Cutting corners on social media

I’ve been a part-time social media manager for a long time now. Other responsibilities and tasks have always made it hard to focus on the social media side of things. This is far from ideal. The stakes are high, opportunities to embarrass yourself and your organisation are plenty. There are opportunities to be seized and risks to be mitigated on social media platforms. To reap benefits, you have to engage. Yet, lots of managers throw social media responsibilities on people — often young people because they’re hip — as just another task in their job description.

party-not-blackwidow

If you’re a manager, DON’T DO THAT.

If you’ve been tasked with starting social media campaigns with little prior experience and an already full plate, there are corners you can cut and methods you can use. Remember, however, that corner-cutting always comes at a cost. As a beginner, you won’t be good right away. You should manage expectations.

Chances are, your organisation is going to social media because they want to acquire traffic. Temptations are strong to dive head first in a paid campaign and get results on the spot. You should never start with paid advertising on social media. It would be best to establish a strategy and a baseline presence. That way, you may gather a following that will be an asset for future efforts too.

Be honest and strategize

Be very honest with yourself about the time and attention you can devote to them. Open only channels you can sustain and nourish. Think hard about what you have to contribute and what your audience wants.

What will you publish, for whom, and where? These questions are the most important. Answers depend entirely on what you’re selling and your unique constraints. No shortcuts there.

Start by listening. Research your topics, find what you can provide, find people’s pain points. This will help you determine what to publish. Once you start on social media, never stop listening and adapting. Monitor answers, comments, messages and answer them.

Before you do any kind of paid advertising, publish non-self-promotion updates/links. You should be able to publish helpful or entertaining things at regular intervals. Paid campaigns can help you build a following. It will be more effective if there’s valuable content on your profiles. People will follow your profiles in larger numbers if you have a track record of enjoyable and useful content.

Listening tools

Since you’re time-constrained and/or busy, you won’t be able to gather information actively. You’ll have to rely on tools to monitor the conversation online and find links to share with your audiences.

Large organisations circulate press reviews. You should subscribe. It will give you an idea of the conversation around your organisation and, perhaps, give you links to share.

Google Alerts remains one of my most prized tools. Set up one or several of these. Relevant Google results will pour into your e-mail account. Use straight quotes and the operators AND and OR. Like so…

Screenshot from 2016-08-30 22:36:04

Be sure to play with the advanced settings (content types, language, …) until you get the best results.

Publishing tools

You should craft updates for each social network individually because each has its own culture and “traditions”. That’s the ideal. You’re time-constrained and/or busy so you may publish links and updates on several social media services at once using Hootsuite. Remain aware that updates tailored to specific networks are best. Make sure your updates work in all their contexts.

Hootsuite also makes it possible to schedule updates. Scheduling is antithetical to genuine conversation which makes it risky. Never do it more than a few days in advance. Social media should remain a conversation. When there are major world events or other ripples through your communities, you’ll have to change your plans. Remember…

  • Monitor the conversation and events closely.
  • Have a device that can access all your accounts and especially Hootsuite to delete/cancel updates with you at all times.
  • Give a trusted colleague access to the accounts in case of an emergency.

Be ready for the traffic you buy

Acquiring loads of traffic is the dream most organisations chase on social media. Getting hits on a page with incomplete information is a waste. People will turn around and leave in an eye blink the page doesn’t answer their questions. They will leave if they feel mislead, if the page doesn’t load fast enough, if it doesn’t capture their interest… Problems with your website content can annihilate all your efforts. Best make it good before directing tons of expensive traffic to it.

Work with the people who take care of that website to iron things out. Ask yourself and them… Once they get on this page, what do you want prospects to do? What is the end goal? You can try to get as many prospects to give you their contact information and have your sales team contact them. You may want prospects to send an application through a form or place an order. Decide on a desirable outcomes and trace the steps that’ll get you there.

You should have the basics of this process (the sales funnel) figured out before launching any campaign. You’ll never get it 100% right. Be ready to keep iterating and adapting forever.

Set up your analytics right

There’s money on the line. For each paid publication or ad, you should estimate how many sales you made, how many prospects decided to contact you, etc. depending on your end goal.

Make sure the site where the traffic from the social network will land has Google Analytics enabled. Your objectives (form completions, post-sales thank you pages…) should be set as goals. Get help from the website’s developer for that. Make sure the data is *actually* collected. Require access to all relevant analytics panels to keep an eye on things.

Google Analytics makes it possible to create unique URLs to differentiate traffic sources. For each paid publication, create a unique URL and you’ll know which paid publication generated the most traffic. It will permit to accurately follow which link was clicked. You can, therefore, compare various versions of your ad and campaigns. Use the URL creation tool from Google Analytics. Everything is explained in the detailed help section.

A word of caution… You will most probably have big discrepancies between numbers from Facebook Ad Manager and from Google Analytics. This may feel weird to you and your bosses. There’s not much you can do about that. Analytics are only indications. Most marketers have to accept this as a fact of life. There are various ways to explain these differences in this Quora thread.

Take your time and let algorithms take theirs.

The more time you have to prepare and execute a campaign, the more bang you’ll get for your buck. On the contrary, the less time you’ll have to invest, the more money it is going to take to get results. With enough sharp thinking in your targeting (the criteria used to select people you want to see your ad) and enough time for the social networks’ algorithms to test and optimise your campaign, clicks, likes, comments or video play will be cheaper.

If you feel overwhelmed by these notions, you understand why this is a job ;). Being a beginner at this stuff and be put in a position in which you have to perform is stressful, I know. Don’t get discouraged though: read articles online, make mistakes and correct them, get help…

Notes sur la difficulté d’articuler des buts pour les projets de communication

Il est souvent très difficile de parvenir à l’articulation d’un objectif pour un projet comme un site web ou une campagne réseau sociaux. La communication dans ces médiums est encore trop souvent vue comme un travail d’emballage et de transport: un souci technique — de l’IT. Ainsi, la question des objectifs semble absurde. L’objectif est que le monde entier vienne lire nos news supers intéressantes sur notre site et nos profils de réseaux sociaux. On va emballer ces trucs et les envoyer par Internet à tout le monde. Cette façon de voir les choses est aisée. Elle permet de refiler le truc à envoyer au technicien et de ne plus s’en occuper.

Or, cela place les praticiens que nous sommes face à un problème. Pour pouvoir bien faire notre travail, il faut que nous comprenions: et le public visé, et les buts poursuivis. D’une part, il convient de définir un public ciblé car il est fort peu probable que nous ayons les moyens de nous assurer l’attention de “tout le monde”. D’autre part, même si nous l’avions, qu’en ferions-nous alors? Que dirions-nous si un stade tout entier nous écoutait fébrilement?

Souvent, nous recevons le conseil de demander le “pourquoi” des choses. Cependant, si nos interlocuteurs pensent effectivement que la communication est une affaire d’emballage et de transport, nos questions risquent d’être accueillies par l’incompréhension et l’agacement.

Il convient de demander des réponses candides. Souvent, nos interlocuteurs ont besoin d’être rassurés. Nous devons donc biaiser et trouver des stratégies pour poser nos questions. On assurera, par exemple, que le supérieur ne connaîtra pas les détails et que les propos ne seront pas rapportés tels quels et surtout pas attribués. Montrer qu’elles ne portent aucun jugement ni même une remise en question de la gestion du projet et de l’autorité du patron est parfois difficile. Aussi bien celui qui pose les questions que celui qui les accueillent devrait comprendre qu’elles permettent au designer, à l’architecte de l’information, au stratège de contenu… enfin au prestataire de service dans la communication de mieux comprendre et donc d’apporter plus de valeur et une réflexion plus aboutie.

One-person web teams are cheap not inexpensive

Single-person web teams might seem like a great bargain but they’re not. They tend to become stuck in a content uploader role which is bad both from an HR and day-to-day business perspective.

When discussions and collaboration happen in another realm, the one-person web team only gets e-mails with attachments or content copy-pasted for immediate release. No wonder that all the person can do is make the markup remotely OK and hit “Publish”. Ron Bronson captured the challenges of being a one-person web team very well in his recent slide deck.

As a content uploader, the only way you have of gaining respect and trust seems to react ever faster and put things up as soon as they land in the inbox. It becomes the new rule of the game. You may protest that with more forethought and planning, you’d be able to edit it and content would have more impact. By putting up the content just-in-time, you allow everyone to save face. By doing so, you also remove their incentive to listen when you propose to focus on better processes. All you get is shrugs and excuses.

Having the web team stuck in this reactive mode is bad for business because the website usually ends up sucking. Always being on alert with an e-mail client open; ready to drop what you’re doing to copy-paste stuff into the CMS eats into energy, time and attention. It prevents one-person web teams from growing and learning new skills that the organisation will ultimately need.

It is much better to allow enough time and resources for the web team to work with subject matter experts, pair write and/or edit the content. It takes a little more money and effort but, in the end, the website can only be better for it.

Event promoting tweets require forethought, time and a well staffed team

Many event organisers want high-level promotion to raise attendance. They often turn to social media to promote. The tweet below is densely packed with information about “Content Marketing World 2016”. It is designed to entice the @CMIContent account’s followers to register for the conference but also to encourage the featured speaker to promote their talk.

I see conferences use similar communication tactics but seldom as expertly or efficiently as Content Marketing World. This tweet is best-of-class and emulating it is out-of-reach for many conferences. Even though it is an image and a well-written tweet, getting all the information packed in that tweet that much in advance of the event is a real challenge.

Let’s list all the elements we see in the graphic top to bottom and left to right:

  • Conference’s name: Content Marketing World 2016
  • Subtitle used across several social media posts (here, to link them to a successful movie franchise).
  • “I’m speaking!” which denotes excitement at the idea and makes the image especially suited to be shared by speakers themselves.
  • Speaker photo: standardised and square for use on the website and in all other communication.
  • Short version of the speaker bio (which complements the long version that’s on the website).
  • Conference’s logo
  • Conference’s date
  • City in which the conference will take place
  • URL of their website
  • Conference’s hashtag

And in the tweet itself…

  • The speaker’s Twitter handle
  • The hashtag
  • A promotional code (again this entices the speaker to share the post)
  • A short link to the conference website.

Once you have all those elements, it’s rather simple to produce the images either manually in a graphics program or programmatically (if there are many many speakers). Even tweets can be generated programmatically and uploaded into a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite.

The challenge is in assembling all these elements well in advance. It takes forethought, time and a well staffed team. A venue must be secured. Speakers have to be selected and confirmed. Editors have to work with speakers to hone their long biographies, craft the two line biographies, obtain the right picture and the relevant social media handles. You can’t deploy those smart marketing tactics until you have good content to support them.

How to Inventory Your Content Warehouse

Remember when I said to treat your content like a product? Now is the time to take practical steps. Your website is like a warehouse: full of treasures. To bring those treasures into your shop window, you need to know what you have and where it’s stored.You have created lots of content as advised in this introduction to content marketing. Now, your site is bursting, with all the subjects you’ve been covering. If that hasn’t already happened, it will. Faster than you might think.

You should, therefore, take a content inventory. The good news is, you can stay at your desk. To inventory a real warehouse, you’d have to climb up and down ladders, lift boxes full of expensive things, and count. Content inventories are fun (in comparison, anyway). Believe me, I’ve done both. Many times.

The Benefits of Content Inventories

The pay-off is always huge. As Kristina Halvorson says, content inventories change lives. Once you have completed it…

  • you’ll see what content exists, how accurate it is, and how to make everything better
  • you’ll identify core messages and topics and see what content is lacking
  • you’ll find all the redundant, outdated or trivial content that you can merge or delete
  • you’ll have a place to check if content on a particular topic exists: you can see what can be re-used and stop creating duplicates
  • you’ll see clearly how to organize your existing content better to make sure people find it easily
  • you’ll be able promote your content on social channels such as Twitter and Facebook more effectively

…and you’ll find answers to specific questions about your content and your business that nobody could help you with before. All of that with an inventory!

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

Convinced? So, close the door to your office. Sit down. Promise yourself a reward. Here we go with a journey around your warehouse!

How to Get Started

You are going to create a spreadsheet listing all your site content. Instead of paraphrasing, I will refer you to Jeffrey Veen’s how-to about content inventories. Go read it, I’ll wait.

Done? OK. Doing it completely by hand: copying and pasting is, as Veen says, mind-numbing. However, as it forces you to look at every single page, it makes you thorough and will produce better insights.

But if you feel an irrepressible need to cheat, you can use PageTrawler. It’s in beta and will exchange an inventory of your first 50 pages for your e-mail address. It outputs CSV files (comma separated values) that you can then open with every major spreadsheet editor. I can’t wait to see it become a full product!

Easy tools such as PageTrawler will multiply soon. For the moment, though, we’re stuck with link checkers and sitemap generators which are difficult to bend to our purposes and don’t supply all the information we need.

Sitemap generators like Xenu Link Sleuth and others can follow links on your website and list the address of every page. But unless you know how to convert XML into CSV files and manipulate them, using these tools might prove more pain than they are worth. Settle for the repetitive task. Most of the time, you’ll be better off.

Remember that the more thoroughly you read and report all of your content in your inventory, the more you’ll be aware of inconsistencies in categorizing, tagging, naming conventions, tone and so forth. You will also find more opportunities for content re-use.

If you have a little energy left, you can also add a column or two about audience responses: report the number of retweets, comments and visitors each article gathered during a period of reference.

Once all pages are listed with all the basic information, treat yourself to that reward. You deserve it.

Analyse and Brainstorm

At this point, you’re either exhausted or boiling with great ideas for improvements. Probably both. Hence, it is a bad time to make hasty and inconsiderate decisions. Write down your great ideas and save them for later. We’re going to take a few more hours for analysis. Involve as many people as you can who have an influence on your content, brainstorm with them and create a document describing

  1. your objectives
  2. how the content is supposed to help you achieve them
  3. who should read/watch your content
  4. what these people need from content
  5. a description of your content (topics, form, length, tone)
  6. and how you’re creating content at the moment.

I would also suggest that you take a look at other publications serving the same audience and see how they are doing. Take copious notes. With all this information in hand, you can now see…

  • what themes would differentiate you from your competition most effectively
  • what topics to publish about next
  • which words to use to name things consistently across your site (for clarity and search engine optimization)
  • which changes to make to your workflow to achieve better results.

No Shortcuts, Just a Few Quick Wins

You’re probably thinking: “I don’t want to do all this”. You should do as much as you can, really. If you insist on instant actions, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your content better right now.

You can put the content that is beyond repair offline. The definition of “beyond repair” is up to you. Look at topics, accuracy, form, length, tone, voice and consistency. It is very hard to assess the quality of your own writing. When in doubt, request confirmation from a friend or a professional.

You can make the categories or tags better. Take a tour of other publications covering the same topics and record their categories. Note their strengths and weaknesses. Make a list of categories or tags you plan on creating for your publication. Now, test it on the inventory before making changes to your website.

Create a new column in your inventory for “new categories” or “new tags” and, for each piece of content, list the categories or tags it would belong to. Doing this on a portion of your content will make the potential problems with your new scheme apparent. Rinse and repeat until satisfied. Then, make your changes.

Once you have cashed in your quick wins, go back and complete the analysis phase described above. It will be invaluable when you start to create content again, I promise.

In the meantime,  tell us the pains and benefits your inventory has caused you in the comments. I would love to hear.

Photo credits: Old Wool Warehouse by Tim Green; stock clerk by Alfred T. Palmer for The Office of War Information. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

I wrote “How to Inventory Your Content Warehouse” on Paper.li’s blog, it was originally published on May 23, 2012. Reproduced here with permission.

How to Establish a Writing Habit

Writing is the foundation you’ll build your success upon. Believe me. Whether you’re working on a business plan, a marketing kit, looking to start a blog, a newsletter or write an ebook… writing is always the first step.It can be daunting for various reasons. Yet, it’s worth the effort. First, your thinking will get clearer. Second, your ideas will get out there for the world to see and add to. In any case, you and your business will benefit. Ready to give it a try?

Just Start Writing

The first priority is to start. Grab tools that will mark the page and get to it. Forget everything else. Forget about finding a topic. Forget about the delete key and publishing. Stop your research. Ignore your inner judge and your inner editor for now. There’s just one thing that matters: you’re going to put words one after the other.

The Resistance

Obstacles might pop up along the way. Be prepared. Research, tinkering and other weird obsessions might conspire to stop you. Don’t listen to them.

Curators get plenty of input and we often crave more, right? Because we’re curious and like to explore. Our time and attention get sucked into our favourite Paper.lis or Wikipedia. It should follow that we often have plenty to say. Yet, once we become information gluttons, the fear of not knowing enough never goes away. We think to ourselves “The next link could lead me to the information nugget I’ve been seeking all my life”. So, we continue to explore the web long past the point where we know enough to write.

There’s another well-documented way of not writing: to get stuck on the tools. You don’t need a distraction-free writing environment or a fancy Moleskine notebook right now. Nor do you need to figure out which blogging software you want and which premium theme to buy. Blogging is especially tricky. It’s full of intricate details that you can get stuck on. There’s a whole advice industry living off of your confusion about these. These details don’t matter now. Just write.

Merlin Mann, productivity consultant and entertainer, has more advice about starting creative work, the different kinds of obstacles you’ll encounter and how to overcome them. He presents his insights in a 28-minute NSFW talk which has been featured in Bullseye.

Edit, Then Publish!

Once you have finished your first draft, set it aside for at least a few hours before reading it. Promise yourself to not get discouraged. You’ll realize that first drafts are most often terrible, as Anne Lamott points out in her “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”. Her book, which focuses on fiction writing, contains nuggets of wisdom for all writers. You might enjoy it, I did.

When you come back to your first draft, resist the temptation to delete it right away. Most drafts can be redeemed by rewriting and editing. It won’t always make it good to publish or be worth the time… while you’re building up your expertise, you should give it your best anyway.

Editing is a different skill set. It is taxing in a different way: you have to read the text over and over each time looking for different things. If you can’t hire an editor or make a deal with a friend to trade editing services, you’ll have to edit yourself. It is possible but not ideal. Copyblogger has a very good guide to editing your own work in five steps. You should take some distance with the text and with yourself.  Trim it and trim it some more. Look at the style and the form. Read it aloud. For more details on what to look for and what to do, you can refer to this complete self-editing checklist.

For web writing, there are a few more things you should always take care of:

  • Test your links in “Preview” mode.
  • Illustrate your posts and credit your images.
  • Add five to seven tags.
  • Craft an excerpt if your blogging tool can manage them.

Now, you’re all set! Ready to let go of your work and send it off into the world? The “publish” button can be the hardest button to push. Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author, calls this the fear of shipping. Exposing oneself to criticism is always hard. Yet, you have to ship because as he writes:

It’s not clear you have much choice, though. A life spent curled in a ball, hiding in the corner might seem less risky, but in fact it’s certain to lead to ennui and eventually failure.

Click the button. It’s going to be relieving. I promise!

Repeat

Now, you’ve written, edited and published at least once. What’s been done can be repeated. It is a state of mind that you have to reach each day anew. You can make the process easier by training yourself to write in a specific position, place and at a specific time of day.

Mornings are popular among writers of all kind. To start your process, you may commit to Morning Pages. They are three leaflets that you should fill with stream of consciousness prose. You don’t even have to make full sentences. Total freedom. Julia Cameron, American teacher and writer, suggests making it a daily practice in her “Artist’s Way”. After you’re done, you’ll be able to work on other assignments with more ease.

As for the place where you write, experiment with different ones. You can write anywhere that suits you best, everyone has their own preferences. In this post about the best places to write, Joe Pawlikowski says he gets the best results in hotels and libraries. I find libraries to be dangerous places to write: whenever I get frustrated by my writing, I jump to the comics section and there’s no turning back. So, yes, your mileage may vary.

The trick to getting good at beating the resistance and ship, is to do it often. It’s never trivial to sit down and write or push the “publish” button. It is hard emotional work. Once you’ve done this enough times, you can work towards better tools and smarter strategies. You can follow Penelope Trunk’s guide to blogging, subscribe to ProBlogger and other such resources. Happy writing!

Image credits: Princess of Lamballe by Anton Hickel, 1788 at the Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna.

I wrote “How to Establish a Writing Habit” on Paper.li’s blog, it was originally published on June 20, 2012. Reproduced here with permission.

Low cognitive budgets for web projects

A cognitive budget measures the amount of time and attention the stakeholders allocate to various aspects of their business. I am especially interested in the amount willingly given to the website and other web initiatives. Web teams can work around financial constraints. However, when the stakeholder cognitive budget is low and the web team doesn’t have much power, delivering great work becomes exponentially more difficult.

Way too often, the website is a dumping ground for content and there’s, therefore, little need to discuss or even think too much about it. As for homepage real estate, carousels and slideshows make it easy to never have a conversation about that at all. So it follows that the website is a solved problem. It’s off the managers’ plate. The people in the last office before the server room have to upload things they receive by e-mail from all over the organisation and never talk back. No editorial back-and-forth. Congratulations. That’s a non-issue.

Or is it? When things are set up like this, uneasiness creeps in. People responsible for communicating through the website aren’t sure they’re reaching their target. They feel that something is off kilter. Sometimes anxiety reaches levels that warrants an e-mail to the web person with questions about the templates’ age or alerting them to a lack of “sexiness”. Of course, the website has no appeal. It is an ever-expanding closet holding three ring binders that each and every person in the organisation can add to.

When dissatisfaction reaches their ears, people ask for prettier wallpaper and wider doors to the closet, at least in part, because mandating technical fixes or redesigns doesn’t tap into their cognitive budgets. That’s when good teams or good webmasters come back with questions about branding and goals and content workflows which, in such an organisational culture, never get answered because web stuff is supposed to be a non-issue. It’s supposed to be cheap in terms of money and cognition.

It’s OK to cut corners but avoiding thinking about your organisation’s website isn’t a smart move. Websites are infrastructure that is important to your business.

When the culture is to treat the web as a solved problem and neither allocate sufficient cognitive nor monetary resources, there’s very little that can change in terms of introducing digital governance and content strategy even though these tools can bring positive change and make the website run more smoothly.

Have you tried strategies to work around this? Would you care to share stories?

 

The fast and cheap curse

Cheap and fast usually bring friends to the party. Among their annoying friends is convenience. Cheap and fast websites are quickly considered an easy and self-evident commodity that isn’t worth any serious consideration. The first thing to fly out the window when you focus on cheap and fast are the arguments and questions that should precede any kick-off meeting and guide the creation of websites. “What is this website achieving for your department?” becomes an off-topic and time-consuming distraction. Everyone starts acting like it’s a rude question; as if the asker meddles with their private affairs.

“Just do the website!”, they’ll say. The word “just” insinuates itself into every sentence. It will soon be accompanied by weird semi-shrugs and sighs. It’ll spread in the team like a virus.

“Just” is toxic. It means that a half-assed website is acceptable as long as it’s cheap, fast and as long as you don’t bother people with questions. A CMS, templates and half-baked internal documents do not a website make because the job of a website is not just to exist. A website isn’t a testament to the power of the people who commissioned it. It isn’t a shrine to the cult of the emperor. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. When websites are driven by organisational ego, things go awry quick.

Proper websites have goals and provide a service to visitors and guests. Visitors and guests, by the way, have their own motivations. Having to say it seems silly. Yet project leads who hesitate to address the website’s purpose tend to overlook visitors and their reasons to visit the website in the first place. Spending time discussing the organisation’s and the visitor’s goals to find the overlap is the heart of the matter.

IT-minded, deployment-obsessed, cost-shaving, and discussion-hating internal web teams are at risk. Technology makes it easier and easier to push words, images, videos and sounds to servers. Commoditized publishing platforms such as Medium, WordPress.com and Squarespace will reach into the enterprise very soon and put our website spinning teams out-of-business.

Instead of focusing on cheap, fast and convenient, we should steer our practices and culture towards thoughtful craftsmanship, accompany our internal clients in the shaping of their communication initiatives, think about visitors and address content. Such a change will ensure that our jobs are secure because no vendor or service provider can take that away. Moreover, it will make our organisations more in-tune with both employees and the outside world. And that will make us loads of cash.

Une voie pour introduire les médias sociaux dans les entreprises b2b

Les médias sociaux continuent de faire leur entrée dans les entreprises b2b. D’une part, les employés participent de plus en plus aux réseaux sociaux en ligne. D’autre part, les  clients utilisent les médias sociaux pour en apprendre plus sur leurs fournisseurs. Des entreprises historiquement très protectrices de leur image et réticentes à prendre des risques ont souvent des problèmes pour se lancer de façon convaincante dans des conversations en ligne. Leur premier instinct est souvent d’essayer de traiter les réseaux sociaux comme les autres canaux de communication de l’entreprise en tentant de limiter la participation en ligne des employés. C’est pourtant impossible. Si les réseaux sociaux sont bloqués sur le lieu de travail, cela n’empêchera pas les collaborateurs de les utiliser à la maison.

Il s’agit d’un changement que le rapport “Weblogs and Employee Communication” (Wright and Hinson, 2006) comparent à l’apparition des syndicats à la fin du dix-neuvième et au début du vingtième siècle (via Jean-Christophe Anex). Les espaces en ligne ont leur propre culture. Il importe de négocier leur rencontre avec la culture de l’entreprise pour éviter un choc aux conséquences imprévisibles. Les internautes attendent une voix humaine et une certaine authenticité lorsque vos produits et vos processus sont évoqués. De plus, tout le monde à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’entreprise peut parler sur un pied d’égalité avec vous et personne ne peut rien y changer. La solution consiste à amplifier les comportements positifs, rester à l’écoute et abandonner l’idée d’un contrôle total.

Des entreprises de b2b réticentes à prendre des risques et soucieuses de leur image de marque sont parvenues à encourager des conversations très bénéfiques pour l’image et le partage interne d’information. IBM, par exemple, a trouvé le moyen de ne pas laisser son aversion pour le risque freiner son adoption des médias sociaux. Pour le partage d’information interne, l’entreprise s’appuie sur une plate-forme de blog intégrée à leur intranet. Elle n’est pas accessible publiquement et tire partie des mêmes modèles de sécurité et de confidentialité que le reste de l’intranet. Elle permet ainsi d’encourager le partage à l’intérieur de la société sans augmenter les risques. Pour les activités publiques des employés, ils ont mis en place une série de règles et recommandations. Plutôt que d’édicter les règles et de les imposer, ils ont demandés aux blogueurs actifs au sein de l’entreprise de rédiger des règles de façon collaborative. La stratégie d’IBM est bien documentée en ligne, cet article de Business Week, cette présentation d’Andy Piper et cette étude de cas très détaillée de Casey Hibbard, par exemple, vous donneront plus d’éléments.

Leur approche distribuée et ouverte ne peut pas être répliquée facilement. Elle peut notamment sembler trop risquée aux personnes responsables de la communication réticentes à diluer le contrôle de la marque. Une stratégie qui semblera plus sûre et plus gérable pour introduire les médias sociaux dans l’entreprise serait de créer un blog d’entreprise à plusieurs mains dont les billets pourraient être partagés sur les réseaux sociaux. L’enjeu majeur est de créer des contenus adaptés au partage et respectueux de la culture en ligne qui montrent l’entreprise sous un jour humain. Les histoires — quel que soit le média — ont une tendance naturelle à circuler mais souvent les institutions et les organisations n’en tirent pas avantage car les histoires ont du mal à remonter les échelles hiérarchiques. L’ONU a mis en place un programme pour faire remonter les histoires du terrain en distribuant des caméras vidéos à ses responsables de la communication et ses directeurs de mission.

Fedex, une autre marque b2b illustre, a bien compris le pouvoir des histoires. Le blog d’entreprise Fedex en regorge. Leur présence dans les réseaux sociaux est large sans être dispersée. Ils partagent largement les leçons apprises dans le maniement des réseaux sociaux. Pour en apprendre plus, il suffit de visiter le site de leur étude ou de consulter ce billet sur leur sommet médias sociaux.

 

Heureux dans mon minuteur !

Il y a encore quelques temps, j’aurais été incapable de trouver le temps d’écrire. Je suis victime d’un mal très commun. Je n’arrive pas à me mettre au travail. Trop de distractions. Cela vous arrive certainement aussi. Vous vous asseyez devant l’ordinateur avec l’intention d’écrire un papier pour l’uni (c’est la saison); à un moment, il vous prend l’envie de retirer vos e-mails, vous suivez un lien rigolo; très vite vous dérivez sur l’océan du web et vous ne savez plus ce que vous étiez en train de faire. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, l’e-mail, la télé… Ces siphons vident nos réserves de temps et d’attention. Parfois, c’est comme si tout conspirait à nous rendre improductifs.

Dans mon minuteur

Partant à la recherche de conseils pour vaincre la procrastination, je me suis inscrit à une douzaine de blogs de productivité comme Lifehacker, 43 folders, Web Worker Daily… Ces blogs publient entre un et douze articles par jour. Vous devinez aisément la suite… Imaginons que ces douze blogs publient chacun six billets par jour en moyenne. Douze fois six, septante-deux. Multiplié par trois minutes en moyenne de lecture, admettons. Cela nous donne quatre heures de lecture par jour. Bien sûr, je ne lisais pas tout, mais cette quête perpétuelle d’une solution à ma procrastination a fini par faire partie de mon problème… de procrastination! Je ne parvenais toujours pas à avancer dans mes tâches.

J’ai appris beaucoup de petites choses très utiles. Mais la plupart de ces astuces de productivité sont difficiles à transformer en habitudes et, donc, plutôt fragiles. Pourtant l’une d’elle m’a séduit par sa simplicité: utiliser un minuteur de cuisine pour délimiter des plages de temps consacrées exclusivement à une seule tâche. Pas le droit de vite retirer les mails, vite voir son profil Facebook ou s’enquérir du programme télé de la soirée. Quand le minuteur fait tik-tok-tik-tok, c’est boulot ! Ce bruit vous emprisonne et vous force à vous concentrer sur la tâche que vous avez devant vous.

Parfois, on a de la peine à commencer parce qu’on a le sentiment de ne jamais pouvoir finir… et c’est déprimant… Avec le minuteur, vous savez quand vous commencez et quand vous vous arrêterez. Vous vous mettez des limites et vous devez les respecter. Quand la sonnerie retentit, ne repartez pas tout de suite pour un tour. C’est très important. Respectez votre promesse envers vous même. Faites une pause !!!

«Combien de temps vais-je travailler ?», me demanderez-vous. Certains disent quarante-huit minutes avant une pause de douze, d’autres se limitent à vingt-cinq avant une pause de cinq minutes… essayez et ajustez ! Si j’ai vraiment de la peine à commencer une tâche, je me promets parfois de travailler dessus seulement un quart d’heure et ça marche… à vous de voir.

Francesco Cirillo a construit, en 1991, toute sa technique Pomodoro de gestion du temps autour de ce seul outil. Dans cette technique, en plus du minuteur, il conseille de garder une trace écrite des tâches, de l’estimation du temps qu’elles vont prendre, et des tranches travaillées. Son livre (en anglais) d’une quarantaine de page est disponible sur son site et explique cette journalisation en détail. Cependant, je n’ai pas encore réussi à en faire une habitude moi-même et, franchement, elle n’est pas indispensable.

Ça va bientôt sonner… je dois vous laisser 🙂