Category Archives: Marketing

Facebook Advertising Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts from a seasoned Pro!

As part of our first series of Facebook Lives on our free social media and digital marketing group, Social Souls – Sarah Kerrigan, social media evangelist and trainer at Jellyfish Agency, joined us for a LIVE. Sarah shared so many gems about how to optimise your Facebook Advertising campaigns. Talking, audience segmentation, how to optimise audience insights, getting your head round the practicalities of working with the Facebook Pixel and more… tune in here: 

Got any questions – come over and join the conversation over  Social Souls . 

Video Still Rules In 2018!

We’re pretty much at the start of a brand new year. And while we are on the subject, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year – are you looking forward to 2018? I certainly am!

I predict exciting developments ahead for marketing and social media this year – and if you take a look around at those predicting which trends are likely to have an impact, they agree.

So, what are the top predictions I hear you cry! Well… the main standout so far is yet again, video – both live streaming, recorded and ads – and how ‘video’ is set to continue to dominate our social media feeds.

At the beginning of last year Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, had said, ‘I see video as a mega trend’ – and sure enough here we are 12 months down the line and video consumption continues to rise. In fact Cisco forecasts that by 2021, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be video.  An incredible figure, but it doesn’t feel like we’re so far off that right now.

The amount of time people spend on social media continues to increase year on year – we only have to take a look at our own behaviour as well as those around us to work that out – and so the opportunities to attract and engage with new and existing customers using video are certainly set to increase.

Social Media Video

The majority of the time we spend on social media is via our mobile devices, so the battle for mobile video attention will only get tougher. And of course, whilst the platform of video is one thing, it’s the content aspect which is the all-important factor. To truly engage, content, regardless of media, has to be relevant. The challenge we as publishers face is not just about getting video views and clicks, (but that too is a factor), but primarily it’s about getting that relevant video in front of your target audience and understanding what they do after they have watched your video. Analytics in Facebook and Instagram Lives currently give you some decent indications on how many people have  viewed the video content, when, and for how long. And undoubtedly improved forms of analytics will evolve to be able to help businesses to achieve specific, and more importantly effective, business outcomes.

Jump forward a year and it will be interesting to revisit where we are with video in our feeds and indeed in our marketing and communication strategies.

Here at Carvill, whilst I love to get my musings down in written format – so too will we be picking up the pace with video. Facebook Lives, online training videos, webinars and even a podcast are all on our broadcasting horizon.

We’ll be using video for personal branding, thought leadership, training and education, how to, problem solving, FAQs, demos – it’s pretty much on the agenda to ramp up our competence and activity with video in all of these areas.   And encouraging our clients to either start or build upon their video activity.

My question to you therefore is – what you are doing around video content and how can you make video work as part of your communication strategy?

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

Here’s to 2018

Michelle

Michelle Carvill, business and marketing consultant, author of The Business of Being Social, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill Creative

Just finalised my third book: Get Social – Practical Strategies and Tactics for Leaders – to be published by Kogan Page in May 2018.

For information about how team Carvill can help you or your team with building meaningful connections with your audiences – simply get in touch.

Looking for conversation and support around digital marketing and social media when you need it? Become a Social Soul. Join our brand new, FREE to join Social Souls Facebook Group – the place for conversation around modern marketing, making things happen and mindset. Because… in an ever changing world of digital marketing and social media there are NO stupid questions.

Are you falling prey to ‘Cobbler’s Shoes’ syndrome?

Well, are you? I noted just this morning, that I am.

Let me explain what I mean.Cobblers Shoes

You may have heard the saying, ‘the cobbler’s shoes are always the worst heeled’ – meaning that whilst we’re good at giving great advice to others, and helping others to succeed, we don’t necessarily take or action our own advice.

I haven’t blogged for a while on the Carvill site as I’ve been head down writing my third book. Believe me, there are literally hundreds of stories and insights I’m going to be sharing once it’s over the line, (and it nearly is), but for the past 6 months any writing focus has been purely on building great content for my chapters.

That said, as is always the case, there’s a fair bit of plate spinning happening. And we’re in the process of revamping the Carvill website.

I took a short break from my writing just this morning as I had a query from my head of design, which led me back to our site to check on something, so I could respond.

And that’s when I had my cobbler’s shoes moment. That moment, where you look at something that’s yours and you think, if this was a client’s site – I’d have advised they do that totally differently.

Don’t get me wrong, our current site isn’t dreadful – but there are gems within it, which are totally hidden from view.

For example: this testimonial from Ollie Sharpe, UK Sales Manager – Staffing and Search at LinkedIn.

“The Business of Being Social has become a useful resource within the LinkedIn sales team.

The book really helped us to understand the bigger picture of social media and it was instrumental when we changed the way that we work with clients. It helped us to develop how we consult with our clients and advise them on how to build a social media strategy.

We were missing the critical aspects that social media channels enable, such as continuous conversations, brand proposition and getting employees on board to strengthen both brand and message.

From what we have learned from the book, we now advise companies to build their followers, engage them with content, and this will enable them to do what they do best – recruit!

The Business of Being Social is now a must read for all new recruits into my LinkedIn sales team – and has become an integral part of our training.

Highly practical – yet at the same time, highly insightful. A really useful tool for all businesses, either starting out or looking at how to optimise their social media activity.”

Wonderful right? Powerful even. However, pretty much invisible on our site.

In fact, the points Ollie raises about the book helping him and his team to see the bigger picture, build social media strategy, focus on continuous conversations, understand how social impacts brand positioning and the importance of galvanising employees to strengthen the message – these aren’t just aspects that are in that book, but they are key aspects of the services that we as a team within Carvill deliver to our clients.  The book is the outcome of experience, not theory.

When revamping our site, I want such key messages to be up front and centre, a key component showcasing who we are, why we do what we do and the social proof that we do it.

Our value proposition currently focuses on the features we offer – but look at any other social media and digital agency and they’ll all pretty much have similar features.

The key focus should be on the difference you make to the audiences you serve.

I know this, it’s what I preach – so why haven’t we heeded our own advice? Too busy serving others.  And whilst the metaphor of, you can’t serve others from an empty teapot tends to focus on well-being, so too is it relevant when sharing expertise. You need to be walking the walk.

My cobbler’s shoes moment hit home hard this morning. And I wanted to share it, because, I have a suspicion that there may be some of you that focus so much on delivering to others, and like the cobbler with worn out heels, you too could do with a bit of taking stock and heeding your own skill and advice 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 agency focused on creating authentic engagement. Currently penning her third 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, coaching or day to day management – simply get in touch.

 

 

 

Facebook ‘Festive Fun’ – or December Depression? 5 Ways to Beat Negativity

This morning I was delighted to be asked to join Alfie Joey and Anna Foster for their Breakfast program (BBC Newcastle) to discuss a recent BBC report showcasing that Facebook use has been proven

Enjoy the joy this christmas
Enjoy the joy this christmas

to cause depression.

Of course, this isn’t the first study in this arena.

Back in 2014, I recall writing a piece following research on how computers were impacting human behaviour – in that study, it showed that browsing Facebook was associated with ‘lower life satisfaction’ and a decline in mood – but interestingly, browsing the internet generally, didn’t have the same negative impact.

The negative impact was found to be unique to Facebook use.

Whilst Facebook is still the most popular social network – with more than 1 billion people logging in daily – people aren’t actually using Facebook to be ‘social’. Only around 9% of Facebook users’ activities involve communicating with others. The ‘social’ aspect is therefore really low – with the majority of people either posting random pieces of content or passively consuming content by spending the majority of time browsing and scrolling through feeds.

Two key aspects associated with decline in mood and lower life satisfaction were identified in all three studies:

1)    When presented with looking in at other people’s perceived perfect lives – photos of fabulous holidays, friends having a fun, date nights, weddings, achievements – rather than feeling good for your friends, you can start to become envious – you and your life may start to feel inadequate, and this in turn leads to a decline in your mood.

2)    Then there’s the other aspect – the time that you spend. You start to feel bad about being under productive; remorse sets in about wasting your time looking at what’s going on in others’ lives. You question why you do it – how sad must you be to spend so much time looking at other peoples’ lives. No life of your own… etc etc – and so the self-fulfilling negative cycle continues.

But… here’s the good news:

Simply being aware of the above two points can make all the difference to how you let your Facebook activity impact you. Knowing that your time on the channel may have a negative impact helps to eradicate those negative feelings.

So to take action and to keep that negativity at bay…

1)    Be aware. Understand that too much browsing is going to potentially decline your mood. Catch yourself if you start to feel inadequate, dull or sad – and get off the channel quickly. Phone a friend, speak to your family – do something nourishing and truly social.

2)    Limit the mindless browsing. Give yourself a limited time to check up on your social activity – this way, if you invite a bit of discipline into how much time you spend on the channels, you won’t give yourself a hard time for spending an hour being unproductive. Instead, limit your time to a 10 minute catch up – and pat yourself on the back when you log out and get back to other things.

3)    Don’t make social comparisons with others on your Facebook feed. The majority of posts made are ‘hero’ posts – people sharing the best moments, celebrations, happy times. It’s rare people post about their fears or insecurities – so stay realistic and see it for what it is.

4)    Be truly social on social – social channels aren’t all bad, they can be brilliant for networking, for business and for support. There are loads of Facebook Groups that are really useful, that are fabulous communities for people to come together to be supportive of one another. They’re not just a platform where people post the best times of their lives – but really useful social networks. Check out local groups in your area – and tune into ones that you’re interested in – there are mum’s groups, craft groups, support groups – you name it, there’s a community.

5)    Get social offline. And of course – make the majority of your social activity, truly social. Get offline and get personable. Pick up your phone and don’t head for the keyboard to text – but instead make a call, have a giggle with friends, or just chat about how you’re doing – how they’re doing. Just be social. We’re social animals, we need that connectivity.

So if your social activity is making you ‘low’ – remember these 5 simple points, understand that it’s normal to feel bad and why – and remember all the great stuff that’s good about your life.

Just because you’re not publishing it on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful, worthy, nourishing and fulfilling moment. Enjoy…the joy this Christmas.

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.

 

Facebook Live Streaming – What is it and how do I make the most of it?

Facebook Live is a valuable new addition to the thriving and liveliest social network of them all.

Whilst other video streaming services already exist  – Periscope, Meerkat and Blab – there’s no doubt that with 1.65 billion active monthly users – the sheer scale of users gives Facebook Live all it needs to dominate the live streaming space.

So, what is Live Streaming?

Pretty much what is says it is. In just the same way you can post a status update or photo or pre recorded video to you Facebook newsfeed, you can now stream in real time.

How do I start my own live broadcast?

Creating your own live broadcast is really simple.

Go to your Facebook App (you’re probably going to be recording via your mobile – right?).

When you click on ‘Status’ – to create a post – you’ll see in the bottom menu bar to the right of the camera icon, a person in a circle – broadcast icon.

Facebook Live 2

Simply click the icon – and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can type a Title / Description for your broadcast – and you can choose who you want to see the video – ie: friends / public etc.

Then all that’s left for you to do is select the Go Live option.

Facebook Live 1

But that’s the simple bit…

So whilst setting it up and getting started is pretty simple – of course, if you’re going to be using this feature to assist with marketing your business or brand – then as with all other marketing activity you do, you really do need to do a little planning and prep.

After all – during the broadcast there’s plenty of opportunity for people to interact with your video – not only will you see a viewer count but you’ll also see the live comments and reactions.

So you if you’re doing the broadcast as a marketing activity, rather than simply a spontaneous live stream of an amazingly talented busker – then you will want to make sure as many people as possible know about the broadcast. And of course the broadcast lives on.

Once you’re streaming live – to finish the broadcast you simply hit the “Finish” button. The video will then be posted to your timeline, so those who may have missed out on the live broadcast can view it at their leisure.

You’ll also be able to save the video to your camera roll.

So you’ve got this great, simple way to record live video and have video saved to your timeline – to share with all that visit. And of course, there’s the opportunity to do some Facebook Advertising and  ‘BOOST’ your Facebook posts to broaden the reach of your content too.   So, with all that in mind – let’s look at some ideas for great content and tips to drive engagement and make your broadcasts really work for you.

Broadcasting Tips and Ideas

  • If you want more people to see your video – consider tagging friends you think would be interested when typing the video description. This will send them an instant notification alerting them to tune in. And of course, if they share it to their friends whilst streaming – the broadcast audience just got a whole lot wider.
  •  Another method is to post a Facebook status update telling friends that you’re going live at a certain time.  We suggest offering at least a days’ notice – close enough so that people will remember but also enough time to make sure they don’t miss it. It may even be that you set up a ‘regular’ broadcast slot.  For example – Small Business Marketing Tips at 10am every Tuesday.  As mentioned earlier – Facebook Ads are available for you to promote your broadcasts too – if you want more people to tune in – then in just the same way you would promote an event,  promote your Facebook Live via ads.  And of course, there are lots of other channels you can use to promote the broadcast too – Twitter, email to name just two.
  • There are so many stats advising us that engagement rates online are short. That our attention span has waned and now all videos must be short and to the point – as users are likely to drop off after just 30 seconds.  Whilst this may be the case – there’s definitely evidence to show that when a user is engaged with relevant and purposeful content – they will stick around.  Most TV programs are minimum 30 mins as are the majority of podcasts.  So perhaps it’s not about our attention span but our interest span.  It’s interesting that Facebook Live enables you to broadcast for up to 90 minutes – that’s more than you get on any other channel.   Our recommendation is that you test engagement levels – start to see when people drop out – the platform is as yet too new to provide any robust insights into what the optimum Facebook Live broadcast looks like. So for now – test and measure.

Content ideas:

Engagement is all about the content – and if the content is relevant to the audience, they’ll stick around and hopefully, come back for more.  There’s so many directions you can go with your broadcast – here are just a few ideas for you to consider:

  • Interviews with people in your organisation.  There will be expertise within your business – whether it’s the CEO, marketing team, customer service team, practitioners or IT gurus – there is useful knowledge to share.  Interviewing ‘experts’ about practical things – talking through some FAQs or tips and advice – interviewing people not only provides some useful content, but also gives some insight into your team and who they are. After all – people do business with people. And it’s a great way to build trust and for people to see the ‘whites’ of the expert’s eyes.
  • Product updates. It may be that you’ve just added a new feature to a product – perfect opportunity to showcase live exactly what’s changed – and the benefits. Often things are tricky to communicate via the written word – are far simpler in video show and tell – perfect opportunity to use live streaming.
  • Events. If the event is live then why not broadcast it. This means that even those delegates that couldn’t make the actual physical event – can still attend ‘live’ – via Facebook Live.  It doesn’t have to be the whole event – it may just be the keynote speech you want to share and capture.
  • Behind the scenes. Perfect for sharing insights as to what’s going on behind the scenes – could very well be just a regular day in the office – or some new artwork that’s arrives, the new office dog, new décor, new layout, before and after etc – the possibilities are vast.

Practice Makes Perfect

And finally, live streaming is live streaming.  The charm of live streaming is the ‘real time’ relaxed and very ‘human’ aspect of it – so you don’t want to ‘over’ polish it. However, at the same time, you don’t want to switch people off by having a camera that’s jumping all over the place causing mild vertigo, dodgy sound so that your content is illegible and odd camera angles which only showcase your forehead.

It’s worth putting in a little bit of practice so that you know that you’ve got a good ‘shot’.  Perhaps use a tripod – and experiment with different backgrounds / settings etc . Again, depending on your objective – then the prep will be different.

So that’s it – hopefully, a relatively simple explanation on how to get started – and some useful ideas and pointers.

Look forward to seeing some of your Facebook Live streams – simply tag me in and I’m there…

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.

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

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. Different WordPress website designs will attract different personalities so experiment with them in a way where you can see the differences. 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 – like in case of doing the bluetooth beacon marketing – 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.

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.

5 Ways To Integrate Social Media into your Events

Looking at ways to integrate social media into your events? Then this post looks at 5 simple things to consider to keep the conversation bubbling, before, during and after your event.

1)     Get connected. When taking bookings for your event – be sure give delegates the opportunity to share their social media account details with you. For example, when you ask for their email address, why not ask for their Twitter handle too. This way you can connect with them directly – keep them updated on what’s going to be happening at the event – even ask questions about what they’re looking forward to etc – before the event has even started.

2)     Brand with a hashtag. Create a hashtag for your event so that you can easily get everyone attending or engaged with the event in any other way connected – pre, during and post the event.  You can print the # on promo materials, ask speakers to include on all their slides, use for promotional purposes – eg: getting user generated content from attendees etc – the opportunities are endless. Of course, when creating your # do some research to see if anyone else has used it before – keep it short and memorable and, no brainer – relevant.

3)     Showcase social activity. It was no surprise that at the recent Digital Shoreditch event, there were some really innovative and highly practical uses of social media activity at play.  Speakers were encouraged to share their Twitter handles so that everyone could interact with them during talks, and at the beginning of every talk they encouraged audiences to talk to them and connect.  Plus there was a fabulous contraption; The Social Stock ticker

FullSizeRender (1) FullSizeRender

tracking and printing out (good old bus conductor ticket styley) all tweets using the event hashtag #ds15.  And of course, there were Twitter boards showcasing conversations alongside the main presentation screens. Lots of engagement, lots of content to retweet, share, use in follow ups.

4)     Create a social database. Back to the hashtag again – simply create a Twitter list of all the people that engaged with the event – either those that used the hashtag or mentioned the event name or retweeted etc. This way, the next time you run the event, you can let them all know that event 2016 is taking place via Twitter.  Create an open list and everyone else can see who else connected with the event –useful as part of networking opportunities.

5)     Continuous conversations. So we’ve talked about what to do to capture audience, talk to them and engage during the event. What about after the event? Give delegates a reason to stay connected – perhaps slides are going to be shared into Twitter following the event, or video footage which they may be highlighted in, or there’s going to be Q&A sessions over on Facebook with some of the speakers – so share your questions with us.

So that’s just 5 ideas you an use to integrate social media into your event activities – I’m sure there are many others that you could come up with – if so, feel free to share them with us – we’re all ears… @carvillcreative

 

@Michelle Carvill founder of Carvill Creative – a digital marketing and social media agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire and London.

 

 

 

Anybody there – and if so, do you care? The Importance of using Social Media Channels Effectively

hearandear

It was interesting to read a recent report stating that whilst many PR organisations are now including social media channels as part of PR activity for their clients, the way in which they are using them isn’t as optimised as it could be.

The critical flaw highlighted in the report – is the use of social media channels purely as broadcast channels. Pushing out updates, notices, press releases and news – good old traditional marketing methodology pushed into a conversational platform.  But surely effective conversations are meant to be two way – otherwise it’s not a conversation, it’s just noise.

And it’s not just some PR organisations that are getting this wrong.  We see activity on the social channels day to day where there’s a lot of ‘talking at’ going on – but not much listening and engaging.

Each time we see this, it breaks our little hearts – as social media channels are perfect resources for engaging with people.  Used effectively, they are wonderful channels to engage in authentic conversations, to compel others to connect and share content or your ideas, extending reach and brand awareness – and yet, even though these channels have now been around for a number of years – we continue to see masses of lost opportunity.

Perfect example of pushing yet not listening

For example, we were recently working on a campaign for a client that meant we were tracking a range of keywords to research relevant conversations. In doing this, we uncovered that the PR company working on the campaign (and again, not just getting at PR companies here –  there are some PR companies that do social exquisitely) – whilst they were sharing updates on social platforms around a campaign, they were not actually geared up to follow up on any engagement. This meant that questions were being asked, people were asking for more info, where they could find products in which stores etc – and yet no one was engaging. The channel was purely being used to broadcast – nothing more.

My question to you therefore is – are you listening? And if so – is that listening effective? Don’t just plan a campaign and set up a tweet bank to push out a whole bunch of timely tweets – that’s not social, that’s broadcast.  Focus your campaign on engagement.  Ask the questions:

  • How are you going to engage?
  • How are you going to encourage engagement?
  • How are you going to get the conversations started?
  • How are you going to keep conversations continuing?
  • How are you going to track conversations?
  • How often?
  • Who’s listening in?

Basic questions – but all too often this critical aspect is missing from social activity.

Listening is part of being social – let’s not forget that.

 

As always follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with social media news and tips @carvillcreative

 

@MichelleCarvill founder of Carvill Creative – a digital marketing and social media agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire and London.