Did Social Media Play a Role in Obama’s Victory?

by Daniel Burrus

When President Obama won his first election four years ago, it was widely reported that he used social media (especially Facebook) to help gain the momentum and the votes he needed to win. From that point on, it should have been a given that all future political candidates put full utilization of social media high on their list of strategic tools as they run their campaigns.

Back in January, I wrote an article talking about the fact that social media has grown in both size and influence since the last presidential election, and there are now many powerful social media tools available to candidates. Therefore, having an integrated approach that leverages multiple sites, with a special focus on the biggest players including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, would provide a very important strategic advantage.

Now that we all know that President Obama has won re-election with a decisive victory, let’s look at how each candidate used social media and see if there are any differences.

As of election night, President Obama had 32 million Facebook fans, 21 million Twitter followers, and 259,685 YouTube views.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney had 12 million Facebook fans, 1.7 million Twitter followers, and only 29,172 YouTube views.

Clearly the Obama team knew the importance of social media as a tool and did a much better job of using it to create both influence and action.

Some might say that Mitt Romney didn’t have the four years President Obama had to build a social media following.  But if you look at how fast a following can be built, especially by people who get prime media attention, it’s clear that time is not a big factor. And when you look at the advertising budgets both candidates had, money clearly was not an issue.

The biggest problem for Mitt Romney and his team was not making an integrated social media strategy a strategic priority. If it had been a priority, the election may have ended very differently.

Did social media make a difference in the outcome of the election? When you have a close race, everything matters. So with that in mind, I would answer yes.

Please share your thoughts.

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Forbes: 3 Little Technologies You Never Heard Of, But May Have a Big Impact On Your Business

by Gene Marks

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

A few weeks ago I had a British experience at Pizzeria Uno’s near Boston.  No, they weren’t serving fish and chips.  On each table at the restaurant was a little wireless device.  When I was done eating I paid for my meal by using the device.  No server was involved.  I say this was a British experience because every time I visit my wife’s family in London my kids drag us to the local Pizza Express restaurant.  After receiving our bill of $100 for a pizza dinner (yes, London is expensive) we pay for it like all Londoners do: via a handheld device brought to our table by our server.  I always wondered why this type of mobile payment technology isn’t more widespread here in the U.S.  Well, I can wonder no more. It’s here.  And it’s just one little technology that’s going to change millions of businesses.

The device I used is made by Ziosk.  “Ziosk is currently servicing about 5 million guests per month. Over the next 12 months we will service 100 million guests and in the next 24 months we will be servicing 100 million guests per month.” This is per John Regal, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer.   By using the Ziosk’s 7″ touch screen, guests can check into Facebook or the restaurant’s loyalty program, view the menu, order food and drinks, play games, read the news, view movie trailers and pay their check.  And unlike my family’s beloved Pizza Express in London, a server doesn’t have to bring the device to the table – it’s there to play with for the entire meal.

 

The company, which currently employs 48 people, is in the process of raising $10 million from private investors and is focusing on the casual dining industry.  According to Regal, there are 168,000 of these restaurants in the U.S. and they serve over 20 billion meals per year.

Why not create a smartphone or tablet app for your customers instead?   Ziosk is more secure, costs a lot less than building your own application and…is more fun.  “Future applications will enable guests to interact with the Ziosk via their mobile phone, for example, using it as a game controller,” says Regal. “Or, if the guest has an NFC (near field communications) enabled phone, they can tap the Ziosk to pay for their meal or to receive special offers to be added to their e-wallet.”

Any business with a point of sale system, which pretty much means any small business in the retail or restaurant industry, will be using devices like the ones made by Ziosk within the next few years.

Of course, it would be a lot easier if their data was accurate and stored in one place too.  This is also happening.  Quietly, a little company called Locu has built up a database of over half a million businesses in the restaurant industry.  And now they’re turning to other small businesses like nail salons and beauty shops and spas.  Your business might already be in their database.  Should you care?  According to the company, you should.

“Maybe your menu changes daily or weekly, or maybe you have soup or sandwich of the day, or maybe you find out at the very last minute that there won’t be any tomatoes for your famous marinara—what do you do? Call your Webmaster? Manually update your menu? Then post your changes online site by site? With Locu, you use your online dashboard to make changes simply and quickly. It’s all in one place and it’s super easy to use.”

TechCrunch reported that the company recently debuted programming tools which will allow developers to pull in menu, pricing and hours of operation information from local restaurants into their applications. Already “several hundred companies” are now using these tools, including a “few big-name partners.”

Why am I excited about Locu?  Say you’re running a restaurant and want to change your menu.  Or offer a special happy hour.  Or say you own a pharmacy or a nail salon or a gas station or a pizza shop and you want to add a new item, change a price, announce a contest or start a new delivery service.

Instead of figuring out how to do this on your own, you update Locu’s database.  Instead of your own tangled chaos of data stored in a spreadsheet/website/database created for you by that high school kid last summer you now have a single, uniform, consistent repository of data that will then be familiar to a network of programmers.  With so many small businesses trying to figure out how to use the web and social media to attract new customers and grow, Locu (at least in my opinion), has figured out the answer:  provide a single database of pertinent information that the customer needs and make sure it’s accurate.  Then open it up for smart programmers (like the people at Ziosk maybe?) to access and build custom applications.  We’re just starting to use the cloud.  Except it’s a mess.  Because there’s not just one “cloud.”  There’s millions of little databases and websites stored throughout the cloud. Companies like Locu re beginning to bring all this data together for good, low-cost use.

And what about the countless small businesses that use photography to sell their products and services?  Landscapers proudly take photos of their jobs to display to their customers.  Roofers and contractors often take before-and-after pictures to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work.  Many of us use our cameras to take snap shots of our employees, our offices, ourselves in action and we’re using these photos on our websites, brochures and other marketing materials.

Well, that’s all about to change.  A new camera is hitting the stores shortly.  It’s called Lytro and it uses light field technology.  At $399.00, the Lytro camera is the first consumer camera to capture the entire light field. No other conventional camera does that today. So, why should you care?  According to the company, when you capture all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space, you can do some pretty cool things like focusing a picture after you take it and creating interactive, living pictures. When you share those living pictures online, your friends, family members or customers can refocus them too, right in Facebook, in Twitter or on a blog or website. These living pictures are highly engaging, fun to share and easy to create.  And it’s a whole new way for your customers to engage with your business.

How will businesses benefit?  “Simple,” says the company’s Vice President of Marketing Kira Wampler.  “Businessowners who want to create interactive content to engage customers, prospects and fans online will enjoy using the Lytro camera. We’ve seen bakeries create re-focusable cupcake pictures and aquarium aficionados take amazing fish shots. Beyond small business, there are many industrial, commercial and scientific applications for light field technology.”    Light field technology, in my opinion, will be a game changer for how we show our products and services to our customers and enable them to interact with our companies differently.

Keep an eye on Lytro.  And Locu. And Ziosk.  You’ve probably never heard of them before.  But these are three little technologies that may have a big impact on your business.

Compromising values and ethics can make businesses successful, evidently!

by Frank Bucaro

“Somewhere along the way a number of decision makers started to believe that achieving success was worth letting go of their values, no matter what the cost. Some people think that being fair in a business deal makes you weak. Some think that being an ethical person is a nice idea, but not always practical in the business world.”   Redefining Success by W.Brett Wilson
Immanuel Kant stated not to judge a situation by the consequences but only by its motivation.
If this is true:
1.Where did this belief  to separate  values from practice, come from? How is this acceptable?
2. How are decisions like this” justified” by the “powers that be.”
3 .Ethics, then, is seen by these people as something “nice to have” but doesn’t affect the marketplace. How are they “conning” the people around them about the importance of ethics and being ethical? How are they getting away with this? Where is C-Level suite oversight, Board of directors,  who’s not “guarding the door?”
4. How does an ethics or compliance professional deal with this reality and how is it dealt with differently, i.e. compliance , ethics?
I wonder when the “game playing” about ethics and values being important in these companies will stop? I’m afraid  probably not until the money stops coming in!

Be Perfect on EVERY Play

by Don Yaeger

Decisions are the frequent fabric of our daily design.  Studies show the average person makes at least five decisions per minute.  Given the ideal goal is eight hours of sleep each night–although since becoming a father to young Will and Maddie, that appears  to be more fantasy than a realistic goal– the average person is awake for 16 hours.  By those parameters, the average person makes 4,800 decisions daily.  But even that total seems severely underestimated.

In sports and in business, the greatest leaders are those who make the best decisions in the most crucial of situations.  They are the ones who focus their energy on turning tough decisions into winning decisions.

The University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban incorporates that philosophy and uses it as nourishment… Literally.  Saban is so intent on saving his energy and attention for the major decisions, that he eats the same lunch meal each day in order to take one of his 4,800 decisions, literally, “off his plate.”

“A salad of iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes topped with turkey slices and fat-free Honey Dijon dressing” means that he doesn’t have to take time away from his day to study a menu and decide on lunch.  Instead he can add that time to the laundry list of NCAA items a national champion head coach has to handle.

But the lesson on Saban doesn’t end there.  In a recent ESPN interview the Crimson Tide coach talked about his demanding style, the expectations he puts on his players, and his team’s chances of winning this year’s national title.

“You coach against perfection, not your opponent and you’ll find you win quite a few,” was the response from Saban that quickly caught my attention.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach– and my mentor– John Wooden used a similar motto 40 years ago.  “Don’t focus on your opponent.  Focus instead on what you are capable of doing,” was one of Wooden’s many golden lessons.

Both coaches built teams of great respect and success.  Both believed that perfection should be the demand at all times.  Both believed that success didn’t begin with simply trying to beat everyone else, but rather in trying to be so well-prepared that the opposition didn’t stand a chance.

Saban believes that if you focus on your personal performance on each play, you will find that the scoreboard is in your favor more times than not.  Just as he eliminated his own lunch options to avoid seemingly insignificant decisions, so too has Saban eliminated the distractions of championship predictions by challenging his players to focus solely on where they will be at the end of each play.  If his team perfects how they execute each play, then the sum of perfection will most likely equal victory.

Too many of us are focused strictly on the end result when each play deserves that same kind of attention.  We should all strive to be extraordinary and that starts with a focus on our own capabilities instead of those of our opponents.  The myriad of distractions, predictions, and feigned finish lines only create room for disappointment, failure and lack of preparation.

What “play” do you have in front of you today that deserves your full attention?  Are there current decisions in your life that should require more of your focus?

Join the conversation today.

Think Beyond Your Desk: Applying Cross-Functional Thinking to the Workplace

by Laura Stack

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” — H.E. Luccock, former Professor of Homiletics at Yale Divinity School.

In 1988, the great Peter Drucker predicted in a famous article, “The Coming of the New Organization,” that most organizations would have embraced cross-functionality within 20 years. In contrast to the purely functional ethic defined by Adam Smith and Frederick Taylor, businesses would more readily coordinate and share tasks across all levels, increasing response time for the customer’s benefit.

As visionary as he was, Drucker missed the boat here. While most business schools do emphasize the cross-functional approach nowadays, relatively few real-world organizations practice it in any significant way.

Indeed, corporate training often teaches the exact opposite, and most leaders accept team-first functionality as the norm. So despite paying lip service to organizational mission and vision, modern business structure encourages leaders to carve out individual fiefdoms rather than to integrate seamlessly across departments.

Hence informational silos, turf wars, internal sniping, and all the other obstacles that make corporate life such an adventure. Well, rather than letting those things hold your team and ultimately your organization back, try to SEARCH for ways to better align your team efforts with overallorganizational objectives.

Here are some ideas:

1. Share. Information silos, whether deliberate or resulting from incompatible systems, plague modern business and probably cost us billions per year. Make sincere efforts to communicate laterally across teams and departments. Open up those silos, so the grain spills out to all who need it.

2. Empathize. Have you become so focused on your team’s needs you’ve lost track of the organization’s overall goals? Stop and think about the needs of other groups, and consider how much more you and your co-leaders might accomplish if you actively attempted to help each other. Think about how any action or decision will impact another and have conversation around it before you pull the trigger.

3. Appreciate. Instead of belittling HR or subcontracting for how little their accomplishments matter compared to yours, try to understand and appreciate their existence. The org chart includes them for a reason, even if it isn’t obvious to you. Consider the pancreas in the human body, which doesn’t seem important at first glance; yet if just a few cells within it stop producing insulin, diabetes strikes. It’s kind of a yucky analogy, but that odd department you’ve never really understood may just be the pancreas of your organization.

4. Respect. Once you’ve taken the time to understand and appreciate other teams, learn to respect what they do. Reach out and connect with them, so you can better serve each other. Whenever feasible, attend their big meetings, so you can acquire better knowledge of their inner workings and needs. Find ways you can reduce redundancy or save them time.

5. Change. Mutually beneficial relationships founded on sharing, respect, and appreciation drive cross-functional thinking, which in turn drive organizational flexibility and a better bottom line. So do everything in your power to encourage a shift to cross-functional thinking. Emphasize how moving forward with a more holistic strategy is in everyone’s best interest.

6. Heal. Sure, the old-school functional methodology gets you by—the same way a crutch does when you have a broken a leg. Isn’t it better to have two healthy legs than to keep limping along? Functional thinking is prone to brittle self-absorption, causing breaks across the organizational structure. Open, honest cross-functionality helps reset those breaks so you can all move forward more easily.

The Yellow Brick Road

At some point, you’ll hit a fork in your organizational path. You could keep following the well-travelled dirt road of functionality, but doesn’t it make more sense to take the yellow brick road to a cross-functional future? After all, those yellow bricks may be made of gold. The cross-fertilization and new viewpoints that emerge from true teamwork can prove insanely profitable. So stop wasting your team’s potential to achieve greatness and unleash cross-functional thinking in your working life!

Trust: The Economic Lubricant

by Darren Hardy

I was reading an article recently from Peter Corning, Ph.D., former professor at Stanford University, titledThe Value of Trust.

He outlines how our entire economic free-enterprise system is built on the value of TRUST.

He says, in fact, that smoothly operating markets DEPEND on trust.

We can understand our complex modern economy as simply a vast network of cooperation and mutually beneficial exchanges of goods and services between people. And TRUST is the lubricant that makes it all work.

While economists will measure the outcome of the economy in dollars and cents, it is trust, or distrust, that will greatly influence that outcome.

In my opinion and experience, the fastest way to gain someone’s trust is through a bridge of someone who already trusts you. I call this trust transference.

I will give you a for instance.

Inside the December issue of SUCCESS (on newsstands now), on the CD you will hear me interview David Horsager. David tried several times to get me to review his book and include him in SUCCESS.

But I didn’t trust David. I didn’t know David.

David approached me at an event I was speaking at and gave me his book. He later sent me his book (several times). He emailed my office, he emailed my assistant and he found a way to email me. But it all got lost in the noise of everyday solicitations.

But then I got a call from Harvey Mackay on my personal cellphone. He asked if I knew David or if I had read his book. I replied with “no” (as I didn’t remember David or his book).

Harvey told me how much he liked David’s book and asked if I would give it a quick read, as a favor to him.

For Harvey? Of course.

He said he would overnight me a copy of his book to my home (it wasn’t until later that I discovered I already had three other copies).

Key point here: I trust Harvey. Harvey trusts David. So now I trust David. The trust bridge has been built and the trust transference has been made.

After I received the book from Harvey I read it, liked it and decided to feature him and his content on the SUCCESS CD.

While David is a great guy with valuable content and ideas to share, he probably never wouldn’t have made it into SUCCESS without the trust being built through Harvey (or it would have taken him a long time through lots more effort).

So here is my suggestion for you:

1. Identify your top dream client. That’s your target contact.

2. Start figuring out who can advocate on your behalf to that person. Who is willing to pick up the phone and call that person for you to make the introduction… or send an email, or write a letter of introduction, or whatever?

What you are looking for is a relationship bridge, a trust transference from someone who knows you to someone who knows, and has trust with, your target client.

Now I can hear you asking, “What if you don’t know someone who knows them?”

Well, get to know someone.

Find out who they bank with, who does their accounting, who consults with them, who mentors them, who plays golf, tennis or bridge with them, who is in their alumni, country club, symphony group, who has season tickets next to their seats, has kids who go to school with their kids… I think you are getting the idea.

Figure out the one- or two-degree links that connect you. Then go make friends with those links in between. Establish a relationship and build trust with them. Then when you have their trust and support ask them to make an introduction for you to your target contact.

Look, like it or not this is how business is done. It is all through a personally referred network of trust.

How do you get a venture capitalist to invest in your business, a corporation to look at your invention, a big company to buy your software or widget, your book or article included inSUCCESS magazine… or Forbes… or Time… or The New Yorker? It isn’t through cold calls or just mailing or emailing the published contact address. Of course there are rare exceptions, but 99.9 percent of the time it will only happen through a personal referral from someone the key contact already trusts and respects suggesting someone they trust and respect.

If you want a mantra to remember this by, remember this:

Cold calling is for weenies.
Winners get referred in by other winners.

OK, I hope that helps.

What do you do to connect and build trust with others? Share your comments and ideas below.

Now What? 10 Things you can do now that the elections are over.

by Larry Winget

The elections are over. Some folks are very happy with the way things turned out and some are not happy at all. I am one of those folks who isn’t all that happy about it. However, it doesn’t matter how I feel about the elections. Why? Because the elections are over. Behind us. In the past. One more time: OVER! You can’t change the results. Pissing and moaning won’t change a thing. Over analyzing what went wrong won’t do much for you either. And posting about it on facebook certainly isn’t going to help. It’s time to stop focusing on the election because the election is in the past. Many will tell you that it is now time to look toward the future. Sounds good. People have been saying that and folks sure seem to respond well to that message. I guess that’s a fine message if that is how you think. It’s not how I think. I don’t live in the past and I don’t focus much on the future. I live in the present. I understand that the only way to create the future I want is to do the right things, right now, every day. That’s what I am going to encourage you to do: Do the right thing today so you can live well tomorrow. Here are then suggestions for you to do now that the election is over:

1. Move on. To stay stuck in the election whether your guy won or lost is pointless. It will only take up useful energy that you could be using for more important activities.
2. Remember this: Changing politicians and changing government comes about only after we change ourselves. Fix yourself first. Our politicians and government are reflections of us as individuals. We need more good people doing the right thing every single day in order for things in our society to change. Live each day with more integrity and with a stronger work ethic and with a renewed commitment to doing the right thing regardless of what everyone else is doing.
3. Find common ground. Not just with those you differ with politically, but with everyone. None of us operate completely independent of everyone else. We need each other. Find common ground with others and build on it. Show some understanding. Be kind. Be respectful. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise your beliefs at all and it is not a sign of weakness. It just means that we can disagree with each other in a reasonable manner while looking for solutions so we can all get a bit of what we want.
4. Take responsibility. This mess we find ourselves in is our own fault. We allowed it to happen. People will get by with whatever they can get by with. It’s human nature. We have allowed people and politicians to get by with too much. But that is our fault, not theirs. Stop blaming others and become involved. If you don’t like things, then get involved and work from the inside to fix things. Sitting on your couch and typing divisive hate speech about others only adds to the problem. We made this mess – all of it – and we must all take responsibility for it and work to fix it.
5. Take care of yourself. Stop expecting the government to come to the rescue. Yes, I know that about half of the country does expect it, but you don’t have to be one of them. Become self-reliant, self-sufficient and rely on your SELF. Your future is up to you and you alone; not your government, your company, your union, or other citizens. Just you. Take control of your life and take care of yourself.
6. Get your finances in order. I believe the US is in big trouble financially. Our debt is out of control and we borrow 40% of every dollar our government spends and we are only going to spend more in the future. This trend simply cannot sustain itself. At some point, it has to fall apart and at some point, I believe it will. At some point, when you need the government for retirement, healthcare or other services, you may come up short. That means that it is up to you to take care of yourself. Do these two things: Pay off debt as fast as you can. Stash as much cash away as you possibly can. Emergencies happen and most people are not prepared financially. 40% of Americans have less than $500 saved. Don’t be one of them.
7. Prepare. We have all just seen how long it takes the government to respond in a disaster. FEMA and the Red Cross can’t get there quickly enough to help everyone. Have at least 72 hours of food set aside. Have a case of water per person set aside. Have the ability to cook on a small camping stove. Have a crank operated radio. Have a flashlight. Be able to protect yourself, your family and your property. This is not whacko survivalist stuff – this is common sense.
8. Know your neighbors. If things get bad, you need some alliances. It’s all part of being prepared. Have discussions about being prepared and have a plan to work together “just in case.”
9. Work. When you go to work, work. When you are known as the person who is always working when you are at work, we call that ‘job security.’ I believe that the job market is going to be in trouble for a good long while. You need to keep the job you have. You don’t have to like it, love it, enjoy it or plan to do it forever, but you need to appreciate it and do what you are paid to do. You need your job. Hang on to it.
10. Stay optimistic. What goes up must come down. Yin and yang. The pendulum swings back and forth. In other words, things change. We are a resilient bunch. We will survive all of this and more. Yes, it might look much different on the other side than it does right now but that is probably a good thing. If you are prepared, open to change, know how to recognize opportunities and seize the moment, and are willing to work hard all while staying committed to the principles of honesty and integrity, you will be fine. Hold to that. Never give up on that.

I wish you all the best. Now, I am going to do more of each of the things on this list!

Larry Winget