naked conversations

The Five Best Books that have Influenced my Business

By Communications, Social Media

I like to read. That is a huge understatement. Most of what I read is fiction and news; online content and paper. I own a Kindle and it is used every single day. I don’t often like nonfiction works; I’m not a consumer of self-help books or books that teach. When I happen to follow up on a recommendation for one of these, read it and go so far as to incorporate what I’ve learned into my business or personal life, it’s pretty much a WHOA NELLY! moment.

Here are the ONLY five books that have had a significant impact on how I do business, have influenced me to HAVE my own business and that guide me in one way or another on a daily basis.

  1. The Power of Slow.  That’s right. Slow. In world where everything moves at incredible speed, we, as human beings bound by the limits of time, are more efficient, more present and more effective when we pause, reflect and plan.
  2. The Gift of a Year. A couple of years ago a very good friend gifted me with this book. I’m not being overly dramatic when I say that it changed my life and led to the decision to start Jaggers Communications.
  3. Naked Conversations. My friend Shel Israel, one of the authors of this book, says its getting a little “long in the tooth,” but it is still an excellent resource for social media, the evolution of business and the way customer service and the demand for transparency have changed news, industry and nonprofits.
  4. The New Rules of Marketing and PR. If you’re not in PR or marketing but have even a peripheral relationship with the people who have this role, you owe to yourself to read this book. For anyone in PR and marketing, it’s required reading, as far as I’m concerned.
  5. Good to Great. Another oldie but goody — and one that’s held up over time. What I learned from the businesses profiled in this book have been lessons I keep in mind, on behalf of the clients we serve and the business I run.
I know there are thousands of others out there — leave your very best recommendation, if you have one. I’m ready for a newer book to add to the professional inspiration library. 


Five Ways to Avoid a Social Media Spanking

By Social Media

Let’s face it; if you screw up, the people of the Internet can be pretty ruthless. It’s like the old Wild West online, with bloggers and other Web users taking matters into their own hands. Chris Sacca has vowed to take down Blue Shield and it’s entirely possible he’ll be successful in forcing change.

Chris Sacca Blue ShieldThere are numerous examples of organic crusades across the online space to alert others of terrible customer service, often resulting in change. This online activity can be devastating for a brand or a company.  Surely you’re among the millions that have seen the YouTube video about United Airlines breaking a guitar.

Make no mistake, though – it can happen to individuals, too.  Probably the swiftest revenge enacted on an individual I’ve ever witnessed in real time was the Internet hazing of Kurt Greenbaum. It’s the kind of event that can be devastating to one’s career and reputation.

It’s not entirely impossible to avoid a misstep that results in this action. In fact, there are now so many people engaging in social media on behalf of their companies who aren’t aware of the rules of engagement it’s almost likely to happen to a large number of them.

I want to help people sidestep this horrifying scenario, as much as I’m able so I give you:

Five Ways to Avoid A Social Media Spanking

1. Don’t be a schmuck. The Internet loves to punish the self-righteous, the significant asshole and the overtly obnoxious. If you’re going to play that role be ready for consequences.

2. Don’t be a dumbass. There are millions of resources to help you learn how to behave online. Read books. I recommend The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott and Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble. If you’re still unsure, ask someone. Ask a seasoned blogger – no doubt you know one personally. Post your question on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Get answers before you stick your foot into a big pile you can’t get out of.

3. Be brave. I started to use the word “transparent” here but I’m not sure see-through gets my point across. If you make a mistake, own up to it. If you fail to deliver on the promises you’ve made to your customers, own it, and vow to do better. If you screw up, make it right – quickly. The bravest words you can utter online, at times, are “I’m sorry.”

4. Be aware. There’s no excuse for not knowing what’s being said about your company, your product, your industry or, if you’re the representative or the person with the online presence – yourself. There are tools for listening and you should be monitoring these (or outsourcing it to a trusted partner) daily. Know what’s being said on Twitter and Facebook and in the blogosphere in general.

5. Be the better person. OK, I’ll admit there are some awful bullies out there but the beauty of the online community is that if you’re being harassed by a bully or a whole contingent of bullies, do not get sucked into name calling and other schoolyard ridiculousness. Let your community know that this is happening to you. One of the coolest parts of the online community is that those with whom you have a good relationship will come to your defense. They will step in and argue with those who are trying to call you out and ruin your reputation. If you deserve the beating, you’ll have to take it, but rise above it, come back and be better than you were before. But don’t run away – bullies love it when you run.