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Be smart about your smartphone during summer travel

Info in the ‘cloud’ can help when stranded …or planning ahead  

Many of us dream about getting away from it all while on vacation. But those days may be long gone as more of us pack our smartphone when we hit the road. Add a tablet or two to your carry on and you’d rather lose your underwear than this bag.

So despite any desire to unplug, stay connected for all the cool travel apps that may make the difference between seeing George Clooney’s villa on Lake Como from a travel brochure or in person by finding it say on Trip Advisor’s mobile app.

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Actor George Clooney’s Villa on Lake Como

Smartphone apps are great for having information (literally) at your fingertips. Apps like Kayak and Hotel Tonight often have hotel rates cheaper than you’d find on web sites – certainly on a hotel’s web site — and this you have to love:  They display the rates for international hotels in U.S dollars.


Best Western Venice
Best Western Venice on KayakBest Western Venice on Kayak

Of course you need to be on the Internet to access many apps, but some like Trip Advisor’s offline city guides you can download while on Wi-Fi and use later when you’re not online.

One of the best things to come along for the international traveler is an app called Viber that uses VoIP technology so you escape high roaming charges. You get FREE text messaging and phone calls …but anyone you communicate with must also have Viber.

When you are connected to the Internet, travel apps work so well because they reside in the cloud where content is updated dynamically in real time, giving you access to the latest information. My Facebook friend and Cisco colleague Guido Jouret used this to his advantage when his long flight to SFO was diverted recently after a European vacation.

Once on the ground, try some of these:

Peek isn’t an app yet but a very new web-based travel guide with great ideas for activities in various cities, and even includes live chat with a travel expert.

AroundMe tells you all the points of interest located near you. It detects your current location, and lets you select from categories like bars, cafés, hospitals, and hotels to find what you like.

Mtrip guide/trip planner generates auto itineraries of places to go according to types of places you enjoy.

Orient gives you a compass view of certain locations nearby. If you’re doing a walking tour of a city, Orient shows you the directions and distance to of your destinations.

World Lens is for both iphones and android phones and lets you point your smartphone’s video camera at a word on a sign and watch as it’s translated from one language to another.

Expensify keeps track of your purchases and transactions by syncing with your credit cards and bank accounts. It also acts as a receipt scanner by using your phone’s camera. After your trip, you’re sent a PDF report of all your spending.

For news on my friend Guido’s trip home from Europe, I turned to my smartphone’s Facebook app …and there he was, almost home.

Please send me your comments and how you use the Internet during your summer travels so I can use them on my next vacation.

Mary

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A Sweet Way to Bring in Customers

The phrase of the week “Beat the Heat.” Boy is it hot in the Bay Area where Cisco’s headquarters are located. So what are many people doing to cool down? Heading to their local ice cream shop of course. Now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with social but check this out. One thing in particular caught my eye at our local ice cream shop, they are getting into the social media game. Take a look.

Creating Buzz with Social

Creating Buzz with Social

A great example of how social media is used to help improve business. Not only are they showing people they have social media pages but also asking them to take pictures and showing them where to post. While many of the larger chains have twitter handles and facebook pages, this is definitely a must for small businesses as well. This particular ice cream shop is called Sweet Rendezvous and while they offer the normal cookies n’ cream, my kids favorite, and rainbow sherbert, they also offer flavors like saffron and cinnamon chocolate. If you check out all the reviews on Yelp, I’d say they have the right idea and business on these hot days isn’t too bad at all. So whether it’s for bringing in customers or even recruiting employees, creating a social media platform is a must for any business these days.

 

 

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Cisco Social Media Training Opportunities for Partners

July 1, 2013 at 10:50 am PST

Social media now makes up more than 20 percent of all time spent online, and it’s easier than ever to see the value it can have for businesses, brands, and even personal reputations. According to a Nielsen survey, 65 percent of social media users surveyed use social activities to learn more information about brands, products and services as they’re making buying decisions. On top of that, increased adoption of mobile devices including tablets and smartphones provide the means for users to connect anywhere, at any time, meaning social media interactions can also happen anywhere, at any time.

For businesses, it can be a huge challenge to get everyone within an organization who will be participating in the social stream up-to-speed on policies, best practices, and integrated strategies, from how and what to blog about to social media’s role in marketing campaigns. To help meet this challenge, Cisco Social Media Training offers on-demand courses and one-on-one team consulting to help partners realize and implement the benefits of social media in your organizations.

Cisco offers two complementary training options for Cisco partners:  Read More »

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The Use and Impact of Social Media: A Blog Post

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In recent years, social media has become the staple of communication. I remember when I was only about 11 years old and I first discovered the wonder of Myspace. This tool (the first of its kind) led the way to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Social media opened up a whole new world of opportunity and how people communicate with each other and even businesses. However, the power of social media comes with a price if you do not know how to use it. That is why, when it comes to social media, a person must realize who their audience is and what they would like to portray. There are a few key points when deciding to use social media as a platform of communication:

  • Start with listening to your audience and observing their activity prior to engagement.
  • Create a strategic Social Media plan.
  •  It is also important to set goals that you want to achieve overall and pay attention to how social media plays into these goals that you have.
  • Set goals that map your overall objectives (personal/professional use).

When you’re using social media for personal use, you may have a different audience and a different reason for your posts than if you were using social media for professional use, where your views are projected onto the organization as a whole. In a professional setting, social media can be used as a tool for an organization to communicate with their customers. Customers may use this tool to express to the organization how much their products/services do for them, or possibly what they don’t do for them. There are also people who use social media purely to induce negativity, and they will be around no matter the platform. They are called “trolls” and it is best to avoid them and to pay them no attention.

Whether you choose to use your platform for business or personal use, it is always necessary to remember these tips:

  • Remember that whatever you post is most likely accessible to others as well.
  • What you post can end up on search engines and on other people’s news and activity feeds.

These have been the most important lessons that I have learned in my experience and utilization of social media. Listen, create a plan, set goals and be aware of your audience and the content that you are posting. These days where there seems to be a “no limits” attitude with sharing information, which has in turn caused people or businesses a lot of trouble. What important lessons have you learned about social media? Are there any mistakes that you’ve made on a social media platform that caused you problems? What advice would you like to give others on their usage of social media? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Cisco Live Social Media Hub: The Pulse of #CLUS

Did you post a selfie that was photobombed by John Chambers? What about tweeting more than 170 times a day to be the top of the leaderboard? Cisco Live – referred to as “summer camp for grown-up geeks” –  was a hotbed for social media activity. In fact, after day three, on Twitter alone, references to @CiscoLive and #CLUS received more than 35,000 tweets by about 8,000 users. We are poised to nearly double the amount of social media activity around Cisco Live this year versus last year.  But how did the Cisco Live team manage all of these incoming and outgoing tweets? The Cisco Live Social Media Hub! Modeled around a social media listening and engagement center, the Hub kept the pulse on social media conversations around the event and was also as a venue for responding to and promoting those conversations in real time.

On-site, the Hub became even more than the incredible social media command center; it also became a meeting place for friends that wanted to connect in person as well as share their experiences in real time over social channels. Between showing live feeds of keynotes and featured sessions to hosting tweetups and social events, we were able to create an experience within Cisco Live for our customers, partners,  /colleagues and friends.

hub

New to Twitter? The Hub team helped people sign up for social media sites, use and track hashtags and contribute to Cisco Live conversations. Need help? The Hub team was able to provide guidance, troubleshoot issues and lend a helping hand both over social media channels and in person. Ready to win? The Hub team hosted more than 40 contests for prizes such as an attendee-designed social media t-shirt, mobile device battery chargers and even Nerds candy!

nerds

Real-time responses. On-site content creation. Mobile engagement from after-hours events such as the Customer Appreciation Event. The Cisco Live Social Media Hub elevated not only the outgoing conversations about the event, trends such as the Internet of Everything and content from keynote speakers, but also the engagement with incoming content. Our attendees are the best eyes and ears into every session, and they provided incredible insights and feedback that we responded to as well as aggregated and analyzed for future Cisco Live events.

In fact, during the opening keynote featuring John Chambers, Padmasree Warrior and Dave Evans – which you can view on Cisco Live 365 – there was such a high level of tweets and engagement back and forth with attendees that we actually exceeded the number of tweets allowed per hour! We essentially broke Twitter.

Whether you participated in social media at Cisco Live by watching the conversations on one of our six screens featuring social content and trends, stopped by the Hub to chat or engaged with us online, we thank you for helping us elevate the social experience at Cisco Live!

So who were the friendly faces at the Hub and behind @CiscoLive? Our fearless lead, Charlie Treadwell (@CharlieAtCisco) along with our incredible team: Davythe Dicochea (@davythe), Buffy Koscielniak (@BernadetteK), George Metrik (@gosha), Kari Gunderson (@karigundy) as well as our social media agency, GolinHarris. A very special thank you goes to Kathleen Mudge (@KathleenMudge) for being our Cisco Live champion and helping this come to life!

Want an overview of the social conversations? Check out our Storify channel! We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco for Cisco Live 2014!

For more information about the Cisco Live Social Media Hub, check out this BizBash article.

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