Customer Service and Social Media Evolution

Customer Service and Social Media are evolving quickly.  It is in the best interest of organizations to connect the two, in order to maximize the benefits from customer service and social media.  However, if Customer Service and Social Media do not fall under the same overarching organizational structure, they should be connected by intracompany goals and accountability guidelines to best serve the business as a whole.  There is no “one size fits all solution,” but it is possible to find a better solution in every scenario.   During this week’s #SMChat at 1pm ET, March 12th, we will discuss the better solution…the questions are as follows:

Q1. How are Customer Service and Social Media connected within your organization?

Q2. What is the best practice for connecting Customer Service and Social Media?

Q3. What plans should be made to evolve “legacy” Customer Service departments? (Legacy, in this instance, indicates without social presence or influence on behalf of the organization.)

Q4. How can those departments evolve together to meet the expectations of your customers?  

Q5. How can organizations gain efficiencies by tapping into knowledge of Customer Service and Social Media?

The chat is always informational, engaging and spirited.  We look forward to your input, so join us!

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Networking Yourself Into Business – SOBCon 8/16 Chat

Networking is necessary to have a successful business.  Connections are essential and sometimes we need to leverage those connections.  For some, this doesn’t “feel good.”  It seems too much like “selling” and many don’t want to be in sales.  Although “sell” is technically a 4-letter word, it doesn’t need to feel that way.

August 16th on our SOBCon Chat we will be discussing networking with Thomas Mangum.  Thomas is a Connector and a Master Networker.  He is a certified Book Yourself Solid Coach and recently developed an online Networking Course with   He is an expert at leveraging collaboration and power of connection.  His motto is, “Skip the small talk and move directly to the “Large Talk” where the conversation really starts.”

During the SOBCon chat, we will be discussing keys to successful networking, creating rapport and building trust with your audience.   We hope you will join us at 1pm ET on August 16th.  You can follow and participate on twitter using the hashtag #SOBCon, use or any other “twitter” application you prefer.

Q1. Should you be networking in a targeted way?  If yes, how?

Q2. How should people find “networking” groups?

Q3. How do you build trust with the people you are networking with?

Q4. What can you do to create rapport? (Especially in a large networking event.)

Q5. What are some best practices to keep track of those that you’ve networked with?

Bonus question, time permitting.

Q6.  Are there networking tools you would recommend?

If you’d like to learn more about SOBCon or Thomas, please feel free to click on the respective embedded links.

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Positively Social – How are You Spinning It?

It’s already a beautiful world. We can make it even better together…by being #PositivelySocial

Today, August 14th, is the day that Frank Eliason  proposed to be “Positively Social.” With so much extreme negativity and blatantly inappropriate attacks on others via social media, Frank wanted us all to take a day to be #PositivelySocial.  This doesn’t mean that we only pat each other on the backs and are talking about the positive things; it means that we try to move to a place of greater understanding.

I am glad to be a part of #PositivelySocial and to share some thoughts about that.  I hope that this day impacts some of the people who really need to evaluate their motivations around being social…are they operating in the social space to be a part of the conversations, to contribute, to stimulate thought or just to be mean and vicious?

I really enjoy social media and the connections that I have made over the past few years.  I have been able to form friendships, to learn and to broaden my horizons.  It is largely a positive experience for me.  Although, there have been times where I have witnessed people going on the attack against others and it upsets me.

Recently there have been several issues surrounding the Olympics and Olympic athletes.  Many of these athletes are children…yes, children.  When they don’t perform the way some expect or even do their hair a certain way, people go on the attack. People who aren’t even considering that their comments are painful to those CHILDREN.  Even for the athletes who are adults, they are humans who should not be disrespected for any reason.  We should celebrate their accomplishments and the fact that they made it to the OLYMPICS.  I am in awe of every Olympic athlete and realize that even though the media may portray them in a god-like way, they are human just like the rest of us…that is what makes their accomplishments so amazing.

Yesterday, I watched an interview on the Today show with the 12-year-old boy who appears in a Nike commercial that aired during the Olympics.  He was so articulate and so inspirational.  He has been attacked personally because of his weight…he’s 12…did I mention that?  In the commercial he’s running…one foot in front of the other…showing determination, courage and a willingness to change.  He’s inspired me to get moving more often and I am sure that he’s inspired others.  What good does it do to try to knock him down or even to attack Nike for putting him in the ads?  I think that they did the right thing and I hope to see people rally around them. The 12-year old said that, “the haters are motivators.”  What if we all took his approach to be more determined to do the right thing in a positive way?  Imagine the possibilities.  (And no, I am not involved with Nike, although I do own some of their shoes.)

Today I encourage everyone to try to take a minute, think before you type or even speak…evaluate your motivation…I hope that you’re coming from a positive place and that you want to move the world to a positive place.  I know it sounds like more rhetoric, but do we believe that because it’s true or because it’s what we’ve been told over and over? Together we have the power to change our world.

Join in #PositivelySocial today by using the hashtag to note those things that you see that are “Positively Social.” I am excited to see how we can talk about things in a more civil and understanding manner…even when we don’t agree.

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It’s Simple, You Can’t Be Smarter in the Past

Many times in our lives we examine past events, we look for answers there.  We even wish things could’ve been different, that we’d made different choices…maybe better choices.  The simple thing that came to mind for me, that I think it’s important to share, “We cannot be smarter in the PAST. We cannot change the choices we made there. We can only do better going forward.”  Think about this as you are making choices today. Make the choices that you will not regret and that will take you where you want to go going forward.  Leave the past where it belongs…in the past.

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Best Practices for Going Mobile – SOBCon Monthly Chat

Some people think that “mobile” is the wave of the future…that in three years we will be using our phones as our primary way to access the internet.  I use it that way now and so does just about everyone that I know.  Many small businesses are not sure about “how” to go mobile with their website.

June 28th on our rescheduled monthly SOBCon chat, we will be discussing best practices of building your mobile site with Christian Gurney of Torsion Mobile.  We hope that you can join us at 1pm ET, Thursday.

Q1. What planning steps should you take prior to beginning the “going mobile” process?

Q2. What features should be integrated for mobile users?

Q3. How do you test your site prior to launch?

Q4. What are the top 3 most important features of a mobile site?

Q5. Where can you find analytics for your mobile site?

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Keep It Simple – Using Storify to Create a TweetChat Transcript

Storify Logo via

Storify logo via

This week’s Keep It Simple Post is to offer tips on using Storify to create a tweetchat transcript.  I am fortunate to host a couple of tweetchats and participate in several others.  It seems that many of the chat transcripting platforms have gone by the wayside and it was a struggle to create a transcript at the conclusion of  a chat, which what prompted this post.  (You can also apply these tips to create a Storify post about a particular hashtag, your general tweet stream etc.  Storify also integrates with other social media platforms, but  this post will focus solely on using it with Twitter to create a tweetchat transcript.)

If you are interested in learning more about Storify, they offer a guided tour on their website.  In order to try out the tips in this post, you will need to create a Storify account. (I am not affiliated with Storify in any way, just have found it to be a helpful tool.)

The simplest way I have found to create a transcript for a tweetchat:

  1. Open Tweetchat (or whichever platform you use to chat…hootsuite, tweetdeck, etc.) and select the appropriate hashtag for the chat.
  2.  During the chat, favorite the tweets that you wish to include in your Storify post.
  3. Open Storify, click “Create Story”,  populate the headline/description information, click the “twitter” icon and then click favorites.
  4. Scroll down to the time when the chat started, click and drag the tweets from the right column into the left column.  *If you don’t start at the bottom, the transcript will be in reverse chronological order, which isn’t very logical…pun intended:)
  5. You can insert text above tweets, which is very good place to indicate the questions that were being answered throughout the chat.  (An example from SMChat) You can pre-populate this information before the chat if you prefer.
  6. You can also include text at the bottom, offering your conclusions or indicating when the next chat will occur.
  7. Most important tip: Click Save Now frequently throughout your creation process in order to preserve your work.

I actually go through the process outlined above as a chat progresses, but you can do it during or after, whichever works best for you.  If you elect to do during the chat, it is best to have 2 windows open; one for Storify and one for your chat platform.

I hope that you find these Keep It Simple Tips helpful, please feel free to add your insights below or ask any questions you may have.  Happy Friday!

**Bonus hint: If you don’t want to use the “favorite” feature, you can choose to “Search” the hashtag that you would like to create a transcript for (you can even do a keyword instead of a hashtag) and then simply click the tweets you want to include in your post and drag them into the left column.  It is important to do this during the chat or right as the chat concludes, especially if people use the hashtag frequently because the stream will continue to grow and it will make it difficult to get to the tweets from the chat.

Posted in business, Customer Service, KIS, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, tips, twitter | Tagged , , , | 45 Comments

Keep It Simple – An Easy Reminder to Connect

Look AroundSometimes we get caught up in the whirlwind of life and this can become even more complicated when so many social media platforms are layered into the mix.  Trying to post here and there, what’s the latest trend, who is where…it can get a little frantic.

This week there is just one Keep It Simple tip…stop and look around.  Seize the opportunity to simply look and notice…the things you should see will jump out at you, but also notice what’s missing.  Is there someone you connected with frequently, but haven’t “seen” in awhile?  Take a minute, reach out and touch base and connect.

Many times I get so busy that it takes awhile to realize that I’m not looking around.  This post was inspired by something that happened to me earlier in the week.  I was at a store and talking to a clerk and could hear someone talking to another clerk.  It was a friend that I was standing less than one foot away from and if she hadn’t been talking to someone, I would’ve breezed right past her.  It would have been a shame to miss out on the opportunity to connect, even if it was just for a minute or two.  So take a minute, look around and connect.  Many times those connections offer up additional opportunities for you to seize.


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Keep It Simple: 3 Tips to Increase Accessibility on Your Blog or Website

Adults with disabilities are spending twice as much time online as those without disabilities, are they spending that time with you?Yesterday, I moderated the monthly SOBCon chat with a special guest, Glenda Watson Hyatt.  You can learn more about her at the “Do It Myself Blog“.  The topic of conversation was accessibility, specifically via the internet.  She said two things that really resonated with me and prompted this post:

  • “Consider: Adults w/ disabilities spend two times as much time online as those w/o disabilities. Are they spending that time with you?”  AND
  • “People with disabilities are 18% of US pop with $175 billion in discretionary spending power. Can you ignore that?”

If that doesn’t get your attention to prompt thinking about accessibility, I don’t know what will.

Glenda offers a 75-Second Accessibility Challenge on her blog, you can take a look at the challenge and you can also use the 3 tips below gleaned from her post and from our chat yesterday.

  1. When using multi-media or visual content, add captions and transcripts.  Heidi Thorne of  Promo with Purpose Today and Thorne Communications indicated that she saw increased YouTube traffic after adding transcripts to her videos.
  2. Make hyperlink text readable…instead of hyperlinking to the word “here” use text that is meaningful.  This tip is great for accessibility and it is a great general tip.  I think we are all a little tired of seeing. “Please click here…”
  3. When you insert a hyperlink, do not force it to open in a new window.  I realize that for some this is counterintuitive, myself included, but after the chat yesterday I understand how this can be problematic from an accessibility perspective.  Many times when you force a new window to open, the user may not realize that is what has happened and will potentially think the link is not working and they could have difficulty navigating back to the original content.

These tips are so simple and if they can offer increased accessibility to your site or your posts, it seems a no-brainer to implement the changes.

If you are interested in learning more about accessibility, you can work directly with Glenda and you can examine the resources below:

75-Second Accessibility Challenge

Accessibility Checklist for Blog Posts

WAVE – Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

Posted in business, KIS, Marketing, SOBCon, Social Media, tips | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

SOBCon focuses on Accessibility for the February Chat

SOBCon, where the virtual meets concrete, is a community of people that is adept at working together to generate success.  I am so grateful to be a part of this community and to be a moderator on the monthly SOBCon chat.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to attend several live SOBCon events (I highly recommend it and if you’re interested, you can see coming events at  At one of those events, I met a very insightful accessibility professional, Glenda Watson Hyatt.

Glenda is committed to accessibility for companies small and large.  She offers insights, compliance recommendations and tips to make websites more accessible.  This includes blogs just like this one…after the chat, I will do my KIS (Keep It Simple) Series post on Friday using Glenda’s tips.  It is critical to think of all of the connections you could be missing if you aren’t working towards an accessible world.  I am very happy that Glenda agreed to be our special guest on the chat, she has information to share with us that can change the way we see our engagements.  She has opened my eyes to ways that accessibility is overlooked and how some simple changes can make a big difference to so many people.

We hope that you will join us on the #SOBCon chat February 16th at 1pm ET as Glenda works with us to answer the questions below and if you have additional questions after the chat, please contact her directly on twitter, she’s @GlendaWH.

1.  What is the number one accessibility issue?

2.  Is it really important to make your website/blog more accessible and why?

3.  What steps can companies take to make websites more accessible?

4.  How can we make our blogs more accessible?

5.  What resources can we use to make our websites/blogs more accessible?

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Keep It Simple: Tips for hosting a Tweetchat

I really enjoy participating in tweetchats…if you’ve never done it, it’s a great way to connect with others who have similar interests and it’s a natural community builder.  It’s easy to participate, but it is slightly more challenging to host/moderate.  I am fortunate enough to moderate two very busy chats, SMChat on Wednesdays at 1pm ET and the SOBCon chat on the third Thursday of the month.  Along the way, I’ve come up with some tips to offer that will be helpful if you find yourself in the moderation hot seat.

  • Do a framing post and share beforehand.  Include the questions that you will cover in the chat – label them Q1, Q2. etc.
  • Try to keep the number of questions to 5. For an hour chat, you will have a few minutes of introductions, about 10 minutes per question and a few minutes of wrap-up.
  • Pre-schedule your questions to tweet out using an application like hootsuite (affiliate link) or similar. Set them to begin 10 minutes after the chat starts and every 10 minutes thereafter. Make sure you remember to hashtag them with the name of your chat.  This really helps to stay on topic.
  • Use twebevent, tweetchat, tweetgrid to automatically hashtag your tweets and monitor the chat stream.
  • Keep a second window open to monitor your mentions, so that if someone asks you a question, you don’t miss it in the flood of tweets.
  • Last, but not least, if you have someone being inappropriate/rude/too self-promotional – remind them very firmly what the chat is about and if they do not cease, then ask them to leave the chat.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

Happy Friday, have a great weekend and remember Keep It Simple!

Posted in business, KIS, SOBCon, Social Media, twitter | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment