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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – November 20, 2015

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

CEO Robbins Has Cisco On The Fast Track, And Partners Are Ready, Set, Go

There has been no shortage of major moves since Chuck Robbins took over the helm at Cisco less than 4 months ago. He is moving Cisco at an unprecedented pace.

And while here at Cisco we see the strategy as moving quickly towards growth and adjusting to fast-moving markets, it’s always best – at least in my opinion – to hear what our partners have to say.

Luckily, CRN’s Mark Haranas checked in with Cisco partners this week for their reaction to the CEO’s moves.  I encourage you to read his excellent article for what our partners think.

Cisco ACI Awarded InfoWorld Editor’s Choice

InfoWorld, a top IT publication, recognized Cisco’s powerful SDN solution, ACI, with the Editor’s Choice award based on an impressive overall review score of 9.6 out of 10.

An excerpt from the review:

“Cisco ACI is a powerful solution that’s designed for large-scale deployments. It represents a significant step away from traditional networking in both design and scale, and a significant step forward in managing Cisco networks through an open and modern API control structure.”

Our own Rick Snyder provided a snapshot on why this is both an important and impressive recognition. Be sure to read his thoughts on the partner blog.

Need to Reach More Customers? Tell Your Story through Social!

Bryan Sherlock is a regular contributor to the partner blog and is a heavy advocate for our partners. His specialty? Providing marketing enablement best practices and tips to help you grow your business and brand.

This week he says tell your story through social media to reach more customers.  I have to agree wholeheartedly.

Take a Breather: Give Yourself a Mental Break for Optimal Productivity

Karin Surber is back this month providing partners excellent tips in and around sales. This week’s topic was one of my favorites. Why you say?

According to Karin and the research she has done, we should all be taking more naps, vacations, and breaks to reach optimal productivity and maintain mental performance. That’s what I’m saying!

So, take a break and read her insightful post. Read More »

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#CiscoChat Recap: No More Bankers’ Hours

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How often do you bank? ?

For me, it’s a few times a week, but more frequently when I have a few bills to pay. Today, digital technologies makes checking balances, transferring money and even depositing checks an “anytime, anywhere” process using apps and mobile devices. Banks and other financial institutions that plan to stay ahead of the digital disruption must find innovative ways to transform and differentiate themselves. Otherwise, they may end up a part of the estimated four out of today’s top 10 financial services giants that could be displaced by digital disruption in the next five years or as Chris Skinner predicts, ‘see all their margin on traditional products erode in the next decade’.

During our latest #CiscoChat, banking futurist Chris Skinner (@Chris_Skinner), chairman of Europe’s Financial Services Club, joined @CiscoFSI for a live and fun discussion on how banks can make money, when everything is ‘free’. When transactions are table stakes.

If you missed the chat, the full recap is here. Below, I summarized a few of the highlights and insights. Read More »

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No More Bankers’ Hours: Join the Live Chat

“Bankers’ hours” started disappearing with the advent of ATMs in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, online and mobile access has made the transactional side of banking a 24/7, anytime, any place proposition. And that’s just the beginning. Innovative financial institutions and startups are also bringing disruptive new business models to deliver higher value banking interactions, such as financial advice and wealth management. The drive to the branch has been replaced by the drive to digital.

How can financial institutions stay ahead of this wave of disruption? I hope you’ll join me @pdjameson on the upcoming #CiscoChat to tackle that question next Tuesday, November 3rd at 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST. Together, we’ll consider such questions as:

  • In an age of commoditized transactions, how can banks differentiate themselves?
  • Where should banks focus as they seek to evolve their current business models?
  • What kinds of on-demand services do customers want?
  • What’s the key to winning wallet share of the digital customer?

Read More »

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Top 3 Reasons for Integrating Video Now

ball-563972_640Just about everyone today knows the power of social video; however, some do not know how to articulate the top reasons why marketers should incorporate video into our marketing campaigns. I have combined my 15 years of experience in marketing, communications, e-commerce and social media management with degrees in Videography and Public relations to compose the top 3 reasons for integrating video. These top three reasons will help you modernize your marketing efforts by giving you best practices in video that will not only enhance your marketing budget/efforts but will also extend your ROI by way of greater adoption through engagement and reach.

Read More »

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6 Tips for Creating a Successful Blog Strategy

dreamstime_s_29668737Blogs can be tricky. They are a great asset until you realize you haven’t posted in a week. Or, one day you wake up and there are 13 blogs you have to review and approve.

An essential component to any social media strategy at a company is a good blog program. We have an open blogging system and authors are able to publish directly – this is a good thing! However, how do you manage an influx of blog requests that can impact the overall engagement and metrics of your blog?

What can you do when your blog becomes wild and untamed?

1. Start with an audit of all bloggers

When we performed an audit we realized some of our authors had changed organizations and were no longer focused on blogging and a number of the authors had not blogged in over a year. We removed the individuals who had changed focus and those who had not blogged for a significant amount of time.

2. Re-train the authors

After the audit, we noticed some of our active bloggers had another issue – blogs were written in formal, company-branded voices that read more like a press release. We wanted our blog to highlight the individual voices and share real stories. We trained over 100 bloggers in three different sessions on how to bring their own voice to their blog, encouraged them to share photos, graphics, and videos. We also reviewed best practices such as SEO for blogs, how to use the “read more” function, and create a custom tweet for each blog article.  This kind of training can help even seasoned bloggers understand new trends in blogging and social media, new tools available in the blogging platform, and reinforce company guidelines.

3. Use Gamification

Cisco had recently partnered with Bunchball to create Social Rewards – social gamification and badges on the blog site for authors and subscribers to the blogs. In our training sessions, we encouraged authors to use the Social Rewards to help boost their own author profile and to support the other authors on their team. After we reviewed the program we had some very healthy competition going on who could reach higher levels.

4. Focus on Engagement, Not just Page Views

In all our training and efforts, we focused on engagement and social shares on the blog, not just page views and visits. When an individual puts their social profile behind content by sharing it on their social media accounts, they are giving you a true stamp of approval. This is a significant measure of just how well your content is resonating with your audience.  As a team, we set an initial goal of a minimum number of social shares per blog to encourage authors to think deeper about what their audience wanted to hear – and to encourage personal sharing on their own account. It was a naturally occurring result that by encouraging our audience to take part in the Social Rewards program, we were also encouraging social shares.

5. Build an Editorial Calendar

We set a self-service editorial calendar where bloggers could sign up for their blog timeslot. We limited blogs to no more than two a day and limited posts on “big news” days. By having a public editorial calendar, we allow the authors to see what is being planned and if their content is redundant or something fresh and new. When conflicts arise, we leave it to the bloggers to decide amongst themselves which topic should be a priority.

6. Measure and Report

Measurement is critical. I ran a baseline for five months before we started the audit and all other aspects of the new program. Then, every month we ran reports on top blogs and the lowest performing blogs. We looked at social shares, unique visitors, and page views. We tracked month over month success and called out the areas were we did not see success.

The Results:

By implementing the steps above we saw a major change in the blog content and performance. From January 2015 to July 2015, the average social shares per post increased by 40% and the average unique visitors per post increased by 555%! In addition, after May we saw zero blogs with under 50 social shares. This is our success story!

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