Archive for the ‘work’ Category


Fewer than 50,000 Americans have thus far bought a health-care plan on the problem-plagued ObamaCare website according to an insurance industry report, representing only a fraction of the half-million enrollees the administration apparently wanted the first month.

The number was reported first Monday by The Wall Street and confirmed by Fox News, which was told the final reporting day was Nov. 3.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a prompt response, saying officials could not confirm the numbers.

“We have always anticipated that initial enrollment numbers would be low and increase over time,” said agency spokeswoman Joanne Peters. “And, as we have said, the problems with the website will cause the numbers to be lower than initially anticipated.”

Healthcare.gov went live Oct. 1 and was immediately plagued with such problems as slow response time, volume-induced crashes and supplying incorrect information.

Official have since called in private technical experts and have taken the site off line in non-peak hours to perform maintenance and improve the situation.

The federal site handles insurance enrollment for 36 states without their own sites.

The administration has set a goal of signing up seven million Americans for insurance by next March, when open enrollment ends.

The Journal reported the number of enrollees thus far could be as low as 40,000 and  that the administration’s goal of 500,000 enrollees in October is based on an internal memo cited last week by Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp.

The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said in a statement the low numbers are not surprising because of the website’s problems.

“Whether it’s higher costs, fewer choices or simply website glitches, it’s becoming more clear with each passing day that this law isn’t ready for prime time and should be delayed,” Hatch said.

I coined a phrase to define this world we live in where everyone has an opinion and there are a multitude of ways to express that opinion. I call it, “The Feedback Society.”

Whether on a consumer review site like Yelp; in the ‘comments’ section of an online publication; or something as simple as calling your congressperson, it’s clear that everyone has an opinion and they are eager to share it with as many people as possible.

The vast majority of these are anonymous postings—or as I like to tell my celebrity clients, “Writing on a bathroom wall.” I actively discourage them from reading it knowing that they can be toxic, mean-spirited and just plain hurtful. As their representative I do take into account the whole of the feedback, so I have an idea of how a story is being received.

Certainly a public relations person is tasked with presenting a client to the public, but equally important is letting the client know what kind of environment they are stepping into and how their news is being received.

President Obama has access to some of the most sophisticated opinion analysts in the world. And while he can certainly take heart in the fact that his own approval rating held steady at about 44 percent during the government shutdown while Republicans were plummeting; it is equally clear that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been a real shit show.

His problems didn’t begin with the rollout; they began with a lame effort at selling Obamacare to the American people. His lack of clear targeted messaging and inability to get people behind it at the grass roots level made it easy prey for his political opponents.

Even people who clearly stood to benefit from provisions in the act expressed their hatred for it. His own ham-handed PR rollout was further denigrated by the opposition who took, and still take, every opportunity to demonize the law and its provisions.

Despite losing the PR battle, POTUS won the war. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. It has the added bonus of being vetted by the U.S. Supreme Court and found lawful.

The official rollout of the Affordable Care Act coincided with the shutdown of the U.S. government by Congress on October 1. Defunding Obamacare was the major incentive for shutting down the government and, ironically, opposition to the shutdown made the act more popular than it had been.

What was clear from the beginning of the rollout was that the online systems to handle a massive rollout of complicated and sophisticated data was just not in place and the system crashed.

Despite multiple news reports that 476,000 Americans have applied for the coverage, no one seems to have access to accurate information. Additionally, this bill was, in part, designed to simplify the health care coverage process.

The inability of the government to handle this system supported the opponents’ argument that it’s just too big and complicated for the government to handle and would be better dealt with by private industry.

On Monday, President Obama held a news conference, which some referred to as an ‘infomercial,’ to discuss the state of the law.

To his credit, he didn’t sugarcoat the problems and expressed his own believable and apparent frustration with the technical aspects of the rollout.

Not surprisingly, his political opponents are using the glitches to heir own advantage. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that a visit to the Obamacare website made a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles seem pleasant.

While millions stand to benefit from the provisions of Obamacare, the system is dependent on people, indeed millions of people, signing up for the system. When the system designed to manage that doesn’t work, the result is chaos, frustration and a huge political opportunity for opponents.

And if The Affordable Care Act cannot attract the critical mass it needs to make the numbers work, it could be a very costly program.

I’m glad the President owned the problem. But what’s more important is that he owns the solution. Because, unless he gets an effective and efficient system in place to access the new provisions, The Affordable Care Act and the benefits possible to tens of millions of uninsured Americans will go down as his greatest folly and a huge failure for any future government program that dares to think big.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

We love to surround ourselves with people who have similar thoughts and it creates this bubble perspective on the world. This is not unique in a social world because we also tend to do similar in our own work environment. There are many talking heads for social media advising brands in all sorts of ways. In many ways I am one too. This is not a negative for any of them and often they have some very good ideas. At the same time, should you follow the crowd or the advice? Are those of us thinking about these things living in our own little bubble? Are we drinking the Kool Aid? Maybe it is time we switch drinks.

Let me begin by saying I love social media and how it connects us to the world around us. Today, thanks to LinkedIn, I have built an extensive professional network. On and off of LinkedIn I have connected with so many amazing people allowing me to learn from so many of them. I have found old friends and built strong relationships with new friends. I have also found myself talking about social media for close to 6 years. Back in the early days we did not talk about that next viral hit, or how to push message. We did get excited about followers, until we realized how people manipulated the artificial number to make themselves feel better. The discussion was not about building the content warehouse or how a business would sell everything via social media. The conversation was much more basic than that. It was how social media would connect people, build relationships and break down the traditional silos that exist in society. We talked about how businesses would need to shift their approach to become a trusted partner with their Customers and not dictate a message. Businesses would have to learn to be more transparent and even trust their employee to become ambassadors of the brand. Behind every brand in the space, we knew the people involved. More important, we trusted them because they were one of us.

So what has happened since that time? I watched the conversation shift to a new group of talking heads, ones promising amazing results in social media. They could develop the next viral hit, or build millions of fans (it never matter if the fans were Customers, prospective Customers or human beings for that matter). Tools galore promised amazing reach for your content, and promises of top bloggers talking about your brand. Not a day goes by where I do not receive about 100 emails promising the greatest success in social media if I buy a tool or hire their agency. It cracks me up that these same tools promising social media success resort to spamming me via emails or cold calls. Studies galore demonstrate the amazing success these tools and firms have brought to their clients. Of course when your business tries to replicate the same success you do not see it, but the reality is the study was flawed from the start because it was designed to tell the story the business wanted to tell.

Listening became the buzz term, but really how good are businesses at listening? For years they have had Customers contacting them, but in their mind that was an annoying cost, not an opportunity to build a relationship or learn from the Customer. Customers have had survey data for years, yet did they really change based on the surveys? So now companies are told they must listen in social media. I would have suggested starting listening through all the other channels first, but that is me. So now they listen in social, but really what are they listening for? You will hear responses like innovation, process improvement, etc. The reality is most brands are listening to mentions of their brand to simply head off the next crisis. If we were truly interested in innovation or process improvement we would not focus on messages that state our brand. Instead we would be focusing on broader discussion involving what was important to our Customer. I expect many brands as they evaluate their listening tools, they will debate the value they have earned. The problem is it was most likely not the tool, but the way the business used the tool that will be a problem. Technology is not always the answer or the fix to your problem; it is much deeper than that.

At the end of the day social media is simply highlighting your brand for what it is. If you do not like the way your brand is portrayed, than you would need to work to change throughout the organization, not just apply new messaging to say how you are different. The world has changed before us and it will continue to evolve and it is important for your business to change with it. In my view this starts with understanding the relationship business you are in. Many businesses loved to use the term relationship, but the reality was the relationship in their mind was one sided. This is how the messaging always worked, but today this is no longer the case. Instead of getting frustrated by it, embrace the new paradigm before us. We have a chance to see the changes in business that we originally discussed back in 2007 and 2008. We had the fun, but now it is time to get down to the reality of social media. We have to embrace the power of our employees and our Customers. This is where you will find the true ROI in social media.

Source:  http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131009164925-19577932-social-media-kool-aid?trk=cha-feed-art-title-211

The social web is a powerful platform where companies can promote their products and cultivate a loyal following. To succeed in social media marketing, they must take a proactive approach and develop immersive strategies to engage with their followers.

As the Internet’s latest iteration, the social web has been providing users with a powerful platform for communication, entertainment, and productivity. For brands, jumping into social media marketing is an obvious decision. This is because billions of people worldwide spend hours on social networking sites.

This is simply a fact companies cannot ignore, and so they go where the people go. This whole social media revolution prompted a significant change in the advertising and marketing fields; connections and engagements are now prioritized over traditional marketing’s “eyeballs.”

The challenge

With the blitzkrieg-esque online marketing diaspora at hand, companies are facing many challenges. For instance, they need to constantly compete for their targeted demographic’s attention. And then they also need to compete against everything else online like the massive amount of news, memes, and games.

Due to distractions like these, businesses will definitely need to step up to the plate, and create powerful campaigns to boost their social media marketing initiatives. Companies will need to do more than just tweet and post their messages online, they’ll need a more proactive approach.

Powerful online marketing tips

Some strategies work and some don’t. Some can launch a brand to stardom, others can pull your company to infamy. If you’re a new brand testing the social media waters, here are 10 truly effective tactics your company should be adopting.

1. Expand your platforms

If you have a website, you’ll need to expand your channels by building your social media platforms. But aside from Facebook and Twitter, it’s best to identify other sites that will prove helpful for your brand and its campaigns. Retail brands, for instance, may set up a Pinterest page to showcase their products; musicians, on the other hand, may create a page on BandCamp to promote their albums and other social media marketing-geared content and promotions.

2. Unify your online assets

Creating a consistent feel across your online properties ensures a solid user experience and strengthens your brand’s identity. This builds awareness and promotes your social media pages, and drives traffic to your website. You can make use of:

· Cross linking— Put up links on your website’s footer or Contact Us page that direct visitors to your blog, and your other social media profiles. Include these links (and one directing back to your website) on your social network profiles’ bio sections.

· Social media buttons— Embedding social media buttons on your blog or website’s pages can direct people to your social profiles, and makes it easy for them to share your content online.

3. Integrate SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of procedures that can empower a brand’s visibility online. As such, infusing it with your social media marketing initiatives can create a significantly positive impact on your brand. Every piece of content you produce should be optimized for SEO to ensure they appear highly on search engine results. This gives your blog, site, and social media profiles a good amount of exposure.

4. Include traditional marketing

While you may be raising your online marketing efforts, it’s best to also include traditional marketing to the mix. This enables you to promote your brand and amplify your message to offline users. Some have tried endorsing their brand on TV and radio programs, advertising in print media, guerilla marketing tactics, and handing out freebies during events, among others.

In these, they make sure they show links to their social media pages, and invite people to, for instance, Like their brand on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

5. Push branding

Help further your social media marketing profiles, it’s important to develop your brand’s identity. This involves pushing your company’s branding components into the forefront of every profile and advertisement. This includes integrating the company logo, typography, and official brand colors to every site’s design.

6. Humanize the brand

People commonly have reservations about contacting a brand, and are more comfortable talking directly to other people. As such, humanizing your brand can definitely boost engagements.

It’s recommended for companies to choose an authoritative yet less serious personality as this veers away from the uptight demeanor corporations are commonly associated with. These must be applied to all online profiles, and should reflect on engagements and every piece of posted content. Another option is to have an actual character or spokesperson to represent the brand, much like what BlendTec has done with its founder Tom Dickson, and Old Spice with Isaiah Mustafa.

This encourages conversations and tends to provide many opportunities to create immersive social media marketing campaigns in the future.

7. Invest in emotionally driven content

Whether written or otherwise, producing content that is emotionally driven is always a great way of boosting your online marketing efforts. People love seeing photos, videos, and written pieces that invoke nostalgia, tugs at people’s heartstrings, or make them laugh—and they love sharing these kinds of content online.

8. Ask questions

One good way of increasing engagements online is by asking questions. It sounds simple, and yet it works. You see, when people see or hear any kind of question, they are automatically compelled to respond.

Though many of us don’t actually reply out loud, providing people with a platform (like your forums, or the comments section on your blog or social media sites), you encourage them to give their two cents. Aside from engagements, user responses can also serve as a resource to refine your social media marketing campaigns.

9. Get into crowdsourcing

In recent years, crowdsourcing has jumped from being a mere buzzword into a potent strategy businesses are integrating into their campaigns. This entails deeply engaging with your demographic to complete projects, promotions, and even advertising ideas. When done properly, this can create a lot of buzz around your brand (perhaps even including news and blog coverage), spread your content online, grow your customer base, and increase revenues. For instance:

Starbucks launched My Starbucks Idea as a platform wherein their followers can submit and vote for brilliant ideas for improving Starbucks’ services—from new coffee and infused teas flavors to suggestions on how to make each store more green.

In 2010, Tim Burton used Twitter to collaborate with people to write a story. The multi-awarded director and writer started with a single tweet, and thousands of participants from all over the world took to the Twittersphere to write 140-character parts of the story. The result was Cadavre Exquis, a whimsical narrative that progressed and concluded thanks to crowdsourcing.

10. Gamify social media marketing

Another strategy empowered by deep engagements is gamification. In a nutshell, it involves injecting gaming mechanics into processes and activities. This can motivate mere spectators to actively participate and strive to achieve your set goals. Like normal games, there should be rules, a scoring system, and rewards. Foursquare, for instance, uses this idea by awarding users with badges for every achievement.

You can also add various levels to make it more challenging for participants to complete your “quests.” Having a Leaderboard can compel them to beat each other for the top scores and even invite more of their friends to take part in your campaign. This can promote your brand, boost engagements, and grow your customers.

The social web is very dynamic, driven by the ever growing technologies and engagements on social media sites. Companies wanting to take advantage of these to enhance their online presence and strengthen their relationships with their customers need to take a proactive approach to social media marketing. In order to do this, they must be open to new ideas and technologies, carefully plan their strategies, and always be on the look-out for innovative ways to engage their demographic.

This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/359931#!#ixzz2hLgWUacy


 

 

 

“Please, Sarah, you’ve got to be friendlier on the phones!”

As soon as I said it, several years ago to one of my employees, I felt horrible. It wasn’t so much that I had said it- it was how I said it, in front of other employees. Sarah began to tear up, I pulled her aside and apologized, but the damage had been done.

Leaders must be sensitive to the fact that the whole team is looking up to them. Everything the boss says is magnified because it’s the boss saying it. Two weeks ago, I shared 17 things you should never say to your boss, and over 700,000 of you read it, so this week, I turned the tables, asking 17 bosses from fast-growing companies in the Young Entrepreneur Council(YEC) what they thought the worst thing they could say to their staff is. Here are their answers- the 17 things the boss should never say- followed by mine:

1. “That Client Drives Me Nuts!”

We all experience crazy deadlines in a high-pressure environment. Passing along our feelings of stress to our staff can cause them to feel less motivated working for a particular client. Make sure they don’t lose sight of the fact that every single client is equally important, even if you have an 80/20 portfolio.

– Vinny Antonio, President, Victory Marketing Agency

 

2. “I’m the Boss!”

No one wants to work for an organization that doesn’t respect their commitment level or humanity. If your co-workers wanted to take orders, they would have joined the army. Unless you are the military, avoid pulling rank. Every decision is a dialogue. Even if you do have the final say and aren’t in full agreement (which is probable), don’t make “I’m the boss” the ultimate reason for any decision.

– Geoffrey Stenrick, President, SimpleRay

3. “I’m Too Busy”

This statement is terse and shows a lack of empathy to the needs of your staff. It also makes your employees feel that what they are doing is not that important. Instead of telling them you’re too busy, try asking them to come back at a specific time when you do have availability. This gives them confidence that they have your ear, your respect, and your sincere care about the work they are doing.

– Joshua Konowe, Founder & CEO, Uppity

 

4. “What’s the Latest Gossip?”

When you’re running a company, you set the tone for the workplace culture. If you gossip about staff members, it tells your staff that it’s okay to gossip, which ultimately sets up a toxic environment for team relationships. Leave the gossip at the door.

– Allie Siarto, Co-Founder, Director of Insights, Loudpixel

 

 

5. “What’s Wrong With You?”

It’s easy to get frustrated when your staff does something incorrectly but this question goes right to the heart of their competencies. It not only assumes that they have a fundamental flaw but it conveys that you’ve lost all trust in their abilities. It’s only downhill from there.

– Kelly Azevedo, Founder, She’s Got Systems

 

6. “You’re the Only One Having a Problem”

This will only isolate your employees. It will break your staff down and make them feel alone. I believe that a majority of the time, if you were to google a question or problem, you will find many others have similar issues and concerns, and are truly seeking an answer.

– George Mavromaras, Founder and President, Mavro Inc. | Praetor Global LLC

 

7. “I Don’t Care About That”

You need to care about every aspect of your business — small or large. If you let you staff know that you don’t care about something, why should they? Treat every aspect of your business the same and your staff will have more pride in their work.

– Josh Weiss, Founder and President, Bluegala

 

 

8. “Do What I Won’t”

As business owners and bosses, we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Never ask an employee to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. If I’m assigning a somewhat overwhelming or complicated task, I always make sure to offer myself as a helper or resource. Follow the guideline of leading by example. Get in the trenches with your employees if need be.

– Laura Land, CFO / COO, Accessory Export, LLC

 

9. “Don’t Argue With Me”

No boss should dissuade their staff from arguing or disagreeing with them. Sometimes you may be wrong, and it’s important to get that insight from your staff. Hearing their thoughts and ideas is crucial to building a business.

– Ben Lang, Founder, Mapped In Israel

 

 

10. “We’ve Always Done it This Way”

Just because something’s been done a certain way for months or years doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to approach a problem. Empower your staff to think of new solutions. Openness breeds creativity, which in turn breeds innovation. And startups need all the innovation they can get, regardless of whether it comes from the CEO or an intern.

– David Adelman, Founder and CEO, Reel Tributes

 

11. “Just Let Me Do It”

You can’t grow your company by doing everything yourself. If you feel you have to step in every time things get hard, your staff will never learn to be self-sufficient. Give everyone a chance to succeed and encourage management to do the same. You will build a stronger company.

– Robert Delossantos, CEO, Sky High Party Rentals

 

12. “You’re Doing Okay”

When an employee asks for feedback, never tell them they’re doing an okay or fine job. Asking for feedback is a sign of potential; a desire to grow, change and get better. We typically have a good sense of what we’re good at, but we don’t always know what we can do better. Telling someone “you’re doing fine” without giving the gift of improvement is a hugely missed opportunity.

– Susan Strayer LaMotte, Founder, exaqueo

 

13. “This is MY Company”

That may very well be true on paper, but you won’t be much of a leader if you don’t have any willing “followers.” Being “in charge” is like being “cool” — if you have to say you are, you’re not.

– Mary Ellen Slayter, Founder/Managing Director, Reputation Capital

 

 

14. “It’s Your Problem”

Maintaining an attitude of shared responsibilities with your employees is important to order to create the best experience and generate the best work. If an employee knows you feel personally involved in all tasks, they view their own work as being a valued part of a larger effort.

– Michael Mayernick, Co-founder, Spinnakr

 

15. “This is Just a Small Client / Sale”

Teaching your staff to treat the high-paying clients or the big sales differently than smaller ones is a huge mistake. This sets up your company not only for bad customer service but also for arguments amongst your staff over who gets to work on which accounts.

– Caitlin McCabe, Founder & CEO, Real Bullets Branding

 

 

16. “We Just Need PR”

Although PR is important, the staff should always be working to improve the product. Placing the focus on only needing PR insinuates that the product is complete and success is out of everyone’s control. Never make your staff feel like anything is out of their control.

– Phil Chen, Co-Founder / Principle Systems Architect, Givit

 

17. “I Don’t Care What You Think”

This sentence can end many different ways. It could be “I don’t care what you think,” or “I don’t care if that’s what XX does.” Regardless of how the sentence ends, “I don’t care” is a phrase that shuts down conversations rather than encouraging dialogue. It suggests you aren’t open to considering others or their ideas. Exercising your role of power unnecessarily leads to a negative workplace.

– Andrew Angus, CEO, Switch Video

These 17 things may not be the best things a boss can say to their team, but to me, the most important factor is tone, and the circumstances under which the boss is speaking. I’m a huge support of positive public praise: the more public praise I can give to individuals on our teams, the better. But if I ever have anything critical to say, or even anything that could possible be seen as critical by anyone in the room, I’ve learned the importance of making that conversation private. Because when the boss speaks, good, bad or ugly, people do pay attention.

—–

Now it’s your turn. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard the boss say? What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been told at work? What do you think the worst thing someone can say to an employee is? Which of the above statements do you agree with, and disagree with? Please let me know in the Comments section below.

For a FREE collection of Dave’s most inspirational stories on leadership and your career, click here.

—–

If you liked this article, you will like:

Dave Kerpen is a student of all things Likeable. He is the founder and CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and Chairman of Likeable Media, and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media, Likeable Business, and Likeable Leadership (coming October 30!)

To read more from Dave on LinkedIn, please click the FOLLOW button above or below.

 

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.