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When I think of Social Media and companies that are incorporating a strategy around it, I think of sailing. Now for all you true sailors out there, I will promise you that I will probably get some terminology incorrect, and will do my best to paint an accurate picture, hopefully  you all will get the picture.

I think of the boat as being your business; the Captain, as just that, your leader; his crew are the Exec’s, Board members and other that can directly influence the course; the sails that you sail under as the decisions that you make; the wind behind you as your employees, or your customers, basically anyone that interacts with your company, or helps it move forward.

The wind will always be there, whether it is strong or whether it slows down, it will always be there. The Captain is always there to make sure that you are heading in the right direction, and grabbing as much wind as possible. Most boats sail with the same number of sails, which makes the decision making process for the Captain really difficult and timely, as the winds could shift tremendously, and if you are not ready for the shift, you will be dead in the water. If another boat with the same amount of sails cuts across your bow and steals your wind, the race is over for you. The fact of the matter is that he WIND is what keeps you moving, and the Captain has to know when to listen to the Crew, and when to observe the wind and go with his Gut.

The Social Media sail, once drawn, can assist in many decisions that the Captain can make throughout the sail, while also grabbing additional wind in the process. Whether the “wind” is employee productivity and retention, additional sales and revenue, streamlining processes and procedures (efficiency)……the benefits of this sail can and will pay itself off over and over again. While this ROI is different dependant on the implementation it is there and can be measured.

When I hear companies discuss if they can afford to implement Social Media technologies or implement features and functionality within their website that will empower customers and employees to interact and provide feedback to each other as well as directly to the business, I think of this – “Can you afford not to”? Can you find yourself in this photo?

sailing

Where are you?

After 3 months of working out of my house as a contract employee for AAA Mid-Atlantic, I have made the decision to move on. Thanks to the AAA team for the opportunity.

During my time there, I feel that the social media team that is in place learned a lot from me, as I did from them. They have a lot of hurdles ahead of them, but then again don’t we all. I am confident that over time they will be able to execute a successful social media campaign, leveraging not only their own community tools, but also leveraging other platforms in order to create awareness around AAA and the company’s goals/programs/offerings. I wish the team best of luck, as they have some cool stuff coming up.

As they say, timing is everything, and I must say that I am in the right place at the right time. I have accepted the job of Social Media Strategist with Ektron, a Content Management System (CMS) company based out of Nashua, NH. They are more than a CMS though.  I think that their “tag-line” says it all,

ektron
 
Is that not the question that we should all be asking ourselves? Is that not the foundation of your strategy, where all conversations should begin? Talking about getting the ball rolling right away with any potential clients and shooting from the hip.

During the interview process, a lot of things became clear to me:

  1. They have a solid platform
  2. Their Management is experienced and dedicated
  3. They were selected as a “Visionary” within Gartners Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (WOW)
  4. It demo’s like you would not believe
  5. Their client list is very impressive
  6. The management interface is simple
  7. They needed to increase their Social Media presence

Not to mention the fact that Ektron is in a unique position, they have an incredible CMS platform and are (have already) integrated Social Media components within the fabric of their platform (imagine how powerful this is – can be?) From experience, it is easier to have a CMS platform and integrate Social Media features and functionality then have the Social Media stuff without the CMS/learning stuff.

I could go on, but I think that you get the picture.

My last point (7) really struck me hard during the interview process. I used to drive past their office 2x a day on my way into a prior job, and did not even know who they were or what they did. When I was 1st contacted by a friend that works there, I had thought that they wanted to build their own community, not that they were already a CMS vendor. WOOPS. Glad that I did some research before I interviewed!

I am joining the Ektron team on November 2nd, in Orlando, Fl. at their yearly Customer conference. Talk about getting the ball rolling, Welcome aboard. If you are reading this and are a client of Ektron, please grab me during the conference and let’s talk Social Media.  I may not be entirely brought up to speed as it will be my 1st day on the job, but I do like to jump right into things.

Talk to you soon, and as always, thanks for reading.

Mike

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