Service Minded

Debra Helwig on Marketing & Leadership in Professional Services

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

In Praise of Showing Up

Posted by debrahelwig on March 22, 2013

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A few days ago, this Internet cartoon drifted through my Facebook feed.

My reaction? Oh my God, YES.

So I shared it. And my friends and colleagues reacted the same way.

What is it about this that makes everybody I know react so strongly? I sat down to blog, and I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it.  What is it that makes this idea important?

The answer struck like lightning at my kids’ PTA meeting last night.

Our school has a high overall level of parent involvement. The event was skillfully planned. Robust agenda. Thoroughly publicized. Food and childcare included. All this should be a recipe for a well-attended, highly successful meeting, right?

Exactly five parents showed up.

The result? Huge disappointment for the folks who worked so hard to make it happen. Big hard feelings of “does anybody really care anymore?” (This EVEN THOUGH the Facebook page for the PTA is quite active, and there were a ton of “So sorry I couldn’t make it, go PTA!” messages posted there.)

That crushing disappointment is the place where the meeting and the cartoon connect.

Because through technology, we’ve created a culture of convenience.   And, all over the place, our cyber-induced complacency is short-circuiting relationships that matter.

It’s true that sometimes for real reasons (the economy forcing people to work two jobs) and more often for fake reasons (spending time sucked into Facebook or online games or email), we seem to have less time than ever before.  It’s easy to connect with people via email and Facebook, in our own time, at our own schedule. It’s convenient and quick and we can do a lot more of it and feel very productive.  Look at all the connections I have!  Look at who I contacted today!

But at their heart, the very effortlessness of these connections devalues them.

In our deepest selves, we appreciate effort. It matters when we show up. When we connect in a physical way.

A virtual hug, however appreciated, can never hold the same value as feeling sheltered in the arms of a person who cares.

An email, however lovely, cannot substitute for the time and effort that goes into a card that is hand-chosen, handwritten, hand-stamped, hand-sent.

Online support and donations are valuable for a charity or service club or PTA. But they cannot replace the nurturing that comes from being present with people who need us.

In professional services, no amount of email, or newsletters, or excellent technical work, can substitute for face-to-face time with a client. Looking them in the eye. Hearing their concerns. Saying “You matter to me” in ways much louder than words.

Perhaps it’s time to rethink our relationship with the Interwebs ever so slightly. Facebook, Twitter, email, and all the rest need to be a tool to augment personal interaction, not replace it. Don’t stop emailing or Facebooking. God no.

But sometimes, you just gotta show up.

In our hearts, we know this. It’s why this cartoon has been shared and shared and shared. Why we rejoice over cards in the mail and make a big deal when there’s a great turnout for the Food Bank workday.

If we want to make a lasting difference to the people around us – clients or friends or family – we must find a way to be physically, tangibly present when they need us.  We can’t wait for other folks to do this work. It’s up to us. Even when it’s inconvenient.

Maybe especially when it’s inconvenient.

Cartoon by Victor at http://www.poofytoo.com.

Posted in Accounting, Attitudes, Marketing, Networking, Relationship Building, service | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Get Your Online Act Together

Posted by debrahelwig on February 27, 2009

When someone at your firm does something smart, it belongs online.

Says something interesting? Get it on the Web (and Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn).

Helps someone? Yep, online it goes.

Tells a great story? By now, you probably get the drift.

This social media thing – thought leadership and connections to make yourself “addictable” (as Scott Ginsberg puts it) – is not going away. Social media is rapidly becoming a (if not THE) critical marketing driver for successful businesses. That includes professional services firms.

Yes, this means YOU.

If you’re reading this post on my blog, then you probably already understand this concept. BUT…(big pause here)…there are a ton of folks in your firm that don’t get it yet – many of them the decision makers in the partnership.

It’s up to you to make the case and get them on board.

To that end, here’s some great insight into why social media is do-or-die for your firm. Need fodder to share with others less enlightened? Check out these brilliant explanations:

Scott Ginsberg: How to Save Your Company $80,000 in Marketing Costs (takeaway: need to create a Visibility Plan, not a Marketing Plan or a Business Plan. Be more findable, more obsessable, more lovable, more addictable, more spreadable.)

Seth Godin: The Panhandler’s Secret (takeaway: interact first, sell second)

Debbie Weil: If You Can’t Link to It, It Doesn’t Exist (takeaway: I’d love to help promote you, but you have to provide me with a way to share it online)

Link. Tweet. Post. Have fun. Make a difference.

Whatever you do, get moving.

Posted in Accounting, Business Development, Marketing, Networking, Professional Services | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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