In 1994 a Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave created a barcode that would become one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. Although its common use for many years would be only to track parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes are now being used in many innovative ways. What ways might you ask? Let's check out what has been going on in the QR code world.
Those who know me, know I did not embrace Twitter and Facebook until this last summer. Had enough on my plate already without adding any additional distractions or diversions from the work at hand. Many conversations, yes, real conversations, diving in, listening, learning and lots of coaching later, I now champion both tools. And, yes, I'm still learning.
As director of a leadership development school for credit union professionals, reaching my target market is crucial. The ability to develop a relationship with future students before they come to campus helps us to maximize their experience. You do become vulnerable when you put yourself out there. At the same time, you also gain strength and support as you spend the time to establish relationships and learn together. All relationships take time to develop.
As senior director of training for the Texas Credit Union League, finding new speakers and topic ideas help me to better serve our membership. When I’m looking for subject matter experts, tweets and blogs help me get a better picture about the speaker, as well as topic ideas to meet the needs of our membership.
As someone who likes to use financial services, I appreciate when I see tweets alerting me to special hours of business, challenges with websites/ATMs, financial management tips, and more. Time is precious. I like it when someone cares enough to save me time.
As a member of a various communities, it's nice to know where and when there are opportunities to serve and give back.
As the mother of a freshman college student, twitter is how I get campus wide alerts.
Some of my aha moments included:
1)Twitter provided a no cost way to set up crisis communications when we had students on campus. (Grateful the need to use did not arise.)
2)Twitter provided a way for me to bring subject matter experts into the classroom for brief periods of time who could not have been there otherwise.
3)After linking Twitter to Facebook, I was finding some people were more likely to respond to tweets through Facebook. Hmm. Unproven conclusion – until social media tools and applications are sanctioned in the workplace, people are more likely to respond on personal time through Facebook (unless they have cool phones).
4)Innovation and new ideas are important as you work to position your company forward. By strategically selecting who and what topics I follow, I’ve found solid information with minimal time.
5)Engaging with the right people through social media grows valuable relationships. It’s always been important to reach people in the manner they wish to be communicated with. I have treasured contacts who prefer Twitter or Facebook for 1st point of contact. From there we migrate to other forms of communication as appropriate.
6)Sometimes you just need a little laughter to break up your day or to know that there are good news stories out there.
Before writing this, I did a little research on tweet posts over the last 24 hours from folks I follow:
“One of the interesting trends of 2009 has been the gradual decline of RSS Readers as a way for people to keep up with news and niche topics. Many of us still use them, but less than we used to. I for one still maintain a Google Reader account, however I don't check it on a daily basis. I check Twitter for news and information multiple times a day, I monitor Twitter lists, and I read a number of blogs across a set of topics of most interest to me. “
3)@MattRhodes directed me to “Social Media asCrisis Management Tool” FreshNetworks - “I have a client who once said to me: “We want to use social media to attract more complaints”. This may seem an odd thing to say, all too often attracting complaints is a reason people cite for being anxious about using social media. But this client knew that one part of their service didn’t always perform as well as they might hope. They also knew that nobody ever really complained to them. They must be complaining somewhere, they thought, and we’d like them to be complaining to us.”
He goes on to note some uses for social media in context of crisis management:
·Keep people up-to-date
·Represent your brand
·Engage people talking about you
·Communicate strategically through hub and spokes format
All this to say that conversations are happening.
1)We have to be better about telling the good stories and turning around the bad ones. Social media tools provide opportunities to do so. It’s time to hone our skills to take advantage of these dynamic, rapidly evolving forms of communication.
2)New information is coming at us faster than we can absorb. Social media tools help us gather data and information rapidly. However, don’t let social media be your only research source.
Be deliberate. Have a strategy. Join the community. Looking forward to exciting things in years to come as we work together to innovate forward.
When reviewing the weekly update from one of my LinkedIn groups, I came across the following post from David Pittman (Sr. Director, Marketing Communications, Initiate Systems, Inc.). I found his approach insightful and have his permission to share…
My company recently jumped headlong into social media, becoming active on Twitter, Facebook, and, LinkedIn, with soon-to-roll plans for other social media outlets. As the marketing communications director, I'm responsible for getting all this action rolling. That means I also field a huge range of questions from co-workers.
The most frequent type of question I get is "How is [X] different from [Y]?", especially "How is Twitter different from Facebook?" To help my colleagues understand the different social networks, I borrowed from my product marketing friends and created personas for each network. Each persona is the name of a fellow well-known employee, so everyone can quickly picture the personality of each social network and the 'feel' we will try to give to each in our communications.
Below are the personas I wrote, with the names changed to protect the guilty.
Our blog is like Tom C: authoritative but with a humorous edge. Invites other opinions.
Twitter is like Bill F: clever, witty and fun; easily interacts with other people; not afraid to ask thought-provoking questions.
The website is like Ginger K: organized, has everything you need. Isn’t as outgoing as other media, but is always ready to interact with you.
Flickr is like Emily G: has all the images, pictures and graphics you could want. (One person added, “And is easy to use.”)
YouTube is like Dr. Robert H: has depth and technical knowledge, but also has a funny personal side.
LinkedIn is like Alexandra T: knows everybody; exudes a professional demeanor; isn’t afraid to reach out and make connections.
Facebook is like Ted P: cheerful, congratulatory and social. Reaches out to other people, encourages interaction among different people, has lots of friends; is able to integrate personal and professional.
What do you think of the characterizations he applied to each social network? What changes would you make?
My venture into social media began a little over a year ago as a result of a conversation with two young men before they were about to do a presentation at Southwest CUNA Management School (SCMS) for alumni and students. The students had arranged for the presentation about the basics of social media. At the time this was all new to me and I wasn't ready to embrace any of it. However, James Robert Lay and Brad Garland impressed me. They were young, professional, passionate, and communicated well. It wasn't even the presentation that got my attention. It was how they approached business. Since then they have both become treasured friends and mentors.
One of the lessons I was reminded of when visiting with James Robert and Brad was to invest time in getting to know professionals outside of your own generation and beyond existing customer/member and vendor relationships. As relationships grow and new ones are formed, when we are looking for them, there are numerous opportunities to learn from each other. Collaborations can be a driving force to help position forward.
James Robert coached me through basics of blogging, eventually opening the door for me to blog on this site. As with most social media tools, the advice was to observe first. See how the media is used. Find blogs that interest you. Participate by commenting. Submit guest blogs. Learn how to stand up. Walk. Run. You decide each step of the way how quickly you want to progress.
I was introduced to RSS feeds. Cool. They saved me time by organizing blogs with information that was of interest to me directly into files in my Outlook. Now, when I have time, I can quickly review information, looking for new ideas and innovative approaches. To position forward we need to be finding new ways to do business.
LinkedIn is still my favorite, though this one seems to be more difficult to get folks to "buy into". To me it's more professional. One of the challenges is for folks who ventured into LinkedIn when it was primarily a HR recruiting/job hunting communication tool. They tend to think, been there, done that, tool has no value. It has evolved beyond it's HR/Job function, though it still has elements related to that. I like the ease of sharing news and starting/following discussions. I much prefer following a discussion here as opposed to weeding through email or twitter strings.
Facebook. Twitter. Waiste of time? Why bother? To maintain and grow market share, as well as position forward, we need to reach people beyond our traditional market(s) and contacts.
Before SCMS began this summer, I had just started to explore Twitter as a communication tool. During some idea generating sessions we used Twitter for live comments. As the process evolved, we realized that Twitter had power to bring expertise immediately into the conversation or to share "back home". No travel. No expense. Real time. We had strategic "experts" join our classroom conversation from New York, Washington D.C., and California. The experts gained new ideas. Credit union employees were able to be part of the conversation, gaining insights, without leaving the office. All players won.
Recently Brad posted a twitter offering to help on projects. I took him up on his offer with a simple request for him, but something that would have taken me time to figure out. I wanted to sync twitter with facebook and had not spent the time to figure out how to do it. He made it happen with a few key strokes and I was off and running.
This morning I posted on Twitter that I was looking for ways to help folks see the business case for social media. Darrell Bahr picked up my message on facebook, sending me the following reply:
"Need case studies/examples. CU people are largely numbers people, so they need something tangible and proven/tested before they will try something so "radical". A few places to look:
While I was at the REAL Solutions partner meeting, James Robert, co-author, asked “Hey, why don’t you do an interview?” So… I was pondering what questions should I ask. Then I thought I will try something different this time. I am going to do this interview “Jeopardy Style”. I will provide the answers and let the questions come to me. I supplied the answers to the following: Brent Dixon , founder of The Haberdashery, Denise Gabel, Chief Innovation Officer at the Filene Research Institute, Lois Kitsch, REAL Solutions National Program Director, and Kathy Darwin (no relation to Charles), CUANM’s REAL Solutions Program Coordinator.
Answer: REAL Solutions
Brent: What program is out there that embodies the philosophy of the credit union movement?
Denise: What is a philosophy and program that supports credit unions and consumers?
Lois: What is a program that recognizes the future needs of members and the ability for credit unions to meet their financial needs with affordable products and services through credit unions and state leagues?
Kathy: What do credit unions do for their communities?
Answer: Opportunity (which by the way I did not say opportunity for credit unions, just the word opportunity)
Brent: What is one of the greatest things credit unions can walk away with given the current economic times?
Denise: What are the current economic times for credit unions?
Lois: What is the reason why credit unions should reach out in serving emerging markets like young adults, low-wage families, “New Americans”, and Senior Citizens?
Kathy: What do low-wealth households look for?
Brent: What is one of the best kept secrets for consumers that are out there today?
Denise: What is the consumer’s best-friend with money?
Lois: What is the best vehicle for change to provide economic opportunities for American families?
Kathy: What is a not-for profit financial cooperative?
Answer: The Fonz (in the spirit of Milwaukee…)
Brent: What bronze figurine would I most love to pose in a picture with?
Denise: Who is an icon of a leather jacket?
Lois: Who is the young adult who needed financial education, but was cool when young?
Kathy: Whose bronze statue stands in a park in Milwaukee?
Well there we have it-the questions from some innovative credit union minds… Does anyone out there have some other interesting questions to these answers: REAL Solutions, opportunity, credit unions, or The Fonz? If so blog back and ask us!
Summer is officially upon us. The 4th of July has passed and it is getting hot in Texas. What’s next on the list for a lot of us is summer vacation. Where are you going? What do you have planned? Shout back and let us know.
However, when it comes to summer and social media, we are faced with a big dilemma. To stay connected or not… that is the question. And a good one at that. A question that Brad Garland has podcasted about here. Mind you that this was done without a laptop which from a technology stand point is pretty freekin’ cool.
When it comes to technology and staying connected, this has always been a tough and tricky issue between my wife and I. I am uber connected during the week on multiple channels as you know. From email, to Twitter to text to voice.
Lately I have been getting a lot of questions about Twitter. What is it? How does it work? How can it help my credit union. A great conversation follows and lights begin to click. Below is a short video breaking down the basics of Twitter from the people at Common Craft (watch below).
As social media continues to be a hot topic in the credit union world, and a great way to build relationships online, it's important to manage social networks while not getting overwhelmed by them. I know for a fact that this is so easy to do.
For example, I run Facebook, Twitter, email, text and voice all from my phone. Some days I have to hide my Blackberry or turn off the alerts to get anything done. Other days, I wanted to be uber connected to the social network world.
Check out the great tips below from Susan Fletcher, Ph.D. when she first got into social networking with Facebook:
I was resistant. How do I have time to get on that site and isn't that for kids and college students? Then we went on vacation this summer and we were watching our friends check their Facebook pages and I got curious. They didn't fit the profile I had drummed up in my head as the type of people who would be social networking. As we talked about it, they set up a page for me in what seemed like just a few seconds. Soon I had a profile picture, was listing my favorite books and began searching for people I was curious to find. I'm hooked. I am the face of Facebook, or as some call it, FB.
Social networking used to mean going to Chamber of Commerce meetings and then it got real fancy with targeted opportunities like organized weekly networking groups. With online social networking, now you can stay in your PJs and network. I don't even have to do my hair! There are currently 39,911,920 people active on FB. When I looked to see how many people in the U.S. ages 35 and up were on FB, I found out there are 9,823,660. And I'm one of them!
Here is how being on Facebook and social networking keeps you in the Smart Zone.
Stress Management: I believe everyone has a bucket inside of them that gets full when they feel aggravated or frustrated. We need things in our lives that empty our bucket so it doesn't get full. When it gets full, we have what I call an exaggerated response. While I don't always have my FB up throughout the day, I do get on it sometimes between patients, at the end of the day, and when I am hanging out in the airport waiting for my flight. It empties my bucket and I enjoy some of what my FB friends post. Here is a video that came recently from one of my friends.
Relationships Build Business: Many of the speakers I present with and many of those who hire me to speak are people that I really enjoy getting to know. There is an excitement about the speaking business and there are so many things we may have in common. A recent article in Fast Company shows how those who use the social networking site, LinkedIn, make more money. While I never intend for my FB page to be an advertisement, it is only natural that there are opportunities that will come your way.
Social Networking supports the Smart Zone Secret: The Smart Zone Secret is to get out of your head and put the focus on someone else. I believe we all have the tendency to take ourselves too seriously. Recently I had a bad fall on an icy day. (What is a Florida girl doing in Texas anyway?) The fall ended up being serious enough that I got a few staples in my head. One of my best friends growing up, Don, is now a professor at Oregon State University. He and I stay in touch on FB and he called me "metal head." Only Don can get away with that. Don knows how to remind me to not take myself too seriously. He knows the Smart Zone Secret.
One caveat: Sometimes FB can fill your stress bucket. Using it during productive work hours can waste time and is unfair to your employer. Or if you stay up until the wee hours of the morning it can steal needed sleep time. This is an issue with all of us as we have the ability to work 24/7. Keeping the above caveat in mind, I'd love to be your FB friend! So please send me a friend request.
Shout back and let us know how you have handled getting into social networking. Or... let us know what fears you have about getting into social networking. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.