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Social Best Practices for Events and Conferences

Tradeshows and events are practically synonymous with the technology industry – after all our industry produces some of the largest ones in the world. Whether it’s unveiling new products or participating in keynote sessions, today’s conference experience does not begin and end on the show room floor.

Rather, social media is the heartbeat of the event – shaping how attendees, partners, influencers and customers experience the show in real-time.

In my role at Cisco, I’ve seen first hand how the power of social media can drive the tradeshow experience. Whether it’s hosting a tradeshow, such as Cisco Live, or participating in an industry event, here are some social media best practices to consider as you prepare for your next show:

Social in Command

In 2013, we debuted the Cisco Live Social Media Hub – the first-of-its-kind social command center. The Social Media Hub not only monitors and reports on event and industry conversations, but also offers deep insights into how in-person attendees and external audience members engage before, during and after with the show.

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For example, since the Hub is staffed with social media engagement experts, graphic designers, analytics specialists and logistics personnel, we can capture real-time data trends and use the insights to guide the development of engaging content and socially shared graphics.

The results have been nothing short of astounding:

  • On average, the number of impressions generated per day during Cisco Live US 2014 (#CLUS) totaled nearly 59 million.
  • Comparing the use of #CLUS in 2013 vs. 2014: #CLUS was used 35,500 times in 2013 and 47,365 times in 2014; an increase of over 33% year-over-year.
  • Two Cisco executives Trended NATIONALLY on Twitter during their keynote with the high volume of social engagement; all organic – no paid.

Recently, we have begun rolling out localized versions of the Hub to support other Cisco Live events around the world, such as Cisco Live Melbourne (#CLMel) in March. Although smaller in scale, the localized versions pack a serious social punch – bringing participants closer to the action than ever before.

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Stealing the Social Show

It might be easy for Cisco to be front and center in social conversations at our own events, but how can we rise above the noise and make a social impact at some of the largest tech tradeshows around the globe, such as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Mobile World Congress (MWC)?

Our teams have seen stellar results from engaging live-tweets, the development of real-time content creation, such as videos and graphics for social sharing and more.

For example, as a result of our social media efforts at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Cisco received a total of 4,002 conversations, with an estimated 13.8 million impressions! These figures support the fact that strategic and insightful social content can help brands stay top-of-mind in a highly-competitive social environment.

Stay tuned as I share more social media best practices in future posts. In the meantime, be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts about what makes social media a success at tradeshows and events.

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5 Steps to Success: Encouraging Employee Social Media Engagement

Aristotle was spot on when he said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This holds true when we look at the benefits of employee engagement in the socialsphere. Why not leverage your organization’s built-in social media army to evangelize the brand? Encouraging employee engagement across social channels on behalf of the brand seems to be a hot topic in social media these days.

Fast Company recently published how Cisco employees are contributing to the brand in their article, The Social Employee: The Secret Sauce that Cisco, Southwest Airlines and Adobe Use to Win.

Now the question is what are the steps for successfully encouraging employees to participate on behalf of a brand? In a recent Let’s Chat #Ciscosmt Twitter Chat we heard from Cisco’s Petra Neiger (@Petra1400) and Salesforce.com’s Jennifer Burnham (@JennyDBurnham), on ways to engage employees. In addition to their insightful tips, here’s my take on 5 steps to successfully encouraging employees to participate in the socialsphere:

Step 1: Training

  • It all starts here. Educate your employees with social media best practices, checklists, playbooks, toolkits, etc. Help your employees feel comfortable using social media on behalf of your brand. Interested in 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

Cisco Social Media Training Program Opportunity:

Step 2: Stretch Assignments

Once your employees have participated in training and are comfortable using social media best practices, create opportunities for their participation across multiple social channels. Leverage the masses to assist with social media campaigns, launches, events, etc. Even if social media is not their main role within your organization, develop these assignments as a great way to increase your program’s reach in addition to allowing employees to test out their new skill sets.

Step 3: Recognitions

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What motivates your employees? Is it a milestone badge, management recognition, or perhaps a prize of some sort? Knowing this will help you to motivate additional employee participation. Along the way, create incentive programs to entice your employees to participate. Adding an element of gamification and rewarding beneficial behaviors can go a long way.

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5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer

Where do you go to find social media tips, statistics, trends, and best practices? I recently attended the Social Media for Savvy Marketers event hosted by Cisco featuring speakers from Twitter, SAP, Adobe, BuzzFeed, Salesforce.com, Percolate, and more. The two-day event brought candid conversations, interactive panel sessions, and an engaging way to learn how B2B and B2C brands are using social. When else can you hear from industry experts on the hottest trends in social media and learn best practices to leverage for your next social media campaign? If you missed out on this thought provoking event, below are my takeaways from the event.

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5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer:

Tip #1: A Social Business Starts with your Executives: According to a social media statistic from eMarketer, “82% of employees say they trust a company more when CEO and leadership teams are involved in social.” Jeanette Gibson, Senior Director, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared that Cisco placed a monitor including a Twitter feed outside of CEO John Chamber’s office, showing the importance of the customer conversation. This was the first step Cisco made in transforming to a social business.  Additionally, Gibson noted, “Help your business to be S.O.C.I.A.L.: Scalable, Open, Consistent, Intuitive, Active, and Limitless”, showcasing the social conversation highlights of what is being said about your brand. The conversation is happening across channels and brands shouldn’t miss out.

Tip #2: Listening is the First Step of a Social Strategy: At each stage of a social media strategy, listening is critical. Before jumping into any conversation, we must pay attention to what is being said and then engage accordingly with that particular audience.  LaSandra Brill, Manager, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared the significance of listening as she discussed the importance of Social CRM. Brill noted that “85% of Tech buyers engage in some form of social activity.” Listening to what your customers are saying and are interested in allows for targeted offers to be sent to customers increasing the propensity to buy. Note: be sure to be clever vs. creepy with the targeted offers.

Tip #3: Content is King and Distribution is Queen: Creating good “snackable” content is critical to increasing the reach of the conversation. Video is quickly becoming the next generation of content as it is fun and engaging.  Matt Rozen, Group Manager Corporate Social Media of Adobe, shared his thoughts, “the best part of video is the measurable traffic. Video was just 10% of impressions, but drove 50% of site visits.” Content can engage an audience and keep them active in the conversation. On day two of the event, James Gross, Co-Founder of Percolate, advised “If we reshape how we create content, we will shift from renting audience to owning it.” Ultimately, I think Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development at Buzzfeed, summed up the idea of content most eloquently, “Content is King and distribution is queen.” Create great content and then let your fans share it. Once you have this great content, don’t forget to integrate search: include keywords, hashtags, and tagging!

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Executive Engagement in Corporate Social Media #ragancisco

More and more companies are starting to integrate innovative social strategies to enhance their efforts of connecting with the outside world. As is the case with all large-scale corporate changes, advancing a company’s social business and ensuring long-term success calls for upper management support.

We sat down with Michael Brito (@britopian) from Edelman, Sheila Jordan (@CiscoSheila) from Cisco, and Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) from Altimeter Group to find out what they thought about getting Executives involved with employees’ social pursuits. Hear what they had to say in this short 2-minute video:

How can I learn more about getting Executive support for social media? Read More »

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