Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

How Social Media’s Causing The End Of Business As Usual

How Social Media’s Causing The End Of Business As Usual

The rise of social media has propelled the “End of Business As Usual,” as suggested by the title of Brian Solis’ new book. And what that means is that retailers are no longer in control of the sales process. The social, or “connected,” consumer is. That’s the person, with a giant social following, who can derail a brand’s reputation with a single critical tweet or Facebook post.

Solis, in The End of Business As Usual, explains the evolution of social media has led to people not just tweeting to their audiences, but this fabric of today’s social network includes “audiences of audiences of audiences.”

This is nothing short of disruptive. And it extends to the actual buying experience, down to the very minute before a point of purchase in a brick and mortar store. Smartphone-wielding consumers have product information and peer reviews at their fingertips as they stroll through isles of a store. This access can make or break a buying decision.

Solis outlines how some retailers, like Target and Best Buy, have been forward-thinking and have created mobile apps that actually help customers navigate stores, look up prices and find special offers and promotions.

Best Buy has taken it a step further by providing customer reviews for a peer-to-peer perspective.

For businesses struggling to figure out how to develop a social media strategy, Solis says businesses must be able to answer these nine questions.

1. Why would a connected consumer “Like” us on Facebook, “Follow” us on Twitter?
2. How can we deliver value for them?
3. What is the experience they will take away?
4. What is it we want them to share?
5. Why would they want to stay connected over time?
6. Why would they choose to engage our updates in their social stream over those of their real friends?
7. What incentive do they have to tell everyone they know to follow us?
8. Why would they invest their time and express loyalty in their networks?
9. Why should they come back

This is part of a series of blog post running until the end of the year on business books in 2011 that can enhance the way you do presentations, improve the way you tell stories, engage with your audience, or market your business through social media or other channels.

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The Dragonfly Effect: Using Social Media for Social Good

The Dragonfly Effect: Using Social Media for Social Good

When 31-year-old entrepreneur Sameer Bhatia was diagnosed with leukemia, finding matching bone marrow in a matter of weeks to save his life seemed almost impossible. The odds: 1 in 20,000.

But his friends, a tight-knit group of entrepreneurs, figured it was a typical math problem. The solution: getting 20,000 South Asian individuals into a bone marrow registry.

In order to do this in such short time, Team Sameer used Web 2.0 services, like Facebook, Youtube and Google Docs to mobilize and empower others to organize bone marrow drives all over the country. This resulted in getting more than 24,000 South Asians into the bone marrow registry. And sure enough, a match was found and the tranplant was performed in 2007.

This is one of many examples of how social media can be used to power social good, outlined in the book, The Dragonfly Effect.

The book is co-authored by the husband/wife duo of Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. The Dragonfly Effect demonstrates how to achieve both social good and customer loyalty by leveraging the power of design thinking with practical strategies

The Dragonfly Effect model has four key elements:
1. Focus on a single, concrete, measurable goal
2. Grab attention: Make someone look.
3. Engage: Foster personal connection.
4. Take Action: Enable and empower others.

This is part of a series of blog post running until the end of the year on business books in 2011 that can enhance the way you do presentations, improve the way you tell stories, engage with your audience, or market your business through social media or other channels.

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Building a Business Strategy in the Facebook Era

Building a Business Strategy in the Facebook Era

Just like the start of the Internet Era, or Web 1.0, the Facebook Era (the rise of social networking sites) has been a major transformation for the business world. For the first time, the customer is in the driver’s seat. Brands are being elevated or jeopardized overnight by a single customer’s opinion that goes viral.

As a result, most companies realize they need to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, but many are struggling to develop a strategy.

In the book The Facebook Era, entrepreneur and author Clara Shih, outlines how some companies have found early success in converting leads, engaging audiences and transforming customers into evangelists on social networking sites.

Shih and her contributing writers demonstrate the importance of using social media sites to build your sphere of influence by providing helpful tips and advice to your fans. And if this is done appropriately, only then can you earn the right to market products through these same channels.

The book notes that the leaders of today and tomorrow are learning to give up “control” and instead are inspiring and listening to their employees and customers.

This is part of a series of blog post running until the end of the year on business books in 2011 that can enhance the way you do presentations, improve the way you tell stories, engage with your audience, or market your business through social media or other channels.

Read the rest of: Building a Business Strategy in the Facebook Era »

Books Worth Reading

Books Worth Reading

In the coming weeks, I will be posting reviews of business books I’ve read in the past year that can enhance the way you do presentations, improve the way you tell stories, engage with your audience, or market your business through social media or other channels.

I’m kicking off this series with Scott Berkun’s hilarious and highly practical Confessions of a Public Speaker (O’Reilly Media), in which this best-selling author and speaker reveals techniques great communicators use to connect with their audiences.

Many of the practical tips he outlines for presenting are hard learned lessons from falling flat on his face in his own public presentations over the years – hence the title of the book.

Here are some of the many areas of topics he covered and I found particularly fascinating or useful in today’s speaking arena:

1. How to keep an audience engaged in the era of tweeting, texting and mobile phone games.
2. Social Media: How to monitor what people say on Twitter, while you are actually presenting on stage.
3. The importance of speaking not just to a live audience, but also to the camera (since your presentation will likely end up on Youtube)
4. How to deal with hostile audiences

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Best Practices for Creating Youtube Videos

Here are some great tips on how to make Youtube videos go viral, according to the recently released Youtube Creator Playbook, issued by Google.

1. Create great content that is unique, compelling and entertaining or informative
2. Optimize the first 15 seconds of your video
3. Include specific Calls-to-Action in the video
4. Set a recurring schedule for your Youtube brand channel and maximize your production investments to optimize how often you are able to release new content
5. Identify other channels with similar content and/or relevant audiences and work with them to create meaningful cross-promotion opportunities and collaboration videos
6. Use Youtube Insights and analytics (i.e – Google Analytics [free] or Adobe Sitecatalyst for advanced data analysis) to better understand your audience, improve your content, and help you develop effective programming and production strategies.

The 70-page Youtube Creator Playbook provides greater detail on how to execute these and many more techniques. It also includes a variety of helpful resources. Download The Youtube Creator Playbook.

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How To Engage Your Audience Using Twitter Research

How To Engage Your Audience Using Twitter Research

Social Media has made it easier than ever to research and connect with your audience.

If you were to speak at a company just a few years ago, a common research technique would be to scan the corporate web site for press releases and news articles. But those resources don’t provide insight into a company’s culture.

The new technique I like to use revolves around Twitter. Twitter is a live, unfiltered, gossip-filled news-stream into the cubicles of a corporation. It’s a window into the culture of the company. You can learn a lot just by spending ten minutes a day reading employee tweets.

A friend of mine named Manuel Villacorta, the creator of the Eating Free Weight Management program, was planning a speaking engagement at video game-maker Ubisoft, a company he knew very little about initially.

Here’s how I suggested he research the company and its culture using Social Media:

First, research the company and its employees on LinkedIn. To do this, I had him pull up the Ubisoft Corporate page on Linkedin. There, he found employee personal pages, including their Twitter accounts (if they had one).

Second, Manuel created a Ubisoft Twitter “List,” which allowed him to categorize the people he followed.

If he had 10 minutes to kill, waiting for his latte at Starbucks, he could use his iPhone to scan his Ubisoft Twitter feed, free of any distractions of other tweets he may have on his global Twitter feed.

(I acknowledge that a few years ago, this research may seem a bit stalkerish, but in today’s “Like-Me-Follow-Me” Society, it’s become quite the norm. Twitter users become ecstatic when even the most random people start “following” them.)

Recently, Manuel was also preparing a speaking engagement at the Twitter Headquarters (believe it or not, it’s actually more than just 140 characters!).

I told Manuel, “You can use Twitter to research Twitter.”

I’ll use the “Twitter List” of Twitter employees to demonstrate this further, since Twitter employees are the last people who would call this “stalkerish.” (This is, after all, why Twitterites have a job, right?).

The first person Manuel added to his Twitter “Twitter List”: Adam Bain, CEO. Adam’s own “Twitter Lists,” which Bain has made public, included one called “Twitter/Team,” a complete list of employee Twitter accounts. In other words, this was exactly what Manuel was about to compile manually himself.

What did he learn from scanning the Twitter employee newsfeed?

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin recently spoke at Twitter. One Twitter employee tweeted: “Met Buzz Aldrin today… cross that off the bucket list. Next on the list: Walk on the Moon.”

Reading the CFO’s tweets in June, it was obvious he was a huge Dallas Mavericks fan. After they made it to the NBA Finals, CEO Bain tweeted: This seems like a good time to submit my expense reports.

Years ago, comedian Chris Rock use to ask taxi drivers for popular bars in towns where he was performing that night. Then he’d reference the bar in his routine.

This would make the audience think: “Wow! He goes to my favorite bar when he’s in town!”

Today, as a speaker you no longer need to hop in a cab to learn about where your Ubisoft, goes to Happy Hour. You can simply read their tweets, instead.

Sprinkling these tidbits throughout your talk should make it easier for you to connect with your audience.

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Social Media Tricks to Use in Your Next Presentation

If you read my last post on how to Use Social Media to Research Your Audience, you may also enjoy Chris Brogan’s article in this month’s Entrepreneur magazine. He covers not only researching your audience, but also how to market your presentation during the presentation by encouraging audience members to tweet about it.

He encourages people on Twitter to use his Twitter name, the hashtag for the speech and the event hashtag. Hashtags make tweets easily searchable. But be careful on how many hashtags you use in a single tweet. A best practice is no more than three.

The New Yorker magazine published a useful and entertaining article on hashtags by Susan Orlean in an issue last June.

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Using Social Media to Research Your Audience

Years ago, I took a standup comedy class at the SF Comedy College. The instructor mentioned that Chris Rock often used a clever technique to connect with a local audience at his comedy shows: While riding a taxi from the airport to the show, he would ask the driver about popular hangouts. Then he would make references to these restaurants or bars in his standup, as if he was a local and frequented them.

This was before the explosion of social web sites, like Facebook and Twitter. These sites today make it even easier for a conference speaker to research his/her local audience to prepare to build a connection.

If you are giving a presentation to a group or at a conference, there are a host of resources to research your audience:
1. Search Twitter or Google Blogs for the conference title to see if there are conversations occurring about the event.
2. Upcoming.org – is a localized event calendar and social site
3. Linkedin Groups – check if scheduled attendees are chatting about the upcoming event
4. Facebook “Event” or Corporate Fan Page

How do you know if your social research worked?
There are a few metrics you can use to determine that:
1. If you get asked back by the same organization (to speak on the same topic or another topic)
2. Referrals: If audience members request your professional services
3. Ripple Effect: if audience members tweet/blog favorably about your content

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