Saturday, January 30, 2010

Social Networking Strategies for Business - Workshop @ Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

The Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce hosted a full morning workshop for its membership on January 26, 2010. Was really honoured to be invited to lead the session and get to meet an incredibly diverse & social-media curious group of local entrepreneurs and managers. From small boutique chocolate makers to global leaders in insurance - and a few dozen others in between... nice cross section of the business leadership in this region.

This workshop will always be a work-in-progress. I love keeping it up to date with new examples, lessons learned, tuning the focus for specific audiences, keeping on top of the cool new tools & platforms that can be helpful for businesses wanting to add social networking into their outreach programs.

For this Chamber of Commerce audience, I focused on four key areas where businesses can benefit from the social media tactics:

  • Lead and Demand Generation - how to find prospects and interest for your products or services
  • Customer Care and Service - understand the buzz around satisfaction levels, finding new ways to ensure customers are satisfied and feel respected
  • Competitive and Market Intelligence - stay ahead of the game on new trends in your market, learn about what your competitors are doing - the good things and the bad things
  • Recruiting and Talent Acquisition - how to find and assess great candidates, and build contacts with specialized free-lancers and contractors to fill your skills gap
Using these four themes as organizing principles, we had a great interactive discussion exploring many of the common platforms and channels in the social networking space: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Slideshare, YouTube, blogs, wikis, and specialty communities.

I hope the participants all walked away with the confidence and ambition to try at least one new thing this week.

And a thank you to my management team at Nuxeo for letting me invest some time in this workshop. It keeps my skills sharp, relevant and proves that we walk the talk when it comes to giving back to the community.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Favourite Fridge Picture

Inspired by my friend (and former boss) Daniel Kraft and his new venture iFridge, here's my favourite photo of a fridge.

It's my Baba's fridge. She passed away 2 years ago, a very sad time for my family.

My Baba was born in a small town in one of those regions that changed their borders every time the winds of war shifted... Ukraine/Poland/Belarus... a difficult time. She was born the same year as Queen Elizabeth. After she came to Canada - a displaced person and a teenage bride and mother, she developed a real fascination with the Queen. They actually looked like they could be sisters. Same hair, glasses, shape of face.

On one of my first business trips to London, I found that postcard of the Queen. Almost life sized picture of her smiling face. So I sent it to my Baba. She put it up on her fridge when she got it, and never took it down. Over the years I'd go home to visit family for the holidays, and it made me smile that the postcard of the Queen was still there. She looked at it every day, and I hoped she thought of me and was proud.

My aunt told me once that she would even talk to it from time to time.

At the church after her funeral service, the family gathered and I turned to my aunt and asked for one small favour. She granted my request and it put a little smile on my face on a day bereft of smiles.

So that postcard of the Queen is now on my fridge at home. And I see the big smile and remember my Baba, knowing she's watching out for all of us.