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The BIGGEST Mistake We Make in Business

I was 7 years old when I made all of my biggest mistakes.  The good news is that when you are 7 you can correct course at a young age and try not to make those same mistakes twice.  “Try” being the operative word.

7 years old, in Year 2 at school and the world is literally your oyster…or at least a rock you found in the quadrangle under the monkey bars.  Regardless, it’s great to be 7!

I had just sat down in my class next to my mate, David when the day got a lot worse.  I could tell from the extra weight in the steps along the green-speckled carpet that the person entering our room was not our usual slender teacher Miss Irwin, but something much larger…much more frightening…I turned around to realise all my worst fears had come true…our Headmistress was taking the class today whilst Miss Irwin was off sick.  Picture Hagrid from Harry Potter but without such an obvious beard trudging over the play mat and dumping piles of folders and papers down at the desk.  She was voted by peers in her High School year book to be the most likely person to become an executioner later in life.

“Right,” she said.  “What’s the time?”  No one was game to respond.  Then David gingerly raised his hand and said, “9 o’clock?”

The Headmistress glared at David, looked at her extended wrist-watch and then stared intently at the rest of the class.

“That’s right.  It is 9 o’clock – but I know that not all of you can tell the time.  So we are going to learn today” and she started handing out those purple ink stencils that they banned in 1987 because too many 5 year olds were getting addicted to sniffing them.  Each stencil had nothing but four perfectly round circles on it.

Headmistress cleared her throat and began with her instructions…but I didn’t need them.  I could already tell what she wanted with those four perfect circles, and the aim of my game was to beat the rest of the class, but more importantly to beat David with this exercise.  How hard could it be?  Four circles representing clocks, just add the numbers, add the hands and we have the time she was referring to.

As she droned on in the background explaining what she wanted to the “slower” kids, I started filling out the stencils, first with the 12 at the top of the page, then the 6 at the bottom…and before long…bam DONE!

I turned to David.  “Oh you’re still going are you?  I’ve finished already” you could see the self-righteous grin on my face from the school flag across the quad.

“Umm-ahh” was David’s first response.

“What?” my smile disappeared.

“She said not to draw the hands on the clocks” David looked at me like I was on death row.

I was so worried that I would upset this dragon with my error that the only way forward would be to admit my mistake before she found out and cop the punishment on the chin.  My dad would be proud.  Taking responsibility for my actions.

I started slowly across the room, the completed stencil in my quivering hands and every eye ball in the classroom on me as I lay the sheet before the Headmistress.  She looked up at me and then back at the sheet.

“What!” she exclaimed.

“I drew hands on the clocks” I stated.

The executioner glared down again at the stencil.  Little did I realise that earlier that week the NSW Government had announced it would be phasing out corporal punishment in schools, starting with infant schools across the state – and the Headmistress was no longer a supporter of the NSW Government.  The cane was her favourite thing to twirl as she paced across the timber veranda looking out at kids having fun.  As soon as fun turned into cheek or mischief, the cane was brought out for full effect and her executions would begin.

She looked up at me over her coke-bottle glasses, her eyes narrowing, her lips pursing.  “You have done something I specifically said not to do.  This – - – is a caning offense!” she cried.

Well, I had never been caned before, and I really didn’t like any form of pain or discomfort, so I did something completely outside of my control – I peed myself – in front of the whole class.  The warm sensation ran down my bare legs and into my desert boots.  A large, dark grey circle appeared on my light grey, extra tight school shorts.  There was nowhere to hide.

Hagrid the executioner looked down at the puddle forming on the carpet and shook her head.  “Go to the front office and ask for some new shorts – go”.

“Am I going to get the cane?” I asked before moving off.

“No – just go!” she replied.

And so it was that I would spend the rest of the day without undies and in a pair of shorts three sizes too big for me because I had drawn hands on some stencil clocks.

How many times would you make that mistake?  The answer is…a lot.  I constantly did things I was told not to whilst growing up and it’s no different in business.

We quite often make the same mistakes again and again regardless of the consequence.  And why is this little tale relevant to business?  Why is this the BIGGEST mistake we make in business?

How often do we rush to get our message out there into the world?  We quite often get excited with our promotions, our sales, our brand, but we forget to take a moment and find out exactly what it is our customers are after.  I’m happy to admit that I’m guilty of posting things on social media that are not relevant or even interesting to my target market.  We all probably do it.  Our BIGGEST Mistake in business is not talking to our ideal customers in our broadcasts.  We aren’t taking the time to listen to what they are after, or to research what they really want.

It’s the old saying “we try to sell the quarter inch drill bit, but what the customer is actually after is a quarter inch hole” – and what’s even more important to them is WHY they need the quarter inch hole.  Are they putting in shelves to create more storage space?  Are they building an outside deck?  We concentrate on the tools we can offer instead of the outcomes our clients need because we don’t listen or ask the right questions.

You will start to notice the consequence of these broadcasts that are off target particularly on Facebook posts where less and less people are being reached by your content.  You need to become more specific with your message and why it benefits your audience.

Here are three simple questions to ask each time you go to post on social media;

  1. What outcomes are your ideal clients after?
  2. Why are your solutions better or at least different from your competitors?
  3. Why should anyone care?

So before you do your next promotion or your next post, remember to ask those three questions – but regardless of whether it works or not, don’t go wetting yourself over it.  After all, we will continue to make mistakes – we just have to learn from each of them.

Adam Drummond is the creative director of adamdrummond.com.au

“Building businesses through social networking strategies.”

Be seen.  Be heard.  Be social.

 

 

 

Build your KLOUT muscle on Social Media

KLOUT began in 2008 and was used to primarily rate the effectiveness of social media users by ranking them out of 100 based on their social media presence, engagement with others and consistency.

Now, KLOUT is that, but so much more too. I use KLOUT like Hootsuite, in that KLOUT will suggest stories related to your general interests and the interests of your target market and then “bang” you can drag and drop the stories into a comment box and post to either Twitter or Facebook. (or more if you pay for more)

The main drawback that I can see at the moment, is that KLOUT doesn’t let you drag to your business Facebook page unless it is a Fan Page.

What I suggest you do though, is send it to your personal page, and then share to your business page when the topic is relevant to your business from your personal page.  Check it out…it’s basically very similar to Hootsuite, but ranks you against the world.

And on that topic, what should you rank? The average Joe/Jo is probably somewhere between 20-30 out of 100. Active social users are between 31-45 and experts or celebrities are 46 +. In fact if you have a score of 57 you are in the top 10% of social network users.

Call or email me, and I’ll help you to get your KLOUT score up!

Adam Drummond is the creative director of adamdrummond.com.au

“Building businesses through social networking strategies.”

Be seen. Be heard. Be social.

10 Big No No’s of Business Facebook Posts

Have you ever wondered, “am I allowed to post that?”  Or have you ever had someone comment on one of your posts with an unwanted negative perspective?  Facebook Business pages are very different to personal Facebook pages.  Here is a short list of what you should avoid on your business page.

10. Never bring up political or religious beliefs. If you must talk about your political views or your religious/non-religious opinions, keep them for debate on your personal page.

9. Do not post pictures, comics or statements that MAY be offensive in any way. If you’re questioning it, it probably means it is offensive. For the record, this is not a problem for some public profile pages such as those of a comedian or entertainer as they are targeting their own fans with their humour. If it’s to be funny as a business, check with someone first to see if it’s really funny and not just sick.

8. Do not tag people in a post unrelated to the post itself. This is a big way to cut people out of your fan page. If someone is mentioned in an article or BLOG (in a positive way) then go your hardest and let them know by tagging them. If however you have a special on at your clothes shop and you want more people to attend the clear out sale, do not tag people just to appear in their newsfeed, without their permission.

7. Never criticise a competitor on social media no matter which platform you’re on. It just looks bitter.

6. Don’t be tempted to comment on posts that you don’t agree with because it affects your business or infringes on your personal opinions. Again, it can just make you look bitter and a little bit twisted. It’s always funny when someone posts something you don’t agree with and then 80% of their friends/fans agree. Either you’re not in the right, or they just know how to reach their fans with similar mindsets.

5. Don’t post too many personal things on your Facebook business page. Keep to a simple ratio of 80% to 90% business/community/general interest and 10% to 20% personal content such as photos of you camping with the kids or hiking up a mountain.  And if possible, tie in a business philosophy with the image, such as “Climbing this mountain reminded me of the challenges I faced when I was a Start-Up business – tough but rewarding at the peak.”

4. Don’t NOT acknowledge a post from somewhere else. Instead of being tempted to copy the link to the post, simply SHARE it on your page. This way everyone receives credit and you build credibility. And as a bit of a karma bonus, people will do the same for you when you post a BLOG or interesting video, driving traffic back to your page.

3. Never ignore comments on Facebook as a business. This is the same as ignoring someone face to face, or in an email or hanging up on someone. It’s not a nice feeling for the person who has taken the time to comment on your post. Try to respond within three to four hours (click here for how to control your time on social media.)

2. Do not send out mass messages as a business page. Social media is for connecting with people and should be treated the same as a networking event. You don’t walk into a room where people are meeting informally to catch up and make a dramatic announcement. Instead you find individuals or small groups and join in the discussion. Same on Facebook – find a group for a discussion or connect on an individual basis rather than direct messaging a whole heap of different people resulting in them trying to find a way to politely exit the conversation.

1. Don’t post lots of content in a short period of time. You need to space out your content in a consistent manner so that it feels like a real newsfeed to your fans/likers and not an ad hoc bunch of random information that may or may not be relevant to those who follow you.

BONUS TIP

Never promote yourself or business on other people’s pages in comments. This is really, really unclassy and, well, rude. It’s happened to me before and I banned the Facebook user for life – yes it was cathartic. Don’t end up on that list with people!

Adam Drummond is the creative director of adamdrummond.com.au

“Building businesses through social networking strategies.”

Be seen. Be heard. Be social.

5 Steps to Building a Social Media Presence

If you follow these steps you will be on your way to creating a fantastic presence in the confusing and overwhelming sea of social media.

Step 1. Know where you should be…

If you want to build your business, which platforms can help you the most?  Most people these days have a business Facebook Page but don’t post on a regular basis, and few post things of relevance to others.  Their mind set is more about “this is me, this is what I do”, when it should be more “how can I help you?” or “how can I add value to your life?”

Even less people utilise the full benefits of LinkedIn and this is alarming considering how many business people are present on that platform.  Surely we can all prospect for business by building relationships with other business men and women?  Set up a referral group, build rapport then invite people for coffee to connect offline or even send them an email with updates on your industry and why it matters to them.

Twitter serves three purposes:

  1.  It’s a great R&D tool – when reading.  I spend hours finding out about things that either affect me or my industry on twitter.  It’s like having your own free seminar or magazine at your fingertips.
  2. It’s a great LIVE connecting tool with its hashtags as things happen at that moment.
  3. It’s great for engaging with an interested audience.  People are following you for a reason – they like your content.

YouTube is great for elevating your status as an expert (or nut job depending how viral you want to get!)

Blogging is a great way to express your thoughts whilst helping people at the same time.

So ask yourself, where should you be present and more importantly why should you be present there?

Step 2. Know who you are posting to…

The old blanket approach is okay for personal Facebook pages but when it comes to being a business you really need to have an ideal client you are addressing.  If you can picture your ideal client you will get a feel for what their likes and dislikes are, what impresses them and what will appeal to them so that your posts on any social media platform remain relevant and of interest to them.

I would also suggest you try connecting on a one-on-one level too.  Really engage by getting to know the other person’s business page, their interests and accolades.  If you are to be successful at B2B networking you need to be able to connect on a much deeper level than a general “Hi everyone, this is what I’ve been up to…”

Step 3.  Have a plan for posts…

Create a spreadsheet or document that has 3-6 months’ worth of content you can share and then schedule it in your Facebook business page or in your diary for twitter, LinkedIn, blogging or video diarising. There are plenty of general links, tips or trivia you can schedule and then it’s just a matter of setting and forgetting.

Step 4.  Manage your time…

Do you spend WAY too much time on social media?  Do you approach it in a fairly ad hoc way?  A little here and a little there?  It’s time to get disciplined and manage your time.

My tips would be;

a)      Only look at social media for 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch and for 15-30 minutes at night and only to post, reply and interact with people

b)      DO NOT look at social media in lines/queues, in between “jobs” or in ad hoc ways

c)       DO NOT check to see how many people like, comment or share your status updates – this will drive you batty and disappoint you when no one engages – save your checking for morning, lunch or night as per above

d)      Include each social media platform into your ideal week and ideal day.  For example, write your BLOG on Tuesday mornings.  Connect with two people on LinkedIn on Monday and Friday afternoons.  Do your R&D on twitter on a Wednesday.  The list goes on.

Step 5. Entertain + engage + educate = Rapport + Relationships

Every post should have an element of entertainment, engagement and education in order to be effective at building rapport and relationships with others.  “Two out of three aint bad”, but three out of three usually means you can’t go wrong.  Ask yourself each time you post, will this entertain my readers?  Will this engage my fans?  Will this educate someone?  By having 2-3 each time with a “yes” as a response you will be on your way to remaining relevant in this crowded world of posts, tweets, blogs and as “The Living End” say, the white noise.

Five steps can’t be that hard surely?  Try it out and let me know how you get on.  If you need a hand at any stage just email me adam@adamdrummond.com.au .

Adam Drummond is the creative director of adamdrummond.com.au and the host of www.waggawagga.tv

“Building businesses through social networking strategies.”

Be seen.  Be heard.  Be social.