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How Do You Get Executives Involved in Social Media?

Cisco Social Media Executive Panel Broadcast

4-3-13 Cisco Social Media Executive Panel Broadcast

“How do you get executives involved in using social media themselves? How do I make it relevant for them and their business initiatives? And how do I show them value for participating right away? ” Our social media training team is approached regularly with questions like these in hopes that there is a simple formula to include each executive into the social stream and as quickly as possible.

Are you finding yourself in the same situation? Know that you are not alone. Much of the research I continue to read indicates that there is a growing interest among executives to use social media, but we still have a ways to go.

To help make it easier, we would like to invite you to a special “Let’s Chat! Social Media Training Program Series” Cisco executive social media panel USTREAM broadcast we are hosting on April 3rd, from 9-9:45am PT. Cisco executives, with social participation ranging from starting out to seasoned, will share their insights. They will share the reasons they decided to start using social media, what they’ve experienced, and advice for peers and teams.

In addition to the questions we will ask the executive panelists, we want to open it up to you as well! Do you have questions related to this topic you would like to ask these executives? And are there other areas regarding executives and their social media participation you are interested in learning more about?

Join in the conversation using the #ciscosmt hashtag starting now and during this live broadcast. We’ll do our best to pose your questions to the executive panelists. And follow the #ciscosmt hashtag for more details.

In the meantime, here are some tips to get executives involved in social media. Are there other best practices you find helpful when encouraging executives’ participation in social media?

Getting Buy-In Tips

  • Identify with the executive’s mindset
  • Show the executive the money or bandwidth savings
  • Outline ways to capture metrics
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Develop short- and long-term strategies

Involvement Tips

  • Take small steps, starting out with listening to keywords to get a feel for the conversation
  • Encourage executives to participate in existing social channels to get started, even practicing in internal platforms first
  • Look for ways to make social media use relevant to their business needs and areas of interest
  • Show them examples of other peers that are using social media and its value as well as ways they can incorporate participation into their regular routine
  • Expand awareness around building personal reputations and integrating with business initiatives
  • Help executives participate directly rather than participating for them
  • Provide executive supporting teams with the proper training and resources
  • Monitor participation and offer helpful tips and coaching along the way

If you have any questions or are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new 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.

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Pinning Down Pinterest Best Practices

Oh the joys of pinning new ideas, trends, videos, and so much more on Pinterest! I’ll admit it…I have a little obsession, racking up thousands of pins between professional and personal Pinterest accounts.

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Use Pinterest best practices to create more meaningful conversations and increase followers.

Just like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, Pinterest has its own culture and communication style. After countless hours of reading, pinning, and repinning throughout the past year, I’ve recorded some Pinterest best practices and etiquette tips to share with you.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Streamline content (Some Pinterest accounts have a board for every topic, but only have a few pins. Make it interesting for followers by providing broader range board topics that they can follow rather than segmenting topics too specifically. And try not to create empty boards until you have items to post to them.)
  • Leverage social channels (When appropriate, share your pins with Twitter and/or Facebook communities as well. It’s a great way to expand your reach and the conversation.)
  • Use keywords (One of the main features of Pinterest is the ability to search keywords by pins, pinners, or boards. Make sure to take advantage of this feature by using keywords in the descriptions as we do for other social media channels.)
  • Understand policies (Pinterest stirred up quite a bit of controversy regarding siting sources, etc. Take the time to understand Pinterest’s policies as well as your company’s guidelines (if using it on behalf of the brand) to protect yourself.)
  • Joining group boards (It’s flattering to receive invitations to join group boards. However, before clicking the tempting “accept” button, evaluate how many pins you would like to receive from those boards. Getting inundated with pins, from a certain topic each day, may have an adverse effect on your participation!)
  • Share information (Vary the type and format of content you pin to boards. While we all like infographics, they can get a little old on Pinterest if that’s the only thing that’s pinned. Mix it up with videos, case studies, reports, SlideShare presentations (if for business), articles, blog posts, and other types of content. I like to use the 70% new content/30% repins rule of thumb.)

And here are some etiquette tips to keep followers interested and to attract new ones:

  • Site sources (Always include the source, especially for items that have copyrights, etc. If the source is on Pinterest, use the @ format to link to the person/organization.)
  • Include a description (Insert a description, with keywords, to help followers understand the item more clearly, leading to more repins.)
  • Acknowledge comments (I find that 2-way exchanges are still a newer trend on Pinterest versus other social media channels. Since participants are still getting into this feature, it’s important to respond to posted comments. It will go a long way with followers and we can learn from each other!)
  • Pace pins (Space out the number and frequency of pins so that followers do not feel bombarded all at one time. By pacing the pin posts over time, it will also give you the opportunity to share new content without having to do a lot of research work ahead of time. And lastly, try not to duplicate pins. It gets confusing for followers.)
  • Maximize boards (Pinterest is dynamic and social. Leverage it for sharing a variety of information and use Instagram or Flickr for photo postings instead.)
  • Reciprocate information-sharing (Monitor followers and how the content you share is repinned. If you find there are certain followers that consistently repin your content, try repinning their content in reciprocation.)
  • Follow others (The same principles from other social media channels apply to Pinterest. We do not need to follow everyone that follows us. Check on the type of content the new follower pins and evaluate if the content matches your needs and what your other followers are interested in too.)

Lastly, if you are prepping items for Pinterest, here are a few details to consider:

  • Images: Use images in blog posts or other communications to make it easier on Pinterest users to post.
  • Pin Features: Include pinning capabilities as part of your “share” social media icons on websites, emails, and more.
  • Captions: Incorporate a short, but descriptive caption for each photo used to brand information more clearly.

Did the details above “pinpoint” the best practices you were thinking of as well? (Sorry, just had to play on that word!) Do you have other tips you are using as well? I’m interested in reading your insights and learning about the different ways you are using Pinterest too!

And in the meantime, if you are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program.  Take short on-demand courses or sign up for customized one-on-one team training sessions by emailing ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

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Train Employees And Yield Higher Social Media Results

Here we are…just into the third week of 2013 and questions of how we will use social media in more strategic ways, or measure more effectively, or take our efforts to the next level are already heating up. Goals, aspirations, expectations, responsibilities, commitments…the list goes on. Is your head spinning yet?

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While it may seem overwhelming, indeed these are important questions to ask ourselves as social media becomes even more integrated into the business structure and expands its value even further. While its easy to see the value social media can have for our businesses, brands, and even personal reputations, getting everyone who will be participating in the social stream up-to-speed on policies, best practices, and integrated strategies, can be the biggest challenge!

It helps to take a quick assessment of where we are currently with social media and then build the proper goals, efforts, monitoring, and measurement strategies from there. Here is a quick checklist of questions to ask ourselves:

  • Does your organization have a social media policy in place and are all employees aware of it?
  • Are your social media efforts integrated into the overall business or is it used for specific purposes?
  • Can anyone participate in social media within the organization or is it the responsibility of select roles?
  • How does your organization monitor social streams? And how are responses handled?
  • Does your organization have an established measurement strategy? How are benchmarks created and what’s measured?
  • Are members of management involved in the social streams?
  • Do you feel your organization is maximizing the use of social media or do you feel there are areas of improvement?

These are just a sampling of questions to ask ourselves as gear up for the year. And though many of these questions are applicable to different types of organizations, the truth is that each organization’s social media needs, structure, and efforts are unique…not to mention their employees’ social media skill sets vary across the spectrum. Some organizations have an established footing in social media while others are in the ramp up phase.

To make these questions easier to answer and to help provide further social media insights, we would like to offer a new training program, open to Cisco customers. Whether organizations are new to social media or have established strategies, this new program offers the opportunity to:

  • Become more proficient in social media
  • Empower team members to use social media more effectively
  • Receive guidance around developing internal training, policies, listening centers, and more
  • Meet directly with Cisco social media subject matter experts
  • Get an inside view of Cisco’s social media best practices

Here is a quick snapshot of the complimentary program offering:

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Does this sound like a program that could benefit your organization? If so, we invite you to join us in the social conversation. Here is a link to more Cisco Social Media Training Program details. For those that are interested in getting started with customized one-on-one team training sessions, send an email to ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

I look forward to hearing your feedback to this post and getting the opportunity to work with you through this program!

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Cisco’s 2012 Education Retrospective

December 18, 2012 at 7:48 am PST

AM71308At the beginning of 2012, we saw three major trends emerging in the education space, but we had no idea that they would all be converging: Flipped Learning, BYOD, and Shared Collaborative Platforms.

This time last year, I was sitting at an old, high-top biology lab table with my son’s AP Biology teacher, asking him to explain this whole “Flipped Classroom” thing and why his classes’ AP bio scores were so high.  Lo and behold, Flipped Learning became the mantra of the year.

Sal Khan and the Khan Academy became the best-known content-feeder into this phenomenon, and I started voraciously consuming his videos on pre-calculus, statistics, and world history.   So did teachers and students as they turned to Khan as a source of pre-packaged lectures, new flipped learning models, and emerging information on different assessment measurements.  Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann even wrote a book about it, The Short History of Flipped Learning, and they joined us as guest speakers at the 2012 ISTE show.

Read More »

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8 Qualities for a Good Social Media Training Program

We’re curious…

What do you look for when choosing  social media training programs you will participate in? It can be daunting, given the variety of information, organizations, and strategies out in the socialphere. On top of that, learning methods and preferences are different for everyone, making it even more important that we each find the type of learning environment that works best for us.

We are continuously learning and absorbing new social media insights, news, strategies, techniques, since the landscape changes so frequently. And we gather this information in a variety of ways, from researching on our own to attending formal courses to one-on-one consulting. While we can educate ourselves quite a bit from gathering information on our own, participating in more formal learning settings can push us forward in our social media skill sets much faster. And at the same time, we have to be careful in choosing the right social media training program that meets our individual needs.

So it leads me back to my original question…what do you look for when choosing social media training programs to participate in? We’re interested in your insights around social media learning. Here is a link to a quick anonymous social media training program survey as part of an informal research project to better understand followers’ social media training preferences.

And below is a quick checklist I use to discern which training programs and formats to participate in:

  • Reputable organization and teacher
  • Education format that matches my preferred learning style (self-serve, group, or one-on-one settings)
  • Focused content around learning, not a sales pitch
  • Educational tone rather than just presenting the information as though it was a meeting
  • Mixture of content to help me learn the principles and then see it in action
  • Variety of tangible and credible examples
  • Short durations to keep my interest and not overwhelm me
  • Key takeaways and ideas I can use right away

What does your checklist look like when choosing social media training? I’m interested in your experience!

I look forward to your comments through this blog post and more of your insights through this short anonymous social media training program survey? This survey will remain open until Friday, December 7, 2012 by 5 p.m. PT. Thank you for your help and participation!

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