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Welcome, Andrew Lach, newest member of the Manufacturing Industry blog team!

Please join me in welcoming Andrew Lach to the Cisco blog and our Cisco industry team! Andrew joins us as a recent MBA graduate from Duke University and will be leading the development of our social media strategy and platform. Prior to Cisco, Andrew led a unique career in Biotechnology, first as a scientist and later as a technology developer. He has also recently worked with virtualization software product marketing in the exciting new field of cloud computing.

I believe that Andrew’s background will bring a unique, interesting perspective and skill-set to our team and blogging community. He has led previous marketing and social media initiatives including guerrilla marketing campaigns and YouTube content creation. We greatly look forward to joining Andrew in action as our Blog Administration Manager. Welcome, Andrew!

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Digital Britain: Lessons Learned from London Riots

Most people can remember where they were when a high-profile news event happened — such as the 9/11 attacks on the USA.  I mention this because I was standing in a hotel room a couple of weeks ago listening to my wife tell me about the London Riots – from insights she received on her smartphone via Twitter. Reality happens in real-time, so does today’s news reporting.

The internet and mobile communications have enabled this transformation.

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Adventures as an Intern: The Oracle Press Room

  Not to sound overly cheesy, but time really does fly! I can’t believe it’s already August. In two weeks, I’ll be folding clothes and packing up to go back down to humid, hurricane-season New Orleans for school.   

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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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Technology Buyers are Increasingly Social

According to SiriusDecisions, 70% of the buying process is now completed before the prospect is ready to speak with a sales representative. This means that marketing is moving further into the buying process as the prospective buyer uses new – and decidedly online – sources of information instead of a relationship with a sales professional to guide their purchasing decisions.

As B2B marketers we know it’s important to leverage social media as part of our marketing efforts and most of us are. However, it’s more important to pay attention to how our target buyers’ online behavior is changing overtime. How do IT professionals leverage social networks? What sources of content influence their purchase decisions?  Do IT professionals have a preference for certain formats of content over others? 

Answers to these questions can be found in the 2011 Toolbox.com/PJA Social Media Index. Read More »

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