Paul Walker was the speaker at the August meeting for the Central Texas Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.
Paul is the President of Cohn & Wolfe Digital (and Cohn & Wolfe Read-Poland), and is an expert in helping companies understand and better utilize the world of social media. He did a great job in explaining to the audience how to navigate their digital ecosystem and helped many understand the craziness and confusion around this nutty internet thing.
Most who read my blog are experts on social media and the world of online networking, blogging, microblogging, search and other aspects of today's digital world. But it is not true that the whole of the business community has embraced these tools. It was interesting to see the blank stare on the faces of many in the audience as Paul opined about how corporate America is changing to meet social media head on.
Many business professionals are still puzzling with "what should I be doing in social media?".
Meanwhile the research shows that social media is having an influence on buyers. Customers are watching and learning by how the company positions itself in the online world. Successful business leaders are realizing they must also pay attention or be left behind.
Additionally, job candidates - especially younger ones - are looking at prospective companies in regards to how committed they are to the whole internet experience: Does the CEO have a blog? Are employees engaged in evangelizing the brand? Is the company living to promote the customer experience?
Beyond business, more and more we are finding journalists, politicians, entertainment industries, and public institutions also jumping into the social media deep end. This is not a fad, and those who are staying on the sidelines are missing out while everyone else is playing the game.
Paul had six pieces of advice for those who want to do more with their social media experience:
1. Set up RSS Readers and Alerts. This is the easiest way to stay on top of what is happening in your industry and with news outlets, thought leaders and your competition.
2. Get active in Social Networks. If you are a business professional and not yet on LinkedIn, get over yourself and sign up. Facebook has a lot of activity, but the main place for business is Linkedin.
3. Pimp Your Crackberry. Your blackberry is more than a phone or place to get email. You can download Google mobile applications (Google Maps is a good tool). The NY Times has an application that will feed the paper strait to your Blackberry (I think YUCK, but some like this). And RSS, Facebook, Twitter and other things can stream straight to your mobile device. This all keeps you better informed and connected everywhere you go.
4. Use Social Bookmarks. Delicious is Paul's favorite bookmarking tool. It allows he and his team to stay tuned into to what each other are finding important in the universe.
5. Share Your Point of View. Yes, blogging is time consuming and intimidating, but over time a good blog is your best credibility tool to set yourself apart from your competition.
6. Track Your Social Graph. While the term "social graph" has mixed meanings out there, his point here is to use FriendFeed (or Plaxo Pulse) and establish one point of contact where you can see the online social media activities of those you follow all in one place. He is right, this makes it easy to stay up to speed without overwhelming yourself with dozens of social media services all at once.
Paul offers a "Social Media Bootcamp" for his clients (and others) where he educates them on how to get themselves and their companies up and running to maximize social media. How cool is that for someone who does not know where to start!
If you are not familiar with ACG, it is a great organization. If you live in Central Texas, you should check out their local meetings on the second Wednesday of each month. Informative speakers, like Paul Walker, educate and inspire the audience. Additionally, ACG Central Texas is one of the best networking venues for local business professionals.
Have A Great Day.