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7 posts from May 2010

May 29, 2010

Picplz Hits The Android Marketplace - but only in the US at the moment.


via techcrunch.com

This is a great App (PicPlz) that allows you to "check in" on Foursquare with a photo of where you are.

Sadly (at the moment) it is only available in the US on Android but will be coming to the UK when it comes out of Beta.

Life streaming is gathering a pace. So far I am seeing many adaptations on RT arguably this is a third gen adaptation that could not exist without foursquare or twitter. There are more coming.

I'll be blogging about it when the UK version comes out.

N

May 26, 2010

A significant move on the social web.

Now you can earn whilst "checking in".

This is something quite significant, it's a clear move away from traditional marketing and using the social web in a novel manner.

Since the rise of "lifestreams" becoming part of the "mainstream" world of the social web, this is an inevitable move. Albeit not a new thing (rewarding points for engagement), however, what is going to be fascinating is what will come next?

Having said that "user generated media impressions" should be rewarded as we (the public) are doing the work of the "marketeers" by "liking" and "checking in".

Groundswell should be rewarded.

Here's what WeReward has to say:

WeReward, a mobile incentive platform that pays cash to consumers for actions they take in the real world, enables consumers to discover local businesses and earn rewards for their patronage.

Consumers can complete a Sponsored Checkin™, which encourages users to explore their neighborhoods and earn real money for making purchases at local businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters, attractions and national retail chains.  This allows consumers to earn cash while simultaneously unlocking badges and sharing experiences through their social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

For advertisers, this platform represents the first completely performance-based mobile marketing option, giving local businesses and major national brands the opportunity to drive measurable return on investment. WeReward only charges advertisers for customers who actually make purchases at their locations, which are verified through a process using photos submitted by the consumer, GPS data and manual reviews.

Advertisers control their WeReward budget and can adjust their campaign spending at any time. There are no set-up fees or minimum commitments; advertisers decide how many customers they would like to reach each month and what they are willing to pay per customer.

N

May 25, 2010

Architecture at The Chelsea Flower Show.

I had a wonderful day yesterday at the Chelsea Flower show.

Having said that, it was a bit hot and by the end of the day it wasn't just the flowers that were wilting!

Still I managed to "snap" a few pics for the web.

Enjoy.

N

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May 21, 2010

The omnipresent nature of the web and its pace dictates listening is as important as talking.

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Photo courtesy of dharmasphere



Arguably more so.


How rude it would be to walk into a party of people and just broadcast and talk about yourself all the time?   I'm not sure there are many people on the planet that would accept that scenario!  You will certainly not make any friends at that party, and people will leave thinking you a real bore.



Question: Is this how we should act on the web?


I don't think so. I know people will, and the nature of the web is that it will go on, but the "who can shout the loudest" form of "marketing/conversation" will be in the minority - don't you think?  It will not gain traction nor inspire advocacy – one of the major benefits of leveraging a networked economy.



The nature of the web would appear to be heading towards the term "social" and I have no doubts that this term will be re-invented countless times in the near future, but don't you think that the fundamental usage of the web dictates that it is social in the truest form?


Therefore, why would you "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" to anything that a): is a robot and b): never listens to you or engages with you?


If we track forward 5 years with the web (I have only vague vision thereof) but one thing is for sure our ability to "choose" who we "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" will be - well choosey.  We already realize that we have a choice as to what messages we are exposed to and the deluge of information on the social web is only going to make us more picky about who we subscribe to.  As consumers, our attention has to be earned by valuable content, not “bought”.  Broadcasting does not work on the social web.  It does not translate. 



The nature of the web and it's method of communication/s means that whatever we put on the web stays there in perpetuity, therefore, we have ubiquity. Meaning that all this information can be grouped, and you as a potential "follower" have the ability to choose who you want to follow based on a measurement of what someone or something puts out.


Now at that point we all have a choice do we follow a "data flow/life-stream" from someone who only shouts about themselves or their products? Or do we follow the "data flow/life-stream" from someone who makes you aware they have a product but who mostly shares an insight into his/hers industry, engages in conversation, links you to good content/people etc?


Who would you follow?


I don't think it's that far-fetched to think that the former will achieve less traction that the latter.

Question:
Is the social web a folly?

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Photo courtesy of jinglebell


I don't think so.


I would argue that it is a basic human instinct to group, follow, be social, converse, share, chat, learn, and help.   The fact is that the web and its facilities allow us to aggregate and organise all that information.   On that basis, "ducks to water" would appear to be an apt phrase!


And given that most technologies are being designed to facilitate that desire and don't appear to be stopping, I would humbly conclude that it's not folly.


Conclusion:

Given that the web appears to be here to stay and that we are enjoying it (being able to find, sort, follow, help, share, and change), it's now not folly.  I would argue that it is telling us how to use it. i.e. listen as well as talk.

N

May 18, 2010

Blogging: What's it all about then?

It is my humble opinion that blogging is the cornerstone of a nutritious social web diet.  It is the backbone of everything you do and that you are on-line.   My reason for saying this is such:  Only 14% of people trust advertising whereas 78% of people trust community, peer, or friend review.  These reviews and recommendations are coming from, among other places, the humble blog.

Question:  Are you being found, talked about, and shared into other people's networks?  Because that is where the real magic of the social web happens!

Below is my guide to best practice.

1. How to guides.

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photo courtesy of jempp.com


Think about the web and how we use it (consumers). We put a search term in Google and "bang" up come thousands of results!  Which ones do we rely on though? How do we disseminate between all the results?  Which ones do we trust?  What would you do as a consumer?

Bear this in mind as a supplier of the information. How are you going to get consumers to trust you?

You will get found, that is for  sure, but with all the thousands of unique posts out there - Question: Are you producing the goods?

Answer: Give yourself the maximum opportunity by cultivating your posts to include - great visuals, reliable content, simple steps, working examples, downloadable content. Moreover, become the "go to" person within your industry and you'll get more reaction on your blog.

2. Problems.

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Photo courtesy of Zazzle.com 


Lots of people write about problems, we're all good at that. But a structured approach to solving the problem without causing another one could be in the minority and as such becomes valuable.

Can you see problems within your industry? If so what solutions can you bring to bear? Remember the subject does not have to be related as long as it's relative.

3. Feedback.

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Photo courtesy of reach.gov 


Ask for it - no really, ask for it.

Get as much feedback as you can, engage in debate. You'll find that people will engage  when they have a different angle on the same subject and that's good!   This gives you the ability to "stretch yourself" and engage in an intellectual debate.

4. Give stuff away.

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Photo courtesy of boingpoumtchak.com 


Why not? It does not mean that you have to give all away, just the stuff that helps the consumer, stuff that makes their day better. Doing this gets them to talk about you and your blog, they will direct more people to your blog and some of them will engage with you.

The web is there to help people organise themselves and if you are part of this help, it will work wonders for you.

5. Review/s.

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Photo courtesy of zwcadclub.com


Tell people about what you read, what phone your prefer, let them know about your experience with consumer goods that you have consumed - good and bad. Remember people are looking for this information and they will find you.

The social web is about people, it's about conversation - let people engage with you.

6. Latest stories.

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Photo courtesy of boorama.files.wordpress.com 


Have an opinion.

You have to be fast with this, keeping up to date with world opinion will get you found and fast. Remember that there are "Real Time" feeds that can catapult you into the limelight of "groundswell" - meaning the ability to create content that swarms of people will aggregate for you.

7. Lessons from life.

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Photo courtesy of grief.com


Stuff happens that will all can learn from, and an excercise in humility can go along way.

Life lessons appeal to all. With respect we all can be accused of voyeurism, it guides us through what is happening in our own lives.

Sharing these experiences can go along way, you will make more "friends" and allies. In turn these people will help you aggregate your blog.

8. Comparables.

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Photo courtesy of csmanagement.files.wordpress.com 


With the multitude of content out there, improvement and change is always easy to see and report on. Within your industry change is inevitable and favorable - Question: Can you see it?

If so then write about it as some other people will miss it, and they need to know.  This helps you be perceived as a "thought leader".

9. Share.

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Photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk 


Share what other people do.

Your blog can be stimulated by sharing other views, events, writing etc - never plagerise -  just report.

Example: If you attend many events, then why not write about them? Sometimes this does not take the form of "writing" i.e a blog post. It could be in the form of pictures or video.

10. Use the platforms.

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Photo courtesy of communitywealth.com 


Blogging. Let's understand it.

It's means getting you "stuff" onto the web.  This does not mean that it has to take the form of words, it can also mean picture and/or video as well as audio.

There are many different sites and methods of using theses sites most of them are free and remember not all consumers consume from the same bowl!

We all need to accept the info in different formats.

Conclusion:

Blogging should not be a chore, it also should not solely take the format of words. The real treasure in blogging and the real value that blogging can bring is to look at it from the point of view of the consumer. By understanding this it will give you  direction as a producer.

One thing we can guarantee is that people are looking for "stuff" on the web. We know there are over 62 billion searches per month on Google alone that 10 years ago did not exist! Having a computer in your pocket (aka iPhone/Android) will only add to these searches.

Becoming an industry leader within your field means being relevant and being found - and you can't be found without being published. This does not mean published in the traditional format of a book (although this will help) but published in the realms of find-ability on the web.

The web is changing all we do and are as a society.  It is changing the fundamental structure of society.   Trust is the key and the currency of the social web so you can only get trust by engaging with the web - Share yourself with people, let people see who you really are, let them know your opinion, let them know why and how, let them get under your skin - above all, let them trust you.

May 11, 2010

Coming to a town near you! Social Media Speaker Tour - Summer 2010

As we are all aware, we are living in an "attention" economy. We cannot pay for eyeballs or attention, we have to earn it.

The great thing about social media is that is allows us to express ourselves in many different and creative ways.

Vanessa and I have looked to our rock n' roll background for inspiration of how to present our U.K. speaker tour dates.

I hope this inspires you to think creatively how you can express yourself on-line, create a powerful on-line brand, and stand out from the crowd.

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Guildford Grow Business Exhibition - 12th May



Now in its third year, this has been a hugely successful business exhibition for business owners in and around Surrey. We are delighted to have been asked to speak there on our favourite subject of social media.


Our presentation: "Leveraging the power of the social web for business exposure"


Where: Guildford Spectrum, Guildford, Surrey

When: Wednesday 12th May
On-stage: 10a.m until 11a.m (exhibition opens from 9.30am)

Click
here for more information: 
 


Croydon Females in Business - 20th May


Now in its second year, this is a special event for women to benefit from attending dynamic workshops on creating a profitable presence on the web. You will also enjoy networking over a delicious buffet. Plus attend the exhibition to meet potential suppliers. Penny Power is also a keynote speaker at this event.


Our presentation: "Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property".


Where: Jury's Inn, Croydon

When: Thursday 20th May
On-stage: 1.30 pm to 2.30pm (exhibition opens from 9.30am)

Click
here for more information:


 
Surrey Social Media Tribes - 27th May




At our
Surrey Social Media Tribes networking meeting on 27th May in Guildford, we will be explaining more about Twitter and showing you how to build a targeted following.

Using strategies I have developed for ourselves, we will reveal how to "mine" other people's followings, how to search on Twitter, and how gain traction on Twitter quickly. Bring your laptop and have some hands-on practice with us to guide you. Great networking and education for just £10.00 entry fee means this is a worthy investment of your time.


Our presentation: "How to double your twitter following with targeted connections".


Where: Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford

When: 27th May 2010
What time: 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Click
here to book your seat.
Places are limited, so please BOOK NOW to secure your seat.
 


Social Media training day at the races at Brighton Racecourse - 28th May


Join us for a day of learning, networking and playing at Brighton Racecourse. There's a half day of social media training, followed by lunch and watching the racing!


Our presentation: "Introduction to how to optimise the social web"


Where: Brighton Racecourse

When: 28th May 2010
What time: 9.00 a.m to 5.30 p.m

Click
here for further details and to book your place.
 


Milton Keynes "How to implement a social media strategy for your business" - training day - 5th June


With our last three training days having sold out, we've booked another one to meet the demand! Does what it says on the tin. The U.K.'s premier introductory social media training course, delivered in bite-sized and easy to digest chunks with strategies to put into action straight away.


Where: DeVere Harben House, Newport Pagnall, Milton Keynes

When: 5th June 2010
What time: 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Click
here for further details and to book your place.
 


Yorkshire Property Tribe inaugural networking meeting - 16th June


Vanessa and Nick head 'Oppp North' to speak at the inaugural Yorkshire Property Tribe networking event, founded by Property Tribe member Rob Hubbard.


Our presentation: "How to leverage the power of the social web in your property business"


Where: The Bridge Inn Hotel, Altofts Lane, Whitwood, Castleford, WF10 5PZ

When: 16th June 2010
What time: 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Click
here for further details and to book your place.
 


Leicester Social Media Mum - Social Media optimisation coffee morning - 22nd June


Back due to popular demand! Vanessa and Nick join the Social Media Mum, Zoe Newcombe, for a two hour presentation and coffee morning on how to optimise the social web. Specially devised for mum-preneurs and small business owners, this presentation discusses how to create massive business exposure using free web tools.


Our presentation: "Optimising the social web for business exposure"


Where: David Lloyd, Carlton Park, Narborough, Leicester, LE19

When: 22nd June 2010
What time: 11.30 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

Please click
here for full details and to register.
 




We hope to meet you in person somewhere down the speaker trail!

May 06, 2010

Why BT will find it hard to survive. (@BTcare @BTbusiness)


They don't want to - or so it seems. (Below I have run some social media monitoring software to illustrate what the web digs up nowadays, and the metrics we can draw from them.)

But first my reason for spot-lighting BT in this blog.

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Yet again I am suffering at the hands of BT and their lack of basic understanding of what and how customer services should run.

This is the second time in 1 year that I have suffered. Completely different reasons but the method they execute remains!

Firstly, it took 9 months to get the right engineer round my house to fix the broadband. At this point I'd had 5 engineers around and each time I got promised the next one would solve the problem, but the next one never came. So I phoned up the charming customer services people (5 attempts per try to get o the right person) to get another engineer round only to be told the same thing because he did not know why he was there!

In the end (9 months later) I forced them to send the correct engineer round - it took him 5 minutes to fix the problem.

This should have been fixed 9 months prior, but no one was listening. All they wanted  to do was tell everyone they were doing something even though what they were doing was not working.

They might have got away with this in times gone by. But now, in these times of web 2.0 and transparency, they cannot get away with it ... and if they understood the social web, they wouldn't even attempt to.  We, the people, the web, the customer are far more powerful than them.  We have a voice and platforms and we're not afraid to use them!

Yesterday I woke up with a dread.  I had to phone BT again.

This time I wanted to know when my business mobile contract was coming to an end.  A simple request you would have thought. I want to change because of the bad service.

It took me 6 phone calls just to get the right number, at which point I spent 45 minutes on hold (I twit pic'd the photo just to prove it whilst 31 mins in)    At this point I was getting a bit fed up so I started talking about them on twitter. Within 30 minutes I had about 15 people expressing their distain and another 20 or so on facebook - but nothing from BT.

4 hours later @btbusiness started to engage me.  I told them they were too late, i had done the work (woefully late) but all they said is "they were there to help me" in parrot fashion. The trouble is if they were there to help me, where were they when I needed the help?

I even got  a tweet or two from one of their managers @iain_mac who insisted they were there to help, even though no one was there when I needed them!!!

What?

And to make matters worse, one whole day later I get a tweet from @BTcare - BTCare, now there's irony for you.

If only they would use the systems correctly - the clue is in the title "customer service" and don't use twitter unless you know how to optimise it.

Below is some metrics I have run for BT. It will show demographics, share of voice and sentiment. With interest is the sentiment: there's a lot of negative sentiment about BT and as I drilled down into it they are not fixing the problem, so the sentiment remains the same.

On the other hand there is positive sentiment about BT.  However, after closer scrutiny it would appear to be a robot from BT saying how wonderful they are!!!

This is not good.

NOTE TO BT: You can't fake the web, or manipulate it, or try to control you.   It (and we) will catch you out.

Dear BT - the difference in getting it right and getting it wrong is actually quite small.  Alas, you are getting it wrong.  You need to change your method, otherwise, you are just causing yourself even more problems ... this blog and all the tweets yesterday are just some of them.   The social media metrics below illustrates this point.

N

(search pattern was taken over the last 3 months)

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