Thursday, September 11, 2014

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #4 Characterization

Another storytelling technique you can use to build social media engagement is characterization.

Characterization builds empathy between the reader and your post or feed/series of posts. But how do you do that?

Characterization is built by revealing personal details. It's in the advice to "be personal", but we can expand on that idea to give real depth to a personal or business brand. You can give your brand a character. You can reveal its struggles, its growth pains, its strengths.

The keys to fast characterization are markers:

Where are you based, how old are you, who are your members, what do you do, how do you enjoy life, what do you value, what do you wear?

These are just seven markers of a character. Think about how you can use yours to give your posts character and supercharge engagement with your followers.

Don't forget to follow this blog on the right. There are a lot more posts coming like this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

5 Dumbest Social Media Mistakes Businesses Make Every Day

1. The no strategy mistake. Some dumb idiots shoot out posts and Tweets without having commercial goals, without segmenting their market, and without understanding the buying process for what they sell.

2. The same dumb idiots don't invest in good content. Your content strategy will be as thin as air if you don't invest in it.

3.  Dumb idiots aren't unique, either. People with imagination and great writing skills, who can write different, new posts, are needed, badly. If you can write a  stunning post, do it. If you can't, please don't bore us with faded copies of the worst post we read in 2010.

4. Those same dumb idiots don't get social. At all. For God's sake, there's no point in having a Twitter feed and Facebook page if you don't respond to people who contact you that way. 7 days a week too. Wake up. M-F 9 to 5 will die. Your customers are online 24/7. Can you not at least be there 12/24?

5. And they don't ask customers anything and don't adapt to their needs. If you are targeting a group, get their views, find out what they want, and deliver it. How hard is that? You should know what's trending in each segment, and what value you can deliver for free, too.

Don't expect miracles, either and don't get conned into promising them, This stuff works, but it's based on building a reputation, delivering value, and nurturing the leads you accumulate through your email and blog sign up systems. With that in mind, please use the button on the right to follow us.

There's lots more posts like this coming. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #3 Can you apply the Socratic method to social media?

The goal of this blog is to stimulate thinking about social media. I believe the Socratic method is an interesting tool for communication. It must therefore have applications in social media.

Here's my thoughts about using the Socratic method in social media:

1. Take a stance of skeptical ignorance. Enquire about others views on a subject.

2. Be conversational, but keep probing assumptions. 

3. Require definition of terms. This is where conversations often go wrong. Ask what people mean by X.

4. Use experience. Refer to your own experiences.

5. Draw implications & consequences. Talk about what will happen if X occurs.

Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher who proposed asking questions to test people's assumptions as a way to debate the truth of an assumption and to stimulate thought. 

Getting someone to see the problems with their assumptions was one of it's goals. It is one of the methods used in education to get engagement from reluctant learners and to test critical thinking skills.

For detailed info on Socratic method, as used in education and philosophy see here.

My guide to social media is available on Amazon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #2 How can you use social media to build customer loyalty?

 Here are five ways you can use social media to build customer loyalty:

  1. Improve your product or service by listening to negative sentiment or suggestions posted on all relevant social media channels. People who say negative things or post about you will mostly have something valid to say. Why not listen to them, examine their issue, and fix them as soon as possible? A responsive firm fixes things. Most customers are aware that some things take time to fix too. As long as they know something is genuinely being done many people will accept the situation until then.
  2. Ask people to recommend or retweet or re post something from you. People talk about "net promoter scores" as a key metric for understanding customer loyalty, but the percentage who are willing to take action to recommend or retweet should be a more reliable figure, as it’s not about stating your intentions, it’s about actions. You may say you will promote a service, but not actually do it. I suggest actions speak louder than words.
  3. Offer updates & special offers to people who sign up to receive posts or Tweets. By making people feel part of a community in some way you will increase engagement and loyalty. Highly engaged customers become advocates too. A high percentage of them will recommend you to others. Your Facebook page can provide special offers and your Twitter & Pinterest feed can too. You can also make these offers and updates local by getting each of your branches or divisions to take part in this campaign, so that customers are building relationships with the nearest branch.
  4. You can track if customers achieve their objectives using your product or service using social media. You can do this buy asking them direct questions, via surveys, and by monitoring any posts they create on the subject. This is being proactively interested in how your customers get on with your service. You may only be able to do this with a select group of customers, but the lessons learned should be applicable to all similar customers. Achieving objectives is a critical issue to remaining loyal and placing the maximum amount of business with you. If you are afraid to ask hard questions then your business will eventually have big problems.
  5. Communicate the benefits of your product or service, not the technical features. This is an old adage salespeople use. Sell the sizzle not the stake. It’s true for social media too. Don’t focus on how to get button A to perform service B. Tell people how service B will benefit them. Then tell them how to get it to work.
My guide to social media is available from Amazon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Social Media Puzzle: Piece #1 What are your goals?

Social media can be viewed as a series of puzzles.

When you first start in social media it seems that everyone knows what you don't. The mysteries of social media are revealed slowly as you browse and experiment and learn. This series of posts will explore some important pieces of the social media puzzle, of relevance whether you're new to social media or an old hand.

The 1st puzzle I'd like to explore is, what are your goals for social media? The reason this comes 1st, for me, is because how you answer this will affect every social media action that you take.

If your goal is simply to increase sales of your paintings or widgets or nuclear reactors then there will be a series of steps you need to take to build relationships with people who might be interested in what you are selling.

This will however be rather a restrictive use of social media. It would be like installing a telephone in your offices and only using it for sales calls.

Every aspect of your business can be impacted positively by social media, if you let it. Human Resources, purchasing, accounts, shareholder relationships, PR, marketing, sales, service and R&D can all use social media tools to connect with people, listen and communicate.

You can use social media as a creative tool too, to allow you to express whatever you want; your love of fly fishing or photography or ball room dancing. And you can use social media to build relationships widely.

So when you are thinking about goals for social media, think about the other sides of this puzzle piece, think about the hidden layers that social media can bring.

This is the 1st in a new series of posts. In the series I will explore various hidden and puzzling aspects of social media.

Your thoughts, comments and reactions will be gratefully received.

To support this site - over 100 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Newsjacking Post #2 - Using Google Alerts

I posted a previously on the basic concept of newjacking, inserting you or your company into a story breaking on the internet.

I got my highest number of hits in a day on my blog, over 500, the day I posted the second comment on a major story that was relevant to what I do; writing popular fiction and assisting people with social media.

I was reviewing this process in the last few days, as I spend time every morning checking major newspaper/media sites looking for stories I can comment or post about. And then I had an idea, why don't I set up a Google Alert for the major subject areas that I would be competent to insert comments on or post about in my own blog?

So I did that. I now have ten Google Alerts set up and I don't have to spend a lot of time searching through news sites. And I'm finding stories all over the world I can comment on. And best of all it's free! Thank you, Google.

To support this site - over 100 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy one of my novels, The Istanbul Puzzle or The Jerusalem Puzzle or my guide to social media. And enjoy!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Twitter changes! 5 Suggestions for adding picture posts to brighten Twitter up!

Ok, this is not about eyes. This post is about livening your Tweets up with images. You may have noticed that Twitter is displaying images and videos in Tweets to make the stream more like Tumblr and Facebook, with images streaming down where people attached them.

This change is aimed at making Twitter more visual. Tweets with images get retweeted and commented a lot more. This also helps Twitter compete with social media sites where there are a lot of images and video links.

There are a lot of new opportunities presented by this change. I am experimenting with adding pics to one in three of my Tweets. These, I hope, are relevant and interesting. The jury is out as to how they will be perceived by my followers, over 250,000 now on my different Twitter accounts, but I also believe this is an opportunity for compelling visual story telling about your offering. 

Thinking visually means we have to find good content that you own the rights to - I paid for the above image earlier this month at Videoblocks - and thinking about how to select images that relate to our posts. Some subjects will be easy to find images for. Others will not.

Here are some suggestions for adding images:

1. Take more pictures of what's around you, your office, your desk, your colleagues, your output, your city.

2. Make changes to images using Ifranview or at They are both free, but the program allows you to add layers easily.

3. Make friends or buy services from photographers and animators and artists. Value their work. This will be good thing for everyone who is visually minded.

4. Consider creating your own videos using the Vine app on your phone, for free animations or for edited videos. All these services are free.

5. Create visual story boards about your products or services. Take multiple pictures of the process you go through to create what you do. Then post the images.

This is a revolutionary change to Twitter. It will force us to make our Tweets more interesting. That's all good, in my opinion. If you have any other suggestions for adding visual content please comment below. Or simply let me know what you think about this change to your Twitter stream.

Thanks for following too. Please click the link above to get my occasional posts on social media developments.