speaking of reading non-fiction; biographies, history, current periodicals and more. I suggest that together, reading and reflecting, can create powerful results in our life and for reflection our brains and Author J.R. Atkins recommends think & grow richbodies need quiet time

Do you take time for peace and quiet in your life? I’d like to hear your ideas about how quiet time affects you. Do you have a special place, a chair, inside or outside, maybe a garden? Do you meditate as a part of your still quiet moments? Please call, email or add your comments to my blog at:

Events Worth Considering

06/01   Saturday at the Warwick Melrose
06/02 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/04 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/05 Inside the CIA with Author Jason Matthews
06/06 DFW AMA Dallas Meet & Greet
06/06 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/08 Family Day at Meadows Museum
06/09 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/11 How Social Media Helped RG III Win the Heisman
06/11 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/13 Social Media: What’s Working, What’s New With J.R. Atkins
06/13 Dino Patti Djalal, Ambassador of Indonesia to the U.S
06/13 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/14 Men’s Steak Night with John Quinn
06/16 Sailing: Dallas Race Week 2013
06/16 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/17 From Social Media to Mobile Apps with J.R. Atkins
06/18 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/19 Social Media for the Over 50 Crowd by J.R. Atkins
06/20 TeXchange Summer Social @LoneStarPark
06/20 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/23 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/25 Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz Carlton
06/25 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/26 Social Media for the Over 50 Crowd by J.R. Atkins
06/27 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/29 Social Media in DFW~2013 with J.R. Atkins
06/30 Social Media in DFW~2013 with Others
06/30 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570


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A Guided Experience to SXSW V2V 2013

“South by South West Version 2 Vegas”  at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

 

SXSW V2V offers innovators and entrepreneurs across all creative industries a space to learn the skills, make the connections and find the inspiration to take their ideas and talents to the next level. Join over 1500 thought leaders for this first ever SXSW event in Las Vegas.

The startup and venture capital space is of major interest to all the creative industries that are at the core of the SXSW family of events. Featuring four days of informative panels and workshops, inspirational speakers, intensive mentor and coaching programs, networking events and receptions, pitch competitions and startup showcases. If you are involved in building an app, a service, a business, a brand or a community, then this event is for you.

Join SXSWv2v August 11 through August 14, 2013 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada for extension and re-imagining of the legendary SXSW Austin experience with an emphasis on the creative spark that drives entrepreneurial innovation. Learn more about this exciting event at sxswv2v.com. ($895.00 +travel & meals)

If you are interested in a guided experience by an industry leading technologist, reach out to jratkins@SomethingDifferentCompanies.com. You will have a personal escort to panel discussions, workshops and other events who will add context to the discussion, who can relate the topics and technology to your business, as well as help you make the most of your time and interest. (call for pricing, 214-707-1705)

Schedule Overview

SXSW v2v, J.R. Atkins, guided experience


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Why is everyone Hyping Video?

Because if a picture is worth 1000 words, a video is worth 100,000 or 1,000,000 words. It’s the next best thing to being there. If you are fond of saying “when people meet with me they buy” or when someone understands what we do, they buy, or give, or join us … then video communication is for you.

J.R. Atkins, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Something Different CompaniesThe least expensive and quickest way to share video is to shoot and post from your smart phone. You can do this by using your phone’s camera and mobile apps to share such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and others.

You can also use specialized apps such as Vine, Social Cam, Tout, DigiSocial, and Viddy to capture and post short video segments. Yet, the stalwarts of video sharing are YouTube, Vimeo, your website, and your blog.

Short videos, about 60 seconds, generate interest and are easy to share if they are entertaining, informative or news worthy. Long videos, about 2 minutes to 20 minutes, are great for “how to” help. This is how my son and I learned how to change the oil on his motorcycle.

To get the word out, I recommend companies use email and social media to provide a link back to their video content. It also helps to explain the video in the email or social media post so the person gets the message even if they do not watch your video.

Good luck using video. I look forward to hearing how you are using video to generate results.

Events Worth Considering


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We Will Soon Generated 5 Billion GB of Data Every 10 Min.

Author & Consultant J.R> Atkins address information overload in digital timesA recent article in the Wall Street Journal states “From the beginning of time until 2003 we generated 5 billion gigabytes of data. In a year, we’ll generate that much data every 10 minutes. How do you avoid information overload?”

An audience member will often ask me this when I speak and my answer is simple but challenging – Balance! this easier said then done but in short, we need to spend some amount of time unengaged for every we spend engaged in media – Social Media, Website, Mobile Apps, TV, Radio, Reading, … In other wise, the key to balance is a few minutes of quiet time each day.

How do you keep your sanity? Do you have any tricks you can share? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Check out the “Three Keys to Beating Information Overload” by Paul A. Laudicina in the Wall Street Journal.

Imagine having—at last—the entire knowledge of human civilization at your fingertips, and finding that it basically gives you a migraine. With the relentless 24/7 information smog of always-on news, e-mail, and social media, most of us are not feeling smarter or wiser these days. Just consider: from the beginning of time until 2003 we generated 5 billion gigabytes of data (“Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think,” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler). By next year we will generate that much data every ten minutes. Is it any wonder our ability to think and act with the future in mind has diminished with the daily assault on our over-stimulated brains?

The temptation is to tune out what you can’t control (which is pretty much everything), and focus entirely on the few things you can—from the comfort of your private cocoon. But unlike some, I think going on a media diet or fast is neither realistic nor productive. In today’s complex world, you need to be a talent scout and an information omnivore, and ideally a discerning omnivore.

This might sound like an oxymoron, but let me explain. Clay Johnson, a successful practitioner of political campaigning using the Internet, makes the point that it’s not so much information overload people are dealing with, but rather information overconsumption of the wrong kind. He thinks we read and watch too much information from sources that merely affirm what we already think. I agree.

The first step I would recommend to anyone is to subscribe to—and read—a print newspaper or two. A recent University of Maryland study found that young people the world over think that the news they need finds them, not the other way around. But if you consume news online, you may miss a story that is relevant to a problem you face at work, or learning about an individual who makes you consider an issue in a new light. Online browsing – particularly when so much of today’s content is algorithmically pushed to us based on previous site visits and habits — keeps us from experiencing these serendipitous stories, which can have an unexpected impact on our thinking.

I would also recommend that if you only read relatively highbrow publications (like this one), you should regularly browse the likes of People, Hello! and Entertainment Weekly. Likewise, if you are immersed in pop culture, sports, and social media, I’d advise you to regularly peruse news sources that focus on politics, business, and economics. There is great danger in traveling the same mental routes every day and becoming a “silo” expert when we need more generalists.

And if you want to expose yourself to emerging leaders and tap into the world’s brainpower hubs, you also must realize that reputations are lagging indicators. Looking at rankings is like looking at the nighttime sky: You see the light, but it’s coming from the past. To meet those who are young, hungry, and full of promise, meet everyone you can in your firm. Talk with your seatmates on your next flight. See who your direct reports admire at work and make their acquaintance. You may be pressed for time, but time isn’t the most important ingredient in business: it’s people—and what they know.

Yes, there are times to unplug. Effective people in any occupation do not zoom at warp spe

Author J.R. Atkins recommends “Beating the Global Odds: Successful Decision-Making in a Confused and Troubled World.”

ed continuously; even field generals retreat to move forward. Finding time to pause, think, reflect, recharge, and be creative is absolutely essential to success in any field. We need to take stock of things overlooked in the hubbub of daily life.

The future belongs not to those who turn down the volume, cancel their subscriptions, or unplug. Instead it will go to those who vary their information diets, listen for important but subtle “weak signals,” and go out into the world to discover remarkable people, ideas, places, products, and services for themselves. Take it all in, as the discerning omnivore you ought to be.

Paul A. Laudicina is managing partner and chairman of the board of A.T. Kearney and the author of “Beating the Global Odds: Successful Decision-Making in a Confused and Troubled World.”


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The Power of Being Linkedin

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins teaches success with LinkedInBy now, most business professionals have a profile on LinkedIn. Occasionally, I will meet someone new to the business community who does not have LinkedIn, yet. Or, I meet someone from an academic background or in a role in a large organization where they thought they did not “need” LinkedIn. These are short sighted folks, for LinkedIn is the online representation of our in-person network. In years past, you would see a Rolodex on a desk as a representation of an in-person network; others carried a little black book. Yet, LinkedIn is so much more than a list of contacts. LinkedIn is a robust communication tool, research tool, lead generation tool, prospecting tool, as well as a place to showcase our subject matter expertise. And yes, when we are looking for work or projects, it serves as an on-line resume. With this said, let’s explore some ways to get the most out of LinkedIn and discover The Power of Being LinkedIn.

The diagram below can serve as a road map to success when using LinkedIn. Each dialogue box represents a way to generate results with LinkedIn.

Author, Professional Speaker & Consultant J.R. Atkins tells how to harness The Power of LinkedIn

 

Daily Post – Your daily conversation with others on LinkedIn is how you build relationships that will lead to results. Don’t let the automatic updates that LinkedIn provides get in your way. I’ve heard people say the posts they see on LinkedIn are not very relevant, such as “Barry is now connected to Brittany.” I encourage you to scroll down and look for the more meaningful comments that relate to you. These posts can start a conversation and lead to a relationship that leads to business.

Groups – Groups are Golden! These are people that gather around a topic, association, industry, company, anything that provides a shared interest among the group members. Like a daily post, these posts can start a conversation and lead to a relationship that leads to business. Think of daily posts as sharing with people you are connected to on LinkedIn, where groups are people that have a shared interest yet may not be connected on LinkedIn. To make the most of groups, you want to “attend” daily, to participate in the conversation with meaningful commentary and ask thought provoking and relevant questions.

Questions & Answers – In the LinkedIn tool bar you will see the word “More” and the first option in the dropdown is “answers.” By participating in this area of LinkedIn, you can become known as a “LinkedIn Expert.” You earn this designation by answering questions and being chosen as the best answer, multiple times in a specific category. For example, my friend Marko is a recognized LinkedIn Expert on Computers as he has answered so many questions and his answers are chosen as the best answer by the person submitting the question. Again, these posts can start a conversation and lead to a relationship that leads to business. It’s all about building trustworthy and credible business relationships.

Email Integration – If you use Outlook, like I do, there is a plug in you can download to integrate LinkedIn and Facebook into your email feed.  An extra box appears at the bottom of your email inbox that will show messages, calendar dates, and more, along with a link to the individual’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles if you are already connected. By the way, there is a Beta version for Gmail. Integration of LinkedIn and Email can drive results by making you aware of connections, opportunities and reminders of previous content.

CRM Integration – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides a place for you to keep up with contacts, schedule a follow up, track opportunities, forecast sales and more. When you combine the power of LinkedIn with your CRM software, you can increase results by using LinkedIn as a Lead Generation resource; meaning people interested in your LinkedIn activity can “convert” to a lead in your CRM software. In time, Leads convert to prospects and then to customers. Now you can determine an ROI on your Social Media activity from LinkedIn.

Social Media – By forming a connection between LinkedIn and other Social Media resources you can increase your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Lead Generation. Here are a few ways to connect LinkedIn to other Social Media:

Dallas Social Media J.R. Atkins uses TwitterTwitter– Twitter and LinkedIn share integration via the “Twitter” field on your LinkedIn profile. In order to connect these two, go to LinkedIn tool bar, click on Profile, select edit profile, scroll down and look for “Twitter”. It appears between “Websites” and “Public Profile”. Add your Twitter ID here.

Facebook – You can list your Facebook individual or business profile as a “website” on your profile. As stated above, scroll down till you see “Websites” click on “other” fill in the word “Facebook” for the “other name” then key in your Facebook URL as the website.

Blog – To add your Blog to your LinkedIn profile, go to the LinkedIn tool bar, click on “More” then select “Get More Applications” from the drop down menu. This will take you to the “Applications” page in LinkedIn. Among the many Applications you will find there are two that relate to a blog: “Blog Link” and “WordPress.” Choose “WordPress” if you use WordPress as your Blogging platform, otherwise choose”Blog Link.” Once you set up this app, your most recent blog content will show up on your LinkedIn Profile.

YouTube channel for Something different CompaniesYouTube – To add your YouTube Channel to you LinkedIn profile, follow the same directions from above for Facebook but when you click on “other” key in YouTube and place your YouTube channel URL in the field.

Website – As stated in the directions for Facebook & YouTube you can list your website as one of the three fields for websites on LinkedIn. I encourage you to use one of the three for your website as LinkedIn users rely on this link to learn more about you and your business.

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Below the line in the diagram you will find additional boxes with topics and questions I often receive. To learn more about these topics follow the links for “how to” guidelines and definitions.

LinkedIn Ads – You can now separate your personal LinkedIn account from your Business within the advertising area. This allows multiple people to manage the Ad account.

Premium Accounts – “Should I get a premium account?” is something I am frequently asked when I speak on LinkedIn. For most “average users” the answer is no. But for those of us who use LinkedIn every day to build business and stay connected, the answer is yes. Think of the Law of Reciprocity, it asks for a balance between what we give and what we get.

InMail – “InMails are messages you can send directly to another LinkedIn member you’re not connected to. Any member can purchase an InMail, or you can get them with a premium account.” This can be a high pay off tool if you use LinkedIn for Prospecting as InMail has a higher response rate then regular LinkedIn messages.

Lead Generation – Is the act of drawing future prospects to you via the content you share on LinkedIn (in our case) and is considered “Inbound Marketing.” As mentioned above, your Daily Post, Groups and Question and Answer activity can contribute greatly to lead generation with LinkedIn. See this Blog post from HubSpot for a 7 Step Program.

Prospecting – Is more like Hunting and is considered “Outbound Marketing.” Outbound marketing is the activity of reaching out to prospective customers with a relevant message. Examples of Outbound Marketing are Email Marketing, Direct Mail, Cold or Warm Phone Calls and more. With LinkedIn it is the act of looking for prospective customs within LinkedIn, connecting with them, sharing information and forging a business relationship such that they will buy from you in time.

Research & SME – LinkedIn is a great place to highlight you as a SME (Subject Matter Expert) and to find other SMEs. It is this expertise that draws others toward you for discussion and eventually to do business.

LinkedIn Apps – Within the LinkedIn Application section you will find many resources to help you build your business through LinkedIn. I recommend you look at Reading List, Portfolio Display (if you have one) Box.net Files, and Slide Share.

SEO – When you build a robust LinkedIn profile with good, relevant content, then your LinkedIn profile will appear in a high position in a search by a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. To do this, you need to maximize each LinkedIn field. My good friend, David Lanners provides a one page .pdf on Keys to High Rankings on LinkedIn.

Connecting with a Purpose – Versus just collecting connections. Do you have a greater purpose then just to sell someone something? If not, then you may not find LinkedIn as valuable as others. When you are truly interested in helping others before you help yourself, your future is unlimited. My friend and Co-author Steven Covey said it best as habit 5 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Seek first to understand, then be understood.

Good luck using your LinkedIn profile to build relationships that are mutually beneficial. I look forward to reading your comments, please click on “comments” to leave a thought, question or comment.

*** Please join me on June 30 for “DFW Rocks Social Media Day in Dallas 2012” where I will be speaking on the Power of Being LinkedIn with 8 other presentations on Social Media.

Events worth considering


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Is Your Mobile phone Making You More or Less Productive?

We often hear about the ways our Mobile phone can help us become more productive with on-the go solutions like Mobile Website, Mobile Apps, email, push notifications, Geo-fencing, Meet Me Apps, …But could you be less productive as well? Do we let the technology run us sometimes instead of us running the technology?

Mobile App Consultant J.R. Atkins comments on Smartphone useNdubuisi Ekekwe is a founder of the non-profit African Institution of Technology and posted the below article in the Harvard Business Review. Please add your comments below the article.

Mobile devices have exacerbated an always-on work culture where employees work anytime, anywhere. They’ve contributed to the blurred distinction between when you’re “on the clock” and when you’re not. Service industry professionals are especially tethered to these devices. There’s an assumption that using smart devices boosts productivity, since they allow us to work constantly. But, we’re also jeopardizing long-term productivity by eliminating predictable time off that ensures balance in our lives. Is the obsession of regularly checking email really helping anyone’s bottom line? Are the unrealistic expectations these devices facilitate not setting staff up for burnout?

From my experience, this hyper-connectivity carries a cost to organizational productivity. Many months ago, in my Africa-based startup, my top managers decided to adopt a business engagement process where customers and staff could reach them 24/7. There was a perception that if a customer or a colleague needed something and couldn’t get it immediately, the firm would not be taken seriously. The staff was under intense pressure to be available whenever anyone called — it was simply expected. Six months later, we noticed that customer complaints were actually up, and team morale was down.

So, why were we spoiling dinner time for each other with calls that could have waited until the next business day?

In a forthcoming book, “Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24-7 Habit and Change the Way You Work,” Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow provides insights on this fraught relationship with smart devices. In an experiment that focused on mandating time off for consultants for at least one night per week, she noticed that — over time — their work lives improved, and they were largely more productive. For the research subjects who followed her policy of disconnecting from work at night, 78% said that they “feel satisfied” with their jobs, compared to the group of people who ignored the policy, where only 49% noted the same sense of satisfaction. Her results show that we’re creating a self-perpetuating perception that working faster is better — even when speed may not be necessary.

The reality is that business processes have been changed by technology. Competition is now global and companies need to act fast to survive. Accordingly, we have institutionalized a system where customers and staff expect everyone to be always-connected. And with that, 24/7 speed has become a key performance metric. The impetus to examine whether what we do requires 24/7 responsiveness is overlooked. We all work longer and harder, despite the possibility that we could work better. But since everyone is doing it, it’s considered acceptable.

But, here’s the thing: Business will not collapse if we don’t respond to e-mail at 11 PM. Waiting until 9 AM has plenty of benefits that arguably outweigh the benefits of speed, such as giving ourselves an opportunity to think through the problem and provide a better idea that customers will appreciate. Instead of acquiescing to the knee-jerk reflex of responding to every incoming message, we should put these devices in their place — that is, to serve us, and not the other way around.

Companies need to help employees unplug. (Of course, every business is unique, and must take its own processes into consideration. But for most companies, giving employees predictable time off will not hurt the bottom line.) In my own firm, when we noticed that always-on was not producing better results, we phased it out of our culture. A policy was instituted that encouraged everyone to respect time off, and discouraged people from sending unnecessary emails and making distracting calls after hours. It’s a system that works if all of the team members commit to it. Over time, we’ve seen a more motivated team that comes to work ready for business, and goes home to get rejuvenated. They work smarter, not blindly faster. And morale is higher.

Give it a try in your own company. As a trial, talk to your team and agree to shutdown tonight. I’m confident that you’ll all feel the benefits in the morning.

Link to orginal article.


  • 0

Can Success be Simplified?

Success Simplified by Steven Covey, J.R. Atkins, Tony Alessandra & Patricia FrippIn the book Success Simplified by Insight Publishing, several authors, strive to cut through clutter and identify strategies and steps to help us all succeed. I took a look through the book and identified a few ideas and quotes worth sharing.

In chapter 2, Dr Stephen R Covey talks about how many organizations are using “the industrial model in an information age” meaning the J.R. Atkins & Stephen Covey wrote Success Simplifiedmachine was the main asset of the industrial era. “The new asset is intellectual and social capital – the qualities of people and the quality of the relationships they have with each other.” He goes on to say that “the industrial model does not work in an information age. It requires a focus on new wealth, not capital and materials.” Yet, think of how many of our analogies and structures stem from the industrial days? (p22).

In chapter 6, J.R. Atkins (me) provides information and strategies for leaders so they can make sense of social media and learn how it can be applied to their organization. Of the hundreds of social media tools and networks available, I point to The Big 5 of Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and Video. Google+ may succeed in becoming #6 but the jury is still out on that verdict. With one or more of the Big 5, an organization can share content, listen to customers, create a community, build relationships of trust and build business. “In a broad since, there are generally 3 ways a business can use social media: (1) Marketing (2) Customer Service (3) Employee/Partner Communication. “In addition to these, social media also helps you search engine optimization or SEO. (p92)

In chapter 9, Patricia Fripp discusses “How to Get Ahead and Stay There” by becoming a better speaker. At age 20 she arrived in America as a hair stylist and $500. After becoming very successful as a hair stylist in Hollywood, she began speaking and became an award winning, accomplished member of the National Speakers Association. Patricia says there is nothing that an executive and leaders should focus on more than being able to communicate their ideas and their passions. (p147)

In chapter 16, Dr Tony Alessandra talks about using the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. In other words, treat people the way they would like to be treated. (Tony owns the trade mark on the Platinum rule). He is also big on assessments. Check out his website: www.AssessmentBusinessCenter.com where Tony has over 25 different tools to measure skills such as EQ – Emotional Quotient, CQ – Cultural Quotient, Leaderships Style, Social Style and more. (p245)

My hope is that these few simple success ideas will help you become more effective today and in the future. If you would like a copy of the book, please go to http://somethingdifferentcompanies.com/products/books-cds-dvds/ to order a book, CD and/or DVD.

Events Worth Considering:


  • 2

A Few Good Reminders from “Content Rules”

As I am reading “Content Rules” by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman, I found the following content worth sharing. (Paraphrased)

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins agrees, that Content Rules!“Specifically, creating content as a cornerstone of your marketing can:

  • Attract Customers
  • Educate your buyers
  • Overcome resistance
  • Establish credibility
  • Tell your story
  • Build Buzz
  • Build community
  • Inspire impulse buying”

Not bad for writing a few post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your blog.


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