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3 Easy Social Media Conversation Starters

How connected are you with your social networks? Are you finding that at times, your social channels become stale or a one-way dialog? If you’re experiencing the “silent treatment”, here are some easy ways to generate two-way conversations.

Tweet or post questions and polls: Events, activities, and launches have a unique opportunity to educate as well as create excitement and energy. Develop creative ways to poll audiences about related topics. And don’t be afraid to mix in a few casual types of questions that pertain to the event, but might be lighter in nature.

Interactions: Social media has a lot to offer to marketers. One special feature of social media is the ability to crowdsource and strengthen loyalty. Monitor social media channel feeds closely, respond quickly, and keep feeding the streams. Simple questions such as “What did you think of the keynote?” or “What interests you the most about this program?” will help start conversations. You’ll be amazed at how much audiences want to share their opinions and information.

Contests: While audiences are primarily interested in the straight forward information and updates, they often like to get involved in other types of activities. Using social channels, offer different types of contests and incentive-based opportunities. These activities do not have to have monetary values, but do need to have perceived importance. For example, preferred seating at a keynote or a meet-and-greet opportunity.

These are just some quick examples of ways to start social interactions. The key to making these ideas work is to integrate social channels together and with the rest of the marketing communications plan. Having a central “hub” like an online community or a website, will help audience members navigate all of the information and discussions more easily.

What are some creative ways you are starting conversations using social media? Share your experiences and let’s keep the social media information sharing going. And follow  my Twitter handle (@elhoust) for more social media for events best practices.

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Cisco Live! Brings Virtual Communities Together

Today we have a special guest post by Andrew vonNagy, CCIE #28298 (Wireless), author of the blog Revolution Wi-Fi, Twitter @revolutionwifi and a Cisco customer. Huge thanks to Andrew for taking the time to share his Cisco Live experience!

Last week Cisco Live! 2011 took place in Las Vegas, NV. This year was my first time attending the conference, and I am a bit amazed at my experiences looking back on the event now that it is over. In addition to the deep technical content the conference is best known for, I found more valuable benefits are afforded to attendees willing to take a more active role in the technical community.

Arguably, the most valuable aspect of the conference is the opportunity for professional development through interaction with influential members of the industry, both internal and external to Cisco. Professional networking provides a foundation for growth and success by drawing on the energy of a collective group of friends and associates who share similar ambitions and have a drive to be successful, enabling the group to move forward as a whole. Building communities within the industry is when the magic starts to happen. Joining these communities can provide access to shared knowledge, creation of new and exciting opportunities, leveraging of broader connections throughout the community, and promotion of valuable content, products, or services created by trusted members within the community.

Many of these communities begin as virtual communities, built on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the rapidly growing Google+. These platforms enable greater access to members within the community, but must be used appropriately to be effective. Individuals trying to join the community must provide value to the larger collective and interaction must be genuine. A quote from a widely successful writer and blogger comes to mind…

Networking is always important when it’s real, and it’s always a useless distraction when it’s fake.Seth Godin

Industry events, such as the Cisco Live! conference, bring the virtual community together allowing attendees to build on existing relations formed online and expand on them by providing more personal interaction, helping to form more meaningful relationships.

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Adventures of an Intern: Social Media Newsrooms

Welcome back to the second installment of my blog series. I’m sure you’re as ready as I am for a long, relaxing Fourth of July weekend- don’t you wish every weekend was three days? I’m enjoying them as much as I possibly can, because  I hear you don’t get summer vacation when you graduate from college. After my little introduction last weekend, I wanted to actually get into what my blog series will be about. I will be looking at how different corporate newsrooms leverage social media to communicate their news to the public. We’re talking HP, Intel, IBM, Oracle…the list could go on, but I’ll save it for another blog post. Given the focus of my research is on the social aspect of corporate newsrooms, who better to look at than the social networking sites themselves?  Although these sites may not have an official newsroom where you can go for announcements, they still manage to communicate their developments with the public. I looked at three main sites: Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.

Facebook

92% of social network users have Facebook accounts, so creating a Fan page to promote business on this social media giant is a no brainer. As a result, Facebook uses their own Fan page as a corporate newsroom,posting updates and new features on their wall to keep their fans and users informed. Users can comment or “Like” these posts, which is an excellent source of first hand feedback for the company. On the Facebook Fan Page, each comment tends to have more than 10,000 “Likes” and thousands of comments. This is clearly an effective way of collecting feedback.

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The Week’s Top Cisco Partner News Headlines, in Less than 5 Minutes

June 30, 2011 at 1:03 pm PST

In this episode of Partner Update, we find out what Andrew does first-thing in the morning, learn about a free new mobile app that delivers the latest partner news from Cisco, get the scoop on what kind of network can best solve endpoint and application challenges, get tips on minding your Twitter manners, learn how Cisco partners can grow cloud revenues, and figure out what Triple V means. (And a lot more.)

Tune into this action-packed newscast to get the latest news and info you need to know (in less than five minutes).

So what’s in the news this week?

Keep reading for a transcript of the newscast with timestamps so you can view the parts of the video you want to see and important links where you can find more information. Read More »

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5,6,7,8… Cisco Step Challenge – encouraging UK employees to get involved in the Olympics

Two weeks ago I shared my interview with Sue Hunt, Director of Strategic Programmes at London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games on the subject of Inclusion and Diversity – what Inclusion and Diversity means to LOCOG and how they encourage it while faced with the challenge of an immovable deadline.

As part of our role as proud supporter and network infrastructure provider of London 2012, Cisco UK is involved in a couple of internal activities to encourage its employees to get involved in the Games. One of these activities is the Cisco Step Challenge, a 4-week challenge to encourage people to take the internationally recommended 10,000 steps per day. Providing you walked the minimum 70,000 steps per week, you were put into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to see a Paralympic Games event.

Employees across the UK joined together to formed teams and participated in the challenge. It wasn’t about fundraising or getting sweaty and struggling to find time to fit in extra exercise. It was about participation, improving your health and well being, team work and above all, having fun. A Facebook page and internal community was set up for participants to share words of encouragement and “top tips” for their fellow steppers such as park further away from your office building, use the stairs and not the lift, dancing burns more calories than walking and if you walk with children you walk more steps as you have to go back to get them every 200 yards!

The Step Challenge was very successful in engaging a large number of employees across the UK to participate in a sports challenge and raising awareness about how far you have to walk to achieve the recommended average of 10,000 steps. And one of the great things about it was that you could participate regardless of your age, gender, fitness levels, ethnicity, religion and belief or sexual orientation.

Inclusion and Diversity is a key component of Cisco’s culture and we believe that a truly inclusive and diverse workforce is critical to the success of our company and our people. The Step Challenge was advertised as “a challenge for everyone” and strongly encourage that everyone who wished to attend did so. Unfortunately we did not have anyone with a visual disability participate in the challenge and the team intends to look into this as a key area of focus for us next year. I think this is a real lesson for us all, that it’s not enough to open an opportunity to everyone -- we need to actively encourage Inclusion and Diversity and incorporate it into our strategy for success.

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