Three misconceptions about building your business with social media

Three misconceptions about building your business with social media:

  1. I have to boast on Social Media to drive business.
  2. I can’t share too much or they won’t hire/engage my business.
  3. Others will take my ideas and this will be detrimental to my business.

Let’s take a look at each misconception in more detail. 

  1. I have to boast on Social Media to drive business.

Boasting about your business is not adding value to the customer.  Using Social Media to drive value to your customer and sharing value with your customer would be much more effective in growing your business.  For example, if you are in real estate, sharing that you have sold so many properties does not add value to the customer.  On the other hand, sharing what you think is the direction of the housing market and how clients can benefit from your thought leadership would add value.

Ultimately we want to add as much value as possible to our customers in whatever business we are in using social media.  Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and identify what would help them and share it using your expert knowledge.

      2 . I can’t share too much or they won’t hire/engage my business.

If I share all my knowledge, why would they want to hire me or my company?  The reverse is actually true.  The more you share, the more visibility you have and the more opportunities come your way. Sharing

For instance, look at all the podcasts and videos from Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Oprah Winfrey, Gary Vee most of these are completely free, yet they enjoy a tremendous amount of success. These experts give away their knowledge focusing on adding value to their customer.  There is so much customer-centric value generated from their easily accessible free content that people want to do business with them and buy their products.

     3. Others will take my ideas and it will be detrimental to my business.

If someone else takes your idea and gives you credit and builds on it you can only benefit from this!  They are advocates for you!   This is the ultimate in getting others to share on your behalf.  Let’s take a look at an example with Simon Sinek, he is the author of four books including a bestseller called, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.  There are a few people that use excerpts from his videos and put it on youtube and those videos went viral.  Did those videos benefit Simon Sinek?  Absolutely, they gave him more visibility and they shared his insights and ideas with a broader audience.   Sharing your with others as long as you get credit for it will add value to your business.  In addition, if you are able to connect with your advocates and provide value to them this could exponentially grow your business.


How does all this apply to leadership and your personal brand as a leader or executive?

There are many similarities that can be applied to a leader or executive using social media to grow their own personal brand.

  1. Focus on sharing content that adds value to your followers, whether it’s on leadership or specific subject matter expertise.
  2. Share your knowledge and expertise both inside and outside of the company, regularly.
  3. Collaborate with other experts to grow your advocacy.

Would love to hear your thoughts.  What are some of the misconceptions about building your business or personal brand that you have experienced?

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Five Tips for Building Your Brand


  1. Make sure that your Brand is easily found using Google search.  Identify what keywords people would use to search for your product.
  2. Make sure you have a Google+ account for your Brand, this helps with search engine optimization.
  3. Share as many customer references as possible online.  Provide an easy systematic way for your happy customers to share their experience on Social Media Channels.  Then promote and amplify this earned media.  Also, make sure that if there are any dissatisfied customers that they have a private channel to address their concerns.
  4. Get other experts to blog about your product.
  5. Create Youtube education videos about how to use your product.
Posted in social-business, social-media, Uncategorized, work-related | Leave a comment

Five Actions for Happiness with Tal Ben-Shahar

As we give thanks during the Holidays.  Tal Ben-Shahar,  has five reminders to take action on, not only during the holidays but though out the year.  Tal Ben-Shahar is an author and lecturer.  He taught two of the largest classes in Harvard University’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership.

Included below is his video which I would highly recommend watching and a summary of the five takeaways.

  1. Let yourself be human. (You will not always be happy, and will experience various emotions.  It is better to not suppress them, recognize them and work on them.)
  2. Give yourself time to recover.  Take mini breaks to recover and vacations to be more productive at work.
  3. Start an exercise training routine.  Exercise will help you be better at work and home.
  4. Breath, learn to take deep breaths.  Take a few moments to meditate and be present in the moment.
  5. Savor and appreciate.  Write down what you are grateful for everyday.

These are such important reminders and so worth your time!  I hope you enjoy his video as much as I did.


Posted in Leadership, smarter-leaders, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Five Tips On Preparing Periscope Interviews

  1. Build your audience ahead of time by promoting your interview. Let your audience know when the interview will be broadcast live and what they should expect.
  2. Make sure you have the most essential equipment in addition to your mobile phone:  Microphone & Tripod.  The microphone will help eliminate background noise and the tripod will keep the live broadcast steady.
  3. Prepare your Periscope titles and questions in advance.  Don’t forget to include any hashtags and/or links.
  4. Make it short 5-10 min. in length.
  5. Interact with your audience if possible, answer questions from Periscope audience.

Here are two examples of Periscope interview sI did at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando on Oct 5th and Oct 6th, 2015.

The first is with Mike Fitzgerald, CIO Advisory Leader and Partner, IBM talking about the IT Organization of the Near Future.

The next interview was with Steve Robinson, GM IBM Cloud Platforms, IBM.

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Reflections from our keynote presentation at the Strategic Capability Network, Toronto, Canada – September 18th, 2014

I had the honour to co-present the keynote address at the Strategic Capability Network Event on September 17th, 2014. I presented with my friend and manager, Colleen Burns, Influencer Engagement Manager at IBM.  We had approximately 130 people attend in person and through a web conference.

You can see our presentation below:

The Topic of the half day conference was Maximizing Business Value Through Social Technologies.

The two other speakers were:
– Jim Moss, Chief Happiness Officer from Plasticity
– Avi Pollock, Vice President Innovation & Strategic Planning, RBC

Jim Moss inspired me to practice my gratitude fluency and discussed how happy employees impact the business. He shared his personal story of recovering from a serious illness.  He was extremely engaging during his presentation.

You can take a look at his youtube video about positive Psychology in business here:

Avi Pollock shared RBC’s experience with implementing RBC Connect and giving 40 000 employees a collaboration platform. He shared the strategy, the lessons learned and the positive surprises of some of the use cases of the tool. One use case that stood out was how quickly the collaboration tool was embraced for crisis management. It gave employees the ability to quickly jump in and create a common web space to help others during difficult circumstances. As an example, during the Alberta Flooding in 2014, RBC employees banned together and used the internal collaboration tools to quickly volunteer and help in their communities.

Collaboration tools can also provide an important saving of time and money when used for technical support forums. Once a question has been asked and answered, it then becomes available for future reference and quick access.

Tracey White, from Strategic Capability Network (SCN) did a fantastic job organizing the conference.    The SCN members were very interactive and engaging.  Please take a look at the Strategic Capability Network to see if you want to join any upcoming sessions.

Posted in collaboration, education, social-business, social-media, work-related | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dance like no one is watching and lead without the title

Those two do not seem related …. dancing and leading.  Although I beg to differ.  When you dance like no one is watching you are in the moment and you have the courage to get out there, forget how you look and just dance. You can influence others with your movement. Inviting others to join you, getting more and more people to dance.  Even creating an environment that makes it easy to dance and enjoy the music.

As a leader, even without the title, you have the opportunity to influence others.  You can be yourself, dance to your own song and control your own direction within the company.   If you are brave enough to get out there, create value and engage even a small group to follow your advice, you are a leader.  What if you could maximize that across the company, go beyond the silos, provide value and even create a movement.

Watch this fun TED Talk video by Derek Sivers:  How to start a movement with dancing, and all the lessons learned.

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Can you improve your learning? What brain research tells us …

I came across this fantastic 3 min. video by Nigel Paine through the Massie Learning Talks from 2013, that I thought was excellent!  Here is the link to the video and summary of Nigel’s points.

Brain research tips for  effective learning:

  •     Remove the stress  (Stressed Brains don’t learn, create stress free learning environments.)
  •     Use many types of media for learning  (For example, video, blogs, webinars, classrooms.)
  •     Provide Group Based Learning (Share experiences, interact with other group members.)
  •     Allow time to process (Allow the thoughts/ideas to marinade.)
  •     Transform competence into behavior (Focus on behavior we want to learn about and apply that behavior quickly.)
  •     Exercise (Bloodflow to the brain helps us learn.)

From my experience I have found that when creating learning, focusing on the task we want the learner to do is effective.

As a Learning Specialist it is important to:

  • isolate the behavioral/work task you want to achieve
  • show the task as it applies to the participant’s work
  • guide the participant through the task
  • let them do the task on their own.

(Show me, Guide me, Let me principle.)

Then, follow up and see if they have performed the task as it applies to their role in the workplace. Record and share any benefits that have come from learning and applying the new task with others.

What are your tips to improve learning?

Posted in education, ideas, Learning, learning-objectives, video, work-related | Leave a comment

Hashtag Overuse #LOL #Funny #NotGuiltyOfThat

Hashtags in the digital world allow you to connect conversations together.  They are great for searching and categorizing content.  However, when you share social content you need to limit your Hashtags so that the whole conversation is not just many Hashtags with the value of the message lost.   For example, in Twitter you only have 140 characters so you don’t want your Hashtags to take up most of your message.  One or two Hashtags are enough to share your content effectively.

What do Hashtags look like and why would you use them?

  • Anatomy of a Hashtag, the pound sign (#) followed by a word.  For example, #Business #Work, #SmarterWorkForce
  • Use Hashtags to make your content easy to find and categorize
  • Search or click on Hashtags to see what other people have shared using the same Hashtag
  • Join into a conversation with other people who are talking about the same Hashtag/topic

How do you use Hashtags effectively?

  • Use one or two Hashtags to categorize your content.  For example, if you are attending a conference you would use the conference hashtag to listen to what other attendees were saying about the conference.  You might also consider using a second Hashtag for a particular session within the conference.  Or for a world wide event, like the Olympics you might search on #sochi2014 to keep up with the event and medal standings.
  • Search on the Hashtag you are planning to use to see what it stands for and what people are saying using that Hashtag. If you make an acronym, check to see how people are using it.
  • You can make up your own Hashtags by using upper and lower letters to put words together #LoveToDance #SocialBusiness
    (remember #DoNotMakeThisTooLongOfAWord)
  • Include your audience.  For example, is there an organization you can include in the conversation that is relevant?  If I am talking about #InstructionalDesign, I might also include #ASTD (which is the American Society of Training & Development).  Note, when using Twitter, you would include specific people with an @ sign, like @adreyzin is my id on Twitter.  However, many organizations do have Hashtags you can include as well.  For example, #IBM, or #NBC, etc.

This is a very funny video about Hashtag overuse by Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake.  I hope we never have conversations like these 🙂

Posted in social-media, youtube | 1 Comment

Cutting through Organizational Silos. Applying Social Business to how you work, connect, collaborate and lead within the enterprise!

These days “social business” is an expected skill that is part of your job, but what does that really mean?

Let’s focus on one aspect:
Does it mean to create yet another private community and invite some chosen colleagues to “collaborate”?

I think it goes beyond that, it’s about being brave enough to think and share your thoughts/ideas within the enterprise even if they are not quite perfect yet. I know these is a little voice inside that says …. I don’t want to look “stupid”. However, being bold and inviting others to comment and add their opinions will make you smarter. I think part of using social tools is getting out of your comfort zone, making the community public within the enterprise to increase ease of search for others. Finally reaching out to new people within the organization and asking for contributions. Yes, there maybe files that require privacy, but yet a better practice is to just restrict the specific file and leave the community open.

Here’s a summary of five Social Business work tasks to cut through silos:

  • Search for content first, before you create content or any new communities (you will be surprised what you can find, and who are the experts in that space)

  • Contribute to communities where you have expertise, even if you do not directly report to that group

  • Partner with communities instead of creating a new one where possible

  • Create open communities and only restrict files within the community when necessary.

  • Ask for contributions and help for your community

What social business tasks do you perform to cut through the organizational silos?

Posted in collaboration, share, smarter-leaders, social-business, social-media, work-related | 2 Comments

Motherhood, social software … and staying connected


Staying home with your baby is like a beautiful dance. It’s not the first time I have danced with my children, but it’s been a long time, this time it’s our third lovely baby, and we are trying to balance life. It feels like we waltz our way through life or rather salsa because the rhythm seems so much faster these days. In one hand my baby, in the other my smart phone, common themes for many mommies these days.

Communication has changed since the last time I was home with my kids. As I walked to the local mall, I saw a mommy feeding her child with one hand and texting with the other. It made me think how social software is changing how parents connect with others and how we stay connected to work when on leave. I found myself checking my iphone more often, perhaps for the adult company and checking what new developments happened at work. As my baby sleeps, I have a moment to reflect …. so what have I learned so far?

  • Staying connected is easier than ever, you can choose to just listen if you are sleep deprived or to interact when you are ready
  • Finding local groups is only a search away, whether it’s local mommy groups or baby playgroups
  • When I get back to work I will be able to catch up faster than ever, because I have stayed connected and I know that what I missed can be found by tapping into experts and documents available at work through online social networks
  • Before I know it, I will be back at work and hopefully better with all the experience I gained caring for my family at home

This brings me to think about Mother’s day which is coming this weekend. I wanted to wish all mothers out there a very happy Mother’s Day! I know I get so much amazing help from my mother and mother-in-law, I really couldn’t do half of what I do without all the help I get from them. So a big thank you to my moms and all moms out there who help so much! It also makes me smile to know that my moms are staying connected through online social networks these days too.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Posted in motherhood | Tagged | 2 Comments