Influence- Digital Influence

Social MediaSo you have all these platforms on social media and it just doesn’t seem to be working like you thought it would. I even recently met someone in the B2B world that flat-out stated this new Digital World is not as big as people make it out to be. We ended up agreeing to disagree. So why are there still hold outs like the gentleman I recently met and other companies dismissing the digital, social media world as irrelevant. Well I have my opinions and without going into detail here is my main opinion:

They don’t understand it!!

You see Social Media is not like anything else that has ever existed. It’s being used for “digital marketing” purposes but not that well if you ask me. Also the reason it is being used as a marketing tool is that is all that most people are familiar with and so they have tried to fit it into the marketing world. I’m not saying you can’t use it to enhance your marketing strategy I’m just saying that it is so much more.

I’ve been in the Social Media world since 2006. For those of you who think it’s been around a long time let me just state bluntly “You Are Wrong” Social, has been around for a while, quite along while, but social media really has just been in the public eye since around 2002 and the business eye since around 2003 with the launch of LinkedIn. Here is a good story around the History of Social Networking

So the biggest new things for companies to do in regards to this Digital World is:

  1. Have an overarching digital strategy that matches their business objectives
  2. Build Influence with the audience they have or are trying to get

Influence is a little bit more than Trust. Although it starts out with Trust and that is where some businesses are still getting it wrong. If you want to find out more about Trust check out Chris Brogan’s book Trust Agents So what is the right way to do it? It’s called:



How do you get Influence? Why do you need it? and How do you keep it?

Well first – How do get It (It being Influence)i? It’s about your message that you are delivering. It Needs to Add VALUE to the person’s life and or their business. When building your digital network you need to make sure that you are delivering content that your audience sees as valuable.

Why do you need it? In order to have a viable digital network you need to be able to leverage the network for both you and them. There is an old saying that has been around forever. And it is represented by four letters.


What’s In It For Me???? That is what everyone asks themselves each time they join someone’s network or become friends with the other person. Relationships only are sustainable if it works both ways. Meaning they get what they need and you get what you need. But in order to do that there must be Influence present.

How do you keep it? So this is way too long to go into in this blog. Will need to do another one on all three of these. But the short answer is Interaction. Valuable interaction between you and your network on a constant basis. If you want to leverage and have influence in your network it can’t be a one time only deal. You have to cultivate your network like you would a marriage, or a garden or any worthwhile relationship.

Hope this helps and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

LA_ retouch glasses


Les Adkins CEO and Founder Orange SMS, Serial Entrepreneur, Adventurer, and co-founder APocket (coming to your mobile device soon) #ChangeTheWorld

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New Website Coming Soon!

ROI in Social Media

So I’m back and boy has it been busy. I know that many of you enjoyed the 30 day project and thank you for all your support. I now am doing a 40 day project where I am attempting to write 5 pages a day for the next 40 days to finish my book, Get It Right Social. Wish me luck. This is happening with a group that I belong to called highachievers we are taking this journey and it is founded on the book The Ripple Effect by Doug Grady. I’ll let you know how it goes.

So ROI (Return on Investment) in Social Media.

Social Media

There has been a lot of talk lately online and elsewhere about “Does social media work?”. What does it do for our bottom line? Seems like this conversation has been going on forever but businesses are now trying to fit Social Media into a business model that generates income. Because at the end of the day all businesses are in business to make money, right?

According to a recent article by Kim Garst on The Huffington Post “Facebook vs. Twitter: The Battle for Social Media Dominance”  Kim states “…So many businesses are looking for an immediate ROI that they are not looking beyond this to the real value of building a connected community through the power of social media.”

When did businesses start forgetting about where the money comes from? We have a key learning concept in the Elite Consulting that we do for a Fortune 500 company and its stated like this:

Individuals make buying decisions. Companies and committees do not.

Social Media’s biggest ROI is in building trust and loyalty from the individuals that you interact with in Social Media. It is the companies obligation to determine what platform their audience is on and focus on those platforms in building trust and loyalty in order for them to buy their products or services.

So the ROI is the individual so here is a quick way to determine ROI. Determine the amount of money that each customer represents to your business. This can be an individual or a business (because remember individuals make buying decisions; companies and committees do not) so businesses are made up of individuals. Then determine how many customers you need to make your quarter or year. Then look at your active engagement of individuals on social media and then if you know your closing ratio you can determine if Social Media is giving you the ROI that you are looking for.

Social Media takes longer than your normal advertising campaign on traditional media to see the ROI because you have to build trust with the individual. Think of it like this. The first time you went on a date you didn’t ask the person to marry you, or sleep with you (ok you might have asked that) but chances are the answer to both questions on the first date would have been NO. So give it time. You have to build trust and you can do that by asking your audience to immediately buy your services. You have to give them information that adds value to their daily lives before you can ask them to buy something.

Audience is king. They are determining the next generation of technology, innovation and yes how you get to sell your services or products. So don’t ignore the INDIVIDUAL when it comes to determining your ROI!

0006t (1)Les Adkins is the CEO of Orange SMS Consulting and an International Social Business Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Also two-time Tough Mudder finisher. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn Join us on FB and Google+ as well.


It’s Been Too Long! How is your New Year Starting Socially?

Life is a wonderful teacher….Unfortunately she has a habit of killing all of her students!

So how is everyone doing? I know it has been awhile since the last time I have blogged. I hope you are following me on Twitter or are connected to me another way; Google +, LinkedIn, FB page. I hope that in some way we are connected. If not what are you waiting for?

Well it’s been a crazy beginning to the new year and a lot has happened. Those of you who went with me on my 30 day journey I hope that it added value to your lives and gave you real help in improving your business and reaching your personal goals.

I have been absent in blogging for way too long. Two months. This is one time that it is worth repeating “Do as I say, not as I do!” In order to keep your branding out there you need to continue reaching out to your audience and continue building up trust.

In the next several months I am going to be completing my book and I am asking for your help in keeping me on the right track. I will be putting exerts of the upcoming book on here and I really would like to hear your comments. I will also be adding some valuable advice on social (media) and where it is going and also sharing some thoughts from colleagues and friends about how things are changing with Social and Mobile Engagement.

So for those of you who only follow my blog, my sincere apologies. Please keep connecting with me in other ways as I am more apt to stay in touch with quick posts on a regular basis.

Here’s to living the Life you Were Born To Live! This is my own personal mantra for 2012.

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and an International Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn

Join us on FB as well.

Day 12: Live To Learn

So on Day 12 I remembered a concept that I had heard ever since childhood from my Mother who had started a nursing school in Anderson, IN, was a professor at Marshall University (yes the one they made the movie about in Huntington, WV) and then started an Allied Health and Nursing Program at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, NE. Oh and she went back to school to get her PhD in Adult Education my father also got his Doctor of Divinity degree as well. So the motto was “Live to Learn”.

 Both my parents were well into their adult lives and had high school and college age children when they got their Doctorate Degrees. So I come from a family of “continual learners”.

This is why I went back to school to get my MBA in 2008.

Brad Sugar founder of “Action Coach”  stated at one of his events, and I’m paraphrasing, that by reading 1 business book a week, you can become an expert in any business subject you choose and have the same knowledge of most MBA students after a year.

Recently I came across a great blog “Business Insider”   who had an article written by Bianca Male and Aimee Goth that was titled “…21 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read”  I’d like to add to this list:

“Trust Agent” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

“Empowered” by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins (also check out his other books)

“4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris

There are also several programs and courses that you can take online to continue learning in the subject that you are interested in.

If you stop learning you stop expanding your mind and then your imagination.  So go ahead and “Live to Learn”! Whether you work for someone or yourself!

The day we stop learning should be the day we die. In order for you to stay ahead of the rest and live outside of the “Comfort Zone” be sure to continue “Living to  Learn”!

I see baby’s cry, I watch them grow, They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know, And I think to myself, what a wonderful world -Louis Armstrong ‘What a Wonderful World’

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and an International Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn


Join us on FB as well


Social Media Expert?

      So is there such a thing as a “Social Media Expert”? Lately I have been seeing a lot about this subject on the group “Social Media Today” on LinkedIn  and Google +. As well as several other blogs. Yesterday I was in a meeting where I was called a “Social Media Expert” several times but I do not consider myself an expert, just someone who has been working with Social Media for over 6 years and understands how to make it work and also I keep my eyes on what’s new and what the new trends are.

I don’t believe anyone can be an expert on Social Media or any industry for that matter unless you keep learning about the industry and the changes that happen within that industry.  When I first started working in Social Media I used to love to ask people who said they knew all about Social Media if they had heard of Second Life and Kaneva. Most said no, so that told me something.

For those of you who don’t know they are virtual worlds that allow individuals to interact in a social way using an avatar and many businesses are using this as well.

Here is what I wanted to say. I have seen many lists and many opinions on what to look for when looking for a Social Media Strategist or so-called “Expert”. I agree whole heartedly with most of these but I have one big question.

How are the people who are deciding what’s on these lists coming up with the information. Yes it needs to work, it needs to be more than how to create a FB (Facebook) page, and it needs to be a part of a holistic strategy. But who is right?

One of the big ones I see all the time is that if you have 1008 followers on Twitter and you follow 1010 people this is a flag that you may not be a social media ex… But I have to ask the question, does having a large following on Twitter make you an expert or does what you communicate to that audience, no matter the size of the audience, matter more?

I have been thinking about this for a while and just wanted to state that just because someone thinks that you have to be a certain way in order to be a Social Media Expert doesn’t mean that you should let them have the last word. You should pick consultants and firms to help you with your Social Media based on your relationship with them, their knowledge of social media overall, their knowledge of integrating it into your current business processes and (here comes a big one) – helps you build trust and affects behavior with the social media strategy and implementation you are, or plan on doing.

See, couldn’t help myself, had to give my own opinion. But keep in mind that this is a young industry and remember that the “Experts” used to state without a doubt in their mind with many measurable results that the “World was Flat”. This was a common and accepted thought for years. So the next time you see a list (and I have some out there) or someone stating how to pick a Social Media Expert just keep in mind that it might be a good idea to think that it is just their opinion.

The World is not Flat it is round but we did not figure that out until one man overcame this old thought which was prevalent in the first half of the 20th century. Not that long ago. So lighten up out there on what you think or don’t think a Social Media Expert is.

Les Adkins is the CEO of  Orange SMS Consulting and a Social Media Strategist, speaker, consultant and author. Bringing strategy and whole brain thinking to creative campaigns and social media through his work. Please follow @mysylbert and connect on LinkedIn


Join us on FB as well

How to Pick a Strong Social Media Consultant

So there have been so many people I have met lately who claim to do “Social Media Consulting” that I thought it was a good time to refresh your memory about how to pick a strong Social Media Consultant. So whether you use “Orange SMS Consulting” or someone else you need to make sure you are picking the right one.

Beth Harte and Geoff Livingston wrote a blog  titled “25 Signs You’ve Got a Strong SM Consultant or Agency” So we will be going over these signs this week 5 at a time:

One of the things they say in this blog that is worth repeating on day one is “…Social media communications is still a really new industry, and there are no silver bullet experts or methodologies.” Even today it is still a relatively new industry even 2 years after this blog was written in 2009. These qualifiers are still relevant and if you are missing many of these with your potential partner then you should have a few red flags pop up.

OK, and on we go:

“1. Believes in the generous web and practices cross-linking in their blog.”  

This means that they share other practices such as marketing and other web campaigns in their blogs as part of an overall strategy regarding Social Media.

“2. Highlights others’ work in their blog.”  

A great example of this is Chris Brogan’s Blog who I quote quite often. I am a strong advocate of his book “Trust Agents”. I met Chris and he is a genuine person and SM advocate.  Another quick thought on this topic is that most true SM Consultants don’t look at others’ as competitors, if they are doing it right, but rather a team effort to make sure SM (Social Media) is being delivered in the right way and with the right value add to the audience.

“3. Integrates social media as part of larger marketing strategies”

This is becoming more important for larger and smaller organizations. It can’t be one or the other it needs to be part of an overall strategy. The original blog uses Razorfish as an example of this.  Most strong SM Consultants have partners that can create larger marketing strategies or help connect SM to an already dynamic marketing strategy that the organization currently has.

“4. Doesn’t pretend to be an expert in all things digital; instead focuses on what he/she/they do best.”

A good example of this is Barbara Giamanco as She incorporates social media for sales.

“5. Gives away best practices in an effort to educate, grow social media in general”

Anyone not providing best practices as part of their blog or conversation is probably not a Strong Social Media Consultant.

This is the first 5 of 25 so come  back tomorrow to see the next 5.

I am not against consultants making a living, and by the way I am one, but make sure you pick the best one for your organization. It is usually the Consultant that you have built a relationship with and Trust!

Les Adkins, CEO

Orange SMS Consulting

The Medium is the Message

So from the same Blog “The Daily Dose” by Mikal E. Belicove comes the next Lie of Social Media Marketing.

“Just because it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace or some other newfangled online or mobile-powered platform, the message still carries more weight than the medium. It’s always been about the message. It’s not about the platform or the technology. The technology is just a tool, and just because younger people were the first to use Twitter and Facebook, don’t think for a moment that older employees can’t effectively use them just as well.”

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY!!!! Ok sorry to yell, but just wanted to make this point loud and clear.  As we discussed whether or not Size Matters yesterday we discovered that quality of followers and likes weigh out over size.  You want to convert these followers to become loyal to your brand or buy something but first you need to add value. The message is where you add value and begin the process of building trust. The message  is more important than the medium especially in Social Media.

The hard thing that is being felt by businesses and organizations is allowing others to comment on the message. This means they must take the good with the bad. The  adage is that one dissatisfied customer would lead to the loss of 100 customers and you would never know. Now you can satisfy a customer before the loss by responding directly to their comment. This does not mean you have to accept what they say but now you can have a dialogue and sometimes people just want to know that they are being heard.

I speak with companies about creating a message with “Whole Brain Advantage” this is a scientifically researched methodology created in the 60’s by Ned Herrmann to determine thinking preference. It remains relevant even more so today.  I could write pages on this topic alone but for this subject  it is a way to  help you create a message based on your entire audience’s thinking preferences. How cool would that be for you if you could reach and affect your whole audience? How would that help your bottom line?

All that to say that the message is much more important than the medium. So whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your website, or any number of platforms,  what you say is more important than what technology you use or how it looks. And don’t forget that your audience must be able to respond to your message.

CEO, Orange SMS Consulting