A Grand Slam In Social Business Excellence

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of baseball or not, you’re probably aware of what a grand slam is and the significance it can make to a team’s success in running up the score and winning a game. I’d have to say that after reading “The Pursuit Of Social Business Excellence”, by Vala Afshar ( @valaafshar ) and Brad Martin ( @Brad_W_Martin ) that they’ve hit a grand slam in providing anyone in management with a well presented case for the complete integration of Social Media into a corporation and the critical role it can play in the overall success of the organization. Whereas there’s so much hype in how Social Media is the greatest thing since sliced bread, Vala and Brad provide a compelling  argument that it can be a great thing for an organization if properly integrated within the overall business culture and processes of an enterprise.  This is a MUST READ for any executive who wants to remain competitive in today’s business environment.

Baseball Scoreboard

As part of the senior management team at the networking company, Enterasys, Vala and Brad do an excellent job in describing the who,what,why,and how of a company succeeding in the application of  Social Media and Social Collaboration within a business. They’ve learned to love and embrace it. What’s more, it has produced phenomenal results with increased sales, significant cost savings, enhanced customer relationships, and improvements in employee satisfaction and retention. In fact, Enterasys has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best places to work in the greater Boston area. As they’ve emphasized, however, Social Media is not a “lone” soldier, but part of the transformation of an entire corporate culture and buy-in by employees. Without this, they contend that they would not have been successful and that no company can be in applying Social Media or Social Collaboration if these components aren’t present.

One thing I admire about the book is that it is a true case study of the best practices within a company. There’s no B.S..  It’s one of the best overall business books that I have read in years and encompasses many of the methodologies that I was exposed to in working with a large number of the world’s leading edge technology companies over the years. It appears that Enterasys has done an excellent job in benchmarking what others have done and has not only incorporated these within the company, but thoroughly utilizes continuous improvement to enhance them.

The “Customer As King” philosophy is paramount and is discussed throughout the book, but rather than strictly focusing on external customers, the importance of addressing the needs of internal customers and all stakeholders as a critical component to maximizing revenues and enhancing the bottom line is highly stressed. They highlighted the importance of adopting a customer in the kitchen attitude where the stakeholders are all part of mixing the ingredients to ensure the “meal” is the tastiest and most filling available. It’s all about creating an ecosystem that thrives from these initiatives.

Coupled with the stakeholder initiatives, Entrasys has embraced SalesForce.com’s Chatter application and utilizes this as the backbone for what it is doing. Not only is it being employed internally, but is being used with business partners, suppliers, and customers to encourage instantaneous communication and problem resolution. By integrating Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as emails, and other correspondence into this system, the entire platform has been transformed into a tool known as ISAAC (Intelligent Socially Aware and Automated Community). Now, almost everything that the company does is done through this system.

In closing, I was quite fortunate to have met with Vala last week while on a trip to Boston. We discussed the book and all of the great things going on with him personally and professionally. I found so many things about Vala and Enterasys to be fascinating, but perhaps one of the things that really hit home was his sincere appreciation for the works of Tom Peters, author of “In Search Of Excellence” and so many other books and one of the management authorities that I have been following for so many years. It was obvious to me that many of the ideas that have already been implemented at the company have been based on Tom’s principles, but that Vala, Brad and the others have been able to take these to new levels utilizing tools that were not available when Tom wrote his original works. Nevertheless, Vala and Brad are acutely aware that basic concepts still apply when it comes to ensuring success and that tools can’t replace a solid corporate culture, empathy for and proper engagement with all corporate stakeholders.

For further information on the book, or to order it, simply click on the following link:

A 12-Month Plan For Social Media Success In 2013 [Infographic]

It’s hard to believe that we’re closing in on the end of January. This month has really passed very quickly. For anyone seriously engaged in marketing and social media, it’s probably seemed like a real blur given the speed at which social media moves. Have you neglected to put a plan in place?

 

Fireworks in Boston On Forth of July 2008

Nevertheless, there is still plenty of time left for planning and for proper execution of these plans during 2013. Wouldn’t be great to create some real fireworks with your plans or are you going to settle for the same old, same old?

 

Intuit has done a great job of summarizing how you should really take a look at this year and break it down into more manageable segments on a monthly basis to maximize your potential for success. These 12 monthly steps include:

JANUARY -Assess Your Social Fitness
FEBRUARY– Revisit Your Goals
MARCH– Establish Ways To Measure Success
APRIL– Be A Better Listener
MAY– Communicate In New Ways
JUNE – Develop Your Response To Customers
JULY– Integrate All Your Social Platforms
AUGUST-Integrate Other Inbound Activities
SEPTEMBER– Integrate Team Members
OCTOBER-Don’t Be Discouraged By Challenges
NOVEMBER– Lean From The Year In Review
DECEMBER– Look To The Future

Like any plan, you may find it necessary to skip a few steps or jump around in order to adjust to market conditions or customer needs. This infographic is a keeper and something which should be clearly posted as a reminder of how you might more effectively manage your precious time and realize the greatest results.

What do you think? Does this align with what you’re thinking for 2013? Is there anything that should have been added, removed, or out of place? I’d love to know.

 

 

Manage Social Media the Easy Way in 2013 [INFOGRAPHIC]
via: Manage Social Media the Easy Way in 2013 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Communication In The Mobile, 160 Character Or Less, World Of Marketing

Perhaps not since  the late 1400’s, when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, has communications undergone such a significant change than it has since the introduction and adoption of 160 character text messages. This so-called SMS concept, or more commonly known as text messaging, was first developed in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert as a means for cell phones to transmit and receive data. Little did they know that their invention would have such a profound impact on so many lives.

Today, SMS, or short text messaging of 160 characters or less,  is the leading data application in the world, with 3.6 billion active users, or 78% of all mobile phone subscribers, according to Wikipedia. It is increasingly being used as a marketing tool for many businesses to further engage with their customers and clients with new users emerging almost on a daily basis. In fact, I am a “champion” of its use and involved in providing this service to clients. You can see what I’m providing and try it out yourself by sending the message textnow to 71441 on your cell or smartphone.

In addition to SMS, the use of text messaging has further evolved due to the introduction of Twitter in 2006. With over 500 million users generating over 340 million tweets per day, Twitter has had a profound impact on global society leading to revolutions in countries and the outing of nefarious acts by politicians and celebrities. Now, when any type of news is created anywhere in the world, you can almost bet that someone will first communicate it via Twitter. Why wait any longer for the next morning’s newspaper to really find out what is going on in the world? Today all you need is Twitter and its 140 characters.

As we now live in a 160 or less character world, anyone who communicates within these constraints has been forced to become a better communicator in order to get their message across. Regardless if it’s a text message or a Tweet that it is being sent, messages now being communicated have to be very succinct and pretty much always in bulleted form. Gone are the days for long, rambling narratives. People want you to get to the point and get there as quickly as possible. Accustomed to short word “bites”, they simply don’t have time to read through lengthy paragraphs to try to comprehend what you’re saying.

So how can you cope with and communicate in this world? There are a number of ways:

1)Go with the flow.- Learn to shorten anything you write into the briefest possible sentences and paragraphs. There’s no room for being “pretty” and verbose.

2)LeaRn the lingo.- It’s the modern day SOS. If you don’t learn it, your ability to communicate moving forward will be compromised. Get familiar with an Internet site called http://urbandictionary.com. It compiles Twitter abbreviations and acronyms. Whatever you do, learn how to use the # symbol which is known as a Hashtag on Twitter. This is the golden key for any research you want to do.

Also, become familiar with http://smsdictionary.co.uk/abbreviations or similar sites that reference SMS codes.

3)Be very matter of fact.- Get to the point very quickly, as attention spans now for most people are in nano-seconds.

4)Abbreviate, but still be cognizant of typos and grammatical errors. Even with this communication revolution, there is still no room for sloppy messages. Proofread everything you do and make sure it represents your best work.

It’s not going to be easy, and you’ll probably have to leave the training wheels on for a while, but once you become comfortable with this new way of communicating, it will be no different than what you went through when you first learned how to use a PC or Mac.

Oops, I have to go! I just received a text message from a client concerning a new project! K ?

Delta’s New iPad App- A Real Winner For Travelers And Social Media Lovers

As a loyal customer of Delta Air Lines for many years, and someone who has spent many months during my career in the air, I was quite delighted to learn today of Delta’s new Fly Delta for iPad App. What a gem! Some real thought went into it and it extremely well done. More importantly, it not only demonstrates that Delta is taking advantage of leading edge technologies, but that it is using them successfully to interact and engage with customers. It is quite apparent that Delta solicited input from its customers in developing the platform.

What’s more, Delta has also clearly embraced Social Media and has validated the usefulness of Social Media for the air traveler. It is now possible for he or she to see what is being said on social networks about their final destination. Some of the additional features include:

1)Flight schedules and booking information
2)Mileage earned on the flight
3)Trip extras
4)Entertainment choices
5)Check-in
6)Boarding pass transmittal to smart phones
7)In-flight WiFi integration
8)Directions to airport
9)Destination guide

In addition, and what I’m a real fan of is the “Glass Bottom” function which allows you to track your flight progress and to see highlights and photos of the locations as you pass over them. This is something that I was always curious about during my many flights and it should be quite interesting for passengers in the future.

I would definitely recommend checking it out and download it to your iPad. More importantly, give it a test drive in planning and on your next Delta flight.

The State Of Social Media 2012 [Infographic]

As we close out 2012, it is nice to reflect back on what we’ve done over the past year. I’m sure that it has been a year of challenges, but also one of many accomplishments for so many of you. It’s probably nice for an awful lot of us to be able to take the next week off and enjoy time with family and friends and reflect on things before starting a new year.

As we recall what has transpired over this past year, we can’t help but being totally amazed at the many developments and changes that have taken place in the Social Media arena. It seems like not a day passed without some new development or event within Social Media that caused us to have to step back and really understand what it meant for us and the overall marketing profession. All in all, it was a year that was one of constant change. I look for 2013 to be very similar and one which will challenge everyone to keep up with all that is going on.

I came across a great infographic this morning from The SEO Company that cleverly describes  the state of Social Media in 2012 that I’d like to share. More importantly, the reference to Social Media as, ” from what was once considered a trend has now become a way of life and now the way we do business”, is exactly the way I feel. The use of Social Media has become so pervasive and is so much a part of everyone’s lives that it is hard to escape it.

 

The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company
The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company
 

 

Mobile Marketing Just Might Be What You Need In 2013, In Addition To Social Media

Go Mobile? Everyone else is. Along with Social Media, it’s a tool you’ll want to use in 2013.

We  all know how pervasive the use of email and Social Media has been in 2012 with significant increases in the use of the most popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and  LinkedIn. We’ve also seen  growth in the user base of newer platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Klout, and others.  The question of the day, however, is how effective these various platforms have been in providing significant revenue gains to those companies using them for their respective businesses? Sure they’ve created awareness and engagement, but has the net result been what had been anticipated? It is really difficult to tell, but, if you dig a little deeper, by examining what is being viewed and acted on you can get a pretty good sense of what is and isn’t working.

The criteria generally used in measuring the success of campaigns for various platforms primarily focuses on viewership, open rates, and click through rates. These can vary across the board and have a different impact depending on what “tool” is being used.  For instance:

1)Email- a recent study by Silverpop, showed that the unique open rate of emails in the retail sector were only 17.1% with a click-through rate average  of only 3.1%.

2)Facebook- a blog post earlier this year in ClickZ.com indicated that CTRs of 0.063 percent and up to 0.5 percent had been experienced on ads.

3)Twitter – although not an exact comparison, Twitter click-throughs for links shared on Twitter had been 7.16% according to TweetThrough.com.

Unlike the above, in conducting research for this post, everything I read pointed to text messaging opening rates well in excess of 90%. This is tough to beat, particularly in comparing it to email, and the Social Media platforms, as shown above.  With the growth in mobile devices continuing and the acceptance of texting as a norm, it is imperative that marketers engaged in the B2C space, and in relevant verticals, utilize this as part of their integrated marketing strategies in 2013. Done correctly, you can use Text messaging to deliver short, carefully crafted messages to your customers with immediate calls to action that can help grow your revenues at very little cost. There is more to it than just sending texts to a lot of people at one time. Text to win, polling and questionnaire features boost interest and gathers contacts that can be approached anytime.

You should be reminded, however, that it’s not only a question of employing it as one of the tools in your arsenal, but you need to ensure that you don’t overwhelm your customers  with messages and spam them.  To ensure that you don’t face such problems you need to ensure that you have a firm policy in place regarding who receives text messages from you and when and that the recipients have opted-in. You also need to have a platform that can facilitate the sending of the messages in an easy, user-friendly manner.

I believe text messaging, and accompanying support through a mobile compatible Internet presence can make a difference for businesses in the challenging economic environment we face. Isn’t it  about time you got onboard and incorporated mobile marketing as part of your integrated marketing strategy in 2013? I’ve arranged a “test drive” that lets you decide for yourself without cost or obligation. Try it out. Ask any questions. I think you’ll decide, like I did, that mobile is the wave of the future, and it’s here now.

To see for yourself, go to  my mobile interface NOW. Or, text “textnow” to 71441 on your mobile phone. I’ll be paying attention to mobile marketing throughout 2013 with continued blog coverage, webinars and speaking engagements and by staying in touch with businesses that are making it work for them. Let me know how it works for you!

Will ERM Be Part Of Your Business and Marketing Plan in 2013?-Guest Blog Post by Gary Patterson

ERM Can Be Your Friend. It certainly is something worth considering as part of your overall business and marketing planning process for 2013.

John Paul Getty, industrialist and Fortune magazine’s 1957 world’s richest living American, once said to the effect “Show me the problem and I’ll show you the solution.” ERM is all about taking a step back; assessing risks and making conscious choices as to how your company will respond.

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) allows you to keep an eye out for strategic vulnerabilities and opportunities. These blind spots run gamut from disasters of all kinds to chances to disrupt the marketplace through new products or services.

An extreme example of a supposedly unanticipated risk is the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused by a Japanese earthquake. The problem should have been foreseen by the designers of the plant and the disaster could then have been avoided through proper engineering. If there had been a proper ERM process in place, the designers could have been “shown” the potential problem.

Information technology (IT) operations are often affected by hurricanes or other severe weather related events. The ERM process looks at both the likelihood and impact of potential scenarios. Using these parameters, your company would assess its response options and might choose to accept the risk for some scenarios; insurance for some events and backup plans for still others. ERM helps you look at your strategic options.

Within your customer base, ERM could highlight the fact that the vast percentage of your business lies with 1-2 customers. Wonder if you were dropped by one or both of these clients? What would be your ERM response to this issue? Sometimes the improbable does happen. Perhaps your firm would adopt a strategy of taking what it has learned in servicing these customers and design a specific set of product and services to go after other large customers or maybe examination of the problem leads the company into developing a new product which disrupts the marketplace increasing sales from smaller customers. ERM can help you uncover opportunities.

Personnel is also an area in which ERM can contribute. How satisfied are your current employees? How strong a retention program do you have for key personnel? What is the marketplace like for recruiting critical people? Your friend ERM can encourage you to look at wage and benefit strategies for recruiting and retaining the right people.

Internal and external compliance is another area of ERM which makes important contributions to the strategic interests of your firm. Does your company have the right internal controls in place, such as separation of duties, to help prevent employee fraud and deceit, an exposure that can literally bankrupt a company? External compliance with regulatory authorities such OSHA and the SEC are also critical company activities. Is this area adequately covered? Are there specific areas that need to be shored up?

Like John Paul Getty suggested, problem identification is more than half the battle. ERM can help with those important blind spots that can trip up or even undo your company. Disaster planning; critical operations like IT; the composition of your customer base; your company’s portfolio of products and services; employee recruiting and retention; as well as internal and external controls are just some of the examples where your friend, ERM, can help you chart your strategic direction.

About Gary W. Patterson

Patterson works with leaders to uncover blind spots to make better business decisions and dramatically accelerate correct fiscal leadership decisions. This helps leaders gain control of their financial destinies and capitalize on hidden high return opportunities, while limiting their exposure to risk.

He authored “Million Dollar Blind Spots”, “Why Risk Management?: Systems for Making Informed Financial Decisions”, “Stick Out Your Balance Sheet and Cough”, “Human Capital RX: The Fiscal Prescription for a Stronger HR Department” and “The Fiscal Fitness System. For more information, visit his website or take his  “free” fiscal fitness test.  He can also be reached at 678-319-4739.

Determining True Motivation for Content Stressed at Digital Atlanta- Guest Blog Post by Chet Bertolli

In its third year, Digital Atlanta was filled with educational workshops, networking opportunities and product demonstrations in one convenient location, Atlantic Station, for five days. During this time, the various corporate directors of Digital Marketing, Mobile Solutions and Digital Experience stressed the need to develop messaging content with responsive design.

One of the sessions covering creating content that truly motivated action stressed including these key elements:

  • Make the customer the HERO, be a storyteller, content is more than text, gather content from others
  • Think about your touch point—it could be a website, blog, Facebook, Pinterest et al. You have to give thought toward the “Googleability” of your content
  • Organize your corporate digital team, create or review your organization social media policy, and lastly, create a consistent platform analysis
  • Finally and most importantly, start with a goal, define what metrics will look like for your organization or project, find passionistas, review, adjust continually and repeat the process.

Bottom line, how can we do this most effectively? The role of marketing research will need to adapt to measuring behavior in such a manner as to capture answers to the following questions in order to mold messaging for responsive content:

* How does the brand energize the frequent users (passionistas)?

* How does the brand facilitate the getting together of people?

* How does the brand support the users in exposing their uniqueness?

* How does the brand help them to feel comfortable among people?

These are the key areas, true motivations, that need to be uncovered in order to develop messaging that will create actionable, responsive content for your social media plan. Please comment and let me know what experiences you had at Digital Atlanta 2012 or with conducting behavioral research. 

 

Chet Bertolli is Chief Research Officer at Bertolli Research & Marketing, an Atlanta-based custom market research consulting firm established in 2003. As a market research provider, its purpose is to serve  clients at a high level of professional knowledge, integrity and value. It strives to achieve … “Inspired Research, Revolutionary Results”.

How To Get Rid Of Those Unwanted Endorsements On LinkedIn

Over the past couple of days, I have received a number of emails and phone calls concerning the LinkedIn endorsements feature. While I think it’s a great addition, as indicated in my recent blog post, Six Tips For Using LinkedIn Endorsements, there are some inherent problems with it that a user might need to address. These could include your endorsing someone inadvertently for a skill for which they’re really not qualified. It could also include an individual endorsing you for something that really isn’t your strength or that they know very little about your capabilities in the area. Either way, you might consider deleting or hiding these endorsements.

If you made a mistake and endorsed someone for a skill that you hadn’t intended, you can remove the endorsement by simply going to your connection’s profile. Once there, go to the Skills & Expertise section and move your cursor over the name of the skill. It will simply prompt you to undo the skill. Once you’ve clicked on it your endorsement will be removed.

If an individual has given you an endorsement that you don’t want, go to your profile and to the Skills & Expertise section. Go to the respective skill and the photographs of the people that have endorsed you. Click on the arrow below the photos and it will prompt you to see all endorsers. By clicking through, you will see the individuals who you can then elect to click on hide the endorsement and it will be hidden. It should be noted, however, that according to LinkedIn there is no way of undoing this process at this time. Given this, please give some thought to whether or not hiding the endorsement really makes sense.

Six Tips For Using LinkedIn Endorsements

Want to further enhance your “Social Proof” and online credibility? Want to have your achievements and accomplishments validated by others and not being simply viewed as just something which you’re boasting about? LinkedIn now makes it a lot easier.

LinkedIn Endorsements

As a LinkedIn user, you’re probably well aware of the many changes which LinkedIn has recently implemented. Of all the changes, one that caught my attention and which I’ve started to use is the new “Endorsements” feature. This addition, rolled out on a limited geographical basis on Monday, provides LinkedIn users with the ability to endorse people that they are connected to on LinkedIn.

Similar in many respects to a Facebook Like, and a +K on Klout, an endorsement now makes it easier for people to recommend others without having to go through the somewhat tedious and time consuming process of a full fledged recommendation. Although not as thorough, it still goes a long way to validating that the claims that an individual has made on their profile are real and not something which has been made up. There are still ways of gaming this, however, so like everything else in Social Media, one needs to “peel back the onion” and carefully review all aspects of someone’s profile to see if the person is genuine and has the experience and educational background that supports their skills and expertise.

Six Tips For Using LinkedIn’s Endorsements

1)Make sure that the LinkedIn Skills & Expertise section is displayed on your profile and that your top skills are listed in descending order of importance for the position that you have or are seeking.

2)Move the LinkedIn Skills & Expertise section to the top of your LinkedIn profile so that it is right below the Summary section. This will position it in a clearly visible area of the profile; essentially “above the fold”. This can be moved by going into the edit mode of LinkedIn and clicking on the top of the section and dragging it into position.

3)Check out the profiles of your key contacts and if they don’t have the Sills & Expertise section displayed on their profiles make sure that they add it. Send an email to them or call them. Explain the added exposure, the ability to be more readily found via a LinkedIn search, and the enhancement to their credibility which they’ll receive by using it. This is an important development!

4)Just like you would recommend someone on LinkedIn, review your LinkedIn contacts and start endorsing those who are key contacts or someone who you haven’t had contact with in a while for which you want to rekindle a relationship. Be selective what you endorse them for and limit the number of skills. The reason for doing this is that any time you endorse someone your endorsement will appear on their LinkedIn feed creating further awareness of your name and capabilities. By using the tool strategically, you’ll be able to get more mileage out of the process.

5)Send your contacts an email indicating that you have endorsed them for a certain skill and ask if they’d possibly reciprocate. Remember to identify the skill that you want them to endorse you for. Make sure that it is what you’re trying to be recognized for. Also, do this individually and don’t send out a “blast” email to all of your contacts requesting an endorsement. You might be lucky and get a number of endorsements, however, viewers of your profile feed may view this as spam. You also might be perceived as someone who has “bought” their endorsements. This is really no different than the bogus Likes that have been recently vetted on Facebook. Finally, if you space the requests out, it will buy you additional exposure in the future as the endorsements are posted on LinkedIn feeds and will also provide you with an easy way of maintaining the connection.

6)Thank the people who have provided you with an endorsement. Either send them an email thanking them or endorse them for one of the skills for which you feel comfortable. Also, consider thanking them via Twitter in a manner similar to as you would thank someone for providing you with a +K on Klout.