The Business Case for Social Media


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  • Hi, everyone – Bill Sheridan with the Maryland Association of CPAs and the Business Learning Institute.We’re gonna talk a bit today about Twitter.Certainly by now you’ve heard of Twitter. Kind of hard to miss these – lots of buzz out there about the power of Twitter and how businesses are using.But since you’re watching this, I’m going to assume you’re a bit rusty on how to use it, and why it’s important, and why you should be paying attention to it.We’re going to talk about all of that today, AND we’re going to give you a crash course in how to get started with Twitter, from creating your account to send your first tweet, and everything in between.
  • Before we really get started, I’ve got to tell you a quick story:Part of this presentation is a look at some of the ways in which small firms are actually using social media to great effect, and I wanted to bring some of these small practitioners into the room to tell their stories.One of them, Jody Padar, is here in person. A couple of others are here via the magic of video – I asked them to record their stories and send me the files so I could share them with you.One of them, Greg Kyte, who you’ll be hearing from later, was trying to send me the file but couldn’t find my e-mail address. So here’s what he said:You can augment the content of the video with the fact that I don't have you email address, and I found it through Facebook after looking on LinkedIn. This video wouldn't have gotten to you without social media.“We’ll decide later after seeing the video whether that’s a case in favor of social media or against it.Anyway, that’s the kind of world we’re living in today, and we’ll take a closer look at how small firms are taking advantage of it.
  • A quick look at our agenda:
  • This is our problem: We think social media for our firms is going to be a snap. We all use Facebook, some of us are on Twitter, we watch videos on YouTube. It just looks easy – free, online tools that are fun to use? What could be easier than that?Then we find out just how hard it can be. It’s not free – not when you consider the time and effort involved. It’s not easy, or we wouldn’t be here today.But done right, it’ll change your world. How?
  • We’re also here because of this. This is an Accountancy Age article, citing a study of 1,000 UK firms by CCH. The study found that three-quarters of accountants surveyed use social media sites, compared to 69% last year.However, although 78% class themselves as social media listeners, just 22% say they are contributors.We’re hoping to help change that.
  • So let’s talk about what’s happening today that makes this conversation worth having.It all boils down to one word – Change.Always had change, but rate of change is intense today.-- legislative / regulatory changes. Makes SOX look like a walk in the park.-- demographic shifts. 4 generations in the workplace.-- that leads to all kinds of leadership shifts and succession issues.-- biggest of all, technology shifts. Moore’s Law – processing speeds, or overall processing power, for computers doubles every 18 months or so.-- Aspen Intitute rate of change: As it relates to science and technology, the rate of change in the next decade is likely to be 4 to 7 times faster than in the previous decade. If it is 4 times faster, it would be like planning for today in 1890. If it is 7 times faster, it would be like planning for today in 1670.
  • It’s a different world, folks.Social media is helping us do all of that.
  • Well, let’s define what social media is.And I’m not talking about textbook definitions here. I’m talking about what social media can do for you.1. Social filter:Information overload. Google CEO Eric Schmidt:“Between the dawn of civilization through 2003, there were just five exabytes of information created. That much information is now created every two days, and the pace is increasing.“Clay Shirky – filter failure.2. Broadcasting tool: Cite, as examples:-- revolutions-- disasters like tsunami in Japan-- blog stats.3. Listening agent: Joining the conversation. Cite Typepad example.4. Networker: Cite Tom bringing followers into a classroom conversation.5. Teacher: Cite social learning, ability to learn from others anywhere, at any time.
  • Here’s why: I know of no other recent development that has had a greater impact on information consumption than Twitter. Consider:Information: And I’m not talking about content. I’m talking about content that matters to you. That old cliché “Content is King?” Wrong. Today, as Steven Rosenbaum says, “Content curation is king.” Twitter does that for you.Citizen journalism.Customer service. Typepad example.Communication / collaboration. That includes everything from informing the masses to networking to relationship-building to marketing.
  • I could go into a million examples about this, from the Arab Spring revolutions, to the evolution of journalism, disasters like the tsunami in Japan and how victims used Twitter to seek help. All of these are astounding and groundbreaking.But let’s bring it a little closer to the office.The example I want to cite is blogs.
  • Seth says it forces us to join the conversation. Good point. Which brings us to social media as a listening agent.People are out there talking about us right now.3. Listening agent: Joining the conversation. Cite Typepad example.
  • 4. Networker: Cite Tom bringing followers into a classroom conversation.
  • The answer is to be ever learning. And almost all learning is social. It’s informal. And that’s where social media comes into play. It has ushered in a new era that Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner call “The New Social Learning.”Tony and Marcia will tell you that nearly all learning is social in nature. In other words, most of what we learn on a day-to-day basis is stuff that we learn from our interactions with other people. THAT is where most learning takes place, and THAT is what makes social media such a compelling tool in a business sense.
  • Wanna see something cool?This is Dusty Payne of Maui. He's 22 years old and one of the world's best extreme surfers, and you can see why here.Let's just watch and marvel for a couple of minutes.==========Pretty impressive. Wanna know how he learned to do all of that?YouTube.He and a handful of friends would gather in Dusty’s living room and watch YouTube videos, and videos of themselves experimenting – trying impossible moves, failing a lot. They'd watch videos of skate boarders, snowboarders, motor cross riders, and they'd put the best of everything they saw into their surfing. Then they'd practice. Then they'd watch some more. Then they'd practice some more. Along the way, they became the very best at what they do.THAT'Swhat social learning is all about. That's how a new generation of folks is learning how to do things. And that's the power of social media.That's the filter we need.
  • My boss, Tom Hood, likes to put it this way:In an era of constant change, the most important skill we possess today is the ability to learn new skills.This is Tom’s formula: L > C. “To keep pace in your industry, let alone as a leader, requires your rate of LEARNING to be greater than, or equal to, the rate of change.Social media helps us do that.
  • So I’m reading this book called “Linchpin,” by a genius named Seth Godin. How many of you have read it?You all know Seth?Seth, of course, invented the Internet … and thought of everything before anybody else … and basically is here to make us feel worthless, then kick our butts and turn us into better people. That’s just what he does, and he’s good at it.Anyway, in “Linchpin,” he talks about how to become indispensable. It basically comes down to this:-- Ditch the rules and follow your heart. AND …-- Do work that inspires you AND others. Pretty cool idea. And if you want to know more about it, read the book.
  • So anyway, I’m reading this book. And on page 161, Seth starts talking about something called “the circles of gift giving.”See, Seth believes in giving stuff away – giving away our knowledge, giving away resources, adding value to other people’s lives and not expecting anything in return. That’s how we become indispensable.Pretty radical idea. It flies in the face of everything that capitalism stands for. Right? We’re here to make money. Produce something, sell it, repeat.The classic business model that me and you and our parents and grandparents grew up with was all about product and profit. Right? Make something and sell it for more. People were merely cogs in the machine that produced the stuff we sold.Here’s the thing, though. That business model? It’s obsolete. It’s been obsolete for probably 5 years. The rules have changed.We’re now living in an era in which people are at the center of everything we do. Tom Hood likes to say we’ve moved away from an era of command-and-control to one of communicate-and-collaborate. Doing that means building communities and relationships, and that takes people, it takes trust, it takes a commitment to serving others, not just making money. People first.
  • OK, so back to Seth’s circles of gift giving. There are three of them:The first is a circle of true gifts – stuff we willingly share with others, most often friends, family and co-workers. Someone asks for advice for a good hotel in the area. You give that knowledge away. You invite a friend over and give her a meal. You don’t charge her for it.The second is a circle of commerce – people in this circle are willing to pay you for what you produce – your consulting services, your financial advice, the book you wrote, the widget you made.Those two circles have been with us for ever.Now, the Internet has given us a third circle, and it’s kind of a combination of the first two. It consists of people who might one day pay you for what you do – but to get to that point they first need to know you and trust you and be comfortable interacting with you. These are our social networks, the folks we follow online.Here’s a quote:“Generosity generates income.”
  • That’s an entirely new business model, and it’s one that almost NO ONE is following yet.And how do I know that? It all goes back to social media.One of the biggest complaints I hear about social media is, “Where’s the ROI? How come we’re not making any money on this stuff? This is worthless – I’ve been on Twitter for a week and nobody’s bought anything yet.”Social media is that third circle. We’re not supposed to sell anything there. That’s where we give away stuff. Share what we know. Add value to people’s lives. Build trust, and credibility, and relationships. Then, maybe we start to move some folks over to the second circle.But ROI? There is no ROI in social media. Not if you do it right.If you do it right, you become less of a production machine and more human.
  • There’s another new book out now called “Humanize.” It’s by a couple of association folks named Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant. They argue that the reason so many businesses are struggling with social media is that they’re trying to bolt it onto obsolete business models.The problem isn’t social media, they say. The problem is that our own organizations are outdated and need to become more human, more people-centric.
  • The point is this: If we don’t focus on serving people and solving problems – if we don’t put other people’s needs ahead of our own – we are doomed to fail. The irony is, the more we give away, the more we’ll make in return.That’s the business model for this brave new social world.And that’s more than our challenge. It should be our aspiration.Thank you.
  • A great way of building up your list of followers quickly is by “power following.” Find an influencer in your area of expertise, and look at who he or she is following.Let’s take Tom Hood as an example:
  • The Business Case for Social Media

    1. 1. Why social?The businesscase forsocial mediain an era ofepic change Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    2. 2. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    3. 3. Today’s agenda Introduction to social media How is it changing our world? The business case for social media Small firm success stories The bottom line Resources Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    4. 4. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    5. 5. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    6. 6. Change Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    7. 7. The world is changing From: To: Hierarchy  Network Command and control  Connect and collaborate Experience curve  Collaboration curve Lecturer  Facilitator Push  Pull Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    8. 8. Young adults and social media  23% have smartphones.  82% use social networking sites.  One in five uses Twitter.  It’s not technology. Bill Sheridan, CAESource: Pew Internet and American Life project report The Business Learning Institute
    9. 9. Teens and texting • The average American teen sends about 2,000 text messages each month.
    10. 10. And what about CPAs?90 percent on LinkedIn75 percent on Facebook50 percent on YouTube45 percent on TwitterWhy?Connect with business associatesKeep up with family and friendsReconnect with old friendsIdentify and attract new clientsDevelop your personal brand Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    11. 11. What is social media?Social filterBroadcasting toolListening agentNetworkerTeacherWhat is it not?A waste of time. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    12. 12. Social filter “Thinking about information overload isn’t accurately describing the problem. Thinking about filter failure is.”  Clay Shirky, New York University new media professor, writer, and consultant Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    13. 13. Broadcasting toolCompanies that blog: 55 percent more visitors to their official Web sites. 97 percent more links to their Web sites. 434 percent more indexed pages. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    14. 14. Broadcasting tool Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    15. 15. Listening agent Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    16. 16. Networker The new math Social networking (old) + Social media (new)= A change in the way we build relationships Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    17. 17. Teacher Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    18. 18. TeacherVideo: “Dusty Payne,” from SurfingVideos: Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    19. 19. Teacher Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    20. 20. Meet Seth. Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    21. 21. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    22. 22. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    23. 23. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    24. 24. Maddie Jamie Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    25. 25. Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    26. 26. Success storiesJason Blumer, CPA Young, CPA Kyte, CPA Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
    27. 27. Questions? Bill Sheridan, CAEThe Business Learning Institute
    28. 28. Why social? Download these slides: me: MACPA’s blog: Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute