Hire a Social Media Tool Today

A lot of discussion around blogging and social media centers around external conversation, but companies would do well to employ these tools internal as well.

I had the privilege of discussing this with Anna Farmery on The Engaging Brand Podcast recently. The most delicious idea from that show came from Anna, an internal linked-in tool.

Internal use of social media doesn’t get the ‘press’ that external efforts get – nor should they, after all – because they aren’t meant for public consumption. Still, they can be a great asset to an organization in several ways:

Internal Blogging

  • It’s the same song: Making sure everyone’s singing the same song. A great internal blogging strategy would share stories across the company landscape as to how ‘the mission’ is being accomplished. These conversations can keep the enthusiasm fires burning bright.
  • Eliminate gossip: In a large company (or virtual companies, for that matter), many members of a team can only imagine what goes on in the board room. Imagination of this sort can be a dangerous thing.
  • Knock the cubicles down: Many corporations battle enmity between departments. Much of that comes from not knowing anything about the people on "the other side". Internal blogging can help knock down cubicles and develop a sense of team across departments.

RSS Feeds

  • Synchronized Communication: I know a few companies that don’t allow employees to read RSS feeds at work. (HUH?) This includes marketing, research, sales, PR, HR…look – if you don’t trust your team to do productive work at work, you’ve got a problem on your hands that has nothing to do with social media.  By allowing your teams to get RSS feeds – they’ll know more in less time. Plus, you won’t have to wait for your team to visit your intranet. Deliver it via RSS.

Other Social Media:

  • Wiki: A meeting eliminator. Share and modify documents without the meeting load and email trail.
  • Podcasts/Videocasts: These can be a great training tool, especially for virtual teams.

Other ideas worth examining…

  • Internal Blog Network: Every employee gets a blog as a ‘workspace’ where they can share ideas.
  • Twitter-like app: A ‘what I’m doing now’ type of tool. Someone might jot a message down, "Working on XYZ project – at whiteboard in Conf. Rm 12, bring your ideas"

If your company employs internal social media – make sure you employ it. Don’t treat it like a tool.

Each time a new employee joins your team, your company culture gets modified. Same thing with an internal social media strategy. When you employ one of these tools, you can design the cultural effect it has in your company.

Let’s get to work.

Putting Twitter Where My Mouth Is

Time for me to put Twitter where my mouth is…right here on my blog.

During last night’s BlogTalkRadio show with Wayne Hurlbert, I was asked to "briefly explain Twitter" – and based on my usage thus far…all I could be was brief. This after 40 minutes talking about how smart businesses will find business ways to use social media tools to connect with their customers.

As an independent business person, my use of Twitter will be an extension of my Calendar, which is available for public viewing. We’ll see how it goes. As always, we’re looking for more signal than noise.

My thanks to Connie, Chris and Drew for seeking me out at mikesansone. I should probably read this Newbie Guide to Twitter first (nod to Jeremiah for the link)

On BlogTalkRadio Tonight

Tonight, I’ll be the guest on Wayne Hurlbert’s BlogTalkRadio show, Blog Business Success, discussing Social Media and how smart companies are using the tools available.

Join us live at 7:00pm Central, or you can grab the podcast after the show.

blog radio

Are You Scared of Bloggers?

Does you hear (or say) these lines in your boardroom:

  • Those bloggers need to get a life.
  • Who reads this drivel anyway?
  • Their readership can’t be too high, let’s just ignore it.
  • They misspelled ‘their’, when it should be ‘they’re’ – so they can’t be too smart.
  • I’ve yet to see any value of reading a blog

If these are lines you hear in your meetings, you’ve got a problem. It may not be noticeable yet, but you’ll be playing catch-up soon.

Bloggers are people. They are closer to being just like you than you’re willing to admit. In fact, they may be well advanced in their thinking.

In many cases, they are consumers and potential customers.

If they’re talking about your company – it may be because you ignored them in their previous efforts to communicate with you.

Take out your earplugs and listen for awhile. Subscribe to RSS Feeds. The future of your business depends on it.

Related:
Blogging Has Two Roles
Perceptions of Bloggers
Business Blogging Without a Blog?
Putting an Ear to The Blogosphere
Is Your Blog Radar Up?

SOBCon07 – Virtual Pre-Conference and Special Discount

As part of the SOBCon07 event, a few folks are gathering on Monday to host a Virtual Pre-Conference. Thirteen one-hour sessions on improving our blogging practice.

Hosted by some brilliant bloggers, on Monday, visit Successful Blog and jump in on any of the sessions with your best post on that subject, letting the ‘wisdom of we’ benefit everyone (all times CDT):

8:00 AM – Robyn McMaster on Laughter and Mistakes
9:00 AM – Sandra Renshaw on Graphics
10:00 AM – Mark McGuinness on Creativity
11:00 AM – Joe Hauckes on Navigation
12:00 PM- Rodney Rumford on Videoblogging
1:00 PM – Chris Garrett on Blogger Blunders
2:00 PM – Ellen Weber on Sleep and Music
3:00 PM – Wendy Piersall on Blogging Beyond the Blogosphere,
4:00 PM – Mike Wagner on Branding
5:00 PM – Terry Starbucker on What to Look for
6:00 PM – Chris Cree on Business Blogging
7:00 PM – Phil Gerbyshak on Being a Relationship Geek
8:00 PM – David Armano on the 4 Cs of Blogging

Conference_special_3 All through the weekend and the Virtual Pre-Conference, you can grab your seat for the live event on May 11-12 at a special price: $250 ($100 savings). The deadline for the special price is Monday night at 9:00 pm Central.

Are Your Links Getting Clicked?

As I was reading QAQnA the other day, I wondered what kind of clickthrough rate Tom Vander Well‘s generous Coffee Time Links post was getting.

I really like these types of posts because they provide a resource of sites I might otherwise miss. What caught my thought is I found myself passing on the links provided.

Checking Tom’s stats (Tom is both friend and customer), the rate was quite low. So I sent Tom this screen shot:

Clickthrou

The practice I suggest is to place bold text on the author’s name and the hyperlink on the phrase that will draw the interest of the casual reader. No, we don’t get paid on clickthrough here – but you’ll prove yourself resourceful to your reader.

At MarketingProfs:DailyFix, Gerry McGovern writes that Links Are the Grammar of the Web, pointing out how Internet readers want to skip the details (the name) and get straight to the point (the link).

As you link out to other blogs, consider linking to the text that will most interest your reader. Is it the author’s name or the key point.

Chocolates on the Pillow: Delivering Big Aha’s

Chocolates_1 Want to find out how to over deliver to your customers? Interested in building an experience that wows ‘em and builds excitement about your brand of service?

Devour the new Jonathan M. Tisch book, Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience. I did.

Tisch, CEO of the Loews Hotels, knows how to build a loyal fan base. And he knows about change.

"For generations, organizations turned to traditional techniques of advertising and marketing to connect with customers. Now those tried-and-true business tools are losing their potency."

The best part of the book are Your Big Aha’s – almost 100 thoughts that can be put into play just about any business or business blog. In fact, learning from seemingly unrelated businesses is one of the Big Aha’s. A few of my favorites:

  • Start with your customers, not with goods or services;
  • Look for ways to turn customer negatives into win/win positives;
  • Transparency offers opportunities to learn – take advantage of them;
  • Information known by one customer will eventually be known by every customer;
  • Provide happy customers with opportunities to infect and encourage one another;
  • Find ways to link the virtual world with the real world.

This one’s a keeper because the principles found in its pages will still hold true years from now.

Podcasting: Bring a Human Touch to Your Business Podcast

Are you putting the human touch in your podcasting efforts, or does it sound like you’re reading your brochure?

We talk much about how you shouldn’t write your blog in brochure-speak, but the same holds true for your podcasts. Be yourself, picture your listeners sitting across the table…and just have a chat with them.

Two of my favorites, Claire Raikes of Business Blog Angel and Anna Farmery of The Engaging Brand discuss this very thing during one of Claire’s interview of Anna. Two great take-aways on this podcast:

  1. The What tone and type of content your business podcast should include.
  2. Choosing the tool that suits your business need.

One of the wonderful things about both Claire and Anna is their willingness to try new things in their business such as blogging, podcasting, widgets for their sites. By their trials and admitted boo-boos, we can learn from them.

But what’s the sense of learning if you’re not going to give it a go?

If you’re podcasting, let me know. I’m building a new blogroll list, linking to feeds of business podcasts, to appear on the ConverStations Blogroll page.

Iowa Business Blog Workshop – March 8

Blogwrkshp_11_1_2During this week’s Show Me Your Commitment Blog Workshop, we’ll ask Is del.icio.us a Marketing Tool? and discover ways to use del.icio.us to improve your blogging (writing and reading).

Where: Dahl’s, 156th & Hickman, Clive (map)
When: Thursday, March 8 Feb 22, 7:00 – 8:00 AM
(the doors open at 7:00, so we’ll mingle a bit while everyone grabs a cup of coffee or breakfast)

Dahl’s is a locally owned grocer who offers a community room for meetings and workshops just like ours.

This week, during the first 30 minutes, we’ll discover how to use del.icio.us and after that, the floor is open for your questions.

It’s a big room, so bring guests, colleagues and customers. The Community Room is near the Pharmacy (blogaceuticals?  nah).

Which Arm Are You Blogging With?

Are you one-arming your blogging? Are you getting enough follow-through in your delivery?

Here’s a video of San Francisco Giants prospect, Tim Lincecum (hat tip to Jeff Passan’s column):

Notice his front arm? He builds up momentum by thrusting his lead arm downward which generates a lot of arm speed and follow-through. The ball is in his right hand, but if he didn’t pump that front elbow – he’d end up with a dead arm.

In your blogging, are you just making your pitch with your throwing arm? To build momentum and follow-through – read other blogs, link to other blogs, comment on other blogs – or you’ll end up with a dead blog.

Along similar baselines:
- Lewis Green at MarketingProfs DailyFix Growing Our Blogs: What Works & What Doesn’t?
- Stephen Ellis at The Complete Pitcher offers How to Build a Powerful Delivery

Only 26 days to Opening Day!
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