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Social Business Tips

In this blog series on Social Business we had a chance to review how a local company – Jackson Triggs – is using social media and other digital marketing to support their business.   As we have seen in the other posts, Jackson Triggs Winery has a very thorough online presence and customers engaged!  Conversations a plenty – written and visual.  But what are they missing?

Tips to consider when planning a social media strategy

  • Your Website, Your Hub  – Your company website is your information center.  This does NOT have to be a social platform, but it should be to ‘go to’ source for people wanting to learn about who you are, what you have to offer and how to ‘buy’ from you.  Make sure all the social media sites (and other digital sites) link back to this one and it links to your relevant social media sites.  Jackson Triggs –  Facebook & Twitter are the only two links listed on the footer section of the site.  They should at the very least add their YouTube and Pinterest sites.
  • Don’t start something and not use it –  If you start showing your public that you are a social company, make sure that you represent all of your company.  Don’t just post a profile and then let it sit.  Some parts of the company may get more interactions because it is busier, but nothing should be allowed to go stale/ neglected. Jackson Triggs – Link to the BC Winery & Vineyard location is posted in equal prominence on the company website to that of the  NOTL site.  Links to their twitter accounts are both posted in a similar format right next to those links.  NOTL Twitter  is VERY active, BC has only 24 Tweets and last posted 6 months ago. Find someone  to start posting!  YouTube is not being consistently used and only recently a couple of video have been added.  Hard pressed to find any customer engagement on here (no comments) and the background looks like it is from Halloween! Keep it FRESH
  • Be consistent –   If you are being social in one part of the company, your customers will expect it in all parts of your organization or they might think something is wrong.  Consistency with your image is very important.  If you say (through your public actions) you have a social culture, then make sure you carry it throughout.  Jackson Triggs – Their BC Winery is not being represented well on any of their social media sites.  Put someone in charge to oversee and personalize this very underutilized part of the organization.  Hire someone local (in-house or agency).  Those offering content need to live and breathe the experience so that they can respond in an authentic way.

Social Business Blog Series:

Note:  This Social Business Series has been part of an assignment for the Social Media class that I am taking at McMaster University for the PR program.  All research has been gathered online from publicly available information.  There may be more information available as to what they have coming up in their marketing/communication road map, but we wanted this research to be from the perspective of a customer.  Truly organic in nature and meant to inspire, not criticize.

Social Business: A Measuring Stick

What is Social Business?

“An organization that has put in place the strategies, technologies and processes to systematically engage all the individuals of its ecosystem (employees, customers, partners, suppliers) to maximize the co-created value” [1]

How does your business measure up?

  • Connected – Internal and external stakeholders of the organization are able to seamlessly engage in conversations.  Various communication platforms relevant to the position and accessibility of the people involved are available.  i.e. Intranet for employees, Social media sites (open for the public and closed groups for employees), Email, Forums, Chat rooms, Video Conferencing, etc.
  • Social – Authentic, honest, and transparent are the key etiquette rules for employees that are part of a social business.  Less about selling / marketing – more about engaging in two-way communication.  This is especially true when representatives are providing content for official company sites, but also when they publicly post and engage in conversation personally.  In both situations, they are ambassadors for the company while they are part of the organization (employees, contractors, etc.)
  • Present – Conversations may begin by being posted on a company website / social platform / media release   (i.e comments on the site, linking back to an article from another social site, reference in a blog or magazine article, etc).  It can also begin from an offline experience but posted online by one of their public (i.e. customer review site, video, comment on social media site, etc)
  • Intelligent  – Not only intelligent, but also responsible.   Intelligent because you will have systems, tools and resources in place to measure, monitor and evaluate results (qualitative and quantitative) against business objectives.  Always need the Return on Investment numbers.  Responsible because you will be setting the company culture.  You are saying that you are listening and showing you care by responding.  Don’t let them down – Listen and Respond!


Social Business articles:

What is Social Business?

Social Enterprise 

Social Business Overview

What the hell is a social business? 

References:

[1]  Social Business 

Wikipedia – Social business model  

Social Business Blog Series:

Off-Line Networking Wins

Building online relationships through social sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging, etc. are important, but  if you have to pick one over the other, building off-line relationships is more beneficial.  I don’t mean just rubbing shoulders in a conference and then leaving, but having the opportunity to hold real conversations with people.  These may be people within your industry, or people who know people, who know people, who know people… because 6 degrees of separation is a reality.

Why is a hand-shake better than an @mention on Twitter?  Because there is more to a conversation that just words.

What makes Off-line networking better?

  1. Honesty through body language –  gives you the opportunity to talk with someone and see their response to your words, or to you in general.  Do you ever notice that when someone loses interest in what you have to say they look away (or their eyes glaze over) or start to fidget?  This is your chance to redirect the conversation to keep them engaged, or let them go because you know now that they really aren’t interested in what you have to say.  Perhaps though this  is not about them, but about you.  Think of their response as a mirror to you.  Are you speaking only of yourself?  These are hard lessons that cannot be ignored when you are in person.  Real engagement is when you talk about others, and less about yourself.  You don’t get that opportunity to have this kind of immediate and insightful feedback when you are online.
  2. Memory – You have the opportunity to include all your senses (and emotion) when meeting someone in person:  Smell – the greatest sense for enhancing the memory, Sight – 3 dimensional sight is more effective than just a profile pic, Sound – how  their voice sounds during a casual conversation may offer insight to how they REALLY feel about what they are saying (podcasts that are scripted don’t offer such insight).  All of this gives you clues to who these people really are.  It will help imprint on your memory for future discussions that may take place later:  off-line or online.
  3. Speed – With all of the above factors taking place during a physical interaction with another person, the speed of getting to know one another through off-line conversation is so much faster than online.  Hard to believe, but online is slower in some things, and this is one of them.
  4. Authentic – people cannot hide their true self when in the company of another, or at least not as well.  Perhaps this is unnerving to some, but in the age of transparency and communication excellence, this should not be a problem.  #foodforthought
  5. Healthy – YES, it is healthy to get out and be with other people!  Away from the computer.  Physically interacting with other people.  For some people this is part of their everyday life, but more and more we find ourselves spending an incredible amount of time behind the screen of an electronic device.  Be good to your body:  Get out and mingle!

I enjoy the sales meetings and conferences that I have the opportunity to attend – especially the global ones.  Not only to learn about new products, but because it is a healthy change of pace.  It is a chance to meet peers from other countries :  to share challenges, accomplishments and best practices.  NOT over a digital platform, but with the mountains at our backs, music around us, drink in hand and much laughter and smiles.  Business cards exchanged, LinkedIn profiles connected, and promises to stay in touch.

THIS is networking.

What other benefits have you experienced through off-line networking?

Image borrowed from : WannaReadYou.com – More about body language

Emergency Management and Communications

Who are our emergency managers?

Emergency management (EM) professionals’ role is to protect people, property, critical infrastructure and the environment during emergencies and disasters.  They are often involved in educating  the public on how to be prepared for such events. When a disaster occurs, they are the ones that are organizing the efforts to get help to those in need.  You will find emergency managers in any organization that are First-Responders during a disaster or emergency – i.e. Fire, Police, Paramedics, Hospitals, Municipalities, etc.

In Ontario, it is law that each municipality is required to have an Emergency Management Program Coordinator. [1] [2] Emergency management is sometimes a role within a role.  For example, a fire chief may take on the job of an emergency manager [3].  A sample task within this role could be overseeing the implementation of a more effective communication program between various First-Responders (i.e. police, fire, mayor’s office, etc) to use during an emergency.

How do they communicate?

Working with FutureShield for a couple of years, I have had the privilege of meeting some exceptional EM pros from across our country.  One aspect of FutureShield’s  business is to help their customers find the right software technology to support better communications within their organizations.  These men and women in charge of sourcing out such solutions are some of the most innovative, visionary and tech-savvy among their peers.  They understand the advantages of using technology to assist their efforts to support the welfare of our communities.  Examples –  Windsor Exercise , U Windsor wins the MTIA award , BC Hydro’s security during the  Olympics

Do these same people embrace social media as part of their overall communication plan?  How is social media affecting their roles?  How does it fit within their overall communication strategy?

Related Blogs:

References:

[1]  Ontario Regulation 380/04

[2] Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act

[3] Emergency Management Coordinator as an additional position – North Bay, Meaford, New Tecumseth

People, Links, Related Articles:

Patrice Cloutier  – Communications Strategist for the Ontario Government

Shared Emergency Management links

IAEM – International Association of Emergency Managers

OAEM – Ontario Association of Emergency Managers

Emergency Management Ontario – EMO

www.sm4em.org – online group for Social Media for Emergency Management – including Twitter Hash tag discussions #SMEM

Magic words of Motivation

“I believe” :  the strongest two words that motivate all of us.  What made crowds appear in Washington on a hot summer’s day to listen to Martin Luther King speak about civil rights?  ” I believe “.  And not what HE necessarily believed, but what they believed as well.  What made the Wright Brothers push through their challenges to invent a flying machine?  Because they believed in that what they were doing would positively change life forever.

Simon Sinek speaks here about the motivation behind WHY people do what they do.  What changes people’s behavior?  The ‘golden circle’ is a visual showing us that we act from the inside out.  The WHY or what we believe in is truly what motivates all of us.

Once we realize this, we will be able to achieve what we want to achieve.

  • Career  – because we will want to get up every day for work knowing the WHY you are doing it.  Your vision will be clear.
  • Hiring – you will know who to hire, because now you know what to look for in those that will be your team mates.  They will believe in what you are doing more than just wanting to be there for a paycheck, which is the ‘what’.
  • Customers – your customers will buy from you because they know the WHY behind why you are offering this product / service ( Simon uses the example of APPLE )

What is really incredible is that this circle, and all of what it means, is rooted in biology – the design of our brain.  Science tells us that WHY is what motivates us, not WHAT.

Trouble viewing the TED talk video?I Go to your TED talks app  and search on Simon Sinek.

Related articles:

The Golden Circle

Following your passion – Easier said than done – Jeremy Floyd

Sales, Marketing and Public Relations – Convergence means success

ImageEvery organization has objectives. Even if they are not clearly written, they are there.  Every part of that organization is working to meet those objective.  Even if they are not guided, or have clear information on what those objectives are, they are hired for a purpose.

So let’s talk success and team work.  Is it not common sense that we should all work as a team to achieve what we set out to do?  Is not a chain stronger when they are all linked together?  Now there is no excuse.  We have the technology to make this happen, but unfortunately the ‘old way’ of doing things is getting in the way.

Sales, Marketing & Public Relations have been acting like oil and water.  It is time for change.  It is time to shake things up a little and start being exceptional.  Let’s start thinking and acting ‘outside of the box’.  It does not mean that we throw everything out the window that we have been doing over the years, but stepping away and looking at your processes and cultural ways with fresh eyes will give you rejuvenated perspective.  Conversations across various departments will give you skills and talent that you perhaps didn’t even realize you had.

Tips below on how and why sales and marketing should converge.

  1. Culturally increase cross conversations between Marketing & Sales so that it is more ‘our’ thing rather than yours or my thing.
  2. Pay your staff to perform as a team.
  3. Look at the details (i.e. make sure your team can articulate your story) – no one person is going to close deals.
  4. Single objective – everyone doing their job to achieve this objective
  5. You have to be extreme (outside the norm of what you have always done) – you are ALL in the mission to sell, ALL in the same team.  Get rid of org chart and build a team.”

The 5 tips above are from Todd & Dan’s video segment: Marketing vs. Sales, or Breaking Down the Silos in 2012: From SalesChaosTV Video Discussion . Great reference for forward thinking tips on how sales and marketing should be done now and moving forward.

Related Resources:

Lee Odden Digital Convergency: Marketing & Public Relations

Clay Shirk’s Book – Here Comes Everybody

Arbinger Group – Leadership and Self Deception:  Getting out of the box

Social Media: Part 3 – The Budget

Budgeting for your Social Media Program


First thing we must understand is that there is a difference between a Social Media Program and a Social Media Campaign.  Programs (Plans)  are developed within your overall strategy and will often have smaller programs / campaigns within that plan. Tactics are used to achieve the objectives for these programs and campaigns.   Even if you only decide on a limited program for social media, (i.e. Facebook profile with a contest once a month)  please go through the planning exercise to make sure that it supports your overall business objectives.  Offering SMART objectives (S- Strategic, M-Measurable, A-Achievable, R-Realistic and T-Time-bound) will help build your case to get the budget that you seek for your program.  If you are the owner of your business, part of a charitable organization or an employee at your company, you will need to justify this budget to measure your return on investment and for forward planning.  (Refer to my Social Media Research and Plan blogs for steps 1 & 2 ).

  1. Research – Do you need to do anymore research?  Are you going to have to include any of this in your budget (i.e. Focus groups).  Some organizations will do a research budget first and then based on the results move to the next step to acquire more budget for the program.  For small businesses, much of your research can be gathered at the most a nominal charge:  Free information available on the internet, informal conversations with key customers, and marketing data that you have collected over the years.
  2. Social Media maturity – If you already have certain social media platforms set up (i.e. Facebook page, Linked in company, Twitter account) this will save some time.  If you have staff that can assist and you, and you yourself  have some familiarity with using social media, this will give you some support and background to getting started.  Much of the start-up budget is just getting your online profiles set up.  Much of Social Media budget is allocated to TIME.  If you have someone on staff that can create, manage and monitor your profiles, consider this as an option; BUT,  think this through because it is your reputation and money that is being used.  Source out a social media expert to get some quotes, you might be surprised.
  3. Hire a Social Media Consultant, or not? Your biggest portion of budget will be to your ‘Community Manager’.  Salaries for this position varies depending on the time commitment, expertise and what part of the world you live in.  I have seen salaries ranging from $35-$50K on LinkedIn.  If you decide to bring in a consultant to help you develop your strategy, this will be an added cost as well. Make sure you do your research on what to expect out of someone who will assist in developing your strategy.  Not only will you want them to have experience in Social Media and Public Relations, but you will want them to have a good grasp of overall business strategies.  Check out the Related Resources section below for tips on hiring, or ask me any questions in the comment section.
  4. What do you want to achieve?  The more you want, the more it will cost.
    • Profiles – how many?  How many updates needed on each profile?  How often?
    • Where will you get your content?  Time – who will do this?
    • Monitoring – Will you have someone monitor social media for trends, competitors, etc.
    • Will you be having campaigns throughout the time period?  What will this look like?
  5. Tools – There are many free tools that are very effective.  As your programs grow, you may want to purchase a subscription to a social media tool to assist in the area of management, monitoring and analysis.  Hootsuite, Hubspot, Constant Contact and Radian6 are examples of some social media tools on the market.  Some of these tools offer a Free trial, or a Free limited version of their product and this is fine for starting out, but as your team and program grows, you really should consider a software tool to support your efforts.  Automation will not only save you time, but will help with efficiency.

Budget Checklist

  • Who – Human Resources to start, implement, manage and evaluate the program and/or campaign
  • What – Objectives – What does success look like ?
  • When – Timeline – milestones and final evaluation
  • Where – Social Media sites to be used
  • How – Tactics:  How are you going to achieve this?  Monitoring and Measurement:  Tools to be used?

These questions will frame your budget.  Human resources will be your largest contribution to your budget.  Be realistic, but also understand that you set up opportunity for evaluation so that you can review your budget for long-term planning.  Consider too that you may be paying  less now for traditional media (i.e. print) to free up some budget dollars for human resources and other social media resources needed for this initiative.

Related Resources (articles, books, blogs):

Mashable:  How to Optimize your Social Media Budget

Brian Solis – The State of Social Marketing 2011-2012 – Brian talks about the situation of Social Marketing today.  181 Brand managers, agency professionals, and experts were surveyed and Brian offers highlights, graphs and other social media statistics on his blog.  Not surprising, but one of the greatest challenges in keeping social from being main stream in organizations is budget challenges.  BUT keep reading because statistics are showing that organizations are planning to increase social spending over the next few years.

Alia Haley (guest blogger) SocialWayne.com- Budgeting for Social Media:  Who pays for it and why

SMART Objectives – http://topachievement.com/smart.html

Neil Schaffer : Hiring a social Media Consultant

Ann Gregory:  Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns (book on KOBO)

Spin Sucks: