Follow Friday Fever- Continued

Sarah Robinson sent me a direct message “reminding” me that I needed to write a new Follow Friday post (here is my extensive original)– but since I had already written a post today I decided to write it up, and have it posted Friday while I was in Lake Powell on Friday July 24th. So while I was enjoying wake boarding, reading, and lying in the sun- you were supposed to be enjoying this post.  My auto-post feature didn’t quite work, so here it is- better late than never.

Here are a few of the great new people I have met in the last week or so:

Brooke Beason

Brooke and I share a passion for social media, and we met in a friendly argument through the comments section of Gini Dietrich’s blog http://spinsucks.com. After checking her Twitter stream I realized we are on the same wave length, and RT’d a few of her posts immediately.

Barry Moltz

Barry Moltz asked a question about Health Care and social media on Twitter which led me to his website. I ended up watching his 5 minute video (hilarious by the way) all about entrepreneurship. We share a common energy and love for building businesses- this guys knows his stuff.

Gina Mote

Glad to meet Gina through our common friend Marc Warnke who I mentioned in my longer follow friday post. Gina is a connector with a great vision. I will forgive the fact that she prefers Facebook to Twitter.

“Ed” from @blawgreview

I met the man who goes by “Ed” a couple of months ago, but I want to send out a special #followfriday thank you to the man that man responsible for the best blog carnival, http://blawgreview.com. Nobody knows Ed’s true identity, and he want to keep it that way. One thing I can tell you for sure, he is a great one to follow. We also met for breakfast this past week, he didn’t tell me his true identity- but he gave me some hints.

Charles Green

Not only did Charles author an outstanding book for professionals entitled The Trusted Advisor, he also runs a montly Carnival of Trust which each month collects the best articles on trust throughout the internet.  He was kind enough to allow my website to host for the month of July.  You can see my take on the Carnival of Trust here.

Learn the Golden Rule, Thrive Online

rockwell-golden-rule

Give and ye shall receive, it’s not that complicated. To grow your business, your brand, or your following online there is really only one thing you need to do- GIVE. The more you give, the faster you grow. Here are three different business models that are all thriving because they have learned the value of giving.

Foiled Cupcakes

cupcakes

Mari Luangrath started out with one goal- deliver the best cupcakes in Chicago. She learned very quickly that the best way to sell cupcakes was to give them away. She started very simply by offering free cupcakes to the 400th person to follow her on Twitter. Two weeks later she was offering free cupcakes for the 1000th person that followed her on Twitter. The Chicago social media scene was soon buzzing about Mari and her awesome cupcakes. She now has over 2800 followers and in less than 2 months has shared her cupcake sweetness with over 100 Fortune 500 companies in Chicagoland.

Ontario, Canada Estates Attorney

Michele Allinotte was a young estates attorney ready to build her own book of business. So she asked herself, what do my clients need more than anything else? They need to be prepared for the death of their loved ones! So she created the “Peace of Mind Personal Inventory” which is just a simple checklist that helps families put all of their vital information, accounts, and phone numbers in one place. She gives this document away for free online, in exchange for an email address. With this simple tool she has built her brand, grown her prospect list, and most importantly she now has a growing reputation as a giver.

Alexis Martin Neely, Estate Attorney, Pro Giver
alexis

Here is a list of the free information available from Alexis’ website:
# FREE Law Business Manifesto “How Every Law Practice Owner Can Get Beyond the Broken Law Firm Business Model and Into Your Dream Law Business”
# FREE Audio Class “How to Get Off the Marketing Merry Go Round and Cash Flow Roller Coaster and Find the Freedom and Money You Deserve”
# FREE Subscription to my highly acclaimed weekly Law Business Revolution briefing memorandum.
# PLUS, I’ll be sending you over $22,500 of practice-building gifts

Alexis has built and sold a million dollar law practice, and is now building a multi-million dollar consulting business and she builds her prospect base through giving away quality content for free. She now has thousands of attorneys on her mailing lists, has spoken on CNN, Fox News, and many others. Her consulting business is booked solid. Was it expensive and time consuming to create all those free products? Sure, but the results speak for themselves.

permission-marketing

When I was speaking about this article to a friend she asked, “Didn’t Seth Godin (the marketing maven) come up with that marketing concept?” referring to this whole idea of giving first. He refers to this as “permission marketing” but you don’t need to look too far back to see that it certainly wasn’t Seth’s idea to start a relationship off on the right foot by giving. Nor was it the grocer’s original idea to give out free samples of new products. This is an ancient concept, and it is proven worldwide time and time again. When you give you receive.

Attorneys like most professionals have some great insights to give, they just need to take the time to organize their knowledge, and package it in a digestible format. Make it available online, spread the word, and if what you give is valued and really helps people, not only will you make the world a better place- you will thrive in the online marketplace and gain a reputation as a giver.

I want to thank you for reading this article by giving you a little something special I have put together called the Rainmaker Alert, I do hope you’ll enjoy it.

Click here for your free copy of the Rainmaker Alert

10 Things Every CEO and Managing Partners Should Know About Social Media

The following list of 10 was reported in the article 10 Ways IT Managers Can Deal with Social Media. It is essential that every Managing Partner and CEO read it as well, because they are the ones making decisions as they relate to social media. Please pass this on to the decisions makers, it provides some essential insights.

1. Be logical
Although it’s easy to fear social networks, the reality is, most social networks don’t pose the kind of security threats Windows does. Furthermore, most social networks don’t pose the kind of threat e-mail phishing scams do. Is there are a danger? Of course. But it’s not the biggest danger IT managers need to face.

2. Remember social networks have value
Social networks have some real value. Companies who give employees access to them can use employee profiles to promote their business. Happy employees will talk about their employers in a good light. It makes the company look good. And it might eventually bring in better talent.

3. Social networks are promotional tools
Having employees using social networks is a great way to promote business products or services. Think of social networks more as a public relations arm, rather than a security hole. Are there threats? Of course. But IT managers might just find that the benefits of promotion far outweigh the security issues that might arise.

4. Blocking only makes it worse
As Sophos pointed out in its study, blocking social networks is a bad practice. It only makes employees want to find ways to access their profiles through other means that have a higher likelihood of causing security issues in the enterprise. They will search for anonymizers. They will look for holes in security. And in the process, they might find some real trouble on the Web.

5. Education is important
Security software and hardware mean nothing without education. If employees don’t know what they’re doing or they don’t know what to look for as issues arise, the company will have a higher likelihood of being affected. IT managers need to tell employees what to look out for. When they hear about security outbreaks on a network, they should alert employees. It’s about being proactive.

6. Corporate policies work
Just allowing employees to access their social networks isn’t enough. IT managers need to develop a corporate policy governing access to the sites. It should include some basic information on using social networks. It should also remind employees not to divulge sensitive information at any point while being social. It might seem rather simple, but it could help keep corporate data safe.

7. Block the fringe
It might sound counter-intuitive, but IT managers should be blocking “fringe” social networks. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo and FriendFeed are just fine. But don’t allow employees to access social networks that have a limited community. They tend to not be as regulated nearly as well as popular social networks and they could cause trouble for the company. And most employees probably won’t notice anyway.

8. Be open
Although it might be a pain to have to deal with every little employee issue, IT managers should be willing to have an open door policy with employees who want advice or answers to social networking questions. Do they want to know if they should open a file sent to them? Do they have questions about their privacy settings? If so, answer them. IT managers are the experts in that field—employees are not.

9. Be educated
In order to answer those questions, IT managers need to be educated on social networks. Don’t just use them once a week, get involved with their growth. Read popular Web 2.0 blogs to stay up on the latest news. Know when new updates launch. Have a real understanding of all the features. It will make it easier to address issues.

10. Go social
What better way for IT managers to truly embrace social networking in the enterprise than to join networks themselves? Become part of the community. Understand the employees’ passions. It could mean the difference between safety and danger.

Don’t try and build a fence around social media within your company. Your employees will try and find a way out, and you might not like the results. Use social media deliberately, that will give your firm or business the best chance of success.

Use LinkedIn to Identify Referral Sources

Forget everything you know about social media.  Forget Twitter,  Facebook, LinkedIn, and the tinyurl.com.  Lets just get back to basics, the bread and butter of most law firms- referrals.  The #1 source of legal business for most firms of any size is referrals.  Why are referrals so effective for bringing in business?  Referrals add credibility and make individuals in the market for legal services feel more at ease with the nerve racking decision of hiring legal counsel.

Does the telephone bring in business?

Does the telephone bring in business?

The grand debate over whether or not social media works to bring in business is framed the wrong way.  Asking whether social media works to bring in business is like asking whether the telephone works to order pizza.  The primary value of the telephone and social media lies in facilitating conversations that would not have been possible otherwise..

To maximize referrals attorneys need to maximize the quality contact they have with each potential referral source.  Attorneys need to stay at the top of their clients mind.  How does an attorney do that?  They can go to every golf outing, all the cocktail parties, and the charity auctions- but seriously, who has time for that?  Besides- won’t those events mostly consist of the same people?

By using social media Attorneys can stay connected with all of their current clients.  They can publicize their latest articles, share pictures about winning the golf tournament, or the great outcome of the latest IPO.  More importantly than sharing about themselves they can keep up to date with what is happening with their current clients.  Social media provides a window into the lives of an attorney’s clients.  This window also provides opportunities to develop referrals.

linkedin

Social media makes it easy for attorneys to identify potential quality referrals.   Let me give you an example, say your firm does all the legal work for the major real estate developer in town, and the attorney that handles his work is connected to him through LinkedIn.  With that connection an attorney can easily go to CEO’s LinkedIn profile and see who else the CEO is connected to.  Which builders do they use?  Which insurance/benefits company?  Where do they buy lumber and building supplies?  All of these contacts can easily be identified through a single connection on LinkedIn.  Then it is simply a matter of following up through the CEO and asking for an introduction.  Could this have been done before social media?  Absolutely, but it wouldn’t have been as easy- and it would have most likely required using the telephone.

To learn more about how lawyers can bring in clients using social media- grab a free copy of the Rainmaker Alert.  In addition, I invite you to join me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/adriandayton

What Should I Ask for if I’ve Been Bumped from a Flight?

The airlines often overbook flights, especially during busy holidays.  Sometime they will ask for volunteers to be “bumped” from the flight in order to take the next flight.  When I am not in a huge rush, I love to get bumped.  It’s only worth it if you know what to ask for.   Here is a list of things to ask for if this happens to you:delta-airplane

  • a free upgrade to first class
  • a free domestic flight
  • frequent flyer miles
  • meal vouchers
  • hotel accommodations
  • phone card to call home (that is if you have been living under a rock and don’t own a cell phone)

Yesterday my wife and I volunteered to be bumped, and as I was waiting for the flight to board, I figured I should do some research to make sure I was getting the best deal possible.  My research uncovered that I wasn’t, so I thought I would make this information more readily available.  After going back to the gate agent I was able to get $800 in travel vouchers, $28 in meal vouchers, and a first class upgrade on the next flight for me and my wife.  What follows is a more detailed description of what to ask for.

I love flying first class.  Great food, drinks, snacks all for free.  They even brought me ice cream.

I love flying first class. Great food, drinks, snacks all for free. They even brought me ice cream.

First, ask for an upgrade to first class on the next flight.  If it is available, they will give this to you just for asking.  If it’s not available, you can ask for a later flight that has first class available- or you may just want fly coach on the next flight to get to your destination.

Second, on Delta they offered us vouchers worth $200 each to compensate us for being bumped, but my research uncovered that Delta could provide up to $400 each.  I returned to the booking agent and basically argued that since we had to wait more than 4 hours for the next flight, that we wanted the higher amount.  She reluctantly agreed.  This portion will vary from airline to airline- but most airlines will try and offer as little as possible to get you to accept.  Make sure you ask for more than the first offer.

Third, although we didn’t want frequent flier miles, most airlines can give out bonus frequent flier miles.  In fact, if you just want frequent flier miles instead of vouchers- you can ask for a few thousand.  Its not worth it in my opinion- so we opted for the $400 each in delta dollars.

Fourth, you can request meal vouchers even if the delay is only an hour or so.  These can be used to purchase food or beverages anywhere within the terminal.  One friend of mine, who is a pro at getting bumped, will just use the vouchers to buy candy for her kids, but you can get whatever you like with them.  We had a nice dinner at the JFK Chile’s with our vouchers.

Fifth, if you have to stay overnight to wait for your next flight the airline will pay for your hotel stay, and for transportation to the hotel.  This is not a bad deal if you’re stranded in a cool place.

One final note, you need to be nice to the gate agent to really maximize your freebies.  Chat with him or her about how hectic the last flight was, or about how nobody seems to understands it isn’t the gate agent’s fault the flight is overbooked.  If the gate agent likes you, you can generally put yourself in a better position to negotiate.

Good luck!  Let me know how it goes for you.

Voir Dire:Learn How To Build Your Practice from the #1 LinkedIn Lawyer

 

Everybody is on LinkedIn (or should be), but most people aren’t really DOING much on there.  They build a profile, and there they sit.   In today’s Voir Dire we are going to ask David A Barrett, the #1 lawyer on LinkedIn:

  • How can LinkedIn users start building relationships
  • With Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN- why Dave Barrett loves LinkedIn so much
  • What he recommends to law firms just diving in to social media.

About David Barrett, Esq.

david-barret-pictureDavid A Barrett, Esq has over 10,000 connections across the country and across the world, and growing.  Listen to find out how he has become a rainmaker by combining the powers of social media with traditional networking.

Please join ME on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/adriandayton

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Carnival of Trust: Get on the Raceway

trust_carnival

I learned the value of honesty at a young age from my mother while at the local go-cart track.

“What are you doing?” My mother asked with her arms folded as she looked down at me.
“Mom, look how lucky I am!  They forgot to take my ticket, so I can go on another ride.”

“Is that honest?”

“What do you mean Mom?”

“It doesn’t matter whether they took your ticket or not, you only paid for one ride.  If you take another ride, you are stealing.”

“I guess you’re right Mom.” I mean what else could I say?  This simple lesson on honesty was hard to grasp at the time, but it has stuck with me ever since.  Being honest when nobody is watching is certainly not fashionable, but it is essential to learning to trust ourselves and eventually gaining the trust of others.

Do you take trust for granted?  Many business people do, and it kills their chances of building relationships and finding real customers.  I spend a substantial amount of time blogging and using other social media tools and I see trust taken for granted on a daily basis.  The problem is that most individuals have no understanding of the power of trust. I see this in individuals that try to post comments that are obviously spam, tweets with links that are obviously self promoting, and posts written for the sole purpose of selling a product.

We need to re-think how we start and build relationships, even when those relationships are formed online.  As we review the best blog posts on trust from the last month I will uncover some of the biggest mistakes business people make that prevent others from trusting them.

trust_sales

1.  How to Gain Trust on Twitter

Twitter has hit the mainstream, and with this mainstream acceptance, a number of questions have emerging about the validity of information on Twitter.  This post, “In Tweet We Trust”, outlines some of the issues.

Twitter users can lose the trust of a prospect in a single message. Twitter allows users to send private messages, also called direct messages or “dms.” Here is an example of a direct message I recently received on Twitter that hurt the sender’s credibility:

auto-reply

I have seen variations of this same message over 600 times on Twitter.  That starts this individual out on the wrong foot because 1.  The individual wants me to click on an unknown link before I know anything about him or her (comparable to proposing marriage on the first date).  2.  He or she has a preposterous claim that is not only unbelievable, but puts me on my guard.  3.  He or she is blatantly self-promoting. In less than 140 characters, this individual has already put me in a position of doubting his or her credibility.

There is a more complete blog post by Peter Cantelo “How To Lose A Customer *Guaranteed*” that describes in more detail all the ways to start a business relationship off on the wrong foot.

trust_leadership

Become A Trustworthy Source

In the Web 1.0 model, websites tried to drive huge amounts of traffic to a site in hopes that a few suckers would bite.  That model is no longer effective, especially not for professionals or niche markets.  Just a few good clients can make your business thrive, but your business won’t prosper unless others trust you.  In the article “Why You Must Focus On Trust More Than Anything Else” Christian Russel explains that trust is far more important in small markets than in the large markets.  Mr. Russel also provides 20 rules for blogging, and this is a MUST READ for any blogger as far as I’m concerned.

To become a trustworthy source you must create or locate great content.  Tech-savvy users of the Internet are always on the lookout for interesting and unique content.  The world of these tech-savvy hounds is described incredibly well by Brett Trout in this post, “Ten Things You Need To Know about Digital Natives”.  Most importantly, this post talks about how the most savvy Internet users can sniff out a spin from a mile away.  They want good content, not a sales pitch.  If you consistently offer good content, customers will keep coming back.  If you try to sell them something, you will lose them forever.  To make individuals trust you online, you need to make an offering- or truth be told, you need to make multiple offerings of your knowledge and expertise.  Professionals need to trust that if they put some of their best information online, in the public domain, freely accessible- that they will get back more in return than they gave away.

For some quick ideas on how to lose trust immediately, listen to this Badger:

You know more than you think.  Every professional has unique insights related to his or her practice area to add.  You just need to write your articles or blog posts in a digestible format as explained in “Sound too Erudite and Appear Too Simple” and give it away for free.  As you give this away on a regular basis, you will eventually become known as a reliable source of knowledge- and people will trust you.  As people trust you, your personal brand will grow.

trust_advertising

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell People Who You Are

Web 2.0 is all about transparency.  They say, here we are- warts and all- engage us or ignore us, but they lay all their cards on the table.  The opposite of this is Facebook or Twitter users that have so little information about them on their bios, that it is impossible to tell who they are.  There is no link to a blog, no history, not even a geographic location.  How are you ever going to trust someone like that? If you happen to trust someone with such little background information, I know a king from Nigeria I would like to introduce you to.  He could really use your help.

Our society is no longer littered with passive consumers.  The new technology allows us to use social media in a way that anybody can take initiative and add value to society as demonstrated in this awesome video:

Take It Personally

Building friendships online is vital to building profitable relationships.  This article entitled “Business Friendships” from Paul Ingram of Columbia Business School highlights how some cultures welcome friendship in business while others are more skeptical.  I learned from one of the more successful online marketers that in order for people to trust you online they need to connect with you on a personal level.  With all of this virtual communication, it becomes tough to know sometimes who is real and who isn’t.

This article by Justin French Top 5 Lessons in Trust relating to Social Media and Social Networking demonstrates why trust transcends industries and social media platforms. Justin lives by a rule I admire: Trust everyone until they prove otherwise. It has served him very well as you can find out in his article.

A world of perfect trust seems like an unreachable ideal, but it is actually closer than you think.  In fact, this perfect world may be as near as your neighboring small town. Charlie Green reminds us what small town values are all about in “Trust Lessons from Independence Day in Small Town USA, 2009.”

Trust is powerful on a much larger scale as well.  This article entitled “Trust” details the consequences of mistruct on a global scale.

trust_strategy

What About Mistakes, Inaccuracies and Lies?

Sometimes technology can lead us astray.  Recently a construction company demolished the wrong house because they were, “Just following the GPS coordinates.”  The full article “Authenticating Paperwork” reminds us that the old saying “it must be true, I read it on the Internet” should still be a punchline.

Stories like these are terrifying, but more damaging is the fear they cause and the lack of confidence that results.  How many large firms and corporations are terrified to engage in social media like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn because of similar concerns?  Unfortunately, if they fail to overcome these fears they may be in danger of missing out on one of the most inexpensive, yet powerful tools to have emerged during the recession as explained in “Building a Strong Brand in a Weak Economy” In this article, Rachel Daniel explains that social media is not just a great message tool, it is also a great listening tool.

Attorneys frequently ask me, “What if one of our attorneys says something embarrassing about the firm?” or “What if an employee post pictures of some inappropriate conduct?”  The answer to both questions is the same: you need to trust them.  You picked those employees for a reason, and although they could go out tonight and get arrested for DUI/DWI – you trust that they won’t.  You trust they won’t embarrass you in public, so why assume they would embarrass the firm or the company online?  Employers and partners need to extend to their employees the same level of trust online as they do in the office.

Technology has changed a lot since I was a kid out riding go-carts, but the principles that make trust such a powerful concept have remained constant. The lessons I learned on the raceway, and the concepts embodied in this month’s Carnival teach a similar lesson: honesty never goes out of style.

Adrian Dayton esq. is an attorney, author, and social media strategist currently awaiting the publication of his first book The Year of 12 Virtues.


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