Wednesday, August 31, 2016

No Picture, No Profile. Why Are You Here?

Yea, you've probably heard me talk about this before. I make no apologies for it. 

Sadly, every day my eyes are assaulted by people's profiles. These aren't just Facebook or Twitter profiles, which may be (biting my tongue) a forgivable offense. Nope. I'm talking about BUSINESS communities, where the purpose of being there is to a) look for business or b) showcase your business. 

In both a and b scenarios, when you have a name, a picture like the one above, and nothing that tells the viewer what the hell you do or are there for, well, you look like a troll. It's why your follower count still sits at 17. Okay, that's better than three, but still.

I am probably not alone in this, but when I get a connection request and this is the photo I see, or a dog, or a flower, or any kind of stock photography image, I'm not surprised when I look at the profile and it might say, "independent businessman" or something as equally obscure, with no history. I'm going to deny the request to connect. 

If I know the person, I may revisit it several days later and still struggle to decide if I want to connect. Why? There is no value in my feed if the person isn't interested in providing any. It's like trying to drum up a conversation with someone who invited you for coffee and all they do is grunt and shrug. 

Don't make it so hard for people to talk to you.

This post idea wouldn't leave me alone after sifting through LinkedIn today and checking out the suggested connections. My goodness, if this is a business site, why do you have a picture of yourself drinking wine in the backyard if you're not a wine store owner? If there is more than one person in the photo, which one is you? You couldn't take a quick selfie with your smartphone or computer webcam? Don't post pictures of you sitting in the park with your kids, either, unless you're looking for a babysitter. While there may very well be babysitters on LinkedIn, you're not going to catch many corporate executives with that picture.

There is a whole host of reasons why social media doesn't work for people. The first thing you can fix is your profile picture, and make sure it echoes who you are, and/or the business you are in. But most importantly, make sure it is of you. Go ahead and use the background cover photo for the other stuff. The profile picture is the first decider on whether or not someone wants to trust you in their feeds.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Tragically Hip At the Hundredth Meridian

The Tragically Hip concert broadcast live on CBC

There were over 11 million Canadians gathered around a boxed campfire on a Saturday night, otherwise known as a live television broadcast. While it was during an Olympic Games, it wasn't for hockey, which would be the only time an entire country might shut down all of its activity for a single event. No. This time, it was a concert. People were tweeting, posting on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and pretty much every platform they could to connect, share, and witness this historic moment in history.

August 20, 2016 was a big day in Canada. It was the final farewell of The Tragically Hip, aka Canada's band. It's lead singer Gordon Downie was diagnosed with terminal cancer and rather than lay low and convalesce, he and the band embarked on a final 15-concert tour that culminated in Kingston, Ontario. Why Kingston? That was the birthplace of the band.

So Canadians gathered together in body, mind, and spirit to view the band's final concert, which was broadcast commercial-free on CBC. Even Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Kingston to watch it live.

It may not have been as big a deal in other countries, as The Hip sang lyrics about Canada and Canadian culture. With all the buzz they saw in their social feeds from their Canuck friends, maybe the band will finally see some hits in far away lands.

It was fitting that well-known hockey anchor Ron McLean, surrounded by Canadian athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil opened and introduced the live stream broadcast. The Hip did not disappoint. There were even three encores. Gord Downie had one moment in the concert where he broke down. It might have been initially overlooked as part of the live performance, but then when it continued, you could see the pain in his facial expressions, and tears in his eyes, as this was the final performance he would ever do. The fans cried, too.

It is doubtful we will ever see another moment like this one. There isn't another Canadian band in past and future sight that would have the impact that The Tragically Hip has. The band IS Canada. It defines the people, tells their stories, and makes no apologies for being all-out Canadian.

In most events, be it sports, a television series, election, or speech -- Twitter will trend, people will tweet, take screenshots for Instagram and Facebook, and carry on conversations with people they don't know and others within their own networks. It's like a gathering around a campfire. Only the logs on this puppy made those flames roar awfully high.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The World Is Inside Your Computer

Ninety-two is a pretty big number. That is the percentage of consumers who trust peer recommendations over advertising. Because we are all interconnected worldwide by our computing devices, someone in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina can network with someone just as easily in Hammerfest, Norway as they can in their own backyard.

I have four projects underway that hone this point. One is in the same Canadian province, who I first met through a local network group. Two is in Arizona with someone I met through a close friend I've known for years. Three is in New York, who I met through a social network. Four is in Sweden, who I met through a social webhosting site. Then there is my webcasting partner, who I met on a webhosting site through another person I met in LinkedIn.

Every day, my net(work) is cast wider. These are not just passive followers. When I follow someone, it is because they bring value to my feeds. If I didn't already know them, they provide me with education, laughs, inspiration, and friendship.

Networking online isn't just using the Net to connect your name to their profile. The "working" part has to be engaged in order to make those connections meaningful.

My nearly 4,000 Twitter followers in @bookpublish101
Even as time constrains your ability to manage your posts, take your top two or three networks, the ones you see the most interactions from, and pick two to three random people a day to a) respond to something they posted that caught your attention b) tell them something to make their day and/or c) share one of their posts with your followers. It will take you five minutes. If you do that consistently each day, you become a good digital citizen and people will start paying attention to you. In addition to that, make sure you post interesting, entertaining, and inspiring stuff, too.

The number one thing you need to consider is a universal truth: everyone wants to feel like they matter. That's it. If you can make someone feel respected and seen in one moment, that will go around the globe in less time than a paid advertising campaign and with better results. But this isn't about ROI or any of that market speaking buzzword bullshit. It's about people. It's about real connections. Even if you've never met any of them in real life or face-to-face in a webcam, you can still make an impact globally, just by being kind, being respectful, being thoughtful, and being there. Mean what you say. Don't just say it for the sake of making clickbait.

Don't just post and run. Stay and play.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

hitRECord and Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Crowdsourcing Talent

He’s come a long way since the 3rd Rock From the Sun. You might notice he is everywhere: in every movie, TV appearances, the Internet. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the “it” man of the hour.
Gordon-Levitt came into my radar, no, not just because he’s Robin (see The Dark Knight Rises) but because of a Wrap post that reminded us he once had a lull in his career. Yea, I didn’t believe it at first, either. Especially when there is a dedicated fan page calling him the coolest actor of 2014.
When you read the Wrap article, it shows what he did to get out of his funk. There is a good lesson in this man’s career for all of us.
We don’t have to be an A-list actor or Internet star to do some of the things he’s done. All of the tools and creativity are at our own fingertips. Just click on a new link and put in the right search tools and — whola! Your future is now.
Pay close attention to Gordon-Levitt’s hitRECord. It is a crowd-sourced production company he founded. Think of it as a free business plan to marketing and engagement and you don’t need a big budget, or any budget, to initiate it. He has produced an Internet TV show that utilizes on-stage material, pulls the audience into the production, culls his following for content creation, and every element distributes the end result at the same time it is live. That is interaction at its best. The Huffington Post calls it The Art of Collaboration.
It's genius. Get the audience invested in your project by pulling them in as storytellers. And yes, they do get paid.
You have to admit, that’s as cool as Batman.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Digital Footprint Is Your Connection to the World, and to Life

Google is not always your friend, but digital and social networks are. Why? You can't control what gets said about you on your Google search but you can control what shows up on your Facebook.

Smart Insights published global social media statistics for January 2016. I urge you to click the link to see the whole comprehensive report.

There are 3.419 billion global Internet users, to which 2.307 billion are active in social media. There are 3.790 billion unique mobile users, and 1.968 billion of them are active in social media.

Facebook has the highest penetration of users between ages 18 to 34, then Snapchat and Instagram.

The most popular networks are in this order:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

Social media isn't just a fad. It isn't just a personal thing. It is your connection to the world. How you use it will determine your experience.

If you shut everyone out except the people who are in your immediate circle, you miss out on personal growth and connections that could make the world a great big beautiful place.

If you use it to exclusively flog your wares, send a bunch of group direct messages, spam your friends with direct messages to "like" your page, you'll lose connections in a hurry and the ones you keep will just put you on mute.

If you keep an open mind and connect with people you don't know, even if you don't have any mutual connections, you never know what will happen. Of course, you can vet those requests by looking at the profile to see if there is any information that might flag them as a fake account. But connecting with people outside of your sphere can bring you many wonderful treasures: friendship, great and inspiring images, educational and informative posts, business leads, and close friendships that can even move offline.

I vet people by not only if they're a suspected fake profile (usually the army photo is a dead giveaway), but also by what they post on their timeline. If they post continual negative and racist/bigoted links, I will pass on connecting. It is my profile, my platform, and I get to control what I see in the feed. I've done a pretty good job. I don't get a lot of trash or people I have to unfriend.

Social media provides a true digital footprint because you control the outcome of your profile page. Your social pages determine the public's first impression of who you are as an individual. It determines if you are approachable. Will people regret trying to reach out to you? Or will you welcome their social sphere and allow others to champion you?