Raz Chorev | Socially Acceptable..
building relationships, networking, Personal Branding, Social media

Who’s managing your reputation?

Time and time again I see people show interest in Social Media, but can’t find the time to invest in it.

Let me state it loud and clear – more than half of the word Network is WORK!

It takes time, and resources. I’m OK with social media VAs and PR people managing companies‘ accounts on Twitter, blogging, uploading YouTube video, and even managing Facebook pages.

What I’m straggling with, are people who outsource their personal networking efforts. It’s not like in the old days (5 years ago, or even in the pre historic era – last century!!), when most people had to be in front of their desktop computer, to do anything online. Now, when smartphones are common place, when most executives have an iphone or a Blackberry, there is really no reason to let your PA or VA (Virtual Assistant) to manage your personal brand, and online reputation.

How busy are you really? Would you send your PA to your brothers’ wedding? Go to a work function on your behalf? A clients evening? Fund Raising event? Manage your son’s soccer team? I hope you’ve answered NO to most of them (I’m joking – ALL of them!!)

Managing your online network is no different. You need to invite people. You need to communicate with your peers. You need to answer questions, and participate in an online discussion. If your PA can do it on your behalf – how strong is your relationship with your network anyway?

I am not managing networks, and numbers. I create, and foster business and personal relationships, with people I care about, and care about me. NO ONE can do it better than me! I would like to believe that my friends, online and offline, are friends because they like me, and what I represent. If someone else was answering my emails, my phone calls, and connecting with other people – would I be able to consider it MY network?

What do you think?

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  • http://tonyhollingsworth.wordpress.com/about Tony Hollingsworth

    An important discussion Raz, thanks for sharing. I agree with most of what you’re saying, and it reminds me of this quote attribbuted to Woody Allen: “80% of success is showing up” – which is the “work” part of networking as you say.

    Where you say “when most executives have an iphone or a Blackberry, there is really no reason to let your PA or VA (Virtual Assistant) to manage your personal brand, and online reputation.” Although you make a good point, in my experience there will always be “smartphone-carrying executives” who just are not willing to participate in the conversation online. Its not through lack of ability or access, as you say the technology is there. What its really about is the individual’s willingness to participate. My friend Kate Carruthers makes this point in her blog post: β€œThe willingness and desire to be hyperconnected via technology will become the new generation gap.” You can read more on Kate’s post here:
    http://katecarruthers.com/blog/2010/06/digital-revolution-not-going-away/

    Essentially Kate is saying that the “digital revolution” is upon us, and it is creating a “digital divide” that businesses and goverment are realising they must adapt to or be left behind.

    Best to you mate,
    Tony Hollingsworth

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Tony – I agree it is about the willingness to participate, not just the tools (aka smartphones). People who are not willing to participate, will find their network is only virtual, and will not be there when they need it most.

  • Mark Cohen

    Couldn’t agree more. I lose faith in people who I communicate with who may or may not actually be who they are effectively claiming to be. Also, I will generally not friend / follow anyone I would not like to have a coffee and a chat with. And on linked in I would generally not allow anyone into my network unless the above is true and I have met them IRL. This makes for a better quality network, that I would turn to for help, say. Its easy to build a low grade, large network online. But to build a network of any value one has to remember The Law of the Farm.

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Mark, as I know how busy you are, I appreciate you taking the time to comment here :) I feel it is all about the quality of the network, and the ability to grow it online make some people think it is all virtual!
      Thanks for your comment!

  • http://tonyhollingsworth.wordpress.com/about Tony Hollingsworth

    Actually, to clarify, I was referring to “willingness to participate” in terms of the virtual network, ie: willingness to participate in connected media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc is what builds the virtual network. By building the virtual network you are effectively building a stronger face to face network where those members overlap. You can be confident in the knowledge that busy C-level executives even though they are carrying smartphones yet not using them to participate in connected media, have very strong traditional face-to-face networks (how business has always been done) yet as the “digital revolution” marches on, those that don’t participate in the virtual networking are missing out on potential business and social opportunities.

    Great discussion *waves to Mark C*
    Cheers
    Tony Hollingsworth

  • http://www.iggypintado.com.au Iggy Pintado

    Raz,

    Good post and discussion worth having. I like to simplify things as you know so here goes.

    I don’t let anyone else give out my business card.

    It’s that simple. Not just what’s on the card is important here. Just as important is how its presented, what impression I left and how I choose to follow-up the interaction.

    Networking is the same – just cannot be delegated with the same form of integrity as personally presented, managed and driven.

    Thats my view, Iggy

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Iggy – love how you simplified this “complex” issue. It is really that simple, as you said: “I don’t let anyone else give out my business card.”
      Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/Iconic88 Mahei

    Really appreciate your thoughts here Raz.

    There is a lot of discourse about if tweeting by proxy or status updates by proxy is an authentic approach in this space.

    My belief at this point in time (as it forever evolves as I continuously learn about the online world) is that the needs offline mirror that online. Businesses are still looking to save time and money. The same applies in the social media space. People are looking to save time and money. If it means enabling people and/or tools to save them time, that’s what they will invest in.

    The key issue you’ve alluded to Raz is at one end of the continuum where people outsource entirely their personal social media efforts .

    The way I see things, whether its personal or enterprise, fits alongside what you say Raz. Basically, the only person who knows your ‘voice’ is you. This is difficult to outsource and difficult to artificially manufacture.

    However, what people can do and are doing is managing this via proxy through personal VA’s, tools or other means. The question is ‘how’ they are managing their online presence.

    When people are time-poor, managing your online presence via proxy is a viable solution. How this system is managed is the challenge for many. Zappos, Omniture, and some banks are bright examples illustrating how this can be done well by letting the public know who is replying to their status updates.

    For solopreneurs, they are their brands and that is a massive strength when their online personas are congruent to their offline personas as perceived by the public. Can their accounts be managed by proxy? Sure. Will the public buy it? It depends on how they create their tone and resonance ‘in-line’.

    You’re right, this social media space is a lot of work and when done correctly, the rewards are huge. All digital business metrics can be smashed out of the park for comparatively little cost as long as you’ve got a foundation of ‘trust’.

    How to build a premier personal brand? Lead with kindness and love. ‘Hippyspeak’ some say……try showing the opposite of these actions and feelings to your customers then measure your ROI.

    …even a proxy can be kind on your behalf πŸ˜‰

    Thanks Raz!!

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Mahei – great to have you on my side here! I agree that a proxy can be kind on my behalf, but it won’t be me!
      A proxy can engage on my behalf, but that is a contradiction in itself, isn’t it? If you’re not the engaging type, don’t try to be. When @Juliagillard followed @riding4acause on Twitter, I sent her a personalised welcome message. Did I hear back from her? No. Does she manage her own account? I doubt it. If she does – she engages poorly. Will she listen to me if she wins the election? I suspect I know the answer πŸ˜‰

      Here’s to personal engagement!

  • http://waynemansfield.blogspot.com Wayne Mansfield

    Raz

    The power of Networking by Social Media is surely your and my friendship – meet over the net and then over coffee. And that leads to supporting each others cause and eventually life long friendships devlop and prosper.

    I use all the “VA PA EA and PR” people you talk about but that is when it is a part of the business that isn’t my personal brand… when it’s Wayne Mansfield on Twitter Facebook LinkedIn adn YouTube that really is Wayne Mansfield – for better or worse.

    All the best…

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Wayne – SPOT ON! you’re probably an extreme example of using social media, and other online tools to generate business, and as busy as you are, I know you’re very meticulous and structured with your OWN personal online activities. Here is a thought – why wouldn’t you write a book “The Busy Exec Guide to Social Media” .I’ll be the first to buy a copy!
      In our case, we’ve started our relationship over the net (Twitter), and then over coffee. It wouldn’t have been the same kind of relationship, if I’ve met with your VA for a coffee, would it?

      Thanks for leading by example

  • http://www.acevirtualassistance.com.au Jodi Gibson

    Great topic Raz.
    As a social media virtual assistant, I agree with your view. For success in the social media realm, the engagement, connection & interaction side of social media needs to be done by the individual. Without this personalised interaction real connection, rapport & credibility building cannot be achieved which is something I stress the importance of to my clients. I have had clients who expect that I will do it all for them and this is something that I will not do, and if I were to attempt, would only result in a social media ‘fail’!
    However, there is more to managing social media.
    I assist my clients in a variety of ways from helping them firstly understand what social media is, how and which platforms can work best for them, assisting with defining their goals, developing a workable strategy, assisting in the set up and implementation within the various platforms, monitoring and optimising their online presence and measuring and analysis.
    I help them set a workable social media schedule so they don’t get lost in the time consuming nature of social media.
    In conjunction with the client, information and promotional based updates can be scheduled and posted by myself as well as updating content provided by clients on their blogs, uploading video to YouTube, adding quotes, news items, product updates, quotes, surveys to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. etc.
    The clients themselves need to perform the actual engagement and ‘conversation’ side of things. They need to ask their questions and thoughts, respond to ‘chat’ and interact and personally engage with their audience.
    There is a big misconception that social media is free. Social media is very time consuming but with some assistance, planning, a good strategy and a schedule in place it can be low cost and extremely effective.
    Thanks Raz!

  • http://radsmarts.com Robin Dickinson

    Hi Raz, great to see your website buzzing. :)

    My business development strategy doesn’t use networking as such, but I can understand what you are saying.

    Your point is even more relevant to my ‘deep value’ strategy of building long-term relationships with just a few people. There’s no way of doing this by defacto.

    The fact that people do outsource and automate their volume-based networking e.g. auto-tweeting, mass emailing and outsourcing, means that a deep value-based strategy can be vastly more effective, competitive and valuable. So from that perspective, I love that people outsource! πŸ˜‰

    Best to you,

    Robin

    Helping you succeed in business :)

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Robin, thanks for your participation here!
      I see your point about the volume based networking, when the person is also the business.
      However, IMO, This is not networking , but advertising. I see networking as a personal thing, and creating reciprocal relationships is hard work, and time consuming. Outsourcing your personal relationship management activities, is just wrong, In My Opinion.
      Cheers

  • http://catherinewhite.posterous.com Catherine White

    Hiya Raz

    A recent survey by http://www.onenewspage.com shows over 39% of employees use social networking on work time.

    The finding is workplace productivity is negatively impacted by employees use of personal social networks.

    To be fair, I appreciate why business continue to grapple with the social media space.

    Outsourcing social networking is based on a lack of understanding of the social media space, particularly when employees are use private social networks during work hours.

    Your salient points are well made, to an audience who don’t need a case made for the use of social media in business.

    Catherine
    Connects & Creates Worth Through Powerful Story Telling

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Catherine – the survey you’ve mentioned is interesting, but I disagree with the notion. In my opinion, Workplace productivity is a matter of having a clear job description, and enforcing clear KPI’s. When employees are not clear on their objectives, and are not motivated and incentivised to meet them, they’ll find all sorts of activities to make the day go faster. If it’s not social media, it could be a smoke brake, or mindless hours of Solitaire…
      From my own experience, many corporations block access to social media sites anyway…

      In this post though, I wasn’t making a case for using social media. I’m trying to understand why individuals let others do it on their behalf. I still don’t see a compelling reason, as Iggy put it, to “let someone else hand out my business card”.

  • http://snapwebmarketing.com Karri Flatla

    The “bandwagon effect” is rampant isn’t it? Everyone is all “Ra! Ra! Social media! I want in!”

    Then you get them all set up and what’s that I hear?

    Crickets.

    I think a VA / PA can be a very important ally in online reputation management. But it MUST be done strategically AND, like with ALL things marketing, the biz owner/biz entity must ENGAGE in order to get meaningful RESULTS.

    (And yes, the all caps were necessary.)

    You can’t really outsource marketing, social media marketing included. You can only hire people to optimize and support the journey.

    Great post.
    Cheers.
    Karri

  • http://twitter.com/Iconic88 Mahei

    Thanks Raz.

    May I ask how you engaged @Juliagillard? was it 1 tweet? what was the content of your tweet? did you share any of her information? did you help create a compelling reason for her to engage with you?

    If you were to switch places with her and walk in her shoes for a little bit, how many ‘@’ replies do you think she would get on Twitter? Facebook? YouTube? Television? Radio? then combine that with your busy Prime Minister’s schedule. Do you think you may have missed a tweet from @riding4acause? Now if you received a barrage of replies and questions from the public across all forums, would you prioritise your replies? maybe tweet by proxy? πŸ˜‰

    Ultimately, when we communicate with people, more specifically brand names like Prime Minister’s et al, we can forget the amount of communications they must experience. Persistence and patience is key here.

    The same applies on Twitter. As a tip, if people are looking for retweets or engagement from the well known personalities, it doesn’t happen over night. It happens retweet by retweet. The more you share their information, the more likely they will engage you back. A kind genuine and generous compliment here and there helps too. Flattery works online as well as online. We all love to be loved.

    Moreover, if you can fill a need of these people, just like in business, you go one step further towards building a relationship.

    If you tweeted @Juliagillard, “Hi Raz here, I can help you identify your ‘leak’, DM me for details”, or “Hi Julia. I have a powerful set of analytics which could give u the edge in ur campaign, DM me for details”, do you think she would reply?

    —-

    Thanks Raz!

    Here’s to personal engagement!

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Mahei – one day I’ll show you the way I tried to engage with the PM. You’ve raised some good points about the level of correspondence she receives on a daily basis. I agree – this is huge! However, if you choose to use a medium to connect with an audience (customers, voters, fans, donors – whoever!) you need to connect with them, personally.
      It’s easy to find an advertising medium, and let your selected advertising or PR people run a campaign for you. It is very difficult and time consuming to engage, like @barryofarrell does, or sometimes @malcolmturnbull. But it can be done.
      Outsourcing your advertising is ok, IMO. Outsourcing your personal reputation – isn’t.

  • http://mysocialmedialawyer.wordpress.com/ Vivienne Storey

    Hi Raz

    Great post and good topic for discussion.

    Networking via social media is like any other networking; just a slightly different forum. I would say that the nature of the forum demands more personal attention to be effective (rather than less via outsourcing). That is, you don’t have the benefit of body language or tone of voice.

    Ultimately, business is simply the interraction of people which is of course why we network. If you’re not managing your own reputation on-line how effectively can you can connect? No-one else can truly replicate your opinion, your writing style and most importantly your interests. Authenticity is a buzz word in social media, and there’s a reason for it.

    The next step is to be able to convince those not already converted to get with it!

    Just an aside on productivity (can’t let that one go); unproductive people will always find an excuse not to work, whether it be a coffee, a chat (on the phone or online) or simple time wasting. This is a reflection on the employer, not social media!

    Vivienne :-)

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Thanks Vivienne – my thoughts exactly!

  • http://www.broadcastbuilder.com.au Kathleen Crone

    Hi Raz,

    Congratulations on instigating such an engaging conversation.

    It is particularly interesting for me because I have been trying to balance starting a business, participate in a new industry and learning how to engage with people using social media.

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind as to the value of doing the ‘work’ myself (the number of people I’ve met through social media that are participating in this discussion is testament in itself) however like many other aspects of running a business and developing a new product, I could do with some assistance and advice to get the hang of it.

    It was a nice surprise to see Jodi Gibson commenting in this space because it is with pleasure that I tell you that I have engaged her to help me out. Why? How?

    I need assistance to ENABLE me to do social media based networking and marketing better. I want to get the knack of it faster. Not only do I have limited time at the moment, I am on a very steep learning curve all round (brain overload).

    Jodi is setting up things up so that it is easier to do the ‘work’ required. She is facilitating better social media networking procedures and practices.

    Regards,
    Kathleen

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Hey Kathleen – just to clarify – would you let Jodi reply to your twitter messages, emails, blog on your behalf , etc.?
      How would it feel, if I’ll let someone else reply to all these comments, on my behalf?
      None of the people who commented here, would have let someone else do it on their behalf. They are all very busy people, running their own businesses, or having a senior executive role.
      That is the essence of my claim.

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