Monthly Archives: June 2011

Social Media and Org Charts

Conventional wisdom seems to suggest that social media is a responsibility for your communications team to tackle–but I’m still seeing organizations try to shoehorn it in with IT.

Beyond that, there’s the issue of centralization vs. distribution–should social media be handled by a single core group, or should people from all over the organization (and in the case of Zappos, pretty much everyone) play a role?

How does your organization answer these questions? Where does social media live?

Looking Inward, Socially

Jesse Stanchak has an interesting post on the next wave of social media. In short, he thinks it will focus on internal communications, and may not take the form we’re accustomed to.

I think that a lot of organizations miss the boat on internal communications, and this is an interesting idea. But I wonder how I’d feel about actually participating in something along these lines.

There’s definitely great opportunity–as more companies work remotely, there’s a need for ways to link employees who aren’t in the same physical location. Videoconferences can bridge some gaps, but they require a lot of setup. A less formal structure could ease day-to-day interaction and help people share information and get a better feel for each other as colleagues and individuals.

But there’s also the chance for abuse. Stanchek says, “By watching internal social communications between employees, managers can figure out where their workers are spending the most time, where their pain points are and what resources are needed to enhance performance. . . .” That’s a best-case scenario; managers can also become Big Brother, watching employee communications for anything that smacks of disagreement with company policies or practices.

And then there’s the fact that too many places don’t even have viable intranets. Are those organizations really likely to develop useful, functional social networks?

There’s potential in this idea, but I’m not sure how close we are.

Summer Reading (Social Media Marketing Edition)

The Washington Post usually has a great list of books in a variety of genres. I’m not going to try to match that (although I’m really looking forward to the new Louis Bayard novel), but I do want to share some recent titles that I’ve found valuable. Each is by a thought leader in social media and marketing, and all of them are easy to read.

Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman
As you might guess from the title, this book focuses on the importance of content. I think we can all agree that content is essential–without it, you’re literally talking about nothing. Handley and Chapman provide a valuable look at how to produce substantive content for a variety of platforms, from Twitter to podcasts and white papers. (Ann Handley: @marketingprofs; C.C. Chapman: @cc_chapman)

Engage by Brian Solis

There are two editions, so be sure you buy the new one. I have each, because I bought the first just before the second came out. Solis does a great job of explaining why transparency and trust are vital to the new marketing world, and provides valuable case studies about customer engagement. (@briansolis)

UnMarketing by Scott Stratten
Great book. Stratten just might rule the Twitterverse, and here he provides insight into how every point of contact is important. I’ve long said that the saying ought to be “You only get one chance to make a last impression,” and I’m pretty sure Stratten would agree with that. His book really demonstrates why seemingly inconsequential encounters make a difference, and why “business as usual” just may lose customers. (@unmarketing)

Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard
I’m in awe of this book. Blanchard doesn’t just focus on ROI, although wow, will you learn about that. He also provides a social media primer that is a great reference for newcomers and a refresher for those of us with experience. Suggestions on how to develop social media training for your organization, how to persuade reluctant managers to buy in, and more–this book has a wealth of information. Buy it! (@thebrandbuilder)

Is Your Head in the Cloud?

Key

How do you use cloud computing? And what precautions do you take to keep your information secure?

Over the weekend, an authentication bug made Dropbox accounts accessible via any password. Because encryption and decryption happen on their servers and not yours, they hold the encryption key. This gives you access to your files even if you lose your password. In this case, it also gave hackers access to your files.

Dropbox reports that only a small number–about 1%–of accounts may have been accessed, and they’ve contacted the owners of those accounts. But it raises the question: how safe is the cloud?

Of course, nothing is foolproof. But there are some things to keep in mind. Namely, these kinds of services can be great for file sharing and transfer. The question is, what files are you sharing and transferring? Take a hard look at what kind of information you put there, and think about your real comfort level.

Photo by zebble, via Flickr.

3 Ways to Handle Criticism

We all have room for improvement. And we all want to get it right the first time. All too often, this results in conflict. Here are some tips on how to handle that.

1) Accept that you’re not going to get it right the first time, every time.
Life is one big learning experience, and sometimes we just screw up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and find a new approach to whatever didn’t work. People are more likely to overlook your errors if you acknowledge them and look for solutions.

2) Recognize that it is not “My way or the highway.” There are lots of solutions. Is yours the best? Maybe. Maybe not. When someone disagrees with your idea or approach, focus on what is best for your project, rather than what is best for your ego. If your way is best, be prepared to demonstrate why. If it’s just “your way,” consider the merits of “their way.”

3) Consider the source. Sometimes the criticism comes from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and isn’t a stakeholder. The comment is still worth considering, because someone with an outside view may have a perspective you don’t, and can’t. But if the criticism is based on a lack of familiarity with project goals, organizational mission, or previous decisions, then it’s probably fine to let it lie.

Please note that #3 is not a license for rudeness. Being a jerk will come back to haunt you.

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