Archive: Dec 2013

  1. How Social Media Can Increase the ROI of Your Conference

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    Conferences are a big investment.

    To ensure a return on that investment, maximising audience engagement and the reach of your event are crucial.  They’re the difference between a worthwhile conference, and a flop.

    Regular and targeted content and social media activity can help to create a buzz around your conference, drive greater engagement and extend the life of your event way beyond the final curtain.

    Social media can deliver the return on investment you need, if you use it correctly.

     

    The Build Up

     

    There is no better start to a conference than one where the room is already alive with a buzz and gentle hum of excitement and anticipation.

    Through social media, you can get your participants talking about the event weeks, or even months, before the event by sharing content through social media channels relevant to your target audience.

    Post regular teasers about agendas, speakers and workshops to create mystery, anticipation and intrigue. Use your event hash-tag regularly in posts. Build up the event, so that by the time it comes around, the audience can’t wait to get started.

     

     

    Audience engagement starts well before the participants walk through the door.

     

    The Main Event

     

    So, you have generated a wide and active interest in what you are doing through social media avenues. Make sure you accommodate that interest by recording everything.

    Report live from the event through tweets, blog posts and video clips, and immortalise the event forever on the social web. Invite followers to watch and participate using an event hashtag. Keep them up to date with what’s happening throughout the day. You’ll find that many people who weren’t at the conference will be next time!

     

    The Follow Up

     

    It’s in the follow up to the event that social media really comes into its own. This is where you’ll see the true ROI on your conference.

    Social media allows you to continue to expose your team to the vital information from the conference on an ongoing basis. No matter how engaging or inspiring the conference was, your team are likely to forget things. The last thing you want is for your investment to go to waste. Involve them in social media conversation about the event, and encourage them to integrate what they learnt into their work.

    It’s really important that you hold onto anyone that engaged with content posted through social channels, or shared your updates. They could all be future customers after all!

    Create polished and engaging post-event content – summaries, highlights, photo galleries – and re-edit anything that has long-term value for your organisation. Think about future prospects. From the interested followers that you generated through your event’s social media campaign, who could deliver further ROI in the future? Who is a potential customer or investor?

    Continue to follow up on the key relationships you established through social media, and your event could continue to pay for years to come.

     

    If you need any advice on how to deliver a greater ROI for your conference, please give us a call.

  2. Business Imperatives – Trust, Honesty and Integrity

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    Trust is everything. Despite what some business manuals may tell you about the hard sell, honesty and integrity are much more powerful for establishing and maintaining a customer base than using persuasion, smoke and mirrors.

    Long-term business relationships between your organisation and your customers must be built on a culture of trust.

    Here are our top five tips for developing a foundation of trust with your customers:

     1. Be Yourself

     Rather than acting or sounding like businessperson in a meeting, just be yourself. Potential customers are much more likely to invest in what you are telling them if it comes from a personable, human place. If a customer believes they are the victim of a hard sell, they tend to clam up.

     2. Consistency

    Consistent and persistent behaviour over time is a sure-fire way to build customer trust.

    While you might think that being edgy and unpredictable gives you a competitive edge and makes your company look cool, customers prefer to know what they are getting. By adopting a consistent approach, your customers are much more likely to trust you. They know what you are about and trust that your services and products will remain at the same (high) standard every time.

     3. Conversation

     Don’t think of every business meeting as a sales pitch. Cultivate a real dialogue – it is more approachable and personable, and will encourage customers to relax, and to trust your honesty.

    A great relationship with your customers relies on connection. Sit down. Have a conversation. Even tell them a story. Break down the barriers and earn their trust before you get down to the business of the day.

     4.    Stick To Your Guns

    Above all, integrity is important to develop trust and a good reputation with your customers. There is a reason long established institutions still command large portions of the market, even if their prices cannot compete with the latest online companies. They have credibility and customer trust built up over many years. They have a proven record.

    Be willing to stand up for what you believe in and, if something is non-negotiable, say so. Make decisions based on what you know is right and a good customer will respect your integrity.

    Be honest with yourself and with your customer. While they may not always like what they hear, they will respect that you always give it to them straight. In the long term, that is more valuable than telling customers what you think they want to hear.

    It doesn’t end there.

    5. Maintenance

    If you are to enjoy the benefits of any long-term, well-established customer relationships, you must maintain their trust. To do this, you must establish a reputation of honesty, loyalty and integrity and build it into the fabric of your company image and culture.

    A trustworthy reputation and customer loyalty have a measurable impact on any ‘bottom line’.  Make it a part of your DNA.

    If you need any advice on how to cultivate a culture of customer trust, give us a call.

  3. The Importance Of Investing In Employee Development

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    “Leaders must develop the capabilities of employees, nurture their careers, and manage the performance of individuals and teams.”

    ‘Make Talent a Strategic Priority,’ The MacKinsey Quarterly

    You hired your latest team member for their talent and potential, right? Well how do you expect to maximize that talent and potential without developing and nurturing it?

    Learning isn’t a one off. It doesn’t stop once you have satisfactorily initiated a new employee and familiarized them with the requirements of their role. Learning and development must be an ongoing thing if you are to maximize potential and employee engagement.

    Unfortunately, many leaders are falling short of providing the teaching and encouragement needed to develop their best team members. Time management issues and financial constraints often prevent us from executing effective employees development strategies.

    It is doubly important now as the economy recovers from a major recession, and the upcoming workforce are consistently written off as ‘lazy’ and ‘unprepared’ for the modern world of work.

    Studies have proven that organisations that invest in ongoing development programs are rewarded with improved overall performance, greater employee engagement, a higher percentage of internal promotions and a better chance of retaining talented team members.

    We all know we should be doing it, but how should you go about it?

    Start by acting as a role model. If your team sees that you, as a leader, are still learning and developing, and that you have vulnerabilities, they will be more inclined to embrace development themselves. Create a culture whereby learning is celebrated as a valuable outcome of a project.

    Team members should be able to link their daily activities to a bigger picture. This means recognizing how their efforts help meet organizational goals, but also how they bring themselves closer to their own, personal goals. Give your employees a sense of where they can go within the organisation. Provide them with an idea of how developing their potential might help their ambitions and career path.

    And remember…problems aren’t just problems. They are opportunities for learning and developing. Allow team members to make mistakes without feeling like they may cost them their job or slow their climb up the career ladder. Help them to see problems as an opportunity to develop, not as a threat.

    If you identify an area of weakness in an employee, think about how that weakness could be remedied. Try pairing the team member in question with another known for their strengths in that area. Maybe encourage them to enroll on an online course, or fund them through a day course.

    Are you asking your employees – “What have you learned today?”

    Are you investing time and company resources in developing your best talent?

    No? You should be.

    If you’d like any further advice on how to develop talented employees, please give us a call!

     

  4. What Does A Change Champion Look Like?

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    So you have a clear vision of the positive change you want to see in your organisation. The question is: How do I implement that change?

    More often than not, its not enough that you know what change you want to see. Preaching it from the alter will probably fall on deaf ears too.

    You need to get down amongst the congregation. You need to populate your team with champions of change, or “positive deviants” as the Harvard Business Review puts it. Members of the team who are already engaged, who are already doing things in a radically better way, who can spread the word, embed and sustain change within your organisation. Your good disciples. If you will.

     

    What is a Change Champion?

     

    Okay. Enough of the divine references! Let’s talk about what a change champion actually looks like.

    Change Champions are carefully selected and trained to manage the inevitable uncertainty that is bound to arise within your team when faced with a program of change.

    They are charged with reducing the pressure on management, identifying and dealing with issues quickly, gathering feedback on communications, identifying the main resistors and detractors amongst the team and carefully managing that resistance. These ‘moles,’ if you like, are members of the community of the team who are “just like us” and so can overcome resistance and disillusionment more easily than the higher ranks of management.

    It is up to you whether you make your team aware of the change champions among them, or encourage them to covertly nurture change from an equal and anonymous position within the team. The danger of elevating change champions is that the team come to depend on them, to look to them as another avenue of leadership. To create a change champion that is truly effective, you must make sure that they stay ‘one of us.’

    If you are committed as a leader to a big change effort within your organisation, an effective, engaged network of change champions can be the ones to carry that effort through to fruition. You cannot hope to truly effect positive change from a soapbox. To truly infect your team with the positive spirit of change, and your clear vision for that change, you need a network of ambassadors, covert agents, champions…of change.

    Any comments?

    We would love to hear your thoughts so get in touch by emailing Neil at nwest@involve.co.uk or calling 020 7720 0105.

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