Monday, November 25, 2013

3 Essential Elements of a Good Social Post

Have you ever looked at Facebook and wondered why so many people resonate with one post versus another? Why you aren't getting more traffic on Twitter? It may seem to you that one social media post is just like another, but the reality is good posts have that extra “special ingredient” yours may be lacking.

Although there are many books, websites, and blog postings on what a good post entails (and I have read many of them), Guy Kawasaki has come up with some good points in his book “What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us” that highlights how most posts can be improved. As a Social Media Strategist, I have plucked out some of his ideas, as well as, a few of my own.


Essential Element #1: Curate Good Stuff.Think of yourself as a librarian who has access to thousands of books and every day you have the opportunity to choose one of those books and say it is a “staff pick”. Do you think that carries more weight with library patrons, especially if it is right near the front door? You betcha! Same holds true with good content. If you put your own stamp of approval on other people’s blogs, you are saying to  your audience “Here, I thought you might be interested in reading this.”


Essential Element #2: Have a System to Curate Information.There are many ways to find good blogs, websites, or information on the web, but here are some of the ways I have found to be useful.


  • Twitter. Look at the Tweets of your following, search on certain hashtags, or use Twitter’s search engine (http://search.twitter.com) for keyword searches.
  • Google. If I am looking for a very specific subject matter, such as “new SEO techniques”, I will use Google to see what has been written. I am only interested in fresh content, so filter in information that has only been written in the last 30 days.
  • YouTube. If I want to explain something to my audience and I think it can be better conveyed via video, I will search YouTube for that topic and post the video on my social channels.
  • LinkedIn Groups. If you are active on LinkedIn, belonging to groups can bring you a plethora of  good topic ideas. You can also see what topics are trending in your industry.
  • Your Own Website. Highlighting what you do can be used for a post or be highlighted within a blog.
  • Press Releases. Looking at your own organization’s press releases can sometimes be re-purposed for a blog or highlighted within a social post.
Essential Element #3:  Follow the 3 A’s …Analysis, Assistance, or Amusement. 

Analysis: Share a new report, study, or outcome. Put your voice into the post, by saying something like this:


“Did you know the hospitality industry provides for 1 out of 9 US Jobs? No? Read this fascinating report about the economic impact meetings have on the US economy (URL).” 

Assistance: These are usually tips and techniques your audience can use. Here is an example:
“Who doesn’t want this for their business? 9 Tips to Improve Your Search Ranking (URL).”


Amusement: These posts are intended to show the “lighter” side of your organization — to make people smile or laugh. Here are two examples:


“Please add a caption to this picture (show a funny photo)or


Finish this sentence: “If you were to describe Mulligan Management Group, LLC in one word, that word would be __________________. 
Mulligan Management Group, LLC is based in Hudson, Ohio and provides Social Media Marketing and Implementation. Give us a call at  330.472.7673 for a FREE Consultation! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Why Everyone in Your Organization Needs to be On the Social Media Train


I have been working and delivering content in the social media world for the last 7 years. I have trained many company employees, non-profits, and individuals on the internal workings of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the like. And I have even tried to get individuals involved in posting content on their company’s site.
Most of the time it has been a real struggle for the organization to understand the benefit of this training. But I am here today to share with you why this training is so important and the positive impact social channels will have on your business.
Here are the myths, misnomers, and truth as I see them. After you read this, I would love to hear from you.
Myth and Misnomer #1: People will be posting all their personal stuff on company time. 
Here’s the reality: people will abuse company time with personal things if they think they can get away with it. Personal phone calls, emails and extended coffee breaks happened long before Mark Zuckerberg was even born. Social media and texting are just the new kids on the block.
The truth of the matter is leadership sets the tone for how people behave in the workplace. If they are constantly posting things on Facebook, taking personal calls, or 2-hour lunches, than everyone else will think it is okay to do so, too. If management embraces social and its power, so will everyone else. And as long as policies are set in the work environment about personal postings, you should have no issues.
Myth and Misnomer #2: Sales and Marketing handle all the customer interactions.
No so fast, bub. Yes, sales and marketing have a role in your company but now everyone is expected to sell, know, and have an opinion about your organizational dynamics. Because it is a big, bad digital world out there and because smartphones are so…well shall I say…smart, everyone is expected to know something about everything. Or find it out and get back to the customer. And I am not talking about in 2 days, I am talking about in 20 minutes.
The truth is that everyone in your organization is responsible for the customer experience. From the janitor to the CEO. And how do they find out and contribute to the customer experience? By paying attention and participating in social. Googling their organization. Answering complaints over the phone or over the web. And just plain caring that the customer is taken care of.
Myth and Misnomer #3: Only one person needs to contribute to social. 
One voice is not social. Social is a cocktail party with many voices and many listeners tuning into and out of several conversations. One voice is like listening to a lecture.
The truth is hiring out your social strategy and implementation is a good thing, but what makes your social pages strong and come to life are many voices with diverse points of view. Let’s say you have 10 employees in your company. Wouldn't it be awesome if all 10 participated in someway on the social programming schedule each month? Think of how rich your content would be and how much reach your message would have. And what about if each of those 10 people invited 150 people to like your page? Within a month, you could possibly have 1,500 likes or people in your circle. How awesome would that be?
Just like a train, social takes a while to start up and build steam. It slowly chugs along for awhile and then it builds up momentum and takes off! That is what we want for your social positioning. But let me ask: Is everyone in your organization on the train?
Dede Mulligan is Social Media Strategist for Mulligan Management Group, LLC. You can reach her at dede@mulliganmanagementgroup.com or call her at the office at (330) 472.-7673. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why All Event Organizers are Greedy Bastards

Okay, okay...don't get in a huff. Not ALL event organizers are this way, but today I had my limit and I needed to blog about it.

Here are my two stories:

STORY 1

Two weeks ago, I paid $1300 for a two-day conference. While the headliner was great and there were some teachable moments at the convention, for the most part, the conference was flat. I definitely did not get my money's worth.

So, instead of complaining to you, my virtual audience, I did the grown up thing and called the event organizer to share my displeasure. I was hoping for some adjustment in my fee or a heavy discount for next year's conference.

This is what I got instead:

"You (small business owner) are not my target audience."

"I'm sorry you experienced that with two rotten speakers, but we won't invite those people back next year to speak. Plus they were our corporate sponsors so we feel obligated to offer them a speaking slot."

What is going on here? I just gave up $1,300 of my hard earned money to hear this? Guess what event organizer, I'm not coming back next year to see if you improved. You didn't even ask me what I wanted. You just told me a) I don't really matter to you and 2) I don't care if you come back or not.

STORY 2

I volunteer to help out with local meetings for a national organization. Today they changed their pricing for walk-in attendees. And it was a steep fee. I called the event director and said I am concerned about this pricing algorithm and I think it makes the organization look dull. She said the board approved it and "that was that".

When I went on to say this meeting did not cost the organization ANYTHING and any attendance is a positive cash flow, she said I should write an email to the president of the organization. Say what? YOU are the event director. You should be advocating on my behalf as a member of the organization. You should have given individuals discounts for enrolling early instead of penalizing them for RSVPing late.

MORALE OF THESE STORIES

Look folks everyone is busy, but people are thirsty for good, valuable education. They want to be heard if there is a problem. They don't want to be told that they aren't part of your segment, better luck next year, or call someone who gives a damn.

If you want to make your organization grow, look at life through the lens of the person that called, emailed, tweeted or said something to you. They want your organization and conference to succeed.

Don't be a greedy bastard and don't make excuses. Fight for your attendees and do the right thing. In the end, they will be your biggest advocate and help your organization and conference grow.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Your Property Marketing to Business Travelers? Take a Hard Look at What They Want

Every hotelier knows that their business guests are looking for more from the property but not expecting to pay through the nose for it. This niche traveler has to submit their expense report every week to the finance office and at times, needs to justify their expenditures. Since the frequent business traveler will often be the hotel's "bread and butter" business during the week, it is important to attract these type of guests and more importantly, keep them happy. Below are some suggestions gleaned from frequent international travelers as reported in a recent travel edition of The Wall Street Journal, along with some of my own observations. 

There are 2 schools of thought about hotel expenses:
ALL EXPENSES ARE ITEMIZED
"Today, I want complete transparency when I travel around the world. I want to demonstrate to my financial director what I spent has been worth it and that value was my overriding criterion in every hotel," said Nigel Massey, Infrastructure Service Manager at TDG. 
"Business travelers always ask for itemized bills, rather than all-inclusive ones," said Debrah Dhugga, General Manager of DUKES London

ALL EXPENSES ARE INCLUSIVE

Here are items some hotels are providing to their guests, free of charge:
  • Local phone calls
  • Morning breakfast that is delivered to the guest's door
  • Newspaper delivered to their door 
  • Wi-Fi
  • Mineral Water
  • In-room iPads, loaded with city guides, tips and newspapers in the traveler's language
You and I both know these expenses are not exactly "free" but they help hotel marketing simplify the cost to their guests. In addition, if something is not of value, such as a breakfast that is cold or Wi-Fi that is very slow, the value to this offering goes down significantly. 

HOWEVER, AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO SERVICE
Hotel guests are becoming pretty demanding and the ability for guest services to meet their needs 24/7 is becoming more and more the standard. Shopping for a business traveler that forgot a pair of shoes, finding a courier, allowing them early check-in, or providing expedient laundry service at little or no charge, enhances or takes away from the guest experience. Just like a toddler asking for a piece of candy just before dinnertime, the business traveler doesn't want to hear the word "NO". 
"The most important thing, is that all the facilities, provide such things as a good laundry service, hairdresser, and efficient room service," said Nicoletta Trapani, a corporate lawyer that travels all over Europe and the Middle East.
"I always expect a very high level of customer service," said Sir Rocco Forte, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Rocco Forte Hotels. "Service should meet the individual needs of a client."
"I look for customized service and attentive staff," said Reto Wittwer, CEO of Kempinski Hotels. 
"It is service, service, service and a cozy bed with fabulous pillows and a good shower", said Debrah Dugga. "Sometimes it's the simple things that make the difference." 
- See more at: http://i-meet.com/pages/blog/ShowBlogPost.aspx?BlogPostID=2623#sthash.Yo118EgW.dpuf

Monday, August 26, 2013

5 Minutes to Judging an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

As much as we would like to get away from PowerPoint, it is still the number 1 presentation method used by most speakers and facilitators. However, now more than ever, you need to review the slides to make certain the message is right for your audience. You can no longer take for granted that presenter is the subject matter expert on effective PowerPoint presentations. You are. But you have so little time -- how will you manage? 
Take the next 5 minutes to read this blog for effective methods in evaluating PowerPoint. To save even more time, forward the entire post to your speakers and ask them to follow this advice. Here are the 6 most helpful tips: 
  1. Use Large and Legible Fonts. 

    Ideally, when you run through the presenter's talk, go to the farthest corner of the room and see if you can see the message. According to  Guy Kawasaki, Advisor at Motorola Mobility, the smallest font type used should be 30 point. However, if you think that is too large or too small, take the oldest person in the room and divide by 2. That is your font point.

    In addition, use legible fonts like Arial, Times New Roman or Rockwell. Clean and crisp is the name of the game.
     
  2. Keep it Short.

    Kawasaki recommends that the presentation be no longer than 20 minutes and many other presentation methods are shorter. Take for example, TED (18 minutes), PechaKucha (6 minutes and 20 seconds) and Ignite (5 minutes).

    The point is a brief presentation keeps the speaker on point, focused and gives attendees plenty of time for questions.
     
  3. Follow the Rule of 10. 

    Kawasaki uses only 10 slides for any presentation. It doesn't matter what the topic is, this is the format he uses. Each slide contains a single image with one sentence or phrase.

    In addition, his first slide identifies the problem, second slide the solution, and so on up to slide 10 which is the call to action. 
     
  4. Show Them. 

    Attendees are visual learners. According to Price consulting firm, attendees will retain your speaker's message the following way:

    55% visually (through photos or videos) 
    38% by what the speaker says and
    7% by the text on the slide.
     
  5. Tell a Story. 

    Whether you or your speaker are conducting a product launching eventtraining seminar or sales meeting, you are trying to sell your attendees on an idea or concept. However, you need to connect to them both intellectually and emotionally. How do you do that? By telling them a story -- that has a beginning, middle and end.
     
  6. Know the Attendees. 

    Make certain the speaker tailors their message to the attendees. If you rent iPads for your meeting, encourage the presenter to keep the line of communication open with Twitter. A speaker that can adapt to to the pulse of the audience is one that you want to have...not one who is delivering the same talk for  the 200th time.
     

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Current Trends in Audio that will Make Your Next Event Really Sound

It seems that most meeting planners are so heavily focused on the visual "wow" factor of a meeting --  which includes video and 3-D effects -- that they often miss the importance of a quality sound system. But the truth of the matter is, if your presenter loses sound or it cuts in and out, your audience will be so frustrated with the lack of sound all that "wow" will be for not. 
The good news is audio equipment is getting smaller and smarter. BizBash Magazine recently featured four equipment trends in the arena of audio production that will ultimately deliver improved sound for your attendees. 
Here are four new equipment improvements on the horizon: 
WI-FI MICROPHONES
These new microphones communicate with the base system via Wi-Fi and offer the following benefits:
  • If there is a frequency problem, the base system assigns a new frequency within milliseconds, which eliminates the mic from cutting out or feedback from the PA system.
     
  • This system can control multiple open microphones without human interaction.
     
  • It will mute the mic automatically if no one is speaking.
     
  • A Wi-Fi mic has a longer battery life than standard wireless mics.
     
DIGITAL MIXING CONSOLES
With powerful functions and expandability at about half the size of old consoles, this system boosts the following benefits:
  • A high resolution LCD touch screen allows for any bank of faders to be instantly assigned as input or output channels.
     
  • This system provides easy access to multiple mixing channels with a push of a button.
     
  • By delivering superb sound, it gives depth and clarity to the mix. 

COMPUTER CONTROLLED SOUND
When renting audio visual equipment, the new audio speakers allows the AV technician to steer the sound waves around any physical barriers. You can now focus sound like you have been able to with light equipment rentals. The benefits are:
  • The speakers are much smaller and lighter so your conference equipment rental company can hang speakers in the optimal places for sound.
     
  • Due to more efficient technology, the amplifiers can go into the speaker cabinets -- thus eliminating a full rack of amplifiers and saving valuable space, setup and tear down time.
     
SMALLER CABLES
Rather than having large, unsightly copper wiring, everything is controlled via a small Ethernet jack that can either run under the carpeting or over ceiling tiles. The major benefit is it allows guests to flow easily in the meeting room and the meeting planner does not have to worry if guests will trip over the wiring. 
For more information on audio, check out Friday's blog post titled "Tricks of the Meetings Trade: The Ultimate Audio Checklist". 

Monday, June 17, 2013

6 Ways Toward a Personal Improvement Plan

"In order to be selfless, you first need to be selfish." And even though this may seem counterintuitive to what you probably have been taught -- it is true. You need to take care of your own personal growth and development FIRST before you can be an effective team player. 
So what do you need to do? Here are six effective steps to get you there: 
FIRST, listen to yourself
We never take time to pause. Take time to pause.  Who knows you the best? Of course, you do! Now it is true we all have our blind spots, but for the most part you know your own strengths and weaknesses. Now is the time to step out of your comfort zone and determine what you need to do. During a quiet time of the day, listen to your thoughts.
Thinking about what you need to do is one thing, but springing into action is quite another. Once you know what needs to be done, it is time to develop specific, measurable goals. For example, perhaps you want to be a better listener and stop interrupting your teammates. You decide that you are going to stop multi-tasking while in a conversation, count to three before responding, and make a ticky mark when you interrupt. These are ways to get you out of your comfort zone, and that's when you grow.
THIRD, Prioritize. 
Don't try to tackle everything you want to develop at once. Work on a list and once you complete one habit, you can start on another. It is best to start small and end with your most difficult developmental activity. 
FOURTH, Choose your attitude. 
Even the best laid plans are going to have bumps in the road. It is how you manage those missteps and obstacles that will determine your success rate. If you are at peace with the fact that much of what happens in the workplace is out of your control and you are not responsible for the actions of others, this frees you up work on yourself and control your own attitude. 
Here is a brief video highlighting how you can bring a great attitude to the workplace every morning: 
  
Stop blaming others for your misfortunes. Blamers are victims.  Blaming is giving your power away.  Say you are sorry, fix the problem and move on. 
SIXTH, Be thankful. 
It is impossible to be thankful and depressed at the same time.  No matter how bleak things look in your world, there is always something to be thankful for -- including having a job, home and family. As one of my friend's says to me quite often, "I am thankful every morning that I am above ground!" What a way to think about life!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

3 Fantastic Ways Technology is Improving the Events Landscape

Check out this great blog about how technology + event = satisfied attendee!

http://blog.aveventsolutions.com/blog/news-and-tips/the-3-fantastic-ways-technology-is-changing-the-landscape-of-events