Tag Archives: linkedin

What Spongebob Squarepants taught me about Social Media

SpongebobIf ever a picture told a thousand words, it’s this one, which recently appeared in my timeline on Facebook- sadly because a ‘friend’ had ‘liked’ it.

The complex relationship between God, cancer and Spongebob Squarepants must have passed me by, but it illustrates the beauty and the curse of socially referred, user-generated content- quality control is only as strong as the weakest link in your network.

It’s annoying when spam appears in your timeline from large brands, but this is no more annoying than an ad and you tolerate it because of the huge benefits that ‘free’ access to a tool like Facebook brings. Plus, you know it’s an algorithm’s ‘opinion’ rather than one of your nearest and dearest actively engaging with the content by clicking ‘like’.

I can’t help contrast this with my LinkedIn timeline. No doubt helped by the removal of automated twitter feeds into LinkedIn, the stream of updates from my professional network of over 550 contacts on LinkedIn (some of whom are also Facebook friends) doesn’t suffer the same pollution of ‘like spam’.

Accepting it’s not in any way scientific, there appears to be a clear difference in behaviour by the same people on Facebook as on LinkedIn. Hardly ‘hold the front page’ stuff, I know, but with more and more talk of the drive from “B2B” (business-to-business) to “P2P” (person-to-person) communications being fuelled by social media, there’s clear evidence to me that people do fluctuate between their “work” and “personal” self, and use separate social media platforms to power these dual personas. For this reason, I struggle to see how Facebook will ever evolve into a truly valuable social media tool for engaging B2B audiences.

Maybe 2013 will be the year Google+ really starts to take off. The segmentation possibilities that its ‘circles’ functionality give you help alleviate some of the issues I’ve touched upon above.

How do you use social media tools? Do you have different platforms for your ‘work’ and ‘personal’ self? In what ways do you manage your digital personal brand using social media?

Twitter no longer LinkedIn

There’s no doubt we live in a digitally connected world.

But, with the growing number of mobile apps and platforms, it is easy to forget exactly how it’s all connected.

So I welcome yesterday’s news that tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn- as should everyone that hasn’t appreciated the impact that automated cross-posting can have on their digital personal brand.

I use LinkedIn for professional networking. I’m ‘virtually’ suited and booted whenever I’m on the platform and am certainly in ‘work mode’. Yet I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s seen a tweet appear in their LinkedIn timeline and thought, ‘why are you sharing this with me?’.

The way I look at it, most people wouldn’t dream of bursting into a business networking event in their shorts and running vest and shouting “I’VE JUST COMPLETED A THREE MILE RUN IN 26MINS 19SECS”. So either they’ve forgotten these tools are connected or they simply aren’t thinking about the impact of the updates on their audience.

Although this automatic link from twitter has now been broken, it serves as a timely reminder to take a look at the what, why and how to manage your digital personal brand using social media.

  • WHAT tools do you currently use? Make a ‘map’ of how they’re all connected and ensure you understand what automated cross-posting is happening as a result.
  • WHY are you using them? Ask yourself about your audience on each of these platforms and how your updates impact their perception of you.
  • HOW can you effectively add value to your audiences using automation tools, but only once you’ve defined your ‘digital publishing strategy’- what will you send, to whom, how often and why?

There’s a number of tools that are out there that can help you to schedule and automate updates across a number of platforms. Personally, I’m a fan of TweetDeck, but the tool to use first is the one you have between your ears to make sure your digital publishing strategy adds value to your audience and fully aligns to your digital personal brand.

What do you think about Twitter’s move? Are there any downsides for users? Do you have a digital publishing strategy or any digital personal brand guidelines?

Social Media Benchmark

I was one of about 250 marketers that attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing‘s launch of the Social Media Benchmark research at Bloomberg’s impressive offices in Finsbury Square this week.

This is the latest in a number of excellent research studies launched by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in recent years, led by Thomas Brown, Head of Insights at CIM.

Assembling an impressive panel of senior players from LinkedIn, YouTube and Skype, and hosted by Manus Cranny from Bloomberg TV, the audience were given a double-act walk through of the top-level findings by Thomas and Tara Beard-Knowland from ASI, Ipsos Mori.

The full report is due out in a few weeks but here are some of the headline statistics:

  • 80% of marketers know they need a social media strategy, yet only 7% are tracking the results
  • In 40-50% of businesses, marketing did not own the official channel for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (PR team seemed the other most common owner)
  • The number of marketers that rated their social media activities as ‘not at all effective’ was spread across a range: 24% (Twitter) 33% (Facebook) 37% (LinkedIn) 44% (YouTube).
  • Whilst about half of businesses surveyed planned to invest in training their current people to improve social media skills and competencies in 2012, about a quarter had no plans at all.

I look forward to poring over the detail when the report is published, but I left the event thinking that survey respondents are either:

  1. still in complete denial/ignorance of the importance of measuring the effectiveness of the tools they are using, and why (I believe this a broader issue than social media), OR
  2. they are unashamedly still in experimental mode, adopting the Google approach of “test and iterate” mentioned by Thomas in his closing summary

It’s hard to say for sure without the detailed findings, but I suspect there’s a bit of both.

However, with a social media landscape that continues to evolve and change almost daily, the important thing is that the CIM is leading the debate from centre stage.

Thank you and well done.

High street music woes strike a chord

Buying music has changed so much since I was a lad. Growing up in 1980’s Nottingham involved a weekly pilgrimage to Selectadisc, where I’d buy the latest Rush or David Lee Roth album. As my tastes evolved, I’d pick up a second hand rarity or two such as the original 12″ single of The Sugarcubes’ “Birthday”.

Whatever came home with me on the bus in that distinctive bag was part of the experience of buying music that will never be the same again.

With news today (http://tinyurl.com/24chgjp) that HMV is closing 40 stores following a 13.6% slump in sales, the future of high street music retail still looks uncertain. Buyer behaviour has changed, even for ‘Digital Immigrants’ like me (see http://tinyurl.com/2g4ncz8). 

The world has changed and we can now, via an iPhone and an App called Red Laser, instantly scan the barcode whilst you’re in a store and find out how much the CD/DVD is retailing for on Amazon, Play and a number of other online stores. Whilst the high street presence may capture footfall, how much of the potential revenue ‘leaks’ to online sources? I fear that stores like HMV risk falling into the “Woolworths trap” of ‘doing lots, badly’, with an unclear value proposition of the kind that ultimately led to the demise of Woolies.

I hope HMV survives and thrives, but to do so, it must work out what it is trying to be, and to whom. It then needs to clearly communicate this value proposition. Is it a Games, DVD or Music Retailer? Is it a price discounter or a destination store for connoisseurs where you can get good advice on your product selection? Can it successfully continue to be all things to all men, women, boys and girls?

For many, the act of browsing and buying music as a physical product is still attractive. I miss Selectadisc.

Will it blend?

So I finally decided to write my first post, inspired by a Mike Moran post I saw today here http://bit.ly/8Y4u4k .

I recently presented at an internal company conference in Birmingham, and used a great case study from the US to demonstrate the power of online video for brand engagement. The company, Blendtec, has demonstrated the power and durability of its product by posing the question ‘Will it blend’ before proceeding to blend a range of household items, including marbles, glowsticks and even an iPad.

The videos are entertaining, popular (the iPad video gaining 6.8M views on YouTube to date) and have reportedly helped to increase sales fivefold.

Check out the series at http://bit.ly/4qXObH.

Enjoy!