Tag: SMB

FileStuff: Canadian cloud you can count on, eh?

FileStuff: Canadian cloud you can count on, eh?

Some will insist saying “eh” is not universally Canadian. Perhaps. But no race is actually ever 100% linguistically uniform either. Dialects will always persist due to environmental factors per evolutionary science. So take that, naysayers.

That was the “eh” bit of my headline. Now on to what I really wanna share.

source: mediacore.com

Your digital life on the cloud

As a tech enthusiast and social media nut, I’ve recently been participating in beta tests. One of those experiences was checking out filestuff.ca. FileStuff is the Canadian version of Dropbox for business. And this cloud box has chops.

I asked Steve Rogoschewsky, CEO, what inspired them to create this. ” We found that more and more people are not able to store files on Dropbox due to USA security concerns (location now) and they like the fact that everything is encrypted (not even our own techs can “see” the data if the client does not want us to).”

FileStuff boasts “military grade end-to-end AES encryption”. AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. Now I’m no engineer but you don’t have to explain how important this is to your average person, who likely has a lot of their own personal digital assets living online.

Now imagine how clunky it would be if businesses were to revert back to the jurassic days of back and of forth with offset printers to publish. SMB’s in particular thrive because of cloud-based operations.

Continue reading “FileStuff: Canadian cloud you can count on, eh?”

Organic Minds: Notes from the Social Front

Some of us tend to come across or focus on content related to dominant social media trends, studies, news, as well as the chatter about organizations’ experiences in the social space.

I’m going to switch gears for this post and get a pulse check on the up-and-coming, entrepreneurial set—get some thoughts from them on their experiences.

I posed three questions to four members of my tribe (and when I say ‘tribe’ I mean my twitter follows):

  1. What one aspect of social media encourages you to believe in its effectiveness and why?
  2. Describe your most challenging social-related experience in a team environment and what lesson(s) you’ve learned from it
  3. If your next gig involved educating a group of people about social media, what top 3 things would you focus on and why?

I refer to these promising young women and men as ‘organic minds’ as it characterizes the way I’ve invested in cultivating my relations with them.

I didn’t resort to auto-DM-ing them to sell anything. It wasn’t all about me. And yes, I consistently make the effort to ‘stop by and say hello’ and ask how their lives are doing.

Eventually, during the course of my regular interactions with them, I begin to get an authentic sense of who they are and of their take on the social web.

See? Organic minds. No artificial flavour added.

So. Googly-eyed C-suite-ers just getting the hang of the socialverse…listen up. Some first-hand thoughts from a sample of the generation who may well be charged with managing the evolving social formula over the long term:

Charlotte Barker@charlottehrb Social media strategist in love with social media. Loves out of the box thinking, guerrilla marketing, engaging, conversing and learning. Tweets for @SMMKSC Charlotte Barker@Grdeken Associate Director of Haitian Microfinance Inc. and Web Consultant for Small Businesses
Charlotte Barker@AdrianEden Director of Social Media and SEO at CalvinAyre.com | Currently mentoring with some of the best Search and Social people in the world Charlotte Barker@Beckstar23 A decade in PR, inquisitive and love to ask “why?” or “why not?”, enjoy telling and listening to stories, love laughing and brainstorming ideas and solutions

Charlotte BarkerCharlotte

1. The community and the relationship building. SMB’s are proving that sm marketing is working. For me this market segment is where the success stories and the case studies are. Times are changing and so is marketing. Experience and engagement are priority.

2. I was in a situation where the team I was working with were hard to get motivated. The group was very unorganized and not ambitious, which made trying to get projects together and launched become increasingly difficult. I felt frustrated and helpless in the situation. But I learned that there’s always a time to speak up and light some firecrackers under people’s butts! I realized that there will always be situations that I want to unfold differently but people have different ways of going about things and sometimes you have to speak up, and sometimes you learn to adjust and adapt.

Top 3

  • If you screw up, face the music. Don’t hide away and hope people forget – they won’t. Be prepared to defend yourself or admit your wrong and fix it. transparency (honesty, consequences)
  • Time commitment/dedication – it may be low cost, but it’s not low time commitment. Be prepared to commit.
  • Be social. Be engaging. Be conversational. Make sure you are being the ‘social’ part of social media.

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Adrian EdenAdrian

1. Communication Barrier Removal. You can speak with any business owner/public figure/etc directly at any time, in any form you wish. This makes everyone have to be very sincere and real with what they say and do, because it is out there for the world to see and judge. No more “gate keepers” to get through.

2. Well, currently I’m putting together a website for Calvin Ayre (founder of the Bodog Brand) and in doing so I have to work closely with many people from around the world. This requires a lot of pre-planning and highly descriptive process documents so everyone is up to speed with what is happening at the same time. Another challenge I’m facing is the language barrier, I don’t speak Thai or Chinese, so I rely a lot on Google Translate and human translators. In doing this project I have learned to be patient and understanding, because of the cultural differences, but also because Social Media is new to many places in the world, especially China (with the great fire wall and all).

Top 3

  • I believe all Media is Social Media, and the only reason why we call it Social is because it is necessary to help explain the changes in the Media landscape to people who do not understand this. So the first thing Iwould teach is that “Social” Media is not complicated, it is simply an evolution.
  • Second thing I would explain the Real-Time web and concepts like PubSubHubBub, and how this is affecting the rate at which information/news is passed from website to human. The real-time web is also removing a lot of barriers between news source and people hearing about it. For instance, you may hear about an earth quake in your city over Twitter by people who experienced it first hand, hours before news websites have this content live.
  • I would suggest that they have fun with their Social Media usage and show as much personalty as possible. At the end of the day we are all humans wanting to have fun, and this should definitely show up in their Social Media strategies for business. Also, ask a lot of questions publicly on Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook etc and reply to those answers. Create conversations around topics related to your brand. This will create community, transparency, and trust. Which will increase the likelihood of inbound links from others Blogs/websites. Allowing for fun and engagement, but also an increase in SEO benefits.

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Rebecca ErasRebecca

1. I see social media’s effectiveness attributed to transparency and immediacy. Never before has the average person been able to break a story, start a trend, spread a joke, video or photo as quickly, and to as many people, as social media grants. There is no red tape holding “news” back, and as a result, more than ever, people are trusting each other as invaluable information sources. Information is literally at our fingertips and we know where it’s coming from and who’s talking about it.

2. As far as a socially challenging experience, it’s hard to pinpoint one to take precedence over all. It can certainly be challenging to convey or receive a message as intended in the case of online communications versus in-person. Subtleties in language can be overlooked altogether and can create misunderstandings and hostilities that throw a wrench in an otherwise well-intentioned conversation.

Top of mind

Should I find myself in a position to educate others about social media:

  • I would like to focus on what gets people talking in the first place.
  • Why do some of the oddest things spread like wildfire over the net?
  • Some people say it’s unpredictable, while others claim to know how to make it happen. I would like to delve into case studies on this and look at perhaps an experiment with my “class” to see what idea/approach proves most successful.

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Grant DekenGrant

1. SM has the capability and ongoing potential to shift traditional norms in terms of relationships between businesses and consumers. Companies – and this will continue to improve as long as the social media arena grows and evolves – are required to be more transparent in terms of customer service and accountability. It creates exceptional opportunities for both sides, but brings some new constraints and expectations that organizations (and at some level consumers) need to be aware of for these opportunities to be utilized and of course monetized.

2. In SM there have been times in which we have tried to create hype and grow groups and had limited success. The most important lesson I learned is that you can’t get the results you want unless you have advocates for your organization, product or service. In addition it’s been important for me to learn that advocacy is what spawns engagement, and without engagement you’re really limited in terms of what you can do with social media.

Top 3

Let me preface my answer by saying my focus is primarily related to the business practice of social media:

  • Approaching social media with a strategy that aims to achieve specific predetermined objectives.
  • The importance of consistency in achieving results
  • The difference between self promotion and engagement. Engagement is the essence of social media.

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Are you making the effort to ask your tribe what they really think about social media and how it impacts their day-to-day? What notes from the field would you share with bright minds and entrepreneurial spirits?

How ‘they inspire’ social media in SMB growth

SMB (Small to Mid-size Business) orgnizations are not only thriving in recessionary times but are also, and more notably, leveraging off social media tools and networks (SM) to strategically reinforce their brand presence and broaden market reach.

they integrated inc. of Belleville, Ontario (just east of Toronto) is one such gem of an agency. Their ‘they inspire’ brand caught my eye immediately the minute I got their follow on Twitter.

After reviewing their stream of tweets and checking out their website, I couldn’t help but engage directly with them to see if I could get a close-up look at what makes them tick and tick so well!

@theyinspire is a refreshing treat. After a few, quick and energetic back-and-forth tweets, I’ve managed to secure an interview with them. Truly, their level of engagement serves as a model example of just how social media is helping transform the way SMB’s are effectively carving out their niche in today’s 2.0 environment.

Check out what they have to say:

autom8: Based on your client base and general awareness of your local community, do you get the sense that the Belleville-Kingston corridor is up on their social media? If so, how? And if not so much, what push do you think is needed?

theyinspire: To a degree, yes. Certainly in the world of ‘social media’ Facebook is widely used and understood by everyday people. Whereas with Twitter, most people may have heard of it, but haven’t tried it and if they have, the simply say ‘I don’t get it!’

On the client side, it’s similar. I really think they (clients) are struggling with the basic understanding of social media from a business and ROI perspective. Overall, I would say that the social media landscape is emerging so quickly, it’s almost impossible to keep ‘up’. As for the geographical aspect, it’s obvious that some regions have embraced social more than others but we really don’t think of it on that level. If we do any segmentation, it tends to be by industry category, age or lifestyle.

they inspireIn terms of a ‘push’ in our region, I think ongoing education from social ambassadors like our firm is helping, but some real success stories for business and/or charity on a more localized front would help as well. Just recently, we have seen businesses in this area engaging SM and a Northumberland TweetUp, which is evidence that SM is most definitely on the rise in this area.

autom8: What would you consider to be the most significant social media platform that has made a direct impact on your brand and work?

theyinspire: We’ve been ‘dabbling’ in social for a little more than a year now. Certainly Facebook has been  great and we continue to impress clients with its capabilities for geographic, demographic and psychographic segmentation. Additionally, the tracking capabilities of Facebook amaze clients as well.

Speaking from a self-serving perspective, Twitter is by far the most exciting platform for our firm at this moment. It is opening up many doors for us everyday, we are tweeting with people we thought we’d never have the opportunity to meet, and the access to relevant timely information is like being tapped into the internet via an intravenous line. It is like the portal that leads to everything else social. However, like many firms, we are still experimenting with ways to utilize this service for clients.

We have been able to leverage ourselves as a first mover in the area with Social Media and also create awareness about our brand to areas and individuals that would never have known about us otherwise. Twitter allows us to showcase who we are and what we do in a new and exciting and innovative way. We are still going strong in the midst of a recession, which is not the case for many other companies and SM probably has a lot to do with that.

autom8: Are you seeing a growing interest in UGC (user generated content) among clients and prospects? If so, would you consider this as an important differentiator? If not, what do you think sets you guys apart from the competition?

theyinspire: At this point and for our firm’s clients, UGC is somewhat of an interest but in it’s very basic form. Certainly I think our firm is ahead of the curve in terms of being able to integrate SM into traditional marketing initiatives for clients in this market. I think an advantage that we have is that we’re a strategy-driven firm that is always looking at new opportunities for our clients, no matter the medium, and we’re able to tie it together quite well. And being a smaller shop, we can transition and execute fairly quickly.

autom8: Belleville, Kingston and other up-and-coming communities west of the area, in and around the Prince Edward County, have recently been making a significant mark in Ontario. Any unique observations on how SMBs like your agency will help shape and define the success of the niche markets?

theyinspire: Certainly it’s social and is playing a key role in raising awareness on many fronts by giving smaller regions a voice at the table. However (this is a bit off topic), one thing that has always amused and frustrated our firm about the advertising industry in this country — and I mean this mostly on the client side — is that there’s a mindset that an agency has to be located in downtown Toronto or Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary or Halifax, to be considered good at what they do. That thinking doesn’t exist in the U.S., or anywhere else that I’m aware of. Good work is simply good work, no matter where you hang your hat, so it’s refreshing to see how social media is playing a role with smaller shops being recognized for good creative. Also, I think there’s a growing acceptance and willingness in our area for clients to partner with like-minded SMBs and work together towards a greater collective goal.

About @theyinspire
Founded in 1996, they integrated inc. (aka @theyinspire) is a strategic marketing and interactive agency located in Belleville, Ontario. We’re a collaborative group of multi-disciplined individuals who excel at creative thinking and design excellence. Our clients span the realm of healthcare, retail, government, business-to-business and not-for-profit sectors. We are creative people, we are business people and we build value into brands.
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If you’re a biz itching to share your social media story, I’m all ears.  How do you inspire social media in your neck of the woods?