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Are Your Customers (and Prospects) Talking About You? (Part 2)

Yesterday, I shared information on how to get started with social media listening, what to listen for, and the types of information you can gain from listening. Now that you have an idea of what your customers and prospects are saying, what are you going to do with all of that information?

Well, that’s when the good stuff happens! The insights you’ll get from social listening will help you:

  • Build your social media marketing strategy – you’ll have more insights about your audience, who exactly is participating in social media, in which social channels the conversations are happening, how frequently and actively are they posting, and what they are talking about.
  • Have a dialogue with customers and prospects –  you want to do this carefully, thoughtfully, person-to-person, and with a customer-service mentality, but participating in social media conversations gives you the chance to thank fans, find prospects, help those with problems or questions, discover problem areas you might otherwise have missed, and build better relationships with your community.
  • Share what you learn with the rest of your organization – product feedback will be useful to your support and development teams, lead opportunities will get sales excited, your executives will want to hear about emerging trends and what kinds of business problems customers are looking for technology to solve, and marketing can see the traction that offers and marketing campaigns are getting.

As an example, here’s a situation where we were getting feedback via social listening from customers about challenges with firmware downloads. We responded to this disgruntled person (who clearly was appreciative of our efforts), but it also led us to put a temporary fix in place to make the experience easier while we worked on the longer-term solution.

Here at Cisco, we have a central Social Media Listening Center where we are continually tracking mentions of the company, key technology areas and events. It functions as a command center to route questions, issues or even potential leads to various teams across Cisco (many of whom are also doing their own ‘deep-live’ listening work for their specific area of expertise). We also can launch listening centers for special events, including our recent listening center in London for the 2012 Olympics.

We’re also eager to share some of our social listening highlights with you, our partners! Read More »

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Are Your Customers (and Prospects) Talking About You?

I’m sure you know what your customers want – you talk to them all the time, right? But what do they say about you – or your products, employees, website – when you aren’t involved in the conversation?

Hopefully, what they say when they don’t know you are listening isn’t much different than what they’d say to your face. Well, the truth is, people are talking about you, whether you are listening or not. So if you COULD listen, wouldn’t you want to?

Forget the things you’d rather not hear – “What did she do to her hair? Does he really think that joke is funny?” – when it comes to your business, hearing more can only be a good thing.

Enter social media listening – a fancy phrase for reading relevant things that people post on social sites – and voila, your long-distance hearing just improved! And by hearing better, you can make significant improvements to how your business runs, deciding what to market and sell, focusing your resources, and strengthening your relationships with customers, prospects, and your entire business community.

How do I get started?
You can use sophisticated monitoring applications like Salesforce Radian6, Cymphony/Visible, and Cisco Social Miner, but you can also get started with free tools like Google Alerts, Technorati, TweetDeck or SocialMention. Before you invest in a paid application, it’s a good idea to play around with putting keywords into one of the free tools to get a sense of the type and volume of results you’ll get back.

What do I listen for?  Read More »

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7 Questions to Ask Before Launching a Social Media Program

Success can come in many forms. Three very different success stories. Listen to the replay for details.

This week, Partner Velocity (Cisco’s program to help partners’ marketing efforts) held a one-hour webcast to help you get started with social media.

It’s a topic near and dear to my heart, so I led the webcast and provided some guidance for beginners and more advanced practitioners, tips, and tricks to help launch a social media presence.

If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry as there’s a replay available. Be sure to listen to this replay and attend the next two webinars in the series: you’ll be entered to win a US$2500 marketing consultation.

Head to the Partner Velocity site for details, and to register for the next two sessions (Social Media for Events and Creating an Integrated Campaign).

Here’s a quick recap of the topics covered in this week’s session “Building a Successful Social Media Program”:

  • How to develop a listening strategy
  • How to define and segment your audience (and create content for each persona)
  • Tips and tricks for engaging with your audience
  • Ways to design a measurement/metrics plan
  • And finally, some key takeaways and next steps

Keep reading for my seven questions to ask before launching your own social media program.

Read More »

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IT Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Collaboration

This week, we continue with our coverage of XChange 2012, where UBM Channel presented the Annual Report Card Awards. While on site at the event in Texas, we had a chance to talk about cloud with our partners as well as trends they’re seeing.

In this video, we chat it up with Cisco partners Ed Greenberg of Alliant Technologies, Mont Phelps of NWN, David Powell of TekLinks, and Peter Valters of Empowered Networks. Watch as they share their thoughts about the rush to the cloud—including the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Want to know what else they had to say? Read More »

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Presidio Voice Engineer Saves the Day as Fire Rages, Showing the ‘Human Element’ Behind the Customer Relationship

I like those heroes who say they aren’t heroes. You know who I’m talking about?

Neil Armstrong is a good example. With his passing, there’s been a renewed conversation about the first man on the Moon. I listened to pundits talk about that day in 1969. I also did some sleuthing on my own—truth is Mr. Armstrong didn’t see himself as a hero. He said he was only doing his part.

I can say the same about Renee Lyon, a voice engineer working toward her CCIE at Cisco Gold Partner Presidio.

When I caught up with her, she didn’t quite get why I wanted to talk with her. She said she was only doing her part.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not holding Renee up to space exploration or solving world hunger. What I can say is that when help was needed in a crisis, she didn’t hesitate. In my mind, that’s a true hero—famous or not.

What’d she do? She helped a whole lot of people who were trying to reach 911 emergency phone operators as a firestorm raced across the tiny Texas community of Bastrop County. Read More »

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