Tag: Business

After Setup: Focus on LinkedIn

By Sue Brady linkedin logo

Part 2 in the continuing series of post set-up basics for Social Media (read part 1 – Twitter Basics here)

Congratulations! You’ve set up your LinkedIn company page. Now you need to make the most of it.  LinkedIn currently boasts almost 260 million users and remains one of the most actively used social media tools. It is viewed as a Business-to-Business (B2B) tool and not necessarily a personally social one.

As always, the first thing you need to clarify is your company’s LinkedIn goal so that you can make sure you are doing all you can to achieve it.

Possible Goals

  • To have a place for seekers to learn about your company and/or products
  • To offer advice (aka thought leadership) to potential customers
  • To recruit new employees
  • To generate leads/sell product.

Visitors will come to your LinkedIn page because

  • They read a tweet from your company
  • They read an article where your company is mentioned
  • They saw your logo as the employer (or former employer) of someone they want to do business with or someone they know
  • They are interested in a job posting associated with your company
  • They heard about your company and want to gather some additional information.

In support of almost any LinkedIn goal, you’ll need to have a built out profile. It supports everything you’ll do on LinkedIn. Let’s say someone sees a tweet from your company, or reads an article about you or someone at your company. A first stop for many folks is LinkedIn because they can see what your company is all about at a glance and, they can easily see if they know anyone in their network that works there. So your profile is key and should be the first thing you focus on by adding information to your home page. You can include things like: address, date you were founded, website, company size, industry etc.

Also flesh out your Product/Services tab and list as much as you can to make it clear to viewers what your company does. And you’ll want to ask others to leave reviews of your products and services as a way to add more credibility to your page.

Once your page is as good as you can make it, you want to make yourself known.

Build a following

  • Invite your personal contacts to follow your page
  • Invite your business contacts to follow your page
  • Invite your customers to follow your page
  • Follow your customers’ business pages; a company may see your ‘follow’ and follow you back
  • Find appropriate LinkedIn groups to join on behalf of your company so that you can start participating in conversations there. It’s a great way to connect with others.

Share content

  • Share relevant content posted by others (companies and people) in your network
  • Share articles you have found that are relevant to your audience
  • Share blog posts you’ve written on your company site that your audience will find relevant
  • Post updates about what’s happening in your company
  • Answer questions that are posed to your company either directly or in a related group.

Comcast Post

This picture shows a post made by Comcast Business Class that was also posted by an employee there. It is showing in my feed twice because I follow Comcast Business Class and I am also linked in with Craig. Using the options along the bottom of the post, I can like the article, leave a comment or share this article with my network.

Decide how frequently you want to post. Many companies keep an editorial calendar to inform content for all of their social media efforts. It’s a best practice and will help you keep it all straight, especially as you look to cross-post across your various sites.

Another way to reach potential customers is through LinkedIn advertising. You can target your ads based on your own requirements for the type of customer you want to attract. These might be a particular industry, job title, geography, or company size. Note that you might want to make your targeting ‘loose’ enough so that your ad is seen by a larger audience.

To buy an ad, you need to go here: LinkedIn Ads. You’ll be walked through the steps, starting with deciding between creating an ad vs sponsoring one of your updates. You can see an example of a post sponsored by Yahoo below. You’ll be prompted to set the minimum you are willing to pay for a click, as well as a daily budget. This is a great, easy-to-follow article that walks you through each of the steps from identifying your audience to analyzing your results: Tutorial for Advertising on LinkedIn.

Linkedin Promoted Ad

Not only does advertising reach new potential customers, but you might get a benefit from existing customers. In the example below, the customer made a comment on the company’s post, and that means his network will now see that ad. In addition, the company used it as a way to politely ask for a recommendation on their product page.

Linkedin Ad

Regularly check your LinkedIn page to see if anyone has sent you a message or commented on something you’ve posted (and/or use your settings to receive notifications via email). It’s usually a good idea to post a response if someone comments publicly on something you’ve posted. And of course, you should always answer a private message, and do so privately. Private message notifications show up at the top of your page on the right hand side: notificationsNext week’s article will cover the Post-setup Basics for Facebook for your Business. If you missed last week’s Twitter Basics post, you can read that here.

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Focus on Twitter: What Comes After Setup?

By Sue Brady

TwitterIn last week’s post: How to Set up Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for Your Business, I talked about how you can set up your social media pages for your business. This post takes a deeper dive into using Twitter and increasing your presence there. Next week’s post will focus on LinkedIn.

Last year well over 300 billion tweets were sent. Tweet this stat! Twitter can be an impactful social media tool. But, before we jump into the basics, it’s important that you decide what you want to accomplish with your Twitter account. You may want to use it to track what others in your field are writing about, or you may want to use it to position yourself or your company, as a thought-leader. Or, you may plan to use it as a customer service tool. Your go-forward Twitter strategy will be different depending on your goals, so make sure you understand those.

Subject Matter. In essence, businesses tweet three different types of content:

  • Information with no links – this may be something wise you’d like to share that can stand on its own (your limit on twitter is 140 characters, so there’s not a lot of space to get your point across).
  • Information with a link to someone else’s content.
  • Information with a link to your own content – A rule of thumb is to tweet your own content no more than 30%-35% of the time.

The type of content you post (or that you post as your company) will be driven by your overall Twitter strategy:

  • If you are establishing yourself as a thought leader, you will want to publish links to important and relevant content for your target audience. This may be content you’ve written on a blog, or may be an article or tweet written by someone else. Or, you may post a tweet that contains a useful tidbit of information, but no link.
  • If your goal is to monitor your competition or to see what thought leaders are saying on a given topic, you may not tweet at all, but rather just choose to follow a number of people.
  • If your goal is to address customer service issues, you may be posting tips or how tos, or just engaging with your audience so that they feel heard. Several big brands have really figured this one out, including Taco Bell, Oreos, and Tesco.

Let’s cover some basic information regarding how to use Twitter.

Tweeting. You can post a tweet by using the ‘Compose New Tweet’ icon. Click the icon and a tweet box will appear.

Compose New TweetTwitter compose new tweet

From this box you can create your own tweet or copy and paste a link from an article you’d like to share. Because you only have a total of 140 characters, you might want to shorten the article link (aka URL) you are sharing. There are a few ways to do that. I like to use hootsuite’s product called ow.ly. Just cut and paste your link into their ‘shorten URL’ bar and click ‘shrink it.’ It’ll return a shortened link for you to cut and paste into your tweet.

You can easily add a picture to your tweet by clicking on the camera icon in the lower left-hand corner of the tweet box. Here’s an example of a Tweet with a picture:

Twitter with PhotoFinally, you can also add your location to a tweet by clicking on the teardrop icon next to the camera icon. You can read more about that here. It’s a feature to use judiciously because it allows Twitter to embed your location into your tweets.

Retweeting. Retweeting is a way to share content. There are a couple of ways to retweet. One is to use the retweet button that appears underneath every tweet. Twitter provides four easy links under each tweet, and it’s where you’ll find the functionality to retweet:

Tweet Tom Pick

Retweeting in this way means that Twitter will do the work for you. In the screenshot below you’ll see a tweet from Hubspot.com that I retweeted using the retweet button.  That tweet is automatically identified as being retweeted while still showing Hubspot as the source of the information.

Tweet retweet screen

The second way you can retweet is to use the ‘Compose new Tweet’ button. If you choose the manual method, the protocol is to include in your message the letters: RT (meaning retweet) or MT (meaning modified tweet). After the RT or MT you should acknowledge who you are retweeting. You do that by using the @ symbol followed by the appropriate Twitter handle, ie @SueBrady if you’re retweeting something I’ve posted. Then you copy and paste the link you are retweeting, along with a brief description of what you’re sharing. The person you are retweeting will see your retweet if they check their @connect page or if they have their email notifications turned on. Here’s a screenshot of a post that I manually retweeted. I added a comment in front of the RT but didn’t change anything in the original message so used RT instead of MT.

Sue RT

Favoriting. This function is one of the four you’ll see under each tweet. I use the favorite button to mark tweets I think I’ll refer to again, whether mine or someone else’s. If you favorite someone else’s tweet, they’ll see you’ve done that when they check their @connect page (or receive an email notification).  You can easily access your favorited tweets by using the navigation on the left side of your Twitter screen.

Twitter nav bar

Here’s what a tweet looks like once it’s been favorited:

Tweet favorited

The hashtag (#). The hashtag is used on Twitter as a way to make searching for a topic easy. In the search bar at the top of your Twitter page you can enter anything after a hashtag, hit enter and see what others are saying about that topic. You can choose to look at the top tweets being viewed, all the tweets being viewed (in order of time) or only those tweets from folks you are following.

hashtagIn your own tweets, it’s a good practice to add a hashtag in front of content relevant terms so that the content you are sharing is easily found. Studies have been done on how the number of hashtags used affects retweeting of your message. Most net out that having 3-5 hashtags enhances your chances of being retweeted. Others say that more than 3 hashtags in a tweet is annoying.

There are a number of strategies you can employ to expand your Twitter universe. Choose the ones that support your own goals.

Finding industry experts.

  1. If you want to see what others in your industry are saying, look them up on Twitter and click follow. To follow someone you’ve found on twitter, from their home page you’ll see a follow button on the right hand side, directly under their description. When you follow someone, they receive a notification that you have done so.
    Twitter Follow Button
  2. You can also use the ‘Lists’ feature to find people/companies to follow. For instance, if you are on my Twitter profile page, you can click on my lists to see the ones that I’ve made public, and you can decide if you want to follow people listed there. For example, if you want to find digital marketers, you can click on my list for that and see who I’m following in that category. (Note: It’s easier to create your lists early on so that you can add your followers to your lists as you acquire them).
    Lists
  3. As you find articles of interest, you can follow the author by either clicking on their ‘follow us on Twitter’ button on their page (almost all articles now have that button) or by finding them directly on Twitter.

Gaining followers.

  1. Follow others. Once you start following people, some will follow you back. That’s the simplest way to pick up followers.
  2. Retweet. As you retweet others, they may start following you.
  3. Attend tweet chats. Tweet chats are usually sponsored by a company in a certain industry and advertised on Twitter by them and by their followers. Here’s how it works.The chat host usually has a list of questions that they’ll pose for attendees to answer.  Once you know when a tweet chat is occurring, make sure you visit the advertised hashtag at the appointed time of day. Just type it into the search bar at the top of your Twitter page and it will take you to the chat. I find it most useful to click on the ‘All’ option at the top of the page once I’m at the tweet chat so that I can see what everyone is posting.There are a handful of sources of tweet chat schedules (here is one) but I’ve had the greatest success from seeing invites from folks I’m following.The key with gaining followers in this manner is to make sure you contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. These can be a great source of information and it’s a good place to share what you know. And be sure when you tweet something in a tweet chat to include the # for that chat in your tweet, as well as a reference to the question you are answering. That way it appears to everyone else following the chat. This example shows a tweet I sent during a recent content marketing chat (in this case A7 refers to an answer to question 7).
    tweet chat
  4. Favorite other people’s tweets. Since ‘tweeters’ can tell when someone favorites one of their tweets, they’ll see your name and may follow you as a result.
  5. Interact with your followers by personally tweeting to them. There are a couple of ways to do that. You can visit their Twitter profile and writing a tweet in the box on the left-hand side, or you can address them directly by using their twitter handle in the compose a tweet box from your home page. This is how you’d interact directly with your customers.
    Twitter direct tweetOnce you start interacting with your followers, they may retweet your posts to their followers, and people in their networks may decide to follow you too.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @SueBrady. See you there!

How to set up Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for Your Business in a few Easy Steps

By Sue Brady

social media montageSetting up social media pages  for your business can be intimidating. But it’s easier than you might think. I’ve consolidated the steps here for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The hard work begins once your pages are setup. Check back for an upcoming post on What Comes After the Set-up: Making the Most of Your Social Media.

Twitter Twitter

Signing up with Twitter is the most straightforward of the three services covered in this post.

Step 1: Go here https://twitter.com/
Step 2: Fill out this box. Since you are setting this up for your business, you may want to use a different name and email than you use personally – see below for recommendations on doing this on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Click the button to ‘Sign up for Twitter.’

Twitter sign on page

Step 3: Pick a user name when prompted. Others will see this when they follow you so make sure it’s suitable. It’s most common to use your company name. Caps show, so be sure to use them in the right places.
Step 4: Click on ‘create my account’ and you’ll have an account!
Step 5: Twitter will walk you through some next steps. Skip anything you don’t want to do, but the basic idea is to find others to follow. Doing so, as well as ‘tweeting,’ will help you build your own following. Twitter will make suggestions for you regarding others you may want to follow based on the people you’ve chosen to follow over time.
Step 6: From the Home page, click on the gear in the top right-hand corner and then select ‘Settings.’ Make sure your time zone is correct. Look at the content settings and select anything that applies to you.

Twitter Gear

Step 7: Click on the same gear mentioned above, but choose to ‘Edit profile.’ From there you can upload your company logo. This will be shown next to your tweets, so be sure you use something that’s recognizable in the small square space allowed. Ideal pixel size is 200×200 to 500×500 with a 4MB max. You may be prompted to crop your image because there isn’t a lot of space. When you are satisfied, click save.
Step 8: Upload a header image (also available in the ‘Edit profile’ section). Recommended dimensions are 1252×626 pixels with a max file size of 5MB. This image will be visible when someone visits your profile.
Step 9: More settings. From the same ‘Edit profile’ section you can enter your location, your web address and a brief description of what your company does (you can only use 160 characters to do this). Fill this out if your goal is to have people find you! You can also connect to Facebook so that your tweets are automatically posted to your business Facebook page.
Step 10: Save changes and start tweeting! Remember, tweets can only be 140 characters in total.

linkedin LinkedIn

The only way to have a LinkedIn company page is by having a personal LinkedIn page first. That means that if someone from your company is responsible for making changes to that page, they have to be able to log into your personal LinkedIn account if that’s the account you’ve used to set up your business account. To get around this requirement, you can open another LinkedIn account as a person from your company for instance, and then create a business page from there.

Before you get started, create a new email address to use for this purpose. To make it easy to remember, you can use something like: linkedin@yourcompany.com where ‘yourcompany’ is your actual company name. If you don’t have your own company email domain name, you can open up a free gmail (visit www.gmail.com) or yahoo mail account (visit www.Yahoo.com). It has to be a real email account because LinkedIn will use it to verify your new account.

Step 1: Sign up for a LinkedIn account here: www.linkedin.com using your new email address and a person’s name to be associated with your account (it’s okay to use a generic name). You’ll be prompted through a number of screens designed to help you find others to link in to, follow etc.  Skip the steps to find people you know since the only reason you have the personal account is to enable your business account.
Step 2: Once Step 1 is completed, you can add a business account. You’ll see five navigation areas across the top of your home page.
linkedin nav bar
(Click on above image to enlarge.)

Move your mouse over Interests and choose ‘Companies.’ Once there, click on the link for ‘Add a Company.’
Linkedin Add Company
(Click on above image to enlarge.)

Step 3: Fill out the requested information, and click ‘continue.’
Step 4: Linkedin will send an email to the address you provided, and ask you to verify that email. Check your email and click as instructed.
Step 5:  Complete your profile.  Once you’ve verified your account, fill out your profile. Make sure to write an About section that describes what it is you do. Also take the time to add Products/Services in the appropriate sections. Include links to your website or to specific products.
Step 6: Upload a nice photo to the top of your company page. The minimum pixel size is 646×220 and the maximum file size is 2MB. You can (and should) also upload a corporate logo. Size is restricted though, and many businesses use a square shaped logo that can be used in other social media too. A square works best for updates that you’ll post on behalf of your company. If you want to use a standard logo, the minimum pixel size is 100×60. A square logo has a minimum pixel size of 50×50.  All photos/logos must be a png, jpeg or gif and there is a 2MB size limit. Your logo also will automatically appear in any employee’s profile where your company is listed as an employer, and square logos definitely render better in that area.

To upload or edit a photo to your Company Page, follow these steps:

  1. From your company homepage, find the edit button near the photo.
  2. Choose ‘Browse’ to find the image on your computer that you want to upload. You can also change or edit an already uploaded picture from here.
  3. Click Upload and click Save.
  4. Click Publish in the top right of the page.

FacebookFacebook

Similar to LinkedIn, this one requires a bit more work on the front end. While you can set up a stand-alone business page, it’s much better to have your Facebook business page associated with a personal account. It gives you far more flexibility and functionality than if you set up a business account on its own. A lot has been written on this topic because most people don’t want to link a business account to their own personal account. There is an easy workaround:

Step 1: Create a new personal Facebook account. Similar to the instructions for LinkedIn above, you’ll need to use a different name and email address from the one on your current personal Facebook account. Before you get started, create a new email address that you’ll use for this purpose. To make it easy to remember, you can use something like: facebook@yourcompany.com where ‘yourcompany’ is your actual company name. If you don’t have your own company email domain name, you can open up a free gmail (visit www.gmail.com) or yahoo mail account (visit www.Yahoo.com). It has to be a real email account because Facebook will use it to verify your new account.  Once you have an email account, choose a name, different from your own, to create the account.

Facebook Sign Up
Step 2: Do not follow the Facebook prompts to invite friends or do other things. Find the cog in the top right-hand side of your page, and use the drop down to reach privacy settings. Choose the highest level of privacy for each item. Your goal is not to have this account ‘found’ by friends. It’s merely a means to gaining a business account (there is no reason that anyone will ever find that page as the association to your business page is not public).
Step 3: While logged into your new account, go here https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. Click on the type of business you are setting up: Local Business, Company/Organization/Institution etc. and then choose a category from the drop down.  Add a short descriptor for your business when prompted. You can always change this later if you think you’ve made an incorrect decision and you can also add a longer descriptor later (see step 5). (Note: To make sure you are making changes to your company page, you can click the gear on the top right of your page and switch between the personal account and the business account.)

FB switching pages
Step 4: Upload a cover photo for your page. You’ll see the button to do that on the Admin Panel about halfway down the page This will be seen at the top of your page. Your image can contain text but the text cannot represent more than 20% of the image space. The optimal file size is 851×315 pixels. Facebook recommends using a jpg that’s less than 100kbs and has sRGB resolution. sRGB resolution is very high quality, but it isn’t necessary if you don’t have a photo in that format. You will also need to upload a smaller profile pic to appear as a square to the left of the cover image. File size is 160×160 pixels. This smaller image is the one that will appear next to any of the posts you write for your page. Facebook will ask if you want to ‘Choose from Photos’ or ‘Upload Photo.’ Because you have no photos on your business page to choose from, you’ll have to upload a photo from your computer.

Step 5: Update your Information by clicking on this button: FB Update Info Button

The information you fill out here will appear when someone clicks on the ‘About’ link on your page. This is an important tab because not only do you have room to say great things about your product, but it’s also indexed by Google. If there are certain keywords that are important to you, make sure you include them in your copy.  If you include an address, Facebook automatically adds a map locating your business.
Step 6: Customize the ‘favorites boxes’ as appropriate for your business.  Only four will display without the user clicking on the drop down list, and you can adjust which ones you want to show. Companies use these to include pages for testimonials, customer service, job openings and the like.

Before you start inviting people to ‘like’ or visit your page you want to have some activity showing already, so keep it quiet until you’ve posted a few status updates.

Good luck and don’t forget to come back over the next few weeks for posts on ‘What Comes After the Set-up: Making the Most of Your Social Media’ for each of the three services covered here.

To Build or to Buy. That is the Hot IT Question.

By Sue Brady

Build or Buy?When does it make sense to use corporate IT resources to build a system/software/technology vs buying one off-the-shelf? Many companies struggle with this question.  The answer is of course, it depends. There are many business tools that are readily available today: content management systems, CRM systems, accounting tools and the like. If you have an IT department that has coders, developers, and other technical functions, you may be able to create these tools yourself. But the question is, should you?

There are good reasons to build tools yourself, such as: hammer

  • There is no off-the-shelf product that satisfies your needs
  • A client has asked for a product that they can own
  • It will be cheaper to build it
  • The off-the-shelf products won’t be able to keep pace with your level of growth

And equally important, there are bad reasons to build it yourself: no hammer

  • You have a big IT team and need to keep them busy
  • You don’t trust any of the off-the-shelf products
  • You need something a little different from the off-the-shelf choices
  • You can charge the client for a totally custom product
  • It will be cheaper to build it

There are pros and cons to both options. Buying a product typically means the implementation will be faster and the timelines to do so will be more predictable. Risk is lower because the product has been tested and is more standardized. There might even be a certain level of product support for you to take advantage of. But, you also have to stay one step ahead of product enhancements to know that whatever product you’ve chosen can grow with your changing needs. And you need to make sure you understand the product lifecycle so that when you consider costs, you know down the road what you’ll need in the budget for support/changes/enhancements.

Building gives you a certain amount of control but means that you have to manage costs carefully, avoid things like scope creep and continually set timing expectations. Plus you’ll also need to anticipate and handle new product feature releases that your business might need. Make sure you also set expectations around timing. Marketing folks are impatient, so if building is going to take three times as long as buying, you may get pushback. Be sure you have the budget to support the build.

Some companies like to use a hybrid approach where an off-the-shelf product is used, but modified to meet the business’ needs. This can work, but if a large amount of modifications are needed, you probably won’t be saving money or time in the long run.

I came across this rule-of-thumb advice in a variety of places: When you are looking to automate a business process that can be viewed as a commodity, you should buy. When you’re talking about a core competency/differentiator for your company, you should build. Tweet this.

Do your homework, run a cost/benefit analysis, and be realistic with the stake-holders with whichever option you choose.

The Worst Advice I Ever Received from a Boss (and the Best)

By Sue Brady

Donald Trump
Ali Goldstein/NBC

As a boss, you have a great deal of influence over the lives of your employees. You control the paycheck after all. We’ve all had good bosses and bad ones, some who gave great advice, and some, not so much. The good news is, you can learn a ton from both good and bad bosses and can use both to become a better and more effective leader and mentor yourself. Some of this advice comes in the form of watching how someone handles a situation and some comes in the form of direct feedback.

Here goes:

Good Advice. If you exude confidence, everyone will think you know what you are talking about (Tweet this). I’ve also heard this described as “own it.” And it is good advice. It doesn’t mean you should emphatically state things you know not to be true, but it does mean speaking with authority on topics where you know your stuff. I believe Sheryl Sandberg calls this ‘Leaning In.’ http://www.amazon.com/Lean-In-Women-Work-Will/dp/0385349947

Sheryl Sandberg
Time

Bad Advice. Only hire people who are married. Seriously, a boss actually said that to me. His reasoning was that married people were more stable. Oh boy.

Good Advice. When you are talking to an employee (or anyone), give them your undivided attention. That means, don’t look at or answer your phone, check your email or look over their shoulder. Being distracted sends one message: the person you are talking to isn’t as important as you are.

Bad Advice. Always have something to say in a meeting. I had a boss who would comment in a long-winded fashion in every meeting, regardless of whether or not what he was saying added to the discussion. Folks hated to be in a room with him because meetings would last twice as long as necessary. He would say to me, you can’t just sit in a meeting and not contribute. On the face of it I felt he was right. After all, why was I in a meeting if I didn’t have anything to contribute? But, if I didn’t have something new to add, I believed (and still do) that saying something just to say it, was not productive. Just because I’m not talking, doesn’t mean I’m not observing, absorbing and processing. Let’s face it, when you’re talking, you’re not listening. Someone came up to me after a management meeting once and said “Sue, you don’t say much, but when you do I pay attention, because I know what you’re saying will be important.” I took that as a compliment!

Good Advice. The difference in response rates between .051% and .057% is really small. Yes, it represents over a 10% difference, but unless you’re evaluating a ton of responses, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a big data problem. It’s hard sometimes to know what’s important.

Bad Advice. Say whatever you need to say to get what you want (from a client, boss, employee, customer). Basically, lie. This might help you in the moment, but is just not a good long-term strategy. And once you’re busted, it’s hard to gain that trust back. Here’s my list of most egregious whoppers that were said either directly to me or to someone else in the room with the express purpose of misleading:

  1. Google changed their algorithm because of us.
  2. She didn’t even apply for your position. She wants to work for someone like you.
  3. She slept with her boss.
  4. I’m getting you equity in the company.
  5. I had approval to overspend the budget.
  6. There won’t be any layoffs.
  7. You will be able to hire the support you need in this role.

Good Advice. An employee should never be surprised about what they hear in a performance review. Ongoing feedback is far more valuable than once a year feedback. It’s important to learn how to have these discussions.

Bad Advice. Every penny counts. On the surface, this might seem like good advice, but let me explain the context. I worked in Marketing for a company where we did a financial review every month.One Cent One month my balance sheet was off by one cent. I was grilled for two hours, in front of my co-workers, about that cent.  I’m not making this up. There are times when it makes sense <cents> to let the little things go.

Good Advice. If you make a mistake, learn from it so that you don’t repeat it, but don’t continue to beat yourself up (or let others beat you up).  I once made a $250,000 mistake. I had printed a piece (millions of pieces) with what I thought was approved language, only to be informed by the partner that it was in fact, not approved. With my tail between my legs, I went into my boss’ office and confessed my error. He said “Sue, you know you’re someone when you can make a $250,000 mistake.” That was all he said. I was prepared to be humiliated, beaten, fired, but instead, my boss made me feel like the world wasn’t coming to an end. He knew that I already felt badly enough and chose not to make me feel worse. As it turned out, I was able to work with the partner and they eventually let us use the piece, so money loss averted!

Bad Advice. Devaluing an employee gives you control over them. Okay, so I wasn’t directly given this advice. Here’s what happened. I was a new hire for a large, well-known company. My first day on the job was a business trip for a big and important client event. I flew across the country and showed up where I was supposed to, knowing no one but my new boss, and with no information regarding what was expected of me.  I assumed I’d be debriefed once I arrived. I wasn’t. At the first event, I recognized my boss greeting folks as they entered the room. I enthusiastically walked up and extended my hand. She gave me a (very) brief hello and was onto the next person in line. No introductions to others standing at the door, no ‘happy to have you here,’ no ‘welcome to our company.’ It was weird. And it got worse. I walked into the ballroom, not knowing a soul and not knowing what my role in the room even was. I moseyed over to the bar and tried to look like I belonged. Eventually, a young woman approached me and asked who I was. It turned out that my boss hadn’t actually told anyone that I’d be at the meeting, or in fact that I’d even been hired. She had even neglected to tell one of the direct reports who’d applied for my position, that he hadn’t gotten it.  It was a harbinger for things to come and I only stayed a year in that job.

Good Advice. Know enough about what’s going on in your employees’ lives to have compassion…but don’t overdo it. In other words, don’t try to be Mom or Dad, but know enough so that you understand why someone might be having a rough week at work, or why a hearty congratulations might be in order.

Bad Advice. If you are running a meeting, always sit at the head of the table. I’ve always believed that if you want to foster more of a team approach, you should sit with the team. Always sitting at the head of the table means you are isolating yourself by never having anyone seated next to you. Employees feel special when they can sit next to the boss. You can still keep control of the meeting from a seat at the table that’s not at the head.

What are some of your good advice/bad advice stories?