Tagged: socialmedia

Can a Social Media Strategy Benefit a B2B Business?

originally posted on Concept Hub

One of the most asked questions that I hear regarding social media is…

Can a Social Media Strategy Benefit a B2B Business?

First, I would like to point out that at this very moment you are reading a blog post by a business that sells to other businesses.

When I launched this blog my goal was not to communicate to other social media consultants but to communicate directly with my prospective clients, the ones who were not yet blogging and even the ones who were not quite sure what a blog was.

The goal of this blog is to educate my audience about this emerging industry. As a result, we have been able to establish ourselves as experts in this industry and gain the confidence of the business community.

Through a simple social media strategy a business can;

  • Be seen as a leader.
  • Stand apart from the competition.
  • Build their brand image.

One of the most recognized advantages of participating in social media platforms is that such participation increases the organization’s organic SEO. But a good social media strategy should see beyond the SEO.

Beyond SEO

Google, the gods of search, and the various other search engines work diligently every day to make search better for the end users. This includes beating those who try to “trick” the system and ensuring that each individual’s search results are relevant to their needs.

There are a number of initiatives happening right now that will forever change the game of search including personalized searchuniversal search and social bookmarking tools such as Stumbleupon or Del.icio.us.

In a nutshell, what this means is that when I search for a product or service and you search for the exact same product or service, our search results will differ depending on our past search behavior as well as who we are connected to within our various social networks.

So the question is not whether or not your page is ranked highly in a search result, but the question is what will a person find in the links that are ranked highly?

Conversations about products and services, as well as the workplace, are happening every day. That dialog is not a marketing message or a press release, but authentic dialog coming from past and present customers and those authentic conversations equal trust. If the dialog is positive, and the trust is high, the conversion rate to a sell is even higher. If the dialog is negative, you may never even have realized you just lost a sell.

By participating in online communities a business is able to;

  • Create demand for their product or service indirectly.
  • Get honest feedback directly from their customers.
  • Protect their reputation by directly responding to issues or inaccurate comments.
  • Excel in customer service for all the world to see.

More than that, if the online communities are not talking about you, check to see if they are discussing your competitors or the overall industry you are in. This way you can;

  • Keep tabs on the competition.
  • Stay up to date on emerging trends.
  • Challenge outdated assumptions.

Jump In…The Water’s Fine

Even though social media has become mainstream, and it seems everyone is talking about it, many organizations still fear what might result if they open up the floodgates of an open dialog.

What if someone decides that a corporate blog is an open invitation to complain?

What if a company post turns out to be inaccurate or insults someone and it is pointed out for all the world to see?

What if there is a typo?

Last year Wired Magazine wrote about the advantages of being “naked online.” It turns out telling the world that you are human, you make mistakes, you have feelings, insecurities, and doubts can be a good thing!

When I launched my first blog, which was my personal blog, I had many friends express concern that I was “putting it all out there.” However, I have twice as many followers on my personal blog than my corporate blog, and those who follow me there have often been the best supporters I could ever hope for. It turns out we all have something in common. We are all human and we have similar fears, insecurities, hopes, and dreams, doubts, and yep…we all make mistakes. It also turns out we feel more connected to those who show that we have such things in common, and I suspect we tend to develop a newfound trust for each other as well.

But what can you do if someone else shows your warts?

  • Take responsibility for your mistakes.
  • Show that you have learned from each mistake.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.

Keep in mind that an open dialog can show the world what values your organization stands for, and if those values are strong and clear, they become a mountain that can withstand any little storm.

The Ultimate Myth – It is NOT about reaching the Millennials

The final thing about social media that I would like to address is the myth that organizations need to embrace these new trends and technologies to reach the Millenials (the younger generation, aka the echo boomers).

Yes, they grew up with this technology. Yes, they speak “lol, brb, btw, cob” and so forth. But not only are they not as savvy with the trends and technologies as you might think, they most likely do not know the business value of such tools and trends.

I work with a lot of interns and the bulk of the time spent initially is teaching them about RSS, Tags, and social bookmarking tools.

Keep in mind, these tools were developed by Generation X as a means to connect and collaborate, as a means to do business far and wide. Although the generation that is coming in the workforce today are very net savvy, they are not necessarily prepared to teach you what you need to know about social media.

Recently I had the opportunity to work with 4 interns on an online street team project. One intern who will be graduating in the near future was telling me how surprised she was that people were so willing to connect and build relationships online.  Through the internship, she was able to learn to network both online and offline.

She wrote to me;

“This internship was fantastic. I really broke out of my shell during the duration of this internship. It has pushed me to become less introverted and more extroverted by such activities as conducting interviews and interacting with people online.  I learned quickly that this internship requires a good deal of independent work. I created five online profiles and groups through various social networking sites. I believe it has helped me become more online savvy then I once was.”

The skills needed by tomorrow’s workforce are not very different from past generations. They will need to know how to network, communicate value, take personal responsibility and persuade. The difference is that it will be happening in many different environments, both online and offline.

Are you prepared to show them the ropes?

Business or Personal (the line get’s fuzzy)

originally posted on Concept Hub

What is Web 2.0?

“Web 2.0 is not about the technology – it is about embracing creativity.”

“Kids have been taught through technology that there are no limits.”

“It’s about intelligence having fun!”

“Ideas that liberate their company.”

“There still isn’t a computer that can come up with ideas.”

“Expanding self interest to include the other people in your life.

“You can not have a strategy until you understand your core sentiment”

“From ethos, culture, and values you get the energy for strategy and tactics.
– A strategy that comes out of your soul.”

“75% of people are depressed when they go to work – how does web 2.0 help?”

These were quotes that I jotted down as I listened to Joey Reiman, Thinker & CEO – and founder of BrightHouse, the world’s first ideation corporation.

Joey and his partner Elizabeth Clubb presented this past month for the Technology Association of GA Enterprise 2.0 Society.

I was surprised that the last quote was not so surprising. “75% of people are depressed when they go to work”

So how does Web 2.0 help? Joey and Elizabeth discussed their work with Hearst Corp. to create a web 2.0 environment where people have choices of what they read, how they read it, and when they read it. They also introduced their concept for Creative Island; among many other things, it is a world where you can virtually have dinner with 5 people from history.

My imagination started running. I would invite Leonardo Da Vinci, Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, and Merlin.

Then, at the meeting, the latest typical question came up. When will we have time to have dinner with these people? We have work to do, real business dinners to attend, kids to get to soccer practice, whitepapers to read. Even if we want to have dinner with our 5 favorite people in history, when will we have time and the mental energy to do so? When we have free time do we want to add to the world wide web, or do we want to lean back and consume some mindless media?

Well, more and more stats show mindless media is losing the battle. 67% of teenagers are creating content online and 68% of American Adults are online with an ever-growing number of social networks that are geared toward baby boomers. It seems instead of mindless consumption of someone else’s creativity, people want to connect and create, and they are finding their connections and ability to share their creations online.

So how do these connections, this digital liberty, solve the problems of workplace depression?

First, the technology frees information. The knowledge and ideas that have been locked up in the minds of all the employees who work their jobs every day, constantly observing what works and what doesn’t and how things can be done better, can now be set free in online forums to be explored, expanded on and implemented.

Second, through personal expression, people can create bonds with their team and their customers that are reminiscent to the days when the employees of the corner stores were your neighbors and the people you worked with became your extended family. This can be accomplished even when your suppliers, customers, and teamwork a world away.

Finally, everyone is empowered to be on the front lines ensuring that the organization stays on the competitive edge in their offerings, positioning, and service.

Web 2.0, when implemented in the workplace, frees information, gives personality to corporate communications, unites the team, and reconnects the organization with its core sentiment.

From that core sentiment, you get a workplace full of creative, energized and dedicated employees who are willing to give their organization their all.

Taking it to the Streets

originally posted on Concept Hub

You have a new product, a new campaign, a new image and you need to get it in front of your audience, what can you do?
Take it to the streets!

We have all experienced a team passing out promotional items at concerts, sporting events, and parks.

But what if you are trying to promote and build an online community? What can you do?

Take it to the online streets.

One of the biggest challenges I have faced when building an online community is getting people to participate. There are a number of reasons why.

  1. There are still many more people consuming user generated content than producing it. So although you might be able to drive traffic to the site, there has to be a reason for them to contribute and they have to be the type of people who are willing to participate.
  2. The people who are willing to participate in online communities are already involved in online conversations elsewhere.

Online communities are about building relationships around common topics of interest. In order to build an online community, you have to find people who would be interested in your community, then you need to develop a relationship with them so that they would want to “hang out at your place.”

I call this effort an Online Street Team. We are working with Brand Atlanta on developing relationships with people who have a passion for sports, restaurants, attractions, concerts, and nightlife in Atlanta to build a community on the ATL Insider. We find these groups hanging out on Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, Bebo, Orkut, Twitter, Second Life, Kaneva, and so forth. We listen, we learn, and we engage in conversations.

However, even an Online Street Team needs some promotional items to distribute to the community.

Brand Atlanta has developed an interactive game, “How Do You ATL” which not only allows participants to develop their personalized image of Atlanta, but as you play the game, it gives you personalized recommendations of what to do in Atlanta – and of course there is a grand prize give away.

But we all know that the best relationships are developed in-person. We need to get out and shake hands with people, look them in the eye. Those offline relationships can then be extended online.

Last Thursday night Brand Atlanta and NetParty hosted a networking event at the Tongue & Groove in Buckhead. Our street team was there interviewing the guests in order to highlight their interests on the forum. Atlanta’s favorite citizen journalists, Amani Channel and Grayson Daughters helped guide the interviews as well as create their own video. We met many great people with great stories about how they ATL and look forward to continuing those relationships online. The next day we upload photos of the event and a YouTube video.

Yeah, I know, I have a pretty cool job!

Is the intrusion of social media into the workplace inevitable?

originally posted on Concept Hub

This past week I had the opportunity to present a 2-hour workshop and keynote dinner presentation to the Human Resource Association of Broward County.

In both presentations, I referred to the post of a couple of weeks ago where I highlighted how Social Media became a speeding bullet.

But social media is rapidly becoming more dominant in our lives for more reasons than ease of use, low barrier to entry and grassroots marketing efforts. From a Human Resource perspective, social media is rapidly intruding their workplace because of the rapid shift in demographics at the workplace.

The Echo Boom generation is an expansive term for children born between roughly 1980 and 1995.

In 1989 the number of live births exceeded four million for the first time since 1964, and the Echo Boom peaked in 1990 (33 years after the peak of the Baby Boom) with 4.16 million live births, the greatest number since 1962.

Children of this generation are called Echo Boomers, a reference to the fact that the generation falls between about 30 and 36 years after the Baby Boomer generation, and thus many Echo Boomers are the children of Baby Boomers.
-Source Wikipedia

About.com and many other media sources are exploring the shifts that are happening in the workforce because of the baby boomers who will begin to retire by 2010.

Somewhere in the middle of the baby boomers and the echo boomers is my generation, Gen X. Although we did not grow up connected, we entered the workforce at the height of the Internet boom. We were and are the major contributors to the online shift.

The Echo Boomers is the generation that will be filling in the gaps in the workforce left by the retiring baby boomers. Who is the generation? They are the ones who grew up connected. They have been sharing their lives online most of their lives. They have not known time and geographic boundaries in the way generations past have felt the restrictions of such boundaries. Their ideas of Privacy is more of an interesting idea or a fuzzy concept for them compared to the privacy expected from past generations.

This generation is entering the workforce with different ideas of etiquette, social norms, and communication styles. They want to share their personal lives and they expect others to care about their personal lives.

However, this shift in who we are as a human race and how we interact with fellow humans all over the world is only accelerating.

Consider the acceleration of change of the past century;

Assembly Line 1901

Television 1930

Personal Computer 1981

Cell Phone 1983 (yeah – it was huge)

In the past year, Facebook grew from 10.8 million to 19.5 million. MySpace grew from 9.3 million to 58.8 million and LinkedIn grew from 3.2 million to 4.9 million!

More than that, it is important to look at our very young and see what they are growing up with. Not only are they going to be hyper-connected from birth with mom and dad blogging every moment and posting family photos on Flickr, they are also growing up with mixed reality/virtual environments such as WebKinz and Nicktropolis.

As much as Human Resource professionals have to keep up with already, the intrusion of social media has added even more challenges to their workday;

  • The company’s reputation is now in the hands of LinkedIn, Blogs, Forums and Social Networks.
  • Intellectual Property can be severely compromised with a click of a button.
  • Globalization and the Long Tail has created a new competitive landscape.
  • Multi-Cultural Sensitivities
  • Multi-Generational Sensitivities.

But at the same time social media has provided several opportunities:

  • The creation of a Visual Social Graph – Who does your Janitor Know?
  • Tapping Into the Hidden Talent in Your Organization – Retain Talent by ensuring that they are in the right roles!
  • Keep up with the marketplace – Know what your consumers know.
  • Provide exceptional customer service.
  • Increase your brand awareness.

Human Resource professionals are definitely in key positions to be able to lead organizations through these changes by;

1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency!
Know What is Going on in the Market Place
How is it Affecting Your Organization?
How is it Affecting Your Competitors?

2. Get Leaders from Other Departments Involved!
Social Media Affects Every Department

3. Developing a Vision
Focus on the Opportunities
Don’t Lose Site of the Business Purposes

4. Creating a Community of Advocates
Who is already involved in online social networking?
Train the Trainers

5. Maintaining Constant and Open Communication Channels
Address Fears and Concerns Openly
Maintain Internal Resource and Knowledge Blogs and Wikis

6. Highlighting Short-Term Wins
Notify everyone when you identified good candidates or solved a problem online.

7. Don’t Lose Momentum
Create a futurist Committee

8. Most importantly – Lead the Cultural Change!

Just like all the other changes in history-social media is more than a new way of doing things, it is a new way of being!

Will You Be a “Best in Class” Company?

originally posted on Concept Hub

More and more I am reading reports that are making the connection that what has been happening on the World Wide Web is and will continue to impact more than how organizations communicate with their audience. It will impact how organizations do business.

Not only are consumers now explicitly expressing their wants and needs, but they are finding very niche channels to get those needs met. The inside information that used to be passed over the fence is now being broadcast to entire networks.

Competition for attention has always been fierce, but now it seems that companies are competing with more than just those directly in their industry, they are competing with their consumers.

Several organizations have already started looking for response strategies. At the basic level, they have established a monitoring system to seek out conversations that might have devastating consequences on their reputation. Many have launched campaigns to build communities around their products or services or to engage in conversations within other communities. However, will that be enough to maintain a competitive edge?

Sure consumers appreciate that companies are “listening” and engaging them in conversations – but they will want more. They will want to be served! They will want to be treated as individuals! and if they do not get their way, their voice will be heard!

Social media is changing more than strategies within the Marketing and PR departments – it is changing R&D, Product Development, Customers Service, Sales and so forth. The result is that the “Best In Class” companies will have to adjust their internal organizational structures to be able to respond to the market at a compatible pace.

Aberdeen Group released a report highlighting Benchmarks for the Best In Class. In their Competitive Maturity Assessment within the Executive Summary they show;

65% of the Best in Class companies have a formalized process in place for monitoring consumer generated content

52% of Best in Class have dedicated personnel, such as a director of digital communications or director of social media monitoring

42% of Best in Class companies have a formalized process for detecting potential threats to the brand (i.e. early warning system)

More importantly, the report states that to achieve Best in Class performance, companies must:

Secure buy-in at the C suite level because, more than technology, social media monitoring and analysis involves business processes and organizational changes, including the hiring of dedicated personnel.

What return would a company get from all this effort? Well it depends on what they do with all the information they are able to gather. As stated later in the report;

social media monitoring and analysis can generate actionable insights that result in smarter business decisions across multiple parts of the organization.

Social Media will affect every aspect of an organization – therefore every department of an organization needs to be involved in the organization’s social media strategy.

Are you prepared to be a Best in Class company?

Comments

 

Hi Sherry,

Great post summarizing the impact social media is having not only on the PR department but on the organization in general. Also, as a sponsor of the Aberdeen report you mention it’s great to see that you got some insights from it. Listening is definitely the place to start for any organization. In fact it’s because I listen to the social media monitoring space with our Radian6 solution that I found your blog.

Looking forward to other posts in the space.

Cheers.

David Alston
Radian6

Oh! The Places You’ll Go

originally posted on Concept Hub

What is the one thing that we all hear when it comes to how to persuade, how to sell, how to negotiate and so forth?

The importance of listening.

The most knowledgeable, passionate, and articulate person in the world can fail in communicating their message if they don’t know the values, emotions, and motives of their audience.

In the world of business, we build companies that solve problems. We increase efficiency, reduce costs, increase sales, and so forth. We take our products and/or services to the market with a fairly good knowledge of the value it will serve to the organizations we want to sell to.

In our sales and marketing efforts, we try to guide our prospective clients to recognize that there is a problem. We make sure that we are on top of mind when they are ready to search for a solution. We attempt to position ourselves to be the best choice when a prospective client is evaluating their options. If all goes well we win a client.

But do we really know why we won that client?
The thing about sales in the world of Business to Business is that sometimes we forget that we are really in a world where we are still selling Person to Person. Our new client most likely did not select the product or service based on a logical algorithm but more likely the decision was based on things such as trust, likeability, the influence of peers, current standing within their organization, personal goals, and so forth.

Just imagine how powerful our messaging can be if we could tap into the personalities, values, culture, and motives of the people we want to sell to.

We can! Simply by listening to what our clients and prospects have to say.

If we could sit back and watch how people interact with their peers, give them a platform to talk about themselves and what they care about, and let them develop a few of their own ideas of how to solve their problems, we can learn how to best serve people who make the purchasing decisions, as opposed to the organization that could benefit from the purchase.

Although social media enables organizations to broadcast their message through video, podcasts, blogs and so forth, it can also be a platform to simply listen and learn what others have to say. In fact, there is a lot being said online right now, some of it may be relevant to you.

Are you there? Are you listening?

It’s opener there in the wide open air

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy and footsy as you
and when things start to happen
don’t worry don’t stew
just go right along
You’ll start happening to

Oh the places you’ll go!

-Dr. Seuss

The Importance of Your Personal Brand

originally posted on Concept Hub

I often refer to things I learned from my first profession as an IT recruiter. Oftentimes I am asked who I worked for. That is when I shift from foot to foot and try to figure out how to answer such a simple question when the answer is not that simple.

Let’s see, the parent company was MAGIC, which stood for management alliance group of independent companies, but the publicly traded company was something else.

I was hired by CFSi – which had built itself up as a Financial recruiting agency, but switch to IT recruiting, so the letters had no meaning. We jokingly called it Chicken Fried Steak inc. Then we finally switch the name AND brand to the Technology Alliance Group, which of course had more meaning, but lasted less than a year. Ultimately I worked under the DMSR brand, which stood for Data Management & Staff Recruiters.

Through all of that, everything I had learned about branding and marketing in school was shattered and from the chaos came a solid understanding of the importance of my personal brand.

I was taught that companies were doing business with me and they really did not care who I worked for. This was proved to me when I switched over to DMSR and had been there for several months. One of my long-time clients had switched their accounting process and had to ask me who I worked for. We had been working together for 2 years, but they did not know who I worked for.

One of my advisers, David Cohen, is very passionate about the idea of developing your personal brand. I had the pleasure of passing his advice on this past week when I was presenting to 90+ people at the TAG Consulting Society.

The topic was, of course, about social networking or what I sometimes refer to as “networking in your PJs.” I was asked about the line between our personal lives online and our business lives and expertise. I had 3 responses to that.

1. I referenced my experience waiting on tables (another job I learned a lot from). I mentioned how I was a very good waitress but had the bad habit of not introducing myself. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) convinced me that people tip better when you allow them to get to know you a little and that starts with telling them your name. To me, people were there to get served their meals, but I learned that service came with an experience, which was uniquely based on each server’s personal brand.

2. I asked how many people networked prior to the meeting. Of course everyone…so I asked during those conversations did they say anything personal about themselves, whether it was what the did over the weekend, restaurants they like, information about their family. We all blend our personal lives into our networking. It is how we connect on a more human level.

3. The final point was when I referenced my wise and talented adviser and said that what I learned from him is that if my clients are expecting a personality other than the one I have, I can not help them and we would be wasting our time.

Not only is it OK that people can find your hobbies and interests alongside your talents and expertise, but it will also enhance your business. You will have the opportunity to connect with your clients on many different levels, you will weed out those clients that will struggle to understand you, and your business will be that much more enjoyable.

I had the wonderful pleasure of seeing Chris Heuer speak at BlogOrlando a few months ago. His topic was Business is Personal (again?)

I would like to share some information from one of his slides.

For a very long time, we have tried to separate our emotions from our work life, but the world is evolving towards greater and greater personal expression – think about what the MySpace generation will do when it enters the workforce

Have you ever tried to “manage” a relationship with a spouse or loved one? Perhaps that is why it doesn’t work with customers either

Abstract terms like audiences and targets are designed to remove our humanity from business, but more and more people are tiring of being called users and audiences and are demanding their humanity be respected

Do you want to work with anyone you personally do not like or respect?

Me neither

This is a message that more and more business professionals need to consider. What a Concept! has sponsored Chris to be the keynote at SoCon08 where we will talk about the opportunities of social media, but with the understanding that the biggest opportunity that social media has enabled is to re-humanize the business world and to enrich each one of our lives.

Chris told me that after each presentation someone usually comes up to him and tells him his ideas are great and MAYBE one day we will get there. One day? he says. We can be there now if we just decide to.

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

– John Lennon

 

Comments

 

Great post. Love the “networking in your pjs” bit.

Posted by: Tony Stubblebine | January 20, 2008 at 06:24 PM

Excellent post Sherry – thank you so much for inviting me down to SoCon – I am really looking forward to the opportunity to connect with more great folks like yourself from the South!

Am not sure you ever saw my post on The Noble Pursuit, so I wanted to share it with you in the context of what you are referencing above – http://www.chrisheuer.com/2002/05/13/we-together-have-a-dream/

Posted by: Chris Heuer | January 21, 2008 at 08:34 PM

 

Queen Elizabeth triggered two very important concepts. The first was Britannia, the second the modern corporation.

Since the XVI that corporations have been evolving flourishing and in the 20th century, Britannia’s most successful off-spring, fine tuned it to “perfection” and exported as a gospel to all corners of the world.

Today’s concept of an organization is based on intuitive and easy to understand concept – average. If your organization hires Accenture or IBM, you have average possibility of getting your work done because these companies hire enough people which they sprinkle with real talent, so their AVERAGE of knowledge delivers the expected results.

Then came the internet and the experts within these organizations, as well as the newer generations started to shift the paradigm. Now it is possible to use the internet to build virtual corporations, which are made by the people you know (and recommend you) and that have worked by your side.

We have turned the organization inside out!

How many of the “inside-out” organizations can we look at any given time and decide which one to use??!? In the times of few organizations, it was easier… all it was necessary was to open an newspaper and allow marketing to do its work. What now?

Yes you guessed it! We need a way to REALLY capture whether of not these new-organization are doing what they say they are and that they are leaving behind happy customers.

In other words, we need a way to capture millions of EVENTS which will allow people to make their own interpretations.

So, looking at a personal brand is a way to go. Just make realize that pretty soon, there will be new engines that will determine whether of not what you say you matches with the results.

You will not be able to hide. Take the progress with all the good and the bad. Once you take, you cannot give it back…

10 Steps to Establishing a Vibrant Community

originally posted on Concept Hub

Here are my notes from the  CoreSpeed Webinar. Some of the notes are taken from a book titled Mobilizing Minds.

10 Steps to Establishing a Vibrant Community

Structure Follows Strategy

  1. People need to understand the reality they face in order to embrace change.
  2. To gain or even maintain a competitive advantage, organizations need to develop extensive coordination across functional, product, and geographic boundaries.
  3. To succeed, we need to develop ever more diverse skills, in a far greater range of specialties, over an ever larger, more diverse, a population of professionals and managers.
  4. Unlike “informal networks” that simply evolve, formal networks are designed to bring natural professional communities together.
    1. Formal networks provide structures that enable everyone in the firm to “pull” knowledge and talent to them.
    2. Create a map of how each group communicates with other groups. How problems are solved.
    3. Don’t have time to collaborate? What about the time spent looking for answers or information or reworking problems in one dept that was either solved in another or will cause problems for another.

Be a part of the audience

  1. You are part of the audience! A community in the age of social media isn’t about putting the message out there, it’s about conversations. Understanding your audience isn’t done through a sit-down strategy session or focus group, it’s about listening to your audience tell you who they are and what they care about.
  2. It is a matter of becoming as flexible and adaptive as the markets themselves.

Take baby steps and be flexible

  1. Make flexibility part of the roadmap. Your community may grow in ways never imagined and being able to take advantage of opportunities presented by unforeseen community interaction will make this successful
  2. Use the energy of individuals who are self-directing their own work, thereby overcoming problems of gaining collaboration among large numbers of employees who don’t know each other.
  3. Managers must be able to collaborate with people who do not report to them and to draw on support capabilities they do not personally control.

Leverage your relationships for mutual benefit

  1. More digital, more globally integrated economy.
  2. and consider members of the community as your partners
  3. most companies rarely operate effectively as one company. The result is widely differing organizational approaches across the company, with these differences being driven not so much by external complexities or by innate differences among. businesses as by such vagaries as the personalities of different managers and the history of how the organization evolved.
  4. A relationship is needed to establish mutual accountability and an understanding of interdependence.

You’ve got … personality

  1. Similar to branding – you can create an initial personality tailored to your intended audience/community, but over time your role becomes guiding community personality.
  2. People with mutual self-interest have long created their personal social network of relationships, of course, both within and outside of their firms.
  3. We all internalize the culture of which we are apart. If that we not so, they would not exist.
  4. Groups are naturally coercive: they need shared norms and shared ways of thinking and seeing to function effectively.

Be a real boy or girl

  1. Since real partnerships arise from the need to collaborate, the ability of partners to have personal relationships with one another is critical.
  2. One of the advantages of formal networks is that a person can be a member of more than one at a time. This enables a person to integrate knowledge and gain access to talent across multiple communities.
  3. photos, videos, personal stories – insight into a person’s beliefs, values, and perceptions allows us insight into their image of reality and vision of the future.

If you pay attention to them, they will pay attention to you

  1. Formal Networks serve to take much of the work out of “networking.” The limits of networks participation are largely a function of time and interest, members would leave when the network was no longer of that value.
  2. Engagement involves respect. Respect ideas, respect opinions, respect dissenting points of view, and show appreciation!
  3. If you pay attention to them, they will pay attention to you – the attention economy describes how the increasing wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Ask, Listen, and Respond

  1. It is much easier to get people who are involved and in the room for the discussion to collaborate in support of the decision with their hearts and minds than if they were asked to support the decision without having been involved in it.
  2. By participating and monitoring the dialogue between members, leaders can better identify topics of interest – which can serve as drivers for future revenue generation activities, as well as future leaders and evangelist.
  3. A knowledge marketplace is an enterprise-wide organizational capability that enables those workers with a natural self-interest in seeking particular types of knowledge to find author-workers with a self-interest in building a personal reputation. – Mobilize mind power by getting the right knowledge to the right minds.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

  1. Success comes from the community being formed around a focused topic closely related to each individual’s goals. The network must be provided with leaders and training.
  2. Structure follows strategy
  3. Kick off training to know roles and responsibilities, and again reinforce how the technology enables the organization to strategically reach their goals.
  4. Ongoing hands-on training and train the trainer model
  5. Network owners can facilitate interactions among members, stimulate knowledge creation, maintain the community’s knowledge domain, build and track a directory of network membership, and help members do their job more effectively & efficiently.

Most Importantly it is the Collective Knowledge and Relationships Within the Community that Needs to Be Nourished

  1. The opportunities of the 21st century are internal to companies and in particular to how individual companies are organized. If you are effective in your internal organization you can become far better at capturing profitable opportunities external to your company.
    1. Really important decisions often involve establishing priorities – and the sequencing of actions often are dependent on just-in-time information of customers and competition.
  2. The capability of a company as a whole to create new knowledge, disseminate it throughout the organization and embody it in products, services, and systems.
  3. The fact that knowledge has become THE resource rather than A resource is what makes a community unique.
    1. Once individuals step away from the front line, they quickly lose the very specific knowledge and information that the front line workers possess – knowledge that allows the front line to deal well with marketplaces customers, local regulators, and the other complexities of the business world. Their knowledge is rapidly antiquated.

SEO Leveraging Community for SEO Success

  1. User and Partner Generated Content – keywords used in a conversation – dynamic searches
    1. The ultimate goal for SEO and SEM is to be easily found and top of mind of the relevant audience.
  2. RSS, Linking Out, Social Bookmarking – providing information through the peer to peer network – also raises SEO authority level
  3. Appropriate Tagging
  4. Social Media Press Release – providing information that can be segmented and dispersed through the community in the medium the community wants to use.

Introducing Social Media to the Enterprise

  1. Managing Organizational Loss of Control
    1. The plagues of the modern company are hard to manage workforce structures, thick silo walls, confusing matrix structures, email overload and “un-doable jobs.”
    2. Internal Talent marketplaces put greater responsibility for personal development o the individual relative to the corporation.
    3. Understanding where the company has familiarity and where it does not can be extraordinarily useful because in today’s turbulent environment many companies retreated when confronted with opportunities involving unfamiliar risks.
  2. Good content Management Strategy
    1. Figure out where social media can provide some internal relief from information overload.
    2. Not everyone is a content creator. You can’t expect people to start to create content unless you give them something to work with. Also realize that even in a successful community, the vast majority of the community will be a mostly passive audience for your core community members.
    3. Engagement involves respect! Respect ideas, respect opinions, respect dissenting points of view and show appreciation.
    4. It means that the ability to create high profits per employee and to push back the complexity frontier lies within the companies themselves, their organizational structures, their talents, their business models and their intangibles – rather than in the industries in which they compete.
  3. Staging requirements across different departments
    1. Get the departments involved in this process. Listen to them as a community and create inroads for them to interact and come up with requirements and standards.
    2. A formal network is an organizing capability that uses the natural self-interest of individuals with a common interest to form a structured community that enables them to collaborate with one another easily.
  4. Executive Sponsorship and Vision
    1. Create a space of openness and trust and get that back
    2. It means that the ability to create high profits per employee and to push back the complexity frontier lies within the companies themselves, their organizational structures, their talents, their business models, and their intangibles rather than in the industries in which they compete.
    3. Organizational knowledge creation as a means of breaking away from the past and moving them into new and untried territories of opportunity.
      1. The only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.
      2. Knowledge Creation=Continuous Innovation=Competitive Advantage

 

The Economics of Social Media

originally posted on Concept Hub

Last week I StumbleUpon(ed) a video titled Liberty and Economics, a story about Ludwig Von Mises, a 20th Century Economists who died in 1973.

Von Mises’  passion and work was to prove that economic prosperity lies in the unrestricted actions of individuals buying, selling, and producing goods in an open market. He fought for individual freedom and opportunity for all people.

As I watched the video I thought about how Social Media has expanded the territory of open markets and individual freedom. Through the tools that enable ongoing conversations/collaboration, the discovery of buyers, sellers, and partners and the unrestricted feedback loop, we have created a peer to peer market that ensures good service, high standards for products and opportunity & wealth for all those who choose to participate.

We have knocked down geographic boundaries, released our creativity, and ideally, we are expanding our goodwill.

More now than ever the consumer is king. Now more than ever consumers decide what businesses produce, in what quantity and when changes or upgrades need to be made. Not only do consumers vote with their dollars, but now they get to vote with their opinions as well as their own entrepreneurial contribution.

The video suggested that consumers want the largest choices of products at the best possible prices (and I would add the best service) which is only possible through a free market system. A truly free market system is dependent on free-flowing information and the ability to gain and share knowledge and opinions. That is what social media has provided us.

Comments

Sherry, hi.I first read about Ludwig Von Mises through the Foundation of Economic Education http://www.fee.org/, a great source for additional info on freedom, entrepreneurism and liberty. I think you’re the first to connect them to social media, though. Great thinking! Best, Julie

Can Social Media Build Long-Term Customer Relationships

originally posted on Concept Hub

I have the great privilege to be one of the speakers at the upcoming CRMA National Conference. Last week several of the speakers gathered for lunch and a video shoot to promote the event. It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by so many people that were passionate about serving people.

The conversations at lunch varied from how the internal corporate culture affects how customers are treated to the relationship between marketing and customer service, to the reality that every person in an organization is responsible for the experience that a customer receives to how technology has played a role in the decline of customer service to how humanity might be saved because of technology (OK that was the point I was making.)

What a Concept! has enabled our clients to leverage social media tools for internal communication and collaboration so that relevant knowledge is shared between different departments and dispersed locations. With access to this knowledge and an understanding of what is happening within each department, companies are able to provide seamless and comprehensive service to all of the people who depend on them, both internally and externally.

For external communications, What a Concept! has enabled our clients to “listen in” on online conversations about their company and their industry and to spot trends that enable them to know thy customer and what their needs are. Our clients have even benefited by participating in the online conversations by saying thank you and asking for specific suggestions from a community of consumers.

But can Social Media build long-term customer relationships? Well, the very important point that was brought up during lunch is that technology was not meant and never will be meant to take the place of the people. While discussing CRM software, we explored how many companies implemented these tools that collect information and follow trends and schedule tasks and then somehow expected the software to take off and provide a level of service to the customer. It is never the technology that provides the service it is always the people that provide service. In an ever-accelerating and expanding world, it is the technology that helps us to organize our tasks and to keep the center of focus on our people but more importantly on the individual needs and expectations of each person.

Chet Meisner shared with us a story about how when he was a child he would ride his bike past a little store every day and buy a Fresca and some licorice. After a while, the store owner would have his Fresca and licorice waiting for him. Now if the store owner was not able to be at the store one day he would be able to leave a note for the person in charge to have Chet’s Fresca and licorice ready for him, thus providing seamless and consistent service. The result is knowing Chet’s behavior and being able to communicate it to others that are involved in Chet’s experience.

Interacting with people on an individual basis may seem like an outdated idea in this world of mass production and mass consumption but the reality is that when we take the moment to know an individual and provide exceptional service we reap the rewards through word of mouth or peer to peer marketing. The result is a shift from one to many communication to many communication.

Steve Cohn and I talked for a long time about the role of emotions in sales and service. In his training classes and workshops, he often asks people who they believe the customer is and who is the most important person in serving the customer. As we were discussing, many people in organizations focus only on the buyer as the customer and they miss the important influences of peers, family, friends and even the ultimate user of a product or service. We also talked in depth about the role of different people in the organization play in providing exceptional service. He is a transplant to this southern state from New York, and like most people from New York, he loves his state. He once asked a moving company who the most important person was in providing exceptional service during a move. The company believed it was the coordinator. He then told the story of his move from New York to Atlanta and how the movers came and packed up his life and put it on a truck and drove away. That was an emotional time for him and it was the movers who were his direct contact during this experience, he did not even know who the moving coordinator was.

As companies begin to embrace or even investigate social media, often times they narrow in on who the “professionals” are or the “target market” they miss the idea that there are communities of people interacting with each other on many different levels.

Social Media is yet another new way to communicate, interact with and know your customer. Social Media does not build long-term relationships just like CRM software does not build long-term relationships. It is the people behind these tools that build relationships.