Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How CEOs Will Use Social Media in the Future: Take what you know about the world today and then ask yourself, can a CEO remain relevant if they’re not versed in the new language of the people they serve?

Check out this series, brought to you by Gist via Mashable, to learn about the shift between an older generation of CEOS who do not use social media to a younger, tech savvy generation of CEOs who use social media for everything from a CRM to a news source to finding recruiting prospects.

How CEOs Will Use Social Media in the Future
-Jennifer Van Grove 

Today’s CEO is not social. So says Forrester Research’s CEO George Colony. Very few of the CEOs at top companies in the U.S. and the rest of the world have any material presence on the popular social media sites. Colony believes they should be social though, and all signs are pointing to a future filed with CEOs who can speak the language of the people — social media.
While one can only speculate about the future of CEOs and social media, there’s no question that social media plays a huge part in life and the world as we know it right now.
As younger CEOs replace older ones, news consumption habits change and social media continues its trend towards ubiquity, there’s little question that the man (or woman) at the top will need a firm grasp on social media — whether that be for recruiting, scouting, public engagement or social CRM.

The Next Generation of CEOs

When it comes to CEOs, there’s a vast disparity between the young ones heading up startups and the more seasoned CEOs running the world’s most powerful companies. That disparity is social media — the young are more versed than the old. The difference between the two groups can be attributed to different generations and different attitudes around content and information meant for the public and private domains.

No one is predicting that the venerable CEOs will be booted from their lofty perches for lack of a Twitter() account. In fact, younger CEOs with a predilection and savvy for social media may find their visibility to either be a contributing factor to their rise or a liability once they graduate to bigger, hence more vulnerable, publicly traded companies.
Let’s have a gander at some stats on the status quo. In April, Colony let it be known that most CEOs are not social. In fact, by his own research and calculations, Colony has concluded that, “None of the CEOs of Fortune Magazine’s top 100 global corporations have a social profile.”
Social media abstinence even appears to extend to CEOs of tech companies. “Eric Schmidt of Google is an infrequent Twitterer and is not a blogger; Steve Ballmer at Microsoft has no blog and no Twitter account; Michael Dell is on Twitter but is not an external blogger … Steve Jobs of Apple, and Larry Ellison of Oracle have no Twitter, Facebook(), LinkedIn(), or blog presences that we could find.”
His findings paint a bleak present tense. In the coming years, however, there will be a changing of the guard that favors social media over silence.

We Live in a Social Media World

Let us pause and reflect on the fact online users spend 22.7% of their time on social networking sites. That’s twice as much time as we spend on any other online activity. Consider where people are getting their news today. More and more, it’s not through direct sources like USA Today, The New York Times, or TV broadcasts, but through social networks.

Plus, industry is social. In the future, every company, no matter how small or how big, will be influenced and impacted by social media internally or externally. In the entertainment industry, for instance, social media has the potential to significantly bump up live television viewing audiences. Network executives such as Greg Goldman, formerly an executive director at ABC and now CCO at Philo, are nearly certain it’s happening now and will become more obvious with time.
Take what you know about the world today and then ask yourself, can a CEO remain relevant if they’re not versed in the new language of the people they serve?

SCVNGR’s youthful CEO Seth Priebatsch doesn’t believe so. The 21-year-old CEO says he’s “never lived in a world where I didn’t use social media.”

Priebatsch compares social media to cloud computing, and makes the analogy of how building applications for the cloud is a given. “It never occurred to me that you would write software to run on machines as opposed to access it through a browser. Why would you do that?”
For Priebatsch, social media is a given.

“Those companies that actively monitor, react and engage with what people are saying about them are at a huge advantage. If I’ve just launched a new feature on SCVNGR and people like it (or don’t) I know immediately. And that’s powerful. And what’s even cooler is that I can dig deeper. Someone says on Twitter: ‘Hey @SCVNGR, love the new social check-in. Way cool!’ and I can tweet back immediately ‘Thanks @user. What have you been using it for?’ And immediately get more information on how people are using SCVNGR, why they like it (or don’t) and how to make it better. That’s real power. It combines huge scale (tons of people talking) with massive granularity (ability to dig deep into one response).”
CEOs and the Future
The business leaders of tomorrow will be versed in social media, and we don’t need a crystal ball to predict how CEOs in the future will use social media. It’s the socially versed CEOs of today who help manufacture the following:

Opportunity Knocks
LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman, himself a social media advocate and user, believes that perceptions around social media being too risky for CEOs are beginning to change.
“I would predict that more and more executives will see this as an opportunity rather than a risk,” he says.

Certainly the opportunity is there. Ulman pulls from his own work at LIVESTRONG as proof of concept. “Transparency and authenticity are two important factors in our work and social media allows us to amplify both in a significant way.”
Plus, given the digital landscape of the world we live in, future CEOs using social media is practically a given.
“Those who are currently growing up using these tools and mediums will have them integrated closely with their daily lives as they begin to enter the workforce, so they will come to expect their colleagues to be engaged as well,” according to Ulman.
Colony also sees social media as a platform paved with opportunity. He believes that CEOs should be social if the CEO “has something valuable and distinctive to say,” and has “a specialized strategy for social.”

For CEOs looking to start their social path, Colony prescribes a four part methodology that involves targeting the right audience, defining a clear reason to be social, setting up social expectations, and choosing the right platform(s).
Public Engagement
Edelman Digital’s Senior VP and Director of Insights Steve Rubel also sees great opportunity for how CEOs will use social media in the future.

One opportunity lies in public engagement, or as Edelman CEO Richard Edelman calls it, “the third way.
“Companies need to complement their usual paid and earned media strategies by embracing new, social and owned media,” Edelman argues.
Rubel believes that CEOs will drive adoption of the third way. “They [CEOs] will lower the internal barriers within the organization so that it can engage the public at every level directly in achieving shared outcomes.”
Rubel’s own personal use of social media, his day-to-day dealings with the CEOs of client companies and his astute observations of corporate and market dynamics make him an expert on the subject.
While bullish on CEOs making organizational changes to better incorporate social media, Rubel does not see reason to predict a huge uptick in social media broadcasting from the CEOs themselves. “I see CEOs more laying the groundwork in vision and process than necessarily participating actively themselves,” asserts Rubel.

Recruiting and Scouting

Talent is a commodity. Facebook, Google() and Twitter often cherry pick each others’ employees. The company with the brightest minds is the one that’s most likely to excel. As such, recruiting is key and social media gives CEOs the ability to scout out potential hires and follow what they’re posting and what others are posting about them.
In a related fashion, CEOs will scout out the competition and search for potential acquires via social media properties. Many executives have already been doing this for years. Venture capitalists like Fred Wilson, for instance, have discovered the added benefits of maintaining a professional blog.

Wilson uses his blog to find companies to invest in and build relationships with entrepreneurs. It’s certainly no coincidence, then, that Union Square Ventures has an impressive portfolio of companies that includes Fousquare, Twitter and Tumblr().
Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

“Every CEO has a CRM dashboard right now. In the future, every CEO will have a social media dashboard,” predicts Miso CEO Somrat Niyogi.
Niyogi asserts that the social media dashboard will become a fixture inside the enterprise. “Every business unit will be using social media within the enterprise – customer support will use it to answer questions using tools like CoTweet(), sales organizations will use it to get a better read on what’s happening with their customers in real-time, marketing organizations will be using it as a new channel to connect with new or existing customers. It’s already happening right now.”
What are your thoughts on how CEOs will use social media in the future? Let us know in the comments below.
This series is supported by Gist. Gist keeps you better informed with less effort by giving you a full view of your professional network in one place bringing together information from across the web for all your contacts giving you the right information at the right moment to get a meeting, deliver an amazing pitch, or just find a better way to make a connection.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Words in Oxford including SOCIAL MEDIA!

Just how many of these newly added words to you use in your everyday life. I am guilty of interweb, chillax and many others. One that jumps out: social media. I use it every day for business. Do you?

New Words in the ODE

chill pill a notional pill taken to make someone calm down
calm down and relax
turducken a roast dish consisting of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey
bargainous costing less than is usual or than might be expected; cheap or relatively cheap
staycation holiday spent in one's home country
fussbudget a fussy person
vuvuzela long horn blown by fans at soccer matches
national treasure someone/thing regarded as emblematic of a
nation's cultural heritage
a person or thing that has a depressing or dispiriting effect
social media websites and applications used for social networking
microblogging the posting of very short entries on a blog
netbook small light laptop
dictionary attack an attempt to gain illicit access to a computer system by using a very large set of words to generate potential passwords
paywall an arrangement whereby access is restricted to users who have paid to subscribe to a website
freemium a business model, especially on the Internet, whereby basic services are provided free of charge while more advanced features must be paid for
automagically automatically and in a way that seems ingenious, inexplicable, or magical
carbon capture and storage the process of trapping and storing carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels
geoengineering manipulation of environmental processeses in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming
toxic debt debt which has a high risk of default
deleveraging the process or practice of reducing the level of one's debt by rapidly selling one's assets
overleveraged having taken on too much debt
quantitative easing the introduction of new money into the money supply by a central bank
exit strategy a pre-planned means of extricating oneself from a situation
overthink think about (something) too much or for too long
catastrophizing view or present a situation as considerably worse than it actually is
soft skills personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people
matchy-matchy excessively colour-coordinated
LBD little black dress
frenemy a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry
cheeseball lacking taste, style, or originality
cool hunter a person whose job it is to make observations or predictions about new styles and trends
hikikomori the abnormal avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males (in Japan)
steampunk a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advance technology
tweetup a meeting organized by means of posts on Twitter
bromance a close but non-sexual relationship between two men
wardrobe malfunction an instance of a person accidentally exposing an intimate part of their body as a result of an article of clothing slipping out of position
defriend another term for unfriend (remove someone from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site)
Interweb the Internet
hater negative person

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/new-words-in-the-ode/#ixzz0xCbPIXIP

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media for Real Results

Mashable does it again. Take a look at this post from them on how to get REAL results from your social media outlets. 


How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media for Real Results

The Real Results series is supported by Gist, an online service that helps you build stronger relationships. By connecting your inbox to the web, you get business-critical information about key people and companies. See how it works here.
Social media can be a scary prospect for small businesses; unlike traditional marketing methods, it puts part of the message in the hands of the customers. But while it’s easy to be concerned that the message will go the wrong way, the benefits can outweigh the risks if you use the available services wisely.
The most obvious benefits are increased customer loyalty and engagement. Less obvious but just as important: Your business will gain exposure not through your own advertisements, but through folks who’ve already been patrons. We’re more likely to trust a Facebook update or Yelp review from a friend than from the business itself.
We spoke with small business owners and social media managers around the world who have successfully used social media to increase business performance, and we asked them for their stories and their tips. Here’s what we learned.

It’s About Relationships, Not Pitches

The most common advice we received from businesses successfully using social media: Use it to engage your customers in a conversation, not just sell your services. Ideally, social media helps any business become the corner barbershop or bookstore where the owner knows each regular’s name and preferences.
Reid Travis is the social media manager at quick-serve Mexican restaurant chain Panchero’s, which while not exactly a small business, is decidedly the little guy when stacked up to the larger, multi-national fast-food chains against which it competes. “We’re not focused on marketing to our followers, fans and readers,” he says. “Our primary goal is to connect with them.” He says engagement and transparent communication are important assets.
“I feel like companies that practice one-way conversation (the talking-only kind) are pretty much missing the entire point of social media … The best advice I can give from my adventures in the social realm is to listen more than you talk and don’t be scared to let go of the reigns. You’re definitely not going to be able to control the entire message out there; be okay with that.”
Blatz Market & Liquor’s Joe Woelfle employs a similar strategy. He says: “Social media has been pivotal in growing my business. A good portion of my tweets are conversational just to stay in front of my followers as much as possible. However I also use it to gauge interest about new products, run specials, and get the word out about events.”
Woelfle says his January 2010 was up 25% over the same month in 2009 after his first year of social media use. His chief slice of advice? “I would tell other SMB’s to be themselves but be sure to actively engage your followers.”

Social Media Exposure: Better Than Ads and Cheaper, Too

Businesses use social media to gain exposure for their products, services and brands. The alternative is traditional advertising, but social media is uniquely valuable to small businesses for two reasons. First, it’s cheaper. But it also ensures that people are hearing about your business from a source they trust more than an advertisement: friends and family.
Jim Glaub’s Art Meets Commerce does Internet and social media marketing for Broadway and off-Broadway shows with limited marketing budgets. Word of mouth is already essential to these productions’ successes — social media is an extension of that.
Glaub says, “People leave the show and jump onto Twitter to tell their friends how much they liked the show. It’s been especially helpful when people with large followings tweet about it, increasing our followers and exposing the show to people that may not have heard of it.”
He also reports that celebrities will attend the shows and tweet about them, providing even more exposure. Having an active Twitter presence encourages these theater fans to spread the word and encourage their own followers to start tracking the show.
For small business owners, it is important to remember that some people will tweet about you or review you on Yelp whether you have a presence there or not, and what they say might not be positive. You need to be on the ground, ready to deal constructively with any negative exposure. As stated previously, you should be participating in and guiding a two-way conversation.
Alan Lewis, director of special projects at Natural Grocers, has some advice on that front:
“Setting up an effective monitoring system and a couple of accounts on HootSuite will really help you understand perceptions and misconceptions about your organization or service, and give you a chance to respond conversationally — and with links or facts. What’s more, those people often become your best, newly educated advocates — they appreciate your accessibility and openness to answering their questions.”

Engaging the Local Community

Julee Mertz puts her passion for swing dancing and her business education to work running a vintage dance studio in Chicago called Big City Swing. She and her staff use Facebookand Yelp to attract students and people just looking for a good time to dances, classes and performances.
The staff primarily uses Facebook for its event features. They host a monthly dance and create a Facebook event well in advance. When someone RSVPs to an event, his or her attendance is by default shared with all of his or her friends. That gets the word out. Mertz says:
“We really enjoy the event invitation function. It’s a great way to keep our monthly dance on people’s weekend agenda. We can now project the attendance and plan accordingly based on the number of folks who’ve accepted the invite. It represents a fraction of the actual attendance, but we’re starting to see a helpful, predictable pattern.”
The studio doesn’t use Yelp to organize events — though it could. Rather, the staff uses it as a source of positive recommendations from other customers. “We love and slightly fear Yelp,” Mertz admits. “We pay attention to everything in our reviews. We reinforce with our staff the aspects of our business our clients enjoy and immediately work on issues they report need improvement.”
She believes that the risk of a poor review is outweighed by the power of a positive one. “We post client testimonials that our students e-mail us, but I believe Yelp adds credibility to reviews,” she says. The studio’s website hosts a badge widget boasting of the studio’s 20 five-star reviews. Visitors who click the badge are taken to Yelp where they can read those reviews hosted by a more convincing third-party.
Yelp has become a necessity for local businesses, so be sure to check out our list of tips for small businesses just getting started with the service.

Going the Extra Mile

The above tips cover just the basics. Some businesses go even further to reach the influential, tech-savvy crowd who spend their lives immersed in social media.
Arizona restaurant Liberty Market actually tweets regular customers asking them how the food was, for example. That’s the variety of attention folks expect to get from a small, mom and pop business. It’s a pleasant surprise that this culture can be amplified in an era of greater connection, not mitigated.
Some businesses will be able to clearly see online sales go up in proportion to Twitter followers. Some won’t. Sometimes it can be less about the monthly figures and more about creating a culture that customers will revisit and talk about with their friends. That’s harder to measure, but it’s long-established wisdom for small businesses trying to compete in a market controlled by big corporate chains.
Using social media, you can offer something to your customers that larger businesses can’t. Liberty Market’s Joe Johnston sums it up:
“People ask me if we have ‘made money’ with Twitter. Absolutely yes. But not how most business think. We have solidified loyalty and have our name out there, front of mind. Because of that, many social media meetups use our place. Patience! One has to believe that increased loyalty and awareness are a key to business growth.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Social Networking Site in 2010 Makes Big Promises

Coming in fall of 2010, www.somethingcoolhappened.com is claiming t“Change the Landscape of Social Networking”. The main difference in this site and sites like Facebook or Twitter is that they are based on content, not based on user. From what I understand, you post photos, videos and tidbits of your day on the site using an avatar instead of revealing your identity. 

I have a hard time with this concept as a business tool if users are anonymous, but can see it being popular with teens and young adults. I think a lot of the appeal of social networking sites is wanting to be heard and a certain level of liking to hear yourself talk. I can say that because I love to be heard, love to hear myself talk and love social networking. What would not appeal to me, is anonymously spouting off bits of information to strangers who will never know that I am the genius behind such great thoughts, the taker of such amazing pictures or the person who is experiencing the "something cool" that somethingcoolhappened.com is all about. As a business tool, it is hard to network effectively or advertise strategically if you do not know the identity of the user on the other side.  

I guess like all things, we can only wait to see what happens. It could very well change everything! If so, I will happily jump on board and start telling the world about my own something  cool. 

Check out somethingcoolhappened.com to register for a chance to get in the beta program or for a shirt.


Monday, August 2, 2010

5 Small Business Social Media Success Stories from Mashable

5 Small Business Social Media Success Stories

recent study conducted by the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business showed that nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes, and that technology adoption rates in the U.S. among small businesses have doubled in the past year from 12% to 24%.
Whether your business is ahead of the curve or looking to catch up, small businesses on both sides of the track can learn from the success stories of others. Here’s a list of five companies that are kicking tail and taking names while staying on top of their social media efforts.

1. Emerson Salon Creates a New Business Model

In 2008, when co-owners Matt Buchan and Alex Garcia decided to buy and makeover a hair salon in Seattle, Washington, which they renamed Emerson Salon after Ralph Waldo Emerson, they decided that theInternetInternet would be an important focus for their business. Little did they know that two years later, 75% of their business would be sourced from FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitter and their blogblog. After talking with these savvy entrepreneurs, it was obvious that they had created a whole new business model in the hair and beauty industry, in which social media was king. Social media is so ubiquitous in their salon that Buchan noted that, “it’s rare for even a walk-in customer to come in and not have read our blog or seen our tweets.”
Buchan and Garcia have lent tremendous efforts towards building an online community while keeping up with the latest trends. You can measure their efforts by taking a look at their website. Right away, they have links to all of their social profiles, links to all of their stylists’ social profiles, their blog feed, and a button where users can book their next hair appointment online. Even more impressively, after booking an appointment, a user can share their appointment with friends on Twitter or Facebook. Since introducing social media into the mix, traffic to their website has more than tripled. It’s no wonder the salon believes so strongly in the power of connecting.
Lastly, Emerson Salon makes it a point to stay involved with the local community and build a place where customers can gather for just about anything. Buchan elaborated that, “whether it’s talking about the next local street fair, things we are passionate about (like the Lost finale), or just our latest hair cut special, social media is a great place to engage the community.”

2. Butter Lane Supports a Following

If there’s a cupcake bakery out there with an knack for social media, it’s Butter Lane. Not only are they onFacebook and Twitter, but they also run a Yelp offer and manage their Yelp venue page, maintain a blog on Tumblr, run group-buy specials on Groupon and LivingSocial, and have a special on Foursquare.
How do they keep up with all of it? Co-Owner Maria Baugh said she and her team are avid users of Postling, a social media management tool that allows businesses to see all of their brand activity on various social media platforms all from a single interface. Baugh noted, “It has a dashboard where we can see on one screen the most recent tweets, Facebook posts and Yelp reviews. And simply click one button to reply to any post immediately. Very convenient.” For small businesses who are strapped for time, a tool like Postling offers a one-stop place for staying in contact with customers.
For Baugh, the focus for Butter Lane will always be on perfecting their products and delivering excellent customer service. She stressed that:
“Obviously it’s crucial to make a great product, but it’s also extremely important to give the customer a great experience. It’s so incredibly simple, yet it’s so often overlooked. Go the extra step with service and you’ll win customers for life. Social media helps us do this in a variety of ways. Yelp particularly is very helpful for us to monitor our customer service and make sure our staff is going above and beyond. We take all of the reviews very seriously and have made modifications to both staff and product based on Yelp reviews over the months.”
It’s no surprise then that Butter Lane has gained a dedicated following. When recently asked to explain how Butter Lane had created a cult following, Baugh’s response was that, “it never occurred to us that people viewed us that way, and of course, we were thrilled. But if we do have any kind of cult following it is due in large part to our involvement in social media.”

3. The Social Man Gets Personal

In a business like social coaching, there’s no avoiding one-on-one conversations. A typical session could entail a lesson at the bar, a discussion on social dynamics, or a break-down of an interview with a hot girl. Jonathan Christian Hudson, founder of The Social Man, a small social coaching business based in New York City, explained the dynamics between coaches and clients. “Our clients have to trust us and like us in order to work with us,” he noted, “and there’s no better way I know of to demonstrate that than by putting our faces out there and having a real dialogue with them.”
Hudson asserted that one of The Social Man’s biggest competitive advantages was the natural personalities of his teammates:
“I’ve been told that the biggest thing that sets us apart is our personality. We come across as, and I’d like to think we are, down-to-earth guys –- the sort of cool brother that a dude always wanted. It’s the casual nature of the conversation we have with our audience that separates us from the pure marketers.”
Videos sites Blip.tv and YouTube have allowed The Social Man to get personal with clients and prospects. Through their channels on both sites, they run a series called “Ask the Social Man,” in which Hudson and his colleagues answer questions on dating and pick-up techniques. Since they began uploading daily videos, the company has seen a rise in site visits and sales.

4. Liberty Bay Books Starts Conversations

Liberty Bay Books is an independent bookstore located in Poulsbo, Washington that specializes in Scandinavian and nautical books. From a brief conversation with Owner Suzanne Droppert, you immediately understand that she places a very high value on conversation and the exchange of intellectual ideas. Social media, then, is a natural outlet for a community thought leader like Droppert.
Droppert began experimenting with social media after attending an educational seminar early last year. The presenter absolutely insisted the attendees join Twitter immediately. Droppert believes it is important to stay connected with online social conversations regarding your business’ space. She stays abreast on books, travel, food and local events via her store’s Facebook and Twitter pages. She also keeps the community up-to-date on book signings and in-store events on the company blog and YouTube channel.
In the end, Droppert’s goal is to share views, ideas and conversation with her customers and the authors who visit her store. Her social media efforts, which are an extension of her genuine interest in her customers, have led to a growth in sales, as well as a growth in genuine connections with her customers. Droppert mentioned, “People will mention they saw a post of mine on Facebook, and we’ll talk about it over coffee here in the store.”
The types of connections that Droppert has with her customers are rare in our fast-paced, self-centered world — something that every business, big or small, can work towards.

5. Feather Your Nest Makes a Name for Itself

Set in the tourist destination of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Feather Your Nest is a specialty shop for homemade and vintage-looking gifts. You can find them on FacebookTwitterEtsy and their blog. Owner Gina Drennon, a web designer and self-starter, is a gem in the rough when it comes to Internet-savvy small business owners in her neighborhood. Drennon explained,
“Eureka Springs is a tourist resort with literally dozens and dozens of shops. We stand out in the crowd because very few [of those shops] are active in social media. Very few businesses here sell online, and those that do have not seen the success that we have.”
Drennon illustrated the situation perfectly. Eureka Springs is a town where not even use of the Internet has begun to blossom among small business owners. In that type of environment, an entrepreneur like Drennon is positioned to pull ahead. And that she did.
Drennon has made a name for her shop, and she has had tremendous success. Says Drennon:
“I’ve seen our web stats increase, followers increase, interactions increase, and most importantly, sales increase. But not only that, I’ve made many meaningful connections with bloggers and magazine editors that have featured our products and our store, which bring us huge amounts of attention that you really cannot put a price on. I can positively say that at least half of the national press we’ve received is due to contacts we’ve made over social media.”
Small businesses with shoestring marketing budgets should never underestimate the power of word of mouth generated by media. The folks at Feather Your Nest have certainly taken advantage of it.
There are countless examples of small businesses taking the reigns of social media and leading their businesses to success. Let us know which success stories stick out in your mind in the comments below.