Do You Have Team Spirit?

Team Player

I was asked if I would like to help with the company’s monthly social. I was not sure what to say.

A colleague of mine, along with a woman from another department, were eagerly waiting for my response by my cubicle.

I had a 9 month old child at home and my wife was desperate for any break she could get. Staying late at work was, well, work.

I asked to be excused due to my parental obligations. The reality was though that even if I had not had a baby at home, hanging out late at the office was not how I wanted to spend my social time- at least not at this office.

You can’t mandate morale from the top down.

The company I was working for was developing database software. They had been in business for less than a year when they had managed to raise a few million dollars which they used to quickly hire 60 or so people.

I was brought in to build and manage the website. This was the late 90’s, and they did not know much about the Internet, but they thought they needed to have someone around who did.

They gave me a cubicle with the software programmers and I was told to build a website and do whatever webmasters do. I was pretty much left alone.

I had been there couple of months when I was approached about the monthly Social. I felt pressured, but I gave my apologies and the company morale duo wandered off to seek out the next potential candidate.

Later in the day I bumped into the colleague who had approached me earlier. I asked him why he was doing it. That is, why he was so eager to get people to stay after work. I thought it was an honest question. However, he seemed quite taken aback that I should need to ask.

“Don’t you want to have a positive work environment?” he asked. “Yes, I do!” I said quickly.

He looked at me out of the corner of his eye. I was a non-believer in his mind now. I realized I should not have asked.

A couple of days later I was in the elevator at the end of the day. The President of the company got in and we rode to the ground floor in silence.

I had seen him around, but never been introduced. He did not acknowledge me and his body language made it clear he did not want to be approached.

I realized that in the time I had been with the company that he had never been to the part of the office I worked in.

Don’t ask people to do something you are not interested in or willing to do yourself.

Did the president care if I was at the company social? Somehow I don’t think so. In fact, although I did not go, neither did he.

I was not asked to help with anymore of the monthly socials.  Six months or so later the same colleague who had asked me to help with the social appeared at my desk in the morning along with someone I recognized form HR. They asked me to come with them.

I was led into a room where I, along with a dozen other people, were told we were laid-off as of that moment. He then escorted me back to my desk to collect my belongings and I was walked out the door.

I heard that one week later that same colleague was walked out the door by someone else in similar fashion as I had been.

Companies come and go. Sometimes things work out, sometimes, even with the best laid plans, they don’t. At the core of all companies though are people.

Why did I not want to attend the monthly social? Was I not a team player? 

You cannot have a president sitting in a tower with a scowl on his face and expect HR to whip up team spirit.

We are all human, cut from the same cloth, and if the leadership does not care, then you can’t expect the people who are working for you to care either.

In the end I did not care when I was walked out the door, other than I had to now find another job. In fact, it felt incredibly liberating to know I did not have to walk back into that door again.

 

Now it is your turn. Do you care for what you do? I would love to hear from you.

Share on or

 

Images: Hososhima

 

How To Add Social Media Buttons To Your Website

Social MediaSocial Media has become part of the fabric of the Internet. If you have a website it is a good idea to have accounts set up with at least the major Social Media networks.

By adding Social Sharing buttons and links to your site, you gain the ability to tap into your visitors’ networks and extend the reach of your audience.

Creating Social Media Accounts

There are many, many Social Media sites. For the sake of this WebTip, we will focus on the major ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ The first step is to identify which Social Media websites are the best match for your website.

As an example, Facebook is great for groups, LinkedIn is good place to be for contractors, Twitter is good for writers, and Google+ is a good high-tech company site. This is just very cursory list. It is best to at least create an account with each – and that means simply visiting each of the Social sites and signing up so that you can at least claim you space.

Adding Social Buttons and Links to your Website

Social Media networks allow you to create buttons that you can place on your web pages that will interact with their websites in different ways. Some will enable visitors to Like a page on. Others allow visitors to your site to recommend content.

All of the Social Media websites have a way for you to create a small code snippet that you then simply copy and place into your webpage. Just about all Web Page Creation Tools enable you to do this.

The Difference between Follow/Like Buttons and Share Buttons

Social Media Follow buttons and Social Media Sharing buttons are used for different purposes. Social Media Follow Buttons These buttons promote your website’s presence on various social networks and help you generate followers for those accounts. By placing these buttons on your website, you can help to create visibility for your social media accounts and promote your site.

You can put these buttons anywhere you want on your website. The Twitter Follow Button, Facebook Follow Button, and LinkedIn Company Follow Plug-in (and more) all serve as social media follow buttons. Social Media Share Links/Buttons These links and buttons enable visitor to you your website to share your content with their social media connections and networks. Adding these buttons to your content allows you to promote your content to new audiences and generate new visitors back to your website.

You should add social media sharing links/buttons to every piece of content you create, including web pages, blog posts, emails, etc. The Tweet/Share Button, Facebook Like and Share Buttons, and LinkedIn Share Button (and more) all serve as social media sharing buttons. Let’s look at the most important social media buttons available for each of the top social networks.

 

Facebook

 

1) Facebook Follow Button

What it is Used For

The Facebook Follow Button enables you to increase your Facebook reach by making it easy for your website visitors to Like your website’s Facebook Page. The Follow Button displays your page’s number of Likes as well as faces of people who already like your page.  

How to Create It

Visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/follow-button to create and customize your button. Then generate the code and place it on your website where you want your Follow Button to appear.

See it in action. Follow SiteSpinner on Facebook:

 

 

 

2) Facebook Page Plugin

What it is Used For

The Facebook Page Plugin you to promote your website’s Facebook Page on your website/blog, highlight other users who have already Liked your page, display your follower count, and feature recent posts on your page.

The box also allows visitors to like your Facebook Page with just one click enabling you to promote your Facebook presence and increase your page’s Likes.  

How to Create It

To generate a Facebook Page Plugin for your website, visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/page-plugin. Generate the code and place it on your website where you want it to appear.

See It in Action:

 

 

3) Facebook Like Button

What it is Used For

Facebook’s Like Button enables users to give your content a plug. By clicking the Like Button, a story also appears on the user’s Facebook Timeline and in their friends’ News Feeds with a link back to your content.

Use this button to make it easy for visitors to endorse your content and share it with their Facebook connections, but keep in mind this button doesn’t allow them to add personalized messages to links before sharing them. To allow users to add a personalized message, use the Facebook Share Button (see below).

How to Create It

Visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/like-button to create your Like Button and get the code to place on your website.

See it in action. Click to like this blog post!

 

 

 

4) Facebook Share Button

What it is Used For

Facebook’s Share Button acts similarly to the Like Button (sharing your content on visitors’ Facebook Timeline and in friends’ News Feeds), but it also gives users the option of adding a comment or message to the link when sharing it.  

How to Create It

To generate a Facebook Share Button, visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plug-ins/share-button and specify the URL you want people to share as well as the width. Then generate the code, and paste it into your site where you want the button to appear.

See it in action. Click to share this blog post!

 

 

More Facebook Buttons: These are the most commonly used social media buttons for your website. To find all of Facebook’s official Social Media Plug-ins, visit https://developers.facebook.com/products/social-plugins/overview/  

 

Twitter

 

1) Twitter Follow Button

What it is Used For

The Twitter Follow Button is used for generating new followers for your Twitter account. Users can start following you on Twitter with one click.  

How to Create It

Visit https://twitter.com/about/resources/buttons#follow to customize your button. Then copy and paste the code it generates where you want the button to appear on your website.  

See it in action. Follow SiteSpinner on Twitter:

 

   

 

2) Tweet/Share Button

What it is Used For?

Use this button to enable site visitors to share content (e.g. blog posts, landing pages, other web pages, etc.) with their networks on Twitter, extending the reach of your content to their connections.

How to Create It?

Visit https://twitter.com/about/resources/buttons#tweet to customize the look of the button, the text and URL within the tweet it generates, its language Once customized, grab the code for your new button and place it on your site where you want the button to appear.

See it in action. Tweet this blog post:

 

 

 

Google+

  

1) Google+ Follow Button

What it is Used For?

This is Google+’s version of the Follow button, enabling users to add your website or profile to one of their Google+ Circles. Displaying this button on your website is a great way to promote your its presence on Google+ and generate more followers for your page and increase the reach of the content you promote there.

How to Create It?

To create a Google+ Follow Button, visit https://developers.google.com/+/web/follow/ then copy/paste the code onto your website where you’d like the button to appear.

See it in action. Add SiteSpinner to your Google+ Circles:

 

 

 

2) +1 Button

What it is Used For

Adding the +1 Button to your website and content provides an easy way for visitors to +1 (or vote for/endorse) your content and share it with their connections on Google+, expanding the reach of your content and increasing traffic back to your business’ website.  

How to Implement It

Visit http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/ to customize your +1 button and generate the code.

See it in action. +1 this blog post:

 

 

LinkedIn

 

1) LinkedIn Follow Company Plug-in

What it is Used For?

The LinkedIn Follow Company Plug-in, similar to Twitter and Facebook’s follow buttons, makes it easy for visitors to follow your Company Page on LinkedIn. This enables you to increase your website’s reach on LinkedIn.  

How to Create It?

Visit https://developer.linkedin.com/plug-ins/follow-company to configure your button. There are a few different styles to choose from, with options to show your follower count above, to the right, or not at all. Then grab the code for your site.

See it in action. Follow SiteSpinner on LinkedIn:  

 

2) LinkedIn Share Button

What it is Used For?

Adding LinkedIn’s Share Button enables visitors to share your content with their connections on LinkedIn, whether it is a blog post, a landing page, or another web page. Like Facebook’s Like and Share Buttons and Twitter’s Tweet Button, incorporating this button can help extend the reach of your content to the LinkedIn audience and drive traffic back to your site.  

How to Create It?

To create and install this button, visit https://developer.linkedin.com/plug-ins/share-button. Then generate your code and add it to your site where you want the button to display.

See it in action. Share this blog post on LinkedIn:

More LinkedIn Buttons: You can find all of LinkedIn’s official social media buttons and plug-ins here: http://developer.linkedin.com/plug-ins

Conclusion

Social Media has become integral to the Web over the last decade. The great thing about Social Media for anyone who has a website is that it gives you access to a targeted, willing audience.  Tap into Social Media and you will be able to drive traffic to your website.

 

Which Social Media networks are you part of? Share your answers on or .

 

My Simple Strategy to Beat Procrastination

Stop Procrastinating

Some people seem to have an ability to move mountains in the time it takes others to get out of bed in the morning.

I have a confession; I am not one of those people.

For me, without a strategy, getting the smallest task done can at times take me much longer than it should.

If I am not careful I can spend more mental energy on thinking about a task than on what it would take to get the task done.

When I was a kid my report cards invariably said ‘daydreamer’.  And that was me, staring out the window, lost over the horizon somewhere.

My brother Stephen on the other hand was a dynamo. I would go to bed seeing him working at his desk, and wake up to see him there in the morning.

Way back, in the dark days of pre-history, if you had food, shelter and water. And if your belly was full and you had someone you were at least mildly attracted to nearby, what was incentive to expend energy to do anything else?

We are wired to run when we need to, find food when we need to, procreate when the urge moves us. The rest we have to use our rational mind to force ourselves to do.

I know that I am not alone. The author Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art draws an analogy between getting things done and an internal war we wage against our primitive brain. He refers to the force always trying to hold us back from achieving things ‘The Resistance’. The Resistance is what keeps us from writing that book we have always wanted to write, or approaching the girl in the café, or starting that online business, etc.

The Benefits of Reward and Punishment

So how do I, a documented day-dreamer with a millennia of inertia bred into me manage to chase my dreams and get things done?  The short answer is I use a simple strategy, and one major incentive that applies directly to a part of my brain that does not like being disturbed – my ego.

I have books on my dresser that go into great detail about well researched strategies for getting things done.

I have not been able to read a single one of them to the end.

Some of the techniques leave me baffled in their complexity, while others simply put me to sleep. I have resigned myself to hoping that if I just leave the books on the dresser next to my bed, then when I sleep the wisdom contained in them will make its way from the pages to my sleeping brain.

It hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps they will invent an app for it.

Until that time I have devised my own high-tech approach to getting things done. And I am now prepared to share it with you.

My supper high-tech solution for getting things done:

1. Lists

I write a list, and another list, and another other list. I have text lists on my computer desktop.

I have my five year plan list, and my 6 month plan list. The next is my weekly tasks list, and then there is my daily tasks list. I have my recurring tasks that I have to do each week: check email, do business admin.

I check my lists before I go to bed at night so that I know what I have to do the next day, and what I have to accomplish before the end of the week.

2. Public Support (or humiliation, depending on how you look at it)

I have heard a number of psychological strategies for getting things done. One goes like this: if you have an idea for a big project, you should not tell anyone about it because, the theory goes, that if you do, then you give away the power.  Simply by telling people you are going to do something dissipates the drive to do it.

It sounds interesting in a cosmic sort of way. But, it does not work for me. If I don’t tell anyone what my plan is, then who is going to hold me accountable whether I do it or not?

The other theory says that if you want to get something done, tell people you are going to do it. More than that, tell people exactly what it is you are going to do, tell them when you are going to do it, and tell them when you are going to have it done by.

This works for me because it appeals directly to the ego and fear part of my brain. That is, it is akin to having a carrot and a stick – if I get the goal accomplished, I can sit back and feel good with myself that I got it done. If I don’t, I have to explain to everyone why watching 12 hours of TV suddenly became more important than building that tunnel to China I said I was going to do by New Years.

Africa

Carrots and sticks appeal directly to the primitive part of the brain. I may have a full belly now, but there is guy in the cave next to mine eyeing my mate, and he has a pretty awesome collection of comfy bear skin rugs that he likes to show off. If I tell my cave-spouse I am going to bring her back a bear-skin rug she just might stick around. If I don’t, she might wander off to the next cave while I am snoozing with my full belly.

Now it is my turn

With that I am going to publically announce what one of my lists holds. My six month lists states that I intend to write two posts a week. The publish days are Mondays and Thursdays.

Monday’s publication will be WebTips – a post focused on helping you with website marking and promotion.

Thursday’s will be my personal blog post. That is, focused more on productivity and the things I have done that have worked for me that hopefully will help you in some way.

These posts go out to you 100,000 people. So if I miss a post, I will expect to be flogged by you accordingly.

Your Turn.

What techniques or tricks do you use get things done?

Or, do you have a goal that you would like to publicly make now? Post it to Facebook  Twitter .

Not ready to publicly announce it? Then Email me your idea, I would love to hear about it.

As always, feel free to reply. I read every response personally, and do my best to answer what I can.

 

 

P.S. Last week’s post Why I Quit the Nine to Five really struck a nerve and I have been overwhelmed with responses. If you replied, thank you. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Images: FriedmanRelsig

Do You Know Who Is Visiting Your Website?

Customer Persona

In the old days you knew who our customers were because you met them – in person! They came into your store and you were able to interact with them.

Immediately you would know their gender, roughly how old they were. You could surmise all kinds of information about them just by how they looked.

But even better, you could talk to them directly about what it is that they are looking for. “Are you looking for a widget? Wonderful! I have them in all different sizes and colors.”…

But what about visitors to your website? What do you know about them? Are they men, women. Are they young, old? Are they happy, sad, or just bored? And, does any of this matter?

The short answer is yes, it does matter.

If you want to interact with a visitor to your website in some way (and why would you have a website if you didn’t?) then it is vital to know who you are interacting with.

Know Thy Visitor

We can get all kinds of information these days from website analytics. Information such as what pages someone visited, how long they stayed on a specific page and your website etc.

But although you get to know what someone did when they visited your website, you don’t get to know who they are – you don’t get to actually see and interact with your visitor. And if you don’t get to see them you may make the mistake of imagining who they are.

Someone once reminded me that ‘you are not your customer’.  I repeat that to myself often as it really helps to keep things in perspective.

Just because I know how to tie a reef knot behind my back, does not mean visitors to my website can do the same (or would even be interested in doing so…).

If we are lacking information as to who are customers are, then we tend to assume that they are like us, and very often they may not be the case at all.

On the other hand, if you know your customer you can tailor your language, the look and feel of your site, and even your product or service to meet their needs. And really, the goal is to meet your visitors’ needs.

One way to know your customer is to create a Customer (also known as buyer, or visitor) Persona.

A Customer Persona is a fictional character you create to represent your customer. This is would be your ideal customer. Someone who would visit your website and interact with it in the way that you want them to.

Know your Customer

How to create a Customer Persona

How do you come up with a your ideal Customer Persona? Well, what you don’t do is simply create one from your imagination (wouldn’t it be nice if we could manufacture our customers…). What we want to do is get as much information from our customers, visitors to our website, etc. as we can.

In other words, the persona is created from facts you find out about your customers.

If you can create a customer persona, then you can interact with visitors to your website as though you were talking to this person. It gives you a mental image of who you are talking to.

A simple exercise is to find out some basic information about your customers:

  • How old are they
  • Are they predominantly a certain gender?
  • What is their income?
  • What are their likes and dislikes?

And the most important question, what problem do they have that you are trying to help them solve.

This is just a partial list, and would be different depending on what your goal with your website is.

Once you know some basic information, you can tailor your website, and all marketing material, to your customer.

How do you find out who your customers are so that you can create a persona?

The simplest way is to ask them. There are a number of ways you can do this.

  • If someone contacts you, for any reason, you now have an opportunity to interact with them. Find out what you can about them (without being intrusive of course).
  • Create a customer feedback form on your website that people can use to ask you questions, or to give you feedback on how you are doing.
  • Send out a questionnaire to your email list. People are generally willing to give you feedback if you ask.

Any chance you have to communicate with your customer gives you the opportunity to find out more about them, and that will ultimately help you to better serve them.

If you want to take this further, the nice folks over at Hubspot have created a free template to create a customer persona that you can download from here.

 

Recap and Action steps.

When creating a website we tend to rely on our own interests and tastes when making design decisions. But there is a good chance that visitors to your website have completely different interests and tastes than you do.

In the past we could ask people what they wanted, what their interests were, what we could do better to serve our customers’ needs. When creating a web based business, a good exercise is to create a Customer Persona. And to do that we need to find out who are customers are.

Create a form on your website to get feedback, send out an email – ask your customers what they want – how you can help. The goal is not to be intrusive, but to find out how we can best serve our customers. And the best way to do that is to find out who they are.

 

And with that I will ask you – do you know who your customers are? Do you know if you are serving their needs?

  • Do you know who your customers are?
  • Do you know if you are serving their needs?

Share your answers on or .

 

Images: AmboldiKalache