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Archive for the ‘social-networking’ Category

By Jim Kolettis, Mahar Manufacturing

My wife and I watched the movie “The Social Network” this weekend about the founding of Facebook. It’s an interesting story about the evolution of a business that has essentially changed the world overnight. The model created a footprint for other social networks. And social networks are a game changer for everyone in business.

Social networks allow people to communicate directly, without filters, without news media, corporations or government telling them what or how to think. If you don’t believe me look at the enormous role they are playing in the current challenges in Egypt and the Middle East by allowing people to communicate directly even when the powers that be try to send a different message.

Facebook has become a noun today. It’s part of the culture. And yet, the founding of this idea that became a multi-billion dollar enterprise was in 2004 — Less than seven years ago!!! Just think, it took radio like 38 years to reach 50 million listeners, TV took a little less and the Internet took ten years to reach 100 million users. Facebook, in business 7 years, has about 600,000,000 users.

I am not sure what the implications are for us as a manufacturer. We still depend on “one-on-one” selling. LinkedIn is more of a B2B social network and I have tried to impress on those in my network that I’m available to assist them in any way I can, even if it has nothing to do directly with our product line. It is difficult for me to figure out how I am going to connect and make a sale to a retailer because I am their Facebook friend. I’ll let you know the results as we figure it out.

If you are a retailer, the implications of Facebook are enormous because that’s where the people are, and therefore that’s where retailers should be.

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On Tuesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan released the U.S. Department of Education’s plan for transforming American education through technology, a process that would create state-of-the-art, cradle-to-college school system nationwide.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to reform our schools,” Duncan said during the State Educational Technology Directors Association Education Forum. “With this technology plan, we have laid out a comprehensive vision for how teachers working with technology can transform student learning in classrooms across America. We must dramatically improve teaching and learning, personalize instruction and ensure that the educational environments we offer to all students keep pace with the 21st century.”

The final version of The National Education Technology Plan (NETP), written and refined over 18 months by leading education researchers, also pledges to finance development of open-source educational resources and launch an initiative dedicated to defining and increasing educational productivity, Education Week reported. The Department of Education sees this plan as a crucial component of the administration’s effort to have America lead the world in college completion by 2020 and help close the achievement gap so that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.

The plan, titled “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” presents a model with key goals in five areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure and productivity. Each core section outlines concepts for using technology to holistically transform education, with the aim to achieve each goal by 2015.

  • Learning: Change the learning process so it’s more engaging and tailored to students’ needs and interests.
  • Assessment: Measure student progress on the full range of college and career ready standards and use real time data for continuous improvement.
  • Teaching: Connect teachers to the tools, resources, experts and peers they need to be highly effective and supported.
  • Infrastructure: Provide broadband connectivity for all students, everywhere—in schools, throughout communities and in students’ homes.
  • Productivity: Use technology to help schools become more productive and accelerate student achievement while managing costs.

Overall, the plan addresses technology trends that could transform education, such as mobility and accessibility, the rise of digital content, and the rise of online social networks for information, collaboration and learning. Importantly, it stresses that technology in the classroom only works when paired with effective teaching.

“Technology will never replace good teachers,” Duncan said. “We all know that the most important factor in a student’s success is the teacher leading the class. That will not change.”

To read the finalized NETP, “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” visit http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010.

Sources: The Department of Education and Education Week

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By Jeff Pett, Fleetwood Group

According to my records, this is my 24th monthly blog for NSSEA.  When the request was put out a couple of years ago, I thought that it might be fun to try it.  I like to write, and the guidelines simply said to write about what was of interest to me and there were no limits or minimums on size. Simple.  And I thought that I was keeping up with the times in social media use.

Since that time the use of social media, or “new media” has exploded… or at least that is what I read. We are not using it at the company where I work, and I do not know anyone in our business that is using it extensively.  That doesn’t mean it is not being used, but I do have a hard time imagining someone wanting to “friend” our company to learn about what is happening this week in school furniture.

A part of me would love to make it work for us, but I just have not been able to connect the dots to justify it.

This past week I have done some “touring” of other company’s blogs, and I cannot say I am seeing anything compelling to make me want to jump into the pond just yet. I attended a teleconference recently where the speaker was touting all the ways her company was benefiting by having all of their office people spend time daily working their Twitter and Facebook accounts. This particular company was a service company and depended a lot on continuous attraction of potential workers and customers. That probably makes sense. In addition, I can see where a school supply retail store would have a lot of reason to attract teachers and local administrators to a Facebook page, or be sending out tweets.  Even a catalog supplier would seem to make sense.  But a manufacturer with dealer distribution?

Am I missing something?

I would love to see a string of your responses to this blog. Please educate me as to what you are seeing, using, or why you are not using it.

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Recently, a New Jersey middle school principal made headlines when he sent parents an email requesting that they prevent their children from using Facebook and text messaging. He believes that social networking sites have no educational value and promote cyber-bullying.

Should school children be forbidden from using social networking tools? Two writers from Businessweek debate the educational relevance of Facebook and other social media outlets. Read more.

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By Emily Raij, Maupin House

Start the year off right with a few quick and easy improvements to your marketing efforts.

Blogging

  • Put your best and “most read” content at the top of the page instead of a big graphic that eats up a lot of space. For example, add a title like “Most Popular Articles” or “Reader Favorites,” and then insert the links to posts that got the most readers. You can also include a short intro for each article listed to engage readers even further and encourage them to continue reading your blog.
  • Make sure your blog comments are displayed prominently. Is your comments box large and visible under each post? Are you publishing comments so that other readers can see them and add their own opinions? If you get a lot of spam comments, you might want to moderate more heavily and specifically approve or reject each comment rather than have it be automatically published.
  • Blog at the right time. It is said that posting early in the morning is best—around 8 a.m. EST. Apparently, this is peak blog-surfing time for most readers. However, if you know your blog traffic increases at a different time of day (or night), post then to garner the most attention. To see when your traffic is heaviest and get additional website statistics, try a tracking service like Sitemeter.com.

Twittering

  • TwitThis provides a free button for people to click on when they like one of your posts and want to send a tweet into their feed about your blog.
  • Run contests and offer coupon codes through Twitter (and through sites like RetailMeNot.com).
  • Answer customer service questions via your Twitter account. Not only can you quickly assist your customers, the questions will now be searchable and easy for others to find online. While you’re at it, make sure you regularly read all questions and comments from followers so that you’re taking advantage of positive and negative feedback.

 

Mailing

  • Clean up your lists! The USPS began enforcing its Move Update requirements on January 4, 2010 to improve the percentage of deliverable mail. If you want to claim presort or automation rates, mailing list addresses must be updated using an approved method within 95 days prior to the mailing date. The price for non-compliance isn’t cheap: First-class and standard mail will be assessed at 7 cents for each piece that isn’t compliant.
  • For more information on how to update your mailing lists, such as finding service providers to handle the job for you, visit http://www.usps.com/business/addressverification/welcome.htm.

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According to an article on Entrepreneur.com entitled “Focus Your Social Media Strategy,” some small businesses can become as famous as major brands with the help of viral online marketing.

For many small businesses, trying to keep the company running smoothly while combating the economy and ever-changing technology can be a daunting task. The article advises that small business owners focus on to effectively reaching and staying connected with their target market instead of keeping up with every new tool that comes along.

The article suggests four tips that can help small businesses enhance their social media strategy, they include:

1)      Define your goals.

The article mentions that small companies should figure out what outcomes they want to achieve and then ask the questions, “What are the easiest and fastest ways to achieve these goals?”

2)      Walk the walk.

It also indicates that small companies should have a solid and strong product to advertise.

3)      Make your profile dynamic.

The article advises that small business owners make their social media networks dynamic, but try not to join all of them at once. 

4)      Delegate and manage.

Last but not least, small business owners should hire staff to manage and maintain  the social media sites. The task can be overwhelming and having the media outlets will be ineffective if they are not maintained and updated often.

 For more information about the article “Focus Your Social Media Strategy,” visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34631345/ns/business-small_business/ and let NSSEA know your thoughts!

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By: Emily Raij, Maupin House

Everyone seems to be on Facebook and Twitter by now, but what about LinkedIn? This professional networking site offers some unique benefits that might appeal to educational businesses even more than the other popular social-networking sites. With LinkedIn, you can:

  • Maintain an online resume. You can easily update your credentials and experience while also browsing other people’s professional profiles. Link to your blog, share presentations, create lists, and even keep track of what folks are saying about your company on Twitter.
  • Connect with other professionals. From service providers to potential employees and employers, anyone with an email address is pretty easy to find and connect with on LinkedIn. You can also look up past co-workers, colleagues, and contacts you met at conferences and events.
  • Recommend and get recommended. Like a modern-day reference letter, LinkedIn lets you recommend and get recommended by professionals with whom you have worked. It’s a little less like a popularity contest than Facebook but still gets the point across that you’re someone people want to connect—and work—with.
  • Stay current. LinkedIn sends email notifications when one of your connections updates any part of his or her profile, so you don’t have to log in to stay informed of career moves or notify others of your latest news (and it comes in a daily digest format, so you’re not getting notifications every minute). This is an especially convenient tool for keeping abreast of your industry.
  • Ask and answer questions. Get expertise from colleagues or share your own. You can even conduct polls to gather valuable market research. This is a great way to get your profile noticed, share knowledge, and help out others.
  • Start or join a group. LinkedIn Groups let you start your own mini-community or seek out other professionals who share common experiences, interests, and goals. One recently added feature is sub-groups, which allow group managers to create more focused audiences within their larger groups.

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