owen at owengreaves dot com

Social Networking

Whatever Happened To The Internet As A Destination?

Today I have been hanging out on Google+, Twitter, FaceBook and a few other Social Networks. All this hanging was bothersome, why?

It got me to thinking back when the Internet was new, there was very few places that dominated your time on the Internet, at least not since AOL. Today we are sucked into big sites like FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on. Think about how uch time you spend there, think about what you did before these sites came to be.

Can you even remember what the first thing you did back before these Social Networks? I used to spend a lot of time using Gopher, remember that one?

Today we are immediately, automatically taken to FaceBook or Twitter, we don’t even flinch or think twice about it. It’s like the Internet has lost it’s glitter and has taken a back seat to Social Networks.

The Internet has far more to offer than just Social Media Networks, it does doesn’t it? I hope so, if not, we will wonder aimlessly through the desert once again.

So whatever happened to the Internet as a destination?

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Creating A #SocialMedia Community? Don’t Follow This Example.

This is a guest post from Brian G. Rice of Rice Team Consulting, he shared his story of an experience he recently had with a Social Media Community. Today we are going back to small town rules, especially within Social Media Networks, you can’t lie, trick or hide anymore, integrity is at risk if you start playing games with people, or don’t provide good service. Someone, like Brian, will start talking about you and your integrity, your businesses reputation begins to tarnish when this happens.

Here is Brians Story.

Last week a message appeared in my LinkedIn inbox from PwC.  I was being invited to the PwC Private Business Exchange on LinkedIn.  After checking to make sure that the PwC in question was indeed the company formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, I quickly accepted their invitation.

I use social media to market my consulting services.  Here is this great big, well respected company giving me the opportunity to present my content to a whole group of business people within the context of borrowed credibility of PwC?  You betcha I said yes.

To my mind, the fact that this was a LinkedIn group made it even better.

I have been using LinkedIn for over seven years.  LinkedIn was the social media site for business before there really were social media sites.  The culture of LinkedIn has always been one of a high signal to noise ratio.  From its early days as a resume sharing site, it has been a place where you connect with people who you have actually done some sort of business with.

In terms of business credibility, LinkedIn is the best social media site out there.

So I accepted the invitation, and quickly posted an introduction to myself.  Nothing fancy, and nothing long. I suggested that people take a look at my LinkedIn profile, and then I asked a question: What motivates you to hire a consultant?  Nothing spammy.  No hard sales technique.  Just a simple question.  I hit send on my post, and I was informed that it would appear shortly after the moderator approved it.

Then I waited.  And waited.  And waited. And then I was removed from the group.

Before I was able to get to angry about this, I received another note from someone at PwC.  Apparently, they had such a large response to their offer that they decided to create a second group for companies with less than 50 employees because they “recognize that entrepreneurs face unique challenges as they grow their business.”

The message, for those not equipped with built-in Marketing-to-English dictionaries, was basically “We don’t want you bothering our big important potential clients.”

I’m not actually writing this post to pick on PwC.  I am offering here a cautionary tale: marketing social media is about building relationships.   The clear-headed business person in me can see what happened here, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t make me angry. PwC is now in deficit relationship-wise with me, and they are going to have to work to gain back my trust.

First impressions in any relationship are important.  PwC is an established, respected company, and they had invited me to join a private business forum! This made a very good first impression.  It didn’t matter that I knew I had just been bulk invited to this list.  The invite did make me feel important and special.

I’d still feel that way if they had simply done a little research into my company (everything they needed to know is on my LinkedIn profile) and invited me to their “Entrepreneurs Exchange” in the first place.  Instead, as I emailed to the forum administrator, I feel like I have been shuffled off to the small kids table.  The fact that I have never received a response to that email has only worked to underline this feeling.

If you are going to use social media to market your company, you need to understand that relationships are built on communication.

A short email back to me, sincere and honest in its approach, could have turned my entire attitude around.  Even an email disagreeing with me would have been better than nothing.  By ignoring me, they have made me feel even less respected than before.

The future of business and marketing is based on relationships.  More and more, people are going to buy products and services from people they trust and have a relationship with.  Companies like PwC are realising that this shift is occurring, and they are trying to take advantage of it.

But just like real life, the downside of using relationships to market your product or service is that when you make a mistake, you need to work much harder to fix the problem.  A single negative “debit” on the relationship balance sheet can wipe out multiple positive “credits”.

As I am finishing this article, I have been waiting over twenty-four hours to have a post approved to the new PwC forum I was invited to.  Rationally, I’m sure that the moderator has just been busy. But emotionally?  I just can’t help feeling more ignored.

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Do you have any thoughts or comments you wish to leave Brian? Is he over reacting, is he right, what do you think? Feel free to comment here on Owengreaves.com

The Future Of Business – Findability

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I spend almost 90% of my time on Twitter, it’s where my research comes from, my business, and most of my relationships. Twitter is the service I use to expand, learn and teach what I do, FaceBook, has it’s place but I rarely spend much time there, why? I use TweetDeck , I feed multiple social networks this way, including FaceBook. Rumour has it TweetDeck is about to be purchased or already has been, by Twitter, that’s good news in my books. Twitter will be able to add so much to the experience of using their real-time service.

The secret sauce if you will, the secret tool is not that secret when trying to maximize Twitter, it’s the search in Twitter that brings the most value in terms of data. If you spend enough time listening in the Twitter search, you start to see trends, interests and needs, businesses don’t pay enough attention there in my humble opinion.

The #FutureOfBusiness hashtag is where I like to hang out, to see what others are saying and thinking about on this topic, we are headed to a day of the open & free business model. But what does that mean really. Does it mean everything is free and open, of course not, it is however, a strategy, a successful business model. So how do all these social networks fit into the equation?

Think about where you do business today, what is the business model you execute today, does it leverage social networks? And if it is, how did you determine which social network to invest your time and money in? I’m almost certain very little research went into that determination, you probably just sensed you should be on FaceBook because most of your friends and business associates said you should be there. When a business owner asks me if they should be on FaceBook or any other social network, I like to ask them why they think they should be there. Almost everytime it has nothing to do with a business case or sound data to backup that question, it is always an emotional reason, like the fear of loss. That’s not new, it’s as old as time that emotion, but it has as much power as worrying, and probably the same results worrying brings you.

So where do you spend your time and money in terms of social networks, and why? The Future Of Business is not social networks, it is however, social & mobile. Social Media is not new, the conversations you and I were having offline our entire life, has merely gone digital, they are now happening on the Internet. The difference, the world can now listen in and share your feelings, spread your conversation everywhere. Everything will create a stream everywhere.

With 3 billion people yet to hit the Internet, being found should be your primary concern, it’s going to get noisier than it is today, findability will determine the life of your business online. The best way to be found, create more content than you consume, then leverage every social network you can to help that cause.

So where do you do business, which social network do you use the most, what is the hardest part about being found for you, how do you get found? I would love to hear your thoughts on findability, not SEO.

The Future Of Business Workshop – In Abbotsford

The Future Of Business


Workshop
May 9th – 6PM

With Owen Greaves

The internet has changed the way the world does business;
But will it ever stop changing?
 

Change is constant and the electronic age has served merely to speed up the rate and size of change. If you are in business, or are planning to start a business, understanding how the online world changes everything will position you not only ahead of your competitors, but as a trustworthy ally to customers.  Owen Greaves will guide you to understanding the Future of Business.

What you can expect in the Future of Business:
  • Move out of your comfort zone to understand how the world of business is changing
  • Experience a journey to find your passion and learn “what now”
  • Understand how you can give away valuable content, free, while still earning revenue
  • Look at your business concept from a new perspective, in a way that will set you free!
The Future of Business Workshop is more than social media, the Internet or the world online; it’s about looking at business differently and fighting for your Businesses Survival. Together with Owen, you will see the Future Of Business and will apply that knowledge to create new ways of embracing the future in your business.

A workbook will be provided to each participant in the 2 – 4 hour workshop to encourage home study and application of the concepts presented.

What you will learn in this Engaging Workshop:Your Investment: $99 Per Person tillMay 4th
Reg Price: $149.00 after May 4th, 2011
  • Look at the 7 elements of building a clear vision
  • Learn how to listen in social networks Like Twitter, FaceBook and Google
  • See how you can find potential customers In social networks
  • Learn what content should be given away
  • Determine your CORE content
  • Identify revenue streams
  • See where and how to advertise online
  • Learn how to get your content MOBILE
  • Explore how to get your content published on Amazon
  • Find 8 ways to increase your blog traffic
  • Learn what your platform is and how to build it
  • See how to use your Ecosystem

Who is Owen Greaves?
 

 

Owen Greaves lives in beautiful Abbotsford, British Columbia; he is a Futurist, Thought-Leader, Keynote Speaker, Think-Tank Leader, Author, Blogger, and Strategist. He has spent countless hours exploring and understanding what the next 3 to 5 years will bring and applies the vision of reaching out and teaching this model to business people eager to listen and learn. Owen is a man who loves making the paradigm shift around media and commerce to the Internet less painful.

Location: Sandman Inn, Abbotsford, B.C.

To Reserve Your Seat, Contact:
E-Mail: workshop@owengreaves.com


The Future Of Business – Turn Your Business Into A Platform

This idea of platforms has been talked about for years now, new start-ups are popping up everywhere, many are trying to convert and become a useful platform. Why a platform? The business of the future needs to become a destination and useful, a place where people can come together and do something useful. People always return to things and places that are useful to them.

The best example of a platform to date is Google, they provide an environment where you can run your entire business. That in itself is very useful. Crisis mappers wasted no time responding: In under 2.5 hours Google launched its person finder application, which was also used when New Zealand’s 6.3 quake. A platform can be built upon and used, think of all the things you can do at Google, problems you can solve, and dare I say it, the time you can save. Today you can view your street via Google Maps, you can get images, videos, news, books, you can use Gmail for your primary email service, you can use Blogger to put your content on the NET, you can translate the language of a site. Google provides all these tools at no charge to you, an open & free business model to the extreme, it’s what the cloud is meant to be.

If you have a platform, you will need developers and other entrepreneurs to build on it, creating more functionality which brings more users. FaceBook did that. Networks are built upon platforms, the Internet is a platform, services like Flickr, WordPress, PayPal, self-publishing company LuLu.com, and business software Salesforce.com.

Google as I mentioned above is not just one platform but multiple platforms, multiple ways of using Google, multiple ways to build upon what Google has built and provides to you for free. What is a platform, platforms help users create products, businesses, communities, and networks of thier own. If it’s open and collaborative, those users may add value to platforms.

Questions to ask yourself: How can you or your business act as a platform? What can others build on top of it? How can you add value? How little value can you extract? How big can the network grow atop your platform? How can the platform get better learning from it’s users? How can you create an open standard so competitors will use and even contribute to the network and you get a share of thier value? It’s time to make your business a platform. It’s time to make your business mobile.

As you can see by the list of questions there is much to consider, pull together a team to begin the process of building you platform. If you are looking for help in creating ideas to adopt the future of business, stay here, I will be continually be posting concepts and ideas for you to build upon, or, just e-mail me.