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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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Enterprise 2.0: A closer look at what’s new with Cisco Quad

At the start of this year’s Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, Cisco made a number of announcements about how we’re extending social collaboration to more customers through a new hosted and managed deployment option for Cisco Quad.

This new deployment model will be delivered initially, with the release of Quad 2.5, in the United States and Canada through ACS (a Xerox company), in Europe through Logicalis UK, and in Australia through Alphawest (a wholly owned subsidiary of Optus). In addition, we announced a key partnership with systems integrator, Capgemini, through which customers will be able to leverage the experience and expertise needed to drive the successful deployment and adoption of social collaboration in the enterprise.

And finally, lots of updates and pre-built integrations in the upcoming release of Quad 2.5, which is targeted for availability in late August, that are designed to deliver enhanced end-user engagement and adoption of the platform. For more details on the news, tune into this video discussion with Phil Heyneker, Leon Baranovsky, and Lawrence Liu.

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Cisco Hosts The 2011 Social Media Summit

Dates: Wednesday, March 4th through Friday the 6th

Get ready for the Ragan Communications Social Media Summit hosted at Cisco HQ in San Jose, CA. Over the next 3 days, we’ll be hearing about the latest trends, techniques and best practices for both internal and external communications via social media. We’ll keep the Cisco Social Media blog updated throughout the summit with recaps of each day’s presentations, and hopefully some video interviews with some of the speakers. Follow @CiscoSocial or search the hashtag #RaganCisco to hear updates throughout the summit.

The Keynote Speakers:

  • Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice President at Cisco Systems (@carlosdominguez)
  • Jeremiah Owyang, Partner at Altimeter Group (@jowyang)
  • Brian Solis, Principal at Altimeter Group (@BrianSolis)

Read More »

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Enriching the Content Experience on ALL Screens with Cisco Eos

Working with our customers, we see media companies in all stages of the social entertainment development process. Many have taken the first step and have begun integrating social features into branded web sites, leveraging Cisco Eos to build out the social experience. However, it is when media companies stop here that they immediately leave fans longing for more.

You may be thinking, “But my competitors haven’t gone any further than this, so we must be in line with what users want, right?” To address this, I ask you this question, “How do you personally interact with content?”

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have a smartphone that gives you the ability to use targeted interactive apps or surf the internet. You may have taken it a step further and bought an iPad to get this same mobile experience on a larger screen. If you fit into either of these scenarios, ask yourself why your consumers aren’t also looking to take advantage of these platforms to engage with your content. As with any product or service, individual users have individual preferences. To fully reach your target audience, you need to provide access to content from all of the devices they use. If you don’t, you run the risk of leaving a large percentage unsatisfied, or turning them off from repeat visits.

If last month’s SXSW Interactive Conference brought anything to the forefront, it is that people are increasingly interested in using mobile web and mobile apps to view content anywhere, anytime. If you are in charge of developing social entertainment experiences across your content portfolios, it is time to start reaching beyond the desktop computer to mobile devices. If you fail to extend your social entertainment experiences to all screens, you are missing the ability to capitalize on a very important, very large audience growth opportunity. Read More »

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Cisco @ SXSW: Revolutionizing Social Media with You

South by Southwest officially kicks off this weekend, and the Cisco Media Solutions Group is busy getting ready for this year’s festivities. If you missed our previous blog posts, you can read up on all of the events in which CMSG will be participating, including the hottest show at SXSW, Killers, Lasers, Papers.

If you’re a media exec in charge of marketing a content brand, or a technologist tasked with developing cutting-edge online experiences for your portfolio, then you’re probably at SXSW to discuss the social revolution taking place in the business of and the experience with entertainment content.

Over the last couple of years, executives and entertainers alike have begun to harness the power of “social.” Artists have flocked to Twitter and Facebook to launch projects and connect with fans. Media companies have incorporated social into their promotion campaigns and built communities of fans around their content. All of this is great, but questions remain around the long-term value of these efforts:

  • How do you convert social engagement to new revenue streams?
  • How do you turn a social snacking experience into a long-term relationship between consumers and your branded content?
  • What’s the right mix of social components for your brand, and how do you get them to achieve the objectives you have? (Or more fundamentally, what IS your strategy for how you’re using social technologies?)
  • How can you scale the successes you’ve had with one site/artist/brand to an entire portfolio of brands? Read More »

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