Let's face it: these days, it's not enough to say how good you are at something.
Anyone can make a bold claim on why they're the best.
Increasingly, you, me and they have to prove it.
Trust - or the lack thereof - is a global issue of concern.
Screaming headlines from newspapers in developed nations pontificating about corrupt third world dictatorships (and why aid should be cut) ring hollow in the face of the scandals that have rocked the majority of industrialized economies.
Trust (see the video below), is not a problem that only affects somewhere far, far, away.
It doesn't matter how massive your advertising budget is, how glossy your corporate social responsibility brochure is, how slick your presentation on ethics, values and ethos or how substantial the amount of money you publicly donate to a worthwhile cause, you have to be prepared for a deeper level of scrutiny...
There's always someone, somewhere - be it a competitor, client, colleague or commentator ready and eager to challenge a mission statement, press release or public comment - all-too-often in the full glare of the social media spotlight.
Building trust isn't always easy, but it's a straightforward process, as illustrated below.
After a relatively relaxing and reflective Easter break, I'm starting off the new 'working week' with a blog about...blogs.
Everyone - yes everyone - needs to blog.
These days, few people can get away with a static website. You need to share ideas, communicate words of wisdom and interact with visitors to your website.
The most effective way to do this is with a blog. Social media is included: Twitter is a micro blog and Facebook posts are blogging under a different name.
Before you put fingers to the keyboard, consider the following:
1. What type of blogger you are.
2. How to avoid the ten common blog writing mistakes (see below)
On point number 2 - I've been working with words long enough to have made countless mistakes. It could be as a result of having to hit a deadline, fatigue...or even laziness.
I saw (and still see) 'literals' as an inevitable consequence of writing in the social media age. I'm fairly relaxed about a few 'typos' here and there in my own and in other people's writing (as long as the content is interesting) - as I wrote in a blog post several years ago.
What I do take seriously, is factually correct information. I can forgive myself for committing a spelling error, but not for writing anything that can harm someone's reputation.
Feel free to send me a link to your new (or existing blog) - I look forward to being informed, educated and entertained.
"Social media has created a global phenomenon of narcissistic, self-involved showoffs - or provides a worldwide platform for people with something significant to say, show or share."
There are thousands of examples on both sides (you know who you are, people!) but the jury will forever be out on who's 'right' or 'wrong'.
What's certain is that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - to name the main players in the game - are here to stay...if only until the next, shiny, new big thing comes along and we turn our collective attention to whatever that is.
Until then, let's talk 'selfies'!
Here's what the Oxford Dictionaries website has to say about them:
"NOUN (plural selfies)
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website."
Virtually everybody seems to be at it: from actors to astrophysicists and pop stars to presidents - regardless of the occasion - Obama, Cameron, Thorning-Schmidt , anyone?) - with varying degrees of success...and occasional undress.
Not all profiles are created or viewed equally, so the best advice is to proceed with caution before posting your online profile. Once it's out there, it's no longer in your control - quite the opposite.
If you'd like to know how your profile picture may be damaging your online brand, take a look at the infographic below - it's from LinkingR.
Before you do, there's one extra tip from Oxford Dictionaries: "occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary."
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my customer service 'obsession'.
If I were to make an educated guess, I would imagine that anyone over the age of 21 has experienced a mix of both 'good' and 'bad' customer service.
It all boils down to whether a purchasing experience (either of a product or service) meets the expectation(s) of the buyer.
Wrapped up in this are two main things:
1. Whether the purchaser achieves their goal with ease (e.g. getting their deal at a reasonable cost, in a speedy and efficient manner)
2. Whether the seller doesn't 'break' any of the buyer's personal 'rules' (e.g. not keeping to a delivery schedule, ignoring emails/telephone calls or being rude or indifferent to the customer.)
Customer service is relatively easy when you look at things in these simple terms.
Ignoring them can seriously impact corporate reputations.
Of course, there are variables which can affect things: the size of the business, nature of the product or service, customer demand, staffing levels, corporate policy, industry 'norms' (e.g. in the telecoms industry, 'churn rate' [i.e. customers opting out of a particular service] and general trading conditions), et cetera.
Nonetheless, and especially during an age where customers are more vocal and increasingly tech savvy, it's a good thing for businesses to be aware of a number of customer service myths that may ultimately affect the way they approach looking after the people and organisations responsible for their continued profitability and, ultimately, their very existence.
Today's infographic is from the cloud computing and customer relationship management firm, Salesforce.com.
Today's blog post is aimed at those who don't want - or can't be bothered - to read about reputation management (although I can't imagine why!)
I (or more correctly, the terribly creative people at Bode Animation) have a delightful film which illustrates why you should care about your online reputation.
If your appetite hasn't been whetted, there's a lot to see on this website.
The online world is awash with data, statistics, algorithms, code, text, audio, images, video and other distractions.
This makes it, on the one hand, a potential goldmine of useful, profitable, life-or-business-changing information and on the flipside, a never-ending stream of overwhelming, confusing, and potentially damaging data.
I have to confess that, as someone from the 'old school' (I started work way before the internet was out of its nappies), my filters are on most of the time. This is partly due to self preservation (I want to retain what's left of my sanity), and partly because a lot of information on the world wide web is, frankly, rubbish.
I may well be contributing to this - it all depends on how useful people who read this blog and my other writing find it.
But, I digress.
I've come across a snappy infographic from the people at internet marketing firm, Syndacast.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.