Things I learned during my blog’s summer vacation.

Okay…so it’s been a while.  Shoot me.

Rather than start things with a great PR or social media proclamation, let’s ease back into the swing of things with some random thoughts on things that have popped into my brain over the course of the last few weeks.

  • There will never be a plan for Shockoe Bottom.
  • Google+ is interesting but I’m still waiting to see the business applications for it.
  • You can only stave off your wife and kids wanting a new dog for so long.
  • There are members of Richmond’s social media community who really need to get over themselves.
  • It’s amazing how many people will help others find a job in our “creative” community if you ask them.
  • Alcohol tastes really good when drunk out of a mason jar.
  • The Mets have the amazing ability to keep my attention just long enough to get me to football season.
  • You can never have too much new business on the table.
  • Amber Naslund is a great social media leader and an even better human being.
  • College Football is about to change in a geometric way.
  • Bruce will never be able to replace the BigMan, but we need a tour any way.
  • Children will survive two weeks at sleep away camp.
  • Our Pig Pickin on October 15th will definitely “kick things up a notch” (you’re all invited, BTW).
  • My wife is wonderful and is making “The Year of Me” a year I will never forget.

This fall should be exciting with work stuff and teaching a social media course at VCU but I promise to gear up the blog again if for no other reason than to be an example for the students in our class.

 

Thoughts on social media for internal communications

So my good friend and client Lisa Van Riper from the University of Richmond asked me to give a talk to her strategic PR grad school class at VCU.  The topic?  The use of social media for internal communications.

While I have read and thought a great deal on this topic THP’s client are only beginning to scratch the surface in their use of social media tools for internal comm.  I am a big believer that the brand begins within an organization and that employees can be your best spokespeople and evangelists, so using social media tools to create this “community” is a logicial step.

 After doing some research on the topic I found that a couple of my Twitter friends, Amber Naslund of Radian6 and Justin Goldsborough of Fleishman-Hillard had presented recently on the topic.  Both of their presentations are available on Slideshare.  I am stea….I mean using them liberally in my presentation Saturday.  With permission of course.

After noodling it around in my brain and seeing some work that others have done here are some best practices.

– Blogs/videos:  Not always on the core business but on other topics they can all related to.

– Brainstorming:  Creating platforms or using existing intranet tools to get people from all over the organization to brainstorm ideas is a no brainer.

– Basic information/news:  Intranets and wikis to provide updated information about the company helping make sure all associates are on the same page

– Social networking sites:  Think Facebook or Twitter but only for employees to communicate to other employees to talk about things (or share picture or videos, etc.) related to their work.

– Recruiting/retention:  More Linkedin-ish, helping employees network within the organization to move up or to find out what internal positions are available.

– Online training:  Videos, presentations, live tutorials.

– Online events: Through Ustream or Skype or existing intranet everyone can see what the leadership is up to.

– The future: Mobile:  Texting, training videos, podcasts, all to keep execs and rank and file engaged.

All exciting, all useful.  Many big name companies like Best Buy, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dell, etc. are the one’s putting these tools to great use.  But there’s one thing that can hinder social media from becoming the norm in business.

Money.

All of these tools, especially if they are custom-made portals, will cost money to personalize and build out.  Sure there are platforms one can access for free like Yammer and Ning that can get you part of the way there but how can smaller companies take advantage of these approaches?

I’d love to hear you thoughts on how social media for internal communications can become available and affordable for all businesses, not just the big ones.  Thanks.

My teachers in the 2.0 world

It's pretty hard to learn if you don't identify your teachers.  In school, they were for the most part either chosen for you or limited to the school you went to, your major, or in my case the time of day the classes started.

In this new world, you can sample the teachings of many.  Blogging on the web has made that world a lot easier, as has the world of Google searching and SM launch pads like Twitter.  Over the last few months, I have tried to so what they tell you to do in the world of social marketing —engage, and even more important than that — listen.

So after reading, and listening, to a lot of folks, I have gravitated to a few who have brought humor and insight to their writings.  And even more important to me, have quickly taught me however unintentional how I can apply social marketing to work and play.

I have decided to include their recent posts on my "blogroll" down the left side of this page so you can "listen" as well.  They are:

  • Mack Collier:  The Viral Garden - Great insight on social marketing and its platforms and besides any guy who can Twitter the Bill Cosby Himself concert film line by line and make me laugh hysterically is worth listening to.  @mackcollier
  • VCU Brandcenter: Brands & Culture - Gotta push the hometown product.  Manned by Brandcenter faculty member and brand expert Kelly O'Keefe.  The unique insights from the number one advertising and brand school in the country.  (Kelly, need your Twitter ID).

If there's one thing you learn quickly in the world of social marketing is that sharing knowledge is good and expected.

You then quickly learn a second thing, to thank the folks who are doing the teaching.  So thanks to these folks and I hope you will learn from them with me.

Seek and ye shall find

I'll keep things brief tonight because of the holiday.

One of my goals in starting this blog is that it would force me to "engage."  My Facebook and Twitter activity has skyrocketed and I'm finding lot's of folks out there and many points of view.

Another instant fav of mine is Amber Naslund of Altitude Branding.  Here's her blog.

Amber validates many of my thoughts about the future.  You can use your existing skills and apply them to the "new media" outlets.

In order to do those though you have to get out there and get involved or as one of my TV gurus, Jean Luc Picard, always said to the Enterprise crew, "Engage."

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