108 top tweets from #ragangm

The Ragan Corporate Communicators Conference in Detroit (May 4-7) was festival of presentations on Social Media, Speechwriting, Corporate and Internal Communications. Over 250 attended the event held at the General Motors Headquarters in the downtown Renaissance Center and hosted by GM.

Attendees generated over 900 tweets under the hashtag #ragangm. Since Twitter only maintains 10-14 days of content live they will soon disappear. Here’s the archive all of them.

I curated a list of the most interesting 108 tweets,adding links where appropriate for easy reference.

  1. Use Camtasia Studio to create audio “screen-casts” of apps – embed in departmental websites as training aids. Create animated preso library.
  2. Internal comms compete w/lots of entertaining options for employee mindshare. Videos & Photos need to be quality & entertain to compete w/Rolling Stone & People Magazine.
  3. Every internal web page should have star rating system and allow comments.
  4. When developing messages for employees, ask the question “What does this have to do with the key audience how does it speak to their concerns?” WIIFM at two levels for employees: 1) What does it have to do w/ me? 2) How does changing my behavior make my life better?
  5. Three steps to changing employee behavior: 1) Handle comms logistics – content, design, 2) capture employee attention and 3) do be relevant. Result = change behavior.
  6. Comms is responsible for simplifying complexity of business – diagram things.
  7. We can no longer have internal comms messages targeted to everyone – the branch office does not see things same way HQ staff do. Gen Y workers diff. from Baby Boomers.
  8. Every communicator (esp. long-timers) eventually stops communicating 4 their audience and starts communicating 4 their boss. Do whatever it takes to avoid this. Bonus be damned!
  9. 3rd party media training is often more effective. Execs seem more receptive and less defensive/dismissive about their advice. Hire an outside coach for faster results.
  10. People now have now gone from having ADD to ADOS – Attention Deficit … Ooh Shiney!
  11. Executives need to understand Gen Y. “Connect with the coming tidal wave.” Try reverse mentoring, people!
  12. Irrelevant information is not benign. Limited reader attn means messages must be focused on benefits or risk losing readers.
  13. Write for the range of target audience that has least understanding of your topic. Duh!
  14. 89% of journalists say they turn to blogs for story research. Lazy or smart?
  15. 78% of people trust recs of other consumers; 14% trust ads. This is why social media is so important. Who do you trust?
  16. 62% of employees who tweet, tweet from work.
  17. 66% of employers have monitored employees’ internet use; 1/3 of companies have fired someone (mostly for visiting wrong websites).
  18. Make sure to integrate comms channels with each other. Example given: The Petco Scoop blog.
  19. Wildfire has a fun ways – sweepstakes, contests and give-aways – to engage SM audiences.
  20. Ideal number of words in a graf before losing reader attention: 42.
  21. Listening is the most important thing you can do on Twitter – check out http://search.twitter.com/ and http://www.socialoomph.com/
  22. Speechwriter Rob Friedman: Eli Lilly’s main purpose is to show “the value of pharmaceuticals” – ask: what is it for your company?
  23. “A speechwriter is a playwright for the client – script them well”
  24. Era of destination website is over – archival ‘.com’ sites being replaced by social media.
  25. 68% of online content read by Millennial’s is created by someone they know personally.
  26. Check out cool tool PubSubHubBub.
  27. Real-time search engines can tell u the sentiment & reactions to ur org’s news. Look at https://brandmentions.com.
  28. Twitter is not a personal communication tool. It’s a news distribution service.
  29. AT&T uses Twitter Ambassadors found those already on Twitter and take that passion to help your brand in a real way.
  30. Write tweets in ways that add value to the reader to aid optimization.
  31. Augmented reality is the next big thing. @shelholtz: “It’s going to be huge.”
  32. Are u using http://www.evernote.com/ – It will change ur life.
  33. Polleverywhere – Cool live polling technology. Used my phone to txt a vote and watched live results on the screen!
  34. General Motors: Changing the public’s perception 1 customer at a time. Personal correspondence with GM execs. Actively seek unhappy customers.
  35. Re finding/responding to online complaints, “It costs less…than finding a new customer,” Says GM’s Susan Docherty.
  36. SM lessons learned by GM: Don’t be boring, don’t over-promote, cut the hyperbole, respond to people w/real people.
  37. Social media “policy” for employees: if you can’t say it at your daughter’s bday party, shouldn’t say it online.
  38. “Stop treating customers like a one-night stand,” GM CMO Susan Docherty. Great advice for all companies!
  39. “Emerging” media is now traditional media. GM had 8-fold increase in digital media spending since 2001.
  40. In communications, if you start with the consumer, you will do the right thing.
  41. Qumu – great option for internal communications webcasting: Ragan Conference using them.
  42. GM has “social club,” informal, regular meetings of those from all depts w social media responsibilities.
  43. Remember you (your comp. or org) are a publisher and you compete with media outlets.
  44. PR & Marketing need to have a ‘”happy marriage.” Audiences can’t tell the diff between the two. They just see you.
  45. GM lets employees spend worktime in Twitter & Facebook so they can interact w/customers, which is now part of everybody’s job.
  46. Viral is a phenomenon, not a strategy…absolutely true.
  47. Any GM employee can tweet about the company, says @maryhenige. Co keeps them advised of rules, links them to info & asks them to be smart.
  48. In the end – just provide value. Don’t lead w/your messages; community’s needs come first.
  49. On Social Media…don’t be a brand, be human.
  50. 70% of successful outcome depends on how well you communicate. The last thing u want is 4 execs to be hiding behind their desks.
  51. “SM is like having a kid – you can’t just leave them when they’re done being cute.”
  52. Writers are ditch diggers. Can’t wait for a muse. Get your ass back in there and DIG!
  53. Any speech longer than 20 minutes is too long. If they want longer. Tell them you’ll speak for 20, QA for the rest.
  54. How to determine speech length? 100 words = 1 minute is good benchmark. Anyone speaking faster than that needs to SLOW DOWN, pause for audience to absorb message.
  55. Speechwriters: Make 3-4 big points. No more. Get them from the principal in ur 1st mtg, or they’ll throw ur 1st draft out.
  56. Get a 2nd monitor for your computer (to monitor Twitter).
  57. Use flickr to spark yr creativity.
  58. Use flip cams for fast ‘scrappy’ videos (caveat: content must be good).
  59. Greatest gift of YouTube culture: low expectation for video quality. BUT compelling content + authenticity is extremely high.
  60. Using humor in Corp comm is not always a fireable offense.
  61. Keeping it real: Bullfighter: – eliminate jargon & b.s. in your documents.
  62. Hire a presentation/speech coach to help ur executives improve. Not overnight, but 3-4 months.
  63. Use http://bit.ly to shorten URLs and track clicks.
  64. Stay current: Read http://mashable.com/
  65. Do a short 2 sentence interview with multiple ppl and mash together for a good video on a single topic. Example: http://bit.ly/aqzoCd
  66. Create a presentation homepage for upcoming events, preview videos, outline, slideshare, ask for comments. Example: http://bit.ly/aWBAow
  67. Flip camera tips: Clean the office behind you; use a desk light to highlight face; watch for b/g noise; bump sound with Windows Movie maker post-production.
  68. Keep your language conversational. Test your writing by reading out loud as if you were talking to someone in an elevator.
  69. Writers: Get rid of passive sentences; capture the essence of your press release in a Tweet.
  70. Stop blocking social media from ur employees. Train them and empower them.
  71. Spice up internal comms: Roving reporters and employee film fests: uncovering talent in ur organization.
  72. “Who died & put IT in charge of employee productivity?” @shelholtz
  73. Amplify employee voices thru low-cost podcasting. Can listen at user convenience, develops trust and community. And cheap to produce.
  74. Journalism graduates today are trained to shoot, edit, and publicize. Get a dedicated staff member to focus on video.
  75. @MarkRaganCEO on why authenticity matters: “We live in the age of bullshit.”
  76. Useful podcasting tools: Wavepad, Camtasia Studio, Audacity, Levelator.
  77. On podcasting…the tool is not the message.
  78. Podcast Production Lessons: Cozy up to your radio. Get comfortable with being seen & heard. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
  79. Podcasters: Think like a marketer. Create full campaign. Don’t 4get your global audience. Measure every podcast.
  80. Podcasters: Your leaders make for great content. Look for your influencers. Let employees be the interviewers sometimes.
  81. Internal Podcasts: You’ve got experts in your community. Help them tell their stories. Find the moment when the mike goes away.
  82. Podcasts complement crisis communications. Can quickly be on the scene or respond to rumors. Easily done over the phone.
  83. Time length for videos is controversial. Brevity important in most cases. 90 secs or less. BUT if it’s good, ppl will watch longer.
  84. Executive communications is like a high wire act…eventually something will go wrong.
  85. Public Speakers: Common mistake – spending more time on slides than on delivery. Dry runs are important.
  86. Public Speakers: Conversational tone in a large audience doesn’t always work. Stage presence is important.
  87. Speechwriters: Beware of tongue twisters. “Red Buick, Blue Buick”.
  88. Speechwriters: Prep your exec in case their time gets cut. Provide a 60-30-15 minute version of the speech as a contingency.
  89. Understand Cultural Sensitivity/Diversity issues: Resource: Culture Crossing – Beware of culturally-specific analogies (e.g. Sports US= “4th down”; UK= “batting on a sticky wicket”).
  90. Think about mic’ing your exec when they present so u can re-purpose their speech/audio for other things (website, podcast, transcript, etc.)
  91. “Opportunities multiply as they are seized”- Sun Tzu. Especially true for the internet.
  92. @aribadler suggested we’ve moved from work-life balance to work-life blend.
  93. Avoid extended online debates with ppl who disagree with a message.
  94. 28 Best Praactices for virtual presentations, WebEx sessions: www.whatworks.biz
  95. Best way to brief ur exec? Know them, their style. Personalize ur approach and style.
  96. If your employees love what they do, make them ambassadors.
  97. Pre-flight checklist for exec-comms events available as .doc source: http://bit.ly/bzzoTh
  98. Blogs must be authentic. Don’t ghost write your CEO’s. Ppl expect authenticity. If they can’t write it, look for something else.
  99. If ur CEO is a bad writer but a good speaker: have him dictate it + ur comm staff can transcribe to the blog.
  100. Comm cascade often fails. Focus on interpretation + location! Help staff take the message, interpret, + pass it on accurately.
  101. Branding: Detroit is considered “gritty”. Baby Boomers equate that to dirty. Gen X define it as “authentic”. Detroit’s brand position: Detroit is where cool comes from.
  102. Ask your agency to pitch ideas they don’t think you’ll approve. Creativity will flow.
  103. Whether it’s online or in print. If you don’t know if people are reading it, why are you doing it?
  104. Interviewing tip: Don’t be afraid to go where your answer leads you and not where your question sent you.
  105. Complaints are inevitable in any biz. Look at them as opportunities to showcase problem solving and communication skills.
  106. Comms must compete for your employees’ attention – Paying employees gets them in the door, but that doesn’t engage and motivate them.
  107. Measure communications by business goals/objectives.
  108. Consider Prezzi.com instead of PPT: Animated visuals are dynamic and impressive. As shown in @shelhotz closing keynote.

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