What's at the bottom of the river?

What's at the bottom of the river?

I have no idea if the bottom of the Hudson River is smooth or not. I know that on a calm day, the surface is like glass.

One reason to lower the water level of a system you count on is to see what’s messing things up. You can discover what happens when you operate without slack, without a surplus… you want to know what’s likely to get in the way…

This is the essence of Toyota’s quality breakthrough. When Toyota got rid of all the extra car parts held in reserve on the assembly line, every single one of them had to be perfect. If a nut or bolt didn’t fit, the entire line stopped. No cars got made until the part was perfect.

This seems insane. Why would you go through the pain of removing the (relatively) low cost buffer of some extra parts? The answer, it turns out, is that without a buffer, you’ve lowered the water level and you can see the rocks below. Without a buffer, every supplier had to dramatically up his game. Suddenly, the quality of parts went way up, which, of course, makes the assembly line go faster and every car ends up working better as well.

Fedex had to build a system far more efficient than the one they use at the Post Office. When you only have 12 hours to deliver a package, the rocks will kill you. Now, when they need to deliver something in three days, they’re still way better at it than the post office is. Fewer rocks.

The purpose of sprinting without slack isn’t that you will always be sprinting, always without extra resources or a net. No, the purpose is to show you where the rocks are, to discover the cruft you can clean out. Then, sure, go back and add some surplus and resilience.


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A Great Guide To Beginners In Social Media Marketing

Social Media MarketingNo matter who you are or what you do, the benefits that social media sites offer are impossible to ignore.

Sites that are the popular have millions of users and there are tons of people singing up every day.

In the following article, there are some great tips to give you the power to utilize social media.

If you’re keeping a blog for social media purposes, you have to make sure that it’s kept as active as possible.

You see, people who use social sites are always looking for fresh and exciting content.

If they can get it with you, they may be inclined to stick with you.

This is illustrated by the subscriptions that are made to newspapers and magazines. Being consistent is the best thing you can do to get visitors to return to your page.

Always keep your cool when posting and replying on social media sites

There are people who will post on your social media pages with the intention of causing trouble. Maintain a professional attitude and just remove the posts. If they have a legitimate concern with your business, be respectful and always maintain a professional dialogue.

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Try to test and experiment with new and different social media marketing techniques and opportunities.

There are literally thousands of different ideas to increasing your social media presence and boosting your marketing online. If you get stuck in one simple strategy, you may be missing out on a new technique that could significantly help your business.

Make sure you make your profiles public.

LinkedIn and Facebook both have privacy settings you can customize: remember that you are creating these profiles to advertise your products, and that you want as many people as possible to see your pages. You can block individual users if you are having issues.

When you begin a social media marketing campaign leave room for trial and error

Depending on you target audience, some things that are effective for other businesses may not work for you. Watch for what is and is not working and make changes as necessary. This will show your customers that you are connected with their needs as well.

Use Facebook to run a special promotion or a competition.

Everyone loves winning something, so your followers are sure to get involved. Whether you offer a free product, a special high-amount coupon or a big or small prize, it will get people more actively involved with your Facebook page. It also builds goodwill with your social media strategies.

Try using polls on your social media profiles to engage your customers and get them involved.

Try using polls on your social media profiles to engage your customers and get them involved. People love to give their opinions and have their voice heard. A poll is a great way to get them to voice their opinions and give feedback on new products and ideas that are relevant to your company.

Find out who is talking about your products or your brand on social networks thanks to tools like Social Mention. This program searches through updates to show you what people have to say about your brand. You should notice more interest on one site than another as well as get genuine opinions about your products.

Videos are a great content for your social media marketing.

Demographics show that video is the largest and fastest growing online application. You can make your old articles and Twitter posts into video presentations using screen capture and presentation tools available on the web. Add them to your YouTube profile and link them to your social media pages.

Respond with care to tweets that contain rude or hateful messages. Everything you tweet is a reflection of your business. It may be tempting to shoot back a sarcastic tweet but, that will harm you in the long run. Remain professional and calm when you respond. Remember, the whole world has access to what you tweet.

Always post and return messages and comments on your Facebook page. When a person comments on your wall or asks a question, take notice. Another thing that you will want to do is promote a conversational dialogue on your page. This shows customers you care about the people interested in your company.

Whatever your choice is for social media marketing, make sure that you use correct grammar. Meanwhile it is tempting to use abbreviations such as LOL or LMAO, remember that you are trying to come across as a professional who knows a lot about his or her company. Do your best to spell everything correctly and use punctuation where it is needed.

Keep your eyes on the prize when it comes to social media marketing. Don’t make your business page about yourself. Keep the focus on your company, your product or your services. Keep your personal updates and information on your own personal page and make sure to keep the two separate.

Link your social media blog to Facebook for marketing success. Make it simple for fans of your blog to share posts with their friends. Include a share button at the top of your posts, and a like button at the top of your page. This will bring interest and traffic to your blog without additional work.

Comment on the blogs of others as frequently as possible. The word “social” in “social media” means that you need to put yourself out there if you want to get any results. Always make sure that you are focusing on your niche to highlight your strengths. This can be a fabulous networking opportunity.

To successfully market your business on social media, you should take advantage of Yelp. Yelp is an online community where real people review local businesses. Yelp carefully filters its reviews to protect against scammers, and the Yelp community of reviewers is very close-knit. Positive reviews on yelp can bring your business legitimacy and help attract new customers. Make sure to monitor yelp for people’s ideas and suggestions about how to improve your business and help yourself achieve the best rating possible on the website.

Marketing through social media can benefit anyone. Whether you’ve just become a business owner or you’re new to your site, social media is a great tool to have. Now, you are aware on how to effectively use social media. By implementing this advice, you should see results very soon.


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How ‘AIR’ Can Help You Put Out Your Social Media Fires

How ‘AIR’ Can Help You Put Out Your Social Media Fires

“Why does your product suck so bad? Have I mentioned I hate you?”, the tweet reads. Immediately, you go into red-alert mode, frantically leaping into action to handle the issue. You look at the history with the poster’s account, and can’t find anyone with that name, or any account with the company listed in their Twitter profile. It could be a tweet from a competitor. It could be a tweet from a disgruntled former customer. Or, it could be an actual customer with an actual problem. How you handle this type of interaction helps shape you to your audience and customers, so it’s imperative that you handle it correctly. I’m going to show you how ‘AIR’ can help you overcome these issues and turn them into positive experiences for all.

1. Assess The Issue

The first thing to do when you are targeted on social media by a tweet, a post you’re tagged in, or a direct message, is work out what the problem is. Are they simply complaining for complaining-sake? Are they bemoaning a feature or function you don’t have, or can’t do? Ask yourself: “is there something here I can fix, or is there a way I can help turn this issue into something positive?” Use empathy to put yourself in their shoes, and see if you can understand why they’re frustrated. If their reason isn’t something you can fix, or they’re just trolling you, let it go. Make note of the issue and account holder to pass on to any relevant departments. If there’s a way you can turn this experience into something positive for them, do due diligence.

A recent study showed that 35% of customers preferred using social media to handle service issues, compared to 16% who preferred calling into a brand’s 1-800 number.

2. Investigate The Problem

The second step – if you’ve identified that the issue is on your end – is to figure out the correct course of action to get the problem fixed. From there make sure to get all the relevant information from the customer having the problem. This can be done (and should be done) by taking the conversation offline, onto Facebook’s Messenger, Twitter’s Direct Messages, or even LinkedIn’s InMail. Make sure you get the customer’s name, company name or the account, the issue they’re having, and a phone number and email address for following up. You’ll need this info to pass on to your support team.

If it’s something you’re able to figure out, or in your research you’ve found a solution for the issue, share it with the customer. Check your own FAQs or Support sites to see if there’s something you can offer them.

3. Respond. Or Not.

The next thing you need to do is respond to the customer on the post they mentioned you in. There are a couple of rules of engagement that you should keep in mind. If the comments are coming from a customer or prospect, then the first step is to notify them that that your team is working on a solution or you are working to find out the answer to their problem or issue, and that you will update them when possible. Second, don’t over-promise, and don’t set unrealistic expectations. Third, even if they’re angry, your response should always caring, kind, and genuine.
If the comments are coming from a ‘troll’, or there is not a constructive value in responding or engaging, let it go. There’s no way you can win. If they are speaking about features, products, or services you don’t yet or can’t offer, respond to them thanking them for their feedback, and that you will pass it along to the appropriate team. (And then actually do that.)

Whatever response you give, make sure you keep the “corporate speak” to the minimum, responding as if they were sitting in front of you. People want to do business with people, especially when they’re not happy about something, and when you add the human element back in on social media as much as possible, it can make their responses and actions more understanding. I have noticed that when I respond to a message or tweet and add my name at the end, the interactions are more civil and the other party generally tones the anger down.

ALWAYS remember that whatever you respond with, or react with, can be screenshot and posted on the internet for all to see. Keep that in mind when you craft a response, share sensitive or future plans, etc.

Don’t forget to follow-up to make sure that the issue was resolved by the appropriate team, and that customer is satisfied with the results. This shows that you genuinely care about their issue, and are putting effort and energy into making sure they feel valued and important. I’ve found that it goes a long way. All companies and brands have issues in their products or services, it’s how they’re handled that shapes how you are perceived in the market. A great example of this is how UK supermarket Tesco handled this customer who had an issue with a cucumber he purchased. You can imagine that after this exchange, people viewed Tesco in a very positive light, even though it could have gone the other way very easily.

Lastly, always make sure you show (and tell) your customers that you value and appreciate them and their business, no matter what dollar amounts they add to the bottom line. If it caused a lot of inconvenience, send them something small to smooth things over. It can be anything from swag, to product, to a one-time discount. You want to go above and beyond with kindness, because every customer matters, especially on social media. That’s why learning how to handle social media fires is so important. Remember, “Assess the Issue”, “Investigate the problem”, and “Respond, or Don’t.” Businesses (and people) are absolutely judged everyday by how they respond to issues on social media, and by following this AIR protocol, you can start providing a better customer service experience.

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National Geographic: Yosemite in Virtual Reality

National Geographic: Yosemite in Virtual Reality

President Obama traveled to Yosemite National Park for its 100th birthday, and National Geographic captured the entire experience of the President’s trip to Yosemite like never before, with a 360 virtual reality experience on Facebook taking you on a tour of the ages, narrated by the president himself.

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Facebook VR, National Geographic, Obama, Virtual Reality, Virtual Reality Experiences, Yosemite in Virtual Reality

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Throwing money at it

Throwing money at it

There are three kinds of problems:

The first can be fixed with money. There’s a defect in the plumbing and you can’t get a permit to open until you fix it. The design team needs to hire a UI expert to improve the widget before it ships. The family can’t get a good night’s sleep with three little kids sleeping in one room…

The second can’t be fixed with money. These are issues of trust or judgment. Horrific injuries or crimes against nature. An old growth forest doesn’t grow back merely because you pay the trees more.

The third, of course, are problems that appear that they can be solved with money, but can’t. They range from the mythical man-month to the relationship that uses resources as a false proxy for other things yet to be discussed. Culture, process and expectations are tempting targets, but the resources spent often make the problem worse in the long run.

If a problem can be fixed with money or other resources, and you can afford it, you should do so, quickly, efficiently and without breaking a sweat. For the other kind of problems, resist that shortcut and get to the heart of the matter instead.


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