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    20 Reasons Why Social Media Won’t Replace Email for Women Business Leaders

    February 22nd, 2013

    Email marketing is still an important tool for women business leaders.

    As a Woman Business leader, I understand how a robust social media program can be an important component of my company’s marketing mix.  But it’s only part on the mix.

    Email is the glue that bonds social media channels together.

    The rise in popularity of social media only enhances email. The two work powerfully together. Two excellent articles, Chris Crums, writer for WebPro News, “10 Reasons Social Media isn’t Replacing Email“ and VerticalResponse CEO Janine Popick, “10 More Reasons Why Social Media Wont Replace Email. Chris always has great marketing insights. Janine also provides some insightful resources and practices what she preaches for both email marketing and social media. I recommend them both.

    Here are their 20 reasons why social media wont replace email:

    1. People still send hand-written letters.
    2. Nearly all sites on the web that require registration require an email address.
    3. Email notifies you of updates from all social networks.
    4. We haven’t seen any evidence yet that Google Wave really will catch on on a large scale.
    5. Email is universal, and social networks are not.
    6. There are plenty who have no interest in joining social networks.
    7. Email is still improving.
    8. Even social networks themselves recognize the importance of email.
    9. More social media use means more email use.
    10. As far as marketing is concerned, email is doing pretty well.
    11. Twitter and Facebook are fantastic products and companies; but that’s what they are, companies.
    12. Your email recipients are still going to use business email for business purposes.
    13. You can’t easily segment your friends and followers to do targeted marketing (through social media)
    14. You can’t tell who clicked on a link with some social media outlets.
    15. That said, you can’t tell who didn’t click on the link so you can follow up with them with a different message.
    16. You cannot personalize your Facebook updates.
    17. You cannot size your graphics or use more than one in Facebook.
    18. You can’t track how many clicks you got on your links in Facebook.
    19. You are limited to 140 characters in Twitter.
    20. You almost have to have separate social media accounts for your business and your personal life.

    9 Tips to Get Speaking Opportunities for Women Business Leaders

    February 12th, 2013

    Women Business Leaders Should Look For Speaking Opportunities

    Having the opportunity to speak in front of a highly targeted, interested group of prospects is a very effective way to grow your personal brand and business. Even if you are speaking for free, the opportunity oftentimes outweighs a fee when it comes to the potential for new business and establishing yourself as a thought leader.

    Here are 9 personal tips to generate speaking opportunities:

    1. Start with blog

    Your  blog can become a great tool to open doors to speak. It provides a the platform to hone your subject matter, draw interest and appeal from your best agency prospects.

    People want to work with people that they know, trust and like. Your blog can become the face of your business, the gateway for  new business opportunities. It can also be a springboard for speaking opportunities.

    2. Create a Speaking Page

    Roxanne Joffe speaks on topics related to leadership, business development, and social media. She has been speaking publicly for more than 10 years and has keynoted more than 50 events.

    A few suggestions on what to include on your blog’s Speakers Page

    • Clearly define your expertise and your niche
    • Provide a description of topics and presentations you can speak on
    • Create your “speakers bio”
    • Speaking Engagement.  List events where you will be speaking, no matter how small (I would also suggest adding your speaking engagements to your blog’s side bar) Speaking Engagements
    • Provide testimonials.  I’ve discovered that LinkedIn is an excellent way to generate testimonials
    • Be sure and provide your contact information
    • Educate and you won’t have to sell

    3. Shoot Video

    Video is easily shot, embedded and/or linked through your blog.  It’s not that difficult create, and make a big difference in generating new speaking engagements.

    4. Record Audio

    You can also record video through a number of different programs to upload or link to your blog. Someone recently introduced me to a program that easily records interviews called wetoku. You can also use a service as simple as FreeConferenceCall.com.

    5. About Page

    I would suggest creating an About Page for your blog that would provide a fuller profile of your experience beyond your speakers bio.

    In addition to these tips …

    6. Make the Most of Your Presentation Time

    Success breeds success

    It goes without saying, you need to make a good presentation. Here are a few presentation tips to think about:

    • Focus on your audience. Don’t sell. Help them, entertain them, inform them and inspire them.
    • Prepare and rehearse your presentation.
    • Make eye contact and be engaging.
    • Use listening notes. Facilitate questions.
    • Make your session interactive with your audience.
    • Get a look at the presentation room as soon after you arrive as possible. It always helps to be aware of your surroundings and adjust your presentation accordingly.
    • Set-up your equipment as early as possible before your presentation time.
    • Have a back-up plan if you have technical issues. I always upload a copy of my presentation to an online source, have downloaded it also to a thumb-drive, make sure I have all my adapters, pluggins, etc.
    • If at all possible spend time in other conference sessions. Be part of the conference community.
    • Provide enlightening personal stories and illustrations.
    • If you use PowerPoint or Keynote, don’t read the slides! Instead use them illustrate your points. Nice photos/graphics.
    • Bring plenty of business cards.
    • Provide your contact info at the end of any slide or video presentations.

    7. Use Social Tools

    In addition to your blog, use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to help promote the event at which you are speaking. This will be a huge help to the event organizers, will make them even more appreciative for your participation and will be a benefit to you by the positive referrals.

    Often event organizers will also provide you with a discount for your readers.

    Also use social media, prior to the event, to meet and engage with those who will be attending.

    8. Don’t Forget to Follow-up

    Taking the time to follow-up with attendees is an important part of process of gaining additional speaking and new business opportunities. Providing a personal email to those you collected business cards from and providing a link to your presentation in SlideShare would be helpful tactic to use as a follow-up.

    A personal handwritten note would also be a nice follow-up.

    9. Enroll in a Speakers Bureau

    Many Women Business Leaders have found that  enrolling in a speakers bureau has generated a good number of additional speaking opportunities in addition to their blog, writings, interviews and referrals.

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    4-Step Approach to a Social Media Plan for Women Business Leaders

    December 6th, 2012

    POST is one of the most effective acronyms since the four P’s of marketing. It’s a four-step approach that can help women marketers define a social media marketing plan for their business and/or clients.

    The POST method is the heart and soul of the book, Groundswell, written by Forrestter Research analysts, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoffand. It is  highlighted in Josh Bernoff’s Groundswell blog post, The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy. The POST Method serves as a guide to help you determine the right strategy for the right audience.

    Josh says, “Executives are going about social strategy backwards: picking technologies like blogs or communities first instead of focusing on what they want to accomplish.”

    Your purpose should dictate strategy and the tactics used for reaching desired goals. A few common outcomes for your social media marketing efforts should include:

    • Gain insight into your target audience – You can use all the qualitative data you want, but some of the most interesting and helpful market research can be found within the social communities where your prospective clients interact, share information and make recommendations.
    • Link building for traffic and SEO - According to Marketing Sherpa, 80-90% of business to business transactions begin with a search on the web. Creating linkbait and promoting it to social media news and bookmarking sites can attract a slew of links from bloggers that read them. Creating value for the community is not the only rule, creating value and behaving according to formal and unwritten rules is what sustains social media sourced link building.
    • Build brand visibility and authority - You’ve heard it before,“Conversations are happening online about your company’s brand, with or without you.” You might as well participate and do so in a way that pays close attention to the interests and needs of your prospective clients – providing them with information and interactions that further support your company’s brand.

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    Women Business Leaders: Do You Have a Social Media Crisis Plan?

    December 2nd, 2012

    Using social media to respond to a crisis is timely and effective, but your response must be deliberately managed and controlled. A well thought-out crisis plan should not only inform your audience that you care – it should also pay attention and respond to online conversations.

    As a woman business leader and entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make sure you retain control of the messaging your business puts out there. In an article by Chris Syme titled, “Got Crisis? Get a Social Media Mindset,” she outlines the three elements of a social media crisis plan:

    Transparency
    According to Chris, transparency doesn’t mean your company should expose all its warts to the public. Rather, it means making the effort to be open and show a willingness to communicate, even in times of crisis. Chris notes that “silence is a sign of negligence, whether we like it or not.” Be prepared to have an open dialogue even when you would prefer to say “no comment.”

    Honor immediacy
    Basically, you need to be prepared for an emergency or crisis so that you have a well-crafted and sensitive response to situations that could be difficult or stressful. The time to craft these statements is not when you or your business is in the midst of a crisis, however. Chris also notes that even if you don’t have all the information, it’s better to say you are trying to find out rather than offer no statement at all. A timely, “we are looking into it now,” shows that at the very least, you acknowledge the situation and are concerned.

    Remember it’s not about you
    Chris notes that this is the hardest concept for companies facing a crisis to understand. “When you have herds of media knocking at your door,” says Chris, “it’s hard to remember that the public really doesn’t care about you.” They want to know what happened and what you are going to do about it.  Think about the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how BP mishandled the early responses.

    Planning for a potential crisis is key. Having a response ready will give you a moment to regroup while showing the online community you care. Protecting your brand requires thought and planning, especially today. Here are a few of my favorite blogs on protecting your brand: “Social Media Branding Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid,” and “6 Ways Women Business Leaders can Protect Their Brand.”


    7 Social Media Tips for Women Business Leaders from 7 Experts

    September 18th, 2012

    As I have become more involved in social media, both on a personal and a professional level, I often see the same tips and suggestions about social media in online blogs and articles. I thought this list of tips from social media experts was refreshing because it offers advice for women business leaders from real industry experts. Many of the tips are not what you would expect.

    I’ve condensed this list from an article by Amy Porterfield, author of  Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies.

    1. Offer live events on Facebook
      “To provide additional value and fresh ways for your fans to interact with you, periodically conduct live chat sessions or live webinars or teleseminars,” says Mari  Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.
    2. Help others who aren’t necessarily famous
      “Don’t try to build your personal brand or company brand alone. Go out of your way to look for opportunities to help others and give others credit,” says Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. “Easy ways to do this include recommendations on Twitter of others’ work, retweets and hot tips on the comment section of blogs,” Erik added.
    3. Don’t over-focus on marketing
      “All too often, businesses overlook the ‘social’ part of the phrase social media marketing and jump straight into the ‘marketing’ part… to their detriment,” explained Hollis Thomases, author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day.
    4. Research what your customers are saying
      “Stop reading the success stories and best practices to model your social media strategy. Use them for inspiration, but my best advice to you is to go figure out what your opportunity is first,” said Brian Solis, author of Engage: The Complete Guide to Building, Cultivating and Measuring Success in the Social Web.
    5. Meet people in real life
      “You can meet people online, but solidify these online relationships face to face,” says Steve Garfield, author of Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business. Steve founded a networking group that meets in person each month. “What’s very important is that the meeting is free, we never cancel and everyone is welcome,” explained Steve.
    6. Invest in social media after you do your research
      Corporations should gauge their own social business maturity and prioritize spending decisions based on the industry benchmarks, according to a study by the Altimeter Group. “Just as you would invest your personal finances based on your family size, age and market conditions, you should be spending in social business with the same industry knowledge,” Says Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang, partner of customer strategy.
    7. Share the knowledge of experts with your audience
      “Get experts involved with your content. Determine who the experts are in your industry. Then go to them and offer to interview them about their hottest new project,” said Mike Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner.

    As the owner of a strategic communications firm, I was surprised to find a social suggestion on this list I haven’t yet tried. Tell me what your best social media tips are, and if you try any of the tips above, let me know how they worked for you.


    Guest Blog: A Man’s Viewpoint on Women Business Leaders and the “Them vs. Us” Syndrome

    August 28th, 2012

     

    Tom Peery reached out to me to discuss the concept presented in my blog “5 Pointers, How Women Business Leaders can Avoid the Them vs. Us Syndrome.” I was interested in his point of view and had not realized how pervasive this issue actually is. Feeling confident as a woman and not having had adverse reactions from men, Tom’s comments accompanied by his strong desire to change his upbringing and mindset was really enlightening.

    Here is the response that he shared with me:  ”I agree with Bridget Ayers’ response to Christopher Flett’s “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business,” in that the competition is not between men and women, it is between one company and another.  Men who regard business like war have not experienced the horrors of combat, and may still be operating on the belief that “male” and stereotyped “masculinity” are the same thing.

    A more interesting approach is “What can women tell men about business?” Today’s gender roles are shifting as an expansion of societal definitions and needs, evolving from the formerly strict definitions of masculine stereotypes that once separated the sexes. I do not see that shift as a war between the sexes.

    Mr. Flett does not mention the many men today struggling to find their place in this shifting sand. I was born in 1944, and grew up stuffing emotions and viewing the role of “breadwinner” as my sole purpose in my marriage. Self-sufficiency was my ideal, competing against peers. I couldn’t nurture relationships. Believing that being rational and using reason were the only means of acquiring knowledge distanced me from my body’s intelligence, my emotions, meditation, dream work, intuition, and my sense as a spiritual being among other humans.

    In today’s workplace, corporate training emphasizes teamwork, communications and leadership skills. Professional training companies trumpet “soft” skills, aka skills previously defined as “feminine.”

    Female entrepreneurs are more familiar with the soft skills that young to middle-aged men are beginning to seek. For these explorers they can

    • provide a non-warlike competitive environment, a safe place to talk about fears, problems, hopes and desires.
    • assure men that an emotional life contributes to their personal growth–that because their anger is theirs, not caused by others, men can learn to soften their anger.
    • help men better communicate with themselves and others by being supportive rather than not.
    • reward inner company relationships, rather than pitting employee against employee”

    If you’d like to learn more about Tom and his philosophies on life, please visit his website at www.sodadwhatmakesaman.com.


    5 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Embrace Their Femininity

    July 22nd, 2012

    Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    My daughter started her career in a high stress male dominated industry. We were reflecting on how a woman can succeed in this environment  without becoming masculinised. Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    The truth is that women have been liberated. We no longer need to spend our energies proving that we’re equal. We own our own companies, we assume leadership roles and we don’t have to wear ties to work.

    Here are 5 ways to create this balance while getting respect from both males and females:

    1. Don’t pretend that you’re one of the boys – you’re not. But at the same time don’t play the “us girls” game.  Work at your individuality as a person. Use your unique leadership strengths when dealing with an issue.
    2. You shouldn’t dress provocatively but you also don’t need to wear a burka.  You have a wonderful opportunity to express yourself  and your femininity.  Make sure that you are dignified and professional and let your gender work for you.
    3. It’s OK to talk about kids, make-up and hair but please consider your audience – these discussions may be boring to whomever is listening. Be yourself but remain sensitive to the situation.
    4. Respect both male and female employees. Disparaging remarks about men set a feminist tone and put a line in the sand when there may not have been an issue to begin with.
    5. Watch out for “womens only groups” why would you want to segregate ideas and talent. Position yourself as an entrepreneurial leader rather than a proponent of  “Women rule”

    You have a real advantage as a woman running a business – don’t blow it by  wearing workboots and snarling at men, rather walk around in your stilettos with strength and conviction.

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    Why Every Woman Business Leader Needs to be Adaptively Strategic

    May 20th, 2012

    photo by Sean MacEntee

    Most of the work that I do in my firm involves leading with a clear understanding of the end goal and developing strategies to get there. Whether its for my client’s business or mine, strategic principles prevail. As a women business leader, I have had to use many of my innate traits to employ original and effective strategies. Drawing upon guiding principles of authenticity, intuition, curiosity and experience, I have enjoyed the notion of being adaptive and nimble.

    Here are six things you can do to be adaptively strategic:

    Anticipate
    Most of the focus at most companies is on what’s directly ahead. The leaders lack “peripheral vision.” This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well, you must:

    • Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry
    • Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
    • Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better

    Think Critically
    Conventional wisdom opens you to fewer raised eyebrows and second guessing. But if you swallow every management fad, herdlike belief, and safe opinion at face value, your company loses all competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill you must force yourself to:

    • Reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes
    • Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own
    • Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions

    Interpret
    Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, the temptation is to reach for a fast (and potentially wrongheaded) solution.  A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint.

    To get good at this, you have to:

    • Seek patterns in multiple sources of data
    • Encourage others to do the same
    • Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously

    Decide
    Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” You have to develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to:

    • Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter
    • Balance speed, rigor, quality and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers
    • Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views

    Align
    Total consensus is rare. A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge.

    To pull that off, you need to:

    • Understand what drives other people’s agendas, including what remains hidden
    • Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it’s uncomfortable
    • Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support

    Learn
    As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by.  You have to do what you can to keep it coming. This is crucial because success and failure–especially failure–are valuable sources of organizational learning.

    Here’s what you need to do:

    • Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
    • Shift course quickly if you realize you’re off track
    • Celebrate both success and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight

    30 Tweeting Tips for Women Business Leaders

    May 8th, 2012

    As the owner of a strategic marketing and communications firm, the biggest Twitter fear I hear as my clients pursue a social media presence is this: “What should I Tweet about?”

    Personally, I enjoy Tweeting and blogging and posting to Facebook for myself and my company. But, as a woman business leader and business owner, I’m not surprised to hear this question. One of the challenges with Twitter is the 140-character limit. Many find this to be the most daunting aspect … how do you say what you want to say in 140 characters or less? For me, that’s not a problem. But I’ve been at it for a while. If I think back to when I first started, I think it was mostly an issue of just doing it. Once you get into the habit, it becomes much easier.

    My advice is to give it a try and look over this list of “30 Things to Tweet About,” from blogger Sorav Jain for inspiration:

    1. New announcements from your brand
    2. Teaser previews of offerings you are working on
    3. Related interesting news from the industry
    4. Trivia related to your product: history, technology, anything!
    5. Ask for suggestions: people love to help someone out
    6. Events you are holding: this informs as well as gets you attendees
    7. Events you are participating in: this shows you are active
    8. Witty one-liners: this can be (appropriate) jokes, daily wisdom, or just about anything else
    9. Helping people find opportunities: Helping people solve problems is the best thing you can do to promote your brand
    10. Popular events: tweet about the upcoming sports events, festivals, etc
    11. Unexpected developments: Was Gmail down today? Tweet about it!
    12. Regular industry news: yup, this doesn’t hurt if mixed in
    13. Sales announcements: Tweet about any sales announcements you might have
    14. Job openings: Tell people about open positions, both with your brand and at other places you know
    15. Ask for customer feedback: Invite people to share their experiences with your brand
    16. Participate in the relevant hashtags, and get more visibility
    17. Set up and announce tweet chats based on brand-related hashtags
    18. Follow people and make acknowledgement via tweets
    19. Thank people who have recently followed you
    20. Post the latest updates from your blog along with the link
    21. Direct people to other social media channels you own by tweeting about them
    22. Search on your brand name and respond to tweets that are about you
    23. Create Twitter lists of industry-relevant analysts, well-wishers or customers, and announce the lists publically. This sends a positive message to the mentioned people
    24. Participate in trending topics and viral hashtags to rope in some attention. Ensure your opinions are related to your brand
    25. Tweet-greet your followers daily. Saying small things like “good morning,” or asking about their health goes a long way in forging ties
    26. Tweet and tag your best employee of the week. This keeps the staff motivated and gives them a platform
    27. Announce weekly deal, tweetpon (coupon), etc., and evaluate its viral reach to understand how influential your brand is
    28. For B2B brands, find out analysts on Twitter and build up conversations with them. Twitter is the best place for making your opinion heard
    29. Give daily twitter tips on usage of your brand’s products/service or on the basis of the industry expertise. Tips sell well on Twitter
    30. Make regular #FF Friday Follow recommendations or announce fan of the week with some incentives or freebies to the winners

    Many of these tips are extremely helpful and will provide you with ideas for months. I’m always looking for more tips, though, so give me yours and I’ll add them to the list.


    How Women Business Leaders Can Use Their Life Experiences to Become Better Mentors

    April 19th, 2012

    There is no better way to validate your life’s experience as a woman business leader than to use your accumulated knowledge to give back. When I have the opportunity to really help someone through a mentoring program, I feel that I get as much out of the experience by giving and sharing as the recipient of the mentoring gets from me.

    What I find really exciting is the opportunity to move beyond my past ideas and experiences and watch as they reemerge in new and progressive ways through those that I mentor. And,  I love the idea of having new opinions layered and added to past experiences.

    Above all though, I believe that you cannot mentor successfully without having passion for mentoring and for the opportunities you are providing. To be an effective mentor, Mindtools suggests you need to do the following:

    1-Have the desire to help
    You should be willing to spend time helping someone else, and remain positive throughout.

    2-Be motivated to continue developing and growing
    Your own development never stops. To help others develop, you must value your own growth too. Many mentors say that mentoring helps them with their own personal development.

    3-Have confidence and an assured manner
    We don’t mean overconfidence or a big ego. Rather, you should have the ability to critique and challenge mentees in a way that’s non-threatening, and helps them look at a situation from a new perspective.

    4-Ask the right questions
    The best mentors ask questions that make the mentee do the thinking. To do this, try asking open questions that cannot be answered with just yes or no. Or ask more direct questions that offer several answer options. Then ask the mentee why they chose that particular answer.

    5-Listen actively
    Be careful to process everything the mentee is saying. Watch body language, maintain eye contact, and understand which topics are difficult for the mentee to discuss. Showing someone that you’re listening is a valuable skill in itself. It shows that you value what the person is saying and that you won’t interrupt them.

    6-Provide feedback
    Do this in a way that accurately and objectively summarizes what you’ve heard, but also interprets things in a way that adds value for the mentee. In particular, use feedback to show that you understand what the mentee’s thinking approach has been. This is key to helping the mentee see a situation from another perspective.

    Mentoring truly is one of my great accomplishments, and I’d like to share a few of my favorite blogs on mentoring here: “7 Ways Women Business leaders Can Motivate and Mentor Others,” and “Create a Mentoring Group for Women Business Leaders  in 5 Easy Steps.”