Silos beget compliance. Silos are getting in our way and so is compliance. Things are changing but it’s changing slower than many of us would like. In the meantime we’re left with porous organizations with the semblance of vertical structures (and the illusion of control).
Consciously or subconsciously we do not like to give up power. As the fabric of business gets reworked, leaders are having to give up control to retain the ability to lead. This is causing friction from the top and the bottom. Both those at the top and the all important in-the-trenches-leader need to develop two skills that once were seen as weaknesses.
- The ability to take criticism
- The ability to admit you’re wrong
Think about our current leaders; political, corporate or any leader in a traditional command and control structure. How well does upper management take criticism from lower levels of the business or from the outside? Not well at all. In fact most leaders block out anything but immediate feedback from peers, those even higher and maybe if they’re a good manager those directly beneath them.
This is a fatal flaw. The best feedback often comes from those furthest away from you. Not to discredit the feedback from those around you but they’re often blind to the same things you are.
Even the trolls and the haters have a kernel of truth to their criticism. It doesn’t mean you should change your leadership style or your strategy just because someone #FAIL’s you on Twitter but it’s a data point to be considered. If enough #FAIL’s start racking up then you may want to do some navel gazing.
In this agile world we live in now, knowing when you’re wrong is incredibly important. It can mean the difference from professional life or death. Often we make a decision, and it’s the right decision at the right time, but times change and the ability to abandon sunk costs and move on is tough and shouldn’t be taken lightly but shouldn’t be the reason not change course. It’s a tough balance and I highly recommend Seth Godin’s The Dip: When to Quit (and When to Stick)
for a quick read on how to assess the right way and time to move on.
Part of admitting to being wrong is the all challenging apology. If social media has taught me anything it’s that “I’m sorry” is incredibly powerful and we should be using it much more. Over the last five years I’ve been bordering on abusing it but not using it sucks. Two simple (heartfelt) words can often rebuild bridges once burned in the heat of the moment.
There are of course many more skills that you’ll need to acquire along the journey of leadership but without these two I don’t think you’ll ever get there.
What are your tips for not just developing these skills for yourself but helping upper management develop these skills?
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As a marketing tool Twitter gets much more interesting and useful when you can filter out 99% of the junk that doesn’t apply to your objectives and focus on the stuff that matters.
The basic search.twitter.com functionality is fine for searching things that are being said about your search terms. The advanced search function offers more ways to slice and dice the stream, but still leaves some room for improvement as it only searches what’s being said and where. From a marketing standpoint who is saying it might be more useful.
Now that the search engines are all pretty geeked up over real time search you can create some very powerful searches and alerts combining Google and Twitter.
1) Target by occupation
Let’s say you have a business that sells an awesome service to attorneys. A simple search on Twitter will turn up thousands of mentions of the word attorney, but many of them will be from people talking about this or that attorney or the need to hire or not hire one. That’s probably not very helpful for your purposes.
However, if you cruise over to Google and use a handful of operators from the Google shortcut library (more on that here) you can create a search that plows through Twitter and gives you a list of all the users that have the word “attorney” in their title (username and/or real name) – Click on this search phrase and see what happens – intitle:”attorney * on twitter” site:twitter.com – what you’ll find is a handy list of attorneys of one sort or another on Twitter.
Without getting too technical, this search basically asks Google to look in the title attribute of profile pages on Twitter – obviously you can use any word to replicate this. The * tells Google to find the words “attorney on Twitter” without regard to order or other words – “on Twitter” appears in the title of every profile page so we need that term to make sure we search profile pages only.
2) Target by bio
In some cases searching through the optional biographical information can be more helpful than the username or real name fields. Maybe you’re looking for a very specific term or some of the folks you are targeting only reference their profession in their bio.
Google search to the rescue here again. This time add the intext attribute, the word bio and our key phrase to search bios – So a search for web designers would look like this – intext:”bio * web designer” site:twitter.com. When you look at this list you might notice that none of the people on the list would have been found by searching in their title, as in the first tip, for web designer. Try it both ways to test for best results.
3) Target by location
Location search by itself is simple using the Twitter advanced search tool – if you want a list of people in Austin you would use this in Twitter – near:”Austin, TX” within:25mi and Twitter would use the location field to show you Austin Tweeters.
But . . . let’s say you wanted to target salons in Austin or maybe the whole of Texas – it’s back to Google to mix and match – (intitle:”salon * on twitter” OR intext:”bio * salon”) intext:”location * TX” site:twitter.com – we search the title, bio and location to get a very targeted list of Salons in Texas on Twitter. Note the OR function for multiple queries.
4) New sign ups
Another handy thing about using any of the searches above is that you can also use the exact operators to create Google Alerts. By going to Google and putting in your search string as described above you’ll get everything they have now, but by setting up an alert you’ll get an email or RSS alert when a new attorney (or whatever you’re targeting) joins Twitter – I can think of some powerful ways to reach out to that new person just trying to find some new friends!
5) Keep up on your industry
Some of the best information shared on Twitter comes in the form of shared links. In other words people tweet out good stuff they find and point people to it using a link. I love to use a filtered Twitter search to further wade through research on entire industries, but reduce the noise by only following tweets that have links in them and eliminating retweets that are essentially duplicates – “small business” OR entrepreneur OR “start up” filter:links – this gets that job done and produces an RSS feed if I want to send it to Google Reader. Don’t forget the “quotation marks” around two or more word phrases or you will get every mention of small and business.
6) Competitive eavesdropping
Lots of people set up basic searches to listen to what their competitors are saying and what others are saying about the competition. I would suggest you take it one step further and create and follow a search that also includes what the conversation they are having with the folks they communicate with – not just what people are saying about them, but to them and vice versa – from:comcastcares OR to:comcastcares.
7) Trending photos
Photos have become very big on Twitter and the real time nature of the tool means photos show up there before they show up most anywhere. If you want to find an image related to a hot trend, or anything for that matter, simply put the search phase you have in mind follow by one of the more well known Twitter image uploading services such as TwitPic and you’ll get nothing but images. So, your search on Twitter might be – olympics twitpic OR ow.ly (You can add more photosharing sites to expand the search).
There, Twitter just go way more interesting didn’t it?
Useful infographic and great for decks.
You’d think it to be fairly self explanatory but it actually isn’t. This just makes it look that way.
This is a repost from Adam Singer. Top stuff. Agencies running pages on behalf of brands take note.
Visualization of a Facebook fan page I created for a brand eclipsing 6-figure fans between April-May in 2009 (it has since grown to +700,000 fans).
Platform-specific communities can be a challenge to grow. It’s daunting because you’re probably already growing a voice for your brand on something like a self-hosted blog. But if you can spark rapid growth in a network external of your own, it can be a consistent organic referral source to the places you’re really interested in funneling traffic. Essentially, it’s a valuable outpost.
Let’s first look at some of the results of this page — then get into how it’s possible for you to do the same.
Before I share anything else, I do want to say Facebook fan page analytics leave much to be desired. They allow you to see:
- Total fans/basic subscriber data
- Growth daily
- % male/female
- Age range
- Top cities/top countries/top languages
- Basic interaction/engagement metrics
I cut off the data as it just lists more top countries/cities/languages and I only want to share a sample of what you see as overview data. But it’s disappointing because you can’t really drill down to see more specific trends in data of the fans of pages. It’s almost no different than basic web analytics with a few extras like age. The age range is interesting, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Why not show me more detailed buckets based on profile information such as education level, profession, etc. With groups this large there would be some interesting trends to see that wouldn’t be difficult for Facebook to display. Clearly they don’t want us knowing that much.
Interactions per post (likes, shares, comments) range from 12 to more than 1,300 – at this scale every image, post, video or link gets at least 100 likes/comments/shares.
Organic growth is consistently strong – with most days seeing around 500 or more new fans.
This brand is off and running – I have not been involved their community building since May, 2009. But you can see by the daily growth of more than 1,000 new fans, they already have attained the critical mass necessary to sustain organic growth daily without necessarily doing anything. Although they have started to also see some fan attrition in September (I took a look at the situation and they could actually do something to stop this if they wanted).
So how can you spark rapid growth on your Facebook fan page?
1. Spark initial growth numbers within the network quickly
If you’re looking to reach a wide audience, (this brand has mass appeal) reaching enough active users in the network to reach a tipping point is the first, crucial step. There are just more potential people to share/like/comment on your content you’re adding into the channel (which in Facebook helps grow a fan page due to the fact this activity shows up in user feeds).
An easy way to start is get multiple influential users to invite all of their friends to become fans of the page. If you can get 20 people each to invite 100 users, and encourage those users to invite their own friends, you’ll start to see growth. Use incentives if necessary – contests, rewards for joining, etc. Facebook has specific rules now (which weren’t in place when I made this page) that make some of this more difficult, but there are still plenty of creative ways to do this.
2. Leverage external traffic streams/subscriber bases
Take stock of all your communities, email lists, websites and any other place you have a digital presence. Start to call them to action to join your fan page. Add links to your blog sidebar, put a CTA on the homepage of the website you’re already marketing, add a link in employee emails, put links in your email marketing, etc. Put it bold and up front to start – the key is to funnel enough subscribers to the page where a natural cycle of growth begins by virtue of more people becoming fans. The strategy here is simple: leverage what you have to spark growth in a new community until it’s growing organically.
But remember: the long-term play is to consistently siphon people out of Facebook to a community where SEO/social media value can really ramp up and you’re not limited by the rules of playing in a network you don’t control. In other words: once your fan page is growing organically, flip the funnel: start to move people out of Facebook to your own, self-hosted platform like a blog or more valuable area than inside the walled garden. Users are going to be more valuable if you can get them to a place where it’s all signal and no noise (Facebook’s signal to noise ratio is terrible).
3. Continually update the page with new content
More content on the page is going to be more content for users to interact with. And, due to how Facebook has setup their system, users consistently engaging with content is a key component to growth. By reaching into the streams of individual users your brand can start to grow fast if your content is worth reacting to.
- Buy targeted advertising on Facebook’s platform
- Leverage your offline networks (TV/newspaper/magazine ads, etc.)
- Run a contest/promotion offline of Facebook, yet encourage users to become a fan during the promotion process (since there is quite a bit of red tape to actually run promotions on Facebook fan pages themselves)
- Create some unmissable content published exclusively on your Facebook fan page
- Frequently make special offer announcements and even new product announcements through the page first
- Hire a community manager to implement ongoing growth opportunities across all your social channels
- Buy Google ads to drive traffic directly to your Facebook fan page
- End your press releases with your Facebook fan page link
- Provide talking points to publicized team members to say become a fan in Facebook during interviews
Of course, there are plenty of additional methods for growing Facebook fan pages/platform specific pages. But any additional recommendations or ideas are going to be more specific based on the brand or product involved (the above are all quite general). To grow the above page to 6 figures plus, we did some creative/buzzworthy ideas too – but you’ll have to come up with those yourself.
The bigger thing to remember is know how you’re going to make your Facebook presence work for your larger digital strategy prior to doing anything. Without this, sure – you can grow something popular, but it should still feed a larger objective.