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White House and IT Industry Partnership Prepares Servicemen and Women for the Workforce

Approximately 1.2 million armed forces personnel are expected to transition from the U.S. military to civilian life over the next several years, with as many as 300,000 in the next 12 months.  Many of these veterans will look to move quickly into the next phase of their careers and need to find fulfilling jobs that will enable them to build upon their military experience and support themselves and their families. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10.1 percent jobless rate for post 9/11 veterans and exceeding 30 percent for veterans ages 18-24. It is imperative that, as a country, we come together to fix this. We must provide the training, certifications and jobs that our veterans have earned and deserve.

As an example of what we hope public private partnerships will do for our veterans who have given so much for our country, I look at Courtney Beard, a Cisco employee, who transitioned from active duty Air Force service in September 2011 with very little IT training. Coming from a family with a long history of military service, she knew at a young age that she would serve her country but she did not think much about what life would look like after she returned home. Highly skilled, and capable of excelling in the most difficult of circumstances, she still faced challenges finding a meaningful job aligned with her future goals; the process included resume critiques, regular attendance at job fairs, and participating in the Warrior to Cyber Warrior training and mentorship program with other veterans.

People like Courtney are the driving force behind the White House IT Training and Certification Program – an initiative to help transitioning military personnel make the difficult shift to the civilian workforce by obtaining the necessary training and certifications needed for high demand IT jobs.  Debuted today by First Lady Michelle Obama, the program – in partnership with Joining Forces and the President’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force – will actively engage 1,000 transitioning military personnel in training, certification and career resources. The concept and platform behind the program was developed with leadership from Cisco and Futures, Inc. This public-private partnership exemplifies business and government working together to make a difference in our economy, our businesses and our country.

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5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer

Where do you go to find social media tips, statistics, trends, and best practices? I recently attended the Social Media for Savvy Marketers event hosted by Cisco featuring speakers from Twitter, SAP, Adobe, BuzzFeed, Salesforce.com, Percolate, and more. The two-day event brought candid conversations, interactive panel sessions, and an engaging way to learn how B2B and B2C brands are using social. When else can you hear from industry experts on the hottest trends in social media and learn best practices to leverage for your next social media campaign? If you missed out on this thought provoking event, below are my takeaways from the event.

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5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer:

Tip #1: A Social Business Starts with your Executives: According to a social media statistic from eMarketer, “82% of employees say they trust a company more when CEO and leadership teams are involved in social.” Jeanette Gibson, Senior Director, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared that Cisco placed a monitor including a Twitter feed outside of CEO John Chamber’s office, showing the importance of the customer conversation. This was the first step Cisco made in transforming to a social business.  Additionally, Gibson noted, “Help your business to be S.O.C.I.A.L.: Scalable, Open, Consistent, Intuitive, Active, and Limitless”, showcasing the social conversation highlights of what is being said about your brand. The conversation is happening across channels and brands shouldn’t miss out.

Tip #2: Listening is the First Step of a Social Strategy: At each stage of a social media strategy, listening is critical. Before jumping into any conversation, we must pay attention to what is being said and then engage accordingly with that particular audience.  LaSandra Brill, Manager, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared the significance of listening as she discussed the importance of Social CRM. Brill noted that “85% of Tech buyers engage in some form of social activity.” Listening to what your customers are saying and are interested in allows for targeted offers to be sent to customers increasing the propensity to buy. Note: be sure to be clever vs. creepy with the targeted offers.

Tip #3: Content is King and Distribution is Queen: Creating good “snackable” content is critical to increasing the reach of the conversation. Video is quickly becoming the next generation of content as it is fun and engaging.  Matt Rozen, Group Manager Corporate Social Media of Adobe, shared his thoughts, “the best part of video is the measurable traffic. Video was just 10% of impressions, but drove 50% of site visits.” Content can engage an audience and keep them active in the conversation. On day two of the event, James Gross, Co-Founder of Percolate, advised “If we reshape how we create content, we will shift from renting audience to owning it.” Ultimately, I think Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development at Buzzfeed, summed up the idea of content most eloquently, “Content is King and distribution is queen.” Create great content and then let your fans share it. Once you have this great content, don’t forget to integrate search: include keywords, hashtags, and tagging!

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3 Practical Tips for the Social Media for Savvy Marketers Event at Cisco #CiscoSMT #SocialSavvy

We’re counting down the days until the Social Media for Savvy Marketers event on April 18 and 19 at the Cisco Headquarters in San Jose and online. As I’m writing this post, we’re doing audio and visual checks and working out the final details. Personally, I’m super excited about Cisco hosting this event for the 4th year in a row and would like to thank everyone who has reached out to me or someone on the Corporate Social Media Marketing team about this event via Twitter, email, or any other ways.

1.       Download the Cisco Global Mobile Social App for a Chance to Win Prizes

Whether you’re joining us in person or virtually, download the Cisco Global Mobile Social app to play, network with your peers and for a chance to win prizes. The app is available Read More »

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Cisco Live 2013 Orlando: Security Training and Breakout Sessions

Cisco Live Orlando, June 23-27, 2013, is quickly approaching and registration is open. The Security track this year includes 72 breakout sessions, 74 hours of labs and seminars, and 3 Product Solution Overview sessions, accounting for about 15 percent of all the content delivered at Cisco Live. New for this year we will have several talks aimed at the network engineer in the role of a data analyst, helping them to better utilize and understand the data that comes from their networks (BRKSEC-2001, BRKSEC-2006, BRKSEC-2011, BRKSEC-2062, BRKSEC-3031, and BRKSEC-3062).

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Getting the Insiders’ View of Social Media

Did you happen to catch the Let’s Chat! #ciscosmt Social Media Training Series executive panel USTREAM broadcast on Wednesday April 3rd? It was the first installment of an ongoing series we will provide through regular Twitter chats and occasional video chats.

Panel

Jeanette Gibson (@JeanetteG), Mark Chandler (@ChandlerCisco), Sheila Jordan (@CiscoSheila), and Lance Perry (@lanceperrycisco)

Side Note: In between Wednesday’s executive panel broadcast and our next Twitter chat, taking place in June, we have a robust Social Media for Savvy Marketers Conference coming up on April 18th and 19th. It’s free and available both in-person and online. Join us, registration is still open! And follow #ciscosmt and #socialsavvy for more details.

From behind the scenes, we had a feeling this chat session would be eye-opening and would really open the door to having more transparent social media conversations in the future. It was enlightening to see the level of candid insights, personal experiences, and fresh perspectives shared by @JeanetteG @ChandlerCisco @CiscoSheila and @lanceperrycisco.

For those that viewed the broadcast and/or participated in the social conversation, what did you think of it? And were there any “ah ha” moments you walked away with afterwards?

After voraciously taking notes and tweeting during the broadcast, here are some of my key takeaways. (These are in addition to the great Top 10 Tips for Executive Social Media @CiscoSheila shared with us.)

  • Social media gives executives a new way of conducting business, building reputations, and developing stronger relationships by accessing real-time feedback, receiving validation, and uncovering new ideas.
  • It’s important to keep in mind the value of internal and external social media channels and opportunities; creating internal opportunities to build communities and collaborate in new ways may take time to adopt, but will enable companies to move forward more efficiently and effectively. Mark Chandler Quote
  • Learning about social media and the ways to leverage it, help executives to not only keep up with trends, but to stay relevant with different generations.
  • Setting goals upfront and really understanding the purpose around using social media, specifically for an executive and for the company, will go a long way at being successful in leveraging it.
  • Social media can be a powerful channel for direct access, both by executives/companies and also by customers and other audience members.
  • It’s important for executives to show their personalities, projecting something about themselves and being authentic.
  • Embracing internal social media tools is a journey across the organization; understand that it’s dependent on changing behaviors–some will gravitate quickly, while others may take longer to adopt.

Here are some quotes I especially liked from the panelists:

  • From @lanceperrycisco: “The world is flat thanks to social media (not really of course), but it is an equalizer where we see contributions from everyone.”
  • From @CiscoSheila: “Mobile first! The combination of mobile and social is what helps us stay connected and provides executives with quick and immediate responses.”
  • From @ChandlerCisco: “Basic [social media policy] rules: courtesy, honesty, and respect.”
  • From @lanceperrycisco: “leaders don’t give the message, they are the message. Use the capabilities and the team will too. Those that don’t use them, do not have a strong social media presence.”
  • From @CiscoSheila: “Thought leadership comes from all levels of the company. With the rate of change in business, everyone is still figuring it out; use your whole network and help accelerate thinking.”
  • From @ChandlerCisco: “[Internal] social media becomes ‘the’ mode of communication, the only way to communicate. Get people involved, even using incentives at the beginning if needed.”

For those that could not make it, it’s definitely a must-see. Between all of the points of view, experiences, and roles, it really gave a good insiders’ view of what executives think about social media. We would love to hear your feedback regarding the session and potential topics you would like to hear more about and participate in as we move forward. I look forward to reading your comments!

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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