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In honor: My brief encounter with Mandela lasted a lifetime

I have met many “famous” people but none that have touched me like Mandela.

It was just a fleeting moment really — I was with a key group that had traveled to South Africa.   Since I was supporting a very important person from the US that was scheduled to meet with Mandela, I was told to stay in the background during the meeting.  I was allowed to go into the room to learn and listen.

But I was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t let me stay in the background but shook my hand and asked me some questions!  His smile and demeanor made you feel like you mattered.

In that short instance, I realized what greatness really meant.  Making everyone feel like they matter, listening, and leading.

He touched my life in 5 minutes or less.  Whose life have you touched?   Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

You can make a difference!   Do the impossible!

Characteristics of Mobile Leaders

I was just reading a survey completed by 601 Companies (301 Mature Countries, 300 Growth Countries) that was supported by IBM’s research partner, Oxford Economics .  It was done globally with respondents from 29 countries.

Here’s the leadership characteristics for mobile leaders:

1.   Leaders build apps that unlock core business knowledge for mobile uses.  They exceled 2:1 at integrating systems with mobile and are more efficient with app security than non leaders.

2.  Leaders manage mobile optimize performance and efficiency.  They are more than 2X likely to adopt BYOD and ensure speed!

3.  Leaders use insights to engage their clients whereever they are.  They are 2x more effective at taking action from mobile data.

4.  Leaders are using mobile to transform the way they do business.   They are 2X more likely to drive strong ROI.   For example, NS Shopping transformed their customer experience with mobile and analytics technologies.

The Digital Fishbowl

I overheard today someone discussing not wanting to live their life in a “fishbowl”.   And then I thought about our social world.   We actually do everything in a Digital Fishbowl.   The new generation (we call them generation C – connected and in control!) grew up this way and so it feels natural.


But what really are the benefits and the concerns to this new world?


  • Sharing of information.   Social networking enables sharing helpful information. Did you know that 52% of bloggers are parents who are seeking information to help their family in some way.   And there are social support groups for illnesses, and technical support.   I love this aspect about sharing in the fishbowl!
  • Think global act Social.   Social networking allows us the ability to communicate globally.   I loved the fact that over 500 friends around the world supported me in my broken leg through Facebook, and twitter.    For businesses, this implies that the global view can be learned.
  • Social is the ultimate personality test.   The digital fishbowl allows us to discover through social analytics the intrinsic traits that include what motivates you, what you believe, and your fundamental needs.  Computers can derive people’s traits from linguistic footprints.  That hasn’t been widely applicable before, because where do you get those linguistic footprints? Now, you can do that with social media and digital communications we have the big data we need!
  • Efficiency.   The digital fishbowl enables us to be more efficient.   For businesses, they can crowdsource their next product or strategy.   Sales can reach more contacts.  Video makes our visits more social and less time consuming.

Some Cons:

  • Lack of personal touch.   The digital fishbowl can be addicting and many I know communicate now mostly through text, tweets, and facebook. You lose something in doing that.
  • Anything that you do can leak out.    And maybe before you want it to!   There is a risk to being social !  (I think the risk of not being social is greater however!)
  • You cannot keep negativity at bay — and digital amplifies it!   We see this in schools with cyberbullying and even with some companies.  The biggest question that I get asked by small companies is how do I handled untrue remarks.

What do you think?  Do you like living in a digital fishbowl?

More followers? Just ask! Follow me! sandy_carter

So I was reading this weekend — with my broken leg, there is not a lot to do! I learned some interesting things about how to drive more from Twitter — quite simple actually — just ask.

In an analysis by Twitter, they found that 4 core ways to get great results from your Tweets are:

1 Ask for a download. Explicitly asking people to download accompanied by a link increases URL clicks by an average of 13%.

2 Ask for a Retweet. Explicitly asking people to retweet increases retweets by an average of 311%.

3 Ask for a follow. Explicitly asking for a follow increases followers by an average of 258%.

4 Ask for a reply. Explicitly asking for a reply increased replies by an average of 334%

So would you guys please follow me on Twitter at sandy_carter and subscribe to my BLOG! Pretty Please!

Talking Social Business with Airlines in Prague with a new Social Study for Airlines

 The GLOBAL AIrline Summit. 

On September 9, I’ll be talking with senior airline executives from around the world at the IBM Airline Summit in Prague, Czech Republic. The theme of the summit is “Smarter travelers expect smarter airlines: Delivering an exceptional customer experience while optimizing operations.”

Today’s travelers really do expect more from airlines than ever before. Yes, we expect smooth operations, a pleasant flight and good value.

But more and more we expect personalized customer service while we are shopping for a trip and during each step of the journey, delivered consistently through all the devices we use.

The NEW Socially Connected Airlines. 

Today, meeting those expectations depends on using the latest social business tools to help the airline workforce keep the planes on schedule and to create exceptional customer experiences.

I recently read a related article in Business Travel News that might interest you by Paul Campion, an IBM colleague in the UK.

The SUMMIT.  A Breakthrough Event!

 At the summit, airline executives will share their own experiences and hear speakers from other airlines, industry analysts, a leading international airport, Coca-Cola marketing, Netflix, and from IBM. 

We’ll be launching some exciting new social business research sponsored by IBM with PhoCusWright – “Social media in travel: mayhem, myths, mobile and money.” The study will provide clear quantitative insights around what travel companies need to manage, mobilize, and monetize their social strategy.

Of course, the Summit won’t be all work and no play. I hear that we’ll take a tram ride and walking tour through Prague’s beautiful old town. Then we’ll share a meal in one of the city’s great restaurants. I’m looking forward to it. Watch this space for my blog post after the event.

Social Lessons from the beach: A little bikini is no match for a big wave!

Yes, both of my daughters love their bikinis on the beach!  But as we went wave riding, they learned quickly that that little bikini is no match for the big wave!

The same is true in social!  Sometimes the wave is too big for just company spokespeople and with 70% of online consumers trust peer recommendations #1,  you will need more than just the “bikini” squad.  You need a brand advocate.

A brand advocate is a person who is passionate about your brand and references you as a matter of course.   They could be an influencer or a client or an employee.   Determining your brand advocates is about listening and selecting based on common interests, knowledge, and other key elements critical for your business.

In addition to seeking out your advocates, it is important to determine your best friends, or your tippers. These are those people who influence your brand online and those whom others listen to about your products.

These key influencers have a set of characteristics. Typically, they are people who have strong relationships, and are an expert or authority in a subject. Sometimes influencers are those who get attention, taking an atypical view, or are just loud. I was recently at a virtual conference and heard a speaker talk about an influencer as someone who is honest, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. They have a consistent opinion that is objective and not influenced by someone paying them! These items drive a level of social trust and that trust persuades another person to take action.

Finally, developing social trust is about showcasing care and value. Listen and change where needed. Always be honest, and demonstrate value-add to your clients and the industry.

These are the top elements of your plan to build your brand advocates:

[lb]       Determination of your friends or brand advocates today: A friend is a client, a potential client, or an influencer who recommends your brand, company, or product because they like it so much, they feel compelled to discuss it. Determining those who are your friends or brand advocates is important to your overall social trust plan.

[lb]       Determination of your “best friends” or tippers: These are people who influence the rest of the clients and potential clients online and offline, usually about 5% to 10% of your product’s or category’s population. These tippers are important people for your overall strategy and your company will pay extra attention to them.

[lb]       Brand advocacy strategy: A brand advocacy strategy is a plan to determine those actions your company can take to build brand advocates, or people who are passionate about your brand and reference you as a normal course of business. Part of this strategy could be in the content that you share, your shared vision of a point of view in the market, or even support of a common cause that is outside the primary goal of making profit[md]for example, making the planet a better place.

[lb]       Content activation plan: This is a plan to create content, distribute content, promote content, and measure its success. This content activation plan is usually determined in the Social Business Digital Council. The goal of the content is to showcase your company’s subject matter expertise or point of view (POV). It is critical when starting a community, and for guarding your reputation.

[lb]       Determination of key methods to establish social trust in your space: Based on your company’s goals, a trust plan is formed to create and protect trust through online experiences and dialogues with a company, product, or brand.

With this brand army, you can ride the wave with confidence!!!

Social Trend #3: Innovation is accelerated in Culture through ideation & predictive

Happy Monday!  Social Business Trends are shaking the world and today’s Social Coffee Break is about our third trend.

Innovation must be part of a corporation’s culture.   Things are moving so fast those who can change and adapt will be most competitive.   In today’s Social world, innovation is accelerated through social.   See how ideation (crowdsourcing) and predictive capability (analytics) accelerate innovation in corporations!


Sweet tea and screen doors. Social Businesses could learn alot from them!

Yes, I am southern pure as they come!  I love my sweet ice tea, grits with butter, screen doors, and Kudzu.

screen door

In the summer, the screen door is an essential element of everyone’s home.  The screen door’s entire point is that it’s not a barrier.  Its job is to open easily.  It is a welcome to all visitor’s and friends that approach it.

Is your social media site like that screen door?   Does it open and welcome others in?

Tips to make your site as welcoming as that Southern Door!

  1. Do you make people type in that “code” to enter?   Don’t!
  2. Is your site mobile friendly and usable?
  3. Do you have stellar content ?  Content is Queen!
  4. Is Video part of your strategy?  Video is the highest trusted media!  Use it wisely!
  5. Do you have a Twitter Widget on your Home page to engage your audience?  (Check out my blog on IBM Voices!)
  6. Can you feature other guests on your site?
  7. How do you listen?  All relationships listen first!
  8. Are your employees empowered to really represent the brand on your site?
  9. Have you chosen the right social tools that welcome your audience?  For instance, if you are selling to men, Pinerest may not be the best first choice.
  10. Do you constantly review the feedback and make changes to adapt and change?  
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