Posts Tagged: strategy

Fear is your frenemy

Leslie Poston's dog Faulkner © Leslie Poston, Not for reuse

Leslie Poston’s dog Faulkner © Leslie Poston, Not for reuse

What did you run from today? As my puppy ran from a loud noise three stories below, I teased him for being ridiculous (my pit bull is a lover, not a fighter). It dawned on me immediately that none of us are immune to these ridiculous moments.

In my work through the years, I’ve often expected executives and business leaders to be fearless. With decades of experience and vast stores of knowledge, telling the story of your work — whatever that work is — should be effortless. Instead, those few that are fearless are met with legal teams, media teams, branding specialists, multiple editors, and accountants. By the time the intrepid few have run that gauntlet, they are often completely turned off by the effort it takes to tell their business story. Their strife echoes through a canyon of cubicles, creating an environment where the the more timid among them get the clear message that one carefully produced pre-approved message for all is “good for you”, going down like medicine.

What would happen if you chose the bold statement, the action words? Would the sky fall from your declarative sentence? I don’t mean adding a layer of buzzwords to your headlines, or linkbaiting. I mean digging deep, and releasing the barbaric yawp of your full experience. I’m not talking about a late night taxi confession, a regrettable drunk dial to your less guarded inner self. Instead, simply saying what you mean, revealing what your decisions cost you and what your successes gifted you. I mean helping those who are trying to find your work understand how they can connect with you beyond your price sheet.

Try an exercise with me. For one week, pay attention to every word you don’t say. If you want to write it down, even better. But for one week be mindful of when you are silent. Also be mindful of when you self-edit — be it on social media or in the boardroom. What did you lose in your silence; what opportunity was missed? When you self-edited, was your point softened to the point where it caused meetings to end without action, or a project to extend another week in indecision, destined to die in committee?

As you begin to see the toll self-censorship creates in your everyday life, take a look at your brand storytelling. Does it seem rote and disconnected? That means you are allowing fear to take the lead, instead of clear conviction and knowledge. I propose that what makes you afraid is exactly what should be said. Am I advocating for disclosure of corporate secrets, or mishandling of client trust? Of course not. I am advocating for clarity, purpose, brevity and as much truth as you can tell in your corporate communications. That’s the “secret” that makes people who read your words come back for more.

This post also appeared on LinkedIn and Medium today

Include Front-line Staff in Your Social Media Efforts

We’re well versed in the benefits of communicating with your customers online:

Developing relationships
Brand recognition
Customer loyalty
Marketing

But when developing your social media strategy it’s important not to loose sight of who’s communicating face-to-face with your customers in your store: your front-line staff. Make sure to include them in the conversation.

Ask for your staffs’ insight when it comes to sharable content

When it comes to the day-to-day relationships your company has with customers, your front-line staff are the stars. It doesn’t matter if they are baristas, receptionists, salesmen, etc… they know what’s important to customers. Asking them for content ideas will give them the opportunity to connect with your strategy and provide a unique insight for planning.

Educate staff on the strategy and promotions

Social media success relies on everyone. Don’t leave your front-line staff in the dark; let them help you achieve your goals. This is especially true when it comes to promotions. If you’re posting a “20% off discount for Twitter followers” or a Foursquare Special make sure that your staff knows the ins and outs of the promo and how to appropriately honor the discount. This will make for knowledgeable staff and happy customers.

Develop a system for sharing content with staff

After reading your content, front-line staff are mostly likely who customers will see first . Make sure staff have access to what you’re sharing. You want them to hold a conversation about a posted topic not give a blank stare.

When it comes to the success of your social media front-line staff are key players. Make sure they are engaged and know what’s happening.

What are ways you are including staff in your social media policy?