All posts by Jeff Marmins

You Can’t Control Customer Behavior Online

American Genius published an article, “Corner Bakery Cafe forbids photography inside their restaurants, ‘it’s policy.’” It is another cautionary tale about bad decisions with regard to customer engagement and misguided social media policy. The Corner Bakery Cafe forbids photography inside their restaurants. As author Marti Trewe says in the article, and I agree,“Unfortunate and misguided.”

MARKETING REACH

It  has never been easier to spread your reputation and garner attention, especially for a business like a restaurant. In fact, social communication is partly responsible for the meteoric rise of the gourmet food truck sector from 2011 until now. There are tons of success stories, especially in the restaurant industry, of getting referral and repeat customers as a result of shared stuff online. After all the heart and soul of “social media,” is user-generated content.

BUSINESS DOESN’T CHOOSE

Your business is online and in social channels. Whether you choose to actively participate in the conversation or not is your choice. Never expect to control the conversation. Any attempt to dictate customer behavior can be damaging to your brand.

If our company were to do an analysis of Corner Bakery Cafe then trying to prevent customers from sharing anything online would be a significant weakness. Chain stores of this size (170+ locations in at least 17 states) are beyond this phase of maturity. Many are now figuring out how to train and engage their employees to safely take part in social channels. If you’re still considering public engagement then you are behind competitively in most markets.

IDEAS TO SHARE

  1. You should not attempt to control customer behavior (because…see #2 below)
  1. You cannot control customer behavior
  1. We are in the age of the empowered customer. You must find a way to weave the experience you create into the customer’s journey.
  1. Digital interaction is part of our lives now. We share information in the moment. You can choose whether or not you embrace it personally. However, as a business, organization, team or nation, your choice SHOULD BE dictated by your audience.

Note: Corner Bakery Cafe has an active presence online with popular, carefully managed profiles on most public platforms.

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Why Are You Still Using That Stupid Password?

I’m not sure why this article from Slate, The Internet’s 25 Worst Passwords, and What They Say About You, popped up in my blog and article feeds today. It reminded me, though, of some of the clients that we work with and how they treat the password field. Short, easy to remember lousy passwords  – and they’re all the same for every website, social platform and web service. Aren’t we all reading the horror stories of compromised accounts and information?

Listen Up Already and Don’t Get Hacked

It drives me a little batty. We’re not an internet security company and don’t provide security advice but I’ve been around computers and network systems for awhile now.  I’ve had conversations with software and network security professionals that have changed my own behavior. Some of these talks were a little scary with regard to how vulnerable we are especially if we don’t do a few easy things to significantly decrease our odds of being hacked.

Security of stored digital information is relatively new. There are services available that permit you to enter your email address and learn “Which Of Your Accounts Have Been Hacked.”

Manage Your Information S.M.A.R.T.

When we engage a new client and have responsibility for online properties with passwords and login information we use a Google spreadsheet, Client Master Credentials Template. Not only does it serve as a single source of information for projects, it fosters sharing and trust. It’s not recommended as a solution; Usually it ends up being a tool to recommend using better passwords.

Deloitte consulting recommends using the S.M.A.R.T. approach – Strong, Multi-character, Avoid associations, Random, and Tools. Strong means long. The longer the better and the more difficult it is to crack. Multi-character means just that. Use everything that the site allows. No birthdays, pet names, child names -nothing associated with your personal life.

The best thing you can do overall is not even know your passwords yourself. Use a password management tool like Lastpass or SplashID that also has the capability of generating random passwords. The convenience of these tools is that they can easily integrate with your favorite web browser. Once you’re logged-in the software will take care of all your sign-ons with varying degrees of security that are easy to customize. You only remember the one password.

Need some help? Let us know and we’ll point you in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

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Whitepaper: Seven Social Media Mishaps and How To Avoid Them

We’re excited to release an end of year white paper that provides some real tips on doing social better in 2014. Read these seven cautionary tales and the corresponding lessons. We’re confident that you’ll take-away something useful.

Get More Info

Read this social media whitepaper and takeaway the best cautionary tales and practical advice on how to not let them happen to your business.

Simply enter your email address and the download link will be sent right to your inbox.



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Social Media Training Discount for Business Owners and Executives

We launched an awesome discount of 50%  (Discount Code: Holidaywish) for one-on-one executive social media training. If you missed it then this is your week to ensure you begin 2014 with a stellar set-up and workflow to integrate social media into your business day. Don’t bolt-on social or try to program it as a stand-alone activity like most other projects and tasks.

man and woman having a conversation at computer keyboard while training in social media for business

Learn how to set-up your web browser, gather information online, synchronize information between desktop and mobile devices and find what you need when you need it. We combine in-person and live screen sharing sessions.

Learn More & Book It

Making time for social is important. How you do it is important. Getting some training that offers you a safe place to get your questions answered will be one of the most important things you do for your business and customers in 2014.

Buy now or get in touch and ask your questions!

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Sharing Content – It’s the Little Things

When we sent our Happy Thanksgiving email using Mailchimp it was shared on Facebook. After all, why should our email of gratitude and holiday wishes only be limited to our mailing list? The pesky auto-post-from-one-online-service-to-another. It posted with Mailchimp’s logo from the email.

Mailchimp_Facebook_post_image

Perhaps you’ve done something similar. In fact, you may have abandoned some tools in their early releases because they transfered your well engineered blog post to a lousy text-only-link  on Facebook or elsewhere.  It sounds finicky, persnickety or some other thing that ends in “y,” that means workflow on social tools that just works like my toaster.

There is a bunch of little stuff and getting it right takes time.

Social media managers, community managers and many more are fiddling around with getting all of the details right that can contribute to making things work in concert.  And they break. And they change. The mistakes are public and need to be acceptable.

These days, the learning happens live. Right there in front of you. Hopefully it’s something small and annoying like this and not a contribution to the book of digital cautionary tales.

Of course, after seeing the post appear as it did to the right, this help, How can I choose the image thumbnail that shows up on Facebook was easy to find (Mailchimp has great support ). So, we can do it right the next time.

We’re still grateful. Have any of your own tips or mistakes to share?

 

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Social Strategy Sandbox Podcast Update

We know there’s a lot coming your way.

How many white papers, videos, powerpoint decks and podcasts can you digest and still be productive day-to-day?

Our hope is that we can offer some easy-to-consume value in the form of podcast interviews with thought leaders and industry experts. Our goals for the Social Strategy Sandbox is 30 minutes of fun, value and actionable take-away.

Brand New Podcasts

Click here to subscribe to Social Strategy Sandbox; Blue circle with music note and text

Association Online Communities

Our most recent podcast is How Associations are Capitalizing on Online Communities with Joshua Paul, Director of Marketing and Strategy for Socious Software.  The discussion covered the use of online communities for member engagement and collaboration. We also covered how decisions are being made to plan and use online community software for Associations and non-profits.

YouTube Video Deep-Dive

Earlier in August we had the pleasure of a YouTube video deep dive with film producer, video production and marketing expert Torrey Loomis. One thing is certain. If you listen to this audio you will want to go do some video. YouTube is a powerful search engine and should be a business requirement. Learn how to avoid some common mistakes and where to start on Why Your YouTube Video Sucks (and what you can do about it).

Photo of Euan Semple

Coming in September: What’s Working Now In Social Business? A Global View

Want to join us live? Please do on September 12th at 10: 30 AM Pacific for What’s Working Now In Social Business? A Global View . I’m going to get to chat with consultant, author

and former Director of Knowledge Management for the BBC, Euan Semple. Mr. Semple has a great podcast series of his own about the use of the social web in business. Give it a listen and I’m sure you’ll see why we’re excited to have him on the Social Strategy Sandbox next month!

 

 

 

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What is a social business ecosystem?

The ideal social business ecosystem is all of your people, information and processes connected in such a way as to waste less time finding the right person or the right answer.

The dictionary defines an ecosystem as any system of interconnecting and interacting parts, as in a business: The success of Apple’s ecosystem depends on hardware/software integration. Manufacturers, retailers, and customers are all part of the automotive industry’s ecosystem.

Social Business Ecosystem

It’s a simple way to look at it and makes sense when it comes to where social networking platforms can help people in a business of any size company. A functioning ecosystem is people sharing information easily and servicing customers efficiently.  The conversation among all stake-holders becomes accessible, making each part of the ecosystem truly connected to the other.

The scientific view, based on today’s technology, offers a more detailed explanation to what can be achieved in a business today.

  • A community of organisms together with their physical environment, viewed as a system of interacting and interdependent relationships and including such processes as the flow of energy through trophic level sand the cycling of chemical elements and compounds through living and nonliving components of the system.

    The American Heritage® Science Dictionary -

Sure, some of that is hard to apply to business as a concept but from a 50,000 foot cultural perspective, we see harmony, order and purpose. Businesses that are growing toward this objective are more fun places to work. They have engaged employees that treat customers better, fostering loyalty. They are not afraid to make mistakes or bring forth bold ideas.

Learn more about C7group.

Find out about our consulting services or workshops.

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Social Media Risk Management – Altimeter Group Research

Recently, Altimeter Group published their findings from a detailed study on Social Media Risk Management.We are grateful that Altimeter chose C7group as a resource for their research. Altimeter has fast become a benchmark for analysis of new and disruptive technologies and business practices.

“66% of companies surveyed said that social media represented a significant or critical risk to the reputation of the organization…”

Please view and share the report below. We welcome your comments.

C7group offers services in Social Media Governance (Policy and Procedure) and Employee Training (Example: Social Media Behavior and Best Practices).

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Portland high schools block social networking, video streaming sites #Fail

Over the next two weeks, Portland’s school district will install filtering software on laptops issued to high school students, in order to block access to pornography, social networking sites and video streaming sites when the laptops are at home.

The district will install filtering software made by Sophos, an Internet security company based in Boston. The software will be downloaded automatically when students boot up their computers at school. Only when students get home will they discover that their lives have changed in a big way.

No longer will they have access to social networking sites like Facebook and video-streaming sites like Hulu and YouTube. Also blocked will be forums and news groups, games, dating sites, gambling sites and chat rooms. – The Portland Press Herald

This will prove to be the wrong approach. It is incredible how a School District can make this kind of decision. It is further evidence that migrating from old ways of thinking in business and education will take considerable effort and visionary thinking.  Today learning can be reinforced online.

(more…)

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