Business Archives - Kara Lambert

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Customer satisfaction improvement tips

So the customer satisfaction survey results are in and Management come back with the standard, “Customer Satisfaction is slipping. YOU need to get it up!” How often have you been told that you need to lift the customer satisfaction rating for your area, team, or business? Then shook your head and wondered just how to make it happen. There’s no magic wand or crystal ball for this one. It’s totally out of your control if they’re happy with you because you’re doing everything you can; special offers, follow up, personalised service. You’ve pulled out all the stops for the customer. You’re giving it all you’ve got!

Traditionally, improving customer satisfaction takes on the form of “What else can we give them?” or “What else do they need?”

What if I was to tell you that there were 2 more effective ways of improving customer satisfaction than throwing more money and things at the customer. (metaphorically speaking)

What if instead of concentrating on just improving the product or service we focus on improving the people involved? I know it’s a bit odd, but hear me out.

The customer’s role in improving customer satisfaction

Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to go back and ask them exactly what they want because we all know that if you asked 100 people you would get 100 different answers. So rather than asking them what they, let’s look at what draws a customer to a brand and keeps them there. This is the aim of customer satisfaction – customer retention. We know it’s cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one.

So what draws a customer to a brand and keeps them there, or better still, turns them into a raving fan?

There are 3 parts:

  • Appealing to their self image
  • Exclusivity
  • Incentive

The beauty of these three things is that even exclusivity and incentive require no financial outlay. We often believe that exclusivity and incentive mean giving more or offering discounts.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines exclusivity as:
1. the quality or state of being exclusive
2. exclusive rights or services

And incentive as:
- something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action

Neither of these definitions imply the need to offer a discount or bonuses. In fact, research shows that the best incentive is to tell people the action you want them to take.

I’ve developed a simple checklist and you can download it here.

Staff’s role in customer satisfaction

Now this one digs deep into psychology, so I’m going to ask for a little patience as I take you on a journey backwards in time. If you think it’s all about the staff making sure that the customer is always right & giving them what they want, I have a surprise! It’s not! Let’s get started!

Research shows that happy staff means happy clients. Seems logical right? So what makes happy staff? I promise you it’s not pay-rises, free food, basketball courts, or beanbags. Sorry staffers!

Happy staff comes down to staff seeing a clear relationship between what motivates them and what motivates the business and what it achieves.

So if it’s not money and perks that motivate staff, what is it? Well I’m sorry to say that it is different for each person. We are all unique! But through time & experience, I’ve brought it back to a set of five key motivators. Understand these for your staff & align them to your business and you will not only have happy staff but you will also improve customer satisfaction.

So what are the five motivators?

- Fears
- Needs
- Beliefs
- Values
- Desires/Goals

Yes we are all driven by these 5 things, yes they differ between people, yes they matter to us. Yes it seems stupidly simple but research is research and when you think about it, it makes sense.

So how do you work these out? Well you do have to have conversations with your staff and you do have to have a very clear idea of the motivators of your business – so it takes work. But here’s another thing to consider…

Happy staff are more productive. Happy staff have less time off. Happy staff become raving fans. Happy staff stay with your company saving your on churn and labour hire costs.

So there’s an added benefit to increasing customer satisfaction. Not only will the want to buy more, and will buy more. (Oh didn’t I mention that research?) Your staff will be happier and you’ll save money & make more money.

If you’d like to know more about these motivators and how I used it to improve staff happiness, productivity, & customer satisfaction; I have a short instructional set available on my website.

If you would like to speak to me more on this and how I can make it work in your business, you can book a FREE consultation here. Additionally, I am available to speak on this topic to your team or at your conference.

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Why Client Avatar work fails and what is missing

Until a bit over 2 years ago I had a real problem with the standard client avatar work available. Many many years ago, in my previous business, I did a beta test of an online coaching program and had my first introduction to writing my ideal client profile. I hated it! I had to name them, detail their demographics, outline their day, it was even suggested that I found a photo of them and print it out. Something felt wrong.

Here’s the thing. With a degree in psychology, I know that we are more than what we do. I understand that diagnoses and labels give us meaning and structure to our lives, it makes things easier. But labels are just that, they stick on top of a number of behaviours and/or symptoms which make up the labels.

So what's the problem with traditional client avatar work?

Standard client avatar work reduces people to a list of labels. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than the labels society puts on me. Yes I am a mother, daughter, sister, wife, graduate, business owner; but so are many other women I know. Does that mean that we are all the same? Does that mean that all of our behaviours are the same? No!

What about my other demographics? I am a woman in my 40s with two teenage children. I’m married. Does that mean that I behave the same as any/many/most married 40 year old Mum of 2 teens? No!

So why do marketing experts and business owners still believe that these client profiles based on labels work? At best they are generic, but how are they used and what lies behind them?

These avatars are used to help business owners with their marketing and messaging. They exist to help with what words to use, where to focus marketing efforts; but where does this come from? The business owner’s interpretation of the labels. And this interpretation comes from their lived experience and opinions of these labels. This interpretation comes from our biases. What if they’re wrong?!

So what happens when a business does a standard client avatar exercise and finds it doesn’t work, and I have had many business owners in tears because this is the case but they were lead to believe it would work and was crucial. Their marketing efforts are misguided, they don’t make the money they feel they should, they are demotivated, and some even close their businesses believing they were a failure.

All because they relied on labels rather than what sat behind them.

Deeper than the client avatar

So what sits behind the labels?

Behind the labels are the behaviours, the actions. What drives these behaviours and actions? Our motivators. What drives our motivators? Our culture, our education, our lived experience.

The old ‘nature vs nurture’ conundrum has puzzled scientist for decades. Why can identical twins raised in the same home behave so differently? Researchers ponder why two people experience the same event differently, even down to developing trauma as a result of the same event. It’s individual differences.

However, marketing believes that demographics and labels is enough of a definition for a client avatar… even though scientists have grappled with individual differences for decades.

A new type of client avatar

So how do we account for individual differences in our client avatar? Can we individualise and yet be able to speak to a group?

I believe the key is in defining what lies beneath the labels. Looking at the unique behaviours of that particular mother of teens you have in your client avatar. What motivates her? Look deeper into her behaviours than how she fills her day, that’s what she does. Look deeper into why she does it, why does she make a particular choice, where does that come from?

When businesses are able to define and speak to these deeper motivators, they connect to their audience at a deep interpersonal level. You speak to your ideal client in words they understand at their core because you are using words that drive them to take the action they do, make the choices they make. You connect to them as an individual not a set of faceless demographics.

That was what I felt was missing in the client avatar work I did those years ago. Connection. A connection at a deeper interpersonal level. A connection like we were sharing a moment where commonalities were found and friendships were made. A place from which strong connections grew. A place to build a long lasting and expanding connections. A place to communicate from. A point of connection from where I could motivate a client to action because I showed them that they were understood, that they could know me, like me, trust me and then they would work with me.

 

Handling Overwhelm and Success

I wanted to tell you a little story about feeling overwhelmed and being a success. You see they often travel as a pair and they make strange bedfellows. The problem is that often we allow the feeling of overwhelm stop us from progressing further to success and I’ve been thinking about that lately. Let me tell you a story.

Hubby & I are preparing our home for sale. We’ve owned this home for 20 years, raised our kids in it, renovated it, and it’s safe to say that there are a few foibles we’re happy to live with that others wouldn’t. So we’ve (ok he) has been putting in a lot of work to get it ready for sale. The big one has been painted.

Having raised our kids through toddler-dom since the house was last painted, it’s safe to say the house was looking a bit tired. It’s also a 2 storey house making it no small effort. I’m not a good painter, so this task has fallen to hubby and he has been feeling utterly overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, even after 3 solid weeks of working at the task.

Yes, we could have paid someone to paint it top to toe, but let’s face it, the $$ involved in painting a two-storey house is not insignificant. That said, hubby has realised his limits – like a double height ceiling – and has called in a professional to do some of the tasks.

The other day he was walking the contractor through and showing them what had been done and what remained. It dawned on him – he had achieved a lot. Then the magic happened, he was no longer overwhelmed by the task around him.

Do these sound familiar in your success journey?

How often are you so focused on the goal that you forget the journey? How often do you concentrate on all the things you’re yet to do that you forget those you’ve achieved? How often do you lament those you’ve not been able to accomplish that you miss out on the hurdles you’ve crossed?

It doesn’t matter how often I tell my hubby that he’s too hard on himself, he won’t see it because he has such high standards. We’re no different as business owners. Our need to exceed expectations, grow our businesses, achieve our goals blind us to just how far we’ve come.

What can you do to overcome overwhelm and celebrate all success?

I use a weekly celebration post in my Facebook Group to openly celebrate our achievements. There are no rules around it. Some weeks I write ‘surviving school holidays’ because that is an achievement when you’ve got school-aged kids.

I’ve been bullet journaling since the start of July (the new financial year) and each weekly layout details the tasks for the week and includes a gratitude spot. At a glance I can see all that I have achieved, personally and professionally, and a piece of gratitude. I don’t judge how many crosses I have made, some weeks are harder than others. What it does give me is a visual reminder of just how far I have come.

I’ve got a task for you.

I want you to grab a pen and paper or the voice recorder on your phone and I want you to list the things you’ve done today, this week, this month.

I want you to look around the room, look at the photos, look at the trinkets, look at your family at think of how far you’ve come.

I want you to celebrate you and your achievements. If you start thinking of all that is left to do or left undone, stop and refocus on the things you have achieved.

You deserve to celebrate your achievements. You are accomplished. You are a success.

fear of selling or using a call to action

Strange but true and perhaps a cultural thing, I mean I am an Australian, but most business owners don’t like to ask for the sale in their social media. Why is that? Do they not want to sell their products and services? Surely having a social media presence has to be more than relationship building! There’s got to be a financial ROI somewhere! Right?

So why don’t business owners tell customers what they want them to do in their social media posts? What is it about calls to action which puts business owners off? Are you call to action (CTA) shy? And what can you do about it? Let’s explore some of the reasons…

They don’t want to seem pushy

Perhaps this is a particularly Australian issue, but I doubt it. We really don’t like tooting our own horn and telling people to do things. We’re more subtle with these CTAs and to be honest they come off as weak at best and ambiguous at worst.

Perhaps this is a hung up from the saying “People buy from people that they know, like, & trust.” Perhaps this is taken too literally and business owners are more concerned with building rapport.

Hate asking for the sale

Following on from not wanting to be pushy is not wanting to be salesy. In Australia there’s nothing more loathed than a slimey salesperson. You know the one who makes your skin crawl. We just don’t like them. They get under our skin and we really don’t want our businesses to be seen in the same light.

Fear of rejection

Many business owners say that they don’t use a call to action or ask for the sale because they’re afraid to be told, “no”. We want to be liked. We want to be helpful. We don’t like rejection.

They don’t know how

Strange but true. When asked, the vast majority said that they had no idea how to call their audience to action on social media. With changes in algorithms and flagged words, businesses are a little camera shy when it comes to using a call to action.

So how do you overcome some of these things?

JFDI

Well, you can white knuckle it and just put calls to action on all of your posts and hope you catch something.

The thing is, you ask for nothing and you will get nothing. Business owners who don’t use calls to action are less likely to receive action.

Vulnerability & Courage

It takes vulnerability and courage to ask for the sale. When you ask someone to do something for you there is always a risk that they will say no. What many business owners don’t realise is that by not making the offer, they choose to say no to themselves on the customer’s behalf and remove the chance to hear “yes”.

If you are afraid to hear a “no”, there are a few things to remind yourself of:
- it’s not personal
- it may not be the right time for them
- it’s not a “never”.

Use psychology

The biggest hurdle to social media is engaging the audience. There is research available which outlines the three main components to engaging an audience online:
- appeal to their sense of self
- offer an incentive
- include a call to action.

To engage an audience online, you need to do at least 2 of these. The psychology comes in when you appeal to their sense of self. Without appealing to the reader’s sense of self you are not showing them why responding to your call to action is important and how it will benefit them.

You can read more about the psychology of engagement here: https://www.karalambert.com/psychology-of-social-media/write-engaging-content-customers-want-respond/

Get someone or something to do it for you

You could use a template and ensure all your actions follow a set procedure that includes a call to action.  You can outsource your communication and have someone add it for you. Or you can use a tool that includes a call to action.

Conclusion

Too often we get in our own way of our own success. Not knowing how is one thing, not wanting to or being too nervous is akin to self-sabotage. Being in business requires grit and vulnerability, so do using calls to action.

I like the words of Maya Angelou in this:

Compete business

In business, do you compete with all the others or do you stand alone and do your thing? When times are lean do you console your colleagues saying how you’re finding things tough or do you stand alone and do your thing?

The other day while on my morning walk, I noticed that only a certain type of wattle was in bloom. It was beautiful – bright yellow against a sea of green. It’s Winter in Australia and there really aren’t too many other native flowers in bloom at this time. That said, there are still native bees and native birds looking for food and that’s when I had a thought about the wattle. It’s smart.

Come Spring and Summer, the Australian landscape will be awash with colour. If there are late rains there will be even more blooms around. That doesn’t bother the Wattle. By Summer time, the wattle’s seed will be ready to fall, some may have germinated, and it will be saving up its energy for Winter when all the other plants will be dormant. It’s not bothered by the other trees and shrubs in bloom. It’s not competing with them, in fact it’s ahead of the other plants in their cycles.

That made me think about what I had heard with other business owners.
“It’s end of financial year, no one has any money.”
“It’s holiday season here in Europe/US no one is around.”
These were tales of lack and woe. I’m not saying I’m immune. I lose clients each year in the lead up to the end of financial year. It used to bother me, now I realise that there are always better opportunities about to come by.

 

So when business quietens down, what to do? Do you do as the other businesses do and sing a tale of woe? Or do you do your own thing and bloom?

I know what I do, I learnt it many years ago now. In my last business, I spent far too much energy looking over my shoulder watching what my competitors were up to. I’d be angry when they copied or went straight to my big clients. I was forever feeling anxious.

The one day it stopped.

I decided enough was enough. Time to stand alone and bloom like the wattle. I decided to forget what they were up to and play my own game and concentrate on my own clients. That’s right, I even stopped worrying about the ones who walked. Why? Because the ones who stay are the ones who deserve my time and energy.

So, when you find that other businesses are feeling the pinch and times seem lean, do you join their tales of woe and shut down or do you stand firm like the wattle and bloom in the knowledge that when the weather fines you will be ahead of them?

 

Eye on the end goal

Many of my clients come to me to learn about social media, Facebook in particular, I teach them the tool but mostly I teach them about their client. I teach them about what motivates their client. The thing is, as a business coach, I’m more interested in what motivates them. I want to know what their end goal is. I want to help them achieve that.

Over the years, I’ve had people tell me that their end goal is to sell their business, that they want more vans on the road, that they want their own premises. They are so varied and I love all of them, I have to say “selling the business” is a favourite and always keeps me thinking.

When it comes to business coaching, the end goal for the business is one of the first things I ask about. I want to know what we are working towards. The thing about social media is that it needs to be drawing your audience to that end goal too. Social media is a tool, a means to an ends and not an end itself.

Let’s just be clear that it has to be more than just money, that’s a thing not a goal. If all you can think about is money, then consider what that money will allow you to do, that’s your goal. Money is but a means to an ends. Consider what you would do with your business if money wasn’t a barrier.

But to be honest, the process of how you come to your goal is irrelevant. Your goal can even change and in fact, it should if it isn’t serving you. However, this post is all about keeping it in sight, not how you come to it. There are some tools in my blog you can refer to:

So you know what it is but why should you play the end goal?

The biggest benefit of playing the end game is focus. If you are consistently focused on your end game, you’re more likely to achieve it. You’re also less likely to be distracted by other things along the way. Too often I find that business owners are distracted by the idea of developing a new offer or a new tool and they lose sight of the end game. That can waste time and other resources.

Playing the end game keeps me grounded. Now I’m back to spreading the word about the importance of understanding the psychology in your business, I am dogged. I am centred. I am passionate. All of these things come across to my audience and they are less confused as to what I do and why they need me.

Your messaging is on point. With your eye on the end game, you are focused and that makes it easier to speak to that one thing. To make your point. To move yourself and your fans to that end. It helps you to be brief, clear, and accurate.

So, do you know your end goal? What would help you play the end goal?

What is human-centred social media?

Over the past six months I’ve attended a few social media conferences and there’s one consistent trend – human-centered social media. Now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you will know that this is actually nothing new to me. In fact, I first wrote about this back in 2014. I have to be honest, I didn’t think I was that much of a ground-breaker and I hoped that it would take less time for the idea to filter through. Clearly I was wrong. Anyway, what is human-centred social media and why should we care?

Human-centred social media is more than benefits and WIIFM

Guy Kawasaki quote human centred social media Kara Lambert social media marketing coach psychologySay what now? Ok, so some of you might be surprised and others will be scratching your head wondering what I mean and some will be high five-ing me. Let’s start with those scratching their heads.

WIIFM, or what’s in it for me, is the principle of perspective taking and looking at what the client gets out of the transaction. Benefits are a business looking at the features of their offer and telling clients what they will get out of it. It’s essentially two sides of the same coin. However there is no guarantee that they will match or align in any way.

I have to be honest there are two main flaws in this approach:

  • Who has time to assess benefits against needs as a customer?
  • It seems a little shallow.

The vast majority of the time I hear this, businesses will talk about outcomes and benefits. I really don’t believe that’s putting the client at the centre of their social media, I feel they are putting their offer at the centre. As clients, there is so much more that drives our decision making than outcomes and benefits and in fact, there are a lot of things which go into these alone.

As a customer, when presented with a list of benefits, I still have to match them with what I want to achieve or what I want. I’m still trying to work out if the offer is the right fit for me. I’m not at the centre of this transaction.

At this point, some of you might think that this is awfully self-centred of me. But stop and think for a moment whose money you’re trying to acquire. It’s the customers. Do you want to raise doubt in their mind? Do you want to make it hard for them to part with their money? Then it also raises the question of how you even come to understand them anyway???

Personally, human-centred anything comes back to putting the following at the centre: what drives us to do what we do, know what we want, make a decision, spend money, like/comment/share. I believe that human-centred social media is more than what we are being told it is. In fact, I know that it’s more than what we are being told because there is a whole heap of psychology which drives what we define as a benefit or ‘what’s in it for me’.

Matt Goulart Quote human centred social media Kara Lambert social media marketing coach psychologyI want human-centered business practices, not just social media, to be a strategic focus. I firmly believe that it’s good business practice and not just some fluffy feel good add on or differentiator. We rely so much on people, people power, and goodwill. The thing is, I believe that taking the approach I advocate is a strategic focus as it looks at people at their base level, their psychology and their motivators.

I believe it’s time to move social media marketing away from a focus on the platform and the tools, to the person you’re aiming for who is using the social media. This is human-centred social media. By focusing on the person, the platform becomes somewhat irrelevant. By focusing on the person, we can address them the same way across platforms. By focusing on the person, we can continue conversations more fluidly between platforms and off of them. By focusing on the person, we reduce the overwhelm felt by business owners trying to understand the platforms. By focusing on the person, our message becomes clear. By focusing on the person, they feel understood. By focusing on the person, they don’t have to guess how we serve them. By focusing on the person, they are more closely aligned with our brand. By focusing on the person, they are more engaged. By focusing on the person, they are happier with the service they receive. By focusing on the person, they are more likely to buy from us. By focusing on the person, we grow raving fans.

How do I define human-centred social media? I define it by looking at what motivates us. I believe that there are five key motivators of any and all human behaviour. I’ve put together this 30 minute training package which outlines precisely what these motivators are and from there you can use them in your human-centered marketing to align and motivate your clients to action. You can purchase access to the training through the online shop. If you have any questions or would like to interview me on this, please contact me via email at kara@karalambert.com.

Conferences learning connection and networking

Ever looked at event and thought, “Nah, I won’t go, I won’t learn anything”? I have, often. Often I’ve not gone and not thought a second thing of it. I’ve also missed them and had massive FOMO when I saw who was there. That’s when it dawned on me, these events aren’t just about learning, they’re about networking.

Back in March I attended Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) in San Diego. I did it with the explicit purpose to network. Sure, I went to the premier social media conference to network! I did learn, a lot. That was a bonus. But with all I learnt, it was the connections I made which were the most useful.

Some of the people I met at SMMW, I had known online for 4 years. Yet it was the first time I had seen them face to face. There’s something about seeing someone and being able to shake their hand or give them a hug. While video is great, it can’t replace actually being there.

I found my tribe there. I found a group of Australians utterly passionate about social media. While we were there we were able to compare notes on how things differed to back in Australia, how we would implement it, things we would change. We took what we learnt to another level. Now back in Australia we have a reference and referral group. We call on each other for support and guidance. It’s reassuring and incredibly powerful.

Last week I attended Social Media Day Adelaide. Again, I attended for the sole purpose of networking. I had met an attendee a month earlier who had suggested I attend. Again, I didn’t attend so that I could learn (though I did), I attended to network (and I did).

You see, I could have easily decided not to go. I’m not an Agency. I don’t want to be. I don’t run social media for a company I work for (though I have clients I still do this work for). While I do the social media for my business, it’s not something I need to learn from the grass roots – it’s something I consult on. So why did I go and what did I achieve?

I went to network.

It’s easy when you work for yourself to decide that networking is a waste of time. That industry events are a waste of time. That you don’t want to deal with competitors. But if you stay in that space, you miss out. Sometimes you have to set your ego aside and meet with people for the sake of meeting with them.

So what happened? Well I caught up with the person who invited me to attend and he introduced me to the organiser. I met up with people who had heard me speak at Big Digital earlier in the year and hear what they had to say. I met with a lady who I had known online and we chatted through the day. I offered my help to a business and I was invited to do a radio interview.

If I hadn’t attended, none of this would have happened. I wouldn’t have developed or deepened relationships. I would have likely had a case of FOMO. I also wouldn’t have learnt what I did about social media use in Australia. I wouldn’t have thought about the public perception of what an internet influencer stereotypically looks like. And I wouldn’t have had this piece to write.

Too often we look at what we can get out of events in what we can learn and too little do we consider what we can receive in the halls and breaks. We also discount what we are able to give in these situations. We forget that networking is sometimes more valuable to our business than the learning but it’s still something we get to take away.

The three things I’ve learnt in 4 years of blogging

In the start of June 2014, I started blogging for this business. The business was very different back then. I was a proof reader, copy editor, and website auditor. I don’t provide any of these services any more but one thing I still do is a weekly blog (during school terms). Now that has meant that the subject matter has varied ever so slightly, I have learnt a fair bit about blogging in this time. So what have I learnt and how can you use it with your blog – in fact any time you create content?

It’s not about me in my blogging

A good proportion of my blog is me imparting knowledge to others. This could be things I find, it can also be the stuff that rattles around in my skull. This stuff is definitely not about me. Like this blog, it’s about you – the reader. None of this is self-serving. I do this to answer questions I see and hear. I do this to remove overwhelm and angst I see.  Even if I get something out of it, at most an email address, I still come at this from a place of service.

Here’s the kicker. Even when I am the subject matter, it’s not about me. When I’m writing about my experiences, I do so to show you that you’re not alone. I don’t want to be the guru preaching divine practice from the mount. I’m human and I want you to see that I fall and get up again. I want you to learn from me. That means holding a mirror to my actions and showing you the lesson.

 

 

Be vulnerable with your blogging

I know, it’s hard. It’s not just emotionally hard to be vulnerable. It can also be professionally hard to be vulnerable. In fact, it’s this second space which held me back the longest.

Here’s a secret when it comes to both blogging and vulnerability. Most people read blogs to connect with the blogger. They want a little insight into them and their lives. This is precisely what being vulnerable does. It allows the reader insight into who you truly are.

There is a benefit to this. Other than the fact that it can be quite cathartic. Being vulnerable in your blogging gives that ‘like, know and trust’ factor a massive injection of all three.

Blogging content comes from the strangest places

I will raise my hand high and  proud to say that I am a bad blogger. I do not have a content clanedar. In fact, I’m very much the uni/high school student blogger, who blogs at the 11th hour. Now does that mean that I have crappy content? I hope not. Does it mean that my topics are often not strategic? A lot of the time. Does it mean that my blogs come together quickly? Now they do. Does it mean that my blogs are raw? They sure are!

That’s the thing. I am a bit of a life blogger, you might say. I blog from my life, from what I see and hear. I blog the topics which whizz around me. I’m a bit of an intuitive blogger. I take the topics which I see appearing repeatedly in my life and I blog RIGHT THEN!

Here’s the gold in all of this blogging knowledge

You can take these tips and apply it to any content creation. You can apply it to your emails. You can apply it to your videos. You can apply it to your Instagram. And you can certainly apply it to your Facebook Posts.

Being focused on your audience, being vulnerable, and being relevant is just good content creation. And I hope I give that to you.

business bullying

There is a growing trend online in attacking business owners. Frankly I’m sick of it. I’m not talking about disagreeing on things or complaining about a product or service. What I am talking about is the growing incidence of bullying of business owners online. So what do I mean?

The Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) define cyberbullying as:

Cyber-bullying or stalking occurs when someone engages in offensive, menacing or harassing behaviour through the use of technology. It can happen to people at any age, anytime, and often anonymously.

Examples of cyber-bullying include:

  • posting hurtful messages, images or videos online
  • repeatedly sending unwanted messages online
  • sending abusive texts and emails
  • excluding or intimidating others online
  • creating fake social networking profiles or websites that are hurtful
  • nasty online gossip and chat, and
  • any other form of digital communication which is discriminatory, intimidating, intended to cause hurt or make someone fear for their safety.

They also go on to say that while not all cyberbullying is criminal, there are penalties of up to $30 000 or 3 years imprisonment for serious offences. They also say that all Australian states & territories have laws against stalking.

So while all of these legal protections are in place, my concern is actually why it happens in the first place and what business owners can do.

So while ACORN list what bullying is, it’s interesting to look into what fuels the behaviour. Especially when it’s unprovoked by the business owner. What do I mean by unprovoked? I’m talking about instances where the business owner is bullied by someone who hasn’t bought a product or service and experienced poor workmanship or service. In fact, the often benefit from the free material and their attacks are personal in nature. They could have consumed a whole liturgy of free material, without fear or favour, and then attack the business owner out of the blue.

So why do people bully?

The person doing the bullying wants power or control over the person they are bullying.

But what drives their need for control or power?

I will continue to say that we have 5 key motivators: beliefs, fears, needs, goals, and values. When we become out of sync with these motivators we become stressed and this can manifest in many ways. The two main ways we manifest stress is either internally or externally. Bullies are externalising this imbalance.

So some researchers say that the need for power comes from stress, trauma, learnt behaviours, insecurities. Some of this is an expression of fear. Fear of losing someone, fear of losing control. Some of this is a poor belief and value structure. That could be low self-esteem, that the business owner should be able to take it, that it’s online so it doesn’t matter, that you can’t read tone into online comments so it’s ok.

What I believe is that while they have fallen out of sync with their core motivators, they have also dehumanised the business owner to the business. The sad thing is that they want to be seen as an individual. They are generally personally affronted by something the business owner has done and attacks because they don’t feel like an individual, doing precisely what they feel has been done to them – dehumanised.

In the end, we need to realise that regardless of if the relationship between the business owner and the individual is going well or is a bullying one, we need to remember that there is a person at either end of this. Dehumanising is destructive. To fight this, I encourage business owners to stand up against this. Report the bullying activity to the social media platform (if the bullying is on the platform), report it to the Internet Service Provider if it’s via email, report it to the police, and/or report it to ACORN.

Finally I want to encourage the community as a whole to reclaim the term keyboard warrior from these people. These bullies are not warriors. Warriors protect, defend, and serve. Warriors are strong. I want those who stand up against online bullying to claim the term ‘keyboard warrior’, for we are the warriors in this.

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