Tag Archive social media marketing

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Stop Wasting Time and Start Acting Like a Child

When most of my fellow Generation X’s first set out on their careers I doubt many would have guessed accurately how their lives would pan out or how challenging it would be to be a success in their chosen field.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be but looking back the signs were there at a very early age. Creating my own football cards using imaginary players and actually selling them, 2p each. Re-selling my fathers confectionary ingredients in sample bags during school break times and making a few pounds from a card club that hid within the legitimate but rather more boring chess club.

After a few failed attempts in other areas, insurance and travel I discovered marketing and hey presto I’m now a marketer, one of the chartered variety actually I have a certificate that says so.

But even though my career path has seemed relatively linear; school boy salesman, marketing exec, sales manager, marketing manager, head of marketing etc.. I can assure you it’s been far from straightforward.

I’m not unusual in this reflection of my work life. Whether soldier, scientist, safe cracker or solicitor; dealing with day to day matters to stay one step ahead has become increasingly challenging.

But why is this and what of the future? Part of the issue is time or rather a lack of it. We try and achieve too much and have over exaggerated expectations of what we can do in a day. Technology is a big part to play in that. E-mail, text, tweet and facebook post make you readily accessible to a population who are only too ready to take your time.

Time moving faster as we get older is of course a perception rather than a reality but it feels very real. This is because we have lost our sense of wonder. Two years in the life of a toddler can seem as long as the average retirement, almost twenty years because a two year old is seeing most things for the first time. Everything is new, exciting, challenging, rewarding, painful, funny and days stretch on filled with these experiences.

By the time we come to retire we’ve seen it, done it, bought the XXL T shirt and possibly the XX video. Little can shock, inspire, challenge or excite us. But if we want to see time slow down we should take a different mental attitude. Be prepared to see the wonder again in simple pleasures, no not necessarily hug your nearest conifer but try and recapture that childlike innocence and strip away the cynicism and explore.

That is of course a tough ask for many. By the time we hit our 30’s 40’s and certainly 50’s we’re pretty much set in our ways, in a groove that we’ve designed for ourselves. It’s comfortable, safe and secure. Change is threatening and offers a chance to fail which we have become programmed to resist at all costs.

As young children we didn’t understand the concept of time – no deadlines, appointments, 9 to 5 mentality – and we can’t now un think that conditioning but we can try and recapture the simplicity of life and observe some of the detail that can go whizzing past us on a busy day.

It starts with removing the self imposed and pestering time wasters that are often linked to the technology we use.

I’ve revisited an old time management book, put in place a few simple but very effective rules and started to appreciate how much time is truly wasted in any given day. Now I’m winning back time previously flushed away amongst groaning e-mail inboxes and must respond voicemails.

Taking back control of your working day is just the first step. What you do with that extra precious resource of time is the next.

Time to clock off, it’s time for play … 🙂

David Laud – david.laud@i2isolutions.co.uk

Byadmin

Take the Screen Test to See if You’re Addicted to Apps

Does this sound familiar? You settle down to relax after a days work, the TV is as usual on and turning out the usual “reality” fest of low grade entertainment. Out of courtesy you check what your partner/family/ friends would prefer to watch, hoping you can for once agree but… when you look around the room you notice all fellow inhabitants are glued to the screen. No not the 40 inch flat screen in the corner but the 2.5 inch by 3 inch version held in the hand.

Are we becoming obsessed by our smartphones? You might think so if you, like me, play dodge the teenager on the high street as they walk along in a somnambulistic style, hypnotised by their device unable to look up and see who they’re about to collide with.

But is it the device or something else that’s causing this epidemic? The smartphones provide a portal to a new and exciting world but the true cause of our preoccupation are the various applications that live on these instruments.

Just before you think I’m taking the high ground I need to confess to my own weaknesses. Yes, I too have an addiction to the touch screen world. For me it started with my first iphone and has developed as I’ve been able to run my world through it. Well, perhaps more accurately it runs me.

I can break the problem down to 4 main areas of activity that can quickly become an addictive.

1. Checking e-mail
2. Checking text messages (it’s quite worrying how many drivers I see texting while driving!)
3. Checking social media sites for likes, mentions and comments
4. Games

Yes I tend to check my e-mail too often which is not helped by the multiple accounts and spam. There have also been a couple of recent examples of sudden onset addiction brought about by a newly downloaded app.

A problem with my broadband connection led to me downloading the “speedtest” app. Let’s just say I become rather too obsessed with download and upload speeds for a couple of weeks.

The other time thief is the analytical tools I have to measure social media activity. Yes I have too many sites but then its my job to keep abreast of these platforms. But my love/hate relationship with Klout is unhealthy and it’s time for the “it’s me not you, I need some time to work things out” break up conversation.

I do use a very large number of social media sites but I don’t think I’m unusual in the time I spend with my smartphone. Not unusual by the benchmark of the average user but that’s because we’ve become used to having our devices with us constantly.

It can’t be good for us to become obsessed and addicted to anything despite the attraction and apparent benefits of the developing technology. How much time can we fritter away on Angry Birds, Temple Run, Instagram (perfecting the image through photo apps), Linkedin group exchanges, Facebook babble, Tweets and RT’s, celebrity face matching…you get the idea.

But perhaps we should test our resolve and see how much of a problem we have. Here’s the “Screen Test” challenge. Pick one day this week and have 24 hours without access to your phone, tablet or smart device.

I did this recently and will now be making a habit of it as that day proved to be one of my most productive for quite some time.

Things you can do….

1. Catch up with industry/ local news by reading magazines
2. Plan ahead – your forthcoming week, month, year
3. Get creative and think of how you might make better use of your time and when you do have access to the device how you can take back control.
4. Arrange to meet that contact who you’ve been meaning to catch up with for months.

The technology is great but it’s still only a tool to be used effectively and not something that should dominate our lives. Just take the “Screen Test” and let me know how it was for you.

David Laud

Byadmin

Social Media – Are You Feeling the Love?

Are You Feeling the Love of Social Media?

You’ve followed the advice, created the accounts, sent out the messages, uploaded the links, shared photos and pointed followers and friends to your blog and even taken the time to comment regularly on topical business matters on Linkedin.

So why isn’t it working?  Why doesn’t anyone retweet you, or comment on your blog and like your updates?  It’s an experience shared by colleagues and you’re fast coming to the conclusion that social media is just yet another overhyped fad that will soon wither on the marketing vine.

OK, I hear the frustration and to be frank it’s not an uncommon situation. I often meet with business owners who have struggled to justify time and resource on developing a social media presence and in desperation and a last throw of the dice seek to hand the responsibility completely over to a third party………STOP! Don’t do it.

I appreciate that there is a nice little industry being created for those who can operate social media accounts for others and whilst I’m all for free enterprise it’s not really the point of social media, having someone else talk your talk. Above all social media is about making “real” connections not just making a noise.

But where does that leave the business?  Technically following the correct course of action but just not finding any benefit let alone an audience.

Presented with this problem I prescribe the following;

  1. Audit your social media accounts by asking a few key questions
    1. Who are you connected to?
    2. Who is active within your networks?
    3. What messages are being broadcast?

The building of a network that offers you a rich source of quality content to which you can participate is always a good start.  It may be that those who you are connected to are themselves not very active.  So unwittingly you’ve created a network that as like a party where you’ve invited all the local agoraphobics, it’s not that they don’t like you it’s just that they are struggling to connect too. 

  1. Take a good look at the messages you’re broadcasting and the objectives you have within the business.  It can often be a case that you’re either trying too hard or not hard enough.  As a rule of thumb and to balance the interactions on a platform such as Twitter I recommend 1 business tweet in every 6.  That can include 2 retweets, a reply to someone else’s comment and a couple of general items on the news or points of interest.  Then you can introduce something that relates to your business objective.  Don’t however “oversell”. Social media users are not usually very responsive to the hard sell; actually I’m not sure many of us are in any medium. 
  2. Consider taking a lateral approach.  Now this may well be where your creative agency or consultant can earn their corn. Finding a point of interest that can generate response to your content but not directly “selling” is a good way to build trust and further connections. 

You want an example?  Of course you do….here’s 3

UStechnology company Best Buy introduced a new service for their customers who used twitter.  They created a “Twelpforce” which included staff across all stores who were able to log in and assist customers by responding rapidly to their tech related queries via twitter.  It works like a dream.  Whilst not selling product directly it has had a very positive impact on the brand and has resulted in increased sales.

I can’t claim credit for the genius idea of the “Twelpforce”  but I have initiated a couple of simple ideas, a seasonal photo competition using a TV weather presenter as a judge which has created significant increase in the company brand and awareness on social media sites.  The competition is promoted on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn.

My most recent idea uses Valentines Day and the offer of a free card and personal message.  This has just launched but has already created significant interest through Facebook where we have created a specific advert and twitter where positive feedback has already been noted.

See here for more information: http://www.samuelphillips.co.uk/news.asp?NewsID=61

As you’ll see from the above examples the idea doesn’t need to have an obvious link to your business.  The key is to make connections, build trust, have fun and let your network realise that you’d be a good organisation to do business with.

If you’ve got an example of your own let’s hear about it.

If you would like the Valentine Card just e-mail me at david.laud@i2isolutions or text “Law of Love” to 82010

Feeling the love yet?  😉

 David Laud

Byadmin

Measure for measure, tweet for tweet

If you’ve embraced social media in your business you might not have yet considered how to check to see if your efforts are making a return.

Of course the obvious signs are followers who buy from you or make recommendations about you to others but how do you get to to the point where your network is working for you?

Many who try and become exasperated with social media are under the false impression that success can be achieved in a matter of days or a few weeks.  Of course it doesn’t work like that.  Building an effective and interactive network of trusted contacts takes time. Those “instant network builder” solutions should be ignored in favour of a steady and considered approach to sourcing the network and hopefully followers who can offer mutual benefit.

Most businesses using social media are SME’s and have geographically or sector specific audiences to whom they would like to connect.  The Starbucks or Dell level of followers should not necessarily be the goal unless your business is truly looking to broadcast to a very wide and eclectic audience and expecting them to watch for your every message, probably not very realistic.

Now with that well developed network in place and growing steadily but not exponentially its time to re-assess the true impact of your efforts.  Our recommendation is to check in with apps that can analyse across a number of platforms, one such tool is www.Klout.com . This site can track your impact on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, FourSquare, YouTube, tumblr, Flickr, Last.FM and now Google+ so leaves very little out.

Klout works out a score based upon three complimentary sets of analytical criteria.

1. True Reach is simply the actual verified number of people who you influence when boadcasting via social media. Spam is filtered out to ensure that the results reflect actual activity. It is the audience who tend to respond when you post a message.

2. Amplification, as it suggests it refers to the increase in your influence through a message being spread via your network. If your content generates a good level of responses it will rank highly on amplification.

3. Network refers to the influence of your network as identified in True Reach.  If you receive responses from and sharing from leading influential accounts it will increase your Network score.

By regularly checking the scores you can identify progress with your social media activity and begin to set this against the more obvious physical responses via the various platforms such as mentions and re-tweets on twitter, comments on Linkedin or “likes” on Facebook.

There are other applications which can help you analyse your social media effectiveness.

Twitalyzer http://www.twitalyzer.com offers useful analysis of your twitter account and ranking in relation to your competitors and peers.

Peer Index  http://www.peerindex.net can provide a very detailed analysis of your account profile.

The key is not to become too wrapped up in the numbers or the multitude of analysis apps as they can often contradict each other.  What is required is an objective assessment of your businesses impact through its use of social media to provide sufficient information to allow you to then take steps to improve effectiveness through connectivity and network interaction.

David Laud, Partner i2i Business Solutions LLP –

author of Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

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