25Feb

USC’S UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN 2012

Most of you know I’m not only a University of  Southern California alum but a true diehard SC football fan.  When Matt Barkley announced he was coming back for his Senior year it was the best Christmas present a fan could receive.  As I watched the press conference, one phrase stuck out: “We have unfinished […]

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19Dec

It’s a Wonderful Life – If you share it with others!

A Christmas tradition in my family for decades has been to watch It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.  This year, my wife and I got to take that tradition one step further when the Regency Theater in San Juan Capistrano, CA screened the movie for one night only this last weekend.  One the big […]

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07Nov

On Social Media “Superstars” and the Scott Monty Corollary

As I write this I’m just coming back from BlogWorld Expo 2011 in Los Angeles.  Three days of more than 300 speakers, 4000 attendees and more than a few self-proclaimed “social media superstars.” I come away from the show with a true appreciation for those industry leaders – and I’ll name them shortly – that […]

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05Sep

On A Digital Life and Real Connections

It’s sad to think that the motivation for me to post is the passing of a colleague in the Social Media World.  Many of you may know that Trey Pennington passed away on Sunday, taking his own life.  He will, as so many have pointed out, be missed. What saddens me is that his death […]

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04Apr

The Power of the Personal Touch

Early on in your life, you begin to appreciate the Power of Personal Touch.  From a hug from your parents when you do well (or fail) to a handshake from a new friend as your realize the relationship was meant to be, a personal touch can not only mean a lot, but make a lasting […]

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01Mar

New Month, New Partnership!

Today Chuck Hester Enterprises is announcing a partnership with Media Two Interactive in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It’s a chance for both firms to add to their capabilities – me in the advertising and digital media realm and Media Two in the traditional PR area. I’m excited to get a chance to work with Michael Hubbard, […]

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19Dec

#Blessingscounted – Counting My Blessings for Six Days

I just posted  this on Twitter: For the next six days, I’m counting my blessings online and at www.chuckhester.com Join me as I pay it forward and share the joy! I am, admittedly, a sentimental guy.  So when I decided it was time for a new blog post – six days before Christmas – I […]

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12Dec

The Power of LinkedIn – What You’re Missing…

In a recent article in AdAge, Irina Slutsky offered a great overview of the Power of LinkedIn - See article here LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner pointed out in the article that “Facebook is broad and horizontal and its killer apps are social gaming and sharing, “Twitter is an app for social communication that is used […]

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30Nov

And Now, The Adventure Begins: Introducing Chuck Hester Enterprises

It’s official. As of 2 p.m. today, November 30, 2010: Chuck Hester Enterprises is open for business.  The news release that is scheduled for later this week (are you kidding, I’m a PR guy, of course there’s a news release!) will read: A PR and social media consultancy with a difference, Chuck Hester Enterprises offers […]

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28Oct

End of an Era, Beginning of an Adventure

This week brought news that no one expected – my position as Communications Director for iContact has been eliminated.  I was told on Monday of this week and am still processing what has occurred. This is not going to be a “wonder why this happened” or “the bad guy is…” post.  This is going to […]

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A new habit that’s healthy for me…

As I talked about in my last post, I just returned from the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim. As part of my quest to eat healthier as a Boomer in my fifties, I went to the show in search of brands that could help me on my journey.

One of the great new products I found was Powerful Yogurt – a brand dedicated to men and their nutritional needs. I met Carlos Ramirez, CEO of Powerful Yogurt at the show and he showed my that by incorporating their yogurt into my daily routine I am adding a healthy habit to my diet.  Plus, now that I’m doing this daily, I’m actually enjoying breakfast in a quick and easy way!

What’s a yogurt for men? It’s an 8 oz. cup of Greek yogurt packed with 20 grams of protein, no fat, all natural and only 180 calories.

For me, a guy who never eats breakfast (except for the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch or an occasional Breakfast Jack) this is a big deal. What used to be just coffee and creamer is now supplemented with real food that is good for me.

I also found that if I’m not super hungry for lunch (or even dinner) I can have a cup of yogurt and be satisfied.

So, I now have a new habit that’s healthy for me too. Feels like a win-win to me!

 

*disclosure: Powerful Yogurt provided me with product to try.

Click here for more info

Healthy Living? Me? Giving it a try…

By Chuck Hester

Now as most of you know, I’m not the most in-shape guy in the world, but thanks to Stephanie Hester and her Choose A Better Life site – I’m giving it a try. Recently Steph (yes there’s a relationship, wife, in fact) posted a great article entitled Is your food killing you (find it here), and frankly it was eye opening.

We all have our weaknesses – Steph loves sugar, I love sugar, salt, coffee and butter. Now I’m trying to eat healthy and make better choices.

We’re eating less fast food, more prepared meals at home – soups, lean meats, even roasted Brussels sprouts!

Stay tuned as I will be chronicling my progress.

Oh, and if you’re in the Anaheim area in early March – check out the Natural Products Expo West March 7-10.Steph and I will be there and we’ll bring back some new ideas for healthier eating.

Who’d a thunk it? Me, reporting on organic and healthy foods!  Give it a try you might like it too!

Click here for more info

USC’S UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN 2012

Most of you know I’m not only a University of  Southern California alum but a true diehard SC football fan.  When Matt Barkley announced he was coming back for his Senior year it was the best Christmas present a fan could receive.  As I watched the press conference, one phrase stuck out:

“We have unfinished business in 2012,” Barkley said.  That was the inspiration for what I developed: T-shirts with that phrase.

Well, the day has arrived when my t-shirt order came.  CUSTOM made by a local Orange County printer, designed by a friend of mine and ready to wear!

I’m not in eCommerce, far from it, I’m just a PR guy and a diehard USC fan.  I’m making these t-shirts available only through a limited number of channels – this blog, my Facebook page, my Twitter account and a few LinkedIn groups.

If you’re interested, let me know!  The will be going fast – AND you can’t get them anywhere else.

Contact me directly at chuck@chuckhester.com

Here’s to a killer Championship season for the Trojans – we DEFINITELY have some Unfinished Business in 2012!

FIGHT ON!

Click here for more info

It’s a Wonderful Life – If you share it with others!

A Christmas tradition in my family for decades has been to watch It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.  This year, my wife and I got to take that tradition one step further when the Regency Theater in San Juan Capistrano, CA screened the movie for one night only this last weekend.  One the big screen, in it’s original black and white format!

Now I’ve seen this classic film about 40 times, easily, so I wasn’t expecting to be “thrilled” or “surprised” but I was both.  Here’s why: I shared the viewing experience with about 150 people. So, every corny joke, every tear-evoking moment became a shared experience.

Two points to be made here:

1. Life was meant to be shared, not hidden. That includes triumphs and failures, good and bad.  I don’t mean airing out your drama for all to see (pay attention Twitter celebs) or bragging to everyone that will listen when you do something amazing.  I mean embracing social media as a “group experience” that is made richer when you are genuine and truly interested in interactions with others.

2. You never know how many people you affect – and that’s okay too.  On the ride home from the movie, my wife Stephanie commented that she really loved seeing it again and wished she could have a “George Bailey moment” where she could see how her life has impacted others. In fact, she’s had an impact on a lot of people.  She just doesn’t always get the thank you cards or comments that say how she affected someone’s life.

But you know what? That’s okay. The biggest pay it forward advocates I know – and believe me I know a slew of them – all have one thing in common: they don’t do it for recognition.  They do it because that’s just who they are, and it comes naturally to them.

So, this Holiday season, remember that it’s a wonderful life – no matter what your circumstances – and share it with others! Embrace the gift that is the holidays – and take a moment to share it with others!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Always Paying it Forward,
Chuck

Click here for more info

On Social Media “Superstars” and the Scott Monty Corollary

As I write this I’m just coming back from BlogWorld Expo 2011 in Los Angeles.  Three days of more than 300 speakers, 4000 attendees and more than a few self-proclaimed “social media superstars.”

I come away from the show with a true appreciation for those industry leaders – and I’ll name them shortly – that are humble and graceful.

As I continue to travel to conferences and tradeshows – either as a speaker or attendee – I am graced with the presence of some amazing people who are role models and mentors.  Some are friends who have continued to rise in the world of social media, some I’ve observed from afar.

One in particular is Scott Monty (thus the title of this post).  As head of all social media for the Ford Motor Company Scott is constantly in demand as a speaker and an interview subject. Yet, despite his status, he continues to remain humble, accessible and a man of true grace.

He takes the time to talk to those who approach him, never shoves them aside, and tries to always be available if possible.  A man in his position doesn’t have to be that way, it’s a choice (I know because he’s told me so).

So-called social media “experts” could take a lesson from Scott Monty. Or Craig Newmark, Shel Holtz, C.C. Chapman, Peter Shankman and a myriad of other truly amazing people I’ve met and gotten to know over the last several years.

I often laugh when people say: “Oh you know (insert well-know person’s name here)?  Wow, what’s he like?”  My response is usually “he’s a normal human being.”

I have been incredibly blessed in the past several years to get to know a lot of interesting thought leaders.  But the real blessing isn’t from knowing an industry leader. It’s from learning how they handle their status – with a grace and humbleness I continue to see as a model for all in social media.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, social media “superstars” are, as a group some of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to know.

The bottom line is a simple one: we are all people, with feelings and emotions. We all have something to say that is valuable.  And, we should treat each other with respect and caring.

The rest is easy – enjoy the ride, pay it forward whenever you can, be humble and graceful whenever possible.

Click here for more info

On A Digital Life and Real Connections

It’s sad to think that the motivation for me to post is the passing of a colleague in the Social Media World.  Many of you may know that Trey Pennington passed away on Sunday, taking his own life.  He will, as so many have pointed out, be missed.

What saddens me is that his death points out the potential trap we fall into online – that we are not alone if we have a lot of friends, followers, connections.

Trey is not the first person I’ve know over the past 10 years that lived a vibrant life online and a troubled one “behind the screen.”  It’ important to note that I didn’t know Trey well enough to comment further on this point about him.

Throughout my career first as a traditional PR guy and now as a PR/social media speaker/author and consultant, I have reminded anyone that would listen to “pick up the phone” and call their connections.  Bring the online friendship to real life.  I can’t tell you how many people are shocked when I suggest that to them.  It’s as if the in-person aspect of everyday living is a foreign idea.

Am I perfect in this regard?  Far from it.  I have a significant number of direct connections on LinkedIn and Twitter and only converse with a handful each week.  But, I do make the effort.  Whenever someone says “we should catch up,” I often work to set up a Skype or direct call to do just that.

I encourage all of us to do MORE of just that.  Pick up the phone. Set up a Skype video chat.  But more importantly, ask the connection how you can be of service to them.  And, remember to talk about them – not you.

You never know what life you might affect, what friendship you might deepen or rekindle, and what a difference you might make.

Pay it forward today by connection directly with an online-only connection.  Make the effort.  You’ll be glad you did.

Click here for more info

The Power of the Personal Touch

Early on in your life, you begin to appreciate the Power of Personal Touch.  From a hug from your parents when you do well (or fail) to a handshake from a new friend as your realize the relationship was meant to be, a personal touch can not only mean a lot, but make a lasting impression.

Fast forward: you’re now a small businessperson trying to make a difference – attract customers, retain them, form new business partnerships.  Yet, you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of tweets, Facebook likes and LinkedIn invitations.

One of my favorite sayings is “treat your connections like they’re standing right in front of you.”  It’s a reminder that despite all the cool technology and newest apps – there is a real person behind that computer screen.  Keeping that in mind helps me connect more personally with those I meet online.

Here’s how you can differentiate yourself as a small business person and really make a difference:

1. When you first connect with someone online, listen to them instead of talking.  Hear what THEY have to say and what they’re interest in – what are their needs, concerns, cool things that make them who they are.

2. Take a minute on occasion to suggest an introductory call or meeting in person.  Skype is wonderful for this, as you can set up a video call if you’re so inclined, or a phone call to hear directly from them.  Again, LISTEN more than TALK. Find out what they’re all about.

3. Start any contact you make with a question: “How can I help you?” You’d be amazed how many people respond positively to this question.  We are so used to being “pitched” all the time that when a business actually asks how they can help we are at a loss for words.

4. Introduce your connections to other connections.  I recentlly met with a young entrepreneur who has a new retail online application.  I liked the guy – a lot – and wanted to help him in his business. I introduced him to a retail reporter at our local newspaper.  She was working on a story on loyalty programs (his business) and he was interviewed for her story that ran in the business section today!   What did I get out of it? The satisfaction that I was helping a business grow and a reporter find a source.

Finally, remember that unless you reach out with a Personal Touch then you’re just another piece of data in a constant stream of information that your connections are bombarded with on a daily basis.

The cool thing about the Personal Touch?  It’s fun to do, makes you stand out to your business partners and customers, and often makes you feel more human in an overwhelmingly impersonal and digital world.

Take a second today to reach out to a new connection, or one you haven’t talked to in a long time.  Tell them it’s personal.

Paying it Forward,

Click here for more info

New Month, New Partnership!

Today Chuck Hester Enterprises is announcing a partnership with Media Two Interactive in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It’s a chance for both firms to add to their capabilities – me in the advertising and digital media realm and Media Two in the traditional PR area.

I’m excited to get a chance to work with Michael Hubbard, CEO of Media Two and his great staff to bring digital advertising capabilities to current and future clients.

This partnership also means I now have an office in downtown Raleigh, NC!  Chuck Hester Enterprises, and our parent company The Affinity Allliance, Inc. will be co-located at Media Two’s offices at 319 West Martin Street.

Here’s the news release announcing the partnership:

Raleigh, North Carolina (March 1, 2011) — Media Two Interactive, an advertising agency specializing in strategic planning, buying and design of digital and traditional media., and Chuck Hester Enterprises, a marketing communications consultancy, today announced a partnership to strengthen both firms’ capabilities.

Through the partnership, Media Two looks to bolster its commitment to its marketing mix by providing in-house expertise in the traditional public relations field.

“This is really a strategic play at two levels,” said Michael Hubbard, CEO of Media Two Interactive.  “Media Two has been on the forefront of this industry for quite some time, but we’ve never taken the time to tell anyone.  Second, our Social Media team frequently comes across situations that are more geared towards traditional public relations, and Chuck represents an in-house consultation for when those arise.”

The “forefront” of an industry is an understatement for the Southeast’s well-kept secret.  This 25-person shop, headquartered in the downtown warehouse district of Raleigh, NC, was the first advertising agency to beta test Google advertising before the popular AdWords program was launched, their Creative Director led the IAB committee charged with the standardization of banner sizes, and their Media Director released one of the first correlation studies on display advertising’s effect on Search Advertising.

“I couldn’t ask for a better partner in Media Two Interactive,” added Chuck Hester, Managing Partner of the Affinity Alliance, Inc. and Chief Connections Officer at Chuck Hester Enterprises. “Their team is the best in digital advertising and design.  The firm will be a great addition to our service offerings.  I truly believe in working with people who are the best at what they do, and who care about getting real world results for their clients.  Media Two definitely fits that description.”

As part of the partnership agreement, Chuck Hester Enterprises will have offices at the Media Two headquarters at 319 W. Martin Street, located on the 2nd Floor, Raleigh, NC 27601.

About Media Two Interactive:

Media Two Interactive is an advertising agency that specializes in the strategic planning, buying and design of digital and traditional media. For over 12 years, the agency has focused on achieving the marketing and business objectives of clients that include Microsoft, 3M, Intel Business Exchange, RBC Bank, MF Global, the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School  and the Special Olympics of North Carolina. To learn more about our design and media strategy services, please visit www.mediatwo.net or hear what we have to say at www.MediaTwoPointOh.com.

About Chuck Hester Enterprises

A PR and social media consultancy with a difference, Chuck Hester Enterprises offers marketing communications planning and execution, influencer relations; and social media training and seminars for “The Rest of Us.”  The firm is an Affinity Alliance, Inc. company, a marketing and business services agency made up of seasoned professionals who are passionate about what they do.  Chuck Hester is a well known expert in public relations, branding and social media and sought-after speaker on LinkedIn, using social media for business and paying it forward. To learn more about Chuck Hester Enterprises, contact Chuck at chuck@chuckhester.com or visit www.chuckhester.com .

Click here for more info

#Blessingscounted – Counting My Blessings for Six Days

I just posted  this on Twitter:

For the next six days, I’m counting my blessings online and at www.chuckhester.com Join me as I pay it forward and share the joy!

I am, admittedly, a sentimental guy.  So when I decided it was time for a new blog post – six days before Christmas – I figured the best thing to do would be to count my blessings.  It’s my way of thanking those who have made 2010 a very blessed a memorable year for me.

So, for the next six days, I will post a shorter than usual post here at www.chuckhester.com and also on my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

I encourage you to take a few moments each day and do the same.  Here’s a few reasons why you should:

  • It could help diminish what I often see as the negative flow on social media.  Too often news organizations who have social media accounts talk about the tragedies in live and miss the blessings.
  • Stopping during this very busy season and thinking about how you are blessed can help you enjoy the Holidays that much more.
  • The people you mention in your posts will appreciate your words – and hopefully pay them forward.
The last reason is a fundamental one for me.  I hope that people can be encouraged by mine – and others – kind words and find a way to pay them forward to someone else.

Christmas and the Holiday Season is a stressful time, if you let it be.  Taking just a few minutes to thank someone can make your day, your week – your Holiday!

Care to join me?  It only takes a minute, but the results can have an amazing effect!

To all of you and yours, here’s to a blessing-filled Holiday Season, one that is filled with joy!

Paying it Forward,

Chuck

Click here for more info

The Power of LinkedIn – What You’re Missing…

In a recent article in AdAge, Irina Slutsky offered a great overview of the Power of LinkedIn - See article here

LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner pointed out in the article that “Facebook is broad and horizontal and its killer apps are social gaming and sharing, “Twitter is an app for social communication that is used for broadcasting what you’re up to. LinkedIn is a professional network.”

To me, that’s the key: professional network.  But, most people miss the power of LinkedIn and don’t understand how to take advantage of its amazing reach and functionality.

When I speak on the topic of using LinkedIn for Personal and Professional Branding, I always mention Facebook’s great member numbers – more than 500 million at last count – and I then ask the audience to tell me how many LinkedIn members there are currently.  Few get the actual number – more than 80 million!

Over the past 5 years I have built up my professional network using LinkedIn, and in the last two years augmented that with this website and Twitter.  During that time, I have discovered, refined and now teach, how to make the most out of LinkedIn.

The examples of how I have used LinkedIn to build my professional practice are many, inlcuding securing clients, speaking engagements and even finding the right CPA.

Chuck Hester Enterprises now offers LinkedIn Boot Camps to companies that want to train their sales forces, customer service folks, marketing departments – you name it – on how to use LinkedIn to find new customers, retain their current ones and build a professional brand that resonates.

For my business, LinkedIn is so powerful that when I launched my new business earlier this month I did not revamp my website into a business site, but rather maintained this site and made a few key changes on my LinkedIn profile.

Now, when potential clients need to know about my services, I point them to www.chuckhester.com and to my LinkedIn profile with key recommendations on my services, and my speaking topics.

So, the questions is, are you missing out on the Power of LinkedIn? Has the flash and fun of Facebook or the shiny object that is Twitter caused you to ignore the most important business network available?

Think about it.  And, think about your potential and current customers and where they live.  Are you in the same neighborhood?  I would be willing to bet that neighborhood is LinkedIn!

Click here for more info

A new habit that’s healthy for me…

As I talked about in my last post, I just returned from the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim. As part of my quest to eat healthier as a Boomer in my fifties, I went to the show in search of brands that could help me on my journey.

One of the great new products I found was Powerful Yogurt – a brand dedicated to men and their nutritional needs. I met Carlos Ramirez, CEO of Powerful Yogurt at the show and he showed my that by incorporating their yogurt into my daily routine I am adding a healthy habit to my diet.  Plus, now that I’m doing this daily, I’m actually enjoying breakfast in a quick and easy way!

What’s a yogurt for men? It’s an 8 oz. cup of Greek yogurt packed with 20 grams of protein, no fat, all natural and only 180 calories.

For me, a guy who never eats breakfast (except for the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch or an occasional Breakfast Jack) this is a big deal. What used to be just coffee and creamer is now supplemented with real food that is good for me.

I also found that if I’m not super hungry for lunch (or even dinner) I can have a cup of yogurt and be satisfied.

So, I now have a new habit that’s healthy for me too. Feels like a win-win to me!

 

*disclosure: Powerful Yogurt provided me with product to try.

Click here for more info

Healthy Living? Me? Giving it a try…

By Chuck Hester

Now as most of you know, I’m not the most in-shape guy in the world, but thanks to Stephanie Hester and her Choose A Better Life site – I’m giving it a try. Recently Steph (yes there’s a relationship, wife, in fact) posted a great article entitled Is your food killing you (find it here), and frankly it was eye opening.

We all have our weaknesses – Steph loves sugar, I love sugar, salt, coffee and butter. Now I’m trying to eat healthy and make better choices.

We’re eating less fast food, more prepared meals at home – soups, lean meats, even roasted Brussels sprouts!

Stay tuned as I will be chronicling my progress.

Oh, and if you’re in the Anaheim area in early March – check out the Natural Products Expo West March 7-10.Steph and I will be there and we’ll bring back some new ideas for healthier eating.

Who’d a thunk it? Me, reporting on organic and healthy foods!  Give it a try you might like it too!

Click here for more info

USC’S UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN 2012

Most of you know I’m not only a University of  Southern California alum but a true diehard SC football fan.  When Matt Barkley announced he was coming back for his Senior year it was the best Christmas present a fan could receive.  As I watched the press conference, one phrase stuck out:

“We have unfinished business in 2012,” Barkley said.  That was the inspiration for what I developed: T-shirts with that phrase.

Well, the day has arrived when my t-shirt order came.  CUSTOM made by a local Orange County printer, designed by a friend of mine and ready to wear!

I’m not in eCommerce, far from it, I’m just a PR guy and a diehard USC fan.  I’m making these t-shirts available only through a limited number of channels – this blog, my Facebook page, my Twitter account and a few LinkedIn groups.

If you’re interested, let me know!  The will be going fast – AND you can’t get them anywhere else.

Contact me directly at chuck@chuckhester.com

Here’s to a killer Championship season for the Trojans – we DEFINITELY have some Unfinished Business in 2012!

FIGHT ON!

Click here for more info

It’s a Wonderful Life – If you share it with others!

A Christmas tradition in my family for decades has been to watch It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.  This year, my wife and I got to take that tradition one step further when the Regency Theater in San Juan Capistrano, CA screened the movie for one night only this last weekend.  One the big screen, in it’s original black and white format!

Now I’ve seen this classic film about 40 times, easily, so I wasn’t expecting to be “thrilled” or “surprised” but I was both.  Here’s why: I shared the viewing experience with about 150 people. So, every corny joke, every tear-evoking moment became a shared experience.

Two points to be made here:

1. Life was meant to be shared, not hidden. That includes triumphs and failures, good and bad.  I don’t mean airing out your drama for all to see (pay attention Twitter celebs) or bragging to everyone that will listen when you do something amazing.  I mean embracing social media as a “group experience” that is made richer when you are genuine and truly interested in interactions with others.

2. You never know how many people you affect – and that’s okay too.  On the ride home from the movie, my wife Stephanie commented that she really loved seeing it again and wished she could have a “George Bailey moment” where she could see how her life has impacted others. In fact, she’s had an impact on a lot of people.  She just doesn’t always get the thank you cards or comments that say how she affected someone’s life.

But you know what? That’s okay. The biggest pay it forward advocates I know – and believe me I know a slew of them – all have one thing in common: they don’t do it for recognition.  They do it because that’s just who they are, and it comes naturally to them.

So, this Holiday season, remember that it’s a wonderful life – no matter what your circumstances – and share it with others! Embrace the gift that is the holidays – and take a moment to share it with others!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Always Paying it Forward,
Chuck

Click here for more info

On Social Media “Superstars” and the Scott Monty Corollary

As I write this I’m just coming back from BlogWorld Expo 2011 in Los Angeles.  Three days of more than 300 speakers, 4000 attendees and more than a few self-proclaimed “social media superstars.”

I come away from the show with a true appreciation for those industry leaders – and I’ll name them shortly – that are humble and graceful.

As I continue to travel to conferences and tradeshows – either as a speaker or attendee – I am graced with the presence of some amazing people who are role models and mentors.  Some are friends who have continued to rise in the world of social media, some I’ve observed from afar.

One in particular is Scott Monty (thus the title of this post).  As head of all social media for the Ford Motor Company Scott is constantly in demand as a speaker and an interview subject. Yet, despite his status, he continues to remain humble, accessible and a man of true grace.

He takes the time to talk to those who approach him, never shoves them aside, and tries to always be available if possible.  A man in his position doesn’t have to be that way, it’s a choice (I know because he’s told me so).

So-called social media “experts” could take a lesson from Scott Monty. Or Craig Newmark, Shel Holtz, C.C. Chapman, Peter Shankman and a myriad of other truly amazing people I’ve met and gotten to know over the last several years.

I often laugh when people say: “Oh you know (insert well-know person’s name here)?  Wow, what’s he like?”  My response is usually “he’s a normal human being.”

I have been incredibly blessed in the past several years to get to know a lot of interesting thought leaders.  But the real blessing isn’t from knowing an industry leader. It’s from learning how they handle their status – with a grace and humbleness I continue to see as a model for all in social media.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, social media “superstars” are, as a group some of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to know.

The bottom line is a simple one: we are all people, with feelings and emotions. We all have something to say that is valuable.  And, we should treat each other with respect and caring.

The rest is easy – enjoy the ride, pay it forward whenever you can, be humble and graceful whenever possible.

Click here for more info

On A Digital Life and Real Connections

It’s sad to think that the motivation for me to post is the passing of a colleague in the Social Media World.  Many of you may know that Trey Pennington passed away on Sunday, taking his own life.  He will, as so many have pointed out, be missed.

What saddens me is that his death points out the potential trap we fall into online – that we are not alone if we have a lot of friends, followers, connections.

Trey is not the first person I’ve know over the past 10 years that lived a vibrant life online and a troubled one “behind the screen.”  It’ important to note that I didn’t know Trey well enough to comment further on this point about him.

Throughout my career first as a traditional PR guy and now as a PR/social media speaker/author and consultant, I have reminded anyone that would listen to “pick up the phone” and call their connections.  Bring the online friendship to real life.  I can’t tell you how many people are shocked when I suggest that to them.  It’s as if the in-person aspect of everyday living is a foreign idea.

Am I perfect in this regard?  Far from it.  I have a significant number of direct connections on LinkedIn and Twitter and only converse with a handful each week.  But, I do make the effort.  Whenever someone says “we should catch up,” I often work to set up a Skype or direct call to do just that.

I encourage all of us to do MORE of just that.  Pick up the phone. Set up a Skype video chat.  But more importantly, ask the connection how you can be of service to them.  And, remember to talk about them – not you.

You never know what life you might affect, what friendship you might deepen or rekindle, and what a difference you might make.

Pay it forward today by connection directly with an online-only connection.  Make the effort.  You’ll be glad you did.

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The Power of the Personal Touch

Early on in your life, you begin to appreciate the Power of Personal Touch.  From a hug from your parents when you do well (or fail) to a handshake from a new friend as your realize the relationship was meant to be, a personal touch can not only mean a lot, but make a lasting impression.

Fast forward: you’re now a small businessperson trying to make a difference – attract customers, retain them, form new business partnerships.  Yet, you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of tweets, Facebook likes and LinkedIn invitations.

One of my favorite sayings is “treat your connections like they’re standing right in front of you.”  It’s a reminder that despite all the cool technology and newest apps – there is a real person behind that computer screen.  Keeping that in mind helps me connect more personally with those I meet online.

Here’s how you can differentiate yourself as a small business person and really make a difference:

1. When you first connect with someone online, listen to them instead of talking.  Hear what THEY have to say and what they’re interest in – what are their needs, concerns, cool things that make them who they are.

2. Take a minute on occasion to suggest an introductory call or meeting in person.  Skype is wonderful for this, as you can set up a video call if you’re so inclined, or a phone call to hear directly from them.  Again, LISTEN more than TALK. Find out what they’re all about.

3. Start any contact you make with a question: “How can I help you?” You’d be amazed how many people respond positively to this question.  We are so used to being “pitched” all the time that when a business actually asks how they can help we are at a loss for words.

4. Introduce your connections to other connections.  I recentlly met with a young entrepreneur who has a new retail online application.  I liked the guy – a lot – and wanted to help him in his business. I introduced him to a retail reporter at our local newspaper.  She was working on a story on loyalty programs (his business) and he was interviewed for her story that ran in the business section today!   What did I get out of it? The satisfaction that I was helping a business grow and a reporter find a source.

Finally, remember that unless you reach out with a Personal Touch then you’re just another piece of data in a constant stream of information that your connections are bombarded with on a daily basis.

The cool thing about the Personal Touch?  It’s fun to do, makes you stand out to your business partners and customers, and often makes you feel more human in an overwhelmingly impersonal and digital world.

Take a second today to reach out to a new connection, or one you haven’t talked to in a long time.  Tell them it’s personal.

Paying it Forward,

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New Month, New Partnership!

Today Chuck Hester Enterprises is announcing a partnership with Media Two Interactive in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It’s a chance for both firms to add to their capabilities – me in the advertising and digital media realm and Media Two in the traditional PR area.

I’m excited to get a chance to work with Michael Hubbard, CEO of Media Two and his great staff to bring digital advertising capabilities to current and future clients.

This partnership also means I now have an office in downtown Raleigh, NC!  Chuck Hester Enterprises, and our parent company The Affinity Allliance, Inc. will be co-located at Media Two’s offices at 319 West Martin Street.

Here’s the news release announcing the partnership:

Raleigh, North Carolina (March 1, 2011) — Media Two Interactive, an advertising agency specializing in strategic planning, buying and design of digital and traditional media., and Chuck Hester Enterprises, a marketing communications consultancy, today announced a partnership to strengthen both firms’ capabilities.

Through the partnership, Media Two looks to bolster its commitment to its marketing mix by providing in-house expertise in the traditional public relations field.

“This is really a strategic play at two levels,” said Michael Hubbard, CEO of Media Two Interactive.  “Media Two has been on the forefront of this industry for quite some time, but we’ve never taken the time to tell anyone.  Second, our Social Media team frequently comes across situations that are more geared towards traditional public relations, and Chuck represents an in-house consultation for when those arise.”

The “forefront” of an industry is an understatement for the Southeast’s well-kept secret.  This 25-person shop, headquartered in the downtown warehouse district of Raleigh, NC, was the first advertising agency to beta test Google advertising before the popular AdWords program was launched, their Creative Director led the IAB committee charged with the standardization of banner sizes, and their Media Director released one of the first correlation studies on display advertising’s effect on Search Advertising.

“I couldn’t ask for a better partner in Media Two Interactive,” added Chuck Hester, Managing Partner of the Affinity Alliance, Inc. and Chief Connections Officer at Chuck Hester Enterprises. “Their team is the best in digital advertising and design.  The firm will be a great addition to our service offerings.  I truly believe in working with people who are the best at what they do, and who care about getting real world results for their clients.  Media Two definitely fits that description.”

As part of the partnership agreement, Chuck Hester Enterprises will have offices at the Media Two headquarters at 319 W. Martin Street, located on the 2nd Floor, Raleigh, NC 27601.

About Media Two Interactive:

Media Two Interactive is an advertising agency that specializes in the strategic planning, buying and design of digital and traditional media. For over 12 years, the agency has focused on achieving the marketing and business objectives of clients that include Microsoft, 3M, Intel Business Exchange, RBC Bank, MF Global, the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School  and the Special Olympics of North Carolina. To learn more about our design and media strategy services, please visit www.mediatwo.net or hear what we have to say at www.MediaTwoPointOh.com.

About Chuck Hester Enterprises

A PR and social media consultancy with a difference, Chuck Hester Enterprises offers marketing communications planning and execution, influencer relations; and social media training and seminars for “The Rest of Us.”  The firm is an Affinity Alliance, Inc. company, a marketing and business services agency made up of seasoned professionals who are passionate about what they do.  Chuck Hester is a well known expert in public relations, branding and social media and sought-after speaker on LinkedIn, using social media for business and paying it forward. To learn more about Chuck Hester Enterprises, contact Chuck at chuck@chuckhester.com or visit www.chuckhester.com .

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#Blessingscounted – Counting My Blessings for Six Days

I just posted  this on Twitter:

For the next six days, I’m counting my blessings online and at www.chuckhester.com Join me as I pay it forward and share the joy!

I am, admittedly, a sentimental guy.  So when I decided it was time for a new blog post – six days before Christmas – I figured the best thing to do would be to count my blessings.  It’s my way of thanking those who have made 2010 a very blessed a memorable year for me.

So, for the next six days, I will post a shorter than usual post here at www.chuckhester.com and also on my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

I encourage you to take a few moments each day and do the same.  Here’s a few reasons why you should:

  • It could help diminish what I often see as the negative flow on social media.  Too often news organizations who have social media accounts talk about the tragedies in live and miss the blessings.
  • Stopping during this very busy season and thinking about how you are blessed can help you enjoy the Holidays that much more.
  • The people you mention in your posts will appreciate your words – and hopefully pay them forward.
The last reason is a fundamental one for me.  I hope that people can be encouraged by mine – and others – kind words and find a way to pay them forward to someone else.

Christmas and the Holiday Season is a stressful time, if you let it be.  Taking just a few minutes to thank someone can make your day, your week – your Holiday!

Care to join me?  It only takes a minute, but the results can have an amazing effect!

To all of you and yours, here’s to a blessing-filled Holiday Season, one that is filled with joy!

Paying it Forward,

Chuck

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The Power of LinkedIn – What You’re Missing…

In a recent article in AdAge, Irina Slutsky offered a great overview of the Power of LinkedIn - See article here

LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner pointed out in the article that “Facebook is broad and horizontal and its killer apps are social gaming and sharing, “Twitter is an app for social communication that is used for broadcasting what you’re up to. LinkedIn is a professional network.”

To me, that’s the key: professional network.  But, most people miss the power of LinkedIn and don’t understand how to take advantage of its amazing reach and functionality.

When I speak on the topic of using LinkedIn for Personal and Professional Branding, I always mention Facebook’s great member numbers – more than 500 million at last count – and I then ask the audience to tell me how many LinkedIn members there are currently.  Few get the actual number – more than 80 million!

Over the past 5 years I have built up my professional network using LinkedIn, and in the last two years augmented that with this website and Twitter.  During that time, I have discovered, refined and now teach, how to make the most out of LinkedIn.

The examples of how I have used LinkedIn to build my professional practice are many, inlcuding securing clients, speaking engagements and even finding the right CPA.

Chuck Hester Enterprises now offers LinkedIn Boot Camps to companies that want to train their sales forces, customer service folks, marketing departments – you name it – on how to use LinkedIn to find new customers, retain their current ones and build a professional brand that resonates.

For my business, LinkedIn is so powerful that when I launched my new business earlier this month I did not revamp my website into a business site, but rather maintained this site and made a few key changes on my LinkedIn profile.

Now, when potential clients need to know about my services, I point them to www.chuckhester.com and to my LinkedIn profile with key recommendations on my services, and my speaking topics.

So, the questions is, are you missing out on the Power of LinkedIn? Has the flash and fun of Facebook or the shiny object that is Twitter caused you to ignore the most important business network available?

Think about it.  And, think about your potential and current customers and where they live.  Are you in the same neighborhood?  I would be willing to bet that neighborhood is LinkedIn!

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