40 posts categorized "Events"

April 23, 2010

Why am I at the @AfricaGathering in Washington, DC ... and why I need your help - #agdc #omidyar

OK, so this time I'm flying at 35K feet, and despite the ash cloud, I'm over the Atlantic on my way to Washington, DC to be part of the team at The Africa Gathering.

Why am I doing this … ?  Let me explain, but ...

Firstly, let me tell you about AG (Africa Gathering).  It was started 1 year ago (with its first anniversary this Saturday 24th April) by Edward Scotcher (@chiefmoamba).   His intention was to bring people together who have a passion to help Africa, at all levels.  He saw the benefits of giving them a place to share, grow and develop their ideas.

Quite a simple idea, but most of the best ones always are.

The first "gathering" was in London (Birkbeck College, Uni of London) a year ago and Ed was expecting the turn out to be 10 or 20 people max.  However what happened was quite amazing:  over 120 people turned out!

What Ed realised is that there was no singularity for people to share their ideas about celebrating African ingenuity.  Moreover, bearing in mind most of the best ideas to help Africa come from Africa, there was no on-line community that could support this need as well.

What Ed spotted, and what clearly was needed, was one place where people could go to share their ideas.
Africa Gathering was born.

Since then, Ed formed a partnership with Marieme Jamme (@mjamme).  They both have the same hopes for Africa and Africans.

The first event was a "proof of concept" and so now onto the second.

October 2009 was my first outing for AG.  It was a two day event, the first day bringing in businesses to network and see opportunity in the fold. The second day provided a "showcase" for some amazing people who are making brilliant and significant positive changes in Africa.

The day was "topped off" by a visit from Emmanuel Jal who told us of his story from being a boy soldier to the quite incredible man he is today and his struggle to bring quality education to the youth of Africa. Something that he himself never had.

His story had a profound effect on me personally and inspired me more than just about anything I have ever heard before.   The stories I listened to that day … well, let’s say I was proud, very humbled to be able to "do my bit" for all these people that are making a difference and who show such incredible leadership.

And it's still going.  December 09 saw AG in Nairobi, May 10 - Paris, July  - London - but here, right now Washington DC.

The billing for this event is as strong as ever.  The speakers will be none the less as inspiring and AG is on a roll.  Even at one year old AG is making a difference to Africa.

A baby making big steps!

And this is why I need your help to help them - all the people involved in AG need your help.
You see, we need all this effort to get "passed around" the web. We need the "noise level" to be turned up to "11".  Without this the journey will take longer.

My role in AG is to monitor what is happening on the web, and so far what I've seen is great.  Presently,  I can see very little "noise" coming out of Africa, but it's growing, and I can see some prominent people in Africa starting to flex their muscles on the web.

And there is a reason for this - it's YOU.   Because you are "sharing" and writing, they are beginning to see this - and because of this, they're getting more enthusiastic about the web and its potential to facilitate positive change in Africa.

The best ideas about Africa are born in Africa.  Ed had the idea to give those ideas a voice through AG.   Both the on-line and off-line events will make these ideas happen - and they will …. because they already are.

We could do so much more if you could help us. This weekend we will be sharing a whole host of media to the web, from Twitter to YouTube.   Can you help me/us/Africa by sharing this media out?

You never know, there could be someone somewhere with the key to a great idea.   There could be a connection - but without you delivering the connected(ness) some of them may never know.  You really can make a difference.  A small ripple can amplify into a tidal wave on the social web.  Can you play your part in creating a digital swell?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  It’s a privilege to be here this weekend and I'm going to enjoy myself and share it all.   You can follow Africa Gathering on Twitter @africagathering and the #agdc hashtag.

African proverb:  Your success is my success.

Regards N

April 12, 2010

99% of your competitors are not aware this capability exists ... yet ... (@foursquare)

I have a confession to make.

I've become rather addicted to
FourSquare lately.

FourSquare is a recent addition to a number of social sites that facilitate "life streaming", or, as I like to call it, "lifestyle web impressions".


Wiki describes it as thus: "Foursquare is a location-based social networking website, software for mobile devices, and game. Users "check-in" at venues using text messaging or a device specific application.  They are then awarded points and sometimes "badges."

However, having played around with FourSquare I see it as much more than just a game. It has the potential to become a serious business tool.

Mark Krynsky, in his
recent LifeStream blog, shared this important insight:

"The act of performing a "checkin" is an important gesture that is a universal action that will we be applied to many services over the next few years. Location is a piece of data that when applied to other objects has become a very valuable way to add context and other functionality to a piece of media.

By providing location data to photographs we added great value to that media. We can now visit sites like Google Maps and Flickr and other services that use location as a data point to search and view photos. The act of the checkin now ads the gesture of saying "I'm here" paired up with location and time. This will also offer a similar valuable piece of context across many platforms in the future".


Vanessa and I have already seen a business application for FourSquare with regards to our holiday lets.

We've tagged them on FourSquare so that they will be visible to anyone who "checks in" to the area. FourSquare allows you to comment on the location (or share a tip) and I have therefore added a brief description to the tag, describing the cottage, number it sleeps, and phone number to call to book it etc.

I will also encourage our guests to write testimonials on FourSquare, which can be viewed by anyone in the area.

FourSquare shows you everyone who has been in the area, and you can connect with them via Twitter and FaceBook (if they have shared that data). This is a free and quick way to connect with people who have visited, and therefore have an interest in the location. A targeted database that you can leverage and use to make some powerful and relevant connections.

Thinking laterally:

If you are a restaurant owner, you can see who has visited your restaurant and connect with them via Twitter/Facebook (if the customer has shared this information on their profile). Foursquare can tell you how many times a customer has been to your venue or the frequency of their visits. Many venues are now using this data to reward their most loyal customers with freebies or discounts and drive more traffic to their business.


If a Foursquare user is at your bar/restaurant, FS offer a JV programme allowing you tell them what they have to do to unlock a free snack or discounted drink. If they happen to be across the street or two blocks away from your venue, FS will let them know that your business gives special treatment to foursquare users and that they should swing by for a visit, again driving more traffic to your business.

FourSquare are currently developing some analytic tools to help businesses get the most out of the application.

Another example:

If you are an interior designer, how about writing a short appraisal on FS of the interior design of the premises you visit? The business owner may well see it, but so will everyone else in the area. A simple way to get visibility for the service you provide.

Or you may be a business coach. How about writing a short summary of the business experience you encountered during your visit to that business? Again, the business owner may see it, not to mention all the people using FS in the area.

Every time you check-in or create a FourSquare comment/tip, you can tweet this out on Twitter and FB, thereby providing easy content generation to keep your feeds fresh and share your experience of that venue/business. Another "lifestyle web impression" that is as individual as you are.

I see so many opportunities with this tool in the leisure, travel, hotel, entertainment, and services industries. It's a global site with highly localised relevance.

It's all about leaving a "lifestyle" imprint on the web that will give you enhanced visibility and facilitate deeper insights and greater context to what you (and/or your business) are all about. It's another way of making easy and targeted connections. It's another way to leverage those all-important user generated media impressions.

Your customers will generate your social media for you. You and/or your business can generate more lifestyle imprints to enhance your own visibility.

It will tell your customers what they want to know, when they want to know it, sometimes it might even be so targetted, that it tells them before they even realise they want to know it!

A bit like you didn't know you wanted a Versace tie until you came across it while searching for something else on E-Bay!

99% of your competitors are not even aware of this capability ... yet.

Do you see opportunity here?

I do. I see this site becoming the user-generated "Yellow Pages" of the social web.

Having the right knowledge at the right time determines how successfully you play the business game.

Might this be another way of leveraging FREE web tools to build a highly successful business by pre-empting your customers' needs, without resorting to pushy sales techniques or needing a large marketing budget?

Certainly seems that way to me.

I hope you have found this blog thought-provoking?

These are the kind of insights we share and discuss at our
Surrey Social Media Tribes networking events.

None of us is as smart as all of us ... so come and join us at THIS month's event.

Date: Thursday, 15th April 2010

Venue: Club Suite, The Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford.

Time: 18.30 to 21.30.

Parking: Ample and free

This month's subject: How to use free web tools and new highly sophisticated software to "listen" on the social web.

Price: £10.00 in advance or £15.00 on the door on the night.

Please click >>>
here to register and pay....

And don't forget to log-in via FourSquare when you arrive!

However, if you have already seen the light with regards to social media and you're ready to get going with it, then check out my "
How to implement a social media strategy for your business" training day, taking place near Milton Keynes on the 17th April. There are a few places left on this ground-breaking course and your first customer generated by social media engagement will pay back the £149.00 including VAT course fee.

We are so confident in the quality and value of our training that we happily offer a 100% money back guarantee that your course fee will be refunded in full if you do not feel it was value for money or that social media is not for you. So you have no risk and nothing whatsoever to lose ... but everything to gain.

Please click >>>
here for full details.

Regards N     

March 30, 2010

Why understanding the Semantic web is far more important than Social Media.

It is my humble opinion that you can't have a social media expert. Social media is a personal action, done by an individual.  It is essentially "the act of sharing". It's thousands of years old and nothing new. So the only expert there can be is YOU, as it's you that's sharing.  It's a bit like breathing, a little hard to out-source. Yes, you could strap on a tank and do scuba (social media agency), but only for short periods.  At some point you need to own it.

Using a platform such as facebook or twitter for the purposes of sharing on the semantic web (see footnotes) - that's an altogether another scenario,  and yes, you can have "practitioners" in these fields and in the short term they might have their place. (NOTE: I said practitioners, not experts.  The web is ever evolving so you can never be at the top of the tree as the top keeps moving.  They may be experienced practitioners but that's who they are).

But the question is not one of "social media" as the answer.  The question is social media on the web as an answer and why - i.e. why are you doing it and why are you doing it on the web?


If we look at it this way we can only surmise that there must be a reason.  I assume this reason is to get found - in which case what you want to do has gone beyond social media.  What you are doing is getting involved in the semantic web which, at the moment, is being led by what we can call the "searching" - see below for footnotes on Semantics.

Social media is an action, not the "sum of". Social media is what a user does by sharing, i.e an "upload" of information, thought, media, social interaction, debate (words, video, audio, pictures) etc but the fact is it's an "up-load".

How about this: there is another action that the web provides to us that is not social media - it's called listening. You might want to call it "social media monitoring" but what that translates to is a listening action to everyone else's social media action.

Why are you spending so much time on the web? Why are you "being social" on the web - is there a reason? If the answer is yes, then I would suggest that based on the above, your understanding of the "social web" needs to be pointed at "the semantic web" not at "social media" as a total action.

The web is an incredible place.   It's now taking the world away from the "industrial age" and into "the information age".

What are you going to do with the information? What are you going to do with the "noise"? You've gone beyond "how to use twitter" or you will shortly - what are you going to do now?

Just over a year ago I started raving about software products that listen to the "noise". Last summer I stared "playing" with some of the systems. This year I stared introducing them to "blue chips" - the result was/were outstanding.

Now I am advising companies how to listen - in return they get:

•    PR (both negative and positive. The former they can use to great effect, the latter the can use to solve problems).

•    Live R&D (the customer is telling them what to sell).

•    Find influencers that can drive "User Generated Media Impressions" (i.e. get the web generating imprints on the web for you).

•    It can tell you where you need to put your effort in during the year, what sites, when, by who, what age, what sex, what country, what town.

•    It can tell you what language, what SEO words you should be using.

•    It will tell you why your product web impression is not working in one country but it is working in another.

It will tell you a lot. And this software has been born out of the ever evolving web. So you can see now why the word "Semantics" comes into it.

Social media, on the web, has been "banded about" as the "cure all" for many years now, whereas its use has evolved somewhat - and I would argue that these new developments are the ones that need attention and debate. 

No one can be an expert on something so new that meaning is being questioned - and I have little respect for "I don't share your view" as an answer.

Learn about social media monitoring here.

If you want to know more about Social Media Monitoring you might want to consider coming along to our next event at Surrey Social Media Tribes on the 15th April - click here - I'll be going through what the system can do and how to best use it. Moreover, it may help you better understand why you are using the systems and which ones are best suited to your business - no one size fits all.

Footnotes: Semantics[1] is the study of meaning, usually in language. The word "semantics" itself denotes a range of ideas, from the popular to the highly technical. It is often used in ordinary language to denote a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation.

Regards N  


March 04, 2010

I'm a super awesome Social Media guru, baby!.

Am I hell!!

What I am is aware. Aware that there is more to this than paddling around in the shallows of facebook.

"Guru":  no way!. Passionate:  yes. Learning:  very yes, and hungry for more.

I've just got back from a trip to America.  I've never been to Silicon Valley before and as much as I am a self-confessed geek, what I saw was more than just "geekery" or "nerdishness".  What I saw was boundless:  boundless in the sense that it is immoveable, a huge entity that is unstoppable.  And unless someone works out a way of turning off the internet, it's not going away.   It'll just get bigger and more all-encompassing.  It will touch more and more of our daily lives - "augmented reality" is no longer just a phrase out of a sci-fi comic.

Consider Google.

They started off in a garage and now they have a "campus" the size of a large village - complete with their very own T-Rex!

So it is no secret that I have this passion for the web, and there is no secret that I have a desire to learn more - after all non of us are experts, merely participants -  maybe participants with experience, but participants nontheless. 

I don't know where the web will go.  I don't know if I will be using a phone in 12 months or a "communicator".  How will I use the web?  How will I transact on the web?  How will I work on the web?. How will this effect my life, family, time  - what I do know is that it has, it will and it's there.

The web moves in dog years, seven times faster than normal years,  so as much as it may be 20, in reality it acts like 70.  It's wisened.  It demands respect and it deserves it.

So inspired by my trip to the birthplace of social communications and inspired by the very essence of social media, as in the act of sharing, Vanessa and I  have decided to create a monthly event in Guildford.  We are calling it The Surrey Social Media Tribes and it is dedicated SMO - social media optimisation.

You can see a presentation I have done below which explains more.

As V. and I have always said, to quote Kevin Kelly:  "None of us is as smart as all of us".  So if understanding Social Media, the Social Web, and the contemporary forms for web communication/s is important in your world, then I hope this event is for you.

After all, we need you to lead us.

This month's event, scheduled for the 24th of March, is going to focus on getting the most out of LinkedIn.   I have brought in the person who communicated LinkedIn to me the best, Marc Perl.


Click here for further details, and to book on.

P.S I did get the tee shirt.

Regards N

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February 08, 2010

How to create great web video content ...

How to create great web video content – next course date: 6th March


It is no secret that we live in an age of “information overload”.  With more material being loaded onto the web in one day than someone would have been exposed to in an entire lifetime 500 years ago, there can be no doubt that we are entering the era of the “attention economy”.

The explosion of new types of information online can be seen as a blessing and a curse. We both enjoy and drown in news, blogs, tweets, podcasts, photos, videos and interesting FaceBook pages. And the problem is only going to get worse, as more and more people discover the social web and start adding to it.

Therefore, human attention is now a scarce commodity, and, as business owners, we need to understand how to earn it.  This involves being in the “attention marketplace”, being relevant, being up-to-date, and providing consumers with something valuable in exchange for their attention.  This will keep them coming back for more.

Self-publication on the web allows us to create visibility and credibility, but this will only lead to profitability if our content stands out from the “noise”.

This training day is all about empowering you to create compelling web content, using the medium of video.

As a former BBC cameraman, this is a subject close to my heart and I have a lot of specialist insights to share with you.

This training day will show you how your compelling  video content can help you become a thought provoker, communicator, and connector on the web so that you stand out from the crowd.


  • Discover how video web content “humanises” your business and facilitates people getting to know you and trust you.
  • Discover how this can drastically shorten the sales cycle!
  • Find out how to link topical items and issues in the news to your area of expertise.
  • Discover how being “social” with no business angle gains you new contacts and clients.
  • Learn how to think laterally to see content in everything you do.
  • Learn how to be your own evangelist and share your passion for what you do.
  • Learn how to create such compelling and engaging video content that you become the “go to” person for your area of expertise, product, or service.
  • Learn how, by sharing anything you consider valuable, you gain credibility.
  • Learn how being “you” on-line is your greatest advantage.
  • Learn how connecting and advocating others can also provide content.
  • Learn the five biggest video blogging mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • Learn how video blogging on your area of expertise, industry, product, or service sets you apart as a thought-leader.
  • Learn basic camera operation skills.
  • Learn how specific technologies speed this process up and help you distribute and aggregate your videos on the web.


As this training course is all about content, I will also be including the filming of a professional video blog or website introduction included in the price of the course.   This will include coaching from a former TV presenter on how to present yourself on-camera to the best of your ability.

Most people charge a minimum of £300.00 for a professionally shot video (when taking into account a professional set up, equipment, editing, and being hosted on a professional platform).

Therefore, at £399, including the training AND your video to take away with you, this training day represents excellent value for money.

As I will be focussing a lot of individual attention on delegates, there are only eight places on this course.

Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Course content:

  1. Introduction to using video on the web.
  2. Check your tech – camera equipment.
  3. Basic camera skills
  4. Creative use of video blogs – content generation and ideas.
  5. Presentation skills
  6. Distribution and aggregation of your video.
  7. Record your video!


Next course date: Friday 6th March

February 05, 2010

4walls/ecademy property and social media networking 23rd February 2010

Our next property/social media networking event is scheduled for Tuesday 23rd February 2010 from 6.30pm – 9.30pm 

Venue:  Onslow suite, The Holiday Inn, Egerton Rd, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XU - MAP

£10 in advance (if you signal your attendance here). £15.00 on the door.
This month's presentation is titled: "Business blogging mistakes and how to avoid them".

This month, I will be helping you increase your knowledge of how to create a compelling and content rich blog that stands out from the crowd and helps you become known as an expert in your industry.

It is widely believed that, in order to be considered an authority in whatever you do, it is vital to have a long running and popular blog.

I will show you how tonight and give you some pointers as to thinking laterally to create compelling content that earns reader’s continued attention.

Our event is attended by committed property and business professionals who all believe in networking for success, sharing information, and being supportive of others.  We are a friendly bunch and everyone is welcome!


18.30   Registration and early bird networking

19.00   Start of presentation.

21.00   Q and A session and networking to end.

I look forward to welcoming you to the event and supporting you in your business endeavours.

Regards N




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 



March 12, 2009

What else are you doing this Sunday that could impact positively on your life?

With the incredible news that 15% of all internet traffic globally is now attributed to social media, we have decided to broaden the scope of our property networking event this Sunday (15th March) to cover this amazing phenomenon that did not even exist three years ago.

Barack Obama was one of the first high profile people to harness the power of social media, and it helped him into the White House! On that basis, what could it do for you and your (property) business?

Nick will be giving an informal presentation on why normal methods of marketing are quickly becoming defunct, and why social media is a key strategy in spreading your message. He will be talking about blogging, micro blogging, creating contacts and turning them into a network, farming data, and using web tools to do this. Nick will be explaining in simple terms how you can use social media to create on-line visibility, awareness, and trust and a long "tail" of content that in effect establishes your personal brand on-line. We are now in the age of Google and Google never forgets, so you have an opportunity to start now to harness the power of social media to your benefit.

If you are new to the idea of social media, Nick's talk will make the perfect introduction for you to start thinking how you might utilise it.

We also have Paul Henley of Acorn Property Surveyors as our special guest to answer any questions you may have about how valuers are valuing property in the current challenging marketing conditions. He will also be giving his views on the future of the U.K. property market.

Our networking event is very different to most other property networking events. We run it like a "melting pot", with everyone contributing opinions, asking questions, putting up a problem to be solved, or putting forward a discussion topic. Some of the issues we have covered in the past include current financing and mortgage products, trends in the U.K. market, how people are addressing change in their property business, multi-lets, holiday lets, HMO's and much more.

We have built the reputation of our event on a non-sales agenda and we endeavour to always give real and authentic value to make it worth your while giving up part of your Sunday!

This is genuine 100% networking and people have time to network properly, as well as contributing to the forum format.

So you have nothing to lose and quite a bit to gain, especially as it is free to attend.

Date: Sunday 15th March 2009
Venue: Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford
Time: 10.30 to 14.30. Please arrive any time after 10.00 a.m. for registration and early bird networking.

Admission: Free
Parking: Ample and free

Please email registration@4wallsandaceiling.com to secure your seat for this event or join our on-line community at www.propertytribes.ning.com and register for the event there.

February 26, 2009

Wish you were here! Ward Homes Investors Holiday Let Showcase

camber sands

When it comes to generating cash-flow, U.K. holiday lets are definitely a strategy worth considering in the current economic climate:

* Renaissance of great British seaside holiday thanks to magazines like "Coast" and TV programmes like "Coast", "A Place By the Sea", and "Seaside Rescue".

* Credit crunch turning people's thoughts to holiday-ing at home.

* Strength of the Euro making Euro zone expensive.

* Regeneration of seaside resorts creating a better holiday experience

* Inward migration to seaside towns creating supply/demand imbalance therefore promoting price stability

* Increasingly popular with families due to ease of transfer and also due to peace of mind with children

* Better quality of accommodation improving the image of the typical seaside holiday home, yet still providing good value for money.


Click on the above picture to have a look at ours.

Come and see us speak at an event dedicated to understanding how to get the best out of a holiday let.

Ward Homes are having a Holiday Let Showcase



Ward Homes - Investors Holiday Let Showcase

Saturday 7th March

White Sand, Camber Sands, Rye, East Sussex MAP

ward homes

Join us on Saturday 7th March for champagne and canapés and learn why White Sand is a fantastic investment opportunity. Guest speaker, Nick Tadd, from 4wallsandaceiling.com will be holding presentations at 11am and 3pm. Nick will show you how you can get the best out of your holiday rental property, using his own holiday let "SeaBreeze" as a case study. As well as explaining how to research a holiday let with year round appeal, Nick will also be discussing marketing strategies to help you get the best possible occupancy levels.

View our show home and speak to independent advisors: Nick Tadd and Vanessa Warwick from 4wallsandaceiling.com; Hurst Independent financial advisors; Crabtree and Crabtree specialists in holiday rental; David Phillips Furniture; Agents Phillips and Stubbs.

Free flooring and integrated appliances with any reservation when you present your invitation and there will be 5% off any furniture packs purchased over £5,000 from David Phillips.

Limited places available - call now to book your place.

register here



Phone: Hannah Marsh, Event Organiser on 01959 568406

email: hannah.marsh@barratthomes.co.uk

White Sand, White Sands Drive, Camber, East Sussex, TN31 7SJ MAP


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