Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

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.

Social Media Heavyweights (Part 3)

March 30, 2011

Joe Louis by By cliff1066
This is the third instalment in my ‘Social Media Heavyweights’ series (please go ahead and check out Part 1 and Part 2). Once again, I’ve picked out another five influential people who I have looked to in my endeavours to become a more proficient social media practitioner. To see all the other heavyweights who I believe you have to follow, check out my Twitter list.

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

Guy Kawasaki, one of the original employees responsible for marketing (and evangelising) Apple’s Macintosh computers in the 1980s, 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 not only a social media heavyweight, but a networking heavyweight, too. I recently blogged about Liz Strauss and how she uses Twitter to engage with her audience and this in itself demonstrates Liz’s uncanny ability to connect with her network in a way that makes every one of them feel they are a valuable member of the social media community.

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

Brian Clark is the mastermind behind Copyblogger, a blog all about how to write effectively for the web. Copyblogger has tons of brilliant posts and articles (largely from a vast pool of excellent guest bloggers) on how to write compelling copy for headlines, landing pages, SEO … and of course social media.

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

When I first became interested in social media, I often searched online for comment, news and information to so that I could start building up my knowledge of the subject. The more I searched, the more I came across Lee Odden and the Top Rank blog. Top Rank offers posts and resources on everything from live blogging to content marketing and social media and is one of my go-to destinations for opinion, tips and best practice advice.

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

Mark Schaefer was brought to my intention by Mitch Joel, via the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. Mark was a guest on Mitch’s podcast debating the pros and cons of ghost writing. Although I was mainly siding with Mitch Joel (who is anti-ghost blogging), Mark nevertheless made some very good points so I checked out his {Grow} blog to learn more. As with all the social media heavyweights I’ve profiled, Mark is a true expert but is also incredibly down-to-Earth and practices what he preaches. He’s an example any aspiring social media enthusiastic (such as myself) can learn from.

An entrepreneurial boost from StartUp Britain

March 28, 2011

StartUpBritain initiative
Earlier this month, a wrote a blog post about doing whatever it takes to fulfil your goals. In the post, I talked about how the economic downturn is affecting peoples’ life goals and how many workers in the UK have been made redundant as a result of the economic downturn. However, I mentioned that anyone from any industry sector can take inspiration from entrepreneurs and how many enterprising individuals are looking for opportunities and starting up their own businesses despite the gloomy economic climate.

Today the UK government launched the StartUp Britain campaign, an initiative run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs and supported by a whole host of companies (including Google, Microsoft and Virgin Media). Aimed at encouraging people to set up their own businesses, the campaign’s objective is to provide would-be entrepreneurs across the country the resources and information needed to give their ventures every opportunity for success.

I think this is an exciting initiative and one that I hope really does inspire people across the UK to take the leap and set up businesses of their own. Entrepreneurs not only instil a sense of belief and fortitude into the hearts and minds of others, but they also create jobs, competition and act as a catalyst for economic growth. StatUp Britain may be the boost many people who have always dreamed of owning their own business need, and I wish any new entrepreneur setting up on their own every success in the world!

What’s behind the numbers?

March 26, 2011

Facebook's Domination by infographiclabs
Last week I spoke with the managing director and marketing director of an online publication company looking to use social media as part of a digital expansion programme. It was encouraging to speak with two senior managers who have clearly recognised the opportunities and benefits that social media can offer and are prepared to use new media channels as part of their company’s marketing mix.

However, one of the things that concerned me during our meeting was when they said one of their main social media objectives was to boost the number of ‘likes’ on their Facebook page from around 9,000 to 1 million within a four to six month period and that ‘scale’ was of particular importance to them.

Bigger is not always better

A large following, whether that be through ‘likes’ on Facebook or followers on Twitter, is a perfectly legitimate social media marketing metric. Amongst other things, a large following will give you a fantastic opportunity to market to your existing customer base and help you establish credible social capital. But when this is one of the only social media marketing metrics, one begins to worry. It may be a cliché , but quality really is more important than quantity when it comes to (effective) social media marketing. You may grow your following and boast over a million ‘likes’ on Facebook, but so what?

Social media is a paradigm shift from traditional marketing techniques and requires a different type of thinking. It involves bringing the audience into the marketing process by including them in conversations, engaging with them and starting a dialogue. Social media marketing will not be effective if you build up a following only to broadcast messages and advertisements to them in the traditional one-to-many fashion. You need to proactively target your key social media audiences and give them a compelling reason to connect with you.

It’s not just the size – it’s what you do with it that counts!

One million Facebook ‘likes’ would be great, but what if only 25% of the Facebook following really liked you and the majority were disengaged with the brand and unresponsive to the discourse you’re trying to generate? Surely it would be better to aim for 20,000 Facebook fans who are interested and enthusiastic about your product or service and form part of a community that regularly interacts with your content and spreads it organically across their social graphs. Only this way will you begin to see increased conversions, be it actionable clicks over page views, enquiries, leads or sales. These are the metrics that really matter the most.

What are your thoughts on social media marketing metrics? What do you use to measure success? What does good social media look like?

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Photo credit: Inforgraphic by Infographiclabs. To view the full picture click on the picture or alternatively click here.

All or nothing

March 21, 2011

All or nothing
All too often I speak to individuals or companies who are considering using social media as part of their marketing efforts and yet they haven’t got a clear idea as to how it will fit into an overall plan or strategy.

I truly believe that social media marketing can be a very valuable part of a company’s marketing tool kit. But as with any other tactic or communication channel, it needs to be integrated into the overall business or marketing strategy effectively, with clear goals, objectives and milestones in place. Creating a one-off Facebook page or Twitter steam without an endgame in mind is simply using social media as a marketing ‘add on’, separated from from the core values, personality and image the brand is aiming to portray. Consistency is key and social media plays a vital role in generating brand awareness across both the traditional and social web.

Unless you are prepared to commit to social media entirely and use it as a genuine part of your marketing plan then I would recommend that social media isn’t used at all. Many may say that this would be far too drastic and that not participating in any social media channels would be a backwards step. However, the consequences of poor social media implantation has the potential to be much more damaging, with the possibility of frustrating followers or even customers through inconsistent participation and tone of voice.

A social media strategy doesn’t have to be a weighty tome, but it does have to coherently map out why you want to use social media, how you are going to use it and with whom. If you’re not prepared to take the time to put a simple plan together, I doubt you’ll have the time to consistently engage with communities using social media. It’s better to focus on the channels you can use really well (whether they be online or offline) and add value, rather than spread yourself – and your brand – thin across a variety of social media sites where you rarely turn up and join in.

What’s your price tag?

March 7, 2011

Although I’d agree there is only a tenuous link (if any at all!) between the lyrics in Jessie J‘s new single ‘Price Tag’ and social media marketing, listening to the song made me think a little about social media, its core values and how companies and individuals should apply social media correctly as part of their marketing plans.

In the song, Jessie J sings:

“Seems like everybody’s got a price,
I wonder how they sleep at night.
When the sale comes first,
And the truth comes second,
Just stop, for a minute and
Smile”

The song is clearly about the negative effect of the commercialisation of modern pop music – but I found some interesting parallels with social media marketing!

Social media gives marketers the opportunity to interact and engage with customers in a way that doesn’t push the product in their faces and go for the sale immediately. Social media gives us the chance to build a relationship and a rapport with our audience whilst transparently making it clear who we represent and the benefits our products and/or services can bring to the market.

Social media can also be a lot of fun. Just look at what Old Spice and Blendtec have been doing! Just two of many more examples of companies having a great (and successful) time using social media.

Where the parallels begin to end is when Jessie J sings:

“It’s not about the money, money, money
We don’t need your money, money, money”

Social media marketing is ultimately about making money, just as all areas of marketing are. But it’s how you go about marketing yourself and making money using social media that’s potentially different – and better.

So just as Jessie J suggests, chill out, relax, be true to yourself and smile. Don’t take yourself too seriously, embrace social media as part of your marketing tool kit and engage with your audience. You might just find that they end up selling your product for you!