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This article is a reprint of an article published by a business partner of ours …

We believe it makes a very good business case for considering how Software As A Service (SaaS) applications might be a good fit for you and your business.

We’d appreciate your feedback and certainly welcome any questions you might have …

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Why SaaS Makes Sense in a Slow Economy

When the economy takes a downward turn, corporate IT budgets are usually one of the first casualties.  This is the case with the current recession, as evidenced by an October 2008 CIO Magazine survey in which 40 percent of 234 IT chiefs surveyed said they are cutting spending, essentially freezing new IT initiatives, if not scrapping them altogether.

However, technology is a critical element of business, and despite the current economic climate, the need for reliable IT remains the same—especially when it comes to fundamental business applications such as email or customer relationship management (CRM). As companies across all industries face tough decisions about where to put their limited dollars, here are three key reasons why the hosted or “software as a service” (SaaS) model makes a great deal of sense.

Financing

Most companies rely on some form of financing for technology purchases (hardware or software), either through a vendor-sponsored payment plan, a specialty leasing agent or a straight bank loan. When credit markets are tight, it’s difficult for many organizations, particularly smaller ones, to secure tech financing. And tight credit markets go hand in hand with a precarious economy.

On October 27, 2008 The Wall Street Journal reported a jump in defaults on tech financing loans, coming after “years in which such loans flowed freely.” During this period, lenders regularly offered tech financing for 0 percent interest or no money down to businesses with limited liquid assets—mirroring the risky (if not reckless) approach that led to the meltdown of the subprime mortgage market. And the results have been similarly disastrous. According to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, which represents 700 lenders, the number of equipment loans written off as losses jumped from .48 percent in September 2007 to .86 percent in 2008, a leap of nearly 80 percent.

Baytree Leasing Company LLC, which specializes in tech financings, confirmed in October 2008 that its default rate for commercial businesses is now between 1 and 1.5 percent. To give some perspective to those figures, research firm Aite Group has predicted that in Q3 2008 the percentage of real estate loans being written off as losses by the top 100 U.S. commercial banks will be around 1 percent.

As a result of the spike in defaults, specialty lenders and banks, on which companies once relied to fund their IT initiatives, are now charging higher interest rates and requiring more money down, making it much more difficult to secure financing. Long gone is the zero-interest loan. Today a standard interest rate for small businesses is hovering around 8.25 percent.

Joining banks and tech-financing businesses, hardware and software vendors that lend money directly to customers are also toughening their terms. Many now require a significant upfront payment—often up to 50 percent for software—to offset the risk of default. (Software vendors suffer more from defaults because reselling used software is illegal. Reselling used hardware is not.)

The impact of the financing crunch on smaller businesses is twofold. First, it is simply harder to secure loans. In October 2008 the CIO Executive Council reported that nearly 20 percent of 31 CIOs surveyed postponed or canceled purchases specifically because of unfavorable credit terms, demonstrating how difficult, if not impossible, it now is for many companies to implement on-premise IT deployments—and foster growth—because they just can’t afford them. And in a down economy, while overall costs are important, day-to-day cash flow is vital. That means that even when financing is available, the jump in upfront payments can be a deal breaker for many smaller companies.

Second, when money is tight, few companies want to—or can afford to—take on unnecessary risk. And for IT executives, risk comes in the form of long-term commitment to a particular hardware or software purchase. If a company is able to secure tech financing in a difficult credit market, the costs have increased, reducing the overall ROI of the technology acquisition. That translates into increased pressure for the investment to result in a successful IT initiative.

Flexibility

A word commonly used by the media in a down economy is “uncertainty.” Uncertainty about the markets. Uncertainty about employment. Uncertainty about the future. Despite endless analysis and predictions from expert (and highly paid) financial pundits, the truth is that no one really knows when things are going to get better. While the frenzied speculation keeps media outlets around the world in business, speculation is exactly what it is. In July 2008 the ever provocative Huffington Post featured a blog entry by Margaret Heffernan called “The Recession Narrative: Pundits Know Nothing.”

For smaller businesses, the one certainty about uncertainty is that it demands flexibility around IT infrastructure and applications. In this case, flexibility means the ability to accommodate growth and reductions. While in-house software can scale up as your company grows, it doesn’t work the other way around. The same goes for the associated hardware.

Take Microsoft Exchange for email. If a company with 500 employees uses an in-house Exchange server, in addition to buying all the hardware (primary and backup servers, networking equipment, storage), it must also buy 500 client access licenses (CALs ), plus pay for ongoing support. Each CAL costs around $70 and is non-refundable. As the company grows, it must purchase a new CAL for each employee, even if that person is a seasonal or temporary hire for the holidays, a common situation when businesses can’t afford to staff permanent positions. Most (if not all) employees need email accounts, regardless of how long they are going to be around to use them.

For on-premise deployments of CRM software, user licenses are even more expensive. For example, a single user license for Oracle’s Siebel CRM Professional for mid-sized companies costs $350 for a base application (sales option, service option or marketing automation). Add-on modules for additional functionality run from $60 up to $2500 per module per user, and support is an additional annual per-user fee.

If that same company suddenly needs to lay off 20 percent of its workforce, it now has 100 CALs that it can’t use, plus an undetermined number of Oracle/Siebel licenses it can’t use (assuming not every employee uses all elements of the company’s CRM system). That’s a lot of money down the drain for a smaller business, especially when money is already tight.

The flexible SaaS model, on the other hand, is based around scaling the software up or down with your business. Hosted solutions allow you to add users on demand and remove them on demand. You pay on a monthly basis only for active users. And in a down economy, the likelihood of having to lay off active users goes up, which is why this approach makes sense when business is slow.

A SaaS model also allows you to add and remove software, not just users, on demand. For example, you could lease SharePoint just for a special six-month project. Or you could decide that your business just can’t afford mobile connectivity for every user right now. In an on-premise solution, you have already paid for the functionality, so you’re in a “use it or lose it” situation. In the SaaS model, you can turn off mobile connectivity, and then turn it back on in three months when cash isn’t as tight.

The flexibility of a SaaS model also results in faster time to ROI. With in-house software, you have to buy everything, set it up, test it, etc. It may be a long time before your company sees any value from it. With SaaS, you see instant results, or at least much quicker results. This is always important, but it increases in importance in a down economy.

Staffing

While layoffs may be inevitable in a down economy, your customers will expect the same level of attention, service and quality they have always received. Successful companies recognize this and go above and beyond to preserve customer loyalty by showing them that it’s business as usual, even when it’s not.

Moving to a hosted or SaaS model allows you to reduce headcount without impacting the customer experience. How? Because it eliminates the need for expensive in-house IT experts. Going back to the example of Microsoft Exchange, proper maintenance requires at least one full-time, trained IT professional, which can easily cost six figures in annual salary and benefits. Freeing up that money will allow you to save positions that will have a direct impact on your customers.

In October 2008 the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported 2,269 companies had cut at least 50 jobs in the previous month, the highest number since the aftermath of the Sept.  11, 2001 attacks. Many economists predict that unemployment will jump from the current 6.1 percent to near 8 or 8.5 percent by the end of 2009, resulting in the highest unemployment rate the country has seen in more than 20 years.

While the accuracy of those predictions has yet to be determined, the current reality is bleak enough.  When layoffs are unavoidable, a SaaS model can help preserve the positive experience your customers have with your company.

Conclusion

In any economy, there’s no question that SaaS solutions are a smart option for smaller companies. They can be up and running quickly. They don’t require a degree in computer science to administer. They are reliable. They can scale with your business. They even reduce your organization’s impact on the environment.

In a recession, however, the benefits of SaaS are even more pronounced. While budgets everywhere are being squeezed or cut, businesses must continue to operate, and essential business applications such as email or CRM simply can’t be compromised if companies are to stay competitive. Neither can productivity or customer service. This puts a great deal of pressure on companies to spend their money wisely. When every penny counts more than it ever has, the cost structure and flexibility of hosted solutions, along with the fact that they don’t require expensive in-house IT expertise, make the SaaS model  an especially wise choice.

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We’ve been waiting for an article like this to come out ….

We firmly believed as soon as the iPad came out that it would do to the Magazine/Newspaper publishing world what iTunes did to the music industry.

When iTunes and iPod’s came out they had a huge effect on Physical CD sales with various sources reporting double digit percentage drops in Physical CD sales as more and more people would just go to iTunes and purchase their digital tracks there, often for much less than the physical CD sale and with no need to get in your car and go buy it.

With more and more people choosing to listen to digital music on their iPod’s and Digital media links in their vehicles as well as digital media interfaces to home audio systems it just makes sense to purchase digital tracks in the first place because many people simply pop their physical CD into their computer and put their tracks into iTunes and other Digital Music players anyways …

Now comes the iPad ….

I think to many people this is just a toy and an oversized iPhone that can’t make phone calls 🙂 … but if you take a serious look at it we believe there are some excellent applications for this device and others like it that may come along in the future ..

Magazines and Newspapers

A number of major newspapers in North America are either shutting down or deciding to go purely digital/online because traditional readership is declining and they are having to either adapt or die. There are huge costs associated with operating a traditional newspaper or magazine when you factor in cost of materials, transportation, distribution, staffing…etc..etc…

We believe you’ll see a major shift on the part of Magazines and Newspapers towards going purely either purely digital (e.g. iPad) or going online (Web) only or at the very least drastically increasing the amount of online/digital content being made available.

This delivery medium allows them to focus on delivering rich content and delivering the best possible experience for the reader. A digital content delivery system allows for greater use of Interactive content and even great reaction time for late breaking items…

Books

Picture that you’re a medical student … you’ve just entered pre-med at a University and have just been given a list of books that you need to get from the University Bookstore. Let’s say as well that there’s 15 different books at an average cost of $80.00 a book (for you University Students you know that’s not far off) …

This is $1,200 worth of books which a publisher has had to develop the content for, print and bind all the books,  package the books in boxes and deliver them to the Universities. The University has then had to allocate large amounts of Real Estate to housing a book store and staff it for the students coming in…

Now picture this … a student walks into a bookstore with their iPad, walks up to a terminal and looks up all the courses they are currently taking, and the system pulls all the books and downloads them to a digital bookshelf on your iPad and let’s say instead of $80.00 a book it only costs $40.00 a book. That’s a huge savings to you, you get the books quicker and just as importantly you no longer need to carry around all those books with you … a simple notebook and an iPad in a backpack 🙂

Now … let’s take it even one step further … what if the text book publisher was to be able to not only provide the textbook itself but perhaps updates for a period of 1 year. This way if there are last minute additions or updates to the book they are instantly synchronized with your digital copy and you have the latest information available … the possibilities are endless!

The “Take Away” …

Digital devices like this are not for everyone … some people will still always prefer the actual magazine or newspaper in their hands and that’s Ok. However for those that are comfortable with digital technology and digital media delivery devices, these are incredibly exciting times and the opportunities to take advantage of these tools will only increase as times goes on …

We’d love to have your feedback on this topic and get your opinion ….

Have a successful week …

CNN.com Article

Take a look at the article (link above) to read the story about a principal from New Jersey who recently sent an e-mail blast out to all the parents in his school saying that parents should ban their kids from the use of Facebook due to the inappropriateness of the activity he was noticing …

This principal, first of all, should be applauded for taking a stand on something as too often people will just turn a blind eye to what kids are doing and brush it off as “oh well … kids will be kids” …

I think however this speaks to a larger issue of what is appropriate use of technology and also taking an active role in your children’s “online lives” …

I recently read in a book called “Sociable! – How Social Media is Turning Sales and Marketing Upside Down”  that spoke about how kids today are, what they call, Digital Citizens. They are “wired to connect” with others around them and the technology options that are around them are meant to be used.

Appropriate use of technology, in the context of this article, is no different than appropriateness in social interaction when you meet someone face to face. If someone calls you a bad name online why should that be treated any differently than someone calling you a bad name face to face …I would dare say you have far more options available to you to deal with issues like this online than you do in face to face interaction …

Spend time with your kids talking about things like …

  1. What’s going on at school these days?
  2. How’s things going with your circle of friends and acquaintances ?
  3. What kind of cool stuff are you doing online?
  4. What kinds of things are being said online?

Showing an active interest in the kinds of things that your child is interested in creates an openness about their online activities and creates a much less threatening environment for them when it comes to talking with you about it..

Am I so naive as to think that we will know about “EVERYTHING” that goes on in my household online? NO!

At the same time though I have got to believe that spending time teaching kids about what is appropriate socially in the real world will naturally filter into their online activities … if someone calls you a bad name online… well… how would you deal with it in the real world?? Use it as a teaching opportunity with them …

Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and others have many positive applications in our daily lives in our ability to connect with others across large distances and stay in touch with people whom we don’t have regular contact with …

To simply say “Get rid of it” because of the existence of abuse is the wrong approach and seems a little like “throwing the baby out with the bath water”

“To Cloud or not to Cloud” your data

Ok, we’ll admit that our title is a bit of a cheesy Shakespearian appropriation, but it is a very good question that needs to be examined as part of your data and IT strategies.

Your data is critical for the continuing operation of your business. So considering where and how it is stored and how accessible it is has a real impact on the efficiency and resilience of your business.

The “cloud” refers to the growing number of software and data storage services that are now offered remotely. You can store all your data online and you can run a lot of the applications you need directly from the web rather than by software installed on your personal computers.  Let’s examine the key pros and cons of a cloud IT strategy and we will describe a practical example.  This assumes that you have a high quality “cloud” services provider.

PROS:

  • Storing your data on the cloud improves the resilience of your business as your data is safe from any physical disaster that may affect your firm.
  • Storing your data on the cloud can eliminate the need for local back-up and simplify your daily office operations.
  • Using web delivered applications can cost less when you have a small number of users for a specific application.
  • Using web delivered applications ensures that everyone is on the same and the latest version of the software you use.
  • Using web delivered applications can extend the life of your personal computers as the processing is done on the web.

CONS:

  • There are unresolved privacy issues when you store your data on the “cloud”.  While Canada has made an effort to sort out IT privacy issues, the situation is less clear in the US.  It is likely that a copy of your data will end up on a US server and it could be subpoenaed by their authorities (view a great article on this particular point HERE).  This is a potential problem if your business owns Intellectual Property or sensitive customer data.
  • Web delivered applications will consume more bandwidth and require excellent internet connections to deliver a friendly user experience.
  • A corollary of the point above is that your may suffer business stoppages if your internet service is interrupted.
  • Costs of web delivered applications can be higher if you have a large number of users.

An example:  Hosted Exchange Server

One of the services we like when conditions are right is migrating from your existing email system to a Hosted Exchange Service.  Email is a critical function of your firm and Microsoft’s Exchange Server is the most common business platform for email.

Solving email problems is a common request from our clients.  Usually the problems are caused by an overloaded local server, by different versions of Outlook running on different generations of PCs, or by poor back-up practices of the PST files Outlook uses, and by users Outlook files that exceed the capacity of the local version of the software.  Moving to a Hosted Exchange service solves all these problems and usually for a very reasonable cost.

We hoped these thoughts help and answer some basic questions about “cloud” computing.  Please feel welcome to contact us if you have any additional questions.

Have a successful week …

HP buys Palm for $1.2B US

This is quite the development in the Smart Phone industry …

HP’s arch-rival Dell is getting into the Smart Phone market as well which makes this seem like quite a natural acquisition on their part. Now Palm will have a parent company with deep pockets that can dump huge $$$’s into R&D.

Look for some pretty cool innovations with the Palm platform in the future …

More and more of our daily activities will be pushed out to mobile devices … whether that be Banking, Buying Tickets for Events, Making Dinner Reservations, Food Shopping…etc..etc… so whenever a major player like this shows up it makes everyone stand up and take notice.

They say that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and perhaps a purchase like this by HP will only serve to raise the bar for all the players in the market like Apple and RIM and others …

Exciting times!!

You may be wondering whether or not you should participate in online networks.  Hopefully we can simplify things for you.  One thing is sure – a business person can’t ignore online networking anymore.  Let us oversimplify/review this by grouping online networking in three categories:

  • tools for friends and family networking like Facebook and MySpace
  • tools for business networking and tools like LinkedIn
  • tools for self expression like blogging and Twitter

Friends and Family

If you have family or friends at a distance or that you can’t see often you will likely find real value in these networks.  You can set up your profile with settings that will protect your privacy and if you are prudent with the information and photos you share you will find here tools that will actually bring your family and friends closer.  This is the paradox of these tools.  They do not reduce interactions they actually increase contact frequency.  That’s the main reason over 300 million people use Facebook (which is our preferred tool in this category is for its reach and simpler interface.)

Let me share an example from one of our clients.  Their families are spread from coast to coast and they have friends on four continents.  As participants post updates and photos other friends and family can see what is happening with the people they care for.  One grandmother in her 80s can stay in touch with the activities of fourteen grand kids dispersed all over North America.  To her this is far more relevant and interesting than the negative news on TV.  The benefit is significant to have this family better aware of each other.  There is an intimacy and a closeness that just does not happen with sporadic phone calls, letters or emails.  So we recommend using this tool wisely.  Keep your settings private and ignore all the “applications” (games, horoscopes etc.) that post how you did for all your friends to see.  These updates are annoying and dilute the value you get otherwise.

Business Networking

Here our recommended tool is LinkedIn.  You can build a profile with the explicit purpose of growing your business and what is referred today as your personal brand.  This is a highly valuable business tool.  First your profile will establish your credibility.  Second your connections (as they are called on LinkedIn) will be expanded exponentially as you can tap in the network of your connections for all kinds of business purposes.  You will also find an immense pool of highly competent talent for free.  You can ask questions of all types to help your business and other members of LinkedIn will provide their best advice.  You thank them by identifying the best responses which helps build the credibility of the responder.  You can tap into some of the best business minds of the world for free.

Here is another example shared by a client of MDB.  They recently were contemplating awarding a contract to a consultant they had never done business with before.  When they looked at the profile of the person, they discovered that they shared several connections.  Our client was able to quickly obtain references that reassured them about the calibre of the person.  In just a few minutes, our client reduced the uncertainty of his decision.  The consultant got a nice pay-off for having made the effort of building his profile.

Self-Expression

Blogging is setting up a public web site where you will share your thoughts.  From a business perspective a blog may be a very powerful way to establish your expertise and attract business.  Search engines will lead readers to your blog if your content is relevant to their search.  With time you may develop a following where people subscribe to be warned each time you write something new.  Blogging is a big commitment.  Blogs get quickly stale if no new material is added.  Our preferred tool is Word Press but there are many others.  Twitter, in our opinion, is a mini blog where each entry is limited to 140 characters.  In business, it is useful if you work in an ultrafast industry where updates regarding need to get out fast.

—–

I am not aware of a client of MDB blogging extensively for business at this time but you will find numerous examples if you search key words related to your industry.  And if you do not find a good blog – maybe it is an opportunity for you to be the first and increase your online visibility that way.  Two Twitter business stories show the value of the tool in the right context.  Dell computer uses Twitter  to announce sales of heavily discounted or refurbished equipment for rapid sales.

They attribute millions of dollars in sales to this marketing tool.  Another well known example is how the CEO of Zappo’s, the online shoe store acquired by Amazon last year for several hundred million dollars, used Twitter to communicate to his staff hundreds of times daily to keep the pace of the business ultra rapid and to make the firm extremely responsive to its clients.  The fast growth, profitability and successful sale to Amazon are testimony to how a tool like Twitter can add significant value to business.

We hope this will help you add value to your business.

Happy online networking!

Last week I attended an Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce event called “Sociable!” … I knew it was an event where they would be discussing the impact of Social Media on the Sales and Marketing side of your business …

Up to that point, I must admit, I had always viewed social media as being mainly the realm of teenagers and people who just had a lot of time on their hands. I knew from seeing advertisements on Facebook, for instance, that there was “some” business application for it but in the end I had to admit that I just didn’t know the whole story of what it “could” do for my business …

This event seemed like the perfect opportunity to “jump right in” and learn something so with an open mind and a desire to learn I went to the event …. What’s funny is that I decided before I left for the event that I would buy whatever book they had there so I could take it, read it offline and study it cover to cover as I find that “diving right in” is a great way to learn!!

The event itself was great and it was too bad that Shane and Stephen didn’t have more time to talk as this was clearly a bigger topic than the hour or so they had to speak allowed them to explore every topic. It was just enough information however that I was eager to get back and start reading the book so I left the event and started to read that evening and was hooked right away…

CHAPTER 1

Right off the bat they come out with the statement “Burn Your Business Card” which talked about how we really need to examine the way we interact with clients and how we traditionally “do marketing and sales”. One of the great nuggets I took away from this is that the concept of “Drip Marketing” where we subject our clients to a steady drip of communication in the hopes of landing them is a labour intensive and expensive process whereas the “Reverse Drip” espouses that we concentrate on creating great content and really showing that we “care” by talking about what’s important to our clients and contacts and not necessarily to us. If we show that we care about what’s important to those around us this creates trust and relationships and people will eventually “come to us” for information …. The main point I got is this … “Spend time creating relationships and connections … the business opportunity will come later”

CHAPTER 2

This chapter talked about the different levels of engagement in Social Media and how to understand where people are at when formulating your Social Media strategy. It also had encouragement to try and become a “thought leader” and not just sound like everyone else…. The main point I got is this … “Create cool, informative and passion filled information so that it’s attractive to others and they will want to share it”

CHAPTER 3

Social Media Phobia is a very real fear for alot of people … or in my case was more a complete lack of understanding of what is possible. People will naturally retreat to what is familiar around them and what they feel is “safe” …  This chapter mentioned a very interesting point in that “a phobia is an irrational fear or anxiety built around, amongst other things, an untruth”  There is a very real fear of losing control, what’s my ROI, what about security, will people listen…etc…etc…

The main point I got from this chapter is this … “Leave your preconceived notions at the door about what you “think” social media is all about and open your mind to the possibilities and then see if there was anything to be afraid or concerned about”

CHAPTER 4

Ahhhh yes … in any new venture where you are coming into an existing party you need to understand the “Rules Of Engagement” … When you are first starting out in this new sales and marketing process you want to make sure that you understand how to best position your self for success … There are some excellent points made in this chapter such as “Stop Pitching and Start Connecting” and “It’s Not About You” amongst many others ….

The main point I learned … “Understand the rules before you start the game and learn from those who have been doing this a long time”

CHAPTER 5

This chapter talked about how your blog should really become your home base and should really be structured like a conversation with participants. You blog about something interesting and informative, people comment on it either positively or negatively and you engage them in “conversation” and everyone benefits … They key here is to just get started, be consistent and always listen to what people are saying and adjust accordingly..

CHAPTER 6

Online Video Blogging is discussed in this chapter and is described as yet another way to engage the people coming to your blog. It’s described as the closest thing really to a face-to-face meeting…. Different video blog publishing mediums are laid out as well as excellent input on how to add the best possible content for your “viewers”

The key point I took from here : “Don’t feel the need to invest in expensive video equipment …. it’s the content that’s most important and not “necessarily” the quality of production”

CHAPTER 7

Micro-Blogging is presented really as an “online two way conversation” that in the end can really thaw the whole concept of a cold call. When actively engaging in Microblogger through mediums like Twitter your potential contacts get a chance to get to know you before you may even meet face to face …

As in previous chapters the key here is produce content that other people will find interesting and engaging so that they will want to follow you and see what you’re up to…

The key takeaway for me here was this “Create great and engaging content so as to make yourself interesting and followable”

CHAPTER 8

The different social media networks available to you are discussed in this chapter with the highlights of each laid out in detail.

CHAPTER 9

When you go into any new situation or social group there are always different points of etiquette that should be followed to put your presence in the best light possible. This chapter goes into great details about many social media “do’s and dont’s” but not from a lecturing standpoint as much as a “here’s how to present yourself in the best possible way” ..

The main take away for me here is this … “Once you hit enter it’s done! … Think 3 times before hitting enter once … put some thought into what you have to say and make sure you consider how what you say will be received”

CHAPTER 10

This chapter really deals with Trolls and Naysayers who will often jump into your Social Media world … Some are just looking to stir up controversy whereas some may just plain old disagree with you … You don’t need the whole world to agree with you to be effective and as well someone may be mean but they may also be right in what they say.

The key take away for me here is this : “Don’t run away from negativity … embrace it, learn from it and use it as an opportunity to learn something and possibly gain a new friend”

CHAPTER 11

There is never any better thing than a true to life, real face-to-face meeting with someone. The hard part up to this point has been to create the opportunity for that face-to-face meeting to take place. We must always be looking to leverage our social media contact into real world “toe to toe” meetups and contacts.

Different methods for using Social Media to create real-world gatherings is discussed …

Key Takeaway : “Always be looking for opportunities to get together and network with people in the real world”

CHAPTER 12

As important as it is to build your brand and build connections with people is the ability to know what people are saying about you and your company. This is an excellent chapter which outlines the many tools freely available to allow you to peek into what conversations are happening and what they are saying (positively or negatively) about you and your brand …

Access to this kind of information is invaluable to knowing how to react to an ever changing market or perhaps a new service or product you have launched

Key Takeaway : “Always seek to be aware of what the market and customers are saying”

CHAPTER 13

Now it’s time to get started … this chapter really summarizes the main points in the book and lays out an action plan for you to follow to get started in creating your Social Media strategy …

SUMMARY

As mentioned in my opening comments I went into the original seminar and the reading of this book with an open mind and a desire to learn everything I could about this subject. There’s a ton to learn here and there is the tendency to feel like you’ve “taken a sip from a fire hose” with all the information and possibilities out there.

The main nuggets I feel I received from this book are as follows:

  1. Take a second to realize what’s possible with an effective SocialMedia strategy
  2. Purpose in your mind that you “will” have some sort of presence in the Social Media universe
  3. Take the time to learn and study what’s out there
  4. Don’t think that you have to right off the bat open up 25 different account of 25 different platforms … you can start with one or two platforms and go from there and learn as you go
  5. Be open to feedback from others and tailor your approach as you go

Overall this has been an excellent book and it has really made me stop and think …. which in this fast paced world of ours is a real sign of an excellent read.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone … you can get more information about how to buy book by visiting http://www.sociablebook.com/

You can also follow the authors Shane Gibson (@shanegibson) and Stephen Jagger (@sjagger) on Twitter to learn more about them