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Three Social Media Writing Tips. You Know You Want ‘Em!

1. Define Your Voice
Writing for social media is its own discipline and different from traditional writing: it is more like writing a story, a story that you want people to share with their friends and so on and so on. Defining your voice is the combination of knowing what you want to say and how you want to say it. Your knowledge, interests, and personality will only add value to the story. Plus, telling a story in your own way is what will create a unique and authentic connection with readers. One way to define your voice is to stop writing the way you think you should--you know, the way your English teacher told you to write--and start writing the way you think and speak. The words should fit you and be easy to read aloud.

2. Hook Your Audience from the Start
In addition to easy to read aloud, social media writing should be tighter and simpler than traditional writing: the beginning of your story should hook readers fast and hard, the way a song’s hook does. Whether you love or hate Queen, you know what comes after “we are the champions” (at least if you’re older than 25). That’s right, “no time for losers.” In essence, a hook is a memorable phrase that summarizes what a song is about. Think of a title and an opening line as your story’s hook. And don’t worry that you’re giving away the best part. Knowing what to expect won’t ruin your story for readers. It will prime them for what’s next and introduce your main point.

3. Construct Clear, Compelling Copy
Speaking of your main point, get to it quickly and clearly. While using a string of straightforward, declarative sentences is too abrupt for traditional writing, it is perfect for social media. Because unlike traditional writing, readers won’t go back to re-read or stop to think about difficult sections. Your writing has to be clear and direct the first time around: don’t be coy and promise to get to the interesting stuff later. Think of your story as a first date: put on your fancy pants and put forward your most compelling, date-worthy self. It’ll make your readers want to read your story and get to know you better. At the very least, it won’t make them regret saying yes.

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“The Network:” Cisco’s Technology Newsroom Garners Industry Awards

February 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm PST

Yesterday, “The Network: Cisco’s Technology News Site” was honored by Ragan PR Daily as “Best Online Newsroom.”  (Great .gif of Sandra Bullock on this page as well, by the way!)

And, last month, we received the Grand Prize from Bulldog Reporter 2012 Bulldog Digital/Social PR Awards for “The Network.”  I also talked to Richard Carufel, Editor of the Daily ‘Dog about “The Network” and offered some thoughts for our approach to brand journalism, online newsrooms and offering value to your audience.

Certainly, recognition is extremely nice and we all want some form of this in our lives. The Social Media Communications team at Cisco* is  honored and humbled by these awards and add them to a handful of other great honors over the past few years.

First, thank you, Ragan PR Daily. Thank you, Bulldog Reporter. Thank you, American Business Awards (The Stevie). Thank you, PR News People Awards. But, mostly, thank you, audience.

Why did we get these awards?  In a word: innovation.

Let me count the ways that (imho) we innovate on “The Network” and are continuing to innovate:

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20 Years Teleworking: $291,200 Savings and 435,200 Pounds of Pollutants Spared

Cisco, in partnership with Mobile Work Exchange, is eager to kick off the third-annual Telework Week from March 4-8. Telework Week 2013 is a global effort to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to pledge to telework anytime during this week. I plan not only to pledge to telework that week, but also to continue in my career of teleworking.

I have worked for companies based in San Jose, Tucson, Phoenix, Washington DC, Boston, and now San Jose again… all without leaving my beautiful home state of Ohio.  I adopted telework in 1993 and as Telework Week 2013 approaches, I wanted to share my story about my years as a teleworker. Let me start by saying I would not change a thing.

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Telework Pros and Cons… But Are They Really Cons?

Do I miss having lunch with my colleagues? Sure. However, my dogs are pretty good companions because they never complain. Plus, the food in my kitchen is a lot better than any cafeteria food. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed being able to celebrate the milestones taking place in my colleagues’ lives in person, but I’ve made sure they always get a baby gift or a wedding gift.

What I don’t miss is the daily commute. Driving in rush-hour traffic or in snowstorms aren’t especially fun or productive and through telework, I’ve been able to get to work on-time every day. Also, my checkbook likes my lower insurance rates. On top of all of that, I am able to work in pajamas or sweat pants if I feel like it. For big projects that require more focus and concentration, I appreciate not having people dropping by to chat about their weekend.

Sometimes, people tell me I have it so easy working from home, being that I can come and go as I please. However, any teleworker will tell you it just doesn’t work unless you have regular office hours. My schedule still fills up with meetings just like my colleagues’ working from an office. What many people don’t know though is that it seems a lot harder to end the work day when your office is just a few steps or clicks away. Read More »

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Bring a Teacher to Twitter

February 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm PST

Have you been doing your Twitter homework?

Educators are using social media to share their lesson plans and get new ideas.  If your favorite teacher is not already doing this, help them set up their Twitter account: description, photos; first tweet.

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I [HEART] Our Employees: From Employees to Social Brand Ambassadors

February 20, 2013 at 10:43 am PST

The other day I was reading an article about “Cognitive Dissonance: Why Social Sharing Creates Employee Advocates”. Intuitively you would suspect that “employee sharing can influence your employees to love your company more” but I’m always thrilled to see research, data and science to support these theories. Thank you, Psychology!

If you’re still skeptical about why employee enablement in social media matters, consider these factoids:

(1)    41% of people believe conversations with company employees to be the most credible specialist sources of information.

(2)    There are over 10 million social mentions of the Fortune 100 each month…With Twitter generating the most amount of chatter.

(3)    56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored.

(4)    70% of brands ignore Read More »

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