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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

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Social Media’s Impact on On- and Offline Events

How do you turn social media on its head and make it unique for your initiatives? I’m always fascinated to see new approaches to using social media and get inspired by different organizations’ creativity. From specific initiatives to drive more traffic and awareness (like American Express’ Passion Project) to getting executives involved (like HubSpot’s CEO Manager Twitter for a Day) to countless other examples in sports, entertainment, B2B, and B2C, creativity is a key factor in the success of our efforts.

Let's Chat! #Ciscosmt Series

Let’s Chat! #Ciscosmt Series

Social media is especially intriguing when it comes to the way it can be used for on- and offline events. (E.g., webcasts, virtual environments, onsite conferences and meetings, Twitter chats, etc.) Based on the nature of these types of activities, social media is a strong communication channel to pilot new ideas, convert more traditional approaches to 2-way engagements, and create real-time impact.

Specifically social media can be used to:

  • Drive registration traffic
  • Create a much more engaging environment
  • Tie on- and offline participants together
  • Generate more information sharing, innovations, and crowdsourcing
  • Provide more direct access to speakers, executives, peers, and others
  • Offer ongoing engagement opportunities long after an “event” has taken place
  • Troubleshoot and resolve issues quickly

Read More »

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Getting the Insiders’ View of Social Media

Did you happen to catch the Let’s Chat! #ciscosmt Social Media Training Series executive panel USTREAM broadcast on Wednesday April 3rd? It was the first installment of an ongoing series we will provide through regular Twitter chats and occasional video chats.


Jeanette Gibson (@JeanetteG), Mark Chandler (@ChandlerCisco), Sheila Jordan (@CiscoSheila), and Lance Perry (@lanceperrycisco)

Side Note: In between Wednesday’s executive panel broadcast and our next Twitter chat, taking place in June, we have a robust Social Media for Savvy Marketers Conference coming up on April 18th and 19th. It’s free and available both in-person and online. Join us, registration is still open! And follow #ciscosmt and #socialsavvy for more details.

From behind the scenes, we had a feeling this chat session would be eye-opening and would really open the door to having more transparent social media conversations in the future. It was enlightening to see the level of candid insights, personal experiences, and fresh perspectives shared by @JeanetteG @ChandlerCisco @CiscoSheila and @lanceperrycisco.

For those that viewed the broadcast and/or participated in the social conversation, what did you think of it? And were there any “ah ha” moments you walked away with afterwards?

After voraciously taking notes and tweeting during the broadcast, here are some of my key takeaways. (These are in addition to the great Top 10 Tips for Executive Social Media @CiscoSheila shared with us.)

  • Social media gives executives a new way of conducting business, building reputations, and developing stronger relationships by accessing real-time feedback, receiving validation, and uncovering new ideas.
  • It’s important to keep in mind the value of internal and external social media channels and opportunities; creating internal opportunities to build communities and collaborate in new ways may take time to adopt, but will enable companies to move forward more efficiently and effectively. Mark Chandler Quote
  • Learning about social media and the ways to leverage it, help executives to not only keep up with trends, but to stay relevant with different generations.
  • Setting goals upfront and really understanding the purpose around using social media, specifically for an executive and for the company, will go a long way at being successful in leveraging it.
  • Social media can be a powerful channel for direct access, both by executives/companies and also by customers and other audience members.
  • It’s important for executives to show their personalities, projecting something about themselves and being authentic.
  • Embracing internal social media tools is a journey across the organization; understand that it’s dependent on changing behaviors–some will gravitate quickly, while others may take longer to adopt.

Here are some quotes I especially liked from the panelists:

  • From @lanceperrycisco: “The world is flat thanks to social media (not really of course), but it is an equalizer where we see contributions from everyone.”
  • From @CiscoSheila: “Mobile first! The combination of mobile and social is what helps us stay connected and provides executives with quick and immediate responses.”
  • From @ChandlerCisco: “Basic [social media policy] rules: courtesy, honesty, and respect.”
  • From @lanceperrycisco: “leaders don’t give the message, they are the message. Use the capabilities and the team will too. Those that don’t use them, do not have a strong social media presence.”
  • From @CiscoSheila: “Thought leadership comes from all levels of the company. With the rate of change in business, everyone is still figuring it out; use your whole network and help accelerate thinking.”
  • From @ChandlerCisco: “[Internal] social media becomes ‘the’ mode of communication, the only way to communicate. Get people involved, even using incentives at the beginning if needed.”

For those that could not make it, it’s definitely a must-see. Between all of the points of view, experiences, and roles, it really gave a good insiders’ view of what executives think about social media. We would love to hear your feedback regarding the session and potential topics you would like to hear more about and participate in as we move forward. I look forward to reading your comments!

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

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Top 10 Tips for Executive Social Media

Navigating social media can be an intimidating challenge for many people, but particularly for company executives who may not be naturally inclined to communicate using social channels or have the time to learn how to use them.

Let's Chat! Social Media Training Series

Sheila Jordan, Cisco Senior Vice President, IT Communications and Collaboration

My own experience with social media has evolved – initially by watching my teenage children use it to communicate, share photos, and catch up on the big news event of the day – and by watching others. For me, I find it easier to separately my personal and work life by using Facebook solely for family and friends, and Twitter and blogging for business topics.

Twitter is a fantastic way to reach a very broad audience.  There are now four generations of people in the workforce and Twitter is a channel they all use!

And I really enjoy blogging because it allows me to express my opinions and points of view on IT topics that are top of mind with CIOs and IT leaders. I do many, many customer executive briefings and get input directly from customers and learn what’s most of interest and important to them. I use that information as an opportunity to express my and Cisco’s point of view on a variety of IT topics – collaboration, mobility, cloud and social.

So for those of you who need some encouragement, here are my top 10 tips for executive social media:

  1. Be relevant – be timely.  It’s most important to get your point across while the topic is hot – if you tinker endlessly with your message, you’ll have missed the moment.
  2. Be provocative – use analytics and data points to back up your theories. Don’t be afraid to express your point of view.
  3. Use social media as a channel to message your organization and teams’ work and as a form of recognition. Colleagues will enjoy following you so use this channel as a way to express your appreciation!
  4. Show thought leadership (provide value)
  5. Use as an ongoing opportunity to connect with others – your peers, influencers and colleagues inside and outside your company

    ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 04 11.00

    Let’s Chat! #CiscoSMT Social Media Training Series:
    Executive View on Social Media Experiences

  6. Listen to feedback and responses – have you resonated with your audience? This is a way to instantly get feedback. And don’t worry about responding to each and every comment; not everyone expects you to reply and when you do they are pleasantly surprised!
  7. Don’t spam.  Enough said.
  8. Personalize your social media – offer insights to how you think. Be authentic and human. If you’re asked to re-tweet a company message, be sure it reflects your own thinking.
  9. Don’t be afraid to be an expert!
  10. Have fun. Go for it – it’s a new medium and we are all still learning; don’t be shy!

How are your executives using social media? And do you have other tips you would recommend in addition to the 10 listed above? For more executive insights regarding social media, check out the Let’s Chat! #ciscosmt Social Media Training Series executive panel we participated in on April 3rd.

Happy Collaborating…the social way!

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Getting the Executive Social Media View

Since launching our internal executive social media mentoring program, it’s been really eye-opening to get a close up view of their perceptions around using this channel, their goals, and overall interests. We read and hear about different statistics all the time, telling us that executive participation is still in an early adoption stage and this is definitely true. However, the more executives I meet with, the more I see that this statistic is already changing and will continue to evolve!

Make it easier for executives to learn about social media and get involved in the social stream.

Make it easier for executives to learn about social media and get involved in the social stream.

Some of the main themes from these conversations are the usual: building a personal online reputation, supporting the brand, learning how to communicate with different audiences, leveraging social media for business… and of course, participating in social media without impacting bandwidth.

However, where I’m surprised and really encouraged, is by the overall attitudes towards social media and the avid interest in jumping into the social stream. They want to participate and see the value in social media, but often do not know where to begin.

Let’s make it easier for executives to be a part of the social stream and experience everything it has to offer. In my last executives using social media post, I provided recommendations focusing on “getting buy-in tips”.

Here are a few additional suggestions when mentoring executives on the topic of social media:

  • Outline specific goals executives can achieve by learning more about social media and then applying those strategies within the social stream
  • Make it personal for them, focusing on their key business and personal interests
  • Help executives find their social voices so that they can further build their online reputations
  • Provide easy-to-understand best practices, examples, and actual hands-on opportunities to absorb the tips
  • Pace the mentoring sessions so that it’s not overwhelming and provide easy-to-implement next steps (e.g., download a social media app that helps them listen into the social stream when they stand in the airport security line, or provide a user-friendly social media aggregator they can use when then have 5 minutes to read and then share information with followers, etc.)

And it helps to gather other viewpoints and share them with executives. Join us on April 3rd, from 9-9:45am PT, for an unique live opportunity to hear first-hand from Cisco executives about their social media experiences and to engage in an open discussion directly with them. This special “Let’s Chat! #ciscosmt Social Media Training Program Series” executive social media panel broadcast on USTREAM, will include Cisco executives with varying levels of social experiences. They will share the reasons they decided to start using social media, what they’ve experienced, and advice for peers and teams.

Panel includes:

  • Jeanette Gibson, Director, Digital and Social Media Marketing (moderator) (@JeanetteG)
  • Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President, Legal Services and General Counsel (@ChandlerCisco)
  • Sheila Jordan, Senior Vice President, IT Communications and Collaboration (@CiscoSheila)
  • Lance Perry, Vice President, IT (@lanceperrycisco)

Lastly, bring your questions for the executive panelists and share them on the #ciscosmt stream. What are you interested in learning from these executives’ experiences that can help with your own executives? Are there other areas regarding executives and their social media participation you are interested in learning more about?

We look forward to your participation and will look for your #ciscosmt tweets as we get ready for the session this week and during the live broadcast on April 3rd.

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 for customers and partners and follow the #ciscosmt hashtag.  To request customized one-on-one team training sessions, email

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