Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Using social media

Yesterday, I was talking to Kerri and Melissa about the need for continuously marketing their web site ( and in particular the new "Ask an Expert" feature on it. I told her, "if you are only going to rely on people stumbling across it, then you will only get a handful of hits". You have to tell people about it. And not just once, but continuously. Everyone know about Coke, but they still spend a ton of money in advertising every year. How can you do this? One way is to use the traditional methods that you are already using such as talking about it, mentioning it in your newsletters and other print media and if you have any radio air time, mention it there. But, that is only going to reach the people that already know about you and at a time when they are not at the computer, so they can't do anything with that information at that time.

The solution is to develop and use social media. Get other people to talk about you! Put your information out there for everyone to see!

Kelly Shibari of Hourglass8 Media conducted a great experiment to show the power of social media and wrote about it at: The Social Media ROI Experiment. A great quote from this article (and I recommend reading the whole article) is:

"I have to then try to explain to them that social media marketing is not a dollars-in, dollars-out equation. It’s not that simple. Social media is about visibility. It’s about how many people find you interesting enough to check out. It’s about how many people think you’re interesting enough to talk to you, visit your site, and contemplate purchasing whatever is there."
Are you using social media to market your product or yourself? HOW??? Share your methods by commenting on this post.

Are you making people think you are interesting enough or useful enough to talk to you?

Another recent article on Social Media ROI worth reading is at: HowTo: Measure Social Media ROI.

I found out about Kelly from Chris Brogan's newsletter where I also get a lot of other thought provoking reading. My favorite quotes from this weeks' newsletter is, "Your only competition is you. When you look to succeed, measure against yourself. It's okay to take a quick peek at someone else to get a gauge of where you stand in comparison, but then throw that information aside and measure where you are NOW and where you want to be..." and "No one ever wins a race looking sideways."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Invest time in learning

Often I hear "I don't have time to learn how to do stuff on the computer". My answer to this is usually "you don't have time to not learn how to use the computer".

Like the old saying "It takes money to make money. " The same can be said of time. It takes time to make time. Think of the time you spend learning how to become more efficient as an investment in time that will repay itself many times over.

For example, if you perform the same task 10 times a day and it takes you 2 minutes each time, investing 2 hours to learn how to do it in 1 minute - will repay itself in just 12 days. You will save more than 33 hours in the next year.

The computer is good for helping you do those things that you do more than once or twice. You just have to weigh how much time currently takes you to perform a task, how much time it would take you if you learned a better way and the frequency you do it to determine just how much time you can "invest" in learning how to do it more efficiently.

Keep in mind that often learning new skills will help you perform more than just one task. With computers, the skills you learn in one application usually apply to many others.

Once you learn something new, share it with others! By investing time in helping others become more efficient you will get repaid many times over. One benefit of sharing your knowledge is that usually you end up learning even more from your network of friends/coworkers.

Probably the biggest time saving tools I can think of in today's world are the collaborative tools available. Using sites like for managing and sharing your bookmarks, Google Docs or ZoHo for collaborating and remote access, Flickr or Picasa (or any of many others) for sharing photos, shared calendars (Google, Yahoo! or many others), wikis (PBworks among many others). For most of these the learning curve is insignificant. It is more of changing your mindset and changing habits than learning new things.

Open your mind to working differently!

Photo credit:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

County Government Gets Social

Good news.

In a posting on their website, Catawba County North Carolina the public information officer writes about, "Catawba County now using new social internet networks to reach younger, and more "wired" citizens" The NC Association of County Commissioners also included a story about it in their publications, "Tuned in or turned off by social media".

The bottom line is that the Catawba County government sees Facebook, Twitter, and blogging as good ways to reach their citizens. They've even created a Catawba County, NC Facebook page and have it linked from the lower right corner of the Catawba County website at:

I hope other counties (like Buncombe, NC) look at this and stop blocking their employees from accessing tools like Skype, Facebook, instant messaging, Blogger and many, many more. In my opinion, blocking sites like these is just cutting off lines of communications. They might as well remove the phones because someone might make personal calls during business hours. There are places where access to these type sites might be prudent to block, but in today's world, government networks are not one of them. These tools are the communications and information sharing tools of today. Not using them means you are not going to be communicating with significant portions of your clientele.

Along the same lines - in the county where I work, they removed all the games that came with Windows (or at least removed them from the Start menu). Do they really think that the employee who spends too much time playing games on the computer is going to stop playing games and work harder because they can't play on their computer? This is just non-sense to think that they aren't going to bring a book in or a hand-held device from home and play or figure out how to get to the games without going through the Start menu.

You can't manage people this way. You've got to address the real issues behind the problems. You've got to lead them, inspire them to achieve and do a better job. All that taking these 'distractions' away from everyone does is hurt the productivity of the real hard workers. Researchers at the University of Melbourne concluded that "surfing the internet at work boosts productivity".

Jacqui Cheng wrote in Ars Technica, "People who are able to spend 20 percent or less of their time surfing the Internet at work are more productive than those who don't, according to research from the University of Melbourne. Small Internet breaks help workers focus better, though Internet addicts still have a problem.".

Short breaks to handle personal business or just clear the head makes a worker more productive and creative the rest of the day.

Taking away the communications tools of today from your employees is putting you farther and farther away from the people they need to be communicating with and making them less productive, efficient and does nothing to help the image of your organization.

Way to lead the way Catwaba County!!! Let's hope more follow your lead.

That's my rant for the day... :)