Our Blog.

A few days after Obama was announced re-elected, we dived into our social media monitoring software to pull some insights for the past 30 days.

Back in 2008, President Obama’s digital campaign became one of the world’s references in social media, defeating the Republican nominee, John McCain. However, while everyone expected again another great online performance by Obama, many wondered how well the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, would embrace that channel.

Turns out, that in the final results, while Obama won in number of mentions, the online race has been pretty tight. Here it goes:

Topic trend

Check out how Romney wins partially the mentions battle October 16th and 22nd.

Conversation by media type

Obama conquered mentions in every media channel by far. Here the difference seems bigger.

Overall mentions with 30-day difference

Top-10 number of mentions by country

Did you expect Netherlands, Brazil and India in 4th, 5th and 6th  place?

 

Thousands of brands and companies have embraced social media already. However the vast majority haven’t adopted it yet. You can already see this question in the air, coming especially from the C suit: “Do we need to be in social media?”

There are different ways to answer that question. Every company is a different world so, including in the answer reasons about how using social media will impact their bottom line, makes a lot more sense. I usually dislike general answers, however I bring you today a nice exception.

I watched yesterday the video below from Gary Vaynerchuk about the “Stream economy: the way we used to consume information and the way we do it now”. He’s not inventing the wheel but, I’m sure that if you show this short video to high level executives, they may have an “a-ha” moment…

What do you think?

It has been a few years since social media became popular.

I wouldn’t say mainstream since a huge number of companies haven’t gotten started yet.
Another good portion have recently acknowledged its importance and are taking action at the moment.

When it comes to their first steps, the mistakes don’t differ much from those brands and companies that have started using social networks a while ago. It consists on a race for followers, fans… eyeballs.

From their perspective, it makes sense that they want to prioritise attention/reach. At the end of the day, that’s how TV, radio and newspapers work.

By now, most of these companies will feel frustrated. It turns out, attention is pretty scarce these days and there’s too much noise and competition. Money is not the solution either. Brands like Tipp-Ex (BIC Group) that have ample budgets might capture that attention initially but arrive to the same frustrating point later on since, after the momentum, they don’t talk to people.

It is not sustainable to win an attention race. Here’s what your company can do instead…

Race to care, or better yet, out-care.

Think about this

  • Did you set up a company email to get as many emails as possible?
  • Did you make a business phone number available to your prospects and customers with the intention of getting as many calls as possible in the first place?

You did it because people also have emails and telephones and therefore, they become  clear communication channels for your company. Then, if you’re good at handling email and phone queries, you’ll be able to serve more customers.  Does it make sense?

Step 1: Take the project as an experiment. Think about your customer persona and ask yourself: where do these folks hang out? (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). You might not know 100% yet (maybe yes) but try to define that first.

Step 2: Create an account in the defined platforms and try to understand first, how do they work (don’t just join Facebook and Twitter because everyone is doing it. It might not even be for your company yet). If you understand how to communicate through the platform, it’ll be easier then to understand how to conduct conversations.

Step 3: Get help if necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the platforms and tricks that might help you stand out.

Step 4: Think about the type of content you’re going to share to serve your audience, to help your customers resolve their pain points, until you start getting questions from them. Content marketing is a world in itself so do your homework about what are you going to talk about.

Step 5: Ensure your profile/s are fully completed before engaging. Finally, start publishing your company updates.

Step 6: When prospects and customers do talk to you (big milestone!) be there to answer and provide helpful information!

The steps above are a super simplified way to approach social media in your company or organisation but, I can guarantee you that you will find it much more useful than publishing random posts in networks you don’t understand yet.

What do you think?

This is the kind of situation that you will more likely encounter while being on holidays. It’s a very popular rule that many businesses (big and small) keep nowadays.
Why do you think they still do that?
I honestly don’t think they know or understand why. It’s something they’ve been enforcing for years so why stop now?

With arguable exceptions of art museums or places like banks or airports where security is a major concern, there’s nothing else that comes to my head that could possibly deserve the famous photo/video ban. Companies applying this rule are wasting their time and attempting against their own reputation. Here are a couple of examples.

A visit to Camden Lock Market in East London

Loads of great shops. Most of the businesses don’t let you take any pictures. What is the main reason? Fear of getting copied.

In the current age & time, that should be the least of your worries. If I really wanted to, I could easily photo/video shoot your store/area/restaurant with my smartphone, without you even realising.

A visit to the the Spanish Riding School of Vienna

Spectators are dying to take home a slice of that beautiful horse show. Why then not let tourists take pictures? Mainly because they sell a CD package with photos and videos of the riding school and its horses when you leave the premises, therefore “it will impact sales”.

The opportunity

Both businesses are missing the point. The objective is to increase revenue (and reputation). The shop in the market aims at selling more crafts and the riding school aims at selling more tickets for tourists that want to enjoy the show, not selling more CDs. What’s even funnier is that, letting people take their own pictures doesn’t necessarily mean fewer CD sales either!

I still remember when I was younger and bags were usually checked for cameras at concerts. If the music/concert industry has now understood the imminent change where everyone is a broadcaster, how come others haven’t yet?

Every time you let your customers and prospects collect a piece of what you offer through a photo or video, they become the best sales people you could have ever hired… for free. They will use that visual material to amplify their experience in the different social networks. As a result, more people become aware of your attraction and may consider to pay you a visit.

As we mentioned previously, companies are still investing too much energy and resources to make private what should be public. The fact that something has been done in a certain way during 20 years, doesn’t necessarily mean that it must be kept that way forever. In fact, you could embrace the ban and make it work to your advantage. What do you think?

Last Thursday,  Tipp-Ex (a BIC product) launched once again their interactive campaign with the funny bear: “In the first season, viewers were invited to white and rewrite the story… For the second season, it’s now time to white and rewrite history!” (BIC’s press release).

Last year we followed the results for the first week of the campaign and also commented on some missed opportunities. Let’s first analyse a bit the brand mentions generated during this second season. We tracked the following keywords: tippex, tipp-ex, tipex and the official hashtag, #tippexexperience2. The timeframe we used was April 9th through the 19th.

Trend: This year the impact was bigger. Tipp-Ex had almost 5,000 mentions on launch date only. Last year they reached less than 2,000 the same day. They also had an average of over 200 brand mentions before the campaign started as opposed to 100 last year.

Mentions by region: Besides the US, not surprisingly in first place, this year the most mentions came from France  in second place (Buzzman, the French agency behind the campaign might have some impact) and the UK in third. Last year the UK was second and Germany third.

Mentions by media type: Naturally, micromedia was king with over 11,000 mentions. Last year we had over 4,000 within a few days from launch.

Was the campaign successful?

Despite the fact that Tipp-Ex achieved higher reach in this second attempt and that, undoubtedly, it’s a very creative and fun way to engage with fans, I wouldn’t say it was a success.
They have indeed added this time a Facebook page for the campaign (not the product unfortunately) where they amassed 35,000 fans. However, that doesn’t translate into success either.

We wrote a few posts about the importance of endurance in social media marketing. The BIC Group, as well as other powerful brands, such as Volkswagen and Old Spice, have the budgets to pull off entertaining campaigns of this magnitude.

Do you enjoy beautiful fireworks? How long do they last? That’s the best analogy to explain this new campaign. It took Tipp-Ex over a year to come back with “the bear”. The 1 million dollar question is: What have they done in the meantime?

There are no signs of engagement, no brand/product representatives talking to customers, not even in the Facebook page with 35 thousand fans! (please correct me if I’m wrong by sharing the link to their social channels in the comments).

At the end of the day, the idea is good and more likely Tipp-Ex will stay fresh in people’s minds for some time. However, a good social media marketing programme requires a lot more than one expensive, interactive campaign every now and then. Impressing your audience is one thing. Talking with them makes it more meaningful and rewarding.

What do you think?

I recently went to Oman with my family in-law. It was a fantastic experience. We drove across the country and explored its scenery and culture.

Despite how different life is in this angle of the planet, in my visit to the souk (Arab street market) in Nizwa, I realised that the behaviour was the exact same as in any other local market: people get together around the goods and socialise. Now, each one of these local points around the world have its unique characteristics (language, dress code, type of food, location, etc) which means that if you place a local shop from Paris in Nizwa, it’ll more likely not work.

Later on, this good article from Clara Shih about Facebook timeline for brands came to my head. Here’s the extract:

“Facebook is the place where friends have conversations with friends, and conversations are ever-changing. Sometimes, those conversations are with brands. Other times, the conversations are about brands. Businesses which are best at telling stories and creating emotional connection with fans get talked with and talked about the most. It’s that simple.
By eliminating fan-gating and no longer making it possible to apply old marketing tricks to the new medium, Facebook is issuing a challenge to all marketers: be yourself, stay in touch, tell your stories in authentic and engaging ways.
This begs the question: how do businesses come across as authentic and engaging? The key is to appeal to the issues, passions, and pain points that matter most to fans by getting highly targeted and local…”

This is not a piece of advise for Facebook execution only. Any global brand that drops the corporate one-message-fits-all approach and focuses on local, meaningful interactions will be making progress getting closer to prospects and customers.

This “local” we’re talking about goes beyond “localisation” (adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local “look-and-feel.”). Creating useful content that “appeals to the issues, passions, and pain points” of your customers and prospects is the real challenge and the only way your company will build a long lasting relationship.

Imagine your company acting as the local market. People coming to you because you offer something of value that goes beyond the very transaction. Imagine building social nodes where relevant people interact with each other and eventually come for your help.

From a different  angle, Gary Vaynerchuk also talks about “Local” and the importance of bringing some “small town sensibility” within the organisation.

What do you think?

I receive about five undesired LinkedIn messages every month. I got this one a few days ago that seemed to have a bit more work than the average. I felt bad for the person sending this message. He or she clearly sat down and thought about some creative lines, the ones that probably make you think, the ones that maybe work like magic and make people take action… I’m afraid that did not happen. Here’s the message:


Yes, I did press the “Report Spam” button because that’s all the message is. From the moment a stranger makes contact with you, doesn’t use your name, and pulls a pitch, it doesn’t matter how good is what they offer. People will shut down.
Many professionals using this tactic obviously don’t see themselves as strangers and don’t put into the recipient’s shoes either. But hey, the good news is that there’re many other great and legitimate ways to sell insurance without being a spammer. However, they take a bit more time, dedication, getting to your know your audience, business contacts and also offer something of help (tips, a blog post, a guide, etc).

Have you ever heard that “first impressions are very powerful”? Well, that doesn’t apply to the offline world only. When you send a message of this type, you’re closing doors. You put red flags in people’s heads as soon as they read your name again.

What’s your experience? How are some professionals wasting their time on LinekdIn?

Last Sunday, February 26th, The Oscars’ ceremony was celebrated once again. A type of event that generates a lot of conversations around the world so we thought it would be interesting to share with you some insights.

Conversation trend

This graph shows you the level of “oscars” mentions from February 23rd through the 28th. By including a few days before and after the event you can clearly see the contrast in the volume. From an average of about 12 thousand mentions days before the ceremony to over 2 million on Sunday 26th.

Conversation cloud

We only tracked Sunday 26th and Monday 27th for this graph in order to get a clearer snapshot of the conversations.
We drilled down into many of the keywords, especially “worst” and “best” to see if we could discover something worth talking about. Yes, you guessed. Nothing, unless you really wanted to know what thousands of people said about Angelina Jolie’s leg. You may be interested in knowing that many people mentioned that this was probably one of the worst Oscar ceremonies though.

This tweet about Natalie Portman’s selected words was retweeted almost 15 thousand times!

Where did conversations occur?

Most of you wouldn’t be surprised to see that Twitter ruled. Even if the monitoring software could track all Facebook posts that are not public, Twitter would still win with a major difference. It’s a very agile, real-time communication tool.

Mentions by country

Naturally, the US and Canada led the pack. I wouldn’t have guessed that  Brazil would be in the fourth place.
To the right of the graph you get the difference in the amount of mentions compared to a couple of days before the event.

Did you follow The Oscars? Have you got any insights to share?

When some professionals ask me for tips and advise, they usually focus on the very social media platforms. They are looking for tricks on how to better use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. As soon as I ask a couple of discovery questions, I immediately realise they have another problem: they don’t know what to talk about (their value proposition online). The platforms are just the tip of the iceberg.

I remember working with a commercial real estate firm that made big plans for a new property events website and then, it came the time to “do social media” (afterthought). They wanted to master all platforms simply because they didn’t know better and also because they saw social networks as mere distribution channels. From that perspective, it makes sense: “…all marketing and PR stuff that we have there, we simply push it here too“. No one is going to ban you from doing that but it will get old very fast and you will be soon thinking that the reason why there’s no engagement is because “there’s something you’re doing wrong when managing the platforms.”

A useful starting point

What does your network offer? How does it solve people’s problems? What kind of problems?

A company blog is the easiest way to get started (not a news wall). If you write content that at least tackles the three questions above, you will be serving your audience with something useful, nuggets of advice that will help them make better decisions (whenever they’re ready).

Think also about where your prospects and customers are. We recently did an audit for a recruitment firm who often runs open days and fairs and almost non of their potential candidates were on Twitter and Facebook but on LinkedIn instead. Guess what? They saved a lot of time by avoiding any Twitter/Facebook tactics. They only spent their limited resources where their audience currently is. That’s part of traditional marketing so even professionals not very familiar with social media should be comfortable with that.

A recent situation

Last week I met a network manager that asked me for tips on Facebook. They’re expanding their events to other countries and they were looking to gain reach. I asked: “Is there any reason in particular why you would think that Facebook can do that for you only?

The solution came by having clear what’s their main subject and what they offer, through content. For example, what’s going on in each event? Network managers should squeeze every minute of event time to generate content, specially because then, they don’t have to plan separate activities to create it 🙂

  1. Are you bringing a speaker? Get your Flip camera and record the session. Maybe do a short 3-minute interview before the event so there’s almost nothing to edit and you can upload the video to YouTube and have it available for your community the same night or the day after!
  2. Go through the attendee list and based on the theme of the event, select people to do testimonials about a specific subject or simply about the event itself.
  3. Have a dedicated photo hub such as FlickR, however if Facebook is very important for your efforts, upload pictures to both platforms. The benefit is that through FlickR is very easy to have all photo material organised and with Facebook, easier to spread the word by tagging members of your group.
  4. The more you know your attendees (community) the better you will remember what they do and therefore you can give them a public plug offline and online. Have they write a guest post on your blog! Then you’ll distribute it through your outposts (“shop keepers” as @ChrisBrogan would say) and they will do the same through theirs.
  5. Have a dedicated video hub such as YouTube. I also recommend that you upload selected video content in parallel to your Facebook page. Visual content is the best food for your Facebook fans.
  6. If your event managing platform is Meetup.com, proactively ask a few members to leave feedback, visible to the group’s page. Tip: I’ve seen a few groups grow a community with Meetup.com and then switch over to their own “social site” made with Jing or SocialGo and never took off. You might want to keep it simple with Meetup or your own platform if you started there.

What other tactics have worked for you to succesfully promote your network?

Very often we send or receive all kinds of different documents online and offline, such as proposals, branded presentations, training packets, etc. All those papers have a purpose. We would like people to do X when they read it, right? Here are a few things you can try:

1. Complement with video

All proposals we send have a customised video that points to a branded page on our website where the prospect can learn more about the service and what they can expect. Video provides a full different taste about what you offer. Think about your training material or anything that’s been delivered traditionally for so long. Why not add a link to a video where the person that wrote that piece of  content can expand more on the subject?

2. Always use a URL shortener

We rely on Bit.ly. This service provides you with a shorter (handier) version of any long URL you might want to share. You can also customise the name of the link. It also provides valuable  insights about the amount of clicks your content is getting and the regions where those clicks are coming from. Finally, Bit.ly will generate a QR code for each shortened link. In the example above, if the prospect decided to print out the document he/she would still be able to scan that code with a mobile and watch the video!

Use QR codes also at events so people can easily scan and download your documents.

3. Allow people to interact in your ebooks or white papers

Since Twitter, avatars have demonstrated to be very powerful. Use them in your documents to provide a face for the expert writing the content and invite your audience to continue the conversation providing a link to the specific website, blog or even your LinkedIn Group! Chris Brogan did this in his first book, “Social Media 101”. That’s taking reading (one action only) to the next level.

4. Facilitate discussions with polls

Create a poll and embed it on any web page. You can do that with Polldaddy.com or why not with LinkedIn to direct people to your Group. Share a link on your document and also a QR code (for offline users) that points to that poll. Check for instant results during or after your presentation for example.

5. Include sharing options

Any promotional PDF that you share online should have a call-to-action asking users to share it more. Make it easy for them. Hubspot do this on every paper they distribute.

6. Finish strongly

At the end of any typical document, I usually see a brand, name, address and maybe email. You can do better than that. Include a video screenshot pointing to the resource online, invite your audience to join your LinkedIn Group, sign up to your email updates, share the social networks to connect with the speaker, etc. Remember to always include a shortened URL, otherwise you won’t be able to track your efforts.

How do you currently optimise your documents?

I’m a big fan of home made food and for many years I’ve been learning tones from TV cooking shows.

One of my favourites is “River Cottage”, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, a chef well known for less dependence on the outside world, food integrity, and the consumption of local, seasonal produce.

In the latest episode, Huge came up with a few creative ideas that immediately made me think about content opportunities for B2B companies to better market their products and services.

1. Pick a Theme

This chef is constantly exploring all the angles of seasonal food. He doesn’t just do mixed ideas and dishes but rather focuses on maximising specific content. The latest episode was about “fish”

B2B pointer: Start by segmenting your solutions (products and services) by audience. If you produce a piece of content that is aimed at a specific target with a crafted title/theme, chances are the impact will be higher. Also more relevant people will find you through search engines.

2. Provide a taste of your knowledge

Huge went to a local fishmonger. The shop was displaying a rich selection of fresh fish. He asked: “What’s the difference between a local fishmonger and the one from the supermarket?” The reply was: “My customer knows more about fish“.
Then, the chef decided to take the fish to a local square where many people walked by, improvised a food stand and shouted: “This man has fresh fish and I’ve got great tips!“. Huge then started to sell the different types of fish by delivering easy recipe ideas. “This boneless piece of hake goes fantastic with olive oil, garlic and white wine…“.  In between the tips, he would fillet, marinate the fish and wrap it in aluminum foil for customers to put straight in the oven!

B2B pointer: Loads of potential customers need your solution (Many don’t know it yet). The way you get closer without interrupting, is by providing a bit of specific education (no strings attached) to help them make a decision and move forward. If, on top of that you deliver the solution on a golden tray, easy to take off your shelves (like the fish already marinated and ready to cook in the aluminum foil) you’ll improve distribution. Also, if people learn about your product and want to go ahead right now, is there a contact form, an email address or phone number easy to find?

3. Go reality-show style

Chef Hugh then went to the house of two college students that knew very little about cooking. He took them for a walk to the local fish market, taught them a bit about the different types mixed with recipe ideas, made a purchase and went back home to show them how to make a simple, inexpensive and delicious dinner.

B2B pointer: Hire a video production team. Pick a new customer or an existing one willing to explore one of your new products/services. Go out to them. Show the problem (customer’s pain). Listen, acknowledge and deliver your thoughts/approach. Even better, take that customer to your warehouse/office/factory so he/she can meet with your company experts.
Video content is very powerful and will certainly make you different. Chop the whole story into 2 to 3-minute episodes and promote them in your social media channels. Finally, do screenshots of the different story sequences and create a short ebook on PDF. The title should describe the problem you’re solving. Get it out there for free download and send it to the customer segment via email.

4. Get other experts on board!

Finally, Hugh shared the stage with two local chefs that showed us how to make a few quick meals with the catch of the day.

B2B pointer: Think about your partners, contractors, sales team, etc. These folks know your solution really well! Let them show your audience how to get the most out of it in their own style. This move will not only give you the chance to showcase the diversity of experience within your company but also, it’ll save you a lot of time if you were thinking about creating content just yourself or your department.

Has any show sparked business ideas for you recently?

You’ve probably read many times how social media changed our lives, provided us with a voice and made everyone a publisher. However, millions of people and companies have jumped on the wagon since the early days. Do you already see a big problem for 2012? Noise.

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about how cluttered Twitter is. It doesn’t matter any more how many followers you have since your message barely gets seen.

On Tuesday, I read this other post where Niall Harbison from Simply Zesty, wrote about how difficult it is for brands and companies to get exposure on Facebook unless they invest money in ads. Number of fans, again is not enough folks. He ends the post saying “Basically if you want exposure on Facebook now you need to pay. Simple as that. Facebook have done a wonderful job of locking every area of the platform down so as they control most of the ad revenue that flows through it. Even the feed is getting harder to access and with ads coming there this month things will get even harder…

Companies approaching social media as a mere distribution channel will have to think harder and re-visit their budget for 2012 if they want to see positive results.

So, what could you do?

Here are only four suggestions that will hopefully make your decision a bit easier:

  1. Only measure what matters: This means that you will have to rework your objectives and KPIs for your existing social media platforms. For example, if before you where tracking “number of followers” as a key metric on Twitter, it’s time to bring that to the bottom of the list (or even not make it a KPI) and maybe focus on something more useful such as “number of interactions, number or positive mentions, number of sales queries”, you get the idea. If you can demonstrate a growth in these figures, it’ll be easier to make a business case to dedicate more time to specific platforms that impact the bottom line.
  2. Scan your audience: Ensure you understand who are your LinkedIn-company-page followers (linkedin.com/company/yourcompanyname/followers) and who is in your email database. Take the time to go through the names and companies. You’re putting all this effort in social media and as a result you’re building a valuable audience. Don’t think of them as just a “bunch of people”. If you take the time to understand who they are you’ll be able to serve them better, avoid spending unnecessary time pushing more messages and also detect any positive or negative trend on the kind of professionals your content is attracting. Investing time in your existing audience pays off, investing time in pushing random messages here and there (noise), doesn’t.
  3. Facebook is no longer free: Those companies fast enough to invest in strategic and creative Facebook advertising will be seen and stay ahead of the game. In parallel, you should keep posting everyday and talking to your fans of course.
  4. Integrate as much as possible any offline with online actions: This can take a bit more time but if it’s done well, it could deliver very powerful results for your company.
    Complement all current gaps in customer interaction with online interaction. As a result, your customer or prospects will keep you fresh in their heads. For example: write down in detail your sales funnel. Include every single step. Some people know this as the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action). Then, these type of questions should follow: What do we do currently to get a prospect talking to us? What do we do with prospects that are nor ready to buy righ now? Do we communicate / stay in touch with recent customers from the past three months? How and when do we knock on the door again?

In 2012, we will have to  get more creative. Publishing a few messages and having thousands of fans and followers won’t cut it any more. How are you going to make the most of your social media time to avoid the noise?

Before I proceed with this post and to avoid any misinterpretation,  I will not be talking about your company’s money vault. Other more qualified professionals can advise you how to manage your funds 🙂

There are two vaults we need to open (or improve)  in 2012 and more importantly, use wisely:

Open your knowledge vault

If there’s one major mistake that companies and brands keep making year by year is to keep betting most of the chips on “interruption marketing”.  I still see loads of organisations delivering “we’ve been 20 years in business” as their unique selling point or differentiation factor. We can do better than that.
Turn it around by sharing nuggets of the knowledge that you’ve phenomenally achieved during all these years. One of the best ways to do that is through a company blog but, please do not focus on the technology or think this is something for the “social media person” to be hired (hopefully) next year. This is your knowledge vault remember? This will be your golden avenue to share with the world “knowledge gifts” (no strings attached) that will help your audience of prospects and customers to make better decisions, to find you, to come back to you and more importantly, to trust you.
The fact that you will share business solutions (in the form of a blog post) for problems that people have doesn’t mean that they’ll get the advise for free and run away. Many professionals think this way.
Your company blog and outposts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube accounts) are in charge of connecting with people that are looking for what you have but still don’t know that you exist or for those who know you exist is helping answer the question “why should they go with you?” Your content should make that decision a no-brainer for them, whenever they’re ready to make a move.
Connect at a deeper level with your audience by listening to what they’re saying and write effective content as primary and nuclear fuel to propel your business beyond the competition.

Open your ideas vault

Facundo and I have been using for a few years two main platforms to save all different types of ideas (personal, for the business, for blog posts, new ventures, etc): Google Docs and Evernote. The latter is very handy since you mostly manage it through the mobile app on the go. You may take a picture of something, record your voice or write the idea, label it and it will stay there!
Imagine, in a 12-month period, the hundreds or thousands of ideas that you and  your team will come up with. The problem is that if you don’t save them somewhere, they’ll be gone with the wind and you’ll miss out on potential solutions that could make your business more effective, innovative,  profitable, fun and memorable.
Take the lead to create a space to save all ideas. If people tell you “I don’t have good ideas“, reply: “…tell me all the bad ones you have“, as Seth Godin would say.

2012 is another chance to make every minute count, every penny. Look around your business, your context. Are you saying you’re doing things differently already? Try harder because you are not. Do you have great ideas but the C suite can’t envision them? Get creative or get out of the comfort zone.

2012 is your best shot.

The year is about to finish and again, we managed to accumulate another big pile of business cards. There are several solutions to tackle that problem such as CRMs, business diaries, even card scanners. However, do you know what was missing until now? A smart integration with our LinkedIn contacts!

Yesterday I started using the free Cardmunch app, built by the LinkedIn team. Here’s how it saves you time:

* Scan the business card (like in the picture) and if you’re happy, upload it.

* The app will process the data on the card and match it with the same person’s LinkedIn contact!

* Finally, you will get a record of the card at the very top of the contact page and if you scroll down you will see more valuable information about the professional plus all connections in common.

* You can also add notes for each card.

* From now on, all business cards travel with you and every time you pull one, you will get a lot more than a piece of paper 🙂

Have a look at Cardmunch in action:

Note: This new iteration of the app went live yesterday. Currently, it’s only available for iPhone and in the following countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and US.

Have you tried it? What do you think?

Last Sunday I visited the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Going to a museum is not necessarily the most engaging experience. Thankfully, I was wrong.
Despite the small size of the facilities, it caught my eye how this museum managed to capture the audience’s attention and retain it for longer at specific spots. The trick? They used smart storytelling. Let me explain.

Anyone could give a shot at using storytelling for their company or brand, but chances are you’re going to spend some quality time finding a good angle. It’s worth it, since it is often this what makes all the difference.

In the museum case, they could have chosen a basic storytelling move, maybe by adding sound to the statues of Charles II, John Flamsteed (first astronomer) and John Harrison (clockmaker). Instead, they decided to go with live actors and you know what made it even smarter? They could have had artists impersonating the very main characters but instead the stories where told by random citizens of those years. For example, a man that lived close to the observatory would tell us about the building, how the Greenwich Meridian was created and why it was moved a couple of times. Then, on the second floor, a lady by the name Ruth, told us about her family business – selling the time – in the streets of London, including what a day in her life was like.
I found that fascinating. If we were to go back in time that’s exactly what we would probably be: “random citizens”. The story became more engaging since we were able to learn history through the same lenses.

What are the takeaways for your business?

  1. Pick a good angle for your story: Ask yourself, “if my prospect will potentially look for what’s on my company’s shelves and didn’t know we exist, how can we conduct a story in which she/he can feel identified and closer to my brand?
  2. Pick a good character: Give this person / animal / thing,  a name. Make it unique so the message amplifies easier and the character resonates longer in people’s minds.
  3. Inject humour: What your character says, along with good body language will make your story memorable. The artists from the Royal Observatory would always do something small, simple, silly to keep us hooked and smiling. Cisco are great at this:
  4. Repeat your story in strategic spots online and offline: Maybe the video you made is not exactly for all segments. Think about where can these people see your message online (e.g. specific pages of your website) and offline (e.g. specific events)

Have you used storytelling in your business? Could you name some good examples you’ve seen?

I’ve been thinking about (and witnessing just like you) the future of books and publishing for a while now. Ever since I bought my Kindle a year ago, not only have I read more in general but I have also become very interested in the publishing space. As a result, I’ve been following initiatives like the Domino Project and naturally the different moves by Amazon and its competitors.

The roles of the writer, publisher and distributors are forever changing and intertwining in different ways where at least one thing is certain: If you are in this game you’d better adapt and reinvent.
Last week I listened to Seth Godin being interviewed by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Here are some thoughts on the writing landscape. I’d love to know your opinion.

On the times we are living

There seems to be a consensus that we are living exciting times in which the author can connect with the reader at whatever level she chooses to. The physical barriers previously imposed by gatekeepers and by the lack of the very technology to communicate don’t exist anymore. Things like blogging, webinars, podcasts, email marketing, Skype, are accessible to any writer that wants to reach out to her community of readers and engage at some level.

I think the keys to understanding what the new space means for authors and publishers reside exactly in knowing if that desire to communicate beyond the book is paramount to all writers or mainly a necessity imposed by the “social wave”.

Let us look briefly at the imminent shifts before going back to what the author desires or doesn’t. I would like to leave out of this post the monetary advantages or disadvantages of the new landscape. However, at a general level in order to look at the scenario we can say that 3 facts are changing the economics of the publisher-writer-audience relationship:

  1. The role of the publisher as a risk taker who believes in a writer to provide an advance & then help market the book is becoming obsolete since writers can now “pick themselves” as Godin says.
  2. The fact that anyone can become a writer and self publish from one day to another means that there will be over-abundance of content and noise.
  3. Since the old model was based on the scarcity in shelf-space, spotting an opportunity to have something written and then marketing the book to people made sense, together with the advance apparatus and so on. This has become obsolete due to ebooks solving the scarcity problem (advantage?) and “you may also like” technology in sites like Amazon.

The new role of the publisher

Godin is currently an innovative breed of publisher (particularly focusing on point 3) through his Domino Project, where he is trying to change all-things-publishing as much as possible. The fundamental shift he is successfully achieving is that of proving that seeking for buyers is not the way to go but keeping an active community of readers that await your next release is the best solution in a sea of noise. I’m a Domino Project subscriber and have bought some of its bestsellers because I’m part of those like-minded readers who envisage a good read in most of what Godin (or his “cousins”) bring out. The reasoning in my simple mind seems to be “any friend of Seth can be my friend”, and that’s how the sale happens. But Domino doesn’t want to be a “social-community-builder” for selected writers. I think I’ve even heard Godin say in an older interview that he only picks authors that “get-it” and already have their community, which I guess makes sense. Domino is a publisher based on permission-marketing, relevance and promise-keeping.

The author and the future

Let’s go back to what the author wants. It is easy to think that every writer wants to connect with readers and be more social. After all, those are the times we are living, right? I suspect otherwise and I believe Seth does too (if you listen to the interview he shares how a lot of people apply to be “picked” by him even if he strictly says that he doesn’t want applications). Many people don’t want to take the initiative and would much rather do what they do best which is writing and then let the publisher do the rest. Yet, it is inevitable that in a noisy world, authors who want to sell will have to work at keeping their community of readers (buyers) ready for their next release somehow. Seth says in the inetrview that those who are not willing to engage should find someone to do it for them. Someone like Domino? Possibly, but remember that they don’t pick authors that don’t “get it”. I guess what this means is that it is only a matter of time before many publishers reinvent themselves mirroring practices from Domino Project but accepting applications. Since the abundance of content and noise is inevitable as well as the quality decrease in books, these publishers will more likely be less picky than the precursor. It really hit me in the interview when Godin clarifies that Domino is in fact a Project (that will end). I think I understood that he will inteligently move into the next innovation before the unwanted copycats come in.

What does the future look like then?

I believe there will be 2 big author groups in the years to come:

  • A minority of go-do-it authors who will enjoy and assume the post-writing-engagement capacities (think Chris Brogan, Brian Solis in the Social Media world for instance). To this, we need to add the upcoming young authors who are already “wired” for social (think about a boy who is now a 16 year old but will publish his first book in let’s say 3 years time).
  • A (temporary) majority of authors who would rather hand over all pre-post-writing efforts to a new “social-relevant” publisher that will promise the captive community of readers.

This is probably only the short term. Would you agree? What does the longer term look like? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Most of the times, marketers are so busy that replicate activities year by year without questioning if what their doing is still effective or will have a positive impact towards the company’s set goals.
When it comes to events, you will realise that, for example, you have been booking the same stand at the same event for years (just because your company “has to be there”) and haven’t taken the time to assess the (new) event objectives. Then, you will need to come up with tactics that will impact the ideal outcome.

Besides the traditional activities that you have been executing all these years, here are a fresh bunch of social media ideas by platform to boost event results (please share more tips in the comments below):

Main content hub (or Blog)

  • Create a microsite or dedicated landing page for the event with all the relevant information. This should be built several months before the event if possible.
  • Publish blog posts about the event but more importantly around the main topics to make it more engaging. Remember that there will be a lot of people that are not aware of the event, so if you focus on providing valuable what’s-in-it-for-the-audience content, many will feel identified with certain problems and feel  that the event is a must.
  • Consider using Tumblr.com. If you’re short of time, Tumblr could help you launch a blog as landing plage for the event. You can easily publish videos and photos during the event straight from your mobile, on the go.
  • Implement a chat widget for live chat. We use Zopim.com. It will give you powerful, real-time insights and the ability to chat with people that have questions before and during the event for instance.

LinkedIn

  • Register the event and check attendees’ profiles. Then click on “recommend” from the event page to give it more exposure in the stream of updates.
  • Add selected professionals to your LinkedIn network, always with a custom (relevant) message.
  • Create a LinkedIn Group for the event. Steer discussions, especially before the event.
  • Use LinkedIn mobile to check profiles on the go.
  • Promote the event through individual & LinkedIn company status updates.
  • Run LinkedIn targeted ads.

Facebook

  • Share blog posts about the event and updates.
  • Share pictures from the previous year.
  • Make clear, as much as possible, what’s in it for the attendee through visual status updates.
  • Promote (tag) speakers, partners, colleagues, borrowing their audiences.
  • Post video teasers of the event and maybe videos and interviews from last year’s event.
  • Launch FB Questions (Polls).
  • Run Facebook Ads in parallel.
  • Depending on how your company is using Facebook, you might want to consider creating a Facebook event page and add it to your page.

Twitter

  • Create a dedicated event hashtag.
  • Use Hootsuite to track all segmented conversations.
  • Use Twitter mobile to track mentions/connect on the go.
  • Be ready to answer any questions.
  • Promote speakers, partners, colleagues, borrowing their audiences.
  • Tweet the news: Share photos and videos before, during and after the event (always use hashtags).

Foursquare

  • Create venue & name event (sponsors shouldn’t do it).
  • Leave tips for your event so people that check-in can see them.
  • Interact with those that leave comments.
  • Track all check-ins & follow them on Twitter. Ideally add them to a specific Twitter list (track page insights).

Email Marketing

  • Create a clear call-to-action on the event microsite or landing page. Add a “pop-over” sign-up form if possible.
  • Build the email database months before the event.
  • Add  QR codes in your event booth and ask people to scan them to sign up to your email newsletter. Ensure that the landing page is mobile friendly!
  • Segment lists accordingly (by topic, main interest, etc) and email updates along with “what’s-in-it-for-me” content.
  • Be careful with the frequency of email campaigns.
  • Email to all subscribers a branded ebook or white paper with industry insights captured at the event. The shelf life from these documents could go from 6 to 12 months.

YouTube, FlickR, Slideshare

  • Upload all  videos, photos and presentations to the correct platforms. Ensure to enter a good title, description and tags.
  • Embed them on the blog / microsite.
  • Consider live-streaming the event with Ustream.tv or Livestream.com. The latter currently implemented a Tumblr-type solution to also share photos and comments on the broadcasting page.
  • Upload all presentations to Slideshare to facilitate sharing.
  • Record video testimonials & interviews. Don’t limit this to your own team. You can gain a lot of brand exposure by hosting/moderating conversations with industry leaders.

What have I missed? Please share your tips below.

Grab the “social media marketing tips for B2B events” snapshot from our FlickR album.

I recently decided that I was going to own a game console.
Anyone that has been properly bombarded by marketing messages will probably tell that the fight in this field is between XBox (Microsoft), PlayStation (Sony) and Wii Nintendo). Naturally, my first task was to get informed about the different devices before executing.


I started off by reading online reviews but didn’t help much since all the consoles seemed to have clear advantages. The next step was to ask a couple of friends personally. I ended up hearing great things about PlayStation and Xbox (Good bye Wii).
On October 24th,  I decided to ask my Facebook and Twitter friends (with an obvious “I’m-ready-to-buy message) but, since I tagged the manufacturers, I really expected them to reach out to me first and help me decide or offer a special deal. I also used hashtags (#gameconsole #videogames) so my message could be discovered by other people or companies that might have wanted to help me.

The Results: Are you surprised at all?

Xbox, PlayStation and Wii never appeared. Maybe they’re too busy counting money and didn’t find time to help a prospect ready to buy
Their Facebook pages have millions of fans. The walls are restricted to their posts only so, we could say that based on that setting, they didn’t see my message.
But Twitter?
It’s very easy to see who’s talking to you on Twitter. It should be used by these brands as a customer service tool but hey, if you have a PR company, busy pushing messages there, they might have better things to do than talking to a prospect or customer, right?

Our post from last week was about Twitter for business and how your message gets lost. That was proven again in this experiment.
Facebook was clearly the only saviour. The platform facilitated the connection between my message and my friends (thank you guys!). Despite any comment we might have about Facebook’s algorithm, my post was clearly seen and received immediate feedback the very same day.

On November 6th, I bought an Xbox 360 game console (special thanks to Benito!) with an additional wireless controller through Amazon (Better price and free shipping).

What decision/s have your social media connections helped you made recently?

I may be wrong but in the past few months I’ve decided to talk about Twitter only at a small number of trainings. “But Fred, I follow the official Twitter numbers and they have been clearly growing. Also more people seem to be using this social network“. Well, that’s one of the problems. According to the audience, I prefer to focus on platforms that may yield better and faster results.

Here’s the deal: The more people you “follow” the busier your stream gets and the harder it is to digest the information. Only a minority of users know how to use Twitter really well, building a true listening station so you can read specific conversations, avoiding the clutter.
There’s an increasing amount of people using Twitter. The number of people they’re following happens to be increasing as well. The problem: There’s too much noise and people don’t see your message as often as they used to.
Those of you that have been using Twitter for a few years: Do you remember when you published a shortened URL in 2008 or 2009 and tracked the clicks along with response time? Your content would have traveled very far in a matter of seconds and get at least 5 to 10 immediate clicks. Now, you’ll be lucky if you get 1 or 2 clicks in an hour. Don’t take my word for it. Gary Vaynerchuk is going through the same problem…

So, is Twitter a bad tool now?

Twitter is still a powerful, real-time communication tool that can help you connect with customers and prospects. You will perceive the most value when people talk to you (publicly or privately) and you’re able to conduct short conversations.  Publishing doesn’t have the same impact and your content won’t resonate much. Last year, Brian Solis said that the life span of a tweet was one hour. I believe, nowadays, that has probably dropped to one minute possibly.

Conclusion

When you define your customer/community and start working on your social media strategy, do consider Twitter but be very careful on the expectation.
If you’re a big brand or company that has a big portion of the audience on Twitter and/or many mentions already, you may expect to receive immediate interaction and faster results. On the other hand, if you are a small or medium sized business, you may find Twitter a good place to listen to strategic conversations and also have a dedicated real-time channel, available to connect with customers and prospects. However, do not count with a quick, tangible ROI.

How is Twitter working for you currently? Share your story below.

The location-based social network has recently celebrated 10 million users and also won the battle against Facebook Places. However, loads of businesses are still trying to understand how to use it to their advantage. I don’t blame them. It’s not very straight forward. It’s a matter of being more creative than with other social networks.

We did a post last year about Foursquare for business networking, but I came across a great video interview with a company that provides feedback on how and why they use this platform.

The Corcoran Group sell multimillion dollar apartments, mainly in New York. Their approach consisted on leaving “tips” for specific locations such as shops, bar, restaurants, etc. Why on earth would a busy, money-making company, be leaving tips on Foursquare?

Matthew Shadbolt, Director of interactive marketing, shares some great insights  (short video at the bottom) but, here are three BIG ones:

  • “The idea of how you find a great apartment, has much more to do with what’s around the building or apartment itself, just as much as what’s in the apartment. We call this: going beyond the four walls”.
  • “We believe it’s helpful to guide people around the city through the lens of the Corcoran group’s expertise”.
  • “Foursquare is a great place for us to share local insights and expertise and transfer what real estate agents have always done but in the mobile space and in a more meaningful and helpful way to our audience”

What I love about this approach is that is focused on helping prospects and customers in line with business objectives, rather than interrupting them with marketing messages. By facilitating the access to deals, they’re presenting themselves as a company that knows the area,  improving their positioning in people’s minds.

Thinking beyond four walls

This post is not just about Foursquare. The idea is that you can see more than your own company in the big picture and work in sync with an ecosystem that will make your brand more powerful than if you’re the only one pulling from the rope.

I can hear already Management asking: “So, what’s the return on investment for every tip, tweet, video we post?”. That’s a valid question, but it’s up to you to broaden their views, painting a bigger, more beneficial picture about how can your company be more successful. It will help to first build a strong purpose to back up any plan. In the case of Corcoran Group, they didn’t start with “we aim at X amount of tips that will return X amount of leads”. There’s nothing wrong in measuring that. It’s better to understand first the “why” behind what you’re doing. Example: “We believe it’s helpful to guide people around the city through the lens of the Corcoran’s group expertise”. Find your angle.
Obviously, as Matthew explains in the video, Foursquare is not a stand-alone tactic but rather one piece within their overall strategy.


Tactics don’t last forever. Twelve months from now, the company might no longer see big value in Foursquare and may move on to another platform. If your problem is time, simply don’t juggle with five platforms at the same time. Start small. Focus on small wins that can demonstrate specific results and you’ll gain trust from the board. Hopefully, time and also resources will be allocated to your social media programme gradually.

What social media ideas have you tried beyond the four walls?

By now, we’re all familiar with the status updates bar implemented in our LinkedIn profiles. That’s one of the main ways in which we share news and what are we up to with our business network.

LinkedIn recently made an imminent move: Enabling status updates in company pages.

Subscribe to me on YouTube

But, I was already receiving company updates

Those posts where not customised but automatic. LinkedIn generated company updates every time a job was published, a new professional was hired or left the organisation.

Who can see my company-updates?

On the upper right of your company page you’ll see the number of people following your company. Every time you publish a post, it will appear on their stream of updates.

What do I post in my company page?

If you start using this new channel to publish press releases and corporate communications only, you will annoy a lot of people. Try sharing something of value such as your own blog posts, industry news and trends.
Start by publishing two to four updates a week and see how followers engage with your posts. Professionals won’t expect you to post as often as in a Facebook page so it will take you very little time.

If you have any comments on this new feature or questions, share them below 🙂

During Q&A sessions after training or speaking events, one of the top questions I get is: “Social media is important to us and we want to do it, but we don’t have time. What’s your advice?“.

First of all, let’s have a look at the current situation. The year already started, objectives have been set and budgets allocated to each department. Before you find time, think about funding and/or resources for this new initiative. Getting funding means that budget X will be taken away from other projects within your organisation in order for you to execute yours.
Once you have this clear, here are 3 basic points that will help you build your business case and hopefully find that precious time:

1. What’s the plan and how will it impact your goals?

People tend to think about social media as this “separate thing” on top of what they’re already doing. That’s not sustainable. A social media programme should blend gradually with what you’re already doing to help you achieve the same goals. Period. Otherwise you’d be just giving yourself and your team useless “homework”.
If you devise a medium or long term plan that makes sense by showing the necessary steps to improve X outcome (financial or non-financial, according to the department’s needs), you’ll be in a much better position to sell the project to the C suite. If you succeed, priorities will hopefully change. For example, you might get help from other resources within the company or maybe a new hire. You might also be relieved from certain tasks in order to execute this new initiative. The most important point is that you’re making sure that management won’t pull the plug of your programme at least in the short term, giving you the time to get started.

2. What current activities are not working?

Get together with your team and make a list (as big as you can) of all the tasks you perform throughout the day, even the very little ones. Then assign a time in minutes to each one of them. Once everyone shared the results, your objective will be to focus on those activities that have been going on for a while (or not) and that have demonstrated unsuccessful. The next step would be to assess if they can be replaced with activities of your social media programme. Through this exercise you might find hours of new “available” time.

3. Leverage your community to create fresh content

Many companies understand the potential value of a blog as a main hub in their digital strategy but they also see it as the biggest obstacle: “How do we commit to regular fresh content, how do we write good posts, what do we talk about?“.
You can learn how to produce good content very easily. One of the  ways to find time to publish more posts is by not thinking of you as the only content producer. A core step when devising your social media strategy lies on defining the persona of your ideal customer and also your community (people, brands and companies that don’t necessarily compete with you but share the main general topic). If you are a technology company , then people within the community could be: engineers, distributors, partners, installers, official body representatives, etc. Make a selection and invite them to contribute to your blog (your stage), explaining that they’ll be exposed to a relevant audience. Example: The distributor (even if they distribute other competitor’s products) could write posts for buyers that are looking at ways to go through renewals/ assessment processes more efficiently. The engineers could share insights on how to select a given product line/ family. The installers could cover DIY processes or how to put an adequate team together for X or Y initiative around a given technology. You get the idea 🙂
This tactic could help you find that time, keeping your blog content interesting while generating win-win relationships with your partners.

It could feel overwhelming at the beginning, but if you work on a good plan (on your own or with help) and are confident that your social media programme can yield results, you’ll find the time one way or another.

In which other ways would you find time?

If your company has already faced the “time problem” and moved on, how did you manage to overcome it?

It’s always fun to work with industries that still have a lot of room to become more relevant and visible by harnessing web tools.

Last week I delivered a social media training day for property managers.

Even though it was just an overview, there were certain platforms that generated a very positive impact.

I’ll share four with you today:

 

Sales and Marketing

By now, many of us would fall into the assumption that QR codes are being used massively. That’s far from right. I realised, after my research, that the property industry could hugely benefit from them. Think about people walking by a house that has your estate agency sign with the “Sale” or “Let” printed on it, or maybe walking by your very office with loads of properties showcased through the window.

What would you like people to do? (Big question). You want them to “take action”. We know prospects will not buy straight away but we want them to “learn more”, make it easy to access relevant information about a specific property.

Wouldn’t it be great to scan the QR code straight from the window, save the property I’m interested in along with all pictures, price, exact location and other details?

Customer Service

In my recent training, most of the property managers in the room were involved in “community management” at a higher or lower level. It’s very important to listen to the conversations from tenants and find out how you can help them while building a better reputation for you and your company. Let’s also keep in mind that a visible record of interactions could be crucial to reflect a job well done and help a property or facility manager renew contracts and win new business. The idea is that you proactively create an online space to host and facilitate those conversations.

The first example is a “Closed” (private) Facebook Group. Many people have Facebook accounts so using this platform could be a good way to spark the conversation straight away without any learning curve or adaptation period. Good and bad feedback will be provided in the threads but if you could be there to answer questions, take some of them offline, avoid escalations, set expectations and try to make that property a better place you would be achieving a great goal.

If you don’t want to use Facebook, you may create (also for free) a private hub with a solution like Yammer. This internal communications platform is being used by all types of companies around the world. It does look 99% like Facebook so it would be easier for users to adapt and you can conduct the same level of community management discussed above.
You can measure success by tracking numbers of questions asked, number of replies provided by your property management company, number of positive versus negative comments, etc.

Finally, a tool that had big impact during the training was Zendesk.com, an online support platform where you can organise all your customer queries through “tickets” and ensure you respond in a timely manner, improving customer satisfaction. Many property and facility managers told me that situations like tenants calling numbers for help or asking many questions can turn chaotic. Zendesk will facilitate team work and allow you to channel all queries through one dedicated email (e.g. support@yourcompany.zendesk.com). It’s also easier this way to visualise that there are no problems (tickets) pending.

What makes it even better is that this platform released their “voice” service so you can log and track the same aspects but through telephone calls. It will be available in Europe very soon.

What other web tools would you suggest to professionals in the property management business?

harnessing web tools

Last week we meet Fred Destin at Techhub. He is a venture capitalist, partner at Atlas Venture, that came to present: “Startup life-cycle: taking your company from idea to maturity“.

What we’ve learnt in just 90 minutes was gold dust. As a result, we’ve worked on the twenty one main takeaways from Fred’s valuable talk and at the end of the post (yes, there’s more!) you can enjoy the full presentation 🙂  (Thanks geirfaysson.com for the picture)

 

  1. Pick a co-founder. Single-founder startups are hard to back. Note: Two or three are fine. Four equal co-founders probably means a “disaster”.
  2. Don’t get married too fast. The typical scenario is the tech guy that looks for the business guy and viceversa. Take the time to work together first. Don’t build and scale immediately.
  3. Make sure when you start to have zero fixed costs and that your family understand what you’re getting into. You should expect to dedicate about 10 years of your life to your startup.
  4. “Lawyer-up”: don’t start giving away equity and hiring people if you don’t know what you’re getting into. Get a lawyer ASAP.
  5. Consider “reverse vesting”: Ideally, all co-founders must carry the same weight. However, if this is not the case, for example, in three or maybe four years your partner is no longer with the business or decided to cover much less that he originally committed to, their stock should drop.
  6. Equity is scarce. Use it wisely.
  7. Most of the companies fail not because of their product but because they misunderstood market requirements.
  8. 30% of all code is wasted in unnecessary features.
  9. “Data lives outside the building”: You think you know what the market wants but you’re probably wrong. Instead of coding, take your developer with you and go out see your clients.
  10. Learn and discover before you execute. Don’t ever spend your money until you clearly know what you’re going to achieve with it.
  11. Ignorance is a starting point. You think you know about marketing to users, you probably don’t.
  12. Repeatability is the key. You can build free automated companies.
  13. If you only ever build companies that solve already identified problems, you’re not changing the world.
  14. Google analytics is not “tooling up”. Most of the companies suck at Metrics. If you don’t tool-up early on then it gets worse. You get tons of data you cannot interprete.
  15. 30-million dollar businesses go bust everyday. Getting big revenues is not enough.
  16. Giving too much money to a startup is toxic. It’s very difficult to have a lot of money in your bank account and not be influenced. It takes a lot of maturity in a founder to take her time and not spend a penny until she knows how she’s going to spend it wisely.
  17. Premature scaling is by far the number one cause of startup death.
  18. As a startup you will be fighting organisational obstacles all the time. So, keep your processes and decision making simple and your people engaged.
  19. Recruitment will become your number one issue when you scale.
  20. MVP: bring a Minimum Viable Product early to the market and get contact with users to learn what the market really wants.
  21. Recommended books: “The Four Steps To The Epiphany” by Steven Gary Blank, “The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, “Business Model Generation” by Alex Osterwalder. Follow also VC and  B2B expert David Skok www.forentrepreneurs.com

Subscribe to me on YouTube

By now, most of you acknowledged the importance of online video.
Its phenomenal growth is transforming companies and the way they interact with prospects and customers. However, there are numerous sectors that haven’t embraced it yet. One of those opportunities lies in manufacturers.
Here are a few useful tips (One by department).

Sales

Professionals that sell solutions to distributors know that a sale doesn’t close immediately and that “lead nurturing” is highly important. One of the ways in which you can generate an immediate impact with a prospect and stay longer in their minds is by being unique.
Online video messages make you memorable
. We started using them two years ago and it has worked really well. We took our personal video messages to the next level last year by creating private video-message-pages on our site. Now prospects watch the video in a more relevant context. The idea is that the person connects with us through any of the calls-to-action and obviously can navigate our site and learn more.

Customer Service

Your reps collect feedback from customers face-to-face and via telephone. Pay attention (and tag if possible online or on a piece of paper) what type of product is being mentioned the most, especially those with challenges. Take down as much information as possible about customers’ questions and suggestions.
Ideally, by now your company has a blog. With all the data collected, work with the relevant department to make progress on those changes. Once that’s clear, produce a video where you acknowledge the issues with the product, thank your customers for all the input and finally set expectations in terms of how the company will overcome the challenge (e.g. improve product, replace it with a new one, information about recalls, etc).
Once you make a video post, including a good title and tags so more relevant folks can find you, here’s what’s going to happen:

  • You’ll be producing a piece of highly relevant content that many people will read/view and interact with (comments)
  • You’ll be leaving on the web a public valuable breadcrumb that will contribute 100% to you company’s reputation
  • You’ll make your company more approachable since you’re clearly listening to customers and facilitating a solution (Making things easy)

Marketing

Uploading your TV commercials and promotional material to a video platform is OK, however it’s far from really embracing online video.
The whole idea is that you serve your community. Videos like the first example above would certainly do that and the best of all is that it’s also a piece of marketing 🙂 Just because you work in the Marketing Department it doesn’t mean that videos that you upload must have a “corporate message”.
So, how can you be different? Live video is a phenomenal option. I’m sure you have product launches every now and then. Why not showcase your new product and the experts behind it LIVE to anyone in the world? You may use professional live streaming service such as  Livestream or Ustream as the ideal platforms (For optimum results and piece of mind, use paid versions which start from $350 and $400 dollars/month respectively).
The idea here is not to get rid of all the traditional methods by which you promote your new products every year. The goal is for you to own a global platform that will offer you a bigger and cost-effective reach, while offering your prospects and customers an opportunity to engage and ask you questions.
One great example is Cisco, a manufacturer that “shaved $100K off their product launch using social media“.

What other online video tips would you add?

I recently finished “Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition” by Michael Stelzner (affiliate link).

Let’s start with the verdict: Yes, go for it.
Let’s follow with the a word of caution: Read it with an open mind and ignore the type of business Michael is in (content business).

Michael is the founder of Socialmediaexaminer.com, a magazine-style blog focused on the latest trends and advice for social media marketers. “Launch” is a comprehensive content marketing strategy book which at the same time describes the author’s journey bringing Social Media Examiner from nothing to a 1 million + USD turnover business.

As the title suggests, the book is full of space travel analogies and the author calls the main principle sustaining all content marketing strategies the “Elevation Principle”.
It makes sense and it is in line with what people like Dale Carnegie, Seth Godin or the guys at HubSpot have been saying for ages:

Great Content + Other People – Marketing Messages = Growth.

In other words, people are tired of being hammered with unidirectional marketing messages and companies making it all about them. By making it all about people and giving away great content that solves people’s basic problems companies can actually reach out and connect in a more meaningful way that results in business.

My Take-aways

The book is full of great case studies ranging from B2B companies like Cisco saving thousands with social media & content generation to B2C players like Procter & Gamble reaching out to Dads through Manofthehouse.com . If you focus on those case studies you will surely find common angles and techniques that you can use in your own content marketing efforts.

Besides the elevation principle, which should be at the core of the content generation programme, Michael clearly works with the space travel analogy by defining primary fuel & nuclear fuel.

Primary fuel is content that you offer to your community on a regular basis, for free and that solves basic problems.

Nuclear fuel is special content that you release occasionally and is so interesting that attracts the attention of many people.

In our case for instance, this blog and our regular YouTube videos can be regarded as primary and our occasional webinars and the Social Media Summer Twist Contest, nuclear.
I really liked this definition and we are already even using it at the agency because it helps us explain strategies better. The important thing about it is that it clearly addresses the need for all companies to become a publisher in some shape or form if they want their online strategy to be successful but above all sustainable.

The author’s background is in copywriting and white-paper production. Therefore the book is full of tips and techniques to produce and re-package content in meaningful ways. It is also quite based on the strategies of a hardcore content producer like Social Media Examiner so that’s why I gave you that word of caution at the beginning of the post. Still, if you stick to the case studies, strategies and techniques and avoid feeling overwhelmed by lack of resources (trust me,  you shouldn’t), you will get a lot of value out of your reading.

Finally, what I liked the most about the author telling his story is his cheekiness in getting things done and reaching out to people. He once needed 3 renowned judges for a contest but didn’t have enough credentials for the judges to show interest in him. In order to tackle this, he sent the same tweet to the 3 at the same time, addressing one judge and referencing the other 2 “Ann, would you be willing to be on a panel to judge a social media contest with join Scott Monty and David Meerman Scott?”, “Scott, would you be willing to join…”. He obviously got the three on board.

I’ll leave you with that last anecdote.

Have your read “Launch”? Are you going to?

How good is a gladiator without his shield, sword and body armor? Well, before he could put all that on in the first place, he had to train for years, even practice with a wooden sword. At some point he reached a high level of preparation that made him strong mentally and physically.

Right there, that’s how good he is. Getting the latest armor will not necessarily make him the best against others. The shield and the sword are simply extensions. They protect him, make him reach farther and win more battles.

Too many professionals see social media tools as this separate thing, as something that will make them magically win business, customers, etc. The equation is pretty simple: if your business, product and service are not good enough, social networks will not revert that for you.

I interviewed John Jantsch, founder of DuctTapeMarketing.com and author of the book, “The Referral Engine”.  He said something similar: “…It does all start with being referable. If you’re not doing something that people want to talk about, no amount of reading my book is probably going to change that“.

Think of a bad book. Even if an effective team of digital marketers make it go around the world through social media, all they’ll be achieving is “reach” but not what matters: good reviews, loads of people talking about it and spreading the word.

I recently thought about some business that came to us via Twitter and LinkedIn. I pictured the entire scene: The lead, that post we published, the relationship we’ve been building throughout time, that coffee we had… and one day the “social media phone” rang. That simply facilitated the entire process, it gave us constant visibility of each other and a platform to stay in touch, that ultimately even became the glorious messenger for the business query. It was the quality of the information, the way a concept was explained, the answer to a question what really closed the deal. Social media was just the facilitator, our extension.

What do you think?

How many times do we ring 0800 lines and while we battle through the 56 options provided, at some point we hear the glorious “Your call is important to us…” bla, bla bla? How many take this seriously?

One of the reasons why the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) gives you too many options is because the company is generating intelligence to measure all the different funnels and also because, in most of the cases, they can’t afford everybody to talk to a real person (The goal is to achieve a positive service level with a limited number of representatives while controlling costs). That’s why, as an “alternative” (most of the times useless) the machine would invite you to go to the company website or get a recorded piece of information.

Would it be fair to say that most of the people would love to talk to a human being ASAP when they ring these Sales / Customer service lines? It would be a VERY good start. Then, of course, they would expect to talk to a knowledgeable professional that will help them with the query.

Your call is important to us” is by now a cliche; something with very low, to no impact at all, but you know that already. If you really mean it though, here are three basic steps:

Start by listening and interpreting data

Use the valuable insights from your IVR and social media monitoring tools. Listen, discover, categorise and tag (label) conversations and topics. This way, you will be able to prioritise answers / acknowledgements to those folks that are more likely to call your hot-line soon (especially on high-call-volume days). You will be able to assess time allocation to specific social media sites if the volume proves to be relevant.

Impact:

  • Richer forecasting
  • Cost reduction opportunities based on volume of online conversations.
  • Reduce the Abandoned-Call-Rate
  • Cost reduction per rep: Social sites could be handled remotely.

Capitalise on velocity

Let’s say your call centre holds a total of 100 reps between Sales and Customer Service. A good test would be to have three reps from each division to handle conversations with customers and prospects on on Facebook, Twitter and/or forums. Create a spread sheet and make the team record daily/hourly: numbers of questions answered, topics, suggestions, escalations, etc. On high-call-volume days, you could even have one or two reps from other divisions (e.g. Quality Assurance) to pick up the “social phone”.

Impact:

  • Reduce number of inbound calls while improving Service Level.
  • Improve Average Call Handling Time (ACHT).
  • Improve customer satisfaction rate.
  • Social proof. Brand awareness generator.

Build a powerful lead generation channel

With all the information provided by the IVR, social media tools and feedback collected from the representatives, break down the data by topics, then by month and year.
On one side you will know what the hot topics are (you may create a “top 10 customers’ questions” document). These are topics that a big percentage of your reps are repeating daily, affecting handling-time and number of calls taken. If this content goes online, publicly available 24/7, it  will help your customers and prospects to find answers easily and reduce frustration. On the other hand you will visualise how the topics vary according to a specific month or season. This will allow you to create more powerful content ahead of the game for certain periods of the year! Great content = Lead generation

Impact:

  • Increase leads and revenue.
  • Get found by more prospects.
  • Grow a steady community around your brand.

These are just three broad examples.  What’s your experience? Have you tried something similar in a contact centre?

Yesterday I attended Dan Zarella’s “Science of Social Media” Webinar, where he demystified plenty of assumptions in social media marketing effectiveness.

Old laboratoryHere are the 5 facts that surprised me the most. But before I continue, a couple of caveats:

a) Dan claims that his assumptions are based on correlation and not causation.

b) These discoveries not necessarily go against best practice , they simply aim to prove what works and what doesn’t in terms of reach.

5 interesting claims:

  1. Engaging in the conversation doesn’t result in more reach, sharing interesting content does (links). Dan run an experiment confirming that accounts with under 1000 followers are more conversational while accounts with more than 1000 followers tend to share more links. He also got admin access to important Facebook accounts, confirming that loads of commenting didn’t result in more views but sharing loads of interesting links did. I assume this has to do with people re-sharing interesting links and this gaining more visibility in Facebook compared to the visibility that one’s own commenting gets towards your network.
  2. More blog commenting does not translate into more views or visits.  Again, another experiment analysing popular blogs from an admin perspective and finding no correlation. This one is a dubious one in my opinion, especially in relation to the commenting system the blog uses. For instance, if using Disqus or Intense-debate, which allow users to identify themselves with their Facebook account, their comments gain visibility in their Facebook stream too. Commenting system aside, I’m also not sure in statistics terms what level of sampling would be needed and how many assumptions should be made to reach something like this. It’s good to consider it anyway.
  3. Taking advantage of “information voids” is effective: Dan suggests that researching unanswered questions and producing content to tackle them work. It sounds obvious, but how many of us do it? Do you have a Twitter column open with your typical industry keyword and a question mark so you can serve people?
  4. Friday’s and weekends can be good days to publish:  This is another logical one but not everyone takes advantage. It’s simple, during weekends people receive less email and streams are less cluttered, therefore you can typically have more visibility (please don’t discontinue your work-day efforts though!)
  5. Social proof and novelty are different (my favourite one): Dan ran an experiment with 2 given blog posts, altering the “tweet button” and running an A/B test. In one version the tweet button was fixed to show zero tweets. In the other version it showed 776. Dan (and I) would have assumed that the one showing more social proof would be shared the most but it is actually the contrary. What one needs to understand is that social proof is good for mitigating risk (you choose the restaurant full of people over the empty one to reduce the chances of an awful dinner). Once you understand this, you need to combine it with “why people share things”, which is partly because they want to be seen as a reference/ authority. So using a tweet button has probably not much to do with risk and more with our egos. Bottom line: When it comes to sharing, nobody wants to be 777th person breaking the news. You could argue that this is valid for breaking-news-content and not for more perennial content and you would probably be right. My takeaway is that we need to experiment more with sneak-previews to a privileged segment, if we want to maximise the chances of our content being shared. We also need to offer social proof in more clearer risk scenarios (e.g. email subscribing), where phrases like “1000 people can’t be wrong” may mean a lot to our visitors. 

This is just my selection of interesting facts. You can grab Dan’s latest book here, which is free for Kindle users for a limited time. I’m nearly half way through it and I’m liking it, even if I don’t agree with some statements. But that’s the way it should be right? Regardless, I think the book makes a tremendous effort in moving away from a lot of rhetorical industry talk, which is something anyone with a bit of “social media saturation” requires 🙂

Have a look at the full presentation below and please share your thoughts.

Even though a few rumors started on Friday, August 12th, the big news hit on Monday 15th. Yes, Google bought Motorola Mobility for approximately $12.5 Billion.

From last Friday until today (almost five days) our social media monitoring software pulled 346,229 mentions (and counting) about the “Googlerola” deal. Let’s take a look at some insights:

Where did conversations take place?

This should be no surprise to most of you. Twitter dominated the scene with over 81% of the mentions.

Can Google+ kill Twitter? No way, unless Google introduces a game-changing move.

 

 

How did the trend in conversations look like?

The obvious spike in conversations happened on the very 15th (135 thousand) with most of the mentions neutral (spreading the news). I would have guessed that the deal would have generated more than one big spike.

The topic is pretty much dying out in terms of mentions after 48 hours. Maybe, it means that in general, people don’t really know what to expect.

Where did the news resonate?

The US is naturally number one. However did you imagine Brazil and Japan in 3th and 5th place? Looks like Canada has reacted to the news within the past 24 hours (Based on difference in mentions from last week)

What relevant keywords are showing around the topic?

Without digging into sentiment analysis, we can see on the conversation cloud that there’s no presence of negative keywords (at least for now).

What do people think?

Mashable published this Poll yesterday. The results support the tag cloud above.

What’s your opinion about the Google-Motorola deal? Is it a waste of cash or a valuable strategic move for Google?

When most professionals think about social media, brands like Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Old Spice, Best Buy among others come up in their minds. It makes them believe that this is a B2C world. The fundamental difference between B2B and B2C sales is that the former has more decision makers in the middle. What both have in common is that “people interact with people” in a direct or indirect way.

Social media in the B2B world is easier because you can benefit from the journey of building deeper business relationships, you can get to know and discover people better. The B2C world is extremely fast-paced: Pushy decisions and transactions must happen right now as opposed to the B2B mechanism.

B2B sales professionals can embrace loads of different tactics. The reason why most of them do not apply them is because they see social media as something separate, like homework. Here is a valuable selection of four tactics that you can blend with your current activities and put into practice straight away:

1) Generate warm calls

When you make calls to prospects, ensure that you first visit their company’s website to learn a bit more. Then go to LinkedIn’s advanced search and enter the name of the company (select “current” otherwise you will get results with people that previously worked for that company), ensure that “Country” and “Location” are correct and finally hit “Search”.

All you need to do after that is look for professionals with a title description that matches the person you want to talk to or at least,  a title close enough. When making contact, use that name or more to get closer: “…I would need to talk to someone that handles partnerships. Would that still be Mary Higgs or maybe John Right?“. In my experience, when you put your foot in the door with a name, the rest becomes easier. Even if you make contact with those folks you found on LinkedIn and they can’t help you, they will put you in touch with the right person 8 out of 10 times.

2) Discover new leads

You may listen to relevant conversations in different sites but try to build your own listening station, where you can track everything that is only relevant to you in just one spot!

This tactic consists in creating Twitter columns (I suggest Hootsuite.com since you can create sets of columns under labeled “tabs”). Here’s an example of the columns you can build:

  • Community: Create a Twitter list with that name and track everybody that’s mentioning your company and retweeting your company news.
  • Colleagues: Build a list with everyone in your company that’s on Twitter.
  • Competitors: Create another list to track all the players in the competition to check what they’re up to and unfold opportunities.
  • Keywords: Track key-phases (up to three per column) in relation to your products, services or a problem.
  • Check-ins: Think about all relevant business spots. For example: business venues, coffee shops (that you go to), partners’ offices, competitors’ offices, etc. Track who is checking in at those places. Simply click on people’s profiles to learn more about them and decide if it’s worth following or inviting them for a coffee straight away.
  • Prospects: Include those professionals that you’re getting closer to in a separate list/column. Replying to their tweets or retweeting them will make you stay in touch and keep the relationship fresher.

3) Make yourself visible

In the previous step you built a spot to listen to all relevant conversations. LinkedIn should be the record of all your business connections. Yes, do use a diary and CRM system if you want but LinkedIn will give you something unique: exposure and visibility of your business network.
Before or after a meeting, people will Google you and/or look you up on LinkedIn (assume that).

If prospects find an incomplete profile or nothing, I’m not saying that you won’t be able to close the deal but, you will be missing a great opportunity to stay closer to your potential customer and maybe closing that sale even sooner.

4) Emails and business cards

You use them already everyday! If you simply replace your fixed email signature with a “social signature” and share the URLs of your Twitter and  LinkedIn accounts on your business cards, you will be providing not just more points of contact but also dialogue channels. Your prospects may decide to ask you questions and stay in touch through any of these platforms.

Over to you:

What other tactics that have worked for you can you share?

“What does your company do?” and “How can your products or services help customers?” are two basic and crucial questions for any company. The way they decide to answer them will make a HUGE impact (positive or negative) in the short and long term. This is not an easy job at all, especially for those businesses in constant change. But don’t worry about it, just for now.

One of the main problems for companies trying to convey “what they do” and “how they help customers”, lies on the starting point. They are explaining the value through their own eyes and not the prospect’s. For example:  “We’ve been more than 20 years in business” or “we pride ourselves on providing the best service” or “we do X, Y and Z”. Can your company stand out that way? Can it help prospects and customers understand why they should go with you instead of the other folks?

Try telling a short story in 6 steps

  • Step 1: Gather as much feedback as possible from your existing customers. Trust me, you will be surprised more than once when customers tell you what they think your unique-selling-point is.
  • Step 2: Step into your customers’ shoes. Once you start seeing your company through their eyes, a few things will change in your perspective. Now that you are a “customer” of the company you work for, how would you explain the value? Think about “the problem” that you, as a prospect would have and how could you  find a solution.
  • Step 3:  Only once you complete steps one and two, create a character. Come up with name for a potential prospect (it could be yours or any name). Then start telling/writing a story about this prospect in the third person. Describe a typical sequence (step by step) on how they engage with your company until they become a customer. Write the scenes in different paragraphs so you can understand each step and edit it separately. As a reference,  370 words will fit in a two-minute video.
  • Step 4: Be creative. Once you have all the steps, run it by different people in your team to ensure that the story has an angle and that it is simple to understand for your target audience.
  • Step 5: Once the hardest part is done which is “coming up with the story”, the rest is just technical. Work with your designer/animator to make it happen. Then choose a voice-over professional or anybody in the company that could do this, and finally, good background music (if needed). To facilitate decision-making within the team, you could ask your designer to upload the video as “unlisted” to YouTube (only those with the link can see it) to avoid sending heavy files by email.
  • Step 6: Keep in mind that this might not be a video that you will only do once. You might need to tweak it or re-do it down the line. However, in the meantime, imagine everybody in the company explaining, with consistency and through one simple video-message, how can your products and services benefit customers.

I know, it’s not so easy. It was challenging for us also but we followed these steps and came up with our short story 🙂 Enjoy!

Subscribe to me on YouTube

If you cannot view the video Click Here

Brands and companies spend millions every year in a quest to achieve awareness and transactions. They do it basically by crafting campaign after campaign. Some of them will yield better results than others of course.

Here’s the BIG question (and problem) with the “saviour campaign” approach: Who is manning the front desk while we work on the next campaign?

There’s nothing wrong with marketing campaigns. They must be part of our strategy. However, all we’re doing is engaging our brand in a series of microcycles that reach their peak but then crash without building up brand equity neither endurance in the long term.

 

The secret lies on staying very focused on your listening stations and connecting with your community of customers and prospects… all the time, and not just in-between campaigns.
There are several ways to know how well you’re doing. For example, comparing month-to-month the number of queries from people, the number of answers delivered by your department and others (IT, Sales, Customer Service). You can track those indicators per day or if it’s too busy, I would suggest even to break it down by the hour to get a better perspective about the busiest times and proactively request back-up, as it would normally happen in an inbound call centre.

Being available to your community all the time (“Business as usual”) is perceived as more valuable than showing up only when you have something to sell. The best example is the Old Spice campaign. Many said it was one of the most successful social media campaigns because it was creative and delivered ROI. As Gary Vaynerchuk geniously pinpointed later: “Have you paid attention to the Twitter activity from the Old Spice account after the party was over?” Their official posts reduced dramatically. That was a clear indication of how much Old Spice cared more about the campaign itself than people.

The goal would be to build blocks that elevate us, reaching more people every time we launch a new campaign. The only way to do this,  is by genuinely engaging in conversations with our community while we plan the next campaign.

Every time, the Twitter or  Facebook “phone” rings, be there to help: Deliver valuable information, acknowledge relevant comments, answer questions, feature followers. If you want to achieve endurance you must earn people’s trust along the way.

Remember, it’s showtime 24/7 now. You can’t just go on stage only to increase sales, people will notice 🙂

There are loads of monitoring sites or applications, however my impression is that companies find it a bit overwhelming and time consuming.

Even though this activity could certainly take time, depending on the level of listening that you need for your brand, there’s a very simple way to get started, building a platform in which you can keep track of all important conversations. All this can be done in less than ten minutes!

I made this short video on how you can customise Hootsuite.com to make it work for you as a true listening station, ensuring that the main part of your monitoring activity gets done in one spot 🙂

The video below will show you:

  • Customization tactics
  • How to add a social network, stream and tab
  • How to filter conversations

Do you have any other listening tip on Hootsuite or suggestion? Leave a comment below.

Subscribe to me on YouTube

A few weeks ago we shared a video with valuable tips on how to listen to your LinedkIn network, then we wrote about three deadly mistakes to avoid. Today it’s time to unfold opportunities you’ve been missing on this phenomenal business platform.

First, I’d love to share with you the real KEY to seeing results on LinkedIn as a general rule: Achieve a perfect balance between integrated offline and online activities.
Many professionals that use LinkedIn see it as an “after-work”, “homework” activity when this should be blended in your activities every day. Let me share three examples:

Maximise networking and prospecting efforts

I was at a tech event last week and met with a trainee lawyer. She seemed to be doing really well meeting with everybody in the room, shaking hands, smiling, connecting. I asked her: “If you don’t see me in six months, how will you remember my name, what my company does or maybe what I’m up to?
Chances are that you will come back to the office with a few names/companies in your head and more likely several business cards. Will you let all that go?

Simple solution: Proactively ask every person you’re interested in: “Are you on LinkedIn? Regardless of the answer, then go and connect with them! Remember: It’s all about quality, not quantity of contacts. Over time, you will start visualising a very relevant network that will help you stay connected and updated even if you haven’t made face-to-face contact in a long time! The word “relevant” means that you’ll see the faces of people that you shook hands with and not strangers. There’s a lot of value in that.

Maximise personal and business exposure

There’s a lot of activity on LinkedIn. For example: people share news, go to groups, answer questions, etc. However, here’s the big opportunity missed: Your profile.

Let’s think about it. What’s one of the main goals on Linekdin? That professionals discover you and end up on your profile in order to learn more about you and your business. If that important piece is incomplete, they will bounce off and all our efforts to drive relevant traffic to you will not provide any results. It would be the same as turning up on time at a specific business event and not knowing what the event is about, not carrying business cards (equivalent of not having links on your profile pointing to your website or blog) and finding out that instead of wearing business clothes you’re actually on shorts and flip flops!

Simple solution: Have a 100% complete profile, embed a blog, add a presentation about your solution, include all links to your site, blog and Twitter account and very importantly, make sure that you check your security settings. In my opinion your profile should be as public as possible, otherwise people will find no picture or very limited information from you 🙁

Maximise your reputation record

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to request a personal recommendation (shows on your profile) and a business recommendation according to one of your products or services (shows on your company page). Both are important but I’d say that the personal one is even more important because that one moves with you. If tomorrow you work for another company, different project, etc, that recommendation stays with you.

Here’s the important question: Are you proactively asking for recommendations?
As active professionals, we meet loads of people, works on several different projects and as a result, we certainly delight many customers. There are very little chances that they will make a move and recommend you, therefore you need to go ask for it. Don’t be shy. You will be surprised at how many people will do it with pleasure.

It strikes me that, for example, people that work for companies find themselves running after managers to have them write a “letter of recommendation”. I’m not against it, go ahead but, come on folks: How many people will see that? Your potential future employer only? WHY? That should be public 24/7, for anybody in the world to learn more about you who you are.

Simple solution: Have you just finished a project with a client or an internal team? Have you done a good job and some people could clearly vouch for you? Then request a recommendation please! Also, become proactive at recommending if you can vouch for somebody. You will certainly surprise them and contribute to their reputation 🙂

What opportunities have you or professionals you know been missing on LinkedIn?

 

Maximise

Fear is the lone barrier almost every product and service has to overcome in order to succeed.

This phrase really got my attention while reading a post over at Seth Godin’s blog. It suddenly made sense and got me thinking about all the possible fears that prospects may go through when flirting with the idea of hiring our services. I came up with a list that can hopefully inspire you or serve as a kick-start template to do the exercise on your own offer. It’s broken down by our 4 main services and I considered 2 types of fear: of future circumstances and monetary fear. In this post I only look at the fears and not how to tackle them. I’d like the list to serve more as a template and not be too self promotional, so let’s stick to the catharsis mode.

Here’s my quick compilation of the possible “inner obstacles”. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Common-Fears-When-Hiring-a-Social-Media-Agency
You can download this list from our FlickR profile

Have you experienced any of these fears and can you add to the list? Have you identified any for your own services?

We strongly rely on LinkedIn for business networking.
Two weeks ago we shared how to listen on LinkedIn, today we’d like to show you three heavy mistakes that professionals make on this platform, causing a negative impact on their reputation.

1. Do not grow your network as a stranger

Before LinkedIn existed, were you on a race to get more business contacts in your diary? You added only a few relevant professionals and more likely after meeting with them. If you use LinkedIn to connect and stay in touch with people that you met personally, chances are that it will be easier for them to remember your face and what you do. It doesn’t matter if that comes down to 100 connections. The number is not important, the quality is.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. You may connect with someone that you consider very valuable, that might be in a different country/continent (Book writer, industry authority, etc). However, when you do this, please explain why you want to connect with them. Bottom line is, either case, you always need a custom message to connect on LinkedIn including the person’s first name.  Example:

2. Do not ask for a recommendation if people don’t know you

Would you vouch for people if you don’t know who they are, what they do and more importantly, haven’t done business with? Of course not. Then, please avoid messages like the one below. Ensure to have a complete LinkedIn profile. Not having a picture makes it even worse. Remember: customise the message. Avoid the robotic templates like the one below:

3. Do not use your valuable business network as an email marketing list

First of all, your LinkedIn connections haven’t opted into any email newsletter from you when they accepted your invitation. If you are going to send a private message to one or more LinkedIn connections there has to be a good reason behind it. Example: asking a specific question to people in a specific industry, seeking for specific collaboration, etc. The keyword is “specific“. If you start using LinedkIn to send random messages to your contacts, you will lose credibility and damage your personal and business reputation. If you’re going to send a private message, ensure to always address contacts by their first name. Here’s how not-to-do-it, below:

What other mistakes have you experienced that negatively impacted the reputation of a LinkedIn connection?

“TechHub is a new and exciting  space in London for tech companies, entrepreneurs and others in the tech industry from across the UK, Europe, the US and beyond.”

“It’s a community space reflecting the vibrancy and global outlook of the technology scene.”

We’ve been networking at Techhub since last year and recently became members. It’s a phenomenal place with a creative atmosphere, full of talented people.

After meeting many great start-ups, as video bloggers we thought it would be cool to do one-minute videos featuring who they are and what they do. We also created a short intro to make the videos look nicer 🙂

The first two featured companies are:

Subscribe to me on YouTube

By now, most of you know that LinkedIn is an indispensable business platform. Many people go the extra mile by using it to connect with professionals and stay in touch but, how many use LinkedIn as a listening tool? How many take the time to read and understand what’s going on in their own business network and discover business opportunities?

I use LinkedIn everyday and in several different ways. When it comes to listening, I’m sure there are dozens of fantastic techniques. I would I appreciate if you could share them in the comments below.
I’ll share with you today my two powerful tactics. As a result, you will stay very informed about what’s going on within your business network and also pinpoint key professionals within your industry or topic to build relationships with.
The best part
: it takes only ten minutes a day!

The following video includes:

  • How to tweak your stream of updates to access specific information
  • How to search for past and live conversations around a brand or keyword
  • Additional insights from “Search Updates” page

Subscribe to me on YouTube

When companies aim for “awareness” they are mainly looking for attention: “How can I get people to acknowledge my brand, product, service?”.

The problem with that approach is that it limits the view and results by having the company/ brand in the center or stage with as many people as possible “watching the show”. Then, those of us that successfully become “aware” of brand X wonder: “Is this what we want to see? Am I interested?”. As a result, many people would either stay or disengage and leave.

But…

What happens to the huge awareness opportunity that a company gets by becoming “aware” of each one of the members of their community? What would happen if more companies would stop rocking for a second and made an effort to learn about those folks in the front row, and continue with the rest? Wouldn’t the audience be prepared to give them real-time feedback? Wouldn’t the brand/company be in a better position to show on stage great stuff that their audience is dying to see?

Awareness can’t be unidirectional. Our friend, Dale Carnegie would say: “The world is full of people that are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual that unselfishly tries to serve others has enormous advantage. He has little competition…”

This year, the well known world-leader conference,  G8, provided an interesting addition: The e-G8; a new summit of global Internet leaders (also in Paris, May 24th and 25th). The goal was to advise the G8 leaders on important issues related to the Internet.

We drilled drown into all the relevant conversations about the  e-G8 conference to learn more. (Keywords tracked: eg8, e-g8, #eg8. Time period: past 7 days)

Conversation trend

We registered 74,361 mentions. It looks like the opening (and maybe the fact the it’s a new thing) has the most impact. I would have guessed that the second day would have had more resonance, especially with Mark Zuckerber’s talk.

What were the main keywords mentioned?

We can clearly see Zuckerberg, Erich Schmidt as the main Internet leaders mentioned and John Perry Barlow @jpbarlow and Tariq Krim @tariqkrim as one of the Twitter accounts with the most resonance.

Where did most conversations happen?

The scene was clearly dominated by Twitter. However, we couldn’t fairly compare the conversations with those on Facebook since the monitoring software can only pull what’s not set as “private”. 3,378 blog posts in the past seven days, seems quite reasonable. The most important posts though, will be those coming up in the next few days. Will country leaders read at least a piece of them? Hopefully.

Conversations by country (Including difference from previous week)

There weren’t surprises for the first two countries, however Germany has gone from the tenth to the fifth place in 24 hours.

Negative Vs positive mentions

Most of the mentions were neutral so we hid visibility of neutral posts to drill down into the positive Vs negative comments. Surprisingly, the opening day (Tuesday 24th) with the most mentions also had record negative comments ( @jensbest played a big role here. He was massively retweeted). On Wednesday, the coin flipped and positive mentions outnumbered negative. Loads of the conversations with positive sentiment on Wednesday quoted Mark Zuckerberg.

I hope the analysis was useful. If you want to research further into what was said on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th you may download the e-G8 conversations HERE

The professional mourner is a historical occupation practiced in near Eastern cultures which started more than 2,000 years ago and is still practiced in some countries. It consists on families paying women to mourn at funerals. Prices vary if you want to include or not tears. Why pay them? These women provide social proof that the deceased was loved.

In Japan, you can hire spouses, best men, relatives, friends, colleagues, boyfriends and girlfriends for parties and public appearances…

How many brands and companies are taking tempting shortcuts to stuff their email database with thousands of irrelevant people, get more Twitter followers and/or increase by thousands their Facebook fans?

What all the examples above have in common is the key phrase “optical illusion” and that they only have impact on once-off events.

Let’s say you are working on developing a sustainable social media strategy to present to your CEO and one of the goals reads: Acquiring 10,000 Facebook fans…

What’s the purpose?

Every time I ask that question, very few professionals are able to answer it specifically. The majority would provide a general answer that consists on “increasing sales and revenue”.

The confusion

If we go back to the specific “goal” of 10K fans mentioned above, it would look like the idea is to increase reach (In your head: reach = traffic, visits, unique visits, impressions, clicks through, revenue). Yet, when I ask what the purpose in this case, the answer I’m given is about sales and not reach. Stay with me.

Translation

Does your company want 10,000 new Facebook fans or 10,000 net new customers acquired through Facebook and/or other platforms? Maybe, you’re simply looking at a target of just 200 more transactions for Q4.

The idea is to use social media as a platform to support your existing business objectives. Coming up with all these amount of followers and fans as main goal will:

  • Deviate you from your core company goals
  • Tempt you to go for shortcuts to inflate those fans/followers to justify your social media programme
  • Frustrate you: Building a community with people that don’t care about your brand and will never buy your products and services, will simply not improve anything at all.

The point is not to avoid fan targets. The point is to first respond to the main objectives and then work out secondary targets (like fan acquisition) from there.

Have you gone through any similar experience when working out your strategy? Please share your thoughts and experiences below 🙂

Last week we made the special announcement on our Facebook page that Channelship became a Techhub member. We where then invited to an informal chat with Jimmy Wales, the father of Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.

This is part of a new cool initiative by Techhub called “Start-up stories“: a series of talks with known entrepreneurs, sharing with us how they started and how they made it.
It was a 1-hour, very relaxed chat but we captured 14 powerful minutes in the video 🙂
Because the group was fortunately small, we had room for Q&A. I picked Frank Bradley‘s question for Jimmy (Minute 12:15).

In the video Jimmy shares:

  • How he started and what he did do for a living before Wikipedia
  • Why his first two-year attempt failed
  • The uniqueness of Wikipedia
  • What can you learn about how Wikipedia is being used?
  • My question (by @FrankBradley) “Do you see an ad-supported Wikipedia in the future?”

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Just in case you are not aware, if your company blogs, tweets, facebooks or produces video, you actually are in the content marketing game and have effectively become a publisher.

According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute: “the biggest challenge for corporate content producers is to actually come up with engaging content all the time”. Due to the overwhelming abundance of content out there and the imminent catching up by competitors or simply better content producers that your company who is giving the first steps, this race can feel daunting.

A great part of content marketing nowadays is a mix of compelling information, entertainment, reach, openness and a big dose of personal touch nurturing that mix you present to your audience.

No one can create 100% engaging content all the time just like no event is 100% satisfactory to everyone; neither is a get-together or any social endeavour. However, your company can take a strategic approach to connect with your target audience and support business goals. Should you aim for perfection? Yes, of course. Even if you know that along the way you will land some nice triumphs,  some average interactions and the occasional hiccup. It’s about following a strategy & also making adjustments but commiting to repetition of the core pillars (more below).

Assuming your team has got the skills to produce good content the key is that, according to the business function they represent, these individuals are fully aware of the goals and possible benefits for their business wing so that their creative process is fully in line with the direction.

Here are some ways in which your team may have the business goals present in their minds (obviously the team needs to be creative enough to avoid the hard-sell):

Sales

Ask collaborators to produce content in line with the different stages of the buying process. A blog post or video, even pictures can cater for stages such as the consideration stage, comparison stage, closing stage, etc. Think how your possible buyers think and make it easy for them to have questions answered even before they ask them. Have a look at this great article over as Social Media B2B covering more about these stages.

Purer Marketing/ Promotion

Remember about entertainment. Even if storytelling is nowadays a buzzword, it is what the community wants and engages with. Ask your content producers to abandon the hammering announcements and build your messages around stories. I am not asking you to create a sitcom (although if you can, people may like it). It’s down to internalising the story as a vehicle. Let me give you an example before I get too abstract: If you are pushing a new product, change in the company, partnership you can present it to the community in a video/ post that actually walks the viewer through how this novelty came into being. For instance, when we opened our London office we created this video in an effort to escape from the typical written announcement.

Publicity

Is your content likely to be picked and shared by authorities & influencers? For instance, is it written/ formatted in such a way that it is easy to be grabbed by an important journalist or blogger who may want to write about it? You cannot artificially generate this interest by others but you can certainly ask your content team to keep best practices in mind and also an eye on the type of content your target influencers are fond of. Then, simply be consistent. Thanks to Ivan Walsh for inspiring this thought.

Customer Service

Even though we are all in the customer services department, senior customer services people in your company should probably take the lead on content production. These experienced people should aim to cater for the different stages in your particular customer services matrix. This could come down things such as tutorials or explaining after-sales processes better.  Why not bring in storytelling to the equation and showcase how you solve specific problems or a client’s success story with your department?  See how Zendesk go about this concept. Ask your content team to also share how you make things better based on complaints (e.g. based on this backlog we have done this and that and rewarded patient clients with X).

Community Building

Caring about the people who relate to your company has always been a business function. We all know that this has been neglected for years and is now changing back to what it should be, with the help of social media and the consumers’ resonance. Ask your collaborators to listen to what the community wants (literally see what key individuals have “liked” “tweeted” or even criticized). Sense what makes them tick and take a leap to try to meet that need. The more you do it, the better you get. The more you serve them, the more room they will give you to actually present brand new inputs that they were not looking for but they like, because they come from you.

Now go and review your content strategy. Is it supporting your business functions? I know for a fact after writing this post that we have a lot to work on here too. Let’s get down to it and if you feel like, leave a quick comment below, we can all do with your great examples and thoughts 🙂

 

 

You would probably agree with me that one of the pillars of any successful company lies in repeat customers (repeat business). It is an art indeed. If it was a science or formula, anybody could just follow a manual.

It blows my mind how many companies still play catch up on absolutely everything, racing with their head facing sideways (to ensure they have a good view of their competitors) but never straight, looking into their present, their customers and their near future.

I’m a Groupon customer and  bought a few good deals already. The main reason why I like Groupon would be first, convenience (they are an effective middle man), but mainly because through their deals I get to do stuff that I would never do if I had to come up with the idea totally separately. Price comes last in the list.

Now that I got my customer view out of the way, I must say that unfortunately, many companies offering deals through Groupon barely think about customers. If Groupon doesn’t work with their partners, educating them on how to deal with hundreds of bookings and more importantly on how to you provide a good experience, the business will suffer very soon.
The truth is that many companies barely make money since they are in the quantity game, offering their products/services with a 70% off, so not too much room for a margin there, right? Here’s how everything goes to hell:

  • Many companies that succeeded in making a deal irresistible and got loads of people buying it, make it terribly difficult for customers to book a spot for the experience
  • They are not prepared at all to handle such volume
  • They clearly don’t have a plan to deal with customer overflow
  • They treat you like cattle: “this way please, you have only one hour, here’s the exit…Next!
  • They don’t even engage with you onsite (VERY important) (no questions from the staff, no interaction whatsoever, no live feedback) I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen because 80% of the staff that day is not even official! (just hired for the event)

This is not a post about Groupon. The problems mentioned above apply to thousands of companies going through the same problems right now.

How could this be easily fixed to truly multiply your business?

First of all, when you have a strategic approach that aims at a very low price in order to hit a high amount of potential customers, what’s going to make all the difference is that you treat those hundreds of people as if they where already loyal customers. Give them your best, delight them, enchant them. You don’t get 500, 1000 people through that door everyday. Yes, you’re not making that much money either because everybody is coming with a huge discount… but that’s not the point.

If you ONLY focus on winning the heart of those hundreds of new people that decided to try your product or service, chances are that they’ll stick with you and the magic that started this post, “repeat customers/business” will naturally follow.

As you may imagine, you can only  make the time to care about your customers if you plan it:

  • Know your limitations: It’s tempting to take 4 times the amount of bookings that you can handle. Set an expectation! Don’t play with people.
  • Train your staff: They must share your passion for customer satisfaction and understand that without it, nobody has a job. Period. If you need to hire temps, you would need to take more time to ensure everybody executes well.
  • Talk to people onsite: ask them how they like your product/service, look for stories, ask them if they came with friends, if they spread the word, if they were already into your service. Finally, smile (genuinely) and ask them to come back! They’ll always remember.
  • Ask them to share their experience through their own social networks: Brands and companies are missing out on a HUGE opportunity. They should be eager to provide the best service and then ask them to share the love. Don’t be shy. They will do it for you! I promise (Ask them honestly, don’t push them or spam them later).
  • Excel: These sort of experiences should be a great exercise for you and your staff. If customer service is in your company’s DNA, you’ll be ahead of the game. Execution and people’s perception mean everything.
  • Thank people publicly: Those that spoke about you, thank them openly through the same social network (not privately). Make them a connection and start a proper relationship. Again, please don’t spam them after that. Self promotion should be under 10% of all your posts in the different social media streams. Remember: you’ll never win the race for attention.

What other ideas can you share? Please, leave a comment below.

 

 

Most of you are already familiar with the famous “Like” button that Facebook introduced. Pressing that button or “liking” stuff has become a daily activity for millions of people.

The power of a Like is so big that it was replicated in many other sites. It went even beyond social media platforms and now you can see Like buttons in almost every web page (Especially since now, what you “like” appears on your Facebook stream giving brands, stories and people more exposure) Finally, the Like button even contributes now to Google rankings!

But let’s talk about the Like button for business. Beside the obvious move of “liking” stuff because you found something interesting, there are ways in which I use the LIKE button for business networking. The social networks I use to do this are naturally Facebook, also LinkedIn and Twitter (in this case, you won’t find a Like button but a “Favourite” one instead)

How to LIKE for business networking

In the past, we would probably see business people, that we wanted to network with and learn from, every now and then. That could also mean months or even years! The beauty about social networks is that you can constantly know what your business contacts are up to by just watching the desired news streams. However, by just reading your network’s updates, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re networking or that your connections know that you are reading (or there at all).

When you LIKE on any of these platforms, you are:

  • Telling your business connection, “I’m here, I support you”. That acknowledgement transmits a very powerful vibe and massively contributes to longs term relationships. For example, there are people I haven’t seen in at least six months or more and the only fact that every now and then they “Like” one of my posts or comments, tells me that they are still part of my network, that they still want to learn from me and they want to stay in touch. On the other hand, it encourages me to stay in touch with that professional and reminds me that I need to maybe read their stuff more often.
  • “Liking” on Facebook or LinkedIn is the same visual experience, however, people “Like” a lot less on LinkedIn that Facebook. The advantage that you have there is that when you Like on LinkedIn, it’s easier for people to notice! On Twitter, when you click on “Favourite” on a message, a tweet goes out to your followers saying that “You just favourites X tweet/content”. In this case, you’re giving your business contact the desired acknowledgement but also a nice push to their message 🙂
  • “Likes” on web pages: Now, every time you click on a Like button outside of Facebook, that piece of news, article, website, etc, will show on your Facebook Wall and Live stream for all your Facebook contacts to potentially see. That’s very powerful. In this case, you’re not just telling your business contact “I’m here” but you’re also helping them spread the word!

“Liking” has become part of our lives. Simply keep in mind that the click of a simple button can also be used to build solid relationships throughout time.

Over to you: How do you use the Like button? Share your story below!


Many things are scarce in this world but I’m sure that “attention” is one of the scarcest resources of all at the moment.
Brands and companies believe that this new online world is about more and more campaigns. It’s not. Really?

Start by thinking about how you use social media. Are you using it in the exact same way as TV, radio or newspapers, pushing a message? Those with big budgets might get away with a few thousands new fans and followers in a good campaign but, guess what’s going to happen as soon as the eye-candy finishes? Users will switch off and forget about you.

Being in the “attention game” can never (ever) pay off. There is a way though, that if it’s done well, can make your company successful and remarkable. That is by making the decision of being in the “Relationships game“. Oh, did I mention that is far less competition there?
Note: you must also truly care about your customer. If that’s not in your company’s DNA, don’t try to fake. People with notice 🙂

I can’t agree more when Gary Vaynerchuck says: “The ROI of a company’s engagement with a customer scales in proportion with the bond of the relationship“.

Why is so difficult for brands and companies to see this?

Because the corporate world has scaled everything so much (employees, production, infrastructure, etc) that forgot about the simple things.
Is it so difficult to see that if you listen to your customers, talk to them, delight them you’ll win their hearts and they won’t disappear after the party (campaign) is finished?
Explanation to the boss: Delighting customers translates into more repeated sales, word of mouth and an increase in customer-lifetime-value. There’s your ROI.

What’s your experience in the “attention” or “relationships” game?

 

Second video-answer from our “Free Social Media Summer Twist“.

Here’s the set of fresh social media ideas, straight from Tenerife for our next winner:  “Allgifts.ie“.

Remember that one more company was chosen so stand by for the final video next week!

The goal of these video-answers is to deliver, in a unique and engaging way, free ideas for Marketing & Communications Departments and make companies memorable using social media.

Have a look at the video and please leave a comment below. Did you enjoy it? What else would you suggest to “Allgifts.ie”?

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Thank you very much to all the businesses that made a submission for “Get a Free Social Media Summer Twist“.

We just came back from Tenerife where we brainstormed a few cool social media ideas and created a video answer for the first company selected: a unique energy shot called “5 Hour Energy” .

Remember that 2 more companies have been chosen so stand by for more fun videos in the next two weeks!

The goal of these video-answers is to deliver, in a unique and engaging way, free ideas for Marketing & Communications Departments and make companies memorable using social media.

Have a look at the first video and please leave a comment below. Did you like it? What else would you suggest to “5 Hour Energy”?

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Many companies have already taken that big step setting up their own YouTube channel. This is their official video content hub, an invaluable resource not just for the business itself but for all brand followers. Those thinking about getting more exposure and views would certainly be interested in getting more people to subscribe to their channels and also increase the amount of repeated visits. As a result, I have worked on a short video that shares three simple and cool ways to achieve that. Please, share your comment below. Thanks. Subscribe to me on YouTube

Isn’t it incredible that a colossal invention like the telephone, was not widely appreciated for the first 15 years? People did not see a use for it. In fact, in the British parliament it was mentioned that there was no need for telephones: “…we have enough messengers here.”

Western Union believed that it could never replace the telegraph. In 1876, an internal memo read: “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” Even Mark Twain, upon being invited by Alexander Graham Bell to invest USD 5,000 in the new invention, could not see a future in the telephone (Then it turned into a love-hate relationship).

I honestly don’t think that it will take social media that long to take off. But, wait a minute Fred, social media has already massively spread! Yes, but at the end of the day it’s still only a minority of companies testing it, using it as a true communication tool and even a smaller amount achieving great results.

Forget about social media for a second and focus on the web. Gary Vaynerchuck from Wine Library TV, said: “The Internet is only fifteen years old or so-it’s so young it hasn’t even had sex” (“Crush it” p.133).

Social media is a world of “sneezers” (early adopters) so far. You can still make a difference or wait until everybody tested it and come to you with a proven (and secure) formula. That’s not innovation I’m afraid.

Are you a business owner, a CMO, COO, CEO? Are you a person that can change (for real) the future of a company? Then, what’s your plan this year to innovate, communicate better (internally & externally) and provide the best customer experience? Is social media in your plans? Will you decide to wait?  Please, share your thoughts below.

Today, it’s been exactly one week since Volkswagen launched their phenomenal “New Passat / The Force” commercial that went wild in social networks, especially YouTube (More that 22 million views and counting) . It’s amazing how can a one-minute video can have such an impact

In line with what we did last time, a week after the Tipp-Ex “Bear” campaign launched, this time I’d like to share with you a few stats about the Volkswagen campaign. Sentiment won’t be included this time since it would be a bit redundant. We know how the majority of the people felt about the video 🙂

Performance Vs previous week

“The Force” video was launched last Wednesday, February second. Even though mentions and views are starting to naturally slow down, have a look at what Volkswagen accomplished in a 7-day period: Mentions went up 123% (More than 185K mentions)

Was the video really responsible for this?

Yes indeed. The fact that it was also playing at the SuperBowl certainly helped as well. However, have a look at the circled keywords in the tag cloud. They all belong to the “The Force” video.

Where did the buzz happen?

As you may have imagined, the majority of the mentions occurred in the US, followed by… (surprise) The Netherlands? Yes.

Brand mentions by media type

It does make sense that most of the buzz happened on Twitter and blogs, however you will see that 7.6% for Facebook might be too low. The reason for this is because monitoring software at the moment can only track Facebook accounts that have their data open. There are loads of impermeable profiles that certainly contributed to the mentions but can’t be tracked 🙁

Conclusion

The video was great and probably generated the desired outcome for the Volkswagen folks. Let’s not forget though, that the video/campaign was launched to generate awareness about the New Passat. Bottom line: more people know about the 2011 Passat and hopefully it will translate into more sales. It’s too early though to see the sales but I wonder, if I went out there and asked people what’s the product in the Volkswagen Darth Vader video… will they know?

What are your thoughts?



Some companies’ strategies rely, on a higher or lower level, on cold calling. Isn’t cold calling, real-time calling?

The problem: How many prospects listened to your sales rep finish the pitch and hopefully understood the value of your product or service? We know, very few.

This is not a post against cold calls. I’m not even suggesting that you drop it. Stay with me.

First step: strategic content

Sales representatives know very well their product/service and its benefits. They also know about their competitors.

  • Create “listening stations” and give them training on how to track relevant conversations online about your brand, type products/services, competitors (Google alerts, Technorati, Twitter search, etc).
  • Also train them on business blogging, selected networks, content creation and how should they interact with prospects and customer in real time. Finally, have half your sales force follow the activities mentioned (listening, writing blog posts, making videos, uploading photos, engaging, etc) while the other half makes the calls. Rotate them every week. Not sure about it? Then, start with a smaller percentage of your reps.

The goal: To have a strategic team crafting a quality inbound sales channel and building a stronger reputation while conducting real time conversations with your audience.

This is a phenomenal opportunity as well for the Sales & Marketing Departments to work together as a team (finally!), coordinating blog topics and pipeline.

Second step: Real-time interaction

Have a group of them continuously monitoring specific conversations. Customer service issues could also be sales opportunities. Please avoid thinking “that’s X Department’s job“.

Third step: Build a strong network

Give all your sales reps also a  strategic LinkedIn training. Focus on interaction and long term relationships within the network, rather than teaching them how to send sales pitches through inmails. That will never work. Combine prospecting and follow up with the activity on the phone. With social media, you will also be transforming more and more “cold calls” into “warm calls” based on the strategic information that you can gain from prospects / stakeholders before hand.

This will take time, but if you mix the above activities with offline business networking (especially in B2B), you’ll be surprised at the quality of the network your Sales Department could build.

Fouth step: Include a social signature

We send emails everyday. Why not provide relevant touch points in each message without having to even think about it? Use wisestamp.com or similar so all emails sent by the sales team provide social proof, helping customers and prospects make a decision.

The big picture

Again, this is about building a quality inbound channel while talking to your customers in real time.
All this valuable content (educational posts, videos and photos) that your team is publishing will be slowly attracting a community interested in the topic in your different social networks (this part needs to be harnessed with proactive online networking), also getting indexed by Google and found by even more people. Finally, those interested in your type of product/service will choose voluntarily to knock on your door and listen to you to learn more. This is a total different approach from pure cold calling, which means “hunting leads and forcing them to listen”.

This activity should prove very interesting and rewarding if it’s done right. It will deliver quality, medium to long term results and it should also empower and motivate many of your sales reps. You’re still on time for a positive change 🙂

Have you ever implemented this split strategy? Will you try it?

Are you proactively working on your company’s reputation online? For those of you that still ask “why should I bother?”, then answer: Is your offline company reputation important?

Last week we received a few calls and a couple of LinkedIn questions about company reputation and visibility (looks like many companies are “on a mission”)

I’m aware that many of you are still thinking, delivering when and how you’re going to use Twitter, Facebook and more importantly a company blog (phenomenal reputation management tools). Also, many of you have to even go through several stakeholders, Legal and other departments to deploy your social media presence. However, today, I’d like to share something that you can launch straight away, a no-brainer, something that shouldn’t require many approvals and also a fundamental way to leverage your company’s visibility and reputation. That’s a LinkedIn company page.

I would have assumed many professionals were on board but turns out only a small percentage of companies are taking advantage of this valuable resource.

Why is a LinkedIn company page so important?

First, answer this: what does your business offer and what are people saying about it? The majority of companies would probably have to spend some good time collecting testimonials here and there to finally deliver… by email? A LinkedIn company page portrays all that powerful information in one shot (one page) and it’s available to anyone in the world that wants to check out how good you are, even while you sleep 🙂
LinkedIn is also a strong business network with more than 80 million professionals so the chances that people will visit your personal profile and your company’s, is very likely.

The “Services” tab is one of the hottest additions.  You can load products and services and have your clients leave a recommendation (social proof). In order for this to work, you must proactively ask your customers to endorse your company. If you don’t make it simple for them (provide link), it won’t happen magically.

An opportunity for people to get closer

You can also “Follow” a company on Linekdin. This means that every time there’s a new member in the team, a new opening or people leaving, this information makes it to the LinkedIn news stream and via email reaching hundreds or thousands of business professionals.
Channelship on LinkedIn

3 important bonuses

On the upper right, there’s a useful call-to-action for people that want to learn more and get in touch!
Also, every single tab of your LinkedIn Company page has a spot for you to include a video. This is fabulous since it provides a much deeper taste for your audience. Videos are proven to be super effective tools to educate your community and help them make a decision.

Finally, you avail of free page analytics. All graphics compare your company’s numbers against similar companies.

What’s your experience with LinkedIn pages? Will you set up yours?

I’ve just finished a webinar by Marketing Profs, featuring Seth Godin.

As you know, we are very fond of Seth here and as I was taking notes I decided to share a quick (I said quick, not short) transcript of this useful webinar. You’ll feel that most are Seth’s word and some are mine I Regardless I hope you take away a few things that can work for you and others you know.

Seth is self-proclaimed contradictory, so pick what works for you.

I hope that you grasp why I’m sharing this in this format, sequence and burst; but if you don’t, the hints are the points highlighted in green

On blogging:

  1. Don’t be a generalist. Be a specialist
  2. Break news (breaking is being the first, I think I’m more doing number 6 below)
  3. Write about timeless things!!! (think Zenhabits by Leo Batauta)
  4. Be the first one to blog about something and explore encouraging the  competition to blog about it too.
  5. The more you share the more people come to you, it’s ironic
  6. Announce news
  7. Short bursts are easier to spread because we don’t need to read all in order to feel confident to spread it
  8. Write long definitive posts (contradicts above, it doesn’t matter!) Every now and then it works perfectly. It’s contradictory because there is no map. No magic rule on length of content
  9. Don’t write about your kids or pets
  10. Write about your kids (again contradictory), use analogies he means, still he’s like a modern Heraclitus constantly contradicting himself
  11. Be snarky, nearly libellous (Seth says be careful), accuse (sort of), shout (sort of), be over the top. Pick a fight. It doesn’t make you trustworthy though (I’ll stop to see a car crash but wouldn’t pay for it)
  12. Be sycophantic, spread link love
  13. Include polls, meters and eyecandy
  14. Think about SEO, tag your posts. Black hat doesn’t scale. Seth is obsessed with scaling
  15. COIN a term or two. Whoever coined “blogs” or “the long tail” can be found (Chris Anderson)
  16. Do e-mail interviews. Plenty of people would like to be in front of your audience.
  17. Answer your e-mail (doesn’t scale but it works). Contradiction 🙂
  18. Use photos, salacious are better… lol
  19. Be anonymous (contradictory). Anonymous people have more freedom (a post by a fake Steve Jobs is of interest)
  20. Encourage your people to Digg and Reddit your posts
  21. Post yout photos on Flickr; still spreads ideas. Well curated galleries rule
  22. Encourage your readers to subscribe to RSS. People who depend on “drive by traffic” are in a losers game. The Big game is subscriptions. NY Times would be out of business, Rolling stones too otherwise. RSS to email is OK, but when e-mail becomes spammy RSS through a reader is the way
  23. Take your readers and bring them to a month’s education, linear, step by step. Seth blogs daily, sometimes you spread a concept gradually
  24. Include comments to create a virtual water cooler. Often comments are better than posts
  25. Assume that people visit you at your blog for the first time
  26. Highlight your best posts on you Squidoo lens. Enter your RSS and highlight your favourite post
  27. Point to useful but little known resources (you get the credit, not Google, not the developer). Here’s a resource by the way to find search for free pics for your posts: http://compfight.com/
  28. Write about stuff that people are interested in (gadgets, web 2.0, things for people that are on the web)
  29. Write about Google
  30. If you have ads, they should be even better than your content
  31. Don’t include comments (contradictory). Seth doesn’t allow them because he doesn’t want his writing to be influenced, fair enough. He also thinks that people should comment on their own blogs about your posts (food for thought for the likes of Disqus and Intensedebate or WordPress?)
  32. Don’t use trackbacks, they are broken
  33. No ads. Seth’s a maximiser, and he cannot write the best and be the best advertiser. He only wants to spread interesting ideas so he sticks to that
  34. Keep tweaking your template (you’ll learn a lot)
  35. Write about blogging/ write about Twitter. It works, period
  36. Digest good ideas of other people
  37. Invent a whole new art or interaction (postcards, secrets)
  38. On weekdays there are more readers, traffic
  39. Cover different topics, neverending parade of topics
  40. Post on weekends, more attention (contradictory)
  41. Don’t interrupt your writing with a lot of links. Talk to people quietly
  42. Dress your blog well like your clothes, tipography, colours, pictures, etc
  43. Edit yourself, ruthlessly
  44. Don’t promote yourself and business at expense of reader’s attention
  45. Be patient. Forget an overnight success. Seth is in post 3500. If you can stick to it 3 to 5 years, it’ll work.
  46. Give credit to those who inspired, don’t steal ideas
  47. Ping Technorati, ask the tech guy how
  48. Write about one thing only in deep detail
  49. Write in English (the Language, no irony here, it just reaches more people)
  50. Better, write in Chinese
  51. Write about obscure stuff that obsesses a minority
  52. The goal is simple: Ask yourself if your community would miss you if you were gone. If the answer is no, quit (read “the Dip”, that’s my own comment)
  53. Don’t be boring (comes from previous point)
  54. Write stuff that people want to read and share

If you are still here reading you’ll notice that I missed 3 ideas out of the 57, what do you think about my attention span? Leave a comment below, be kind.

Bonus 1

Why do people spread ideas?

In real space/ real flesh and bone life, ideas are absorbed by way of interruption (ads, billboards, rent space on busy street). Internet works so well because people spread ideas person to person. Here are some thoughts on why ideas spread.

  • It makes “me” feel generous
  • “I” feel smarter
  • I care about the outcome, I want to be generous to YOU (the idea owner)
  • Because I have no choice (e.g. tattoo, iPhone,)
  • Because there’s a financial benefit (like an Amazon affiliate). Most people fail on this watch out
  • The idea is hysterically funny and laughing alone is not fun
  • Everybody is lonely and loneliness will never go away. Give people something to share and they’ll love you
  • Because I’m angry and want to bring it out (flip side of above)
  • Because close people I know will benefit  or all will benefit (Groupon)
  • Because you asked me to and it’s hard not to say no. Watch out on pushing this, but it works.
  • Because I can introduce other people to other people. That’s why people spread Facebook (combination of selfishness to connect to others and believing the idea that connectedness is good).
  • Because if everyone knew this idea I would be happier
  • Because your idea makes it easy to spread an idea I am uncomfortable spreading
  • Because I care about someone that would be happier or healthier
  • Because it’ll annoy someone (e.g. teenagers do things just to annoy parents)
  • Because the tribe needs to know about this to avoid an external threat
  • Because it’s my job
  • Because I love your art, cannot repay you so I have to share it. You see it with great musicians and writers

Bonus 2

Where do these ideas come from?

  • By being innovative (Michael Dell was innovative and then he hired an army of people that weren’t; the company sneezed…)
  • Risky ideas don’t come from watching TV
  • Often, good ideas come from books
  • Good ideas come from bad ideas (look at 30 crappy iPad apps and you’ll probably work out a great number 31)
  • Almost never a good idea comes from an annual review
  • Ideas occur when 2 worlds collide (ballerina dating a weightlifter)
  • Ideas often happen when you need them (just in time)
  • Ideas fear experts but adore beginners (stay naïve)
  • Ideas come in spurts, don’t come forever nor systematically
  • Ideas come from trouble
  • Ideas come from our EGO
  • Ideas come from Nature (Velcro)
  • Sometimes come from fear, but often come from confidence (more powerful)
  • When you feel the texture of the universe, feeling aware, you are most definitely going to have an idea
  • Sometimes they sneak in when you sleep
  • Out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower
  • Mediocre ideas like copying but bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones
  • Ideas don’t need a passport
  • Expose yourself to other universes

Yes, I took a screenshot of the final slide and grasped a thought which I found motivating:

“In this era anyone can play for free, anyone can put an idea into the universe. You are not gonna make it signing NDAs

The new world demands collision and driving without a map…

Go make something happen”

Seth Godin's final slide

Bonus 2

Where do these ideas come from?

Be innovative (dell example in people not doing things because Dell invented the model)

Risky ideas don’t come from watching TV

Often come from book

Good ideas come from bad ideas (look at 30 crappy iPad apps)

Almost never come from an annual review

Ideas occure when 2 worlds collide (ballerina dating a trucker)

Ideas often happen when you need them (just in time)

Ideas fear experts but adore beginners (naïve, just exposed)

Ideas come in spurts, don’t come forever nor systematically

Ideas come from trouble

Ideas come from our EGOOOOO.

Ideas come from Nature (Velcro)

Sometimes come from fear, but often come from confidence (more powerful)

When you feel the texture of the universe, being aware

Sometimes they sneak in when you sleep

Out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower

Mediocre ideas like copying but bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones

Ideas don’t need a passport

Expose yourself to other universes (iata)

Final slide

Anyone can play for free, anyone can put an idea into the universe. You are not gonna make it signing NDAs

The new world demands collision and driving without a map…

Go make something happen

While many companies are still truly interested in learning more about the return on investment in social media, others keep using it as a perfect shield (excuse) in order not to try.

Social media has been sold to everybody the wrong way (I make the word “media” responsible). As a result, a big percentage of companies have the perception that this is something they need to use to “push” a message (exactly like TV, radio or newspaper) and hopefully increase sales = revenue.

I’ve made a quick video to share with you a basic example of Social Media ROI in sales. The keyword of the game, after you devised your strategy, is “patience“, especially when the goal comes down to revenue. Why? Because if you treat people as “disposable customers” (that’s how they will feel), then the question “Now what?” will become a bigger issue than anything else.
It takes time, consistency and hard work to build a reputation and just seconds to through it all away.

Subscribe to me on YouTube

(If you cannot view the video please follow the link: Social media ROI)

It’s also great when social media doesn’t come out of the Sales & Marketing Departments. For example, if it starts in Customer service and/or HR , they will focus more on improving quality of communication and interaction while capitalising in long term relationships (Internally & externally). This moves them away from just being seen as pure “cost centres”.

What are your thoughts?

Last November I bought an Amazon Kindle ebook reader since I received very good feedback from friends (advertising didn’t do the trick with me).

Ebook readers are NEW to absolutely all of us. No one has really a clue what’s like to read on one of these devices until you try it. I was a bit skeptical at the beginning (didn’t see myself reading much with an ebook reader) but I must say… It went above expectations very soon (We don’t have any affiliation with the product)

During this holiday, I read a few books on the Kindle. I made this very short video to share with you five quality tips on how can the Kindle help you and your business in 2011.

(Affiliate Link)

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Have you tried it? Would you consider buying one? Share your thoughts below!

The new year is around the corner. It’s very important that besides reviewing your business metrics and goals, you also think about content. In other words, what kind of quality breadcrumbs will you share with your audience in 2011?

The blog

Our video blog will stay as homebase and core of our marketing strategy. We will continue to publish one quality post per week (which is automatically sent to all subscribers’ by email at 3 and 3:30pm GMT each Wednesday)

What’s new?

We will become better at spreading the value in other networks. We’ll write two to three times a month for Bloggertone.com

We will also do at least one or two guests post for other blogs. One of them will be the Cerfitied Institute of Marketing UK

Bloggertone.com : We’ll spend more time in this space, especially running stronger Sugartones (business blogging contests) with our partner in the US,  Bizsugar.com. We’re already looking for new sponsors to deliver BIGGER prizes!

Online Video

Many of you know that online video is still a huge opportunity. Those of you that haven’t secured a free YouTube channel, please do so. More and more eyeballs are there for your business.

What’s new?

We’ll be taking online video a step further this year not only by delivering more useful videos but also by injecting a higher dose of creativity… Stand by 🙂

Social Media Training

By checking our Analytics and our valuable real time insights by Zopim.com, we spotted significant traffic to our site in the UK and Ireland looking for this service.

What’s new?

We have worked hard on expanding our social media training topics. We provide now more value by delivering (on-site and remotely anywhere in the world via gotowebinar.com) specific sessions according to industry.

Social Media strategy

This will continue to be our bread and butter.

What’s new?

We have made some interesting modifications to our framework so we’re really looking forward to implementing them in the next few months with our clients.

We will be sharing with you some results.

During the week we invest a lot of time in our email inboxes but also meeting with people. The idea of this post is to share with you a few actions, including social media sites to maximise your efforts “before & after” each meeting:

Before

First of all: Why are you meeting? Did you know that most of the meetings are not really necessary?
Chris Brogan made a valid point. Ask yourself: “Is this moving me forward?” If the answer is NO, then try to have a conference call instead. Use Skype for free calls and video calls (you can even share your screen for free).
Use also freecall.com for free calls to most landlines in the world (they also have a very handy iphone app).

The reminder: You might be scheduling the meeting way in advance, or not, but hey… we can all benefit from useful reminders. Nudgemail.com is a phenomenal free service. So simple that you don’t even have to sign up.
Let’s say you need a reminder for tomorrow. Email tomorrow@nudgemail.com or maybe thursday3pm@nudgemail.com and you’ll get that reminder in your inbox, including options to even snooze it!

The person: If there’s something you want to assume nowadays (can’t stress this enough) is that people WILL google your name and will also look you up in sites like LinkedIn. This is one of many reasons why you want to pay very good atention to your LinkedIn profile and network.
So, going back to your upcoming meeting: run a search on that person’s full name. See what Google is suggesting (sometimes you would be suprised. Once we found before a meeting that one of our prospects had bought its major competitor 3 months ago. Very useful to know) and then spend a few minutes on his/her LinkedIn profile checking out the experience and work history (past and current). That will give you more insights in terms of who that person is connected with as well. You may also find that through the latest Twitter updates he/she mentioned something worth knowing.

Location: If the meeting is off site and you have a smart phone simply set the address you’re going to in the mapping application to check how far you are and where exactly this place is. Otherwise, you can simply go to maps.google.com and create a route.
If it’s not a secret meeting, go ahead and check-in with Foursquare and Facebook Places. There are possible networking opportunities. Right now I’m tracking keywords of areas close to our London office. If I find a profile interesting I send them a tweet asking them if they’d like to grab a coffee the next time around. Here’s how:

After

Follow up: It helps a lot to take the lead and send  follow-up action points. Even if the action is to meet next year.
You can also send a neat and suprising YouTube video message if you would like to impress that person. Works very well, trust me.

The email: this message should be as short as possible, otherwise no one will read it.
Your emails should always be branded and provide useful information. For this reason, we have installed in our Chrome and Firefox browsers, wisestamp.com. This way every person that receives your emails will also count with clear contact information, social networks where to learn more about you and your company and also your latest blog post! I found that one very interesting. Have a look:

Finally: Connect and stay in touch!

What else can you add to the “before & after” the meeting?

If you type in Google “social media roi” you will get more than a million results. If you’re not really sure what you’re looking for, you’ll certainly get lost. Those three keywords still define something pretty broad.

Some of you might be looking for the magic formula so you can build a business case and go sell the social media plan to your boss, maybe the Head of Marketing, CEO, etc. You will realise then, that ROI is very tied to specific metrics that you must define before hand (otherwise, what are you measuring?).

The truth though is that there are way too many companies already using social networks to promote their brand but haven’t defined clear metrics yet (at some point they’ll have to).
However, here’s a way for you to know immediately how you’re doing:

Ask: Never miss a chance.

Every time you speak to a prospect face-to-face, over the phone or email, you and your team must (seriously, must) make a habit of asking “how did you hear about us?“. Also implement this question in your contact form for those landing on your website.

If you’re leaving regular quality breadcrumbs in the different social networks (good tweets, a useful video, engaging Facebook posts, ebook, a presentation on Slideshare, etc) I guarantee you will be VERY suprised about your prospects’ answers. Many of them will mention those breadcrumbs.

Do you realise that “how did you hear about us?” can change a lot of things, especially from a Marketing perspective. If you didn’t ask the question for example, you would have marked that prospect as a phone or walk-in lead instead.
It changes everything because now you have a better perspective of what breadcrumbs/platforms are delivering results.

How content delivers ROI

Those pieces of content that you are crafting but blindly (for now) puting online, are helping customers and prospects make decisions. So, when you receive a call, email or visit and close a sale much easier and faster, there’s a very good chance that the customer was educated before making contact with you. If “that video” helped her make 50% of her decision before ringing you, tell me what’s the ROI of that video you have in YouTube?

That’s a good way of reasoning quality content and ROI. Unfortunately, the majority of companies get it totally wrong: “how much money will I get for that tweet/post/video?“. It doesn’t work like that.

Implement a chat widget on your site

We use Zopim.com. This service helps us tremendously everyday with the “how did you hear about us?“. We can see real time the people that are on our website, where did they come from, what did they type on Google before landing on our site, what page are they on now, etc. This facilitates the tracking incredibly.

The results:

By asking consistently “how did you hear about us?” and using the valuable real-time insights from our chat widget, we found out that in 2009/2010:

  • 5% of our customers came from Twitter,
  • 10% from Facebook
  • 10% referrals
  • 15% through our LinkedIn profiles
  • 20% through our video blog
  • 40% through Google (never forget about Search Engines. They love your quality content) This is how most of the people will find you.

Remember that you need to come up at some point with clear metrics. However, on top of that, a good job asking “how did you hear about that” will bring some interesting results to the table as long as you’re offering good content.
How has content delivered ROI for you? Any specific way in which you measured it?

Online video keeps showing tremendous growth worldwide. Thousands of professionals use it everyday to get instant and effective business exposure.

So, are you interested in getting your own business video pitch for free?

Dublin City Enterprise Board and Channelship Web Agency will help you make your 2011 more successful with online video.

Here’s how it works in THREE easy steps!

* You must be a network member (LINK, Plato, Creative D or Enterprise Network for Women) and be in business for at least 6 months to qualify.

  1. Sign up for the business event “Success 2011” to be hosted by Dublin City Enterprise Board on Monday, December 13th. Register for FREE here: http://www.dceb.ie/event-calendar/networking
  2. Send an email to success2011@channelship.ie expressing your interest to record your free video pitch, including your website and best contact phone number/mobile. We will get back to you to schedule an appointment for Wednesday 08/12 between 9AM and 12PM at DCEB offices (5th Floor, O’Connell Bridge House, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2)
    *There are only 20 spots available so first-come-first-served!
  3. Practice your one-minute business pitch and come prepared for the shooting!!

Best of luck!

We could name several different problems that companies face when taking the first steps into social media, however  a very popular one is “blog content”.

It’s a clear challenge how to come up with regular blog topics and posts that ultimately deliver value.
The typical approach consists on acknowledging that you need a blog for your company, then you publish a couple of posts, no one leaves a comment and suddenly you/your team start finding excuses, saying that you’re very busy to look after the blog and that on top of that is not delivering any results. Does that sound familiar at all?

Let’s tackle the problem in three steps:

First step: The Objective

To write valuable content in order to get found by people in my niche. The goal is to become a solid and reliable resource of useful information that will help prospects, customers and people in my community make a better decision when it comes to X product, service in a given industry.

Insight: When working with clients, we found that if we don’t define the objective/s at the very beginning, it’s very easy to lose track, focus and interest.
It makes a huge difference when clients see the blog (and the valuable content to be delivered), as an asset that will help them get closer to their customers, grow a community and why not, convert more sales, rather than taking “blogging” as just another task.

Second step: The team

Assuming that step one is clear, is it going to be only you writing blog posts or will someone else in the team help? Define all potential candidates. Create a spread sheet with their names and area/s of expertise. It will be easier to assign a specific blog topic to a certain blogger based on their profile.
Please, don’t limit the blogging team to Management / Upper Management. You’d be surprised to see how many passionate and knowledgeable professionals you have in the front line that could contribute with excellent content. Remember: They’re always in touch with the customer.

Third step: The content

A very healthy excercise to sort out the “what do we write about?” question is to go to technorati.com and blogsearch.google.com to look for blogs in the same industry and find companies that write about a similar product or service. This will provide you with a very valuable insight in term of the “voice” of the blog, ideas for articles and what content do users seem to like the most (based in number of comments for example)

After that, there’re several different ways to come up with content ideas but I’ll share with you my most powerful one and it’s called: “Make it public“.
You know your product, service, industry better than anybody else. You know the customers’ regular questions and you know what makes them happy. Think very carefully about your day to day activities and how you deliver quality content for customers and prospects…

The secret

You and company own a wealth of information that can be easily shared with your audience. The problem is that you have been working extremely hard to deliver all that great content and resources in a “private way” (email, telemarketing, post… how many people can find you like that and how many benefit when they get your message?)
Yes, I’m aware that companies also handle private information. That, of course is out of the question and stays confidential but if you receive the same question from customers every day and you came up with different useful solutions, why not share them all in your blog and “make it public“! Why not making an ebook with those ten valuable resources for your community to download? Why not explaining in a one-minute video the TOP 3 of them?
Start by going through all the internal wealth of information, the day to day activities, Q&A, interactions with customers, problems and opportunities. You will be surprised how much of that is not being shared “publicly”. This post was created after writing a list of our customers’ top questions 🙂

Final tip: create an Excel spread sheet (Google document even better so the entire team can collaborate with ideas in one spot) with two tabs: Blog posts ideas (document every topic idea, otherwise you’ll forget!) and content pipeline so you are in control of the posts to be published on your blog.

So, open the safe, acknowledge your wealth and make it public. Thoughts?

We are only 5 weeks away from Christmas (Yeah, I know, were did the year go?) and while doing grocery shopping last week, I wondered what supermarket is the most talked about and also how are the others doing currently. I selected four top brands in the UK: Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Tesco. So here are the amount of mentions (and percentages) for the past 30 days:

Now, let’s take these results as a starting point.

I realised that even though most of these supermarkets have a social media “presence”, none of them are using it in creative ways as an avenue to gain a bigger piece of the conversation out there.  This point becomes even more important now, since all these brands are about to face the busiest month of the year with Christmas and New Year.

I’m going to share with you (Supermarkets) two ways in which you can be remarkable for the entire month of December and become the most talked about supermarket. What I’ll also do is a follow up post close to the end of 2010, with the updated version of the graphic above (mentions per brand) and check out the difference. In other words, we’ll see if any of these supermarkets made an effort to beat Tesco (And Tesco made an effort to stay at the top).
Ready for the challenge?

Location, location, location

People go to your supermarket every day, week and month. That’s a huge advantage, therefore you need to capitalise on that, especially with gelocation becoming so popular and so many people owning smart phones (iPhones, Androids).

Here’s the idea: Besides using the old-fashioned in-store announcement, i.e. “We remind all customers that our dairy products have a 20% off this months, etc“, make announcements that encourage people inside the supermarket to tell their friends what’s going on and make them want to come too! How about that?
So the idea would be to launch a December promo where you will announce a discount or giveaway every HOUR.  Example of speaker announcement: “Do you have a smart phone? Check into Foursquare and send it to Twitter with the hashtag #itsfun (come up with your own short branded one). The first two people to do that will get XXX price or 70% off  XX special brand” (It must be something attractive).
The beauty of this tactic is that people have to really be in the store because they never know when the announcement will be made. In other words, users can’t just cheat by checking in from outside your supermarket 🙂

If your brand is stronger on Facebook, do it with Facebook Places. In this case it turns more visual since your Facebook check in allows you now to include a picture. So part of the deal would be to check in through Facebook Places and include a photo of your favourite product. The first one, or first two to do it, will get it at 50% off or maybe for free. Not bad!

Bonus: Placing a few signs strategically across the stores, announcing that you offer Free Wi-Fi it should be a nice winner!
If you organise this idea well, and advertise it correctly (spreading the word so people know what will happen during December in your supermarket) it will make it easier to take a nice piece of the conversation away from your competitors and have a lot of customers from other supermarkets come to yours!

Engaging Photo and Video content

If your supermarket is in the Stone Age and still doesn’t allow pictures or video inside the stores, please get over it and grow your brand! If you don’t do it, your competitor will and with that, a nice piece of your market share will go too. Not cool huh?

Work on one BIG Christmas giveaway by making people submit a picture of their favourite product or brand through a Facebook App (customised tab) on your Facebook page (You cannot run promotions on your Wall unless you use an application). The beauty of doing it through an app is that it has better chances of going viral. It’s also easier to measure results. You’re more in control too.
I you don’t want your developer to build an application from scratch, you can also benefit from Facebook for Marketing solutions such as Wild Fire App. Very useful.

Have your customers send you creative photos and/or videos inside the supermarket. They would submit this as a link. Then you can have a dedicated page on your site with a gallery of either all or the best photos and videos sent by your customers. You can choose the criteria you want but idealy the best one/s or most creative would get that BIG Christmas giveaway.
This step will contribute to building a stronger community and will capture the attention of many new visitors.

I have more ideas but these two should get you going. Are you ready? Do you have more ideas? Leave a comment below!

It’s a fact

Upper Management have assigned you the small task of leading the company’s web strategy and take over the world (maybe?). You now need to put the team together.

You soon realise that The Team could entail:

  • A web agency
  • A branding consultant
  • A social media consultant
  • An independent graphic designer
  • An in-house web developer
  • A freelance translator
  • That “SEO guy” you met recently
  • The PPC chap from the marketing department next door
  • Someone to take on e-mail marketing
  • And the list goes on…

You’ve been given a secret budget (and The Powers have told you to never share the figure with the suppliers and force them to quote).

You’ve been told early in the game that “diversification works” and that each stakeholder should only do what they do best (although you start doubting whether you want to baby-sit all these people)

You may or you may not feel up for the challenge, but you know you will pick up things along the way (You’ll have no choice)

Now what?

Well, put together a brief. Yes, sort out all the ideas and main goals. Ensure it’s decent enough to be shared afterwards.

Once you panic for a minute simply accept that you’ll need allies to achieve all this.

After all, “The powers” don’t understand the gravity of the small task they assigned to you.

Yes, you can look for allies in-house, just ensure they feel that the project is in their job description.

If you are unlucky and cannot find them around you, look outside…

Finding the ally

An obvious idea is to find an independent web project manager who will coordinate it all and give direction to the initiative. In reality, this is hard. Besides, the project is yours and you still feel like running it.
But hey! You have no budget for this external manager anyway, so let’s forget it, OK?

Here’s another idea: From the preliminary pool of people (agency, consultants, designers, etc),  sense who in theory would have the skills to coordinate most of the tasks and provide direction. More likely the agency or the independent consultants. Try to determine their strong areas (they may be good at social media but not at PPC, and so on), ask them. If they can’t specify what their core is, keep looking.

Once you are happy with someone’s profile, tell them about a tentative green light for their specific work and tie that in with your bigger problem (coordination for all the other aspects). Explain but let them talk, you may be surprised with hidden skills.

Gain their trust and give them yours, ask them to confirm if they can back you up with the coordination & decision making (oh, that’ll cost you a bit, we’ll get there now).

By the way, a note on Budget: You have to be clear with your ally. Forget The Powers’ advice. No need for specific figures, but there’s a difference between 7K, 30K or 100K available for your project. Your ally needs to know it in order to help you better.

Explain what you want to achieve and start shaping together the list of people required.

This extra consultancy time by the ally will cost a bit and you may already start thinking about pushing for arbitrary discounts from the to-be-suppliers. This may compromise quality unless the discount-giver can clearly articulate what exactly they are removing from the equation to justify a lower price, so hold on for a second…

You got this far

You are such a good sport that you never went back to The Powers

Before you even think about it, ask your ally to first put an estimate together for the tentative costs of the pool of talent.

Go back to the bosses and re-sell them the idea of the small project as what it really is.

Then come back with more money 🙂 or with a “good luck” 🙁

Regardless, everyone is now aware of the scope of the project!

Now Take action

You have your ally, you know the tentative costs, a picture of the outcome and you may even have some more budget.

You are ready to re-visit the idea of who will be part of your Team.

Once everyone is on-board and you are happy with your team, leading the project should feel easier and you can all together show The Powers what you are made of.

Photo credits: US National archives

Wagamama is a remarkable chain of noodle restaurants. I really love eating there. I must say, it’s a unique experience.

While eating there last Sunday, I came up with some ideas on how could the brand take a huge step, using social networks. I also checked their website and, to my surprise, I realised that they are not using social media yet. So, what’s the big deal?

Let’s start first by having a look at their current situation:

  • The website looks OK but it’s not integrated with social tools
  • They have recently released a cool iPhone app
  • Only a few Wagamama restaurants in Australia and New Zealand are trying Twitter
  • There’s a Wagamama Facebook page with over 30,000 fans. Believe it or not, that’s abandoned. They only made one post back in March 2008 🙁

Here we go with some cool ideas…

The food

You can tell that people have fun when they eat there. Wagamama’s food is at the centre of the story, however, those of you that went to the restaurant will realise that they have sort of an open kitchen where you see all the cooks performing their art.

My first question was: why does this brand not have a YouTube channel? So the idea consists on placing a few flat screens above the kitchen bar and show live all the cool stuff that’s going on in the Woks. Also, I was impressed to see all the videos that customers shoot inside the restaurant!

The staff

There’s no doubt that the cooks and waiting staff are heroes in this play. You have to see the orchestration and great service that these folks deliver. So far they are not being featured but they could make into the YouTube channel and FlickR photo album of the brand in the following way:

  • Cooks can present daily of weekly, the “dish of the day” and show how they look to drive more people insane about Asian food.
  • Waiters can introduce themselves and feature some team-building activities (I perceive a great team spirit when I’m there)
  • Why not having a cook and waiter/tress of the month and feature them like a movie star?
  • Cooks can do short videos featuring themselves as well and include the links on the Wagamama Cookbook!

The conversation

There’s a lot going on here that the brand is not capitalising on. It’s very simple to spot great conversation and loads of compliments in platforms such as Twitter and Facebook (Go to their search bars and type the word “Wagamama”). Is it worth as a brand to talk with your audience? You bet.

The Placemats

First thing you see when you sit at the table are this paper place-mats. Also, waiters your them to write down your dish numbers. As you see there’s no signs of social media here so the idea would be to invite their audience to engage and participate. For example they could include all special offers/dishes of the week and include a hashtag to each so people can spread the word about it and later on would be a lot simpler to track it. Hashtags are great to spark conversations. They generate a lot of curiosity sometimes.

The location

This is an obvious one, however, Wagamama are not using geolocation either. By embracing Facebook Places (especially now that Facebook are testing Popular Places) and at least Foursquare they could really connect with those checking-in ( real time as well) and why not offer special deals. My idea was to include a screen dedicated to check-ins and see them all coming as a waterfall.

These are some simple ideas that came to my head in a 25-minute lunch. Imagine all the great ideas that Wagamama customers could come up with in general… Huge opportunity for the brand.

What ideas would you add?

09/11/10 Update: It’s nice to see that this blog post took Wagamama’s conversation to the peak of the month 🙂

In a previous life I worked in the transport business. It was an offline time in which the word Facebook could have only meant a truck full of yearbooks and Twitter a new brand of sport shoes or cereal.

Here are some thoughts from a now “outsider” on how the industry could benefit from social media today.

Truckers love their trucks

Makers should allow them to share pics in a branded environment. See my friend Paul in action below. He’s sharing the pictures with his network of friends, but no doubt he would do it on a maker’s site if it was easy enough (e.g. iPhone/ Android App).
A good example of trucks and a strong community in social media is “Scania”. Type that word on Facebook search and find out how many official and unofficial pages were created. A lot of passion around it.

Imagine this Iveco pic properly shared in a branded environment!

Showing your pride

If brands encouraged people all over the world to share their preferences/ model’s they drive and their location via
FourSquare or similar, the brand could easily display an interactive map of the different models being driven all over the world.

Imagine the above video updates tied to a truck make & brand!

Studying remotely

All truck drivers & transport managers are required to pass a CPC examination which is really a bit of a torture. Back in the day, I spent 2 full weeks in a hotel learning a 400 page manual by heart. See, in order to prepare for these exams one needs to attend classes for a good few days prior to the exam (for drivers) and some months for managers. While I memorised a lot for the exams, I cannot say I remember half of all those specs. Trust me, an interactive & dynamic alternative would really suit.

There is  an opportunity for Transport Ministers to innovate through the delivery of some of the course material directly through a subscription based website hooked with a mobile application.

Transport companies would gladly pay if fees were appropriate &  drivers & managers could easily prepare at least part of the courses on the go and in their own time. If the studying platform allowed for student’s to share insights/ anecdotes, it would really become a source of learning & not mere memorizing.

For instance, customs officers differ in the way they deal with people and one driver’s experience could help another one in a similar situation.

Tracking loads/ parcels

I’m not to sure up to which extent, but if a driver updated it’s location (even privately) every now and then, a client could send a direct message to the company on Twitter, to know the whereabouts of a load (not necessarily exact for security purposes).

Very interesting suggestions by @derryo made after publishing (see Derry’s full comment in the comment boxes below for further insight): “Tweets or Facebook updates saying for instance ‘I’m at the AB bread store/XY guitar shop dropping off a batch of freshly baked bread/limited edition guitars if you’re in the area get down there fast” or uploading a photo of the premises for instance. If I was the bread or guitar shop I’d be happy to see that, and indeed the loading of said items beginning their journey could also be put in the public domain. I’d like any supplier to give me some extra publicity.

For a large haulage company/courier company head office could send a DM via Twitter saying ‘@RubberDuck is your driver today, follow his updates to track progress of your delivery’. RubberDuck (Yes, I was a big fan of Smokey and the Bandit) need only update his location and not reveal anything of his load, thereby not compromising the secrecy of his consignment.”

Blogging

Specially for Pan-European haulage, there’s a lot to a driver’s journey. Think about a journey through land and sea and you can picture adventures relating to paperwork, weather conditions, tough customs officers, and naturally waiting time. Many drivers are well known for their stories and they could easily blog on the company’s blog with their own view of a certain route. This would appeal to the transport community and fellow drivers looking for info, prospective employees looking to make a move, and why not those youngsters thinking about a career in the trade.

Insights from someone on the Road:

Drivers are in general talkative people who take every opportunity to build relationships, since the core of the job can sometimes be a little bit lonely. Twitter might be too real time for most of the drivers. Although running a quick search I found surprising examples of individuals like @TerenceSmelser who live and breath Twitter.

I think Facebook, together with “Facebook Places” and “FourSquare” can make the difference in the life of a driver.

Have a look at Paul’s encounter with some interesting “locals” below…

Here comes a quick interview with my former colleague Paul who is now a cool driver in Australia

  1. Would you mind updating your location often so other drivers or colleagues know where you are & would you make it public or restrict it to certain people?
    I would be ok with updating my location when I am staying in a place for a few days (eg waiting for a reload) so that other drivers or my friends know that I’m nearby and I wouldn’t say no to some company, and certainly wouldn’t say no to a few beers!
  2. Do you feel safer now that people are more aware of your whereabouts & do you see any threat for burglars?
    Security is not a real issue for me, Australia is quite a safe country and there is very little risk of me being burgaled in the truck or the load being stolen. Howeven I think a bit of common sense would be useful, I would never update my location if I had a high-value load on my truck. I never add friends on Facebook that I have not met, so I personally know everyone on any social networking site which should mean they are no threat!
  3. Are other truckers using Facebook or Twitter as much as you? If not, do you see it coming?
    Not many drivers use Facebook, as the average age of truck drivers is quite high, mostly people my own age use Facebook so I know a few younger drivers that use it. I guess it will grow as more and more people become familiar with computers and they become cheaper and easier to use with mobile internet more readily available.
  4. Be honest on this one: In your free time, would you learn new stuff remotely (like preparing for an exam) if you had a cool App with the exam content/ courses on your phone?
    At the moment I’m not interested in remote learning as I really am too busy and any spare time is spent either sleeping, or eating/showering and chatting to other truck drivers. If i decide to further my training for sure it would be easy to have it available remotely.
  5. How can a trucking company (drivers and/or management) use social media for their benefit?
    To be honest, i dont think interaction between management and employees on a social networking site is a very good idea, it is not really professional to have your bosses know (or be able to find out) details of your private life. Many people have been caught out having a bit of a moan about aspects of their job on Facebook, and although I am of the strong opinion that you should not comment on work issues on Facebook, I think it is too easy a tool for employers to treat employees unfairly.
  6. Important: Being on the road constantly is not easy for meeting new ladies. How much has Facebook helped you in your latest lucky encounters?
    It has been great! I am in a different city almost every day, and if I meet someone cool on my travels that I want to stay in touch with, instead of exchanging numbers like the “old days” , nowadays its easier to add on Facebook and keep in touch that way, instead of constantly texting/calling just to stay in touch. It’s amazing how many paths have crossed for me in Australia simply from status updates and location updates, even though I may not have seen them since first meeting them a few months previously!

Have you enjoyed the post? Come one, leave a comment below!

Here’s an example of a typical mechanism in which many companies adopt social media:

  1. The Marketing / Communications Department think that they need to do something about it.
  2. During the next product launch they do everything the same.
  3. At final stages they start wondering “how can they incorporate social media” to get more exposure.
  4. Many of them waste even more time trying to get this “social media thing” approved by Legal or other departments before it can go live.

Does it sound familiar?

Some of you might know by now that this approach will simply not work at all, especially when social media is seen as a pure “advertising platform”.

I was reading yesterday an interview by Jesse Stanchak on social media strategy with Scott Monty (Head of Social Media, Ford Motors). He said:

“We start thinking about product launches and shows like this, that it’s baked in from the beginning. It’s not an afterthought, where you get the rubber stamp, “what are we doing for social media?” kind of thing”

This is one HUGE reason why companies like Ford are very successful spreading the word cleverly in social networks. Without this approach, it doesn’t matter if you have a big budget, your company would be wasting most of it (if not all).

If your business is getting ready to implement social media, make sure of the following:

Be open and patient

Don’t think about the Marketing or Communications Department only. There are more people within the company that will be more than happy to participate and share their creativity and social media ideas.
Also, don’t get discouraged if not everybody cooperates with the idea. One of the biggest obstacles for companies approaching social media are lack of knowledge and company culture.

Act creatively

Besides all the obvious points like having a goal, defined metrics, expectations… have a proper creative round with the team you put together for this project (maybe product launch). You will notice that this step will make a significant difference. Not all the ideas will make but you will nurture a good pipeline.
If anybody says: “I don’t have any good ideas”, answer, “tell me all the bad ones you have then”, as Seth Godin would say.

Think social

What is that same answer you deliver to clients everyday? What is your customers/prospects’ best topic/product? The answers to these questions would represent clearly “something of interest” and could be converted into “hot content“. In other words, if you are delivering that same daily answer to one person at a time by email, only one person at a time can benefit. Versus, you do a quick, creative (could be a screencast) blog post, or video of yourself/team explaining the solution and thousands of people will benefit and what’s best: more people will know that you exist 🙂
The majority of companies work very hard everyday to keep private what should be public.

Get found!

Once you incorporate the idea of social media from the very beginning, your team or Department will realise that is a lot simpler to think in terms “making quality pieces of content” (breadcrumbs) to be shared regularly (blog post, video, presentation, pictures, etc). Focus con leaving as many of these. Ensure to be there to talk with the people that will start feeling identified with your brand and content.

What’s your experience? What would you add?

Many businesses have not contemplated yet the big opportunities behind geolocation. Those running restaurants, events, shows, theatres, shops should embrace it ASAP.

Now people are making public (checking in) their location in social networking sites. It means that you, as a manager or business owner have a phenomenal chance to see who are those people that visited your “Place”, keep in touch with them and also, by having your company registed in these sites, more people will naturally find you.

Facebook Places has launched already in the US, UK and other countries. However, we don’t see businesses taking action, so here’s the opportunity:

At the moment, when you check into any “Place” on Facebook (or will check-in when it’s available in your region), here’s how it will look. Simple, not too appealing:

We have registered officially our “Place”: Channelship Web Agency. London and here’s how it looks when anybody checks in

HUGE difference: You get to include a picture, a description and users can also see a link to your company’s website. Also, depending on what type of Facebook page you opened, the link to your “Place” will show on the “Information” tab and on the left sidebar as well. Currently those location links point to Bing Maps but they’ll be connected with Facebook Places very soon.

Another great benefit of Facebook Places, that will help your company get more exposure, is the fact that you can geo-tag other people and vise versa.  Here’s how it looks:

Don’t panic. Those of you that don’t want to get geo-tagged, can do so from your Security Settings.

How do I register my company in Places?

First, you need to check into the place you want. If it doesn’t come up in the list,  click on “Add a Place”. Then you’ll see a link at the bottom of any Place page that says “Is this your business?“.

Simply click there and follow the instructions. Facebook will request that you attach with your application any business document (bill, statement) that verifies the name and address. That’s it!

Your “Place” page will look like this

Finally

By registering your company with Foursquare, people will be able to also find you through Facebook Search! Another way to easily to get found.

Facebook Places hasn’t fully launched yet worldwide. That’s why there are a lot of unanswered questions. For example, Dennis Taylor asked on our Facebook page: “Can you merge your Facebook business Place with your current business Page? It seems creating a new page just for location based users is silly – rather have all my likes in one place“.
For now it would make sense to register your business with Facebook Places (plus other geolocation sites) and what’s most important: use it to check in and analyse the insights to find new people (possible customers) and keep your community growing. Yes, it would take a bit more time based on Dennis’ question but it’s worth it. Hopefully Facebook will come up with a nice “blended” option in the near future.

Will you take action? What do you think?
Best
Fred

Many companies would think it’s no big deal. In fact, if they
never used Twitter as a true information platform and dialogue tool, it probably won’t be. However, for any brand that embraced Twitter the right way and built, over time, a relevant community, it could be a bigger deal than expected.

For example,  a few days days ago, singer John Mayer decided to quit his Twitter account, leaving more than 3.7 million followers behind. Why? Apparently, the PR folks decided to use this platform to promote the latest tour only.
So, was this a wrong move? Sure was.

John Mayer carries a brand, like any other company. It doesn’t matter if you have a thousand, 100 thousand or a million followers. These are real people that took the time to connect with your brand, many of them in a deeper way that you could probably know or measure. So, if your boss or the PR team decide to pull the plug on a relevant platform that connects with your audience, you might want to think it again.

We decided to follow the progress of all the comments worldwide with our brand monitoring software. We were very curious to know if people would take it easy or would get very emotional about Mr. Mayer quitting Twitter.

Check out first where the conversations took place:

The other exciting graph to explore was “Sentiment“. Naturally, the majority of mentions have neutral sentiment since it’s just people spreading the word without making comments, necessarily about how they feel. However, when we drilled down to the negative Vs positive comments, we found that most of them were negative:

What kind of negative comments? Here are some.

Conclusion

When using platforms to communicate / engage with your audience, you’ll discover pretty soon that it’s not about the tool any more but about the people that communicate with you. If you treat any of these social networks as “disposable marketing / PR initiatives” to satisfy metrics, you’ll be incredibly missing the point.
Think it this way: If you have a direct phone line that your audience uses every day to talk to you, share their thoughts, feedback, give you business, etc… Why would you get rid of it?

A few years ago, Coca Cola received a call from Facebook saying that a page with the name of their brand had over 1 million fans. Many PR departments would have said: “It’s not official, we didn’t authorise it, shut it down”. What did they do? They took over the page and immediately joined all those folks that chose that specific platform to communicate with them.

Would you ever think about quitting Twitter or any other social network? Any exceptions? Share your comments below!

Best
Fred

Geolocation and mobile check-in services have HUGE potential. What you experience currently: Points, badges and free coffee, is just the beginning.

A few months ago we wrote a post about the real value behind mobile check-in and threw some interesting ideas about how it could make your life easier.

Today we’ll explore the business networking aspect of Foursquare, sharing with you three very simple tips. The video below will show you:

  1. How to connect with relevant professionals based on location
  2. How to look for people
  3. How to leave breadcrumbs

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below and tell us about any other technique to maximise the potential of Foursquare/geolocation for business. Thanks!

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Best
Fred

Last Thursday,  Tipp-Ex (BIC Group) launched a pretty original and creative interactive campaign on YouTube.
It consisted on a series of face to face encounters between a bear and a hunter, offering viewers the opportunity to choose the ending they would like to see by changing the title of the video directly on YouTube! (try typing “hugs”, “tickles”, “eats” and “erases”. Brilliant). The video should have by now, more than 4 million views.

We saw a lot of people spreading the word about this campaign, so we decided to track it with our social media monitoring software for a few days. The criteria was set in order to scan all posts with the brand name (including misspellings) in all media types, regions and languages.

Before the campaign, Tipp-Ex were at 100 + mentions per day. This initiavive delivered a successful impact, at least from a brand awareness perspective with more than 6,000 posts and “sentiment” according to the number of positive comments since last Thursday. That translates into a daily average increase of over 1,000%. We couldn’t find data on sales or R.O.I yet.

Even though the videos were launched on YouTube UK on September 2nd and will be launched on YouTube Italy this Friday, viewers around the world couldn’t stop taking about it. While tracking the amount of mentions by region, the US stayed always at first place and the UK kept a second spot for a while but the latest data shows that other countries around the word, most of them Spanish speaking (showing on the graph as “Others”) have conquered that second place.

If you were wondering where exactly people spoke about Tipp-Ex, maybe you guessed correctly 🙂 Micromedia took the lead with a solid 56% of the total mentions, followed by Blogs at 25% and Forums 8%.

Here’s a piece of the conversation:

Conclusion

As we mentioned, we don’t have data on sales projection, conversion or overall strategy of this campaign. However, besides the three calls to action to spread the word (Email, Twitter, Facebook), they could have tried to increase their email database and maybe come up with a follow up campaign, making contact first with those specific users that decided to stay updated about the product. The other HUGE area of opportunity we saw is that neither Tipp-Ex nor the BIC Group are on Twitter or Facebook (please correct us if we are wrong, but we couldn’t find any). They could have achieved higher results if they would have been part of the conversation threads (“Good hosts”). It would have been really interesting to measure “likes” and what people said on their their wall for instance.
The perception is that it was a fun and creative initiative, but that was it, and that reflected clearly on the numbers when you have a look at how fast people stopped talking about the brand.

What do you think about this campaign? What would you have done differently?

Next week at Bloggertone.com (where Channelship are co-founders) we are running another cool SugarTone: Sweet Business Blogging Contest in collaboration with our friends over at BizSugar.com, the small biz news & social media site.

In case you missed the previous one, the combination of both sites’ names explains the name of the contest 🙂

This time our theme is “Making your business amazing” and we’re also delighted to announce the sponsorship of Hewlett-Packard with some great prizes for the winners of the contest!

The idea is to give your articles extra online visibility, reward your social networking and an opportunity for you to win prizes to help you promote your business.

Here’s how it works:

  1. If you’d like to participate, simply create a post in your area of business expertise and submit it to the Bloggertone community on the theme of “Making your business amazing.”
  2. Submissions will be accepted from Monday Aug. 30th through  Sept 6th (You can send your article here.)
  3. The posts will be added to BizSugar.com and people will vote for their favourites and comment both at Bloggertone and BizSugar

The prizes:

  • First prize, products and/or the equivalent in gift certificates valued at $350 from Hewlett-Packard for the post garnering the highest number of “sweets” (votes) on BizSugar.
  • Second prize, $250 in products and/or gift certificate value for the most engaging comment as selected by the judges on either the BizSugar or Bloggertone site.

Click on the banner below to learn more!

Sugartonem

The Irish Web Awards are back and will be help at the Mansion House
on October 16th!
Last year we were shortlisted. However, since then, we have worked hard to deliver useful and entertaining videos through our video-blog and social media channels. Check out some of the great stuff we’ve created and help us by nominating Channelship as “Best Videocaster“! (Click on the button below! Then you’ll have to enter your name, e-mail and website. Go to “Best Videocaster” and enter details. Finally scroll to the very bottom to click on “Submit Nominations”) Thanks a million!!!!

Update: we have been nominated already so no need to re-nominate (apparently can be regarded as spam), thanks everybody for your support anyway!!!


Our YouTube video library has now more than 80 useful videos!

We’ve used video to help other companies grow with social media

We explored LIVE video with Ustream.tv for all our social media presentations in 2010

We’ve also shared video through webinars, our Facebook page & screenjelly tutorials

We have also made fun video announcements 🙂

As you may have noticed, we’ve been a bit quiet for the last couple of weeks but it’s all great news!

2009 and 2010 so far, have been phenomenal years in which our agency grew significantly.

We’ve done some cool work for our clients in Ireland and the US (La Make Up, Sky, L’Onglex, QPR, CommScope and the latest addition, Dublin City University (DCU) but now it’s time to expand the business into London.

We’ve sorted out all operational items (new website, new office and house). We’re pleased to announce that Channelship are opening its doors next Monday in the UK at Chiswick Park

Facundo will still be based in the Guinness Enterprise Centre and I’ll be most of the time in London but travelling to Ireland once or twice a month… so I’m not officially leaving right?

We figured that the big announcement should be delivered by… (guess!) yes, video! And because we are major fans of “Get Smart” we decided to give it this particular cool twist… Enjoy!

Subscribe to me on YouTube

The best is yet to come

Best

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

This is the fifth and final video-answer of our contest: “Get a free social media twist this summer“.

This final brainstorming session was for an established company that offers accounting and business software management packages in Ireland, UK and the Middle East: Intact Software
The goal of these video-answers is to deliver, in a unique and engaging way, free ideas to make companies more remarkable and memorable using social media.

Check out the video we made for Intact Software and leave a quick comment below. What would you add?

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

This is the fourth video-answer of our contest: “Get a free social media twist this summer

We brainstormed some new social media ideas, this time for a major shoe company with over 40 stores in the UK: Wynsors World of Shoes
One more company will be chosen for our last video next week so stand by!

The goal of these video-answers is to deliver, in a unique and engaging way, free ideas to make companies more remarkable and memorable using social media.

Have a look at the video we made for Wynsors and leave a quick comment below, don’t be shy!

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Get a free social media twist this summer” continues with its third
video-answer!

The team got together again to brainstorm some social media ideas, this time for a global recruitment consultancy: Morgan McKinley.
Remember that two more companies will be chosen in the next few days so stand by for more videos!

The goal of these video-answers is to deliver, in a unique and engaging way, free ideas to make companies more remarkable and memorable using social media.

Have a look at the video and leave a quick comment below. What else would you suggest to Morgan McKinley?

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Get a free social media twist this summer” continues with a second
video-answer!

We brainstormed a few social media ideas, this time for a polystyrene foam company: “Made in Hollywood“. Remember: 3 more companies will be chosen in the next few days so stand by for more videos!

The goal of these video-answers is to deliver, in a unique and engaging way, free ideas to make companies more remarkable and memorable using social media.

Have a look at the second video and leave a quick comment below. What else would you suggest to “Made in Hollywood”?

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Thanks again to all the businesses that made a submission for “Get a free social media twist this summer“.

As promised, the Channelship team brainstormed a few cool social media ideas and created a video answer for the first company selected: a unique restaurant called “Make Your Own“. Remember that 4 more companies  will be chosen in the next few days so stand by for more videos!

The goal of these video-answers is to deliver, in a unique and engaging way, free ideas to make companies more remarkable and memorable using social media.

Have a look at the first video and please leave a quick comment below. What else would you suggest to “Make Your Own”?

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

How many times do we go to events and simply hope for the best? Well, maybe this is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself, investing a good few minutes in something that will maximise your event experience and will bring you home happier at the end of the day.

Below, I’ve made a very short video displaying a few easy steps to strategically connect with professionals before any event.   I featured the Dublin Web Summit so if you’re going there tomorrow, leave a comment below, suggest other tips  and/or connect with me on LinkedIn before we meet 🙂

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

How can your business be more remarkable and memorable to      your existing and potential customers? BIG question, huh?

We believe that one of the best ways to start unraveling this question is with a simple approach: (Visualise) Write down the type of business you’re in, its characteristics and also each one of the activities that you do everyday. Now, because you do them everyday and exactly the same way, you took for granted that there is where the opportunity lies!

But don’t worry, this time you don’t have to come up with ideas. We will do it for you, using online tools and social networks! Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Leave a comment below  with your name, company, website and social media presence (if any).
  • Step 2: We will select FIVE companies
  • Step 3: The Channelship team will brainstorm some cool ideas to make your business different and remarkable.
  • Step 4: Within the next few days we will deliver a specific video-answer for each one of the companies selected.

…and since we will squeeze our brains for you, we would be delighted to see your company take action.  Fair enough?

Go on, leave your comment below!! (Submissions finish at 6PM (GMT) on Tuesday, June 22nd)

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

*UPDATE* 30/06/10

Hi everyone.
Thank you so much for all your submissions. We’re working on the selection of companies and in the next few days, we’ll start delivering the video answers so stand by!

*UPDATE* 05/07/10

First video-answer goes to Make Your Own. Check it out here!

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Yesterday, we were at the Nokia Store in Dublin for the “Nokia’s Apps For Ireland” competition.
It encouraged ordinary people to come forward with simple ideas for applications for Nokia mobile phones, generated a huge amount of creativity along with an extensive number of App ideas. The judging panel chose the overall winner of each category from a selection of App ideas that were voted for each week throughout the competition. Included on the judging panel were Today FM DJ and blogger, Ray Foley, fashion blogger Laura Whiston from whisty.wordpress.com, Internet entrepreneur Pat Phelan and Shane McAllister from Mobanode who will develop the apps for Nokia.

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

The winners were Hilary Weldon, Alan Duncan and 17 year old student, Lorcan O’ Mahoney. The competition, which attracted over 1,000 applications across three categories: sports, lifestyle and general, ran for eight weeks on Nokia’s Facebook page and prompted over 4,500 votes by the viewing public.

The winning entries, which each collect a dream prize worth €3000, include a Cycling App in the Sports category, an App to help determine colour in the Lifestyle category and an App to help households and businesses with financial management in the General category.

Finally, have a look at this cool video that Nokia prepared for the launch of their “Pop-Up” store:

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Many of you use or have heard about mobile check-in applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla (the two most popular)
I am a user and have also been reading many posts about the subject. It feels like the next big thing, every other mainstream tool wants to integrate with geolocation but the truth is that the purpose behind checking-in is merely “fun” at the moment.
Loz from Simply Zesty wrote last year about the boring Foursquare “free coffee” wave and sites like Techcrunch have added some value trying to uncover the future of this service throwing 100 integration ideas.
I am very practical, the way I see (and hopefully many people too) deep value in any check-in service is when, “besides fun”, I could actually complement daily activities. Here are five examples:

Doctor’s appointment

What about arriving at reception, checking-in through my mobile and getting a confirmation (through the same app or email), including an estimated waiting time to be seen by the doctor?

br/>

Replicating the web experience

You walk into a shop anywhere in the world and you like what you see. Then you would check-in and the app would prompt you with the question: Would you like to receive email updates from X shop?
This is a magnificent way to increase a business’ email database offline!  Imagine the amount of people that maybe would have never interacted with the person behind the counter but simply stepped in/out and left their email address?

Petrol station

I would checking-in at the petrol station of choice (That instantly gives me extra points to redeem on petrol or other prizes). Then the application would ask me how many litres of petrol will I purchase? The transaction is fulfilled through Paypal or any secure payment app and a code will be instantly generated to enter at the pump.
This is a great idea for the “check-in” app to monetise through a small percentage of the transaction.

Fast food restaurant

Upon arrival I check-in and the app would show me the deals of the day. If I choose to buy though the app, I would of course collect unique points towards free food or other prizes and will get the meal at a discounted price.
Again, another way for the application to monetise through transactions.

Checking out

There’s also value for checking out in specific locations/activities/events. The obvious advantage is that the application could give you the option to complete a very quick, multiple-choice, survey (The company could give away cool incentives in exchange). Also, the organiser could clearly measure the length of time that a person spent at that event/activity, like a website!

What do you think about these ideas? How would you use mobile check-in to your advantage? What opportunity do you see in mobile check-in as a manager/business owner?

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

We recently bought “Linchpin” by Seth Godin. The team read it first and then I took it with me and finished it during a long journey to Argentina.

I must say that it’s a book that opened our eyes, not necessarily by providing brand new ideas but explaining in plain English core values, dragging us inevitably back to the basics.
The exercise made me go back in time and rethink our business through a clearer perspective.

The days of the “Industrial age”, in which you worked in a “factory” (this could be any company), followed other people’s map and when that factory (company) took care of you are no longer available. The more replaceable your skills are, the lesser chances of building a stronger future. This point, translated for business owners and managers would be in questions such as: do you have a “factory platform?” (were you seek for the highest skill at the cheapest rate?), how much can you really delegate on your team? Are they coming up with valuable solutions or you are telling them what to do most of the time? How many of the people in your team can be easily replaced?

The aim is to become Linchpins: individuals that understand the power of connections and generosity, creating relevant art and “shipping” no matter what. This type of person is in high demand nowadays and it can’t be easily replaced. You can be one of those. Don’t give up.

Here are my favorite points

Emotional work

Most of the jobs in the world could be done by any trained individual. It’s about those 5 or 10 minutes of that very special work you do, that makes you different. Delivering (“shipping”) that work with a personal and unique touch (emotion) is ART. That art creates invaluable connections.
The obvious examples are all those jobs in the front line that require constant exposure and interaction with customers. It’s common to hear in those jobs: “why do I have to smile/go the extra mile/answer that extra question if I’m not getting paid extra for it?” That’s a pitty, in fact that’s all that person is getting paid for.
Knowing how to execute and/or implement emotional labor into your daily activities is precious. Do it more often.

Gifts

Giving is a fantastic thing but unfortunately “reciprocity” corrupted this art. There’s an old saying: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch…”. Sad.
If we truly master the power of generosity, we’ll realise that we can give without expecting getting repaid and because the art we create is abundant, we can never run out of it.
The Internet has made this so much easier. You can write a valuable post or e-book and give it away to so many more people now. Why would you do this? Because all those that benefit from it will think about all the great stuff that you still have to share.

The Resistance

Seth calls this, “the lizard brain” (only wants to eat and be safe). This will constantly attempt against your genious and it’s the main reason why you don’t do all the art you can nor ship when you have to. When you incorporate this concept of  “resistance” and understand what it does to you, trust me, you start thinking about how unfocused and ineffectively you work sometimes.
As part of feeling safe, the resistance will always push you to follow other people’s map instead of writting your own and figuring out what to do yourself. This is a tough one. Unfortunately this is the way we were educated in school.
After understanding “the resistance” we feel more aware about stuff that doesn’t get done and why.

Shipping

If something is worth starting, it means that you will finish it, right? Delivering on time is crucial. Not before or after, but on time whether it’s ready or not. This is usually sabotaged by so many distractions and activities that seem productive but are trully not. Remember, the resistance will make you anxious and work out too many excuses for you not to ship on time.
The exercise of shipping consistently will make you remarkable over time and provide you with something very difficult to gain by thousands of companies: confidence and momentum.

As a result of all this reading, we are working on a few interesting and challenging steps for Channelship. More to come…

Are you fine-tuning your art? Are you giving a piece of it for free? How bad is the resistance affecting you? How important is it for you to ship on time? Are you or your company indispensable to clients? Come on, leave your comment below

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Channelship | Promote your Page too

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Last Wednesday, April 21st, we offered our fourth webinar. The turn-out was really good and the topic, something that we were really looking forward to cover.

We’d like to extend a special THANK YOU! to our guest speakers, Wendy Tarr, Digital Media Marketing Manager at IBM (UK). She contributed with great insights and examples on how are IBM leveraging social networks externally.

As promised, we compiled all the relevant info below:

  • Full recording of the webinar
  • The slides
  • Questions & Answers (in the comments below)

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

Thanks very much to everyone that helped us spread the word in the different social networks.

In May we’ll be taking a short “webinar” break but we’ll be back in June 🙂

Hi all

As part of the ongoing series of events with the Social Media Working Group, the Irish Internet Association are holding an afternoon seminar giving the behind the scenes of digital video & audio content and examining how to maximise its impact.

The subject: “Audio Video Culture: Behind the Scenes of audio and video content online

The event is on Thursday, April 22nd, 1:30PM at the Clarion Hotel IFSC with fantastic speakers from: Rabo Direct, YouTube, RTE, Mayson & Hayes and us, Channelship 🙂

Remember to use the special promo code SocialApril” to get a 20% OFF your ticket!

Click HERE to reserve your spot!

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Last Wednesday, March 31st, we offered our third webinar. Some great companies were in attendance with good questions.

We’d like to extend a special THANK YOU! to our guest speakers, Abi Signorelli (@abisignorelli), Communications Specialist (Former Director Internal Comms, Virgin Media) and Richard Dennison, Internal Communications Specialist at BT (British Telecom). Both contributed with great insights.

As promised, we compiled all the relevant info below:

  • Full recording of the webinar
  • The slides
  • The conversation thread under the Twitter hash tag #smic
  • Questions & Answers (in the comments below)

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

You may also download our slides from our Slideshare account!

Find below, also the conversation generated LIVE on Twitter

Thanks very much to everyone that helped us spread the word in the different social networks.

(Don’t miss the questions and answers below)

We’re looking forward to have you on our next free monthly webinar:  “Social Media for B2B

Don’t miss the questions and answers below!!!

Loving this campaign guys!

Short story: First, I got an email invitation. A few days later received this printed one in the post…

Later on, I discovered a Twitter hashtag for this event: #livead

Want to know what happened?

@young_kubrick is a character created by the Bord Gais team for their Big Switch campaign. It was a very fun night with loads of people in the room shooting out pictures and making videos of a live commercial that @young_kubrick and his family acted live for us.

Check out the famous commercial (captured from my angle. Loads of others are available)

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

And here are the pics!!

Here’s what people said. Click on the image to pull the full stream of conversations:

This was a very interesting and creative  idea for a social media campaign that has just started. There still a lot more to come…

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Recently while researching for a guest speaker a thought stroke me: What is the future of gate-keeping in organisations?

Let me introduce the situation: We were looking for an unusual company to feature as a social media success case study in a webinar. Instead of being innovative in our approach, we simply pinpointed candidates and contacted their Marketing and PR Departments over the phone …

Guess what we found? While in some cases we spoke to the decision maker (just as you want in sales), we found more than one gatekeeper in others. We were actually trying to feature a company and got some answers which will sound familiar to those of you who have cold-called at some stage:

  • “He’s unavailable at the moment, What is it in connection with? Is this a Sales call?”
  • “Mmm, I am not sure they’ll be interested…”
  • “See, she’s still on a call but we’ll be quite busy you know…”.

Hello? I am offering you an opportunity to stand out, no worries, never mind.

Obviously the mistake was ours and we should have been more original and probably approach the candidates directly on Twitter or their Facebook Wall; even network with them publicly in their blog before hand. Nobody likes being surprised over the phone. We should have known better.

Nowadays those brands who interact in social media are (or seem to be) very prone to feedback and the buzz words “conversation” and “listening”. We should have taken advantage of that, but forget my example for now.

I am sure you perceive this whole democratisation of Twitter streams and Facebook walls, and massive tagging and updates, which is something good overall because it empowers users, consumers and people in general.  Let us not discuss if brands are really accepting this or just feel they have to catch up, that is not the point. The point is figuring out where all this is going to and how long these holes in the gates will last.

Looking at some little facts

People who are not necessarily “all-about-social-media” are catching up really quick:

  • More and more cold callers feel the need to connect with me online before approaching me over the phone.
  • More and more noise and spam is generated online and both consumers and brands are targets

The point is that consumers and anyone that has to sell something actually use very similar channels (if not the same). You can now think of sales people as anyone trying to convey a message in social media, we all have to sell:

  • A recruiter connects with a candidate on LinkedIn.
  • An unemployed person writes on a company’s wall looking for a job
  • A managing director opens a question up to the Twitter following and 40 responses are received from random sales reps or automatic script replies
  • An unhappy customer wants to approach a (soon unhappy) brand and complains on their wall, while tagging 3 (soon happy) competitors.
  • Social networks feel the need to open more and more to companies interacting in their users in some shape or form.
  • The community manager role starts proliferating (plenty of job openings) and/or more “online pr” companies handle efforts on behalf of clients.
  • Everyone in general takes advantage of the openness of social networks and the actual physical receptionist starts missing the old gatekeeping days, almost everything happens online.

Over to you:

How long do you think this democratisation of streams will last?
Can the job spec of an online community manager say something like  “One year experience in online gatekeeping”?

Or maybe the very platforms will develop gate-keeping technology or policies and keep our online relationships and engagement a bit real?
Best,

Facundo

Follow me on:

View Facundo Villaveiran's profile on LinkedIn

As you all know, at Channelship, we love online video and our main platform is YouTube. Those of you that still don’t have a YouTube channel for your business I’ll suggest that you go ahead and get one! After Google, YouTube is the second search spot in the planet 🙂

I’d like to show you four cool ways in which you can get a lot more out of your videos. I will not focus on video tagging this time but instead on those features/benefits that very few people know about or use. Here’s how you get started:

Click on “My videos” from the menu option on the upper right

These are your options per video. I will focus on: Annotations, Captions, AudioSwap and Insights

Annotations

This is a fantastic feature with great benefits. You can include text anywhere you want in your video and, of course, choose the length of the message too. This is a great opportunity to implement calls-to-action or any contact, additional information that will help the viewer. You can also include links to other YouTube videos. This is also a way to inter-connect your videos and keep the viewer engaged and interested within your channel.
The example above shows how I’m trying to spark comments and it really worked!

Captions and Transcript

YouTube have started testing automatic subtitles but the feature is not working well at all for now. However, you can upload a text file with your own caption in different languages. This is a feature that could be extremely helpful, not only for the hear-impaired audience but to quicly make your video ready for the different markets without having to dub it.
The transcript feature is really good! Imagine if your video shows something that require specific steps, or elements, ingredients, etc. The viewer can avail of this document, expanding the value of your video and surely tour brand.
The BIG plus (not official yet):  your captions and transcript will be indexed by search engines! That’s a massive improvement that will allow more people find you/your brand/your videos.

AudioSwap

This comes in handy when you want to include music (only music, the original sound of your video file will be replaced). You can have YouTube look for the right song, or easily find one that matches the length of your video. Then you just preview it and finally publish it! Is that simple.

Insights

This is a feature many people are aware of but unfortunately don’t use.
YouTube analytics are very useful to gain powerful intelligence about your audience (demographics, views per country, etc). The one I find extremely helpful is the one called “Hot Spots” that show you the level of engagement per each video.
You can easily visualise the benchmark and from there detect where your video is doing great and where is not. In escense, this tool is showing your video’s ability to retain its audience.
You can learn many things from this and when it comes to produce a new video you’ll have a better idea of what really works.

Are you using any of these features? Have you found the post useful?  Go ahead, make a comment below!

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

As you all know, we’re co-founders of Bloggertone.com. We have teamed up with the business bookmarking website, Bizsugar to run a cool blogging contest!

The combination of both sites’  names explains why this is a “Sweet Business Blogging Contest”. The idea is to give your articles extra online visibility, reward your social networking and an opportunity for you to win prizes to help you promote your business.

  • It’s free to enter
  • Anyone can join the competition including current Bloggertoners and BizSugar members!
  • You’ll have lots of chances to win
  • Prizes total USD 6,921

How You Can Win These Prizes

#1 Do you write business articles?

All you have to do is submit a business article to Bloggertone Between Monday March 15th and Wednesday March 17th – but there are a few guidelines you need to follow.

All votes will take place on BizSugar, the social bookmarking site for businesses.
#2 Do you like to read business articles?

You can also win prizes by simply voting and commenting on the Sugartone articles posted on BizSugar.com

Click on the banner below to learn more!


In our last January post: “How can you improve the experience using social media?” we put a menswear and a barber shop through a deep make over with social media marketing. The ideas sparked some interesting comments including this one from Miriam Ahern, director of the Institute of Management Consultants:

The strategies you suggest are fantastic for retail businesses Fred. True ‘out of the box’ thinking. However, I’d like to lay down a challenge to you!

Can, and if so how, professional services businesses (and independent consultants in particular) leverage social media marketing? In many cases the work we do for our clients is confidential. Often-times our ‘products’ are customised interventions or solutions for particular situations (unlike, say a website, where people can seek out examples of your work). Referrals tend to be based on reputation, relationships and are usually of the ‘word-of-mouth’ variety. Also many of our clients, particularly those in the public sector, probably would not like to see their names floating around on SM platforms.

Now, can professional services businesses leverage social media marketing? The answer is:  Absolutely yes!! Social media is all about relationships and word-of-mouth so that’s a great match already.

I understand some work and names might be confidential, or that the products could be customised solutions and that the client might be the government… but if that’s the problem, why focus on leveraging social media from such a tough angle? There’re so many other fronts to capitalise on!

Some consultants might say that their clients “are not online” (not sure to what extent that is right). More likely in the next 2 to 5 years most of their clients will be online. The question is, do we focus on building an online reputation now or in the future? Lead generation nowadays is much more about “being found” than going out and hunting.

Personal branding is a  HUGE priority  that anybody in the professional services field should have. Typical phrases such as “…with more than 10 years of experience in the industry” are no longer enough. There’s got to be something really relevant that as a consultant you  should be able to do to capitalise on the present and the future. Let’s have a look at five great examples:

1. Interact with your network

Most of you already heard of main social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. The good news is that you don’t have to adopt all of them in one shot but it’s crucial to get started with LinkedIn for instance. Just think about all the projects that you worked on, all the presentations given, recommendations received, etc, etc… where is the record of all this? Why not keep an online point of reference for all this fantastic work!!

Ask yourself the following: how big is your phone book? How many business contacts do you have? 200, 500? Now, how many of those contacts do you keep in touch with or more importantly, do you know what are they up to? Unless you leverage the power of a business platform such as LinkedIn, you won’t be able to stay in touch and learn from your network.

Before you go to a business meeting, networking event, tradeshow, visit a new client, etc, people will either Google your name or look you up on LinkedIn. If your profile doesn’t come up or show anything interesting, you will be missing several business opportunities. Trust me.

2. Build a home base

Many of you have heard already about blogging. Unfortunately, many business professionals believe that it’s not something for them or that their audience won’t read them. Blogs are already part of the future folks and you must embrace this practice as soon as you can.

If you are really good and knowledgeable, write about it. Share what you know and more people will find you! You would be surprised how many people search in Google for what you offer! (including people in the government) Not kidding you. Go to the Google Keyword tool and enjoy 🙂
Take your business blog as if you were the owner of a newspaper. You are free to publish anything you want with the difference that your valuable information will not be only available to 3,000 or 10,000 individuals but the entire world!

3. Make a deeper impact

Video is the most engaging way of communication. Maybe you’re not very good at writting blog posts, then share what you know in front of a camera for instance.
Below, there’re two examples of busisness consultans that use video to promote their services and recommend others.
Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement: include branding in their videos, improve the image/sound quality, practice more, etc. However, the point is: these individuals dared to try something new to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

The truth is that nobody has to be Steven Spielberg to adopt video. It’s as simple as grabbing your €100 camera, setting it up on video mode and later uploading that video onto YouTube 🙂

4. Reach farther

How do you offer or deliver your professional advice? Do you visit your clients or they come to you? What about neither? 🙂
You can reach out to hundreds (why not thousands) of people from your own country and abroad offering webinars (online seminars/sessions). We currently use Gotowebinar.com technology. It’s very affordable and it’s a fantastic business tool that is expanding our opportunities incredibly. There are several webinar and online meeting tools out there. We leveraged LinkedIn a few months ago to ask other professionals like you what would be the best option, so feel free to flick through the answers here.
After each webinar, we compile all the material, including the full recording and we make it available in our blog so more people find us and can also benefit from the information.

5. Be creative

If you think that video is cool, then explore the huge opportunity for business professionals behind “LIVE stream”. There are a few platforms out there like Justin TV and Qik but I recommend Ustream.tv

This is like having your own TV station folks! For example, bring your laptop to any of your presentations, connect a good webcam and point it at you. Then press “broadcast” and offer your talk to whoever wants to join you around the world! The idea is that you promote any of these events so more relevant people click on that link and can follow your expertise and chat with you LIVE from their own computers as if they were there.

If the information is confidential, then don’t share it, but as we mentioned…why focus on what we cannot do?
Leverage these tools, share what you can, be original, flexible, dare to try different things and to think outside the box. There are brilliant opportunities for business professionals in social media.

What are your thoughts? Will you try any of these tools?

Social cial media is all about word-of-mouth

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Last Thursday, February 18th, we offered our second webinar.
Even though our monthly sessions are for companies that want to embrace social media, this one was more oriented to staff in the Sales and Marketing departments.

We’re very happy with the results, more than double the people signed up and attended this webinar.
We’d like to extend a special THANK YOU! to our guest speaker, Neville Hobson (@jangles), Head of Social Media Europe at WCG, that contributed with great insights.

As many of you may know, we’re relying on Gotowebinar‘s technology. One of the cool features shows the level of engagement from the audience. It was nice to find out that the results were pretty high! Thanks everybody!!

As promised, we compiled all the relevant info below:

  • Full recording of the webinar
  • The slides
  • The conversation thread under the Twitter hash tag #sm4sm
  • Questions & Answers (in the comments below)

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

You may also download our slides from our Slideshare account!

Find below, also the conversation generated LIVE on Twitter

Thanks very much to everyone that helped us spread the word in the different social networks.
We’re looking forward to have you on our next free monthly webinar:  “Social Media for Internal Communications

How to grow your business network with social media

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 by Fred

Last Thursday, January 21st, we successfully launched our first free monthly webinar. We believe it’s a great way to share and reach out to our audience and will continue to explore this method throughout the year.
We had a brainstorming session a few months ago about how could we share more value through a different channel than the blog or social networks, and the idea of the webinars came up.  It takes a good few days of preparation to deliver 1 webinar hour per month, but we’ll try to be consistent and bring you topics of interest, LIVE!

The first one was : “How to build your business network with social media” and as promised, we compiled all the relevant info below:

  • Full recording of the webinar
  • The slides
  • The conversation thread under the Twitter tag #sm4biz
  • Some questions…

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

The slides are already available on our Slideshare account!

My Power Point slides also contributed to the Twitter conversation :)
Have a look at what was said during the webinar by clicking on the image below:

There’s so much buzz and information about social media lately that it feels great when you find a good source or point of reference that saves you time and hours or research..

I want to share a good “short cut” with you today. During the weekend I read “Crush It!” by Gary Varnerchuk. He’s a very popular video blogger, well known for his Wine library TV and especially, his personality (what he’d rather call: DNA)

Gary’s core subjects in this book are personal branding and entrepreneurship, however this is a book for absolutely ANYBODY that wants to learn how to “crush it” doing something that they love.

I have made a video of Gary’s “Top 10 phrases” in this book. They’re really good and inspiring… Have a look.

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

  • Personal branding: agree 100% with Gary, this IS the future and everybody should be thinking about building their own.
    It’s amazing what you could accomplish when it comes to building a strong personal brand through the selected social networking tools. The results could be so powerful that… put it this way, you shouldn’t be looking for a job ever again. Good employers should fight to hire you! I know this could sound mad to many people but it’s so true, the rules are changing.
  • Gary talks about Family, Work and Passion as a base: Also 100% with Gary, however, most of the people that I know have the disadvantage that they don’t know what they want or what their passion is. A tough one to overcome… Maybe the book will make you think deeper about your real passion?
  • The beginning: Don’t miss the brilliant story of Gary and family going to America in the 70’s. Very inspiring.
  • Platforms’ reviews: Of course, he share his thoughts on all the main platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Tumblr, etc. Even though this could be basic for those that use this platforms already, it’s interesting to see how he uses them for his business and personal brand.
  • Ideas, ideas, ideas! Gary shares some great down-to-earth examples on how to promote anything from real estate agents, accountants to tatoos and garden products.
  • Appendix A and B: The first one shares a 19-step strategy to develop your personal brand online and the second one is genious… He came up with 5 business cases and throws them to the public to see if anyone capitalises on them. Really creative and engaging.
  • Speed of communication: When was the last time that you finished reading a book and immediately made contact with its author? This is something more than possible today through social networks. My first experience was on Twitter with @debbieweil after reading Google’s recommendation  “The Corporate Blogging book”.
    Gary was no exeption to the rule 🙂

How important do you think personal branding is? What’s your experience? Come on! leave a comment below.

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

In Economics and other disciplines, people like using the fancy phrase ceteris paribus which basically means something like “all other things remaining the same or constant“. This is, of course, very useful for principles and assumptions; even vital for theories and certain decision making. So you may hear experts saying things like “Given condition X, Y and Z and applying resource number 1,  ceteris paribus, the demand should rise…”

For ecommerce and for the web in general (just as in real life Economics), “ceteris paribus” does not really hold and you may know by now that there’s a whole culture of embracing change and iterations and agile approaches and the likes.

So how do you go about addressing needs, choosing the right ecommerce solution, allocating a given budget to serve internal company purposes like automation but not sacrifice on user experience or features, ensuring Return on Investmentt? The list goes on and on, difficult indeed.

shopping-cart-volid

Either commit to the project or you’ll just get a fancy cart built

Forget about giving a brief to your web agency and getting you baby built. You really have to work in defining technical needs but also really open your business to analysis with your agency, including costs, marketing, user experience, support, and of course, the sales process. If your company is going the ecommerce way, you might as well secure the collaboration of the different stakeholders like those guys in sales, marketing, customer service, and of course, logistics.

Here are 3 healthy assumptions for you before getting into ecommerce:

  1. Assume that you will not cover all the desired features in the first version of your website (either because you can’t afford it, it’s not possible, or simply nobody thought about it).
  2. Assume that there is no point in covering all, since the ever changing nature of ecommerce requires continuous improvements. Releasing regular upgrades will result more cost effective since there’s room for feedback
  3. Naturally, assume from day 1 that all changes require investment (time and money), so plan for that. Oh, and by the way, regular change is good. Think about a retail store:  shop windows are changed frequently and aisles arranged and rearranged and the decoration changes, vouchers are introduced, promos are presented and so on. Start thinking about your website like an offline shop and you’ll start embracing change (and the necessary investment).

Ecommerce planning questions

So how can you try and tackle all these challenges and produce an idea of what you want and require from your ecommerce project?

Well, it is not a once-off action but more of a process which is guided by discovery questions. Here are a few core ones to get you started. From there, start holding meetings with the different stakeholders (making sure they serve a purpose):

  • What is your budget range for the initiative? If you are a newbie, simply ring you agency to define some usual average costs based ont their examples, you”ll know really quick what you can afford and then let the specialist fine tune it. Remember that you have to think about upgrades and changes as the thing evolves. You don’t want to buy a BMW and not be able to service it when needed.
  • What’s your web target audience? (think B2C/B2B, groups, etc) Is this different from your current customer profile? Tie this with your short and long term goals and how you can set expectations.
  • Where is your market? Think in detail and specify different geographical targets/age. This will trigger requirements as to SEO strategy and your social media strategy
  • What are the key reasons why customers will choose you? Is this likely to change in the near future? What type of customers do you want and what type you do not want?
  • How will you measure the success of the new solution?  Think about phases and tie time with metrics/milestones.
  • Will you need the ability to accept foreign currencies or to have multiple languages? Think about accountancy challenges, localisation for the website  and online community creation.
  • How will you drive qualified traffic to the site? Who will handle the online marketing side of things? How will you create a community around the business? Allow for a budget.
  • Can you approximately foresee the amount of products and categories?
  • What would you estimate your volume of business will be? (i.e. monthly sales and transactions) Think about the payment processors, commissions, shipping, returns. Are your profit margins tight? If so, determine those best selling products that allow for good profit and focus on them intitially. Not everything you sell offline has to be available online.
  • Do you plan to outsource your customer service and logistical efforts in the short term? Think training and knowledge transfer
  • When will you need integration with an in-house system? We generally advice not to go this way until you gain some ecommerce experience. Oh, and just as mentioned above, if you plan to outsource certain efforts, integrations have to be in line with that.
  • Look at your competitors and ecommerce leaders and ask yourself which features from their websites you can mirror (I said mirror, not copy) and make a list. Then analyse that list and define what is really important, share your priorities with your agency .

Take a step by step approach. Do not be overwhelmed, open your organisation to business analysis, and, ceteris paribus 🙂 you will get started with the right foot in the passionate world of ecommerce.

Did you enjoy the post? Did I miss anything? Come on, leave a comment below!

1. What are the key reasons why customers will choose QPR Shop Worx instead of others (for example Lowe’s)? Is this likely to change in the near future?

2. What type of customers do you want and what type you do not want?

Best,
Facundo

We get in and out of shops on a daily basis. Some of them, leave us thinking for good or bad (sometimes even deeply) about that full experience, what the shop did have and didn’t… and many times we instantly come up with great ideas (“If I owned this business I would…”)
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll walk back to the shop and share the feedback with the manager… but it’d be a great idea next time 🙂

The following are two recent examples that immediately sparked in my head a cool bunch of social media ideas for business:

Formal Menswear

Two weeks ago, I was looking for a nice suit for my wedding. Since I did not have a strong refference about where to go, I googled a few good spots to visit. First thing I realised is  how bad all the websites in this trade where. It took me a bit but finally got a nice deal. Over there, the manager told me that they had a lot of their suits & tuxes over at a trade event that day…

Here’re three ideas on how to make your formal menswear business different (and better):

  1. The LIVE experience:  That day, the shop and the stand over at the trade show where very busy. Get two webcams and broadcast LIVE what’s going on in both places! Anyone coming in the shop will know that your company is “busy” doing business at an important event (They may even go there to see more!). Over at the trade show, then can see that your shop is “real”.
  2. Build an offline database: Provide the option for people walking in the shop to leave their details (email, Twitter, Facebook) to stay in touch, share great offers and build your online community almost effortless! With this strategy, you’ll realise that a big percentage of your online community are people that have visited your shop already! That is priceless.
  3. How do I look? After trying different suits, do we remember how all of them looked?  The simplest way to go about that is to take a few pictures (anyone has a digital camera these days!) and share them later with the prospect/customer. Even further: with the customer’s authorisation, you could share those pics (LIVE would be more interesting) and ask your community which one looked better. This task, could be easily done immediately with a multimedia mobile, uploading content instantly. Many companies struggle to come up with good content. This would take a bit of time (or almost no time from a mobile) and you would be pumping fresh, engaging content everyday to Twitter and your Facebook page!
    You can also go the pro-way with Nedap machines in your store to share how you look

The barber shop

I recently got a voucher for an old style, hot towel shave. Besides mentioning the obvious: it was fantastic!! I walked out of the shop thinking… “there’re so many simple things that could be done”.

Here’re four ideas on how to make your barber shop different (and better):

  1. Build an offline database: Same as the previous example, collect email, Twitter and/or Facebook contacat details. Again, this is one of the easiest ways to strongly develop your community.
  2. How do I look? Why not taking  “before” and “after” photos? and sending then by email/twitter/Facebook  with a nice template to your customers? I guarantee you, you’ll get a smile/laugh out of them and very likely, they’ll share it with their friends, colleagues and family. More people than now, will know your barber shop 🙂 Also, if you take these pics with a multimedia mobile, the effort is almost “zero” and with your customer’s permission, you can share those before/after pics on social networks. I bet you’ll spark some conversations…
  3. Making the slow day, a BIG day: In every shop, there’s a slow day during the week. Here’s the idea: Choose a good topic. A very simple, attractive and interesting one… those that you have with customers while you cut their hair!! Then, invite someone that could really add value to that topic and then, record a 30 minute chat with your customer (with permission of course) while cutting the hair. If you want to video-record it, even better!!! (people can get a taste also of what your shop looks like) You will be creating a series of weekly podcasts “…at the barber”.  Not only this approach will make your business unique, it also holds a cool story that could be interesting for great PR!
  4. Share the experience: If your barber shop is already different by offering hot towel shaves for instance, how can you share this story so more people come by or folks like me, feel curious and go for a treat?
    Use the email database and your community on Twitter and Facebook to share pics of your shop in action! Again, with customers’ permission, get those before/after pics up there, share the series of weekly podcast and invite your customers to bring a photo or video camera,  in case they want to keep a record of the luxurious treat 🙂 You will come accross these people…. Have a look

In the following weeks we’ll create a Wiki with social media marketing ideas by business category in which all you can share yours!! Stand by.

In the meantime, what do you think about the above ideas? What would you include?

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Last Thursday, January 21st, we successfully launched our first free monthly webinar. We believe it’s a great way to share and reach out to our audience and will continue to explore this method throughout the year.
We had a brainstorming session a few months ago about how could we share more value through a different channel than the blog or social networks, and the idea of the webinars came up.  It takes a good few days of preparation to deliver 1 webinar hour per month, but we’ll try to be consistent and bring you topics of interest, LIVE!

The first one was : “How to build your business network with social media” and as promised, we compiled all the relevant info below:

  • Full recording of the webinar
  • The slides
  • The conversation thread under the Twitter tag #sm4biz
  • Some questions…

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

The slides are already available on our Slideshare account!

My Power Point slides also contributed to the Twitter conversation 🙂
Have a look at what was said during the webinar by clicking on the image below:

how to grow your business network with social media

Thanks very much to everyone that helped us spread the word in the different social networks.
We’re looking forward to have you on our next free monthly webinar:  “Social Media for Sales & Marketing Departments“.

Got questions or comments? Add them to the thread below!

Facebook pages are not the most usable thing, especially when it comes to managing applications for pages. How many times you got frustrated for not being able to implement an app or make it work correctly on your fan page?

In the meantime, while Facebook and its community of application developers continue to evolve, you can enjoy a bit more the job of pimping your business page with Involver applications.

The video below will show you:

  • The different applications for pages that Involver offer.
  • How easy is to implement one of their apps!

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

You can only use up to two applications with the free version. Beyond that, here are the options and pricing structure:

Right solution for you

Hope this solution makes your Facebook marketing experience much easier!

What’s your experience with facebook apps for pages? What do you think about Involver?

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

Have you worked already on the online strategy for your business?

We’d like to share with you an overview of our 2010 social media strategy. It’s a good opportunity to help you start with your own plan, give you some ideas or at least point you in the right direction 🙂
We are absolutely open to suggestions so remember to leave your comment at the end of the post!!

Blogging

Focus: Build authority / Expand community /  Increase US & UK readership / spark conversations / *Networking / Improve search engine rankings

* This year we’ll choose to read and comment on 10 blogs: 5 will be to follow trends and stay up to date, the other 5 will be strictly for business networking.

Blog topics (Tip: Define categories first)

Reviews, Video tips, Internet marketing, Social media

Blog’s ideas sandbox:

Ask on LinkedIn Q&A, Read other blogs (listen)/ reblog, Reviews (books, events, apps, etc), Web trends/ Search / video tips

Characteristics

  • Frequency: Twice a week
  • Posts must offer value
  • Must include images and/or video
  • Time allocated per post (research, writing, marketing) = 2 to 3 hours

Blog post Marketing

  • Include relevant trackbacks in the post
  • Send tweets throughout the week to promote the content
  • Bookmark: delicious.com, bookmarks.yahoo.com, stumbleupon.com
  • Submit post to: Bizsugar.com, Digg.com and Reddit.com
  • Send post only to relevant LinkedIn groups and “follow” articles (this way you’ll be notified if someone makes a comment so you can follow up)
  • Submit blog feed to 5/10 RSS news feeds weekly

Video & Photo content

Photos will be uploaded to FlickR and Facebook (automatic to Twitter).
Videos will be uploaded to You Tube / Tube Mogul, then Facebook (automatic to Twitter).

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

Facebook

Focus: Share engaging photo and video content / Build authority / Expand community /  Increase US & UK fans/ multiply interactions / Networking / Company-Industry communications

Building the community

  • Friend relevant contacts from Twitter and LinkedIn (profile)
  • Pump good photo and video content
  • Listen: reply to any question or comment ASAP. Keep the conversation
  • Interact: Make comments / “like” status updates
  • Facebook ads campaign: targeted to people in marketing and communications

Time allocated: 4 to 6 hours weekly

Twitter

Focus: Share helpful-engaging links / Listen to random and selected conversations / Build authority / Expand US & UK community/ increase conversations / Networking / Company-Industry communications

Building the community

  • Follow contacts from LinkedIn
  • Follow back relevant contacts
  • Follow people especially traditional marketing and communications
  • Proactively do Q&A
  • Chit-chat
  • Share GOOD stuff! try to always include a link to good content

Time allocated: 6 to 8 hours weekly

LinkedIn

Focus: Share helpful-engaging status updates / Build authority / Expand US & UK network/ increase group interactions / Business networking / Company-Industry communications / Increase business opportunities

Building the community

  • Follow contacts also on Twitter
  • Join US/UK strategic groups
  • Send blog posts only to relevant groups and “follow” the article.
  • Read groups’ digest and engage in relevant threads.
  • LinkedIn Q&A: offer value answering selected questions. Ask industry questions also.
  • Keep personal/business information and LinkedIn apps on profile up to date.

Time allocated: 6 to 8 hours weekly

Email Marketing

Focus: Share helpful-engaging content/ Build authority / Expand US & UK awareness/ increase business opportunities / Company-Industry communications / webinars main promotional tool

  • Platform: Mailchimp
  • Grow email database using website, webinars and offline networking.
  • Segment database!!! (don’t send every single person the same information!)
  • Newsletter will contain three topics: best blog post/s, Great tips or social media case study and invitation to monthly webinar
  • Frequency: Once a month

Time allocated: 5 to 10 hours monthly (depending on the campaign)

Have you found the strategy useful? Go ahead, and share below what worked for you last year or how can this strategy be improved!!

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

First of all: Happy New Year everybody! 🙂

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing some shopping in the south of Holland, and while waiting from my girlfriend, I found a very interesting guy…

Nedap, created a cool product called “Wear & Compare”. The way it works is very simple: You are at the shop trying different clothes and comparing normally with the help of a mirror.
This machine basically goes further: it takes pictures of you wearing the different outfits. Then you may use all the pics to help yourself make a decision or ideally you will share “how good you look” by email, Twitter message or text…  Cool!

Check out the video below to see “Wear & Compare” in action!

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

Have you enjoyed the video? Go ahead, make a comment below!

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

While you present these days, especially at conferences, people in the audience will tweet with a specific #hashtag.

What if you could contribute to that Twitter conversation by having each slide in your presentation send a tweet for you? And also, wouldn’t it be great to know, while on stage, what are people saying about you?

The video below will show you:

  1. How to embed twitter into your Power Point
  2. How to send auto-tweets from each slide
  3. How to emebe the conversation from a Twitter #hashtag into your slide

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

Have you enjoyed the video? Go ahead, make a comment below!

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

When running your own business you constantly have all sorts of questions. Many of them… you don’t have the answer for. You can either ring some you know that might be able to point you in the right direction, you can do hours of research trying to find the answer or hiring the right professional… or you can simply use the right online tools, throw a good question there and expect dozens of qualified business professionals around the world  answer it for you 🙂

Twitter has helped us many times but people only have 140 characters.
LinkedIn Question & Answers
is a very good choice. I know some people might be aware of it, but every time I ask if they use it at all (or use it properly)… they really don’t.
With the current economic climate these are paths that will make you connect and network with more business professionals and what’s best, get the best advise for free!
We recently needed help selecting the right technology for online meeting and webinars

fred's question

I’m amazed at the level of answers. Even someone from the official Microsoft Outreach team contacted me! Click on the image above to benefit from all the answers.

My partner was looking for the right online project management tool

Facundo's question

We received fantastic feedback that helped us made a decision.  Have a look at the answers yourself by clicking on the image above.

We also ANSWER loads of questions on LinkedIn. This is a huge benefit. Not only it feels great to help others but when someone votes your answer as “Best” it’s a great way to sweeten your profile and spread your expertise.
One of my answers got featured in a very important online publication in Norway and Sweden back in June. Also, a few weeks ago, a publisher in the South of Florida was so happy with my answer that she’s now putting together an e-book about LinkedIn and she’ll feature me there. Her e-books are downloaded by a few thousand people. Not bad. All this happened because I took the time to answer a question…

What do you think about this kind of approaches? If you’re already using LinkedIn Q&A what’s your experience? Go ahead, leave a comment below.

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members

As video bloggers, we continuously look for ways to give video communications a spin and make it more interactive and fun.

In this case, after going through a bunch of different platforms, I’d like to share with you two very valuable tools that could transform your business now or in the near future. The majority of businesses I see, have not considered/implemented video yet so, what are you waiting for?

Video Lobby

These guys don’t offer a real time video tool, they already hooked up with video experts such as Qik, Ustream and Justin.tv. Their value covers something specific and very important, especially when making videos for business:  “a branded, unique site”. So basically, you can use any of the sites mentioned above to broadcast live but you put on a branded mask that will make your company’s channel look 1,000 times more professional.

This free service also pulls in comments automatically  from Twitter and Facebook, and allows users to submit questions directly from the show’s page!

Unfortunately, their video is not on You Tube yet, so you can click on the image below that will take you to the Video Lobby home page and then click on “See Video Lobby in Action” on your left.

video lobby

6 Rounds

These guys are giving a very interesting spin to video chatting.
By now, I guess the majority of the people got the message about social media and “interaction, people with their own voice, etc, etc”. Now,  6 Rounds are taking that usual message to the next level.

With 6 Rounds you can do things from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference (really cool!), interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members. It’s focused on social interaction, however follow every second of the video and if it’s necessary pause it and think about how could that be used for your business (Twitter and Facebook were never created exclusively for business and look at what happened now?) . If you start testing/implementing any of these tools early enough, you will be a BIG step ahead in your industry 🙂

Enjoy the post? Come on, make a comment below and share this!

Best,

Fred

Follow Fred and Channelship on:

View Federico Caballero's profile on LinkedIn

Federico Caballero’s Profile | Create your badge

Federico Caballero's Facebook Profile

anything from co-browsing YouTube to playing games, adding funny effects to a live video conference, interacting on Facebook together with your contacts or even shopping for things online together with your friends or family members