Is Email Dying?

I am fortunate enough to work with Luis Suarez and get to share his thoughts and comments on a daily basis. If you not following him on twitter or reading his blog post please do, you wont regret it.

Unfortunately, as we sit in different parts of the world, it is not often we meet.

However it was fantastic to meet and hear him speak at the UCExpo in London this week. He was there to discuss “A world without email”, and whilst I will not rewrite his superb work, find it here. I will note a couple of things we should all consider when using email in business.

Noticeably:

Email is no longer king of collaboration, if you want to collaborate effectively you need to be using the right tools.

Email should be a messaging and notification portal NOT a repository of information, where is becomes lost and provides no value.

Of course there are use case’s for email, so whilst you can reduce the amount of emails you receive, it will never be none. Luis states that his personal reduction is from 100’s a week down to an average of 16. Thats staggering right!

I would value your thoughts on the use of email, such as ; Do you see it as a to do list? Is it the only way you communicate now?

Category: Email, Social Media

ibm.com: IDC White Paper – The Future of Mail is Social

IBM has just posted a new white paper on the evolution of email, written by IDC analyst Michael Fauscette. The paper discusses the history of email, how companies are viewing email in the context of collaboration and social business, and then takes a converged view of the future of email and its evolution into a social business tool. Social mail consideration and adoption are then discussed.

As social collaboration tools become more available and are deployed to more employees, some companies and individuals are looking for these tools to alleviate the growing complaints and irritation of traditional enterprise communication tools, particularly email.  This IDC study takes a look at the current state of enterprise email and the perceived and real problems that surrounds its use.  Rather than envisioning “a world without email”, instead, a future is revealed where email converges with social tools and grows into an innovative hybrid productivity tool to help support the new collaborative enterprise.

The paper is available on ibm.com, with an optional opportunity to register and allow IBM to follow up with you. Please share the web page link rather than the direct file link, as tracking the success of papers like this is what allows us to justify doing more of them…

Link: ibm.com: IDC White Paper – The Future of Mail is Social >

Category: Email, Social Media

6 Steps to a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile

Overall, LinkedIn is the best social media platform for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals. Unfortunately, your LinkedIn profile may not be helping you to create those connections.

So let’s tune yours up with six simple steps:

Step 1. Revisit your goals. At its most basic level LinkedIn is about marketing: marketing your company or marketing yourself. But that focus probably got lost as you worked through the mechanics of completing your profile, and what started as a marketing effort turned into a resume completion task. Who you are isn’t as important as what you hope to accomplish, so think about your goals and convert your goals into keywords, because keywords are how people find you on LinkedIn.

But don’t just whip out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and identify popular keywords. It’s useful but everyone uses it—and that means, for example, that every Web designer has shoehorned six- and seven-digit searches-per-month keywords like “build a website,” “website templates,” “designing a website,” and “webmaster” into their profile. It’s hard to stand out when you’re one of millions.

Go a step further and think about words that have meaning in your industry. Some are process-related; others are terms only used in your field; others might be names of equipment, products, software, or companies.

Use a keyword tool to find general terms that could attract a broader audience, and then dig deeper to target your niche by identifying keywords industry insiders might search for.

Then sense-check your keywords against your goals. If you’re a Web designer but you don’t provide training, the 7 million monthly Google searches for  “how to Web design” don’t matter.

Step 2. Layer in your keywords. The headline is a key factor in search results, so pick your most important keyword and make sure it appears in your headline. “Most important” doesn’t mean most searched, though; if you provide services to a highly targeted market the keyword in your headline should reflect that niche. Then work through the rest of your profile and replace some of the vague descriptions of skills, experience, and educational background with keywords. Your profile isn’t a term paper so don’t worry about a little repetition. A LinkedIn search scans for keywords, and once on the page, so do people.

Step 3. Strip out the clutter. If you’re the average person you changed jobs six or eight times before you reached age 30. That experience is only relevant when it relates to your current goals. Sift through your profile and weed out or streamline everything that doesn’t support your business or professional goals. If you’re currently a Web designer but were an accountant in a previous life, a comprehensive listing of your accounting background is distracting. Keep previous jobs in your work history, but limit each to job title, company, and a brief description of duties.

Step 4. Reintroduce your personality. Focusing on keywords and eliminating clutter is important, but in the process your individuality probably got lost. Now you can put it back and add a little enthusiasm and flair. Describing yourself as, “A process improvement consultant with a Six Sigma black belt,” is specific and targeted but also says nothing about you as a person—and doesn’t make me think, “Hey, she would be great to work with.”

Share why you love what you do in your profile. Share what you hope to accomplish. Describe companies you worked for or projects you completed. Share your best or worst experience. Keep your keywords in place, leave out what doesn’t support your goals, and then be yourself.

Keywords are important but are primarily just a way to help potential clients find you. No one hires keywords; they hire people.

Step 5. Take a hard look at your profile photo. Say someone follows you on Twitter. What’s the first thing you do? Check out their photo.

A photo is a little like a logo: On its own an awesome photo won’t win business, but a bad photo can definitely lose business.

Take a look at your current photo. Does it reflect who you are as a professional or does it reflect a hobby or outside interest? Does it look like a real estate agent’s headshot? A good photo flatters but doesn’t mislead. Eventually you’ll meet some of your customers in person and the inevitable disconnect between Photoshop and life will be jarring.

The goal is for your photo to reflect how you will look when you meet a customer, not how you looked at that killer party in Key West four years ago. The best profile photo isn’t necessarily your favorite photo. The best photo strikes a balance between professionalism and approachability, making you look good but also real.

Step 6. Get recommendations. Most of us can’t resist reading testimonials, even when we know those testimonials were probably solicited. Recommendations add color and depth to a LinkedIn profile, fleshing it out while avoiding any, “Oh jeez will this guy ever shut up about himself?” reactions. So ask for recommendations, and offer to provide recommendations before you’re asked.

The best way to build great connections is to always be the one who gives first.

Written by:

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

The State of the Twitterverse 2012 by Brian Solis

@briansolis

The first time I wrote about Twitter was March 2007. My, how time and Tweets fly. With 500 million registered users and 33 billion Tweets flying across the Twitterverse every day, Twitter has become a fabric of our digital culture. Twitter is now ingrained in our digital DNA and is reflected in our lifestyle and how we connect and communicate with one another.

While many struggle to understand its utility or its significance in the greater world of media, it is the most efficient global information network in existence today. News no longer breaks, it Tweets. People have demonstrated the speed and efficacy of social networking by connecting to one another based on interests (interest graph) rather then limiting connections to relationships (social graph).  Twitter represents a promising intersection of new media, relationships, traditional media and information to form one highly connected human network.

I recently stumbled upon a well done infographic created by Infographic Labs to communicate the state of of the Twitterverse. It’s quite grand in its design. So, to help get the most out of it, I’ve dissected it into smaller byte-sized portions.

A Brief History of Twitter

July 2006 – Twttr’s hatched (Yes that’s how it was originally spelled), by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone

July 2007 – Raises $1 million, valued at $5 million

November 2008 – President-elect Barack Obama thanks his Twitter followers

2009 – 2 billion Tweets per day, Twitter raises $35 million

Dec 2010 – Raises $200 million, now valued at $3.7 billion

2011 – 100 million active users sending 33 billion Tweets per day

The Top 3 Countries for Twitter

1. United States – 107.7 million

2. Brasil – 33.3 million

3. Japan – 29.9 million

The Top 5 Moments in Tweets

1. “Castle in the Sky” TV Screening – 25,088 Tweets per second (TPS)

2. Superbowl XLVI Last Minutes – 10,245 TPS

3. (Tied) Madonna at the Superbowl – 10,245 TPS

4. Tim Tebow’s Win – 9,420 TPS

5. Beyonce at the VMAs – 8,869 TPS

Top 6 Reasons for Retweeting

1. Interesting content – 92%

2. Personal connection – 84%

3. Humor – 66%

4. Incentive – 32%

5. Retweet requests – 26%

6. Celebrity status – 21%

Top 4 Ways People Decide to Follow You

1.Suggested by friends – 69%

2. Online search – 47%

3. Suggested by Twitter – 44%

4. Promotions – 31%

Top Factoids You Didn’t Know About Twitter

1. Twitter’s projected ad revenue in 2012 is $259 million

2. Projected ad revenue by 2014 is $540 million

3. 11 Twitter accounts created every second

4. 1 million accounts opened every day

 

Connect with Brian: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+ |

Order The End of Business as Usual today…

This Valentine, Cupid went mobile!

What do Valentine’s Day and the December Holidays have in common? If you look past gifts, romance and loved ones the answer may surprise you: mobile shopping

Having spent a great deal of time over the last two months dissecting the influence of the empowered consumer. Throughout that time, the conversation has focused primarily on the emergence of the mobile shopper.

Now just more than six weeks into the new year, we are thrilled to report that mobile shopping remains a staple of the retail landscape whether through an iPhone, iPad or an Android device. Specifically in an analysis of online shopping the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, the IBM online Benchmark study found that 14.5 percent of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device. As for sales, 10.1 percent of all online sales for the week before the Valentine’s Day holiday came through a mobile device.

Sound familiar? Well it should. These figures for both traffic and sales are almost identical to what we saw over the recent Christmas holiday where traffic and sales were 14.6 percent and 11 percent respectively. What this tells us is that the mobile shopping habits witnessed over the November and December holidays are not fleeting. They’re actually quite the opposite. A permanent change is in affect with the empowered consumer turning to mobile devices not just for blockbuster shopping days but for all holidays and shopping occasions in between.

For Valentine’s Day, the influence of m-Commerce was perhaps most prevalent in several key verticals where mobile sales from mobile devices were up dramatically from last year:

  • Jewelry and Intimate Apparel: A record number of consumers made impulse buys via their mobile devices with mobile sales of jewelry and intimate apparel growing to 28.8 percent and 17.7 percent respectively.
  • Health and Beauty: Shoppers continued to demonstrate a desire to pamper their loved ones with mobile sales of health and beauty items (lotions, fragrances and more) growing to 15.1 percent, an increase from less than 4 percent in 2011.

Valentine’s shoppers also showed a similar pattern when it came to device preferences:

  • Apple’s iPhone and iPad ranked one and two for mobile device retail traffic (5.5 percent and 4.9 percent respectively). Android was third at 4.4 percent. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 10.4 percent of mobile device retail traffic so far this month.

It’s exciting to see the promise of mobile remains strong and I cannot wait to see how it continues to influence both shoppers and retailers as we move forward.  As for now it’s safe to say that Valentine’s Day shopping has evolved from the standard box of chocolates.

Category: Retail

Gamification: Unlocking hidden collaboration potential

By Tim Royle, Guest Blogger, Executive Director, ISW

 

“If you can measure it you can improve it” is an old business adage that is easily applied to performance criteria such as manufacturing output levels or sales quotas. But, how can you apply measurement metrics to the more subjective sciences of collaboration and business success? Simple, the answer is “gamification.”

The following chart assumes an organizational performance level of 30 percent. By encouraging users to adopt social software through gamification, we have the opportunity to improve performance and drive bottom-line returns.

image

What is gamification?

Gamification is the application of game design techniques to business processes aimed at encouraging user adoption and participation. This is typically achieved by:

  • Achievement badges
  • Achievement levels
  • Reward systems
  • Leader boards

Why gamification?

The reasons are:

  • Gamification has the potential to unlock wasted talent and streamline business processes through enhanced collaboration.
  • Work processes rely increasingly on interacting with colleagues, partners, and customers in social networks; to manage performance, new performance management metrics are needed.
  • Younger and older generations alike identify with gamification and reward systems.
  • The gamification of business objectives and their breakdown into key performance indicators provides a new way for organizations to drive performance improvement.

The term gamification in some way perhaps trivializes what we are trying to achieve. Take the point of view of an inflexible or unprogressive manager: “I don’t want our people playing games on work time!” This is the same person who objected to the introduction of instant messaging saying “I don’t want our people chatting and wasting time.” The benefits of instant messaging, presence awareness, and screenshare are now universally acknowledged. So, nothing is new here, other than gamification, which simply faces the technology adoption curve.

 

How do we get started with gamification?

Go to gamification.org and to the gamification blog (gamification.co), which also provides useful reference material. IBM Connections users can visit kudosbadges.com site.

Having decided that the idea of implementing social software makes sense, next ensure that your social software strategy includes ways of measuring and rewarding users for their participation. The alignment of collaboration goals with business objectives is key. Having gamified collaboration goals, any business process can be similarly gamified.

For example, a marketing/sales process could be engineered in the following way: 500 letters – Direct Mail Badge

500 follow up phonecalls – Telemarketing Badge

50 meetings – Meeting Badge

20 proposals – Proposal Badge

1 order – Sales Badge

5 orders – Sales Guru Badge

The measurement of performance across this simple sales/marketing process may draw on data from disparate systems. For example, if the organization uses SAP, the lodgement of a purchase order attributable to the sales person will click the counter on the user’s Sales Badge. The integration of these systems is achieved through a gamification engine that displays progress in the place where it’s most needed, the social portal:

image

Organizations that are invested in business process management, Balanced Scorecard, or Six Sigma principles will have a head start in that much of the performance metrics for gamification will already be in place.

2012 gamification predictions

These are several predictions:

  • Organizations will embrace gamification.
  • Gamification will continue to thrive in the social software space.
  • Gamification will penetrate all business processes and systems.

Summary

Gamification offers a serious capability to improve organizational performance. Early adopters will benefit most; those who choose to be laggards will face increasing competitive pressure from those who embrace gamification and invest in the analysis of their business processes and structured measurement and reward systems.

Tim Royle is an Executive Director of ISW, Australian based IBM Premier Partner. ISW is an award-winning, pure-play IBM Business Partner that designs, implements, and supports solutions based on WebSphere, ICS, Tivoli, Rational, Information Management, and Cognos technologies. He has worked with IBM Collaboration Solutions since 1992 and has spoken at events such as Collective Intelligence, LCTY, AUSLUG, and Lotusphere. Tim is a member of the IBM Social Business social media IBM Redbooks team and spends his time focused on implementing successful social software solutions.

Tim is an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader image Read further blogs from Tim and others here

Twitter: @twroyle

 

 

Is everyone supporting social media at your company?

I’ve just finished a great post by Marcus Sheridan, in which he covers 5 ways to get your entire company on board with social media.

This post is highlighting these great points, with some thoughts of my own mixed in.

To read the original post go here:

Firstly – you need to have a sponsor, a champion for the cause preferably an executive. This individual will be the motivator, co-ordinator but this is not someone whom burdens all the responsibility. Further attributes – credible authority, can moderate disputes, can provide or raise budget, liaison between social and greater strategy, strong relationship with social media evangelist.

Secondly – Educate, bring all as many people as you can to a social media summit. Do not mass email employees telling them to join twitter, write a blog “Like” a page.
Phase 1: The basics;
Start with your guidelines, the can’s, the cant’s. Include an etiquette guide.
Introduce the tools and the platforms, uses – familiarisation.
Provide resources for learning. Include online, realtime and hands on.
Points of contact within the company.
Phase 2: Regular use;
How to represent the brand.
Case studies
Scenario planning, fire extinguisher response.

Thirdly – Encourage Employee action. Each employee can make a difference. Rewarding activity through the use of gamification is one way. A great friend of mine recently wrote a great article on gamification well worth a read. Also Marcus refers to a great example in his blog.

Fourth – Create a Social Media Newsletter – If I could +1 this part of his post I would. From personal experience this works, and works well. I run a community on social business which, in just over six months, has over 2500 active members. After every issue there is an influx of new members as the word spreads. Why is it successful? Its sleek, easy to read and bullet pointed.

Fifth – Education Education Education
The landscape is changing rapidly in this new world. So staying up to date is completely key for long term success.
Yet again I agree with Marcus. My team run twice weekly calls every on various topics, various platforms and various speakers. The key to the high attendance – short and sweet. No longer than 20 mins content and time for Q&A at the end.

Category: Social Media