evelynchou

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Gap Between Exclamation Marks and Period

In Business, Communication on 2010/10/28 at 11:25 AM
Dear fast & furious companies, executives, customers, and vendors, I genuinely think we over-use exclamation marks and the verbiage “as soon as possible”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a multi-tasking maniac, to-do-list addict, prioritize expert just like many other professionals in business world, but really, an seemingly unnecessary exclamation marks (from my own perspective) in an email isn’t going to push up this specific project.

An exclamation mark, according to Wikipedia, is “a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume, and often marks the end of a sentence.”

So a sentence like this, “Please see so and so’s comment on darkness!” the exclamation mark seems unnecessary. Just in case the person who sends this email doesn’t know how important he/she is to me, maybe I should wear my two pair glasses and hold a magnifier to read that so and so’s comment on darkness.

In today’s business, everyone wants their projects to be prioritized and people seem to get less and less patient due to advanced technology and information overflow. But to make things more effective, in my opinion, is about better communication, not about exclamation marks or “ASAP”.

  • Start each project with detailed phase plan & action item
    Everyone can be filled with great ideas and we all can spend the entire day at conference room talking about brilliant thoughts & genius ideas. But ideas aren’t good enough, and sometimes they even consume too much time and dilute the fundamental purpose of the project. I usually break projects down in to pieces, lay out all the action items and estimate archive time based on the importance of each action item. Don’t over-think, just do it.
  • Ask “how many I help you” or “what can I get you” while discussing projects
    Some of you might disagree with me on this, but I am not much of a conversationalist when it comes to getting things done. Cutting straight to the point of getting things cleared out makes much more sense than relying on fuzzy “relationship” with the person then hoping they will expedite the project because of that.
  • Constantly review project plan with the team
    Needless to say, project scope changes from time to time and people’s expectation does as well. I tend to review few action items with the team whenever a small milestone is accomplished; that really helps each team member share his/her own perception and adjust pace.

What tactics you use to expedite your workflow?

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Where’s your social gold mine? Facebook or Twitter?

In Business, Marketing, Social Media on 2010/10/15 at 2:00 AM

Nowadays there are a lot of articles discussing the value of your audience in social media sites. Even though Scott Stratten in his latest book claimed “social media isn’t for ROI, it’s for relationship & conversation,” the demand of numbers, return on investment, or even “how much we can cash out of social media” will forever and ever be an ongoing process for digital marketers or those who want to combine their business with online presence.

Forbes recently posted an article comparing social networking value between Facebook Fans versus Twitter Followers. The finding is that your Twitter followers are more likely to buy from brands (37% versus 21% Facebook friends) and recommend brands to others (33% versus 21%) than your Facebook friends. Interestingly enough, Advertising Age, around the same time, featured Eventbrite’s eCommerce result nurturing social networks to drive sales leads. According to the case study, Facebook share generates far more dollar value than the same action on Twitter (Facebook $2.52 versus Twitter $0.43).
Social Commerce
Based on Forbes article & AdAge case studies, I came to this conclusion:
When it comes to possibility of recipient action: Twitter > Facebook 
When it comes to the value per recipient action: Facebook > Twitter

Most of us agree social network has tremendous potential whether promoting brands or driving sales. (not just a bunch of geeks connecting with each other in cyberspace and give those platforms some fancy names. But if you do, you can stop reading now :P) The challenge is, it’s still new for marketers or digital strategist to develop some metrics measuring the value & the cost or each platform.

So which platform is better than the other? To answer this question, I don’t think we should merely look at individual case studies or numbers just because there are way too many variables. I suggest that you ask yourself these questions first:

  • Who is your target audience?
    If you can confidently give me an answer, then ask yourself:
  • Where are your they? Are they only use social networks to complain about bad customer service or are they avid adopters of the technology or applications?
  •  

In my opinion, Facebook and Twitter are two vary different network with very different types of users. To tackle your promotional campaign successfully, you have to at least understand who those users are. While Facebook may have dozens of games & applications to use entertaining or attracting visitors, your customers may not use Facebook for entertainment purpose or simply have no interest “liking” a brand via Facebook over a Farmville reward.

After figuring out your customer behavior & properly segmenting them, you can then look at your offer to see if that would be a relevant draw to the customers.
Personally I like to keep a list separating Facebook & Twitter and matching my strategy towards the uniqueness of each platform. You can try making one yourself.

comparison between Facebook & Twitter

Strategy-wise, I do believe whichever platform you end up using (or both), your campaign has to be connected with your brand.
If your business is about fundraising or nonprofit activities, don’t create a game and ask users to play to win some awards. If your customers don’t even know what a retweet is, don’t tweet about your weekly promotion and put a “please RT!” verbiage at the end of each tweet.
Also, utilizing visual icons or images is always a good action applicable anywhere. People in general like to be pleased in their eyes and I do believe Facebook, in this circumstances, stands a better chance than Twitter. But you can still discover various ways to make your brand “pop,” like NewTwitter’s video functionality.
 
To sum up, discovering your social network gold mine requires sophisticated customer segmentation and relevant campaign. Patrick Vogt, chairman and chief executive of Datran Media also a constant contributor of Forbes article said, “Perhaps a successful social media strategy is not about figuring out the monetary value of a Facebook fan vs. a Twitter follower, but instead involves understanding each social channel and the native advantages of both.”
 
But personally, whether you are my Facebook friends or Twitter follower, you all mean a lot to me.
 
Now, what’s your value assessment for your social network and how do you measure the effectiveness? 

 

No, you Do care.

In Inspiration, Viva-La-Vida on 2010/10/05 at 3:48 PM
Have you often heard people say, “I don’t care” whether at work or in life?

For some reason these 3 words annoy the crap out of me.

Maybe it’s because I take things/words too literal (because English is not my native language) or maybe it’s just my stubborn personality that I would rather take responsibility than kick it somewhere else. In short, I think I care.

I have been reading Seth Godin’s book “Linchpin” and a very big part of his idea of being indispensable is to ship and to deliver. And for me, caring about something means you want to take the ownership and you want to deliver the project/mission, whether finishing up a no-brainer project or figuring out everyone’s schedule to make a social event happen. Whether big or small, caring about something is the first step of being an artist, or, a linchpin.

For a while I was convinced that I don’t care. But I realize as I stop putting my heart and effort into projects or life circumstances I become less happy because it feels like I am not even making an impact to either work or life. I was confused, struggled, and frustrated; then I say to myself, “maybe I do care or maybe it’s time to start caring and getting my hands dirty.”

There’s no excuse for not caring. Because once you stop caring, you lose the strength to make a difference or even to find the meaning of what you are doing. Aren’t we all trying to find a “meaningful life”? A meaningful life doesn’t exist in billion-salary-jobs, doesn’t exist in gigantic mansion in Manhattan, and certainly doesn’t exist in times when one sits there and whines about “I don’t care.” A meaningful life resides in the moment you & I start to put our heart into trifle things we do, pleasant or not. Nobody said it will be easy, but by being passive and not caring, one forsakes the opportunity of being an artist to make something better happen at the very beginning.

So from now on, start to care.