Category Archives: Business Development

The Gift of Experience – Knowing where to tap

The Gift of Experience – Knowing where to tap

In a time strapped world – where time is precious and a rare Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 07.48.33commodity, it’s no surprise that when valuing our services – we focus on the time it takes to do something, rather than the time we’ve invested to know how to do something. And the impact we’ve created.

Just this week I was reminded of the value of experience.

Heading on a train to a client ‘inter-agency’ meeting, I had arranged to travel with the person who heads up the client’s PR agency.

As you would expect, we spent the first part of the journey chatting about work, busy lives etc etc.

During our chat – she happened to mention that she was getting some push back from another client on fees. Their view was that, even though she’d solved their problem and saved the day, because she’d been able to deliver something so quickly for them, then it can’t have taken up so much of her time – and how was she justifying the rate.

Were they 100% happy with what she’d provided – YES

Had she 100% met their brief – on time / meeting objectives – YES (and some – she’d saved the day).

What was interesting is that during the conversation she herself started to justify their view – ‘Well, I guess it didn’t take me that long to pull the pieces together for them’.

Hmmm…

My question to her:

1)   How long have you been doing what you’ve been doing? The training, the honing of your skill, the years building experience?

Her response… ‘Over twenty five years’.

So, what value then do we give to experience? Colleagues with less experience may have struggled to come up with the goods to fully satisfy the client need in so short a time.

It reminded me of the wonderful anecdote about the cruise ship…

Just as the giant cruise ship was about to depart, fully laden with passengers, the engine failed.

Panic quickly ensued as various teams of engineers failed to restart the engine and the passengers became ever more irate.

A retired ship engineer who lived locally was summoned.

He embarked with his small bag of tools and inspected the engine very carefully. Having completed his inspection, he reached into his bag and pulled out a hammer and gently tapped something.

Instantly, the engine lurched into life. It was fixed.

A week later the owners received a bill from the old man of $10000.

“What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything.” The owners wrote to the old man and asked him to submit an itemized invoice, which he duly did:

The invoice read:

Tapping with a hammer…….. $2.00

Knowing where to tap…….. $9998.00

Love that.

Your Key Takeaway:

Don’t underestimate the value of your experience. Both in honing your art and learning how to overcome challenges.

I’m not saying that experience counts for everything, it doesn’t. You have to have a growth mindset and have been willing and eager to continuously learn over the years too. But experience certainly gives you the learning and growing that can only come through the passage of time and of experiencing a broad range of scenarios.

It gives you the networks you’ve contributed to to draw upon, the relationships you’ve developed.  And the knowledge that comes from experience.

Sometimes, if I can’t make a meeting with a client and I offer to send one of my less experienced members of the team – it’s not unusual that the client is adamant it’s me they want to see.

Now that’s not because they prefer me personally than any of my team – it’s down to the fact that I’m the one with the most experience in our team. I’m the one with the grey hair – so to speak, I’ve been around the block, learned way more than I was ever taught in business school – I’ve put in the 10,000+ hours – and have always been committed to honing (and continue to be committed to hone) my skills.

So the next time you’re being challenged on fees – just ponder the fact that you know exactly where to tap – and rather than value yourself on time to action, value yourself on impact of your action.

Would love to hear your views – tweet me, comment, and share if you too have someone you need to remind about just how ‘valuable’ they really are.

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 agency focused on creating authentic engagement. Currently penning her second book: Get Social – Practical Strategies and Tactics for Leaders – to be published by Kogan Page in  Spring 2018. For information about how team Carvill can help you or your team with  social media marketing – either strategy, training or day to day management – simply get in touch.

TAKING RISKS –THE MORE YOU PRACTISE THE BETTER YOU GET?

Ok, so before we begin, two things: firstly, I read a lot. Since my time at business school -1996, when I HAD to read copious amounts of business books, the habit has continued and I’ve read about a gazillion.Take risks

Secondly, for the past 10 years I’ve been playing French Tarot (nothing to do with the telling of fortunes – it’s a strategic French card game).

Ok – so ‘what’s this got to do with risk’? I hear you ask – well, read on…

Many business books focus on strategies, tactics, methodologies, implementation, best practice – and ultimately people. The people who have thought bigger than big picture, the leaders, the game changers, the restless never satisfied-ers, the entrepreneurial – the innovators.

A common thread with most success stories – be they in business or otherwise, is the ability not just to go with the flow – but when push comes to shove to truly tune in and take a leap of faith. To push boundaries. To step out of the comfort zone. To move into the unknown, often hugely uncomfortable, vulnerable – risky territory.

So, ask yourself the question – ‘Am I a risk taker?’

In all honesty, the majority of us for the majority of the time are not risk takers. And let’s face it, living life on the edge all of the time would potentially become pretty exhausting. Plus, we’re not conditioned this way. If you think about your social conditioning – from your parents and society instilling rules and regulations to keep you safe whilst growing up, to an education system that teaches us to largely conform – our opportunity to practise risk taking is pretty limited.

And of course, if everything is going ok, you’re comfortable, relatively happy – then why rock the boat? You may have some great ideas, dreams, and what if’s – but taking that leap into the untested, unchartered waters just isn’t worth rocking that boat for – right?

So this poses another question, ‘what is it that drives some people to take risks seemingly all the time and others to shy away’?

Whilst I can’t give a definitive answer to this – what I’ve gleaned from the gazillion books I’ve read is that those that do take risks, seem to take risks a lot. They practise taking risks. And the more they practise taking risks, the better they get at it.

Fundamentally what they hook into is the fact that if they do take the risk and it doesn’t work out – they’ll try something else. So whilst they very much see it as a risk – they’re not overly concerned about getting stuck in the unchartered waters and being eaten by the sharks – as they’ll figure something else out. It’s beyond simply thinking positively – and more about concerted courage and faith in oneself.

This got me thinking. Is risk like a muscle? Perhaps it’s a case of the more we flex it – the stronger it gets? 

I decided to test my thinking small scale. I play French tarot in a group of 5. Over the past 10 years we’ve played a lot of games (usually 6 games in a sitting) and we play every 5 weeks. I’ve won a number of times – but it’s been a pretty even number of wins across the players – and I’ve held the winning cup once (about 4 years ago).

However, last year my game changed. I started taking risks. Nothing too nuts or stupid so as to ruin the game – but instead of sitting back and playing it safe – I pushed it. I’d push a bid up. I’d make bigger contracts. I’d play a big game with less than a great hand. And what happened? I started to win every round. The chips rolled in. The game found a new level of excitement – the founder of our group (inherited knowledge from her French grandmother) – even stated ‘my grandmother would have a heart attack sitting in a round with you’. ;)

Now, whilst this is a card game and it isn’t about massively disrupting my life and stepping into the unknown. It has been interesting in assisting me in practicing taking risks.

We’re not taught to take risks – there are no lessons (as far as I can see on my children’s curriculum) in calculated risk taking.

So far – my view is that YES – risk is like a muscle and the more you flex it – the more comfortable and better you get at taking risks. In my card game – I’m now no longer taking risks – I’m just playing the game.

So what’s your view?

Practice makes perfect…?

Would love to hear from you.

NB: I endeavoured to find some scholarly evidence / support of my hypothesis – and there does look to be a supporting study ‘Risk taking : a study in cognition and personality by Nathan Kogan and Michael Wallach’ – but it was done in 1964! So if anyone knows of anything more current – pls do share.

Practice / practise – googled it and with the UK/US spellings – still confused!

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 agency focused on creating authentic engagement. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website.

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

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.

Social Media – 4 Different Reasons Why Businesses Wanted to Work with a Social Media Agency

cc imaaage2014 was an interesting year for us as a social media agency.

It was the year that when pitching for new business, the dominant question ‘Justify to me why we should be doing social and just how much return on investment I am going to get from social media activity’ – was surpassed by  ‘We know we need to be getting involved with social, and we want to get it right, can you help us with that?

It was the year we saw a wider range of size of business and business sectors looking to get started with social media – from startups through to global and extremely niche business to business ones.

Have we reached the social media tipping point?  I’d still say, not quite – as there is still an awful lot of skepticism out there – and the appetite for becoming a ‘fully fledged social business’ is still really very small.

But… attitudes are changing – just as they did with email and ecommerce.

What’s interesting is that the objectives for what people want to achieve out of their social media activity varies – of course, in business most people are keen on bottom line results, however, they realise that’s not the sole purpose of social – and that there’s more to it – such as:

  • Targeting The Right Influencers
  • Building Relationships
  • PR
  • Building Brand Awareness
  • Customer Service
  • Customer Advocacy
  • Being Part Of An Multi-channel Marketing Approach

So I thought in this post, it would be useful to share just a few of the ways we are working with our clients – to showcase that ‘being social’ is certainly not a one trick pony – and to provide you with practical knowledge of some of the tactics employed:

  • Client A 

About: Large global corporation – EMEA division – Security Sector.

Objective:  Looking at developing influencer relationships in a particular product range to build relationships, broaden awareness and build brand advocacy – and ultimately referral.

Why: The organisation had seen significant and successful lead referral from a couple of key influencers in their sector. They were looking to capitalise on this activity by finding more relevant influencers, building relationships by providing engaging, relevant and purposeful content.

By researching their sector we were able to find the relevant influencers on social, track relevant conversations, share useful and purposeful content with them and start to build relationships with them – assisting in broadening ‘advocacy’ – as a means of more higher engaged referral.

LinkedIn and Twitter were dominant platforms used for specific targeting and given the niche nature of the sector.

  • Client B

About: New Product Line – Lifestyle (B2C).

Objective: Established organisation created a highly differentiated product line – new brand, new website, zero awareness.  Objective to build awareness and drive visibility, social PR, online traffic and ultimately sales.

Why:  The client created a new business to support a new product line for a completely different market. It therefore, wasn’t feasible to draw upon the current brand – as strength came from the differentiation. Therefore, the objective of social was to support the launch of a new brand / product into the market – growing awareness, tracking conversations and connecting with relevant people, influencers, tradepress, journalists – and generally building a brand story and sharing relevant, purposeful and appetising content.

Main channels used: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+

  • Client C  

About: Established brand in highly niche sector.

Objective: Getting closer to customers and building advocacy.

Why: Being a business to business supplier only, with a large field sales team – the brand / business had no real access to end users (in fact on their website they purposely made it very difficult to contact them directly because they have very limited internal customer support team – as this is managed via the field sales or their retailers).  However, they were aware that customers wanted to talk to them directly – and so ‘social’ seemed a sensible route.   The ability to track conversations and brand mentions, the ability to respond directly to the customer, the ability to build in their retailers into the conversations too – to assist in driving sales.

Main channels used: Facebook, Twitter

  • Client D

About: Global Manufacturer

Objective: Environmental Awareness Campaign

Why:  The client was keen to use social media channels to connect with the general public, relevant influencers, clients and partners, politicians and policy makers, both in the UK and overseas – to build awareness of a sector specific, environmental campaign which is becoming very much aligned to their brand.

Given the audience, social channels offer attractive reach – and clear opportunity to connect with key influencers and share relevant and purposeful content to educate and build awareness.

Main channels used: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

There you have it –  4 completely different reasons as to how businesses are using social media.  Social media activity is just one of the many content and marketing touch points to grow engagement from your audiences.  If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging, creating content or any other digital marketing services – then do get in touch with us!

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

 

How To Choose Your Social Media Channels Wisely

social media channelsOnce your business has made a decision to jump on the social media bandwagon, the next decision is to decide upon what channels to use and how much time do you want to spend posting, tweeting, pinning, cricling, creating or following?

When making these decisions, businesses often make the mistake of signing up to all the most popular networks, hoping to have a business impact by reaching the right customers straight away. The reality is that it’s virtually impossible to do them all – or at least do them all well.

Businesses that do try, often go in all guns blazing, then after a week or two, due to the lack of responses to their online activities, the use of social media channels by that business rapidly dwindles – and they’ll often end up with a Facebook page with a couple of half-hearted posts on them, or Twitter feed with the latest tweets being 6 months old. This end result can actually be more damaging to your business than not having any social network presence at all.

The one piece of advice we can give you is to choose your channels wisely – don’t try to be everywhere! The important thing you need to figure out is which channels are dominant for your market.

In social media, it’s about quality, not just quantity. Doing two or three channels really well with consistent, highly engaging content is what will lead to conversion and customers.

Here are a few ways to come to the conclusion about the right social media channels for you:

  • Where does your business sit in the social media space?
  • Are you aiming to build a community presence? If so then Facebook, Twitter and Google+ could be for you.
  • Does your business use a lot of images? If so then perhaps Instagram or Pinterest is the way to go.
  • If you’re a business can provide professional and useful insights for others within your industry then get yourselves on LinkedIn.
  • Think about your target audience – where is your target buyer and what channels are they using?
  • Have a look at your competitors – what channels are they using? Are they doing well on social?
  • Do you have time to be working on all the social media sites? How many channels do you think you can do really well on?
  • Have a clear social media strategy in place – then you can work out a plan that you can realistically implement.
  • Keep in mind that social media takes time, especially if you want to build up a reputation – so don’t get frustrated if you’re not getting instant results.

It’s very important that you choose the right channel or channels from the outset and it’s equally important that you do not get distracted in trying to support your profiles on those channels.

Whichever social networks you choose to use, be prepared to sufficiently resource the activity – this will take some time, skills and prompt responses to build up the right social network for your business. Once you’ve learnt how to master one or two channels to begin with, you can than progress to the next one.

You’ll be surprised at how much time an effective social media presences takes up – so don’t overburden yourself initially, as that is a guaranteed recipe for failure.

Google Remove G+ Photos From Google Authorship

Just recently, Google decided to remove the Google Plus photos from their Google Authorship feature.

now g authorship

This bit of news has been a shock to many – and the big question is why – why would Google kill a feature that is meant to help make our valuable content stand out?

Google authorship is a handy tool which add some unique information to your content when it pops up in search results, including your picture and the number of followers you have.

Since Google Authorship was implemented, we’ve seen a number of eye tracking studies which additional attention is given to search result articles which display the Google+ photo feature.

We’ve also seen a number countless articles of research that shows results saying that those with Google authorship photos have higher click through rates than those that don’t.

The fact that Google have decided to take this differentiating factor away from us has definitely stirred up mixed feelings amongst content creators.

Not only has Google announced that they will be removing profile photos, but they will also be removing the circle count from search results too.

BUT Why?

Google is constantly changing the way they display their search results with the aim of becoming more and more indistinguishable from natural results.

The reason for this change is to create a more consistent look across all devices and create a simpler and less cluttered design. Google are trying to enhance their overall appearance of search results on mobile devices.  In other words, picture and follower counts were cluttering up prime real estate on Google searches.

However they’ve said that the new layout won’t affect click through rates as the new layout will be similar to the SERPS (search engine results pages) that included author photos.

So Will Google Authorship Still Be Worth It?

Having an image show up in search results was certainly one of the most compelling reasons for using authorship. Now that the feature has gone, some may think fewer people will take the time to set it up – but should we abandon it?

The answer is no!

Your sign off line will still appear in search results and even though it won’t be as attention grabbing as your image, there is no downside to having your Google profile associated with your blogs and articles – it can still make a difference in your website traffic. Especially if you are an authority in a particular subject, then it’s still useful to have your name displayed in search results.

Also – it’s another way of letting Google know that you exist – and Google stresses the importance of businesses showcasing their authority on certain topics.

Although Google’s actions have created a great deal of debate online – despite the changes, it is still best for companies to keep creating quality content and making the most of the benefits that Google Authorship still provides to us.

What are your thoughts about the new changes? Leave comments below to tell us your thoughts or tweet us at @carvillcreative

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging or creating content or any other digital marketing services, then do get in touch with us.

Where are you heading in 2014 – What’s your Vision?

The creation of your business may have been down to many factors – timing, a brilliant innovative idea, discovering a gap in the market, an invention – however, whatever it was, to bring your business to life and ensure its longevity, then knowing where your business is heading and having a vision, which you can ‘share’ with employees, investors and customers – is an all important, yet often overlooked, part of the business planning process.

The Visioning Process is really the critical starting point – if you have a clearly set out a vision for where your business is heading, you have something that you can live by – and any other stakeholders, can easilyvisioning process michelle carvill at carvill creativing online visibility and social media experts understand. After all, if you have everyone associated with your business singing from the same hymn sheet – all clearly focused on the direction of the business – then you are ahead of the game in getting there.

Visioning isn’t simply about creating an inspirational ‘tag line’ such as ‘Be the best’ – it’s about the processes which are implemented and the values that underpin what ‘being the best’ means.

I recently read a case study about the vision at Motorola – their vision is very simply ‘wireless’ – simple, yet hugely ambitious.   3M focuses on ‘solving unsolved problems’.  These statements are simple enough to be shared by all team – and they are clear in saying what the companies should not be doing. Try showing up at Motorola with a wire and see what happens!

Visioning is an important strategic process – which whilst may take a bit of time to implement, it is certainly worth doing –  ensuring that you are 100% clear on where you are heading.

There’s a great saying; “People who set out without a target hit it with remarkable accuracy!” – so let’s take a look at a step by step framework for the Visioning Process

Step 1:Where are you now?

1.Do you have a vision?
2.Could you write a brief statement of your own vision?
3.Do you or your team have a mission of purpose statement? (Do they know what the business is focused on?)
4.Do you have a unique competence? (And unique is the word here).
5.What strengths, weaknesses, and areas of special skill do you or your team bring to the business?
6.What is the scope of your business? (Current products, services, markets and customers).
7.From number 6 above, can you identify what will be expanded or dropped in the future?
8.What distinguishes your business or products/services you provide.

Going through the ‘Where are you now’ questions helps you to consider a framework for your Vision.

Step 2: Preparing for Change

You’re now into the design phase of your Vision. You’ve probed and asked questions of yourself and your business – and now you need to create a vision which is clear and focused.

1.What is the direction of your future?

2.What future range of responsibilities, skills and new or expanded services will you consider?

3.How will the current and future ranges of skills or products differ?

4.What key capabilities and resources will you need to succeed?

5.How will your vision impact your businesses growth?

6.If you could create the future, what future would you create for yourself?

7.How many categories of future development can you identify that will impact your vision?

8.Can you make a list of expectations for each of those categories of future development?

9.Can you prioritise that list of expectations for each of those categories that would have the greatest impact onyour vision?

Step 3: Pulling together your Vision

With all the ‘background’ analysis undertaken – you are now in the position of putting your vision together. This is the combination of your intuition, personal vision, experience, judgement, information, values and culture.

Of course, your vision has to be shared with those associated with your business. Therefore, the vision must be distinctive and establish standards that employees and partners find necessary to follow. Doing this is no easy task – but the steps below provide a useful model for ensuring you have considered all areas:

Review all the information and materials you have compiled. This information is valuable and insightful – however, don’t ignore ideas you may be avoiding – consider all possibilities.

  1. Consider all your driving forces:
  • Products or services offered
  • Users/customers
  • Markets served
  • Low cost production, capability, capacity
  • Marketing/sales methods
  • Technology
  • Method of distribution
  • Return/profit
  • Size/growth
  • Natural resources
  • Prioritise the key elements within your vision. In your view are your strengths, driving force and culture and values consistent? Is consistency important – or is change a higher priority?
  • Having prioritised, and satisfied yourself that this is the vision you really want. By this stage, you should be able to put it into a really short, easily understandable statement that focuses and reflects:
    • An exciting future
    • The creation of value for you and your team
    • Standards of excellence and reflect high ideals, standards and uniqueness to everyone that you and your team interact with
    • Clear criteria for decision making and evaluation
    • Enthusiasm and commitment
  • Step 4: Cementing your thinking

    You’ve gone through the information gathering and analysis process – and created your vision for a new direction. And so at this point – it’s a time for reflection:

    •  Is this the best vision?
    • What are the chances for its success?
    • If it fails, what can I salvage?
    • Should we even try?

    Whilst these questions may seem hard-going – it’s important to ask yourself these questions in order to remove any doubt that your vision inspires commitment and enthusiasm. Do YOU really believe in it? Is it right for everyone who will interact with it, will it lead to business success and improved performance?

    Doubt and uncertainty are inevitable when considering a new direction – so resolve this doubt by asking the following:

    •  Does everyone clearly understand the vision?
    • How does the current situation compare with the new vision?
    • How will the vision affect the business and team?
    • What changes, if any, will be required to make the transition to the new vision?
    • Will your new vision require new or additional resources, technology, skills?
    • Have you set a timeframe – it is realistic?

    And of course, if you are not wholly confident of your Vision – test it – get a small group of people you trust to be honest to act as a sounding board.

    Step 5: Implementing your Vision

    Of course, your Vision Statement is nothing more than words until it is put into action.Whilst the words are important – it’s implementation that changes your business direction. So many times, time is given to an important strategic process – be it, business planning, strategic planning, marketing planning etc – and yet the all important implementation – the getting on and doing it, just doesn’t happen. It starts – but then fizzles out… loses energy.

    There is a strong and relevant  ‘mantra’ – lead by example.  And indeed – for any change of Vision and business direction to happen, you have got to ‘live’ it. And I suppose this is where passion comes into play – because if you are truly passionate about something – then you are more likely to pursue it than let it ‘fizzle out’.

    In what I believe is an important ‘Futuristic’ business book – Funky Business (written some 11 years ago I must add, but still highly relevant) – they cite examples of organisational vision being driven top down – such as: the multi-billionaire founder of Ikea still travels economy and stays in ‘value’ hotels, rather than the1st class and 5 star –  some may expect.  Is it okay for senior management to travel first class when those not part of that tranche are tasked with saving money on paperclips?  Over to you… But at Ikea – the founder is living the vision.

    To put the new Vision into action you need to:

    •  Demonstrate a personal commitment to the vision.You are the direction setter, the change agent and even coach.You are the visionary leader – and therefore, you must consistently apply the vision to all your actions and decisions.
    • Commit to communicating the significance of the vision to everyone.Your team need to know that your vision is working – and know that your commitment is true. It’s important to regularly communicate and demonstrate how the vision is impacting the business.
    • You are the primary communicator of the vision. Beware! It is doomed if your actions and words fail to reinforce it.

    Step 6: Keeping your vision alive!

    There are no set rules as to when to re-evaluate a vision – but 6 monthly reviews are probably sensible. Of course, by definition, all visions are always ‘just beyond reach’ – and therefore, you need to be assessing that this is the case – refining and revising in line with ongoing environmental changes. Remember, your vision needs to be keeping ahead of the rapidly changing times and technology – so reaffirmation and support for the vision are crucial.

    Clearly, a vision statement is far more than a ‘paragraph’ – it’s the starting point for quality management and continual improvement. It captures an ideal, unique and attractive image of your future and answers the question,

    “What do I want to create”.

    For more information about the Visioning Process – Building a Shared Vision, by C Patrick Lewis is a great resource.Many of the stages of the visioning process included within this article are gleaned from his book, which provides a practical framework for effective vision creation.

    For more marketing advice, news, ideas and tips why not subscribe to our blog or follow me on Twitter.

    Michelle Carvill is founder and Director at Carvill Creative – an online visibility agency covering all aspects of digital online marketing, social media and website design.

    2013 Resolution for all Businesses – Keep those Energy, Optimism and Enthusiasm levels UP!

    Ok – 2013 is here – and we’re now 5 years on from the major doom and gloom of the credit crunch.

    And let me tell you – whilst the economic climate is by no means ‘booming’ – the sentiment of business people I have metCarvill Creative blog social media consultancy over the past months is definitely far more positive.

    I was privileged to be at the StartUp Business Awards in December – and what a refreshing ‘pick me up’ – that was. (Not that I personally need any pick me ups as I’m eternally optimistic).

    I spoke to a number of business people, from all walks of life – and generally the sentiment was the same.

    Business is good and people are excited and passionate about what the year ahead will bring.

    I’ve written about this before, back in 2008 and 2010 – but I’m reiterating it again.  Because I believe it’s fundamentally important.

    Optimism, passion and energy are really key fundamental success factors we need to personally harness as, when you think about it – it’s energy and enthusiasm that keeps us all going – the sense of purpose that motors us on.

    So regardless as to whether you’re a business owner, budding entrepreneur or CEO – it’s important to remain passionate and positive  about business – and it’s hugely important to make time for yourself to restore those all important energy levels.

    Focusing on the negative is a self fulfilling prophecy – therefore, my advice to self and others is to focus on spreading optimism.  After all – optimism is infectious.

    Here’s my tried and test guide for helping you to combat the blues and stay positive, focused and energised throughout 2013.

    1. Avoid the ‘energy vampires’.  You know who they are – the people that ‘suck’ the life out of you.   Avoid these ‘vampires’ as much as possible.  If you have to be around them be sure to counteract their negativity with positivity.  You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
    2. Hang out with Energy  Boosters.  Counterbalance the ‘energy vampires’ by being around ‘energy boosters’. These are people that really excite and inspire you and get you enthused and positive about what you do.  They ooze energy and when ‘boosters’ get together – energy is shared – and it generates more energy so everyone comes away feeling ready for anything.  You know who these people are – so spend more time in their presence. And be sure to make time to find more ‘boosters’.  Attend the odd face to face networking event, go to seminars that interest you, book signings, lectures, webinars etc – go where the people who influence or inspire you are – and get immersed.
    3. Get fit – physically (and mentally).   Just how much better do you feel when you are fit and well. I have to say that for a number of reasons, I had to stop exercising regularly for a short period – and boy did it take its toll.   My advice is to build exercise into your life – full stop. It’s not an optional extra – it’s a necessity.  Do whatever it takes to stay active and well. Zumba classes, yoga, pilates, get outside for a run/jog/walk – go for a swim or get down to the gym.  Even if it’s just simply getting outside for a walk. Get out, get some fresh air and do something. Ideally every day.  When my daughter wants to go for a bike ride – I get my trainers on – and she’s a great pacer.  Even if it’s only 20 minutes. You’ll feel a whole lot better.  Physically and mentally.
    4. Me time – get into the habit of making some ‘me time’.  There’s nothing clever about working and worrying 24 hours a day.  You’ll burn out, lose momentum, become low and energy and enthusiasm will slip far from your grasp.  Don’t let yourself get to that stage.  Take ‘me time’ – and by this I mean doing whatever it takes to ‘recharge your batteries’.  Whether it’s a long walk, training for a marathon, yoga, meditation, hanging out with the children, feeding the ducks, dog walks, listening to music, dancing, going down the gym, reading a book etc – whatever it takes – be sure you do some of it regularly.   I recommend at least 1 hour of ‘me time’ a day.  Sounds like it should be simple to fit in just 1 hour a day – but you’ll find that it isn’t.  So start with setting 1 hour as your benchmark – and see how you go.
    5. Learn to say NO when you need to.  Being passionate and enthusiastic has its downfalls too. You can be so keen to get involved in ‘everything’ that before you know it  you’ve tied yourself in a number of impossible knots. We’ve all been there – double diary bookings, working weekends, missing out on those all important ‘me time’ sessions because you’re up to your eyeballs.  Saying NO when you need to is also about remaining focused on what’s important.   Be sure you are in charge of your time management. If you don’t want to say ‘No’ then perhaps suggest a later date you can get involved. It’s tricky – but definitely worth mastering.

    So that’s it – simple eh – keep optimistic, energised, enthused and focused on what you want to achieve in 2013.  At the end of the day it’s you that matters – with your mental and physical energy levels in tip top condition, that’s what’s really going to help you stand out in a crowd and cope with challenges that come your way!

    For more social media, marketing news, views, tips and advice – why not subscribe to my blog and don’t forget to follow my tweetings on Twitter

    Here’s to an energetic, happy and successful 2013!  It’s going to be a great year for sure.

    @Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of online visibility – covering social media marketing, social media consultancy, social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

    For marketing and social media advice – view the Carvill Creative Blog

     

    2013 Resolution for all Businesses – Keep those Energy, Optimism and Enthusiasm levels UP!

    Ok – 2013 is here – and we’re now 5 years on from the major doom and gloom of the credit crunch.

    And let me tell you – whilst the economic climate is by no means ‘booming’ – the sentiment of business people I have metCarvill Creative blog social media consultancy over the past months is definitely far more positive.

    I was privileged to be at the StartUp Business Awards in December – and what a refreshing ‘pick me up’ – that was. (Not that I personally need any pick me ups as I’m eternally optimistic).

    I spoke to a number of business people, from all walks of life – and generally the sentiment was the same.

    Business is good and people are excited and passionate about what the year ahead will bring.

    I’ve written about this before, back in 2008 and 2010 – but I’m reiterating it again.  Because I believe it’s fundamentally important.

    Optimism, passion and energy are really key fundamental success factors we need to personally harness as, when you think about it – it’s energy and enthusiasm that keeps us all going – the sense of purpose that motors us on.

    So regardless as to whether you’re a business owner, budding entrepreneur or CEO – it’s important to remain passionate and positive  about business – and it’s hugely important to make time for yourself to restore those all important energy levels.

    Focusing on the negative is a self fulfilling prophecy – therefore, my advice to self and others is to focus on spreading optimism.  After all – optimism is infectious.

    Here’s my tried and test guide for helping you to combat the blues and stay positive, focused and energised throughout 2013.

    1. Avoid the ‘energy vampires’.  You know who they are – the people that ‘suck’ the life out of you.   Avoid these ‘vampires’ as much as possible.  If you have to be around them be sure to counteract their negativity with positivity.  You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
    2. Hang out with Energy  Boosters.  Counterbalance the ‘energy vampires’ by being around ‘energy boosters’. These are people that really excite and inspire you and get you enthused and positive about what you do.  They ooze energy and when ‘boosters’ get together – energy is shared – and it generates more energy so everyone comes away feeling ready for anything.  You know who these people are – so spend more time in their presence. And be sure to make time to find more ‘boosters’.  Attend the odd face to face networking event, go to seminars that interest you, book signings, lectures, webinars etc – go where the people who influence or inspire you are – and get immersed.
    3. Get fit – physically (and mentally).   Just how much better do you feel when you are fit and well. I have to say that for a number of reasons, I had to stop exercising regularly for a short period – and boy did it take its toll.   My advice is to build exercise into your life – full stop. It’s not an optional extra – it’s a necessity.  Do whatever it takes to stay active and well. Zumba classes, yoga, pilates, get outside for a run/jog/walk – go for a swim or get down to the gym.  Even if it’s just simply getting outside for a walk. Get out, get some fresh air and do something. Ideally every day.  When my daughter wants to go for a bike ride – I get my trainers on – and she’s a great pacer.  Even if it’s only 20 minutes. You’ll feel a whole lot better.  Physically and mentally.
    4. Me time – get into the habit of making some ‘me time’.  There’s nothing clever about working and worrying 24 hours a day.  You’ll burn out, lose momentum, become low and energy and enthusiasm will slip far from your grasp.  Don’t let yourself get to that stage.  Take ‘me time’ – and by this I mean doing whatever it takes to ‘recharge your batteries’.  Whether it’s a long walk, training for a marathon, yoga, meditation, hanging out with the children, feeding the ducks, dog walks, listening to music, dancing, going down the gym, reading a book etc – whatever it takes – be sure you do some of it regularly.   I recommend at least 1 hour of ‘me time’ a day.  Sounds like it should be simple to fit in just 1 hour a day – but you’ll find that it isn’t.  So start with setting 1 hour as your benchmark – and see how you go.
    5. Learn to say NO when you need to.  Being passionate and enthusiastic has its downfalls too. You can be so keen to get involved in ‘everything’ that before you know it  you’ve tied yourself in a number of impossible knots. We’ve all been there – double diary bookings, working weekends, missing out on those all important ‘me time’ sessions because you’re up to your eyeballs.  Saying NO when you need to is also about remaining focused on what’s important.   Be sure you are in charge of your time management. If you don’t want to say ‘No’ then perhaps suggest a later date you can get involved. It’s tricky – but definitely worth mastering.

    So that’s it – simple eh – keep optimistic, energised, enthused and focused on what you want to achieve in 2013.  At the end of the day it’s you that matters – with your mental and physical energy levels in tip top condition, that’s what’s really going to help you stand out in a crowd and cope with challenges that come your way!

    For more social media, marketing news, views, tips and advice – why not subscribe to my blog and don’t forget to follow my tweetings on Twitter

    Here’s to an energetic, happy and successful 2013!  It’s going to be a great year for sure.

    @Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of online visibility – covering social media marketing, social media consultancy, social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

    For marketing and social media advice – view the Carvill Creative Blog