Terrified of Twitter? – 5 Reasons to Fall in Love with my Favourite Social Network

Lately I’ve had several opportunities to speak to groups of people about their social media activity.

When I’m testing where people are with social – and asking which channels they’re using – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn are always commonplace. So what about Twitter?

Twitter always seems to be the one that most people have the biggest challenge with. In fact when I dig around a little, it appears that for those that have never ventured onto Twitter – there’s genuine ‘fear’ of doing so.

I’ve been a huge Twitter fan for about 7 years now. For me – it’s just got better and better. Sure – you still get people talking about their lunch, cats and other potentially irrelevant stuff. But if you can see past the noise – let me showcase just 5 things that may tempt you to give it a go. (I could give you many more reasons than 5 – but I try to keep my blogs short ;)).

Two blue bird, dove, pigeon on speech bubble.

Why I love Twitter

1)    It’s a brilliant network

Twitter is an incredibly useful platform to connect with people. When I was writing my first book – I needed to get permissions from a significant number of people and organisations.

Faced with the task – I immediately took to Twitter. Using Google search and Twitter’s search, it was a relatively simple task to locate the people I needed to speak to and tweet them. Before I knew it – I had made relevant connections, was able to grab further contact details and continue our conversations in a far more effective way.

I remember being really surprised at just how many people responded to questions and requests I was making. People that really ‘get’ Twitter – understand that it’s about building relationships – it’s a two way conversation. Of course there’s a whole load of people, brands and businesses on Twitter simply using it as a publishing platform. Pushing out noise about themselves to irrelevant audiences and never listening or engaging – but, that’s not using Twitter smartly.

If you set out to build relationships and have authentic and useful conversations – then Twitter is a highly effective platform. Checkout the regular Thursday chat #TwitterSmarter – where conversations happen each week about the best use of Twitter.

2)    It’s real time

Twitter is the place where you can find out about pretty much anything – in real time and immediately see what other people think too. News tends to break on Twitter first.  You can see topics that are trending and join in conversations.

3)    Search function is ace

Just as 59 million of us in the UK are dependent on Google search – I am equally dependent on Twitter search. The search function on Twitter enables you to type in any keyword or string of keywords to see what’s going on in the Twittersphere – right now. There are of course more sophisticated ways of using Twitter search – in much the same way as Boolean search for Google. Where you can be specific about location, person, words etc. Take a look here for more if you’re keen to do some smart digging around..

4) I can tune in to exactly what I want

Twitter connects me to the people, publishers, brands and influencers I want to hear from. I have total choice as to what I tune into. It’s interesting that more than 40% of people on Twitter have never even sent a tweet. They’re not on the platform to talk or network – but rather just to tune in to the newsfeeds they’re interesting in.

When you want to tune into your favourite celeb, footballer, artist, author – or want to be entertained by the latest tweets from comedians or writers – it’s highly likely they’re on Twitter sharing their news by the minute.

From a business perspective, you can tune into what’s happening in your landscape, trade press, influencers – even competitors – and of course, your clients / customers too.

The beauty of Twitter is that you can tune in – by following someone – and if what they’re saying doesn’t fit for you – then you simply tune out – by unfollowing them. The choice is yours.

5. It’s short, simple and to the point

When I first encountered Twitter all those years ago – I do remember thinking – huh – what nonsense. How can people have conversations in 140 characters. But those clever silicon valley boys knew what they were doing. The fact that Twitter is so succinct and to the point – is one of it’s finest qualities. The feed is easily scannable – and if you’re interested in something and there’s a link – you can easily go off piste for a bit – explore and then come back.

And if you don’t have time to read the bigger picture – then you can simply – favourite it and come back to it when you do have time.

So that’s it – just 5 of the reasons why I love Twitter. If you haven’t explore Twitter yet – then perhaps start by simply tuning in to the stuff you’re interested in.  And if you’re on there but not quite sure it’s working for you – check out the many Twitter articles on this blog – to optimise your presence.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Bamboozled by oodles of data? Time to measure what really matters.

little data latestThe challenge we have as marketers and data analysts is that there’s now just so much stuff we can measure.

With more marketing channels than ever before – the role of the marketer is far from simple.

When deciding which channels to focus on and optimise – none of us can escape the necessary  relationship with, and in some cases, dependence upon,  data.

We’ve got mass reports, analytics coming out of our analytics, the opportunity to explore different aspects of analysis.  All this data is giving us fundamental insights. Right? But this is where our ‘let’s get real’ heads need to kick in.

For me, my simple and pragmatic thinking brings me back to reality and helps me to focus on what really matters. And that’s the challenge I have with big or mass data – just because we can measure everything – is it actually useful and beneficial to do so?

Here we are, spending so much time trying to keep up with the data, running round in circles measuring everything and spending a significant amount of time monitoring and keeping on top of dashboards and stats – that potentially we’re taking our attention away from key fundamentals that really matter?

If we’re honest – there’s definitely a big ‘SO WHAT’ factor with many of the insights and stats that we as marketers rigidly spend time measuring and monitoring. Analytics – mass data – big data – programmatic data – call it what you will – the real question is – does what we are measuring actually  matter.

Yes, it may be telling us stuff – but is the stuff it’s telling us actually important and does it fundamentally impact achieving key objectives?

Little Data – my hero of the day

Just as there are potentially different descriptions about mass data – I’m sure there are too about what I refer to as ‘little data’. From a very basic perspective – for me, ‘little data’ is about getting down to the nitty gritty of measuring what really matters. The key word here is ‘relevance’.  Objectively driven metrics. I have a very simple ‘let’s clarify objectives’ model:

  • What does success look like? What objectives / outcomes are we looking to achieve?
  • What metrics / evidence do we need so that we can measure success or progress?
  • What simple discipline are we going to apply to ensure we are continuously capturing, monitoring and learning from these absolutely fundamental necessary metrics?

For me, what’s key is the development of a simple set of key metrics that help you to identify that the activities you are undertaking are actually delivering on your objectives.  There’s real progress.

Of course, in order to deliver on your objectives – you’ve got to have very clear objectives in place. And in my humble opinion, this is where many businesses and campaigns fall down.

Having absolute clarity in what needs to be achieved and drilling down to the necessary metrics to monitor effective progress is often missing.

Measuring everything we can no doubt uncovers some interesting insights – but those insights are not necessarily going to keep our eye on the ball and keep us focused on delivering  key objectives that ultimately make all the difference.

Little data, or objectively driven data, for me is all about ‘relevance’– they may be ‘little’ and few but it’s this ‘little data’  that focuses attention for BIG impact.

Agree?

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Social Media – What’s the Real ROI?

Zig Ziglar - Those that aim for nothing quote

Whilst we can all get bogged down in ‘doing the doing’ – I find it so rewarding and energising when I take the time to get out and about to talk to people.

The last couple of months have seen me doing a number of talks – all about a similar and popular  topic.

February saw me talking at The Chelsea Design Club about the practicalities of making social work for design businesses.  Early March I joined Robert Harding at The Photographer’s Gallery to speak to a room of photographers about ‘getting social’.  And just last week I joined the team at LinkedIn in the UK HQ to talk about social and ROI – and last week I joined Richmond Event’s Digital Marketing Forum – again, focusing on ROI.

There’s no doubt about it – social media ROI is indeed a hot topic.

So, what’s the magic ROI formula? What should people be measuring and what should they expect to see?

Of course, in all realms of digital marketing we’ve got data coming out of our data. Big data truly exists – and there are dashboards a plenty that will enable us to track our customer’s every move.

As a marketer, I do love data – BUT I only ‘truly’ love and respect data that is really useful.

Measuring what matters

And so that brings me to what I consider is really key for measuring ROI when it comes to social media.

I love the saying by Zig Ziglar – ‘Those that aim for nothing hit it with remarkable accuracy’.  And I find this is particularly true when it comes to measuring what matters with social.

With social channels, you get a lot of data – much of which is highly visible. Followers, retweets, shares, engagement etc – and of course we can be measuring these aspects. But to really understand social media ROI – I believe you really have to be very clear on what it is you are looking to achieve at the outset.

It’s common knowledge that it’s unusual for social channels to behave as direct marketing channels – so sales directly achieved via Facebook and Twitter are unlikely to be anywhere near as direct as from other sources. So stating that you want 50 direct sales is potentially unrealistic (however, this does depend on activities and sector).

So, it’s about being realistic about what can be achieved via social and where social makes an impact. The wonderful Gary Vaynerchuk  aligns social media ROI with the brilliant question, ‘What’s the ROI of your mother?’ – however, whilst I agree with much of what Gary V states – I do believe that there are some practical ways to measure social media ROI.

To review some of the more practical aspects of social activity:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
    • Here you may very well be asking:
    • Are we growing relevant followers? Note that relevant is a key word here.
  • Establish Credibility and Trust
    • Are we getting endorsements/shares from influential people?
    • How is our audience responding to these influencers?
    • Are those influencers extending the reach of our audience?
  •  Connect with your Audience
    • Is your audience responding well to your content?
    • Is the content you share encouraging engagement?
    • What levels of shares, reach and discussion is our content achieving?
  • Find New Leads/Drive Sales
    • Is social activity bringing people back to your website?
    • Have we achieved a certain amount of sign ups / downloads etc.
    • How is social helping us to convert to sales / customers?

The above areas are by no means the only aspects you need to be considering – each campaign activity you undertake will have it’s own objectives. For example: you may set a target of partnering with 10 key influencers in your space – or connecting with influential bloggers.  Once you have identified metrics that really matter – and have set off with the end in mind. Then, and only then, can you have any idea whether or not your endeavours are truly hitting the targets. (Remember, what Zig said – right!).

Having objectives at the outset can really steer your activity:

I have a very simple ‘let’s clarify objectives’ model:

  • What does success look like? What objectives / outcomes are we looking to achieve?
  • What metrics / evidence do we need so that we can measure progress?
  • What discipline will we apply to ensure we are continuously monitoring and learning?

Of course, these aspects don’t just apply to social – and once you know what it is that you want to achieve – and what those metrics / indicators look like – you can even start to apply a monetary value to them so that you can you work out exactly what ROI looks like.

Let’s create a rudimentary example to clarify the £ point:

Let’s say landing a guest blog on a pre identified influential blog has a monetary value to you of say, £500.   If you therefore set a target of 5 such guest blogs over the quarter – then if you achieve the target – the monetary value (return) is £2500.  Make sense?

In the world of social media – finding return on investment is possible – particularly if you have set out with very clear objectives.  Therefore, don’t just dive in an engage – before you do – remember to do your planning and set out those objectives – start with the end in mind.

That way – measuring the ROI of social is a whole lot simpler.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

How to get yourself noticed on Instagram

This week I did a talk to a group of photographers focusing on how they could be utilising the social platforms to help them achieve objectives.

It was no surprise that Instagram was the most popular social platform for the photographers – however, it was a little surprising that not one of them had heard about Instragram’s ‘Weekend Hashtag Project’ – a great engagement campaign from Instagram, that could make all the difference to your visibility.

So let’s walk through what happens:

Every Friday Instagram announces the weekend challenge.  As you can see – last week, it was all about sights and sounds – the goal to make videos with interesting or ambient, or natural sound.

Instagram's Weekend Hashtag Project #WHP
Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project #WHP

You then simply add the relevant hashtag- (in this case #WHPsightsandsounds) to photos and videos when uploading them over the weekend.

You can only upload your own visuals and we believe (although we haven’t tested this as yet) that only images and video actually shot over the weekend are eligible. (So you can’t upload from a past library) – which makes sense right – because after all, it is a ‘weekend project’.

The weekend project challenge is announced every Friday via the Instagram blog – and the team here @carvillcreative  stay tuned via tweets from the Instagram Twitter account (@instagram). The #WHP is always consistent – so you can take a look in Instagram using the search tool to see the vast range of projects executed so far.

Every Monday Instagram then selects some of their favourite ‘projects’ and showcases them on their blog and social platforms – which can ignite some serious attention. Those featured (and it’s arbitrary) – they really don’t just showcase popular Instagrammers with thousands of followers, as you’ll see – people with as few as 10 followers have been showcased.

So, if one of your objectives it to get noticed on Instagram – then start tracking the Weekend Hashtag Project – it may just be that all the fun you have taking part in the project, may just reap some serious rewards.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

 That’s all for now – happy hashtagging this weekend.

Michelle x

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

The Story of the stolen bike that wasn’t actually stolen

Important Lessons for All Businesses about Systems, Processes and Communication

bike stolen

Let me take you back to summertime – it is the 21st July, a beautiful sunny morning. I’m heading to my local train station – on my bike, to catch the 7.29am to Paddington.

I’m running on time, but as usual, there’s a huge ticket queue – and so I’m rushing. I lock my bike – head for the queue, make the 7.29am, all is good (crammed as usual, but at least I made the train).

That evening, I head back to my station – go to collect my bike – and it’s gone. The lock is still in place – and still locked and attached to the bike rack – but, no bike.

I head into the station, speak to at least three First Great Western station attendants – advise them that my bike has been stolen, ask what the protocol is – and am advised ‘sorry to hear that’ and to call the police.

With heavy heart, I walk up the hill, get home, complain to family about my loss – and then start proceedings to report said stolen bike.

When speaking to the British Transport Police to inform them of the theft, I’m advised that the stealing of bikes at my train station is apparently taken ‘very seriously’ – as it’s a bit of a hot bed.  I’m advised that my case has been reported and someone will be in touch.

A couple of weeks later I get a call from a very nice PC – she advises that my case is now being progressed – and wants me to provide her with a formal statement.  I spend at least 40 minutes on the phone advising her of the situation, my description (so they can discount me from the CCTV review) – the timings, the bike’s description etc.  And, by the way, my bike had been marked and registered with the police bike registration scheme.

I advise I have the lock – she advises, that I shouldn’t touch it too much as it may be used for finger printing.  Lock is transferred to clean plastic bag!

The next step is for her to come to the train station, review the CCTV and then see if they can nail the criminals.

At this point, I ask what the chances of my recovering the bike are – and she advises, very low – probably zero. But hopefully, they can make an arrest.

So – this leaves me without a bike – and with no likelihood of my bike being returned, I now have the chore of getting a new bike – considerable cost and considerable time.

Approximately 6 weeks after the initial theft – I’ve got a new bike in place, and the PC is coming to review the CCTV footage.

Unfortunately, bad news – the CCTV wasn’t working – and so no footage was captured. There was a malfunction with the system, etc, etc.

Some 8 weeks later, it transpires that the CCTV system was not the only system malfunctioning.

In mid November, I receive a call from another PC from British Transport Police at Paddington

Joyous news – they’ve recovered my bike.

‘Is it smashed up’, ‘where is it now’, ‘how did it turn up?’ I had so many questions.  However, it transpires – that it had potentially been at the train station where I believed it had been stolen from – all the time.

I know – you’re thinking, what’s this madness she’s talking about.

Well, apparently, if a bike is ‘unsecured’ at said station, due to it being a ‘hotbed’ for bike thefts, the station wardens, and any plain clothes police officers that periodically patrol the area, will take any unsecured bikes (bikes which are not locked up properly) and put them safely in the ‘lost property’ storage in the station.

Who knew?

Well, apparently… – nobody. Not the nice PC initially investigating the crime, and clearly not any of the three station wardens that I spoke to, when I advised that my bike had been stolen, ‘but how odd that the lock was still wrapped around the bike rack!’

Today is December 21st – so it’s exactly 5 months to the day, that my bike was supposedly stolen. I was called early this morning by another PC from British Transport Police to see if they could recover the bike to me.  As it happens, I was around – and the bike and I were reunited.  Speaking to yet another again, very nice PC – he advised that there are at least 30 other bikes in the ‘lost property’ storage! (What was that about the station being a hotbed for bike thefts!!!).

Whilst speaking with the PC who was organizing this last piece of the case – I queried the following:

a)    Why are there no notices around advising bikers that if their bike isn’t secure – it may be taken into lost property.  ‘Good idea’ he advised – we should do that.

b)    Why when I advised my bike had been stolen – wasn’t there a protocol to first check the lost property before advising me to raise a formal case with the police.

c)     Why, when I raised a case with the police – didn’t the nice PC investigating the crime first contact lost property to see whether or not it was simply a case of the bike potentially not being secured and therefore, not stolen but in fact, just stored!

In the 5 months – with just one simple bike, that really isn’t that valuable (in monetary terms), just look at the waste of resource that’s happened. Numerous phone calls, the filing of reports, letters sent to me advising me of progress with the case, police officers having to physically hand back the property.

Not to mention the expense and time of me having to unnecessarily get a new bike (and believe me it was not a fun experience – just a whole pain in the backside).

And now – I have stuff that’s surplus to requirements – I have two bikes!

Charlie Chaplin could have turned this into a slapstick sketch – it’s such a farce. However, it’s also indicative of what happens when processes are created – and not fully thought through or communicated.

Without thinking things through, end to end and a lack of effective training and practice – and communication breakdown – businesses, people, departments, governments – they all waste resource. Waste of time, waste of money, waste of people – people who should potentially be working on more important things that make a difference to either the world or the bottom line.

This farce is true – and whilst we may sit here reading in disbelief – sadly this isn’t that extraordinary. There are thousands if not millions of truly stupid and pointless, processes and disconnected dots happening all the time in industries and businesses of all shapes and sizes.

My advice to all is to:

  • Check your processes thoroughly, ensuring all dots are joining up.
  • When you identify a disconnect – where the dots aren’t joining up, don’t let that disconnect extend – but instead grab it, investigate it and do whatever you need to do to pull it together.  Make someone accountable (that may be you), accountable to ensure that you do not let such stupidity and waste of resource happen again.
  • Communicate, communicate and then communicate some more –ensure everyone ‘gets’ the processes you create – and that they are clear on what’s happening – and finally – you can’t just say it once and it will be – it takes practice – so…
  • Test things out periodically to check your communication and training is fully ingrained.

That’s all from me – rant over, insights shared.

Ever optimistic, owner of two bikes, Maidenhead

Social Video. It’s here and it’s taking over.

No matter what social media platform you are using, you’re bound to have noticed the increase in videos appearing in your timeline. It could just be a funny viral that’s being shared over and over again, or perhaps a slick, high budget, celebrity endorsement. Whatever it may be, online videos are fast becoming the leading marketing medium, with the potential to take over from TV ads.

More and more brands are now on the continuous lookout for ways to grab our attention (and our cash) using social media videos to make their product stand out from the crowd.

At this time of year especially, the buzz is even greater. Retailer John Lewis used social media to launch their Christmas ad last month, with the hashtag #ManOnTheMoon all over Twitter. And what did we all do? Liked it, Shared it. It’s so easy to do, and that’s what makes it work. You don’t have to be in your living room, watching the TV to be targeted. With a mobile phone or tablet, you can be reached anywhere..

jl

How we create videos now has also contributed to this rising trend. With the right app, nearly anyone can create a fairly professional looking video. It doesn’t always need to be complicated, it could just be a matter of getting your phone out and capturing the moment at just the right time. Originality is key…and humour, we all feel compelled to share something we find amusing.

Last year, we blogged about the importance of a Video Strategy, so find out what is working for your audience, what is liked and more importantly perhaps, what isn’t. Facebook now have Video Metrics to help with this, you can find out all sorts of valuable stats about your video posts.

So as 2015 comes to an end, we predict 2016 will be huge for Social Video as brands realise that video really is leading the way when it comes to content marketing.    

Meaningful marketing – right message, right person, right time

It was back in 2009 (blimey almost 7 years ago now) when I blogged about right person, right message and right time.

The post largely focused on direct mail – and the fact that many of our clients were challenged by the fact that they were getting low response rates to their one hit wonder marketing attempts.

Of course, in the past 7 years – everything has changed and yet nothing has changed.  The sentiment in the blog post I wrote almost 7 years ago remains the same – it’s just that tools, channels and technologies enable us even more with our endeavours to get the right message to the right person at the right time.

RMRPRT

However, whilst the tactics haven’t changed, the playing field has. There’s now more content delivered to consumers daily than ever before.

As Eric Schmidt famously said in 2010 ‘Every 2 days we create as much content as we did up to 2003!

With an abundance of content around – and technology at our 24/7 fingertips making whatever we need accessible to us – then there’s real skill required to get into the hearts and minds of your audience.

However, the practical tactics I talked about in 2009 remain:

1) A clear understanding of the purpose of the mailing (what need is it fulfilling).

2) Accurate and relevant targeting (the benefits may be great but if they’re not relevant to your audience – you’ve missed the point).

3) A way to compel and involve the reader to take action and respond.

So let’s take a look at the winning combination: Right message, right person and the right time.

Right Person

Targeting is the first step in any campaign.  Question your logic: who are you trying to attract?  Who do you want to reach?  Targeting is easier these days, but you still have to have systems in place to learn as much as possible.  You need to have some knowledge of your audience, in order to be able to target effectively.

A great start to targeting is utilising existing customer information, their user behaviours, the journey they’ve taken to reach you and where possible, ask questions during your purchase processes where relevant to find out more about them. Such information should enable you to identify with them – understand what motivates them.  The more you have the more you are able to profile them into segments that focus on them as real people rather than ‘batches of behaviour’. The more your know, the closer you can get, the more personalised you can be – the more authentic the relationship you can build.

Right Message

There are many tactics and ideas for making your communications ‘stand out’.   And indeed some businesses spend enormous amounts of money on gimmicks, creative and incentives both online and offline.

It’s worth remembering that what customers (aka people) are really looking for is relevance – they are far more likely to respond to a mailing which has an offer they are interested in, than to one which has a great design or gimmick, but is of no relevance to them.

Indeed, it’s easy to get carried away with the ‘attention grabbing gimmicks’ – this is the fun stuff.   And whilst the ‘whacky’ designs may catch attention – what all communication experts agree on is the importance of ‘relevance of message’.  In a time strapped world, if you’re going to ‘show up’ and be useful, then you need to be as relevant as possible.

Experts agree that the creation of the ‘message’ needs research and planning.

The focus of the message is to win attention and encourage your readers to take action.  Some key tips to consider when crafting your message:

  • Be yourself – personalise communications as much as you can and demonstrate a sound knowledge of your audience’s business dynamics (if relevant) and a clear understanding of the obstacles they face.  If the reader believes you have empathy with their situation – they are far more likely to engage with your message.
  • Don’t talk too much about yourself – readers are interested in what you can do for them – not what you do.  Focus on the opportunities your products and services present for them. A good mantra is to uncover the ‘benefits of the benefits’.  If you’re too ‘feature’ focused – you’re missing the critical element of what’s in it for them.
  • Use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ as much as possible and minimise the ‘we’s’.  This will warm up your messaging considerably.
  • If there is an offer in your message – then be direct about it – and get the value proposition or the offer in early on in the communication.   If you can save them £500 immediately (and if that’s a relevant message to them) – then tell them this in the headline.  And of course, repeat the offer again at other points – don’t let them miss the opportunity.
  • Make it easy for people to buy/engage/take action.  So often I read communications where I’m thinking – ‘what do they want me to do’.  Be sure you have clear instruction of how to take action.
  • Be sure to keep any response mechanisms (in order for people to engage and take action) as simple as possible and where relevant provide a few response options.  Don’t stipulate that orders must be done ‘online’ – as that may present an obstruction to buy.

Right Time

A key aspect to all effective communication is  ‘timing’.  It’s very difficult to know exactly when your target customer is ‘ready to buy / engage or take action’.  Of course, there may be some seasonal opportunities which determine an opportune time – and so consider this when planning.  But remind yourself, that it still doesn’t provide any guarantees.

Timing is exactly why ‘one hit wonders’ are extremely rare – if evident at all.  More often than not – deciding when to communicate, email, target – is more of a case of what you can internally manage and resource.

And that’s fine – provided that you don’t plan on doing communications or campaigns in ‘isolation’.  By this I mean – that you do not attempt to attain the elusive ‘one hit wonder’ – but instead plan an integrated marketing campaign of which direct messaging is one component.

Regular communication is the only solution to the ‘right time’ problem.  Even with sophisticated consumer behaviourial profiling, knowing just ‘when’ a customer is ready to buy – requires skills beyond the realms of our 5 senses.  Of course, marketing automation helps us to keep moving those interested in what we’ve shared forward – but again, be sure all communications are as ‘human’ and personable as possible. Often – automated communications are obvious. I know I’m being marched through a funnel – albeit a sophisticated one. So make the experience as personable and personalised as possible.

Having continuous conversations with your audience is key as even if your offer is amazingly compelling – for many of the people you target, it may simply be a case that now is just not the right time for them.  However, 6 months down the line – it may be the perfect time for them.  And so – regular communication, providing genuine value with each message, allows you to build ‘share of mind’, loyalty, and eventually ‘hit the mark’.

Let’s think about it this way.  Research in ‘sales activity’ tells us that the optimum number of times you need to ask the customer to buy in order to gain a positive result is 7.   This tells us that regular communication is necessary to achieve the end objective.

So – right time, right person, right message, six simple words – yet a whole load of complexity in getting it right.

In a sea of sameness and overload of marketing messages, consumer offers and choice – making your marketing activity authentically personable and meaningful has never been more important. So taken on the challenge of complexity, commit to getting close to your audience so you genuinely understand their needs – and you’ve got a whole lot more chance of getting the right message, to the right person at the right time.

My message to you is that if you’re not investing time in learning – then you’re just ‘churning’.  And my guess is, that’s not proving to be very effective.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

5 Pinterest Tips To Put Into Practice

Pinterest is now one of the fastest growing social media platforms – but there are still many business owners not using it!

We encourage all businesses – especially those who are product based, to be on Pinterest. Not only does the platform allow you to save creative ideas, but it’s also brilliant for small businesses that need to reach millions of people easily.

I love pin + interest

In order to improve your engagement on Pinterest and get even more exposure, we’ve put together a few strategies for you to start using:

  1. Pin content that isn’t just your own

If you’re pinning other users content, it gets the attention of the original pinner and shows everyone that you’re an authentic, active member of the Pinterest community.

  1. Don’t use hashtags – use rich pins

Instead of using hashtags, try using rich descriptions to make your content more searchable. Remember, details are key – but don’t make it too long – you want your audience to be able to pick up content quickly and easily.

  1. Create pin it for later links

Just created a new blog post? A great thing that people are now doing on Pinterest is creating a ‘pin it for later’ board. By giving your readers the option to ‘pin the post for later,’ the reader can easily pin your blog post to their ‘read it later’ board on their own Pinterest account.  This gives your audience a different an easy way to catch up with your content.

  1. Use rich pins

Rich pins are an excellent way to make your content stand out and give your products more visibility. Rich pins means that you are able to pull extra information right on the pin itself.

  1. Be consistent

Like other social media channels, a consistent sharing strategy is vital to get more exposure, followers and re-pins. The best strategies behind Pinterest engagement is to pin as much as possible – when you can.

Once you’ve put these simple steps into place you should start to see more engagement on your Pinterest account. Feel free to share your experience or ask any questions by tweeting us @carvillcreative.

Introducing the new Facebook Reactions

So Facebook are feeding our ongoing need to add an emoji to everything we post or respond to. The ‘Like’ button doesn’t quite work with all Facebook posts and it can often lead to misinterpretation. We all feel awkward ‘liking’ someone’s bad news posts but currently that’s all we can do to say we’ve read and acknowledged.

But soon, with the new Facebook Reactions feature we’ll have an array of ‘emotions’ to choose from – introducing Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad and finally, Angry.

facebook reactions

Facebook consulted with sociologists to help decide what they think their users would use most – and the new Reactions seem to cover most emotions that we’re likely to share. In the ‘mobile’ world we now live in, hitting a Reaction button should work well. But the question is – will this reduce the number of comments we write? Probably…

For Facebook business pages, the number of Reactions they receive will be valuable and shouldn’t be ignored. Like online reviews, the more Love’s and Wow’s, the better. How people are reacting to a brand or business’s posts, even with just a click of a button, will give a great insight into their customer’s perception. Page owners will also be able to see the ‘reactions’ to all their posts within page insights in the same way that it currently shows all their likes.

Ireland and Spain are the lucky guinea pigs who are trialling the Reactions first, their mainly national base of friends was the reason for this and also because one is English speaking and the other obviously not.

As of yet there has been no mention when all users will be able to express their Reactions – but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we hear anything.

 

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk.

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Beware… The Curse of Knowledge – 5 ways to overcome your nemisis

For anyone that knows me – they know that I’ve always got a recommendation of a  ‘good book that you’d enjoy‘ at the ready.

Amazon business books must love me – as I buy books weekly! (In fact 3 books ordered this week, Getting Goosebumps, (@googledave) Stop Talking Start Doing and Do Less Get More – both by (@shaawasmund)).

I love to zip my way through them – sometimes reading two or three books at a time – scribbling notes and collecting gems of knowledge. It’s rare I don’t pick something up – and it’s wonderful when I pick upL plate on something that’s potentially been challenging me for years.

In my recent reading endeavours, I was introduced to Made To Stick a pacey and easily digestible tome – packed with practical insights into the power of stories and theories around why some ideas stick and others don’t. One area they touch on which really chimed with me is the Curse of Knowledge.

The Curse of Knowledge – the premise that the more you know about something, the harder it is for you to imagine what it’s like to lack that knowledge. This was a real ‘ta dah’ light bulb moment for me. As, I don’t know about you – but sometimes, I’m in meetings with people and when explaining something, all I get is bemused blank looks.

It’s as if my logical plain English discussion has been turned into a totally incomprehensible foreign language which no one understands.

What I now better understand, it that it’s my nemisis coming into action, mwah ha ha   –  the curse of knowledge.  When people look at me as if they don’t know what I’m talking about – that’s because they probably really don’t know what I’m talking about.

Thankfully, it’s not that I’m a terrible communicator (honest) – but rather that I am talking to them as if they already know what I know – and they don’t.

What does this mean for the way we communicate?

The curse of knowledge is such a significant factor in how we communicate. Not only with our colleagues, but also with our marketing communications. When we’re explaining something to a customer, client or new team member – either via talking, video, email or however else, we have to remember that they don’t know what we know.

We have to remind ourselves to turn back the  experience dial and think about what we had to know to know what we now know. (Too many know’s here but you get my drift).

And if you’re in the business of influencing people, management, business, selling – and you’re looking for people to do what you want them to do – or buy what you want them to buy – then the curse of knowledge becomes a big challenge.

Here’s one way of looking at it…

Liken it to driving a car. When you first stepped into the driving seat to take your lessons – you thought about every single thing that you did. You actively listened for the step by step instruction from your instructor.

You nervously checked, double checked and triple checked your mirrors, indicators, seat belt and that your foot was on the right pedal.  You probably then read up on your highway code or theory practice – so that you were fully immersed and prepared for any eventuality.

Ping yourself forward a few (or many years) and driving’s a breeze, right? You don’t even think about it.  But that’s because you’ve been doing it a while, it’s become part of what you do – it’s natural.  And importantly, it’s really difficult to remember, not knowing how to drive. If you now had to explain to someone how to drive – you’d find it challenging, you’d probably cut corners and you’d get frustrated that they weren’t ‘getting it’ – after all, it’s not rocket science – it’s just driving.  Right?

Well apply this scenario to work, business or life. The same principle applies. And when you become aware of the curse of knowledge, you start to see it’s manifestations all around you. In conversations, I find myself talking B2B and B2C and putting up slides filled with acronyms that I am familiar with and therefore, I assume everyone should know. Only to be asked, what does that mean?

And the worry is, just how many people do we think sit on their hands and don’t ask for fear of looking like an idiot. Not only does the curse of knowledge hamper communication and getting the point across – but it also stops you from genuinely connecting with people. There’s nothing more rewarding than being heard – but communication is a two way street and you need to be talking in a language everyone understands in order to achieve that effectively.

So here are my 5 simple lessons for overcoming the curse of knowledge:

1.     Be aware

Once you know about the curse of knowledge just start sense checking how you’re communicating.  You’ll start to spot the assumptions you make all the time.  People aren’t idiots or being difficult – they just don’t know what you know – just like you may not know what they know.

 2.   Sense check

Check in with someone that is similar, or part of the audience you’re looking at communicating to. Does it make sense to them. It is pitched at the right level. Do they understand what you’re saying. Is there anything that they don’t understand. Is there any jargon that could be simplified.

3.     Start at the beginning

Rather than diving in and assuming a high level of knowledge, ask where people are to gauge where you need to start. I’ve found it really useful to say things like ‘I’m not teaching grandma to suck eggs here – but I’m starting at the beginning just so that we’re all on the same page – for those of you that know this, great and bear with me for a few minutes, and for those of you that don’t already know this – great, I’m going to go through it briefly.

4.     Does that make sense?

When you get the confused looks, or you feel you might as well be speaking Japanese (to non Japanese speaking people;)) – then check in. Ask the question – does that make sense? See who is getting it and who isn’t and then be prepared to start at the bottom and work through things step by step for those that aren’t.

5.     Step into their world

Having empathy and patience is key to effective communication. You may not remember all the steps you took when learning to drive but you will remember how vulnerable you felt the first time you sat in the driver’s seat – and remember that for others learning something for the first time, they too may be feeling a little ‘fish out of water’. So work on drawing your audience in by understanding where they’re coming from – and breaking things down so it’s easily communicable.

For me – uncovering the ‘curse of knowledge’ – has set me on a mission to change and improve some of the ways I communicate. Here’s hoping you find it’s something useful to be aware of too.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk.  

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

Social Media ROI & LinkedIn’s Social RecruitIn event

As a business owner – it’s often difficult to step outside of what we do day to day working ‘in’ the business) – to take time out to work ‘on’ the business. However, whilst it’s difficult – I recognise it’s also absolutely necessary.

For me, when I get the opportunity to talk at an event – it’s the perfect opportunity to do some working ‘on’.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being part of LinkedIn’s Social RecruitIn event, at the Business Design Centre, focused on helping agencies to build, engage and recruit.

The conference theme was around the Art and Science of Recruitment – covering talks from both the creative art side and the data drive science side.

My talk focused on Measuring the Value of Social Media – giving a quick update on where we are with social media, from a technology and stats perspective – and then providing a practical framework for how to measure social.

ROI Mother

Key to measuring anything is, of course, determining the metrics – and then critical to identifying the return – is attaching a monetary value to those metrics.

I couldn’t resist kicking off my including the colourful and creative Gary Vaynerchuk’s (@garyvee) analogy ‘What’s the ROI of your Mother?’ – and that certainly become a continuous theme to the start of many of the conversations I had during the day (so thanks Gary).

Of course, whilst I agree with Gary that it’s often tricky to measure some of the more intangible aspects of social – I disagree that it’s impossible. There are certainly concrete elements that can be measured – the all important aspect is determining what it is you are setting out to achieve and then what you are going to measure to determine whether you’re getting there and achieving results.

I’ll put together a webinar on this very soon – so if you’d like to join that – email me and I’ll be sure to loop you in.

My session was followed by morning tea – and then @JamesCaan took to the stage – sharing his insights into how social media can be used directly within the recruitment industry – and showcasing how he is applying social media activity to leverage opportunities.

My favourite session on the morning saw Dave Hazlehurst (@googledave) take to the stage to lead a discussion on Amplifying your brand through social.

Dave

Dave’s punchy character, passion for his topic and delivery style certainly grabbed attention – and in just 20 minutes he shared so many nuggets and takeaways around content marketing; the power of stories, content ideas around education and pain points and brand amplification.  Always great to meet and connect with people that really talk the same language and I’ll certainly be tuning in to his musings and reading his book, Getting Goosebumps.

Over lunch I was fortunate to get to listen to the headline keynote, Lou Adler (@LouA), CEO of The Adler Group – who was holding a Q&A. I really enjoyed his stance on performance based hiring. Aspects of which that could be applied not only to recruitment but many other sectors and areas of business.

After lunch I was keen to see Ollie Sharp, Senior Sales Manager at LinkedIn – talking and leading a panel on How Senior Leads and Consultants Give a Brand a Personality.  The session focused on the growing area of ‘the SocialCEO’ – and how socially connected a CEO is can drive brand and intention throughout an organisation.  Showcasing CEO’s doing it well – eg: Richard Branson – and then getting two CEO’s on stage to provide a grass roots overview as to how they are driving social within their businesses. I was delighted to see that in both cases, they showed tangible positive results to profitability, directly related to their social activity.

Proving the point that if social is done well, driven by strategic and business objectives, has buy in at the top level and is cascaded throughout the entire business – it is mighty powerful.

It was great to finally meet Ollie – as he and I had been tweeting for some time. Ollie had purchased several copies of The Business of Business Social some time ago advising that he made it mandatory for his sales team to read.  It transpires that having read it – it gave Ollie the inspiration to completely reposition their sales proposition to their audiences.

ollie

It was wonderful to receive praise and thanks, not only from Ollie, but also from Dan Dackombe, Sales Director EMEA and Greg Stephenson, Global Head of Solutions Product Marketing – as to what they had taken from the book to help them rethink how they sold their solutions.  Praise indeed.

In fact, at interview level, The Business of Being Social – is the book sales team candidates have to read and then present on. It’s always great to hear stories about how people have been inspired and impacted by the work you do – and so this is really wonderful news – and something that both David and I are immensely proud of.

My favourite keynote of the day was certainly Susie Wolff – Racing Driver, Williams F1 Team member – shared her story about finding her passion for racing at the tender age of 8 and the importance of staying in the moment, being prepared, finding your purpose and dreaming big.

Susie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DFWIt was a fabulous day – both enjoyable and useful.  A great event all round – and I couldn’t leave the blog without mentioning the brilliant MC for the day – Deborah Frances-White. A master of ceremonies if ever there was one. She brought all aspects of the day together perfectly, connected with the audience – made everyone feel comfortable and wholly involved. A true star.

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk.

 Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

 

 

How to Market Your New Business – Everything you need to know in a 45 min video

How to Market Your New Business – Practical ‘how to’ video

Always great fun hanging out with @ThatSMGirl and the #StartUpTV team @madesimplegroup to deliver some quality content.

This week, on the very same day my new book was launched on Amazon, I delivered a 45 minute Google Hangout (aka a live streaming webinar), absolutely packed with practical gems to help market a new business (or market any other business for that matter).

Whether you are starting out and looking for ideas – or whether you are looking to improve your current marketing efforts, I encourage you to spend some time with this webinar to help you understand what you need to be focusing on.

Covering areas related to:

  • Keeping the customer front of mind at all times
  • Focusing on the 4 ways to grow a business
  • Market and competitor analysis
  • Mixing the modern marketing mix
  • Measuring what you to
  • Creating a simple marketing activity plan

View now and enjoy – and as always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk.

 Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill - the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you - simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

A Word Of Advice To Content Creators: Be Sure To Know Where Your Images Are Sourced!

The diaphragm of a camera lens. Color toned image.

This week’s blog post focuses on the use of images in your online content and the importance of knowing where your images have come from.

As a social media and marketing agency we deal with online content on a daily basis and some of the time, when our clients don’t have images or written articles, it is down to us to create or source that content. Although some of us very much enjoy taking photos, we do not have extensive image libraries to hand! So we sometimes rely on purchasing images for use with the written content we’ve created or for our social media posts.

Recently we experienced a run in with a large stock photo agency who demanded a rather large amount of money from us because we had used an image from their site without their permission (It was a blog that was published many years ago and found using google images – but there was nothing on the image to say it belonged to anyone or that it was rights managed.

For a lot of people it’s all too easy to do a Google image search to find an image they like, after all it will say if it’s a paid image it would say won’t it? wrong;

Google Images show all sorts of images whether they feature on general websites or on sites that specialise in selling images and some of the time there are images that were initially purchased from the stock agencies and then used online. Google also announced recently that images in PDF documents will also feature in Google Images online search. So again, another good reason why it’s best to find alternate resources if you are looking for an image; This article really helps shed some light on how to ensure you are legally using online photos.

 

Have you recently had an issue over the copyright of an image you recently used online? We’d be interested to hear your experiences, tweet us @CarvillCreative

The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Ello? 

“Simple, beautiful and ad-free”

Ello is an ad-free social media network with a simple and uncluttered interface.

It began as a response by a small group of artists and programmers against the increasing bombardment of advertising and personal details being sold for capital gain on the other main social media networks.

When compared to the other social media platforms, it is most similar in look and feel to that of Tumblr and Twitter. The features are also familiar; Comment, Follow, Unfollow and @Mentions.

One of the appeals of Ello is that it allows a more personal element to Social Media allowing users to choose any username they want, unlike Facebook where users have to give a real name. (Facebook enforced this rule in the Summer of 2014 causing uproar to the American Gay community and entertainment industries where many profiles are that of people with ‘stage names’).

 

Using Ello

The self-explanatory drag and drop format allows you to set up a profile picture and header image with the recommended size specifications noted in the space itself. The interface is intuitive; a fluid grid layout with a lot of white space – you can tell it was created by Artists and Web Developers!

Its simple to navigate and if at any time you want to read up more about how to use it you can scroll to the bottom right at click the heading; ‘WTF’.

From looking around at the user profiles, you get the sense that this social media network is a great space for people to display their personal creativity; The platform places a large focus on sharing images, video and written content created by its users – all media had to be owned or created by its owners.

To find friends and people to follow you use the search bar and when finding friends you might like you simply ‘drag’ the thumbnail to your ‘Friends’ or ‘Noise’ areas. Friends being of course people you share reciprocal content with and Noise being the space where you are able to see everyones activity at a glance.

 

How Are Businesses Using Ello? 

Though Ello holds an anti-commercial stance, it has no policy against business accounts.

There are a few examples of businesses who have embraced the new social media network; Penguin Books and a fair few small retail brands such as the company, Cheap Monday which is owned by H&M and even Ello’s Founder, Paul Budnitz has an account for his Bicycle business.

If you know who your target audience are; ie Early adopters, creatives, US market then it could be worth having brand presence on Ello but be aware that you may need to think differently about the type of content you post on here compared to say Facebook and Google+. People who have joined Ello have joined to not be bombarded by ads and sales pitches so go for the simple approach by taking a nice image of the product and captioning it then post.

 

The Future For Ello 

We have yet to see how this network develops worldwide but it has just hit over a million users worldwide and has also managed to raise a further $5.5 Million in funding (TechCrunch 2014).

In terms of Social Advertising, Ello has made a promise to always be ad-free and never sell the company on to someone who would use the platform to advertise, they also promise never to sell user data as they believe that they have ‘products and features that users would be willing to pay for’.

At the time of writing, The Company is now on Beta Version 2 with private messaging now enabled for users and the network rolled out a Mobile app version available for iOs and Android.

 

Are you using Ello? We would love to hear how you’re finding using the platform and what your think of it - Tweet us @CarvillCreative or drop us a comment below.

Marketing and social media – news, views, tips and advice…