Inteligencia Empresarial

Facebook launches Workplace, a business version of Facebook

You probably already use Facebook at work. Now, Facebook is creating a separate version aimed at helping you do actual work instead of catching up on baby photos and campaign chatter.

Facebook is launching a communications tool on Monday for businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. Called Workplace, the platform is ad-free and not connected to users’ existing Facebook accounts. Instead, businesses sign up as an organization and pay a monthly fee based on the number of users. It’s free for nonprofits and educational institutions.

Julien Codorniou, head of Workplace at Facebook, said in an interview that the tool’s aim is to “connect everyone” in all sorts of workplaces — from desk-bound professionals to on-the-go employees who don’t have email or a computer. Think baristas at a coffee shop, field workers for a disaster-aid charity, salespeople at a clothing store or people making electronics at a factory.

Besides group chats and video calls, Workplace has live video and a news feed, much like the regular Facebook. In a departure from Facebook, the background is grey, not blue. Users can build profiles and see updates from co-workers on their news feed. As with the regular Facebook, the company will display posts that are more relevant based on its own formula. The idea is that because more than 1.7 billion people already know how to use Facebook, Workplace, which works much in the same way, will be easy to learn and use.

Organizations have used Workplace, previously called Facebook at Work, on an invite-only basis for the past 18 months. Facebook says more than 1,000 places use it, up from 450 six months ago. They include the non-profit Oxfam, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the soup maker Campbell’s and the vacation rental site The tool itself, though, has been in the works for much longer; it’s based on an internal service that the company’s own employees have been using for almost as long as Facebook has existed.


Facebook says the top five countries now using Workplace are India, Norway, the U.S., U.K. and France. Workplace is available worldwide. About 85 per cent Facebook’s user base is outside of the U.S. and Canada.

For one to 1,000 active users, Workplace will cost $3 US per user per month. The cost declines with more users, so for 1,001 to 10,000, it’ll cost $2 US, and $1 US for more than 10,000 monthly users. Facebook says it won’t charge for inactive users.

By comparison, Slack, a messaging and group call service, costs $6.67 per user per month for a standard version. Slack is also available for free to try out, and an enterprise version, aimed at entire organizations rather than smaller teams, is in the works. There won’t be an unlimited free version of Facebook’s Workplace for businesses, though the company is offering a 3-month free trial.

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Facebook Launches M, Its Bold Answer to Siri and Cortana

Today, a Few hundred Bay Area Facebook users will open their Messenger apps to discover M, a new virtual assistant. Facebook will prompt them to test it with examples of what M can do: Make restaurant reservations. Find a birthday gift for your spouse. Suggest—and then book—weekend getaways.

It won’t take long for Messenger’s users to realize M can accomplish much more than your standard digital helper, suspects David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook. “It can perform tasks that none of the others can,” Marcus says. That’s because, in addition to using artificial intelligence to complete its tasks, M is powered by actual people.

Companies from Google to Taskrabbit are engineering products to act as superpowered personal assistants. Some, like Apple’s Siri, Google Now, or Microsoft’s Cortana, rely entirely on technology, and though they can be used by a lot of people, their range of tasks remains limited. Others, like startups Magic and Operator or gig-economy companies like TaskRabbit, employ people to respond to text-based requests. These services can get nearly anything done—for a much smaller number of folks. M is a hybrid. It’s a virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence as well as a band of Facebook employees, dubbed M trainers, who will make sure that every request is answered.

Facebook’s goal is to make Messenger the first stop for mobile discovery. Google has long had search locked up on the desktop: Right now, if I’m looking to treat my summer cold, and I’m in front of my laptop, I begin by googling “cold meds Upper West Side.” On mobile, however, I may pull up any number of apps–Google, Google Maps, Twitter–to find that out, or I may just ask Siri. Facebook starts at a disadvantage on mobile because it doesn’t have its own operating system, and therefore users must download an app, and then open it. Marcus hopes to make up for that by creating a virtual assistant so powerful, it’s the first stop for anyone looking to do or buy anything.

“We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do,” says Marcus. “Intent often leads to buying something, or to a transaction, and that’s an opportunity for us to [make money] over time.”

If M can provide a more efficient service than its competitors, Facebook can boost the number of people using it on mobile, and eventually spur revenue from their transactions. That’s the kind of win-win Marcus was brought in to accomplish at Facebook, which in June 2014 hired him away from PayPal, where he had been CEO. In less than two years, Facebook has more than tripled Messenger’s users to 700 million.

How It Works
To try the new service, users will tap a small button at the bottom of the Messenger app to send a note to M, the same way they might message anyone on Facebook. M’s software will decode the natural language, ask followup questions in the message thread, and send updates as the task is completed. Users won’t necessarily know whether a computer or a person has helped them; unlike Siri and Cortana, M has no gender.

For now, M doesn’t pull from the social data Facebook collects to complete tasks. So, if you request a gift for your spouse, the service will make suggestions based only on your answers to questions it asks you and previous conversations you and M have had. Marcus says that may change “at some point, with proper user consent.” The service is free, and will be available to all Facebook Messenger users eventually.

In internal tests, Facebook employees have been using M for several weeks to do everything from organizing dinner parties to tracking down an unusual beverage in New Orleans. “An engineer went to Paris for a couple days, and his friend asked M to redecorate his desk in a French style,” Marcus says. “Twenty-four hours later, the desk was decorated with a proper napkin, baguette bread, and a beret.” One of M’s most popular requests from its Facebook employee testers: the service can call your cable company and endure the endless hold times and automated messages to help you set up home wifi or cancel your HBO.

The Human Element
The thing is: that’s a person on hold on your behalf. Facebook’s M trainers have customer service backgrounds. They make the trickier judgment calls, and perform other tasks that software can’t. If you ask M to plan a birthday dinner for your friend, the software might book the Uber and the restaurant, but a person might surprise your friend at the end of the night by sending over birthday cupcakes from her favorite bakery. “M learns from human behaviors,” says Marcus.

Eventually, the service might be sophisticated enough to figure this out on its own, but not soon. Right now, M trainers sit close to the engineering team inside Facebook offices. The company confirms the trainers are contractors but won’t say how many there are. Marcus anticipates that over time, Facebook will employ thousands of them, which will represent a substantial economic investment.

The company anticipates the cost will be offset by the revenue growth it is able to realize by capitalizing on M’s interactions. As WIRED’s Cade Metz explains, Facebook plans to use data generated by the service to feed much more complex AI systems that can reduce the burden on the trainers.

Open for Business
It’s not hard to imagine the business opportunities that M could spawn. For one, should Facebook discover a business is getting lots of inbound requests, it could partner with that company to offer a more direct, efficient service over Messenger.

“If, for instance, you have a lot of calls that have to be placed by people to cable companies,” says Marcus, “That’s a pretty good signal that their customers would actually like a better way to interact with the company and maybe they should have a presence inside of Messenger directly.”

Facebook is already helping firms offer customer service through Messenger. At the company’s March developer conference, Marcus announced Businesses on Messenger, a feature that allows businesses to send receipts, notify customers their packages have shipped, and provide basic customer service.

Marcus won’t offer metrics to suggest whether the feature has caught on among companies, but he says they have shown a lot of interest, and his team is beginning to work out some of the kinks. “We have a lot of threads open between businesses and people, and the engagement is very good,” says Marcus. “Now we want to open it to more businesses.”

Beyond the Valley
Marcus anticipates that M will expand slowly over time, but that it will eventually reach everyone. As this happens, the array of tasks it performs will certainly grow. Facebook is, by design, rolling out its new assistant in a community in which the users are demographically similar to the M trainers who will be thinking up gifts for their spouses and fun vacation destinations for them.

It’s safe to say that most of Messenger’s 700 million users around the world aren’t looking to book an Uber for a friend’s birthday party or choose between Cancun and Maui for February break. Will M be as good at helping users in the Bronx access food stamps? How about coming to the aid of the single mother in Oklahoma who has a last-minute childcare issue? Marcus is up for the challenge, and so, he says, is M.

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3 Ways to Build a Better Team Environmen​t

Many times we talk about what it takes to have a high performing team. Like many of you, I have sat through many presentations like “The Four Stages of Team Development,” other team building training sessions, and ways to deal with unhealthy and destructive team behaviors. I recently read the commencement address by James Ronda to the University of Tulsa in 2007 and found it very applicable to team leadership. Plato is attributed to saying, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. -Plato

I am convinced if we go back to the basics and help our teams develop sharp minds, soft hearts, and sweet souls while building a team environment, so many of the other unwanted behaviors and obstacles would start to be removed.

  1. Sharp Minds. Sharp minds are molded and shaped by immersing yourself and your team with different ideas and perspectives. Sometimes this means that as leaders, we have to see things from a different angle and force ourselves to see the opposite perspective of our own. We often fail in being objective with our views and turn a team of thinkers into a team of robots that simply have learned how to please the leader. Diversity of thought is such an important piece in sharpening our minds. Forbes writer and author David Roth talks about this, “It means you have a variety of personality types, each with their own way of approaching problems and solving them to ensure business success. It also means you have team members with vastly different ways of communicating, working within a team, dealing with pressure and even differences in perception of what is a problem and what isn’t.” As a leader, it’s your responsibility to help create sharp minds on your team, and to continue to make them sharper over time, like iron sharpening iron.

  2. Soft Hearts. I’ll admit it…even though I am a big guy at all of six-foot, four inches…underneath it all, I am a softy. I am the guy in the movie (or even an occasional touching commercial or YouTube video) that can be caught wiping a tear or two from my eyes. I used to be completely embarrassed about this and saw it as a sign of weakness. I would do everything possible to keep the tears from coming up when I felt an emotional connection to what I was seeing. Now that I am older and understand it is actually what make me, “me,” I completely agree and identify with Ronda when he said, “having a soft heart is not a sign of weakness. It is a mark of humanity and integrity…it means knowing that you are not the only person on earth…it means it’s ok to be sentimental, passionate, and deeply moved by love or suffering.” When we are leading a team, your teammates need to know you have a soft heart. This is probably the first step in building trust with your teammates. This doesn’t mean you have to be a push-over. What is worse, a boss who identifies an area that someone can improve on, and does nothing, or one that has that “uncomfortable” discussion to address it? Having a soft heart in leadership simply means you really do care about your teammates and their future.

  3. Sweet Souls. This ties closely with having a soft heart, but as Ronda would describe, it’s “…about being tolerant, being slow to anger and quick to forgive, about being patient, about being courageous in the face of adversity. It means dignity and respect, and sometimes just plain good manners.” I personally relate it to assuming positive intent when dealing with others in difficult situation. It could easily mean not shooting off a snippy email, even when you have every right to do so. It can also mean that we stand up for those that we see being bullied or easily pushed around in meetings we are in. If there is someone on your team that needs that extra encouragement, you could take the time to write them a special hand-written note. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a fantastic thought leader, Nilofer Merchant, and she wrote a great article Why Love Letters Matter that I highly recommend reading. Merchant shares the effect these heart felt notes can have on others. To act on our impulse of thanking people who have touched us is what sweet souls are all about.

Written by Chris Berger
Director, Global Associate Communications at Walmart

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Why your marketing should generate more qualified online leads.

For small and medium sized business…

Lot’s of firms do not have a clear, bottom line focused marketing strategy for qualified online leads.

(Despite the fact they could win on the web!)

Here are two juicy reasons. See if they ring true to you.

1. As a discipline, marketing is seen as an expense or as the producer of collateral sales support. Marketing is not measured and held accountable for ROI in the same way that sales departments are. But maybe they should be held accountable for sales.

2. Unlike other disciplines, everyone is a marketing expert.  The CEO, the VP of Sales and sales team, the CFO, the IT manager… everyone has a strong opinion.  And they might be right to some extent.  But too many cooks spoil the broth.

So the marketing team takes on the non-strategic support role of doing a little bit of everything that everyone else wants.  They are creatives and makers.  But not strategic “sellers”.

Marketers are personally productive, but sales “wins”.

And marketers know where their bread is buttered. The sales department, for good reason, has lots of influence over what marketing does.  But sales folks often know little about what is new or even common in digital online marketing and lead generation. They won’t or can’t support it. That’s not their job (yet). They have a quota to meet, work to do.

Further, some sales cultures and commission incentive packages inadvertently encourage denying attribution of success to online selling.  “I sold that. That’s my commission”  But it doesn’t have to work like that.

The buyer experience is online.

In many categories buyers are comfortable researching and “deciding” long before ever talking to sales. Certainly qualified leads are lost because the competition’s online experience is more useful and their monitoring identifies the lead and closes the deal first.

Marketing is under-invested in online selling.

Expense and budget accountability? Clearly yes. Marketers “do it right”. And the work is probably good.

But revenue or ROI accountability? None. Is this project the right thing? Where does it fit in the sales process? How many people did it move, change, or influence? Did it generate sales qualified leads?

Here’s the strategic lead generation and selling opportunity:

“Caveat emptor” has become “caveat venditor”… seller beware.

You must make a great first impression online and then identify, contact and nurture prospects, all online.

Fortunately, every online activity is measurable. Everything you measure gets better. Establish K.P. I.’s. Measure the web traffic, the content, the email, the SEO/SEM, the social media… measure twice, cut once. Make it all strategically great.

Prioritize online marketing and measurement.

Real data has a way of focusing effort and forcing priorities. With good data, strategies can be developed, and measured and improved.  Investing in methodologies like inbound marketing and marketing automation inherently makes that happen.

Low accountability to high accountability.

Back in the 1990’s top marketing people started to talk about Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC).  Over simplified, it meant getting away from business “silos” and the laundry list of things marketing “could” be doing to having a single clear integrated hymnal that all of mar-com would sing from.

Look up Integrated Marketing Communications:

Fundamental shifts in how companies market to consumers have made Integrated Marketing Communications possible.
The shift…
From Traditional Marketing to Digital/Interactive Marketing
From Mass Media to Specialized Media
From Low Accountability in Marketing Spend to High Accountability in Marketing Spend
From Limited Connectivity to Pervasive Connectedness [6]

Notice the shift from traditional to digital/interactive marketing?

Notice the shift from low accountability spend to high accountability spend?

Notice “fundamental shifts”.

Inbound Marketing is measurable for ROI.

So here’s why I shouldn’t have written this blog post about strategy:

Marketing managers at small and medium sized companies don’t want to hire marketing vendors who want to talk or create strategy. They already have a long to-do list. They really don’t need any more “to do”. They want to hire more doers who will effectively get stuff done. That’s simply the culture and necessity.

So… if you want a video, I’ll make a great video.

On the other hand…

Inbound Marketing makes all the online “to do’s” coherent, and strategic, and provides measurable results. Global2net Marketing can take care of those “to do’s” too.  But we’ll probably have to talk strategy a bit. 😉

What do you think? Do you have a clear measurable marketing strategy that goes to the bottom line?  Should marketing be accountable for more than “expense”? Could you “sell” better with web and online tools?

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6 Ways to Increase Engagement Levels with Marketing Automation

You have a website. You’ve been creating content. You’re running social campaigns, email campaigns, paid search campaigns, and more. But at the end of the day, do you know how your buyers are engaging with your marketing efforts?

As marketers, we’re always trying to improve. We’re believers in tracking, optimization, experimenting, testing, and progress — and our attitude toward our buyer and customer engagement levels shouldn’t be any different.

If you’re not actively trying to increase engagement levels with your marketing campaigns and content, you’re missing a large part of what it means to be a marketer. Fortunately, marketing automation can help give your marketing the boost it needs to reach more people in a more meaningful way.

Let’s take a look at six ways you can use marketing automation to increase buyer and customer engagement.

1. Send the right messages at the right time.

Lead nurturing (or drip marketing) is a great way to increase engagement levels with your email content. Instead of blasting your database with emails that may or may not be relevant, strategically “drip” emails to targeted groups of recipients over time, so they’re getting the right information from you, when they need it. This added relevancy can increase open rates and engagement levels with your content.

2. More importantly, make sure they’re targeted.

Lead nurturing is much less powerful without the ability to personalize your communications. With automation, you can build and segment lists based on criteria you set (think location, job title, product interest, and more). These lists can then be used to send highly targeted (read: highly relevant) email messages that will see much higher engagement rates than a traditional batch-and-blast message.

66% of marketers reported that the ability for enhanced targeting and personalization is a top benefit of marketing automation. (State of Marketing Automation 2014, Regalix)

3. Engage consistently on social.

Your buyers and customers are active on social media — and not just during business hours. If you’re hoping to maximize engagement rates with your audience, you need to be active where they’re active, when they’re active. Use the social posting feature of your marketing automation tool to schedule out posts to go out after you leave the office. Be sure to measure engagement with these social postings to see which are most popular, and use that information to optimize future social messages.

4. Personalize web and email content with dynamic content.

Which are you more likely to engage with: a webpage that conveys the exact same information to everybody, or a webpage that alters its content based on who is viewing it? If you’re like most people, you’ll prefer the latter. Dynamic content allow you to present your viewers with personalized web and email experiences, so they’re always seeing information that’s relevant to them.

5. Limit form fields, but not the information collected.

Want to improve engagement with your landing pages? Avoid overwhelming your page visitors with too many form fields for a start. At Pardot, we recommend sticking to 3-4 essential form fields — but we also understand the need to collect as much information from your buyers as possible. Progressive profiling solves this conundrum by presenting visitors with different form fields each time they fill out a form on your website, so you can collect a varied amount of information over time without presenting too many form fields at once.

6. See what your buyers and customers are clicking on.

One of the best (and easiest) ways to improve your engagement rates is to iterate on what you already know is working for you. Custom redirects are a great way to see which links are getting clicked on, and which are being ignored. See which content is resonating with your buyers, and use this data to optimize future campaigns, reach out with related information, and stay up to date on your buyers’ preferences.

Want more information about customer engagement?

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5 Elements Of Cooperative Learning Activities Help Your Team Learn Substantially More

Results are very important to companies and team leaders, but how team members interact with each other to achieve results is often a neglected aspect of managing a team.

Cooperative learning is an educational approach that provides a social structure for learning experiences in academia. However, team development in the workplace also relies heavily on the elements of cooperative learning. The approach differs from group work with the intention of “structuring positive interdependence” – participation and accountability.

Unlike individual learning, which can be competitive in nature, participants learn cooperatively in groups working toward a shared goal and capitalizing on one another’s resources and skills. Sounds a lot like working as a team around the office, right? As you know, successful collaboration takes effort.

Cooperative Learning Boosts Collaboration & Team Success

Cooperative learning activities are effective for tackling complex projects and concepts over the course of time and establishes caring, supportive peer relationships. The bonds between team members motivate and strengthen your team’s commitment to the group’s goals while increasing self-esteem and self-worth.

Cooperative learning also encourages team members to keep each other “in the loop”as projects move along. Plus, this approach is relatively easy to implement and is inexpensive

5 elements to successful cooperative learning activities and approaches:

#1 Positive interdependence:

Everyone must fully participate (that means you) and put forth effort within their group. Individual responsibility and accountability must be identified – group members must know exactly what their responsibilities are and that they are accountable.

How? Define roles.

Simple, right? Not so much. It’s very difficult to lose track of individual roles, overlap and strategies for accountability when goals are complex. As a leader, you should work to keep this as clear as possible. Revisit roles and responsibilities throughout the project and make sure you have a reasonable understanding of them. If you don’t, your team probably doesn’t either.

The Progressive Networking Dinner is an effective tool to check in with your team and understand their current roles and responsibilities in a causal, social environment.

#2 Face-to-face promotive interaction:

As a leader, you do not need to do all of the rewarding. Team members actually feel more valuable when their contributions are recognized by others, not just leaders.

How? Position team members to promote each other’s work.

During team meetings, provide time and a format for peers to explain to one another what they learning and assist one another with understanding and completing tasks.

#3 Individual and group accountability:

Each team member must demonstrate mastery of their subject matter and be held accountable for their learning and work to eliminate “social loafing“.

How? Accountability isn’t about punishment.

Punishment often fails to stop – sometimes even increases – the occurrence of undesired behavior. Strategies for positive interdependence will help boost accountability, but methods like rewarding failure can also lead to significant results.

The #1 reason employees are hesitant to admit mistakes is the fear of reprisal or punishment. However, it is important to know what your challenges are in order to tackle them. Host fun activities like a dinner theater event or team mixer to celebrate successes, especially the small ones.

#4 Social skills:

Effective communication, interpersonal and group skills must be cultivated, identified and encouraged.

How? Develop strategies to boost team skills.

Work to enhance leadership skills, work on building trust and develop communication and conflict-management skills as a group through team building and corporate training programs.

#5 Group processing:

Assess your effectiveness as a group and decide how it can be improved.

How? Learn to make decisions as a team.

Team decision making can be tricky, but it’s key for each team member to feel his or her ownership in the final decision regarding an issue that needs everyone’s support. This approach can also help you make a better decision by reducing bias, which can lead your team astray. The more your team members feel personal ownership of a problem or challenge, the more likely they are to agree with and commit to the decided line of action.

Ross and Smyth (1995) describe successful cooperative learning tasks as intellectually demanding, creative, open-ended, and involve higher order thinking tasks. These team building programs incorporate the power of play and provide a powerful context for cooperative learning approaches:

  • Chain Reaction position teams to find the perfect balance between uniqueness, functionality, and attention to detail.
  • Through Make A Movie, your teams will work in small groups to create the next Hollywood blockbuster.

Participants involved in active learning (doing a real job, a simulation, a training game, etc.) retain 90% of the information. Through cooperative learning activities the expert’s or instructor’s role changes from giving information to facilitating learning. Everyone – including the facilitator – succeeds when the group succeeds.

How many cooperative learning activities can you identify around your workplace? Are they successful? What would you do differently?

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