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Voice of reason or the real good news...of everything social! By Damien Schulze

Thinking all things social, recruitment and marketing wrapped in life's journey . . . powered by DC123

The Table of Contents: Social Recruitment – The Long Play Engage with a smile! Social Blunders – Avoidance Is Key! Embrace, Engage and Wrestle With Your Inner Lion! Get on your way to becoming King of the Social Media Jungle! Women and Pinterest! A market that you can’t ignore! Harnessing the Social Era! Liquid Connectivity – crack yours today! So Y oh Y won’t they stay put? Are you gratified? Social Media – By Greta Marks Get the strategy right! Add Value To Your Community By Keeping Your Content Relevant! Social Media – Road Map It! Make ‘em laugh! Don’t abandon your content! Strapped for Time? CROWDSOURCE IT! The New Social! Like Your Year 12 Formal, but different! Innovation is your life blood! How’s your balance? Can we engage you? Are you ready for it? Catch the wave of the BOOM! Make The Best Impression! The Importance of Being Mobile. Culture Fit – Send the ‘Right Message’ To Your Prospective Employees Social Media – Like a farmers’ market on the net Social Listening CEOs, Respect Your Influence! Be With The People! Get on Their Smart Phone! Burying the business? Is it a work in practise? Social Media As A Round Of Drinks And So Much More! Social Media – A disruptive technology! Addiction! Can you turn it off? Distorted Reality Living the brand! Age does not matter . . . Ask the question “the second time first!” Inspire those around you! Inspire those around you! The Consistent Delivery of Service . . . “Our everyday life and social media”

Out with the old and in with . . . who knows what it will look like! Find the best talent . . . simply connect! Rescuing the Recruitment Industry How to deal with tight talent . . . Embrace . . . Engage . . . Or die! Re-prioritising the marketing budget . . . The Social Media Generation . . . The Millennials The new participation! Do you know who We are? Recruiters . . . A time to reflect . . . The battlefield has moved and never will it be the same again . . . Social Matters . . . . it makes your business card digital and viral!

Social Recruitment – The Long Play Posted on October 29, 2012

“Ah! You want to know what the ROI on Social Media is? Let me make this easy then. The ROI on Social Media in recruitment is that your business will still exist in 5 years time.” Greg Savage Is “not enough documented ROI” holding you back from taking your business to the social frontier? Don’t let it! Five years time . . . 2017 . . . What will it look like? Will social media’s power and influence wither over the next 5 years? Are we merely experimenting with this newfound uber-connectivity with a willingness to revert back to more traditional and centralised ways of working? If you believe that social media’s power will diminish or wane over the next few years, then you need to quickly turn that page, dismiss the chapter, burn the book and just to be absolutely safe, change authors pronto! Make no mistake. The social era is here to stay and its influence will only grow and become more embedded in business over the next 12 months, not to mention how entangled it will be in business over the next 5 years. Our uber – connectivity provides us with the means to connect and leverage multiple levels of the organisational structure. Resources, both technical and human, if leveraged correctly, provide the individual with a more connected and relevant voice in what is becoming a very loud and crowded marketplace. The ability to broadcast a message faster, louder, harder and more efficiently will provide a critical edge to any business. And what’s the ROI on the ability to do that? Who cares! It makes sense to move in that direction and here’s why: 

The ability to entangle the customer in product development, to provide the customer with ownership of the development stage, will see the customer enjoy its newfound partnership role with your business.

The customer will embrace this creative role through the power of their influence over product development and direction. And business will enjoy the relevance of their viewpoint. A viewpoint that will be shared and pushed over the various social platforms.

Customer input, customer feedback and increased customer participation rates greatly affect your ability to adapt to a changing landscape. Your customer becomes an essential part of your community and within this comes a shared purpose between their requirements and the requirements of the business. A symbiotic relationship that grows stronger with the continuing entanglement between business and customer.

Social media with its multiple platforms has integrated itself seamlessly into our lives. The ease of which it can be rolled onto mobile platforms only further enhances its entanglement. Our reach, our circle of influence and overall commitment to, and reliance on cyberspace has never been greater.

62% of adults worldwide are reaping the rewards that social media has to offer[1]. And all signs point to this number increasing. Wow! Is your business on it . . . entangled . . . shouting out . . . sharing?

If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that 2017 is going to be social. The choice will be in what colour? On what platform? On what device will you and your customer enjoy your social tonic . . . the beat of your social drum! So if your recruitment business is going to stay relevant, it had better be social too. So don’t let today’s ROI figures stand in the way of your social media strategy. The benefits of social recruitment do not merely start and end with an equation based on dollars and cents. Some of the more intangible benefits for the recruitment industry are as follows and are closely related to some of the benefits mentioned above: 

Wide Reach – With Facebook holding the attention of 43% of the world’s internet users for an average of 26 minutes per day,[2] it makes sense to leverage your recruitment business on the Facebook platform. It provides recruiters with a large audience of potential candidates that were previously an untapped source.

Quick Sharing – When a position opens, posting it on a social networking site can instantly help you spread the word to attract remote talent. With Likes, +1′s, Retweets, and Shares only a click away, spreading the word about an open position to a broad audience is quick, fast and efficient.

A new talent resource! - When competition for talent is fierce, finding the very best candidates can be challenging. Social networking gives you the ability to reach out to passive or hard to find candidates that would be difficult to reach using traditional recruitment methods (ie. newspaper advertising or job board postings).

Investing your time and effort in social recruitment is a long play. It’s about cultivating relationships over time through a powerful and pervasive social medium. So set out today to build a lush and blooming online community that provides fresh talent on a daily basis! Don’t discount social recruitment on the basis of there being no ‘easy to calculate’ ROI. So what will your business look like in five years? The answer should be, “in five years my business will be booming because I played it smart and embraced the social medium. In 2017, my business will be reaping the rewards of the long play!”

[1] [2]

Engage with a smile! Posted on October 25, 2012

I read the HBR Blog by Sarah Green entitled ‘Morning Advantage: What It Makes to Make an Airline Human’ with great interest and with a nodding head. It confirmed the importance of putting ‘social’ back into our working day to show that we are in fact human first and business people second. It also took me back to one of my earlier blogs in which I emphasised the need to say ‘thank you’. Saying thank you is as important as a smile. It shows your appreciation for the circumstances that surround your person. And those around you only benefit from your willingness to show a common courtesy that is so often overlooked in our fast paced society. I liked the point made by Nilofer Merchant in Green’s article: The lesson? This isn’t about “the brand” or even “customer service,” argues Merchant. It’s about bringing social to work; a kind of social that has less to do with media, and more to do with its original meaning of (oh yeah) being human.

So be human! Smile more and when the opportunity presents, say thank you without expectation for anything in return. The results will surprise you with everyday presenting you with a different outcome to the changing face of your engagement.

Social Blunders – Avoidance Is Key! Posted on October 24, 2012

Social media can be be described as a cock-tail party on the net. And as in any social situation there is a chance that the players will come down with sudden foot-inmouth-disease. Let’s take a look at some examples where the social strategy became anti-social in the blink of an eye: Kenneth Cole and #Cairo In February 2011 Kenneth Cole experienced some heavy backlash after tweeting: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at -KC” Prior to this tweet, the Kenneth Cole brand was known for its provocative topical advertising. Examples of this fact include a post-Katrina billboard saying: “Hurricanes aren’t ending. And bird flu is coming. BUT WEAR?” In the Cairo case, the clothes designer took it one step too far by tweeting about a serious political issue in an effort to gain some quick and easy promotion for its brand. The tweet was promptly taken down and Kenneth Cole issued an apology on its Facebook page. It is difficult to say if or how badly this blunder affected the brand. There is a hint that the uproar did affect the company’s outlook given the following comments made by Kenneth Cole’s Chairman and Interim CEO, when commenting on the release of the 2011, 1stquarter results: “We also intend to reclaim the leadership position of the brand, not just its social voice, but also its fashion and its product positioning.”[1]

Even now, more than a year later, a blog about the resulting cyberspace indignation can be found on the second page of a “Kenneth Cole” Google search. The ‘Take Away’ from the KC blunder: Like most social faux pas what we can take away from it are lessons of common sense. It is always risky to build brand awareness off the back of politically risqué and potentially offensive comments. Lesson #1 – As an organisation and a brand, if you’re going to go down an edgy road in your social media promotion, be prepared for a possible backlash and carefully assess whether the risk is worth it vis à vis the potential reward. Qantas and #QantasLuxury In November 2011 the Australian airline had poor timing when launching a social media competition that required their Tweeps to answer the following tweet: “’What is your dream luxury in-flight experience? (Be creative!) Answer must include #QantasLuxury”. Prior to the competition’s launch, a union dispute caused the grounding of the Qantas fleet, disrupting the travel plans of thousands. It was no surprise then that disgruntled passengers took to Twitter to tell all about their very worst experiences in response to the QantasLuxury# competition. This social media blunder traversed many mediums, including print media. And even now, a year later, you can see further reference to this issue under the #QantasLuxury hashtag. The below is a mere example: The weary traveller is home. Perfectly nice flights with my new friends @VirginAustralia. No reason to change back to#qantasluxury. What we can learn: #1 – Social Media strategies and deployments should have an appreciation for prevailing economic conditions. SM is a conversation medium, a medium in which your audience can take to their advantage should they have the desire to express their emotion and feelings about a certain subject that embroils your brand. #2 – Monitor your social channels! Two hours after the initial post, and two hours after the hashtag highjacking Qantas posted the following: “#qantasluxury is just one of many comps we’ve run lately. Thanks for the entries ”[2] Quick and relevant

responses have the best impact in times of a crisis. Whether two hours was quick enough is the subject of speculation. The ‘Take Aways” What we can take away from these two examples is that two way conversations from B2C and C2B cannot be rigidly controlled. The utmost tact and respect must be shown to your audience when your organisation decides to engage with them via social media. It’s okay to be provocative and edgy in your engagement style but you must always be prepared to respond to your audience’s reaction. Just like we don’t blindly read off pre-prepared cards at cocktail-parties when engaging with others, your organisation should not blindly send out time-delayed SM posts in the midst of a crisis nor should it launch promotions that have no regard to the circumstances that exist at the time of the launch. An awareness of the world around you and an understanding of your audience’s persona and mood are crucial in avoiding blunders such as the two discussed above. We are surrounded by risk on a daily basis. The key is not to exacerbate it with untimely or poorly thought out social media campaigns.

[1] [2]

Embrace, Engage and Wrestle With Your Inner Lion! Get on your way to becoming King of the Social Media Jungle! Posted on October 23, 2012

The phrase, to have the ‘heart of a lion’, means to be fiercely brave. The lion is renowned for its courage and will face any challenge with a fierce determination. This is the attitude you and your organisation need to have in order to grow and make use of the opportunities that modern technology is offering us. Today’s social era presents business and individuals with new challenges. It has never been easier to broadcast your message and to have your audience propagate that message to the masses. Notwithstanding the relative ease associated with pushing out your unique message, many businesses continue to adopt the old stylemarketing format in the hope that ‘old habits will continue to die hard’. I am surprised with this ‘business as usual’ approach given the opportunities presented to business within the paradigm of the social era. With 1.4 billion people[1] around the world engaging on social media platforms, a staggering slice of the world’s population, it’s hard to believe that some organisations are still second guessing their need to ‘get social’. I hear their cries: “We don’t have enough time!” “We don’t have the resources!” “We just don’t know how to engage in social” “No one can tell us the ROI!!”. There are always so many reasons not to do something that is new, scary, bold and a little different. But fortune favours the bold and the brave! And opportunities multiply as and when they are seized. It’s time, right now, to embrace your inner lion and meet the new challenge of the social era head on. So let’s get down to grass roots. Right down to the essence of the long grass reeds of the Savannah. What are five things you can do today, to start getting your business engaged? 1. More of what you’re doing right now. Read. Get informed. Get in contact with knowledgeable professionals in the social media space. Ask questions.

Learn. Look. Listen and absorb all that happens in your space. Even the mighty lion doesn’t plough into a confrontation blindly and without the necessary preparation. 2. Start to define your social objectives. You must know where you’re coming from and understand where you are headed. In other words, you need to understand, respect and appreciate the essence of your brand so you can enter the social media conversation with your audience with great confidence. 3. The next major step is to target your audience. By defining your target audience you will have a better idea as to what social channels are to be used to connect with them. Understanding the persona of the audience is a key aspect to audience identification, engagement and entanglement. Failing to understand the persona of the audience will result in your corporate message falling on deaf ears. 4. Start gathering shareable content. If you want to hit the ground running and rise up to social glory, then you need to be thinking two steps ahead of your next post. Don’t burst on to the social scene and run out of content in the early days. 5. Understand and respect that your social play is a long-term play. Results will not be immediate. But with continued effort and with a strong resolve you will ride the social wave with promising results. Remember, everything starts with a conversation. Social media is ‘your conversation on multiple platforms streaming across the web and it is being consumed by your audience on platforms where they choose to consume your content’. The aim is to make sure you are on the right platform pushing shareable content with your audience. So get busy tweeting, pinning, posting and commenting. Your brand will love you for it! Your social conversation MUST start today.


Women and Pinterest! A market that you can’t ignore! Posted on October 19, 2012

“Pinterest is becoming the next big name in the social media space.”[1] Your Pinterest account and your social media strategy should go hand in hand. You simply can’t ignore Pinterest when formulating your social media marketing strategy. So start picturing your business on Pinterest! With its sumptuous visual content and easy to navigate site, Pinterest is growing faster than any other social media website. From May 2011 to September 2012, Pinterest, the internet’s biggest pin-board, has grown from 418,000 unique monthly visitors to a hulking 23 million unique monthly visitors in September 2012.[2] This is a blossoming community that is waiting for your engagement! And the most staggering of statistics – a massive 80% of the site’s 10.4 million unique users (as of early 2012) are women.[3] Women are enjoying more buying power than ever before. In Australia and the US women are the decision-makers for 90% of purchases made, and that includes items as diverse as motor vehicles, household goods and financial services. Women are a significant consumer base whose disposable income and buying power is growing. And as women pin their interests on Pinterest, their pins are turning into sales with Pinterest accounting for 40% of social media driven purchases. This is a huge slice of the social media sales pie that you don’t want to miss out on! Pinterest has confirmed that your social media strategy cannot ignore women. Make the Pinterest statistics work for you by: Securing a Pinterest Presence – Create a channel and build boards featuring your products. Being informative – Include the price. Pins with prices are 36% more likely to pick up likes than pins showing no price.[4] Being creative! – Avoid looking spammy by integrating the price of your products creatively into the stunning images you pin on your boards.

Telling a story – Use the images that you post on Pinterest and your other social channels to tell a story about the lifestyle of your brand. Don’t just post product photos; post images of people wearing, eating, drinking or otherwise consuming your products. Give your brand a soul by wrapping it in creative imagery and in doing so conjure a specific and unique feel whenever your audience thinks of your organisation. Crowdsourcing – You don’t have to go it alone! Entangle your consumers by getting them to produce images for you. Give credit where credit is due and entangle your customers further. “Pinterest is the next big game in the social media space”, and the statistics are speaking for themselves. Stay ahead of the game. Pin your brand! [1] [2] [3] [4]

Harnessing the Social Era! Posted on October 1, 2012

B2B has now worked out the power of social and the B2B conversation is now shifting to social platforms. In an age where traditional marketing is having less impact, business has grown to accept the need to include a social element as an essential part of the overall B2B marketing strategy. This approach makes sense when you question:   

When was the last time you opened spam email? How grateful are you for receiving direct marketing material in the mail? Can you resist the urge to change stations on the radio when confronted with 3 minutes of rolling advertisements? Do you watch television and mute the ads?

Traditional marketing is now so easy to avoid. People shy away from its direct nature, which reduces its effectiveness. And compare this mindset to your social interactivity. Likes, Shoutouts, Retweets, Favourites and Shares are part of the new day-to-day actions that see you propagating material from one social community to the next. B2B social just makes more sense! It is beyond doubt that the conversation now has a fierce social orientation. B2B is beginning to master the art of the social chitchat that sees business growing stronger communities and greater brand awareness in their market space and beyond. So leverage the conversation. Propagate your message to wider communities. Entangle your brand and unique offering by adding social to your marketing activities. And take the opportunity with social to move from a business to customer centric approach to one that now allows engagement and influence with your peers. But beware! These things never work when you jump straight in. So many people tell me ‘we tried it and the results were poor’ or ‘we have no ‘likes’ so why would we bother?’ With everything you do, you need a plan. So what do we need to start with?

Here are some pointers: 

Set down clear objectives. You will never hit the social target if you have no way of knowing what it looks like. Know your audience. The audience will influence the conversation and will impact on what you push out under item number 3. Content, Content, Content. You need quality content. Content that will engage your audience and provoke a conversation about your brand.

Content that will lead to further propagation of your unique message. If you lack content, your social campaign will fizzle before it starts. 

People resources are needed. Assemble a team of radicals and appoint a champion to co-ordinate the sustained effort. Listen to your audience and be ready to respond to any feedback received from their social listening. And above all . . . be seen to be having fun with it. Conversation is fun! So be less serious, inject some humour and your content will find a wider audience with great acceptance.

Take every advantage this digital age offers. Engage with your audience and monitor their response with great gusto!

Liquid Connectivity – crack yours today! Posted on September 28, 2012

How do you maintain your relevance in this age of Digital Darwinism? A digital age that sees the evolution of society and technology evolving faster than our collective ability to adapt. Today our online environment consumes us. As at December 2011, 32.7 per cent of the world’s population was online. This number is only growing. Participation in the online world has seen a growth rate of 528 per cent between the years 2000 through to the end of 2011. Our connectivity is shaping and re-shaping our decisions, our behaviours, our commerce and our conversations. The ‘Social Era’ which trades off the back of our Digital Darwinism sees online users spending 22 per cent of their total browsing time on social platforms. People now have the ability to engage with their brands in a way that has not previously been experienced. Some companies have taken this engagement to new levels and have used it to leverage their commercial relationship with their fan base. Coca-Cola, the king of beverages, is ahead of the engagement curve with 50 million likes on their Coca-Cola Facebook page and have more than 600,000 followers on Twitter. Coke makes a point of responding to their tweeps within an hour of receiving a message from them. Outstanding! Liquid connectivity! It is not hard to see why they boast 50 consecutive years of returning strong dividends to their shareholders. They are an example worth following! They are looking for further customer entanglement with their social play over the short term. They have a strong desire to connect with their consumer base and to sell the story of the brand for perpetual propagation. The old excuses that suggest “this social play is risky” or “we don’t see the need to play in this new arena” no longer hold. Your consumers, your customers, your

clients, your supplies are consuming social content day in and day out. Your brand, your story and your unique offering needs to be there also.

So Y oh Y won’t they stay put? Posted on September 26, 2012

Y oh Y won’t you stay? Gen Y, the Echo Boomers, the late teens and under 30s in the Australian workforce hold an annual turnover rate of 40 per cent.[1] Those aged between 20-24 are three times more likely to change jobs in a year than those aged 45 – 54.[2] Alarmingly, two thirds of workers in their 20s leave their current job after less than two years of employment.[3]

Are they too busy ‘twitching’ to their uber connectivity to all things social? Is it because they believe they are the ‘entitled generation’? Or are they to be accurately tagged as the generation of ‘Why Bother’? Cal Newport in his article ‘Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem’[4] contends that Gen Y is the generation of the misinformed.

Newport contends that having been raised on the mantra of ‘follow your passion’, Gen Y are now coming into the workforce expecting their jobs to be instantly fulfilling and gratifying. After all, they’ve followed their passion into candidate placement. However, when they become disappointed with their job, Gen Y-ers leave in search of the passion they were promised. While instant and complete job satisfaction is not the most realistic of goals there are ways that employers can improve Gen Ys first impressions of the workplace and in doing so improve the Gen Y retention rate. The traditional workplace operation is frequently at odds with the working-desires of Gen Y. Growing up constantly overstimulated, and used to multitasking they need changing and challenging work to keep them engaged and motivated. Doing the same thing every day is not an option for this generation. Being committed to self-growth and personal development, Echo Boomers need a sense of how they are contributing to the success of the organisation they are in and

they need to know how their work is meaningful. Plain directives will not suffice for Gen Ys, they want to know why they are doing what they’re doing. Gen Ys find the typical 9 to 5 daily grind stifling and unnecessary. Often called Digital Natives, their comfort with technology allows them to see how the great interconnectivity of the modern day, in most cases, allow them to work wherever and whenever they feel most productive. Ideally, Gen Ys would like at least some flexibility in the hours and locations they work in. In the end, changes need to be made to the workplace in order to reduce the high turnover rate in the workforce’s newest members. And businesses need to realise that engagement is a multi-generational tool that needs to be customised by demographic, region, gender, and generations alike. Embrace the Gen Y debate, listen to their requirements and change things where and when you can!

[1] [2] [3] [4] HBR Blog Network, 18 September 2012

Are you gratified? Social Media – By Greta Marks Posted on September 25, 2012

At 7am my alarm went off. I groaned, rolled over and turned it off. I checked the weather forecast, two unread text messages and then Facebook. One person had liked my status regarding the recent and upsetting removal of the colourful elephants in Melbourne. Another had posted a series of photos of cats doing funny things on my wall. A third had commented on a status I had commented on about asylum seekers. Photos of people’s dinner. YouTube clips. Tired people, hungry people, backpackers, people who can’t sleep, vegans, outraged people, activists, stressed people. I then enviously skim-read a friend’s blog from the Haag. All before coffee. And for what? Not once in this (somewhat shameful) ritual did I learn anything, did I pay any attention to an advertisement, nor did I participate in any kind of productive anything. Social media’s failing potential embarrasses me, and I blame my generation. We can’t help it. It grew up with us. It’s family. It “likes” things we say, it comments little love hearts on our photos, it answers us when we say things, makes people read what we have to say and it creates a whole new domain to exist in with exciting and seemingly unlimited potential. And that sounds great and idyllic, but this constant need for self-gratification, for the cyber world to be aware of what every man and (often literally) his dog are up to is damaging to those who see the potential of the social media phenomenon. And why do I say failing? We’re talking about the ability to reach people at their fingertips- in their homes, on the tram, on the street, in class, at work, in bed, in cafes, anywhere, anytime. But we, the general public, have to look for it. We have to siphon through the quagmire of self-indulgent photos and blogs and tweets, the comments sections on YouTube, the political opinions (both informed and uninformed), the reviews, the cats, the racism, the activism, the news and the food (oh, the food!) If we’re the target audience, we’re not listening unless you’re blogging, statusing, posting, tweeting or just bloviating about cute, edible, controversial, loud or shiny things. If we’re not the target audience, then who is? Mature adults who aren’t so easily distracted by things that sparkle? Unfortunately they’re not the ones dominating

social media usage. My generation, from university down to the start of high school is the one who needs to be impressed, and I’m telling you, we’re a hard bunch to please. We’re the future, as they keep telling us: and the future is looking bleaker by the minute. Bleak for those of you who are expecting us to listen… It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for us. We’re so over stimulated that hardly anything catches our eye for more than a minute. The moral of this story? Be special. Be better. Stand out. Show us something we haven’t seen before, in a way we’ve never seen it. Get our attention and for the love of God don’t let it go.

Get the strategy right! Posted on September 21, 2012

We have all heard the importance associated with a business plan. Even if a one page document, it provides you with incredible direction, control and a sense of certainty. Businesses that get their strategy right will invariably perform better than those who don’t. It just makes sense. So there is a need to assess your business circumstances and there is a constant need to re-adjust when your economic environment changes for the best or for the worst. With the constant shifting of the sands in today’s economic environment, there should be a focus on having a flexible strategy that can embrace change. This requires the strategy to be less reliant on rigid targets and more adaptable to changing conditions as and when they happen. A constant watch to the horizon should be a daily vigil to ensure the business moves forward with ‘eyes wide open’ to allow it to predict the need for slight or major changes to its strategic operating system. This will allow the business to have an awareness of new opportunities, new markets, customers, suppliers, partnerships and commercial opportunities as and when they arise. A strategy that encourages the business and its people to maintain an open mind, provides for flexibility and encourages active and open discussion with third parties will foster opportunities that will lead to further growth and success. Facebook would be your classic example of a successful strategy based on openness. They opened up their platform to third party developers. This move attracted many game companies to embed their technology on to the Facebook platform. Users of the platform kept returning to the site to enjoy their game play which increased the popularity of the platform. The take away is to always remain open and nimble which should provide benefit in circumstances where your business environment changes. But you need to be brave to make those tweaks to the strategy when change does occur. It is not a time to be stubborn or to hold the party line. That would be a recipe for disaster. Some

retailers are paying the price now for not adapting their strategy to account for the rise and rise of the online world. So keep looking to the corporate horizon. Keep your finger on the corporate pulse, monitor the vital signs of your business and react quickly and with conviction when necessary. You will enjoy a firm advantage over those that are slow to react to changing conditions.

Add Value To Your Community By Keeping Your Content Relevant! Posted on September 19, 2012

Communication disconnects occur when a community gets too large. The question becomes: ‘How to grow and manage your community exponentially whilst maintaining the relevance of membership’ So many people think adding more connections is the multiple needed to achieve success in social media. Adding contacts and various connection points are an important part in any social media play. However, it is not the entire ball game. There is a constant need to push content relevant to those in your social community. Something that was completely relevant yesterday may seem fanciful today. Hence, there is a constant need to re-think the following points when connecting with your social communities to ensure relevance is maintained:   

The type of material and content being pushed The social channels used to push out your unique message(s) The frequency and timing behind the push

Some may argue that they have plenty of information to share on their social platforms. In many instances, and depending on the size of the organisation, content is often not the struggle when communicating with your audience. The struggle is often how the content is packaged. The last thing you want is for people to delete your content due to the way it is has been prepared, written or displayed. Thought and consideration must be given to how you want your audience to consume your message. Don’t make your message look like ‘home work’ for the reader.

The correct packaging of your message will assist in your endeavour to maintain relevance in a world that sees your audience being bombarded with content on a minute-by-minute basis. The importance of maintaining your relevance within your social community is heightened in light of the comments made by Jeff Stibel in his article ‘Is Facebook Too Big To Survive’ published in the HBR Blog Network September 2012. Stibel compares our brains to the networks created in Facebook. He contends that all networks have development patterns similar to the human brain. . . . . the human brain grows rapidly in infancy, reaches a maximum weight of 1400 grams by the time we are teenagers, and then starts to actually shrink by the time we are twenty. The rapid growth of our early years helps create network connections, just like you do on Facebook. But unlike Facebook, instead of continuing to grow late in life, the brain forges higher quality connections and patterns, losing the vast majority of its early relationships. It replaces sheer quantity of neural connections with quality, making us smarter without the need for additional volume. When the brain stops growing and reaches a point of equilibrium, it gains intelligence. Stibel contends that quantity in social networks should be the goal up to a state of critical mass. Then there must be a strong focus on quality. Importantly, it is not only the quality of the network that is critical. It is also a fundamental requirement to push high quality, relevant and contemporary messages to your network. Quality communication is important given the number of connections that an individual engages with on a day-to-day basis. Stibel highlights that the brain has the capacity to manage a connected network of up to 150 people. Anything larger than that number and the relationships start to become less meaningful and people start to disengage as the networks start to become less and less relevant. The network of a medium to large business enterprise will easily exceed 150 connections. It therefore becomes increasingly important to manage the type of content that is being pushed to your business community to ensure continuous

engagement over time. The last thing you want is for your social community to disengage. It makes a lot of sense to appoint a social media moderator to ensure that content is fresh, up to date and relevant for the broader social community of the business. At the end of the day, it is all about maintaining relevance and generating good quality content.

Social Media – Road Map It! Posted on September 18, 2012

Finding your way to that unfamiliar destination can be hard work without a map, a GPS or some form of direction. So why would you enter social media without a strategic road map? It makes sense to have a strategy and a team of radicals ready to embrace and engage with this shiny new object that is social media. Everyone is talking about social media. “Check out my blog!” “Like my post!” “Follow me on Twitter!” “Shoutout!” So it can be easy to get swept away with the chaotic hysteria. The many avenues open to those that want to start their play in this area do not help alleviate the chaos. There are so many social media engines! It can be confusing to know where to start with your social foray into the unknown. But as we stated above, you need a map and a plan for the unfamiliar journey. And you certainly need your directional road map and strategy for social media success. There is nothing worse for your brand and reputation by having an idle Facebook account, a Twitter Egg that remains dormant or a Linkedin profile with only a few connections. So, the last thing you want is to establish social media channels for your business to push to without giving proper consideration to your: 

strategy: commercial considerations for rolling your brand into social media.

target audience: identify those you wish to target and where they ‘hang out’ in social media.

content generation: what is important to your audience and what message do you want to push to them?

preferred social media platforms: what are the best platforms for specifically targeting your audience.

ability to deliver value: you must be in a position to deliver value through your selected channels.

As they say, it takes years to establish a reputation but you can easily sack it with just a few clicks. Keeping this in mind, one must give due consideration to the fact that your social media channels are living and breathing examples of your reputation. Two forms of reputational loss to keep in mind: 

The first relates to doing nothing in social media at a time that sees fierce competition amongst your competitors to get the ultimate advantage. You may not suffer direct reputational loss by not getting involved, but one thing is for sure, you won’t enjoy any of the reputational uplift that can be experienced in all things social media.

The second relates to something being posted on your social media channel that is potentially damaging to your brand or business.

It is important to be mindful of the capacity for both when establishing your, decisions, objectives and overall strategy for social media. By setting clear goals, all necessary stakeholders can understand what needs to be done as part of the social media process and roll out. By having this clear and established understanding at the outset, it is possible to manage both forms of reputational loss with greater effect. Ultimately, try not to spread your resources too thin by rolling out on too many platforms at once. It sometimes pays dividends to be the master at one engine in the early days with the view of getting on top of other channels at a later time. Remember, the social media ROI is dependent on a well thought out strategy that clearly sets out your social media objectives.

So establish that clear road map that details your social media campaign and strategy. Armed with that map, everyone will arrive at the destination in one piece with some great stories to share on their social media adventure.

Make ‘em laugh! Posted on September 17, 2012

Want their attention? Then inject some humour in your next social media campaign. The use of humour can be an effective way to connect with your target audience. It helps humanise your brand. It can assist in grabbing a person’s attention and impacts on your ability to attract a broader audience for your product and services. Overall, your social media play will be more memorable for your use of humour and your content will have a higher share rate. Your end goal must be to deepen your audience’s entanglement with your business. Ultimately, if you appeal to your audience at an emotional level, then you will be more successful with engaging them with your brand, product and services. There are some important points to take into account when using humour in your next campaign: 

Be sure that your material is not offensive.

Take every effort to ensure that it is relevant to your target audience.

Be careful not to overuse it in every campaign. That special spice needs to be used in moderation to maximise its impact.

Give consideration to a business parody. Demonstrating your ability to laugh at yourself is powerful and refreshing for your audience. Poking fun at the business maybe a hard sell to management, however, it often has the greatest impact with your customer.

It is ‘high risk’. Have a plan in place that accounts for a successful result, alternatively, be prepared should it be a tremendous flop.

Remember, you don’t need the biggest budget. You don’t need high production standards. An edgy and raw clip can be extremely successful. The point is to have a

go and to put a smile on the face of your audience. Your audience does not concern itself with high production costs, professional actors or amazing effects. They only care that they laughed. So in your next campaign, think about how you can put a smile on their faces. Grab their attention with your corporate humour and make your sale’s pitch memorable, persuasive and successful.

Don’t abandon your content! Posted on September 12, 2012

In this era of uber connectivity, there are more and more opportunities to establish and maintain connections to new clients and consumers. The most forward-thinking and innovative companies are taking advantage of their uber connectedness in their social media campaign management. They see it as their ‘entanglement’ strategy with their audience. There is an important element to any entanglement strategy. Your willingness to respond in a timely manner to a question, statement or comment made by your audience. You must be prepared to listen to what is being said about your content and that must be followed up with a timely response. Not responding to a reader’s response is a missed opportunity. Your response allows you to humanise your social media strategy with your audience and assists with the establishment of a very real and genuine relationship. Responding to a post provides an opportunity for you to build on the B2C relationship and encourages the recipient of your response to take it further. Developing brilliant content as part of your social media campaign is half the battle. Today, what you push out pushes back and you have to be ready for it when it does come back. The take home message from this is, yes, push out great content, but don’t just abandon it! Watch it for commentary and then respond! Two-way communication is what engagement is all about. And more engagement means better B2C relationships and will lead to greater entanglement with your audience.

Strapped for Time? CROWDSOURCE IT! Posted on September 10, 2012

Want to get your message out there? Then crowdsource it! Traditional ways of pushing your message beyond geographic boundaries can be:    

arduous tedious expensive, and time consuming.

Crowdsourcing is the ability to harness the power of the masses to push your message further. A crowdsourced message is like pollen on the back of bees’ wings. Your message dispersed using the labour of the everyday person who actively push it by commenting, responding and sharing it amongst their community of followers. This sharing of information creates new connections and reinforces old ones. It provides the perfect opportunity to entangle your audience with your unique value proposition. The Starbucks’ crowdsourcing initiative is classic. With ‘My Starbucks Idea’ the Starbucks coffee empire enlisted the expertise of its online community to help improve service and product ranges. With this move, Starbucks with little effort created the perfect conditions for customer entanglement. It resulted in the sharing of many ideas, provided customers with an effective voice and ultimately gave Starbucks the opportunity to respond with decisive action to the demands of their customers. There are so many examples where crowdsourcing has worked. Obama as part of his 2008 presidential campaign enlisted the help of 12,000 volunteers to be his eyes and ears with great effect.

Ultimately, the aim must be to use every disposable measure to take advantage of your online community as a means of improving content generation, ideas, branding and marketing for your product and services. Understanding that the online community are now your ‘eyes and ears’ will provide you with the necessary incentive to establish better ways of engaging them. So push it further with crowdsourcing!

The New Social! Like Your Year 12 Formal, but different! Posted on September 6, 2012

A friend said that they “just don’t get social media”. So I put the following concept to him to help him out. It went like this: Remember going to the Friday night dance or to your Year 12 Formal? You went with your mates, had a great time mingling in good company whilst friends introduced you to their friends resulting in lasting relationships. At the Year 12 Formal your social capital or social IQ was high. You were connected. There was a huge level of social engagement based on shared experience and understanding. This understanding directly related to your ability to participate in conversations and to listen and respond to the views of others. And no doubt you can readily recall who the most popular players were at the dance. The ones who had the most ‘klout’ on the dance floor or the greatest influence at the bar. They were truly connected in so many ways. At this stage he was following. And he started to appreciate the significance of Klout as a measure of your social media influence. So I continued by saying: Compare the Year 12 Formal to those work events where you’re the only one attending. You know a few people who are meant to be attending but work commitments see them sending you in alone. Your social capital and social intelligence at such an event is low. You need to work on ways to connect with those around you and it does take some effort. If we were to overlay the work event that sees you ‘flying solo’ to your play in social media, we see some striking similarities in how you need to go about growing your influence. The playbook for both sets out the following plays to bring about the best interaction: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Look approachable Greet people upon arrival Be inclusive Engage with a smile Update newcomers on the conversation Invite others to join your group Maintain a positive attitude

8. Be relevant In their book, Baked In that focused on organisational intelligence, Alex Bogusky and John Winsor wrote: ‘The intelligence of the whole can differ wildly based on who is connected and to whom and how.’ This comment rings true in social media just as it does at any social gathering. At the end of our chat, I asked him how he faired at his Year 12 Formal. He tells me he went “extremely well”. “Great!” I said. “You will have no problems playing in the social media arena!”

Innovation is your life blood! Posted on September 5, 2012

‘The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.’ Ingvar Kamprad

The founder of IKEA, Ingar Kamprad had an absolute determination to keep his company well grounded, lean and nimble. This gave IKEA the ability to listen to the needs and requirements of its customers and for it to move quickly when change was required. Large organisations today get caught up in their procedures, systems and processes that can sometimes cause them to go through due process for the purpose of due process itself. Whilst there is a need for good governance and due process, it cannot jeopardise innovation. Too many organisations allow the ‘tail to wag the dog’. The political clashes between departmental heads stifle the development of new ideas. This is sometimes motivated by fear, turf protection or can be the result of people misunderstanding the innovative direction of the company. All companies started off the back of a good idea. An innovative idea that has been developed and nurtured over time. It takes a strong person to change their idea when change is required with the desire to do a better job tomorrow. It is this strength that we must inspire in our leaders and celebrate on a daily basis. Free the organisation from its political struggles to allow constant innovation. The innovative vision must be reinforced throughout every division of the organisation, from marketing, human resources through to the IT department. Ultimately, it is the innovative spirit of the organisation that you want to share and celebrate on a daily basis. And praise those who embrace!

How’s your balance? Posted on September 4, 2012

Whilst working for a major international law firm, my screen saver said: “Work . . . . . Life . . . . . Balance” The words were set upon a serene backdrop that I believed at the time to be an outside destination. I think it was outside. I didn’t see much of the outside world back then. It was dark on arrival to work and dark on departure. I’m not complaining about my days spent working on legal briefs under the glow of my screen saver. The work was brilliant, the learning was amazing and my mentors, whilst hard-nosed and tough, were some of the most brilliant lawyers I have ever worked with. All up, I appreciated my time working in such a challenging environment. So that’s what I did. I worked. I balanced my files that were stacked to the roof tiles. I think that was the point of the word “balance” in the screen saver. Life was about billing. And the ‘work’ bit of the screen saver was extraordinarily relevant and to the point in that respect! There was plenty of work! The curious question is: “How does a person continue to work in such an environment and maintain some semblance of a life?” This is an important question for all employers to ponder. And the answer is partly wrapped up in our continued quest for perfection. The perfect letter. The perfect response. The perfect drawing. The perfect contract. Perfection can be our biggest stumbling block when striving to achieve a balance in our lives. It is a fact examined by Rosabeth Moss Kanter in her Harvard Business Review article ‘The Imperfect Balance Between Work and Life’[1].

The quest for perfection can be more damaging than beneficial to the organisation’s pursuit of success. Kanter points out that: Companies that delay a product launch until every detail is perfected do not necessarily have better-received products; they can miss market timing and the chance to get user feedback to make rapid adjustments. Babies kept in sterile environments without exposure to a little dirt seem to get more illnesses as adults. There can be a real tension between striving for perfection and the final outcome produced by that effort. And whilst busting a blood vessel to achieve the elusive, the impact it has on your own work life balance and those of your employees is palpable. It is important to question the person who never looks to delegate work to others as the detriment to themselves and to those they work with is severe. Kanter points out that only subsistence farmers look to do everything themselves. It was the division of labour that built modern society. So delegate people, delegate! The take away is to always monitor the balance. Adjust where necessary and know that perfection is not always going to produce the ultimate outcome. And to conclude with Kanter: “Best is the enemy of good,” it’s often said. A cultural shift to get out of the perfection trap can also free up time to work on the bigger changes needed to bring work and life into better alignment.”

[1] HBR Blog Network, 28 August 2012

Can we engage you? Posted on September 3, 2012

Can we engage you? According to the American National Business Research Institute, lack of engagement can find many employees spending their work time socialising, surfing the web and even sleeping on the job! Monitor your worker engagement! Researcher and commentator, Marcus Buckingham explores the issue of the ‘engaged employee’. Buckingham places the employee into three categories: Engaged: Loyal, motivated and productive. Not Engaged: Going through the motions and merely putting in the working hours. Actively Disengaged: Unhappy and spreading negativity to others. Buckingham estimates that a staggering 20 percent of the American workforce fall into the “actively disengaged” category. People in this category have the potential to undermine business success. Compare the above results to the Australian workplace. A recent survey of 32,000 Australian workers found that three-quarters of Australian employees (72 per cent) were not fully engaged in their work. Interestingly, only 45 per cent believe what they are told by their employers. Buckingham contends that employers need to “find ways for people to do what they do best” and argues the importance of “building strong relationships across the workplace”. Tick a few boxes toward employee engagement: 

Log more face time with your employees – step away from your desk and engage fellow workers face to face. More personal interaction will build better relationships. Don’t email them to tell them something. Walk into their office and engage with them one on one.

Introduce work from home and ‘third place’ options – your workers will enjoy the flexibility to be able to work from outside the office and feel more engaged by the new sense of control they feel over their work-life balance.

Try split work roles – some workers want more out of their job. Provide them with new opportunities that will broaden their skill base.

Keep the work place interesting. Share your business goals and aspirations with your employees. Include them in your ‘success strategy’.

Give your employees something to aim at. The annual performance review is not enough. Run competitions to lift their interest.

Continue to monitor their engagement . . . they are your life blood!

Are you ready for it? Catch the wave of the BOOM! Posted on August 31, 2012

Are you ready for it? Catch the wave of the BOOM! Like a sonic boom, changes taking place in today’s workplace are moving faster than sound and we are seeing shock waves in every organisation no matter how big or small. Inevitably, there is one thing to do. Sit down, buckle up and hang on for a wild ride or forever be left behind with the echoing sound of the ‘BOOM’ ringing through your ears. And it comes as no surprise that this boom is posing new challenges for today’s workplace. Today’s dynamic technological, economic and social conditions are transforming organisational culture. They have redefined it and taken it to new levels that have not been possible until now. New mobile devices have freed workers from their desks in droves and now see them working in what we will call the ‘third place’ of the organisation. Third places are offsite in remote, village or community like destinations. They can generally be found where we sip coffee, do a casual lunch or where we meet with friends and colleagues for a fireside chat. In a 2011 survey[i] of almost 20,000 global workers, it was discovered that a staggering 72% of people surveyed use third places to get their work done. With 38% using third places up to 5 days a week. Why? For reasons pertaining to work life balance. They use third places because they were closer to home, they felt more focused and stimulated, and with the certainty of greater flexibility, they work from these places to mitigate against rising stress levels. In short, the use of third places is making life easier, and making workers happier. And our new hyper-connectivity is only going to see the rise and rise of more teams working from more exotic and remote locations. Embrace the third place. Engage with it! Employers! Ready your workplace to take advantage of its offering by optimising systems for remote connectivity. Your employees will celebrate this cultural change to their work environment and they will share your forward thinking brilliance across the broad spectrum of social media.

And what can be better than giving the workers what they want? Listen to the thrum of the technological boom! Listen to the thrill in the voices of the people that ride its wave. Get on board! As business owners you can’t afford not to be technologically ready for the remote, third place working revolution!

[1] Global Business Survey, February 2011, Marketing UK, Regus

Make The Best Impression! The Importance of Being Mobile. Posted on August 27, 2012

Every time a consumer sees your company’s logo, or hears your company’s name they are making contact with you, and they are forming an impression of you. And you want that impression to be as positive as possible; you want that impression to be fantastic! This is why it’s so important to be mobile. 1.08 billion people in the world are smartphone users. 84% of these people use their phone for browsing the internet. That’s roughly 840 million people that could potentially look up your website and make contact with your company via their smartphone. Don’t let that point of contact be a let down. Mobile optimise your site! Make it the right size for the smartphone screen, let its layout flow intuitively and delight those visiting your site with useful, informative, and interesting content. Step up and be a leader in the age of mobile technology. Mobile optimise and make the best first impression!

Culture Fit – Send the ‘Right Message’ To Your Prospective Employees Posted on August 24, 2012

I said earlier this year that: Social media tools are a great way to demonstrate your business’ culture and provide a unique way to highlight the experiences that your organisation is able to offer prospective candidates. Well, today I am excited to share with you a brilliant example of a company using social media for just that purpose. The HR team at the Singapore branch of PwC showed their impressive recruiting chops when they uploaded to YouTube the clip “Join us Surely”, a fresh new parody of the hugely popular, viral, song ‘Call me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepsen. This use of YouTube is a very clever move on the part of the PwC recruitment team as in a mere one minute, eleven seconds of footage they have managed to successfully impart to their viewers and prospective employees a crystalline image of their inclusive, trendy, playful, and most importantly, innovative corporate culture. And how could it be anything but trendy with words like: “Hey, we’ve just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s our offer, so join us surely!” And I’ll be darned if a part of me doesn’t want to jump up and join the exuberant ranks of PwC! With social media providing candidates and employees with a way of instantaneously broadcasting their recruitment experience, it makes sense to give them something that will differentiate your brand from the rest of the pack. Give them something memorable to ‘Like’, ‘Share’ and ‘Tweet’. Make the recruitment process a celebration of your ingenuity and creativity and try to add more ‘zing’ and less ‘corporate speak’. And if you are not sure what I am talking about, then does this read like a pitch for talent attraction:

“We want to provide our clients with commercial advice in a timely manner in an environment that sees clients hard on costs. We want to give value where value can be added and want to be seen as leaders in our core areas� There is nothing wrong with the above statement. However, does it inspire further inquiry from a prospect looking for a role with the organisation? Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but in my opinion it sounds similar to every other firm, organisation or corporate offering. There is a real opportunity in today’s market to be different! So make a promise to get rid of the boring stuff and bring forth more of the PwC Singapore celebration. Sending a message that celebrates your internal culture will assist with the attraction of the right people to your door step. Bring on the celebration of internal workplace culture!

Social Media – Like a farmers’ market on the net Posted on August 23, 2012

Do you remember going down to the farmers market as a kid? Maybe with your parents for some fresh produce? Or maybe you go every week, because you just can’t beat the service you get at your favourite stalls. Or is it the sense of community, the sense of belonging that keeps you going back? And at the market you just can’t beat the nice moment you have when your trusted vendor greets you by name with a smile, a wink, and a nod whilst asking “The usual this week?” Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. On the platform of social media, organisations are the vendors and their wares are not fruits and vegetables but gleaming, enticing, uploads of relevant and fresh content. The vendors spruiking their social campaign to those browsing through their ‘Social Stalls’ aim to engage with individuals in their endeavour to interconnect with communities who can spread their campaign message exponentially! Those who choose to engage in this social market leave with bags of value, value equivalent to 10 bags of delicious fruit and veg! These bags are full of knowledge made up of social conversations and interactions that can be easily shared with other interested parties. It is all so similar to a beautiful cheese board shared with good wine and good company. Simply put, the social vendor shares its fine content with those who want to bag it! Their platform, whilst not a cheese board can be picked over, sampled and discussed in a manner that reflects the sharing of crackers and cheese. Beautiful! Let’s try some more of that ‘blue vein commentary’ over a #SHOUTOUT a ‘Like’ or a ‘Share’. Ultimately, those who participate leave the market with the feeling of having shared in a common cause, a common experience that is authentic, respectful, transparent and valuable. And in their departure they carry with them both the vendor’s message

with a preparedness to sing his praises if he treated them well and engaged with them in a friendly manner. In essence, and put simply social media restores a sense of community in circumstances where the internet was ostracising and distancing people from people. So many think social media is too hard, too difficult or not enough ROI to justify a meaningful push into the social spectrum. Never have those naysayers been so wrong. Social media is not difficult – it is just like a farmers market. People come and go. Browse over your wares and take with them all or part of your offering. In their departure, they act as the conduit for your message to reach unimaginable shores. Allow your community to leave with fresh, current and great content. Don’t let your unique message be a mystery – spruik it like butcher selling discounted steaks at a farmer’s market! Share it like marmalade spread over fresh bread. Dispense it like olives on toothpicks. Enjoy it, embrace it and have fun with it. Don’t let your message grow stale. So take the journey on the road to the Social Media Market. Road names such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress and Pinterest will get you there. Get busy establishing your stall and start pushing out beautiful, fresh and relevant content. And remember to greet all who pass your farmer’s gate with a friendly smile, a nod and a wink. We hope to see you at the market!

Social Listening Posted on August 23, 2012

Knowledge is power and ‘Social Listening’ = KNOWLEDGE Social media: A force to be reckoned with! At last count, this month (August 2012), Facebook boasts 955 million users, YouTube supports 4 billion views per day, Google+ has 250 million registered users and 140 million people engage on Twitter. The online world is a buzz with cyber chatter 24/7. And they’re talking about anything and everything, they’re talking about you, your company, your brand, your everything. If someone’s thought of it, it’s probably online and Google will find it! With such information over load, we need to become more sophisticated in our ability to process thousands of posts and tweets to find out what our audience think of our brand, products and services. It is just so important to know what they are thinking on a daily basis. And we must engage and be responsive in the conversation. We need to constantly improve our listening. Our Social Listening skills need to be finely tuned to allow ourselves and our business to remain part of the social conversation. 50 per cent of the conversation is about listening. Listening to the responses that our audience push back to our social media platforms must now be part of our daily routine. McDonald’s presents a great example of social listening. In July of this year McDonald’s clearly demonstrated its social listening skills when they responded quickly to a ‘hashtag hijacking’ of their Twitter #McDstories. By monitoring the response of their audience, McDonald’s turned a negative situation into a win. And their audience celebrated the success of how the ‘hijacking’ was resolved with their positive responses.

Social listening is to be referenced against the backdrop of your social media objectives so that you can establish social enlightenment from all the data you are processing on a daily basis. Better business decisions will result from your persistent willingness and commitment to listen. This listening will translate to, and contribute to your social learning and will place you in the box seat when responding to the response of your audience. Ultimately social listening will assist with the execution of your key social objectives. Marketing is not just a one way conversation anymore, what you push out WILL result in a ‘push back’ and you need to be there to monitor, to engage and to converse with your audience. Join in and monitor the conversation daily and turn every conversation into a WIN! So listen hard, listen often and enjoy the power that follows!

CEOs, Respect Your Influence! Posted on August 21, 2012

The novice, the intermediate, and those with the desire to know more are all seeking information from the informed, the knowledgeable, the experienced and the successful. And why not! It just makes sense to leverage your position by learning from others who have proven their success. People in this digital age have an unquenchable thirst for information. And guess what, they are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Word Press and every other relevant social media engine sifting through the sound bytes in their search for relevant, current and contemporary information that will give them an edge in their pursuit for personal success. So it makes sense to put your best people into the mix to allow their story, their success, their journey, recommendations, dos and don’ts to be shared where the people are reading them. There is an opportunity for senior management, CEOs included, to get amongst it at a time where the take up of social media amongst senior executives is not high. Relevant examples have shown how statements from a CEO can provide great value to the organisation they represent. Let’s look at Domino’s as a great example. Back in 2009 when Domino’s was weathering a social media storm caused by a damaging employee YouTube video, they took the proactive step to upload an official statement made by their President. This statement could have been made by any number of senior people in their organisation. But they chose their President. This move humanised Domino’s, showed their customers respect, and instilled them with confidence that their rogue employee’s behaviour would not stand and that Domino’s was eager and prepared to rectify the situation with the involvement of their senior management team. Three years later and Domino’s is going strong.

Just think about it, if the visible involvement of a company’s president is powerful enough to save a company in crisis, imagine what it will do for your B2C relationships if your CEO is regularly communicating with consumers through Twitter or other social media platforms? Powerful stuff! Content creation from reputable sources is critical. Shifting this content creation to your CEO is an important step in shifting your organisation into the halls of social media. Your staff, clients, suppliers, prospects and members of the public will appreciate their message and their play in this arena. At the same time they will see the organisation as being progressive in its willingness to share its message to a broader audience. The take home message – CEOs, don’t underestimate the value of your experience and position in the realm of all things social. People listening on these platforms want to hear your voice, your views, your message and by doing so have a greater capacity to measure the pulse of the organisation via the beat of the “CEO’s drum”. And know this, it produces an awesome BEAT! More than ever, people are in search of respect, knowledge and belief. With information over load organisations will gain so much “street cred” if they involve their CEO and senior management team in the digital arena. Make it your new play today! I can hear the drums are a beating! Time to get busy! We look forward to reading their message on all things social!

Be With The People! Get on Their Smart Phone! Posted on August 17, 2012

Going home the other night I overheard a group of women talking. They were laughing about how on the train whenever the standard iPhone ringtone sang out it would set off more than 20 people looking through their pockets reaching for their phone. I chuckled to myself as I walked along. So true. But why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because it’s symptomatic of our changing reality. Our reality changed in January 2007 with Jobs’ announcement of the iPhone. This device makes us twitch like nothing else. We are constantly connected, constantly on and have a real addiction to its surreal glow! So to me it just makes sense to be streaming your business information to the four corners of its screen. Generate great content that will entangle your audience that will see them coming back for more. Feed this addiction with your business content! Think about it! Your app consumed by their addiction to connectivity – the “connective twitch”. Makes sense to join the business conversation by making your business message completely mobile. Everyone appears to have a Smart Phone, be it an iPhone or some other smart gadget! So get busy establishing your interactive online presence. Your message can be part of that surreal glow!

Burying the business? Is it a work in practise? Posted on August 13, 2012

Don’t bury the business! Listen to your staff . . . Business owners – take the chance to catch up with your senior members of staff and have an open and honest chat with them to hear their views on your organisation and how it is ran. I guarantee that you will learn heaps! When was the last time you engaged on this level with key stakeholders in your organisation? Don’t include formal catch ups or board meetings in your analysis. I always say that no one deliberately turns up to work to sabotage it. “Trust until deceived” should be your new motto. So, with that in mind, chat to your staff about what they would do to improve productivity, overall efficiencies, workplace culture and rain making activities. And don’t just place their suggestions in a suggestion box that never see the light of day! Act on them. Take their views seriously with an open and honest response to their suggestions. This all helps to create an open and dynamic culture that allows a person to become part of the solution. Powerful stuff in any business. I meet with so many people employed as BDMs, National Marketing Managers or Divisional Managers who all sit frustrated by the fact that their suggestions are not acted on. Frustrated by the lack of innovation. Frustrated, Frustrated and FRUSTRATED! So don’t pay them lip service. You employed them for a reason so make their contribution worthwhile. Their thinking whilst challenging, whilst threatening or “hard hitting” in your mind might provide you with that edge you need right now. The alternative is to keep doing things the same way without change or deviation. Taking this course will slowly cripple your business over time due to a desperate lack of innovation and inspiration amongst key members of staff. Slowly, over time you will see staff leave, ideas drying up and the life being sucked from your business. Clients will soon catch on to this slow death and will leave your shores. Don’t let this happen! Reading your obituary is not a preferred outcome. So involve your staff by listening to their ideas and start looking at the business through their eyes. In fact, they are your eyes and your ears and should provide you

with a good pulse on the overall performance of your business. They probably live and breath the business more than you. So catch up with staff at the water cooler, over a sandwich or a coffee and surprise them by acting on their suggestions. Start with one suggestion per week and you will be amazed where things head! Staff will embrace their work at a new level and will be more engaged and interested by their ideas becoming part of the business fabric.

Social Media As A Round Of Drinks And So Much More! Posted on August 13, 2012

Let’s look at social media in the context of a “round of drinks”. Social media is your business card that has been digitized, transformed and zipped in preparation for its journey across the world wide web. A business card hurtling across the rails of the web faster than the blink of an eye! Social media allows you and your brand to touch more people at once than you can possibly imagine. It is the ultimate cocktail party. The very crowded and popular man cave on a Friday night taking place from the comfort of your armchair. Here is a quick and real example of its reach and power. A recent follow on Twitter saw me follow the person back. I started reading his tweets. They were excellent. Each and every one of them. So I told him that. He re-tweeted my tweet of praise to 45,000 of his followers. So now my name has flown across 45,000 twitter accounts. I have reached an audience the equivalent of an Etihad Stadium crowd without much effort at all. Whilst social media extends the reach of a person or organisation, it also extends one’s ability to speak in circles that are not seen as the traditional stomping ground. In essence, social media allows you to speak where your audience is talking about you, your brand and your business. Social media discussions are taking place in lieu of or in addition drinks on a Friday night, in addition to the chat over a “coldie” at the football or a pie in the man cave. Those personal chats are still important but their impact will be dwarfed by social media’s influence and reach. A simple reason for the need to participate; Participation in these social media chat forums is important for both individuals and organisations. By participating, you and your organisation can contribute relevant information at appropriate intervals. It also provides you with the opportunity to monitor what is being said about you and your brand.

I saw a great quote the other day that really resonated with me in my consideration of the need to participate in social media: “A good friend will stab you in the chest, a bad friend will stab you in the back”. Those that have a problem with you will no doubt tell you to your face if you have a good working relationship with that person, client, prospect, supplier. Hence, you can control the veracity of the attack, the resulting damage that flows and you may have a chance of being able to mitigate the outcome. Whereas, a mere acquaintance or a stranger maybe more inclined to stab you in the back. How and when they stab you in the back and whether you know it has occurred is the real difficulty. Traditionally, you may hear from a friend that the stabbing has occurred. Today it is likelier that you will read about it on Facebook or other social media mediums like Twitter. Will you know when the stabbing has gone viral if you are not participating or following these social media platforms? By the time it is brought to your attention the damage will be done. Participating in social media allows you to listen, comment, monitor and assess how the audience is receiving your brand, your views and overall message. It also allows you to take immediate steps to correct any slur or sledge made against you, your brand or business. So how can a contemporary organization take steps to protect the brand? Well, at the heart of social media integration for any organization is brand protection. In the past, brand protection in social media has resulted in the adoption of policies that say “Social Media – Don’t Use it – BRAND PROTECTION” Now, social media and brand protection go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other, such is the relationship that they now share with each other.

Social media enhances the brand, pushes the brand, builds brand awareness and allows an organization to depart from traditional communication methods such as email and hard copy marketing material. With email slowly dying and with its effectiveness in decline, organisations need to tap other avenues of communicating with their clients and prospects. More than ever, marketing departments need to be empowered with contemporary communication tools. Consider the following article in the url below which confirms how young people engage and it is not through the use of email: Allow your marketing department to embrace the power of social media. It is the fastest and easiest way to push your business content and overall marketing message. The new participatory journalism; There is a new form of participatory journalism evolving through the corridors of social media. This new sense of participation touches individuals and businesses in the same way. Both have the ability to participate in an effort to influence the other. There have never been so many platforms on which people can contribute their beliefs, opinions, ideas and overall influence. This new sense of connectivity will only grow and become stronger due to the allpervasive influence of the internet becoming more ubiquitous with faster speed and cheaper data plans. Its continuing growth transforms the audience from one of passive observer to active participant.

The participation levels have allowed information to become less centralized with people being able to use various filters when consuming information about your product, services and offerings. The usual ways in which marketing is handled has changed. Marketing now is less centralized and needs to speak to an audience that is much more fragmented. The one constant in all of this is the continual need to push your marketing message to the audience – the big change is the need to push this message to various platforms. It is so important now to ensure that you are pushing your message out to where your audience is “hanging out�. This is the new reality - organisations are now at the mercy of the audience; The audience now has more power and influence over business decisions than before. Business can seize on this power by using the power now held by their audience. The new audience can propagate your business message to groups that were once unreachable. The audience has become an instrument that can be used to disseminate your news and unique selling message in a way that traditional media and advertising never could. Allow the audience to embrace the passion you have for your product and services, and watch with unpredictability how your message spreads across borders with no regard for geography as a barrier. The cocktail party, the man cave and Friday night drinks are still relevant. However, today we are no longer confined by the walls of the cocktail party. Embrace the new medium and celebrate your unique message across the many platforms that have been established in support of it! Enjoy and see you in cyberspace!

Social Media – A disruptive technology! Posted on August 10, 2012

It is arguable that there have been three forms of disruption – personal computers, the world wide web and social media. The web has been a great tool for the transmission of ideas and documents. However, social media has been able to take the human experience to a new level. The social media medium is about people, their ideas and relationships and is more dynamic than our traditional play on the internet. Our traditional play was static and less interactive. Web sites were the rage and the sending of data to email accounts was the ‘new black’. The information exchange in social media has created a new form of participatory journalism that has seen news and marketing become less centralized resulting in more power being placed in the hands of the individual. Today, social media is mobile. Smart phones and iPads and other tablets make a person’s participation in this new medium very easy, streamlined and seamless. Business must embrace social media. Embrace, Engage or Die according to Brian Solis. And he is right! Business leaders must understand that the power and influence of social media is not going to slow or diminish over time. It is not a passing fad. In fact, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the mobile platforms on which they are supported only seek to influence and accelerate its influence and power. With over one billion people offering their opinion online, it is demonstratively clear that this medium has eclipsed our lives, the way we interact and do business. The message is clear – “Get onboard”! See you in cyber space!

Addiction! Can you turn it off? Posted on August 7, 2012

Today we are running faster than ever before. We are constantly connected. Some would say we are “uber” connected in ways that we have never experienced. More and more information is being thrown at us and we need to get better at consuming it, processing it and making sense of it inorder to effect relevant and meaningful outcomes. And we need to get better at it so we can still maintain and enjoy our personal time. Friends, family members, clients and relevant others can contact us at any minute of the day. Should you not answer the phone, respond to texts or emails, your contact can check your Facebook status to see if you are there. Should that fail, maybe a direct message over Twitter if they can see that you have been tweeting in the moments that they have been trying to contact you. Should that fail, try ringing the door bell? Or they may think you are dead and start checking the death notices as they have this belief that you are ‘always on’ and contactable because ‘that’s how you roll’. We all roll like that, don’t we? If you are not on, then something terrible has happened. Our apparent 24/7 availability and the ability to receive large amounts of data over the wire reminds me of my days in the law. Clients were under the impression that you could process data in the same time it took them to hit send on their email. 500 pages would come to you by email and two minutes later the client would call and say ‘so what do you think about what I have sent?’ Incredible! We can push all this information faster and in real time and yet our ‘think time’ has not increased. The speed to which data can be pushed appears to be increasing exponentially or in line with the theory of Moore’s law, yet our ability to decipher and make meaning of what is being pushed remains unchanged. So, how are you managing this addiction? Can you look up from your smart phone screen long enough to see the day that surrounds you? Do you find that those online are more important than those that share your presence in person? Have you stopped long enough to think about this? Do you give yourself time away from those electrical devices that consume so much of your time to allow yourself time to reflect and ponder? I must say it is a challenge and it can be very confronting.

For example, I was sitting with a family member the other day who told me outright how she detests the distraction that is my mobile phone. She told me in no uncertain terms how distracting it was to speak to someone who appeared to be more interested in responding to tweets, emails and SMS messages than to sit and chat to her. Fair point. It made me think about my behaviour and it made me think about how wedded I am to my smart phone. At night and in the company of others I try to put it to one side rather than monitor it like an intensive care patient on life support. Then periodically I check it to see what has been happening. It seems to be working nicely for me. I am not always disciplined and I sometimes fall back to old habits and feel content with the relevant device being ‘couch side’ like a loyal dog. Patience and discipline are required in more ways than one to overcome this regime of constant connectivity. I am not advocating that we should disconnect all together. I am merely saying that we need to live in the moment. Enjoy the company of others and not be too distracted by those who may not be in our personal company when we are enjoying personal time with friends and family. Interestingly, we extend this courtesy to our clients when meeting with them. The majority of times, we turn our phone off in client meetings and check them at meeting’s end. The same courtesy needs to be extended when dining and meeting with others socially. So, give it a go. See if you can ‘dial down’ the addiction to connectivity!

Distorted Reality Posted on July 19, 2012

There are times when we simply get it wrong. It is not intentional. Sometimes we look at a situation and respond without all the facts. Our mind simply fills in the gaps and creates a picture that we want to see. However, if we step back there tends to be less distortion and the true picture reveals itself. Distorted reality occurs when we see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, judge a situation or a person without a proper understanding of the facts and the list goes on. Many factors contribute to this distorted reality. We live in an age where there is less and less “think time”. Due to our constant connectedness to friends, family, clients and suppliers there is less time to give things their proper consideration. Getting “you time” is a constant fight in this world of electronic mobility. Consequently, common responses are deployed without taking the time to give a particular issue careful consideration. We sometimes choose to deploy a common set of assumptions in our haste to reach immediate conclusions. For me, the deployment of a common response occurred this morning. I was approached by a homeless person on my way to work. Immediately, I put my hand in my pocket to pull out a few dollars in my eagerness to get to the office via my stop for coffee. Money was the last thing on his mind. Coffee was at the top of my mind together with the day’s pressing deadlines! The box I thought he was holding for his coin collection was not a box but a disposable camera. He stopped me in my tracks and immediately started speaking to me about the workings of his camera. “Press this button to take a photo. Press this button to turn on the flash”. So my original perception of this homeless man wanting money was misplaced. It was my common response. A learnt behaviour – hand over cash and keep going. It was simply wrong!

I asked, “Do you want me to take a photo of you?” He pointed to the sculpture behind us, proudly stood in front of it, arms folded, broad smile and I took his photo. Walking away I thought what a great start to the day. My problems suddenly seemed less significant and the man whose photo I had just taken could not have been happier. How we perceive and read a situation has a massive influence on our immediate actions. Sometimes, it pays to slow down with the desire to give certain events their due consideration. If you don’t, you might miss out on that “photo opportunity” and that could be a lost opportunity.

Living the brand! Posted on July 17, 2012

If you are in accounting, law, engineering, surveying or any service industry . . . stop and think for a moment about what makes your brand tick. What makes it sizzle? “Living the brand!” Clients, employees, suppliers and all those who interact with your business – you want them to live your brand! Not just “live it”, you want them to breath it, consume it, question it, believe it and believe in it! You want your services to be the preferred destination of choice. You want to be providing the strategic direction, the most up to date information and for that you want the recognition that you are the expert in your chosen field. So think about how your clients live your brand. Why do they keep coming back for more? Some may say it is based on the individual relationships that each member of staff has with the client base. If that is the case, analyse those relationships and bottle their meaningful and relevant attributes and hand them out to new recruits and to existing staff like a fizzy drink to a child! Interestingly, many business owners fail to monitor the pulse of their business. Fair enough! Things are busy. Things can get stressful. And we all know that it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil! Well, “Living the brand” is now the squeaky wheel. With things getting faster, with our uber connectivity, with the wealth of digital information at our fingertips and with the ability to hand out appraisals and recommendations at a finger stroke, it is time to busy yourself with identifying the key attributes of your brand so you can get busy selling the sizzle in every medium and on every platform. Start by asking key personnel how they perceive the brand. Then move on to clients and ask them what they love about the “business sizzle”. Celebrate these attributes and take necessary steps to repair them when they fail or when their delivery is compromised!

And please dare to be different. Too many wait for others to be the trail blazer! “Don’t wait! Do!” And you will see the difference tomorrow and beyond! So live your brand . . . .

Age does not matter . . . Posted on July 16, 2012

I was at a presenation the other day with the average age of the audience siting at the 55 year mark. Not to pass judgment on this age bracket, but it certainly became clear that the understanding on all things social media was very low. However, the one thing that stood out for me was their appetite to learn and to grow their understanding in this medium. So it made me think. What is the best way to encapsulate the power of social media? What is the best way to tell them that social media is no longer a social experiment but an instrument that can provide business with real value in the shortest time possible? What resonated with them was my short and succinct explanation – “Social media is the digital cocktail party that makes your business card go viral!” “Wow” was the impression written all over their faces. It finally made perfect sense and was no longer shrouded in uncertainty or with the feel of a tainted social fad that will soon subside over time. They left with an understanding that social media provides business (and their business) with a profound way of disseminating and amplifying the business brand, the business message and the business service offering! And they understood how it can generate some serious interest from the outside consumer – their consumers! For instance, take the Ford Fiesta promotion ran by Ford. Its impact on third party consumers was profound. The Ford Fiesta movement generated 6.5 million views on YouTube resulting in Ford receiving 50,000 requests for information about the vehicle, primarily from non – Ford Drivers. When the car became available for sale, approximately 10,000 cars were sold in the first six days (Facts courtesy of McKinsey Quarterly July 2012). Another incredible promotion was the ad campaign ran for Old Spice. The Old Spice Man ad was introduced during the US National Football League’s 2010 Super

Bowl. The ad, starring Isaiah Mustafa got more than 19 million hits across all platforms and sales for the company’s products jumped by 27 per cent within 6 months (Facts courtesy of McKinsey Quarterly July 2012). Making an impression, directing commentary to an audience, building a community is what you get when partnering with the engine that is social media! Let your marketing genius run wild and explore the opportunities that lie ahead on the digital horizon – your digital community awaits! I look forward to seeing your digital business card going wild across the rails of the World Wide Web! Hang on for a wild and successful ride!

Ask the question “the second time first!” Posted on July 13, 2012

Have you noticed that when asking someone a question in a shop, cafe, store, service department . . . . or when telling them what it is you are wanting . . . . that you need to tell or ask the person either two or three times before they comprehend what you are asking? Interestingly, this scenario results after an assistant has asked you a direct question. For example, “What coffee would you like?” To which you respond, “A long black please”. Only then are you asked “Was that a flat white?” Strange, I’m sure I said “A long black!” I think we are at the stage where we should tell them or ask them “the second time first!” So it would go like this. “Hi, I am telling you this for the second time first: One long black please!” I am sure this approach would receive some interesting responses! You never know, asking the second time first might just be the key to having your voice heard the first time! Give it a go!

Inspire those around you! Posted on July 11, 2012

I am always inspired by those who hold a positive outlook on life. No matter what their situation, they can always see the good in every issue they face no matter how dire their situation maybe. It is always pleasant and surprising to hear a person say “I am absolutely fantastic” or “Fantastic as always” when asked “How are you?” That simple answer to a simple question creates such a positive response in the person asking and from the person answering. We live in a world full of angst, nervous energy and stress. At night time, it is a challenge to spot the positive news report. Our “Current Affair” programs fill us with little joy and all of it keeps us trapped in a very negative reality. It is up to each and everyone of us to break free from the negative press and to generate a positive influence in the lives of those around us. There is no doubting it, those who inspire draw a crowd. People flock to feed off their energy. It is infectious. Inspired people can do anything they set their mind to. If you are a leader, if you are in charge of a group either at work or as part of some other venture, take a moment to reflect on how you inspire the individual to extend their person to a new level. If you are not taking these steps to inspire, then make some small changes to your outward engagement and you may be surprised by the results. Sometimes we need to throw out the old operating systems and upload new ones to achieve a positive response. By challenging yourself as a leader, you will bring out the best in yourself and in those around you. So when next asked “How are you?” watch the person’s response when you say “Fantastic as always!” Their eyes will light up with wonder and the tone of the conversation will start on a positive footing. Inspiration can start with one answer to a simple question . . . try it today and be surprised by the results!

The Consistent Delivery of Service . . . Posted on July 10, 2012

I was chatting the other day to a successful business person who said “I would love to bottle my systems and processes and serve them out to my employees just like a round of drinks at a bar!” In discussing this requirement a little further I understood that he wanted his business systems and processes to deliver to his clients “a consistent service delivery”. It makes sense to demand systems that can have your business values encoded with the aim of creating a behavioural model in business that employees, new and old can pick up and run with. It got me thinking as to whether business owners know what has made them successful over the years. Has it been their fearless approach to every challenge? Has it been their incredible relationships with their client base? Is it because they have a loyal and faithful employee base that always goes the extra mile? It is a challenging question and I guess gives greater emphasis to ensuring that the HR strategy, system and processes are truly aligned with the requirements of the business. This alignment ensures that everyone in the business is on the right page and gives every employee the opportunity to add value from their position in the company. So what’s happening in your business when it comes to service delivery? Is it hit and miss? Do your staff and key management personnel understand the systems and processes that are to be used to achieve consistent service delivery? Are you taking advantages of those tools on the market that can simplify this process? Or do you have too many processes that are too difficult for your employees to engage with? Give it some thought and work towards that “consistent delivery of service”. It should be your new mantra!

“Our everyday life and social media” Posted on July 3, 2012

Social media is a force in modern day communication with so many Australians engaging with each other on this medium on a daily basis. Notwithstanding the undeniable force of social media, the Yellow Social Media Report June 2012 (The Report) highlights that: “. . . there still remains a sizeable gap between the social media strategies of Australian businesses and the corresponding behaviour of a large number of their customers with only 27% of small businesses and 34% of medium-sized businesses having a social media presence.” There is a real opportunity for business, both small and large, to get the advantage over their competitors by aggressively pursuing a social media presence. The Report also highlights the need for business to ensure that their marketing and brand are easily accessible from smart phone devices with the Report confirming that 52% of 14 – 19 year olds accessing social media sites via smart phone devices. The best and most immediate thing a recruitment business can do for their client and candidate is to have a smart phone friendly web site. Sort this today! IT recruitment platforms today must support social media integration. To this end, it is important for recruitment businesses to have a true understanding of how to push into the social media community in order to maximise growth and market reach via this medium. This approach is endorsed by the following statement set out in the Report: With social media now pervasive in our everyday lives, it is increasingly important for businesses to understand how consumers use it, to ensure that their increasing investments in this area help their business both in the online world, as well as the offline. There has never been a clearer choice . . . Engage with social media today.

Out with the old and in with . . . who knows what it will look like! Posted on July 2, 2012

In 2011, I made the bold prediction that the office of the future won’t have chairs. I said that “All work would be done on your feet whilst on the move”. Zappos, the online retail provider, has taken those comments to a whole new dimension. With the exception of two in – house lawyers no one, not even the Chief Executive Officer has an office. So don’t bring pictures of your loved ones to work or hope to pin up those kindergarten pictures on the office walls, as the office of the future will have no walls let alone chairs! For those dearly beloved pictures, pin them to your Pinterest account! MyRecruitOnline CEO, Domenic Saporito can see the Zappos office concept being extended further. Saporito says “There will be no office of the future. Staff will be connected by their mobile platforms. These platforms with their sophisticated rules engine will keep staff appraised of relevant information as and when it happens on a 24/7 basis”. Sounds like sci – fi but we are reading more and more about this everyday. The Millennial Generation will demand office flexibility – I can’t see them working in an office for 8 hours per day. Of course there will be a need to congregate at a central hub. However, the look and feel of the work environment moving forward will be very different, according to Saporito. There is now the very real expectation that the workplace will be a more fluid and free flowing space for all those who engage in it. Work can be done anywhere and from everywhere if you have the right IT system. Saporito says that “Business needs to take steps now in their preparation for the 2020 workplace. There needs to be a cultural re-think about how people are engaged by their work environment”.

“With the influx of Gen Y into the workforce and with their perception of “work life balance” being diametrically different to those who have come before them, organisations need to take positive steps now to meet the challenges that are just on the horizon” said Saporito. Notwithstanding the challenges that organisations face, Saporito believes it to be an exciting time for engaging in new practices that will meet the demands of Gen Y and future generations. Never has there been a better time to try out new things than now. Saporito claims “If you are slow to react to what is happening, then you will quickly be on the wrong side of history moving forward”. The office upgrade or “down grade” is now on the agenda and will be transformed, revolutionised and reformed by our constant desire for connectivity and mobility. Exciting times ahead. “Lock and load” says Saporito “as it is sure to be an exciting ride!”

Find the best talent . . . simply connect! Posted on June 29, 2012

Find the best talent that will be the best fit . . . social media connectivity can help! The internet has never been so mature and we are slowly beginning to realise that it is the new data base for everything we need to interact with on a daily basis. Now, with social media it is possible to scale your organisation across boundaries that you never thought possible. Today, according to the Sage business index it was found that more than 50% of businesses believe that they will be more successful by engaging in social media than those who choose not to. So with the vastness of the internet and the juggernaut of social media, it just makes sense to use this new found connectivity to maximum advantage. And there is a need to strike now whilst many are dealing with their indecisiveness around the management of this new medium. Jumping on board now helps with future success tomorrow. Recruiters that I have spoken to have found that by using social media they are attracting a more qualified and relevant candidate to the recruitment process. For those who have fully embraced the new medium, the result has been a reduction in job board spend. An organisation’s culture and profile can be brought to life across the social media landscape. Candidates are given the opportunity to “try before they engage�. This means that those most suited to the culture and spirit of the organisation are able to qualify themselves on the way into the recruitment process which is important from a retention perspective. There has never been a clearer choice for business to make today . . . embrace social media for success or forever be left on the wrong side of history.

Rescuing the Recruitment Industry Posted on June 27, 2012

If you know, or love a recruiter, then don’t stop reading. A bit of background to begin with . . . The last 30 years have seen some huge advancements in technology – we now have laptops the size of books, cars that give us directions and phones we carry with us to tell us everything from the time of day to where our best friend has just “checked in” for coffee. In the recruitment industry, the technology available to job seekers has also improved significantly since the early 80s. In the last few decades, we’ve seen a transition from word – of – mouth referrals to ads in newspapers and now online job boards that allow applicants to find a role in any part of the world and apply with a few clicks of a mouse button. But where is the innovation for the recruiter? What has changed for the recruiter over the last 30 years? The sad fact is that not much has changed! And it is not their fault. The job boards and social media platforms like LinkedIn have looked after the applicant. But the poor recruiters, due to no fault on their part, have been left wanting. It is time to take a step back and imagine how things can now be done in a different way. Consider the following examples of innovative methods that can now be adopted in 2012: 

An applicant sees a job on a company’s Facebook or Twitter they are following. They hit “Apply” and the full details of the job are displayed. They hit “Submit” and their details are sent directly to the recruiter. Nice, quick, efficient with no reliance or dependence on the job boards! A cost effective talent attraction solution for the recruiter.

An applicant can record video of their answers to key questions like “What is my best attribute? Why do imagine I want this job? What do I best like about this company?” The most suitable candidates for the interview process can then be selected from these video recordings. This means less one on one

interview time spent with candidates who are unsuitable for the role from the start. An effective time saving device! 

The phone rings and the system informs you that it’s your client and shows you the current status of the recruitment jobs you are undertaking for them. Similarly, systems can show you that your candidate is on the phone and return the status on their job hunting.

You process candidates in real time using your iPhone or Android app and have the luxury of reading their resumes out and about and all at the touch of a button.

System progress updates pushed to your Smartphone allowing you to know the status of things in real time as and when they happen.

Automated reports delivered to you at scheduled intervals that provide you with the information you demand from your system.

Of course, finding top talent in a talent short market is a recruiter’s daily challenge. So there needs to be innovative ways to find this talent without an over reliance on expensive job board technology that is quickly becoming very antiquated in this era of Web 2.0 platforms. Only recently have some moved to the creation of more portable and mobile platforms – not easy given some tech platforms cannot easily support mobile. So why not adopt systems that allow you to: 

Use an RSS feed to post jobs to your Facebook and Twitter accounts! Free platforms that are Generation Y friendly and that greatly assist with the recruiter’s ability to build a strong 2020 workforce for clients.

Display QR Codes at the point of sale that customers can scan using their Smartphones to enable the delivery of the job application that allows an applicant to apply for the job even before they pay for their purchase! They will be serving on the other side of the counter in less time it takes them to find the job on the job board.

2012 is all about tapping into new streams of talent. These streams can be tapped by turning Facebook and Twitter into job boards and through the use of QR Code technology and other social media platforms. Easy, cost effective and a great way of finding talent that was once not discoverable. Today it is about taking the job to where the talent is ‘hanging out’. It is about provoking a transaction rather than waiting for the job seeker to take the first step looking through hundreds of roles across numerous job boards. So consider that your hot talent might be waiting at the counter for service in the retail shop. It might be following a recruiter’s Facebook page or a company’s Twitter account. Wherever it is, you need an innovative system to seek it out! You need systems and processes that push into talent streams that have previously been untapped. Just like the mining industry needs new areas to mine, so too does the recruitment industry. A miner will use a bigger machine, and the recruiter needs to do the same! Always think of how you can innovate today so that tomorrow things just happen with fewer grunts than you previously thought necessary.

How to deal with tight talent . . . Posted on June 26, 2012

Whether there is a skills shortage or an over supply of talent, there remains a pressing need to attract the right kind of talent to your doorstep. Ultimately, you want to attract the best on the market at any given time. With the competition for talent increasing on a daily basis, there is a need to make the application process as seamless as possible. There is an urgent need for organisations to review the practise of making candidates fill out long application forms. Today organisations need to “tease out” the required data from the candidate over a short period of time. This approach ensures that the candidate remains engaged. At the initial stages of their job inquiry with your organisation the candidate can simply and easily provide their contact details without being forced to complete a long list of questions. The application process is the first time the candidate gets to participate with your organisation. If the process is tedious, cumbersome and time consuming, the candidate may rightly or wrongly assume that this reflects the internal operations of your organisation. Whilst your marketing may say “we are friendly and approachable” your application process may suggest a different story. It is the candidate’s interpretation of the process that matters and it must be viewed with a high degree of respect. The outward communication to a candidate must reflect the culture and spirit of the organisation. If an organisation has a “hip and happening” culture, then this should be celebrated as part of the application process. The process does not need to be a “tick box” approach that follows the same theme as the competing business down the road. It is a chance to get the candidate speaking to others about just how different your organisation is. So celebrate this point of difference and get rid of the “stuffy and rigid” approach of yesteryear. It must be said that the organisation’s brand and overall culture is on display throughout the application process. It is akin to both candidate and employer being at a “dance” checking the other out. The better dancers on both sides get noticed. Let the candidate notice your organisation’s strengths by including them in

the process. Don’t give the candidate homework requiring them to discover them on their own time. With a large proportion of the best candidates not actively looking for a job, an organisation must take every opportunity to celebrate their difference when attracting top talent.

Embrace . . . Engage . . . Or die! Posted on June 24, 2012

It is interesting catching up with business owners who debate the effectiveness or the need to embrace tech change. In some discussions, it would seem fair to say that there is either a reluctance to embrace it or a genuine fear of all things digital and social. The truth is, this change is not slowing down. There is no time to sit back and wait. The time to act is now. But it takes a bit of convincing when you consider the hurdles that stare the traditional business owner in the face. Consider a few of them here. “We’ve tried and social media failed us!” There are lots of things that don’t work the first time you try them. But the idea is to get up and give it another go. And it is important to “fail fast” so you get it right in the short term. It all starts with your first, second and third attempt. Others have said “There are too many engines to consider, hence we have elected to do nothing.” Great strategy. A business that is destined for scrap. We all know that business is about innovation and innovation is kicked along with trying new and different things. Just trying something new creates a culture of excitement in the workplace. It is like the beginning of a new journey. Business, if always predictable would be so boring and bland. The best thing you can do is spice it up with the untried and untested! Then there are those that get stuck in developing policies that are so vague, generic, broad reaching and confusing that it kills off any type of stimulation that would motivate people to bring about change and creativity on the work front. At the centre of these policies is brand protection. A worthy concept, however, the brand can be so well protected that no outsider can really get to experience it, sense it, see it, feel it, embrace it or consume it. And keep in mind that conservatives that see fit to reign in the free spirit of the marketer draft these policies! Brilliant! A conservative lawyer setting the tone of marketing in this new world of social media promotion.

So there is a true tension between “push the brand” and “brand protection”. It is no surprise that the business owner sits back and says “Too hard so we are not changing our ways!” But that decision results in missed opportunities and the ability to innovate and make a big difference to the overall success and direction of your business. The businesses that I see get this right put a radical in charge of the social media challenge – a radical champion! Sure, they need to be responsible in how they actively promote the business. But they are the best at being able to convince the “traditionalists” to move towards newfound frontiers that they themselves thought to be impossible. So take a look at your staff and see who would be the most appropriate person to set the organisation sailing with social media. To do anything else would be akin to sailing against the wind! And put a stop to the excuses and simply embrace and engage today!

Re-prioritising the marketing budget . . . Posted on June 24, 2012

Without doubt, social media is capturing our lives and this phenomenon will only continue to grow over time. Now is the best time to look at traditional marketing expenditure to determine what funds can be diverted to this rising digital giant. Many people running recruitment companies argue that there is no need to change. They run the argument that “we have always used traditional methods like print and job board ads”. Understandably, the decision makers in charge of these companies either “like to play it safe” or are yet to fully comprehend the power of social media. The old brigade need a wakeup call. An effective organisational champion can lead the charge on their re-education! These same decision makers may have thought the same about the power of print media when the job boards became the “new kid on the block”. Quickly, print media in the Australian recruitment market shrank due to competition from job boards. Social media is likely to have the same impact on the job board market – time will tell. It is now so important to re-allocate some marketing resources so that your company can start a conversation with those end users of your products and services who have already made the change to the social media medium. Don’t just think Twitter and Facebook. Connectivity in this new medium is much more due to the vastness and power of the internet. And stop to think for a moment that the internet is only 17 years old. It is still a teenager finding its way and yet it has quickly redefined how we act and interact on a daily basis. More than ever, there is a need to adjust to the new reality. Embrace it or find yourself standing on the wrong side of history. So don’t stay with the “tried and tested” and don’t be scared to act. Reach out to new networks, new experiences and find new and exciting ways to engage with your market place. Whilst others sit and wait, get busy creating those new emotional connections and make those connections “sticky” with your brand and services.

The Social Media Generation . . . The Millennials Posted on June 22, 2012

With the continuing effects of the GFC crisis permeating our daily lives, we see an interesting generational mix of people working in today’s workforce. Currently, we see a workplace comprised of 4 generations of worker: 

Traditionalists (aka Veterans, the Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation) – born before 1946

Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964

Generation X – born between 1965 and 1976

Millennials (aka Generation Y or Generation Next) – born between 1977 and 1997

And soon the workplace will be populated with what some are calling Generation 2020 or what I like to call, Generation I (born after 1997). Based on this mix of worker, we see a workplace full of different talents, wants, requirements and needs. This will result in the need to manage a different collection of values across a generational spread of people. The result of this unique management conundrum sees the requirement for business to view their HR management team as an integral instrument to the success of their business. There is a need to make every effort now to make the necessary adjustments to take account of the impact that the Millennial Generation will have on the workplace of tomorrow. This generation will without doubt forever change the focus and requirements of the workplace. So thinking about how to deal with this significant change on the work front must start now for the employer at a time when this new influx of millennial worker are busy finishing their final year’s of secondary education.

And action must take place now or employers will be caught wanting when “Gen I” make up a significant component of the workforce by mid decade. Employers, part of your preparation is dependent on you looking at 

your recruitment strategies moving forward

your connectivity with social media that will enable you to entice the “millennial talent”

the message you are promoting to Gen I

how your leaders are reacting and responding to the dominance of social media and the networks that spin off its evolution

Ultimately, what worked effectively in HR yesterday won’t work tomorrow. There are new attributes that employers must account for in order to deal with the concept of Gen I: 

respect that Gen I are creative

have a capacity to commit to an idea or cause with great passion

desire unbridled freedom and independence

question authority and crave autonomy and provide respect when it is provided and shown

have an unpredictable capacity to adapt to a changing workplace

There is a need for employers to be innovative in the years leading up to the “2020 Workplace”. The lead up to this period will be a melting pot of complex issues that employers will need to grapple with in order to deal with the new worker walking their hallways. A complicating factor thrown into the mix is whether these workers will in fact occupy the office of their employer or whether they will be remote in their employment connectivity?

One thing will be constant – social media will be a major vehicle in attracting new talent to the employer’s door step no matter how that door step is defined. More than ever, preparation must start now. And know that even if you start today, you will constantly need to revisit, refine, revamp and revolutionise the strategy that you adopt today to ensure success tomorrow. This is especially the case given that 2020 technology is currently under development today and is yet to be deployed! More than ever before, know that everything that is defining work tomorrow is changing today. You are either part of the change or a victim caught in the cross fire. Your decision to act is yours. To do nothing is to die a certain death. To do something is but a mere start of your new beginning.

The new participation! Posted on June 21, 2012

Today we live in a society where every person has the ability to participate through digital technology via social media. There is a real sense of “participatory journalism” happening on a daily basis and it touches both individuals and businesses in the same way. Both have the ability to participate in a significant way in an effort to influence the other. There have never been so many platforms on which people can contribute their beliefs, opinions, ideas and overall influence. It truly is a new degree of empowerment that will only keep evolving as new platforms grow in popularity and influence. This new sense of connectivity that continues to grow will only become stronger due to the internet becoming ubiquitous with faster speed and cheaper data plans. Ultimately, this growth transforms the audience from a passive audience to an audience with a greater capacity to participate. The participation levels have allowed information to become less centralized with people being able to use various filters when consuming information about your product, services and offerings. The usual ways in which marketing is handled has changed. Marketing now is less centralized and needs to speak to an audience that is much more fragmented. The one constant in all of this is the continual need to push out your marketing message to the audience that you are seeking to influence. The way in which you do this needs to be refined, re-visited, refreshed and constantly reviewed as your audience now remains in a constant state of flux. It is so important now to ensure that you are pushing your message out to where your audience is “hanging out”. The reality is we are now at the mercy of the audience. The audience now has more power and influence over our business decisions than before. However, business can use the “new audience” to its ultimate advantage. The new audience can propagate your business message to groups that were once unreachable. The audience has become an instrument that can disseminate your

news and unique selling message in a way that traditional media and advertising never could. Allow the audience to embrace the passion you have for your product and services, and watch with unpredictability how your message spreads across borders with no regard for geography as a barrier. In essence, we must all truly embrace this new time. This new age of what some are calling “Post Information”. Whatever we call it, we all need to respect the change that is upon us and understand that the traditional points of reference have forever changed and are now in a constant state of flux. And that’s what makes it so exciting! Share your passion with your listeners . . . your audience and power of influence will continue to grow and over time will scale out of sight. Enjoy this new level of participation!

Do you know who We are? Posted on June 21, 2012

Do you know who We are? We are your customers, your clients, your prospects and your suppliers. We are your current and your future employees. We are the influence on your government, your schools, your shopping, your children and your bank account. We determine whether your products will sell or your services sought after. We have the confidence to ask questions and probe for answers. We challenge the status quo and We will not take no for an answer. We are from a new generation. We are hyper connected, multi skilled, embrace a global economy and propagate ideas & learning through social media. We will have 20 jobs spanning five careers and refuse to work at a desk in an office. We are truly mobile! We influence the We in your business more than you ever will. We don’t care that you spent $580 million on MySpace and had to sell it for $35 million,We wanted Facebook. We don’t care if you find it convenient to use email, We use chat. You hit refresh, We demand things in real-time. We are your greatest asset, yet We don’t even feature on your Balance Sheet. We are the “new influence” and the old brigade that once held the reigns are now far less influential than they once were. Traditional influence is useless against the new order of We. Listen to We, understand We, motivate We, get the attention of We and you will reign supreme.

Get We wrong, interpret what We say incorrectly, speak to We in anything other than in the language We understand and you have a problem. If you are not following what We are saying, if you are struggling with the way We communicate, learn, work, shop and play, what will happen to your workplace, your products and your services? We are here for you, and for We. Yes, times are a changing…and We are just getting started!

Recruiters . . . A time to reflect . . . Posted on June 19, 2012

The financial year is coming to an end (June 30) and that makes it a perfect time to reflect. So take a moment to consider a few things about recruitment of the past, the present and the future. And then ponder what you can do to make things more efficient, smooth and seamless in your business today. Cast your mind back to the time when you landed your first recruitment job. Think about how the job process commenced, ran and was placed. Specifically, how did the parties connect? How did the client find your services and how did the candidates connect and introduce themselves to the recruitment process? Depending on when you landed that first transaction, it would be fair to say that the world was moving a little slower. Today, we are confronted by a world that is “uber” connected. And things are not slowing down. People are becoming more connected and they are constantly finding different ways to connect with your business world. Our connectivity begs the question whether the systems and processes that are used by us on a daily basis are robust enough to cope with the ever-expanding world of social media. Whilst you ponder on this reflection, ask yourself whether your system can push multiple messages across the social media landscape at the click of a button? If not, can you do it with three or four clicks or is it becoming a full time occupation just to keep up? Are you now looking for that social media manager or consultant to provide you with that much needed help and assistance? And whilst we ponder the question, consider how you are managing all those discussions that are happening about your brand in the social media space. You might say “What conversations about my brand and in which social media space?” That confirms you have a problem! Today, more than ever, business needs to get amongst the conversation that is happening in social media circles. Get to where the client is having the

discussion. It used to be over the phone or at the end of an email. Today, more than ever it is in social media. Having taken the time to reflect on the past, now consider whether you and your business are doing enough to maintain your position and standing in the new and dynamic world of social media. Today, you can connect with potential clients and candidates in so many ways – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, blogs, Wikis, message boards and it goes on and on and new platforms are being loaded daily. Facebook is already old news and the business world has only just caught on to its power and now has a willingness to play rather than to simply dismiss it with policies that say “don’t use it” or “banned”. Today, the question for business is . . . “what are my competitors doing to get the edge? How are they getting their message out there? Are they relying on the traditional job boards together with their web site and print media presence to establish market share?” Hell no! Today, social media is yet another piece of the business cycle that now must be considered on a daily basis. Yesterday and yesteryear the importance was print advertising, web sites and job boards. It is far easier today with social media to draw talent, prospects, suppliers and inquiries to your business and it can be done in a way that results in a very dynamic and fluid exchange of information between your business and third parties. In contrast, print advertising, job boards and to a lesser extent web sites are very static in the way they exchange and share information. By adopting a contemporary business platform that can manage this new and interactive world of connectivity, you will reach distant markets and attract attention you never thought possible. You might even save money by reducing your spend on job boards. Go on . . . Start “Tweeting”, get “Liked” and blog about your brand today for the greater audience of tomorrow. Stop reflecting now and get connected!

The battlefield has moved and never will it be the same again . . . Posted on June 18, 2012

In his book Engage!, Brian Solis puts forward that: “New media is a matter of digital Darwinism affecting any and all forms of marketing and service. In the world of democratized influence, businesses must endure a perpetual survival of the fittest. Engage or die!” It almost sounds like a battle of the armed forces. Companies getting ready to take battle as they engage with their social networks in an effort to influence more people to join their networks by stripping them away from their competitors. The armed forces analogy is an interesting one. Once upon a time, the army would front each other on a designated battlefield and endeavour to throw enough force at the other to quash any rebellion or uprising. Similarly, traditional marketing involved straightforward campaigns prepared over the course of weeks or months in an effort to hit a defined audience. The battlefield on both fronts has forever changed. Errol Apostolopoulos of Optaros, Inc has stated in 2012 Social Marketing & New Media Predictions that: “We will start to see more brands experimenting with using social media beyond what would be considered straightforward campaigns. A bi-directional approach with increased activity toward crowd funding and crowd sourcing of ideas”. The interrogation of “big data” is key to successful campaigns moving forward. Teasing out the information from the masses is something that companies will now strive to achieve in this new age of brand communication and creativity. Just like the modern day army sending troops out into the depths of battle to flush out information on reconnaissance missions, social media campaigns endeavour to do the same. Slowly over times, groups are monitored, their activities and habits mapped and fed back into the marketing machine for review and analysis.

Ultimately, it is about hitting your key audience with your “relevant message”. Recruitment, like any business has a target market. The most relevant market for the recruiter is the candidate market. It is important for the recruiter to develop an effective method of bringing the candidate into their social medium whereby they can easily and effectively communicate and keep tabs on that market place. Inevitably there will be the realisation that social media is not about “social noise.” It is about being able to systematically link the communication back to a Customer Relationship Management system that can send out and monitor social content. The preference is for the system to operate in real-time so there is the capacity to map and profile events and responses as and when they happen. The old days of applying enough force to win the battle are long gone. So too are the days where saturated marketing is the way forward. Today is the adoption of a strategic approach. An approach that has the ability to keep the target audience engaged and entertained with a thirsty appetite for more. It will soon be so much more than “Likes”. It will be about real-time monitoring of responses as and when the data from the target audience is returned to those hunting it out. Change is upon us . . .

Social Matters . . . . it makes your business card digital and viral! Posted on June 18, 2012

Do you and your staff think that “social” matters? If not, then you still have work to do to educate your workforce that social matters in this modern age of business. Jeff Browne, former partner of Browne & Co and now boss at Channel Nine said in the latest edition of Law Matters that as Managing Partner of Browne & Co he . . . measured success not from how many billables someone did but from how many business cards they handed out in a day . . . Today the currency of the business card remains and its significance has been upgraded into a whole new dimension. It’s hard copy format now has a digital footprint and has a viral element attached to it should you and your staff get across the social spectrum. Jeff Browne’s measure of success is still a good yardstick today. But now rather than counting cards we have things like The Klout Score that measures your ability to drive action on the web. Whether it is the noise of a busy cocktail party or the noise thumping through your broadband connection, the key principles remain the same – to put yourself, your brand and your message where you can influence the right people to buy your product or service. More than ever, today is about your reach and the value you offer to all those that you touch. The message needs to be clear and relevant. A strong value proposition is required to cut through the noise of the net. Take a moment to reflect on how you and your staff can evoke the spirit of your brand in the market place today. And ask yourself the question, “What are we doing with our social presence?” If you are doing nothing, then re-load and re-enable your thinking today and get some “Klout” in all things social. Please Feel Free to visit the .com

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