RSS

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Cultivating Compassion by Gil Fronsdal

Compassion is inextricably linked to the Buddhist practice of liberation. It can be the motivation for this practice as well as the result.  As one’s inner freedom grows, one’s capacity for compassion increases; as one’s compassion increases, so does the importance of freedom. Liberation supports compassion and compassion supports liberation. They both benefit when they go hand in hand.

Compassion is a form of empathy and care that wishes for the alleviation of someone’s suffering. Known as karuna in Buddhism, this compassion is sometimes referred to as the “jewel in the lotus.” The lotus symbolizes the heart or mind that, with practice, blossoms into freedom, and the jewel represents the compassion appearing in the center of this blossom. The feeling of unfettered compassion is one of the most beautiful feelings a person can experience, providing valuable meaning and purpose to any human life.  Its presence is sometimes celebrated in Buddhism as an inner wealth and source of happiness.

Given its importance, Buddhism doesn’t leave the manifestation of compassion to chance. We don’t have to passively accept how often and how strongly we happen to experience it. Instead, it’s possible to actively develop our feelings of compassion and remove the obstacles for our feeling compassionate.

Because people sometimes confuse compassion with feelings of distress, it is helpful to clearly distinguish these two. Compassion doesn’t make us victims of suffering, whereas feeling distress on another’s behalf often does.  Learning how to see the suffering in the world without taking it on personally is very important; when we take it personally it is easy to become depressed or burdened.  We can avoid taking it as a personal burden or obligation if we learn to feel empathy without it touching our own fears, attachments, and perhaps unresolved grief.

This means that to feel greater compassion for others we need to understand our own suffering. Mindfulness practice is a great help in this.  With mindfulness, we can better see our suffering, its roots within us and the way to freedom from suffering; we can begin to cultivate both equanimity toward our suffering and release from its causes.

In this regard, it’s helpful to appreciate the great value in staying present, open, and mindful of suffering, both our own and that of others. We often need to give ourselves time to process difficult events and experiences and to let difficult emotions move through us.  When immediate action is not required, staying mindful of suffering doesn’t necessarily require a lot of wisdom or special techniques. It mostly takes patience and perseverance.  Relaxed mindfulness of our own suffering increases our ability to feel empathy for others’ difficulty and pain. It gives time for understanding and letting go to occur.  By practicing to be free of habitual reactivity, we take the time to see and feel more deeply what is happening.  This allows empathy to operate and for deeper responses to arise from within.  In this way, compassion is evoked rather than intentionally created.

Some people are reluctant to actively cultivate compassion because they worry that it will be insincerely or artificially contrived. Others fear that it will make them sentimentally naive or prevent them from seeing others clearly or realistically—perhaps out of concern they will be taken advantage of if they are compassionate to others.  Because efforts to be compassionate can be misguided, these concerns are worth keeping in mind.  However, as there are healthy ways to increase our compassion, the concerns don’t have to inhibit our efforts to do so.

One effective way of developing compassion is creating conditions that make it more likely to occur. That is, rather than directly making ourselves more compassionate, we can engage in activities that make it more likely to appear naturally.

A condition for compassion is a sense of safety.  It is easier to feel compassionate if we feel safe and very difficult when we don’t.  Therefore, to develop a confident and compassionate life, it can be helpful to find appropriate ways to feel safe.  Locking ourselves in our home may feel secure, but it’s not conducive to caring more about others. Learning how to be safe while in the world is more useful.  So is using mindfulness practice to address some of the anxieties and self-preoccupations that make us more likely to feel threatened.

It is important not to feel obligated to be compassionate as this often leads to self-criticism and stress that interferes with the arising of a natural compassion. Buddhism doesn’t require us to feel empathy and care for others. It does say, however, that we have the capacity to be compassionate and that doing so is a wonderful asset to ourselves, to others, and to the practice of freedom. The focus can be on how compassion enriches us, not depletes us.

Some people are hesitant to cultivate compassion because they worry they will have to give up too much of themselves as they help others.  Or they fear they will have to spend time with people they feel uncomfortable with. By knowing we are not obligated to be compassionate it may be easier for us to use our best wisdom and common sense to understand when acting on compassion is appropriate and when it is not.

Having confidence in our skill to respond to others’ suffering can also make it easier to feel compassion.  If we feel helpless, too uncomfortable, or even threatened by the troubles others are facing, awareness of their suffering may add to a sense of personal threat.  Developing skill has a lot to do with slow and patient training in such things as mindfulness, concentration, and letting go.

A way of strengthening compassion is to understand and then release what prevents it from arising.  For example, tension and stress limit compassion. When we’re stressed, we’re usually too preoccupied for empathy to operate. However, when we’re relaxed, our capacity for empathy increases. People who cultivate deep states of calm often find it naturally opens their hearts to great capacities of compassion and love.

Selfishness and self-preoccupation also obstruct compassion by blocking the attention and sensitivity that is needed for compassion to arise.  One benefit of letting go of selfishness is that compassion arises more easily.

We can also increase the amount of compassion we feel in our lives by setting the intention to do so. This can be quite specific, such as intending to be compassionate in a particular situation or toward a particular person—or it can be more general, as intending to be compassionate for this day or this week. When we consciously set this intention, we’re more likely to be reminded of and to think in terms of compassion. We will also notice compassionate thoughts and impulses that occur but which may otherwise be overshadowed by different desires and concerns.

Valuing compassion when it does appear can also strengthen it and make it more apt to arise in the future. We might consider and appreciate the benefits it can bring others as well as ourselves. Knowing the benefits can bring a sense happiness that in turn can make compassion more appealing.  Compassion can be more appealing when we have seen how it can be a source of happiness and how it can be intimately connected with our inner freedom.  Compassion for others can be a relief when we have spent too long pre-occupied with ourselves.

Another supportive condition is to deliberately reflect on compassion, perhaps stimulated by regularly reading and talking to others about it.  Whatever we think about regularly can become an inclination.  If we repeatedly think about love, kindness and caring for others, thoughts related to compassion are likely to appear more often.

Spending time with people who are compassionate can also help us.  The people we see frequently often have an influence on us. Seeing compassion in others can inspire it in ourselves.

Finally, understanding how compassion is a form of love helps us recognize what a jewel it truly is. When it arises from inner freedom it is then connected to other beautiful capacities of our hearts. It can appear together with well-being, calm, clarity, and peace.

There is, in fact, a great deal we can do to make compassion a more central part of our lives. As compassion grows, our self-centeredness and clinging decrease, and liberation becomes easier. As we become freer, compassion becomes more readily available.  To let compassion and liberation support each other is one of the most beautiful ways of training in the Buddhist path.  It can be our gift to the world.

—Gil Fronsdal

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Does your Small Business need a Fleet?

Small businesses need things like ingenuity, hard work, and drive. Sometimes, they also need drive in a literal sense. Cars, utes and other vehicles are the lifeblood of a lot of small businesses, from plumbing and electrical contractors to private IT and customer service consultants. And if you don’t have access to those vehicles, you may be doing your business a disservice – either in the short or long term.

When we talk about a fleet for small businesses, we mean a set of cars which you and your employees can use to get around and get things done. Of course, not every business needs a fleet, so ask yourself the following questions first:

  • Do I do a lot of driving as part of my business?
  • Do I need specific things from my vehicle, other than just getting me from A to B?
  • Am I thinking of hiring more people to help me do my job in the future?

If you’ve answered yes to those three questions, you should consider the benefits of a fleet. Motor dealers offer significant discounts on fleet car purchases (it’s like buying in bulk at your supermarket) and you’ll also get a fair number of other perks including tax deductions for repairs and fuel. Having a fleet also acts as an incentive for new employees, since they won’t have to use their own car to do their job. And it means you can standardise what model your employees use, which not only helps the professional image but also cuts back on management and maintenance costs.

If you do need a fleet, what next? First, decide what model you want to go with. That’ll depend on everything from what your business does to where you and your employees live. A business doing consulting in the Melbourne CBD would probably not want a fleet of SUVs, for example. Things to keep in mind include fuel efficiency, size, and capacity.

Next is financing the fleet. That entails a pretty significant expense, so you may want to consider taking a loan on some or all of the vehicles. You can use the interest on this loan to claim back on your business tax return, so it’s not as risky as taking a loan on your personal vehicle. If you want car loans, WA and NSW are going to be pretty much the same, although interstate businesses may be able to “shop around” for slightly more competitive deals.

Finally, make sure your fleet has a solid insurance policy and maintenance options to back it up. Chances are you’ll need them at some point or another, and you don’t want your fleet going offline due to a lack of paperwork. That way, business as usual can stay on the road.

Sarah Paige is a car enthusiast and a self-proclaimed expert in the motoring field. If you’re in the market for vehicles for your small business, consider shopping around for car loans. WA has plenty of experts to help finance your new vehicle.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Good Filing System Is Imperative In Every Business

When running your own business, no matter the size or how many clients you have, it is essential to have a good filing system on hand. This makes your entire business life easier, and allows you to be more productive throughout the day.

Advantages
There are many advantages of using a solid filing system, and you are bound to see the advantage of the equipment as soon as you implement the system. Once you have the new filing system in place and functioning, you are going to wonder why it took you so long in the first place to initiate the filing system, and what you ever did before, without it!

Organisation
A good filing system is going to allow you to bring up previous customers and orders in the blink of an eye. The faster you are able to bring this information up, the less time you spend digging through a drawer or file on your computer. This is especially important if the individual is on the phone. Neither one of you most likely wants to be on hold for this long, so the faster you are able to bring up this information the better.

Easy Access
If you have a large listing of clients, it is often difficult to locate one individual in particular. Even if you have the names alphabetised, it is going to take you some time to flip through all the files you have, just to find the information you desire. And this only brings out their folder. You still have to look through the folder in order to find the correct order number, or date, or any other bit of information. With a good filing system, such as one that is installed on your computer, you are able to simply type in the individuals name, and all their information appears on the screen. From here, you just need to type in the desired information and this is shown on the clients account. The entire process goes from several minutes (if not longer), to just a few seconds. If you have someone performing this task all day, they are going to significantly improve on the amount of work they can produce,

Having a good filing system is important in every business, as it is going to make every task you perform faster, so you no longer need to thumb through drawer after drawer of folders, just to find one individual. Once you implement the new filing system, you are going to be extremely happy you do, especially when you see the amount of time you are saving.

Find out how basic organisation and admin jobs can benefit your business at Adecco

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Top 5 Must-Have Resources For Your Next Corporate Event

Planning your next corporate event? It’s important that you have a few key resources on hand. These resources will help you stay focused and organized while you pull off a successful corporate event that will have your industry talking for years to come.

Timeline: Your timeline is the starting point for successful corporate event planning. Select a date for your event and be sure it’s on a date that is convenient to your attendees and conducive to a complete planning process. Most professional event planners suggest that you should start planning 18 to 12 months before the date of the event.

Budget: Before making any concrete plans, get your event budget prepared and cleared by upper management. This will affect a lot of the future decisions about the event, so it’s important to get this settled as soon as possible up front. If you’re exploring new corporate event entertainment options or are considering a new venue, get a quote first so you can include this in your budget.

A corporate event planner or event-planning expert: A corporate event planner can be an invaluable resource when it comes to creating a memorable event. They’ll be able to suggest reliable vendors that they’ve worked with before, have insider knowledge of the best way to create an event schedule and give you extra support on the day of the event. Hiring an outside planner can help ensure that your event goes off just as planned.

Event entertainment: “Exciting” and “corporate event” aren’t always used in the same sentence, but that can change when you hire professional event entertainment. Corporate entertainers can take your event to the next level and make it an exciting and memorable experience. Look for entertainers that have experience with a corporate audience so you won’t have any embarrassing surprises on the day of your event.

Plans for following up with attendees: You can make your corporate event planning better and better each year when you get feedback from the attendees. Surveying your participants will help you and the planning team see opportunities to make things even better next year. You can distribute survey cards during the event, have team members follow up via phone or send out an email survey a few weeks after the event.

These five must-have resources will keep your corporate event on track and set your organization up for success.

David Thomas has over 30 years of event entertainment and planning expertise. As the Owner of Shows In A Box he has overseen thousands of shows, events and corporate functions for charity and fortune 500 companies around the world.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What’s Your USP? Discover How to Set Your Business Apart

 

Businesses must determine their unique selling proposition (USP) to develop a brand image and competitive advantage through effective  web design. The USP helps to drive sales and through other channels of a business. The USP should be apparent on the business’s website to meet the criteria for unique and compelling content. Set your business apart from the competition by establishing your USP through effective business web design.

Successful Businesses with Compelling USPs

Many major companies developed a compelling USP that customers recognise. For instance, FedEx guarantees packages will reach their destinations within 24 hours. This is an excellent USP that delineates the company from most of its competition. While there are some other companies also promise the same services, FedEx has woven this unique selling proposition into their brand image. Now, customers recognise their company for this service.

Domino’s Pizza promised to deliver hot pizza in 30 minutes or less. Customers came to appreciate and expect this type of service. Now, numerous companies offer this service. Domino’s continually reinvents itself to attract customers. As it stands, when customers view the Domino’s Pizza logo or read the name, one of the first things they think of is hot pizza delivery in 30 minutes or less.

Burger King differentiates itself from McDonald’s by letting its customers build their burger or sandwich their way. While McDonald’s discourages special orders, Burger King relies on fresh ingredients that customers can pick and choose. “Have it you way” is Burger King’s unique selling point.

What is Your Business’s Unique Selling Point?

After reviewing the aforementioned business’s USPs, what is your business’s USP. How do you lure customers from your competition? Aside from price, what attracts your customers to your business? All business owners should identify this point to remain competitive.

For instance, some dentists have added numerous additions to their offices to relax and calm patients during what may be an unpleasant experience. Some dentists have their dental chairs facing floor to ceiling windows facing a wooded area or another view to provide a more relaxing experience. The dentist may offer sugar free treats and refreshments to help alleviate the stress of the event.

How to Establish Your USP

Perform a Competitive Analysis

Determine what your competition does well and what they do poorly. Then, determine how you can improve upon your competition’s processes to differentiate your company when compared to the competition. Define your niche market and focus on streamlining your business practices.

Examine what you currently do to set yourself apart from the competition. If you are a consultant that works with Fortune 100 companies exclusively, this would be a point of delineation. Perhaps you are a jeweller with a designer on the premises.

Perform a Consumer Needs Analysis

Identify the frustrations of the consumers that you serve. Social networking tools are excellent starting points to begin forums to discuss consumer frustrations. Use the comments to improve business practices and develop products that address the frustrations.

Guarantee Your Products

Businesses that offer a guarantee will attract more customers, because they have less to lose. If you offer a guarantee, the customers would be more likely to buy.

Use Specific Instead of Generalities

For instance, Baskin-Robbins may include that they offer 31 flavours instead of saying that they offer multiple flavours. Specific flavours offer a distinguishing factor from the competition.

Under Promise. Over Perform

Offer less than you can actually deliver. When your company delivers more, your customers will be pleasantly surprised. Your company undermines its USP when it cannot deliver what the company promises to offer.

Effective business websites can help promote those involved in a variety of different business fields, from a racehorse trainer, exhibition stand provider, manufacturer right through to a therapist or tradesman.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Exhibition Marketing Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss

Think of how the best companies have teams that are alert, ready to welcome customers into their exhibition stand and always seem to have knowledgeable people able to make immediate decisions. Think of how easy it is to deal with these people compared to those who can’t make decisions. Whilst having that well-designed exhibition stand is important, it’s equally important to have people ready and willing to help your customer base. So when it comes to making that all-important first impression, what must your company do to ensure that everyone is ready to make a name for themselves?


Professionalism is Key to Success

The best enterprises ensure that their people are always on their best behaviour. Rarely do they appear tired from a long night of partying. However, the worst teams are easy to spot. They’re not only tired, but they’re often sitting, yawning and in the worst of cases, have their feet up on a desk. Save the celebrations for the end of the show. Ensure everybody retires early. Standing greeting visitors for 8 to 10 hours a day is not only taxing, it’s hard work! Being more professional is easier when everyone is fresh and ready to handle the day that awaits them. Come up with schedules that allow people to have breaks. Never leave the same personnel standing idle for too long a period.

Tracking Qualified Leads

Whilst most assume that the easiest approach to tracking leads is to gather the prospect’s business card, a more proactive approach is to use barcode scanners to track incoming prospects via their registration cards. Most exhibitions nowadays provide this service for a fee. However, very few companies ever take advantage of such services, instead opting to try and get an attendee’s business card. Unfortunately, a large number of visitors rarely carry enough cards. If you’re going to attend that exhibition, and have invested a lot of money in exhibition stands, then making sure you track qualified leads is an essential part of success. If you’ve come this far, then go forward with capturing all your visitors’ information.

Understanding Your Value Proposition

Your team members must understand your company’s value proposition. This means your enterprise must have as many knowledgeable people attend the exhibit. Whilst it is a balancing act, your company will be better served by having as many decision makers onsite as possible. As previously mentioned, professionalism and success is measured by your team’s ability to service your customers in a prompt manner. That means having someone onsite that can make immediate decisions and ensuring all team members understand their appropriate roles and responsibilities.

Few outbound marketing approaches have as high a marketing ROI (return on investment) as does attending an exhibit or trade show. However, success depends upon the ability to maximise on the opportunities in front of you. That requires a team that understands your company’s value proposition and understands their own roles and responsibilities. It’s easy to decipher which companies are best prepared during exhibits. It’s often those who not only have a nice exhibition stand, but also those that back that professionalism up with a code of conduct.

RB Design & Display are reliable and experienced exhibition stand contractors who will manage the creation and installation of your exhibition stand, enabling you to focus on maximising sales leads.

 

5 Tips to Find the Best Lead Generation Companies

When you have the right leads to contact, regardless if it is through email, phone, or even printed ads sent via snail mail, you have now nailed down one of the most important aspects in marketing. Getting your leads ensures that your resources are not wasted on individuals that have no interest in the company and its products.

Companies nowadays use a combination of online ads, print ads, and telemarketing in order to reach their prospects. These different methods are quite costly although this has to be shouldered in order to generate more income – this literally justifies the saying “you have to spend money to make money”.

In this article, we will share with you 5 simple tips to help you find the best lead generation company that is right for you and your business needs.

  • As a business currently looking for lead generation companies to become your marketing service provider, it is important that you discuss matters with your chosen company on how they think they can generate leads for you as well as how it may fit along with the other services they offer. The company should definitely have a clear and concise idea of how they plan to generate their leads for you. Hesitations and blank answers are a warning sign of a company that doesn’t know what it’s doing.
  • It is important that you go for the company that has plenty of experience in generating leads for businesses, such as Vendere Partners. Experience is a major factor when it comes to companies like these as it is one of the best ways of telling whether they know what they’re doing or not. Experience often guarantees favorable results as well.
  • Obtain references if the company could provide them to you so you would be able to contact other businesses that have availed of their services and ask them how well the company did and whether or not they helped achieve their business goals. Just like all the other service providers out there, they shouldn’t have a hard time giving you references if they have done their job properly.
  • Know that different businesses will always have different needs, so a good lead generation company should be able to give you a package that is more suitable to your specific business requirements. You’ll need to discuss what you need and what your expectations are as well as review the price they offer. Once you have this information, compare and research so you can make the right decision to go with.
  • One thing you should take note of when choosing a lead generation company is to know exactly how much support they can offer. Always find out the support options available for specific scenarios so you would be able to find out if the company would be able to provide you with remuneration when the situation calls for it.

Mark Doyle is a freelance writer who writes about many things including Vendere Partners.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How to Take Advantage of a Short Sale

In the real estate business, there are all sorts of specialized terms that can be confusing to the average layperson. With the condition of the economy like it is, we are seeing many different house sale conditions, including auctions, foreclosures and short sales. These are often the result of people not being able to afford their mortgage payments and being forced to move. Whether you’re in that position and needing to sell, or you’re in the market for purchasing a new home, it’s important to understand all the various terms and options available to you. So let’s go over one of them now. What, exactly, is a short sale?

A short sale, put in the simplest of terms, is when a house is selling for less than the balance owed on the mortgage. A short sale has to be agreed to by the mortgage lender. When a person is unable to make the mortgage payments, the lender agrees to a short sale so they can at least get a portion of their loan back. It is often a way to cut their losses and get something out of it. If they allow the property to go into foreclosure, they will potentially get even less. Some banks can save up to 25 or 30 percent by allowing a short sale rather than going to foreclosure.

Should You Purchase a Short Sale Home?

If you want to buy a new home, a short sale can be an attractive option. With a short sale, you are often able to get a lot more house for your money. The house will be priced well below its value, so it is worth considering, especially for people buying their first home or people who are interested in buying an investment property to rent or flip. You should enlist the help of a realtor who is experienced with short sales. A realtor who is knowledgeable about the process will be a valuable asset to you.

On the downside, most short sale homes are being sold “as is,” meaning the sellers aren’t willing to fix it up for you. Many short sale homes are in less than stellar condition. Some need complete and total rehab, other just a few minor repairs. You should have a building inspector come to the home before you purchase it, and you should get repair estimates from contractors. Consider if you’re really willing to put in the time, effort and money it might take to fix up the home. Short sales also require a lot more paperwork and involve more parties, so they are bound to take longer to complete.

Should You Request a Short Sale for Your Home?

On the other hand, if you’re in financial difficulty and can’t keep up with your mortgage payments, you might want to consider requesting a short sale from your mortgage lender. You will need to begin by writing a letter explaining why you’d like a short sale by detailing your hardships. A short sale is a way to avoid foreclosure, but it will still negatively impact your credit score. Your mortgage lender will need to agree to the short sale, and they will be the one to approve any offers made on the home. If you have any liens against the property, the lien holders will need to agree to the short sale also.

Whether you’re considering purchasing or requesting a short sale, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney.

Terry Ford has been writing for many years and loves to provide readers with informational material related to trends impacting our economy. Terry uses Grammarly grammar checker to ensure her readers receive the best possible content.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

5 Appointment Setting Tips to Keep you Sane

Telemarketers have received much help from the technological advances made these past few years. However, the key in effective appointment setting still revolves around mastering a handful of basic techniques. As you may have already figured out, the road to outbound appointment setting is not for the fainthearted, as this will require a great deal of time and dedication to become successful with what you’re doing. Remember if you ever need help, you can always call an appointment setting company like Vendere Partners.

In this article, we will tackle the 5 basic tips you should know in setting an appointment.

1.  Have a Pen and Paper at all Times

The first thing you should be doing is obviously writing things down. No matter how powerful you think your mind is, you should document all information that is worth noting. This is by far the most obvious thing to do and is sadly, where most people fall short. Always make it a point to carry at least a pen and paper for those desperate times.

2. Have a telemarketing script

Having a telemarketing script is an effective way to keep an outbound call right on track. Before talking to the prospect, one should write a script as this can be very helpful in describing your intent – this also makes your pitch sound natural. If your employees are handling the task of setting appointments, a script helps them gain knowledge of the product, and eliminates any chances of being caught off guard by a question.

3.  You should maintain a list of fresh contacts or leads.

Telemarketers typically make hundreds of calls every day. Always make it a point to move on to newer prospects and add fresh new names to keep yourself on your toes rather than call the same voicemail over and over again. While it may be recommended to move on to new targets once the old ones cannot be contacted, don’t completely disregard them at the first sight, learn to judge the right time to move on.

4.  Be persistent!

This is the most prominent trait of any telemarketer; you shouldn’t just give up right away even if the possible options are already exhausted. You know how annoyingly persistent telemarketers are? Yeah, that’s your goal.

5.  Close the appointment!

Always take note that all appointments that have been settled are basically all sales calls. Don’t be repetitive and alternate schedules when setting appointments in order to make sure that it is convenient for the prospect. Learn to vary scheduled appointments and don’t just stick to what you’ve been used to. And when closing the appointment, always make it a point to use a choice closer in order to make the appointment convenient for the prospect while adding variation to your schedules.

Mark Doyle is a freelance writer who writes about many subjects including Vendere Partners.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Will All of You Writing Apps and Forming Social Group Pages Send Them all to me and THEN BE DONE!

My girls got me started on FaceBook after informing me that email was “so 90’s.” I never did get into the My____ thing, because I could never figure out what the heck the ____ was until they too were obsolete. Glad I didn’t invest any time there. After “friending” the entire family, the congregation of our church, half of Woodside High School and most of my kids friends, I was labeled as a lurch. Apparently overtly spying on your children’s activities by looking at the weekend beer-pong photos and tables filled with bongs is frowned upon in the current “hip” social circle. Too bad, I’m a parent – not their best buddy.

My first exposure to LinkedIn came from an ex girlfriend sending me an email that simply stated “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” That seemed simple enough. She was a colleague in a marketing role within a well known software company, so there seemed to be some value there. I’d never heard of LinkedIn but have been a relatively early adopter so I jumped on it. I signed up and promptly forgot that it even existed.

Having been around for a while (I actually remember key-punch cards, CP/M, Lotus 123, and DB5) I have seen lots of things come and go. My first desktop computer was an Apple II with a 2MB external drive – hot stuff back then. It was no earth shaking event to find a platform with a bit more professional atmosphere than the “well he was all.. oh my God, and she said…” banter that was FaceBook at the time.

I took a quick class on “social media” and came back stoked at the business implications of LinkedIn. I set a goal to acquire 100 professional contacts, and began emailing everyone I had ever worked with. The more I played with it, the more applications I found for connecting with associates, groups, chats, conversations, etc. It became kind of an obsession. I started teaching classes on the business/job search applications of LinkedIn and got even better at it. You know what they say: if you really want to learn something, teach it. I began broadening out with my associates at ProMatch and expanded the course work to include FaceBook and Twitter. I was asked to write for a social media blog with the State of California EDD, and taught a few additional adult education courses for the county. That was when the real fun began.

I took a Masters Certificate in Internet Marketing from USF and figured out how to integrate all this wonderful social media with websites to generate leads and attract business through the internet. I haven’t made a “cold call” since.

In the following years of helping my clients generate traffic to their sites, I developed a pretty good, tight little grouping of sites that I feel relevant. I use WordPress to create my blog/content, twitter to broadcast it, and my LinkedIn and FaceBook fan pages (FB is not just for High School students any more) as my portfolio sites. There are videos that need to be posted on YouTube, Slide Shows on Slide Share, we need to use Google alerts to monitor the feedback on our products and services, Yelp to express our opinions of others goods and services, and after a daily review of Search Engine Land and weekly webinar with the Internet Marketing Club, it is exhausting to keep up with it all.

Google + looks like it is going to be a “must have” in the professional quiver, and Stumble Upon, Digg and Redit, gain more attention by the day. Google + really looks like a good more intuitive knock off from FaceBook, except that adoption is still very sparse now and there really isn’t much on it.

Enough is Enough! Slow down and let me catch my breath. There are now 15 “share” icons below some of the articles I read, and more coming every day. To set up a social media suite there are 10 different sites, avatars’, and registers to complete profiles in to get a client started. I can consolidate all the proliferation through Postling, but for crying out loud! I spend 5-10 hours a week just keeping up with what I need to understand to help my clients, and the other 40 doing the work. I need a maid!

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: