Category Archives: web 2.0

The Risks of Doing Nothing: Social Media for Healthcare

Social media can have an impact on health care organizations, whether the organization has proactive programs or passively chooses to ignore it. By doing nothing, hospitals are at more legal risk because no clear guidelines articulate how staff should participate in social communities, how doctors share medical advice on blogs and where patients get medical information.

Andrew Cohen of Forum One, recently wrote about the session he attended at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference, which identified legal issues as the top concerns of hospital administrators. Second to this is “lack of comfort with social media by administrators as well as staff…”

With patients helping themselves to information on websites that may or may not be good information, hospitals and other healthcare organizations like lifecare facilities have an opportunity to help guide patients and their families to good information and support.

In fact, every department needs to consider how social media effects them including human resources, legal, marketing, IT, patient services, and each and every medical specialty.   In 2009, we met with many of the SVPs  at a major teaching hospital north of Boston, Lahey Clinic, to give them a sense of what they need to think about.

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The Power of Click: When Your Digital Reputation is at Stake

book cover Sticks & Stones by Larry WeberThere’s so much wisdom in Sticks & Stones: How Digital Reputations Are Created Over Time and Lost in a Click by Larry Weber,  it’s hard to know where to begin writing about this new book. Weber makes you realize how truly mind boggling it is to have the abilities for creating the impact and impressions on the public, in what he calls, “World 2.0.”  The implications are far reaching, and at a fraction of the cost than we’ve ever been able to do before.

These quotations from the book should give you a feel for the magnitude of the take away messages and how powerful the Web is in World 2.0:

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Social News & Office Tools Websites Worth Knowing About

yellow-brick-road2We can surf the internet to our heart’s content, and follow every link we come across, but even still there are zillions of websites we’d never come across. Following links often makes me think of the song, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” from the Wizard of Oz.

Then, someone comes along and compiles a very comprehensive listing. In this case a new over-sized periodical, “1000 Websites You Need to Bookmark: Best of the Net—1000 Websites you Need in Your Life,” Techradar.com, and Future Publishing Limited. This is a very impressive endeavor!

The authors have taken an extraordinary amount of categories everything from the abstract to the most basic, and provided lists of sites worth visiting. While a publication such as this one, could take us all off in our own merry away, there were two categories in particular which I was interested in; one being “Social News” and the other, “Office Tools.”

In an intro by Alex Summersby he explains how the sites were chosen, “Selection is based on visitor statistics, user ratings, online referrals and reviews, and long conversations over a pint with our expert colleagues on future’s wide range of special interests.”

Follow, follow, follow, follow….

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Social Media Strategy: Level Two and Climbing

elevatorOver the last few months, we have been fulfilling our clients requests for blogs, Facebook pages, YouTube channels and Twitter accounts. While, on first blush, it seems that these tools are easily set up, there are many behind-the-scenes tools and tactics that make them really work for your company. Then, diligence and commitment is required to gain real benefit from them over time. We emphasize the importance of developing a strategy up front, getting buy-in from key contributors, and training staff. In some cases, we provide ongoing support where a company is short on internal resources.

From monitoring what’s out there, to actively finding opportunities to contribute thought leadership, there is a lot to consider. Many of these activities are hard to measure, like the activities that make up a PR campaign.  In the end, though, the impact is as important as getting good press vs. getting no press.  Companies know they need to play, that they can’t sit the game out.

Once a company gets their feet wet, it doesn’t take long for them to get comfortable with these new tools, and they are ready to refine and improve on them. That is why we help to automate as much as possible, so the human resources are spent on critical thinking, like how to respond to a blog post on a top industry blog, what to write in their own blog or what the company’s policy should be for their employees’ online activities.

Tomorrow, I present some of these ideas and client case studies for staff at KGA, who are using social media, but want to improve on their already impressive programs. We will explore getting the most out of thought leadership across all mediums, streamlining social media tools to support each other, and developing corporate social media policy that supports the brand and empowers employees.

Who's Getting a Gold Star in Social Media?

I don’t know about you, but I love reading success stories in social media.   They inspire me and get my brain juices flowing.   They make me better examine and question the “old rules of marketing” and think about more effective ways of communicating with clients and prospects and ultimately succeeding as a B2B marketer into 2009.

That’s why I’m sharing a recent article by Pete Swabey published in Information Age on the 10 outstanding examples of business social media.   These examples inspired me.  I hope they do the same for you.  All demonstrate the sense of community and collaboration that Web 2.0 fosters.   Some of these companies, including Dell and PlusNet, are better able to serve their customers as a result of social media.  Others, such as Wachovia Bank and Best Buy, show the ability of Web 2.0 tools in helping employees work together,  and documenting and sharing knowledge organization-wide.

  • Coca-Cola - has improved the connection with its customers with tools such as blogging, virtual worlds, social networking, widgets and video sharing.
  • Best-Buy - has built a employee social network to transfer knowledge and handle customer complaints.
  • Ernst & Young – has a  Facebook-based recruitment network to stay connected to top college graduates.
  • Procter & Gamble - created a community and discussion forum for young girls that gets more than two million visitors a month.
  • Wachovia Bank - uses a Web 2.0 intranet that includes blogs, wikis, video conferencing and instant messaging to improve communication across its geographies.
  • Dell - has a community site known as IdeaStorm enabling customers to contribute ideas on product innovation.
  • GE - has a Web 2.0 intranet and collaboration platform where communities can share knowledge and collaborate on customer contracts.
  • Elsevier - has incorporated Web 2.0 community tools into its information services to help engage and retain customers.
  • IBM - created Web 2.0 software that gets its 300,000 employees together for global “Jam” events.
  • PlusNet - this intenet service provider has outlawed email and replaced it with a self-built collaboration program called WorkSpace that enables customers to do support and administrative tasks on their own – such as producing a bill.

I hope you find these Gold Star social media adopters to be inspiring.  Whether in terms of external marketing or internal collaboration, all of these companies have embraced the power of Web 2.0 in business.

Extending your relationships with LinkedIn

Last week I participated on a panel for The Boston Club, an impressive professional group of women business owners. As the room filled to capacity at Turner’s Fisheries in the Westin Hotel in Copley Square, I realized that there was a huge need for education on social media topics.

The program “Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, YouTube, Blogging…Who can any of this help me with my business?” was the second on this topic in so many months offered to the membership. After introductions, hands shot into the air asking questions like, “What is Twitter and why would I use it?” “What is the one thing I should do for my business?” How do you find time to do all this stuff? “How do you know how to use these tools?”

The discussion turned to the value of these tools and it was posed “Why would I use LinkedIn? Do you know anyone who has ever benefited from it?”  Of course, being shy and all (ha), I hesitated about 3 seconds to pull the mic forward and explain that the reason I was invited to participate on the panel, the reason our business grew 30% last year, the reason we have a successful advisory board, is because of LinkedIn. The audience did one of those simultaneous “oooh”s and so I explained how it happened.

I was looking for a CFO consultant to solve some financial issues with the business. I did a search in LinkedIn and came up with a name that looked familiar, Susan Hammond. Turns out she was connected to me through my neighbor down the street so I asked my neighbor Marnie to introduce us over LinkedIn. Within a few days, I had a meeting with Susan and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today I used LinkedIn to find a call center for a client and got 12 responses within two hours. I searched for graphic designers for our firm and found 5 that fit our needs. Having said this, it is important to know that these tools do not replace the face-to-face personal relationship, they extend it.

In our intense world, it makes good business sense to find ways to develop and cultivate relationships. LinkedIn is just one way that helps us do that.

Technological Change — Yes We Can!

Today’s Boston Globe features an article Obama brings cyber sensibility to office which describes how president-elect Obama is “in the process of choosing the nation’s first chief technology officer – a post that’s long existed in most corporations, but never in government.”

The article goes on to report that the US ranks 15th out of 30 industrialized nations in the percentage of citizens with access to the Internet, and that Obama promises to make Internet access as commonplace as telephone service.

Obama reportedly wants to put YouTube-like videos of government meetings online and has proposed a Google-like database of federal grants and contracts so people can see where there money is going; and will require his Cabinet members to hold regular online town hall meetings, where they’ll field questions from the Internet audience.

To keep up-to-date as we transition into Obama’s Presidency, visit Change.gov, a website and blog, launched by Obama’s Presidential Transition Project team (very soon after last week’s election) which documents the transition into power as well as soliciting ideas from the public.

Not only is change in the air –it’s in cyberspace, too!

Showing the Bigger Picture with LinkedIn Applications

show and tellLinkedIn, a professional network with over 28 million members, has been credited as a place where users can “exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with your trusted contacts.”

In order to keep up with the needs of its users,  LinkedIn has developed ways to further engage participants, by expanding the user experience beyond introductions to new business contacts and playing catch-up with former colleagues.  LinkedIn’s applications are helping us heed the advice of our teacher’s–show, don’t just tell.

LinkedIn has recently launched nine applications to help users show the bigger picture of themselves via their presentations, blog posts, travel destinations, reading list recommendations, twitter activity, workspaces for project collaboration, and content sharing.  LinkedIn’s applications give us a bigger picture of our social network.

For more information about the applications check out Michael Singer’s post on Information Week’s blog.

What are you doing?

I’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter these days. I should probably clarify –I’ve been reading a lot about it. My friends aren’t sending tweets yet; and my business contacts–some are just beginning to get their feet wet. The thing is, I’m intrigued by the way Twitter has taken off.

Marketing Sherpa describes Twitter in a recent article as a “social networking and micro-blogging service” which can be used for personal use as well as for marketing a company. Twitter is being used by “hundreds of thousands of people and companies, including several presidential candidates….”

Twitter text message have a 140-character-limit text box (about 25-30 words), and revolve around the question: “What are you doing?” Like other social media, some people are using it to communicate valuable messages and some– well let’s say are twittering to their heart’s content. Not only am I intrigued by Twitter’s rapid growth—I’m fascinated by the question which drives it.

As long as I can remember, people have asked, “What are you doing?” Parents, teachers, bosses, friends—my husband, my daughter. I’m sure people asked the same question of famous influential people like Christopher Columbus. Or say, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi–to name a few.

To be honest, at times the question “What are you doing?” feels like an invasion. You’re sitting there in the privacy of your own home, the phone rings and someone says, “Hi, what are you doing?” Or what about those lazy days of summer, when you could be out swimming, walking, bike riding, weeding your garden and even working, and instead you’re lying on a hammock– someone comes along and asks, “What are you doing?”

Of course, tone of voice matters here. The question can sound judgmental, inquisitive, loving, concerned. I guess when you get right down to it, nothing against Twitter here, but I’m more interested in questions like, what matters to you? What are your values? Purpose in life? Business’ mission? Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in what people are doing. But do I want or need a blow-by-blow description, 24/7?

Marketing Sherpa advises business users to, “Keep posts valuable…find out what interests other Twitterers… make it something your followers might benefit from knowing as well.”

The words which drove this post come from a real-life example from yesterday after I read an editorial in the Sunday Boston Globe by Ed Siegel (okay it wasn’t a tweet). My point being, it was a mere fifteen characters, two words beginning with the letter E– “Enjoy Everything”, which helped to turn my outlook for the day 180-degrees. I think it’s fair to say if I’m still thinking about them today, then they may have had a more lasting effect.

If you’re going to take the time and effort to twitter about what you’re doing, make your messages count— really count.

photo credit: jaysk

Your Website: Meet the iPhone

While standing in line today at the post office I observed a lady in front of me check her email, myspace her mom, and check the weather in London just before she was called for her parcels. While it was unfortunate that she wasn’t checking The Blogosaurus (I assume that had to wait until after the post office), it was another reminder of how businesses and clients alike need to focus their attention on the new method of accessing their websites: via PDA Smartphones.

iPhone Sales Chart
If we look at the rising sales of the most popular mobile PDA Smartphone – the iPhone – we will see iPhone sales in the second quarter of this year have reached over 5 million. Keep in mind this is a quarter before the latest G3 iPhone that just came out, with Forbes reporting the opening weekend sale of the G3 (July 11, 2008) added another 1 million users to our above list.

While this number is staggering, we must also keep in mind the iPhone is not the only phone that can reach the internet and your web pages. This list from wikipedia shows the breakdown of various PDA Smartphones with Internet capabilities, and the crucial web development related features like Flash support, Operating system and the web browser which will affect how your viewers view and access your website. We can easily see manufacturers are going to continue to create PDA Smartphones for the public, so you will need to know how to play nice.

  • The first thing you need to do is view your website with one of these phones, and see how your viewers are accessing your website and if it’s compatible. Knowing how your website is laid out and viewed in this environment will help change your outlook of your website, since you may be used to viewing it only on your computer screen. The Smartphone screen is obviously much smaller, and you might need to compensate. Even if you aren’t cool enough or have the equity in your home to purchase an iPhone, download this simulator iPhoney and you will quickly be able to see how your website is viewed in this environment.
  • Always place your navigation menu and website logo at the top of the page. Users should not have to scroll down the page to find the links for the rest of your website, or your website’s content. Make all links very accessible for both viewing platforms.
  • By now your website shouldn’t be using html tables and frames to support your website – the scourge of web design before CSS. Tables and frames can be inaccessible on many computer based browsers, and with the Smartphone this is especially true.
  • Developers can use the web browser Safari as a good proxy for designing your website for the iPhone. Testing your website using this browser will be almost identical in the iPhone and other Smartphones, and will save your web developer time with your website’s code.
  • If you simply don’t have the budget or time to rework an entire website for Smartphones, then simply create a smaller version have the viewer be automatically sent to the portion of your website. Webphone users will appreciate this greatly.
  • Build your website to load fast and scroll less, making it that much easier for users in both environments.
  • Images shouldn’t be so large that it will leave your viewer waiting for them to load. If your website uses large images, break the large image down into smaller sized images, or decrease the actual size of these images to save load time.

Usefull Links

Apple has a great website dealing with developing for their iPhone. iPhone chooses to work with similar browsers and web coding here. If your website is lucky enough to use the great blogging platform WordPress (which Impressions Through Media uses), there are several plugins that are very easy to place on your website which might ease any headaches from designing for your Smartphone audience – The iWPhone Plugin can be found here and WordPress PDA & iPhone Plugin can be found here.

In conclusion, it is very crucial for your website to reach every possible audience effectively, since any malfunction will quickly turn your viewer away to another website – or worse yet your competitor’s. Designing your website to easily comply with the millions of users trying to reach it now with their iPhones, or other Smartphones, will greatly help mend any divide that you may not even know about.