This review is part of a series of reviews that you can expect to see over the next while from the Social Media Working Group. This first one is by Eamonn O’Brien, Founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club. Here he reviews The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, by Joan Curtis and Barbara Giamanco:
This book offers an introductory guide for people who need to figure out how to both understand and harness social media in a world where traditional sales techniques may have had their day. As such, it probably won’t serve as more than light reading for seasoned social media pros.
The authors spend the first half of the book outlining the revolution that has occurred in the way businesses and customers/consumers communicate – and why companies need to learn how to adapt to a new sales era, dubbed Sales 2.0. They argue that since customers are now more in control of what they buy, and have instant access to more information prior to when they make purchase decisions, that a modern form of consultative selling (which integrates the power of social media to develop better relationships, trust and customer collaboration) needs to be used as a replacement for traditional push based selling techniques.
While there are many nuggets to be found in the first 8 chapters, including author observations, examples of how politicians and companies are adapting to/benefiting from communication changes plus a quite interesting potted history lesson on the evolution of selling approaches from the 19th to the 21st century, much of the information provided at the outset of the book appears to be rehashing of stories and observations that have been doing the rounds for some time (online and offline). Also, many of the points made in the first half of the books seemed be endless variations of a single theme; “Embrace the new technology… move away from old sales approaches, they won’t work any longer with the 21st century buyer”.
That said, the second half of the book (when the authors get into a more ‘how to’ mode) is likely to prove both interesting and genuinely useful to anyone who needs practical suggestions on how to harness social media for sales and marketing purposes. The authors did an especially good job on how Sales meets LinkedIn and Sales meets Twitter, including really helpful ‘do’s and don’ts’ tips.
Also, their observations on how to use blogging to drive better Google site rankings together with their suggested ‘rules of engagement for bloggers’ are spot on. But the real value in this book comes at the end, with a case study style 30 day social media sales challenge. This blow by blow demonstration of how social media can be used and why – together with suggestions re goal setting and performance measuring – sold me on this book, all on its own.
My Overall Book Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks a million Eamonn! More from the authors on their website.
Here is a visualistion from Wordle.net of some of the tweets that were flying around yesterday afternoon and this morning about Open for Business the IIA Annual Conference in the Aviva. I hope to release the plenary sessions as podcasts in the coming weeks and I know the social media working group have a video of their session which we will share soon too. Hopefully one of our delegates might write a review for next week as well (hint hint everyone!)
In the meantime many thanks to all our delegates for engaging in such a lively manner at the event and via Twitter, thanks to all our brilliant speakers in the plenary sessions, hosted conversations and breakout sessions. Thanks also to our brilliant sponsors without whom much of the event would not have been possible. We appreciate your community spirit!
|With many thanks to our supporters, sponsors and exhibitors|
One of the most popular features of our Annual Conferences every year are the breakout sessions. This year we’re mixing it up a bit and in addition to our usual practical breakout sessions we are holding three hosted conversations in the morning. These promise to be fascinating and a great opportunity to get your voice heard on the following topics:
- A conversation about collaborative innovation hosted by Amy Neale and Gary Leyden of NDRC
- Seán Baker, Irish Software Association Board and entrepreneur and Peter Finnegan, Dublin City Council host a conversation about Open Data and Open Government.
- Neil Leyden, Your Country, Your Call winner, will host a conversation about his plan for Ireland as an international content services centre.
In the afternoon we will be running 4 breakout sessions covering smartphone insights from Amárach Research, the reality of cloud computing with the IIA Cloud Computing Working Group, social media strategy with the Social Media Working Group and Ecommerce Best Practice and Emerging trends with Realex Payments.
Jonathan, you are running a breakout session on eCommerce at Open for Business, the IIA Annual Conference on the afternoon of May 12th in the Aviva Stadium. Which key areas are you going to be focussing on during these 2 sessions
The focus of our E Commerce breakout session will be Taking Your Business Online and the different elements that you need to take into account when developing your own E Commerce Strategy. Three speakers will present on different aspects of E Commerce to give the attendees an indication of what they need to do to get up and running successfully.
I’m going to discuss your online strategy as a whole including
- how to go about getting your Merchant Service Agreement,
- choice of web developers,
- what to look for in a Payment Gateway and how to combat fraud.
Bob Curran from Buy4Now will present on the different options available to businesses in E Commerce Platforms and Shopping carts and some tips on what to look for and best practice.
Aileen O’Toole of AMAS will look at the State of the Net and the importance of knowing what’s going on in the market around you, the emerging trends in E Commerce, spending patterns etc.
Realex Payments have been a great supporter of the IIA over the years, getting involved in the conference in some capacity every year; what are the biggest changes/ challenges you have seen for Irish businesses who are coming online or upping their online game in this time?
We’re always happy to support the IIA and the Irish internet sector! 🙂
In terms of changes, the biggest and most positive change has to be social media, a large majority of our merchants are now actively involved in Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn etc and have benefitted significantly from being involved in this area. Many of our merchants tweet specific deals, have discounts for consumers who like their product on Facebook etc, so social media has become an important sales tool for so many businesses. The ability to have frequent conversations with your online community offers an incredible opportunity, not just from a social engagement point of view, but from a commercial perspective too.
I think initially many businesses were a little reluctant to participate in social media, particularly those businesses operating in a B2B environment, but as times gone on, the likes of twitter and Facebook have become an integral of marketing strategies throughout the country, including our own!
If you have one piece of advice for an Irish business reviewing their ecommerce strategy in light of these new challenges what would it be?
Integration of social media with ecommerce has become a crucial element for every ecommerce business, for B2B as well as consumer companies. Whether it is integrating social sharing on purchases, offering special deals/incentives to followers or likes, adding facebook open graph to enable Facebook likes to see friends purchases on your ecommerce site or simply leveraging brand ambassadors who emerge on Twitter and Facebook, there are a wealth of opportunities for brands to enhance their ecommerce offering. It’s becoming more and more important for brands to have personalities, as people want to know and engage with the brands that they’re buying, integrating your ecommerce strategy with social media facilitates this process.
Thanks a million Jonathan! See you and everyone else on Thursday May 12th!
Twestival 2010 is happening on Thursday 25th March from 6.30 pm – 12.30 at the ODEON on Harcourt Street. This year Concern is the benefactor of the WORLDWIDE event.
This Thursday, people in hundreds of cities around the world will come together offline to rally around the important cause of Education by hosting local events to have fun and create awareness. Twestival™ (or Twitter Festival) uses social media for social good. All of the local events are organized 100% by volunteers and 100% of all ticket sales and donations go direct to projects.
Buy your Dublin Twestival Ticket here.
Have I ever mentioned to you that I love my job here in the IIA? One of the things that I love about it is that I often get to some great events. We recently sponsored IIA Member Company Meetingbooker.com’s Hotel Website Marketing Conference and I would definitely count this as among the best that I attended this year. The speakers were all good and varied but mostly I thought it was very clear that they had done their research about the audience and were aware of the issues and processes effecting the hotel industry’s day to day work.
I live tweeted the event and hope that I shared some of the nuggets. However MeetingsBooker.com have made the slides not only from this conference but their other conferences in 2009 available via Slideshare.
This is written by Campbell Scott of IGOPeople.com. All comments, queries and case study suggestions welcomed via comments below. Thanks! – RS, IIA.
Our previous case study gave an excellent overview of some of the social media tools that are available to businesses, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Youtube etc. This case study is based on observations about how O2 Ireland have embraced the use of social media, to get closer to their customers (and potential customers). This summary records some of the interactions with customers that have taken place, some of these on IGOpeople.
O2 were well aware that their brand, products and services, pricing etc. were all being talked about online by their customers. These discussions were taking place on blogs, discussion forums and social networks. Many people would have posted comments which were negative in tone, complaining about specific problems or the way they had been treated by O2 as a customer. For O2, the challenge was how to engage or join in the conversations taking place. Many of the comments in discussion forums are anonymous, or take place in a tone and context where O2’s response or involvement in the discussion may not be particularly welcome.
O2’s answer to this problem was to take the brave move of creating their own, open user discussion forum, where customers could ask questions and seek help, voice their opinion or complain. Registration was a requirement, to help O2 get in touch with members privately if required. This was a very positive move which was received well by O2 customers. As this was new territory for O2, they did demonstrate some early naivety, by correcting the content of some members posts, but their customer community was tolerant of this, as it was a new environment where everyone was learning.
Although the O2 Forum has developed from these early days and is now a popular and active community, O2 have extended the range of social media tools they use to reach customers, including Bebo, Twitter and now IGOpeople (links take you directly to the O2 profile page). We’re delighted to have O2 as part of IGOpeople, but everyone can learn from some of the specific conversations they have become involved in.
O2 have jumped straight into IGOpeople, posting regularly about items of interest to their customers – promoting shiny new phones and new product releases. This week, they offered customers the opportunity to direct any questions they may have to the Head of Customer Care – not something that is available to a consumer every day of the week!
However, the thing that is impressed me about O2, is the willingness to reach out to customers. There are a number of conversations where they acknowledge their shortcomings and state how they will fix things up, or recognise the need to make changes in the future. Their answers don’t always give you the answer you might demand, but they are there to listen and consistently discuss the issue, in a really honest and believable way – even if the answer isn’t quite what you want.
Here are some nice examples of the conversations they get involved in
#Twask is a great initiative by a Birmingham University final year student in jourmalism, Kasper Sorenson. While he started it as a way to teach his fellow students about how to use Twitter it will hopefully allow Twitter newbies to ask and Twitter oldies to answer questions about the best ways to use Twitter. Adding a short word or acronym preceded by the hashtag (#) to a Twitter message allows it to be grouped with all the other twitter messages on that subject. It makes it very easy to talk about a particular event (Search for #ddire for example which is the hash tag for Dragon’s Den Ireland to read the conversations about it on Twitter.)
#twask kicks off at 2pm today and it’s a great opportunity to get some free lessons in how to tweet. And maybe how not to!
Are there better ways for non-twitterati to pick up this info? Please let me know via the comments below. Thanks!
At the beginning of December the IIA Social Media Working Group invited interested parties to join them in person or remotely in order to workshop their draft guide to business blogging. A very interesting session ensued with plenty of input from those in the room which you can hear on this three part podcast.
You can also subscribe in iTunes to the IIA podcast and receive any future podcasts from us.
We also had input from others via Twitter which caused me no end of half-brained responses. You can actually hear me saying “Ye wha?” as I try to respond to a tweet and a real live person at the same time. Nice. If we ever do this kind of workshop again I have a different plan for the live tweeting.
Much thanks for Brendan Hughes for chairing this event, Krishna De for facilitating the session and editing the podcast and to all those who participated. Input is still welcomed on the draft guide so please feel free to add your comments.
I get all sorts of queries by email and by phone from our members and I often think that, anonymised, they would make interesting reading for others. So as the first in a very occasional series I am publishing a reply I sent to a query from a member who asked me how best to promote his blog and his Twitter. Here’s my reply and I welcome any futher comments of course!
There are no hard and fast rules to getting your business blog noticed so here are a few tips to get you started from some experienced bloggers that I have heard recently at the various events I have been attending.
- Set up Google Alerts for the keywords that you are interested in. Include names of your staff, company and product names and names of your competitors. You may need to tweak this over time. The resulting alerts will keep you posted about what is going on in your particular sector and will allow you to monitor your brand. It will also give you great blogging content and show you which other bloggers are writing on the same subject and what they are saying.
- Comment on other people’s blogs but please do it in a helpful, non-sales manner. Krishna De suggests that you read the post entirely, decide whether you agree or disagree, if you agree add any further information that you might have, if you disagree explain why. Only add a link in the body of your comment if you have written on this subject yourself and if your link will add further to the discussion. Don’t forget you will be adding your URL in the URL field in the comment dialogue anyway so if anyone does like what you have to say they will find your blog that way.
- Set up Twitterfeed from all your RSS feeds to your Twitter www.twitterfeed.com
- Monitor what’s being said about you on Twitter at http://search.twitter.com – pick up a RSS feed for your queries and add it to your favourite reader. You can create a RSS feed for all the keywords that apply to your company
- Have a look at Friendfeed.com – not to everyone’s taste but if you are using a lot of social media it’s a way for people to see all you are doing in one place and of course they can grab an RSS feed that will encapsulate all your social media activity. You can also find other people and leave comments on all their social media activities there too. My personal Friendfeed is www.friendfeed.com/enormous and you will see that I am in a group about Social Media in Ireland and no doubt there are all sorts of other groups too.
- Always remember social media is all about conversations so be chatty! Ask questions, follow comment streams that you comment on and pop back in if you think clarification is needed or if you have more to add, don’t interrupt (i.e. leave comments that are a propos nothing at all) and be polite.
- Share anything you find interesting on your blog or in Twitter – it will always be new to someone. Most blogging platforms have a Blogthis link which you can add to your links bar. URL.ie have a toolbar shortcut which allows you to share a shortened link to whole suite of social sharing tools. And it’s made in Ireland 🙂
- If you are thinking of approaching bloggers about your own product or service PLEASE offer them a free trial/ subscription/ sample and be willing to take the good with the bad. In other words if you ask bloggers to review your product, just because you are giving them something for free doesn’t mean they will only write good things about it. Only consider doing this if you feel like the above approaches are getting you absolutely nowhere and only ask bloggers who have previously written on your sector i.e. don’t ask a mammy blogger to review your cool new app/ product/ service etc. unless it helps cut down on her laundry 🙂 (Bloggers please comment if you think more needs to be said on this topic because I know it’s a minefield and all input would be gratefully received.)
- And as I have done with this email reply, use all content you create as content for your blog in an appropriate fashion. And remember it doesn’t always have to be text: use audio, video, pictures to get your message across.
(Ideas robbed with thanks offa Deborah Hadley, and Sabrina Dent, both of whom I heard speaking at PodCampIreland. Also thanks to Krishna De who delivered two presentations for the IIA recently in Dublin and Limerick.)
A while ago now I had the great fortune to be invited by Keith Brock in Fingal County Enterprise Board to make a presentation at the Fingal Day of Enterprise. My presentation focussed on Social Media and Business. (The presentation is available to download as a PDF from the IIA website and you can hear a report about the day from RTÉ Radio 1’s The Business broadcast on October 12th (MP3 file; Report on Fingal Day of Enterprise is at about 18mins 40 seconds) which includes a few words of advice from yours truly.)
My experience at the Fingal Day of Enterprise was revelatory for me in my role with the IIA as Membership manager. My presentation was the first of the day: the room was packed out and people were turned away. Needless to say it wasn’t my reknown as a public speaker that was drawing the crowds especially as this was the first time I delivered a presentation on behalf of the IIA so I was a wee bit nervous. Of course there are aspects of my talk that I would now change especially based on the questions asked during the Q&A and subsequent conversations that day and my own social media experiences since then more of which later all going to plan with my blogging today! I was speaking about how to integrate Social Media into your marketing plan and it’s obviously a subject in which many people have an interest.
The reason the day was revelatory was because it made me more aware than ever before of how much help people who are starting businesses need when creating their online presence. I was standing at our stand from 1pm until 8.15pm with a constant stream of new business owners and entrepreneurs asking me various questions not just about the IIA but about how to get the best return on their investment of time and money in their internet marketing, sales and communications activities. A number of delegates who approached me had web design/ development consultancies and in a way I was sorry I didn’t have a two way queuing system so I could introduce the delegates looking for developers/ designers to the delegates offering developement/ design services!
Krishna De was also there that day as a business mentor and she popped over once or twice to say hello (and take photos see above) and even offered to mind the stand while I grabbed a cuppa which, although I declined, I really appreciated. But her offer and the queue at the stand got me thinking. If I were to be doing outreach work like this in a location close to you would you, as an IIA member, be interested in helping at the stand for 30 minutes to an hour? It was a great way to meet people who were actively seeking advice and information about bringing their business online and I think it would be a great opportunity for IIA members offering those kind of services to meet them. It’s just an idea so let me know what you think of it.
Two days later I packed myself off to Kilkenny for PodCampIreland, and while I was there in a more personal capacity, I didn’t hide the fact that I work for the IIA but most people know that anyway. I was facilitating a conversation about Twitter which I found very interesting and I hope those whose conversation I was facilitating found interesting too. When I asked those attending my presentation in Fingal about their experience of social media, I got one hand up for blogging (who left before I finished eek!), a couple of hands for Facebook and three hands up from the boys in school uniforms when I asked about Bebo and MySpace.* I got a big blank “ye wha’?!” when I asked about use of Twitter in Fingal which contrasted wildly with those at PodCamp – I think only two out of the 20 or so present didn’t use Twitter. While I was mainly asking the PodCampers about what they use Twitter for, how it helps them, why does it appeal to them, what future they see for it, I also asked them how they felt about businesses getting into Twitter, whether they felt it was intrusive or fair enough. As Twitter is all based on permission, I argued, a business joining in a conversation on Twitter is not the same as a representative from a business landing in on top of your cosy chat in the pub which was the common metaphor that day for online conversations. In most social media you have to accept an invitation, befriend someone, follow someone etc. before they can approach you with their ideas or requests. In this spirit, I’ve said it before but no harm re-iterating, you will never be followed by the IIA on Twitter unless you follow the IIA first and I would recommend other businesses to consider a similar approach. If you are thinking about how to get started and you would like to use this approach, make sure you follow the IIA and I will let my followers know you are online and it will help you start to build your presence. And get chatty. It’s all about engaging in conversation! If somebody says they don’t like your product or service ask them how you can help them to have a better experience of it.
But I digress, PodCampIreland had a lot more to offer apart from me 🙂 I attended a really interesting session by Dean Whitbread about Seesmic which was really interactive and involved us waving at a camera. Seesmic is a social network that allows people to converse using asynchronous videos, either recorded quick and dirty before uploading or prepared carefully and lovingly and uploaded. The great thing is that anyone can watch your video and respond. The other very nice thing about Seesmic is that you can set what sort of copyright you want applied to the video so that it can’t be just reproduced willy-nilly wherever the viewers wish unless you also wish it. It’s a great place to experiment with digital video and get feedback on your experiments so give it a go. I might see you there one of these days 🙂
I also attended a session by Mike Buckley about babyboomers online which turned into a very interesting conversation about who owns virtual space: young people or their parents; and about how technology can help preserve stories and pass them from generation to generation. I was reminded of this conversation on Tuesday when I attended the IIA/Limerick County Enterprise Board/ Marketing Institute of Ireland event on Tuesday. In her presentation Krishna De (who I think I have seen more of recently than my family :)) suggested that those of us disinclined to write much should consider making their content available as audio or video – it might suit your style a lot more than the writtern word. She drew our attention to Bill Marriott’s Blog which he records and which is then transcribed. Now obviously if you are the owner of the Marriott hotel chain you can afford to pay someone to transcribe your tuppeny worth but for us mere mortals making the audio or video available (and you could use Seesmic or YouTube to make video available) is a snap and is either free or costs very little.
I really hoped to blog about a lot more today. Contrary to my advice at the Fingal Day of Enterprise where I encouraged people to blog on a Friday afternoon because they are more likely to get up and leave and go home/ to the pub rather than allow it to seep into their evening it is after five and I am still here. So I will wish you all a great weekend (I’ll see some of you at the inaugural Irish Web Awards), remind you to vote in the Net Visionary Awards and promised lots more very soon!
*Oh yes I was interested by the three uniformed lads putting their hands up to say they were using Bebo and MySpace and I kicked myself for not pointing out to the audience that if they hope to communicate with those who have disposable incomes in ten years time they better start using social media and their online presence more proactively because this is where the mid-teens of today are learning how to use the web.