Tag Archives: start-up

Dave Talks Social Media for Small Business in a Bank Webinar

Under the auspices of my day-job, i shared some handy tips in webinar – promoted by a bank – designed to help small businesses learn to quickly adapt social media tools and web best practices into their marketing, operations and business development plans. It’s devoid of wild stories from foreign lands but my hair is perfect ;-) and i do some Q&A.

Please share with your pals who are trying to prioritize their marketing activities and keep their biz rolling.

NOTE: Video Removed by the Bank, leaving here for notes etc.

Dave Spiels Social Business

And, at the risk of being a sell-out, here are my notes from the gig. Here’s a resource guide too.

Tutorial with Dave Olson, Community Director, HootSuite

In 15 minutes, learn how to:

  • Build an effective social media marketing campaign
  • Respond to what is being said about your brand and business
  • Set up an online page and maintain your online presence
  • Use social media to drive traffic to your website and engage prospects
  • Distribute your targeted messages using multiple online channels
  • Advertise online on a small budget – get the top result spot on search engines

10 Tips to Tune your Online Social Strategy 

Aim: Provide practical, tactical tips they can use right away to grow business using social media/web tools.

Slides:

  1. Social  listening – set up persistent real-time search for brand mentions in Twitter – even geo-locate your searches  i.e. mentions of “accountant” or “tax” or “bookkeeping” ONLY in Halifax)
  1. Twitter conversations – be prepared to reply appropriately (draft messages, set policy, know tone and limits, build a team)
  1. Twitter community – become an expert by building lists of industry influencers, your teams, your brands etc.
  1. Facebook precense – set up a page to provide: resources; unique calls to action; and conversation – stay active, don’t feed the trolls
  1. Tracking results – see which channels deliver traffic to web site and which convert into customers with social stats and integrated Google Analytics
  1. News Alerts – get updates emailed when you brand is mentioned via Google news alerts and social mention – mitigate misinformation, outreach to prospects/media/partners
  1. Search Engine Optimization – you need: quality inbound links; tuned copywriting; clean code + sitemap
  1. Google Ads and Search – Organic (free but unpredictable) vs Adwords (paid and semi-unpredictable) – budget and balance is key
  1. Defining Strategy – decide where you needs are: do you need customers? do you need to provide more customer service channels? do you need to build brand awareness? build a toolkit for your needs looking 6 months out
  1. Understanding Social media ROI – the pay off is across channels including customer support, lead generation and mitigating PR conundrums

Rockstar Training School – Tips for Managing and Inspiring Interns (from InternMatch)

Written as a day-job project for InternMatch.com and posted on my birthday, Aug. 16, 2011, archived here for the record as this was an epic labour of importance to me. I’ve wanted to create an “former intern club” of some kind to keep an eye on all those i mentor to some degree, but for now, this is my distillation of most of the tactics i use to keep the train chooglin’ forward in the workplace. If you like, tweet or comment on the Internmatch version.

Rockstar Training School – Tips for Managing and Inspiring Interns (from InternMatch)

Guest Post By Dave Olson, Community Marketing Director of HootSuite.com

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From start-ups to established enterprises, there’s rarely enough time for all the tasks and new initiatives on your list. Investing time to find quality interns can be an ideal solution… if done correctly. If you aren’t prepared to integrate your helper correctly, you’ll end up micro-managing and draining your time – while also demotivating the once-eager intern.

Over 15 years running marketing and community teams I’ve sponsored dozens of internships and along the way, found future employees, ideal collaborators and even a few friends. I’ve also dealt with under-performers and a few disgruntled slackers who can negatively affect your company culture.

From these experiences, I’ve compiled key nuggets of wisdom to help your company reap quality contributions from an intern who truly enjoys their challenging work experience.

Remember, you can’t spell INTERNET without INTERN.

Hire Like an Employee

Post intern openings the same as paid openings with expected qualifications, application process and defined roles. This shows you are taking the search seriously and not just looking for a warm body to do menial tasks. Remove the mystery and set the expectation and you’ll start off right.

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Introduce Loudly

On their first day, introduce them to your team in an email – be sure to include personal interests and previous experience as well as an overview of the sorts of tasks they’ll work on. This helps the intern feel valuable and sends a message to your team to start collaborating right away.

Upfront with Terms

My internships are (almost) always non-paid. Opinions throughout the industry differ on this point, but it’s your choice to make. Just ensure you are clear about the terms from the beginning. If you don’t have budget, let them know and explain the types for benefits they’ll receive from their efforts: Internships are valuable learning experiences and a great way to get a foot in the door of competitive industries.

Give them a Title

Sadly “intern” is sometimes used  as a synonym for “lackey” – this can be de-motivating and even embarrassing for your diligent helper. Instead, bestow a title upon them which describes their role. These titles can be fun but not condescending. At HootSuite, many Interns work on international outreach so we call them International Community Ambassadors. When you introduce them, use their title to show respect for their efforts.

Specific Tasks

While this seems obvious… Assign your padowans specific tasks with meaning and deadlines. By clearly defining to-dos, you not only keep Interns from spending their days on YouTube, but you give them valuable benchmarks of learning and achievement. We use Basecamp to organize tasks for employees and intern to a granular level.

Reports for Accountability

Each Intern should have a weekly report to fill out (I use Google forms which populate a spreadsheet) and measure some empirical evidence of their work as well as providing space for their ideas and insights and a grade their “happiness level.” This process holds them accountable, shows that their work matters and allows you to get in front of any problems whether for work or personal burn out (especially for international interns far from home).

Farm System

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For start-ups, Interns can fill a critical role to get a product out and promoted on a limited budget. For established companies, they can populate a “farm system” for entry-level employees similar to a sports teams’ minor league affiliate. Interns allow you to cultivate a new batch of talent and “taste test” a number of candidates to see how they react in real-life work situations before committing to a contract.

Coffee is your Job

Do I ever ask interns to fetch me coffee? Almost never. This task is a menial “make work” task for them and (honestly) going for a cup of coffee is one of the best parts of your day. Instead, invite your intern out for a chat over a beverage and everyone wins. Also, make sure they are invited for company events, after-work beer sessions and other “team building” activities – it’ll pay off with passion.

Mentor your Padowan

You are receiving free (or cheap) labor and in exchange, you should share you experience, feedback and inside tips and tactics. Go beyond the simple assignments and take the time to explain the “why” beyond the “what” and “how.” Giving this contextual meaning to their tasks will help them emotionally invest in the project. But don’t coddle– they are humans, not puppies, and your real advice will be of more use than unwarranted compliments.

Part of a Legacy

One by one, Interns come and Interns go, but let your newbs know the legacy they are continuing. We tell stories and share photos of past Interns. For example: one intern left a Danish national soccer team jersey as a gift. Now, this is awarded to the Intern who has shown “heart and soul and tenacity” for the week and is handed off by one recipient to the next… Make an intern hall of fame gallery to connect the people to one another and you may find they end up as virtual friends.

Overwhelm (& Support)

From day one, give them a list of tasks. They won’t gravitate or complete all of them but you’ll quickly learn where their skills are. Make sure they know how to get help from others and at what point to come to you for assistance – without bothering you. Schedule :15 catchup sessions to avoid slow downs.

Lackey Work

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I promise each new recruit that every task I assign to them is something I’ve done many times before – from stuffing envelopes to assembling desks, the jobs might sound mundane but if they know you’ve done the boring stuff too, they’ll understand it’s all part of the process and culture of a start-up.

Parting Gift

Since your Interns are non-paid, you want to ensure you provide some career assistance when they need it. This starts with a Linkedin recommendation and well-thought-out letter. Plus send a Tweet publicly to thank them and recommend them to other companies and offer yourself as a reference for jobs.

Field Trips

If someone really stepped up, introduce them to industry peers, either by email or by bringing them along to speaking gigs so they can make an impression in person. Tip: Start-up accelerators and incubators with newly funded companies are a great next step for your star Interns seeking work.

Keep in Touch

Remember each intern comes from a unique background and you can (and should) help elevate and fast-track them into the job world. Follow their career with interest once they are gone and invite them back for a coffee or office party.

For the record: happyfrog and 3rd Whale merger press release

Green Web and Mobile Companies Merge to Help Conscious Consumers “Be Green on the Go”
Cross-posted from PRWeb

What happens when a happy frog and a pod of whales get together to change the world? Vancouver, Canada-based, green web companies 3rdWhale.com and happyfrog.ca announced an equity merger with plans to grow globally with the goal of helping eco-minded consumers make informed choices in all aspects of their lifestyle – from organic food to eco-travel.

Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) November 12, 2008 — Vancouver Canada-based, green web companies 3rd Whale and happyfrog.ca announced an equity merger and plans to grow globally under the 3rd Whale name.

The merger combines 3rd Whale’s location-based mobile phone application with happyfrog.ca’s rich “web 2.0” platform providing green consumers with cross-platform tools to find values-aligned businesses. By using the company’s next generation mobile and web tools, participants can easily share their eco-smarts by adding business reviews, blog posts, and mentoring programs to help others reduce their eco-footprint.

3rd Whale is best known for the “Greenest Person in the World” contest which generated media exposure from Venezuela to Germany. 3rd Whale is the brainchild of Boyd Cohen, who holds a Ph. D in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and is an Assistant Professor at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University. The company recently opened an office in Sunnyvale, California and is actively adding members to the executive team and meeting with venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.

Dr. Cohen, CEO, points out, “By combining happyfrog’s expertise in web delivery of green business listings, and related community engagement, with the growing global brand of 3rdwhale.com and our mobile application, we are poised to initiate truly global change.”

In just over a year, happyfrog.ca grew into the definitive directory for finding environmental and wellness focused businesses and organizations in B.C. Happyfrog’s platform also gave a voice to bloggers and the public to share their opinions about favorite businesses from yoga to sushi with the Myhappyfrog social networking platform.

Happyfrog’s “Frog squad” of bloggers and podcasters were visible at eco-trade shows and conferences, including EPIC Sustainable Living Expo at Canada Place, resulting in tremendous exposure for the businesses and organizations showing real environmental leadership.

Founded by independent media veteran Ron Williams, happyfrog was built and launched by Webby-nominated consulting firm, Social Signal (known for Change Everything, BCHydro Green Gifts).

Williams, now President of 3rd Whale, expressed his excitement with the merger saying, “When I first dreamed of creating happyfrog.ca, I knew partnering with values and technology-aligned companies would be the key to scaling to a larger base. Upon meeting the 3rd Whale team, I knew we’d found a great fit to bring our local prototype to a worldwide audience.”

3rd Whale’s mobile application (called Luna) is in public beta for iPhone and on track for general release on Nov. 14th followed by versions for the Google Android and RIM Blackberry platforms. The happyfrog.ca site will be re-imagined and re-branded as 3rdwhale.com and tens of thousands of new entries will be added in conjunction with subsequent rolling launches in new markets worldwide.

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