March 26, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Social Media and Project Management in South Africa

This week it was my privilege to be interviewed by Jerry Ihejirika, a project management blogger from Nigeria in his new series called “Project Management for Africa”.

According to Jerry I’m one of the most active African Project Managers on Twitter (@virtualpm) and for that reason as well as my passion for project management, he chose me to interview, using Twitter. I thought it was an innovative medium to use to conduct the interview and a good example of the power of social media to promote our profession.

Below is an extract of the interview that I wanted to share with my community too.

When exactly did you venture into project management and what informed your decision?

I’ve been in the project management profession since 1999. I’m an accidental Project Manager, and I love working with teams and the satisfaction of achieving goals.

As someone who is passionate about project management, what’s the best project management advice you’ve ever received?

From both advice and my experiences: “Always be planning, always be communicating, and always build relationships.”

What’s the level of awareness of project management in South Africa?

In South Africa, there is a growing level of awareness and appreciation of project management as a professional designation. We have a Body called SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) which has officially recognised project management as a professional designation with career path. It’s also required by corporate employers for a Project Manager to have a PMP (certified) status, especially when applying for senior roles.

Is there any recognized national PM body in South Africa to help promote and advance Project Management in the country?

Yes, Project Management South Africa, or PMSA, representing project management practitioners across all sectors. They have monthly meetings in major cities, a biennial national conference, national printed magazine; we also have PMI chapters whose members meet monthly.

You’re one of the advocates of social media in project management. Do you think social media has a role to play in project management?

Yes, and for different reasons. Some of the benefits of social media in project management include improved collaboration, cost savings, best practice sharing, and networking.

How do you think social media can be utilized to promote and advance project management in Africa?

Through our project management blogs; sharing of project success stories; creating LinkedIn interest groups; leveraging Twitter, podcasts, videos, Google+, and PM Flashblog initiatives.

How would you rate the level of awareness of project management in Africa?

Project management as a designation will contribute to the development of career paths; and also through promoting continuous professional development. In South Africa, we have a national conference by end September with theme: Growing project management in Africa. (See events page for more details.)

Wow, that’s good, and there’s also a national conference in Nigeria by September tagged “Project Management Development in Nigeria” being organized by ProMaCon.

That’s good for raising the awareness of value of project management in Africa.

What advice would you give to a Project Manager who’s planning on incorporating social media in his/her project management profession?

For use of social media on projects, you need a social strategy that’s specific to your organisation’s business objectives, challenges, and culture. You also need to have an adaptable, step-by-step, ongoing formula to bring social media into projects. You can also use social media to build your professional project management career by having a strategy with tactics to communicate on each social media channel.

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Practical use for Social Media in Project Management – Part II: Blogging and Twitter

By Linky van der Merwe

For most Project Management professionals social media is already part of their lives.  This article will take a closer look at social media platforms, Blogs and Twitter and how they are adopted in project management.

Part I of this article, can be found here:

Practical use for Social Media in Project Management.

Practical use for Social Media in Project Management-Part II: Facebook Yammer

use of blogging in project managementBlogging

Blogs are made up of posts, which are short articles that appear in reverse chronological order on the blog. Blogs have an archive facility which will display historical posts by day, week, or month. In the project setting, it is the equivalent to a project notebook.

There are a number of ways blogs can be used to enhance the success of a project.

  • Project documentation – you can put all the project documentation on a blog.
  • Major milestone announcements – blogs are a great way to keep your team informed of the major phases that are coming up, as well as to recognize the good work your team has accomplished as milestones are passed.
  • Interesting pictures – keep blogs interesting by posting pictures of a product in various stages, or of people who are making a product that aren’t usually in the company newsletter.
  • Use of features – use comments fields, as well as tags and ratings features of blogs.

Decide early whether you want to use external blogging sites or internal blogs. Many products are available internally. SharePoint Workspace 2010 contains a blogging feature that your organization can use to create a blog that is private to your team.

Twitter for project managersMicro-blogging

Twitter is the most popular micro-blogging tool today. It allows you to send short messages to the internet, but limits the update to 140 characters and also permits your “tweets” to be protected. As with a blog, the tweets appear on your homepage in a long chronological stream, with the most recent comments at the top.

 

There are several ways to use Twitter to help you manage a project.

  • Project management articles – use search to find good articles about specific project management topics and best practices.
  • #Hashtags are used to help index the subject matter of your tweet. For example, the hashtag #pmot is used for tweets about “project management on Twitter”. When you click on the hashtag, you will immediately see a page full of the recent tweets that have used the same tag. This is a simple way that users can quickly filter for only tweets about specific subjects. You can also search for tweets by typing the hashtag in the Twitter search box. Other useful hashtags for project managers are: #projectmanager, #pmp, #project, #msproject, #project2010, and #pm. Also check #PMChat for Tweetups every Friday for an innovative way for project managers to get answers to project management questions and obtain different perspectives. Source: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-consultant/project-managers-get-social-with-pmchat/
  • Team hastags – a project team can decide on its own hashtags for the projects they’re working on. If your team is working on a business application project, you could decide on a hashtag to use across Twitter, such as #busapp. This will work for projects where security is less of a concern.

Twitter Lists

On the Home page of Twitter, your Twitter timeline can get cluttered very quickly. Twitter lists become useful as it allow you to group Twitter users. You can make a list of other users who are also in project management.  Every time you follow a person on Twitter who is also a project manager, you add them to your list. By following this process you will soon connect with project managers from all over the world who you can follow and collaborate with. Or create a list for your team relating to the project you are working on. Send them the URL of the list so they can see who you’ve added.

Consider  subscribing to other people’s lists. My Projectmanagement list contains 316 members and a number of subscribers. Now I can look at Tweets from project managers on my list and the lists that I’m subscribed to and see all the latest updates at a glance. I can retweet, share them with my followers or reply and collaborate.

Let us know in the Comments if you’re using Blogs or Twitter for your projects and how well that is working for you.

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Project Managers are you Twitter Smart?

Twitter for project managers While many project managers are social media active today, there are still organizations which don’t understand the value of using social media, and specifically Twitter, in the work-place. This is a follow-up article on the previous social media article: 10 Ways to Integrate Social Media with Project Management

The value that Twitter can bring, is a whole new perspective on project management and this article will look at ways for project managers to become Twitter smart.

While Twitter is recognized as a social media tool that can assist with successful project delivery, it is often not taken seriously as a business tool. This is simply because of the vast amount of information that is available on Twitter at any one time–over 250 million tweets per day. To ensure that Twitter is a valuable tool, you need to be able to extract only information which is most relevant for you; otherwise, it defeats the object of improving project delivery. One way to do this is by using the #PMOT hashtag.

#PMOT

For those unfamiliar with Twitter, hashtags are a way to flag something, and “PMOT” stands for Project Managers (or Management) on Twitter. When you combine hashtags with Twitter you have an easy way to locate much of the PM-related content on Twitter in a single place.

How to become Twitter Smart

Here are some recommended practices to help you benefit from #PMOT:

  • Identify people that you want to follow. Add them to a list. Be cautious not to try and follow hundreds or thousands of people, because you cannot possibly keep track of that volume of Tweets. 
  • Identify blogs, articles, sites that you can bookmark.  #PMOT can act almost like an automated Google search for you–bringing search results to you without you having to go and work to find them.
  • Identify curators – people who make the effort to find the best content and make it available with their own comments.  There are plenty of project management sites that have a great daily publication.
  • Stay current with what’s happening in your industry and profession. There are many industry organizations who actively contribute to Twitter (PMI, for example). Twitter can give you an easy way to stay current with what is happening with them.
  • Find other activities to become a part of. #PMOT will lead you toward #pmchat, for example–an hour-long, weekly Twitter conversation from 12—1 p.m. North American Eastern time that gives you a chance to interact with other PMs and discuss topics/issues of the day. (If you miss the live chat there is a record of the conversation on Twitter under the #pmchat hashtag.)
  • You still need to use judgment in consuming this content–there’s no point in bookmarking 100 different project management sites as you can’t possibly keep track of them all while still doing the job that you are employed to do.

Twitter for Organizational use

By now you can appreciate using Twitter as a personal tool for individual PMs, but there is also a lot of benefit for the organization. Consider how Project Management Offices (PMO’s) can use Twitter to improve project effectiveness and streamline processes. A tremendous amount of content is already developed to assist in the continuous improvement of the PMO, and much of it is available within the public domain.

Twitter not only helps to socialize the availability of that content–it can assist the organization in connecting with people who have used it before and share their experiences. It may also be used to initially connect with those people.

For organizations that have a page on their intranet containing links to websites that offer best practices, hints and tips, you can prevent that content to become outdated by using the #PMOT. This will help you find a lot of content that can be applied to your organization and to keep that links page fresh.

Be Twitter Smart by contributing

Twitter is not only a social media tool to consume content, but it also provides opportunities to contribute to Twitter discussions. When you represent an organization, as long as you keep to your company’s social media policies, you can use Twitter to do formal announcements, share information on the corporate website like job opportunities for example, share tips and tools etc.

As Project Managers we can also contribute as part of the PM community. This can be achieved by sharing your knowledge and experiences on Twitter by posting a useful link or a lesson learned. This way you can connect with people who have common interests and goals.

Conclusion

As a PMP and blogger, I’ve been using Twitter for a few years for all the reasons above. It has helped me to connect with project managers from all over the world, to easily find good information and RSS feeds to keep up to date with the Project Management Industry and of course, for exposure so that more people will find me and my blog about project management best practices and tools as well as recommended resources. Please subscribe here.

If you would like a head start on Twitter, you are welcome to follow me: Virtualpm

Here are my lists that I have created over time and lists that I follow:

Don’t forget to use Search #PMOT on Twitter to build your own lists or to find good lists to follow.

About the author: Linky Van Der Merwe is the Founder of Virtual Project Consulting. She is a Project Management Consultant and an IT Project Manager for the past 12 years and currently working at Microsoft Consulting Services.

Benefit Your Business with Twitter Marketing

Are you using Twitter as an online marketing tool yet? Twitter as a business marketing tool

Are you a business owner who does online marketing?  Whether you sell a product, or offer professional services, internet marketing is a must in this digital age.  To find clients and generate a sale, you must first drive traffic to your website or blog.  One effective way to do so, and FREE, is to use the social networking tool, called Twitter.

Understand what Twitter is

Before highlighting the benefits of marketing your business with Twitter, understand what Twitter is.  It’s a social networking website that also acts as a micro-blog.  After signing up for a Twitter account, you develop a list of contacts.  These are individuals you want to follow or receive updates from.  Many will return the favor, becoming followers of your updates.  There are no limits on how many messages you can send; however, there is a 140 character limit.  Updates, otherwise known as Tweets, are sent through instant messaging, mobile web applications, RSS feeds, Twitter website and the many Twitter tools available today.

Twitter in a nut shell

When you use Twitter as a marketing tool for your business, you want to go to Search.Twitter.com and look for tweets that are applicable to your website, blog, product or service.  Occasionally send updates to your friends. Highlight your new blog post, by giving a short summary and provide a link.  Summarize a product/service you are selling, or provide a discount code.  You can also reply to members that you follow. This is Twitter in a nut shell.

6 Benefits of Marketing your Business with Twitter:

1.   Generate interest in your business

In addition to generating traffic to your website or blog, you can also generate interest.  First, create catchy Tweets.  For example, do you sell a new eco-friendly product?  If so, don’t just instruct people to buy your product, but ask for their feedback.  Ask how it can help the environment.  Then, ask your followers to forward information on your product to their contacts.  When you have a catchy message and product or service, it is easy to generate interest on Twitter.

2.   Make a sale

Regardless of whether you sell a product or a service, a sale will generate income.  By increasing visitors to your website, you increase your chances of making a sale.  Go a step farther by making contacts that are within your targeted market.  For example, do you sell children’s clothes?  If so, your target market is parents.  Perform a search on Search.Twitter.com to find posts that focus on parenting.  You can offer a response that leads to your website, increasing your chances of making a sale.

3.   Obtain feedback

A great way to subtly increase traffic to your website or blog is to ask for feedback.  By providing a link, you will not only get website traffic, but you will also get what you asked for, feedback.  For example, do you sell great products, but are your prices too high?  Twitter members will let you know.

4.   You can update customers

When connecting with customers, invite them to opt-in for your newsletters.  Or, give your customers the opt-in for Twitter updates.  You can share promotional codes, new product releases, and so forth. Twitter as a marketing tool

5.   Use Twitter to hire help

Whether you want to hire a full-time employee or outsource a project or two, you can use Twitter to find qualified individuals to do the work.

6.   Build relationships with future customers or business partners

Most importantly, use Twitter as a means of connecting with prospects, customers and possible business partners. Treat Twitter connections like you would network with other people at a social or professional networking event. Allow people to get to know you and offer help before offering your products and services.

For more practical help on using Twitter as a social networking tool to grow your business, try out our social media starter project kit!

11 Key Social Media Tools To Consider For Marketing

What Are The Key Social Media Tools?

Social Media Marketing takes place through various Social Media platforms when they are used as a marketing tool to market a company’s products and services.  Social Media tools can be divided into different categories, each category serving its own purpose.

The above diagram depicts some of the key Social Platforms in use today.  Many of the platforms can be targeted as marketing tools to increase exposure to your business and grow your business through more sales and strategic partnerships. Let’s look at each key platform in more detail.  For the purposes of this article only one example of each type will be discussed.

1) Blogs

From term “weblog” is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.  At beginning of 2008 blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs and this number is growing at a rapid pace.

Currently there are 12,9 million active blogs with more than 5 billion readers.

 

2) Micro-blogging: Twitter

Twitter

Micro-Blogging is a Social Media tool that answers to 1 question:

“What Are You Doing?”

  • Answers question in short sentences of 140 characters or less.
  • Most users on Twitter are already on Facebook .
  • Twitter is one of the fastest growing Social Media platforms.
  • It is referred to as ‘Instant messaging on steroids’.
  • Demographics shows that it is used by politicians, celebrities, news anchors and individuals.
  • Total visits in May 2009 were 134 million ; with 32 million unique visitors in April 2009.
  • The Twitter platform is used by 94% of marketers.

 

3) Really Simple Syndication: RSS

RSS “feeds” allow people to subscribe to the various websites, blogs or sections of websites that are of interest to them.

 

4) Social Networking: Facebook 

 

Facebook is a well-known Social Media platform to create, participate in groups, share photos, videos, audios online.

  • It has an Alexa ranking of 5 (fifth most trafficked website in the world).
  • Currently 300 million active members, growing with 250 000 new members per day and predicted to be 500 million by 2011.
  • Demographics: fastest growing age group is 30-35. Women aged 55 is also a big growth area

Facebook presents huge opportunities to set up a group discussing areas of interest relating to your business.

 

5) Niche Networks: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a Professional Networking Social Media platform and the largest network of its kind. Currently, it is used by more than 50 million professionals to exchange information, ideas, opportunities and business networking.

6) Chatrooms

Build your own network of contacts who share your interests.

7) Message Boards: Forums

An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site were any topic of interest  is posted and discussed.

8)   Podcasts

A podcast is a series of digital computer files, usually either digital audio or video, that is released periodically and made available for download by means of web syndication.

9)   Video sharing: You Tube

YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. You Tube is a video sharing Social Media platform that currently has 75 million videos and 150 000 more videos are added per day. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips across the Internet through websites, mobile devices, blogs, and email.  In 2006 YouTube was purchased by Google Inc. Video marketing is used significantly more by men than women.

 

10)    Photo sharing: Flicr

An online photo management and sharing application to show off your favourite photos and videos to the world.

 

11)   Social Bookmarking: Delicious

Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages.

 

If you enjoyed this summary of social media marketing tools for business, go read my free Social Media Marketing Report which contains more useful information about your most pressing questions about social media as a marketing tool.

Related Social Media articles!

 

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