Ten Helpful Points in Using Twitter for Business

I came across these great points in a recent article from inBlurbs.com. Take a look as the infographic they have is very good, demonstrating the impact social media is having on business’s.

As the use of social networking tools rocket you are missing a huge trick if you are not already engaging with your clients in this space.

Take a look at these steps to consider, what else would you add?

  • 1st Register with Twitter and complete your profile and customize it.
  • 2nd Start to observe the conversation related to your industry. To do this you should download and install HootSuite or  TweetDeck. Set your brand name and look if it is mentioned. If mentioned, respond in real time if necessary.
  • 3rd Go to Google Alerts and set Alerts for your name, your company brand, your products, your best customers and your top ten competitors. These alert will be delivered directly to you email box as news appear. This keeps you updated and by the way you monitor your brand name mentions, which offer you the opportunity to respond in real time if necessary.
  • 4th Lookout for your competition and invite their followers to your Twitter.
  • 5th Connect with your audience on Twitter and start the conversation.
  • 6th Share interesting and helpful content. Not only yours but other content from other sources as well.
  • 7th When you publish your own content include a call to action which directs your reader to dedicated landing pages.
  • 8th Do Twitter exclusive specific promotions for your Twitter followers. Direct them to landing pages for lead generation.
  • 9th Promote your Press Release on Twitter. To learn how take a look at HubSpot how they have published a PR on Twitter with its 140 characters.
  • 10th Incorporate effective landing page for lead generation. This will ensure a steady flow of fresh business leads for your sales team.

Incorporate the above for your Twitter marketing, test, measure and refine and then test, measure and refine. Repeat

 

Full article here

Capitalising on the Crowd – Collective Intelligence

Social technologies are increasing the ability of companies to tap into the distributed knowledge and expertise of individuals located inside and outside the formal boundaries of the enterprise. Applying this knowledge can deliver tangible benefits in developing new products and services, sharing best practices,
distributing work in new, innovative ways and predicting future events. In a recent study by IBM, Collective Intelligence, they highlight a number of approaches for applying Collective Intelligence, how organizations can determine and select the appropriate audiences for these efforts, and how they can address the common risks and challenges of this emerging capability.

We live in an increasingly social world, where advancements in technology are changing how we buy, how we work and how we connect with others. Expanding and overlapping social networks are enabling individuals to express opinions, share expertise with a greater audience and shape decision-making processes on a global scale. Can an organization that chooses to ignore the insights of employees, customers and business partners expect to thrive?

1. Collective Intelligence can enhance business outcomes by improving how organizations access the untapped knowledge and experience of their networks to:
• Discover and share new ideas
• Augment skills and distribute workload
• Improve forecasting effectiveness.
2. Central to the success of Collective Intelligence initiatives is the ability to target and motivate the right participants, considering the need for:
• Knowledge – contextual awareness of the problem to be solved
• Diversity – sufficient breadth of experience to bring a range of
perspectives and views
• Disruption – willingness to challenge current thinking.
3. Key study findings indicate that successful Collective Intelligence efforts need to:
• Address sources of resistance, including operational challenges, conflict with existing charters, perceived loss of control, and shifting roles and responsibilities
• Integrate Collective Intelligence into the work environment, both technologically, and culturally
• Act on what is discovered, communicating value and outcomes to both the organization and the individual.

Collective Intelligence is a powerful resource for creating top-line growth, driving efficiency, improving quality and excellence, and building a better employee climate. Organizations considering adding Collective Intelligence as a business capability need to ask themselves the following questions:
• What are our strategic business objectives, and what types of insight can help us compete or differentiate ourselves in the market?
• Considering the audiences we may want to involve in a Collective Intelligence project, how can we motivate them to share their insights with the organization?
• How do we capture knowledge and connect individuals in new and cost-effective ways?
• What technology tools do we need to support this capability, and who is best positioned to help us take advantage of these tools?

Regardless of the approach taken to infusing Collective Intelligence into the fabric of an organization, it represents a new approach and opportunity for companies to create value using the experiences and insights of vast numbers of people around the world.

For the full report please Click Here

Generating Leads on LinkedIn

LinkedIn to many is seen as a recruitment portal. The place to be to get headhunted into that dream job. I have yet to be blessed with that experience.

To me, LinkedIn was kind of … well, boring. If Facebook is the street party, LinkedIn is a stuffy reception with piped-in music at one of those soulless function facilities.

Does that sound harsh? For sure. If your thinking the same, let me tell you, you couldn’t be more wrong.

While the early adopters flock to Google+ and our kids and moms become power-users on Facebook, LinkedIn is where business gets done. Execs from all Fortune 500 companies are there, and 59 percent of those active on social networking sites sites say LinkedIn is their platform of choice over Facebook or Twitter, up from 41 percent who called LinkedIn their most important social account a year earlier, according to a June report by Performics and ROI Research.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, it turns out, is a happening place. As of this spring, it has more than 150 million members in more than 200 countries, on all seven continents. LinkedIn adds around 10 new members every 5 seconds.

All of this adds up to making LinkedIn the dark horse in social networking. Or the “unsung hero” of the social platforms.

There will –as suspected– an awful lot of job searching going on at LinkedIn. But there’s much more going on over there, too. I have seen that top-level executives and entry-level workers use LinkedIn differently: Younger members use the site mostly to post résumés and network for jobs, while more experienced professionals use it to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise, promote their businesses, conduct market research and–perhaps most important–win new business.

So how might companies use it to win new business, specifically?

  • Target searches for keywords you’ve identified as central to your business. Target specific roles ie: “Director of Technology” specific post codes and company names to identify key contacts to call, e-mail, InMail (send a message via LinkedIn’s internal messaging system) or forward a hard copy information.
  • Track who is looking at your profile and your staff’s profiles. Understand what searches you are appearing in and perhaps strengthen your profile to appear in more. Reach out to those who stopped by “how can I help”.
  • Research, or as I call it “social sleuthing’ others call it stalking, but there is a law against that now!
  • Set up a company page. Setting up your business as a “company” on LinkedIn can if you do it right, generate a bunch of leads, as well as it give you an opportunity to have a presence on LinkedIn beyond a personal profile to ratchet up your company’s charisma. I like the way you can embed banner images and videos in your company page, as well as feed your blog posts and tweets. You can also feature your products on your page and seek recommendations for them. That’s a kind of social proof that only enhances your credibility.
  • Discern patterns. Notice who’s connected in your industry. Noting that an individual is suddenly connected to several execs at a single company may indicate that the company is open to dialogue. “Which suggests to me that I might want to get my brand (me) in front of them”.
  • Participate in LinkedIn groups catering to your target market in order to engage in conversations with the right people. Seek out groups with lots of activity rather than simply lots of members. (You’ll have to join them to get a sense of the activity.) Monitor each group’s discussion posts and respond thoughtfully with content rather than a pitch. The goal is to engage rather than sell outright.

Does all of this work? Yes, although it takes some focused effort, but its worth it. If you are interested in hearing more about the success myself and colleagues are having please drop me a line or tweet with a #wesoe (we sell or else)

Using LinkedIn for Business

The question I ask many sellers is, do you research your client before making contact? Most of the time they do: “I like to understand where they have worked before, what groups they are interested in, and sometimes it gives me an insight into their interests outside of work. Which is great to sometimes break the ice with.

Then I ask, do you think your clients do the same to you? If you think they don’t, you are very much mistaken.

When was the last time you looked at your profile? Is it looking tired and frayed at the edges?

Is you headline title one of  acronyms that needs a cypher to decode?

Could a potential client understand how you can add value to his or her company?

So first, before you start building your valued network, and requesting your clients to connect with you, let’s consider your personal brand, LinkedIn is your chance to demonstrate the value you can offer.

Let’s start with your photo. Do you use the same image across all your networks? Keep it professional and consistent; it’s always beneficial to know that the same person I was speaking to on one site is the same person I am speaking to on another. A huge eighty percent of professionals have indicated they would not generally connect to someone with no photo. We like to know whom we are talking to.

Next, is your professional headline. By default, LinkedIn populates this with your job tile. Take mine several years ago “ICR LSE at IBM” – I can’t imagine why clients had no idea what I did. So take advantage of the 160 characters available and answer the question “What do you do?”

As a result of doing these tasks, you can now address what I believe, are four important things. As a result of a search on LinkedIn, a potential client is presented with only four answers: your name, your headline tag, and how many connections and how many recommendations you have.

Are you going to stand shoulders above the rest?  Would you click on you?

So now they have clicked on your name and are now staring at your profile. Have you written a summary using all 2000 characters available? It is not important to do so,  but why waste? Aim to make your profile an interesting read – long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to still be interesting. Never start it with “In my role as” or “I’m here to make money.”

Why are you here on LinkedIn? Take a moment to summarize from your work experience – what value have you brought to other clients?  What results did you get? How can you provide value to your next client?

The summary is also subject to search engine optimization (SEO) and is used by the likes of Google and others. So, consider using key words that reflect the industry and skill set you have. Same goes for specialties.

You’re almost there. Under your work experiences, make sure that you have highlighted your one to three accomplishments within each role. Clients like to see progression; it provides them with credibility and helps reduce the trust gap.

Now you’re ready to start approaching new prospects, and they will be willing to connect with you because now they can clearly see the value you could potentially bring to them.

Next question: If, every Friday, I supplied you details about your customer, such as who has been promoted, and who are new joiners and even leavers, would you find that of value? Of course you would.

Follow the companies you are aligned to or are of interest to you. LinkedIn will then send you this information. What better way to introduce yourself by saying congratulations on your new job, promotion, and such.

The people who have left, in my opinion, are the most valuable. Ask them for help – as a species we are geared to do so. For example, “I’m trying to get through to xxx, can you help me?”

If you don’t have companies, you can take advantage of the superb search function for lines of business. You can use Boolean search strings within LinkedIn. For example “Chief Information Officer” OR cio will search for the exact phrase in quotation marks (” “) and also the word CIO. You can search in a geographic area using a postal code and you can save this search. Guess what? Every time a new CIO appears in this area you will receive a notification.

Last but not least, keep your network updated with what you and your company are doing. Don’t send too many marketing type messages; try to keep them of value and informative. It will bring great results.
With a bit of polishing your profile can be rich and demonstrate the value on offer to a potential client
Category: LinkedIn, Social Media | Comments Off on Using LinkedIn for Business

When Social Becomes Business as Usual

Guest Post by : Miguel Garcia

These days it seems that everything has become social.

We have social media, social gaming, enterprise social networking, the social web and the list goes on. It seems that social has taken over our world, but has it really?

The very fact that we use this word simultaneously with so many different types of applications means we’re only at the verge of maximizing its real value. The truth is that we’ve always been social.

Our interactions in social networks are simply a reflection of our offline lives. The grand majority of us communicate with the same group of people every day and we have small groups of people that we trust. These are the same friends, family, and acquaintances that we keep separated in our circles of influence online. Paul Adams, author of “Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web”, describes this in length.

He points to the changing nature of the Internet from a repository of documents linked together towards a new structure built around people and their relationships. This has implications for businesses and their customers, but when you really look at it there’s nothing drastically new about all this “socialness”. It’s simply being communicated with new tools and having a farther reach. The thousands of years of hard wired emotions remains unchanged in humans. Yet, we fail to communicate the naturalness of these tools by instead concentrating on the technicalities and market hype.

In many ways we’re being duped into believing that social media is this strange and exotic world that only a few can master. When in reality any reasonable human being can do just fine. The trick is remembering to stay true to yourself, act as you would offline, and do what you enjoy. Easy enough right?

While many of us reading this consider ourselves savvy enough with social networks there is still many that see them as something very different to what they’re used to. They fail to see that they’ve actually been social networking all their lives and just because you can now do it on a laptop or mobile device doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a foreign concept. Emotional connections need to be made so that more people can see the value of social networking in their lives.

As the social web becomes a reality and available in many forms we will find the online and offline worlds becoming blurred. A multitude of social networks may remain prevalent but your identity will travel with you wherever you go, whether in your personal or professional life. All these advances are actually returning us to our social roots in a new and improved way. However, we’re still tweaking it and much remains to be done to maximize the real value of social in our new world.

Social networks will become the normal conduits of communication and that will be when social is simply the norm, not the differentiating factor. How will we know when social networks reach this point? When we stop thinking of them as social and start thinking of them as business as usual.

Connect with Miguel Garcia

Original Post

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.

Show me the MONEY

If You Build It, Will They Come?
It is hard work as of late, convincing individuals that blogging needs to be part of their digital personal brand strategy.
Especially those that have amassed valuable knowledge over the years and even those with great ideas and opinions.
Some tend to believe that all they need to have is a static presence, say hello on Twitter or Facebook once in awhile, occasionally add connections to their network and they are set to attract clients.
The “build it and they will come,” theory.
Lets be honest, this method doesn’t work and those that are venturing into this arena can back me up.  There is no “one size fits all,” path to success.
It’s about creating relationships and you have to drive traffic. BUT it is not only traffic that is important. Unlike traditional media where today’s news is tomorrows fish and chip wrapper, the world of the Internet has staying power. So every entry into the online world leaves a digital footprint about you that can be found.
Magnetism  & Four-Letter Words
Streetwise professionals would probably also agree that publishing blog articles is like magnetising your target audience to you.  When the blog is quiet, the traffic to your blog slows or stops.
Lets take a look at some benefits:
•    Gives the writer credibility.
•    Focuses on the author’s ideas and expertise.
•    Establishes credibility in the author’s niche.
•    Attracts the reader to the author & the author’s additional content.

How awesome, right?
Who wouldn’t want that?
Ever met a salesperson that didn’t like the spotlight or to talk more about themselves?
Even so, when I say the word, “blog,”  it’s like I’ve said a four-letter word.
BLOG.

The definition of this word has also changed; with the advent of 140 character micro-blogs i.e. Twitter, the use of video blogs i.e. YouTube, picture blogs i.e. Flickr. Penning a few words can lead to engagement however the richer the content the richer the engagement.
Walking the talk
So, for some time, I’ve been pondering how I could get more people interested in blogging.  A little more exciting…more “sexy,” if you will.
It would have to be, or I’d lose my audience.
In this case:

•    Executives.
•    SME’s
•    Sales Professionals.

Individuals, that clients will make decisions about, in 2012 and future.
These days, the Internet is a haven of nifty new media.  A place where we read, play games, buy, sell, trade, socialise, and more…
Building a boat
Back to my challenge – To making blogging more attractive and enticing.  As a parent, my instincts are to put a fun slant on it.
Much like how we convince our children to take their medicine with the song, “A spoon full of sugar.”  Or inspire others to remember something with a groovy acronym.
Finding the Hot Button
So, playing to what gets people enthused I realised this is the sweet spot…the hot button.  I should find a way for them to get just as excited about their blog as they might be about “MONEY“.
The acronym…
M – More
O – Opportunity
N – Needs
E – Engagement
from
Y – You
MONEY
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You
Oh yes, Show me the money!
What sales person wouldn’t get excited about that?  Information about themselves – about their purpose – rippling across the Internet where their target audience is hanging out!
Can you imagine what could happen with this slightly changed perspective?

So…
Pen is mightier than the sword


The 2015 roadmap will be tough.  Battles between competitors are intense, at a time when our clients need answers and solutions.
Dell are changing customer engagement with mighty mileage from social media.  From a marketing, brand and personal standpoint, a blog should be the hub of your social media and digital presence.
Technology is already changing who wins and how.
Employees  – regardless of time served, status, or experience – NEED to stop snarling their nose at penning a few words once in awhile, and start realising the benefits.
For them, and their clients.


MONEY
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You