Posts Tagged ‘Flickr’

Have you joined or left Google+?

October 18, 2011

In July Google announced its newest addition in terms of social media: Google+.  This was Google’s next attempt to make a big splash in the social media world.  At that time I was really questioning the viability of such a new network and I think looking at where we are today, I still stand by my views.

Yes, I ranted and raved about the fact that I was not able to get onto Google+ but with thanks to a few friends I finally succeeded.  The frenzy Google+ was looking for did not miss its target.  The number of users grew to 20 million in no time.

Over the time I have been using Google+, I have not seen any (good) reasons why I would drop my other social media platforms and again I have been proven right.  Today, Google+ might claim to have millions of people but like I many have created an account, seen what the buzz was about and then left account inactive.  My point is that if all my friends are on other platforms, why should I switch…

Even worse, I ran across a post (http://mashable.com/2011/10/12/eric-schmidt-google-plus/) about Google senior management not being on Google+.  It seems that they were not eating their own dog food.  Since the public announcement of this fact, Google management has decided to join.  Now let’s see how their activity levels will be in the next months.

Looking at the stats for Google+, we can see that about 40 million accounts exist but it seems a boy’s network and a lot of them are working the field of social media.  Lately, posts have been showing up that Google+ is declining and/or loosing active users.  The main reason behind this is Facebook and the other social media platforms are taking the “new Google+” functionality on board quickly to re-establish their lead.  So what Google+ is accomplishing is to keep the competition on their toes, which is not bad!

Now that Google+ has opened up to the public, I am wondering if the adoption rate by “real” people that will actively use it, is going to go up.

If you just joined I would love to hear your experiences.  If you left, why?

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Van Push naar Pull in Social Media

October 1, 2011

Push email is in het bedrijfsleven goed doorgedrongen. Met oplossingen als Groupwise (Novell), Lotus (IBM), Exchange (Microsoft) tot zelfs Google Apps kan de actieve professional op een perfecte manier bij blijven met wat er rond zich gebeurt. Belangrijke mails worden verwerkt, contacten en documenten beheerd en kalenderitems worden uitgevoerd. De zogenaamde push functionaliteit, die er voor zorgt dat die dingen nu onmiddellijk in real time onder onze aandacht gebracht worden zonder enige vertraging, is voor de ene een zegen, maar voor de ander echter een gesel. Ongeacht of u nu tot de eerste of de tweede categorie behoort, het bedrijfsleven kan niet meer zonder push omdat de samenwerkingsmodellen binnen bedrijven er grotendeels op gebaseerd zijn.

Ondertussen zijn met Web 2.0 de diverse social media netwerksites sterk opgekomen. LinkedIn en Twitter spelen een belangrijke rol op bedrijfsvlak, maar Facebook is zakelijk zeker ook niet te onderschatten. Daarnaast zijn er ook nog mediasites als Flickr, Picasa en Youtube waarmee bedrijven promotioneel aan de slag kunnen, net zoals met locatie gebaseerde toepassingen zoals Foursquare. En tenslotte nog zijn er ook nog fora, blogs en Slideshare die toelaten gerichte informatie met de doelgroepen te delen. Wat al deze social media gemeen hebben, is dat ook zij met push functionaliteit werken. Gebeurt er ergens iets in een kanaal waarop u geabonneerd bent? Dan kunt u daar onmiddellijk van op de hoogte gesteld worden.

Hoe u die verwittigingen ontvangt hangt van uw eigen voorkeur af, tenminste indien u de moeite neemt de instellingen van elk afzonderlijk platform te bestuderen en aan te passen. Wie dat niet doet of door de bomen het bos niet meer ontwaart kent de gevolgen. Waar push ons vroeger hielp om op de hoogte te blijven van belangrijke berichten, hebben veel mensen nu juist hulp nodig om bij te blijven met de push functionaliteit op zichzelf. We leven in een tijd met een overvloed van informatie vanuit ontzettend veel  sociale webdiensten, die ons via PC en smartphone bereiken. En dat komt op velen over als een bombardement.

Uiteindelijk is dit een probleem dat niet zozeer vanuit een technologisch standpunt dient aangepakt te worden, dan wel vanuit een verandering van de eigen visie op wat sociale media voor u betekenen. De focus ligt uiteindelijk op het sociale, en niet op de media die slechts het vehikel is dat de boodschap draagt. Er is dus vooral een mentale aanpassing nodig. Wat zijn uw verwachtingen eigenlijk van uw deelname aan de diverse netwerken? Laat u alles gewoon op u afkomen (het push bombardement) of probeert u effectief in dialoog te gaan? Indien u naar het laatste neigt zal u vanzelf merken dat u langzaamaan automatisch naar een Pull functionaliteit zal evolueren. Al doende leert men.

Die evolutie naar Pull, om slechts die updates die u echt interesseren en waarmee u aan de slag wilt er uit te pikken, is niet evident. Er bestaan handige tools die u hiermee kunnen helpen en diverse trainingen en workshops zullen u zeker op de juiste weg zetten. Maar vergeet nooit dat de belangrijkste tool zich steeds tussen uw twee oren bevindt.

Joris De Sutter  is Partner bij Vanguard Leadership.

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Trade Unions and Social Media Policies: an explosive mixture

February 20, 2011

I am looking with a lot of interest at the actions of trade unions when it comes to social media policies in companies.  Over the last months several court cases, which I do not care to mention (just Google “social media policy union”), have made the news and have spread via different media across the world.  It is true that currently most of the controversy is coming out of the US but I am sure in time we will have similar discussions in Europe.

There are 2 points that intrigue me:

  • Trade Unions about Social Media policies
  • Social Media policy in Trade Unions

I know that I am touching on very sensitive points.  So I think we need to face this topic before more discussions end up as social media cases.

Trade Unions about Social Media Policies

As more and more companies are seriously beginning to look at creating and implementing a Social Media Policy to control their employees, it raises more attention with the trade unions.  We all know that controlling social media is impossible!  So what am I seeing?

  • Some companies have realized that rather than creating a strict policy it is better (for company ambassadorship) to provide guidelines to the employees.
  • More and more companies are involving different functions and departments during the creation phase of a policy. We see HR, marketing and IT collaborate on such policies.

My recommendation, however, is that you make the trade unions part of your project team to create the company social media policy.  Daring?  Impossible?  Not!  Speaking from experience, it can be done!

Social Media Policies in Trade Unions

Source: Alexwhite.org

Trade Union members are active on social media, let’s not deny this.  While most are there from a personal point of view, some are their as a trade union member.  This brings me to wonder if trade unions have their own social media policy or even social media guidelines since they are a brand too. What guidelines or policies are in place for trade union members to react via social media?  Just imaging how much damage the trade union brand and reputation could suffer from not having these guidelines. So far, I have not found one trade union that has published a policy but it would be interesting to see what their guidelines/policy looks like.

My recommendation is that Trade Unions should create, implement, communicate and publish their social media policy so their members do not hang out the trade union’s dirty laundry.

Conclusion

My business mantra is that you can complain about a problem but you need to come up with at least one solution.  So if trade unions are going to fight social media policies, they need to have one themselves and companies must include the trade unions in their social media project creation and delivery teams.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

hospitals and their social media policy

October 31, 2010


I did not think I was going to write so quickly a follow up to my last week’s post on social media in the hospital area, but my interest was peaked this week by a poll I saw via Twitter (@reedsmith).

The polls asked the question whether the organization/hospital had a social media media policy.  The result was somewhat amazing.

72% of the people who answered (25 answers) the poll said they did have a policy.  This number is very high but due to the fact that on average only 1 in 3 has a policy.  The fact that this poll was run through Twitter probably skewed the results.  The users are already on social media and thus somewhat likely to have a policy.

Looking at some publicly published policies, the areas that are covered can be summarized as:

  • Clear definition on where the medical facility stands when it comes to social media and what usage during and off work-time.
  • Commenting guidelines and rules
    • Focus on positive comments
    • posts with abusive and offensive language will be removed
    • posts with personal attack  will be removed
    • All spam-like posts will be removed
  • Blogging guidelines including the use of disclaimers in both directions (medical facility and the commenter)
  • Identity and affiliation with the medical facility
  • Use of code of ethics including all other applicable policies
  • General rules of conduct (add value, be smart, be authentic, etc.)

Though it is great to see that there are good examples of social media policies being put in place?  There are in my opinion 3 major components missing in these types of policies:

  • What are the clear guidelines to deal with negative comments?  What is the plan?  Who is the go-to person/department?
  • What monitoring is being done to make sure this policy is being “enforced”?
  • How has the policy been communicated to the employees?  Just put on the intra-net does not do it.

So as a conclusion, I think that having guidelines for your employees is great, but they need to communicated and monitored effectively so. People must know what can and can not be done and what to do in cases of emergencies.

Are you checking in into your hospital?

October 24, 2010

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a Belgian journalist (Peter Backx, editor of the Artsenkrant) asking if I had any data on whether the Belgian hospitals had any presence in social media. I was intrigued by the question and did some research which I will discuss later on in this blog.

The first question that comes to mind when such an inquiry pops up is whether and what hospitals are doing anywhere else in this world. Hospitals are mostly risk and discussion averse which completely opposite of social media. New projects are meticulously planned and kept under good cover. But still it seems that in the USA hospitals are embracing social media big time. From Facebook over Twitter to YouTube! Hospitals are finding their way to applications to increase their customer service, training (both patients and nurses), PR and crisis communication. There are several great examples around (Mayo Clinic, University of Maryland, etc.). A source of information is slideshare where there are some great presentations available on the subject.

Looking closer to home, Lucien Engelen recently noticed a significant increase in the social media presence in Holland. The number shot up from single digits to 30% presence in different types of social media. Similar to the USA, Dutch hospitals are uploading videos on YouTube, tweeting or posting messages on both Facebook and LinkedIn. One reason might be that hospitals are for profit and consider their patients potential clients (instead of just sick people). Another reason is that the effort of joining social media is headed up by HR which hopes to find new employees.

But what about Belgium? It is safe to say that the social movement has not hit our Belgian hospitals. There are some that are starting but a limited amount has social media profiles on LinkedIn (25), Facebook (even less), Twitter (single digits). Most of the social media is driven by individual contributors that are not acting on behalf of the hospital which could in term lead to some confusing and misleading representation and will have to be addressed by a social media policy.

So what is the next step? Since more and more patients are using social media to diagnose themselves before going to any care provider, hospitals should join the movement, know what is being said and actually contribute to the knowledge.

There are 5 steps that must be taken:

• Creation of an overall strategy which includes social media

• Create a social media policy and guidelines to help streamline the social media efforts

• Create the necessary profiles

• Take active part in social media (conversation and not just outward communication)

• Monitor social media

By being proactive they will be able to become a more trusted partner for the patient.

Making your company more visible

September 11, 2010

The company website is the main point of activity for most companies.  But since this is a somewhat static environment, companies are joining social media in the hope that they will be able to get closer to their customers and create a two-way conversation.

From research done by Vanguard Leadership in Belgium and Wildfire PR in the UK, companies are creating social media profiles but few make them public on their website.  Only 25% have such links on their website and are thus loosing opportunities to direct their customers to their social media sites.

Why do companies not advertize these profiles?  One could say that social media is not part of the company’s strategy; others will say that IT does not want to put this on the website; even more others will just say they do not care but the main reason is that no one thought about doing this!

So once you joined Social Media as company, here are some tips for you:

  1. Claim your social media profiles in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others.  Do not let others squat your social media names and pages.
  2. Display your social media links on your landing page – highly visible!  Do not hide them somewhere in “Links” or “Contact us”.
  3. Why not add social media profiles of your staff (especially when you are in recruitment).  Professionally looking LinkedIn profiles will be great image builders for the person and the company.
  4. Give people reasons to sign up and follow you on social media.
  5. Add a “Share” button to your website to encourage further sharing
  6. Use email signatures to promote your company’s social media profiles.

Increasing your visibility and it will eventually lead to new opportunities and increased sales.

If you have any comments, you can post a comment or contact me by mail at adammic@vanguard-leadership.be

Social Media in Belgian Recruitment Companies

August 24, 2010

Recruitment and social media seem to go hand in hand.  Candidates who are looking for a new job are often told to update, complete and professionalize their profiles on all of these social media platforms in order to be found easily.  However, how professional and visible are recruitment companies and professionals?  It is clear that these companies and its professionals are making progress using social media but there is certainly a lack of strategy and direction.

Limited visibility.

Though recruitment companies are present in social media, few promote their presence (14%) on their website of jobsite.  8% of all companies analyzed did not have a website nor a social media presence.  LinkedIn is the social media platform that recruitment companies seem to embrace (57%).

Room for improvement on the professional image.

Job searchers are often told to professionalize their social media profile on LinkedIn by completing them as much as possible.  However, this can not be said about the recruitment professional!  They seem to leave all the good advice behind them with as most notable examples the fact 51% does not have a profile picture and 52% do not mention their own company website.

Lack of engagement.

The limited visibility of recruitment companies and the poor level of professionalism by the recruitment professionals lead to a lack of conversation and/or engagement with candidates.  The mostly mentioned reasons for this behavior is the “lack of time” and “lack of results” (aka ROI).  The conclusion is that today social media is being used reactively as to mainly verify that the paper resume corresponds the online resume.

Recruitment companies let a lot of opportunities slip because of this lack of engagement with possible candidates including those not actively looking.  Engagement will lead the way to finding good candidates with the right profiles more easily as a few companies in the research have demonstrated.  Creating the right image will build the brand even in the recruitment business.

This research is the result of a market study done by Vanguard Leadership in July 2010.  In this market study we have used social media and the internet to build the dataset.  We have analyzed 180 websites of recruitment companies and 850 profiles (in LinkedIn) of recruitment professionals in the Belgian market). The complete report and the presentation can be found on slideshare (report: http://slidesha.re/9rJlt8 or http://scr.bi/atOa17 – presentation: http://slidesha.re/9q47JN or http://scr.bi/aM94PS).

Contact:

Mic Adam

Social Media Policy Creator/General Manager

Adammic@vanguard-leadership.be

Phone: +32 478 50 41 35

Vanguard Leadership (www.vanguard-leadership.be) is a company that helps protect companies and individuals protect their reputation in social media by providing awareness presentations, social media inventories, creating social media policies, training and social media monitoring.

How and where are Belgian companies in social media visibility?

August 8, 2010

This week the article on “B2B marketers gain ground with social media” (http://bit.ly/byf7PK) got published in one of the groups that I belong to in LinkedIn and opened up for discussion.  The upshot of the article is that 46% of the B2B marketers said that social media is irrelevant to their organization. And more even did not monitor social media.  So engaging customers is still not on the radar of many companies and marketers

This falls in line with some research I am doing during the summer months on social monitoring.  From looking at 540+ Belgian companies of all sizes but mostly in the B2B world, one gets a very mixed message.

Presence in social media?

It is great to see that 71% have some presence in social media, meaning they have a “company profile, page, twitter name, RSS feed, etc.”.

Where in social media?

The most popular social media site is LinkedIn where 2 out the 3 companies have a “company profile”.  Facebook is far less popular with 1 on 2 and twitter drops even further down to 1 in 3.

Visibility?

However, only one in four actually has a link to their social media pages on their website!  And that is typically the responsibility of marketing.   So as a customers who wants to interact with his supplier you will have to put in a good amount of effort to find them.

With these numbers in mind, it is clear that companies and marketers have a long way to go when it comes down engaging with the client.

.  So as a customer you really need to put in a lot of effort into finding and using them.  It adds another level of frustration once you found them that there is no response.  The consequence of this is that clients will post a lot of negative comments about the brand, the company and the product or service.

I would like to illustrate this with a personal example whereby I switched from one mobile phone subscription to another at Mobistar.  It took them a week to get my new subscription up and running (and I could not call out!). I tried to use Facebook, Twitter, and yes even Email and got NO response.  It got fixed but at the cost of a few negative posts on Facebook and Twitter and they now have someone who will advice against their brand at any possible opportunity (and I am not alone I am sure).  Even this post is another stab at them.

I challenge you to post a message on the wall o your favorite Facebook fan page and see if you have a reaction… Out of 55 I got 2!

The conclusion is surely that you need in social media (not everywhere – strategize); easily findable (put it on your website – execute) and most importantly engage your customer (monitor and respond).

More research data coming in upcoming blog posts.  Reaction, feedback, push back or other input welcome.

Social media and e-learning survey results

July 2, 2010

It seems that the training and education departments can greatly benefit from social media.  But are they?  In order to see what the knowledge and acceptance is by training professionals (in the Benelux), I have conducted a market survey. Below you will find the a summary of the results.  For the full document, I would like to refer you to Slideshare where the document will be uploaded.

1. Shaping the future

Today, social media is only at the entrance gate of training departments.  The adoption rate is very small but picking up speed.  This is largely thanks to 3 trends fueled by LinkedIn, Twitter/Facebook and YouTube.

The first trend is that some social media is getting a professional label stuck on it and provides the platform to distribute content (LinkedIn).  The second trend is driven by the buzz generated for social media by platforms such as Twitter or Facebook fuelling fabulous growth to create a connected world.  The third trend is the acceptance of low(er) grade video materials.  Thanks to platforms such as YouTube democratizing video creation by the end user, people are now not expecting “not top notch” videos in a learning environment.

2. Social media and e-learning

When we look at social media and e-learning, we can see 3 different angles appear:

  • Use e-learning to understand and use social media
  • Use social media to create content for e-learning materials
  • Use social media to distribute and offer e-learning materials

3. Overall findings

A large majority (90%) are using social media today, but mainly for private use.  Social media is seen a digital platform (40%) to connect/network (60%+)and share experiences (50%).  The use of social media today is limited (in order of importance) to business networking, personal networking and some video.  In terms of usage it seems a weekly activity (vs a daily activity) where people spend between 1 and 2h.

In terms of usage of social media, training professionals seem to think that social media is not a good vehicle for e-learning, but do see some use for getting content for developing e-learning modules.  When asked where social media could help them in their jobs, close to 60% could not see any use

Finally, when asking about the sources for content to develop e-learning materials, the training professionals tend to lean towards asking people or using specific websites. And not social media.

4. Some issues

During a number of face-to-face conversation, I have tried to get a sense of what some of the issues are that stop social media to become mainstream in the training departments.

  1. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others are considered toys by “the business”.
  2. Social media is seen as a “timewaster”
  3. The lack of understanding and experience creates a lot of aversion to the technology
  4. The general attitude within social media (=give and get back attitude for FREE) is not understood
  5. The influence of negative news and stories create a bad atmosphere around the topic

None of this is new and limited to the training/education departments but also true for other departments within a company.

5. Challenges

The challenges that are awaiting e-learning and social media are:

  • How to learn socially?
  • How to effectively use the different platforms?
  • Finding success stories?
  • Defining social media return on investment for e-learning?
  • Management buy-in?
  • Whether to create a private social network vs. public social networks?

Social media will become mainstream in e-learning but it will take some time and some good success stories to fuel this evolution.

For more a more detailed report please go to http://slidesha.re/bhEyks

Reaction, Comments, Feedback, etc. are welcome!  Need more info? contact me “Mic Adam”

Email: adammic@vanguard-leadership.be

Mob. +32 478 50 41 35

Twitter: @micadam

Website: www.vanguard-leadership.be

Find me also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Xing, Viadeo, Ecademy Netlog, etc.

Is your “social media persona” taking a vacation too?

June 28, 2010

School is out, most big sports events are coming to a close, summer is here and you are getting ready to take a vacation from work.  Your caravan, camper or tent is loaded up and you are ready to let the vacation spirit take over.

But is your social media persona taking a vacation?  I am guessing, not.  Why not take a break from social media? Or are you that addicted to it?  Wouldn’t it make you look more human if you took a vacation there too?

Here are some tips:

  • Since you want to get away from work, leave your laptop at home.
  • Switch off your smartphone.  And if you really need to be reachable by phone:
  • Check your e-mails ONCE a day if you must… (Do you really think you are that critical to the continuation of your business?).
  • Limit your online time to only 30 minutes to answer your mails (you are on vacation to spend time with your family after all!).
  • Sending tweets at every intersection, museum, restaurant or bar is not really needed.  Your friends do not want a play by play update.  It could be seen as showing off.  And keep in mind that roaming could cost you a lot of money.
  • It is okay not to update your status in Facebook and other social media every day.
  • Loading your pictures or video up to your favorite websites might not be the best idea since people might be listening in.  Maybe it is the taxman? Or worse, burglars?
  • Though it would be nice to become “mayor” of an exotic location using geo-location software (e.g. foursquare), keep in mind that you are telling people that you are not home.  Remember www.pleaserobme.com!  Burglars might see an opportunity to stop by your home…and go on trip at your expense.

If you have more good tips for the vacation period feel free to mail me (adammic@msn.com). So with that I wish all of you a great vacation!

Mic Adam

Email: adammic@vanguard-leadership.be

Mob. +32 478 50 41 35

Website: www.vanguard-leadership.be

Blog: https://micvadam.wordpress.com/

Find me also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Netlog, etc.