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How The C-Suite Are Using Social Media

They aren’t, that’s the easy answer. Well not yet. The executives in and around Regina and Saskatchewan are slower to adopt this new found social technology. Sure there are some very social executives (and a social Premier!) you’ll find out about them in the presentation but for the vast majority of leaders in the business community have fallen prey to the “I don’t have enough time” and the “I don’t get it” virus.

So how is the C-Suite using Social Media? They use Twitter and LinkedIn. The presentation below is mostly focused on Twitter.

In the presentation you’ll find:

  • Some of the most important Tweets of all time
  • 5 Myths about Social Media
  • Several case studies of business/political leaders and organizations who use Twitter specifically (and use it well!)
  • We finish off with 3 “How To’s”, tips on making you better on Twitter.

If you want to learn more about presentations similar to this, book Jeph to speak or host a workshop, check out our speakers, presentations and workshops page here.

The Stanley Cup of Twitter: Bruins vs. Blackhawks

The series is knotted up at a game a piece after two exciting overtime games. Those placing bets might as well just follow their heart because it’s basically too close to call if you’re relying on logic and each team’s performance in games 1 and 2.

Can the same be said for the team Twitter accounts? If the cup were handed to the team with the best social media presence, who would be declared the victor?

Let’s find out.

First, we must establish what “best” means. We believe that a great Twitter account helps a person establish a personal connection with a business or entity. From the business’s (or team’s) standpoint, an account should align with the image and values they portray and become more passionate about their product in order to facilitate purchases. In the case of the NHL, purchases include things like tickets, merchandise, and television/streaming subscriptions. The goal of these accounts should be to recruit new fans and engage those who are already fans.

I always say that the best marketing is a great product or service and, in this case, both the Hawks and the Bruins have iced an amazing product as has been made evident by their respective playoff runs. They already have that advantage over the competition so for this head to head matchup, we must establish some criteria.

But first! (I’m sure the suspense is killing you) it should be noted that Chicago and Boston are very similar hockey markets. Before looking at the accounts, it could be assumed that each team has a similar following based on annual revenues in these Forbes NHL Teams Valuation Rankings.

Ranking NHL Team worth

As chosen by the TSN panel..err..Strategy Lab panel, each team’s account will be evaluated in a seven game format with each game being based on a different competency category:

Tweet Frequency – the team’s ability to find a quantity-of-tweets “sweet spot”.
Game 1: Following Quantity – number of followers.
Game 2: Quality of Content – the degree to which a team’s tweeted content is dynamic and compelling
Game 3: Personality – the account’s ability to establish a twitter identity that aligns with the team’s and garners interest.
Game 4: X-Factor/Standoutishness – the team’s deviation from tweeting norms that often make for a dry, uninteresting feed.
Game 5: Engagement and Response – the team’s ability to mobilize/respond to followers.
Game 6: Faux Pas Avoidance – avoidance of spelling mistakes, rookie mistakes, and twitter worst practices.
Game 7: Contributing Platforms – a look at the quality of each team’s most commonly used twitter-connected app (ie. Instagram).

Let’s take a look:

Game 1: Number of Followers

Blackhawks vs Bruins

Recap: Boston edges Chicago out by an almost negligible 20,000. These extra followers could be due to their more recent cup run having taken place when Twitter had increased in popularity since Chicago’s championship season in 2010. Another reason could be the 7,300 edge in total tweets.

Game 1 Winner:      (Boston Leads Series 1-0)

Game 2: Quality of Content: 

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Recap: Boston starts it off with a nice picture showing the pre-game festivities, evokes emotion with the Boston Strong theme, and makes fans following on Twitter feel like they’re really there. The Blackhawks counter with some lineup information and let everyone know that Ben Smith is in and Marian Hossa is out after an incident in warm-ups. The tweet lacks the degree of insider detail you’d expect from a team’s official account.

Game 2 Winner:     (Boston leads series 2-0)

Game 3: Personality

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Recap: Tweets with any sort of personality that come even close to touching that of the LA Kings twitter account are hard to come by with these two squads. If this were a real game, it’d be a bit of a snoozer. Luckily, the Hawks’s Twitter team just came through with an awesome tweet that shows the tweeter is a real person — capable of having emotions. In doing so, it made me feel like I’m in Ben Smith’s skates and don’t doubt I’m alone in feeling that.

Game 3 Winner:      (Boston leads series 2-1)

Game 4: X Factor/Standoutishness:

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Recap: In comparison to many great accounts that aren’t afraid to do something off-the-wall or out of the ordinary, these two play it pretty safe. The one standout thing that the Hawks do is retweet Hawks-related content from supporting organizations and subsidiaries like the Cubs picture tweet above. This, in my opinion, engages the community and helps prevent the team and the sport of hockey from becoming siloed. The Bruins have ample opportunity to do the same and more as the city recently became more tightly knit after the Boston Marathon tragedy but there is no evidence of this on the Bruins Twitter feed.

Game 4 Winner:      (Series tied 2-2)

Game 5: Engagement and Response:

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Recap: The only recent effort at fan engagement made by either team was this tweet from June 15th by the Chicago staff. Fans were encouraged to ask their questions to the hosts of a third-party show. Plenty of room for improvement in this area for both teams but Chicago narrowly escapes this one with a victory.

Game 5 Winner:      (Chicago leads series 3-2)

Game 6: Faux Pas Avoidance:

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Recap: In this crucial game 6, with the Bruins on the brink of elimination, it became a lesser-of-two-evils battle. Chicago missed the mark (and constantly does so) with hashtag overuse. Every tweet during games is adorned with a head to head hashtag. I, for one, am skeptical of the effectiveness of these hashtags and think they should be used in moderation but Chicago’s own metrics will be the final judge of that. Boston, whose tweets always include the initials of the writer despite there being no documentation of the full name of the initial-bearer in the bio or previous tweets, luckily had one tweet that included the initials “B.B.” amidst the thousands of “C.S.” tweets. The slightly less stinky team in this one was the Bruins, who force a game 7.

Game 6 Winner:     (Series tied 3-3)

Game 7: Contributing Platforms: Instagram

For the seventh and deciding game, each team’s most recent Instagram post was scrutinized:

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Recap: As is expected in game sevens, a valiant effort was put forth by each team. Chicago really captured the energy following Patrick Sharp’s impressive 9th goal of the playoffs. The post was timely but lacked the organic feel Instagram enthusiasts have come to know and love. Boston’s pre-game hype picture, on the other hand, is quite likely taken with in iPhone and looks great with a black and white filter. It hasn’t been doctored by any gaudy text and really uses Instagram properly with a post that likely appeals to ‘Gram enthusiasts.

Game 7 Winner:     (Boston wins series 4-3)

 

2013 Stanley Cup of Twitter Champions

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Off-Season Analysis:

Each team does a good job of delivering hockey news and updates in a traditional way. The only real instance of going to the next level in terms of non-traditional media was when Boston really embraced the platform that Instagram is with an organic-feeling post. Twitter is dominated by witty and compelling people and businesses. Neither of these teams has truly found Twitter’s sweet spot. If they’re looking for an off-season trainer, it should perhaps be the Los Angeles Kings account.

thumbs up if you like fun-stratlab stock photos downloadable

Networking? Get Outta Here

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Almost exactly five years ago, I was playing cards with some friends and talking about business school, careers, and how to be successful (according to one of its many definitions). One of the friends in attendance, already a successful businessman (or as Jay-Z would say, a successful business, man), decided to chime in when someone mentioned their plan to accomplish their business goals and land the job of their dreams by “networking”.

Having already made his first move toward the door, on his way to conduct a 12:00am conference call, his voice of reason exclaimed:

“No, no. Networking is nothing. It’s about building relationships. Networking will result in you possessing a network that’s an inch deep and a mile wide. Relationship-building, which takes more time and genuine interest in others, will give you a circle that’s an inch wide and a mile deep. And that’s where things happen.”

This simple explanation made sense to me and I knew it complied with what I truly believed. I was forced to eat some earlier words and was provided with a new perspective. Since then, I’ve swung almost completely to the relationship-building side of things to the point where uttering the word “networking” leaves a foul taste in my mouth. Now, five years later, it’s plain to see that the vast majority of valuable friendships, mutually-beneficial business deals, and  progressive idea sharing partnerships have come from relationships built on trust and shared value rather than from shallow networking touch-points.

I don’t doubt that you have had a similar revelation; instantaneous or gradual. I think many people have and I think that this is great and a rite of passage of sorts.

But now there’s a problem.

The same businesses and careers that were built by relationships are now turning to social media and online strategies to create loosely connected networks and flimsy touch-points. A person sending an email to a business or business professional is met with a reply from the business or professional asking them to contact them via a website or preferred social networking platform. Requests to a small retail store for more information on the sizing of a clothing item are left unanswered. Words of thanks go unnoticed or simply feed a business’ ego.

The worst mistake a business or professional can make is taking the social media/online plunge and forgetting that everyone touched is a real person.

Instead of spreading yourself thin and neglecting real people in order to adopt an outside-in promotional/customer recruitment approach, blow those closest to you out of the water with your service, your level of care, and your product. Adopt on inside-out approach, wow those around you, and then look outward.

These are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.

 

How To Make Yourself Happy

Happy ElephantYou’re in a bad mood, you need to cheer yourself up. Some people go on a shopping spree, some people eat their feelings. If you think spending money on yourself is going to make you happier you’re wrong, kinda. The feeling you get after you spoil yourself with materialistic gifts is short lived and your long-term happiest isn’t affected at all.

So how do you make yourself happy?

It’s a remarkably easy solution.

Do something nice for someone else. Biologically we get more of a benefit from spending money on other than we do on ourselves. If you don’t believe it check out this article on how to buy happiness.

Here’s a video of me talking about how to make yourself a happier person.

If you want to learn more about the study on how to buy happiness here’s the Ted talk.

Time to Reconsider What You’re Sharing on Facebook (Part 1 of 2)

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Sssshhhh! It’s time to acknowledge that the days of simply asking questions, sharing quips, and doing giveaways on your business’s Facebook page are over.

If you’ve continued to rely on these tactics, I’m sure you’ve noticed plateaus or stagnant engagement.
If you haven’t and things are still rolling smoothly, think of just how much more effective you could be with some smarter posting.
We all know it was Steve Jobs who said, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
This is a case of staying hungry and looking for ways to constantly improve but staying intelligent while doing so.
Here’s how:

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 12.39.06 PM1. Discover what people love about you: Perhaps you already know exactly what people love about you. Perhaps you THINK you know what people love about you but it’s time to find out again. Even still, what people love about you in real life might not directly translate to what they like about you on Facebook. If there’s a disconnect, reel them back in to what’s truly great about your product or service by offering this info up in a way that adds value to them.

2. Recognize what people are likely to share: The average post is seen by 16% of those connected to your page. In order to increase this, you’re going to want to focus on the virality of your posts (shoot for 1-2% for post). Virality depends on people sharing your content. Pay close attention to what people have shared from your page in the past and focus on how your posts appear on the News Feed NOT on your own page. The News Feed is where people are most likely to see your post.

Part 2: The Four Main Reasons People Share and Like Facebook Content (via HooteSuite)

Regina city scape

6 Ways To Make Your Website More Trustworthy

Have you ever heard about a company and look up their website to find what looks like a Chimpanzee’s art project in MS Paint? Five years ago you could get by without a website and still do business just fine. Today very few companies can get by without having something resembling their brand online.

Today just having a website doesn’t suffice. If Google can’t find your website you’re not going to acquire search traffic. If you’re not putting anything worth while on your website no one’s going to care (no your newsletter doesn’t count as something people care about).

People buy from people and companies they know, like and trust. Here are six things you can do to make your website stand out and be more trustworthy.

1. Have your contact info (e-mail and phone number) very easy to find on every page. Make it easy for people to ask a question. If it’s difficult to find your contact info it feels like you don’t want me to contact you. Unless of course you in fact don’t want people to contact you ignore this one and move on to two.

Display phone number on your home page

2. Give your “About Us” page some love. Of the websites analytics I’ve seen, the About UsStrategy Lab Regina About Us Page page is by far the most popular page other than the home page. Your potential customers want to see who you are before they do business with you. The more the can find out about you before you meet the better. Lots of pictures and video if at all possible.

3. Have blog posts that get comments, Retweets, Likes, Shares, etc. The more social shares and comments a website has, the more you know people actually give a damn about what they’re writing about.

4. Have links to your company/personal Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages, Pinterest Pinboards, LinkedIn Pages. But only on the very important caveat of “if thou shall keep a link to a social network on thy website, be certain to stay active on thy social network”.

Social Media Icons

5. Display badges of associations, affiliated websites, and awards you have won. If you’re a home builder a link to the Home Builder’s Association google-analytics-qualified-individual-usermakes a lot of sense. Being on the AdAge Power 150 or completing a course in Google adds a lot of credibility to your company. As long as it doesn’t seem sleazy or to cheesy, include your Best Employer award, Your Customer Service Award, Your JD Power & Associates, heck if you win a Juno, put er up! If you’re winning awards you must be doing something right, right? If you’re associated with websites that add to your credibility ensure images and links to those sites are visible.

6. Include testimonials either on the home page or one click away. People often hide their testimonials or keep them on a page deep in their website. If you’re as good as you say you are, other people will say really nice things about you. Put what they say on your homepage. There’s no more powerful marketing than a recommendation from someone with authority.

 

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The Trouble With Social Media

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We all enjoy seeing people like our Instagram pictures, like our Facebook pictures and posts, and favourite our tweets. The problem with these tokens of affirmation is that often, whether we’ve acknowledged it or not, we base our self esteem on these “vanity metrics”.  Once we’ve achieved that “100 like picture” or hit 10 favourites on a tweet, we don’t walk away with confidence and look for different ways of getting better that are actually productive. We look for new ways to do the same thing because, as far as we’re concerned, we’re only as good as our last post. We don’t get better; we simply work to improve the way others see us for the sake of our ego.

This phenomenon of improper focus can be extremely damaging for businesses. Those who pour their energy into stacking up Facebook likes  and Twitter followers are often missing the point. Time spent acquiring these things which, more often than not, have little to no bearing on overall health of an organization, takes away from measuring appropriately.

Did taking five different pictures of the same thing before spending 15 minutes editing and choosing the right filter in hopes of 50+ likes take away from quality time spent building relationships with the people around you? And did celebrating your company page’s 500th Facebook like take time that could have been better spent following up with a recent customer or measuring actual conversions?

Social media can enhance your life and business relationships if used properly and with a purpose. Don’t get caught spinning your wheels.

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5 Reports in Google Analytics You Need To Start Using

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If you’ve had a website built recently you should be able to request Google Analytics to be installed and you given access to for free or a relatively cheap price. It literally takes 15-30 minutes for a developer to set up, depending on if he takes a break 10 minutes in to eat a doughnut or not.

Google Analytics is your command central for your website. You can tell where people found your website, what they searched to find your website, the pages they visited on your website, and a whole lot more. Below are 5 of the first reports I started using. Please ask if you have questions!

1. Traffic Sources Report

All traffic report in Google Analytics

Why is it important?

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Making people smile since 2013

4 Super Simple How-Tos on Using WordPress (with screen shots)

wordpress-oldschool-logoWe here at Strategy Lab are big fans of WordPress. It really is the cats pajamas when it comes to building a valuable online presence. Cost effective, beautifully designed websites with a backend so simple a chimpanzee could update it. Yeah, that’s pretty simple hey?

The majority of the time when you’re in WordPress it’s because you need to:

1. Publish a blog post

2. Upload a photo
3. Embed a video

4. Update a page

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