Action is an important part of interaction

by Carl Natale on November 20, 2010

Sorry but I didn’t write this Friday like I promised. But after writing the blog entry about Bob O’Brien’s presentation at Social Media Breakfast, I had another writing commitment and a chauffering commitment to a teenager.

But enough about me. You want to learn what Rob Hatch, COO at Human Business Works, had to say at Social Media Breakfast about what HBW is doing.

The goal is to create spaces for where business people can grow their capabilities. HBW’s tools for doing this is through educational content (ebooks and webinars for example) and communities. By the way, HBW is Chris Brogan’s brainchild.

They started with 501 MIssion Place, a community for nonprofits and charities. They plan to build more niche communities.

HBW’s mission does include selling content, but it’s a service business. It needs to engage customers in a way that lives up to its name – human business.

This depends on three elements:

  1. Listen
  2. Understand
  3. Be Helpful

If  :

Listening is important

In a way this is the easy part. Customers will let you know when they have questions and issues via e-mail and phone. But use Google Alerts and Twitter search to find what people are saying about you not necessarily to you.

Yes this is Reputation Management 101, and you can do great things with it. But can we take it to another level? What would it take to tune the listening tools to conversations about problems that customers do NOT have with you?

If you’re in the business of selling a particular product, I understand why you don’t want to do this. If you’re in the business of helping customers solve problems, maybe you want to find out what are the problems out there.

I know you have a niche. But what if this uncovers a new way to serve the niche? Or a more profitable niche?

There are listening tools to help

Besides Google Alerts and Twitter, and were mentioned as monitoring tools for social media. Reread my last takeaway.

You need filters to help

Google Alerts is overrated. Yes it’s easy to set up. And you can get alerts via e-mail or RSS. Love that you can set it and let it do the work for you. I use alerts to automatically monitor topics. But I get more noise than signal in those alerts.

The alert is only as good as the search you set up. Just searching for a keyword or two will give you too much content. And God help you if those keywords show up in an AP story that’s published in newspapers across the country.

You need to focus your searches on trusted sources.

Understanding = Empathy

Listening is easy. But overcoming inertia and acting on what you hear is harder. If you don’t take action for your customers, all that listening is wasted.

Helping is why you’re there

Businesses are in the business of helping customers solve problems. Providing help at all levels is the literal part of that sentence.

Presentations That Don’t Kill Brain Cells II

Rob didn’t have a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation. Good. I don’t care if it was by design or accident.

Note the lack of imagery doesn’t mean Rob isn’t prepared. He knows his material and can engage an audience.

I heap lots of deserving praise upon Bob O’Brien for great use of imagery in his presentation. He shouldn’t change anything. But Rob shows it’s not the only way to do it.

Interaction & Action

Social media is about interaction and communicating. Helping is about action. You need both to make this work.

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{ 1 comment }

1 Bob O'Brien November 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Carl – Great recap of Rob’s very informative presentation. I loved Rob’s main message: be helpful and be human. That works, no matter what business you’re in.

I couldn’t agree more on the Google Alerts signal-to-noise ratio. I need to spend more time filtering mine down, because I find it overwhelming if I don’t stay on top of it constantly.

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