TMI: Two Phone Numbers is Too Much

I’ve been talking a lot lately about personal branding, and it’s time for us to reconsider the way we use phone numbers on email signatures, business cards, and websites.

These days, why does anyone need two or more business phone numbers?

It’s too much information, but at least once a day I see a signature line or business card that has two or more phone numbers.  Here are some of my favorite examples:

Fairly common email signature:

John Smith

Director of Finance

Acme Inc.

Direct: 234-456-7890  x. 4321

Mobile: 234-111-0000

Fax:  914-921-2155

Fairly common business card:

Three phone numbers:

Two numbers, no labels:

Three phone numbers, two emails!

There is no reason a client, colleague, or loved one should have to waste time wondering which number to call, or worse yet, calling both.

Do they leave a message after the first one, or wait until they can’t reach you on the second one?  Should they leave messages on both?  Is it a bad idea to call your mobile phone during the day or your direct number during the evening?

Too many questions, too much information!

It is confusing, irritating, and problematic from a marketing standpoint also.  We’re throwing too much information at each other, and extra phone numbers only add clutter to your email, business card, or website.

Furthermore, we’re just giving ourselves one more voicemail to check.  It’s time to take a step back and reconsider what we’re doing.

I can only think of two scenarios, and both require just one phone number:

1) If you want to be available for your clients when they need you (recommended), share your mobile number.

2) If you want your clients to contact you during your office hours only, share your direct line.

Less is more.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Don’t Steal Your Own Identity

Tonight, let’s talk about the one thing every 8pm Warrior will need for success:

A strong personal brand identity.

Do you think it’s smart for a company to have two names?  Probably not.

Just imagine if FedEx also ran ads for FederalEx.  For so many reasons that would be a disaster!

Why would it be any different for an 8pm Warrior?  In a modern world driven by brand recognition, search, and social word of mouth, it is no longer smart to use a casual name and a professional one.

Those days are over.

If you currently use two names, I highly recommend you pick one name and stick with it.

This means that you shouldn’t go by Mike and Michael, Kate and Kathryn, Andy and Andrew, Deb and Debbie, Joe and Joseph, etc.  If people meet Andy at the conference, they should find Andy on Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter.  Not Andrew.

It’s okay if you like to be formal (not recommended anymore), you just need to be formal at all times.  With the internet (Bing, Facebook, etc.), it is very difficult to keep your two worlds separated.  We are just too connected and by using two names you are doing yourself a disservice and hurting your personal brand.

It’s hard enough to get people to remember you at all, and making them remember multiple names is not going to work.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Invest in Relationships!

The world is going through growing pains and it’s leaving a lot of people very confused, hurting, and unemployed.

We’re in a new world of “on demand” information and entertainment, and many traditional companies are acting like deer in the headlights.

Not moving.  Not sure.

For them, familiar methods of bringing products and services to market are floundering and they aren’t hiring or growing domestically.  Some are waiting for things to return to “normal”, but we’re living in the new normal right now.

DVRs helps people skip commercials, the internet is replacing newspapers and magazines (I love Flipboard), and only 1 out of 10 people open corporate emails on average. As Gary Vaynerchuk said at a tweetup event last night in Milwaukee, “People aren’t looking at billboards…they aren’t even looking at the ****ing road!”

The same goes for nearly all marketing communications from unfamiliar faces or brands.  Everyone is too busy texing, tweeting, and “facebooking”  to pay attention.

Times are changing and we’re not going back.

We’re now in the Attention Age, and companies are going to have to find new ways to get our attention.  It won’t be easy.  Wives may think husbands are bad at listening, but the modern world is even worse when it comes to traditional advertising.

In one ear and out the other.

Another thing Gary said got my attention.  He said that everything in his latest book “The Thank You Economy” would be irrelevant in 5 years as marketers (like me) find ways to crawl into every successful way of getting our attention.  As they actively seek our eyes and ears, marketers always find a way to ruin what’s working (email, banner ads, etc.) and they’ll ruin social media too.

So what is a safe long term investment?

Relationships.

People are usually loyal to their friends, business partners, and favorite brands.  No matter what happens in the future, if you build real relationships and take care of your clients, friends, and followers, they will take care of you.

How?  If you don’t start using social media tools now, you may not figure it in time.  These tools are valuable for creating and strengthening relationships, but you need to get on it before it is ruined by marketers and the window of opportunity closes.

Seize the day!  Engage on social media.  Invest in relationships.  Do some business.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.” – Unknown

New tools, same rules.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Warrior of the Week: Andrew Syiek

Meet Andrew Syiek, founder of 0260mkg.com and this week’s 8PM Warrior of the week.

Andrew shares my belief that many 8PM Warriors are motivated by an intense desire to succeed.  It’s what drives us to keep going when others rest.

Deep into the quiet night and early morning, we journey into our dreams and ambitions as the motors of our minds continue to whir.  We use the extra time to read, write, think, communicate, collaborate, strategize, and plan.

An 8PM Warrior aims to acquire more personal strength and knowledge to increase effectiveness, provide positive impact, influence colleagues, win clients, and help achieve higher goals; all the while finding better, faster, and smarter solutions.

Andrew is a true 8pm Warrior and someone you will find right there with you along the journey, giving generously and being gracious with his time.

His Background

Time spent and lessons learned in various industries throughout his 25 year career have taught him many valuable lessons.  I asked him to share his thoughts with the group today.

Andrew credits his early career experience at Eastern Airlines as providing a firm foundation in the fundamentals of customer appreciation.

“An important component of my creed is that first and foremost, one must be responsive to the customer’s need, pure and simple.  The minute you delude yourself into thinking it’s about you, failure lurks right around the corner.”

A stint as an international speaker with Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) helped Syiek develop team building skills and an intense appreciation for both corporate social responsibility and the non-profit sector.  He believes in synergy and that together “We” equal more than the sum of our parts.

In later roles as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Syiek set vision and strategy while developing corporate sponsorships, building corporate partnerships, managing financial metrics, reducing costs and increasing revenues.

His Thoughts

“Every day we open our eyes is cause for celebration and optimism. When you enjoy excellent health, intense energy, full faculties or if you love and are loved by others; the first thing to feel is gratitude.”

Andrew believes that life is best when considered an adventure from which every day provides a springboard for self-improvement as well as an opportunity to improve the lives of others.  Although goals are necessary and important; climbing the steps and scoping views along the way is equally as beneficial as savoring the scene from the top of the tower.

Syiek is also is of the mindset that problems are best viewed as challenges, because problems oftentimes are associated with passive apathy, but challenges are considered surmountable.

A life well lived is a life complete with diversity of perspective and experience. Each new experience provides a valuable new ability that will help you be stronger, smarter and quicker and each new aptitude provides greater available capacity for the next phase of one’s career.

His Latest Project

Today, Syiek is principal of 0260mkg.com. The primary mission of 0260mkg is to provide individuals, non-profit organizations and corporations with a full spectrum of a-la-carte marketing communications services.

0260mkg.com offers comprehensive marketing programs, promotion coordination, photography and digital media connectivity to insure growth, increase visibility and promote brand awareness for start-up, small and medium sized businesses.

You can connect with Andrew on Twitter @0260mkg or visit 0260mkg.com for more details and to get to know how this 8PM Warrior can help you.

Connect with Andrew Syiek

Tactics Without Strategy

A couple months ago I asked if your organization was acting like a circus.  Now I want to tell you why it’s not so funny.

Let’s warm up with the words of one famous 8pm Warrior, Sun Tzu, and his best selling book The Art of War:

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Why is it that you can have success following a strategy without tactics, but not tactics without strategy?

People like knowing there is an intelligent master plan behind everything.

It keeps them comfortable, it keeps them focused, it builds trust, and it’s never been more important than now.  With the arrival of social media and the expectation of transparent organizations, you can’t hide it so well when you don’t have a strategy.

(Side note:  Hiring talented people and getting out of their way is not a real strategy)

You might have talented people and great tactics, but if your team is not coordinating on decision-making, marketing, and communications, it looks like no one is at the wheel.

Ultimately, it leads to failure.

No one likes to work for, buy from, or partner with a leaderless organization.  It just doesn’t feel safe.

My advice?

No matter how painful or time consuming it might be, it is time to get the whole team together, come up with your master plan, and stick to it unless you all shift together.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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6 Ways to Efficiently Consume Social Media

(This post is the 3nd in a five part series about participation in the world of Social Media)

So you’ve decided to dive into the world of Social Media?

Welcome!

Now comes the hard part.  Just check out these stats:

  • 30,000,000,000 items are shared each month on Facebook (official Facebook stats)
  • 2,890,000,000 tweets are posted on Twitter each month (official Twitter stats)
  • 200,000,000+ blogs had been started by 2009, with many more added each day (Technorati)
  • More written information was created in the last 48 hours than from the beginning of time to the year 2000 combined (Google)

So what is a social media consumer to do?

Below are some of the great tools out there to efficiently organize and screen information that’s flying at you.

1) Flipboard

If you have an iPad, you need Flipboard.  If you don’t have an iPad, you need to get one.  This app is that great!

Basically it takes your news feed from Twitter or Facebook and turns it into your very own social magazine!  It adds visual appeal and is easy to get right to the good stuff.  Apple named it their app of the year, and it is my #1 tool for consuming (and curating) great content

2) Summify

No matter what way you read social media posts, Summify can help you.  Lisa Sunbury has been using it and absolutely loves  how you’re able to have up to four emails sent per day, containing the top 5 stories in your main areas of interest.

3) Paper.li

Twice a day I publish the 8pm Warrior Digest of content shared by my favorite leaders.  You can subscribe to it and it will send the digest to your email.  I know that others have similar papers too.

4) Curators

I recommend that you seek out and follow Curators who will help filter the good stuff and share it with you.  There are literally thousands of people who spend much of their day sharing the best content that they can find.  If you are looking for some great ones, check with Robert Caruso for his recommendations.  His Bundlepost technology allows people to share even more content in a well organized way, so he knows the best curators on Earth.

5) Google Reader

If you like to read blogs, but have a hard time organizing them, then RSS and Google Reader might be for you.  Many people still don’t know what RSS is, so here’s a good guide to both Google Reader and RSS.

If you’re using a different reader, check out other options here on the 8pm Warrior RSS feed.

6) Social Bookmarking Sites:

These top sites use the collective power of many curators to help you find the best content on the internet.

I hope these 6 methods of screening and consuming information will help you efficiently wade through the thousands of social media updates flying your way each day.  If you have any that I missed, post a comment below.

Have a great night!

Aaron@Biebert

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Social Comatose? Time for Sleeping Leaders to Awake!

(This post is the 2nd in a five part series about participation in the world of Social Media)

Any leader who hasn’t embraced the social web by now must be near retirement or in a coma.

Either that, or they’re in China.

I don’t have a problem with 90 year old retirees ignoring Social Media.  However, the rest of us will have to learn to live in a world that gets its news and information from the internet and the millions of blogs, tweets, updates, and posts that are shared each day.  They are the mail, magazines, and conferences of a new age.

The rise of Social Media cannot be ignored.

Last year I volunteered to form the social media program for a large healthcare association. The goal was to engage the membership, improve communication, spark collaboration, and let non-members know what they were missing.

As part of the plan we began discussing upcoming conferences, sharing pictures, and sharing ideas and best practices.  All good things.

However, there is always someone who doesn’t get it.

The CFO of a large healthcare system informed me that he was irritated about this change.  His entire group of employees (thousands of people) was not able to access the association’s information on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter, but then he eagerly defended his policy of blocking all social media sites.  He didn’t want his employees wasting time.

He didn’t get it.

In reality, what he must have not wanted was informed employees, cutting edge information, reduced consulting costs, and free advertising or recruiting.  He was too afraid of letting go.

It looks like he’s in good company.

According to the the annual PwC CEO survey, only 57% of  CEOs indicate they will not “significantly change” their strategies to meet new realities of social media usage by their customers.  Even more disturbing, 10% of marketing leaders (the most educated on this topic) still indicate that social media is not important to their company.

They’re sleeping and won’t see the iceberg ahead!

Of the four types of participation on the social web, acting like you’re in a coma is the only one that I believe is wrong.

Here’s why:

So much information is available on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to help organizations be quicker, smarter, and faster.  Ignoring this information amounts to leadership malpractice.  Using healthcare as an example, just look at these Social Media tools that are available for:

No matter what industry you work in, there are similar resources.  If you know someone who is asleep at the wheel of a department, division, or organization, it’s time to wake them up.

The world has changed.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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The 4 C’s in Social Media Participation

There are only four ways of participating on the social web. You can choose to be:

Some people are Comotose, and will be shocked when they wake up to see what the world has become. Unfortunately, they may also be unemployed, uneducated, and behind the curve.

Consumers spend most of their time reading, watching, and consuming the materials that are made by the Creators and shared by the Curators. All three work together and are necessary.

Most have more than one role.

As part of my own development (and those I work with), I’m going to begin a series about each of these participation methods and how they fit together.  My first article will be a call for action to those in a coma.

It’s time to wake up!

Stay tuned!

Aaron@Biebert

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