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What the British royals are teaching the rest of us about social: What companies can learn to do

Social media is quickly becoming ubiquitous in our lives — not only giving us news on our friends, but news of the day. We found out all about the recent birth of the newest heir to the British throne on social.

The royal baby is merely two weeks old and already doing a lot to bring the British Monarchy into the Internet age:  “The Twitter of tiny feet as William and Kate announce arrival online in historic first.”

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We’re also using social media to connect with current and potential customers. It’s no longer a question of should companies use it… but how. How does a business reach who it wants to reach, stay relevant, listen to what they’re saying, and help them influence others?  Read More »

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Get your online writing out of the summer doldrums

Even our writing needs a vacation once in a while and to come back more inspired. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and forget about all the fun things we can try. Here are some tips I’m starting to resurrect:

Be timely

Try to include references (or even visuals) to things people are talking about. It makes a piece more fun but also helps it to come up in a web search. Try to place trending words in your headline or the first couple of sentences. Reference news headlines, even holidays.

Draft, then craft

Write fast with the words that first come to you. Come back later to put in commas and edit; it’ll flow better with your first thoughts. Jot down ideas as they appear to you. Especially while surfing the web, it’s easy to get 100 clicks from your subject before you write anything. Write down your thoughts …then go to the web to fill in with examples and facts.

Write when the ideas come to you

In author Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine:  How Creativity Works, he talks about how our best creativity comes to us when we least expect it, but says especially as we become older, we hold back and become too self aware of the details. He says, “Let go!”

I do a lot of my writing on the weekends as I’m always more relaxed then. I even pull off the road and write blogs on my iphone because I think of ideas while I drive. I know I won’t remember if I wait. In this Cisco blog, I talk about How to be more ‘wild and crazy’ in your online world.  

Have your content drive your product

Whether it’s a blog (or presentation), it can often turn out better if you first look for interesting stories, hooks and visuals, and then wrap the piece around those. Don’t stay too married to a framework – keep it fluid to match what you find.

Mix it up

This is my favorite. Include short and long sentences in your writing. Often a two- or three-word sentence really makes a piece pop. The same goes for paragraphs (include long ones and short ones).

Use fun punctuation.

·      Use an exclamation point after a sentence once in a while.

·      Dashes are great! I like to use them instead of commas sometimes – they’re useful to set off words or phrases that interrupt a sentence.

·      Colons:  They’re fun to use but remember to capitalize the first word after the colon if that phrase can stand on its own. Leave it lower case if not.

·      Parenthesis help you include detail (but don’t overuse them).

·      And italicizing words is a great way to add emphasis.

I’d love to hear your tips for making online writing more fun so I can use them the next time I get stuck in a rut.

Mary
On Twitter at @marygorges

 

 

 

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Cisco and WIRED.com #IoE Tweet Chat Recap

What do you think should be connected to the Internet of Everything?

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Last week, Cisco and WIRED.com asked that very question as part of an all-day Tweet Chat, stirring up a huge amount of conversation around the connection possibilities of the future! Throughout the day, readers submitted their ideas of what could connect on IoE, tagging their responses with #IoE and @Cisco to join the chat. Submissions were featured on the WIRED.com homepage as part of a special homepage module.

  Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 4.16.05 PM Read More »

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Creating Meaningful Events with Social Media

Let's Chat! #Ciscosmt Series Panelists

Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series: Social Media for Events USTREAM Broadcast Panelists

The ins and outs of how to use social media effectively for on- and offline events can be overwhelming. What technologies do we use…how do we integrate social media, mobile, physical and virtual environments…and how do we make it a meaningful experience for participants? It’s a lot to think about before moving forward.

The good news is that a panel of distinguished experts (from left to right: Petra Neiger, Senior Manager, Digital and Social Media Marketing, Cisco (@Petra1400), Matt Rozen, Group manager Corporate Social Media, Adobe (@mattyroze), Kathleen Mudge, Social Media Program Manager, Cisco (@KathleenMudge), and Brian Ellefritz, Vice President, Global Social Media, SAP (@BrianEllefritz)) spent some time with us today and helped to clarify all of these moving parts. Check out the Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series: Social Media for Events USTREAM broadcast replay for all of the valuable best practices and tips. And in the meantime, here are a few key tweet takeaways I gathered from the panelists and participants during the session:

Interesting Statistics:

Social Media for Events Statistics

Key social media for events statistics, from 2012 Amiando Social Media & Events Report, and shared during July 31st Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series USTREAM broadcast.

Upcoming #Ciscosmt Twitter Chat:

Join us for the next installment of the #Ciscosmt Series on Tuesday, August 20th from 9-10 a.m. PT. During this Twitter chat, we’ll focus the conversation around engaging employees in social media participation. Here are some of the key topics we are working on for this chat. Are there others you want to cover as well?

  • Steps to develop a culture of sharing for employees
  • Content types that resonate for teams to engage in social sharing
  • Biggest challenges that employees face in social participation for the brand
  • Recognizing and rewarding teams for participation
  • Gamification aspects of sharing strategy

Stay tuned for more details by following the Cisco Social blog and the #Ciscosmt hashtag!

Cisco Social Media Training Program Opportunity:

If you have any questions or are interested in other types of social media training, check out our complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program and follow the #ciscosmt hashtag.  To request  customized one-on-one team training sessions, email ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

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Using Social Media to Create ‘The Event’

As final preparations are underway for the July 31st (9am PT) Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Training Series USTREAM broadcast, let’s get the conversation going early! Are there certain social media examples used for on- and offline events that stick out in your mind? What made them great or perhaps ideas to avoid? And what was used to enhance the participants’ experience?

Within my last post on this topic, I mentioned social media is a perfect channel to help on- and offline audiences engage in events and activities. Audiences are able to share their own insights rather than just hearing a speaker present, exchange ideas and connect with others, and add to the overall collaborative experience.

Cisco Live 2013 (Orlando)

Cisco Live 2013 (Orlando)

Here are some tips to keep in mind when leveraging social media for on- and offline events:

  • Audiences: use social media to reach new audience segments for an event. After defining the audience in the overall planning stages and listening to their care-abouts, find ways to involve them in different aspects. E.g., polls to pinpoint most popular topic ideas, word-of-mouth opportunities to spread the word, VIP activities for top influencers, and live tweeting to keep engagement going.
  • Duration: leverage social media on an ongoing basis and draw attention to events and activities along the way, as part of the overall ongoing strategy. Depending on the type of event, promotions may begin a few months prior to just 3 weeks. E.g., a large hosted type of event or ongoing online series may require ongoing promotions year-round. Activities such as participating in another organization’s event or a webcast type of activity, may only require promotions 3-6 weeks in advance. Event-specific social media efforts should taper off within 1-2 weeks afterwards, folding back into the regular ongoing efforts.
  • SEO: include popular tags, Cisco and/or third-party hashtags, and keywords can greatly increase visibility for an event or activity. Take time to research these tags prior to beginning event-related social media efforts, maximizing efforts and reaching the appropriate audiences.
  • Monitoring and Measuring: create a program-specific listening and respond plan as part of the overall listening strategy. Since on- and offline events are happening in real-time, planning teams need to monitor constantly and handle responses in a timely manner. And when it comes to measurement, its best to focus on quantitative (number of responses, reach, etc.) and qualitative metrics (sentiment, influencers, etc.). These efforts can help teams benchmark and better understand areas of success and ways they can continue to improve strategies moving forward. (Check out this Cisco Live 2013 Orlando Listening Hub recap blog post, by Cisco’s Davythe Dicochea, for additional insights.)
  • Integration: tap into existing brand and third party accounts whenever possible rather than creating new ones. It will help continue more meaningful engagements with audience members, tap into existing and established channels, and continue to build reputation and trust among interested parties. Look for the most appropriate accounts and create/use content that relates to the audience’s care-abouts within each channel.
  • Activities: create a mix of posts, tweets, images, videos, traditional marketing, and activities to provide a full customer journey. As these assets and communications are developed or leveraged, find ways to keep the audience members engaged, focusing on their care-abouts. And just as importantly, make it fun as they get ready to participate in an event, engage with them during the event, and help the audience be the heroes of their organizations afterwards by providing helpful follow-up resources.
  • Experimentation: pilot new ideas to better understand how innovations or strategies can be implemented for future tactics and increased audience participation. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. This is part of the process and can often lead to even more innovative approaches.
  • Messaging: use social media to create 2-way dialogues for on- and offline events rather than just broadcasting upcoming activities. Communications should include a balance of consistency and variety to keep conversations fresh and relevant. And be sure to customize the messages by social media channel, taking into consideration format and communication best practices. Lastly, make it easy of audience members to share and follow information by incorporating social media channel links in all communication vehicles.

Are there other social media best practices for on- and offline events you’ve seen work well? Share them with us within this blog post and during our upcoming Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Training Series USTREAM broadcast. And we look forward to your participation at this upcoming live online session! Here are the details to participate:

  • When: Wednesday, July 31st
  • Time: 9-9:45 a.m. PT
  • Topic: Using Social Media for On- and Offline Events
  • Hashtag: #Ciscosmt (use this hashtag to ask panelists questions and to participate in the conversation)
  • Panel:
  • Jeanette Gibson, Senior Director, Digital and Social Media Marketing, Cisco (moderator)
  • Kathleen Mudge, Social Media Program Manager, Cisco (panelist)
  • Matt Rozen, Group Manager Corporate Social Media, Adobe (panelist)
  • Brian Ellefritz, Vice President, Global Social Media, SAP (panelist)

If you have any questions or are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program and follow the #ciscosmt hashtag.  To request  customized one-on-one team training sessions, email ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

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