Look Ma no hands! (or how to autotweet from PowerPoint)

During the presentation Harmony Turnbull & myself delivered at the recent AGOSCI conference we were able to send tweets automagically whilst we were on stage. Had a couple of people ask how we did that, so at the risk of de-mystifying it, here is what you need to know.

Firstly, the process I followed is detailed here on Tim Elliots website. There are a number of options available to display and interact tweets as well as create them as part of his solution, I am only talking about the AutoTweet part in this post.

The process is actaully quite simple.

Create a free account over on SuperTweet.net – this is the site that will do the grunt work for you. Simply sign in with Twitter, create a secret password and you are done.

Download and install the AutoTweet addin for Microsoft PowerPoint – I run Office 2010 and from experience Tim’s suggestion that the Office 2003 version works best stacks up. Download it here – note there are TWO files in the zip. I used the Office 2003 Autotweet.ppa file for office 2010, found the Office 2007 version (the ppam file) didnt work.

ppt1Next Start PowerPoint and go into File then Options. Cick into Addins and at the bottom where you see Manage, click on PowerPoint Add-ins then click Go

In the new window click on ‘Add New’  and then browse to where you saved your add-in file (downloaded from above), select it and click OK

Back at the manage add-in window click Close

Now in PowerPoint you should see a new Ribbon command called ‘Add-Ins’. Go ahead and click into it.

From there you should see the AutoTweet command. Click on it to open it up for configuration.

autotweetNow fill in the blanks! Start with your twitter handle and then add in the password you created on SuperTweet.Net

Add in a hashtag to appear on all your tweets – all of the good conferences have one.

Tick ‘Display Success Status of Tweets’ if you want to see a confirmation appear briefly on your presenter screen.

Leave the ‘Enable Auto-Tweeting’ OFF (the default) whilst you create and rehearse your presentation, but remember to turn it back on for the big reveal!

Click the OK button to confirm the settings

So, telling it what to actually tweet. Easy part this! In your speaker notes, simply add in the tags [twitter] [/twitter] – any text you put between the tags will be tweeted once the slide is up on screen! How easy is that!

Hit me up if you need some assistance


Journey of (IT) discovery as a small charity Part 4

So now that you have a website up & running, what’s next? Search Engine Optimisation  or SEO might be top of mind, but as you built your site on WordPress chances are it is doing a pretty good job of that already – WordPress is well regarded as being optimised for search out-of-the-box. My recommendation, and what we have done at Glow Kids, is getting onto the key Social Media channels and promoting your website on them (and vice-versa) if you haven’t already.

Facebook should be one of, if not the first, port of call. Make sure you create a business page, not a personal one. If you do happen to create or already have a personal page you can convert to a business page easily enough, Facebook have a really useful page here that explains the process. The key advantage of a business page for me is that you have fans not friends, which means people can like your page without you havent to accept them. There are also a bunch of statistics available so you can gain some insights into who is liking your content, the penetration of your postings so you can tailor for your audience and your potential audience. There are a number of ways you can cross-promote your website and Facebook page –  Wordpress has a number of plug-ins available for social media, and the theme you choose may also have some integrated.

Two important things to add to your website – a ‘Follow Me on Facebook’ button and the ability for your content to be liked and/or commented on. The follow me button lets people easily find you on Facebook, and it doesn’t HAVE to specifically say ‘Follow Us on Facebook’. If you look at the Glow Kids website, we have a simple button at the top of the page which was part of the Admired theme we used. By making it easy for visitors to like and comment on your website content you make it easy for them to promote it on your behalf and again there are plug-ins you can use to achieve this. On the left you will see a sidebar plug-in that easily allows visitors to see your last Facebook post and Like your page.

On your Facebook page, remember to promote your website content. If you add new content to your website, put a link to it on Facebook with a hint of what it is about to get people to click through to read it in detail. Add your website URL to the ‘About’ section on Facebook so people can find your website easily. You do not have to post new content every day that links to your website of course. Depending on your charity you can promote affiliated organizations such as national bodys, or charities in a similar or aligned sector. Liking their Facebook page is a good start here as you can then easily share their contemt, and they may well like & share yours in return. And remember to keep it human on Facebook. For Fathers Day for example I wished all fathers a happy day and asked what everyone was up to for it. Not at all related to Glow Kids cause, but helps remind people that there are humans behind the page and that is what social media should be about – connecting people with people.

Coming up next, the ‘other’ social media channels and how you can maximise them for your charity.

United in sweet, sweet social

Caught this article in this mornings NZ Herald about United Sweets of New Zealand

They aren’t that big on Twitter yet with only 86 followers and 567 tweets but I suspect they could be the next ‘Giapo‘. They do have 14k ‘likes’ on Facebook and seem to engage really well with followers, encouraging them to share their stories and ask questions.

Great to see another local Kiwi business leverage the power of Social Media to make an impact.

Does Offline engagement equal Online engagement?

At lunch today I paused to reflect on how offline engagement with customers relates to the online experience. This was largely due to an experience I had at a certain fast food outlet whilst getting a burger (looking at YOU McDonalds!). Cruised through drive-through, had a warm welcome when placing the order and paying and then onto the pickup window. This is where the experience changed. The team member, as I believe they are called, asked how my day was, almost as though he was reading off a script. No eye contact or interest in the reply. Now this doesn’t bother me, I tend not to engage with the operator but it did get me thinking… is this how McDonalds also act online?

I looked them up on Facebook. Only one account that I can see of note, a global one that has limited content but it looked so pretty! This seemed to compare to the real-world experience; nice store front but poor follow-through. So off to Twitter. A lot of accounts to choose from, found the New Zealand one (@MaccasNZ). Really impressed with the profile page, easy access to other contact information on the left, bright red branding and best of all a lot of conversations with customers. And conversations that were not just about pushing products but about talking to people. This is obviously different from the Facebook experience which in fairness is a global page.

So I am now interested to investigate more local businesses and see if there is a link between their offline engagement and their online personas. My initial thoughts are there will be no real difference; poor service offline will equal poor service online.

Anybody have any examples already of where this is the case, or where it is the total opposite?

The value of Social Media

Mark Zuckerberg is about to join the billionaires club when Facebook floats in a couple of weeks at an estimated value of US$77 billion to US$96 billion. This is after he purchased Instagram for US$1 billion dollars the other week. and after Microsoft bought Skype for US$8.5 billion (which arguably isn’t a social media platform but let’s not split hairs…).

No matter which way you look at it, there is some serious coin being thrown about. Which got me thinking about why. Why is Facebook worth more than the total national debit of New Zealand? Why is the modern day equivalent of a Polaroid camera worth, well US$1 billion more than Polaroid? At the end of the day they are just lines of code sitting on a server somewhere right? And then I though about Niall Cooks 4C’s of Social media, you know the ones about communication, connection, collaboration, cooperation. These purchases have now, for me at least, put a value on these four points. Which then got me thinking, magazines & newspapers communicate, why is no-one buying APN for some obscene amount?

Can it really be as simple as allowing people to talk to people and share ‘stuff’ (the other three C’s) or is there more to it? If that is the secret then why are we not seeing more start-ups being sold? I don’t know the answer to those questions, wish I did.. as I am sure the thousands of developers sitting in garages and bedrooms creating ‘the next big thing’ right now would.

What I have learnt about Social Media in business

Over the past few months I have been immersed in the world of Social Media, with a leaning towards its use in the business and enterprise space. This has been driven by two key factors. Firstly I am studying a Social Media in Business paper at Massey University. The second is the organisation I work for has a desire to explore Social Media for engaging with families. From all the literature I have had to read for my studies, plus the optional books I have digested there are several themes or key points that keep coming up for me.

1. ROI. Two definite schools of thought on ROI seem to have developed. One says Social Media is all about engagement and ROI should be considered as a nice bonus. The other says it is all about ROI and it needs to be treated like any other marketing tool. I personally sit somewhere in the middle, but leaning more towards the engagement side. Why? Well for me Social Media allows multi-directional conversations to take part. The risk as I see it of focusing on the return on investment in the first instance is that it will become just another way for the sales & marketing teams to push their message out. I think that if you take part in the conversations and build up relationships that the sales side will look after itself in the longer term. And that’s the key. Longer term. You cannot jump into social media and expect immediate returns. You have to commit for the long haul.

2. Keep it real! Keep it authentic. The online world will sniff out a phoney and you will be roasted! If you start making comments posing as a consumer expect back-lash. And remember to be human. Your consumers and followers are human, treat them as such. Don’t try & be someone or something that you aren’t. And if someone posts a comment that you don’t like, don’t remove it. Respond to it, engage the poster and help them. Who knows, they could end up being your greatest advocate.

3. Park the sales talk. One immediate turn-off for me is companies that push the bog-standard sales pitch through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all the other social mediums. I want you to be my partner. Woo me. Seduce me. Don’t force yourself onto me. I used to follow a number of travel companies. One used to send sales and promo information and that was all. The other sent me information about the destinations I could go to, and what I could do there and encouraged people to share their experiences. One forced themselves on me. The other made an emotional connection. Guess which I still follow and click through to find out how they can get me there!

4. Everyone’s an expert. Okay so that isn’t exactly true, but it seems everywhere I turn there is someone else proclaiming to be the leading light in Social Media. Yet to see any real evidence to back up these claim’s. In fairness there are a number of people that are recognised as ‘experts’, are accepted as such by the general population and appear in numerous articles, white papers and the like, but I still smile when I see a random person that I have never heard of pop up and declare they are a Social Media god! They may use the tools, but that doesn’t make them a craftsman!

Am I way off the mark or does this pretty much sum it up?

Someday we’ll find it, the corporate connection… the workers, the dreamers and me.

In this post we will continue looking at Niall Cook’s 4Cs. Last time we looked at ‘Communication’ and how it can be used in an Enterprise sense. Today we will look Connection. It has the same level of interaction but in a more formal setting. Here we see functions such as tagging, mash-ups and social networking. So what do all these things actually mean to a business owner or professional? What value can these consumer ‘toys’ possibly add?

Lets start with tagging. We already see this in Knowledge Management (KM) systems and it has been around for a while. The internal owner of the system will create a taxonomy that is meaningful and tag these keywords onto the records to aid in the retrieval of documents, files or other items. What we quite often see though is a set of words that hold meaning for the creator and maybe a handful of other people only. The average employee doesn’t necessarily relate to the chosen tags. When we post items to say del.icio.us or flickr in our private lives we get to choose the tags that mean something to us right so why not in our work lives too. We are now starting to see this trend emerge in social KM systems. Known as folksonomy, its sits in tandem with the traditional ‘top-down’ taxonomy and allows users to tag records with words that mean something to them. I use SharePoint Server 2007  in my professional life and one of the big drivers for me to upgrade to SharePoint 2010 is the ability for users to create their own tags. The desire to search and locate knowledge easily based on what they relate to the item as has been a loud and constant message from the staff – I say lets move them from search and allow discovery with folksonomy tagging.

So what about mash-ups. Generally speaking a mash-up is as the name suggests a coming together of disparate or loosely-linked data sources into one that has added value. For example if I am a national sales manager I can access my sales volume from my CRM system in a number of different ways. I can also access the Statistics NZ website and get population densities across cities or regions. Both sources of information are valuable in their own right, but if I mash them together and visually show on a map the population AND the sales I can immediately see areas of opportunities or areas of concern. John Crupi over at TechNewsWorld sums up Enterprise mashups really well

Like anything that wants to have the moniker of “Web 2.0,” mashups are about the user and by the user. Mashups allow users to self-connect the proverbial data dots to create information that answers their questions.

Finally Social networking. The two words that are likely to send CEOs running to secure the firewall. When you mention Social Media, this is what people think of. Yes, this is the Facebooks and Twitters of the world. So what place do they have in an organisation? The same place they have outside it. Its all about connecting people with people and giving them a place to share ideas. Companies such as Social Text, Yammer and even Microsoft with SharePoint 2010 have created these ‘Facebook-like’ applications that sit inside an organisation, can be secured by IT policy and managed like any other Enterprise-grade platform. With them people can micro-blog, share photos, status updates and connect with like-minded colleagues.

 I  am a strong advocate for these platforms as I believe it gives a safe entrance into using the same type of technology externally for extremely risk-adverse businesses. Love to hear your thoughts on how you see them working inside an organisation, or why you think they have no place being deployed.

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