Why I am the Derek Jeter of social media…

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I know this one is a stretch, but hear me out.

So we are both originally from the tri-state area and both were accepted to The University of Michigan in the mid 90′s. Granted he did go on to win the World Series and Rookie of The Year Honors in 1996, while I had a 3.0 GPA and countless hangovers. Despite the rough start, my gritty spirit kicked in and I rallied back to have a 3.7 GPA because I wasn’t going out like that. I digress…

So we both moved to New York and spent our whole careers here. Every single day we got up, put on our uniform and went to work.  We both have confidence but rarely brag.  Both of us are, “rip your face off” competitive, yet we always compete fairly and honorably.  We despise losing, but would never cut corners to win. It really is about legacy over short-term gains, and that is what ultimately earns respect and admiration from others. #Re2pect

Being “The Captain” of my team it is imperative to remain even-keeled. I never get too high when we win new business or receive referrals or accolades, and I brush it off when we lose a pitch or have a client leave the agency. When running your own company it is a long season so to speak, and you need to go in knowing you won’t win all of the games.  Just like batting, if my career average is .300 I am a Hall of Famer.

We both work in highly competitive industries and have tons of competition, but never really sweat them. We know that we just need to work hard, put in 100% effort and just do what we are expected to do, and the rest will work itself out. It really doesn’t matter what the others around us do, because if we play our game then we will win.

We both married supermodels (at least in my eyes) and we are both gentlemen in how we approach the women in our lives. We are excellent teammates and always have the backs of those around us. Life is a marathon and how you treat people comes back around for sure. Act as if…

I even love how he partnered with Jordan, (my childhood hero) for a brand deal. Both are fierce competitors, but if you want the benchmark for doing things the right way personally and professionally then I have to go with Number 2, the best that ever did it!

 

 

 

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Its all about the ‘tude

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I have been practicing a new routine of late and I have found that it has really elevated my mental game and overall work output. I call it the ‘tude check and I will break it down for you here.

I create set slots on my calendar to signal that I should check in with a mindset, and reminds me to zero in on a specific and sometimes overlooked area of focus. As disciplined as I am (or at least think I am) I still find that this set calendar date with my brain really helps make sure I keep the commitment and really think about it tangibly.

1- Attitude- Here I remind myself on Sunday nights how much I love what I do, how much I cant wait to get into work and how much I am committed to building a really successful company for me, my clients and my employees.  I am a pretty focused and upbeat guy anyway, but that reminder is just a little nudge in that direction to make sure I am employing the right attitude to win.

Every week at that time (when I am in a great attitude mindset) I literally draft an email to my entire team and set the stage for their week. I read articles that motivate me to push harder, work deeper and never sit back and coast. I even pick out the Monday morning Instagram post for my company that will set the stage for us to kick a@# and take names that week. The right attitude sets the altitude for the week for sure.

2- Latitude- On Wednesdays around 3PM, I have been doing what I call a coordinates check in. I have written before about how I try to regiment my days/weeks and cover a lot of different areas for my company. So at this time, I stop and look at my compass (if you will) to gauge where I am at for the week? Am I ahead or behind pace? Is there anywhere that I need to pivot or adjust?  This allows me to course correct for Thursday and Friday and make sure I over-index in any area(s) that is/are lagging or that just needs heavy focus given the ever changing landscape of running my own business, especially one in the service space.

3- Gratitude- I have also written before about having a “gratitude attitude” and it is really so important for your mental success. On Fridays I will spend time sending some sort of thank you message to a client, employee or referral partner to let them know I am truly thankful for their contribution to my success personally or professionally. Sometimes I will even just call a parent, to check in and let them know I am thinking of them and want to see how they are doing. I do this because it is the right thing to do and to be honest it selfishly feels good which helps fill my tank with some good energy.  Once again after a week in client services, it is a much needed reprieve from the constant barrage of negative energy (sometimes warranted and much more often, unwarranted) that comes my way.

I wanted to put this down in a post, so I could share it and potentially convince others to “cop a ‘tude” too. Being positive, thankful and focused on staying on course and not getting too distracted or off target is obviously a smart approach to business and life in general. This is just a roadmap to potentially help you get there.

 

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On why I sometimes feel like a personal trainer…

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When clients hire Sircle Media it is very much like hiring a personal trainer.  At this point, (April 2017) they know they need smart social media management for their business, very much like a person knows they should make good diet choices and work out consistently.

When they begin with Sircle, things are awesome for the first couple of months. They are hopeful, attentive, responsive and full of energy.  It is really amazing and we immediately see an improvement in the quality of their content, the consistency of their engagement and if they truly listen, in the results (be it growth, reach, interaction, traffic etc.)!

There is a real parallel here to working out with a trainer. Right out of the gate you psychologically feel good, because you sense you are taking the right proactive action to improve how you look and feel.  You start to get consistent in your efforts, because that accountability partner makes you stick to a schedule and you see some early results. Those could be increased energy, stamina, dropping a couple of pounds OR just that false sense of immediate muscle mass increase that many feel, but isn’t truly there so early on.  Either way, things are good…

Then with both, you often hit a flat period. Results don’t pour in as fast and you start to question the value of the efforts.  With social media, this often leads to quick pivots that include cutting back on paid efforts, reducing or eliminating influencer outreach and/or missing scheduled meetings and punting social media while you focus on “more important initiatives” for the business. With training this can mean missing sessions, reducing efforts/reps/sets or even cheating with stress meals and focusing on other areas of your life, like work, family etc.  Truth is that in both cases, you need to figure out how to balance the social media/training with those other items if you really want to succeed.  It has to be in addition to, not in lieu of.

The main reason for churn at Sircle is when a client loses site of the marathon view and focuses solely on the sprint results. When numbers are flat, they often ignore any of their own contribution to that and will come at us aggressively looking for a silver bullet that will magically turn things around. We explain that they need to remain holistically committed to the cause and need to keep their head down and focused on the end goal. There is no ROI on any one tweet, but there is real fruit if you are patient and let the vines grow their grapes.

With training, it is very easy to blame them. You question why you aren’t seeing faster results, why things have plateaued and whether or not you should seek a new teacher. First off, the real long term results take awhile to see. Secondly, you might be sneaking doughnuts at night (which to me is the same as not spending Ad dollars on Facebook mind you) which will compromise results greatly.  Only the client/individual knows the real truth there.

When you leave a trainer, very much like when a brand leaves Sircle, there is typically a precipitous drop off across the board. Clients move on and we see their imagery, cadence and frequency take a big dip, as well as their engagement and growth efforts. It is so obvious, and just like with a trainer it reflects poorly on us, when they leave and “gain weight and get out of shape” so to speak. We literally have to either remove them from our website or tell new prospects the exact date we stopped working together, so they can see the difference between good (with us) and not so good (post us).

In the end of the day, your north star needs to be that you are fully aware that remaining committed to social media and personal training, is the right play long term. You wont survive professionally or personally if you dont figure out both. You need to then attack either with an unwavering commitment to it.  Most often, switching agency or trainer is not the right answer and working on listening more and developing that relationship more fully is.

I am actually amazed by how many of my former clients still come to me personally with questions, and still respect me and what we do so much, despite having moved on.  They usually know what they had and are fully aware about how things have turned since they left. My recommendation is to lean in, rather than leave with Sircle and the gym.  That is how we start to really see the results and reap the benefits together!

 

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On having confidence in the work you do…

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That was my senior yearbook quote and was something that was instilled in me by my amazing parents. You don’t have to be the best at everything, but you have to have the confidence in yourself that you can do anything.  It is very important to believe that each and every day.

I have found that true self confidence is the real differentiator between winners and losers in the workplace.  Whether it be my employees, or our counterparts and client accounts, the ones who believe in what they do and back it up with hard work win.

When employees lack confidence it shows in their work.  Therefore, I try very hard to be a good leader and to create an environment where it is clear that they have the skills to succeed and need to lean forward in their efforts.  I tell them that if I critique them it is not because I don’t believe in their ability.  On the contrary, it is because I genuinely believe they can do it, but are practicing bad habits or not concentrating and/or believing in themselves and that is keeping them from succeeding.

When clients lack confidence it shows in their commitment to the work we do.  If something bounces sideways, the confident clients brush it aside and see it is part of the journey.  The clients (or employees at the clients) who lack confidence, will freak out and have doubt as soon as there is any adversity and/or if things take longer than expected. Therefore, I try to create an environment with them where they feel they can be open and honest and express their concerns, so I can then address head on and assuage them.  If they don’t and remain 50/50 in their commitment to the effort, then they greatly compromise their ability to succeed.

Social media is a long game, especially if you want to do it right. Confidence in the cause is mission critical to it’s success.  Lack of confidence puts them at a great disadvantage and limits their ability to think outside of the box and bank wins.  It comes down to this:

Social media is essentially the internet and social networks are a major part of the ecosystem. If you believe in your product or service and you believe that online is a place to communicate with potential customers, then you need to be confident in both and convey that effectively and consistently in all that you do. Never waiver and remain committed to winning the game.  If you do that, you have won even before you have started.

 

 

 

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On navigating highs and lows in business…

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When running your own business, you are constantly dealing with crap. Its just the bottom line, and not everyone is built for that.  I signed up for it and I choose to deal with it in a positive and productive way in the macro. That being said, the reality is that it can be very tough and tiring in the micro.

Being an Entrepreneur, especially at the helm of a service business is much more grind than glory.  You constantly have to navigate volatile and erratic market conditions, different (and often counter productive) client personalities and employee development and idiosyncrasies, while also maintaing an offensive mindset, despite being mired in defense on the daily. You must be razor sharp and always tweaking and improving, otherwise you can lose….quickly.

Just this past week our company signed on 2 new clients, both of whom came from referrals who are very pleased with our service. Good stuff, right?  In the same week however, we had to fire an irrational and unprofessional client (first ever, but probably not the last) AND we had one client notify us that they wouldn’t be renewing at the end of their contract, despite us executing on every original KPI, especially a 10 to 1 ROAS via paid social over the last 10 months. Completely illogical!

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We all face ups and downs each week and it is our ability to absorb, digest and adapt that makes all of the difference. You need to always remain on an even keel to win. Never let a good deed get you too high and more importantly, never let a misstep get you too low.  Maintain balance and take everything as a lesson and a chance to evolve on your journey.

Remember, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” 

-Charles R. Swindoll

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Sircle Squad: Marisa Folsom

We recently sat down with Marisa, a (2 semester) photography intern to learn a bit more about her. Here is what we learned:

Marisa

Full name/nickname? Marisa Folsom

Nicknames: I don’t have too many, but a couple are Mari and Misa, but Mari only really makes sense in Japanese.

Age? 21

University and Major? Fordham University, and I’m double majoring in Visual Arts (with a concentration in Photography) and New Media & Digital Design.

What made you choose Sircle Media? I didn’t really know what to expect when I was asked to come in, but my first day at Sircle Media was so hands-on and I had such a great time shooting with Jenna and Ticha that I immediately wanted to intern here.

Most surprising discovery/realization after working here? I think I was most surprised by the amount of trust and confidence the team has in its interns. I’m used to internships that have interns do smaller tasks, but I was surprised to be assigned real work immediately and to see my photographs up on our clients’ social media platforms so soon after!

What is the best part of your internship? Working at Sircle Media has really been unlike any other one of my internships. I love how friendly and welcoming the environment is, and how confident in my abilities my supervisors are. It’s great to be able to do some real hands-on work while simultaneously having fun!

What can you tell us about Adam or your supervisor? My supervisors Jenna and Ticha are awesome, and working with them has been equally as awesome. They’re both so welcoming and friendly, and I’ve felt part of the squad from day one, whether I’m shooting, editing, or in front of the camera. They give me great suggestions and directions for my photographs and edits, and I’ve learned a lot from them. Simultaneously seeing them do their work has been very informative, and gives me new ideas that I might not have come up with on my own.

Advice you would give to a future intern? Be confident in your own abilities! There’s a reason why you’re here and the rest of the team is confident in what you do, so show them what you’ve got.

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On what really matters most…

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I am turning 40 in about a month and it is such an interesting time of reflection for me.  It really does make you stop and think about where you are, where you came from and where you are headed.  Added bonus is I have been reading and consuming a lot of Tim Ferriss content lately (life hacking, introspection etc.) as well as implementing more meditation in my life. Mentally, I have more clarity than I have ever had, that is for sure.

What I have learned is that people and interpersonal human connections are what matter most. My wife and children, being the most important by far of course, but the quantity and quality of other relationships, are very important too. We lose site of that over the years and it is a big mistake. Life goes by pretty quickly and we need to really be more present and attentive – this coming from a ‘Social Media Expert’ mind you. In the end of the day, social media helps you connect with people at scale which is powerful and amazing, but we all need to take that to the next level and add depth to those relationships. Everyone wants to feel connected and it is the deeper more meaningful relationships that will mean the most in our lives. If I could go back in time I would:

Tell my 10 year old self to be less self centered and more aware of the opportunities around me. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I had access to so many nice things. Sleep away camp, trips to Aruba and Colorado, a home with a swimming pool on the bay and just 300 yards from the beach etc.  Things were good and I was very fortunate and I wish I was more appreciative of my parents and all that they did for me.

Tell my 20 year old self to try and develop more meaningful friendships. It is astounding to me how few people I am still really in touch with and care a great deal about from that time in my life. I went to The University of Michigan and I lived in NYC, so I had a ton of affiliations, but very few deep connections. A squandered opportunity in my opinion!

Tell my 30 year old self to not let some of those meaningful relationships leave my life. It is clear how valuable and rare they are and a shame to let them disappear. I started grinding in my work life very early on and I put my head down, and focused on financial success. As a result I made a lot of money, started an amazing family (both spectacular things of course) but I found myself in my 3rd decade to be short on powerful friendships, including important ones that had dissipated over the prior 5-10 years.

So now I tell my 40 year old self to be more conscious of the amazing people I come in contact with each and every day. I love my employees and their individual stories. I am fascinated and motivated by my clients and their drive and commitment to succeed. I am working to rekindle some of the really special relationships of my past and keenly aware of the early signs of some new ones who have recently come into my life. I am teaching my children to appreciate the many interesting connections they are making in a NYC private school environment, and I am personally trying to invest time in getting to know their friends too.  It is all so important.

We all live just one life and in our final days we will want to reflect on our lives and know that we had a real impact on others. That could mean helping those who are less fortunate, doing hard and honorable work for your clients and even just being a good friend who was there for others in good times and in bad ones too. I want to control that narrative and make sure I am on the right side of that conversation. I have some work to do…

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On the #SircleSquad

Sircle Squad Happy Holidays 2016

I love my team!

They are weird (in the best kind of way), fun, inquisitive, hard working and super amazing. Though I don’t personally celebrate Christmas, I am especially thankful today for the miracle of Sircle and for all that they give to my company each and every day.

When I hire, I always look for good people who seem to care and to have the “get it factor” when it comes to business and life in general. Ones who realize that hard work is not a bonus, but rather a foundation. Ones who understand that customer service is so important and that clients should always be treated fairly and honorably.  I believe if you put these type of people in a position to win, they will come out on top.

When you start a company from scratch and by yourself, you have many good and bad days along the way. During the darker moments, you might get discouraged and lose sight of why you started in the first place. It is my team (both at work and at home) that keeps me motivated to outwork and out hustle the competition, so I can provide for all of us. I like being in that position and I thrive when under that sort of pressure.

Winning comes down to working together as a team, with a common goal and vision for what you want to achieve. I set the stage, but these guys are the actors that make the story come to life. Together we make wonderful things happen.

If you have a team that motivates and supports you, let them know it.  They deserve the praise and the recognition more than you probably even recognize!

Merry Christmas.

 

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Sircle Squad: Kasey Bandilla

Another awesome intern just wrapped up her semester with us and we will miss her dearly. Before she left, we sat down to learn a bit more about her and her experience at Sircle Media. Enjoy.

King KaseyFull name/nickname ? 

Kasey Bandilla and Nickname(s): Some common ones are Kase, KC, and Kaseydilla (like quesadilla – it’s a combination of my first and last name).

Age? 

I’m 20

University and Major? 

Fordham University and Communications & Media Studies

                                                                                                  What made you choose Sircle Media?

I chose Sircle Media because I wanted a challenge. Prior to this internship, I had some social media experience under my belt, but I knew that I had so much more to learn. I also wanted to join the Sircle squad because of the intimate work environment. I find that smaller environments provide more hands-on work and an overall better experience to learn and grow. And that’s exactly what I found here.

Most surprising discovery/realization after working here?

The amount of valuable hands-on experience. As an intern, I expected to get some grunt work, but as soon as I got here, I was immediately given projects and tasks that were directly helpful to the Social Media Managers. While some projects were daunting, the SMMs that I worked with were confident in my abilities and skills. Each day, I felt that I contributed meaningful content and was an actual member of the Sircle Media team, not just another intern.

What was the best part about your internship?

The environment. Everyone at Sircle is so easy to get along with. If I needed help or had questions, every single person offered assistance and didn’t hesitate to answer any questions that I had. I always looked forward to coming into the office because it’s such a comfortable and fun place to be. There’s definitely no shortage of laughs here.

What can you tell us about Adam or your supervisor?

Adam is one of the most driven, diligent, and eloquent people that I have ever met. He is the most easy-going boss I’ve ever had but he makes sure that you are hustling and working just as hard as he is. Not to mention, he’s also a excellent whistler. My supervisor, Sara, has been an amazing mentor. She’s passionate, motivating, and super insightful. Throughout my time at Sircle, she made it a point to learn what I liked to do and ensured that I was given those tasks. She made my experience very enjoyable.

Advice you would give to a future intern?

For future interns, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It might be overstated, but it’s true. Adam and your supervisor are here to help you learn and get the most out of your internship here at Sircle. Also, be open to all tasks and projects. Working on a wide range projects, I was able to further develop skills I already had and gain new ones that I wouldn’t have attained otherwise. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your experience at Sircle. I definitely did!

 

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On being thankful…

be-thankful-inspiration-wallpaperOn this Monday of Thanksgiving week, I am feeling especially thankful for the things in my life.  Personally speaking, I am most thankful for my amazing wife and kids, for supporting me in my professional journey (which has many highs and lows mind you) and for my friends (and other acquaintances) for motivating, helping, advising and even just promoting me in their lives.  I have written about employing a gratitude attitude in this blog before and it is true now, more than ever!

Professionally speaking, I have an amazing and talented new hire starting today, two new (referred) clients kicking off this week and three calls for new business opportunities before turkey day. Cherry on top- I received a note from one of those new clients telling me that it was the gratitude blog post above, as well as the piece I wrote on “Core Values” that convinced them to sign with us VS. someone else.  While that is not the reason I write them, it is is a perfect example of how content marketing works.

You cant fake it, you need to feel it in your bones.  When you put out good energy, it typically comes back to you in various ways. It doesn’t always happen right away, but you should stay the course. Doing the right thing is always the right thing and if you are passionate, honorable and hard working then good things come.

I am thankful for all of those (family, clients, employees) who allow me to even be in the position to do what I do. Thank you! :)

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