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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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#616: Let Others Compile Your Content For You

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, July 25, 2011
Updated: Monday, July 25, 2011
You often suggest that consultant need to expand our perspective by reading more widely than just about business and consulting. Does you recommendation come with some sources of current news and ideas in all these varies topics?

I am always open to your suggestions but I have two, one more global/conceptual and the other more about breadth/timeliness. The first is TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences about new ideas, started in 1984, which has grown to include almost 1,000 videos (3-18 minutes) available online. TED talks encompass business, science, global issues, literature, economics, innovation and other topics. A TED a day is a great way to open your mind to new ideas, even new consulting markets and services.

The second is a compilation of blogs, organized into an easy to navigate hierarchical website called Alltop. There are hundreds of topics already on the site from which you can get a quick survey of news and ideas, but Alltop lets you create your own topic (how do you think the existing topics go there?). Alltop founder Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple, calls it an online magazine rack for your favorite topics (really a categorized RSS reader). What is great about Alltop is that it is not supposed to be a destination, but a set of doors to content you might not otherwise have found. You could create an RSS aggregator on your own but you'd miss out on a stream of new ideas and content sources discovered by others.

Tip: Don't work so hard to find content when there are good tools to help you compile it and let others help you in the process. The best thing about Alltop is that you can create your own custom page, like designing your own magazine. Look for these Daily Tips in the Consulting topic!

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  blogs  creativity  information management  knowledge assets  learning  market research  social media  technology  trends 

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#599: Help Your Executive Clients With Social Media

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, June 30, 2011
Updated: Thursday, June 30, 2011
Our firm is all over social media for our own purposes and we think most of our clients should do the same. However, we get a lot of pushback from older executives who promote it for their companies but consider it personally inappropriate for someone their position. Any thoughts on this issue?

The client's industry, culture and marketing plan will largely determine the extent to which a company as a whole uses social media. However, neither a company's use nor lack of use requires the executive to do the same. Even if a company is not or cannot be highly active in social media, there are benefits to the executive being so. These include the obvious presence among stakeholders (including employees) created by their participation and the consequent creation or strengthening of a personal social media "brand." Also, an executive's participation on social media likely gives them a new and broader insight into the world of their stakeholders and industry than they would otherwise have. For executives, it is this "inbound" knowledge that creates new perspectives and advises their ideas about strategy and tactics. This is probably the unspoken real value of social media for executives. While talking (i.e., blogging, tweeting, posting) has value, listening through social media is critical.

In almost every industry, more consumers, suppliers, vendors and market intermediaries are spending an increasing proportion of their time on social media (an average of 5 hours per month). For an executive to avoid going where his or her stakeholders (and peers) are gives up important knowledge about where his or her company is now and should be going.

Tip: An article in Chief Executive, Should CEOs Use Social Media? describes succinctly other reasons for executives to participate in social media. Research and anecdotal evidence from CEOs themselves make a strong case for why you serve your executive clients well by helping them engage in social media.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  brand management  communication  learning  recommendations  social media  trends  website 

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#534: Your Online Identity is More than Just Social Media

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, March 31, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011
I hear about managing my company's "O-dentity" (online identity) is more than just my website and social media profiles. What else should I be doing?

From just having a pretty and functional static website 15 years ago to engaging in selected discussion forums and maintaining several social media profiles and a targeted blog today, what constitutes your online image has evolved. It will likely continue to do so. Here are a few ideas about what to attend to in maintaining a powerful o-dentity:
  • One individual is best to oversee and integrate all aspect of your online presence. Although each blog, website, forum, interactive forum, etc. can be maintained by separate individuals, it is best if one person understands and sets the strategy for the collection of these mechanisms.
  • Technology now makes it possible to engage your customers and the interested public. Figure out a way to move beyond a static website to an interactive one, whether it is soliciting inquiries or hosting a set of targeted discussion forums. If you are looking for clients or partners, talk to them, not just at them.
  • Respond to inquiries, comments and complaints on your website with the same level of interest you would from a phone call. Check your incoming web inquiries as frequently as you check for phone messages, not whenever you get around to it. Many people would rather interact this way instead of by phone.
  • Offer a continuously expanding (or at least enhanced) suite of services or avenues for interaction. Everything has a lifespan and it is likely that after a few months of discussion on a topic, it is time to offer something new. Don't be known as the site that used to be interesting but is now lame.
Tip: Your o-dentity needs to be a core part of your communication, marketing and sales strategies. It is easy to just design and implement and forget that your public values fresh and innovative as much as it does content itself.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  blogs  communication  marketing  publicity  social media  technology  website 

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#465: Social Media Can be Anything You Can Create

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, December 24, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 24, 2010
I am not a technological Luddite but I can't see how all this social media is useful for business. Beyond "having" a presence (website, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, Ning site, blog(s), Twitter, and syndication), it seems a colossal commitment of time that could be used to create product or deliver services.

Is social media useful for your own practice or your client's business? As any consultant can tell you, "it depends." Despite Pew Research findings that only 27% of US Internet users bother to read blogs, even back in 2008 we were still adding new blogs at a rate of 40,000 a day. Venture capital firms invested $60 million that year for startup blogging companies. Apparently blogging has enough value to attract capital. Finally, Twitter is berated by many as a waste of time, but Dell attributes more than $6.5 million of revenue last year from their Twitter presence (and that was more or less unintentional).

What is often missing in the "What Good is Social Media?" discussion is how it is being used. These technologies don't exist as add-ons - they are genuinely creating new ways to communicate in speed, content, interactivity, and functionality. But "being in social media" is of no value unless you are using it to further your current business goals. For example, a LinkedIn profile only has value as a reference point for your participation in (or starting and moderating) LinkedIn Groups. Setting up your own Ning social network is only as valuable as the community you create and maintain.

Tip: A great example of how digital media could transform our interaction is to look at a YouTube video of the "Digital Nativity" (easier if you know the Christian references to the story, but you can get the point even without them). There is "old school" ways of doing things and "really, really new school" ways. The market demands more than just good consulting services. It (legitimately or not) sees your engagement with the social and business community as evidence of your value and the transparency it affords as a measure of trust. Social media, done well, is one way to create that presence and trust.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  collaboration  communication  marketing  social media  technology  trust  website 

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#433: Get Your Online Life Back

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I spend a fair amount of time online, with a lot of time attending to social media, email, web-based or database research and quantitative analysis. Most of this is presumably productive, but what is a "right amount?"

There is no "right" amount because each of these activities may be highly productive for your particular consulting practice. It is easy to feel like any one of these is "too much" because, compared to the past, you are spending much more time on that activity. How much time did you spend 15 years ago on email? Is what you spend now too much or too little? New web applications, new distractions, and new resources can skew our appreciation for what is really most useful.

Consider RescueTime, an application that intelligently tracks what applications you spend your time with, including where you spend most of your time surfing. It has a really clever feature, called Focus Time," in which you set a time during which it will warn you if you stray off your chosen task (to, say, respond to that "urgent" instant message, or "quickly" look up something on a website - that lasts 5 minutes).

Tip: Before tracking your time, estimate how much time you spend throughout the day on various activities and adjust to what you think is an appropriate proportion for each. Once you get your usage data, you can see what, based on your own criteria, is too much (or too little) time spent in a given activity.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  efficiency  project management  social media  time management 

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