Who Do We Trust?

Any business owner can tell you that word of mouth (also known as a referral) is the best way to get business. As marketers word of mouth is the type of interaction we strive to offer online. We want interactions with our brands to be relevant, honest and within the context of the existing conversation. Social media platforms like Facebook provide a perfect platform where friends, trust and brands all come together. As marketers our goal should be to find a way for to put our brand in a position to be spoken about in real, “organic” ways on social media platforms.

From Word of Mouth to “World of Mouth”

In Eric Qualman’s 2010 book Socialnomics, he talks about how putting word of mouth onto social networks amplifies it reach exponentially. We may have a conversation at a party with three or four people, but an online conversation on Facebook could potentially reach much much more. For example, If I post a recommendation on Facebook and a friend comments, all of my friends and his friends can see the conversation. So if we each have 300 friends, that’s, 600 people! for each new comment or “like” all of the new commentators friends can see it as well. Those numbers can get really big very quickly!
It is worth mentioning that word of mouth is much more powerful (as all interactions are) face to face. There is some dilution of trust in the online world. But what more effective way is there to leverage the power of word of mouth to reach large groups of people?


LinkedIn Updates to Some Familiar looking Features

When I logged into LinkedIn’s group section today I was greeted with a message announcing that LinkedIn groups have been updated.
When I clicked on on the prompt I was greeted with the following screen:

One thing that I’ve noticed lately is that the more social media sites evolve, the more they look the same!
For example, the Like button (via Facebook) is one of the features LinkedIn has included in their upgrade. This is a quick and easy way for people to show that they read and agree with a post without having to write a comment.

Comments, likes, shares
; these are the of currency social media.  Social media sites like Linkedin are always trying to make user interfaces easier as well as making “the hurdle” to give approval to “things” (discussions, posts, etc..) lower, thereby encouraging more interactions or engagements. That is the same reason why Facebook changed becoming a “fan” of a page to “likes” a page. It’s much easier thing to say you like a brand  than it is to say that you are a fan of the same brand- lower hurdle, and less commitment.

The next notable thing about LinkedIn’s changes is under “Member info and Activity”. (see snapshot above) This is a feature that lets you find out more about a person by hovering over their profile. This neat little pop-up style box was first seen in WordPress blogs where you could hover over hyperlinks and get a glimpse of the linked site. Twitter implemented this feature a few months ago, allowing you to follow (or mention, or block) people without leaving your current page.
Most recently, Facebook rolled out the pop-up/hover feature just two days ago. If you hover over people’s names it will allow you to request to be a friend, or comment. Similarly hovering over brands and organizations will allow you to “like” them along with showing you who among your friends likes it as well. 

Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook, as well as numerous other sites are consistently looking for ways to make the user experience better. After all, they want you to join and continue coming back day after day. They have all tried several  improvements that didn’t work, so when one network sees a feature or protocol that works on another, it’s not long until they claim it for their own. Over time these features become “best practices” and industry standards, allowing users of one site to become familiar with the interface on others sites. In the end this makes the overall user experience better and more comfortable for all!

For more information on the new group features on Linkedin try this link: http://learn.linkedin.com/groups/

Career Coaching and Layoffs

Last week I volunteered as a career coach for an event called “Passport to Success” that was produced by a local TV station. As I told my friends, I’m not really a career coach, I just play one on TV! Actually I was very comfortable slipping into the role of coach to help this group of 130 recently unemployed professionals.

As a technology coach I met with people for 6 minutes each in a “speed dating” type of format. Throughout the morning I met with 32 people. Afterwords my voice was hoarse and I was exhausted, but it felt great to help people with their career search. The biggest thing I did was to encourage people to establish a personal brand and bring it online through social networking sites like Linkedin.com, (amazingly 90% of the people I met with didn’t have LinkenIn profiles).

As someone who was laid off from a real estate marketing position just two years ago, I felt a real empathy for their situation. This is a terrible time to be in their position, and their road is bound to be hard in many ways, but it’s also a potential opportunity for them to grow personally and professionally.

In the two years since my layoff I have grown professionally in ways I couldn’t have imagined previously. Being a pragmatist I would have never taken “the leap” to venture out on my own without the firm shove given me by my previously employer. Here is a link to a video clip from Durham, NC where I talk about turning my layoff into an opportunity.

The other side of this is that I’ve suffered huge personal and financial hardships during this same time. I won’t go into these, but suffice to say that it “ain’t been easy!”
I’m not sure what the future will hold for me, but I know for sure that I have been changed by the events of the past few years, and I will never be the same!

As I think about the people who have been recently laid off I know that some will find another opportunity right away, some will stay in their industry, and some will not find anything for a long time. But I know that some will, as I have, use this opportunity to transform themselves an reinvigorate their career. But for almost none will it be easy!

The following link has a video from the  “Passport to success” event with a short clip of me talking about the power of blogging.

Contact Jeff

Get in touch with Jeff