Using Skype for Content and Collaboration

Xjs-Khaos via Flickr

For many Skype users the tool is simply a phone replacement or a way to make international calls without a charge.

While the direct communication uses are obvious, there are so many other ways to use this tool as well. In fact, I believe that one of the hottest trends of the back half of 2011 will be the ubiquitous use of video communication on the mobile device and this type of behavior change is going to make some of Skype’s features even more useful for business.

As smart phone users begin to ramp up their use of video conversations, (iPhone Facetime proves this huge) video recording (smart phone cameras make this an everyday use) and video sharing, (what don’t we share) business communication, content creation and collaboration in this vein will become commonplace.

Here’s how to turn Skype into a content creation machine.

Recording Skype calls and video chat is a tremendous way to create podcast episodes and video content to run on your site. The fact that the recording is captured directly into your computer eliminates several of the steps in the content creation process.

The New About Us Page Is a Social Beast

Since the dawn of the web there has been the trusty old About Us page. It seems a tad cliche, but what the heck, why fight it, visitors to your site have come to expect to find an About Us or Contact Us page, so why not make the most of it.

The traditional About Us page is typically filled with information about the owner, the history of the firm and an overview of what the company does.

Today’s About Us page has the ability to be a tool for real engagement. In addition to providing some information about the firm, it must also be a place where they can find out where to find out much more About Us, a place where they can discover our social graph and who they know that already knows About Us, a place where they can find a myriad of ways to connect with us, a place where they can get specific information, request even more specific information and start to build a relationship that may involve immediate interaction.

Below are some of the tools and tactics that may make it much easier for you to turn you boring static About Us page into a social hub. (This is a perfect place for me to further suggest that using a tool like WordPress to run you entire site makes what I share below much, much easier.)


Add Chat – Using text chat services like Meebo or Bleetbox or video chat like Oovoo you can make it very easy for visitors to your site to ask questions and chat directly with your staff right from your About Us page.

Social graph – A new service called SocialBios – allows visitors to your page to see who they might know in your Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, GMail or Twitter worlds. This can be a great way to facilitate referrals and make connections easier. Try it out with me here – SocialBio for John Jantsch

Add Your Social Profiles – By using a Social Media Page Plugin – you can add all the other places you hang out to any page or blog post you like. It might look something like this.

Connect With Us –

Contact Us – You do want to make it easy to contact you for the next step and that may indeed include listing email addresses and phone numbers on your pages, but contact forms are the best bet. You can make them fun and interactive but the best part is that they can be safe and secure and allow you to route email to multiple places based on the request. There are lots of contact plugins out there but I love Wufoo.

This tool allows you to build elegant and feature rich forms and embed them anywhere you like. The form data can be forwarded or stored for multiple folks to view. You could build forms like this yourself, but nothing is as easy to build or update as Wufoo forms.

Tech Support – Using a tool like Zendesk you can turn your About Us or Contact Us page into a customer support center as well. Adding help desk functionality allows you to easily assign multiple people to some of the same tasks so you could provide round the clock engagement if you like. Zendesk also has some social and community features that make it nice for sharing.

File sharing – I use a service called Dropbox as my file storage and backup in the cloud. You can also use an addon to Dropbox that would make it easy for visitors or customers to upload files for you to view. This could be a great way to offer free evaluations or simply to receive large files that you may need to engage a client. (You can also make this option available on a Wufoo form)

There, that should keep you busy creating the monster About Us page!

Referral Generation Requires Both Strategy and Tactics

Referral Engine BookIn my book The Referral Engine I point out that referral generation must be a foundational mindset that runs throughout your marketing plan and your marketing implementation. To become a widely referred organization everyone in your business must think about referrals at the strategic level and and at the everyday tactical level.

It’s this point of view that drives organizations to get better, so they deserve more referrals, while also getting clearer about how they receive more referrals. The combined strategy and tactics approach is the catalyst that truly revs the referral engine.

Recently, one of my readers sent me a note that I think illustrates this strategy and tactics frame of mind in a simple, yet powerful manner. I run his note here to help bring this point to light in the real world.

Hello John,

A lot of business advice we hear makes a lot of sense in theory and is then left to us to adapt and implement. It doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, just that it takes more work and creativity on our part to get it to work in a practical sense. In reading “The Referral Engine,” I became really excited by the concept of using referrals as both a strategy and a tactic at the same time – which is pretty unusual. It’s a strategy because it sets up a goal with each customer to exceed expectations in a way that will cause them to tell others. As a solopreneur, if you adopt that strategy it forces a level of intellectual honesty that helps you make lots of decisions along the way by asking yourself, “Is this good enough that my client would want to tell a friend?” But it’s using this concept as a tactic that made the biggest difference for me.

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