Thursday, August 31, 2017

Unspoken Rules

Joining a new company is exciting but, at the same time, it could be a bit scary. Starting a new job is not only about the new tasks, responsibilities, tools or colleagues. A new workplace is an unexplored paradise (or hell) full of unwritten rules and protocols to be discovered and followed by the new employees. From discovering what the right time for a coffee break is, or understanding the working-from-home policy to getting to know how much open feedback the colleagues and the management are able to take, discovering all those new things might be a painful journey.

An unspoken rule is a rule that is not officially written down but, somehow is imposed in the company. To be honest, I have seen many work situations fail due to the lack of knowledge or lack of understanding of those rules. I am sure that all of us have faced a situation at the office in which we wished we would have known about an unspoken rule. The future of every new employee and his/her acceptance as part of the team will depend on how this person behaves and follows the company rules, particularly those unspoken ones. 

Avoiding the unspoken rules shock

Many companies have created clear induction procedures to make the new employee's landing to the new place an enjoyable journey. Creating clear procedures and rules can help your company avoiding surprises while simplifying the life of many managers and supervisors. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to officially teach the unspoken rules to the newcomers. Those can be mainly discovered by staying around and learning from others. Sometimes, we learn by doing mistakes, too. 

I have found useful getting to know the company already during the recruitment process. Using your network to ask about the company and its culture before joining the company is also a good way to go. I know, sometimes, we get the first impression only from the hiring manager or the HR representative but, some companies are already involving the rest of the team at the recruitment stage. When you get to know the team or at least some members in advance, you are able to see how they behave together, what kind of clothes do they wear and even how they talk to the recruiting manager. This might help a bit.

Written rules vs. unspoken rules

Incongruities between professed rules and actual practices are very common in the workplace. This means, that despite having clear policies or protocols to follow, people at the company have created their own way to proceed and that has been well accepted and implemented. There are also cases in which the official rules only apply to certain people and not to all equally. This can be a bit frustrating for newcomers.

So, how to learn the unspoken rules? Summing up, the best recommendation when you join a new company is to take the time to observe your surroundings and to watch how other people at the company behave. Prudence is essential. It is important that you take the time to get to know your colleagues and your managers before doing anything dramatic.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why You Should Be Doing Content Marketing Right Now

Content marketing is, perhaps, one of the most flexible marketing strategies ever. It works for almost every industry, company size, product and even cultural scenario. Hence, content marketing cannot be just a trend. It should be a long-term approach to your marketing.

Content marketing is a powerful way to influence people. By letting your customers know what your company, brand or product offer is, you could persuade them to do (almost) whatever you want. By creating content, you share your company's values, ideas, purpose and why not, your company taste and humor. All these elements are essential to attract and retain customers.

Why is content marketing important?

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

No marketing, no customers
Having a fantastic product has no value if people are not aware of it, right? That is why companies do marketing.

Unfortunately, nowadays, marketing is not so simple because we are kind of overloaded with all the information and content around us. If you want your company or product to be found, it is no longer enough to just do some marketing campaign here and there. You (or somebody on your behalf) should talk about your product constantly and on many channels. 

In addition, this “talk” needs to evolve as you will be reaching different consumers and prospects simultaneously. Some of those are more ready than others to buy. This means, your content needs to fulfill the “knowledge gap" they (all) will be phasing before purchasing any product.

Content marketing is a flexible and affordable way to bring information to your customers and prospects and build that journey -from creating awareness to getting the deal (and even after that).

Creating content and keeping this "talk" flowing is not an easy task, as many companies including your competitors are willing to fulfill the same gap and to build the same journey. There is where a differentiated quality content will put you on the map, or better to say, on the rank of the search engines.

Content marketing is not just a marketing task. It can be the best ally for you company success.

5 reasons why you should be doing content marketing right now:
 - You can reach prospects who did not ever know that you existed. Content marketing can effectively help you building brand awareness. For example, by writing a blog you can increase the possibility to be found. At the same time, you can attract new traffic to your website.

- By helping people with your content you can build valuables relationships and gain the trust of people in an affordable way.

- You can reach a different kind of prospects -from a customer who does not know what he/she wants, to another who is ready to make a decision. You can provide suitable information and content to help them both to make the next move.

- You can enhance your brand image and your reputation, by for example sharing your expertise and your uniqueness.

- You can increase your customer engagement by opening new ways to communicate with them (and to find the solution for their challenges).

Remember, content marketing is not a sprint. It is more like a marathon. Constancy and perseverance are essential. You cannot expect to get results by just publishing two pieces of content. The more content you share the more people will see your content and remember your brand. Of course, quality matters. Make sure that your content is helpful and well-written.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

¿Cuánto Cuesta La Mala Comunicación Interna?

Las comunicaciones internas puede ser un drama para muchas empresas. Y en el peor de los casos también puede ser una de esas cosas que se dejan olvidadas en la esquina de la oficina. 

¿Quién no ha vivido la pesadilla de recibir correos súper confusos y sin sentido una y otra vez? ¿Quién no ha sentido alguna vez que la comunicación en su empresa parece más un circo que una oficina? ¿Quién no ha visto que los empleados y gerentes no se entienden entre sí a pesar de hablar el mismo idioma? ¿Quién no ha vivido la experiencia de estar rodeado de herramientas como los correos electrónicos, las reuniones semanales los CRM o pare usted de contar, pero toda la información importante está en la cabeza de alguien? Estoy segura que muchos de ustedes han estado en una situación similar al menos una vez en su carrera. Créeme, entiendo la frustración que has sentido.

No dejes que las comunicaciones en tu empresa parezcan de circo

La comunicación interna “pobre” es costosa para las organizaciones

Una comunicación interna pobre, o aún peor, la falta total de comunicación desmotiva y es extremadamente costosa para tu empresa. No permitas que una comunicación pobre sea parte de tu cultura empresarial. No dejes que se convierta en la manera como se hacen las cosas en tu empresa. No darle el valor que las comunicaciones merecen puede traerte muchas consecuencias negativas. Por ejemplo, se pueden generar los típicos mal entendidos y como resultado puede que un proyecto falle, que los productos o servicios que ofreces no funcionen bien, o hasta puede afectar la seguridad de tus empleados y tus consumidores y ocasionar accidentes.

Desafortunadamente, el costo de una mala comunicación interna es muy difícil de reportar como tal. Pero, es evidente, que todos hemos enfrentado la pérdida de la productividad tras una reunión mal gerenciada, hemos perdido una oportunidad de negocios porque la información fue dada incompleta o erradamente, o hemos visto equipos de trabajos perdiendo tiempo descifrando correos electrónicos en vez de trabajar realmente en lo que importa.

La comunicación Interna y la gerencia

La manera como los gerentes se comunican con su equipo tiene un impacto en los resultados de la empresa. Es simple, cuando los empleados entienden lo que tienen que hacer y reciben información suficiente para ello, su misión es mucho más fácil. Como resultado, ellos se dedican a trabajar.  Sin embargo:

- Si el mensaje es poco claro, el resultado será también confuso o no habrá ningún tipo de resultado
- Si la comunicación es pobre o inexistente, existe un alto riesgo de desmotivación de los empleados.
- Si tu empresa está enfrentando cambios, y los empleados están desinformados, puede generar rebeldías

No me queda más que decir que las comunicaciones son importantes y si son bien manejadas, enriquecerán a tu empresa. Esto significa que “la habilidad para comunicar” no deber ser una línea más en un anuncio de una vacante laboral. De verdad es una habilidad muy importante. Manejar las comunicaciones internas adecuadamente es esencial en cualquier empresa.

How To Encourage Your Employees To Share Your Content

Sharing is caring they said but, what to share if your employees do not know about your company's steps, happenings, and plans? 

By creating and sharing content, your employees can add value to your marketing. They can be the voice of your company and, help you to increase your company's visibility and your brand awareness. Unfortunately, in many companies, employees are still underused as a marketing force.

Here, six ideas to encourage your employees to share your content:

1. The first step to increasing your employees’ participation is to share information with them. I know it sounds very obvious but, sometimes, communication can be underestimated in some companies. If your employees don't know what is going on, they cannot help you to spread the news. Make them know what is happening and, encourage them to create and share their own stories.

2. Stop random marketing and create a clear marketing strategy. After this is created, you have to share it with your employees. No excuses! Knowing about your company's future plans and direction will help them to make decisions on what kind of content they can create and share.

3. Create good quality content that at the same time is easy to share. It is important that they feel proud of the content they are sharing. A well-written and visually appealing material has more chances to be shared than a poor one.

Give your employees the chance to create and share their own content

4. Educate your employees to become your brand ambassadors. If fact, you should train them even before they start to use the social media channels. Communication and social media training will help your employees to feel comfortable when creating and sharing content. You might train them, for example, on how to use the channels as well as on how to follow the company’s social media guidelines. As soon as the content start to be shared by them, it will be useful to share best practices among your employees. Make sure your employees are spending time on the right social media channels, based on your company strategies and goals. 

5. Encourage your employees to try new things. It will not only help you to innovate and develop your communication and marketing but, also it will make their fear of saying or doing something wrong disappear and they will be sharing more and more.

6. Take actions yourself as a manager. You could create and share inspiring content and celebrates your employees' social sharing. Be present and engage with your audience.

Be aware that no all your employees will be willing to take part of these activities. That is ok, too. They are not required to act as your company's brand ambassadors so, you cannot force them to do so. On the other hand, it is important to reward those who take on this role. Make them feel valued.

Do you have any other tip? Share your experience.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Does Your Company Need A Social Media Guru?

The company's brand ambassadors are hot right now.

There are quite many blogs, books, and social media conversations covering this topic. It looks like everyone is talking about the relevance of the brand ambassador. The benefit of using this figure to promote your company and your products is undeniable. 

I totally support the idea of "people" (instead of "companies") taking a more active role representing the company in different events as well as on the social media channels and blogs. However, when the advice for the companies is to hire a "social media guru" to take care of this, it makes me think, is this really necessary?

Forget the external social media guru. Focus on your employees. 

First, let me clarify that I have nothing against the "social media gurus". In fact, I feel a sincere admiration for the guys out there who are able to engage masses and become influencers by giving fantastic speeches, creating catchy content, or sharing amazing pictures and videos. That requires a lot of talent and dedication.

My point here is that no all companies can hire a "social media guru". Sometimes, it does not even make sense. This can be very expensive and the company might not be "mature" enough to take this step and to make this investment. The hiring person might not understand how to start the hiring process or what kind of skills are needed for the role.

The good news is that social media management is a skill that can be developed. In most of the cases, you can develop the skills of somebody who is already in your team. By training well your employees, you can convert them into your own social media gurus and brand ambassadors.

Never underestimate the power of your employees

The advantage of using you employees as brand ambassadors is that they already know your company, your products, and your people. They will be able to network inside your organization and get the information they need to create their content. Of course, it will help a lot if your company embraces a culture of sharing content.  

Your employees' strengths and talents can be shown in different ways. Some employees might be very good writing on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Others might be better at taking pictures and using Instagram, or presenting in different shows or events. There will be space for everyone interested in being your company's ambassador. 

6 reason why you should convert your employees into your brand ambassadors

- Your employees might have already thousands of connections across multiple networks. Therefore, they might reach a much larger audience than the one you are reaching now by using your company channel.

- It is well known that the content shared by employees receives more engagement than the content shared by the company channels. People prefer to follow people.

- If your employees share content that is relevant for your brand and for the industry in which you operate, they will create a personal brand. This means they will be seen as experts, and they will be contacted for advice. If your prospects think about your employee and his/her expertise while finding a solution, they might be purchasing your product or service. 

- Employees talking and sharing content about your company and your culture will help you to create your employer brand. If the shared content is positive, this might help you to attract and source new talent.

-  When your employees participate actively sharing information on the social media channel or they participate in the industry events, they also get more information. The social media channels and the events itself are a great source for learning new skills and perfect for networking with people in your industry.

- Encouragement and new responsibilities can increase motivation. The beauty of allowing your employees to use and experiment with the social media channels at work is that at the same time you will inspire them to do something new and exciting. This will also create a positive buzz and an infectious excitement among the rest of the employees.

Summing up, it is time to start your "treasure hunting" inside your own company. Find people interested in this development area and help them becoming your company ambassador and your own social media gurus. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

El Mercadeo Nos Pertenece A Todos

Desde joven siempre sentí inclinación por el mercadeo y por las comunicaciones. Creo que supe cuando estaba en el bachillerato que esto era lo mío. Me gustaba comunicarme con todo el mundo y siempre trataba de poner ideas juntas para promocionar algo. Nunca he tenido problema en decir las cosas directamente y recuerdo mucho que, mientras mis compañeros sufrían al tener que hacer una presentación, para mí eso era una fiesta. Mercadeo ha sido siempre parte esencial de mi vida. Para mí el mercadeo está presente en prácticamente todo lo que hacemos. ¿No te parece?  

El Mercadeo está en nuestra vida diaria y éste nos ayuda a establecer relaciones. Desde pequeños interactuamos y creamos relaciones con amigos usando técnicas que son comunes en el mercadeo, como la persuasión. El mercadeo también nos ayuda  a conseguir el empleo que queremos o un ascenso en la empresa donde trabajamos. 
Obviamente, lo usamos para promocionar y vender productos o servicios. 

He trabajado con diferente tipo de personas en contextos variados e internacionales. A pesar de que estos contextos han sido heterogéneos, siempre he conseguido a alguien que siente que el mercadeo no tiene sentido o importancia. Aún peor, en el contexto laboral son muchos los empleados los que piensan que el mercadeo no es parte de su responsabilidad y que ellos no tienen nada que ver con eso. Lamentablemente, el mercadeo sólo es entendido por ello como la foto que ven en una revista o en el Instagram.  

No puedo estar de acuerdo con ellos. Para mí el mercadeo incluye mucho más y por ende, nos pertenece a todos.  

El mercadeo nos pertenece a todos. Mejores resultados, en equipo.

Para mí, el mercadeo no es una responsabilidad exclusiva de un equipo o mucho menos, de una solo persona con el título de Gerente. Todos sabemos que ninguna empresa podrá sobrevivir sin mercadeo. Entonces, ¿por qué dejarle algo tan importante a una sola persona o a un equipo?

El mercadeo debe ser un área desarrollo en todas la unidades y en todos los empleados de la empresa. Aunque sea el Director General el que actualmente se encarga del mercadeo, esta exclusividad noes próspera para tu empresa.

Inclusive, cuando usas agencias externas para hacer tus campañas de mercadeo, necesitas tener gente dentro de tu organización preparada para lidiar con ellos y apoyarles en el proyecto. Necesites gente que se involucre.

No quiere decir que todos en tu empresa deben preparar las imágenes que vas a publicar en una revista o en un anuncio. Pero, el mercadeo también nace de cosas simples. Se ve en nuestras actitudes, experiencias y conductas. El mercadeo es por ejemplo, cuando hablamos con nuestros amigos sobre nuestra empresa, o sobre nuestros productos. 

Al decir esto, no queda duda que como herramienta de trabajo o habilidad, el mercadeo debe ser un área desarrollo para todos nosotros. No solo ayudará a tu empresa a tener más visibilidad, sino también nos ayudará a crear mejores relaciones. Las relaciones son necesarias para mejorar los productos y servicios que tu empresa ofrece, así como también, para mejorar las relaciones con los distribuidores, con los colaboradores y con los clientes. 

No olvides la importancia del mercadeo cuando estés planeando los entrenamientos de tu personal. Si tus empleados tienen un conocimiento adecuado, podrán ayudarte a llevar a tu empresa al éxito.

Friday, January 27, 2017

No More Random Marketing

Is your marketing team throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks?

Are you doing marketing without a plan? Are you more like waking up every morning, going with the flow, and creating marketing content based on your feelings or on your boss' surprise assignment? Are you normally executing marketing acts which need to be ready ASAP without a budget, without connection to the rest of your company strategy or without results measurement?

If your answer is YES, sorry but, you are just doing random marketing. Too much randomness is a recipe for a marketing disaster. 

Why We Do Random Marketing

Marketing offers us a lot of opportunities perhaps, too many to manage. If we mention the major social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Snapchat, there is already (more than) enough room to create content. Sometimes, this can produce some pressure for the company to create "just something". Many companies are too worried about being everywhere. That is a problem itself.  Strategically thinking and planning can save you a lot of those worries (without mentioning the time and the resources).

Other companies, simply, have no resources to hire somebody to take care of marketing. In the worst of the case, a random person inside the organization needs to manage this when she/he has some extra time. So, they try their best and publish something here and there without a real connection. 

Random Marketing Success 
I cannot lie to you. Sometimes, an act of random marketing can get good results. For example, your video can get viral even if this is randomly made with a reduced budget. You can get more followers after a funny picture than after a well thought and prepared campaign. The sad part is that if a random act of marketing works, it might encourage your company to continue using those. This particularly happens when company focus, for example, more on followers than in treal lead generation. But, the (long term) truth is that going to one fair trade here and there, printing an expensive glossy brochure, publishing a LinkedIn post once a year and publishing a couple of new pictures on your website or on your Instagram when you remember, will take you nowhere. When we talk about long term branding and marketing, random is not the best way to go. 

Strategic Marketing Matters 

As in any relevant part of your business, to do marketing successfully you need to have a game plan.

The first step is defining what do you want to get from your marketing (e.g. visibility, increase sales, recognition). Later, you need to define your strategy. Instead of trying to figure out what to publish in each channel, use your time smartly and define where is worth sharing content and what kind of content is worth sharing.

Sometimes in marketing, less is more. No doubt, random marketing is one of these cases. You should give it a try.