Archive for the ‘Social Media in the Workplace’ Category

Is FACEBOOK really that powerful? YES!

November 23, 2010

YUMA has 7300+Facebook Fans & is YET to deliver a product

Can you picture your day without social media? While some may STILL think social media is JUST fun and games, the Caribbean start up business is quickly realizing it is IMPOSSIBLE to brand a new company without a social media presence. While I have lectured on this subject, harassed friends and family to recognize this and written articles on same, my personal experience with 2 new businesses, Hair It Is and YUMA,  now makes me ready to kneel at the social media altar and ask to be forgiven for once underestimating its power. I once asked the question: Is Facebook powerful enough to build a brand before a product is delivered? The answer – ABSOLUTELY!

A few months ago I blogged about the power of social media as it related to new Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Band YUMA.  Since that time, an additional 3,000 people have joined the YUMA Facebook page and daily interactions continue to trend up. It would me remiss of me not to mention that I too miss the “YUMAS” when I can’t update the page daily. Many mornings coming up with the daily question helps me start my day and following the responses in the evening helps me end the day with a smile. Via Facebook, a FREE SERVICE, not only has a new brand been built – but an experience has been created. We call it YUMAvibes.

In essence YUMAvibes were engendered by a promise of something new. YUMA is a new Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Band designed for

YUMA has these VIBES all year round with Facebook!

 masqueraders who find the existing Carnival Experience to be “mundane” (this in itself may be considered a misnomer – Carnival is without question an energetic at times hedonistic street parade steeped in great times and seasoned with all you can eat and drink for the 2 days preceding ash Wednesday). By engaging those who were interested in “something different”, by utilizing social media to ask the 5 Ws and the H  (who what where when why and how) they could deliver on a new product, the brand was born. Daily interactions via Facebook (the Twitter Channel has been damn near abandoned – much more “vibes” on the Facebook page), occasional videos and lots of care/fun have built a following and helped the Carnival experience live on beyond costume collection and “playing mas”. 

 Did it all translate into sales? Um? YES! In a year when experienced Carnival bands are slowly moving costumes, “YUMAvibes” has led to the band being 99% sold out (in less than 3 months).

Hair It Is has an Educational Facebook Page that helped Drive Sales

My YUMArific (a word the YUMAs invented) experience, led me to utilize social media to assist newly formed business – Hair It Is – to position itself to be “the” go to location for premium hair and hair products in Western Trinidad. Expanding on the tactics I experimented with while developing  the YUMArific experience, an educational Facebook page was developed. Videos (youtube), photos and educational material were swiftly uploaded pre-the public launch of the Hair It Is Facebook page to ensure anyone visiting the page would learn something about hair (and the hair products sold at the store). Upon launch, through strategic “tagging” the page’s following grew exponentially. Hair It Is staff took the opportunity to anticipate customers questions and post answers before they were asked. They also listened to customers questions and aggressively sought to answer them. They became a resource BEFORE ever opening  their doors and when they did… Sales the 1st day with customers walking through the doors knowing EXACTLY what they wanted. They even attracted an online blogger who wrote a rave review about the store and its signature products – ENV Clip In Hair Extensions.

The challenge for both these brands is continued engagement. Facebook IS that powerful and it needs constant fuel to keep people interested. The fuel will be creativity. I’m up to that challenge – and it is a part time one for me!  So start ups, corporate entities and others – FACEBOOK is powerful enough to fuel your business and its power you have at your fingertips!

Social Media Training Class Post

August 4, 2010

Today I taught socialmedia to a group of colleagues. It was odd because I taught them abbreviations that I thought were common knowledge like POS but they thought POS meant Port of Spain when clearly it measn Parent Over Shoulder.

Communication Sancoche? Yes – You need a mix

February 4, 2010

Social media in the workplace gained a new, powerful ally yesterday. The Harvard Business Review sent a Management Tip of the Day  with the title “Encourage the Use of Social Media At Work”. Great. Facebook and LinkedIn for all now right? Wrong. When it comes to communication at work, your organization needs a Communication Sancoche (Caribbean Soup with Split Peas Base traditionally made of a variety of left over meats and provisions) – not just a the entree of Social Media which can, be as bland if not seasoned right.

Just as the flavour of Sancoche varies from household to household, so should the ingredients in your communication mix. The exact ingredients will vary based on the communication appetite of your audience as well. Social media is not a panacea. Its not a band-aid either. To quote a colleague, “Know your people. know your people. Know them some more”. How do you do this….Old fashioned Communication and modern communication approaches. Introducing the standard week one communication sancoche recipe:

Is Your Workplace Hungry? Find Out With this Basic Communication Sancoche Recipe

  1. Face to Face Meetings: “OMG, who has the time these days?” Make time. The exact quantity of this KEY ingredient to making your Communication Sancoche depends on the organization size. The more workers you have, the more face to face you need. YOU (yes you well dressed Communication Exec) needs to walk the oil rigs, visit the lunch rooms, talk to staff in kitchens AND YES, pull them aside at the watercooler or bathroom sink and TALK. Not from a script or with a survey, just talk and gain the pulse/ feeling/ sense of the average employee.
  2. Surveys: D’ (the) Boss man likes numbers. Give him/ her some. Communication survey samples should be no less than the average size YOUR BOSS thinks is sufficient. IE, don’t say “This is a survey sample of 10% which scholar xyz says is sufficient”. Instead, find out (via ingredient #1) what survey size he/she is comfortable with AND EXCEED IT. What to ask? What do you want to know more about? What communication channel/ method would you like to receive most of your information from? Etc. And guess what, dstribute the survey via various channels. Remember, not everyone loves Survey Monkey as much as you do….
  3. Recognition: Um, is this communication? How would your recognize excellent performance without communication? Thus, find a way to include it in various communication channels. Think of this as the SALT in your recipe. You need it, even though you don’t always think you do. Is it a small section in your employee magazine? Is this a weekly “Kudos Korner” on your Intranet? The ways you highlight this will vary on the results from ingredients #1 and #2. But don’t skip it, because you Communication Sancoche will be bland without it.
  4. Memos, Letters and Handbooks: Soooo two thousand and late right? Well if you want your communication sancoche to give your audience that “Boom Boom Pow” feeling, you still need  these old fashioned channels as much as the Black Eyed Peas need that heavy baseline to make their songs ROCK. Yep. Nothing beats a memo (hardcopy or not) to drive home the “Official Nature” of a major policy change, important happening OR to recognize employees (scroll up amigo!). Again, like too much of any ingredient will kill the flavour of your Communication Sancoche – you need to balance the memos with informal communication events
  5. Events: What? Spend money to wine and dine? Yes – without employee events the ingredients 1-4 won’t gel. People need to commune to feel part of a common group/ shared vision/ family (yes, I said it). You can work with your Executives to squeeze out every ounce of ROI from your employee event. Example: ensure they network, ensure best performers are highlighted and help your boss remember key achievements/ names (FYI – you are the person that gets them this info and reminds them of it through the event.

Is there more? Yes. Your staff will tell you what else is needed. See ingredients 1-3.

Are you engaging employees? If Not, reach for your lipstick!

February 2, 2010

Anything you say these days can and will be held against you. No comment is safe. Ask Steve Jobs. On February 1, 2010 Mashable’s Stan Schoeder wrote: “What a time we’re living in. You can’t even make fun of your competitors at your own company meeting without your words leaking out to the Internet” – could not agree more. But what does this mean for employers in the Caribbean and how can we work with “management” to show them that it no longer matters who you are talking to – everyone is powerful and they know it. They (we know)”My MEDIA” will change you and if you don’t I’ll make an example of you – no manager wants that!

Arguably, social media has given the “worker” more power than we had since the words “strike” and “union” first became meaningful to business owners. At the click of a button, conversations, off key comments and (yikes!) opinions can go global. Managers, be afraid – be very afraid (crap – self included!) and thinking of firing someone if they do this? There are tips on how NOT to get fired because of social media!

So what can we do? Some (as I have) try the SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY. Reality? They fail – ask the Associated Press, Ministry of Defense or Steve Jobs that now has an enemy in Google because he did what all leaders inevitably do – talk ‘not so nicely’ about competition – except this time, the WORLD knows about it.

Today, bosses are being managed and their policies fail.

Why do the policies fail? Why is trust in the workplace now so low?  In today’s world where opinion is king, telling any digital native they “can’t” or “should” or worse yet “MUST” comply means one thing. They won’t and YOU WILL suffer for attempting to do same. Possible Solution= Assume the position and give trust first.

WHAT? Trust those 18-35 year olds that are wasting time on social networks? Yes. Consider it new wave employee engagement. Court your employees and, as in the first phases of a relationship assume trust or risk losing what could be a good thing. Seriously. What female/ male would “stick around” if on day one you presented them with a list of relationship don’ts? Its the same with today’s employees. Try guiding us. Tell us about what the company stands for and walk the talk. Don’t just SAY “the company” is better than the rest – show us how and inspire us to be as well – by being ourselves. Scary concept – you bet! Guess what, like the social media policy, this won’t always work either – but guess what, its less likely to fail miserably – chances are, they’ll at least consider moving towards engagement if the trust package and what you have to offer looks good.

In the Caribbean, we are not by nature trusting people. We have, will and do OPENLY and EARLY share rules and regulations as if we all comply with same – then work towards breaking every rule and taking the “do what I say” approach to management. Those days are as over as the days of one dimensional TV will be soon (3-D is coming and coming fast!). The reality is, “MY MEDIA” with “MY FRIENDS” will change how you manage and how you act – if you don’t believe me folks, dare yell or be rude at an employee with a cell phone…touch up your makeup first though because you’ll be youtube bound before you know it. Guess what, its legal too and the advice is online! Or worse yet, they’ll use xtravideo and turn you into a cartoon (note this link contains coarse language)