Special Value of Being an UNTOUCHABLE

by Rod Colon

In his book The World is Flat (copyright © 2005 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux), New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman presents a view of the future in which evolving technologies will level the playing field for business owners worldwide. Traditional corporate hierarchies will likely be replaced by highly specialized online communities sharing similar business interests.

According to Friedman, to survive in this ever-flattening world, individuals must diversify their skills so that they remain viable competitors across many different careers.

Those who do, those who attain a level of specialization that cannot be outsourced are, he claims, "untouchable." So if you want job security, join their ranks. Become an “untouchable" now.

Are there specialized skill sets or talents you have that very few others have? If so (and better yet), are they solid enough and flexible enough to permit you to claim value as an employee across a range of industries? If you haven’t given much thought to this question, it would be wise to invest some self-assessment time now. It may turn out that the “untouchables” among us will be the only people who can compete in the race for 21st century jobs.

Best wishes and own your career,

Rod Colón, Career Coach, Professional Speaker & Author
CEO & Director of Career Management
Empowering Today’s Professionals
Running the Business of "ME"

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The CEO of any company runs the company. CEOs direct all critical operations such as sales and marketing, research and development, strategy, finance, corporate culture, human resources, community affairs, public relations, and so on.

CEOs are primarily responsible for setting the corporate strategy and vision. They decide which products to introduce into which markets and against which competitors. CEOs decide how the company will brand itself and differentiate itself in the marketplace.

Ultimately, the CEO is responsible for the success or failure of the company.

Here are some key CEO responsibilities that you must learn to incorporate in managing your career as a business:

As the CEO of your career you will:

· Learn to partition your responsibilities to ensure that all critical operations are carried out and none get overlooked. For example, your Research & Development Department will be in charge of networking — making connections, digging up new leads, gathering business information, etc… Right from the start, anything you do that's part of this effort is processed in the R & D “department” of your mind. Likewise, your Sales & Marketing Department will oversee the development of a powerful value proposition and various parts of the 7-Step Job Search Methodology until every task is properly niched.

· Take responsibility for making tough decisions — there’s just no way around this. Tough decision-making is a skill with tremendous short and long term benefits. It trains your mind to weigh options before you commit to a course of action.

· Accept the consequences of your tough decisions — both good and bad. You can savor the good results and analyze why the bad results occurred. Most importantly, don’t waste time beating yourself up when a decision yields poor results. Pick up the pieces and move on. Learn from every aspect of the failure experience because it will move you closer to winning the race for 21st century jobs.

· Bring a new level of personal accountability to managing your career. Why? Because you have a “governing body” to which you now have ultimate responsibility: your Personal Board of Directors (e.g., spouse, family, extended family, significant other, etc…).

Still not convinced your career can benefit from thinking like a CEO? Are you saying, "Why bother? This sounds like a whole lot of work for very little benefit."

If that’s how you see it, consider this: For every terrific opportunity you identify — and for which you’re qualified — there could be hundreds, maybe thousands of others competing for the same position. But there’s one critical difference: Most of them fail to adopt the “I’m in charge” attitude and their race for the finish line becomes a mediocre performance at best. They remain mired in the “employee mind-set”, a part of the Black Hole crowd that inevitably lags behind in the race to get the job that you are busy targeting. And while most of us don't want others to fail, there’s nothing wrong with capitalizing on the inept business decisions of others to gain a tactical advantage whenever possible. In other words, if you are thinking like a business owner and your competitors aren’t, you have a significant edge over them in the race for 21st century jobs. Do not fail to leverage it!

Will you absorb this paradigm shift overnight? No. In a week? Unlikely. In a month? Maybe. People internalize it at very different rates. Most of our members can tell rather quickly if they are cut out to be the CEO of ME, Inc.

The good news is that this mental model will work if you make it work.

Best wishes and own your career,

Rod Colón, Career Coach, Professional Speaker & Author

CEO & Director of Career Management

Empowering Today’s Professionals
Running the Business of "ME"




Win The Race For 21st Century Jobs Slide Show

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7 Ways to Look Good to a Lender

Even as interest rates remain at attractive levels, many people looking to start or expand a business venture are having trouble getting a loan. Banks may be pushing great deals on home-equity credit lines and other loan offerings, but they also are being extremely selective about who they lend to.

Now more than ever, you must engender the trust and confidence of your lender.

There's no magic bullet that you can fire to bag yourself a trophy loan. But there are some guidelines that can put you on the right path to your quarry.

Here are seven dos and don'ts when applying for a business loan.

1. Even if you're not organized, look organized. Yes, it's especially hard when you're trying to grow a business and changing your company's internal systems to meet that growth. But this is when looking sharp is even more important."I think the thing that will really impress a banker and get him excited about a borrower is a well-organized package," says Bob Bifolco, executive vice president with Progress Bank in Blue Bell, Pa. What Bifolco likes to see: Three years of tax returns, an interim financial statement, listings of receivables and payables, insurance records that show what equipment the company owns and the assets' possible replacement value and a cash-flow statement for the past year."You bring in a package like that and the banker is likely to immediately deem you as a sophisticated prospect who is running the business in a sound financial manner," Bifolco says.

2. Clean up your "a/r" and your "a/p." That's accountant-speak for accounts receivable and accounts payable. The problem is pretty simple: Lenders don't like it when they see a business waiting for lots of money to come in (accounts receivable)."If somebody is getting paid in 90 days but has to pay his vendors in 30 days, we feel like he has a problem," says Merv Shorr, senior vice president with Banco Popular North America. Old accounts receivable aren't just an indicator of slow-paying clients — they also can be a red flag for nonpaying accounts. Lenders may want to see a reserve for bad debts to reflect potential uncollectible bills.

3. Your assets: Know that lenders care about what they are worth now. "Bankers are going to want to tie up more assets than the loan is worth whenever possible," says Dana Barfield, a financial planner in Richardson , Texas , who specializes in planning for businesses with up to $80 million in revenues. So lenders will look at your assets not in terms of what you paid for them, but rather in terms of what they could be sold for if the business is ever to be liquidated. Overall, this is going to favor the manufacturer with a brand-new production line over the information services business with rapidly depreciating computer equipment. You can't do much about this, but be aware and plan accordingly.

4. Improve your loan-to-value ratio. Desirable loan-to-value ratios vary by industry. Leasing companies, for example, tend to have higher acceptable loan-to-value ratios. Bifolco says that, in general, he likes to see loan-to-value ratios of 3-to-1 or less; Shorr suggests that 4-to-1 is a winner. But there isn't a strict bar for this ratio. "What I'm looking for is a snapshot that will tell me if this company can make it through a few rainy days, through a couple of recessions," Bifolco says. "Not being overleveraged is part of that."

5. Remember that lenders want interest payments plus. It's not unusual for people looking to borrow money to consider themselves good risks if they can show that they can service the debt — that is, produce enough monthly cash to pay the interest on the loan. But that's not enough for lenders these days. Most of them want to see that you can generate enough cash to not only service the debt but also to pay back principal. So instead of just interest coverage, you have to think about — and be able to show — how the business will have total debt coverage.

6. Yes, they want you , but not too much. A business that has a track record of borrowing and repaying always has a leg up on getting a new loan. But lenders don't like to see debt servicing consuming too much income. Debt-to-income ratios of less than 40% are preferred. That means if you are making $10,000 in profits monthly, not more than $4,000 of that should be getting siphoned off for debt servicing."In general, we really don't like debt-to-income ratios of 50% or more," says Melissa Hammit, commercial credit analyst for Woodforest National Bank in Woodlands, Texas .

7. Personal credit dings? Hold back a bit. Lenders say that good personal credit can help with a business loan, especially since many small-business borrowers have to guarantee the loan personally. The reverse is also true: Some dings on your record could hurt you. So try to hold off on applying for a business loan if you've recently missed some payments or had other credit problems. Going more than a full year with a clean personal credit record can make a difference when signing that business loan application.

Your Marketing Bang: Is it Worth the Bucks?

By Joanna L. Krotz

When it comes to getting bang for marketing bucks, too many business owners close their eyes, throw up their hands and resign themselves to guesswork. But if marketing efforts are ruled by luck or instinct, at best, you squander money. At worst, your sales head south.

"In today's business climate, we won't even propose a marketing strategy to our clients unless we can easily measure its success," says John Rarrick, whose Nyack, N.Y., marketing consultancy serves the hospitality and entertainment industries. Rarrick now relies on easily tracked, quantifiable promotions "such as coupons, survey-driven Web promotions and partnership bounce-back promotions."

Here are six other ways to benchmark your marketing campaigns without breaking the bank or overburdening your staff.

1. Get a handle on costs and customers. With business having slowed, many owners are so laser-focused on sales that they forget the other crucial stuff. What could be more important than sales? Well, profits. Sometimes, the more you sell, the more you lose. Before planning marketing campaigns or mounting promotions, Jim Warren at direct-marketing agency Warren Direct in Austin , Texas , suggests that you analyze the cost of marketing versus the profit it must yield. How much, for instance, will it cost to acquire a new customer? Who is your potential new customer? What will get that potential customer's attention? Most importantly, after getting attention, what will drive a response and close the deal? Find out.

2. Set clear goals and define success. The return on marketing investments you seek is likely predicated on your overall strategy. Benchmarks, after all, are set against a standard — be it an industry or individual ruler. "Formulating a marketing strategy that articulates a set of outcomes has to be the starting point," says Karen Webster, president of the Center for Marketing Effectiveness in Boston . After that, "return on investment" for marketing can mean many things, including: Before spending a dime, make sure your expectations make sense for the marketing you plan. Professional associations, community college small-business divisions and local marketing agencies can help you set goals.

3. Stay disciplined and understand your market. FinancialAid.com, an online student-loan consolidator based in San Diego , reaches its target customers via online advertising — a marketing channel that has befuddled and burned dozens of other firms. Launched in February 2000, around the time many dot-coms were fizzling, FinancialAid.com has grown to 33 employees and expects revenues of $12 million this year. The company spends a hefty $200,000 a month on online advertising, according to chief executive Michael O'Brien. But he aims for a very cost-effective 50-cent CPM (cost per thousand). The ads avoid razzle-dazzle. "Our big rule is 'Keep it simple, stupid,'" O'Brien says. To avoid tying up his small staff, O'Brien works to attract only motivated customers — callers with a low level of interest or those who do not have student loans are weeded out early in the process. "You need to understand costs," he says. "It's the conversion rate, not the click-through, that counts."

As a result, O'Brien places ads only on Web sites that provide, as he puts it, "all you need in 30 seconds" — such as Weather.com. Once people visit such sites, says O'Brien, they look for a reason to click on something else. "We have an opportunistic product and a compelling enough argument to make people want to click on our application. But it's a big learning process."Advertising on stripped-down, quick-hit sites works to FinancialAid.com's advantage. Then FinancialAid.com tracks which Web sites deliver what customers to it. Conversion occurs an astonishing 50% of the time, O'Brien says.

4. Survey customers by offering a benefit. Inexpensive e-mail newsletters not only provide value to opt-in customers, through relevant editorial content and promotional offers, but they can also reveal who the customers are and what they want. For example, iMakeNews.com, an e-newsletter application provider based in Newton , Mass. , formats and distributes newsletters and then analyzes how customers interact with them. Along with the newsletter, iMakeNews builds a companion micro-site on the Web, so customer mailboxes aren't overloaded and newsletters can be archived."The micro-site analytics give you e-mail open [rates] and click-through rates," explains chief executive Kathleen Goodwin. You also learn who looked at the information, what they did with it and whether or not they took action — data critical to e-mail marketing. Identifying features or content that attracts strong responses lets you hone messages or refine your product lines. Costs, says Goodwin, run $300 to $2,000 a month, depending on volume and services. "E-mail open rates average 20%," she says.

5. Monitor customer responses throughout the sales process. Once customers are drawn to you, you need to know what brought them in as well as what they want. Find out, as suggests Shel Horowitz in his book, "Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World," why customers chose you instead of a competitor, which benefits pulled them in, and — often overlooked — what else they need that you can potentially supply. You can uncover such information in lots of ways, including simply asking customers who walk in the door, sending out postcard queries, offering incentives for filling out satisfaction surveys, phone research and so on. Then, make sure you can use the information you collect. Set up a database of customer responses — or, at the very least, keep a card file. That way, you gain a history of your tactics and can spotlight what worked with which customers.

6. Kick the tires and keep testing. Don't simply put a campaign or series of events into place and move on. Instead, keep measuring results. Try low-cost experiments and then put resources behind what works. For example: Besides the details you gain from analytics, the real test of marketing is very straightforward. If your marketing is not increasing business, stop doing it. And try something else.

By Joseph Anthony

The Personal Branding and Marketing of ME, Inc

The total relationship people have with you gives them a certain perception of you. This perception is your brand. As the CEO of ME, Inc., your brand helps others decide if they want a relationship with you or not.

Here are some of the hallmarks of brands:

· You only get “credit” for what you do consistently.

· The reliability of your behavior establishes your brand.

· Brands are based on actions, not intentions.

· Inconsistency weakens brands and suspends belief.

This is how your brand will affect your ME, Inc. client search:

· It establishes your value.

· It establishes trust.

· You consistently deliver value, therefore …

· You can negotiate!

Remember this important marketing principle: Benefits Always Trump Features. If a new car dealer tells you about 8 cylinder engines, state-of-the-art emission controls, moon roof, and racing stripes, she’s describing the car’s features. However, if she tells you things like, “It will easily save you over 50% on gasoline”, or “the front and rear sensors warn you if you are too close to another vehicle”, she’s describing the car’s benefits to you as the potential owner.

Since you are the CEO of ME, Inc., always try to emphasize how you can solve someone’s problem or save them money rather than going on and on about all the achievements you’ve racked up in your professional career. If people begin to associate you with consistently providing benefits that will become part of your BRAND— and you’ll be remembered for it!

Learn to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Always provide value. Bring something to the table they can’t. Find a niche that shows the world you are someone with unique skills and talents and that you know how to use them!

Learn more on personal branding and other ME, Inc. tips by joining our weekly membership conference call on Wednesday evening (9:00PM – EST). Register via www.etpnetwork.com – “Training Events”.

Best wishes and own your career,

Rod Colón, Professional Speaker / Author

Empowering Today’s Professionals
Running the Business of "ME"


Win The Race For 21st Century Jobs Slide Show

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The Importance of Connecting with Colleagues

Authors of a new book, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, discuss how high "self-monitoring" can make or break a career

When she started her job as an accounting associate, Heather Moseley was assigned to a cubicle right outside the office of one of her organization's top supervisors, Kelly McVicker. Everyone in the office was curious about McVicker. She was poised, stylish, quietly intense, and very successful at her job. Her office seemed sequestered in a corner and, as Moseley soon noticed, the door was often shut.

One morning McVicker happened by Moseley's cubicle and noticed that she had a picture of Stevie Wonder as her screensaver. It was a seemingly insignificant observation, but it set in motion a series of life-changing events. As chance would have it, the previous week McVicker had seen Stevie Wonder at a restaurant, and she recounted to Moseley how he had swayed as he ate his curry. The two colleagues quickly hit it off, and when their conversation turned to Wonder's upcoming local show they immediately decided to buy tickets together. And so began a lasting professional and personal friendship.

Whether it's at a party or the office, we all know what it feels like to "click" with another person. Most of us, however, have not considered how it can impact more than our personal lives. New evidence suggests that clicking?and, in particular, a person's natural ability to click?plays a significant role in determining our career success.

By aggregating new research from various fields?since no specific discipline addresses the phenomenon? we endeavored upon a project to find what actually happens when two people click. More importantly, we wanted to discover if and how these moments shape our lives. While researching this topic, we initially discovered two big surprises. First, some people are more naturally inclined to form clicking relationships. Second, these people are much more likely to succeed in the workplace. Clicking at work can mean a promotion, a raise, or a position at the center of the company's social network. Take someone like Moseley. "I do an accountant's job, which is really administrative," she reflected. "Because of my relationship with Kelly, I now get invited to events, meetings, and conferences that I'd have no business going to as an accountant." Professionally, the relationship was mutually beneficial. "Knowing Heather," McVicker says, "I find out what's on people's minds. As a supervisor this is crucial information."

Moseley wasn't strategically kissing up to a superior. Rather, she possesses a trait that University of Minnesota psychologist Mark Snyder has dubbed "high self-monitoring." By interviewing subjects about their ability to imitate the behavior of others and to become the center of attention, Snyder developed a scale of self-monitoring. High self-monitors, he discovered, are social chameleons. Without even realizing it, they adapt their personalities, behavior, and attitudes to fit the people around them. They pick up subtle social cues and tailor their responses to the situation.

Let's say you've been cornered at a party by someone who is talking your ear off about a topic you're indifferent to. Many of us would try to feign interest for a few minutes before excusing ourselves. A high self-monitor would find a way to make the discussion meaningful for both parties or segue naturally to another topic. In a lab experiment, for example, test subjects were placed next to a woman shaking her leg. Without thinking about it, high self-monitors were significantly more likely to shake their own legs, too.

At work this tendency translates to accelerated progression. When researchers at the University of Pennsylvania followed the careers of a set of business school graduates who were either natural clickers or not, they found the predefined high self-monitors were significantly more likely to get promoted, both in-house and across different companies. A separate study of one particular high-tech firm with 116 employees, compiled by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Kentucky, and Pennsylvania State University, found that it took an average of just 18 months for high self-monitors to infiltrate the nucleus of their workplace network. For low self-monitors it took a staggering 13 years. "In a social situation, high self-monitors ask, 'Who does this situation want me to be, and how can I be that person?,' " says Snyder. "By contrast, low self-monitors ask, 'Who am I, and how can I be me in this situation?'"

Being a high self-monitor comes naturally to some people. Think Bill Clinton or Oprah Winfrey?people you'd want to have a beer with. Scientifically there is no way of knowing how much self-monitoring is innate vs. learned. (Psychologists believe it is a combination of both.) This means that even if high self-monitoring comes innately to some, we can all train ourselves to become higher self-monitors. While researching the topic we found several click accelerators. Two especially relevant to the workplace are proximity and vulnerability.

Is your office, for instance, in the middle of the action or off in a corner? McVicker's was at the end of the hall. While we might assume that she was a private person who selected an out-of-the-way office, what if the office placement itself was what made her appear somewhat aloof? Researchers studying college dorm residents discovered an odd pattern. Those living toward the center of the hall were far more popular than their counterparts at the ends. Regardless of where they lived, students were much more likely to hit it off with their next-door neighbor. Move one door down and the chances for a click went down by 50 percent. Move another door down and the chances went down by half again. The students at the ends of the halls simply had fewer close neighbors?and therefore suffered socially. Think of the person whose office or desk is right next to yours. You're twice as likely to form a bond with that coworker than with someone just a single office farther away. Your chances are halved again if you're separated by two offices. The more frequent our face-to-face interactions with a person, even without conversation, the more we tend to like him or her.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reveal that encountering a stranger on 10 occasions instead of five makes us find that individual more attractive, intelligent, warm, and honest. By extension, showing up in person to a meeting rather than dialing in may be more important than we realize. The same goes for attending optional gatherings, keeping your office door open, and communicating in person rather than over the phone.

How much we reveal about ourselves?and our own vulnerability?also helps us click. One study conducted by SUNY-Stony Brook social psychologist Arthur Aron and his research team paired individuals who didn't know each other and assigned each a set of cocktail-party-type questions, such as: What did you do over the holidays? The other half were given questions that required more intimate self-revelation, such as: What are your most treasured memories? The pairs who were forced to be more vulnerable in their answers formed incredibly quick, deep connections. One pair even married.

Our response to vulnerability is so innate that it can even be triggered by a machine. Harvard students who were asked by a computer to answer intimate questions?such as "What have you done in your life that you feel most guilty about?"?were understandably reluctant to share. Yet when the computer "self-disclosed," prefacing its questions with a "confession" such as "There are times when this computer crashes for reasons that are not apparent to its user," students were significantly more forthcoming. It turns out that when we disclose our feelings, we send a message of trust to others, making it easier for them to relate to us more openly.

Office managers, take note: The presence of high self-monitors can be contagious. Reflects McVicker, "I became more invested in the culture, more emotionally attached to my colleagues."

Employees who click are more likely to get promoted and be closer to the social nucleus of a company. Here are three quick ways to improve your odds of advancement.

1. Learn from natural-born clickers. Certain people, called high self-monitors, have an innate gift for forming instant connections. Emulate these lucky few by tuning in to others' emotional states and mirroring their energy levels.

2. Despite what you might think, vulnerability is a strength: The more we open up and share our feelings, the more trust we build and the more likely a connection becomes.

3. Your odds of clicking with someone rise significantly with every foot of proximity. Whether it's choosing a desk in the middle of the office or a seat near the middle of the conference table, the closer you physically are to people, the more likely you are to connect.

5 strategies for a captivating social media conversation

Today's social media environment is nothing new, except of course the scale and speed of conversation. As marketers, we often look at social media as a new media outlet. The core of social is not outbound messaging, instead the value is found in interpersonal communication. So marketers seeking to participate in these conversations need to recognize the parameters of conversation and avoid becoming "chatterers" and instead welcome participants in the conversation.

These five simple strategies can help you get your brand into the social space without becoming a bore:

Listen to conversations
One should never forget that we have two ears and one mouth -- therefore we should spend twice as much time listening as we do talking, and the same rule applies to social media. With so much going on in the social space, it's tempting to jump in and start talking, but your audience will very quickly disengage and stop listening to what you have to say. The first criteria of any good conversationalist is listening to others and then adding to the conversation. So how do you listen in the social space? There are a wide variety of tools you can use, but the first step usually starts with search (like many other web interactions). Go to your favorite search engine and type in your company name and you'll get an instant snapshot of what's being said. With many search engines you can now limit your results to a specific social channel (e.g. blog posts) and see what's being said about your company and/or products. Twitter's search tool provides insights into what's being said within their space, and similar search functionality appears in many of the social environments. Once you've become comfortable with the tools, you should probably consider upgrading to a social monitoring service. There are many choices of them out there, each with specific benefits, so I'll avoid making any specific recommendations. One important thing to understand is that even with these tools, social media monitoring (or listening) is a time consuming but very worthwhile effort. Monitoring systems are great tools, but they still need man power to manage and understand the implications of what you find. It's critical you invest not only money, but also the necessary time to be successful.

Surround conversations
Surrounding conversations is a great way to be part of the social space without distracting the conversation. The idea here is to be where the conversations are without taking them over. I liken this approach to the practice of stadium advertising. Whenever you attend a major sports event, you're often inundated with ad messaging throughout the venue. Perhaps it's a few simple signs around the auditorium, or 25 logos plastered on every car driving by. You've inserted your message/branding into an environment where people have come together to share an experience. In the social space, this is typically incorporated as banner or text ads surrounding conversations. By placing ads in this manner, you're letting your audience know you're aware of their interests and what they are doing, but you're not trying to interrupt. In general, you'll have a low response rate to these ads, but it does a tremendous amount to build awareness with relevant audiences.

Facilitate conversations
So what do you do when there aren't conversations that make sense for your product or service? One great option is to provide a venue for the conversation. Much like the liquor companies that sponsor events at spring break, providing a venue for people to engage in conversation can be a great way to establish your brand among your core constituents. Some good examples of this can be found in the blogosphere where corporate and topic-specific blogs have been created and communication is encouraged. For example, in the pet care industry there are several blogs that are "sponsored" by major brands, but they provide a facilitated discussion about pet care, often with a well-respected veterinarian leading the conversation. By providing this type of resource to consumers, the brands are perceived as helpful and benevolent, and this can significantly add to brand loyalty.

Participate in conversations
So here we are at strategy No. 4 and I'm just now getting to the idea of participating in the social space. While this is the first place most brands want to go, it's important to recognize the value the other approaches provide before engaging in this type of effort. Participating in conversations requires dedication and prudence in posting. You don't want to just jump in to any venue and start random postings, you need to have a very focused effort and consider the array of places your audience may be. For example, one major computer manufacturer is closely engaged with one of the online answers sites. When folks post questions about related products, they have a trained staff member post related answers. The answers aren't "salesy" in nature, but instead offer valuable information to consumers. One item of note in this approach is that it's crucial to be fully transparent about your brand affiliation. Don't try to hide behind an anonymous post. Instead be very public about who you are and why you're answering this specific question.

Encourage engagement in conversations
Finally, as any smart marketer knows, the best customer is the engaged customer. Your Facebook fan base (or do we call them "like base" now?) is a highly engaged audience that has publically raised their hand to say they like your products and/or services. Wouldn't you like to do more with this group? There are many approaches to take these audiences to the next level such as offering mailing lists, surveys, or even member events can get your social audience to the next stage of engagement with you.

Social is about conversation. There are a lot of ways to get involved. You need to look at your objectives, overlay these strategies, and determine which tactics will deliver on your goals. One last word of advice: Go back and read Emily Post's etiquette guide on conversation. You'll find some great tips there that still apply and will help make you the person everyone wants to chat with at the cocktail party!

Peter Platt is chief digital officer for Catalyst Direct.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.