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BELLWETHER Get Social

Volume 2 | Issue 3 | Third Quarter 2011


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Bellwether Magazine | reserved. ThirdReproduction Quarter 2011 ©2011 Kissinger Associates, Inc. All rights in whole or in part without permission is prohibited, and information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Kissinger,

EDI Advantage 2010, Smart Software That Means Business, and associated Kissinger logos are trademarks of Kissinger Associates, Inc. Sage, the Sage logos, and the Sage product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software, Inc., or its affiliated entities.


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sections

Letter from the Editor

6

Leadership

7

Sales and Marketing

8

Cover Story

16

Book Report

18

Industry News

20

Customer Relationships

24

Human Resources

26

Work | Life | Balance

30

16 4

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

8 12 22


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bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

5


LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR

BELLWETHER

A Blytheco, LLC Magazine Volume 2 Third Quarter, 2011 www.blytheco.com www.bellwethermagazine.com

STAFF

EDITOR Apryl Hanson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Went CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alicia Anderson Donna Baeza Joanne Black Gary Dahl Apryl Hanson Susan McLain Cortez NaPue Brian Vellemure Dawn Westerberg Geni Whitehouse ADVERTISING SALES Dori Fitch SUBSCRIPTIONS www.bellwethermagazine.com Or contact Dori Fitch (800) 425-9843, Extension 1168 dorif@blytheco.com Bellwether Magazine is published by Blytheco, LLC with principal offices at: 23161 Mill Creek Road Suite 200 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 If you wish to be removed from the mailing list or to add names to the mailing list, send your request, including name, business name, and mailing address to the above address or to dorif@blytheco.com This is a copyrighted publication and all articles herein are covered by this copyright. Any use of the content for commercial reasons or other form or reproduction of material herein is strictly prohibited without prior, written approval of Bellwether Magazine.

Scan the QR code to the left with your smart phone to view the Blytheco Social Media Guide or go to www.blytheco.com/socmed 6

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011


LEADERSHIP

Leading Social Teams

by Apryl Hanson

I

n this day and age, we have to be prepared as managers and leaders to equip ourselves with tools to be effective in an ever-growing social environment.

There are several misconceptions about hiring people that do not work where you work and how to manage them. 1. MYTH: It’s harder to manage people that work remotely because you can’t “see” them. How often do you really stare at your employees while they are working anyway? In reality, I find that managing and leading employees that do not reside in the same location easier. Why? Because you can keep to what you should be managing, and that is results. With remote employees, you focus on the deliverables and all of the rest of the stuff goes out the window. 2. MYTH: You can’t have a relationship with an employee that isn’t in your same location. With today’s tools like Skype, GoToMeeting, and many more, there are plenty of opportunities to engage and interact with your employees. With my team, we meet at least once a week as a team via group Skype and I’ve gradually transitioned my one-onone meetings to Skype as well. This helps me truly see how someone is doing, not just by what they are saying, but by their facial expressions. With today’s tools you can interact in a similar but more productive way with your employees. 3. MYTH: You can’t be collaborative with teams that can’t be in the same room with each other. I beg to differ. I have one of the most collaborative teams that I know and very few of us are in the same office. So what do I use to keep them creative? One, visual meetings like I mention above – but then we can break and work on our own, come back together to present what we’ve come up with. Usually these types of meetings start with one idea and lead to an even better one. Being able to see each other is key. For one month we did our meetings without being able to see each other and the creativity level went down dramatically. We also suffered from miscommunications that

month. Keeping your teams talking to each other is important, as is allowing them to work through their issues. So what does it take from a leader’s perspective to keep them creative and communicating and keep yourself managing to results. 1. Set clear goals. If the team understands the goals at hand they can work better as a team (no matter where they are) to achieve them. 2. When problems arise managing them aggressively and head on – don’t sweep items under the rug. When something happens that needs addressing, address it quickly. Each moment you let go by decreases the effectiveness you will have as a leader to resolve the issue. 3. Get on the phone and talk to everyone one on one. One-on-one time is the most important time you can spend with your employees. Put it on the calendar, make sure it is a regular occurrence, and don’t move them. Your employees need to know that you are there for them, and that you are reachable and approachable. It should be their time to bring up anything they want to discuss with you and your time to coach. 4. Don’t resolve your team’s issues for them. Let your teams work out their issues, and don’t get excited about them. Focus them back to the goal and how they are going to resolve issues to achieve the goal at hand. 5. Reward them for the good they do. Employees, whether virtual or in front of you, need to have feedback on how they are doing. Make sure feedback is early and often.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

7


SALES&MARKETING

Getting to R: The AIPEE Pyramid by Brian Vellmure

How do we create customers? And once we get them, how can we keep them? Has any of this really changed with the rapid rise of Social Technologies? The fundamentals of business haven’t changed – but the tools and technology available to us and how we can (and will be forced to) accomplish fundamental business goals like “New Customer Acquisition” have. I’ve attempted to illustrate my thoughts in the image below – called the AIPEE Pyramid.

So let’s examine each stage of the pyramid: STAGE 1: ATTENTION For marketers, here is where we are casting our net far and wide. The key difference versus what we’ve traditionally done is that companies can no longer rely on “shouting” a message. The new goal is to provide something of value…something so valuable that folks who have never even heard of you or your brand want to share it with their friends. The content that you provide might be a public webcast, podcast, video, white paper, etc. The idea is to get something interesting and valuable in front of the eyes of some key influencers within your demographic. STAGE 2: INTERACTION You’ve now garnered some attention, and have established a little bit of relational capital. Now is the time when some 1:1 interaction might take

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Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

place. Dialogue at this stage will vary – but the offline equivalent might be saying “Hi – how are you doing?” to someone while waiting for a drink at the bar on in the line at the bathroom at a networking event. There is a shared common interest, and we’ve just been presented with an opportunity for some dialogue in passing. We’ve just gained permission to continue the conversation. STAGE 3: PERMISSION We have offered something of interest and value that the individuals have implicitly or explicitly asked to know more about us. Some examples of ways that this can manifest itself are: • Subscribing to our blog • Inviting us to connect on a Social Network • Giving us their contact information in exchange for a white paper, webinar, newsletter, free product sample or trial.


STAGE 4: ENGAGEMENT: The two parties are fully engaged, figuratively “sitting on the same side of the table” and seriously exploring how they can help each other out. The company’s main goal is to understand in detail what their prospect is trying to accomplish, and either offer an existing solution from their offerings portfolio, or co-create with them a product or solution that helps them accomplish their goals. STAGE 5: EXCHANGE We’ve consistently added value over a series of interactions. We’ve established trust. We’ve now earned the right to ask for something. It might be a sale (Revenue). It might be a Referral. It might be a Recommendation. In some cases, it might be all three. We’ve successfully executed an R Value Exchange. But it doesn’t stop there… Let’s dig a little more into the Value Exchange Retention Cycles and the potential response(s) of the customer at all stages in their journey up the pyramid. 1. The customer’s response to their journey up the pyramid Humans have always been social. We’ve always told our friends, family, acquaintances and business associates about our day, our experiences, our hopes and dreams, who we like and don’t like, etc. What has changed is how many people we can tell things to in such a short amount of time. Social Technologies are an amplifier. Good experiences get amplified – an exponential boost to your brand. Bad experiences, well, can spread like wildfire, and can do significant damage to your brand and reputation in a short amount of time. But really, this isn’t new either. Bad PR stories have been picked up and spread via the press for decades.

2. The Value Exchange Retention Cycles Hopefully the relationship we’ve worked so hard to nurture doesn’t stop there. I’ve highlighted 3 areas where and how further exchange might take place. Let’s briefly touch on each of them. A. Repeat Transactions We may keep getting referrals. We may keep selling the same consumable over and over. But remember, in order to keep our customers with us, we need to continue to add value. B. Upsell Opportunities (Deeper Commitment) We’ve had an initial exchange. But, there’s more there. There are more problems to be solved. You’ll see that the retention circle extends back down into the engagement stage. Layers of the onion are peeled back as new needs are discovered and new solutions are presented. C. CrossSell Opportunities (Different Product and Service Offerings) You’ll notice that this retention circle ventures all the way back down to the permission stage. While we’ve exchanged value for one business purpose, we may need to display competency in another area in order to earn permission to engage in dialogue for that need as well. So that’s it. We’ve taken a look at how to get our prospect’s attention, and facilitate a journey towards a mutual value exchange. We’ve looked at how social technologies amplify everything good and bad, and we’ve taken a brief look at how our relationship with our customers (partners, influencers, etc.) can be retained and nurtured for continuous value exchange. The key is to start by creating something of value, something that is sure to garner attention. Start there and you can learn the rest along the way.

What is new is that EVERYBODY is the media. There is no longer a filter. Information and Stories that are worth spreading will be spread.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

9


SALES&MARKETING

Has Anyone Ever Generated Any Leads Using Social Media? by Dawn Westerberg

I

n a way, the question “Has Anyone Ever Generated Any Leads Using Social Media?” is a little like asking “Has Anyone Ever Generated Any Leads Using the Telephone?” Regardless of the platform - social media, conferences, telephone, or pen and paper – the message has to be good. The message has to result in the buyer getting to know, like, trust and try you so that ultimately they will buy from you and refer business to you - repeatedly. Social Media is any online platform that helps you engage with others and communicate your message, for example, websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Like traditional marketing, the goal of Social Media is to get the buyer to think “This company might be able to help me with my problem. I’m going to check them out.” It’s the “aha” moment that drives the prospect to act further – to call you, fill out a request for information form, or email. Search engines have revolutionized the buyer’s ability to track down products and services and placed them firmly in charge of the buying cycle.

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Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

They believe they shouldn’t have to call to get more information – it should be available online. What this means is that the blog and website have replaced much of the role marketing used to perform through print marketing materials: educating and guiding the buyer through the Know-Like-Trust-Try-Buy-ReferRepeat continuum. Social Media has a word of mouth component, a referral component, and an advertising component. And as we know from our experience in traditional marketing, word of mouth, referrals and advertising can all generate leads.


Word of mouth in Social Media happens through someone favorably tweeting about your products and services to their network of Twitter followers. It could also occur through someone “liking” your Facebook page or writing a review on a site like Yelp. Referrals can come through someone retweeting your tweet, sending a link to your site to their Facebook followers, or posting a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. A Social Media referral might also be an invitation to write a guest post for a blog which would introduce you to a new audience. Advertising through Social Media works the same as traditional advertising – you pay to play. But with Social Media advertising you have greater control over who gets to see your ad. I’m going to use Facebook ads as my example (LinkedIn and Google ads are similar) because they offer so much flexibility in reaching the right audience. Facebook ads will guide you through a set of forms for creating your headline, entering a link for viewers to click on (this can go to a landing page that you create that elaborates on the information contained in the online ad as well as your call to action ��� click here to purchase, click here to download a whitepaper, click here to receive more information, etc.) and the body of the ad. The number of characters for both the headline and the body of the ad are very limited. You will need to be very brief – yet make the ad compelling enough to encourage the viewer to click on the link. You select the demographics of the audience you’d like to see the ad. You can go as wide as an entire country or as narrow as a city. You can select age groups, gender, interests and job titles. As you make these selections, Facebook will show you the number of people who fit your criteria. You chose whether you want to pay per click or pay per impression and select a daily budget, for example $25 per day. This means you can control your budget and run the ad for any number of days you specify. Social Media benefits your online presence. By taking advantage of multiple platforms, you increase your chances of amplifying and accelerating your message and presence. But most important, Social Media makes it easier for prospective buyers to find you.

by Apryl Hanson About the Author: Dawn Westerberg is the President of Dawn Westerberg Consulting LLC where she specializes in helping business owners fall in love with their business again through installing marketing systems that optimize fun work and awesome results. She is an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach and has held senior management marketing positions at Sage, Lawson, and Open Systems. You can learn more about Dawn at www.dawnwesterberg.com.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

11


by Joanne S. Black

P

undits can rant all they want about the “new normal” and “new realities,” and how Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and social media will change the way we sell. The Internet is the most powerful, life- and business-changing tool created in generations, if ever. But while it has altered our sales processes, technology won’t save our sales careers. It won’t fix our business development,

sales,

or

customer

relationship

management (CRM) challenges. It can be a great tool, but it is the person behind the LinkedIn profile, all the fancy gadgets, and high-tech presentations who actually makes the sale.

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Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

Here’s how to make social media work for you. Do develop a social media strategy. Like a sales or marketing plan, you should write out your social media plan. What is your goal? Who is your audience? What do you want to communicate? Leverage social media as part of your go-to-market strategy. How does your strategy


NO MORE

SALES&MARKETING

CALLING link to your customer’s needs and your business priorities? Do link up beyond LinkedIn. Take the time to build your personal connections: pick up the phone and talk to

people. Go to lunch. Have coffee. Just get out from behind your computer and nurture your relationships—even if you did build them virtually.

Don’t skip the introduction. Just because you have a Facebook friend in common doesn’t mean you have a relationship. Social media is a great way to find out who knows someone you want to pitch,

but if your mutual associate doesn’t provide a personal introduction, you’re basically cold-calling. When you reach out to someone who isn’t expecting your call and probably doesn’t want to hear from you, it’s a cold call. Don’t turn your Facebook page into

visitors? Link to other sites that you have found helpful. As you become recognized as a resource in your industry, you will build your web presence—and eventually, your business. Do incorporate your keywords. Your

Social media sites can help you prepare for meetings with potential clients by allowing you to learn about their backgrounds and your mutual associates.

an advertisement. Social sites are not for selling. They are for establishing connections, identifying ways to collaborate, and providing value. Instead of telling people you’re an expert, prove it. What tips or other useful information can you provide your

profile pages are an excellent place to get extra attention from search engines and increase your web presence. Don’t forget to do your homework. Social media sites can help you prepare for meetings with potential clients by allowing you to learn about their backgrounds and your mutual associates. Instead of rambling about the weather, you’ll have something to talk about during your first meeting. Don’t look for new clients; do look for new referral sources. If you have been trying to get a meeting with a particular company or

individual, social media can help you quickly find out who in your network has a close connection so you can ask for a referral.

About the Author America’s leading authority on referral selling and founder of No More Cold Calling, Joanne Black helps salespeople, sales teams, and business owners get more referrals and attract more business fast without increasing sales and marketing costs. Discover how to turn cold prospects into HOT clients more than 50 percent of the time and ace out the competition with her proven, referral-selling system. A captivating speaker, sales guru, and innovative sales seminar leader, Joanne is changing the business of sales. Joanne is the author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust (Warner Business Books). In this groundbreaking book, Joanne outlines her powerful, proven, step-by-step system for building a referral business. Some of Joanne’s views are contrarian, and in the established school of traditional sales, considered heretical thinking. But for Joanne Black, and her clients, the only smart approach to client acquisition is referral selling. Joanne Black is a member of the National Speakers Association and regularly speaks at sales and incentive meetings, sales conferences, and association meetings. Share your sales challenges and tell us what you think. Email Joanne: Joanne@nomorecoldcalling.com

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

13


SALES&MARKETING

Picture this. You are at a convention; there is a breakout session with an expert who is of interest to your clients. You grab him/ her after the session and get him to agree to a 5 minute interview. He approves because you are positioning him as an expert and essentially giving him free advertising space on your website. You point an iPhone at him and ask a few questions. At

Videos of experts, when placed on your Facebook or web

this point, you have invested maybe 10 minutes. You take

page, position you as an expert. They confer credibility

the video home and tweak it - maybe add some titles

on you – just by virtue of being on your website. You are

using inexpensive video editing software. You upload it

educating your audience and providing information. It’s

to Youtube, and embed it in your website, your blog and

not a hard sell right now. You’re drawing them in with

Facebook. You have someone transcribe it. Repeat as

some easy to digest information.

necessary. The question is not “Should I include videos on my webpage, blog and Facebook?” The question should be “Where do I get the camera?” Decision makers evaluating your products do not have time to wade through a lot of PDFs, web pages, feature lists and bullet points. A product demo video may be too specific and detailed. They just want to get a quick hit of

Video enables you to: Position yourself and your company as experts Give useful, interesting or important information to your prospects and clients Inform

your target market about your products and

services

your product and features -the Cliff Notes version.

Deepen relationships with your customers

People prefer video because :

Show who you are (which adds personalization and tells

• They don’t have a lot of time • They want things summarized • They are visual • Video is accessible and easy for them • They have a short attention span

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by Gary Dahl

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

your story) Add to your credibility with customer testimonials Free you from answering the same question over and over again


Show your gizmo doing what it does - because you might

3. Make sure you get a business card so that you get their

not be able to explain it with words

name spelled right. Before the interview, I usually just turn

Provide content for your website, blog and social sites

on the camera and say, “can you spell your name and give your title and company name?” 4. Always start by introducing the topic of the video.

Video Ideas:

5. Introduce the speaker on camera before asking the

• Interviews with industry experts

questions and thank them on camera when the interview is

• Direct messages your prospects or clients

done.

• Customer testimonials • Roundtable discussions (industry experts, clients, business owners) • Interviews with your employees • Demonstrations of your products Get your videos on your home page and link to your videos

6. Do not assume that you will be comfortable or can “wing it” in front of the camera. I’ve seen really knowledgeable and passionate people who, when the camera is rolling, cannot put a coherent sentence together. If necessary, you be the “Producer” and have someone else ask the questions.

from inside your emails. This will help get your information

7. Don’t ask “yes or no” questions. Ask open-ended

out there and make it easy for people to pass it along. You

questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no,

can also put a link in your advertisements or send a prospect

and if you can, send your interviewee a list of questions in

a video that addresses their concerns.

advance.

OK, so how do you do it?

You

Don’t be intimidated by the process; try it, and be willing to make mistakes. Sure, polished professional videos present us in a great light, and if you can afford it, go for it. Others can disagree, but my opinion is that right now, the expectation

can

find

great

editing

software for under $100. See my demonstration of making a quick video for YouTube, visit our blog at

think.blytheco.com/videotips

is lower. We’ve done videos with web cams or lower quality video. Get started now, get better later. Here are some tips: 1. You can use a cheap camera to get your feet wet, (seriously, even try your iPhone). You can upgrade later as you find out how this will be working for your company. 2. When interviewing, have your questions prepared ahead of time and your topic decided. But be prepared to go off-topic if your interviewee goes in an interesting or unexpected direction.

Marketers are increasingly turning to making short videos to as a relatively easy way to dramatically enhance credibility, sell products and services and provide valuable information to their prospects and clients. Video has impact and is compelling - most importantly your competitors are doing it more and more. With a little time a little money and a little preparation almost anyone can do it, and the payoff is huge. Now smile and put your best video forward.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

15


by Alicia Anderson

W o rk

Social w o H

C

an

COVERSTORY ia d e M

Pam Montgomery, Owner and President Chukar Cherries

F

rom orchard to harvest to manufacturing to shipping, Chukar Cherries owns the complete process of offering delicious fruit treats from their Prosser, Washington location.

They make their own food – with fewer companies doing that now (most have a big company produce the food and just package it themselves), Chukar is understandably proud of their work. They like explaining what they do and how they do it, in realtime. Pam Montgomery, Owner and President of Chukar Cherries, recognized that social media could help them tell those stories, and engage with customers. The company has always rewarded and encouraged customer feedback – social media just makes it faster and easier.

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Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

Pam now says customers are “absolutely” engaging with them online on a daily basis. Their blog, Facebook, and Twitter streams are getting the attention of new customers every day. Below is our interview with Pam with more information about how they got started, how they approach social media and the benefits they are seeing. Many companies are concerned about precious company resources being used in social media with no immediate benefit. But, as Pam says, “The world is changing – we know communication and how people buy, meet and talk is evolving – I don’t want to NOT get a ride on that carriage!” How did you decide who in your company would be responsible for social media? It’s a team effort. We did hire a point person for our social media effort – Beth is very smart, a writer and editor. She’s


curious, which is important, and she is a good person, so her authenticity comes through. We spent a lot of time with her to ensure a good match for our brand. My role is to be sure the identity and brand of our company comes through. It took some time to articulate that identity - it’s not the easiest thing to do for me. At first I was the only supporter of a social media initiative. Others in the company thought there weren’t enough time, money, and personnel for it. It took a lot of time to get everyone to buy in – but now the team is eager to participate. Everyone sees the importance and benefits now. Now it’s fun, largely because there’s immediate feedback. And I like the discipline it brings to the business. What’s your approach with your posts? Our goal is to engage, build loyalty, strengthen the brand, integrate social media to our other PR and marketing efforts – and of course to grow sales! We do that by working as a team to be sure the voice remains authentic. Social media is like “being naked” - you can’t fake authenticity.

Any to-dos or helpful hints you would recommend to small businesses starting a social media program? Be yourself. Talk to your fans rather than hard-selling. Ask lots of questions. Get a college intern. College students are good social media experts – they were raised on computers and it’s natural to them. Take it slow – it can be a process of getting up to speed. Technology companies are developing roadmaps to make it easier, but those are more about nuts and bolts. Focus on developing your voice, and knowing your customers. Define what your message should be. Don’t look to “normal” channels to help – marketing and PR departments might not know how to be supportive or helpful. What are the challenges of social media at Chukar Cherries? The “real-time” quality of social media is both a benefit and challenge. You have to constantly evaluate what you’re doing.

The voice should be consistent even though the person behind it may change – our voice is conversational, warm, with enthusiasm and passion for the business. And it must be honest – if we don’t know the answer, we say so and find out. We also must follow-through with questions that come in to us.

What are the benefits of being active on social media? It lets us hang out with our customers in our blue jeans--we get to be ourselves with them. Social media gives us a bead on who our customers are, what they enjoy and allows us to interact with them in something close to real-time. It also gives our customers a chance to give us valuable feedback.

Do you have an editorial calendar for social media posts? Yes. We have a plan created a year out, and then review and revise at three months out and again at one month out. We have a calendar with integrated marketing activities for B2B and B2C, including other PR and marketing items like our regular newsletter.

I’ve noticed that fans are particularly receptive to posts that reflect their values. We had a very good response to a post honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and to one talking about “Stand with Japan,” a ceremony put on by the National Cherry Blossom Festival showing solidarity with Japan in the wake of the tsunami.

Which social media platform outlet do you find most useful? Facebook. Least useful? Twitter.

You can (and should!) find Chukar Cherries online at:

How often do you try to post? On the blog, once a week. For Facebook and Twitter, at least daily. Did you model yourselves after anyone else online? I choose not to look at competitors’ social media. It makes it easier for us to be authentic that way, if we aren’t influenced by others. The point is to be yourself and tell YOUR story.

www.chukar.com http://blog.chukar.com/ www.facebook.com/ChukarCherries http://twitter.com/ChukarCherries

I do look at other successful bloggers – people who I would want to know, or who I feel like I do know. Some of the blogs that have inspired us are: 101cookbooks.com, heavytable. com, and smittenkitchen.com. Some companies that we see doing an excellent job with Facebook are Food & Wine, Food Network, Pike Place Market and the Tri-Cities, Washington page.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

17


BOOKREPORT by Geni Whitehouse

W

ith all of our focus on technology and tools, we tend to forget about the things that make us uniquely human - our ability to connect, to make choices, and to share. These authors provide insight for businesses seeking to apply technology that

improves the human experience of the future.

The Most Human Human: What talking with computers teaches us about what it means to be alive | Brian Christian Author Brian Christian takes on the world of Artificial Intelligence and along the way raises plenty of questions like: “Why do computers get computationally faster but no faster to use?”, “How can voice mail systems be improved?”, and “How does a computer win at Jeopardy?” In his fascinating quest for answers that will help him win the Turing test (a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior), Brian shares insights that can help businesses better meet the needs of their human audience. He gains insights equally from brain research and leading chess champions. By the end of the book, we are hopeful that businesses of the future will spend their time helping humans leverage technology so we are free to spend more time making judgments, exploring, discovering, creating, and ultimately building long-term relationships.

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein Thaler and Sunstein offer an enlightened perspective on human decision making. Their mission is to help people make decisions that are inherently good for them – an approach they call “Libertarian Paternalism.” They explain basic human behavior when it comes to choice and offer simple, elegant tips on providing choices that are likely to result in desired outcomes. They offer suggestions that can be applied in a number of areas – from getting people to sign up for 401(k) plans to choosing healthier food in the cafeteria line. They compare results from opt-in versus opt-out programs and explain how to apply their research without raising social or political objections. The book exposes a world of “choice architecture” which promises to have far-ranging impact on businesses that hope to nudge their employees or customers towards decisions that are in their own best interest.

the mesh : Why the future of business is sharing | Lisa Gansky Gansky’s book turns our view of markets and products on its ear. In a world of “meshed” businesses, tangible products will be built to last and designed for universal repair. Businesses will create products that can be shared, tracked and managed on mobile networks. And these products will be marketed primarily by word of mouth on social networks. The virtues of ownership will be supplanted by a takeonly- what- you-need, use-only-when-you-need-it mentality with an emphasis on long-term sustainability. The book gives you more than 1,000 examples of mesh businesses that are already up and running including Zipcar, thredUP, and Kickstarter. Businesses of every variety need to pay attention to this new way of serving an increasingly mobile and technology savvy consumer seeking high value products without the hassles of ownership and the high cost of waste.

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Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011


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bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

19


INDUSTRYNEWS

TOOLS YOU CAN USE by Cortez NaPue

N

ow that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (among others) have catapulted social media into a huge ever-booming industry, one would expect the recent influx of third-party social media software and companies. Many of these software applications offer the ability to monitor social media activity and generate leads, while others provide methods of audience engagement. With Wal-Mart recently acquiring Kosmix, Salesforce acquiring Radian6, and YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen recently buying Delicious and tap11, not only are social media tools in obvious high demand, so are the companies that develop them. With so many tools out there, finding the right one can be like finding a needle in a haystack (or is it tweetstack?). It’s important not to feel as though you need to use every social media tool out there as there is a lot of overlap between them with many offering the same or similar features. Here are some options to choose from as organized by their most prominent features:

Inbound Marketing and Lead Generation Many small-to-mid-sized businesses will (and already have) find solace in Hubspot’s inbound marketing platform.

On average, small businesses do not have

designated marketing teams and often have to outsource their marketing tasks. Hubspot is a one-stop shop for many of your inbound marketing needs, offering tools for: • Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing • Landing Page Management and Tracking • Web analytics • Content Management • SEO Tools • Social Media Monitoring and Engagement • Blog Management

Hubspot also integrates with virtually any CRM or e-Commerce system. Users will also be astonished by Hubspot’s unparalleled training and education services.

Hubspot offers 1:1 monthly coaching, training sessions, access

to learning center tips and documents, and even help with marketing plan development. Hubspot also publishes free webinars, whitepapers, and blog articles on a regular basis. Hubspot really works with you to make sure that you not only understand their products, but marketing as a whole.

Monitoring the Twitterverse and Beyond: Audience Engagement TweetDeck is a platform that allows you to view and respond to activity across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, mySpace, Foursquare and more in real time. Anyone hoping to have a strong presence in social media communities can strongly benefit from this type of product. Tools like TweetDeck and similarly, HootSuite, allow users to easily engage fans,

20

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011


followers, and friends. You can also disseminate videos, photos, and other content across several platforms with the touch of a button. With TweetDeck you can: • Use your TweetDeck Account to add all of your social network accounts in one go • Integrate LinkedIn for your professional contacts • View YouTube videos within TweetDeck, and record and share video clips though TwitVid • Retweet Twitter style - or your style • Manage conversations with @replies and direct messages • See what’s currently hot and trending with Twitter Trends and TwitScoop • Manage multiple Twitter accounts easily

overnight. Stay up-to-date with the ‘Sentiment’ section, which includes sentiment trend over time that allows you to monitor for spikes of positive or negative posts and a snapshot of the three most recent positive and negative posts. • Demographics: Find out more about the authors of social media content with our demographics section. Receive a breakdown of social traffic by gender, age, location and more. • Influencers: Who are the most important members of your social conversation? This section gives you a breakdown of the top influencers from different media channels such as Twitter, news sites, blogs, forums, videos etc. • Content: Know what people are saying about your brands or products by looking at top trending topics, most used keywords, #tags, as well as sample words and phrases from your social traffic.

• Locate your friends • Send longer messages through our new Deck.ly service • Use our scheduling feature to check-in or send a tweet in the future

Looking to spruce up your Facebook page? Check out these awesome apps:

• Add, create and manage Twitter Lists • Use the Global Filter to remove unnecessary tweets by account, service or hashtag

RSS Graffiti: RSS Graffiti periodically checks the RSS/Atom

• Add networks that use a compatible Twitter API, like WordPress and Tumblr

the Facebook Walls that you specify. You can get any feed

• Avoid Twitter spam with TweetDeck’s spam button.

Events and Application Profile Pages). In fact, you can

feeds that you specify and posts any new entries it finds to written on any wall (Facebook Profiles, Fan Pages, Groups, even have multiple feeds to multiple walls. You choose the combination.

Monitoring the Twitterverse: Social Media Metrics and Analytics

SlideShare: SlideShare is the world’s largest community for

A great tool to use to analyze social media activity is Radian6.

documents with your Facebook network, upload portfolios,

Radian6 is often marketed to larger corporations. Radian6

PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, college lessons, etc.

provides in-depth metrics on specific topics, conversations,

Formats supported include: ppt, pps, pptx, odp, pdf, doc,

or industries in real time. With this cloud-based software, you

docx, odt, Keynote, and iWork. The SlideShare app is also

can see what is currently trending across virtually any online

YouTube compatible and allows for direct webinar creation.

social space including: blogs, forums, online communities,

If you’re not an avid Facebook user, the application is also

Facebook, and Twitter.

available for LinkedIn.

Essentially, with Radian6, you are able to measure the

Buddy Media: Buddy Media is one of the hottest Facebook

ubiquity of certain topics and compare them. This can be

platforms available right now. They can do almost anything

important when determining relevant conversations and

-- host contests, create video galleries, and provide user

brand mentions, insertion opportunities, or when gauging

analytics.

the current sentiment of your audience and industry. Radian6 is very much about understanding consumer sentiment and how your brand fits in. Here are some of its amazing features: • Volume: Learn everything you would want to know about the amount of conversation surrounding your topic. This includes share of voice and share of conversation, a graph of volume trends, a breakdown of volume by media type and Insights information such as top sources. • Sentiment: The way people feel about brands can change

sharing presentations. You can:

share presentations and

Wildfire: Wildfire is the most popular way to run a promotion on Facebook. They offer a thorough suite of apps that allow you to easily set up contests, sweepstakes, and offer coupons. Payvment: Why direct your customers to Amazon when they can buy your product on Facebook? Payvment makes it easy to set up an online store on your page.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

21


INDUSTRYNEWS

by Susan McLain marked decrease in sales and use tax income over the past few years, compounded by overall budget shortfalls, has caused states to focus on ways to collect additional revenue. To this end, states are changing sales tax laws and regulations to broaden the definition of nexus, increasing the number of audits and decreasing exemption qualifications.

A

This environment requires businesses to be even more diligent in keeping accurate sales tax records including: • Tracking and applying correct rates according to product taxability, jurisdiction and sourcing rules for each state where there is liability.

• Increased audit activity in the states; • Lack of skilled staff with tax domain expertise; • High cost of negative audit results; • Mandates to improve organizational productivity.

• Easy access to exemption certificates and proper association with non-taxed transactions.

In order to achieve Best-in-Class performance and the benefits associated with sales tax compliance, three steps were cited as “mustdo:”

• Ensuring timely filing and remittance along with appropriate registration for sales tax liability.

• Automate workflow from tax preparation to remittance.

Keeping diligent in these areas can help reduce your risk of exposure to sales tax audits and enable you to respond rapidly to any inquiries from state authorities. It’s been estimated that for every $1 of sales tax error, the cost to fix the error exceeds $50 when using manual processes. This estimate is very modest and does not take into account the cost of lost staff productivity and customer dissatisfaction when overcharged.

BEST PRACTICES In a 2010 Aberdeen Group survey, responses showed companies that implemented Bestin-Class sales tax compliance practices experienced a decrease in audit penalties and fines as well as in the time spent addressing tax errors. Driving factors for companies to adopt effective sales and use tax management were identified as:

• Enable centralized management of tax information. • Establish standardized procedures for managing government audits. Automation using a cloudbased tax management service reduces costs by providing a solution that is scalable to the needs of the business. A fulllifecycle automated solution will include tax calculation, exemption certificate management and filing and remittance services.

• Thorough tax analysis of state rules and regulations • Accurate calculations based on sourcing rules, jurisdiction and product taxability • Exemption certificate management for non-taxed transactions that includes: • Digital collection of certificates

Learn more about best practices and automation of the sales tax compliance process at www.avalara.com.

• The need to comply with regional and jurisdictional regulations;

22

When seeking an automated solution that supports best practices, companies should look for a product that provides:

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

• Easy accessibility • Certificate to customer and transaction association • Reporting capabilities • Full sales tax cycle support with filing and remittance of returns • Easy integration with ERP solutions


INDUSTRYNEWS Set up a company Facebook page and ask your customers and friends to “like” you.

Set up a blog with relevant articles and commit to posting new content at least three times a week.

If you are selling to businesses or business people, get yourself and your company listed on LinkedIn, and make sure that your employees are listed under your company.

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CUSTOMERRELATIONSHIPS

SALES and social media S

ocial media – it’s not just for marketers anymore. The age of logging onto Twitter or Facebook to tell someone that your cat snores in his sleep is not obsolete, but in the past. There is a trend emerging where departments outside of the scope of marketing are beginning to use social media to complete certain tasks. Think Twitter is used only for people with opinions to share or organizations with agendas to promote? Think again. With the right hashtag (scan the QR code to the right or go to ‘think.blytheco.lcom/headlines’ for more info on how to use hashtags on Twitter), you could easily have a job posting up and searchable in minutes. Need a phone to provide “real” customer service? In the Stone Age, perhaps, but more and more customer service centers are researching customer social activity and public conversation trends in order to better (and perhaps more compassionately) service people and establish rapport. Sales teams, too, are now using social media in order to find leads, to maintain relationships with current clients, and to gauge the climate of opportunity. Social Media has evolved from its humble beginnings of digital fraternizing and marketing into an application that customer service, human resources, and, sales teams can take advantage of in order to enhance their performance.

SELLING SOCIALLY Are You Listening?

As any sales person will tell you, the more they

know about their prospects, the more effective they are in identifying and closing sales opportunities. Simply put, it pays to listen. This basic concept is the centerpiece of leveraging social media to support sales. Sales departments can use the same tools as marketing teams to monitor and respond to activities occurring in the socio-sphere, and then identify opportunities that will enhance their account strategies and on-going activities. Check out “Social Media Tools You Can Use” on Page 20 to find out more about social media “listening tools.”

by Cortez NaPue

24

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011


In this day and age, monitoring the social web is fundamental to any social media marketing or sales approach, however, where the marketing and sales departments need to focus their resources differs significantly. Marketing tends to monitor keywords, phrases and activities that provide insight on brand awareness and sentiment, which is less actionable for sales people. Contrarily, the sales department should create and monitor Key Sales Indicators (KSIs) to locate information that is specifically relevant in the sense that it points to a prospective customer and indicates where they are in the decision process. KSIs indicate a clear need, interest or evaluation of a product or service, though they can be harder to find. For example, a prospect may be considering switching to a new vendor by expressing their dissatisfaction with a current vendor on competitive forums, which can easily be elicited by enabling real-time keyword analysis notifications with social media monitoring software like Radian6, Tweetdeck, or tap11. A sales team can monitor these forums and third-party support blogs on a continual basis and remain in sync with their community or industry. Then, when armed with knowledge of the prospect’s specific pain points, the sales person can effectively contact the prospect with relevant solutions suited to their needs.

Empowering your E-mail

methods to socially share your content or that link to your social media websites. This could help spread the word about the e-mail’s subject matter and provide a way to organically market sales team initiatives.

Empowering the Individual Salesperson

Sales agents need to know that they can share or promote company content. Giving them this ability is a great way to market your brand and promote your business. For many organizations there is a large gray area that surrounds company social media use. As such, a prerequisite for this is drafting a corporate social media policy that outlines what all employees -- not just the sales team -- can and cannot do (Scan the QR code to the right for more info on developing a Social Media Policy or find it at ‘think.blytheco. com.’)

Social Media has evolved from its humble beginnings of digital fraternizing and marketing into an application that customer service, human resources, and, sales teams can take advantage of in order to enhance their performance.

The initial step in leveraging social media for sales initiatives is to integrate the sales staff’s contact databases with their social media networks. Whether managed through a single client application (such as Outlook) or a sales automation application (such as SalesLogix), a sales person can easily create a single view of their contacts. Combining contacts and social networks allows for a more unified approach when maintaining communication with clients and/or leads. Several tools currently exist to integrate contacts and social media networks—including SalesForce. com’s Jigsaw, Microsoft’s Outlook Social Connector, or Gist. Sage SalesLogix has recently added the ability to integrate your Facebook or LinkedIn contacts as well. Some key features to these tools include:

• The ability to compile all contacts from various sources— inboxes, address books and social networks—and incorporate news, status updates and blog posts to create rich business profiles • Synchronization of contact data with status updates from various networks and recently posted files • Display of a snapshot of recent conversations, meetings and shared attachments Once you’ve done that, you can spice up your e-mail messages by adding templates or widgets that feature

Another way to empower the individual salesperson is to create content for ideation platform such as a blog, Facebook page, or LinkedIn group. An ideation platform can be any kind of platform that fosters feedback to help improve the product or service being offered by your brand. Sales agents can write blog articles, respond to lead inquiries in online communities, or examine KSIs across several platforms.

Sales agents are in a unique position in that they have a direct link to customers and prospects and are therefore extremely familiar with the most common patterns of customer feedback. With this unique customer insight, sales agents can generate relevant and specific content that many clients have an interest in or have had questions about. The sales agent should then post the content to the respective ideation platform(s) and/or work with the marketing team in order to use the customer insight for effective messaging. If your organization employs local/regional sales reps, provide them with the tools and training that can facilitate the creation of locally targeted web content, and then work with your search team (in-house or agency) to develop a strategy for optimizing the content to rank for local and regional keyword phrases. Often, certain facets of this strategy can be automated or streamlined in a manner that allows for optimization across a wide swath of locally targeted keyword phrases.

Social Media…not just for marketers anymore.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

25


HUMANRESOURCES

Social Media 102: Business vs. Persona by Cortez NaPue

I

f you’re not yet into social media, you’re not a part of 1/3 of the world’s adult population. According to the Nielsen Company, the global average time spent per person on social networking sites is now nearly five and half hours per month (February 2010 data), with Facebook accounting for the majority of that time. With all of the recent changes and innovations in social media (particularly with Facebook), that number has surely increased. Some 1 billion people are accessing social media nowadays and it is no surprise that businesses are quickly following suit. The Forum of Private Businesses reports that 69% of SMBs (small-to-mid-sized businesses) currently access social media sites, again, with the majority of the usage coming from Facebook. Among businesses and consumers alike, social media use is becoming more ubiquitous by the day – however, there are stark differences between personal and company use.

The Intent

connected and to facilitate an easy communicative

Social networking in business was founded on a

founder of Facebook said in 2010, that his initial intent

completely different premise than personal social

for creating Facebook was to create a “visual directory in

networking. Businesses identified sites like Facebook,

which people with common interests could stay in touch.”

Twitter, or LinkedIn as platforms for marketing and

Today, it has morphed into not only a communication tool,

consumer engagement. Soumitra Dutta of the Harvard

but literally a way to rate the world. With Facebook, if you

Business Review clarifies the reasons so many businesses

come across something that you’re interested in on the

have joined the social media bandwagon, saying social

web, you can ‘Like’ it or share it with a touch of a button.

media sites “provide a low cost platform on which to

On Twitter if you like what you see, you can retweet it.

build your brand, allow you to engage rapidly and

Every time you like, share, or retweet something, you

simultaneously with peers and customers, and they give

are essentially boosting its popularity on the internet.

you an opportunity to learn from instant information and

However, you can also attach negative comments to most

unvarnished feedback.” Businesses access social media

things shared this way, fundamentally giving what you

to share information, but generally only when it pertains to

shared a negative “rating.”

their company or industry. It is not so much about sharing opinions or thoughts as it is about engaging consumers

Do You Trust Me?

and maintaining customer relationships.

The unfortunate reality is that for many businesses, both

Personal social networking began with something entirely different in mind. It began as a way to keep people

26

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

environment for information sharing. Mark Zuckerberg,

public and private, social media is a nuisance and is treated as such. The culture of trust is all too frequently absent for many organizations. Employees are often reluctant to


al

share information on their company’s behalf

businesses requires much more rigor than personal use.

as not to offend any policy. Many employees

In the workplace, content disseminated via social media

even go as far as blocking their employers in

in many instances has to go through an approval process.

hopes that their disseminations will remain

The trick to developing a social media policy is to figure

private. This type of behavior more than likely

out the perfect balance between too much regulation and

stems from the fear of getting disciplined or in

not enough.

some cases even terminated. There have, after all, been dozens of cases where employees have been terminated for sharing things on Facebook, including an employee of National Suisse who was fired for accessing Facebook at home while sick.

Believe it or not, personal social media use does come with its share of policies and regulations, though many are site-specific.

Facebook for instance has taken a

strong stance against harassment of others and posting obscene or offensive material. Most people however have no issues with following these guidelines providing for an

With personal social media use, trust is

environment of basically-free expression.

inherently given upon acceptance of the

The Verdict

connection.

Most people follow, befriend,

or ’Like’ a person/page based on a genuine or common interest. It is easier to trust and engage with an entity that you have something in common with (and who is not responsible for your paycheck).

consumer interaction via social media and people too are pros at communicating with or about businesses. It is much less rigorous and involved when using social media personally, and businesses have a lot more to consider

Russ Edelman of CNBC states, “in the corporate world, a proactive effort is required to build a culture of trust; one that allows participants to dip their toe in the social networking pool and see the benefits that are duly derived.” Some techniques for building trust with social networking in your business could include recognition of contributions and/or the inclusion of gaming theory (contests and group trivia are some examples) to foster a friendly sense of competition and to motivate the team.

To Regulate or Not to Regulate? Businesses generally have some sort of policy in place that outlines their expectations of social media use within the

It is clear that businesses are beginning to master

company. policies

can

These often

be restrictive, but a

business

must

protect its interests.

when accessing social platforms. The main issue with SMB’s and social media lies within the culture of trust. If your own employees are not willing to promote you, consumers will probably have a difficult time doing so as well.

The trick to developing a social media policy is to figure out the perfect balance between too much regulation and not enough.

Consequently, social media use among

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

27


HUMANRESOURCES Sourcing and Interviewing in the World of Technology by Donna Baeza

W

hile some industries may still utilize newspaper recruiting and/or a walk-in kiosk or paper application approach, most employers have moved far beyond those options to utilizing sophisticated on-line recruiting solutions. These applications tap into well-known existing job boards and the recruiting page(s) of an employer’s corporate website. They also tie into an organization’s HRMS and provide robust analysis and reporting. Just as job boards such as Monster and Careerbuilder were revolutionary years ago and changed the way employers sourced candidates, today social media is doing the same. As it was with job boards, the transformation is both for candidates and employers, but with a twist. When utilizing social media, recruiting efforts LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are a few of the more well known social media sites but there are hundreds of social media sites available today, many with very specific focuses. LinkedIn, as an example, is a social media site with a focus on professionals from all different industries. It is a global site that allows users to: (1) post their professional experience; (2) have those whom they have worked for, and with, provide on-line “recommendations” (i.e. references),

28

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

and; (3) identify their education, professional memberships and certifications, etc. all for full viewing. It allows users to post short snippets of content on a given subject, such as “I’m attending the upcoming IT Professionals Conference in Chicago next week.” It also allows for social media sites such as Twitter to mirror posts on a user’s LinkedIn account. This allows for double the exposure with half the effort.


Where social recruiting provides the twist for employers is that is provides a current and historical view into a users account. Oddly enough, not all users will approach their account from a strictly professional perspective until they are searching for a position. However, a prospective employer who is using LinkedIn to search for candidates can sort and filter based on skills and make notes about specific candidates at any given time. So while a candidate may not be looking today, their profile may have been viewed some 12 months ago by an employer. At that time, the recruiter may have noted specifically why their profile was not of interest, even though the user’s account may not reflect the negative content today. This isn’t news for recruiters utilizing LinkedIn but many users of LinkedIn remain clueless to this fact.

Many employers have a Facebook page and can place open jobs in the Marketplace section of Facebook, reference them on their Facebook page, and point the candidate back to their corporate jobs website. Employers use Twitter in the same way, by letting followers know about available positions. Users of Twitter can conduct key words searches. Employers can highlight key words in their posts by using a hash (#) tag. For example: Blytheco is currently looking for an experienced #MAS90/200 #Consultant in their Laguna Hills office, and then follow that with additional key words such as #recruiting #employment.

etc; (2) flow the candidate through the interview / hiring process; (3) track feedback / input during that process; (4) rank top candidates based on skills and feedback; (5) manage open positions and provide recruiting activity exposure to the hiring manager and Human Resources; (6) and much more. Technology and factors such as telecommuting have not only changed many aspects of employment, they have also changed the tools employers use to recruit. Due to distance, on-site interviews are not always feasible or cost effective. Today many employers utilize in-house web conference applications or free web-based applications such as Skype. Web conferencing allows both the employer and the candidate the opportunity to meet face-to-face when an on-site interview is not an option. Web-based skill testing is another tool that employers utilize to determine skill level and span a full range of assessment focuses. Some examples are: typing, accounting, customer service, Microsoft Office products, problem solving, project management, legal knowledge, etc. Employers also utilize personality assessments which point to behavioral tendencies of candidates, flagging employers on extremes and identifying potential areas for an employer to ”dig a bit deeper” during the interview process, and perhaps identify areas for potential development post hire, if an employment decision is made.

Technology and factors such as telecommuting have not only changed many aspects of employment, they have also changed the tools employers use to recruit. Today HRMS solutions can interface

Social recruiting allows employers to source candidates and communicate who the organization is (i.e. its brand and identity) early on in the process. In the same way a candidate can view an employer’s LinkedIn recruiting page, Facebook page and Twitter tweets to see if the content speaks to an organization, culture and environment they would want to be a part of prior to actually applying for a position. In using social recruiting, employers can tie into traditional job boards, corporate websites, etc. to allow them to connect the recruiting process to their HRMS solutions. During this phase a good recruiting solution can: (1) filter candidates based on skills, education, location,

into background check agencies, can generate offer letters, send thank you / no thank you letters and can move an individual from “candidate” status to “employee” status all with minimal effort. Technology has dramatically changed they way we source candidates and move them through the recruiting process. Social media is continuing to evolve and recruiting continues to evolve with it. One thing is certain – where there are people – business will continue to try to reach them, recruiters will continue to try to source them, and technology will continue to make it possible.

Donna Baeza, SPHR is Director, HR and HR Business Solutions for Blytheco, LLC, and has over 15 years of experience in HR management. She holds a BA in HR Management from AIU, an HRM certification from UCI and an SPHR through HRCI. Donna oversees Blytheco’s Human Resources and HRMS divisions.

bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership

29


WORKLIFEBALANCE

When to STOP Listening to Social Media

H

ave you ever been having a conversation with someone and had the conversation interrupted by a text, e-mail, tweet, phone call, etc.? Have you been the one guilty of letting your conversation be interrupted by the barrage of information coming at you? We have to remember that all of this online activity is just another way for us to be connected to each other, but when you

is a healthy and can give you the muchneeded space and free time to think about an issue or a

are standing in front of another human being, there is nothing more disheartening than being interrupted by someone that isn’t even in the room. We’ve got to learn when it is appropriate to engage with our online tools and when we need to disengage from them. Trying to watch twitter feeds and updates while trying to have a conversation with an employee, for instance, is not the best use of your time. Even worse, try talking to one of your kids while they are updating or reading status feeds on Facebook. The conversation won’t go anywhere. Online tools can do a wonderful job of keeping us connected to those that we can’t see every day, but we should work on prioritizing our connection with people that are in the room with us. Many of us have the ongoing challenge of disengaging from our technology when we go home for the day. You can feel like you’ve never left the office because from anywhere you can receive phone calls, e-mail, twitter and Facebook feeds and much more. With all of this at your fingertips, it is hard to disengage. When we get in the habit of being constantly connected and spending too little time away from the office, we tend to get less creative about our work and sometimes can get into a rut. Time away 30

Bellwether Magazine | Third Quarter 2011

problem in a different way. If we are constantly inundated with information, we can’t give our minds the break needed to think creatively again.

TIP: Pick times to tune in and times in which you promise yourself to tune out to technology and social media tools. Give yourself the break needed to fall in love with what you do, all over again.

by Apryl Hanson


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