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Posts Tagged ‘Networks’

Social Media Random Acts of Kindness

NeighborhoodbbqYou frequently hear of people doing the most generous things in your community, and you can’t help wondering why it doesn’t happen more often. I think it does but we don’t hear about most of them, we hear about the high profile stuff, the things that glorify individuals or an organization. In general people think you have to be a Christian or a Missionary to do acts of kindness, you couldn’t be more wrong! I can say this because I am a Christian, but I wasn’t one for 34 years and I can tell you I have seen many great people and not so great people do things that wow you.

You’ve heard on the news of people saving lives, street people jumping into rivers to save people, those heroic people. What about, well, you and me? Just everyday folks who get up in the morning, go to work and then come home and rest up to do it all over again. These individuals are caring loving people to, they may show it in many various ways but it’s in each one of us.

Our church, or should I say some everyday people held an Oil Change for Single Mother’s behind the 7-11 store at our Church location and we had some wonderful stories come from that experience. You don’t need to be part of an organization to pull these things off, even our own neighborhood holds a BBQ in the cul-de-sac around the corner from my house each summer. We get together, get to know one another and help each other when in need.It’s about people, it’s about building relationships, it’s about making a difference in the lives around you. You’ve seen it here and you’ve seen me post in Twitter and other various Social Media Networks. How Many People Are Better Off Because You Lived?

There are many of us who are trying to translate our offline activities and bringing them here to Social Media circles, raising money for various events and organizations, building one another up and help each other. It appears it’s easier to do it online than in real life, why? Why don’t have to get up off the chair, it’s easier, less work and effort. Does that means it’s any less valuable? Less effective? Is it shallow? Does it say, I really don’t care enough to go be with you?

So I leave you with a question and I hope you will share your thoughts here with us and those who read this Blog.

Does doing Random Acts of Kindness hold the same weight and importance in Social Media Networks?

I.T. Strategic Planning – KRA's

Possibly the third step in your plan will be a category called KRA ( Key Result Areas). This area will be different for each organization, this is due to different infrastructures and software that may already be in place. This is more of an observation and desire to improve on existing services provided by your current I.T. team.

I have listed 5 items below that might be on your list under KRA’s, also keep in mind every experienced I.T. leader will view these items differently and might not agree so try to keep an open mind.

Key Result Area’s

1. Integrate Core Application – you may have multiple applications that don’t speak to each other and you want to solve this short coming.

2. Constituent Self-serve Via the Internet – you may want to give more and easier access to data via the internet to staff.

3. Realign and Train Existing Staff – an obvious one for improving the skill set of all staff members using core applications

4. Improve Support To Field Staff – if you have staff in the field, your goal should be to get them more connected to HQ or central office.

5. Provide a stable IT Infrastructure – this should be an ongoing goal from day one and never end.

I hope that helps you in designing your I.T. Strategic Plan, your list will look different based on organizational needs, but you get the idea.

Feel free to leave questions and comments below, until next time.

This Is Where Customers Are Going!

imagesRemember when you were a kid, you ran out the door and then heard your Mother calling, where are you going? That’s what many local businesses are doing with their customers today. If you are the one calling, it’s most likely too late because your customers are off looking for what you didn’t have to keep them around the supper table. In this picture you are behind them calling out not in front of them engaging and sharing, drawing them in building a relationship, a relationship that builds loyalty and increased return on Investments. For many this sounds like way too much work and don’t have time for this new way of doing business. This new way is happening and you will have no choice, this new way is called Social Media, resistance is futile, you will be assimulated.

Businesses today will have to figure out how to integrate multiple Social Media Networks into there web presence, their marketing strategy and above all incorporate it into the business plan as a another way of generating a ROI. Keep in mind that Social Media is not the Messiah, it is one of many tools to use to build a stronger more viable business. Reaching out to millions of consumers who thrive online around the clock requires an investment, a different type of thinking and some courage too. Many business are still wedded to a traditional marketing approach, based on TV, radio and print ads, Social Media seems harder to understand.

The biggest change taking place, or the shift as I see it, there is no gap between the CEO and customer. They now talk directly to each other, there’s no need for the middleman. Support costs are dropping, some businesses are using these Social Mediums to reach customers and save large dollars in doing so. Take Comcast as an example, for more than a year Comcast has pioneered the use of Twitter to speak directly to it’s customers. It’s Twitter page @comcastcares has 28,000+ followers. Software maker Sage North America, to cite another example, routinely receives instant feedback from hundreds of people within an hour on specific products and services. Another example is in sales, those who visit MyFICO’s community website are spending 41% more than other customers!

Businesses don’t think in terms of inbound marketing, they are very good at outbound marketing. Outbound Marketing is only half the equation in today’s new market place. A great resource to learn about Inbound Marketing is Chris Brogan & Justin Levy’s Inbound Marketing Summit.

There are multiple shifts taking place but increasingly, consumers don’t search for products and services anymore. Rather, services come to their attention via social media networks like Twitter. So if you are wondering where your customers are going, look to the Social Networks a plenty, don’t believe me, here is another example of a National pizza chain, Papa John’s added 148,000 fans on Nov. 17, 2008 through a guerrilla marketing campaign on Facebook. It offered a free medium pizza to anyone who signed up to be its fan on Facebook. The promotion gained it thousands of customers and drove its Web traffic up 253%. It now has more than 300,000 fans and hopes to top 1 million by the end of this year.

I could list many, many more examples of how businesses are winning and using Social Media to enhance existing marketing efforts. When was the last time traditional marketing campaigns garnered such ROI’s as some of these businesses are experiencing in today’s new social environments? Your customers are in these social networks and you had better be there to.

Now you know where your customers are going, the question is….are you going ahead of them?

Social Media & Blogs Are Broken

befuddledThe Internet is the new game changer in every possible way for business and individuals, it’s also a problem, because like the town you live in it brings out those looking to take advantage. Imagine a world with no law enforcement and I show you a day where everyone will try to take advantage, not to benefit others but to benefit themselves. It really isn’t much different than today, many don’t value human life the way we used too and we don’t help each other in the way that we should. We are self serving most of the time, we do things because there is something in it for us. Call me a cynic, but, human nature has proven time & time again we are predictable. We prove day in and day out there is good and evil, dumb & smart and there always has to be a winner and a loser.

The flattening of companies and now the world puts an old power in our hands, you & me!  Most of us aren’t equipped to handle this new old power, we will continue to take advantage of others with even more ease. Can we be trusted with this power? Probably not, all you have to do is look at the  history of mankind, how we consume everything in our path including people. We are doing the same thing with the Internet, with Social Media and Blogs, consuming and taking advantage.

The picture isn’t all black but it’s dark, I struggle as I’m sure you do with how the rules are being broken, how they are being changed. This new old power we have at our disposal is a double edged sword, it will work for us and against us.

One of the most disappointing and tiresome problems on the Internet today with Blogs and Social Media, is with the very thing we cherish the most, the content. There is a re-occurring problem that takes the joy out being a Blogger is, Social Media & Blogs are broken.

Social Media is forcing transparency, honesty and do the right thing mentality, this is good right? This by itself is extremely powerful and we will all feel the benefit, but there is a dark side too, some will manipulate and try to take advantage of this very power. Let’s take Blogs for a spin here, there are some incredibly talented people out there writing amazing content and truly have something of value to share with all of us. They write for hours a day, sculpting and carving a message that is meant just for you. You have been hunting for this content, but sometimes, you find it in the most unusual places. Then there are Blogs that don’t write one letter of original content, they claim to be a the best resource on the Internet and all they do is pilfer news sources that auto post to a these Blogs. In essence, gaming the business of Blogging.

The gaming of Social Media has the same issues, Twitter is a great network for connecting with like-minded individuals. You also will find the same links and content posted by millions over and over again, each one thinking they reported it first creating a wall of noise beyond anything you seen or heard before. Every Social Media Network has the same problem and I have to hear of a good solution to solving it. I realize I can’t do much about these problems by myself but I can speak against them and encourage you to do the right thing for you and your business. I to post links to information with the intent that it actually matters to you, not to be the first one to break the story and then watch 250 million others do the same, it defeats the purpose of having a Blog or using Social Media Networks the way they were intended.

I have found that the most common thing being delivered on the Internet is how to make money and get rich by using (buying) someones system, claiming to have done it, only to find out they don’t have a clue how to run a business. They are just doing what someone sold them to do, there are no short cuts my friends so be prepared to pay some kind of price no matter what you do. Don’t get me wrong, we all want to earn a living, but if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

A tip for you. There is a gap between knowing how to do the work of a business and knowing how to run a business. You may not be equipped to be both business owner (Entrepreneur) and the worker (technician), most aren’t.

My point is this, If you are serious about Blogging or being part of media, stop trying to be like mainstream media, report from your part of the world not everyone else’s world. Write about what’s happening to you and your interests. We already get bombarded by the same content over and over through normal news services. Gaming something rarely is a long lasting venture of success, you rarely get or sustain credibility by doing it. If you must use someone else’s work, ask them to help you, ask them to be a guest Blogger or get permission to use their material, have integrity and be known for it. Your original content, your voice, will eventually be heard because no one can write or deliver it the way you can. Whatever it is you are passionate about, do that, be that with all you can muster up to be it and let the quality and sound of your voice be the difference. Don’t set up systems that fail to present your personality and desire to help others. Only you can do that by participating first hand with your blood, sweat and tears. Let us know who you are and see the passion of your heart by being transparent, honest and real. We are waiting for you.

Twitter's Internal Google

sprite-8The phenomenon called Social Media has taken the world by storm, primarily one social network called Twitter is getting the lion’s share of the press as of this writing. Are these social networks working for you? I suspect many of you use FaceBook for catching up with old school buddies but are you using it for business purposes? If you are a professional you are probably using LinkedIn to network, research projects and or your next career move. The most responsive of the networks in my opinion is Twitter and it is a primary business tool for many organizations. No matter which one you use each of us has a motive for using these networks for various purposes.

One of the best tools I have discovered is in Twitter’s search capabilities, it is far reaching and a very powerful tool for doing research within your Twitter following. I’m not referring to the Find People mechanism in your Account, I’m referring to search.twitter.com.

Play with it and decide how you might maximize this tool for your business, will it be market research, curiosity to see who is saying what about you in their updates. No matter the use it can be one of your secret weapons in your social media tool kit.

It may not replace Google anytime soon but you can see how it could be used as such in the future.

Until next time.