Social media outsourcing

July 28, 2011

Auto-Blogger Floor Pedal by Mike Licht

You can read the full version of this post by clicking on Outsourcing social media or visit my digital marketing blog One Too Many Mornings.

With more and more companies adopting social media as part of their marketing strategies, it’s been interesting to note the number of them that are outsourcing their efforts to third-party agencies and consultancies.

But is the right?

Well it all depends on what is being outsourced, how much and to whom. Whilst it is perfectly understandable for a company (big or small) to ask an agency to set up and manage the logistics of a corporate Facebook page or Twitter profile, or the monitoring and evaluation of of social media through analytics, but it’s another thing to ask somebody else to manage your entire social media marketing process.

Work together

If you’re looking to use an agency or consultancy to help manage your social media marketing function, it’s important to agree on a plan of action and a set of expectations as to how the process will work. An agency should collaborate with you on the overall strategy to ensure that social media activity is tied to corporate objectives as well as provide training on how to use social media correctly.

Be authentic

As soon as you’ve agreed on a social media strategy and action plan, it is then important for you, the client company, to take full control. Social media is about developing authentic, genuine relationships and conversation with customers and this is not something that can – or should – be done by an agency or consultancy. It is crucial that you remain authentic whilst using social media to communicate with customers otherwise you run the risk of appearing insincere.

Polishing your personal brand – 6 simple steps

June 27, 2011

Who is Gathered 'Round the President-Elect? By Tony the Misfit
You can read the full version of this post by clicking on 6 steps to polishing your personal brand or visit my digital marketing blog One Too Many Mornings.

Like it or not, we all have a personal brand. Whether you’re a doctor, a marketer, a musician or CEO, the way others see us define who we are. And with the increasing power and influence of search engines like Google and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the importance of managing our personal brands is becoming more and more important.

But how can we manage our personal brands so that we project how we want to be perceived by others?

Plan your direction

Defining the direction you want to go will allow you to figure out where to invest your time, resources and energy to hone the right skills and expertise. Part-time or freelance work in specific areas of work, as well as further education, may be options to help build your skill set and gain confidence.

Determine your USP

Think about what it is about you that makes you stand out from the crowd and use it to your advantage. Look at ho you can use your hobbies, interests and other seemingly unrelated skills to add value to the work you do and make a connection with the audience you’re trying to reach.

Tell your story 

Wherever you decide to go, think about the story behind your journey. Where have you come from? What are your experiences? Why did you make the decisions you’ve made? Whether you decide to build on your current expertise or move into a new discipline, make sure you have the answers and back-story to explain who you are.

Get connected

Update your existing friends and contacts with what you’re update to via social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), email and your personal website. Obtaining new contacts is difficult so use the ones you have to speak up for you and act as recommenders and leads for your work.

Showcase your skills

Secure your own domain name, set up a blog and get writing! It’s a great way of showcasing the expertise you have at your disposal and can be used as a way in to industry leading journals, research papers and speaking opportunities – other key ways of getting you name out there and building credibility.

Stay committed

The key to success is long-term effort and determination. Remain consistent, committed and always look to add value and you’ll no doubt be rewarded by the community and networks you’re looking to influence.

How to successfully merge social media and email

June 23, 2011

Batman & Robin by Mark Anderson

You can read the full version of this post by clicking on 10 ways to merge social media and email or visit my digital marketing blog One Too Many Mornings.

Social media and email are two excellent digital marketing tactics that you can use to effectively update and engage with your customers. Social media is becoming increasingly popular whilst email remains a formidable communication tool.

Although social media and email can be used individually as part of an online marketing campaign, when used together they can power each other for even more impressive results (just like Batman and Robin!).

Before looking at some simple tips to merge the two, let’s consider the two key ways in which marketers incorporate social media into email:

Follow, Friend, Subscribe, Connect

This is where a company asks you to follow them on one or more of their social networks. Examples include “Follow us on Twitter”or “Connect with us on LinkedIn”.

Share With Your Friends (SWYF)

This is when you receive an email that allows you to share a piece of content or the email message itself with your social network by clicking on a “Share this” button/link/icon.

So by integrating the two, you can build up a larger social media following and an increase your email list.

Some simple tips

Here are a few simple tips to follow:

1. Include links to social networks

Make links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other main social networks clear within the email.

2. Ask people

Ask people to connect by adding simple copy to the social media icons, e.g. “Like us on Facebook” or “Subscribe to our YouTube channel”.

3. Include SWYN in email campaigns 

Ensure that share with your network (SWYN) links are included in every email campaign and aim for the social networks that your customers use most.

4. Tweet!

Take advantage of your Twitter following by promoting your email newsletter in a tweet.

5. Promote through Facebook

Promote your email newsletter on your Facebook page and encourage users to subscribe within Facebook.

This post was inspired by a Blue Sky Factory Email Marketing eBook by DJ Waldow

Which 3 guests would you invite?

June 17, 2011

Sir Richard Branson by Jarle Naustvik
“If you could invite three people – dead or alive – to a dinner party, who would they be?”

I was recently asked this question by a prospective client whilst pitching for a digital marketing project. The type of questions leading up to this one had been the usual I’d expect in such a meeting: “What’s your past experience?”; “How would you set objectives?”; “When can you get things done?”. But this question suggested to me the client wanted to dig a little deeper and find out  what makes me tick and whether I’m the type of person they’d like to work with, regardless of my skills and experience.

Although I could think of many more than three people, three was all they wanted, and on top of that they had to be good – my answer could make or break the deal! So after about 10 seconds thought, I gave them the following:

Richard Branson

Richard Branson’s been an entrepreneurial hero of mine for many years, although my interest in him grew ten-fold after reading his autobiography in 2003 on a (Virgin) flight back from the US. Richard’s character, drive and desire to succeed is utterly inspirational and he has all the attributes I believe anyone (whether they work for themselves or somebody else) should have in business.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin first caught my attention when I saw his book ‘The Purple Cow’ in a bookstore many years ago. The concept and philosophy of ‘The Purple Cow’ (about standing out and being remarkable) is pretty much what Seth is all about and it’s something every company, brand or professional should aspire to.

John Lennon

If I could have invited four people to a dinner party I would have chosen all of four of the Beatles! But ever since I first started listening to them in the mid-1990s it was always John Lennon who I related to most. John was a passionate artist intent on creating unique and powerful work that was both pioneering and inspiring.

Be prepared

June 10, 2011

How to Plan the Perfect Dinner Party by Kevin Dooley
One of my favourite pastimes is to watch elite sport, usually on TV but once in a while if I’m lucky live. The genuine action, drama and unpredictability of sports like football, cricket and rugby is what really captivates me, but as a business and marketing professional I often think about the professionalism and hard work that goes into top sporting teams.

The planning and preparation that goes into making a great sports team is phenomenal, with the entire squad, back-room staff and management meticulously plotting the steps they must take to achieve success. But alas, like many, I am not a professional sportsman. However, I have taken away a number of things from the sportting world that can be applied to business, too.

Effective planning and preparation will bring individuals and businesses the following benefits:

Provide direction

A good plan will give you direction, as well as a goal, a set of objectives and a strategy to reach them.

Allocate resources

Planning gives you the opportunity to forecast what you might need to meet your objectives.

Reduce uncertainties

Planning and preparation allows you to assess what problems may or may not exist and give you the chance to put strategies in place to tackle them.

Anticipate action

One can’t assume what the competition is doing or how the market will react. Make an educated assessment of what actions you might have to take based on a set of different scenarios.

Facilitate assessment

Following any action, assess how you’ve performed. By planning ahead you can work out how, what and when to make those assessments and put a framework in place to make it happen.

Make good decisions

The more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to use that knowledge to make the right decisions and give yourself the best possible chance of success.

For more on this subject as well marketing, social media and digital communications, please visit One Too Many Mornings.

Twitter – get engaged!

June 6, 2011

Twitter - by Jeff Turner (@respres)

There are a lot of ways to use Twitter. Celebrities and major brands use them to broadcast one-way messages whilst other companies have used it to aggregate content or as a real-time customer service portal. The way people have innovated using Twitter is quite remarkable and has added real value to many organisations.

But one of the keys to using Twitter effectively is to engage. By responding to others, Retweeting your followers’ tweets and answering questions you will be eventually be seen as a valuable member of the social community rather than an ego-maniac obsessed with what you – and only you – have to say. Well-known personalities can get away with this but not the majority of us. We have to work hard and prove to our followers that we’re willing to talk – and listen to others.

If you’re planning on using Twitter, ensure that you do have a raison d’être. Once you start, turn up regularly, be consistent, don’t over-tweet and take an interest in others. And whenever you tweet try to be interesting and add something to the community.

There are a different set of rules in the new world of social media and digital communications. Twitter exemplifies many of these characteristics perfectly and by using the platform correctly one can soon learn these rules and become a valuable member of the social media community.

Keep your ears to the ground

June 3, 2011

Squirrel Hill Head Phone Trip by Hryck
The web is becoming increasingly social and so are you and your brand’s customers and constituents. They’re talking about you – on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and forums and it’s up to you to listen up and take notice.

Seek out and utilise simple listening tools such as Twitter Search, Google Alerts and Technorati to monitor keywords, brand names and trends to find out what’s really being said out there online.

Embracing social media is about letting go and giving up an element of control. If you or your management team are concerned by this take note – you never had control in the first place! People will be talking about you regardless so you might as well listen in, take notice and take action.

Social Media Heavyweights – The Trilogy!

May 24, 2011

Muhammad Ali vs. Ernie Terrell from cliff1066™
I recently published three blog posts outlining a list of people and resources from the world of social media that I believe you really MUST follow if you’re serious about digital and social media marketing. You can visit each individual post here, here and here, although this post is a combination of them all (albeit with a little less description and insight about each social media heavyweight).

Seth Godin
Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com
Twitter: @thisissethsblog

Seth Godin is a marketing and leadership goliath, with a fantastic blog (updated daily) and a mountain worth of brilliant books. He sets the standard for quality that many of the other heavyweights in this list aspire to!

Chris Brogan
Blog: http://www.chrisbrogan.com
Twitter:@chrisbrogan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChrisBroganMedia
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/chrisbrogan

Like Seth Godin, Chris updates his blog almost daily with a mix of insightful, philosophical and extremely helpful posts. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author (He co-wrote ‘Trust Agents’ with fellow heavyweight Julian Smith).

Mitch Joel 
Blog: http://www.twistimage.com/blog
Twitter: @mitchjoel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MitchJoel

I first heard of Mitch Joel when I saw his book ‘Six Pixels of Separation’ listed as a top social media book on Mashable. It wasn’t long before I’d bought it and became an avid listener to his awesome weekly podcast (also called ‘Six Pixels of Separation’). Mitch’s podcast is one of the best around, in which he regularly interviews smart and interesting people throughout the worlds of media and marketing.

Brian Solis 

Blog: http://www.briansolis.com
Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebriansolis
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/briansolistv

Brian Solis’s book ‘Engage’ is quite simply brilliant and is an essential read for anyone serious about social media. Brian looks at social media from all angles and brings the subject to life with a level of detail I haven’t seen from anyone else.

Mashable
Website: http://www.mashable.com
Twitter: @mashable, @mashsocialmedia@mashbusiness … and more and more! (Just search ‘Mashable’ in Twitter to see all their accounts)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mashable
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/mashable

Mashable is the online resource for anything related to social media, technology or online marketing. Mashable has a wonderful bank of blogs and is often first with breaking news from the industry.

Julien Smith
Blog: http://inoveryourhead.net/
Twitter: @julien

Julien Smith co-wrote ‘Trust Agents‘ with Chris Brogan and is a wonderful thinker in his own right. He brings a fresh perspective to personal development and building social capital and delivers it with his own brand of wit that makes him unique among this esteemed list.

Jeremiah Owyang
Blog: http://www.webstrategist.com/blog/
Twitter: @jowyang

If I want real, in-depth social media insight I go straight to Jeremiah Owyang’s blog. He’s a new media  web strategist and ‘big thinker’ who regularly produces very interesting reports, webinars and blog posts that contain a wealth of brilliant information.

Harvard Business Review
Blog: http://hbr.org/ and http://blogs.hbr.org/
Twitter: @harvardbiz
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HBR

Although the Harvard Business Review isn’t dedicated to social media, if you’re serious about using social media marketing effectively as a business tool then HBR is required reading. HBR’s blogs offer a wealth of insight on a variety of business issues.

Tamar Weinberg
Blog: http://www.techipedia.com/
Twitter: @tamar

Tamar Weinberg was the person that made me realise what social media is all about. Tamar’s was the first social media book I read (‘The New Community Rules‘) and it opened my mind to what social media can do, how it works and more importantly, what it’s’about’.

TED
Blog: http://www.ted.com/
Twitter: @TEDTalks@TEDNews
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TED

TED is a global set of conferences all about spreading ideas and new insights. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend a TED conference but you can check out videos and podcasts of them by visiting their website.

Guy Kawasaki
Blog: http://blog.guykawasaki.com
Twitter: @guykawasaki and @alltop
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/guy

Guy Kawasaki is everywhere on Twitter, both via his Twitter feed and on Alltop. Guy is a positive, vibrant, charismatic individual who leads by example and has recently published his sixth book, ‘Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions’.

Liz Strauss
Websites: http://www.lizstrauss.com and http://www.successful-blog.com 
Twitter: @lizstrauss
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lizstraussfan

Liz Strauss is both a social media and networking heavyweight. I recently blogged about Liz Strauss and how she uses Twitter to engage with her audience and this in itself demonstrates Liz’s wonderful ability to connect with her network in a way that makes every one feel they are a valuable member of the social media community.

Brian Clark (AKA Copyblogger)
Blog: http://www.copyblogger.com
Twitter: @copyblogger

Copyblogger is a blog all about how to write effectively for the web and Brian Clark is the mastermind behind it all. Copyblogger has tons of great posts and articles on how to write compelling copy for headlines, landing pages, SEO and social media.

Lee Odden
Blog: http://www.toprankblog.com
Twitter: @leeodden

When I first became interested in social media, the more I searched online for news and comment on the subject the more I came across Lee Odden and the Top Rank blog. Top Rank includes posts on everything from content marketing to SEO and social media.

Mark Schaefer
Blog: http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog
Twitter: @markwschaefer

I like Mark Schaefer because he’s such a dedicated thinker and generous social media practitioner. He blogs on a variety of subjects that are at the same time easy to follow and incredibly insightful.

You can also check out more of my thoughts on some of these social media heavyweights on my blog One Too Many Mornings.

A cloudy future ahead?

May 21, 2011

Clouds by Karin Dalziel

The announcement this week from Google regarding the launch of the Chromebook, a simple and cheap netbook running on Google’s Chrome OS (effectively a laptop with a web browser), raises some interesting questions about the future of cloud computing and the state of the computer landscape.

The Chromebook will mean that users must access applications solely from ‘the Cloud’. Although this might seem like a radical shift for some, we must remember that many of us are already accessing email, photos, social networks and more from ‘the Cloud’, so perhaps this is a further step in the direction towards a purely cloud-based future?

I think another interesting aspect around this story is the simplicity the Chromebook will offer the user. By accessing everything from ‘the Cloud’, the computer experience is kept simple and identical wherever you are and with whatever devise you’re using.

Finally, is Google taking Microsoft head-on with this development? It’ll be interesting to see how they respond as things develop further.

Exciting times ahead!

May 18, 2011

Morning sunshine

Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve created a personal website so I now have my very own piece of online ‘real estate’! It’s a brand new blog with a brand new name. However, the content and subject area will remain the same: marketing, social and digital communications.

One Too Many Mornings will be my online space to talk about marketing, online trends and the ongoing rise of social media. I will use my blog to speak my mind, offer advice and explore online marketing issues in more detail. And I will also use One Too Many Mornings to connect with others and start growing a community of fellow marketing enthusiasts around the topics that I feel passionate about.

I’m really looking forward to writing my new blog and I hope that others will be able to take something away from it and benefit from what I’ve got to say.

So please feel free to visit One Too Many Mornings and let me know what you think.