olegilin-afterscubadiveCan you find the commonalities in two unrelated fields? What could be farther from diving than social media marketing? The former is dangerous, adventurous outdoor activity while the latter is a safe, in-door communication. Sure, you can post outdoor pictures on social networks, and post updates and tweets from virtually anywhere. But if talking about social media marketing as a profession, not a hobby, it requires the use of many different tools and resources that warrant the utilization of a desktop/laptop variety.

Different Types of Diving.

As far as I know there are only two kinds of diving – scuba diving and sky diving. If you are aware of any other type of diving, please cordially let me know in the comments. I did both, and found out that they (unexpectedly) have some similarities with social media marketing.

Of course, in social media marketing there is no risk of death (only possible brand reputation damage), but there are certain skills and characteristics that are necessary in both activities.

Sky Diving and Social Media Marketing.

olegilin-firstskydiveFirst let’s take a look at sky diving.

What sky diving has to do with social media marketing? Well, in order to make a successful jump, you have to thoroughly inspect and pack your parachute (preparation), have guts (otherwise known as strong will) to hang out for a minute or so in front of the open door, waiting for green light, when strong wind blows in your face, and there are only a few feet between you and abyss, then jump out of the plain from the height of 10500 feet (over 3 km).

While in the air, you should control yourself and your movements, otherwise you can fly into wrong direction or even go into a spin.

So, the main characteristics required for successful sky dive: preparation, ability to take risk, and to control yourself and your actions.

In social media marketing preparation is crucial. You can’t develop successful social media marketing campaign without prior research, identifying industry influencers, creating corresponding content marketing strategy, etc.

The ability to take risk, albeit moderate, is also important. In paid media, when creating digital marketing campaigns, you never know whether such campaigns would work or not. Of course, you can mitigate the risk by closely monitoring performing and non-performing keywords, click-through rates, conversions, etc. Yet you have to be prepared that the actual results won’t meet your expectations. Usually campaigns can be tweaked and the performance improved. In some cases though campaign won’t perform no matter what you do, so you have to be ready to cut the cord.

In earned media you have to mix industry news and neutral conversations with risky and controversial content. Why? Controversy stirs the crowd, gets noticed and is an important element in buzz generation. If you want to create a viral campaign, sometimes you have to ruffle someone’s feathers.

Self-control is essential. If you lose your temper while conversing on social media with disgruntled customer or provocative opponent, your unprofessional behavior affects the brand you’re representing, not even mentioning the negative impact on your own social image.

Now that we looked at similarities between social media marketing and sky diving let’s see what kind of commonalities can we dig up between social media marketing and scuba diving.

Common Traits between Scuba Diving and Social Media Marketing.

olegilin-scubadiveScuba diving requires teamwork, meticulous planning, ability to stay calm under pressure, knowledge.

Knowledge – in scuba diving it is not optional. Before you can dive, you have to study a lot of theory – from diving tables to different breathing techniques. Water is a serious “partner” and it doesn’t forgive the negligence.
Teamwork – you can’t go underwater alone, even if you’re an experienced diver. You have to dive with a partner. Otherwise your chances to survive decrease greatly.

Meticulous planning– you have to plan the depth of your dive, the time under water, the amount of air available, the decompression time after dive, you also have to check all your equipment to make sure it works properly, check the weather, take into consideration under currents, etc.

The ability to stay calm under pressure during a dive is extremely important. It can literally save your life. There are thousands of things that could go wrong – your regulator might go into free flow mode, you can be out of air, some of your equipment can be stuck or tangled, etc. If you remain calm, there is a good chance that you’ll overcome these problems. If not, the consequences may be lethal.

Of course the consequences of social media marketing mistakes are far less severe.

However, other characteristics do apply:

  • Knowledge – the chances to succeed in social media marketing without knowledge are slim to none. Social media marketing is far more than just the ability to tweet or post an update to Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube or other social network. It requires a lot of know-how in inbound marketing, content marketing, website performance, analytics, engaging techniques, KPIs, and tons of other subjects.
  • Teamwork is essential since one person can’t possibly develop and execute large-scale social media marketing campaign. There should be a well-coordinated effort and collaboration between different members of the social media marketing team (social strategist, social media manager, content marketing team, etc).
  • Meticulous planning – all the components of the social media campaign should be planned far in advance. Each member of the team should know the content delivery schedule, the publishing schedule, quantity and topics of social updates, the channels to reach target audience, lists of social players to engage during campaign, lead generation mechanics, etc.
  • Stay calm under pressure” part is required because in real life things often go not as planned. So you have to be able to adjust your campaign on a fly.

There you have it – the commonalities between diving and social media marketing. Sure, this is unlikely comparison. But if you look hard, you can find the commonalities between the subjects that seem to have nothing similar whatsoever.

As always, your comments are welcome. Share your thoughts and experiences.
For your pleasure, here is a video of my first skydiving experience. Enjoy.

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Google Helpouts Sessions from Oleg Ilin

November 5th 2013 Google softly launched Google Helpouts which can now be used to interact with experts on a wide variety of topics.

 

Google Helpouts is still a new service built as a fusion of several Google tools – Google Hangouts, Google Wallet and Google Plus. It’s open for people who need help but for providers (aka experts) it remains an invitation-only community. I will talk about approval process a bit later.

 

First, let’s understand how Google Helpouts works.

 

Google Helpouts: Brief Overview of the Technology

The core of the service is easily recognizable Google Hangouts technology and it’s responsible for the live video interactions. Google Helpouts has a whole slew of built-in tools that further enhance its functionality (screenshare, chatbox, videosharing and even remote desktop management, to name a few).

These enhancements grant previously unreachable ability to consult, educate and give real-time help in numerous situations (example: consult with childcare specialist on how to stop the child from crying, with a car specialist on how to change a tire on a road, with dentist on how to calm down the toothache, with physician on how to treat some medical conditions before going to ER, with lawyer on how to deal with urgent legal situations, etc.)

Some of the Help Outs are free, others are provided as a paid service. If you choose a consultation of a paid expert, Google Wallet makes the payment process quick and easy.

If you haven’t tried Google Helpouts before, use the following code: OLEG78L when scheduling your first Helpouts session with a paid expert, this way you’ll get $25 towards this session (and if session costs $25 then yours will essentially be free).

Click here to Learn How to Find and Schedule the Helpout.

How to Prepare for Helpout Session

Important notice: in order to be able to receive expert consultation, you need to install Hangouts plugin first.

The good news, it’s available in many different formats. You can download Google Hangouts plugin for a desktop, or choose to play with Hangouts apps for Android and iPhone.

Mobile apps are certainly a big plus when you need to receive immediate help, but for consultations that require online demonstrations from an expert, I would recommend to use a desktop or tablet. Why? When expert shares his advice and demonstrates some tools, etc through screenshots or screen sharing, it’s simply not very practical to learn them in a small screen.

Now that you know how to schedule a Helpouts as a helpee, let’s discuss how you can become the helper.

How to Become Google Helpouts Provider

In order to become a Helpouts provider, a person has to go through several identification and verification steps. Though Google Helpouts has been launched a while ago, it’s still a closed community, so invitation code is required to start the application process.

Person can only request verification code if s/he already has a Google Plus page (Google Plus identity serves as a first step in the verification process). After invitation is received, a person has to create a listing of services offered and then go through interview with real Google employee who will check listing and technical settings to make sure that an applicant is ready to provide the Help Outs.

Though Google imagines the Helpouts to be a real-time support, it’s not very convenient for providers. You have to leave it running in the background of your computer in order to receive instant notifications. And quite frankly, busy professionals have other things to do rather than sitting there and waiting for a helpee to pop up.

For the majority of providers of consulting services – like marketing professionals, accountants, teachers, etc there is no need to provide real time support. Client or helpee can wait a few hours or even a few days if s/he really needs help, especially if an expert is willing to provide a free consultation.

Much more convenient option is to schedule your sessions for certain days/ times, and set up an SMS notification to be notified when the new helpout session is scheduled.

Want to learn more about Help Outs or other social media tools, resources and strategies? Just schedule a session with me, and I’ll be glad to help.

 

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