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Social Media Spotlight: How to Get Started in Social Media

April 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm PST

Over the past few years, so many partners and even Cisco employees have asked me time and again “How do I get started in social media?” Having heard that question so often, it seemed to me that before we use our new Social Media Spotlight series to highlight best practices when blogging, or using Twitter or Facebook, we should explain how to get into the social media game.

I myself came to social media by way of journalism, so when someone asks me how to get started, I usually turn around and ask the person who’s talking to me, “What do you want to achieve in using social media?”

Perhaps you’re not certain what you want to achieve, beyond knowing that you want to use social media at your company. According to a recent survey conducted by IPED and commissioned by Cisco, about 50% of partners are interested in learning how to expand online engagement to drive business. Does that include you? Then read on for some advice on how to start process.

1) Identify Your Goal(s)

Defining what you want to achieve is the major starting point—if you haven’t used social media before, and you are looking to get started, you need to ask yourself what you want to use social media for—what is your goal?

For most businesses, social media can help amplify your company’s message, help you engage with your customers, start conversations, and deepen relationships. So keeping that in mind, you should start thinking about a social media plan by developing a list of clear goals. It should be more than just gaining followers and fans. While gaining followers is one metric, the conversation, interaction, and even leads you generate are important ways of measuring success.

Once you have that list of goals (my rule of thumb is that two or three is ideal) then your next step will be to identify which social media vehicles align with those goals. Read More »

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Social Networks and Music – Part 2

At SXSW 2011, Dan Scheinman, SVP and GM of the Cisco Media Solutions Group talks about the importance of collecting data about music fans and how they interact with content on social networks.

At the SXSW 2011 Music Panel “You’ve Built a Social Network, Now What” panelists including our own SVP and GM Dan Scheinman, offered a diverse audience made up of musicians, artist managers, independent record labels advice on how to leverage social media tools to grow and monetize their fan bases. The main theme of the conversation, as we pointed in out in our first part of coverage of the panel (link), is that an artist web site needs to be the center of a musician’s online strategy. Just recently, music marketing manager Michael Branvold offered up eight more reasons why artists should not rely on social networks for their main online presence -- Branvold’s eight points are diverse and can be read over at the site Music Think Tank.

An independent label manager in the audience of the SXSW Music panel, complained there are too many social networks for musicians and label / artist managers to keep up with. He wondered which ones are the most important to maintain presences on. Moderator Bill Werde, Editorial Director of Billboard Magazine, Michael Fiebach of the digital marketing and management agency Fame House and Paul Sinclair, SVP of Digital Media of Atlantic Records offer some strategy for this independent label manager asking the question.

As Paul Sinclair pointed out, musicians shouldn’t chase every new social network that comes along. But at a minimum, musicians are expected to have a dialog with their fans on Facebook and Twitter, and then use the conversations there to drive fans back to the artist web site.

At another SXSW 2011 panel about social networks and musicians titled ‘Musicians and the Social Graph’, DJ and video producer Mike Relm offered to the audience that musicians should take the time to figure out which social networks and services lend themselves best to the kind of conversation they want to have with fans. Relm offers that he primarily focuses on YouTube because he’s focused mostly on the production of video content. Yet he still uses the videos to drive fans back to his web site -- http://mikerelm.com :

If Facebook and Twitter are the main social networks musicians are expected to engage with fans on, which other social networking services are important to fans? At the ‘Social Graph’ panel,  Jonathan Crowley, Director of Business Development for Foursquare, talked about how rock giants Soundgarden used the location based social network. Twitter’s Jonathan Adams and SF Music Tech’s Brian Zisk joined the conversation, explaining how messages from musicians over social networks can then be amplified by their own fans.

Personally, I wasn’t using Foursquare as a music fan at SXSW 2011. It turns out if I had been following some of my favorite bands on Foursquare, I would have been let on the news that they were playing some secret shows.  Please use the comments section below for any thoughts on the video conversations offered in this post.

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Cisco Channels Social Media Spotlight: Your Questions Answered

April 6, 2011 at 11:36 am PST

Since starting my role in Cisco Channels social media some three years ago, I’ve been asked a lot of questions: “What video camera should I buy?” “Who do you like to follow on Twitter?” “Who does your hair?” (OK, no one’s actually asked me the last question, but drop me a note in the comments if you really want to know.)

But the most commonly asked questions that I hear over and over are: How do I get started with social media, what are the best tools to use, and how do I engage more customers? Well, in the interest of helping Cisco partners around the globe achieve resounding social media success, I’m happy to announce our new Channels blog series: Social Media Spotlight!

In this series, my fellow Channels blogger Kalpana Ettenson and I will be addressing any and all social media questions that you have. For starters, we want you to post your most burning social media questions in the comments below so we can address them in upcoming blog posts.

And we also have a few topics planned based on questions we’ve gotten in the past… Read More »

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Trust, Reliability, and the Downside of the Fast-Twitch Twittoblogosphere

It is clear that we are in a transition with regards to the way information is published and consumed. Old school media such as newspapers and network news are in decline or are, like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, looking for new ways to remain relevant.

The rise of social media as a source of news has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side the speed of social media has proven hard to match. For example, on November 23, 2010, North Korea shelled Yeongyeong Island in South Korea. My first notification about that event was via Twitter and it was only later that I was able to get confirmation via CNN. Similarly on March 11, 2011, when the earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan with tragic consequences, my first notification was again via Twitter. Clearly first-mover advantage goes to social media, largely due to the lack of overhead and the few barriers to and low cost of publishing.

Recently we saw one of the weaknesses to the often knee-jerk, fast-twitch responses that social media can create with the unfortunate accusations that were falsely leveled at Samsung; statements accusing the Korean manufacturer of putting keylogging software on its laptops. Read More »

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The Social Soap Box: Lady Gaga, Social Media and B2Bs

March 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm PST

I was at the Lady Gaga concert at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA last night in what initially was another routine concert outing (I average about five concerts a year) that quickly turned into my own personal tour on how Miss Gaga does social media. Even before the Oracle Arena opened its doors to her loyal fans, Gaga participated in an interactive Q&A session at Google HQ earlier which garnered approximately 40,000 questions after days it was announced via her YouTube channel.  

At the concert, the two massive digital screens displaying a  live Twitter stream of tweets from fans were expected, but to top that off, she used text messaging to raise awareness and money for her favorite charities. While on stage, she called one fan who attended the concert to personally thank him for the donation.  I even conducted my own impromptu poll with a handful of excited fans. Surprisingly however, most didn’t know she was hip on social media or followed her on Twitter or Facebook. I’m sure if I polled at least half of the concert goers, the results would differ dramatically. The numbers don’t lie. Gaga is still the most socially networked star.

Given all the coverage on Gaga’s use of social media, it’s no surprise that more celebrities are jumping on the social media band wagon to give their personal brands a major social boost.  But can the same social media playbook that helped elevate these personal brands be used for B2B brands?  To enlighten us, I turned to social media expert and blogger for ZDNet, Jennifer Leggio for her candid thoughts.

Despite Lady Gaga’s extreme physical presence, she’s maintained a level of approachability with her fans online. She treats them as if they are a part of her success, rather than merely the reasons for her success. People are fans generally because they want to feel included in something bigger than themselves and Lady Gaga gives hers an opportunity to do that by showing her true self — behind the wigs, 10-inch platforms and make-up — digitally.

I absolutely believe that B2B companies can learn from Lady Gaga and her online presence success. I think, to boil it down, companies need to stop being afraid of their customers and allow them to feel as if they are a part of the company. Despite the advances in social media over the last few years, many companies are still afraid to invite their customers in via blogs or online communities, and they don’t realize how that might alienate otherwise loyal customers. Companies, considering disclosure issues of course, should also be as open with their customers as possible. Allow their executive teams to be real – Cisco’s own Padmasree Warrior is a great example of that. This not only establishes thought leadership but also a human factor that draws in customers and partners.

- Jennifer Leggio

Well said, Jennifer! And since I rarely get to blog about music for Cisco but often share my favorite SOTD (song of the day) with friends on Facebook and Twitter,  I’ll leave you with my Gaga SOTD. Enjoy!

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