“Jesus” is the least connected word on LinkedIn. How did Dan Zarella, author of “Zarella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness,” arrive at this interesting but seemingly apropos of nothing conclusion? As usual, he studied the data. (The method is less important than the result. I trust Mr. Zarella’s methodology only to a certain point. I believe his pseudo-scientific approach allows him to identify correlations, from which he makes logical conclusions. But that’s as far as it goes.)
The blog post where he published his findings (which I’ll divulge shortly) is not completely clear about the meaning of “connected words.” What I think he means is this: Words that appear in the titles and summaries of LinkedIn profiles and how they correlate to the number of people that person is connected to.
At any rate the conclusion about the word “Jesus” is no surprise, given the purpose of LinkedIn. What’s more surprising is the most connected word, which is “recruiters.”
Besides the fact that it’s plural (go ahead, imagine using it in a sentence) I find it interesting that LinkedIn holds fast to its original roots of being a place to network for job opportunities. When I joined in 2004 I did so because I was considering looking for a full-time job. I ended up changing my mind about job hunting and didn’t use my account for several years.
Somewhere around 2007 or so it started to get more press as a professional networking site I started using it again. In 2009 when I was promoting my business, Avarra Solutions, I started using it heavily and seeing it’s real value to small businesses as a professional social networking tool.
Go ahead and look at the infographic Dan posted. Look at the top nine words on the Most Connected Words list. Four of them have something to do with job hunting. Three are related to networking. So still after all this time, the most heavily connected people on LinkedIn have something to do with looking for employment.
So if you’re looking for work, or if you’re thinking of hiring someone in your business, LinkedIn is definitely still the place to be.
Most of my immediate family lives in Connecticut, including my husband’s family. This past weekend they got slammed with almost 2 feet of snow.
2 feet of snow in OCTOBER? It was wholly unexpected. It broke records. My family, along with many others, were completely unprepared. Two people in their 70′s, two in their 40′s, and two kids 8 and 13, all packed into hotel rooms with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Neither of their homes have power, and some of the roads remain unplowed.
It makes me wonder… what would I do if something happened to my business? What if my two biggest clients pulled out? What if this big consulting project I’m hoping to get doesn’t come through? Worse yet… what if my husband lost his job? What would I do?
WHAT WOULD I DO?
This morning I carved out two hours and took a good look at my business. I did a mind map in order to get the big picture. I looked all all my products and services — how I’m selling them, how I’m delivering them, how I’m marketing them. I looked at what’s working, what’s not, and what items have gotten lost in the shuffle.
I realized I’m a little bit scattered, and spread too thin. I have too many things going on and they’re going in too many different directions. I’m not properly leveraging the systems I’ve already put in place and focusing on selling things that are finished products. Instead I’m chasing rainbows by coming up with new product ideas and doing scattershot marketing to try to sell consulting services.
Time to regroup, refocus, and home in on what’s important and viable.
Not only will I have a better business, I’ll be ready if a big disaster strikes.
For my new E-Connect Local program, I am outsourcing some of the more mundane, tedious work to virtual assistants. This is one of those times I don’t want to leave anything to chance. So instead of quickly shooting off an email, like I usually do, I decided to write a P&P, or Policies and Procedures document, to make sure I covered all my bases.
Having a background in business analysis I’ve written tons of project documentation in my day, some hundreds of pages long. But writing software requirements is fun (to me at least). Writing policies is anything but fun.
I sat in front of my computer with a blank Word document open, and thought “If I had my VA right here with me and I was going to train her what to do, where would I start?” Clearly she knows nothing about what I am about to say to her. She knows nothing about the program, or the clients, or the purpose of it all.
So the biggest question at that moment was “How much do I need to tell her about the overall program and it’s goals?” The answer that came to me was “As much as she needs to know. Just get writing and it will come.”
So I did. I just started documenting the activities that I had been doing myself, which I now wanted her to take over. I explained each step in as much detail as I could think of. I covered every file she needed to access, how to access it and what to do with it. I wrote down each decision she needed to make and how to make it and what to do if she got stuck. Every step of the way, I considered as many of the “what if X happens?” scenarios. For the most part, if something was not clear, or did not work the way it was documented, the course of action is to simply email me and tell me about it.
One of the great side effects of documenting these steps is that it forces you to consider every action carefully. It makes you think of things you may not have thought of. It creates a mechanism for identifying gaps in the flow, and gives you an opportunity to fill them in now, rather than having the VA identify them, or worse yet, miss them.
I imagine this will be a living document for a while. There will be bugs and adjustments, and some back and forth, but what I did in 90 minutes this morning will save me mountains of headaches, questions, and potential lost productivity in the future.
It’s clear that I need to create a Policies and Procedures document for the activities that I am NOT giving away! I’m sure I will be a lot more efficient in running these programs if I have a system to follow. Not only that, but I can expect more consistent results across the board if every client gets the exact same treatment.
So yes, it’s a pain and it’s not fun, but it’s clearly worth carving out an hour or two of your week to do. It may mean saving days of your time later.
In the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to look at hundreds of WordPress themes for my clients. Generally the client has a smaller budget and a WordPress pre-designed theme is an affordable alternative to a more expensive custom design.
Wordpress themes come in two categories: free and premium. The free WordPress themes are decent, and this is a great option for startups and newbies who just want a web site up fast. The downside is that the selection is fairly limited.
Premium WordPress themes, however, are generally of much higher quality and have better customization features. And there are lots more of them. So if you want a custom web site design, but can’t afford the pricetag of a custom site design, a premium WordPress theme can at least make your web site look like it’s got a custom design. Most premium WordPress themes cost about $35, and there are a bunch of good web sites that offer them. You can see a list of web sites that offer premium WordPress themes on the E-Marketing Connection web site.
At least, that’s the intention.
Recently I’ve been noticing that the vast majority of WordPress themes, even the premium ones, are all starting to look alike. They all appear to offer some variation of the following sequence: header, navigation, image slider, feature boxes, content columns, and a big thick footer. That’s the home page. Beyond that you get a gallery or portfolio page, some basic content pages with two and three columns, a contact us page with a built-in form, an about us page, a blog page, and sometimes a separate products and services page.
It would seem that all the newest WordPress themes are targeted to design firms or other creative types. If these firms or individuals are so creative, why don’t they create their own custom web site designs? Because they don’t have the skills to code it, that’s why. They’re artists, not developers. I get that. My concern is that not all people who want a pre-designed WordPress theme are creative types. Forget the gallery, my accounting firm client doesn’t need it. They don’t need the slider or the portfolio. They need nice-looking, easy-to-read content pages and a way to put stock images on those content pages — that’s all.
This is simply yet another manifestation of the shiny new object syndrome. Image sliders are the cool thing, so everyone wants one. Even one of my clients who is a career development coach wants one, even though the site doesn’t need it. It might even be a distraction from the important content on the site. It’s just cool-looking, that’s why web site owners want it. So that’s what the theme designers are making now. What will the next fad be? Whatever it is, when it comes around, these slider-heavy web sites will be overused and boring, like the pop song that plays over and over on the radio until you can’t stand hearing it any more.
It could be just me, because I look at so many of these. It’s hard to say. You, the consumer, someone who’s not “in the business” may not notice this. If so, let me know, because I want to give my clients what they want, but I also want to give them what they need, whether they realize it or not. It’s hard to argue with cool.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project just released another study indicating that social media is not where most people find local businesses.
It continues to baffle me that so many small businesses are taken in by the hype of social media to the extent that they are starting to lose focus on the big picture. Social media is important yes, people use social media for both personal communication and getting information, but it’s not the ONLY method they use. And different demographic groups use it in different ways and for different purposes.
The study indicates a strong tendency for people to get information about local community events, services, establishments, and news in multiple ways. TV, newspaper, radio, Internet, word of mouth (phone, text, email, chat, face-to-face) are all still important channels of communication in peoples’ lives when it comes to local information. People make judgements about the strength and validity of the information based both on who stated it and how they came across it.
So when it comes to your marketing, don’t bet the farm on Facebook, you need to create a variety of mechanisms to consistently communicate your brand message. You need to understand your audience and how each communication channel “fits” your company’s culture and your products and services. This is why I tout a strategic approach to Internet marketing.
The Pew organization is highly trustworthy and their research is widely valued. It’s worth your time to read the study if you can. It’s long so if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, at least read Part 5: The Role of the Internet.
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