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  1. 2011 The Year of 52 Phone Calls #yearof52calls

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    One of my 2011 goals was to find a new way to deepen online relationships.  Since some of the people I wanted to chat with are not within the cities I lived in, in 2011 I had to overcome location. So I wanted to try a different channel, what I came up with was “The Year of 52 calls”. The premise was to call a different person every week throughout the year. Sounds easy right? Well after making it through the whole year I partially succeed at my goal!

    I partially succeeded in number, but I fully succeeded in making some awesome connections even better! I think for 2012 I am going to continue on this path, but with major refinements. Below are the results of the fun I had and people I called.

     

    Week 1:

    Called Robyn Flach 1/7/2011: we talked family, business happenings, social media in the social context.  Scheduled a lunch appointment.

    Robyn Flach

     

    Called Sarah Kay Hoffman 1/7/2011: left Sarah and voicemail, she left me a tweet about not using the phone well.

     

    Week 2:

    Called Nicole Nicolay 1/12/2011: left a voicemail about what I was doing with the year of 52 calls.  Gave her my phone number and told her if she wanted to call that would be totally cool, but know running a business and being a mom life is busy!

    Called Alissa Ausan 1/12/2011: left a voicemail

    Voicemails for 52 Calls

    Week 3:

    Called Shelly Kramer 1/18/2011: Talked with Shelley about the business for 2011. Found out a little more about company. She helps companies with strategic planning and content management. Talked about Yammer and streamlining communication.  What I do for Target, what I have planned for 2011.

    Week 4:

    Called Leigh Caraccioli 1/27/2011:Had a wonderful conversation with Leigh about all things going on with her business, the family, and her book she is writing. I did not know about the book, so this was an awesome surprise. I also learned that her husband works for a company based out of Minneapolis and we started talking about her and her family coming up here to hang out. Leigh and I have known each other online for 2 years and this was the first time she and I talked on the phone.  This phone call is why I am doing this activity!

    Leigh Caraccioli

    Week 5:

    Called Katie Felten 2/04/2011: This was the first time we had ever spoken via the phone. Katie and I had a wonderful conversation about finding what the next steps of career are, exchanging social media stories, and told her about my tracking airport check-ins to find and connect with people.

    Katie Felten

     

    Katie Felten

     

    Week 6:

    Called Kris Colvin 02/17/2011:  Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring….so wanted to talk with Kristi too!

    LeeAnn Youngquist and Kristi Colvin

    Called LeeAnn Youngquist 02/17/2011: Let a message for following up a previous lunch that was cancelled.  Really looking forward to catching back up with LeeAnn!

     

    Called Ria Sharon 02/18/2011: So I used skype for the first time for the year of 52 calls!  Ria and I have known each other online for roughly two years.  We had a wonderful conversation about business, how to succeed and creating new business models instead of fixing the ones we have currently.  Ok now my head hurts!

    Ria Sharon

     

    Week 7:

    Called KT Wall 3/09/2011: Great conversation about life in Atlanta. Working for the Ad Agency in Atlanta and many of her friends getting married this summer!

    KT Wall

     

    Week 8:

    Called Angel Oakley 3/11/2011: Since Angel and I were both attending #ungeeked in May I wanted to get to know her before going to the conference. We have a great conversation about Chicago and owning her own business.

    Angel Oakley

     

    Week 9:

    Called Me Amy Roark 3/20/2011: This is was a reverse rule for the year of 52 calls, but hey I am making the rules! Amy and I got to know each other and discussed some strategies about marketing, cultivation, and formal ask for money for a whole new community of givers.  This conversation brought to light an uptapped market in Minneapolis!

    Amy Roark

     

    Week 10:

    Called Sima Dahl 5/19/2011: After meeting Sima at #ungeeked in Chicago, I had to talk more to this very powerful, energetic, get stuff done woman!  We had a wonderful conversation about personal brand (and my take about some of it being bullshit, she agreed partially), speaking, and running her own business.

    Sima Dahl

     

    Week 11:

    Called Erika Napoletano 6/06/2011: I finally got up the nerve to call Erika! This was a long process for me gaining the courage to talk with her live.  I am so glad I did! We talked about live in CO, writing 2 books (that are completely unrelated to each other), and just getting to know each other stuff.

    Erika Napoletano

     

    Week 12:

    Called Peggy Fitzpatrick 6/29/2011: Peggy and I met and hit it off big time at #ungeeked! During all of the transition stuff to Virginia I wanted to chat with her about some east coast stuff. Plus I wanted to catch up on all the happenings since the conference!

    Peggy Fitzpatrick

     

    Peggy Fitzpatrick

     

     Week 13:

    Scott Wild Called Me 9/16/2011: So this was a turn of events, Scott called me after a question I made on twitter. We had a great conversation about relocation and catching up after doing a podcast with him and folks from TodayMade.com

    Scott Wild

     

    Week 14:

    Called Liza Sperling  10/07/2011: Liza and I met while I was out in San Francisco back in May 2011 for the SMOC Conference. I wanted to chat up to see how Liza was doing and hear about the Valley happenings.  We talked strategy, job seeking, and tech stuff!

    Liza Sperling

     

    Week 15:

    Called Jen Howver on 10/13/2011: Jen and I actually went to High School together and she reached out to me via twitter about a year ago to reconnect. We also had a chance to reconnect IRL at #ungeeked in Chicago. We caught up about all the moving I had done, ungeeked related news, and general family things.

    Jen Howver

     

    Week 16:

    Called Cassandra Girard on 10/17/2011: Cassandra and I met through Tara Hunt when Buyopshere.com launched about a year ago. We have still connected through the year while the evolution and revolution of their business model on the web. Cassandra and I chatted about release of version one of buyosphere community. Very excited I have had the opportunity to participate and add some value to their evolution!

    Cassandra Girad

    Week 17:

    Called Brianna Foulds 10/26/2011: Brianna and I have known each other across the social web for the last couple of years. I reached out as part of this Year of 52 Calls starting back in May of 2011. Because Brianna lives in LA and I at the time lived in Minneapolis made lining up the day to chat difficult.  We plugged thru it though throwing messages back and forth until we finally connect.  We had a wonderful conversation about relocation, reestablishing networks, and just plain getting to know each other! It was finally great to see hard work pay off!

    Brianna Foulds

     

    Week 18:

    Called Kasey Skala 12/29/2011: Kasey and I met in Minneapolis a few years back. I had planned on making him a part of the #Yearof52Calls and finally made this happen. It just so happens Kasey and I  are now in the same business model of working for a corporation that sells and operates franchises.  I needed to get some advice, insight, and knowledge dropped on me about this business.  So Kasey and chatted about processes, people, and especially technology.  We will be doing this again!

    Kasey Skala

     

    Missy Berggren called 12/29/2011: A reverse #yearof52calls Missy Berggren called me after I posted a funny comment on one of her facebook posts.  She got a kick out the topic that a feller would touch with a 10 foot pool! We had a chance to catch up and touchbase since I had moved from Minneapolis in July.  See how the connected world leads to more connections through different channels!

    Missy Berggren

     

    Experiences:

    • Seems awkward at the beginning when I say who I am and they pause.  Typically I ask do you know who I am or no?  Keith Privette from Twitter, usually blings the light bulb.
    • The conversations do not seem to flow as easy as they do online.  Adding voice and natural conversation ques seem a little awkward on the phone. 3. Conversations enhance the on and offline relationship.
    • Making the time to make the phone calls. If you don’t setup the schedule and figure out who you are going to call….you don’t do it! Next time around I am setting up a 6month schedule.  Then 3 months in setting up the next 6 months!
    • Keep track of new people you establish a rapport with! These are great candidates to connect with early to strength the connection!

     

  2. What Social Media ROI looks like with Warners’ Stellian

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    This story has a little bit of a twist on using the social channels to buy a washer and dryer.  There are several elements of interacting online that brought me to Warners’ Stellian’s for purchasing our new washing and dryer.  This example of social media ROI is based purely only conversing with and observing Julie Warner online.  Julie is the Marketing Assistant at Warners’ Stellian Appliance Co. Inc.  The reason I say “online” is I have never met Julie face to face, which is weird because we have many of the same connections here in Minneapolis.  I started following Julie about two years ago, based on her and I being connected to several of the same people in Minneapolis.  One person I would like to thank for introducing us is Katie Schutrop.

    So I observed very great interactions Julie was having for Warners’ Stellian, colleagues, and friends.  I even saw her steal a sale from a competitor because the competitor’s customer was extremely frustrated with them and Julie was there in the same channel to help! Personally using the social channels to actually steal a customer and  close the deal is quite impressive.  Much should be written about how she did this!  This observation sealed the deal for me that when we were in the market for their products and services Warners’ Stellian was going to be on that list.

    In full disclosure,  I did no researching of prices, models, or customer reviews for these products.  I had a pretty good idea of prices ranges of what we should spend, but that is it!  I just knew where we should buy based on researching and knowing a company based on one of it’s employees.  My wife Tara did a lot of the research on price comparisons, customer reviews and model reviews.  So she was the educated consumer on the product being purchased, I was not.  I do believe she had some ideas on where she wanted to go and buy too, but since I was driving (“he who drives takes you in a direction”, yeah I just made that up), I suggested we swing by Warners’ Stellian to see if they could compete based on Tara’s research.  I also explained Warners’ Stellian was local and we should try this route.

    This was my first ever visit to Warners’ Stellian.  Upon walking in you are greeted by a Warners’ Stellian employee that takes your name down so they know you are there and let’s you know if you have any questions or want to speak to a sales person to just let her know and she can find someone for you.  This allows you to walk around the store and not get bombarded by sales folks asking if you need help.  As we looked at the washers and dryers, I asked Tara “So are the prices in line with your research?” Tara said yes and they have the exact models I was looking for.  So right off the bat my research and her research were lining up.

    The next step was to talk through the models we were looking at with a sales person.  She answered all of our questions about price, feature differences, and product history.  We then sat down with the sales person to discuss purchasing and she was awesome! Very personable, helpful, and informative.  She helped us make the right decision about warrenty choices without being “salesy” about it. She even made a call to the delivery drivers to move up the delivery day by 3 days because when she indicated the date for delivery. Tara and I must’ve had the “Oh really? The laundry is really piling up” look on our faces and without hesitation she picked up the phone and got the delivery date moved up.  You can’t teach that customer service, you can hire for it though!

    Taking it the extra mile is a sure sign of empowered employee!  They value every customer that walks through the door.  The Delivery Technicians were friendly, helpful and returned to the house no questions asked when there was a slight problem with the install. This was a another sign of the overall commitment to the customer.  See it is not just your marketing, twitter feed, facebook fan page updates, or billboards you need to worry about making an “impression” that turns into ROI!

    Overall I was extremely happy with the choice I made to take a chance on observing a social media channel, then base a purchase on it.  Believe me this was not a cheap purchase to take a leap of faith on, but I figured the worse thing that could happen was being disappointed.  So this is an example that businesses have to be aware there are probably a lot more customers watching and observing your business more through the people accounts than the logo’d ones.

    Get these people out there and just as prominent as your logo! Now this adds an element of responsibility by your employees being aware of situations like this, but with some good old fashion media training, you will be pleasantly surprised how much this type of awareness adds to the element of success.

    I probably would not have done the same purchase path with a logo’d account.  So think about this in your strategy, planning, and execution when deciding company accounts vs real people accounts in your social accounts landscape.  You may want to measure and quite possibly incent them differently.  Just a thought!

     

    ps. Sorry about the miss spelling in my Gowalla checkin, it won’t happen again!

     


  3. What Social Media ROI looks like with Walser Auto Group

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    Her is part two of what Social Media ROI looks like from a customer.  This story starts about a year and a half ago when I met Andrea Kopfmann via twitter.  I met Andrea via a couple tweets here and there from other people I know via this channel.  Over this past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Andrea both on and offline!  This personal\professional relationship set in motion expanding into doing actual business with Walser.

    I was in need of  new tires for the Excursion and I wanted to apply the Bona Bros model to this business transaction too! In a couple of conversations on twitter (forgot to screen shot those, sorry!) I mentioned I needed to get new tires for my Ford Excursion. Which is not a cheap!

    Right away Andrea mentioned that Walser Auto Group had a deal going on buy 3 tires and get the 4th one free (first thought “hot damn” that is a good deal).  I started making plans to make an appointment to get my new tires.  Now the actual process took about four months to complete, but Andrea stuck with me the whole way.  She DM’d me the information of the nearest dealership to my house, which happened to be Hopkins Walser Dodge Chrysler Jeep at the time I would be scheduling. She also looked up my city (not creepy because Andrea and I know each other!) and gave me a google map including directions. She also gave me the name and number of the Service Manager at the dealership!  Information on a silver platter treatment was awesome!

    When I eventually got the appointment scheduled I was closer to the Walser Buick GMC dealership in Bloomington, MN. This location also happened to be next to where Andrea Kopfmann is the Director of the Walser Foundation.

    Since the Walser Buick GMC is right up the street from my current contract,  Andrea was kind enough to come pick me up and drive me back to the the dealership, because by the time my vehicle was done I was out of their normal curtiousity shuttle service that is provided by Walser (hopefully I did not set a precedent for you Andrea!).  This is where people relationships trump business hours and makes for long lasting impression of the brand based on the person and not the fancy designed logo on the outside of the building.

    I will definitely return to Walser for my tire needs in the future (Customer Retention).  I will also keep them on the radar for other vehicle needs (Customer Development).  So in the course of doing one transaction based on one of their employees reaching out as themselves and getting to know a customer they sold 4 tires and gained a customer for future revenue and it costed a lot less than trying to get new customers through other activities TV, billboards, inserts in newspapers, and banner ads.

    This example is yet another reason to let your employees shine for you where ever and whenever they can and it produces actual social media ROI.  First, you have to have foster a culture of empowerment (trust me 98% will succeed for you).  Second, start looking at the collective power of all your human accounts versus your logo’d accounts. Last, make sure your business is tying these real world social conversations of your people to bottom line business financials where possible.

    Thank You Andrea for everything! Thank you Walser for empowering your employees to allow for these channels to development customers for the long term!

  4. What Social Media ROI looks like with Bona Bros

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    So many folks struggle with the concept of “How do you actually get ROI from all this stuff on the twitters?”  Well I decided to show and explain how this looks like IRL (In Real Life).  So this story starts about a 2 years ago.  I have met many people, yes people not logos or brands, people.  By meeting these people I get the opportunity to be introduced to the companies they work for and with. Through these people I get to know the brands, then decide whether I like the products and or services their company provides.

    So the first story started when starts when I bought my 2004 Ford Excursion last year.  I was looking for a reputable auto mechanic and like I normally do, sent out a tweet asking for recommendations and that is when Adria Richards recommended Bona Bros!  I had known Adria via twitter for a about a year prior to this recommendation and highly respected Adria and her work so I entertained the recommendation.  Adria did disclose she was currently working with Bona Bros with there website and social profiles (she still manages the technical side of their website).  This strengthened the recommendation, because I know Adria is very particular about the Clients she does work for.  So I brought my Excursion there for that complete service overhaul when you buy a new used vehicle.

    I am so glad Adria recommended John, Matt, Jacque, and John Jr. of Bona Bros.  These people are absolutely top notch with the service, repair recommendations, honesty, and all around human touch they apply to their business.  This sold me on them for all my service needs for my Urban Assault Vehicle (#uav – now you know what this hashtag stands for).

    During my 1st visit Matt indicated I may need a new ball joint in another 20-25,000 miles.  This assessment was spot on and why I brought it back to them for the repair.  Once again I was throughly impressed by the staff at Bona Bros about their attention to detail and explanations of some key repairs that will be upcoming.  This latest visit to get the ball joint repaired Matt indicated I may want to have the u-joint repaired on the drive shaft, but it was up to me.  Well let’s just say I did not listen which brings me to the series of tweets that happened while I was there the second time.

    So this is what a simple request for a recommendation can turn into on social media channels.  So I encourage all businesses in the social channels to be on the look out for these small opportunities to make big impressions for the ever coveted return on investment.  Many of your customers are not all that impressed with your BIG marketing campaigns, but your customers do appreciate when your people help them on a small scale!  This is the difference maker social can do for small and medium sized businesses to get above the noise.

    This is the first of three posts I will be doing on what Social Media ROI looks like in the real world.  The next two posts will be about  Walser Auto Group and Warners Stellian. These are all based on real life engagements and purchases.  In full disclosure nothing and I repeat nothing was done by these brands except having good business people and good businesses.

    On a side note this interaction also included me encouraging Jacque Bona of all things to buy the book written by Olivier Blanchard called Social Media ROI, which I have not decided if that is irony or good business through social business channels…..

  5. Join me at #ungeeked Chicago May 12th-14th & #RoastBrogan

    Comments Off on Join me at #ungeeked Chicago May 12th-14th & #RoastBrogan

    You should attend unGeeked if you are responsible for developing or managing your company, organization or client’s social media, marketing, branding, advertising, on-line community, customer service, or recruiting campaigns.

    • Branding, Marketing and PR VPs, Directors and Managers
    • CEOs, CMOs, and VPs of mid to large companies
    • Not-for-Profit Organizations – Cause Marketing Professionals
    • Recruiters, HR and Legal Professionals
    • Community Managers, Social Media Managers
    • Customer Service, Sales and Advertising VPs, Directors and Managers

    ungeeked_pointing

    The format is “open discussion” The topics focus on enhancing, positioning and leveraging both the internal and external brand. Power Points are strongly discouraged and instead, on-going and intimate discussions among Discussion Leaders (speakers), regional leaders and attendees are encouraged.

    chicago speakers

    Who is speaking at unGeeked?
    Spike Jones, Jason Falls, Barry Moltz, Heather Taylor, Anita Campbell, Olivier Blanchard, Hajj Flemings, Lou Hoffman, Chris Heuer, Amanda Hite and Jeff Willinger and more.

     

    Full list of  Discussion Leaders (speakers)

    Click to see list of Discussion Leaders

     

    Scheduled Discussion Topics

    Click to view Discussion Topics/Schedule

     

    Registrations include one admission to

    Celebrity Charity Roast honoring Chris Brogan

    #RoastBrogan on twitter

     

    brogan

     

    Hostmaster: Jason Falls

    When: May 11th, 2011Time: 5:30PM – 9PM –  Honors/Roast begins:6PM 

     

    Roasting Panel: C.C.Chapman,  Dave Murray,  Jason Falls,  Liz Strauss and Troy Janisch

    Join Chris Brogan and family, while his friends deliver comedic insults, banter, tongue-in-cheek criticism and outlandish stories along with heartwarming tributes to honor one of our most recognized social media thought leaders, while supporting the charity SitStayRead.

     

    Roast and Auction to benefit Chicago Charity SitStayRead Literacy Program. Items for auction:

    • One lifetime membership to Exploring Social Media (valued at $300 per year) – from Social Media Explorer
    • Two certificates each entitling the bearer to a 6 bottle in-home wine tasting for up to 14 people with private wine adviser for 2 hours (valued at $350 each) – from Wines For Humanity
    • Two Chris Brogan T-Shirts from Mom Pop Pow

     

    thebrandbuilder

    Newest author, Olivier Blanchard is on the forefront of spearheading theSocial Media ROI initiative.
    A copy of Social Media ROI is included with 3-day Registrations.

    Click here to Register for unGeeked Chicago

     

    SAVE When you RSVP before 4/30/2011

     

     

    Sponsors

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  6. Want your Social Business Group to succeed, report to the C-Suite

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    We have begun the era of businesses turning the corner of complete change in the way they are managed internally to be more affectively run externally for their customers, investors, and communities.  There are many blog posts, articles, and conferences being dedicated to this very topic.  Since it is relatively new on the business management landscape, people and companies are trying to figure out what works, what does not, and what does the future hold.

    I decided to take a stab at the actual organizational setup, roles and types of people that will strategize, plan, operationalize, and support the social business structure.  The one common sentiment that appears quite often is “how do we get buy-in from senior leaders and the c-suite”  I think the best way to get buy-in is to have direct reporting and governance over the organization, people, goals, objectives and measurement of success.  This gives the senior leaders direct line of site to the people and structure for it to succeed.


    Wikipedia Definition of a Social Business:

    social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. The profits are used to expand the company’s reach and improve the product/service. This model has grown from the work of Muhammad Yunus and others.  Social business is a cause-driven business. In a social business, the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point. Purpose of the investment is purely to achieve one or more social objectives through the operation of the company, no personal gain is desired by the investors.

    I really like this approach to the definition of a Social Business!  It seems a more practical and applicable to most business settings today, whether it is a private, public or non-profit type of organization.

    Peter Kim of Dachis Group

    Its goal: helping organizations improve value exchange among constituents.  Social Business Design uses a framework of four mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive archetypes: ecosystem, hivemind, dynamic signal, and metafilter. This model can be applied to improve customer participation, workforce collaboration, and business partner optimization. Doing so provides insight to help measure and manage business to produce improved and emergent outcomes.  To learn more, I encourage you to read our complete thinking behind the concept of Social Business Design.


    Here is my diagram of an approach to structuring your social business group organizationally. This will be the basis of the ideas below:

     

    Org Chart Social Business Group

    Org Chart of the Social Business Group


    There are some main components for this structure to be affective and effectively run. The following will be discussed in this post:

    1. Planning

    2. Business Metrics

    3. Get the People out there

    4. Eclectic Group of Roles and People

    5. Solid Line and Dotted Line Management

    6. Reverse Mentoring


    1. Planning

    The planning is a critical function of the Social Business.  The planning has to have an understanding of the collective needs and wants of the organization.  A centralized function around planning will provide an enterprise view of all the competing needs and wants of the organization. What the Social Business Group will have the ability to do is collectively prioritize all of these competing needs of all your organizations.  One of the byproducts of this centralized planning of the internal and external social business is that silo’d organizations start to share goals, objectives, and measurements of success.

    The planning also leads a more collaborative effort to tactical and operational execution of these needs and wants.  The Social Business Group will have the ability to flow work back and forth between their group and organizations that will more than likely have the people to execute the tactics.  Depending on the needs and wants the Social Business Group can execute for an organization, which allows organizations within the enterprise to expand and contract based on the needs and wants.  This cuts down on hiring for duplicate resources for tactical execution.  The Social Business Group can synthesize organizations inside the enterprise to leverage one resource for these execution tactics, instead of 4 organizations hire 4 people and they end up all doing the same thing and costing the company four times as much.  This group ensures the planning and execution of the social business both internally and externally.


    2. Business Metrics

    The Social Business Group is driven by Financial and Non-Financial metrics.  This group will be responsible for continually monitoring the effectiveness of the needs and wants based on pure financial returns, non-financial activities that will help drive financial return, and reviewing short and long term course correcting success.  The Social Business Group will be held responsible for reporting the success and or failures of executing needs and wants.  This group will be held to review activities in the future.

    So if the need or want has a business case of a return of financial investment in 3 years, when that 3rd year rolls around the group will be responsible for reporting on these numbers.  If the numbers are not reached there will be accountabilities and responsibilities that will need to be explained and corrected to find a new program to find that return or documented so history does not repeat itself.  There will be a repository built for keeping track of these programs.  The following areas below could be some areas that the Social Business Group will be responsible for planning, executing and supporting on an ongoing basis

    a. The hiring and retention of employees

    b. Finding leads to and tracking the success of closing for financial success

    c. Increasing customer satisfaction

    d. Increasing market-share for a product or service

    e. Increasing spend within the current loyal customer base.

    f. Decreasing expensive Call Center phones and leverage more online customer service channels

    g. Drive purchasing on niche markets with niche ways of marketing and advertising.

    h. Decrease operating costs by reducing duplication of efforts across the silo’d organizations.

    These are just some of the financial and non-financial accountabilities and responsibilities the people, processes, projects and technologies will have in this group.  To achieve any of these metrics the Social Business Group must be sharing, collaborating and ensuring people and technologies are working together to achieve.  The days of silo’d achievement metrics are over if you want to succeed.  Success is NOT derived in silos anymore.  Unless there is a group fully dedicated to ensure shared metrics are achieved then they really are never achieved.  Look at your goals and objectives for 2011 see any shared goals with other silos and your bonus tied to if achieved or not…….didn’t think so.


    3. Get the People out there

    The Social Business Group does not sit in cubes all day long taking orders or waiting for the next project come in.  They are fully integrated with all business functions throughout the organization.  They need to seek out the individuals that want to energize the company using new collaborative processes and technologies internally and externally.  Most businesses are operating outside their firewall with business partners as well as consumers and investors.  This group is always seeking ways to understand the flow of information for decision making and moving the organization and its people forward.

    This group is responsible for making sure there are seamless leveraging of the processes and technologies. This group is held to a make sure groups are interacting sharing and collaborating to ensure shareable metrics achievement, sharing of successes and failures, and reusing as much process, information and technology as possible.  This cuts down on 8 monitoring tools for 6 different organizations and 6 different groups managing their business and people in a silo.  This is complicated and not much costly.  The organizations cannot honestly report if they are being successful for the organization as a whole without the infusion of the group ensuring cross collaboration and initiative completion.

    About 60 to 70% of these folks will have community management in their DNA.  They will always be seeking out people, technologies, and paths to succeed.  They will continually look to help, but within helping discovering new ways the organization or people can achieve success.  This group of folks will be involved and engaged behind the firewall as well as beyond it.


    4. Eclectic Group of Roles and People

    The Social Business Group looks very different than most traditional organizations within the enterprise.  Since the group will need to be proactive as well as reactive when it comes to technology, people, problems, issues, and solutions, they need to have this eclectic look, feel and interaction, mainly between the people and technology.  Organizations will no longer have the ability to isolate the process from the technology or the people that asks for technology and the people that deliver technology.  This group will be a reflection of the mantra “Business is IT and IT is Business”

    This group will have marketing, business technologists, subject matter experts, project managers, art directors, call center operations leaders, interactive technologists, “infrastructurists”…..This will be an eclectic group of individuals working together to make the group be efficient and the enterprise to be efficient in the execution of needs and wants.  This group will be responsible for blending all things traditional with new,  this silo and that silo and business and technology in specifically in the areas of:

    • Marketing
    • Advertising
    • Public Relations
    • Customer Service
    • Knowledge Sharing
    • Communication
    • Initiative Management and Metrics
    • Product\Service Management


    This group will keep the ecosystem of internal and external in balance and understand when it is not in balance.  They will have the ability to understand and react because the relationships of trust have been built with key partner groups and issues or innovations can help efficiently because the time and people were involved all along the way.  The only way to achieve this balance is to have an eclectic team working for the betterment of the organization as well as themselves.


    The following picture shows the different roles or titles that will reside inside the Social Business Group for the enterprise:

    titles in social business group
    titles in social business group



    5. Solid Line and Dotted Line Management

    The solid and dotted line organizational structure is the most interesting of organizational design.  The solid line gives you control and dotted gives you influence or responsible for execution.  Both of these relationships are completely necessary for this organizational structure to work.  It essentially boils down to top down and bottoms up meeting up for organizational success and execution.  The dotted line provides visibility and shared responsibility in making sure each organization is successful on its own as well as part of the whole organization.

    Having the dotted line to these organizational units shows solidarity with these organizations as well as a shared responsibility that if this organization needs to be working with another organization or an organization could use another organizations resources or help; this group ensures and communicates these actions.

    With the solid line in place to c-suite this group is responsible and accountable for organization goals, objectives, mission, metrics and return. There is no red tape, there are no trickle down or roll ups, there are just direct line of site of investment and return for the whole organization. This essentially becomes an strategy, planning, operations and tactical execution area for the executive office and officers.  Being that most Executive Offices represent the whole organization, they should have a group dedicated to making this a reality.  A SWAT Team for the Executive Office of real hard core business and technology planners and executors that are flexible and adaptable  for real return for the organization.


    6. Reverse Mentoring

    The senior leaders of most companies need to be brought up the digital and community interaction landscape. By leveraging the solid line organizational structure the Social Business Group is responsible for training and educating of the people they are reporting to. This will help with vision, business direction, business decisions, and investment.  I have found once you unlock the navigation and using the tools within internal and external communities, senior leaders feel a part and then take the responsibility for furthering the execution and success of the Social Business structure for their organization.  Once the senior leaders can see how shared goals, responsibility, and information are used for true financial returns they cannot get enough of the interactions with the people and tools.

    This is for the betterment of the organization and the people.  The one thing I would caution against doing is isolating this group from the rest of their people while they “get up to speed”.  Building “walled gardens” for them to play to learn will have adverse affects when trying to integrate back into the fold of the whole company.  In their “walled gardens” the senior executive WILL NOT get the sense of all perspectives from top to bottom, because they are only learning from their peers.  The public learning together does a lot for building trust and relationships in an organization at all levels.

    So what do you think?  Will this work in your organization?  Do you see any other benefits to this centrally located organization? Please let me know in the comments.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not going to be easy.  This one won’t be just snap together a org. chart on a powerpoint and it happens.  This one takes into account the people and behaviors that will need to change along with this.

    Like I infamously put it at a #jmu612 event here in Minneapolis “We are fundamentally changing the way business has been done for the last 50 years,  if you try and take this on yourself or within one silo’d organization, it’s like climbing Mt Everest in your boxer shorts, you’re never going to make it!” You need a team, you need buy-in, you need technology and you need new ways.  Without it,  good luck….

  7. Opt-In checkbox is not 2-way, but it can be!

    2 Comments

    Currently we have this thing about customers opting in or opting out.   If they opt out most companies pine over how can we get them to opt in and continually push market in a shot gun fashion around them hoping someone will forward it to them…..costly.

    On the other side you have the people that opt in and what do businesses turn around and do, push market the hell out of these customers. No analysis done around who should get what message, when, why and then the customer gets the dreaded noreply@ email address in the From: so you cannot communicate your frustration with said business……ummm costly and annoying.

    So how does the opt in become a two way form of communication between businesses and customers. Data, yes the sexy ever glamorous darling of the businesses, Data. Yeah right who I kidding data is not sexy, but it sure is useful! What businesses need to do is partner with their customer around data.  The customer has the ability to proactively collect a lot of information about themselves now and the data the business collect about the customer has holes in it to be affective. Typically most businesses have cookies, email address and minimum information about connecting the exact purchases done by their customers.

    With so many customers collecting, storing, analyzing, and utilizing their data to make personal business decisions, like where I buy, how much can I spend, and how much I have spent. On the flip side businesses are collecting, storing, and analyzing the data they are collecting with one two pieces or really three pieces of demographic data missing First Name, Last Name, and email address tied to purchasing actions.  Missing the actual person and who they are leaves gaping holes in analyzing to take the correct actions.   Being able to line the data profile the customer is building and data profile based on a Cookie ID can lead to a powerful conversation, trust relationship and actual deepening the selling and buying between the two.

    Enter a company like Buyosphere! They are allowing customers to store and maintain all the purchases they make based on the receipts they can obtain online and eventually the receipts they receive offline, then get them to their online profile. This purchasing information is the start of the two opt-in of sharing information between businesses and customers. With the customers currating and storing their purchasing data and most businesses wanting to know their First Name, Last Name and email address on those purchases, why not have conversations about sharing this  information with each other. Businesses that are in a more brick and mortar setting need to find ways to get this purchase information to their customers!  Plus we can save a whole lot of trees by not giving out paper receipts too…

    Businesses need to invest in emailing receipts to the customer at the time of purchase, giving them a way to enter a code online to get the electronic receipt once they get online, start putting QR codes on the receipt, or maybe bumping phone to POS to get receipt record onto phone (keep in mind this only covers 30% of customers with smartphones).

    What this allows the customer to do is curate their purchases and share the data socially or privately with the businesses they are demonstrating purchasing power with said business. This is the start of the 2-way Opt-In partnership around purchasing power using the opt-in as the contract, the handshake, the trust. The businesses offering these types of services and two way opt-in relationships will be able to increase marketshare, service customers based on mutual respect based on buying and selling, and keep the customers you have long term. In business keeping the ones you have is waaaaaay cheaper than always trying to acquire new.  I do believe if the customer felt a little more in control of this opting-in action they would probably be more willing to opt-in!  I know I would!

    Now the flip side of this 2-way Opt-In relationships are the businesses and needing to earn the trust with this Customer information and not get all up in their customer’s grillz with their Pushy MCPusherton marketing and advertising.  They have to allow the relationship to build and grow.  With always checking in after sending your Customers information, like “How did that feel, was it pushy?” or “Did we hit the mark based on your activity?” This will gain trust and loyalty like nothing before.  Image the cost reductions of trying to acquire new costumers and increasing the spend by already existing customer.  Just remember this is earned in the long term and screwed up in an instant. Gut feeling is most businesses would have more fun interacting with their Customers too.  Employees would have more satisfaction about a job well done or finding new ways to strengthens the relationship with their Customers.  I see productivity gains and reducing talent turning over, which is reduction of  expenses.  When you make you company fun with happy Customers and happy employees really cool things can happen!

    So go forth and build and synthesize your data businesses and customers, the economy will thank you!  “In the form of a wholly logical data model, in the form of a buying river!”

  8. Social Media+Technology+Outdoors misfits or fit

    612 Comments

    So you have seen me talk a lot about how Social Media, Technology, and the Outdoors lately so I wanted to write a post about these Misfits or Fit for connecting us as people. Yes I know you probably read that first sentence and said to yourself  “What? Are you kidding me I go to the outdoors to get away from all this wacky stuff!” Sorry to tell you, your data is calling your bluff.   Yes I would not be totally “transparent” (for my big word users) if I did not agree with that statement a little….but I am going to start a discussion that hopefully has a long tail for outdoor retailers, outdoorsy people, technology retailers, technology innovators, government agencies, non-profits and businesses that relay on people engaging and communicating with the tools and technologies in the outdoors.

    Ok here we go. I have been part of many outdoor activities since moving to Minnesota. I have duck hunted, deer hunted, fished, boated, hiked, canoed, motorcycled, rode bike, skied, ice fished, and my favorite RV camping. After reading that list were you like really? Yes the suit 5 days a week is my Clark Kent side. So living an outdoors lifestyle (and believe me there are people way more hardcore at this than I) as well as being involved in many online social communities I have been watching, listening and participating and discovering some patterns that I want to explore with people, companies, and organizations.

    I have thought through some initial ideas to get this conversation and action going on how social media+technology+outdoors are truly socially connecting us on and offline for good. I want to explore the data, social objects that people are putting out there, for deeper and richer connections between the people, their technologies, the outdoors, the brands that support these activities, the brands that support them, and how to create real return on investment (have a couple of real dollars in real dollars out ideas) by companies and consumers in this space. Yes, I know the initial reactions are “Keith you are crazy people go to the outdoors to get away from technology and especially social media” Well unfortunately, your data is telling a different story…..so you may want to have a talk with it!

    I have teamed up with the fine folks managing the Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis/St. Paul in particular Rick Mahn to leverage the rich social media savvy, technology curious, and experienced people in this community to bring this to light. I have also been in contact with many local providers of products and services within the outdoor space to participate in a the discussion as well to see where this conversation goes. Currently these fine folks have signed up for the first part of a two part plan to kick off the engagement, discussion, ideas, collaborations, co-creations, and real business that can be done based on this topic. The outdoor industry accounts for $5.075 billion dollars in 2009 that is just the retail side selling products and services.  Then when you couple in the resorts, campgrounds, guide businesses, hotels, rental shops, RV Boat ATV Dealerships, restaurants, technology services and social media tool side of that money and there are many many many systemic value points to listen, engage, make happy, service to convert into real dollar values.

    The participants to kick off the discussion will be as follows:

    • Molly Solberg from Duluth Pack: Molly is the Director of Social Media and Business Development for Duluth Pack.  She is actively managing the twitter account as well as Duluth Pack Blog.  Molly has also initiated a Social Media Breakfast Duluth community also! She not only works for a 128 year outdoor company, but she lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle in her personal life too.
    • Kim Opitz representing Crestliner as a vendor: Crestliner (twitter acct) celebrates 65 years as an innovator in the aluminum market; delivering a complete line of fishing, fish and ski, pontoon and jon boats to enthusiastic consumers across the United States and Canada. You can find them engaging their communities at Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, andVimeo
    • Adam Jochum from Crow River Coffee Company: Adam runs Crow River Coffee Company in Watertown, MN.  He has graciously offered up his studio that normally broadcasts Spacevidcast.com live.  His studio will allow us to have fully interactive discussion with a live feed of the social platforms as well as a livestreaming of the discussion.  This is cool! Adam and Crow River totally fits social media+technology+outdoors, because who doesn’t drink coffee in the outdoors.  It is a great themed back drop to the whole first part of this experience.
    • Rick Mahn from Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis St. Paul: Rick has an extensive IT background and understanding of infrastructure, Rick brings the knowledge and skill to help build your personal or professional network through years of exploration of social media, learning its strengths and weaknesses. His practical experience in the industry combined with his love of communication and team building have enabled him to bridge the gap between personal and professional networking with great success.  Rick is also one of the founding members of the Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis St. Paul.  Rick has established a community of well over 2,000+ community members here in Minneapolis St. Paul. We will have to confirm during our livestreaming discussion but I do believe he is the Social Media Title holder for most community members, longest consistently running SMB, and the SMB with the most sessions 29, to date.  We will ask him!

    So that is the first part of the plan.  Now for the meaty, juicy, slap some pepper jack cheese and big piece of bacon on part two of this plan. Rick and I have had several discussions about how we can take this discussion into the outdoors and really see if we can fully make the equation of social media+technology+outdoors come to life.  I do believe we have hit on a plan……now before I go any further you will have to wait a little for part two, but I think we will make it worth the wait, right Rick!

    So here is the plan a 2 day Social Media Breakfast camping experience at a campground.

    • The tentative agenda would look something like this:
    • Day 1 Arrive at the Campground, SMB’ers with or without families set up campsites and connect throughout the day.  Meet each other.  Meet sponsors. Meet each others families.  Maybe have some technology based contests.  Hopefully we have some vendors, retailers, service provides that would like to participate in their element.
    • Day 2 The regularly scheduled SMB would take place from 8am to 10am. This would be at a couple of the campsites sitting around the campfire ring (with or without fire….still deciding) with hopefully the same participants (maybe even some more based on the longtail discussion) from the livecast discussing what has happened since the livecast, what is on the near horizon, and what does the future look like. This would be a fully interactive discussion, hence in the circle around the campfire ring.This camping adventure would take place sometime in May or Jun 2011.

    The livecast of this discussion will take place on October 13th, 2010 starting at 7:30pm.  Yes we are doing a livecast with video, chat and twitter stream!  So start preparing questions or comments that are on your mind?  What areas would you like us to touch on?  I am really looking forward to this ongoing discussion.  Any person and business is welcomed to just jump in where ever.  I have even thought about starting a bi-weekly or monthly twitter chat under the #hashtag of #smtochat, but we will take 1st things first.  Lets see how the livecast goes!  Be on the look out for details and links to the live webcast!

    Additionally, I want this to be an ongoing discussion, so if want to continue the discussion after the livecast just use the hashtag #smoutside10.  At anytime we think that another livcast should take place with different participants, it is a ok too.  If anyone wants to give me a 2011Keystone Springdale 303BHSSR you could do that too (I am totally kidding……our beloved @pulling was totaled out in a hailstorm this year).  This is definitely going to be a community effort.  Leave some comments, we would love to hear from you!

  9. A Business Analyst on a Social Media Team….Blasphemy!

    5 Comments

    Well that seems to be the general feeling I get discussing this topic with marketing, communications, pr, and leadership in those groups. So I am going to present why this role is highly suited for being part of the social team. The core skills and specialties of this role make integrating social strategies, processes, and technologies for problem solving and innovation essential to be apart of these newly forming teams. The following are my reasons to challenge the blasphemy or heresy perspective and rhetoric!

    A Business Analyst………


    1. Looks at problems and assesses viable solutions using people, process & technology

    Yes the Business Analyst realizes there is no silver bullet. You need all three aspects of people, process, and technology to problem solve or innovate. The Business Analyst is aware the solutions will work these things as an ecosystem. The Business Analyst will ask the right questions, document the information gathered, analyze that information and have the ability to put that information into readable content for business and technology disciplines to understand. Business Analysts helps the social media project teams co-create these solutions in a rapid fashion because we understand how and what the ecosystem needs for execution. One of the biggest soft skills we use is curiosity to discover information. With every problem or potential idea to innovation we turn into a 5 year old kid discovery their world around them…..we all know a 5 year old right?

    2. Diggs for information to get solutions

    Business Analysts are tenacious to find, illicit, document, and fix information for a solid solution for a problem or innovation. We are good at asking questions for clarification, we will admit when we don’t understand or don’t know, but with that admission we will educate, find, and ask again if need be. This is all done from a place of curiosity, wanting the people, project, and organization to succeed. We explore the possibilities of where it could be or what it could be. All along the way we keep documenting with content to ensure we have words, pictures, and prototypes to make better fact based decisions. Well on occasion a little leap of faith based on experience is needed to be worked in also. The question why comes up a lot, but in a curious manner. That is the best way to spot a good business analyst! How do they ask the question Why?

    3. Documents for review, clarity, and decision making

    Documentation, Documentation, Documentation……yes I know what you are thinking. Good Business Analysts make this documentation flexible, dynamic, and not set in stone. Every hour on a project or a team the information you need to make good decisions changes. Now with social we see this information changing every minute. You need a role that can absorb information and categorize and reproduce in a rapid fashion. Now think about all the disciplines operating on a social media team: interactive designers, creatives, lawyers, HR, marketing, advertising, technical architect, infrastructure architect, testers, project managers, customers, call center reps, PR, Communications, etc etc. Yes I take the approach the social media\social business team internal and external are one team (future post on social business, enterprise2.0, and social media is much larger and more dynamic than what I have seen at any company today). Think about all the information that is being created that needs to be curated and reproduced for decision making and impact analysis.

    4. Presents information for diverse audiences

    Business Analysts are smack dab right in the middle of the ecosystem. Being that we have functioned within the Business culture and Technology cultures we have to take all the information above and synthesize this information for non-business people understand businesses and non-techie people understand the worlds of technology. With this skill set comes the ability to fashion a presentation around 1 screen or one process model or one requirements traceability diagram. Oh there is that word Requirements. Those silly little information snippets that cause most projects headaches and heartburn, if not gathered, managed, and traced to other forms of requirements to ensure connectability and workability of the solution or innovation. All your business, test, project, and technical information should plug into the requirements traceability hierarchy…..another blog post hey? Oh and the presentation does not mean powerpoint, most good Business Analysts want to present diagrams or working prototypes based on the requirement statements.

    Information Integration with a Social Business Analyst

    5. Talk business and tech languages and dialects

    Yes we speak that foreign language called “techie”, but we do speak a special dialect of “techie” called “biz techie”. Yes that is right we understand how technology makes businesses work and how businesses make technology work. I do believe this is probably most crucial part of being apart of the social media team. Majority of the execution of the social media\business plan and strategy will be done through technologies or technologies will be apart of most of the activities. Business Analysts can quickly and effectively put together the tools and processes necessary for social media execution and operationalization for long term success.

    The Social Business Analyst

    The Social Business Analyst

    So there you have it the blasphemic reasons why you need to really start looking at this role, skill, and people with the Business Analyst title to be apart of your social media\business team. Now a word of warning some folks are walking around with just the t-shirt that says they are a Business Analyst. It is a little like me wearing a professional baseball teams uniform and calling myself a professional baseball player.

    So what do you think sound advice or blasphemy? Need to hire or heresy? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

     

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