My Farewell to Lotus

After a long and prosperous road through the “Yellow Community”, I’ll be hanging up my Lotus (I know, I’m old school) hat and moving on.  I’m sad for many reasons, but excited more than I can tell you about my new position. I owe a lot to this community of friends and colleagues and can’t thank you enough.

At Lotusphere 2009, Gregg Eldred and Tom Duff lead a Birds of a Feather on Social Media.  It changed the way I worked, communicated and helped lead me to my new position.  After that session, I signed up for Twitter and started connecting on many social sites.  Over the years, many of you helped me out in ways you probably don’t even remember.  It helped me build relationships, friendships and partnerships.  I’ve gotten advice and shared advice.  I’ve heckled you with your sports teams, and taken it right back.  I’ve given support for many in tough situations and I’ve gotten that back when I needed it most.  It taught me to run a successful hockey website and how to use social tools to market that to coaches, players and parents all over the world.  It helped lead me to where I’m going.

At the end of the month, I’ll be joining SnapRetail! as the Director of Product Management.  I’ll get to guide the future of their solutions that help small businesses and retail shop successfully use social, email and their website to grow their business.  If it wasn’t for the BOF that morning and connecting with this community, I’m not sure I would have landed where I did.  So to many of you, I say Thank you.

While I’m sad that I won’t see you at IBM Connect or MWLUG or any other conference, I know the friends I’ve made will remain. While I’ll be completely out of the IBM Domino world, I’ll still be well connected and within in reach of all of you.  Please, stay connected.


Social Media – An Extension of Your Current Marketing Plan

I read a recent article, 4 Marketing Tactics That Trump Social Media, that was pushing Social Media as the least favorite among Marketing channels.  Below is the infographic from the article.  While it definitely points out what was more favorable, I have to go back to an early thought I had, ‘You’re doing it wrong!’.  The problem I have with an article and graphic like this is the person who is still skeptical of Social Media only looks at the graphic and no more.  Then they think, ‘See, it’s just a fad.  My tried and true methods still are better’ and never give it a chance.


Social media, social business or whatever you want to call it is not going to replace your traditional methods any time soon.  I hear the naysayers chime in all the time talking about its silly and what if I’m not on that platform.  My answer to them is that you are missing out by not taking advantage of it.  Social should be an extension of what you are doing now.  Whether it’s the Product Manager looking for competitive information or the Marketing specialist trying to extend their reach, social is a vital part of how you should be working.

Looking at this infograph, I see several flaws and I’m going to prove how Social is an extension, not a silo in your marketing plan.  They are currently ranked in 5 categories in the following order:

  1. Word of mouth and customer referrals
  2. Networking with other businesses
  3. Advertising – print, broadcast, radio, etc.
  4. Direct mail or email
  5. Social Media

So let’s break those down and show the talk about each one.

Word of mouth and customer referrals – In the digital age that we live and work in, nothing is more important amongst the social world as a Share or Like.   When I see someone take a moment to ‘like’ your product or article, it tells me they approve of it.  If they take the time to ‘share’ it with their friends, they want me to know about it.  It’s the digital version of what you’re calling a separate channel from Social.

Networking with other businesses – I LOVE this one.  Social is all about networking.  It’s making connections to people all over the world not just in your local community or business group. Instead of showing up at the golf course or your local chapter of industry experts, you are connecting to a wide audience of people who you otherwise would not have had contact with.  Once again, Social is the digital version of this.

Advertising – print, broadcast, radio, etc. – This one I find to be interesting as well.  How many print ads or TV spots do you see these days that don’t have some form of a social address on it?  Very few, if any.  Even your radio advertisements end with follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook with a link to get there.   This channel is not going away, but you should give them a way to find you on your social outlets.

Direct mail or email – Despite all the rumors, email isn’t going away any time soon nor is the us mail services.  But again, I challenge you to find a postcard from an advertisement that you get in the mail or an email from a business that doesn’t have some reference to their social media channels on it.

There you have it.  4 methods of marketing all connected with social as an extension of what you are already doing not as a separate silo.  So quit fighting social and start doing it.  You won’t be sorry.

Sharing has never been as easy – for the win

I’m guessing your parents were like mine when you were a kid and always said to share.  Well they were right.  Part of being a Social employee is sharing out content that you find in your many social sources.  You may have noticed my Twitter and Google+ sharing a lot of links lately.  It’s on my short list of my favorite Social tools right now. I’ve got so many accounts and places to check, allows me to pull all those in to one ‘newspaper’ like format.  But what I also like is the fact that I can create custom ones as well.

I am currently sharing two on a daily basis:

A few others I’ve come across that I do enjoy reading on a daily basis.

Do you have a account that you would like to share?  Add it to the comments.

Social – You’ve been doing it all along!

I eluded to the word ‘Social’ going away sooner than we may think in another post and I truly believe it will before too long.  Many factors lead me to believe but I’ll touch on two of them here.

  1. Executives don’t like the word. It scares them into believing that employees are playing and not being productive
  2. It will be the norm of how we collaborate and do business.  ‘Social Business’ will lose its buzz and it will just be how we get work done.

The second one doesn’t need much explaining.  As it become more common to use an Enterprise Social Software like Jive, IBM Connections or Yammer, it will just be the way we get things done.  No one will talk about using a ‘social’ network, it will be just the way it is.

The first point is one that I see and hear more and more as I talk to customers and have online conversations.  But I’m hear to tell you, you’ve been ‘doing social’ all along.  It’s now just moving to a digital format.  Need proof?

  1. Emails/Meetings = Discussion Forums – As we move to a ‘Social Collaboration’ way of work, discussion forums will replace emails and meetings.  What you used to do sitting face to face or replying back in forth in emails will be done in a Forum that allows anyone else to join the conversation that wasn’t on the email string or in the meeting.
  2. Rolodex/Phone book = Online Profiles – While you may still have your trusty old rolodex on your desk, online profiles like LinkedIn or other social profiles are replacing this old way of thinking.  Showing your expertise and connecting with others allows you to find the resources you need and them to find you.  It opens up networking to a whole new level.  I’ve personally found developers that I’ve used for a project based on an endorsement from someone else or a quick search of their profile.
  3. Team building/Goals reached = Gamification – This is one of the words that really makes people hate social.  But think about this one for a moment.  We are all competitive by nature.  We all want to reach goals, some just are more driven then others.  But when is the last time you had a team building activity and you ‘rewarded’ the winners of the exercise?  What about the last time your Sales team reached their quarterly goals, did you take them out to a nice lunch and celebrate?  Or you closed that big deal that just put you to the next level.  You cracked open the champagne and toasted everyone, right??  Yeah, Gamification.  Instead of instant rewards for sharing knowledge and displaying badges for reaching certain thresholds, you were giving out awards for their desk or expensive lunches.

These are just 3 examples but I’m telling you, you have been a ‘Social Collaborative Business’ is all along.  Now we are just using the technology that is out there.  I’d love to hear other example of how you’ve been a Social Business.

Why use an Enterprise Social Network?

‘Social’ is not a fad or the latest buzzword (although the word may disappear sooner than some think), but really a way of getting work done.  For those that have been around for a while, think about when email started?  I know I personally installed a IBM Lotus Notes 4.0 server back in 1996 to get a company up and running on email.  It was crazy at the time to think how we could ‘communicate’ with those in the office and clients or business partners around the globe. It opened up new channels and ways of working, right?  No longer did you need to pick up the phone or drive to their location to have a conversation.  You could easily work together without being in the same space.

Fast forward to 2014 years and tell me if this video doesn’t sound familiar?

Business Practices That Refuse To Die #44: Email Trees by @kevindjones

We are onto the next phase of collaboration.  Emails are too much of 1 to 1 and can cause a lot of extra work.  Think about how many times you’ve gotten a phone call or email or was asked in the hallway, ‘Hey do you have that email you sent around? I can’t seem to find it.’  Now, when you remember to look for it, you have to go back through your mail and locate it.  Once you find it, you have to send it along. Things would be so much better if you didn’t have to waste that time.

What if you you could:

  1. Tell them ‘Go search in the Project ABC community, it’s all there along with everyone’s thoughts.’
  2. Add a new employee to a group and get them up to speed in very little time
  3. Stop worrying about endless email chains of messages that are replied to all, forwarded and sent round and round

The possibilities are endless in what the new form of collaboration offers.  It’s up to you to join in and be part of a better way of working.

Tips to Make your Next Presentation a Winner

After a recent presentation on Social Business, I was given a compliment telling me ‘I should teach people how to give a good presentation’.  That note got me thinking about what are the keys to a good presentation.  I guess my teaching background provided the base for a lot of what I do today.

Every presenter/teacher has their own style and you should never try to be someone else on stage.  You have to figure out your audience and know how they will react to the content you deliver.  The same examples used in an internal company training may in no way relate to an external audience.  If presenting in person, things will be different from presenting a webinar that has no face to face interaction (which are by far the hardest to do in my opinion). Prepping for your presentation is a must.  If you don’t spend the time before hand, it will show. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more. That is your time to work out the kinks and nail your presentation down.

  1. Engage the audience – Talk with the audience. Have a conversation.  Ask questions to get them thinking about the topic at hand.  Try to get them in a frame of mind to think their way through the answer based on concepts you’ve already presented or alluded to.
  2. Tell a story – Build a story around your presentation and tie it all together throughout the time on stage.  Give personal stories or real world examples that they can relate to and help them understand the topic at hand.
  3. Don’t read the slide – I know that seems obvious, but nothing kills me more than watching someone read slides word for word.  I can do that myself.  Those are just a guideline for the audience.  Know your presentation and be able to talk about more than just the bullets on the wall.  Give details (see #2).
  4. Graphs & pictures for the win – The next worst thing after reading your bullets?  Having nothing on the slides but text.  Show examples.  Have images that help tie the story together.  Present your bullets one at a time or in groups.  You don’t want the audience reading all the text and ignoring you while you’re talking.
  5. Show live demos – When you can, show live examples.  It breaks up the ‘talking points’ and helps them see what you are showing them. If demoing the solution live is not an option, have clear screen captures that you can walk them through what they would see.
  6. Big finish – Wrap it up with a good example of the point you were trying to get across.  Your last slide before asking for questions should tie everything together and leave them wanting to go back and try it.

As you prepare for your next presentation, think about these items so you can make it a success.

SCT: Build a Social team

Social Collaboration Tip: Build a Social team

Don’t try to build a community all by your self.  Find champions from different departments and get them on board.   You need to find people that want to use social tools and get them to help champion your cause.  Once you teach them the goals and mission that your company envisions, they can help you with:

  1. Training & on-boarding
  2. Moderation of the ESN
  3. Follow-up training & support

One person can not truly handle all of this, you need a team.  Build a Social team.

Social Media – You’re Doing it Wrong!

The more time I spend trying to convince people that being social in your job is an important part of getting work done, the more I realize some just don’t/won’t get it.  I just posted up a new article and then stumbled across this gem.

“…on a daily basis Social intrudes on my life for about 15 minutes a day and then I go back to ignoring it and doing real work.”

Just so you don’t think I’m making this up, I’ve grabbed a screen capture of the post I found, ironically enough on an Enterprise Social Network. (I left out the individual’s name and photo).


Well my answer is you are doing it all wrong.  Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn are every bit of ‘doing real work’ if you use them correctly.  If you are simply going to LinkedIn to look for a new Job, on Facebook to check out what your friends posted up from their party last night or to see what people posted about their favorite TV show on Twitter, than stop reading now because you probably agree with the person in the quote above.

If you are using these tools for work or want to learn how, read on.  Several years ago (January 2008 to be exact) I sat at a Birds of a Feather session at a Conference to learn more about Twitter and how to use it for business.  I had been blogging technical articles for quite a while and relied on the RSS feed to get the word out to whomever followed it.   As I introduced myself to ask a question about how I would used Twitter for business purposes, a voice in the back, said, ‘Oh you write blog xyz, good stuff man.’  I turned and thanked the man and instantly recognized him from the picture on his blog.  The speaker knew my company and now gave an unsolicited promotion about our products and proceeded to explain that Twitter wasn’t just to share what I’d had for breakfast.  In turn, I could follow people in the room and hopefully they would return the favor.  Then, when I posted a new blog article, I could quickly promote it by giving a quick summary and a link to the article. If they liked it, they would retweet to their followers who would then follow me (hopefully).

“I went back and started the process.”

It all sound great, right?  And it is, when you do it the right way.  I went back and started the process.  I created an account and started following the few guys from the session.  I then looked at who they were following and added a few new people.  I made it a habit to look every morning to see what was new.  Some were noise and I learned to skip over those but others, provided technical content or information about industry happenings.  I’d like to tell you I did it perfectly from the beginning.  At times, I tried to just ‘fit in’ and be part of the crowd.  But in time, I learned what type of content got traction and what did not.  I learned how to not only take from the crowd, but give back some insight and thoughts on a topic at hand.  Soon I found myself using them as resources to fix an issue at work, or get some additional information for a project I was working on.  I’ve used several of them in business engagements, shared personal stories about my kids and built a relationship all because of Social Media.

I encourage you to read the the last quote above and re-read it again.  It’s a process.  Not a quick answer.  Take your time and start doing Social Media the right way.

Using Social Media vs. Being a Social Business

Things are changing quickly in my world and each day seems to bring something new with the product I’m managing and the conversations I’m having with my customers.  One thing that is staying constant is the confusion I see and hear on almost a daily basis.  That confusion really revolves around a particular phrase.

Social Media vs. Social Business

Take a moment, what’s it mean to you?  Are they the same? Different?  You thought the same, but my question is prompting you to think differently?

Seriously, take a moment and think about it.  I’ll wait.  I’ll check Flipboard until you are back.

Alright, let’s move on.  As I talk to customers, I commonly ask ‘Are you using any Social Business Platforms to help you collaborate?’  If they know I’m talking about IBM Connections, Yammer, etc, we have a pretty good conversation about why or why not.  The other side of that response is usually something like, ‘I don’t have time for Facebook or Twitter.  That’s kids stuff.’  Ugh!  Where to start?

In doing some research, I stumbled across this blog post by Pam Moore and thought is was perfect. (I just had the pleasure to meet Pam in person at IBM Connect and talked for a bit about the struggles of getting people to under stand this.)

“Social media, social business… what’s the difference? Social media is a set of tools and technology. It’s a medium that enables a conversation between human beings. It facilitates a one to one, one to many or many to many dialog for both people and brands. It presents opportunities beyond what traditional media and marketing can offer when integrated and aligned with business goals.Although we all become the media when using social media technologies, it is not about us broadcasting via a one way stream of self promotion. It’s about leveraging the medium to build relationships, provide value, share our authentic self and connect as human beings.In early 2012 I wrote an article to start a conversation for us all to get our arms around the definition of social business. You can read the article here-> Definition of Social Business?

Thinking back to my conversations has me really thinking that their is a big gap to understanding what ‘being social’ means and getting it implemented into a business setting.  I’m seeing more and more companies come on board, but my fear is they are not ‘selling’ it to their employees.  And it can be a hard sell, believe me.  You need buy-in from the top to get it to work.  You have to show the business value that it presents.  I plan to write other posts on this subject in the very near future.

In the mean time, I’ve got a few questions that I’m looking for feedback on.  Join me in the conversation on this topic.  I’d like to discuss it further on here or any Social site you find me.

  1. When you think Social Business, what does that mean to you?
  2. Do you work for a Social business?
    If so, what platform do you use?
  3. What struggles have you seen in getting to be a Social Business?

IBM Connect 2014 – Social Collaboration at its Finest

I spent the last few days in Orlando, Fl at the IBM Connect Conference. If you haven’t been there, it’s a great collection of technical and business content revolving around IBM’s collaboration suite.  Topics range from deep dive technical to Administration and the value of “being a social business”.  Every speaker I watched were among the best out there.

I really went into overload this week with all the nuggets of information that were being presented. Social business is a topic I’m very passionate about so the content really hit home. Instead of taking notes to later reference, I tweeted. Numerous posts all day long. I tweeted and retweeted and tweeted some more. I tried to share all the good information being throw out there.

Among the things I heard during the week about being a Social Business:

  • User adoption never ends, it’s an ongoing process
  •  Align social to your top business goals
  •  One ROI of being a social business – searching and reusing intellectual capital
  •  Social business is about changing behavior, not technology
  • We are in the Generation S (thanks @PamMktgNut)

When I put it all together, here is how I would summarize.

“You won’t find that ah-ha moment to break the barrier into being a social business. It’s a process. A combination of things. And when they all come together, you’ll be a social business.”

I’ll be writing more and more in the coming days and weeks on things I learned and will continue to develop this topic.

The 4 days was full of content sharing, product knowledge and was a chance to catch up with old friends in one of the strongest communities I’ve ever encountered.  It’s been a fun 6 years and I have every intention to make it back for a 7th year in January of 2015.