I learned loads at ISTE last year and was the inspiration for a few new ideas, some of which I'm still exploring and include an update below.... It's amazing what you can learn when you use social media to listen instead of broadcast.
As well as a few education based ideas ISTE13 helped me to identify some topical trends in sales and, based on my PD activities this week, it just might have helped me stay a little ahead of the curve.
Three Takeaways from ISTE13
Three main things that I learned as an EdTech supplier from the ISTE13 Twitter stream were;
1) That there is real value in curating, listening & learning from educators on Twitter... This is such a valuable exercise that there needs to be an easier way to review all the data from major conferences and the 150+ regular EdChats. There are so many great ideas during each event and EdChat but a problem is that they tend to be scattered across 150 storify archives.
2) There is a real skill to effective engagement for suppliers on social media. Any attempt to treat social media as a one-way corporate broadcast will not win any friends or influence any influencers, this approach will be very much frowned upon! The advice of social selling experts, social media gurus and educators is consistent as the universal consensus is building relationships through authentic two way engagement is the only way to go.
|"Tweet responsibly this ISTE14"|
3) I was aware that the sales process was changing, but it was through observing the interactions during ISTE that I saw how rapid the pace of change was. I didn't know at the time that it was "Social Selling," but I saw how quickly and how far the wrong kind of engagement could spread and easily damage a brands reputation.
On the other hand, I saw how no engagement between the company and supplier could be very effective. How? If educators liked a product or brand they would recommend them and news would spread quickly through word of mouth. (For more info see The Death of an EdTech Salesman)
Listening to your customers and potential customers is of the utmost importance to anyone hoping to create great products, so following education based discussions online is a no brainer. Every startup and EdTech expert will tell you this is key to achieving product-market fit. It's also great to "get out of the echo chamber" and check out what other tribes and communities are doing, so I follow different industries to see if I can benefit from their practices and research.
This week I continued my PD journey of better communications with a Webinar by Ian Cleary on "How To Create an Award-Winning Profitable Blog in 6 Months" and reading John Golden's book "How to Win at Social Selling." More on both of these great resources in future posts but, for the moment, I want to focus on the dichotomy of being heard above the noise of everyone else on social media and the importance of quiet reflection.
I can imagine that anyone who takes a dim view of social media or sales people and/or selling may be thinking;
"What on earth have the 'look at me' social media fanatics and greedy self interested sales people got to do with quiet reflection?
My recommendation for anyone with this opinion is this: read John's book and register for one of Ian's webinars. This is perhaps unlikely if you're a skeptic, so please allow me to highlight a couple of key points.
Silence is Golden
Social media has changed the sales process and anyone who has the view that sales people are the "slick snake oil" type of sales people who you believe will say whatever it takes to close the deal, then you may be surprised at how similar the new social models of selling are to developing and executing lesson plans.
This process is one of the core messages from John book, he advocates the following model.
Not only is the profession changing, so is the type of people who is succeeding. Golden highlights that Social media has given introverts more of a voice with sales, I couldn't agree more!
The Humble Blogger
When I joined Ian webinar on successful blogging, my first impression was;
1) How well he presented his credentials as a successful blogger at the start of the presentation, and
2) How humble he was about his achievements
There were a few slides detailing the kind of conferences that Ian was invited to present at, and the kind of thought leaders that he was compared with and ranked alongside in various social media expert lists. The way these credentials were delivered alternated between a "no big deal" matter of fact manner, and a kind of "Can you believe these results... I'm a little surprised myself" attitude. The Webinar continued with an hour of Ian providing the benefit of his expertise.
There may be some bloggers who are ego driven and "out to make a name for themselves" or have the sole purpose of becoming an "Influencer." I have found myself engaging with various industry experts and "influencers" recently and have noticed a recurring trend.
It appears to me that being influential is less of "a means to an end" for the truly successful "influencers," and more a case of their authority being a byproduct which comes from sharing knowledge and expertise because they enjoy helping others to achieve their goals. These people are generally very agreeable and approachable.
To me this makes sense, after all how many people want to engage with a selfish arrogant know it all... even if they do know their industry inside and out!
If you've nothing nice to share... Don't share anything at all
A question that was posed during Ian's Webinar was "How often should I post on my blog" Ian's answer was;
"Any time you have good content! It's better to have one great post once a month than 4 rubbish posts because you feel you have to write something every week, even if it's a bit rubbish"
John confirms this sentiment by highlighting that for all the great things social media has done to improve the sales process, there is always the danger of posting "just for the sake of it" but this undisciplined approach can end up draining a lot of time and there will not be much to show for it if you don't have a strategy and/or good content.
I like how these experts recommend the way you should deal with having a social media presence, especially their advice to take the time to research and listen before sharing.
Rewind and Review: ISTE13
I have learned lots this week from this great PD on being social. But I was also delighted to discover that, in a number of ways, I had been adhering to some of these practices that John and Ian recommend by observing the communications from ISTE.
For example, I found that there were so many fantastic discussions taking place but felt that trying to follow the discussions truly was like trying to drink from a fire hose! Surely others felt the same?
I did contribute to the ISTE discussion, and hope that I did so responsibly, but I also thought "There are so many voices here, no one can possibly take it all in... all these great ideas is being lost in a sea of 40,000+ Tweets. I thought a great way to deal with the dichotomy of social media and reflection was to curate all this data; An Iste Bytsie Post... with some Big Conference Data, this was then added to a larger data set which included some 200,000 Tweets from a 6 week snapshot of 150+ EdChats.
It took a long time to pull this data together and there was no set plan as I had no idea what this research would uncover, I took a break from all these spreadsheets and wrote a post to justify the value to myself Mining Data... Nuggets of Gold and Pearls of Wisdom
I wonder if you can imagine my delight when I read that my rationale for pulling all this data together 12 months ago mirrors John Golden's advice;
"Recieve. Do not transmit. Sit Quietly. Absorb. Ponder. Be contemplative... I know this all sounds like I have drifted into some new age mysticism and can see you picturing someone in lotus position, chanting to themselves while they read some discussion thread but sitting in virtual scilence is critically important. It is the only way to gather the data, information, and knowledge necessary to make good decisions regarding the people you connect with"
Paused: EdChat Moderator
One idea that trawling through this data led me to suggest that some kind of EdChat Moderator resources might be useful. With over 150 EdChats, it would be impossible to participate in them all and felt there would be a number of benefits to having a collective archive of all Ed Chats. I detail some of these benefits in The Connected EdChat Moderator.
I did explore this idea, but a key stumbling block was finding a platform that could support this so I put the idea on hold. However a week before ISTE14 I may have found a potential solution.
Record and Play: ISTE14 I have been aware of Nurph, which is a Twitter chat platform, for a while and joined Nurph chat last week for some tips on the topic of "Interested in Starting a Twitter Chat." During the chat Nurph mentioned a new "Record and Play" function, I let the EdTechBridge moderators know about this new functionality and they used it for the first time this week: Nurph EdTechBridge Chat Replay...Ah the benefits of getting outside the echo chamber.
When I saw this reply function I contacted Nurph to see if they could;
1) Organise a "Record and Play" for conference hashtags as well as EdChats?
Answer: Yes! ISTE please get in touch if you would like to have a replay function of the conference Twitter stream.
2) Have a playlist of all the EdChats with various search criteria so they were in one location so people could quickly and easily replay any chats they missed?
Answer: Yes, this is not something that they provide at the moment but if enough EdChat moderators are interested they would put the development work in to whatever specifications educators would like.
So my question is... Why surf the web when you can Nurph it? Why trawl through 150+ webpages and separate storify accounts each week for the EdChat archives when you can have an EdChat replay in one handy playlist?
Are you going to be following ISTE on Twitter?
Are you involved with an EdChat?
We'd love to hear what you think of this kind of "record and replay" EdChat playlist. Please leave your comments below or sign your EdChat up to Nurph at www.nurph.com.
NB I am not affiliated with nor have been compensated by Nurph... I have been been looking for better Twitter way to curate EdChats for a few months and this looks really promising.