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Between 2005 and 2011, IMC published Daily Tips every weekday on consulting ethics, marketing, service delivery and practice management. You may search more than 800 tips on this website using keywords in "Search all posts" or clicking on a tag in the Top Tags list to return all tips with that specific tag. Comment on individual tips (members and registered guests) or use the Contact Us form above to contact Mark Haas CMC, FIMC, Daily Tips author/editor. Daily Tips are being compiled into several volumes and will be available through IMC USA and Mark Haas.

 

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#719: Contribute Your Perspective to Other Industries

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, December 15, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 15, 2011
I have started reading trade journals from a variety of industries other than those in which I work, looking for opportunities to write articles related to my consulting services. Do you think readers will learn from my experiences in industries other than theirs?

Assuming your consulting skills deal with issues not specific to your own industry, there's no obvious reason why not. Perhaps more important, however, is what you can learn from industries other than on what you most often focus. There are consultants in those industries who have skills and behaviors you can learn from.

Professional associations like IMC, whose members are experienced consultants from almost every industry and technical discipline, are great sources of professional development. It is amazing what you can learn from someone who advises management in an entirely different industry. Seeking out experts outside your comfort zone is an important part of professional growth.

Tip: You asked about writing for another industry's trade press and I infer you are interested in this as an indirect way access prospects in those industries. Why not start by regular reading of one or more of those industry journals? Look at critical issues in these industries from your own perspective and see how you would apply your services to address them. Treat them like case studies by doing some evaluation, reaching conclusions, and making recommendations. Instead of just writing an article, and if you feel comfortable with your evaluations, short cut the process and contact a person or company that was the subject of the article directly and offer your conclusions and recommendations. Alternatively, strike up a conversation with the author of a journal article and get to know each other. You'll get some valuable feedback and perhaps some solid leads on providing your services to that industry.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  professional development  publicity  social media  writing 

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#690: Social Bookmarking is a Key Tool for Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, November 4, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2011
Consultants use the Internet for information, techniques and research. My colleagues, as well your Daily Tips, provide great URLs but I've heard about social bookmarking as a way to find better sites faster. What is social bookmarking?

Think about trying to organize all your favorite sites or articles from among the billions of web pages. You bookmark good sites and tell your friends, but the web is too dynamic for you to find, much less organize or keep up to date, them all. You can subscribe to clipping services or Google Alerts, both of which will feed you a stream of data. The problem is that these are mechanically and keyword generated and may not be really what interests you.

Social bookmarking is a better way to organize your bookmarks through tagging and to take advantage of the best thinking and judgment of your peers to collectively identify the most relevant sites. You have better and faster access to sites you can use in ways you wouldn't otherwise ever have known about.

A social bookmarking survey (a few years ago) showed that 6 out of 7 people don't use social bookmarking (also called content discovery services) because they don't know about them, don't understand how they work or don't understand their value. If you haven't heard of Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, Technorati or other sites, sign up for them and start getting advice from those you know and trust, not just those generated by a machine. It will amaze you how much interesting and useful content you can have fed regularly to you.

Tip: Like any new skill or practice, this is worth a few minutes of your time to master. It goes without saying that your client can benefit from your showing them how to keep up with the latest technology. Who doesn't want to look like a star to our clients?

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  information management  market research  social media  technology 

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#665: Consultant's Picks for Social Media Sources

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, September 30, 2011
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2011
All good consultants have their favorite research and data sources, usually specific to their industry and professional discipline. Given that traditional media is being overtaken by social media, where should a consultant go to get the best collections of social media generated news and information?

This is a great question. The issue at hand is where do we go and who do we trust for valid and timely information when traditional media sources are closing, merging or shrinking? At least for the US, we are going back to the early days of the country when we had more than 10,000 newspapers (admittedly many were of limited circulation), providing a lot of information, and a lot more opinions. Over time, these consolidated into the trusted news sources we have enjoyed for the last century. Now we are faced with the struggling business model of print news media and provided with thousands of sources, many of which we can't verify as to quality and veracity. So, who do you trust/

My suggested selection criteria relate to how news is collected, how well the news is presented, and how responsive the outlet is to its readers. More reporters from diverse sources, committed to long term relationships with the outlet is better than a steady stream of one-off submissions from itinerant reporters. Outlets that invest in an a platform that presents information in quickly searchable and accessible formats (including mobile) is better than an old-line media that just put all their content " on the web." Finally, 24-hour news cycles are no longer unidirectional, so the opportunity to comment on content and engage with authors, editors and readers is better than static content.

I recommend four sources to keep up with general trends in business, politics, social issues and technology (hard-core business wonks will have to find their nuggets elsewhere):These four sources provide a quick way to be current on news and to participate in topical discussions. Each has invested in the technology and design to incorporate the best of social media into their offering.

Tip: One of the best benefits of these type of new media is the ability to use the technology to create your own aggregator of information on the topics you most care about in a format best suited to your needs, including mobile applications. Examples are BBC's section on Ethics, ProPublica's Tools and Data, and Mashable's Trending Topics (to which you can subscribe).

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting tools  education  innovation  intellectual property  market research  professional development  social media  your consulting practice 

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#623: Use Data Maps to Understand Your Social Networks

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I've let the results of my social media campaign get out of control. After building large sets of networks (e.g., Facebook, BranchOut, BeKnown and LinkedIn), it has become a long list of names and contacts and not something manageable. How can I get back some sense of order without trimming the networks?

In hindsight, this was inevitable. Building a network and connecting with interesting people was fun and productive at first. However, when it is possible to have downline network contacts numbering in the millions, it is no longer a human scale, manageable network. Sure, it is still a powerful resource for automated searches but if a network is made up of a lot of people we barely know (or never met in person) then it is hard to use.

Since this is a problem not unique to you, as usual technology comes to the rescue. LinkedIn, recognizing that many people had even second tier contacts numbering tens or hundreds of thousands, came up with a network data visualization tool in LinkedIn Maps. Go to this link, log in and generate your network map. based on how interconnected your contacts are, you can label the different colors and get some insights of how to better use your vast network.

Tip: Data visualization and segmentation for greater understanding can be done with 3x5 cards or a sophisticated tool, but this is a good lesson for us all to remember. With good structure and organization data can be transformed into information. However, without an evolving understanding and structure, too much information (contacts) can also devolve into less useful data almost as easily.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  data visualization  marketing  social media 

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#619: Strengthen Your Online Identity

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, July 28, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 28, 2011
I guess we need to accept the fact that, even if consultants aren't identified by clients through online search, we are being investigated and vetted online. My firm is ramping up our presence on Twitter and LinkedIn Groups, adding more blogs, videos and written content to our site, and working on increasing our inbound links. My question is how does anyone know whether all this effort is working?

You are right that more vetting is being done online partly because it is easier but also because it is faster. An interesting thing about online market research is that the proliferation of search and analytical tools creates a potentially confusing array of information. The burden, then, is on the consultant to make sure that our online brand is both pervasive and coherent.

You are certainly well along the path to greater online visibility with the activities you suggest. While the effectiveness of your online campaign ultimately has to be measured in the volume and quality of inquiries and clients you get, there are some ways to measure the intermediate impact. The Online Identity Calculator is a useful tool to estimate the level and trend of your online identity campaign. The tool shows not just where you rank in Google, but what Google says about you. You will get an identity assessment in terms of volume, relevance, purity and diversity. This should give you a sense of what refinements to make.

Tip: Another way to see how visible you are is to use Addict-o-matic (gotta love the name). Enter your personal or company name, a phrase that defines your practice or principal industry, and see an array of top stories from social media, web, blogs, news, video and other sources (you have some control over which ones are displayed). This will give you a broad sense of what topics are most related to the areas in which you want to be found and to what extent you have the desired online presence.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  brand management  market research  social media  website 

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