The skills we teach deliver real ROI.

July 2012 archive

Introducing ASPE-Energy – Providing Energy Training Courses

ASPE is known for our real-world training that provides students with the best skills, tools and techniques to successfully transform complex business challenges into strategic capabilities. We’ve been teaching over 40 curriculums, including Agile, Scrum, Social Media, and Microsoft training, for the past 10 years. Now, we’re expanding to offer a full range of energy courses to our curriculum. ASPE-Energy now offers training courses in Energy Trading, Petroleum, Natural Gas and Alternative Fuels.

We believe that with the growing importance on natural gas and other energy resources, all energy professionals – producers, suppliers, distributors, end users and investors – need to be equipped with the proper skills to navigate exchanges, react to price and trade factors, and be familiar with hedging energy risk. Our energy trading training courses provide those necessary skills and more. We detail how organization’s can implement hedge strategy, access the risk profile of their company, better understand the intertwined relationship of fundamentals and future, and more in our seven core energy trading curriculums. Find out more about our Energy Trading training courses here.

Our oil and petroleum training focuses on two basic oil fundamentals: exploration to production and the refining process from basic distillation to complex hydrocracking. We know that the oil industry is complex and international, with economics driving every aspect and every decision. Therefore, our curriculum educates students on upstream risks, downstream economics, and how to manage the volatility on the margin of end users, resellers, traders, marketers, shippers, retailers and refiners. To find out more about our Oil and Petroleum training courses visit our website.

In our natural gas training division we’ve partnered with Energy Management Institute to bring you natural gas training courses that provide a thorough understanding of the entire natural gas industry, from wellhead to burner tip. We cover the origins and destinations of natural gas, exploration through distribution, buying, selling, marketing and transportation. Through comprehensive instruction with lecture and real-life examples, our natural gas training courses bring the entire gas and power market complex to life. Find out more about ourNatural Gas training courses here.

Courses will be offered beginning in September of 2012. All of our energy trading courses are taught by trusted education providers for the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), CME NYMEX and the International Trading Institute at Singapore Management University.

Web Seminar Recap: A Look at the Latest Features in the New Version of Google Analytics

Google Analytics has implemented a few exciting new tools over the past year. Marketers need to know these new tools in order to easily experiment with and test new site content and better understand social traffic on and off their site. They can also track their visitors’ journey through their site and learn how to use custom reporting.

On Wednesday, July 25, 2012 John Little and Rob Sanders of RSO Consulting presented the free web seminar “ A Look at the Latest Features in the New Version of Google Analytics.” Primarily aimed at Analytics beginners, John and Rob covered Content Experiments, Social Sources, Visitors Flow and Custom Reports.

Listen to a recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right).

Do you have a question for John or Rob? Leave your comments or tweet us! Follow @ASPE_ROI and use hashtag #ASPEEvents.

Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #3

Learn to work more efficiently through tools and apps. Return On Time (ROT)

You hear a lot of smack talk about how you can not accurately track the Return On Investment (ROI) for social media. A lot of tools have come out the last couple of years that have helped us better understand the impact of social media, but deployment and licensing fees for many of these applications can be expensive. This makes tracking the ROI of social media for small business quite challenging.

When we first took the first official steps into social media as a company we took the stance that our focus was not the direct revenue associated with our efforts, but instead the relationships and engagement that we could generate. Our goals were around reach and the quality of the network of social media contacts we were making. These rather abstract metrics were difficult for a company of our size to quantify back in 2009.

It’s all about Return On Time (ROT)

That is why we adopted what we call Return On Time or ROT. We quickly realized that we could grow a large network and some very strong relationships through social media, but the time commitment it required could quickly become counter-productive. At a time when many companies started hiring ‘social media specialists’ that struggled to prove their worth over the long-term, we decided to empower all our employees to participate in social media (most importantly listening and monitoring) and asked them to measure their performance on the social media engagement they created as a product of the time it required. We kept an eye on overall productivity levels and used dips as red flags as to a failure in proper ROI management.

What we found was that through tools and processes employees could be more effectively with the time they invested in social media activities. By properly utilizing technology available to them, many employees could actively participate in social media with little to no impact on their productivity or other responsibilities.

Learn about tools and apps that help your work more effectively and more efficiently

We believe that proper utilization of the technology available to you is the key to finding success in social media. That is why a large portion of the time you spend in our social media training classes is focused around the tools and apps available to you. This includes web-based computer programs, as well as mobile and tablet applications that help you work more effectively and efficiently. Our instructors are constantly updating our list of tools, as well as the ones they choose to highlight and demo in class.

I really enjoy this part of class because it typically becomes one of the most interactive. Experienced students often debate with instructors about which tool is the best for a particular function or task, and I often hear about new tools or new ways of using ones I already know about. You hear a lot of ‘Ohhhhs’ from students, as their eyes are opened to time-saving techniques or tools. We all now that smile that takes over our face when we figure out how to do something a lot better or quicker than your current process.

The ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp can help you do just that

Social media training from ASPE-ROI, especially our Social Media Boot Camp, will teach you all of this and more. In addition to learning about how to effectively utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for your business needs, you will look at successes and failure of major brands, learn about tools and applications to help you work more efficiently and build out a social media campaign specific to your company that can be executed when you return to the office.

But, whether you are a seasoned social media professional or a newbie looking to get started in this new space, one of the biggest benefits of our social media training courses is the material and time spent on learning to use tools and applications that allow you to work more effectively and efficiently. Time is also spent on our Return On Time (ROT) philosophy and several other strategies for effectively monitoring the overall performance and effectiveness of your social media efforts.

 

Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.

 

Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #2

Scalability. It is much harder to get company-wide participation by yourself (time & resources).

Have you ever noticed how what you know about some companies is completely predicated to what you’ve seen from a couple of its employees? Think about some of the companies you know personally. Focus on the ones that you think really get social media. How much do you see from their company account? How much do you see from a few personal accounts of employees? How many people work at that company?

For most companies, social media activity is concentrated between a few departments: marketing, communications/PR, creative, development and sometimes management. Occasionally you’ll see accounts from customer service or personal accounts from other employees, but rarely are they engaged or cooperating with the company account.

Why is this?

Simply put: time and resources. Most extremely active social media companies are young companies (in years of existence, not employee age). Most of them were lucky to start as a small company and social media organically became part of the culture and the way of doing business. As they grew, they hired like minded people and they followed suit, as it was just part of the culture. Most companies don’t have this luxury.

It takes a lot of time and effort to grow social media adoption outside of these departments. You may get your sales people to ‘see the light’ and create an account, but it is quite a task to keep them engaged. Most want to get to a sale and close as fast as possible. Sometimes social media can help, but sometimes there is no beating email and phone. Getting them, and other employees, to see how social media can be incorporated into what they are already doing is step one. Getting them to stick with it is a whole other battle.

Social media training can help you scale

All of this and more is covered in our Social Media Boot Camp. In class, you will learn how many companies are using cross-functional committees and teams to help spread the social media gospel throughout their company. You will look at social media policies and practices that companies use to encourage employee participation with the company brand. By growing evangelists organically inside the company, the silos are broken down and a community develops. That is where social media training comes in.

Social media training is the most time efficient way of growing the social media community inside your company. Odds are there is one person (maybe a small group) who leads most of your social media initiatives. Sure they could train some of your other employees on social media, get them setup with accounts and then help them in the initial phases of figuring out how to incorporate social media into the day-to-day responsibilities. But how much productivity did you lose from that person? Are they a social media specialist for your company or do they have other responsibilities? How much of their time is going to be eaten up? How likely is it that their schedule conflicts will slow other people’s adoption of social media?

Social media training from ASPE-ROI

Now, how does 3 days of training sound? Imagine getting an entire team of your employees up-to-speed on social media in just 3 days. How nice would it be to have a cross-functional group of people knowledgeable about social media and looking for ways to incorporate it into the business processes of their departments?

 The ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp can help you do just that

Social media training can help you turn that 6-month, year or even several year project of getting a core group of social media evangelists into a 3-day course. They will learn Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more. Best of all, in the ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp a large portion of the training is devoted to creating a social media campaign specifically for your company. Each student leaves class with a road map and plan on how to execute the campaign that they developed. If you have 5 people in class from several different departments, they could work together to develop a well thought out campaign that addresses any logistical concerns from all of those departments, or better yet, you could have 5 different campaigns both customer-facing and internal ready for you when they return to the office.

Social media training with ASPE-ROI gives you that opportunity. You’ll save time and money, while also increasing the likelihood of successfully scaling social media throughout your organization.

 

Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.

 

Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #1

Learn from other’s mistakes and success.
Don’t learn the hard way.

One of the most valuable pieces of any training session is the time spent analyzing case studies and best practices. In a rather new and constantly evolving space like social media, these examples are a great place to save yourself from the past mistakes already made by others. We work hard to constantly update our Social Media Boot Camp with new and noteworthy examples of brands that are doing things right, as well as those getting it wrong.

Here are a few examples of past case studies discussed in our Social Media Boot Camp:

Red Cross Getting “Slizzerd”

In February of 2011 an American Red Cross employee accidentally posted a tweet from the @RedCross account that was meant for their personal account. The message read:

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd”

The post was promptly deleted, but not before plenty of people saw the post. A media firestorm ensued. Many thought it was going to be tough for the Red Cross to recover from this PR nightmare, but some creative social media activity quickly turned things around.

What they did right was to admit the mistake publicly, and even more importantly apologized. Both the organization and the employee apologized, and afterwards they were actually able turn the event into a fundraiser. They teamed up with the Dogfish Head brewery and asked people to tweet a donation link with the hashtag “#gettingslizzerd.” The link was quickly passed around the web and turned a PR nightmare into a successful fundraising campaign.

Domino’s Employee Prank Video

In April 2009, a group of Domino’s employees shot a prank video that featured them putting cheese up their nose and farting on ingredients before placing them on menu items. One of the employees posted the video to YouTube and it quickly went viral. In a matter of days the video had more than a million views and major news stations were starting to pick up the story.

Domino’s posted an apology to its website and explained that the food was never actually sent to any customers. But what they really did right was posting a video to YouTube of the Domino’s USA president, Patrick Doyle, issuing an apology, explaining what happened and what was being done to rectify the situation. By properly tagging the apology video, their resposne appeared in search results for anyone who was searching the original title of the video (at this point which had been deleted).

Sales number were most certainly impacted by the video and the social media firestorm, but the overall impact was certainly mitigated by their response.

Qwikster and Netflix

In July 2011, Netflix announced that it would be upping its prices and breaking its companies into two divisions. A new division called Qwikster would handle the DVD-by-mail service the company was originally founded on, while Netflix would focus on the video-streaming that had come to make it extremely popular. Customers were outraged by both the price hike as well as the new company structure, and quickly took to social media to vent.

Unfortunately, Netflix had not taken the time to obtain or create a Twitter username for Qwikster before the announcement and the holder of the Qwikster account got a huge spike in followers and mentions. Worse yet, the owner of the account was a mouthy teenager whose posts regularly contain comments about smoking marijuana between various expletives.

Just three weeks later, Netflix announced they would no longer be restructuring the company, but would continue to move forward with the price increase. However, the damage had already been done. The stock price took a major hit and tons of customers were lost. Having had a better social media plan in place may not have saved those customers or the stock price erosion caused by the business decision, but it certainly would have helped them better respond to unhappy customers.

T.G.I. Friday’s Not So Free Burger

In September 1, 2009, TGI Friday’s launched a Facebook campaign aimed at trying to get more fans of their page. The campaign stated that if they could get 500,000 Facebook fans by September 2009, then the first 500,000 people would receive a coupon for a free Jack Daniels Burger or Chicken Sandwich. By the end of the next day,still in the soft launch of the campaign, they already had 80,000 fans. Once the banner ads and tv spots hit it took only another week, September 13th, for their page to hit the 500,000 fan mark.

Unprepared for this level of demand, TGI Friday’s extended the offer to the first 1 million fans while they scrambled to handle the logistics of the coupons. By the end their Facebook page was littered with angry customers who hadn’t received their coupons. After the promotion timeframe expired, the company pulled down page and abandoned all 1 million fans of that page.

 

The lesson to take away from this social media blunder, prepare for the worst case scenario and the best case scenario. Reaching your campaign goals too early should be a good problem to have. But you need to be prepared and have all your logistics ready before pulling the trigger. And more importantly, you need to be agile and flexible to changes after the campaign goes live. A well thought out campaign could have capitalized on the mass engagement of people beyond just one free coupon.

These are just some of the case studies that may be discussed in the ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp. Don’t let your company make this list, get your team up-to-speed with social media training.

 

Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.

 

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