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8 posts from January 2010

January 29, 2010

Social Media ROI: Socialnomics

Fascinating metrics. N

January 28, 2010

The Meme That Will Never Die: Hitler Debunks The iPad

January 20, 2010

Social Media misconceptions: 1. I don't have time.

This is the first in a series of short blogs in which I will be attempting to dispel some common misconceptions about social media.

I'm sure you're all aware that "piping the web" is a vital part of any marketing strategy. Moreover, I would argue that SM is a very successful method of entering "the pipe".  

In my consultancy work with SME’s and corporates, I often hear the same reasons as to why they are not getting involved in the social web.  The most common of these is “I don’t have time”.  

In this blog, I would like to challenge that misconception!

1. I don't have time. 


It is my personal belief and experience that social media can actually save you time.  More about that later.  
As with anything, you need to plan your day with structure and routine.  It is a simple matter to fit a “social media” regime into your day by setting aside 30 mins to an hour per day to engage in the on-line space.  Depending on your business and what you are hoping to achieve, there are probably a maximum of 10 sites that you need to visit on a daily basis to achieve your desired outcome.  You should have a routine of what you do while you are on each site ... and stick to that routine.  Social media success comes down to three simple things:  Leadership (through content), authenticity, and consistency.  Do a little bit every day and it soon builds up momentum.  

Think about how much time you spend speaking on the phone to clients and potential clients.  When you speak on the phone, you are probably only talking to one person.  In stark contrast,  when you are on-line, your conversations are mostly open and transparent and can be seen by thousands, if not millions, of people in perpetuity.  A blog you wrote four years ago could still be sending business your way today.  A forum post that you replied to last week offering advice to someone will still be being viewed in ten years time, giving people a flavour of you and your level of expertise all those years later.   So while a phone call is one to one, the web is one to many.  

Social networking and media will never take the place of picking up the phone and speaking to someone, but it can shorten the “getting to know you” process dramatically, and may well prompt a prospective customer to pick up the phone to you!  That is our experience anyway.  

One of the reasons we started our Property Tribes forum was that Vanessa, because of her generosity of sharing information and being supportive on-line,  was constantly being phoned and asked for her advice with regards to property-related problems.  This took up a lot of her time (although a lot of those calls led to her taking on new property clients!  Remember:  everything in business starts with a conversation and the web affords many different ways to start a conversation or prompt an “in person” one!).  Now, when people have a question they want answered, we ask them to post it on our forum and we answer it there.  That means that our time is invested in one-to-many communication and everyone on the forum has access to our input and advice, not just one person.  This essentially builds up into a Wiki of information that people will refer to for years to come.  

Think how powerful it would be if someone phoned you and asked you a question and you were able to say – “Do you know what, I wrote a blog about that very topic!  I’ll send you the link to have a read of it”.  This saves you time, with the added benefit of giving you credibility for having self-published on this subject.  That same blog may be stumbled upon by a new prospect who gets value from what you have written, and, as a result, it helps them make up their mind to do business with you.  A double whammy!  Yet it only took you half an hour to write that blog, and now it is serving you in many different ways in perpetuity.

Tip:  If you are struggling for content for your blog, why not ask your customers to send in questions for you to answer on your product, service, or area of expertise?  This will help you compile a blog of FAQ’s that you can use on your website, and in shared-interest communities to show that you are an expert in what you do.  Again, great content that will serve you well in perpetuity.  

So, in my humble opinion, social media engagement can actually save you time, as it avoids you having to repeat yourself.   

Yes, it takes time to build momentum, and yes, it takes some effort.  But once you have your portfolio of web content on-line, you will passively benefit from it for the rest of your business life.  

If you would like to understand how a portfolio of web content can be as valuable as a portfolio of property, please join Vanessa and I at our property/social media networking event in Guildford on the 27th January.  Click here - to read more.  

If you would like to get involved in social media, then please consider my training course, “How to implement a social media strategy for your business”.  It is scheduled for 6th February and full details and registration are here.  

I am offering 100% money back guarantee if this course does not prove to be an excellent investment of your time.

January 18, 2010

Should you get someone else to do it for you?

NO ... but maybe yes!

In the greater good of the web any form of social interaction has to be done via the purveyor, otherwise it's not very social.

I mean when I follow someone on the web either via the realtime networks and/or any other social network, I am following that person and their views.

Conundrum: Should anyone wishing to leverage the social web run their own account/s on a consistent basis or outsource the effort?

Arguably both.

Firstly it's right and proper to run your own account/s. However, when you add social bookmarking/referencing into the mix - that can be dealt with via a third party - providing a strict brief is adhered to and conversation is dealt with by the original purveyor.

Social bookmarking is a great way of dominating web space as the "expert" but the method of use can be "mis-used", such as automation. The trouble with automation is that it's just that - auto - so there is no human being involved to have the conversation with. The other problem with automation is you are never sure of the output, unless you are monitoring it, and if you are then it negates the purpose of automation in the first place.

So outsourcing the social bookmarking/referencing side of your social web has validity as long as there is a human aspect to it ... after all it is social.


I don't want to talk to a robot, do you?

Regards N 




How to implement a Social Media Strategy, training day.

January 11, 2010

Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property.

This blog is prompted by a heated debate on our Property Tribes forum concerning the title of our 27th January networking event "Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property". 

This proposed presentation brought some interesting opinions on social media to light, and during the course of the discussion, I clarified my own thoughts on the thorny issue of social media V's SEO, PPC and Google ad-words in respect of measuring ROI.

The discussion was interesting because it was so polarised.  In one corner, we have the new boy "social media", and in the other corner, "marketing using traditional channels".

But hold on. For sure there is a fight to defend corners and ideas, however, most of them are irrelevant to what is being suggested in the first place.

I would suggest, therefore, that we look at what we are talking about as a "bigger picture".

We are talking about the web. And the web is bigger than SEO, SM, SB, SN, PPC & GA (see below for clarification of what these mean) combined. As we breath today Jan 2010 it would make sense to practice all, depending on what products or services you have.

Some of us will not and they're right, some of us will and they're right.

But in reality it would seem to be silly to get all worked up over minor points when what we need to be discussing is the bigger picture i.e the web.

The web.


In truth web 2.0-4.0 has caught us all with our trousers down as no one really understands it fully - no one, the original thread amongst others has documented that beautifully.

There are those that believe in using arguably older methods on today's web, in a very short space of time we will see if the gamble will pay off. Others will use new methods on today's web. It's still a gamble because it's too new and no one really understands the best way of monetising it in a traditional sense but on the same note we are!

What we do know is there is a new kid on the block, some call it social media, most don't know what it means let alone how to use it!

Does it mean:

  • Being social with a media?
  • A word that conveniently covers all that we do on the web.
  • A "freemium" model that will save the world.

If it is a convenient method of covering all that is done on the web then that's about as useful as walking through Tehran in a "Star of David" tee shirt!

If it's the latter then maybe, we'll see.

I would go for the former, as this has been going on for thousands of years. being social with a specific media, thus creating conversation

Some would like to use it solely to get business, some will use it in a social manner and let business come to them.

Take your pick. Neither one is right or wrong - at the moment.

The only way to get it wrong is to use monologue on it's own, which as part of dialogue is non existent. It's no different to daily life that you are practiced at already.

Portfolio of web content.


If I want to create a "portfolio of web content" then I will knowing that with 31 billion searches per month (just google) someone will (and has) stumbled across my conversation and joined in, and in some case they have chosen to do business with me.

If I want to emulate that with any other method such as SEO or PPC/GA then I can - however it's not very straight forward to have a conversation with a static advert as static adverts are monologue. Moreover, I will have to keep paying for it to stay there, whereas "organic content" stays there in perpetuity. Also I might add that SEO and PPC/GA have yet to break into "real time", you can't pay to be at the top of a twitter search - please note I said "yet" they may at some point but at this point in time they do not.

As I said before both are right in the greater good of the web. Both have their advantages as well as their disadvantages.

IMHO the way to use the web in it's current format is to create the ability to be found. Both fit the bill, both have a different model, both work.

But, I would propose that they way the web is heading at the moment would suggest the future may hold a different approach.


It would appear that conversation on the web is quickly catching up with surfing on the web (SM is to conversation as PPC is to surfing)*. Based on this I'm sure you will agree that SEO and PPC is far more suited to surfing than conversation, like wise SM is far more suited to conversation.

So we have a choice either SM, SM&SEO PPC/GA, or SEO &PPC/GA - what about SN and SB (see below for meaning)? When are these coming into the mix? They all need to be used to get the best out of the web.

As John said (in the original thread) SM is akin to Brand advertising. I would agree to that in so many words. However, SM is a specific action not the sum of effort and put against the web is only part of the collective.



The average human speaks 5000 words a day and yet we don't worry about the ROI in talking when we get up in the morning. Can we measure it? Yes, if thats what you want then you can.

We can also measure the ROI in custard, If you try, the only data you’ll find is weight and calorific content. And colour. And custard-ness. All of which are good barometers of great custard. But what number does custard taste like? Is it a 10? 4? 28? Might be. If I tell you my custard tastes like a ‘34′ -  would that mean anything to you? I would presume not! (courtesy of Michael Greenland).

If you don't like custard then you probably don't care about it's ROI, if you do like custard then you probably don't care about it's ROI.

If, however, you want to use some of your 5000 words a day on business and you want them to count then you might be interested in the ROI. Well there are tools to help you with that. If you are a purveyor of custard and you want to measure how good your custard is, you can do that too, there are tools.

You could also "monitor" conversations on the web and target them. There are web tools out there that allow you to "watch conversation" thus giving you data on your product and/or a competitor. Not only that but allows you to join in the conversation - Question: Would/could this be a smarter way of deploying advertising?

If so then SM is paramount as no one will take you seriously without the backing of your brand.

Traditional advertising (on the web) means the customer finds you. Now you can find the customer.

It's not that far fetched to accept that in the future, products and services will find us as opposed to us finding them/it. The algorithms are getting that tuned. This, in turn, negates the necessity for SEO and PPC to a certain degree - they will still be there but their importance will diminish.

We're doing it already, albeit, on a more manual scale.

Just prior to Christmas and over 2 weeks we used this method for Linda McCartney foods and increased their traffic by 800%. All it took was using the web app's that are already there. Could this be an ROI? They asked us to increase traffic and that's what we did with just twitter alone.

The "red herring" with SM seems to be the necessity to speak first then measure, whereas, you should always listen first then react to what is being said, this way cause and effect can become much clearer. Which means you will have to put time into something that you cannot measure before you start - but thats OK we're all used to that it's called listening, which as a rule precedes conversation, which in turn is called social media.

The act of being social with a specific media.

So as we sit here today Jan 2010 we can see that the act of paying for eyes, which has dominated advertising for thousands of years, has a partner called social media (to use the term in a very general manner).

It is clear that it is here to stay. It is clear that it has a place. It is also clear that all of us need to use it and it is clear that even new technology is being formed because of it.

But, it is only part of the greater good of the web. SEO,PPC,SM,SB,SN are all subordinate to the web, so you have to be very clear in what you want to achieve with the web to just focus on one or two.

Therefore, determining your objective is critical.

Regards N

If you are just starting out on your social media journey or want to clarify an existing strategy, I have devised a training day on Saturday 6th Feb at our new offices in Guildford. 

This will entail determining your objective, without which you may "scattergun".

Please click on the link below for full details.

How to implement a Social Media Strategy, training day.

* Technology is, at last, emulating what the web community is wanting/needing. Mobile devices are becoming mainstream for communication and sharing knowledge. This, in turn, maps IMHO the way of the web in the future (or at least the near future). With interest this is not the case for SEO and/or PPC/GA.

SM - Social Media
SB - Social Bookmarking
SN - Social Networking
SEO - Search Engine optimisation
PPC - Pay per Click
GA - Google Ad-words

January 07, 2010

4walls/ecademy property and social media networking 27th January 2010

Our first property/social media networking event is scheduled for Wednesday 27th January from 6.00 pm to 9.30 pm at our new offices in Surrey Technology Park.  The event is titled:  “Why a portfolio of web content is as valuable as a portfolio of property”.

As many of you know, over the past six years, we have invested in building a profitable, cash rich property portfolio.  (You can read our business journey here).  We now benefit from a residual income from that effort.  We have also invested four years in building a portfolio of web content and also a strong and loyal network.  We firmly believe that both of these “portfolios” will be what feed us in the years ahead.  As we head in to 2010, it is important that you understand why NOW is the time to start building visibility, credibility, and ultimately profitability on-line and how you can find and create content, self-publish on-line, and build a profile as the “go to” person for your product/service/or area of expertise.  Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, a major social media success, recently said: “Sharing is how we build our brand.  The more you share, and the more value you deliver, the more business will flow your way. 

The great thing is that most of these web tools are free to use!  You just need to understand how to harness the power of the web and get a return on the investment of nothing more than your time.

Nick will be our speaker on the 27th January.  He is widely regarded as one of the foremost exponents of social media in the U.K. and has been asked to speak alongside some of the top people in the world at the LikeMinds Conference in February.  Nick will be explaining how a portfolio of web content will help create a compelling personal on-line brand that stands out from the crowd.  You will learn how your web contribution will benefit from the law of increasing returns, will help build trust on-line, will attract people to you, and will build an army of advocates who promote what you do into their networks, spreading your messages exponentially.  Old methods of marketing are failing and you need to understand new ways to connect with people on-line and understand how to build relationships through contribution currency.  Where there is trust, business happens.  The transparency afforded by the web means we can learn who to trust and do business with.  The web is also working  24/7/365, so, like a property, it can earn money for you come rain or shine ... or snow!

Our belief is that your goal shouldn't be to have a lot of people to shout at, the goal should be to have a lot of people who choose to listen.   All will be explained by Nick in his presentation on the 27th January.

We will also have a goal-setting session and our popular “Business Challenge”, where members of the group can put forward business challenges or problems and ask for the group’s input to solve them.

Entry is £10.00 in advance or £15 on the do to help towards the room hire or FREE to Tribal Elders and their guests.

£10 click the button above to pay.


Meeting room 8
Surrey Technical Centre
Occam Road

Click here
to download the directions on a PDF

6.30pm-7.30pm Registration/Refreshments/Networking
7.30pm Main event
9.30pm End

Parking is ample and free.

We invite you to set some big, fat, hairy goals in 2010 and work towards them on a daily basis.  Attending our monthly meetings will keep you inspired and engaged and our supportive community will help you make the connections you need to achieve your business ambitions.

There is strength in numbers and none of us is as smart as all of us, so do take advantage of networking with a group of like-minded and committed people who all want 2010 to be their best year yet!

We look forward to seeing you at our event on the 27th.

Vanessa and Nick

Regards N 



January 06, 2010

Snow in England!

It's interesting to note that we have snow !! Like you didn't know that.

What is of interest is how many people might recognise/concede that working at home via the web means that the pressure is off needing to get into an office every day.

You can't turn the internet off and with that it gets stronger and stronger everyday, thus negating the need to keep alive out dated methods of business transactions.

Therefore, bringing into question the need to "go into work" on a daily basis.

2010 was always going to be an interesting year, it looks as though snow could make it get out of the blocks faster!


January 04, 2010

Video Blog: Thank you from @nicktadd

V and I went out for a stroll between Guildford and Godalming yesterday. On the way I shot a small video.

Having been a tough end to the last and start of this and motivated by the thought of positive, I would like to make my pledge for 2010.

Thank you. Regards N