People Have Questions. People Trust Friends. Friends Like to Help. Facebook Works.

It amazes me how often I still hear “but Facebook is just for kids, I’m not wasting my time there.” Sure, back in the day, it was a platform of drunken frat photos, farm animals & angry birds, interactions using acronyms some of us couldn’t understand and never thought we’d use (..but do now, admit it).

Today, it truly is a powerful platform for brands and building an entrepreneurial foundation. What looks like childsplay is the painful history still in your mind, or what you see on your newsfeed (or child’s newsfeed) if that is your experience with it. There are many rooms, let’s open some new doors!

Times have changed, and if you aren’t using Facebook in some capacity, I tell you assuredly, you are behind. Companies from Fortune 100 to the local business down the street are amplifying their brand, getting leads, referrals & business on social media every single minute.

Facebook is only a suprising 2nd to LinkedIn for Attorneys getting leads on social media.* Why? Primary referral based business.

People have questions. People trust their friends. Friends like to help.

I’m quite certain client/vendor matches were made via these Facebook posts requesting solid business referrals. If that client is happy, they’ll tell their friends. Not the one friend on the phone, but the 600 on Facebook. Then more will come. It happens every day.

Referral examples from Facebook

Want numbers? I know, I like ’em too.

Stats on social media site users OVER 35!**

LinkedIn – 75%
Facebook – 65%
Twitter – 55%
Pinterest – 63%
Hmmmm, 65% of over 1 billion is… who cares!!

And we didn’t even talk brand pages here… Trix are still for kids. Facebook is now for everyone. (But I admittedly like Lucky Charms as a treat every now and again.)

Don’t worry, if you feel behind now, I can help you catch up!

Stat via www.rainmakerinstitute.com
**Stats via http://royal.pingdom.com/2012/08/21/report-social-network-demographics-in-2012/

A Lesson in Time Management & Prioritization From a Month of Pain & Suffering

OK, a little dramatic, but it sure felt that way! And I have an extremely high pain tolerance, so I can assure you, my entry into 2013 was most unpleasant. Now, since I always seek out the silver linings & lessons, I have some insights to share with you. Because, hey- you’ve gotta make it all worth something besides lost whiny time, right?

Like for example- After an hour of digging through every tissue & food item I’d used in 3 days of garbage to find my lost keys, I was grateful my sinus infection had stolen my sense of smell.

The grander gratefulness & lesson I share now however, is the realization that I have more time than I thought. LOADS. And I know you do too. It’s how we manage it. Isn’t that exciting!

Most days I work from early am into the wee hours (yes, that’s got to stop). But that’s the life of an early stage entrepreneur. What the last 5 weeks have reminded me is that I need to recalibrate on time management and that the expectations I have of myself are ridiculous. Sound familiar?

Where does this renewed awareness come from?

In short, after 3 weeks of painful surgery recovery, I was met with the worst sinus infection in the history of the world (yeah, I know, but that’s how it felt) the week following my return to near normalcy. During this time which included holidays, a move & lawsuit dealings (I’m the good guy), priorities shifted by force & I had many days of accomplishing big fat 0 because I simply couldn’t function. As a solo business owner, this is living hell. I’m sure many of you can relate.

I had to cancel client appointments.
I forgot stuff.
I couldn’t bear sound or the light of my laptop or iPhone. (Turned them both off, guess what, I lived!)
Some emails went unanswered for 48 hours.
Normally such things are completely unacceptable to me.

My fear sense kicks in – OMG my business will fail if I’m in this condition another day!

Well, I am not writing this blog from a box so that didn’t happen. I did, however, have a big light bulb smack me in the head. A bulb that’s always there, but turns off every now & again. So I write this in hopes it may turn others back on without the smack.

After 5 weeks of functioning at around 10-30% of my normal productivity, no client has left me, they don’t hate me for taking too long (my definition) to email them back. I actually even got a few more because they were still referring me.

When our life is uprooted, our prioritization skills go into an auto-pilot mode. You do only what you absolutely must to persist. Our instinct to protect & nurture ourselves or another, automatically takes priority over things we often feel compelled to do but aren’t as important. That, or simply a physical inability to do anything but just be still…

What if our prioritization practice always had an emergency mode? If you knew that for the next few weeks, you only had 30 minutes to be productive in a day, and then you’d shut down, what would you do? What are those income producing activities that absolutely must happen, to no exception?

What distractions would you resist as if they were intruders in your home to get that list done?

That’s your A list.

Then list everything else in similar chunks, those are your B, C, and on lists.

Now, time-block your schedule around these prioritization categories. I’m not saying don’t do B & C. Rather, it’s about focusing over multi-tasking. It’s about high payoff vs busy work.

Solely focus on “A“ without thinking about B or C until you are cleared for it. Block the intruders! You’ll find you have a ton more time for B & C when you get there. And, for YOU!

Oh yeah, and turn the damn TV off! When I hear someone say “I just don’t have time for “insert more income producing or health boosting activity here”!” And they’ve just told me about how great the 5 different TV series’ they watch every night are, I want to smack a person, and not with a light bulb. Reality check (not show) below…

“We need to focus. The average American watches 4 hours of TV per day. Over your lifetime that equates to 13 years, people! The cost to you is over $2 Million in lost wages. And if that money were invested, a way greater sum.” ~ Brendon Burchard

Share in the comments your tips for time management and prioritization, and finding your YOU time!

1. photo credit: demandaj via photopin cc 2. photo credit: inju via photopin cc

Why I Love Twitter for Customer Support

I’ve had many opportunities lately, with a move and other business related service changes or issues, to test out our many modes of customer service alternatives. I continue to have best success with Twitter. Why? A few rants and results:

1. Comcast Internet. I move, literally out one door & in the next, same building. They tell me my address doesn’t exist. Really? My last 2 years with Comcast internet in this unit were a dream? Finally get appointment, “someone will call first”, no one does. Phone calls and chats, I’m still using internet through the wall in my apartment for 2 weeks.

Move to Twitter- @ComcastWill to the rescue, escalates me to executive support. Shantae calls me immediately, admits Comcast screwed up, simply needed to add my new unit number to the database. Back in business!

Twitter: 2 days to technicians & live internet. A credit for my woes.
Phone and Chat: 2 weeks of irritation, no resolutions or follow up.

2. Adobe. I use an annual service. Going to update my CC info I realize they billed me at 6 months instead of 12 last year. I call, listen to bad music for 30 minutes. Go to chat while I wait. A paraphase of a chat that went from kind to livid.

Blah blah blah, about 30 minutes in, the pleasantries end…

Me: Let’s break it down. I paid for 2 years, I’ve had it for 1.5, you should not bill me again or give me 6 months credit against this bill to sync up the cycle.
Adobe: But you have 2.
Me: Yes, but 2 is 2 years, it has been 1.5 years since my account inception. I am one person with one account, one login.
Adobe: But then why did you pay for 2?
Me: Because you charged my card on file.
Adobe: But you have 2 so we billed you for two. (What?!)

(more circles, skip ahead….)

Me: Just give me a credit for 6 months and I’ll up my subscription again.
Adobe: We can’t, the system won’t allow it.
Me: You tell me your billing system doesn’t allow credits?
Adobe: No it is not possible.
Me: yes it does, I had a career in building these systems. Please escalate my issue as you are unable to help me.
Adobe: No it is not possible.

And it went on until the 5th time I asked to be escalated and they told me they wouldn’t be able to help me either.

For the love of all that is sane!!! I built and managed customer service programs for over a decade. Anyone that reported to me will assure you, I understood their pain, the thick skin it takes to be on that phone or chat, the crazy nutjobs that call and swear at them at will. I am kind to customer service people. But after an hour of this nonsense I resorted to: “FOR CHRIST SAKE STOP REPEATING YOURSELF AND IGNORING THE LOGIC. YOU DON’T GET IT AND CLEARLY CAN’T HELP ME. I’VE ASKED FOR ESCALATION 5 TIMES NOW WHY WON’T YOU!”

He finally says someone will call me but won’t be able to do anything. End chat. The survey I am promised miraculously does not appear.

Now I need a ginormous glass of wine. Next day. Twitter. BOOM:

Twitter: Resolved in moments. Someone even called to make sure the credit hit my card.
Phone and Chat: Over 2 hours combined waiting for phone & dealing with chat insanity. Driven to drink. No resolution and failed promised follow up.

Now, I’m thrilled Twitter resolves with such ease. My greater question is however- why is it the Twitter team trained so differently than the phone team or the chat team? Should I have to announce my woes to the world of social media to get the service I deserve? Or are they so segmented that one team truly has no idea what the other is doing? Are they trained by drastically different management teams who have completely different policies and procedures? My interpretation of their training is this:

Twitter Team: Help the customer, make it quick and easy.
Phone/Chat Team: Hold on to every last dime the company has, resist the customer, refuse to help them, they probably need our software and can’t afford to leave us anyway. Frustrate them into submission!

I love how social media has brought more options to consumers, but there is clearly a need for more internal centralization of policy and training of staff to leave both sides content at the end of the discussion AND save both sides money and grief.

Have you experienced a Twitter support success? Share your experience in the comments!

LinkedIn Media Links are Live! Or Coming To Your Profile Soon

In the latest LinkedIn release, you can now add media links: files, images AND video, to your profile, under each segment. The caveat: If you had media on your profile before, you have the ability to use this now. If you did not have media on your profile before, you may not have had this portion of the update rolled out to you yet. Don’t fret, LinkedIn has you on the radar!

Feel free to take a look at my profile for examples of media in both the summary and experience sections. Here is a quick snapshot- while in Profile Edit mode, look for that square button in the middle. Once there, just add the URLs to your media rich content, and you’ve got a savvy profile featuring your great works and insights!

I’ll be sharing a how-to video on my membership site shortly!