Monday, September 26, 2011

The Hidden Costs of Social Business

Article by John Cass on the hidden costs of a social media strategy;


Sunday, September 25, 2011

10 rules for a successful social media plan

1. Contribute to blogs, forums, wikis; everything that is of relevance to your field.
2. Comment regularly and start dialogue.
3. Create a blog and add posts three times per week.
4. Comment on other blogs, and link to blogs at least once per day.
5. Create a Twitter account and link to your blog and advertise each with the one message.
6. Tweet often and regularly - not in flashes.
7. Create a Facebook account that represents the image you want to portray.
8. Create a YouTube channel and upload videos of what you do and link to your blog and Twitter accounts.
9. Give more information than is available anywhere else.
10. Stick to your plan and do not deviate from your corporate goals.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

7 surefire ways to increase your Twitter following

There are many companies out there who provide a quickfix service in getting you an increase in followers using 'bots'; robots that will flood your system with spam.

If you want to engage with real people and a real audience you should:

Promote your twitter page outside of twitter. If you have a blog, provide a link to your twitter accounts and other social media such as Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube etc. If you leave a comment on forums or wiki's make sure their is a link to your twitter account.

If you have a webpage make sure you add the 'Follow Button' to your pages so that readers can easily be added to your followers list.

Add your Twitter address to your business cards. Beware - remember that people from the business community may be reading so keep your tweets sensible.

Engage in conversation with people who have a lot of followers in the hope that they will re-tweet your message, this may have the impact of boosting your followers as you will be seen as a 'reputable person to follow'.

Discuss whatever is in the trending topics; if you say something witty and insightful that tweet will get re-tweeted and could increase your follower count.

FollowFriday – send out FollowFriday tweets of some people you are fans of and maybe one day they will do the same back for you!

Write good content

10 Commandments of Social Media

Thou shalt acknowledge your organisation can benefit from an on-line presence

Thou shalt survey the social media tools available to create, manage and maintain a good online brand

Thou shalt understand the conversation and be aware of brand sentiment and awareness

Thou shalt create and mature a ‘Voice’, an online style/tone that you will stick with/ create an 'online personality'

Thou shalt trust your staff with implemented guidelines on how to and what to contribute

Thou shalt not put restrictions or rules on your new community for they will fragment and go elsewhere

Thou shalt find your audience and engage with them, conversation shall flow and your network shall enlarge

Thou shalt find the strong and weak connections in your group and actively try and link the two into a stronger network

Thou shalt generate spokespeople for your brand by responding on blogs, forums, wiki, tweets in a quick and informing nay entertaining manner

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Image is paramount - managing your online brand

How you appear online is the key to your success. Building credibility starts with you and your personal 2.0 accounts. What does your Facebook account say about you? what do your friends accounts say about your account and in turn what does that say about your business account? Maybe you think this is slighlty going overboard on the fussy scale but attention to detail at this step will make sure your brand gets off on the right foot.

Scan Google with your name and see what comes up? Is it a picture of you drunk or sleeping rough? Was your face tagged in a friend of a friends facebook photo! If sp make sure you sort this out pronto; make yourself familiar with the security settings on Facebook. What type of posts are on your Facebook accounts? Are they rude or vulgar? Are your friends hell bent on refusing to believe that they left university 10 years ago and giving your personal brand a kicking? If so ged rid of them, you can tell a lot about a person by the friends they keep and their email addresses ( - especially when readers dont know you personally and will be getting their cues from the content of your social media sites.

Understand how to use the settings on your Twitter account. If some nut is sending you crazy or offensive tweets learn how to block them. Watch your language and tone as well. Comments are never truely deleted in the internet age. Always portray a positive and inclusive image adding value to the conversation.

Make sure that you send quality posts and blogs. Little and often is the key, but make sure its of value, and dont repeat the same message, it will become tiresome and end up as unwanted spam after a short while!

You should set up a YouTube channel with a distict, clear and crisp presentation. If you are a good presenter why not upload a presentation of the work that you do and videos that interested viewers may find value in? Check to see what videos are available and see how you can tweek them to make them more interesting to your audience. 3000 viewers on how to put on a pair of socks - i rest my case! Make sure you link to your blogs and your other social media platforms. Link everything up!

Listen to your audience. What do they want from you? What can you give them? In social media you have to listen to what the conversation is before you can converse back.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Success with social media and a sceptical boss

Measuring the success of your social media plan depends on what your goals are. You must ask yourself what are you looking out of this strategy and what is realistically obtainable. Researching your market beforehand will bring clarity to your quest and will help bat off awkward questions from the board. As a relatively new concept, success with social media is difficult to measure as it is not about direct sales and success stories are still breaking, but it is not the standard “push strategy” industry norm for most companies. Social media strategies are a great complement to the standard marketing avenues and should be looked at in this light.

To increase your network of contacts to target potential customers?
To find the influencers in a community and get them into meaningful engagement?
To change the perception of your brand?
To be proactive with customer service?
To improve the contact with your customers?
To give a personal touch to the corporate brand?

These are all legitimate goals but unless you have a metrics in place to track your progress, how do you know that you have succeeded? You may feel you have done a good job but how do you explain to your bosses that you are forming long lasting ties with the movers and shakers in the industry and that their investment in your time and resources is worth the expense and deserves an increase in budget?

In most companies there is a generation gap between the guys at the top (who control the purse-strings) and the marketing guys who are advocating a social media plan. They may allow their prejudices get in the way of solid market fact; so give them what they will understand, present your metrics in a structured way. So start with the obvious and go with the number of Twitter followers; Facebook friends, or likes if you have a corporate page; viewers if you have a YouTube channel. For measuring your blog, use Google Feedburner to see the number of subscribers, views, comments etc. (There are a myriad of tools available online to get detailed statistics for each service such as TweetStats, Facebook Friends Wheel, Google Analytics; it depends on how much detail you want to go into.) Decision makers will see that your efforts have not been in vain as they observe month by month growth, brand awareness and presence. These reports can then be used to validate their investment in the social media initiative. However, (keep this to yourself) you must be cautious on relying on volume of users and fans etc as using this form of metrics alone will not give you any meaningful insight to your business. Target the increase you would expect from these mediums over a 6 month period and report the figures to management.

The use of search facilities on blogs and Twitter can highlight mentions of your brand name which can be used to track the increase or decrease in the number of people talking about your brand or product. You can also use sentiment measuring tools such as Twendz to watch change in satisfaction with your brand or organisation.

20 Constructive Social Media Tools

Move on from the concrete statistics and identify from the content recieved through your social media pages areas how social media has increased customer interaction, sentiment, influence, and/or perception. The information received is priceless and you will stand to gain invaluable information on how your market works and the wealth of untapped knowledge that is out there.

It is important to show that there is a conversation out there for your product and that managed correctly, with time and resources, it can gave a massive impact on your companies image, reputation and bottom line. People buy people and not faceless corporations and in social media they really need to feel that this is the case. Humans are social animals, it’s in our nature to converse; this is the start of something big, advise your bosses now before they miss the boat.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Twitter Do's and Dont's

Use twitter before you know how to use it
Tweet too much
Tweet over personal information
Tweet drunk

Be conscise
Credit all your sources
Be polite
Be positive
Don’t say something to somebody you wouldn’t say to their face!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Patience and longevity are key to your social media strategy

Regular engagement is essential for sustained channel growth. You must be active in each of your chosen channels and you must be able to measure your success so that you can keep record of what works and what doesn’t. Social media takes time and you need to know where to spend it wisely.

Take time to develop your own insight into your audience. Work out an appropriate strategy to work and build upon. Make sure you do a complete SWOT analysis of each social media tool that you are thinking of using and go for what works for you.

Longevity is the important. Any commitment to these types of activities should be for a period of one year minimum. This will give you time to set up your base of followers and for you to make meaningful monitoring and tracking insights.

Stay ahead of the game, the next social media tool is just around the corner and you have to be able to adapt quickly – find recognised experts in your area and keep them close. They are your tomorrow!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Listen before you leap

Want to get out there and bombard your audience with how great you are and how brilliant your products and services are? Or show off how much you know about a particular subject? hold it - hold it, reverse back and put the megaphone back in the have to listen to the conversation before you jump in.

Analyse what people are saying about you before you comment. What is the trend, positive or negative? What age group are these people? Is it possible to find out? How are your competitors fairing out in the discussion. Plan what you want to say and make sure it is targeted at the right audience.

Different age groups respond to different messages. Younger audiences are naturally more competitive and will respond to online competitions whereas older audiences are looking for afformation that their opinion is important and that it adds to the dialogue.

Whatever your message is, make sure it is interesting and newsworthy, and of sufficient interest to others so that it will be passed on to other audiences through re-tweets etc. Remember, nobody likes a show-off, be friendly with a positive tone and interact with your audience. In order to be part of the conversation you must understand what the conversation is.

Social media and smartphones - location; location, location

With the report from ABI Research that 1.7 billion smartphones will be in circulation by 2016, location-based applications for social networking sites are set to rocket. What does this mean for your social media plan? Location-based social networking offers an opportunity to advertise and promote your business.

Location-based applications allow users to add their location to their tweets, messages or photos due to "location aware" software. Users can send photos with exact coordinates of where they are, or "check-in" to a business or location which sends alerts to their network of contacts. Mashups allow for your location to be viewable on map applications such as google maps.

The opportunity starts with making sure that your business is listed in your geolocation area. Facebook Places allows you to claim your business location free of charge. You can manage your place’s address, contact information, business hours, profile picture, admins and other settings. Users can now "check in" to your location, transmitting this message to their network - 'John has checked in at Benetton, La Muette".

This is where your markeing nouce comes in! Give them a reason to come to your branch and to check-in! For example, "1/2 price jeans at Benetton this afternoon only" - this is the type of incentive that will give users credibility with their network and they will be more than happy to share their location details with their social network peers. For the business it is a great way of building a rapport with customers. You can organise special deals and save these to your location. The beauty with this form of marketing is the viral nature of the message. Your network becomes stronger as you reach other users who will bring their networks along to yours.

Be visible, searchable and make your location known!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The A - Z of Social Media

Website that allows user to track multiple social media tools on the one site - TweetDeck, HootSuite

Web crawler that browses the web in a methodical and automated manner

Cloud computing
Computing in which your pc acts as a terminal and you are using a computer elsewhere; e.g. your hotmail account. Instead of running an e-mail program on your computer, you log in to a Web e-mail account remotely. The software and storage for your account doesn't exist on your computer, it's on the service's computer cloud.

Social news website which lets userrs vote stories up or down, called
digging and burying, respectively.

Ego searches
To perform a search for one's own name, or especially their online nickname, using any search engine on the web.

Users cooperate by assigning freely chosen keywords"tags" to pieces of information in a process known as "tagging".

Google Analythics
Marketing tool by the holy mother of search engines that gives detailed statistics about visitors to websites. Used for reviewing online campaigns

Giving that little extra bit of information to make people interested in your online presence.

People who broadcast information they are interested in online, normally on blogs. Important to befriend these people in your strategic area.

Fine for old school press releases as journalists understood it. Certain to kill any social media campaign.

The words you use that make people find your topic of interest.

Somebody who reads your posts but never engages. Are you a lurker?

A web application that combines two or more sources to create new services such as Google maps.

Your circle of contacts that you are looking to increase, interact and influence.

Dont hold back, engage, comment, like, tweet, digg, bury, post - dont be a lurker

Blogging by phone with photos, videos and audio

Opposite of phlogging

The holy grail; this is what you are aiming for; for your tweet to be of such interest and value that it is passed on to increase your network.

Search engine optimization
Process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines

Methods for web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents

User generated content
The user generates the content instead of the normal author pushing out the content onto platform. Can be mistaken for loser generated content if of low quality and constant updating.

Marketing technique where a message is sent to individuals in identified networks that have a high probability of being interested in the message and communicating this message on to others.

Similar to a blog, a wiki allows anyone to edit, delete or modify content that has been placed on the Web site

Social network for business, used for jobs and business ideas

Social media site for networking, user review, and local directory search web site

Social network game developer with applications on websites such as Facebook and Myspace. Games include Texas HoldEm Poker and FarmVille

Saturday, June 25, 2011

50 Rules of Twitter

The 50 rules of Twitter by Derren Rovell, reporter and tweet fiend with CNBC, who has hit the 100,000 followers mark in a little over 2 years.

1. Twitter is for everyone. A person in any profession can help his or her career if he or she utilizes it correctly.

2. Only follow your friends if they have something you want to hear. Facebook is for friendships.

3. For the rest of eternity, no one is going to believe you if you said you were hacked, even if you were. Sorry.

4. Please don't link your Foursquare and Twitter accounts. Your Twitter followers signed up for your Twitter content, not the fact that you just became the mayor of Starbucks.

5. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was your Twitter account. Developing a strong following takes time and effort.

6. Always credit your source if you find content worth sharing. Think like a journalist when you're passing along quality info.

7. Don't ask to be followed. Twitter is a meritocracy. Earn it.

8. Don't tweet out inspirational quotes unless that's the purpose of your account. By now everyone has heard "Carpe Diem, seize the day." -Horace

9. Don't tweet that you are bored. Now I am too.

10. If you follow someone, don't be offended if they don't follow you back. Not everyone plays for "Team Followback." Earn their follow from strong, periodic @replies if you feel that you have something to offer.

11. Don't be tempted by the speed of Twitter. Take a breath before each tweet and ask, "If I was a follower, would I want to read this?” If not, delete it.

12. Unless you are a pro athlete, don't tell me that you are at the gym. I get it, you work out.

13. Proofread your tweets. The amount of typos in 140 characters is mind blowing.

14. Find your Twitter niche, but don't be afraid to branch out a little. Most followers enjoy a little variety every now and then.

15. Quantity of tweets is fine as long as it's quality. I average more than 40 tweets a day.

16. Unless you are 14 years old, don't make your account private. No strangers will want to request to follow you.

17. Do not use a default Twitter background. Instead, use an image or photo that complements your interests or personality.

18. Follow Friday’s are perhaps the emptiest tweets on all of Twitter, unless you tell me why they deserve my follow.

19. Want to give your recommendation more oomph? Do it on Tuesday; nobody is expecting it.

20. Just because you are getting slammed doesn't mean you should blame Twitter. Learn to absorb the hate and get a thicker skin, it's useful in life.

21. If you're RTing (retweeting) someone with comment, it's OK to shorten up their original tweet in order to keep it under 140. Just don't alter the original person's intended message.

22. Don’t harbor on the fact that you lost one follower. Rejoice in the fact that you gained two.

23. Athletes & celebs blame Twitter when “sharing” goes wrong. It’s not the sharing of information that’s the issue, it’s what you share.

24. Never ask for a RT (Retweet) for your birthday (or for any reason).

25. Never fulfill a birthday RT request.

26. Your avatar should intrigue/humor viewers. Change it up. But whatever you do, no animated GIFs! (Graphics Interchange Format)

27. Make good use of your Twitter bio space. "Mother, Sister, Daughter, Lover of Life" does absolutely nothing to spark someone's interest.

28. Don't get offended if someone unfollows you. Instead, use it as a learning experience. Perhaps your tweets need some tweaking. Everyone is entitled to a trial run before purchasing your product.

29. People love screengrabs. Those that are experts at capturing the perfect TV shot (like @bubbaprog and @jose3030) do well on Twitter.

30. Know when something has reached a critical mass. Look around to see if your entire timeline has tweeted the same quote. Hold back.

31. Know why people follow you. If you're a foodie, don't send 20 Florida Marlins tweets on a single night.

32. Instead of complaining about spam bots offering you free iPads, take 3 seconds and report them as spam. Help solve the problem.

33. Check out your followers. If someone's bio looks interesting, follow them.

34. Go through who you're following every few months. Weed out the bad, the non-existent & those you feel don't suit your interests.

35. If you get retweeted, don't automatically expect new followers. People evaluate your feed before following, so it's not an automatic process.

36. Twitter Search may be the most valuable search engine on the Internet. Use it.

37. Always put your comment before the RT. Commenting after the original tweet makes it difficult to distinguish your comment from the original.

38. Twitter is the ultimate on-the-go tool. Find an app you can tweet most comfortably with & learn the heck out of it.

39. Don’t tweet and drive. Unless you are very good at it.

40. Twitter isn’t a Monday to Friday site. It flows straight through the weekend.

41. Don't ask your followers what’s going on with a certain topic. Follow the right people & use Twitter’s search box.

42. Double-check your links to make sure they work prior to tweeting. If you do happen to screw up a tweet, don't follow up with a "Whoops, here's the correct link" tweet. Just remove the old and tweet the new.

43. Have a friend who bashes the fact that you’re on Twitter? Log them in for a week & show them how it works. In no other walk of life have people bashed something so fervently that they haven’t tried.

44. Friend didn’t adhere to Tip 43? People who don't use Twitter don't get it. They’ll mock you, but it's their loss. Keep doing your thing.

45. Want to partake in a funny movie-related trending topic? Tweet one, not ten.

46. Good follow partaking in #AnnoyingHashtag? Some Twitter apps have a temporary "Hide" or “Mute” feature. (Your secret is safe with me.)

47. Often referred to as a "Master Tweet," never, ever RT yourself.

48. When sharing a link, try to add a little flavor to it. Your followers want content from a person, not a robot.

49. Ask your followers for good accounts to follow. Twitter can suggest everyone they want to, but the best follows will come from your followers.

50. Create lists to sort your interests. It will come in handy when you want a specific group’s most recent tweets

Link to Derren Rovell

Saturday, June 4, 2011

An Introduction to the Generations

Silent Generation

Born between 1930-45, they have a traditionalist value system built on company loyalty, conformity and responsibility. The chances of them breaking the law is zero. They believe in the 'job for life' moto which is gained through their 'hard work' mentality. They must be in control and make good leaders due to their wartime upbringing. They come from an age where they are to young to be war heroes and too old to rebellious in the 60's - hence the term 'Silent Generation'.

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946-63), this generation witnessed  the Vietnam war, the assassination of JFK, the civil rights movement, all of which led them to rebel against conformity and to carve a perfectionist lifestyle based on personal values and spiritual growth. They welcome team-based work and are political in their thinking. They do not like their feathers being ruffled and are not so adaptable to change.

Generation X'ers

Born between 1964-79, this generation grew up very quickly amid rising divorce rates, one parent homes, street violence and low career expectations. They grew up with the reality of AIDS and nuclear disasters unfolding around them. Being the first generation to grow up with a TV in the living room they are more aware of global concerns. They entered the jobs market at a time of economic downturn and found it difficult to get a foothold into being gainfully employed. This has led them to be sceptical towards authority and cautious in their commitment. Being ambitious and independent they are opposite in character to the silent generation.

Generation Y'ers

Born from 1980 onwards, this confident generation are optimistic in outlook despite witnessing tragedies on a large scale such as September 11. Coming of age during a shift toward virtue and values, they're attracted to organisations whose missions speak to a purpose greater than a bottom line. They're technologically savvy with a positive, can-do attitude.

Not Another Generation: Who Is Generation Jones? - FP Posted

Not Another Generation: Who Is Generation Jones? - FP Posted: "Generation Jones is a term coined by Jonathan Pontell, a social historian, and author of the book, Generation Jones. He describes this generation as those born between 1954 and 1965. The term is better known in Europe than North America. Pontell defined Generation Jones as a distinct concept separate from Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, and having several connotations, including the notion of anonymity, and 'keeping up with the Joneses.'"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Teenagers and Cultural Identification Patterns

Culture gives society its structure. It satisfies peoples needs and determines the lifestyles that they lead. Culture also allows people to differentiate themselves. This is the reason that teenagers have ventured into different sub-cultures - that is to express their differences and to be part of their own faction with a distinct way of life and value system. Group solidarity being the chief incentive.

The urge to engage in group activity allowed teenagers to find their own individual identity.

Youth culture itself arose from young people sharing common problems in the transition to adulthood. Youth culture exists as a way of adjusting and overcoming these common concerns.  For previous generations there was distinct differences between the goals and objectives of working class and middle class youth, which led them to develop their own distinct and separate cultures. One of the determining factors behind the formation of these sub-cultures was social class.

In recent times, the movement of people, traditions and ideas has lead to a universal appreciation of different cultures. People can relate to others different cultures without the need for much interpretation. Economic globalisation has led to international integration of technology, labour and culture. Widespread deregulation in political policies followed and averse changes in the labour and economic markets has lead to the narrowing of the social pyramid.

The Generation X children were brought up with no illusions as to the hostile state of the world. They were brought up with the recession of the 70s and the environmental collapse of the 80's. Smog, AIDS, and the ozone layer became 'the' issues. This has lead today to a more refined youth; teenagers who are open-minded, media savvy and highly intelligent.

Research has shown that young people around Europe are surprisingly similar in relation to their lifestyles and interests, however much has also been written on the contrary. There is a space to open the debate and an opportunity to investigate if today's teenagers identify with homogenous cultural elements, irrespective of their social class.