Relationships Are Built On A Foundation Of Trust

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Are you building quality relationships on and offline?

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One of the things I think marketers forget about social media is that trust is a key factor in establishing, building and maintaining trust. It is the on AND offline foundation that all relationships are built from, yet so many do not consciously take this into account.

Social media relationships and trustWhat is Trust?

Trust is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing.

In a word, trust is confidence.

Taking it a bit further, trust is the underlying ability to rely on someone or something. it is a foundational element in all relationships, but THE crucial component in business. Trust is underlying because it is conscious and unconscious. It comes from the thinking consideration, yet is always behind the scenes affecting our gut level processes.

Some Thoughts On Trust:

– It is my firm belief that trust is earned, not expected or demanded.

– Trust comes from…

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Know your social media rights

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New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV

[trib_ndn wid=1 vid=26279393]

(PIX11) — A Virginia mother learned the hard way that anyone with cruel intentions can steal a photo and make it their own.

Now, the spotlight has turned to protecting privacy, especially that of young children, online.

Watch the video above to learn your rights online and how to safeguard them.

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7 Ways to Create the Online Reputation You Want

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Whether you have your own business or not, managing your online reputation is imperative in today’s highly Internet savvy world. The things you said on social media will haunt you for the rest of your life if you’re not careful. Something you said innocently as a teenager might still be out there and come up if an employer searches for you. Thankfully, you can manage your online reputation if you know what to do.

Blogging What You Want People to Know 

Practicing daily blogging is a good way to keep your name and brand in front of readers and on top of search engine results. A blog post doesn’t have to be long, or in-depth to be effective. You simply need to know why you are writing it, to whom you’re writing it in order to be sure that you choose topics related to your niche of importance to your audience.

Use Article Marketing to Educate Your Market

Article marketing isn’t dead, it’s just changing. It’s still an important way to get the word out about your brand. It’s a good way to educate your market about the need for your products and services in general. For instance, if you sell a specific moisturizer you might write articles about caring for the skin, and what types of ingredients are good and bad for the skin. Let your short bio at the bottom of the articles lead them to your website.

Use Social Media Strategically

Be careful on social media. Use it strategically. If you’re on Facebook sharing away with your friends and relatives be sure to check and double check your privacy settings. You don’t want something innocent there to corrupt your business message. Keep business and your private life as separate as possible. In other words, don’t over share. Share enough, but keep it simple.

SEO Gets You Found

Search engine optimization is more important than ever. You may wonder what it has to do with your online reputation but if no one can find you, you’re not going to have a reputation at all. Keep up to date on new rules as they become available. Each search engine tells you in no uncertain terms how to optimize your pages for best results. Follow what they say and you’ll get better results. You can also use a service like HubSpot’s Marketing Grader to find out how well you’re doing.

Google Alerts for Monitoring

Use Google Alerts to set up a notification to your inbox any time your name, brand, product or any keyword you want is mentioned on the Internet. This is a great way to monitor your business buzz as well as stay ahead of the game when it comes to new products and services. Google Alerts is a great way to keep informed on any topic you choose.

Bury Don’t Erase

When you find information about yourself you’d rather people not have, it’s important to seek to bury the information rather than erase it. It can be very difficult to erase information, especially if it’s true. Even slanderous information can be very expensive to get rid of and won’t always work. The best course of action is to bury the information with great search results, if the information you don’t want people to see is on page four, it’s going to be almost nonexistent anyway.

Be Transparent

This advice might seem counter to the advice above. However, if you ever do something wrong and learn from it in your business, it’s best to be open about it. Write a blog post about what you learned, write a book about it, and you can turn what could have been truly business killing news into something positive. But, remember that being transparent about your business has nothing to do with your personal life. Keep personal and business as separate as possible.

 

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Looking for a someone to  patiently explain social media to help you understand the best ways to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube?  Send me a message using the contact form below

I look forward to hearing from you!

Lynn Cooper

 

5 Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media if You Value Your Reputation

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Reputation

The Internet has now been around long enough that former teenagers who are in the job market are sometimes seeing the affects that poor choices made in the past can wreak on the present. Teachers, lawyers, politicians are also not immune to the far reaching implications of having made poor choices publically can have on them. As a small business owner, you’re in the same boat. It’s important to use social media carefully to enhance your business reputation.

 

Not Keeping Personal & Business Separate

 

This is getting more difficult as the days of being anonymous on the net are over. Today, everyone is known via Google, and you have to sign in via Google or Facebook or other methods thereby verifying your identity in order to participate in online discussions.  But, it’s important that you keep your personal life and business life as separate as possible. If you use the Internet to market your business, you’re probably going to have to limit your online personal life to a select group of people as well as a select social network such as Facebook.

 

Over sharing on Social Media

 

Everyone doesn’t need to know every detail about your life. Is it really smart to share pictures of yourself in your underwear, even to your husband or boyfriend? You never know when you will get hacked and that private information is out there for the world to see. In addition, while you want to be a real person to your audience they really don’t need to know the intimate details of your menstrual cycle or hormone fluctuations or bathroom habits of your children. Naturally, this depends on your niche, but for the most part, don’t over share, it’s not attractive.

 

Not Being Consistent

 

One way to manage your online reputation is to keep your brand consistent across all accounts. Use similar or the same headshots, use the same logos, and banners, the same colors and the same information about yourself and your business. By inadvertently leaving something out you might accidentally confuse someone or make them think you’re being less than honest. Even if it’s an accident, you don’t know how others will view it. Double check to make sure that everything you say and do backs up who you want to represent yourself as online.

 

Not Researching Yourself

 

You can use a variety of tools for monitoring your online reputation such as Google Alerts, Reputation.com, and others will help you manage your online presence so that you are the one dictating what people know rather than others dictating it for you. You can find out what’s being said about your brand, your name, and your products or even similar products and services so that you can stay ahead of the buzz and even create the buzz.

 

Not Updating Privacy Settings

Most social media accounts offer some privacy options. A great way to manage your privacy on

Facebook is to set up a closed and private group for your friends and family that you trust so that nothing can be searched or discovered that is personal or embarrassing. Facebook also offers other privacy options like the ability to approve images you’re tagged in. Use these options to get the most out of social media and protect yourself and your business from misunderstandings.

 

Every day there is something in the news about someone who said something taken out of context or said in jest that gets someone into a lot of trouble to where they lose jobs, clients, and even an entire business. Don’t become a statistic.

 

Join us May 4 at Day of Fosterly #DOF2013

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www.dayoffosterly.com

Tomorrow our CEO, S. Lynn Cooper has been invited to serve as a media match mentor for the annual Day of Fosterly in Arlington, VA. Not your average conference, the Day of Fosterly is more than eight hours of collaborative entrepreneurship for anyone interested in starting, growing, or exiting a business. With a focus on spotlighting many of the best endeavors in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, attendees will depart with hands on experience, knowledge and relationships.

More about Media Match session

We recognize that getting the word out about what you’re up to might be difficult. Accordingly, we’re bringing in some members of the media to help you frame your stories effectively. Taking place in a three minute speed dating format, you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your story to journalists who are positioned to cover them. To view a list of participating journalists, visit the People page.

For more information please visit: www.dayoffosterly.com

4 Ways Colleges Can Take Their Digital Presence to the Next Level

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 21.6 million students were enrolled in American colleges and universities in 2012. With today’s youth constantly texting, tweeting, Tumblring, posting statuses on Facebook and updating Instagram, among other social networking sites at a rapid pace, schools need to engage with applicants and current students regularly. It’s clear the days of shiny brochures, flashy websites and in-person campus visits are no longer enough to attract high-caliber students.

Colleges and universities should embrace social media as a means to build relationships and create emotional connections with prospective students. Here are some methods academic institutions could take to bring their social media presence from outdated to fresh:

Get Buy-in

In order for social media to work effectively, key players must include students. Coordinate discussions with current students since they are avid users of social media and can provide insight about student activities and what influenced them to attend. Also, consider hiring a consultant to analyze the various methods utilized by faculty members and staff. That’ll help when you’re creating a robust campaign.

Engagement is Essential

So, you’re institution has Facebook, Twitter…now what? Well, if nothing else, a social media coordinator or manager must ensure the university or college is engaging with the current followers, as well as prospective ones.
Students will make a snap judgment about the college if the pages are not updated frequently, or if inquiries are left unanswered.

Make it a habit to check your pages daily and respond to requests within 24 hours. Keep a log of these inquiries and forward information to appropriate departments for follow-up.

Go Viral

Many students cannot afford to visit the campus, so why not create a series of videos featuring current students and faculty? It will allow prospective students to feel as though they stepped foot on campus for a college tour. The video series can address tours, the application process, financial aid, as well as provide sneak peeks into classes in session. Make sure these videos are no more than five minutes in length and don’t be afraid to inject personality in them.

There’s An App for That

Many colleges are taking advantage of the mobile revolution by building applications for Android and iPhones. A report from the Pew Internet Project found that 78% of people ages 12 to 17 have a cellphone, and more than 50% of those phones are smartphones. These statistics show that most young adults are perusing the web via their mobile device. Hence, it makes sense for universities to design an app where students can get information about the school, course offerings, admissions status and financial standing.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

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Whether you’re a business owner trying to ramp up your startup’s connections or a recent graduate looking to secure post-grad opportunities, yourLinkedIn account is crucial to landing new-found opportunities. LinkedIn is an excellent online networking tool that can assist you in building vital professional relationships.

Finish what you’ve started

First impressions are everything. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your one shot. Thus, your LinkedIn profile should list your current position and at least two previous roles, academic institutions attended and contact information which will then make your profile 100% complete, according to LinkedIn’s standards.  Take the time to fill out the descriptions, listing your duties and inject keywords relevant to your industry.  Ask yourself, what would others type in the search box to find someone with my skill set?

Put your best foot face forward

Browsing through most social media sites, you’ll notice a majority of the profile photos are not professional. These laid-back photos are acceptable for personal profiles, but, since LinkedIn is a professional’s playground, promoting yourself or your brand without having professional photographs can drastically alter the way you and/or your business is viewed.

Studies show that LinkedIn profiles with appropriate photographs are much more likely to get clicked on than those without.  So, even if you don’t have a professional photo, taking one with a high-resolution camera in conjunction with appropriate lighting, clothing and background is better than having no photo at all.

Reach out

Perform a series of searches to locate people you know by name via the search box. Once you’ve identified these contacts, click the connect button to add them to your network.  Send a custom message to the person within the invitation, especially if you’re not in constant communication with the individual. Once you’ve made a significant amount of connections, you should view the “People You May Know” page to review colleagues you may have missed.

Request meaningful recommendations

Take the time to reach out to your supervisors and closest colleagues to obtain quality recommendations prior to sending a request on LinkedIn, and explain the importance of their recommendation.  Once they have completed your request, take a moment and thank them and consider returning the favor by recommending them.

Get those apps

Third-party applications approved by LinkedIn allow you to customize your profile and showcase your work products. You may have crafted a white paper or presentation that can be of value to your industry; consider sharing it with your network via SlideShare which you can connect to your LinkedIn account. Perhaps you’ve penned a blog article, add the WordPress app so you can share you’re expertise.

Take time to explore the infinite amount of tools and features that LinkedIn offers. It’s like a gold mine for those who want to take advantage of connecting with other professionals, establishing thought leadership and creating new opportunities.

Have LinkedIn tips? Share your best practices in the comments section below.

7 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy

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Social media is expanding with millions of people worldwide interacting before, during and after work. While social media is an extraordinary communications’ tool, employers can’t help but wonder what employees are discussing on social media during work hours—and even when they’re off the clock.

It’s important that employees understand the impact they have on your brand, as well as their personal brand, when socializing online. The ramifications can be costly, resulting in job loss, forced resignations and legal action.

It’s up to brands to ensure they’ve implemented a social media policy, so that nothing is left up to interpretation and everything is clearly outlined. Here,  S. Lynn Cooper outlines what you should consider when creating your brand’s social media policy:

What constitutes social media?

While Twitter and LinkedIn may easily be categorized as social media, what about YouTube? What about a personal blog? Your social media policy must have a concrete definition, including the various platforms the guidelines apply to.

Who’s responsible?

The best way to find a social media advocate within the company is to seek out the person or team of people who are most passionate about communicating with customers online. Seek those people out and provide them with the training needed to represent your brand.

Content Ownership

Does your brand have a YouTube page, Twitter account, or Facebook fan page? Your brand needs to confirm that the ownership of these social media accounts belongs to the brand, not the staffer whose current job entails monitoring the company’s online presence.

Privacy rights

Due to the casual nature of social media, it’s easy to give away proprietary information without realizing it. Since each social media platform has its own imperfections, it’s best to instruct employees never to share any confidential or proprietary information via their corporate or personal profiles.

Establish ground rules

You must allow your employees the right to engage on social media, but, of course, you want to protect your brand at the same time.  Since this can be a very touchy subject, consider contacting your legal counsel when formulating your policy.

Provide training

If you expect your employees to utilize social networking tools properly, you must provide training. Keep in mind what they post online is also a reflection of your brand.

Create a checks-and-balance system

A social media policy will not do your brand any justice if you don’t actually monitor the networks where dialogue is taking place.  There are plenty of tools to monitor social media (read “4 Tools to Help You Become a Savvy Social Listener”).

S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at @sociallyahead.

4 Tools to Help You Become a Savvy Social Listener

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Are you listening??

On a typical day, peruse through your social media streams and see how many brands are touting and seeding their content, products and/or services, but not necessarily listening to what their audience wants.

Most brands don’t do nearly as much listening on their networks, primarily because they only view social media as place to promote their offerings. Social media listening is a key element for building relationships, keeping up to date with trends, supporting your community and eavesdropping on your competitors. We will provide you with the top tools to seamlessly snoop (but in a good way):

HootSuite

This social media management tool is quite dynamic. When it comes to listening, you can create streams to monitor your competitor’s feed, particular keywords or hashtags, and identify tastemakers who are talking about your brand.

  • If your brand sells sporting goods, now that NCAA March Madness is upon us, set up a Twitter stream that monitors hashtags such as #NCAA, #MarchMadness or #basketball. Listen to what others are saying not only about the tournament but about sporting equipment, clothing and accessories.

Cyfe

Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard that helps users monitor and analyze data found across all your online services like Google+, Constant Contact, Salesforce, Facebook, WordPress and Twitter, to name a few, from one location.

  • Utilize the Google Analytics widget to identify what content is pushing the most engagement from your community.

Topsy

This free social media monitoring service locates and measures the most important conversations among hundreds of billions of tweets instantly. With Topsy, you can analyze Twitter usernames, keywords or web domains over various periods of time— day, week, month, or year.

  • Filter tweets by displaying “influential only” (pro version). This option will only display the most influential tweets, and the accounts they were tweeted from, so you can contact these key influencers (if appropriate) to help shape and influence their conversation about your branding. 

Google Alerts

These email updates, which automatically notify users when a specific keyword or phrase is mentioned online, allow you to stay on top of any conversation involving your business, industry or areas of interest.

  • Sift through various alerts pertaining to your industry. They could be used as blog articles, Facebook fan page discussions or helpful resources.

Brands that get to know their clientele, respect and trust their competency, and listen continually to how individuals are utilizing their products or services will have a far greater chance of developing and retaining their customers.

What tools do you use to listen in on social media? Let us know in the comments section