Thoughts, real-world observations, and anonymous examples – good and bad – regarding the use of Web/Social/Mobile technology in the insurance industry. Follow Mike Wise, President WebWisedom LLC, for the latest in Social Technologies.
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First, let me just say that it’s very irritating that Linkedin has a policy on its Company Pages that you can only administer a company page if you use an email address that uses an extension of the company name – so no Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. extensions, like me. Why? Not sure, but it’s pretty stupid considering how companies are starting to pursue different email strategies like corporate Gmail….
Promoting a company, brand or organization on Linkedin has three primary components:
I. Company activities
II. Employee Activities, especially leaders and stakeholders
III. Clients, Partners, and Fan Activities
I. The question becomes, “What are the specific things that can and should be done by the company to promote the company and recruit top talent?” No doubt, specific strategies will vary by company size, industry, business goals, etc.. A strategic assessment that connects the business objective with the Social Technology tool is a prudent next step. Let us therefore limit the discussion to the B2B context (assuming
that B2C is more focused on Facebook marketing and not Linkedin), and further refine to mid-market companies. Let’s further say that the actual person running the company Linkedin page is in Marketing and is following a tightly organized Content Calendar, looking to drive sales and business development opportunities.
The Company activities on Linkedin focus around the Company Page. The Company Page has many outbound promotional opportunities, most of which are under-utilized by the vast majority of companies. So if you don’t know about this stuff, don’t feel bad. Circa the Fall of 2011, the following list will likely serve as a checklist of engagement points, the tactical elements, the allowable functions. HOW to use these tools – what to say, when to say it, what to ask, how to respond, etc., etc. – this is where the art of viral marketing, crowdsourcing, rating, and many of the Social Technologies concepts come into play. I’m begging you: DON’T WING IT. Think “driving a high-end Harley with little or no motorcycle training” – good chance you’ll wind up in the hospital – or worse, right?
The Top 10 Elements:
0. Put up your Logo!
Some more activities the Company can do:
Employee recognition – run an employee of the quarter contest, preferably with as much employee ownership as possible so it’s a big deal, then announce in Status Updates, have the employee list that under employee awards, figure out a way to loop-in the related clients, etc. etc. etc. Always tie recognition to the clients served.
Relay current client Recommendations that are given to employees and the company. Client engagement is the whole point. So if there are major touch points like Recommendations of Products and Services and/or employees, broadcast those very generally, right? And should we return the favor? Absolutely. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
What do you think? What else have you seen? Please Comment below. Don’t just take – ya gotta give, too.
Next week: II. Employee Activities, especially leaders and stakeholders
Following week: III. Clients, Partners, and Fan Activities
Is this helpful? Need help with a strategy for the What, When, Where, How, Who? Please comment, share, and/or reach out to WebWisedom.
First, a few notable Crowdsourced sound-bites from Part 1, along with age and work demographics.
And a nice capper…
Interesting … very interesting. This would make for a great panel discussion at a conference.
Contrast the Part 1 “Nowhere Man” story with the flip side. The dinner-conversation-referral-Google-search scenario immediately returns a full page of content about “Doug Smith” “E&Y”. Topping the list is Doug’s cutting-edge Blog – a powerful, well-designed and executed micro-site filled with compliant, keyword-rich content that dates back several years; a virtual fountain of information. Of course the content stops short of giving away any ‘secret sauce’, but it has links to a few of Doug’s recent video presentations at conferences, podcast case studies with other “supply chain financial management” veterans, several white papers he’s authored, recent Comments by readers on an interesting twist on “global supply chain financial management”, and direct links to his Twitter feed and mature Linkedin profile, both of which include reinforcing content. Google also shows that Doug is also featured on several other industry Web sites as an RE – joint vidcasts, guest blog posts, etc.
Let’s play out this scenario: Chris clicks through from Doug’s blog to Doug’s twitter feed (this link is actually a Twitter Search on my Profile to make it easy for those without a Twitter profile to get a sneak peak). Chris, again, the E&Y prospect, immediately Follows Doug and adds him to her “supply chain financial management” List. She scans a few of his recent posts, sees that he’s in Kenya on a project, follows a couple of the links to some powerful “supply chain financial management” content Doug found and shared today and yesterday, and then clicks through to Doug’s Linkedin profile (again, my public profile as an example for those unfamiliar).
“OK… Let’s see what we can see… 500+ Connections – solid. 15 Recommendations – hey, there’s Joe from dinner! OK… There’s those tweets again… and a couple headlines from his blog… Hmmm, before E&Y, he was with McKinsey. Wow, we have some people in common… and some shared Groups. Yep, looks like Doug is in Kenya right now. (Look forward to asking him about that.)
“No problem – my issue isn’t urgent. I’ll leave him a voice mail and let him know I see he’s in Kenya, but want to talk when he gets back…. ‘Doug Smith, this is Chris Mann from XYZ. I had dinner with Joe Jones from ABC Company tonight at the QRS Conference. Joe referred to you as the “supply chain financial management” guru. Got a challenge I’d like to run by you. I see you are in Kenya on a project. Please call me at your earliest opportunity. 212-515-1212 Or email Chris.Mann@XYZ.com and we’ll schedule a phone call. Thanks so much. Looking forward to meeting you. Joe spoke highly of you…’”
And this all took Chris about 10-15 minutes depending on how fast she scans and assimilates data.
Little different scenario this time around. Do you see the VERY tactical and practical utilities of that kind of mature online presence? Do you agree with that scenario as I’ve described it? Does that story help connect some dots for you? What would you add? Like it?
How else does a mature online presence as a Recognized Expert help?
Let’s consider a perhaps less-than-obvious situation. How does BRE help you achieve your career goals? What are the long-term implications? Let’s paint a picture of the future and how BRE may be a significant factor in how well you will prosper.
Let’s tweak the dinner conversation slightly. Let’s say Chris Mann is not an E&Y prospect but instead the conference organizer looking for someone to speak at the NEXT conference in six months. How would the same situation play out given the same two sides of the coin? On the one side, Chris the conference organizer finds tons of corroborating content to Joe’s suggestion that she consider Doug as a potential speaker. How strategic would a speaking gig at the next industry conference be, in front of a host of clients and prospects? And perhaps there might be some media outlets in the audience that want to interview Doug for a vidcast on the topic, perhaps an industry blog ‘ecosystem’ looking to add an author? Who knows where all that could lead, but one thing’s for sure: “It’s all good!” But on the other side, if there is no online reputation reinforcing the RE status, it all goes nowhere in a hurry.
Upper Management Change
Or how about this scenario. Consider that Doug’s boss at E&Y retires. Doug doesn’t really want to ‘move up’, and the new guy is a friend of someone on the Board, a young ex-prof from Wharton, someone with a lot of head-knowledge, looks good on paper, wrote a couple books on “supply chain financial management theory”, but in reality is thin on street savvy - a good choice for the Wall Street reputation, but a poor choice from a client perspective. “But you can help him get up to speed. He’s a good guy, knows a lot of movers and shakers, and together, you’ll both kick butt…” the vice-chair says with a slap on the back.
Well, this could go at least two ways, right? WITHOUT a solid RE reputation, after a couple inevitable missteps by the new guy, Doug could say, “Screw it. I’m throwing my hat in the ring over at __competitor__.” WITHOUT the RE profile, won’t Doug will be a bit hamstrung and eventually either set the new guy up for failure or get chewed up himself, lose his fire, and ultimately derail and fade out? True?
Either way, the company loses a bright (albeit hidden) light, has potential reputation management issues, morale issues, client satisfaction issues, etc. etc. etc. – not a good scenario for anyone – except the competition of course. But WITH a solid RE profile, the new guy will of necessity have to work with Doug, won’t he? You can’t argue with a guy that has a thought-leading blog, perhaps even a blog that’s its OWN industry ecosystem with tons of engaged readers, 1000+ Linkedin Connections, 25 Recommendations, 1000s of Twitter Followers, etc.. The vice-Chair will say to the NEW GUY, “Step aside, man, and just enable, help DOUG do his thing, bring more prospects to the table, bring ideas, that kind of thing.” Doesn’t everyone WIN in that scenario???
What are your thoughts? Does this make sense? Where are the holes? Is this an accurate depiction of why Becoming a Recognized Expert can be so useful not only in the short term but in the long-term, not only for the professional but for the company?
If so, Part 3 will discuss the practical and tactical steps to facilitate going from “Nowhere Man” to Recognized Expert.
Please share your take. Please don’t lurk – engage. Thanks in advance.
The cat wants in to my office. Not gunna do it! Sorry.
Busy professionals often want to know how to make the Social Web more useful for them. But there are barriers. Some comments I hear, especially from boomers in upper or senior management:
All legit and common questions and comments. No doubt they all stem from ‘busy-ness’. But the question is, “Can we ignore Social media vis-a-vis our professional presence and online reputation?”
Perhaps TOGETHER we can collaborate on some real-deal answers. Tell you what: I’ll share some of my writings on “How to Become a Recognized Expert”. Please add your Comments to the discussion below.
[TIP: Click the "Subscribe" right next to the Submit button, especially the choice about getting an email for follow-up comments. That way you can see if someone comments on your comment. I know more email. But this is good email, email where you have a stake in the discussion and want to know what others are saying. If you have a couple minutes and really want to do it right, set up a Google profile, add your headshot and points of contact, web site, etc. Be logged-in when you Comment to 1. save time and 2. give people a name with a face.]
To ignore or not to ignore. Let’s use a real-life example. Is this True or False in your experience?
I have a great friend who is a Partner with a Big Four audit firm, we’ll call him Doug. Doug is a relationship manager for a handful of F100 enterprises. He has a team of “supply chain financial management” specialists, again at the F100 level, that know “supply chain financial management”about as well as anyone on the planet, with a great track record of meaningful successes in solving client problems. But if you look up “supply chain financial management”, his firm is invisible, not to mention Doug.
If you were a large enterprise finance professional in “supply chain financial management” looking for a new source of information or a new business partner/advisor/audit firm, wouldn’t you be interested in hearing from a Big Four contact, better yet, a Big Four contact in your network? Or vice-versa – If you were a Big Four sales exec, would you want your company and/or someone on your team to be “found” in the “supply chain financial management” category on Linkedin or Google?
Let’s continue with the vignette.
Here we have Doug, a Big Four “supply chain financial management” expert with no Web properties to his credit, no blog, no or minimal Linkedin, no Twitter presence.
Now let’s say one of Doug’s happy clients, Joe Jones (fictitious name), has a conversation with Chris Mann (fictitious name), a colleague from another F100 company, and a Big Four prospect, at an annual industry conference at a plush resort. Over a beverage and friendly dinner, together they chew on a common challenge relative to “supply chain financial management”.
Is this a common scenario? I think so, but sometimes I’m an idiot, too.
Joe, the happy Big Four client, references a few recent “supply chain financial management” innovations originated and orchestrated by Doug’s Big Four team, with a special emphasis on the wisdom and leadership of Doug, again the “supply chain financial management” relationship manager.
However, unfortunately, due to compliance, regulatory, and intellectual property issues, Joe the happy client can’t go into details or email/share any documentation on the innovation with Chris.
Chris says, “Gee, I’d like to talk to Doug.” Joe writes down Doug’s name on a napkin, digs his cell phone number out of his Droid, and says, “Give Doug a call. You’ll get his voice mail. Tell him I referred you. He’ll call you back within 24 hours. He’s got the answers…”
End of vignette.
First Question: Is this a desirable situation for the Big Four Sales Exec? Sure it is. SO…
Do you think Chris, the Big Four prospect, will do a little searching online, perhaps hit Linkedin, perhaps Google, search on Doug’s name at least? How will Chris start her search? Here’s a likely scenario…
Google – “Doug Smith” “Big Four name”
Chris thinks to herself, “Well, here’s a Linkedin profile, but it’s pretty thin. Wow, zero content on “supply chain financial management” – no blog link, no Twitter feed, no Recommendations… Well, maybe he doesn’t understand Linkedin… Oh well. Let me add “supply chain financial management”
Click the <Back> button a couple times to the search page..
“Doug Smith” “Big Four name” “supply chain financial management”
“Hmmm. Still nothing. Wow. Doug’s not publishing anything; neither is Big Four. Odd. Well, perhaps it’s the compliance department throwing down their gauntlet on Social Media and Web sites, etc. Well, I’ll give Doug a call, but in the meantime, let me see what I can find on ["supply chain financial management" blog]. Hmmmm. This is interesting….” Off Chris goes in other directions, potentially finding other sources.
Second Question: How is this scenario going to impact Chris’s first encounter and first impression of Doug when Doug returns the phone call?
Remember what’s at stake here. Think about the potential collateral damage to the relationship between Joe Jones, the Happy Client and Chris…and by extension the relationship between Joe and Doug.
In getting started on Quora, I answered a question (click here) about Twitter as news medium versus Social Network. I candidly discussed some of my secret Twitter strategies. The content was subsequently re-posted on Insurance Ecosystem.
Highly recommend Insurance Ecosystem, not only as an info source, but also as a concept. Pat Alexander is one of the savviest insurance vets I know relative to insurance technology…. definitely has her finger on the pulse.
If you have Comments or questions about Twitter, click through and throw them into the post over on Insurance Ecosystem and we’ll dialog over there. Above all, don’t settle for the trite Twitter brush off, “I don’t get Twitter.” It’s already extremely influential on many levels. Highly recommend it. Read why.
Heading to the prison ministry for 72 hours. Gotta’ leave the tech in the car. JFYI.
Picture from the recent ice and snow storm…
Sunrise coming over the roof caught my attention
2011 is underway. For me personally, it’s off with a bang. If you remember, it was a year ago, that I was venturing out into the unknown starting WebWisedom from nothing. For those that are interested, 2010 was a reasonably successful year, definitely feast or famine at times, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the alternative. For those of you that did business with me in 2010, most successfully, a few not so much, I GREATLY APPRECIATE the opportunity to work with you. Thank you. Let’s pick up the pace in 2011 and really make things happen. I kid you not – I’ve learned some things in the past few months that are critically important nuggets for succeeding in the digital economy.
Perfect segway. This week, in the flow of an off-line conversation someone characterized me as “…a digital person living in an analog world.” The reference was spiritual in context, but the second thing that popped into my head was how well that comment translated into my professional life as well. I’m curious if you, those of you that know me well, see this to be a true statement and why? Further, if true, I’m curious if this is a good thing or a bad thing? Does this bode well for me in business, enhancing my value-prop and increasing my chance to successfully add value and thereby generate revenue, or am I in the wrong space doing the wrong thing, eventually destined to fail. Perhaps you would be kind enough to lend your perspective. I’ve got two focus points:
What’s your comment? Please share. I’d be extremely grateful for either encouragement to press on or a reality check. Really.
*******************A few other quick Shares*******************
Check out these forecasts from World Future Society. LOT of Social Tech stuff in here. Especially noted the comments on the classroom and customers having the power of CEO’s. So much more… Maybe this is the year I finally go to a WFS meeting. Anyone care to join me and share costs? It’d be a hoot I’m confident.
I’m signed up for the 2011 PIMA (yes those are my pics on the site) & ICMG (check out the viral video I made for them) Annual Meetings later this month. Those of you tracking with me in the insurance space, hope to see you at either or both of these events. They both look like they will be well attended and should offer great chances at getting something for the money. And how great that they are back to back in the same city – and a warm, fun one at that. In between I will be running around the area meeting clients and working on the Amplified Influence book (I know, I still have to finish last year’s book. Maybe I’ll integrate all that content.)
I got this from my daughter who’s also into Social Tech, smartly starting to build her own River of Information. Interesting data on Millenials and their habits and preferences. Gee wiz, if you’re selling to these folks, shouldn’t Social be a big part of your sales and marketing strategy? “Tech is in their DNA and IT ENHANCES THEIR LIVES” (emphasis added). Do you get that, Babyboomer marketers and decision makers? Facebook, Smartphones, etc. is ENHANCING, not diminishing, their lives as boomers so often say. If you don’t get it, how many stories like this do you need to read before you get a smartphone, a Macbook, a blog, a Twitter, and start understanding what Social Tech is and why Millenials in particular, and now other generations, are using it so heavily. It’s not then, it’s you. (OK enough of my rant – sorry, I get passionate sometimes.)
You gotta love Shoutlet. As I said a lot in 2010, they are doing some really great work in the SocialTech space with respect to content distribution, control, and reporting. Here’s their prognostication for 2011. Take it to heart. Call them and get started with their tool. Ask for Jenny. (No, I’m not on their payroll.)
Favorite tweet from this week:
@barbaragiamanco: It is ag8 example of how a group should be run! RT @paulcastain: Thanks for the #salesplaybook shout out Barb. #sales #newhandshake
I just joined this Sales Paybook group on Linkedin. Already picked up a few powerful tips. Now I need to add some. Follow Barb Giamanco. Had an off-line phonecon with her this week. Looking forward to reading her book. Very sharp and savvy Social & Sales Consultant.
From Lewis Howes, Linkedin looks to going public. Darn! I could be wrong, hope I am, but I think a Linkedin IPO is NOT a good thing for Linkedin. It will be interesting to watch. One thing’s for sure – it will be a very Social event, one way or the other!
Lastly, how are you coming on the Mobile version of your site? Do you understand that needs to be a priority project for 2011? NOW? I’ve got a fantastic resource I’d like to connect you with. Contact me.
Favorite picture from the Christmas break. Me and the fam decorating the Christmas Tree.
It was a great Christmas.
Appreciate hearing from you in the Comments below next to the tags. Thanks for engaging.