Thursday, December 29, 2011

Your Extreme Makeover

Your Extreme Makeover
By: Tony Rubleski, Mind Capture
At the end of each year, before I set my annual goals for the upcoming year, I take stock and look back on what I’ve learned, good and bad, in the preceding year. I can tell you that 2011 was a wild year full of many closings and promising new beginnings within my own life.
This ability to self-reflect is powerful, yet so few people do it consistently beyond a few New Year’s resolutions that are often broken or forgotten within 2-3 days into the New Year.

To help inspire and keep you motivated long beyond the first week of January, I’ve included a ‘Mind Capture Nation’ favorite from the article archives written six-years ago that I’d like to share with you as we wrap up the final days of December. Enjoy!

What if you had only one day to live?
What would you do? Who would you call? What would you say to those you love and trust the most? These are heavy questions, but I encourage you to stay with me and read onward.

I’m often baffled by how unhappy most people seem these days. I use “seem” because far too many people let others dictate their attitude and outlook on life. When you wake up each day, ask yourself this simple yet profound question: what am I thankful for? By asking this, you’ll quickly develop a habit of building positive energy and productive thoughts.

I’m not Dr. Phil or Oprah by any means, and I’m thankful to be who I am. While these two people are wildly successful and living life fully engaged and at full throttle, I can’t imagine how plain and routine the world would be if we were all exactly like them.

In the business world, where I spend most of my waking hours, I often find the most successful people have three common characteristics from which we can all learn from and apply to our everyday lives.

#1. They are problem solvers, not complainers. For every problem they solve, they are aware that new ones can quickly sprout up like weeds. These successful people look at problems as temporary roadblocks that are a natural part of life. The key difference with them is that they ask positive questions to solve the issue at hand.

Most people would rather give up, complain or simply turn around and ignore the problem. Winners know that this is not a productive or solution-based strategy to employ.

#2. They strive to learn and improve each day. School is never out for the pro. Each day is a new world of people, experiences and knowledge from which to learn and gain perspectives. In life, not everything stays the same; change is the only constant. Stability is a good thing, yet to ignore the changes and new information is to live in a perpetual state of denial.

#3. They realize the present moment is valuable and not to be wasted.  Yesterday is in the past, and tomorrow is only a dream. Time is finite and cannot be replaced. Each day they strive to get better, serve others and live life to its fullest.

These three characteristics share an important commonality: the ability to take life one day at a time and treasure the importance of each new sunrise. Planning ahead is necessary, but taking action each day is central to making gradual and long-term positive change a reality.

In closing, I’d like to issue a challenge: imagine that each day could be your last. Again, arise each day by giving thanks and counting your blessings, not your problems. Build momentum to help yourself and those around you.
The world has a never-ending need for your skills, talents and leadership abilities. It would be a tragedy to live most of your life regretting the past or endlessly thinking about your future. Spend more of your precious time on today.
Yours in Success,
Tony Rubleski signature image
PS. If you know someone who would benefit from the Mind Capture E-Letter send them to

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2012 Social Media Business Trends

Is Social the Future of Business?

As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to start looking at social media trends for 2012. Businesses should get ready for seismic shifts on the digital landscape.

Competition will intensify as the rules of marketing are further altered by social media, mobile web and all in real-time. For businesses that don’t start embracing social media, 2012 may mark the beginning of their declining growth and profit.

According to Nielsen’s “The Social Media Report,” social media use is commonplace, with over 4 to 5 Internet users engaging in social activity across a wide variety of platforms. Social networks and blogs are the top online destinations, accounting for 23% of time Americans spend online. Pew Internet and American Life Project’s August 2011 report states that nearly two-thirds (65%) of all adult Internet users now use social networks. The skyrocketing growth of social media has broad implications–beyond consumer behavior.

While some businesses are evolving or even transforming how they buy and sell products, many are fast becoming social businesses. In a Fast Company article by Drew Neisser, “Move Over Social Media; Here Comes Social Business he explains the reasons why every company should be thinking about becoming a social business. According to Neisser, IBM is moving themselves and their clients “well beyond social media into a new era of collaboration, insight sharing and lead generation it calls social business”.

One of the hottest business social trends in 2011, leveraged by both large and small size businesses, has been social commerce. Social Commerce is essentially word-of-mouth applied to e-commerce. According to Brian Solis, “Social Commerce is rising quickly, but this isn’t a story about technology, it’s a story about how and why people make decisions.” Take a look at this amazing Infographic Social Commerce Timeline created by Useful Social Media that depicts the evolution of this new process. Social Commerce is redefining the way brands and consumers interact.

One of the best examples of Social Commerce is the mobile app which lets you share deals with family and friends via Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS. According to David Williams, vice-president of product management at AT&T Interactive, “Gas is just one of many everyday essentials where a few simple factors: location, price and brand, brought together in a thoughtful design can help direct users toward smarter choices and quicker decisions.”

The process for migrating from social media to social business will vary depending on the nature, size and strategy of your business. But you should be aware of some of these emerging social trends and tools as you consider how to capitalize on opportunities and achieve your business goals.

So what are the social media trends for business in 2012 for….[building communities, brands, mobile, etc.]?  I posed this question to several industry experts (crowdsourced the community) and here is what they had to say:

….for building communities?
Jason Falls (@JasonFalls), author of No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing and CEO of Social Media Explorer.
“Businesses are more and more looking at social media marketing as a strategic business driver now, so you’ll see a lot more insistence on accountability, measurement and quantification of what social media means for companies. From a community building standpoint, that means community managers are going to be challenged to delineate the value of those community members versus non-community members, make logical arguments for why and how a community’s growth is positive for the business and illustrate how they affect the bottom line revenue of a company. It’s going to challenge many to think beyond the comment, like and fan. But it will make us all better.”
…for mobile?
“In 2012, mobile will move to center stage in social, as everyone has a phone, with close to a majority of those being smartphones. Location-based messaging between people, and especially between people and businesses of all sizes, will increasingly be initiated by individuals as they tap into their personal networks and networks of those around them to seek and share information. Besides being highly personal, mobile will become the social conduit.”
…for customer service?
“In 2012, more companies will consider use of social monitoring and analytics to help them understand sentiment, key influencers and the types of people chatting about their brand. In addition, growth of the social space will raise the importance of dialog between customer service groups and social media teams. This improved collaboration can lead to an integrated plan to better handle inquiries via the various channels.”
…for crowdsourcing?
Peter H. LaMotte, President, GeniusRocket, Inc.
“2012 will be the year that “Crowdsourcing” stops becoming a buzzword and starts becoming one of the most cost effective ways for small to medium sized business to engage their stakeholders. The term too often associated with contests, is actually a reliable means of message virality and real-time engagement. Marketing, customer service, sales, and PR can all be given a huge boost through the use of their crowd, especially via their social media platforms.”
…for small businesses?
“Biggest trend in social media for small business? One that has already started but now many are getting the fruits of their labor: networking. Finding each other to share stories and learning. Finding talent to join the business. Finding prospects to try to convert to customers. For networking, social media is the small business owners’ best friend.”
…for retail?
“With the advent of in-network apps like Spotify, Hulu and Netflix directly within Facebook, users are going to rapidly gain a sense of comfort with the idea of Facebook as a marketplace. In 2012, the trend will be toward the addition of other non-digital shopping apps on Facebook, allowing consumers to literally buy goods and services directly from their Facebook Timeline. Things like gym memberships, vacations, cleaning services and more will become available on Facebook.”
…for B2B?
Billy Mitchell (@BillyMitchell1) Billy Mitchell- MLT Creative, Partner/Senior Creative Director
“2012 will further separate the pretenders from the purposeful. B2B marketers that don’t take ownership of social media as part of a strategic inbound engine will be an endangered species by the end of 2012. Small businesses will realize Social Media is far from free and the trend will be serious budget increases for creating content, automating tools, and the human resources to sufficiently scale engagement with their marketplace.”
…for technology?
Scott Brinker, President and CTO of Ion – Author of Chief Marketing Technologist blog
“In 2012, marketing technology will continue to converge. We’ll see social media features embedded into more products, from CRMs and marketing automation systems to web content management and landing page optimization platforms. These technologies that reach deeper into the customer experience lifecycle will reveal more nuanced metrics for tying social influence to business value. Likes, follows, and +1′s will be more meaningful in the context of specific customer experiences rather than an abstract performance measurement unto themselves.”
…for marketing?
Michael Brenner (@BrennerMichael) – Sr. Director, SAP Global Integrated Marketing – Co-Founder of Business 2 Community
“’The social media trend for business in 2012 will be less media or marketing and more social. Social media will move beyond marketing, PR and customer service and will become an extension of an entire businesses employee, customer and partner base. Real-time response management, tracking and alerts will be the tools of choice. Response managers will be on the hiring plans of many more companies and social selling will begin to become a reality in many more organizations. In effect, we will start to see businesses truly engaging with the market in a people-to-people model.”
…for advertising?
Michael Ancevic (@mancevic) Senior Vice President – Creative Director at Mullen
“Social media is truly now the mainstream media. So one of the big trends next year is that social will continue to become nearly everyone’s primary source of content and interaction. Because of this, we will see early adopters who have learned along the way to make their advertising content relevant and interesting finding that it becomes easier and easier to ride this trend and get their customers to pass content along for them. Of course like any successful marketing campaign if that content accurately reflects the strategic business objective, it’s a huge win with positive long-term implications.”
…for PR?
“Social Media for PR is evolving from a listening post and ratings game to a strategic tool that provides insight and analytics into customers, prospects, competitors and thought leaders. Never before have PR practitioners had the opportunity to gain real-time insight into customer, prospect and competitor behavior and be able to shape conversations based on that data. We will see more data crunching and analysis and more strategic and targeted responses. As more and more content moves to mobile, we will also see more creative uses of content, more app development and more use of the comment function for thought leadership. New forms of press releases optimized for mobile readers will evolve. PR will also embrace new types of content marketing geared to mobile. All in all, it will be a productive time as PR rises to meet the technological opportunities.”