My Twitter crackdown this week

I was looking for a specific Twitter update at the end of last and it took me ages to find it. This made me realize that I am simply following to many people on Twitter in order to have a good overview to find what I was looking for. I followed 3000+ people and 95% where people I did not really know or which had a lot of automated updates from their websites, etc.

I therefore decided to review my whole list and started unfollowing the people and organizations I felt did not provide me with continuous interesting information on CSR / Sustainability and Social Media.

It nearly took me all week to go through the list one by one but I am now seeing the updates from the people on Twitter I want to see without the large amount of noise from all other people and organizations constantly promoting their work or websites.

This is a huge problem with Twitter I feel. When I browsed the web to see whether this is something other people did, I realized that mass unfollowing is becoming common practice these day.

This is a most recent article on this topic: Unfollowing to become common practice

I am now done to around 200 people and it feels good to finally have control over the Twitter updates I am reading instead of focusing on lists and luck to find what I am looking for.

Phase Three – Starting the face-to-face stakeholder engagement

Todays post is the third in a series outlining a structured organizational stakeholder engagement approach companies and individuals can follow as well as use as a tool to improve their stakeholder engagement activities.

If you missed the first two posts please visit either of the links below:

These are the next two stakeholder engagement steps:

Step 7: Properly define and plan the in-house engagement process

During this step, your priority is to properly define and plan the process of engagement with your set of priority stakeholder groups. In the example from previous two posts we identified three key stakeholder groups for our exemplary organization. The reason for this identifying your key stakeholder groups is obvious. You need to know your target audience in this engagement phase. If you do not know your target audience at this point (or any other time of course), your engagement will fail. This is my experience.

When tackling the planning of the in-house engagement process, make sure you talk to your stakeholder champions (from within your business) and your marketing department. This is a good time to involve the marketing  for very first time. I would advise against using them in an early point of the process as they usually complicate things (!). Your marketing experts will enable you to brand your engagement the way you need to from an organizational brand point of view in order to engage your stakeholder with one brand identity. From my experience this process of alleging your branding with your engagement might take a little longer. But spending this time is important in my view since this will be your first proper stakeholder engagement. And you will not get many chances to make a good first impression with the external stakeholder representatives.

Step 8: Invite the stakeholder groups to a stakeholder day

Once your plans in-house are finalized you can tackle the next big step in your stakeholder engagement. The, as I call it “stakeholder engagement day”. This day should be a formal event with representatives from your key stakeholder groups. Focus on the stakeholders which you identified as important for the start of your engagement ( step 7 and the previous post for details)

While preparing for the event try to structure the agenda in that way that you have formal sessions with interesting speakers but more importantly, leave at least 50% of the event time to specific stakeholder conversations or groups discussions so that that each stakeholder group will get their time with senior executives and their stakeholder managers.

On the event day you need to focus on facilitating conversations and gathering as much feedback as possible, written and via personal  conversations. Make sure you have assigned enough people to care for your stakeholders. You do not want to have anyone standing around not engaging do you?

Picture Credit: UniqueHotelsGroup

The international CSR Twitter and blogosphere

I was kindly invited by a business friend of mine to talk about the relationship of CSR, Twitter and the global blogosphere at the CSR 2.0 conference held in Warsaw today. My presentation was a short one (6 slides only) but I hugely enjoyed the opportunity to share my experience regarding Twitter and blogging in relation to CSR.

This is the presentation (shared on SlideShare):

The CSR / Sustainability customer relationship – Keep it personal

Your customer relationship is crucial to the success of your business. In the CSR / Sustainability business field the customer relationship is even more important than in most business fields.

Why? The most important service you can provide your client / customer is to help and educate them in CSR / Sustainability related topics. You have the knowledge and experience and they want you to show them what you can do to help. Your customer wants you as a person and not just your product or manpower.

Keep your business relationships as personal as possible

This is really the main message of today’s post. It is good to have a website, a blog, a Twitter account, or even a good selling book on Amazon. But if you want to sell your services or your product, your personal business relationships are most important.

We all have a lot of contacts, but how many of these contacts are so useful that you could try to convert this contact into a sale or at least into a “sales-lead” which you can be sure about? Maybe it would be worth checking your contacts database based on these criteria? I do this on a continuous basis each 6 months and it helps me enormously.

One tool I am using is Salesforce. Salesforce is a great tool to keep a separate contacts list with a proper history of the communication, contact details, documents, etc. It might sound as overkill to use such a potent CRM tool but if you are serious about converting potential sales into sales you need to make sure you do not lose track of your communications with your contacts.

My advice therefore is clear and simple. If you want to sell your service or product in the CSR / Sustainability field you need to keep your business relationships as personal as possible. Focus your efforts on making long lasting contacts which you can trust and they know that they can trust you. Obviously this process is ongoing and time consuming but by sticking to this objective you cannot go wrong. At least this is my experience.

Picture Credit: rachaelvoorhees on flickr