Category Archives: Leadership

The Business Case for Social Media Keeps Growing

Last month, I updated a previous post about the importance of earned media to your SEO strategy. And at the rate  social media changes, looks like I have another reason to post an update on how the business case for social media keeps growing.

This morning I was reading Media Bistro’s All Twitter article abut how hugely important social media signals are to a strong SEO ranking. Not just important, but hugely important.  No surprises here, but I think the article does have some awesome nuggets to share.

  • Seven of the top ten important SEO rankings come for social media (debatable, but I think the author provides some good assertions)
  • Several technical factors play a role in SEO: length of url, position of key words, etc.
  • Quality Content is still important.

You can check out the image.

All of this is to say, that I love articles that say what you already know. Social media is not a nice to have, but a necessity. I think at the speed in which social media is growing is scary, perhaps fearful, but that’s why you need to embrace change now.

This is why folks are fighting for corporate change in their organizations to be more social. And let’s be clear, being a social business is not just about marketing, it is about the whole business. Be the disruptive change or diva in your organization to usher social media into the business. You will need to start small because change is hard, but the reward is huge. Rewards for businesses who get that social media is more than just clicks and likes, will be:

  • More profitable. (think Zappos)
  • Better connected with their clients and prospects
  • Mostly have better internal engagement with employees
  • Understanding of real time trends

Nobody wants to say no to more profits, but sometimes infusing this type of change takes a long, long time. It takes planning, strategy, bravery, and guts to get this done. Are you up for the challenge?

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The Undervalue of a Thank You

Very excited to write about the undervalue or under appreciation of a thank you. It something I have noodled on for a while. A recent experience reminded me of the importance of saying thank you and how it can benefit you personally and professionally.

Last week, I attended Vocus Demand Success conference at the National Harbor. If you missed the conference, check out these Storify links of day one and day two that covered a lot of great information on marketing, social media, public relations, search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, to name a few.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to meet Arianna Huffington, as she was the keynote for the conference this year. If you don’t know who Arianna is, she is chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. Essentially, she’s one badass lady and a powerful businesswoman.

Rachel Metscher Undervalue of Saying Thank you

Arianna Huffington and Me

To say I was excited to meet her is an understatement. When I met her, I blurted out a lot, but from what I remember, I mentioned how much I enjoyed her talk and then explained how my company contributes to Huffington’s new blogs, Girls in Stem. I couldn’t help myself and let’s be honest; I wouldn’t be a PR person if I didn’t, right?  The next phrase out her mouth was completely unexpected, “thank you for contributing [to our blog].  You are doing great things.”

Wow, I thought, how awesome is that! But there are a few things to note: First, I am confident that she didn’t know me or the company I represent. Two, her compliment and appreciation was not fake, but genuine. Those few words meant a lot and I shared those with my coworkers and my team. But, it also reminded me how we, as managers, employees, and leaders forget about the value of just saying, “thanks.” It didn’t take a whole lot, but boy did it leave an impression

Is this act of kindness an anomaly? What type of impact does showing gratitude have on a business? Mark Goulston wrote an article for Harvard Business Review back in February covering gratitude. My favorite part of the article was research by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino that showed saying thank you not only results in reciprocal generosity — where the thanked person is more likely to help the thanker — but also stimulates pro-social behavior in general. In other words, saying “thanks” increases the likelihood your employee will not only help you, but also help someone else.

If it takes so little effort to say thanks then why is saying, “thank you” not valued? Here are a few observations, at least from my perspective:

  • You have to mean it.
  • You have to care.
  • Too many folks are focused on their interests or getting what they need done first without consideration of the other person.
  • People don’t think outside of themselves. Goes back to caring and nurturing.
  • It takes extra time. Those valuable seconds seem like eternity for some.
  • There’s no priority to show gratitude. Foolish really if you think about it. Everything you do involves people. Saying thanks doesn’t always have to involve monetary terms.

Gratitude cost nothing and more people should stop and thank the people they interact or work with. If you just took a moment to say thanks, imagine what type of reaction you would get in that moment. Imagine how much easier future interactions  would be? I bet those would be a lot more pleasant.

Are You a Disruptive Diva?

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading the WSJ and an interesting article appeared on Why Divas Need to Make No Apology. The premise of the article was that healthy divas make the workplace better.

Interesting that there was such a description as “healthy diva.” I think when most people think about divas, it is mostly in a negative connotation. I would include myself in the group, but maybe I was biased. I decided to poll my network to see their reaction on “healthy divas.”

Poking a little fun at the thought of divas, I made a side comment to my coworker, “ha ha, I wonder what kind of diva I would be?”

Is disruption bad for business?

Are you a Disruptive Diva

Are you a Disruptive Diva?

Without a beat, my coworker said, “you would be disruptive diva.” Wow, that can’t be good. Hoping this was a compliment; I began to think more about being disruptive. What made me disruptive? Disruptive by definition means to destroy usually temporarily, the normal continuance or unity. The act of disruption is to question the status quo. To raise the concern whether this project or idea is a good idea. Questioning past protocols and its impact. Check on all of the above. I do that and most meetings begin or end with, “how is this going to help us achieve our organization’s goals?”

Is questioning the norm, an indication of intelligence? For me, if I didn’t question the norm then I wouldn’t be doing my job. Sometimes shaking things up helps change your perspective and in turn create solutions you hadn’t considered and that’s the point.

Disruptive Checklist

So here my checklist if you interested in being disruptive. It is not about being a contrarian, but rather question “business as usual” to ultimately keep improving your business.

  • Do you raise your hand to ask why?
  • Do you share your vision with others?
  • Do you question the norm?
  • Do you challenge your colleague’s assumptions?
  • Do you push the envelope?

Wear your disruptive badge of honor. Without folks like you innovation would never happen. Disruptive is vital to creativity and innovation.

Final thoughts: There are lots of articles tying disruption and change management. In 2005, Harvard Business Review wrote about secret change agents. The essence of the article was there are “positive deviants” who are challenging their organizations for the better. Perhaps the next time you’re in the meeting and your colleague is questioning you, you will reconsider this challenge as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to change your line of thinking potentially for the better.

Mr. Fix-It’s Guide to Public Relations

Dad + Garage+ Stuff Breaking = Powerful #PR Lessons

Sitting at my desk the other day, I began thinking about how working in my dad’s garage helped me prepare for the somewhat unpredictable, stressful career in public relations. My dad was Mr. Fix It. There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t build or fix without ingenuity, duck tape, and nails. I spent many summers working with my dad on his “diamond in the rough” truck, housing projects like updating the bathroom, or anything that struck my dad as needed to be fixed.  This is exactly what every girl wants to do: get dirty, use tools, and hangout in the garage. But looking back at it now, I can appreciate some of the lessons I learned during my “on the job training” courteous of my dad.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

How many times have you picked up the phone and on the other end is some type of crisis. Big or small, it will most likely derail your day. The equlivant to this is when my mom would say, “Hey, the drain isn’t working and <insert something exaggerated>.” Calmly, my dad would go into the garage, grab his toolbox, and come back into the house. Of course, dad needed an assistant. My function was super important; I was chief flashlight holder looking on as my dad tapped, bang, and cursed his way to a solution. He didn’t complain. He looked at whatever the problem was and fixed it. Few words in between, but in the end it was completed. Now, I address challenges in the same fashion: no theatrics and maybe a few expletives along the way. You can get frustrated behind closed doors, but in front of your clients or stakeholders, calm and collected will get the job done.

Mr. Fix It PR Guide

Problems? Duck tape is your answer to everything.

Creative Solutions.

Any homeowner knows that things are bound to break. Our house was no exception, but instead of calling a professional, my dad tried to fix it himself. These were the days before you could type in “fix <insert item>” on YouTube. My dad without fail would bring the toolbox out, take a look at what ever was “broken” and attempted to fix it. Sometimes with duck tape, sometimes banging on it, or creating some type of DIY solution. Crazy enough this worked. Many times, PR folks have to make things happen and fast. Last minute interview and no expert? No problem. Creativity is one of the best assets a professional can have in their tool belt. Learn to think on your feet and be prepared for anything. Sometimes it is the crazy ideas that work and get the job done.

Be Fearless, but not Stupid.

Working in the garage had it benefits. I learned how to hammer a nail, use a level, and change my own oil. All great skills to have, right? Most importantly, I learned when to take a risk or when not to. Dad may have been Mr. Fix-It, but there where a few things he didn’t touch: electric, demolition, and electric (twice because you can’t be too careful). Similarly, you can be fearless, but don’t take unnecessary risks. Early on in my career, I definitely took some risks that I probably should have not. Like learning when not to say, ” I told you so” to your boss or sharing your “honesty” to a coworker. Like dad said, “don’t be stupid.”

I had no idea that helping my dad with his weekend projects would help me build vital skills for my  career. Thanks dad for teaching me I could do anything if I put a little elbow grease and tenacity behind it.