Monday, February 14, 2011

Social Media vs. Social Intelligence

I’m sure we’re all getting bombarded by Facebook and Twitter information from people calling themselves “Social Media experts”. If you’re like me, it’s getting to the point where you ask yourself how much “social” is too much “social”?

This brings us to today’s topic: What exactly is “social media" and what does it do for me?

“Social Media” is defined by Wikipedia as “the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue”. In other words, everyone using Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Linkedin, etc are using and contributing to “social media”. If you’re a bit more advanced and are “blogging”, then you’re contributing to the social media explosion.

Today’s businesses are just beginning to realize the role social media is currently playing and will continue to evolve into in the future. Where in past years, if you had a bad experience with a merchant or ate a bad meal at a restaurant, you’d tell a few close friends and relatives and that would be the end of it. Very little real effect took place on the business reputation, good or bad.

Today, people may have thousands of followers on Twitters, making it as simple as picking up their Blackberry or iPhone, logging into Twitter, and writing a quick one sentence review of their experience. This review quickly reaches all their followers and with “re-tweeting”, there’s no way to count how many people are notified of an experience with a business, good or bad. The results can be devastating to a reputation or fantastic for a company, depending on the temperament of the Tweet.

Here’s where “Social Intelligence” comes in. Businesses need to more than just follow their reputations with free services like Google alerts, or Trackle alerts. The business may or may not capture all of their social mentions with these services, but the bigger question now becomes what do you do with them?

The consumers must be engaged in order to gain value from the social media explosion. Social intelligence is the knowledge of how to handle the conversation about your business.  It includes having a  plan in place to respond immediately to comments once you find them, both positive and negative and requires many companies to employ a full-time staff to address this. It includes developing pro-active campaigns to improve or direct the conversation about your brand.  It may drive business to your website. There are many components of social intelligence. Far too many to address here...

It’s a fact in today’s tight economic market that many companies can’t (or won’t) expend the resources to hire additional personnel to handle this aspect of their business, and their current group of employees is either too busy or not trained to deal with the social media explosion.  It’s the current and next generation of employees (recent college grads and those students still in college, high school, and middle school) who will be coming into the workplace fully engaged with the need and skills to work in social intelligence.

Think back 10 years ago…..pre-requisite for employment may have read something like “working knowledge of MS Word, Excel, & Powerpoint a plus”. Today’s job listings might include something like..”at least 5 years of Twitter, Facebook, and blogging experience a must”.

Scared? You’re not alone.

There are solutions available today to help you through attaining and successfully developing and using social intelligence to help your business profits move forward as technology continues to evolve.  If you’d like more information on how to manage your company’s social intelligence programs, please contact me.

I’d enjoy hearing any other solutions or comments you may have so please leave your comments and forward to any friends or colleagues you may feel are interested in “social intelligence”.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Great Twitter Tool

Are you “Social”? Do you use Twitter? Facebook? Digg? Linkedin?

If you’re just getting into the cyber social scene, here’s a great application to add to your social toolbox.

If you enjoy taking pictures and posting them on Facebook, but struggle when trying to express your views on Twitter, try signing up for Y Frog ( and download the mobile app. to your mobile device. YFrog is a product of Imageshack, which has been hosting images and videos since 2004.

YFrog is a free application that works from your desktop or mobile device. YFrog seemlessly integrates with your Twitter account and allows users to add photos and videos to their Twitter posts. Users can post directly from the YFog interface, making “tweeting” and “re-Tweeting” a breeze! Currently, YFrog is available for use from Blackberry and Android mobile devices. For you iPhone users, the application is available using Tweetdeck.

So, next time you find yourself at the scene of a newsworthy event or in the presence of a person of interest, grab your cell phone camera, snap the picture and “Tweet” away. Stats have shown that the average “tweet” stays in cyber space for no more than an hour ( “Tweets” containing pictures have a shelf life of nearly triple that!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Carreer and Life Obstacles

Most of us have better days than others, whether it’s in your personal life or your business life. Ever lose that big sale at work, draw a blank on creating a new marketing program, can’t seem to “crunch the numbers” to reach a budget target, or forget your laptop when you need to make that big presentation? What about when that TV breaks down the morning before the Superbowl and you’ve got 25 people coming over for the game? How about when the car breaks down on vacation? Ever spill coffee on your dress shirt on the drive to a meeting with an important client? I have….more than once too!

We all had days like this and they’re not enjoyable. But we can find ways to effectively deal with them. I try to live by a simple quote: “Always look up, always get up, and NEVER give up”. This simple quote has helped me through more than 20 years of working in a high pressure corporate sales environment, always under constant pressure from managers and executives pushing for higher performance.

What I’ve found to be helpful in dealing with pressure from our “bad days” is to simply take a short break, whether it’s a 10 minute walk around the building, a 30 minute trip to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls, or something as simple as sitting on a bench at a park by yourself to clear your head. This process is equally effective if you’re at work or at home, but you must remove yourself from the source of the stress and clear your thoughts.

Whatever works for you individually doesn’t really matter. Unfortunately, people who are unable to successfully break from the source can literally be taking years of their life. I’m not a doctor but it’s a well known fact that stress is one of the leading factors to high blood pressure which is known as the “silent killer”.

Take my fellow New Englanders as an example. Undeterred by the ~70” of snow we’ve received in Boston so far this winter, undaunted by the ice dams and leaks in their roofs, unfazed by the high cost of oil and gas heat, and let’s not even talk about the high unemployment rates, the majority of the quotes I heard from people on the news today involved quotes like:

“I love the snow. We’re from New England. Deal with it”

“It was my choice to live here, no one else’s”

“I’ve got a snowblower. It’s not so bad.”

“We’re comfortable driving in this stuff. We do it every year”

Now these people have conquered their stress and learned to live with it. All of these quotes came from people interviewed by newscasters who walked up to them while they were sitting in snarled traffic due to today’s storm.

So remember, when you get off that bad phone call, after you rip your best $100 shirt or blouse getting something out of your car, or go through whatever event in your life that causes stress, try your best to get away from it and clear your thoughts. Remember, it’s “only a job” or it’s “only a shirt” and get over it. You’ll feel better and you’ll probably live a lot longer too.

Tomorrow brings a new day so remember to “Look up, Get up, and NEVER give up!”