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Corey Rawdon

Keep it, fix it, or kill it—what to do with your aged Salesforce implementation

By | Professional, Strategy | 4 Comments

On 4 October 2016, I took to the Dreamforce stage to deliver a talk on what I did with the 10+ year old Salesforce instance I inherited at Amazon.

Spoiler alert: I fixed it.

Since leading this session, I have been invited to speak with other Salesforce customers to share my thoughts on whether they should keep, fix, or kill their own aged Salesforce implementation and have been asked over email and LinkedIn to share my ideas of how others should go about making this decision for themselves. The most recent question I received was:

Greetings Corey, I was wondering if you may be able to share with me some ideas of where to start analyzing the instance of Salesforce to determine if a re-platform is the solution. I’m trying to determine where to begin, what metrics to gather, and reasoning for this direction. I want to be able to create a report that will resonate with decision makers. — DG.

I am happy to help, DG!

Defining keep it, fix it, and kill it

  1. Keep it: Keeping your instance means making small improvements to KLO or keep the lights on.
  2. Fix it: Fixing your instance means replatforming, either in whole or in part, to rebuild your data model, workflow, and sales process.
  3. Kill it: Killing your instance means dropping Salesforce completely and moving on — either to something else, or nothing. You do not always *need* a CRM system and things change.

Understanding technical debt
Technical debt, and the amount of which is negative, will be the single most important input into your decision-making process. Here is how you evaluate the technical debt in your own Salesforce instance:

  1. Do you have instances of field hijacking? Reuse of fields is a typical Salesforce practice; however, the active repurposing of a field across different groups is problematic — I call this field hijacking. Look for examples where a field not only has a different definition amongst teams, but also contains a different set of data per use. Too many instances of field hijacking indicates a strong propensity to replatform — a few instances can likely be fixed within your KLO program. Example: “Priority Lead”. Normally I’d expect this field to be a checkbox; however, let’s assume the field is a picklist with values 1,2,3. Field hijacking occurs when group A uses this field to track prioritization status (using 1,2,3 as prioritization options), group B uses this field to track what program this lead has been put into (using this field to track lead warming campaigns), and group C uses this field to simply track whether or not a lead has been marked as priority (just choosing option 1 to indicate priority). In this example, org-level reporting for priority is problematic as groups have begun to build their own SOPs to workaround Salesforce, not within it.
  2. Have you reached your column or workflow limits? Salesforce is highly customizable, this is why you’ve bought and deployed the platform; however, excessive customization — likely due to localization — is indicative of negative technical debt being amassed. If you have hit, or are within 90% of your object column limit (800), or workflow limit (300) — both as of 5 March 2017 — chances are high that you’ve localized too much and you’ll need to replatform rather than try to fix your instance. Why? This level of customization means that your instance has been highly localized for many disaparate processes and functions — attempting to change only one, or a handful, will simply resolve your Salesforce issue and not the underlying org data model problem.
  3. Do you have data integration jobs updating sales stages, close dates, or other fields typically set by your sales process? Steps of your sales process — for leads and opportunities — are meant to be worked by your sales team. If you have automation in place to update these steps for you, using data outside of Salesforce, it could mean that the process is no longer useful and your workflow is outdated. The use of a handful of integration to update this data is not entirely indicative of a problem; however, if multiple teams are using different data sets and building automation jobs for the same fields, you could have a scenario where your workflow in Salesforce is outdated against the current state of your business indicating a need to replatform.

Making your decision
Once you have the scope of your technical debt understood, the decision to keep, fix, or kill your Salesforce instance will now come down to two other factors: your commitment to Salesforce as a platform and the expected growth of your business over the next three years. If your commitment to Salesforce is low, and you could potentially abandon CRM altogether or move to another platform, an investment to kill your instance and rebuild is unwise. Your resources are better spent understanding your need for CRM and making its place as a business driver more well known. If your commitment level is high, you then need to look at the expected growth of your users as determined by group and role. If you are in a stable business, you can keep your current instance and resolve more of your negative technical debt through a KLO program than if you are in a growth or changing business.

Social 501 – The Social Eminence Masters Class

By | Professional, Strategy | No Comments

Welcome to Social 501, the final post in a five-post series about mastering social to build your personal/professional brand eminence.

Social 501: The Masters Class
In the first four posts of this series, Social 101, Social 201, Social 301 and Social 401, we learned how to get started on Twitter including how to setup your account, find people to follow and how to engage in the conversation; how to build value on social platforms by connecting with others, making your thoughts known; building out your social footprint by establishing your online profiles and the settings or ways of use for each; creating and defining eminence and thought leadership and so much more. In this final post I will help you put it all together by discussing the social platforms a bit more, talking about social influence and sentiment and participating and building communities.

What are the social influence engines and what do they measure? What does it mean to me?
Personally, I place zero value on measurements such as Klout and Kred. While I do believe each one has a particular value proposition that can be important and useful in certain contexts I am not a believer in the measurement systems overall. This being said, I do want to address a few points for all of you graduating readers out there in the masters class!

  • Social influence is generally measured by how often people engage with your content, share your content and engage with you or members of your network
    • Put simply: the more people interact with you and your content the more influential you are perceived to be and the higher your influencer score becomes
  • Sign up for each service I’ve mentioned and view the details; however, DO NOT get caught up on your score!
    • What I want you to take away from each service is a view into who you interact with most and who interacts with your content the most across each network. These people are your influence network and you should care greatly about them
    • Take a look at your post popular posts/topics and updates. Do people love your photos? Maybe they love your cat memes? Whatever it is, identify it and measure it against what you wanted to be known for and what you have set your goal to be influential in
  • Now, forget your score
    • Seriously, forget it and ignore it; it is meaningless and useless. Also, ignore things like Klout Perks or other “you are an influencer so sign up to get this” schemes; sure, you might be an influencer genuinely in the topic for the perk but that does not mean you should get on the mailing list; you get enough email as it is. Plus, a direct interaction with the brand on Twitter is more valuable to you and them than a perk

How about social sentiment? Should I care about my sentiment towards brands/people/posts and other’s sentiment on my content?
In short, yes! However, sentiment analysis is not necessarily easy or cheap to obtain and you need specialized knowledge to read the tea leaves so to speak. There are a few things as a master class reader you should be focused to though when it comes to sentiment

  • Be mindful of your tone of voice and how you engage with brands and other people
    • It is ok to be disappointed and upset and sometimes you can even be angry; however, by and large your overall tone of voice should be positive or at least amiable
  • Be you with just a little bit of filtering
    • This one is hard for even me (or maybe I should say especially me!) but it is critical nonetheless. You should always be yourself on social and everything you post should be true to you as a person and how you think. That being said, you do not need to post everything or every thought on social. I’m guilty of constantly criticizing the fact that American Airlines has no vegan food for me, ever, on any flight, no matter what my class of service is or my destination. So while I post about this I have to be careful not to let those post overwhelm my other nuggets of wisdom (such as the sharing of this post) – make sure your stream does not get clogged by negative sentiment posts
  • Know what sentiment is and how it is measured but also know, that like influence, it is sometimes meaningless
    • Many companies (hi there Radian6 / Salesforce Marketing Cloud friends!) have made big businesses off of measuring sentiment and selling this knowledge/data to businesses and that is great! But know that sentiment does not tell the full story and that sentiment is only piece of the larger puzzle (R6 will tell you this themselves) and is sometimes not even accurate. What is important is that on the whole people are viewing your content in a mostly positive light and interacting with it; as long as you are there, you are good to go

I’ve just checked my influence scores/sentiment analysis and some content seems to perform better on Twitter than Facebook for example
Yes it does! This is valuable information and should be information you use to really judge your content and what you post where. Again, sentiment and influence data has a place and that place is really identifying your influence network, evaluating your content and how it performs where, and helping you understand what types of content people are engaging with the most against what you had hoped it would be… leave scores, etc out of it

As I’ve been building out my network on Twitter I’ve started to get to know some really great people and building a community (or becoming a part of one); what is next?
Social communities are really the backbone of social media IMHO and the more you become a part of them the greater your network, reach, and influence will become. As you continue to engage with these communities I’d like for you to take a look at what makes them work. Do brands sponsor them in some way? Did they self-organize or did a community manager at a company put them into place? How often do they “meet” and how is the discussion organized?

These questions (and subsequently answers) will help better inform the way you interact on social and maybe even help you build a community of your own someday! Remember the thought leadership content from social 401? Well, communities often center around companies or individuals who are thought leaders and the relationship becomes oftentimes a symbiotic one where each group benefits from the other; make sure you are contributing appropriately!

Great! So what now?
Now? Go out and keep doing what you are doing! Thanks for following along with this five-part series and thanks to those of you who have engaged with the content and kept the conversation going! If you found value in this content please share it with others in your network and help them build their own eminence!

Now, let’s continue the conversation! Follow and engage with me on Twitter, leave a comment below, or send me an email via my contact page.

Corey Rawdon

Social 401 – Thought Leadership and Eminence Building

By | Professional, Strategy | No Comments

Welcome to Social 401, the fourth post in a five-post series about mastering social to build your personal/professional brand eminence.

Social 401: Thought Leadership and Eminence Building
In Social 301 we learned how to manage your social footprint and had a discussion on how to consider your personal vs professional brand and how this translates to your social profiles. This next post builds on this knowledge by beginning to elevate the conversation to focus on building and sharing your own content to establish your position as a thought-leader or at least increase your eminence in a given space

What exactly is eminence? What is thought leadership? Why should I care?
Let me address the last question first: you should care because eminence and thought leadership is what helps you build out your network, expand your knowledge, open up job opportunities or new business leads and much more. In other words, everything we have talked about in social 101 until now is realized through your ability to establish eminence and maybe even become a thought-leader in a given space. Now, let’s define eminence and thought leadership:

  • Eminence: Merriam-Webster (my fav source for definitions) defines eminence as “a position of prominence or superiority”. Placed into the realm of social we can further define eminence as being recognized for superior knowledge in a certain category
  • Thought Leadership: while no formal definition of thought leadership exists (that I am aware of anyway), Russ Prince and Bruce Rogers do a great job of outlining a definition in this article. Put simply, a thought leader is a person (or company) that is seen as one of the foremost authorities in a selected area of specialization or expertise

From my POV (point of view) one can have eminence in a space or specialized area without being seen as a thought leader and this is OK… /not everyone can be a thought leader, and not everyone should be/.

How do I build social eminence and get recognized for it?
Building social eminence is as simple as moving your masterful offline knowledge into the online realm and sharing it. There are three steps you can take to get started today

  • Identify what you are recognized for
    • You might be saying to yourself right now “I do not have anything I am recognized for!” but I challenge you to think again. What do people always ask you about? Are you the go-to person for advice on a particular topic? Do you always get looked to in order to perform a certain task or piece of work? Everyone has something that they excel in; you just need to identify it
  • Start sharing your knowledge on a personal blog
    • I have said it before and I’ll repeat it again here… you need a blog (or other medium) by which to communicate and share your knowledge and point of view. You do not have to have a fancy blog or even a huge website, you just need a simple place to start writing down your thoughts and ideas and a way to categorize them
  • Distribute links to your content via the social platforms you are involved on (Twitter and even LinkedIn are must-dos!)
    • Once you have the content posted, even if it is just one paragraph, post it and share it. Some of the best posts are short, timely, and relevant

How about thought leadership?
Becoming a thought leader and creating thought leadership is much more difficult than building eminence as you not only need to be a master in a space but a visionary also. That being said, even just attempting to create thought leadership in the form of blog posts can help increase your social eminence and here’s how to do it

  • Find what’s new, build knowledge, and create the application for the knowledge
    • When building eminence it is enough just to have domain expertise and be able to share, help, and mentor others; however, when it comes to thought leadership you must be on the forefront of the curve. You need to not only recognize what is new and changing but you need to research it and know it to its core and then you set the stage and pathway for its application rather than being an expert at explaining and helping others with someone else’s application
  • Espouse the new application to everyone
    • Once you have identified what is new/changing, you have mastered it, and you have created the outline for how people will function with this change you now need to share it far and wide and make it your own. Put simply: you need to own this knowledge and start telling others why your way not only makes sense but is the right way to go and proceed forward
  • Be prepared to defend and adapt
    • During the espousing phase you will likely encounter naysayers or people who will challenge your thought leadership; this is a great thing! If people are challenging your way of thinking it means they have recognize it enough to care to comment and think about it and how they would apply your thought leadership into their own field and area. Consider this: the breakout ideas of our time were not always popular but people stuck to them, defended them, and sometimes even built businesses around them. This does not mean you cannot (and should not) adapt but if you truly believe your way of thinking about the new change is right you should adopt the way of thinking yourself and share it continually with others

Sound a little vague? Place this into the context of healthcare reform… people and firms who have analyzed the healthcare laws and have published content on how to help health systems and other groups adapt are now being recognized as thought leaders in this space. They are not only being looked to for advice and knowledge but they are also making quite a bit of money off being thought-leaders in healthcare reform and helping navigate companies through the changes; you just need to find what that topic is for you!

Ok, I’m ready to write and start establishing eminence but I’m not sure what to say, etc
While I will not address the best ways to create a blog post here I will leave you with some do’s and do not’s:

  • Do
    • Write your opinion and share it freely
    • Weave your own experience into the conversation and discussion
    • Be simple (when possible)
    • Be bold
    • Be conversational and open to the discussion
  • Do Not
    • Attack others or their opinions (though you can write a dissenting opinion!)
    • Feed the trolls; sometimes people want to attack your thoughts no matter what; learn to identify them and move on
    • Steal others’ content – give credit where credit is due
    • Wait to post something until you think it is great; just get started now

That’s it! Get out there and start writing. Then, tune in next week for my last post in this series on putting it all together; I call it the masters class!

Now, let’s continue the conversation! Follow and engage with me on Twitter, leave a comment below, or send me an email via my contact page.

Corey Rawdon

Ceasing Development Work on Curatiant as a SMMS

By | Personal | No Comments

The sea change in social business engagement presses forward; however, development on Curatiant, the product I built to help guide companies in this transformation, will cease.

It all began in November 2010 with a simple vision – to help companies leverage social networks to usher in a new era of social engagement for employees via managed and secured communications. I wrote at the time that “anyone in the company should be able to create and curate content! No longer should companies have to invest in additional headcount to manage their social networks. Using the installed base of employee experts anyone with a license [to the product] can create content that can be pushed into an approval queue for review and publishing”. This idea and vision later became Curatiant.

Feeling quite strong about this shift in social engagement I moved in February 2011 to complete the drafting of the full details of project ‘MediaForce’ – later ‘Inteliant’, the codename for the product that would become Curatiant, and began the process of building the business justification to build and launch it. At the time, two rogue tweets had just been produced, the tweet by the American Red Cross and Kenneth Cole’s tweet. I knew I was on to something at the time and thought to myself “why has no one put safeguards into place to prevent these needless rogue tweets?” and aggressively built out the ideation deck for the product and began shopping the idea to my friends and family.

That original idea, in all its hand-drawn glory, can be viewed here (as you can see, I LOVE stick figures!):

*NOTE: MediaForce / Inteliant was originally focused on Healthcare as this was the industry vertical I found myself in at the time and an industry that I felt was ripe for innovation (and still do… more on that later). What you see in Curatiant now originated from this initial idea and concept after it was opened to all verticals and channels.

Just one month later in March of 2011 I accepted a leadership opportunity with Deloitte and ceased work on moving Inteliant forward; however, I never quite let the idea go that social content creation should be open to all employees. Even as I was challenged time and time again with industry players entering the space I was defining (HootSuite launched its own protected tweet solution in March of the same year) I kept thinking to myself that no one was doing it right… no one was really opening the keys to a company’s social business kingdom and handing it over to the rightful heirs, its employees.

Based on this belief, in November of 2012 I left Deloitte to launch Curatiant, my first startup as an entrepreneur with the goal of transforming the face of social business engagement. Based on the initial principles from almost two years earlier I formed a company, hired a development team, and set sail on the ambitious task of getting to market quickly to validate the idea, product, and need. In February of 2013 I launched launched Curatiant as a MVP (minimum viable product) to test the waters and received a warm welcome from several friends, colleagues and business partners; however, the market demand was not as strong as the initial reception.

The final ideation and pitch deck for Curatiant (I miss the stick figures!):

Bottom line: it was quite ambitious to build a product two years after initial ideation when established companies had then entered the space and captured market share… yet I still pushed the limits and launched. Today those limits have pushed back and with weak market demand and the inability to stand against established market players without much further investment and development, I have made the decision to shutter development on Curatiant. To those of you who supported me strongly and fervently in my launch, strategy, and marketing efforts: I owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

Curatiant, the company behind the product of the same name, will continue (though a name change is certainly in the future) and I will provide Salesforce.com consulting services under that company which is already a registered Salesforce partner. I will also continue my entrepreneurial streak with much more ideation and innovation to come! In fact, I have learned much in this venture as a first-time entrepreneur that I am excited to move forward and tackle one or more of the many large ideas I have floating in my head at the moment. Hint: I love to ideate and innovate in areas where the timing and opportunity is right… and I continue to believe that healthcare just might be that space.

With that being said, the ideation behind the product Curatiant is strong and thus I have already begun to write a book (two chapters completed!) on the tenets of the product and what it means to solve the social business engagement equation. I expect to have the book finished within the next several months and hope to offer it here, on my site, as a downloadable e-book shortly thereafter. For more information you can comment here or send me a tweet

Watch this space.

Corey Rawdon

Social 301 – Managing Your Social Footprint

By | Professional, Strategy | One Comment

Welcome to Social 301, the third post in a five-post series about mastering social to build your personal/professional brand eminence.

Social 301: Managing Your Social Footprint
In Social 201 we learned how to build relationships/connections on Twitter, how to engage more effectively on Twitter and the type of content you should be posting to not only share your POV but start engaging in the conversation with others. This next post builds on this knowledge by taking a more technical behind the scenes view of managing your social footprint and thus further developing your personal and professional brand.

What is my social footprint, why should I care, and how should I manage it?
Your social footprint is the mark, or footprint, you leave across all of the different social properties you use. Learning how to manage them effectively is the key to mastering the ratio of privacy to open connections that you are most comfortable with. In brief, here is an outline of how I view, and use, the major social platforms today

  • Twitter: Open connecting platform for sharing news, points of view, engaging with thought leaders, and the occasional fun photo
    • Twitter for me is wide open (i.e. I do not protect my tweets) and I invite anyone and everyone both from my personal, professional, and social circles to connect and engage with me there
    • Twitter is made for open connections, after all, it is only 140 characters at a time!
  • Facebook: Private sharing for close friends and family, vacation photos, personal rants (we all do it), instapolls (HT to my friend Greg Glaser), and casual discussions with my friends
    • Facebook for me is completely private, so private that when you search for me on the network all of you will find is my name and profile photo
      • I keep Facebook private because that is my place to share whatever I want with friends and family, NOT simply network connections
  • Google+: Long-form blogging
    • I have yet to really see the value of Google+; however, there are many who have. If you use the platform I encourage you to think of it more like Twitter rather than Facebook
  • Foursquare: Geo-based hints and tip factory, historical view of travels, research on restaurants, hotels, places of interest
    • Foursquare is my version of Yelp as I use it to research places before I visit, see what’s good on the menu once I arrive, and even sometimes base purchasing decisions on what I see/read
      • I freely check-in to locations (except client-sites where privacy is needed) and enjoy “rising through the ranks” of the jet setter, herbivore and other badge series
  • LinkedIn: Professional connections and influencer posts (which I’ve begun to really enjoy)
    • LinkedIn has lost its appeal to me as a networking platform as I would much rather use Twitter where I can engage/learn about someone before just adding them as a connection. I do believe LinkedIn has value as a place to track connections (virtual rolodex) and their new influencer program is rocking it out for me

I encourage you to think through your current use of these platforms and make decisions for yourself around your privacy and how you use them and what your goals are for each.

Do I need to separate my personal and professional brand?
This singular question causes much angst for people as they make their foray into the world of open social, especially when they start to use Twitter. My answer and advice? No! Why?

  • You are on person thus you have one online brand
  • It takes much time and effort to manage two accounts with two voices, two separate POVs and two separate audiences
    • IF you have one account that is personal and specific to sales or support for an organization and that account acts in an official capacity on behalf of the company you might consider separating the two. In general though I advocate against this model
  • People who follow you rarely want just one side of you. I’ve found that people are just as interested in my professional thought leadership as they are in my personal musings and vacation photos

A word on personal, company accounts: I am against them. I rarely see the true need for someone to be nameATcompany or the like because in my view, all company communications should come from the official company accounts. This does not mean that you cannot share company news from your personal account or even build connections that are company-related on your personal account; rather, this simply means that you do not need a company-branded personal account.

So, when you say “personal and professional brand” you mean just one brand, with both elements?
Yes! Your brand represents you and who you are and that includes both personal and professional elements. You should not be afraid to mix the two to build your social persona as you proliferate your social footprint!

Now, get out there and give your privacy settings a tune up and review your profiles and what you post across the different platforms. Then, tune in next week for my post on creating your own content where I discuss creating a personal blog or using some other communication mediums available to further build out your social eminence.

Now, let’s continue the conversation! Follow and engage with me on Twitter, leave a comment below, or send me an email via my contact page.

Corey Rawdon

Social 201: Building Value with Twitter

By | Professional, Strategy | One Comment

Welcome to Social 201, the second post in a five-post series about mastering social to build your personal/professional brand eminence.

Social 201: Building Value with Twitter
In Social 101 we learned why and how you should use Twitter, how you can connect and engage with others, and began to build an understanding of what you should post. This next post builds on this knowledge by discussing how you build relationships, how to find topics/areas of interest, and how you engage for maximum value in conversations

What is all this talk about building relationships on Twitter? What does it mean and how do I do it?
Building relationships on Twitter is all about getting across who you are, or what you want to talk about, 140 characters at a time; however, it is not necessarily just about the 140 characters

  • Remember that bio from Social 101? Yes, you need to fill it out and read other’s bios also!
    • Once you have started following people they will begin mentioning others and RT’ing their content. Click their names and read their bio, view their website if they have one listed and read a few of their tweets. Find something interesting? Send them a mention!
  • Speaking of websites, build one, even a simple one OR publish blogs or other media for your company – anything you can link to
    • You need to tell people about yourself and create a space for people to read more about you and the content you have to share. Writing content (even small blogs) invites others into the conversation and allows people to see who you are, how you think, and build connections
  • Engage, just do it
    • I spoke in Social 101 about how to start engaging and now I’m here to tell you to just do it. You really do not need a master plan, just start replying to people when you see something interesting or have something of interest to say. Participate in twitter chats, engage with brands who are active, and reply to your friends and colleagues; the relationships will build naturally, easily, and quickly. If you do not engage, no one can find you

Wait, what is a Twitter chat and how do I find one? Actually, how do I find anything on Twitter?
Finding anything on Twitter is as simple as searching for it! Well, that and following accounts that regularly publish activities to engage in

  • Twitter’s advanced search is the single most underutilized feature of Twitter
    • Twitter’s advanced search can help you find anything of interest for you with localization, language and even sentiment preferences. E.g. I want to find people talking about Salesforce in Dallas, TX – simple, I type in “salesforce” into the “all of these words” box and “75201” – the local Dallas zip code for downtown – into the “near this place box” and click search. And the results? All the people talking about Salesforce within 15 miles of the zip code I entered… how’s that for finding people? Go ahead, try it yourself!
  • Follow accounts/brands that do a great job of engaging on Twitter and are brands that you care about
    • Take some of your favorite brands and search for them on Twitter. The more active brands will post photos, RT content from others and publish new blogs on their twitter feeds. In fact, some of my favorites (@spg, @salesforce, @marketing cloud) even build personal relationships over time that make it even easier to get involved in the conversation
  • Get involved in self-formed communities and twitter chats using hashtags
    • Not every company/brand/interest will have a community but if they do, find it and get involved! How? Follow the brand and see if they share content or just @mention them and ask if they have a community hashtag then post using the tag. Secondly, those brands I told you to find? Well, many of them host their own twitter chats using hashtags from time to time; watch for them and participate and see your network grow quickly!

Ok, I’ve found a few accounts, my profile is set and I’m following a good starter list. What do I do now aside from just saying “hi” to people?
Well, for starters, say more than hi! Add value and share items of interest

  • People love opinions, do not be afraid to have and share yours!
    • Ok, maybe not everyone loves opinions but sharing them can be a great way to build relationships and spark an active discussion. Disagree with an article on the future of healthcare? Agree with an op-ed on the social economy? Share the article with a small blurb on why. Need more room? Write a blog post then share the link with credit also to the original article. Make your voice heard and let people add theirs!
  • Sometimes, just sharing content is enough
    • Just read a great influencer post on LinkedIn? Have a fascinating article that captivated your interest? Share it! There is a good chance that people in your network on Twitter will want to hear the things you are interested in if they are interested in you so it’s great to just share good content.

Now, get out there and start sharing more content, participate in a twitter chat, and start following some brands. Then, let’s continue the conversation! Follow and engage with me on Twitter, leave a comment below, or send me an email via my contact page.

Corey Rawdon

Social 101: Getting Started with Twitter

By | Professional, Strategy | 2 Comments

Welcome to Social 101, the first post in a five-post series about mastering social to build your personal/professional brand eminence. Whether you are new to social or an old pro I hope you find this series valuable!

A few foundational salient points

  • My purview will be that Twitter is used open and publicly for personal and business interactions and that Facebook is used privately for personal interactions only
  • It is assumed that you are at least basically familiar with social and that you see the value of such
  • This series should serve as the start of the conversation, not an end-all guide for your own social proliferation across the different platforms

And now, on to the content!

Social 101: Getting Started with Twitter
While many people have now become accustomed to using Facebook (or Google +) to post and share personal content and photos, the concepts around the why and how to use Twitter are still relatively foreign. So, let’s address some questions!

Why should I use Twitter? I am already on Facebook!
There are four primary reasons why I use, and why I think you, should use Twitter.

  • Build new connections in your industry or area of interest
    • Especially important for people in consultant or relationship-oriented roles. Think of this as expanding your LinkedIn network but with real-time feeds and connections
  • Watch companies and people to gain intelligence
    • Are you responsible for PRM (partner relationship management) or for gathering intelligence to help win deals or just in general have better conversations? Twitter is a great place to go for help!
  • Become and remain educated on industry-of-choice trends and breaking news
    • Even if you are not an early adopter it is critical to remain apprised of new details that emerge in your space
  • Generate new business or nurture existing business leads and contacts
    • It is amazing how easy you can engage new or existing prospects just by searching for them or terms they would be using (more on this in a later post!)

How do I get setup and start connecting and engaging?
For people familiar with Facebook… throw everything you know out the window. Twitter is completely different and should be treated as such. In fact, my Facebook account is completely private and I only allow close friends or family members to be included in my friend list whereas my Twitter account (and personal website) is completely open and public.

  • Decide on and build your persona and complete your Twitter profile (photo, bio, links)
    • I use my twitter account (@coreyrawdon) for both personal and professional use; I see no reason to distance the two; however, should you desire to only use Twitter for one or another decide that going in
  • Listen first, then start posting
    • Find out what people are talking about first then start engaging in the conversation. You do not need a master plan to get started on Twitter, simply start listening. Trust me, the engagement will come naturally
  • Do not be afraid to reply and engage
    • Agree or disagree with someone on a post or thought? Have something to add to the discussion? Post away! Just remember, add some type of value, do not merely “pile on” with a “yes” or similar comment. *IMPORTANT – complete your profile first before you start to do this; people want to do who is mentioning and replying to them
  • Create content and distribute it!
    • Do you write blogs? Find yourself publishing white papers or other research? Twitter is a great way to get the word out about media you’ve produced
  • Know the hashtag verbiage and usage
    • Look up what a hashtag is and then search them on Twitter. Hashtags are not as important as they once were (except in the event of conferences or live-blogging events such as Q&A chats) but they still have relevance

Ok great, I’m ready, but what do I post again?
There are three things you should start posting right away to help get familiar with the platform. Remember, these are guidelines, feel free to take this in your own direction!

  • Tell people about your experiences, expertise and interests – original content
    • This is my favorite type of content to post since it is all about you! Just come out of a great conversation where you learned something new? Share it! Are you viewed as a thought-leader with respect to a certain topic? Start posting tidbits about the topic and get people into the discussion
  • Share links to content and add in your own commentary – other’s content
    • Find a great article or blog and you want to share it? Post it to Twitter! Just remember to add in your own comments on why you are sharing it. People who will start following you want to know why they should care about what you are sharing
  • RT (retweet) the direct content of others
    • Did someone post an awesome tweet that you want to share with your network directly? Simply RT it! Not all content needs extra commentary; when it doesn’t, just share it out!

Now, get out there and create that Twitter account and setup your profile! Then, tune in for my next post on building value with Twitter where I will build off the concepts discussed here.

Let’s continue the conversation! Follow and engage with me on Twitter, leave a comment below, or send me an email via my contact page.

Corey Rawdon

Meet the new social marketing, support and sales teams (your employees)

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On 9 February 2011 I started circulating what was then a controversial tenet: Social media at a company should be open to everyone, not just a select few. I posited then, as I do now, that all employees should be entrusted to build your company’s social business the same way in which they are entrusted to build your “brick and mortar” business. Put simply: companies need to open the keys to their social business kingdom in order to thrive in the social economy.

Since then much press has been written espousing this same tenet (by myself and others) and making arguments for the case of open social employee engagement. A few articles of note:

I’m thrilled that the tenet is getting so much attention almost two years later! When I vocalized my beliefs then I was met with shock, disbelief and challenges over whether companies were ready, how they could mitigate the inherent risks and how the power would shift from the ‘social media suite’ back to the hands of employees. From recent press and events (Dreamforce 2012 anyone?) it now appears that the tide has shifted!

So now the question becomes, how do companies prepare to survive in this brave new world? The answer? Embrace it. How?

  • Put the creation of social messaging content back into the hands of your employees. Your employees are the real builders of your brand. As I say above, if they build your brick and mortar business why should they not be allowed to build your social business? Creating real relationships takes real people, not just marketing rhetoric (and this is coming from someone with a marketing background!)
  • Marketing teams should have /no/ ownership over content that is published about your brand. Should marketing help guide the strategy? Absolutely! Should marketing be responsible for helping to educate the curators that weave a company’s story? Of course. They should not however have the final say over content creation and publishing. The days of the marketing bureaucratic powerhouse have come to an end
  • Recognize that social, for every employee, is necessary. You as a company need to understand that telephone calls, emails and face-to-face interactions are just no longer the norm and that social interactions are the new normal. Conversations on twitter can, and have, built much stronger relationships than traditional communication channels have
  • Stop challenging the value of B2B social engagement and participate. Twitter conversations are the new power lunch, the new golf game and the new first-class seat mate conversation. Is it scary to think about putting your executives on social media? Of course it is (and the Wall Street Journal has a good article on this concern) but that is not a reason to say no; recognize and mitigate the risks and work through them. Need help? I’d be remiss if I did not plug my own product, Curatiant, that I built to solve this part of the social business engagement equation

Do you have any tips to help companies “go social”? Agree or disagree with my views? Write me on twitter, @coreyrawdon or leave a comment below!

Corey Rawdon

Is Twitter Too Big To Fail?

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Today on social media day and in the wake of Facebook’s (successful or unsuccessful, you decide) IPO I pose the question, “Is Twitter too big to fail?”.

Twitter is a de facto media company, for all intents and purposes, despite what their CEO says. In the recent past Twitter has been the source of live media coverage of the raid in Pakistan and an important part of the digital revolution in Egypt among other notable events. Personally, Twitter is my trusted source of news and information and is my primary method for connecting with other influencers in my network or reaching out to find expertise around the world. Facebook, on the other hand, is my place to keep in touch with friends and family and find out what plants my mom is planting in her garden (hi mom!). To me, this is an important distinction; Facebook = personal and Twitter = personal+professional. Given this distinction and context I am in constant contact with my Twitter stream throughout the day and use it as my first source of news (I heard about the SCOTUS ruling on the Affordable Healthcare Act (#AHA) via SCOTUS blog on Twitter before going anywhere else). With Twitter being such an important part of breaking news /and/ making news, should the cost of operating Twitter just be considered a cost of doing business in the world today?

The pressure on companies to monetize and subsequently go public is huge as VCs and others look to receive large payouts from their investments. While I am not against this practice (I hope to one day be a beneficiary of this practice!) I do believe that this practice is not a good model for all companies and I’d like to propose that Twitter might be one of those companies. With Twitter being so vital to sharing/creating news, organizing people, governments and providing a voice to those who otherwise might not have one I believe Twitter might just be too big to fail. Maybe instead of viewing Twitter as another social company with a huge upside on investment or trying to figure out how to monetize Twitter we should instead focus on how to further make use of a tool that has already changed the shape of our world in just the past few years.

What do you think? Is Twitter too big to fail and should the pressure be removed from Twitter to monetize? Should the world just consider the cost of running Twitter as a cost of existing in the world today? These are huge questions; sound off in the comments section or find me on Twitter to continue the conversation.

Corey Rawdon

The New Social Business Engagement Equation

By | Professional, Strategy | 2 Comments

Conversations between a social business and their alumni (read: customers) and partners should be, well, an actual conversation. Information should no longer be pushed out from the ‘social media suite’ where messages are carefully crafted, tailored and often stoic marketing messaging; rather, companies should allow their employees to have genuine conversations and build eminence via the company’s social channels. Why is this important? Raymond Nasher, a famed Dallas developer, is credited with once saying that you should create an alumnus, not a customer of your business. His reasoning? Customers come and go but alumni always come back. If NorthPark Center (his highly-successful retail development) is any indication, I think Mr. Nasher was on to something: social business is not about creating customers, it’s about creating alumni (b2c and b2b) – and your employees can help!

The days of needing so-called ‘social media experts’ are over; your company’s employees are those experts, and they are ready to dig in to help you build your social business. Where and who are these experts? Take a look around your office and you’ll find your social media team sitting right there with you. Go ahead, look around… yes, I’m serious here; look around, view some emails, scan your address book (and memories) for names of your colleagues. See everyone?

There they are! They are your experts and they are the team members who will help grow your social business, creating alumni for your company. Now, take a moment to surface a few names of people who:

• Are go-to leaders for product and business expertise
• Are high-performers
• Have good relationships with multiple departments and teams
• Help put ideas together and
• Who openly share their experiences

If all of the employees at your company are content creators, think of these people as your content curators. The content creators generate the great content which drives engaging conversation and builds eminence and thought-leadership for your company while the content curators weave the stories throughout your social channels.

Open content creation for company social channels breeds a new level of engagement; one that is no longer constrained by marketing heads who think social is all about distributing MarCom while stifling the voice of the employee. Rather, it’s one that puts the power to connect with your alumni network in the hands of the people who already help build your “brick-and-mortar” business daily. Why limit the building of your social business to the 7 people (the size of your social media team, give or take a few) who sit in the ‘social media suite’ crafting messaging around marketing and responding to edge-cases when you can let 70,000 people (the size of your company, give or take a few 10,000) craft content that is meaningful, engaging and relevant? Consider the sales rep who wants to have a social dialogue with their contacts; the engineer who is a thought-leader but their messaging never leaves the office; the service rep who has great technical skill but is limited to sharing that knowledge with their immediate team; the RN who wants to share small bits of helpful knowledge to patients everywhere but their knowledge is only heard by a select lucky few. It is these 70,000 voices that will create alumni and build your social business, not the voice of 7.

You may be more than a little nervous with the disruptive idea of turning 70,000 people loose with the keys to your social business kingdom (and if you’re a healthcare company you likely just fainted and are now reading this 5 minutes after using a cold compress to wake yourself up). While this idea sounds daunting at first things are never as bad as they seem; in fact, those 70,000 voices already hold the keys to your company’s kingdom. The 70,000 already build your product, speak to your customers and manage your partner relationships today in the brick-and-mortar world; this simply expands that empowerment to the social world.

So how do you enable the 70,000 to create content that builds eminence and promotes genuine conversation while weaving a cohesive story and protecting your company’s brand? Stay tuned for my next blog post to find out or contact me for more details!

Corey Rawdon