Next week is going to be busy: a class and a webinar!

Linkedin Centipedes at 2010 Bay to Breakers.

I have two things coming up next week and decided to share them here!

On Tuesday, I’ll teach a class on LinkedIn for business.

On Thursday, I’ll lead Lunch & Learn Teleseminar: Social Media 101 With Regina Walton – Sponsored by FCN & NAGC.

I’m just excited for both. Check them out!

Now I have to get some lesson and presentation planning in.

Photo courtesy of smi23le on Flickr.

Social Media 101 – A class for beginners (don’t be a Weiner)

Next week I’m teaching a class called “Social Media 101 – A class for beginners (don’t be a Weiner).”

(Yes, it’s a silly title.  I was feeling playful when I was planning the class. Also, I realized I could do it now or not do it at all as the joke would be passé by the time I taught the class and, ta da, I was right.)

The class will be on June 29th from 7pm to 8:30pm at Hive @ 55 in Manhattan.

It’s a class that is specifically for people who are new to the social web or who have a little experience but want to learn more.  Here is the class description:

This course will cover the basics of the social web. You’ll learn about the big 4 social media sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. You’ll learn the best ways to navigate these sites. You’ll also learn what to watch out for regarding security and privacy.

The goal is for everyone to leave the class with a Twitter account. You’ll follow a few people and send your first tweet. If we have time, we’ll also send retweets and a direct message; even if you don’t send them all during this class, you’ll leave knowing what those terms mean. The price includes handouts.

This class is for people who simply haven’t taken the plunge and want to know the basics of the social media landscape before diving in. What’s required? Please bring a laptop or tablet (iPad or Android tablet) and be ready to learn. This class is a beginner level course. If you’re already doing your thing on the big 4 social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube), this is going to be boring to you.

The plan is I’ll talk for about 30 to 40 minutes but the rest of the we’ll work on getting you a real Twitter account, so you can jump in.  Honestly, even though the concept is basic, I find that people learn best when they’re in it.

I’m really excited because I do miss teaching. I’ve had a chance to do a handful of presentations on the social web and have gotten great feedback.

If you’re in the NYC area and would like to take it, you can sign up here: http://skl.sh/mJPpmE

Also, if you know someone in the NYC area who you think would be interested, I would love it if you shared it with them.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Social Media IS NOT Magic

Photo courtesy of Hryck on Flickr

I’ve just found a lot of people who seem to think that social media is some mysterious and magical thing. That sentiment has inspired me to fire this blog back up.

As someone who works in this very fun field, I get that a lot. I get this will current clients. I get this with possible clients. I also just see it a lot in passing.

The social web is not magic. It’s something that humans have done forever: communicate. I just HATE seeing requests like this:

I am seeking someone who is an expert at this who can take my (whatever it is but redacted because this is a quote) and work your magic.

Look. It’s NOT magic, and, honestly, as much as I love the thought-leaders in this space, we’re all learning as we go. I’m not going to call any of them experts. This is all new and even the people who have expertise are learning and adapting to new tools and resources that are constantly being launched.

It takes knowledge of the tools. It takes knowing how to use them. It takes strategy. It takes trying, measuring, and adjusting, as needed. It takes reading case studies. It takes reading on what people are doing. I’ll also admit it takes sharing what you’re doing (and, yes, I’ve been neglecting that; building a business is HARD.)

However, most important is that a successful social media strategy takes also having GREAT products and/or GREAT content that helps people solve their problems or engages people on an emotional level.

(*Also, before someone wanders in to say people are just using “magic” and similar terms as a figure of speech or play on words and they understand that it takes knowledge and strategy, I’ll agree that maybe that’s the case, for some. However, a lot of people do seem to then there is some mysterious alchemy going on, and that’s not true.)

Repost: How to Engage your Facebook Fans

It’s been over a month. I know! Over a month.

My apologies, but I’ve been busy working, and that’s an excellent reason to be busy 😉

Part of the work I do is social media management, I thought this was an interesting enough presentation to share. There are a few small grammatical errors in it, but the basics of what they’re discussing is good enough to overlook the small kinks.

Check it out:

IBM Study: The end of advertising as we know it

This is a great study on where advertising is going.

It’s not my work. I’m just helping spread the news.

So, again, a partial quote with a link over to the original post.

Enjoy!

IBM Study: The end of advertising as we know it

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The next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did.

The information for this post is from an IBM global surveys of more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising experts … the report is titled, The end of advertising as we know it.”

Imagine an advertising world where ... spending on interactive, one-to-one advertising formats surpasses traditional, one-to-many advertising vehicles, and a significant share of ad space is sold through auctions and exchanges. Advertisers know who viewed and acted on an ad, and pay based on real impact rather than estimated “impressions.” Consumers self-select which ads they watch and share preferred ads with peers. User-generated advertising is as prevalent (and appealing) as agency-created spots.

As bait for you to click over, IBM has a report and you can download it from the Social Media Today page.

So get to clicking!

Corporate Twittering – Best Practices

After having great Labor Day weekend and, upon my return, a great afternoon nap, I’m up late and reading.  I found an interesting blog post on Tom Humbarger’s blog, Social Media Musings, titled Best Practices for Corporate Twittering.

I had an unexpected amount of comments when I simply reposted Grant Criddle’s “Twitter Works for ANY Business – Seven Reasons Why”.  Now the topic of Twitter and enterprise (aka business) catches my attention.  I was surprised that it got sent around Twitter and that people stopped by to comment.  It made me realize that people are curious about how Twitter and social media relates to business.  It’s a hot topic.  It’s still a very new twist on business and it’s something that people are talking about now.  For most, Twitter is new.  In an economic climate where money is still tight, people are trying to figure out how to use this free but influential resource.

Humbarger breaks it down into three simple sections.

  • Getting started
  • Getting your message out
  • Following people

Nothing he says is controversial. It’s just a simple guide to help businesses get started.

He ends with a link to The guide to corporate Twittering.  It’s laid out in a nice table, so you visually inclined folks might like it better.

So do you agree?

Now that I’m Twittering for a business, I have to say I do use tools like Hootlet, which I started off using just to help me improve how I use my personal Twitter stream. I try to make sure to spread news about what the business is up to, but I’m careful to try to balance it with other things people might find interesting. Why not just broadcast? I hate it when  business just promotes itself.  I think of it this way, it’s like being at a party and talking to someone who is self-absorbed. That conversation isn’t going to last very long before I excuse myself and move on.

Also, is there anything you’d like to add?

“Twitter Works for ANY Business – Seven Reasons Why” from Plugging into the Social Web

For all of those businesses that ask why Twitter is relevant to them.  This is a great post by Grant Criddle at the Plugging into the Social Web blog.

I’ll keep my comments short: read, learn and digest.

Twitter Works for ANY Business – Seven Reasons Why

Posted by: Grant Criddle on: August 20, 2009

Twitter is an incredibly helpful business tool if you do the right things with it. People are reading so much about Twitter and how essential it is for business that they sign up without even understanding why or how to use it.  These “experiments” usually don’t last long.

With new things people often jump in, and then they jump right back out when it “doesn’t work” for them. All that’s really needed to get the most out of a business tool is an understanding of why it makes sense.

Here then, are 7 reasons that Twitter is a must have for any business.

1. BUILD AND EXPAND YOUR NETWORK – FORM RELATIONSHIPS

Everyone agrees that business cannot exist without people. We all maintain a personal network that consists of friends, family, work colleagues, professional contacts, customers or clients, etc, and our network grows when we meet new people and form some sort of relationship with them. Twitter makes it possible for you to seek out people with similar business or personal interests, add them to your network, and form relationships with them. The lifeblood of every business can be found in the people who make the business run, and in those who buy from the business. It’s always about people and their networks.

2. TOP OF MIND AWARENESS WITH CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS

If you are willing to put a little of your personal side into your tweets, be interesting and funny while still being informative, you may not have to work too hard at staying top of mind with your customer or prospect base. Next time they need the service you offer, they may think of you and your company just because they remember you from Twitter. They feel like they “know” you, and that you’re part of their personal network. People prefer to do business with people they know.

3. TO LEARN – ABOUT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING

The Twitter community is a diverse one that talks about anything and everything. When you’re in business, you often have questions about your particular market or industry. Twitter is very unique in that you can follow conversations that revolve around specific subjects (www.search.twitter.com), giving you a unique window into how any market development, situation or trend is being perceived. The conversations will also quite often include links to further information or commentary.  I love this capability and search for conversations about interactive marketing often. The only thing I have to be careful about is managing my time – there’s so much stuff! I could spend hours going through it all.

4. LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT YOU

Twitter provides a terrific opportunity to monitor the reputation of your company or your brand.  Companies may not always like what they hear, but they must at least know what’s being discussed. Let’s face it, people talk. You’re certainly not going to spy on your customers or prospects or bug their phones to see what they might be saying about your company (at least I hope not), but with Twitter you can sort of eavesdrop! You are able to search by keyword to monitor conversations about you or your company, and its products or services. Knowledge is power as the old axiom says. Twitter makes it easy.

5. LEARN ABOUT THE COMPETITION

Can you afford to not know what your competition is doing on Twitter? What is everyone is saying about them? What kind of reviews are they getting, good or bad?  How about who they are following and who is following them? You might even want to follow some of the same folks and read their tweets.  When has competitive research ever been easier?

6. TRANSFORM YOUR CUSTOMERS INTO RAVING FANS

Every company needs customers to stay in business, but the most successful companies transform lots of their customers into fans. You can probably think of someone right now who “swears by” a particular brand or company, Harley-Davidson for instance. If you are doing a great job for your customers and providing a good product and/or service, then you’ve probably got some fans.  If you invest a little time to really take care of those fans, they’ll take care of you.  They’ll not only tell the people in their network about you, they’ll recommend you. They’ll rave about how amazing you are. Twitter provides you with a platform to connect with your customers, thank them, offer specials to them and just plain let them know that you appreciate them. It’s instant. It’s easy and it’s effective – if you’re sincere.

7. LIGHTNING FAST CUSTOMER SERVICE

The main goal of customer service is to help someone resolve their issue. The key to great customer service is the speed and quality of your response – people simply don’t like to wait. Twitter is a lightning-fast platform that can help sift through and solve problems quickly. If it’s a small issue, a single tweet may be enough. For a more complex problem, you can initiate a deeper conversation with the customer. The speed of the first response is what makes people feel like they’re being taken care of. Have you ever been put on hold when you call a customer service line? How does that make you feel? Great customer service gets talked about, and this can lead to more sales and more attention. Twitter is one of the most viral platforms around, which can make one happy customer into a big story.

Is it a must that every business be on Twitter? No, not every business but I would say most. A business shouldn’t use Twitter if not a single one of their customers, potential customers or competitors is using Twitter.  So if you run a business on an isolated tropical island and you sell to customers who don’t have electricity, you might not need Twitter.  However, that doesn’t apply to most of you. Get started and remember to:

  • Make customers aware of your presence
  • Be engaged in the conversations
  • Track the conversation around your company, brand and market
  • Respond quickly and transparently to questions or mentions
  • Be authentic
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