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Social Media Boot Camp in Germany: Q & A


_DSC0191It may be Thanksgiving in the US, but in Germany, it’s another day at work. And if you work in Germany, your probably either actively using social media to increase your productivity, or scratching you head wondering how to reinvent yourself for the digital work place. If you’re one of the latter, you may want to attend my upcoming social media training course in Frankfurt.

If you’re interested in learning more about my upcoming Social Media Boot Camp in Frankfurt, or trying to decide whether or this social media training opportunity is right for you, here’s a brief question and answer sheet I did for DDP Direct, which is producing the event.

As social media moves from public relations, public affairs and marketing to other business lines, such as customer service, research & development, manufacturing, distribution and sales there is a growing international appetite among professionals worldwide to come up to speed quickly on how to use social media channels effectively for business purposes.

So I’m off the Germany to teach my first social media training course in Frankfurt.  The questions below are from Mira Giesen at DDP Direct, and the answers are mine, based on what I’ve learned from you.

Q: For which target group is the 1st German-American Social Media Boot Camp suitable?

A: The Social Media Boot Camp on 14-15 Dec in Frankfurt is for professionals who want to practical solutions for leveraging social media to achieve measurable business objectives. They’ve heard the hype and the big ideas.  No they want to learn how to execute effectively and efficiently.  This social media training course is for them.

Q: What kind of benefits can participants expect from attending the 1st German-American Social Media Boot Camp (http://bit.ly/hZ6bYw)?

A: How to win management and employee buy-in for social media initiatives, how to craft an effective strategy, how to search optimize their content, how to find and engage the influencers and how to measure the outcome.

Q: What is the difference between this Social Media Boot Camp (http://bit.ly/hZ6bYw) and other conferences?

A: Social Media Boot Camp 14-15 Dec in Frankfurt (http://bit.ly/hZ6bYw) is not theoretical seminar. It is a practical chance to develop applied skills and knowledge through step-by-step exercises.  Attendees bring their laptops, log on and get applied training to accelerate their online communications capabilities.  As long as you can point and click, drag and drop, this course is designed to transform digital immigrants into digital natives in just two days.

Q: Do I lose control over my business communication in Social Web?

A: To be frank, you’ve never really had control over your business communications. You only controlled what you said about yourself.  You never controlled what others said about your business.  Social media makes it easier to hear what others are saying about your business, which is either a wake up, a starting point for online communications or both.

Q: How should companies handle criticism in Social Web?

A: Companies should look at social media like a real time focus group.  “It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure,” said Clay Shirky. In this course, attendees will learn how build a custom social media monitoring dashboard to see almost anything that moves online with specific keywords and phrases, using entirely free tools.  You’ll learn how to leverage technology to listen more effectively, without wasting time separating the wheat from the chaff. Once you can track conversations, you can look for trending issues, respond when necessary, and make appropriate product improvements based in real customer feedback.

Q: Should companies have a social media policy and if so, why?

A: Companies that want to activate their employee base need to tell them what is and is not considered acceptable use of social media.  Policy is the first step to preparing your organization to engage enterprise wide. Boot camp attendees will receive my 17-page Social Media Policy Template to accelerate their  own, internal social media policy development .

Q: Many companies use a Facebook Fanpage instead of a classical website. From your point of view: is this a step in the right direction?

A: While it’s important to establish embassies in popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and SlideShare, it’s also important to make sure the homeland, or destination website, is in order too.  The notion of a homeland-embassy strategy, coined by Steve Rubel, gives companies the ability to be active in popular online social media, but without depending solely on a venue where the laws of the land are beyond their control. I agree with Rubel, and generally advocate a strategy which combines an social media presence with a vibrant destination website with landing pages designed to generate social, informational or ecommerce transactions.

Q: Which emerging technology will be the most important development in 2011?

A: I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, but I think we’re going to see location-based social networks and QR Codes rise in popularity in 2011, and I think these technologies hold the greatest promise for retail and local businesses.

Q: Name three companies pioneering the use of social media?

A: There are plenty of big organizations like Coca-Cola, the US Dept. of Defense and the American Beverage Association doing interesting things with social media.  You can download my podcasts with them about their programs, which are all quite innovative.  But here are three lesser known success stories:

  • SAP Networks has an extremely profitable B2B social network that empowers unpaid, peer-to-peer armies to sell their products for them.
  • Indium Corporation uses blogs to get found by engineers who searching for specific product solutions and have an immediate need.
  • And FohBoh.com has built a profitable social network for restaurateurs to share tips and information among themselves.

These organizations are all profiled in my book with Paul Gillin on the use of social media for business-to-business marketing.

A: Tell us more about your upcoming book Social Marketing to the Business Customer: http://bit.ly/aQgEZY

Q: A lot of smaller organizations struggle to see value in social media marketing. They assume that since social networks are mainstream and they serve a niche community, that it will be somehow be more difficult to find them among a sea of consumers. In fact, the reverse is true, becuase it is relatively easy to identify customers through search engines, if you do your homework first.  I’ll do a section on keyword discovery at the 1st German-American Social Media Boot Camp so that’s another skill attendees will walk away with as well.

My book Social Marketing to the Business Customers walks business marketers step-by-step through the process of leveraging social media to market their products and services to niche communities.  The book as a practical guide to getting started, with plenty of case studies and examples.  When comes out on Jan. 18, 2011, it will be the most comprehensive collection of B2B social media guidance ever published.  I’ll include many of the book’s findings at the upcoming German-American Social Media Boot Camp 14-15 Dec. 2010 in Frankfurt.

Hope to see you there!

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