How many of you work for a company that has been around for more than five years? During that five years, has your business evolved? Do you do business online? Do you or your company have a blog? Do you use twitter? Do you own a cell phone?
I suspect many of you have answered yes to most if not all of these questions. When is the last time you thought about or updated the information you include on your business cards? My guess is the real answer is when whoever it was who is no longer with the company created the template.
It is ok - you can admit it, you are not alone.
A few weeks ago I encouraged you not to discount your autosignatures. This week I encourage you not to discount the value of your business card. The standard information is fine - we all know what that is, but there is valuable information you can add to improve the presentation of your credentials.
1) Link to your blog
2) Your twitter address
3) Link to a your social networking profile
4) Your cell phone
So, since I have been speculating throughout this blog post, I am guessing you are saying to yourself - Why bother? Anyone I give my card to will be able to get in touch with me - right? Perhaps, but think about when you give out cards. You are usually at a meeting where you have met someome new, at a trade show, a networking event, etc.. Chances are that many of the people you are handing them to do not know you all that well. And, the easier you make it for these folks to find and research your credentials, the higher likelihood you will convert them from suspects to prospects.
The next generation of property due diligence professionals and our future customers are from the web generation. These millenials have had access to technology from the moment they were born. They leverage social media, they are influenced by trends, and they do the majority of their personal and professional business online. Do you think they want to do business with someone they perceive as like them or someone who is not? This time, I will leave it to you to speculate.
The next time you need to order cards, remember they have two sides. Use them both.
Last week, one of our members posted a question in a commonground discussion thread asking for insights from members concerning the environmental impact pharmaceuticals and personal care products can have if they are disposed of via the toilet or sink.
This question seemed like a great question for me to broadcast to my followers on twitter, many of whom are either in the environmental and property due diligence arena, or, are just passionate about helping improve the environment. So, I thought I would try to help the member out by broadcasting the following message:
"does anyone have any knowledge about the environmental impact of flushing expired medicine down the hopper? http://tinyurl.com/brsyop 11:45 AM Feb 6th from web
Shortly after 12:00 PM, a former colleague of mine responded with a suggestion to check out Earth911.com to look for additional data on the topic.
The outreach via twitter helped our commonground member receive a very valuable suggestion from someone who was more than willing to help and share knowledge. And, each receives value. The member with the question is happy because she received some feedback, and the member submitting the suggestion is happier because she could be helpful. Who does not want to be helpful? Lets face it, it makes us feel good about ourselves to help others.
Why do I blog about this? This is a great example of how social netowrking provides real value and connectivity. Would they ever have connected otherwise? Probably not. In the past, how did we find this information? We asked colleagues, we asked friends, we searched online, we visited the library, etc. Today, our social networks are enabling us to find answers and solve problems faster, thus improving our knowledge, productivity, and efficiency.
As we head to the polls today, we all have our individual reasons why we are choosing a candidate. It could be his stance on foreign policy. It might be his plan on how to manage through the financial crisis. It quite possibly could be his proposal for healthcare or tax reform….
Our votes are very likely influenced by his political campaign too. Yesterday, Jeremiah Owyang, one of the top social media gurus and someone I follow very closely to keep “in the know”, wrote a blog titled Snapshot of Presidential Candidate Social Networking Stats: November 3, 2008. Some of the statistics that he shared blew me away. I knew that Obama had done a better job with social media and leveraging the votes of the younger generation, but wow!
1. Facebook supporters - Obama has 2,379,102 - McCain has 620,359
2. Myspace friends – Obama has 833,161 - McCain has 217,811
3. Youtube videos – Obama videos have been viewed 18,413,110 - McCain’s videos have been viewed 2,032,993.
4. Twitter – Obama has 112,474 followers - McCain has 4,603
I encourage you to check out the above link to Jeremiah’s blog for additional information that for me, and many of my peers in the social media space, were eye opening.
Each and every day there is more data available that validates that:
1) social media is having a real impact on our personal and professional lives
2) we cannot ignore the power, influence, and reach the younger generation has
3) social media is not a fad
Remember, every vote counts. See you at the polls.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I am about as excited as my kids are on Halloween.
One reason is because it is fully understood that I am going to watch at least 90% of a football game no matter who is playing. The second is, I love to watch all the commercials. I am completely entrigued to know if the company who spent $3M for a 30 second slot during the game got a quantifiable return on investment.
This year, user generated advertising made a huge leap. The Doritos ad, which was created by a couple of unemployed brothers as part of a contest by Frito Lay, was recognized as the top commercial during Super Bowl by the USA Today. It is a significant achievement as the ad was not created by some boutique ad agency in downtown New York City, it was created for next to nothing by Doritos customers. By creating a contest, Frito Lay was able to leverage the collective creativity of the masses to create a commercial versus relying on just the top creative folks that out there working on many campaigns at once.
Imagine what some of these top creative thinkers were thinking today about being beat out on the worlds biggest stage by a few amateurs? I can only imagine.
As we in the environmental and property due diligence market think about how to stretch our limited budgets, there are a few very basic social lessons that can be learned here.
1) Even in a down economy, people like, sorry, I mean love to laugh
2) Youtube and other social sites make it very valuable and easy to leverage the masses to create and share content
3) You might be pleasantly surprised how many of your customers might be willing to participate in campaigns on your behalf if you ask and they might create something beyond your wildest expectations.
You might not have 100M viewers seeing your ads during the big game, but I suspect visitors to your web site who see real content about your services from real customers who are happy with your services wiill be influenced in a very positive way. And those customers can often communicate your message in more creative and effective ways than some of the biggest ad agencies money can buy.
Are you leveraging user generated content? Would love to hear how you are. I look forward to reading your comments while I munch on a bag of Doritos.