Sunday, March 30, 2008

interact internationally

Service the globe. I’ve chatted to a few people recently about various different online ideas, especially when product & sale are jointly involved, and each time the conversation comes back to “how do you service internationally when you aren’t sure about legals or capacity to service or trust or even simply the market there etc”?. The result or response has seen many companies simply ignore the global market potential by not offering a service or solution. But let’s face it, online is global. And there is potential out there.

Let's consider some customer scenarios. You travel to a country, LOVE a product but can’t buy it once you go home? You are a South Australian wine lover… who has moved over to London and still want to be able to drink your favourite South Australian wine? You see a product online but the store doesn't post outside their own country. I bet there’s more scenarios, that are all pretty similar. They are all really more about a person (customer) getting hold of a product and getting it to their own doorstep. Hassle free.

So, it got us thinking. Obviously companies can’t always provide a service (for whatever reason). So why not offer a new service? One simply to service the globe. For friends.

So, the "Friend" buys for an eg American (or British or Italian, or Frenchie etc) here in Australia and sends it to them. On their behalf.

Would be like having a local on your side. So, what would stop us? Love to hear others thoughts. xc

Thursday, March 27, 2008

interact with facebook

words of wisdom just given to a friend that i thought i'd share with all. it's just my style... i have focused on working the room. so here goes:

hey "friend"... unfortunately as like any social networking that we do - we actually need to socialise to make facebook work. So, you need to "throw sheep" occassionally (parden the FB saying). Join a few groups, say you're attending a few events (and do) and then pick a couple of applications that you feel comfortable with and work them.

It's really like working the room. You gotta work it.

It should only take (depending on your time and schedule) a half hour every couple of days. Or if you have fan pages etc and want to interact with clients - allow about 15 minutes a day... treat it as part of your customer service.

It pays off BIG time. So well worth it. I now have connections all over the world that have been 100% invaluable and totally amazing. I met "friend x" through FB and I've already sent work his way. Now I'm not saying you're gonna have a success on every single contact. You won't, cause that's not real. It doesn't happen offline, so it's not going to happen on.

Finally, one BIG mistake - never treat it as 100% social... and never never treat it as 100% business. People know and understand that you get a full work/life balance on this beast. So, take time out and have FUN.

enjoy xc


interaction two

What “online experience” do you provide your customers or potential clients?

If you say to yourself “why aren’t they coming” or “why aren’t they doing the action that I expect of them”, take another look at what you ARE expecting and ask YOURSELF “have I explained what I want them to do”.

Put yourself in their shoes.

Sounds simple.

Yet we forget – we get caught up in our business models and plans and our own goals that we forget about “the customer experience”.

Think it through.

It’s like when we walk into that absolutely fantastic looking fashion store with the yummy dress (or tie) in the window. What service do we want to receive when we walk inside? We still expect service online, the same as we get in real life. Ask yourself if your website is providing a service at that same level. Do you interact in the same way that you would if you saw them face to face?

It's an important question. And all answers will be different.


interaction one

i've been online for long enough to know what i like and what i don't.

one thing i really don't like is being ignored. missing that quick heart beat link to a person. the interaction.

so, why am i writing this? to grizzle? maybe. but, to be honest I have just "unsubscribed" from one of the so-called online marketing experts emails for committing what I consider a major online mistake. sure, I received a heap of emails from them, daily in fact (although i didn't realise i was subscribing to a service so there's mistake number two).

but in my replies, my attempts at interaction, my questions etc with the person, i never ONCE received a response. fatal. but who the heck am i? am i really that important that i demand a reply? really? obviously not.

i look back at when i took over managing eventspool, south australia's "what's on" service, the one thing i introduced was an interactive communication channel. it was only email based, but hey, it worked. people wrote, i replied, we interacted. i tripled subscriptions, postings and general stats in under a year. not bad for 5 years ago.

now, i understand we're all busy, popular souls. but in my mind, the initial connection is always the most important. hey, they say first impressions count... isn't that why we all want our websites to look the grooviest - even when we're sitting at home in our trackies?

so, personally... if i can relate one "online must do"... reply to that first email. hey - why not initiate the first communication? believe me, it works. and you never know who you might just run in to.


interaction with community voice

for quite a few years now i've had an idea brewing. it's stewed. it's boiled over. but it's never gotten out of the pot. so rather than give up all hope, I thought I'd post the concept here and see if it inspires. so, let's interact.

Introducing Community Voice
The Community Voice concept was created to provide local communities, charities and not-for-profit organizations access to the TV medium. There are many ways this can be tackled and many organizations (such as in Adelaide South Australia the C31 Adelaide Pty Ltd crew) do a fine job in supporting local talent and crews with broadcasting locally produced shows.

A report issued by Griffith University in March 2007 titled “Community Media Matters” states,

”A common thread running throughout our analysis of community broadcasting audiences is a need and desire for local news and information. Audiences feel they cannot receive localised or community-specific information from any other media sources.” It also goes on to say, “Community broadcasters are providing an important ‘community connection’ role by publicising local events, engaging in community ‘gossip’, using local people as presenters, and projecting an approachable and accessible front to the community and their listeners.”

The Community Voice concept proposed to help fill a niche market within the community broadcasting sector. With Community Voice, local communities, charities and not-for-profit organizations would be able to access a broader range of audiences from assistance with production of a low cost, high commercial quality community service announcements.

It’s true TV’s community service announcements have been around for years however many organizations do not pursue simply due to cost. There is a low level of understanding and lack of access to technical resources. So, where can they turn to?

By using a service such as Community Voice, we can reduce the overall costs to produce and take the complexity out of the process. Raising the voice, giving TV to the community.

Of course, the most common use for this style of community service announcement would be through the Community TV services however with the proliferation of social media, distribution does not need to be limited. It can also include dissemination through:

1. Commercial TV networks
2. Regional TV networks
3. National Community TV networks
4. Video relay in organisation reception/foyers (video or DVD)
5. DVD for company presentations
6. U-Tube
7. Social Networking Websites (like FaceBook)
8. Podcasting
9. Others??? The list is unlimited.

So, there it is. An idea. I'm sure many people have thoughts, ideas, concepts.This is mine. I'd love your feedback. xc



Familiar with the term information overload? Years ago I connected globally through the use of “smart groups”. These groups emailed each other. Soon emails got too much. Now people blog. Or Twitter.

Or swop excellent ideas in videos through services like TED. Essentially though, we still interact. We still learn through each other. It's all good.

And, I’m getting the hang of blogging, although I will stand by my original statement. I want to put all bloggers in one room so that I can chat to them. I’ll explain.

My blogs include interests as a communications consultant for an energy company looking at sustainable futures. Then, to keep up with trends, there’s the online world of blogs and twitters about new media, PR, and marketing. To cover personal preferences there’s blogs from wine consultants because I love to drink the best, fashion because I believe in style, and then other bits and pieces associated with people, culture and socializing, just because. I have collected in the past two months a total of 35 blogs that contain over 1400 articles that I have waiting for me to check, read or delete.

I created my own blog. But haven’t written for it. Not yet.

Having said that, I have a website (URL) where I occasionally post reports and writings, a personal and freelance FaceBook profile, a couple of FaceBook groups that I manage, and a Twitter account. I also comment on others blogs when I have time.

I do understand how overwhelmed some people get. It’s a whole new world out there


interaction with client three: C31 Adelaide TV

Not everyone can afford publicity campaigns, marketing materials, advertising and ongoing website management costs. Especially organizations run by volunteers. C31 Adelaide TV is one. It struggled.

Struggled to interact with its own volunteers, viewers and potential sponsors.

It still struggles.

However, after a conversation with Charlie a few things changed.

The weekly program guide was emailed through subscription (at request). The website was simplified. The website content and meta tags were improved to help search engines. And services like FaceBook were considered an option. The result is an ongoing effort to reduce costs whilst increasing outcomes.


interaction with client two: maryborough upholstery

Cole and Maureen love furniture. Furniture built well before time was money. Furniture that would now need the care of an experienced craftsman. They say... repairs, recovers... whatever.

To us. Repair a chair? To them, create a website? Help please.

We all use people we know who know stuff we don’t. So, they emailed Charlie. Together we created a very simple website to showcase their work.


interaction with client one: Universal Wine Bar

Vito took ownership of universal wine bar a while back. He inherited with ownership, a website. The website didn’t contain any of Vito’s passion and love for food, wine and people.

So Vito called Charlie. Together we created a very new and very simple website.

We kept it stylish, simple and easy on the eye. We introduced the restaurant, the food, the wine and most importantly, Vito.

Vito’s passion for his wine bar and his relationship with his customers is a special blend. It is also something that is ongoing, like a good friendship.


Social Blogging

Have never really been into blogging before as it all seems quite disjointed for me as an onliner. I wanted to get all the bloggers into a room so I could listen without the big effort to locate... then FB added a few applications and suddenly they were in my room and I could listen. Much easier.

I've added a few of interest, but the "social desire" blog caught my eye the most and so I thought I'd share. It's from this website:



Charlie meta lawyer v.2

Charlie meta lawyer v.1

Charlie meta lawyer v.2.
The v.1 report was written in 2005. It was created by typing “law firms in adelaide” (Australia only), into Google as research. It produced 125,000 results in 2005.

Search engine marketing has far greater awareness now in Adelaide than in 2005, so on 28 December 2007 I tried again. Of 47,500 results, I was pleased that six firms made the first page of results: Normans, Gadens, O’Loughlins, Kelly & Co, Peter Fisher, and Wallmans. Progress.


FB at work. The new culture. thought number four

Over Christmas lunch the conversation turned to sharing a few hysterical emails received lately. I dropped into the conversation that I don’t tend to receive many joke "emails" these days as most come via FB (including the ones they were sharing with us). I was keen to hear the responses about FB really. My on the cards to be future bro-in-law is a Director of an IT company. I was amazed by the speed of his response being that a couple of his major clients had requested he “block” FB from staff. It was deemed a time waster (the emails obviously were not).

Conservatism is still in full force. Even with the turkey at Christmas lunch. I still maintain that I am enjoying my business email inbox being just that. For business. Hopefully larger corporate will come to see this value and staff can share.


FB at work. the new culture. thought number three

work life balance

we’ve been talking about all this work life stuff for ages (external to FB) and it’s just dawned on me that FB blurs the edges like nothing has been able to do before. I stated in reply post recently that with my friends on FB, there are some that I know really well, there's my family, some through business, some that I kinda know and others that I read about (cause I'm interested). There’s also my work colleagues. In using FB, I’m sure we’ve all been through the same dilemma – “do I let the people I work and network with in as a friend or only as a limited profile friend?” It’s right when Mari posed the question recently “do you have a clearly defined personal policy for requesting and accepting friends on Facebook?

A friend is a friend, but at work we want our colleagues to respect us (well it’s good when friends and family do too but stay with me). The business world is a more professional environment. So when someone asks to be added as a FB friend from work – do I immediately let them see everything about me?

I’ve just started a new job (3mths in). The transition into the work social face to face network is very normal but to share a story: I was having a coffee meeting with my web developer (Phil) and we ran into a manager from my office. It turns out that Phil knows this manager from school. A bit of a chat then we all move on and Phil laughingly says “he’s in business mode, he’s usually far more relaxed”.

So, here I am really blurring the edges and blending my work life through the FB channel. Accepting friends from all corners. Is this right? Is this just life and the way we’re moving? Would love others opinions… has anyone written any articles?

I guess I could write it another way. Does a business community really belong on FB?


FB at work. the new culture. thought number two

how many of you still get joke emails?

i have to say that at work i really don't get any. it's quite peaceful in that regards. my email inbox at work is for business related matters. i communicate / chat / send jokes and play via FB. i do it when i have time. i do it in a spare moment when i need a refreshing light relief. i do it in a break.

it's an interesting concept to think that we have brought back the "formal communication" to the business email inbox whilst still allowing ourselves to have fun.


FB at work - the new culture. thought number one

lots of discussions have surfaced at work these past few days around how FB fits in to regular corporate culture. there's a lot of nervousness. in some scenarios i guess i can understand peoples nervousness.

however i have come to the conclusion that FB is a good thing.

in the 80's we'd all go off to the pub together. in the 90's we all went home (at 9pm with no life). and here we are in "the naughties" working out a balance.

we want to play and enjoy work. so i guess FB is a way of intergrating the 2 extremes.


these past few weeks have been a tad busy...

and I will get around to sharing them with you soon xc