Tag Archive | RingCentral

Checklist: 10 Essential Items For Conference Attendees

Baochi, the Director of Social Strategy at RingCentral, showing off her conference style!

Attending conferences and events is a great way to learn industry best practices and network with other like-minded professionals. But working outside the office can be challenging if you’re not well-prepared. As frequent conference-goer, on behalf of the RingCentral social media team, I have made my fair share of misses and mistakes. Luckily, I’m a quick learner! Below, is my list of essential items to bring when attending conferences.

Did I miss a must-have conference item? Let me know in the comments section below.

1. Smartphone – This shouldn’t be a difficult item to remember, since every business professional is often tethered to their smartphone anyway. Beyond the obvious functions of voice calls, texts and emails, use your smartphone to follow/participate in the conference’s Twitter stream. The smartphone camera is also a great asset for snapping photos of presentation slides or recording videos of speakers.

2. Broadband Wireless Card – Most conferences offer free Wi-Fi,  but the connections are almost always slow because attendees are accessing the same network and maxing out the bandwidth. If you don’t want to play the Wi-Fi lottery and risk the frustration of connectivity issues, bring your own hotspot. I like the Verizon MiFi hotspot, which gives me secure and fast internet access. Bonus: if you happen to meet a new business contact, you can show them what a kind soul you are by sharing your personal hotspot.

3. Chargers – Mark my words: you will run out of battery juice on whichever device(s) you bring. Bring chargers for all the devices you plan on using. Tip: purchase an extra set of chargers for your most well-used gadgets and reserve that set expressly for conferences and travel.

4. Power Strip – Even if you come prepared with all the necessary gadget chargers, there’s no guarantee you’ll find an outlet that is conveniently located or not already in use. That’s why a power strip can be handy — use only one power outlet to charge multiple devices. Even if you don’t need to charge multiple devices, you’ll be a hero to others in need when you offer up the extra outlets from your power strip. Power strips are relatively inexpensive, and these days you can find hybrids that also offer USB ports.

5. iPad/Tablet – While laptops are popular items to bring to events, they aren’t easy to lug around all day. Tablets are great conference companions because they’re smaller and lighter than a laptop, yet easier to type and navigate on than a smartphone. And if you have trouble typing on a tablet, you can always use a portable keyboard that connects to your tablet.

6. Business Cards – If you forget to bring business cards, it’s going to be tough to connect and follow up with other attendees  you meet. Don’t be that person desperately looking for a pen and scrap paper to scribble down your contact information — chances are, your “business card” will be mistaken as trash. So bring business cards or have a paperless alternative like the CamCard app.

7.  Get the App – Conferences are increasingly offering custom apps that include event agendas and the ability to build personal schedules that sync with your Outlook calendar. Some apps even allow you to view a list of attendees and connect directly with individuals to schedule meetings. Consulting an app is so much easier than carrying around a conference brochure!

Don’t fall victim to bad breath.

8. Gum/Mints – If you’re at a conference, then you’re talking to people. If you’re talking to people, don’t be a turn-off by having bad, stale breath. Have gum or mints on you (mints are better because you don’t want to be chomping away while you’re conversing). And be kind to anyone who asks for some.

9. Confidence – Events are great opportunities to make business connections so don’t squander the time by being shy. Get your confidence on! Scope out attendees ahead of time, and make a list of people you want to meet. Introduce yourself to a particular speaker after an especially insightful presentation. If you’re mining for prospects, have your company pitch ready and deliver it with oomph!

10. RingCentral app – The RingCentral app is an invaluable part of any mobile professional’s toolkit. With the app installed on your Android or iOS device, you can place VoIP calls over a Wi-Fi or cellular network, change your phone system settings on the fly (e.g., have your desk phone calls forwarded to your cellular phone), and view and forward fax messages. The RingCentral app puts your phone system in your pocket, keeping you plugged in and connected from just about anywhere — even while you’re at a conference. End shameless plug.

How to Build and Manage a Brand Superfan Program {Video}

The RingCentral Superfan program is our way of giving thanks to our biggest customer advocates. At the recent Social Media Strategies Summit, our director of social strategy, Baochi Nguyen, presented tips on how to create and grow a brand ambassador program. Watch the video above to learn our strategy and tactics for customer Superfans.

RingCentral at Dreamforce 2012 {Video}

If you work in the Silicon Valley, or in the tech industry in general, then you’ve heard of Salesforce.com, and you’ve definitely heard of their biggest event – Dreamforce.

Well this year the conference was bigger and better than ever. From amazing speakers and sessions, to an expo hall full of all the hottest and latest tech companies, to the after parties, to the epic Red Hot Chili Peppers concert on the streets of downtown San Francisco there was no shortage of excitement and buzz about Dreamforce this year.

Lucky for me, as a member of the RingCentral Social Team, and the one responsible for event coordination, I was able to participate in all the fun! So, check out the video of the amazing RingCentral Dreamforce Dream Team in action at the 2012 event!

For more info on Dreamforce click here.

And a special thank you to everyone who helped me organize and put on the event, I couldn’t have done it without you!!

Me, working the RingCentral booth at Dreamforce 2012.

Top 7 Apps For Social Media Community Management

As a social media community manager who is always on-the-go, I rely on some key apps to keep me connected and engaged with the RingCentral community. Below are the seven apps that I use and highly recommend.

Which apps do you recommend for community management?

1) Eventbrite for iPhone and Android (free):

Like most community managers, I attend my fair share of conferences and meet-ups. If it weren’t for the Eventbrite app, I would be completely disorganized. The app allows you to find events in your area or in a specific city. You can filter search results by relevance, distance, date, and ticket price. But what makes the Eventbrite app extra special is the ability to keep track of past and upcoming events, as well as store relevant event information such as tickets and directions. In other words, you don’t need to schlep around printed material with the Eventbrite app — just pull up the event ticket barcode or registration info on your phone to gain admission. Hooray for going paperless!

2) Facebook Pages Manager for iPhone (free):

If you’re active on both your personal and brand Facebook pages, this app is great for separating your efforts and staying organized. The Facebook Pages Manager app is similar to the standard Facebook app but packs additional features that make it more convenient to manage brand pages while you’re mobile. Notable features include: status updates, photo uploads, notifications on post comments/likes, notifications on page likes/private messages, and basic Insights data. Admittedly, the Facebook Pages Manager app lacks some functionality — you can’t upload videos, edit Page admins (although you can view the folks who are admins), or interact with brands your brand follows via a home feed. The other bummer is this app is only available on the iPhone and not on other iOS devices or Androids. I’m guessing Facebook will continue optimizing this app. But as it stands, the Facebook admin app suits my top needs for managing brand pages without mixing with my personal profiles page.

 3) HootSuite for iPhone, iPad, and Android (free):

The Hootsuite app allows you to monitor various social networks including Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, and LinkedIn. In our estimation, the app is most effective for monitoring Twitter — in fact, it’s the best Twitter app out there. In the “Streams” view, you can access/add/remove your Twitter feeds, e.g., the home feed, mentions, and key word searches. When you’re viewing a specific feed page, simply swipe left or right to see your other streams. All the standard Twitter features apply, from posting a new tweet to retweeting/replying to a tweet. And for those of you who need an easy way to translate tweets, Hootsuite’s in-app translation is awesome.

4) Instagram for iPhone and Android (free):

We love taking pictures here at RingCentral, and our photo app of choice is Instagram. It’s simple, easy-to-use, and has a great interface. We love the various filters, as well as the ability to share photos to other social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.

5) LinkedIn for iPhone and Android (free):

The full-featured LinkedIn app is great for staying in touch with your professional network. View status updates from your connections, top news, messages in your inbox, group conversations, and job opportunities. You can also post your own status updates, send private messages to your connections, and invite individuals to connect. My favorite use of the app is for exchanging contact information with new contacts. Rather than exchange business cards when I meet new business contacts, I just quickly search for their names in the LinkedIn app and send them a request to connect. Talk about efficiency!

 6) Pinterest for iPhone and Android (free):

I won’t deny it: I’m one of many Pinterest addicts. Good thing it’s part of my community management job. The Pinterest app is great for staying updated on the latest pins no matter where you are. The best part about the app is the ability to snap a photo and upload it to any of your boards.

 

7) WordPress for all iOS iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones, and Android tablets (free):

Avid bloggers using WordPress, if you don’t already have this app, get it now. Edit and write posts on your smartphone or tablet. Upload images. And best of all, view statistics.

What Makes unSEXY Technology Sexy? {Video}

Earlier this month, my co-worker, Ben, and I attended the unSEXY Conference; which is “a 1-day conference about tech startups and companies who are actually doing something incredibly sexy…[by] building scalable, sustainable businesses.” The Mountain View, CA event was sponsored by 500 Startups and hosted by founder Dave McClure.

In general,  technology companies aren’t considered “sexy” compared to companies offering more tangible consumer goods like shiny gadgets and designer handbags.  But we tech folks, especially here in Silicon Valley, know better. Some of the most disruptive, innovative and successful products derive from seemingly unsexy technology. Thus the the main premise of the unSexy conference was to highlight the efforts of tech companies currently offering cutting-edge solutions.

As part of the RingCental team we were inspired to ask a few unSexy attendees about qualities that make an unSexy tech company interesting. Watch the video above to hear how various folks define sexy tech.

RingCentral Social Media Team Members Ben and Carolyn

unSexy Theme: “Bringing home the bacon.”

RingCentral Social Media Associate Ben Foster

Top 5 Best Pinterest Practices For B2Bs

With Pinterest’s ever growing popularity – it’s now ranked as the 3rd most popular and visited social network in the US — it’s easy to see why so many companies are including it among their social media engagement channels. Pinterest initially attracted a B2C audience; however, today, plenty of B2B content can be found there as well.

RingCentral engages with our B2B audience by pinning content related to our service, the cloud industry, and business topics. As with any new social platform, we’ve experimented with different approaches and evaluated the resulting effects. Below are five best Pinterest practices that we find effective from a B2B marketing perspective.

1. Include strong visuals in all your content, e.g., blog articles

Pinterest is clearly an image-heavy social site. A pin isn’t a pin without a graphic. Text is an after-thought. So make sure the image you are pinning speaks a thousand words. Visually-appealing and evocative pins are more likely to be re-pinned, liked, or clicked on. Remember, if you’re pinning content from your business’ website or blog, then you want to aim for engagement actions that will take people back to your site and/or compel them to spread your content.

Marketing software company HubSpot is a great case study in strong Pinterest visuals.

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2. Infographics

Infographics are all the rage and very well-suited for the Pinterest audience. In general, infographics are both visually-appealing and informative, containing statistical and industry data – perfect for the B2B audience. Consider creating your own infographic with data that’s available on the Internet (just make sure you include sources) to position your company as a thought leader on a specific topic. Entrepreneur organization Startup America has a great infographic board.

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3. Identify specific themes/topics relevant to your business and stick to them

Don’t be one of those brands that posts willy nilly. Establish which topics are relevant to your business and audience (see our blog post on content strategy) and pin only content related to those topics. For example, RingCentral’s focus topics include content about our cloud telephony service, cloud industry trends, and business success tips for our B2B audience. We aim to educate and add value to entrepreneurs and business leaders with boards like Business Books We Recommend, Cloud Computing, Digital Marketing/Social Media, and Business Productivity & Success Tips.

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4. Don’t be all business all the time

It’s okay to project a fun and friendly brand personality, even in the B2B world. Just stay true to your corporate culture and your business topics/themes. RingCentral has less serious boards  like Daily Dose of SFW (Safe For Work) Comic Relief, Not Your Standard Office Supplies, and Behind-The-Scenes at RingCentral. Consider pinning photos of your employees and executives, happy customers, and anything in general that makes your organization a unique one.

Revenue performance management company Marketo does a great job of pinning valuable business information, as well as plenty of humorous content that includes employee shenanigans.

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5. Develop B2B Relationships on Pinterest

Like with any social channel, your goal is to build engagement – you’ve got to give some re-pin love to get some re-pin love. So be sure to follow other B2B brands that you admire and/or are relevant to your business. Re-pin, like, and comment on their pins and you’ll usually find some reciprocal actions. But don’t re-pin for just the sake of re-pinning; make sure your re-pins are consistent with your brand topics. Following other B2B brands may also provide ideas for content and additional best practices.  Our favorite business resource on Pinterest is Pinterest for Business.

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