Category Archives: Tough Love

Anne Orfila
Old School Rules Still Apply in The New Web World

I have been in the wild web world longer than many of you who are reading this. I’m a Gen X, not a Millennial. Most likely, the biggest differentiating factor between me and a Millennial who is doing the same type of web marketing work as I currently am, is that I worked in an office. Sure, sure, you’re saying that so have you. But my first job was in a serious mega corporation that wasn’t full of young people aspiring to hit it big with IPOs and stock options. My employer was already on the stock market and I had the bigwigs from New York breathing down my neck for sales revenue reports, forecasts, and whatever else they needed. This also happened to be my first job out of college. I was young, but eager to be a team player, and a fast learner. What I learned in those 3 years of corporate life was something I have taken with me to every job since. Old school office etiquette works wonders. Even in this current fast-paced web world.

Mind your manners in the wild web world. What is old school etiquette in the office? Basically, it’s using proper manners in the workplace. Etiquette applies to “netiquette” too! Show respect to your coworkers and their privacy, speak (or email or call) politely, mind your (political, religious, controversial) opinions, use “please” and “thank you” whenever appropriate, keep your voice down, ask to borrow other people’s office supplies, keep team members in the loop, show up to meetings on time, stay at home when you are sick (unless you are already home, then just be thankful for your work-from-home job!)

I’ve been working at home for more than a decade, but I never let my etiquette slip. Since my clients, and Web Marketing Therapy coworkers are all over the U.S., all of my work and most of my correspondence is done electronically so my office manners have been transposed a bit to fit the web world, but the gist is still the same.

Follow These Old-School Rules in Today’s New-School Web World:

  • Keep your emails clear, polite, to the point, and prompt. If there is something you need, be clear to ask for it…nicely!
  • Emails should not be one word or in all lowercase. I don’t care if you reply from your phone! You don’t talk in one word sentences (and even if you do), your emails should not just be one word sentences.
  • Address the recipient with a pleasant greeting such as “Dear xxx”, “Good Morning, xxx”. Not “Hey”
  • Confirm receipt of work emails from clients, even if you haven’t completed it. Occasionally something doesn’t get delivered and if your client is used to a confirmation, than they’ll know if you haven’t received their email.
  • Use “please” and “thank you” whenever necessary.
  • Your email subject needs to reflect what your email is about.
  • Don’t forward anything personal (jokes, political statements, funny cartoons, chain letters, etc.,) to clients, even if you are on “friendly” terms.
  • Stick to a basic font (Arial, Helvetica), in a “regular” size, and use black.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS, EVER.
  • No profanity belongs in any client email.
  • Temper the exclamation points, the bolded words, and underlining.
  • Avoid shortcuts for words: “u” for “you”, “bc” for “because”, “gr8” for “great” and so forth.
  • Use emoticons sparingly.
  • If there are multiple people on a message you receive, decipher whether it is appropriate to “reply all” or to just reply to the sender.
  • Keep your client or coworkers in the loop. You may be half way through a project, but it’s always nice to send them a brief status email update so they know that you are working on it.
  • Sign off your emails with a pleasantry such as “Sincerely”, “Warm Regards”, “Kind Regards” and include a signature with your contact information.
  • Notify clients and coworkers of vacations or times when you are away from your office.
  • Use your out-of-office assistant when taking extended time away from work.

Whether you are Gen X or a Millennial, don’t be afraid to throw in some old school office etiquette in the new wild web world. After all, courtesy, respect, and professionalism never go out of style.

Lorrie Thomas
Have You Evaluated The People in Your Life Lately?

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I love this quote from motivational speaker Tony Gaskins: “Evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life.”

I often hear my clients say “I have a really hard time with my ________ (insert web, design, marketing) vendor” then they go on to say why. You don’t have to tolerate mediocre!

We are the product of the people we associate with – personally and professionally.

Think critically about your people and make sure they count!
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Kelly Kohen
Digital Marketing Netiquette – Mind your Grammar!

I am currently volunteering in my son’s 3rd grade classroom during their writing hour. My job is simple, to make sure they have a capital at the start of each sentence and punctuation at the end, use proper grammar, check their spelling and make sure they have clear and complete sentences. While the rules are simple, the kids still need constant reminders for these tasks.

You may be asking, “What does 3rd grade writing have to do with digital marketing?” Amazingly, A TON. At Web Marketing Therapy, I help proofread copy for our clients, anything and everything: social media posts, blog posts, meta data code for SEO, press releases, website copy, copy in images and more. We often find spelling and grammatical errors-it happens to the best of us. We also stage interventions when we see clients blogging sloppily or using poor form – it’s a major credibility killer! My healthy digital marketing advice is to exercise proper netiquette, ALWAYS proofread your writing!

Here is the checklist I use when volunteering in the classroom. More adults need to respect these rules!checklist

Remember, the way you write is a reflection of your brand!

With technology today, it is a quick and easy step to use the built in tools of spell check and grammar check before posting your work. Be sure to use them. If writing isn’t your strength, have someone proofread your work! Asking for help is a small step that makes a BIG impression!

Mind your grammar manners!

Spell and Grammar Check Your work

 

 

 

virtualwordspecialist
Therapy for LinkedIn Network Neglect

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I was doing a little self-help this week and completed an audit of my social media accounts. I was disappointed to see how badly I had neglected LinkedIn! As a social media marketing professional, I was ashamed! But I got over the negativity and moved to positive action. First, I admitted I had a problem and came clean to The Marketing Therapist®, Lorrie Thomas Ross (which I sent via LinkedIn’s email to start using it better! Then I devised a plan to become a more active and social member of LinkedIn.

My therapy was a recent Social Media Examiner article titled: “5 Tips to Build and Grow your LinkedIn Network”. I used these tips as a guide while I set up a solid LinkedIn foundation and implemented steps to better management of my account in the future.

Below are the five key strategies I used:

#1 Update your status frequently and consistently. Eeek! It turns out the last time I posted anything was more than a year ago, so I used a recent Web Marketing Therapy blog post I created about humor in the workplace to update my account.

According to Social Media Examiner, only one third of LinkedIn members visit the site every day and another one third visit the network several times a week. Considering those statistics, here are some suggested best practices to becoming an active LinkedIn member:

  • Update your status on the actual site itself at least three times a day, versus using third party tools. This allows for full control of your message and genuine engagement.
  • Share and comment on the updates of your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections at least once a day.
  • Send an invitation to connect to at least one new person per day.
  • Start and/or participate in LinkedIn Group Discussions three times a week.
  • Answer questions on “LinkedIn” answers three times a week.
  • Comment on profile updates from the companies you follow once a day.

#2 Build Connections Constantly. The easiest way to do this is to click on the “people you may know” link at the top right of the page. You can message these people directly and invite them to connect. You can also see how many shared connections you have with that person. Since making that request, I have doubled my network!

# 3 Be Strategic about When You are Active on LinkedIn. Studies show that LinkedIn members engage more in the afternoons and in the evenings when they are more apt to use the mobile site. It is important to test the best participation times unique to you for highest visibility. Also recommended is to mix it up and track the results of most communication.

#4 Join and Actively Participate in LinkedIn Groups. Social Media Examiner suggests the rule of thumb is to pick three to five groups to be active in and join in the conversation. I have never used this incredible connecting tool before and yet, groups are a vital part of the networking experience. Statistics show that 81% of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group. Of these people, 52% participate in group discussions. Connecting is “key.” I chose a few groups to join that I knew I would engage in professionally. To do this, I clicked on Interests at the top of the page and typed in a few keywords that best suited my expertise and interests.

#5 What You Share Matters. This is most important with LinkedIn. To be successful, you need to consider what would be useful, relevant and informative to the audience you want to attract. Then tailor the content such as news, articles and insights to meet that need. Consider the goals of sharing to be the following:

  • To become a thought leader whose content gets read.
  • To become a great resource for your audience.
  • To engage with your audience and create a dialog.
  • To share content others want to share to their own network.
  • To help increase visibility through the use of “share worthy” content.
  • To use LinkedIn Today to gather popular, trending relevant content.

After implementing the 5 Steps, I did a little self-diagnosis and self-prescribed the following: log in three times per week and engage each time with connections and groups. After coming clean, it’s time for me to stay on the straight and narrow path of quality, consistency and frequency. Whether it be a business or personal account, if your LinkedIn story sounds similar to mine, we can help with a little intervention session. You may be surprised how fun the healing process is.

Ah, I feel better already!

Sources:
Social Media Examiner post: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-tips-to-build-and-grow-your-linkedin-network/

Another Social Media Examiner resource: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/optimize-your-linkedin-profile-for-more-exposure/

LinkedIn Today: http://blog.linkedin.com/2011/03/10/linkedin-today/

virtualwordspecialist
Bad Addiction, Good Addiction

bad addictionWhile our marketing agency is quick to talk about addictions when it comes to social media, etc, we do like to weave in healthy tips (that aren’t related directly to marketing) because our health choices do impact our wealth!! Today I’m going to talk about how to swap a bad addiction with a good one.

BAD ADDICTION: It’s a bad idea to turn to sugary foods for a “quick fix” yet most of us do this unconsciously thinking we are hungry. In reality, most likely we’re tired (see the Importance of Sleep post here), thirsty or both! Eating too much sugar makes you crash; not a winning strategy for an entrepreneur with an overflowing inbox. Believe it or not, one of the reasons we crave sugar once we start eating it is because our body is registering the intake as not nourishing the body (fed, but not nourished). But enough of the bad, let’s look at a good replacement.

While productivity and health go hand in hand, here is a simple success formula to follow:
cut sugar, add water!

A Business Journal article titled, “15 Terrible Things That Happen If You Eat Too Much Sugar”, sites newly drafted World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for sugar consumption. Currently, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons per person per day; that’s four times the amount considered healthy by the new WHO guidelines!

These new guidelines recommend that Americans consume no more than 5% of their daily calories from sugar – down from 10%. To an average, healthy adult, that would mean 25 grams, or about six teaspoons of sugar per day. That means roughly 10 Hershey’s Kisses or a single can of Coke. Realistically, most Americans have an overdeveloped addiction to sugar.

It wasn’t always this way.

Your grandmother intrinsically knew that too much sugar would lead to cavities, weight gain and losing your appetite for healthy food. What she could never know is that sugar abuse also contributes to some of the worst chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, liver failure, pancreatic cancer.  Read the entire article here.

drinking_water_is_healthier_can_candyOkay, enough of the negative, let’s get to the positive point.

GOOD ADDICTION: So, if we were to get rid of our sugar addiction, what would we replace it with? That’s easy: water!

A Web MD article: “6 Reasons to Drink Water” highlights how drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health.

The overwhelming evidence shows that putting down sugar in favor of water can help achieve the following six health benefits:

  • Maintain the balance of body fluids.
  • Control calories.
  • Energize muscles.
  • Keeps skin looking fresh.
  • Help kidney function.
  • Maintain normal bowel function.

American Council on Exercise provided simple guidelines for adequate water consumption.

Below are even more reasons to pick up the H2O:

  • Water composes 75 percent of all muscle tissue and about 10 percent of fatty tissue.
  • Water acts within each cell to transport nutrients and dispel waste.
  • Water composes more than half of the human body.
  • It’s impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it.

An easy guideline to follow is to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water every day (not including tea and other beverages.) If you exercise, you may want to drink at least your total weight in water daily. I drink up to a gallon a day as it helps fuel my body and control my appetite.

Team Web Marketing Therapy loves candy and sweet tasting goodies. Love aside, some of us have given up our addiction to refined sweets (yours truly!) and others have moderated theirs.

If your reliance on sugar is getting out of hand, be proud you recognized it then get your liter bottle of water and chug away. You will feel and look better for it and so will your marketing efforts!

Sources:

Business Insider article: http://www.businessinsider.com/effects-of-eating-too-much-sugar-2014-3

Web MD article: http://www.webmd.com/diet/6-reasons-to-drink-water?page=2

American Council on Exercise H20 intake recommendations http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/pdfs/fitfacts/itemid_173.pdf

Lorrie Thomas
Tough Love – Why You Need a Linkedin Company Page

If you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page yet, then it’s prime time to get on the Web Marketing Therapy couch for some tough love and learn the reasons why you need a LinkedIn Company page. Being a part of the “World’s Largest Network” is not only is a way to manage your personal identity but it is also a way to increase your company’s visibility. And with over 300 million members – it’s a must!

Marketing Rx – Swallow these statistics on LinkedIn Company pages:

  • 68% of LinkedIn members say that they would like to receive relevant news articles or insights from companies.
  • Companies that post 20 times per month reach at least 60% of their unique audience.
  • Recent research shows that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook or Twitter.
  • Members are 50% more likely to purchase from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.

Slow is the same as stop in web and social media marketing. Stay on top of the social media curve by jumping on this opportunity. It’s a professional and free way to keep your company name out there and connect with current and potential customers. Plus, with Facebook Business pages becoming less and less prominent in feeds (unless you pay to play- read the new Facebook News Feed rules) it is just plain foolish to not create a business page for your LinkedIn account. I told you this therapy session was going to involve some tough love 🙂

Your personal connections on your LinkedIn account will be able to follow your new LinkedIn Company page. A LinkedIn Company page will increase your brand visibility and would be geared to attracting potential clients.

When posting to your new LinkedIn Company page, you will have access to specify a target audience for each post. You can choose what type of industry, the company size, function, location and language preference you want your LinkedIn Company update to be seen by. A powerful tool that is not provided by other social media platforms i.e. Twitter or Facebook unless again if you are paying for it. Here is a screenshot of what LinkedIn’s Targeted Audience tool looks like:

linkedin-targeted-audience

To reiterate – a LinkedIn Company page is not connected to your personal profile. It is simply another opportunity to gain followers and create another way to communicate and capture members and product purchasers. There is no “handling” of your personal contacts with a Company page other than having a good excuse to invite them to follow your new page to get business tips, advice and inspiration from posts and updates. The credibility factor also seals the deal with potential clientele who are doing their web research on your company and how many employees you may have and what their experience looks like. SEO wise a LinkedIn Company page will come up higher in searches, usually on the first page of searched keywords associated with your brand.

There’s no time like the present. Okay, session is over, get off the couch and and get going on creating your new LinkedIn Company page!