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.   

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

7 Alternative Rules of Innovation

1. Think coalitions, new working teams. Choose home workers, part time workers, others based on talent, drive and results.

2. Become resilient through local funding first, investment in people, support networks.

3. Your greatest innovators may not even work for you, they may be your customers, your suppliers or your support network.

4. If you are a dinosaur, learn to dance. Don't wait. Don't be afraid of looking stupid. Otherwise you'll end up on the sidelines while the rest are at a party.

5. Offer clear value. Make it obvious.

6. Invest in your education. Do courses. Do them online, offline or inline. But do them.

7. Listen to your talent. Top down decision making is stone age thinking. Experiment with ideas.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Twitter Session Length

How long do you think people spend on Twitter in a session, that is when they open Twitter and look at the list of Tweets in front of them?

I reckon it's less than 5 minutes each time. I spend about 3 minutes, but I do check Twitter maybe 10 times a day.

Please respond to these questions in the comments below to share your experience.

The questions are:

1. How long do you spend on a single session on Twitter, on average?

2. How many times a day do you check Twitter?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

3 Big Social Media Mistakes Many Businesses are Making

The social media industry is as new as the automobile industry was a hundred years ago. We don't have rules of the social-media road, a social-media tax or rear view social-media mirrors yet.

But they are all coming.

While we wait for them here are 3 big mistakes many business people are making in relation to social media.

1.  Ignoring it. All this means is that intrepid individuals will start doing it without permission. Do you even know how many of your staff are doing semi-official tweeting or blogging or Facebooking for you? Social media is coming and you can't stop it.

2. Not aligning your social media goals with the goals of your business. The goal of social media is not to get more followers. This is similar to people who think the business goal of having a car is the ability to drive around. Sure there are people who want to do that, but a business needs to align social media to its business goals.

3. Thinking it's just a marketing and PR thing. Human resources, purchasing, the canteen, investment analysts and R&D can all benefit from the research, communications and feedback service that social media is. Don't leave it all to marketeers. Every division can use social media.

It is likely that many business people, (the Ostriches) when confronted with the Tsunami of change that social media represents will simply opt for ignoring it in the hope that it will pass them by.

The are wrong. Better firms will achieve competitive advantage by using social media. This is already happening. And when the rest understand what they might lose they will follow. After the Ostriches are removed.

Monday, June 9, 2014

How to Learn Digital Marketing Online

I have been appointed Head of the College of Digital Marketing. Here's a short animation of our mission.

If you want to attend any of these courses - in person or online - and learn how to market yourself or your organisation with this software click here.