I’ve been reading Brian Solis’s blog for a long time.  It’s always full of great analytical information that challenges your way of thinking and presents what seem like common sense ways of approaching marketing in the social media age.  It was for this reason that I was keen to pick up a copy of his latest book ‘The End Of Business As Usual’ and I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m a big believer that whatever applies to big business can be translated to the way smaller businesses work and this book is full mind changing ideas that can be applied to us all.  It can be quite a heavy read in places but if you persist there are huge takeaways.

Social media marketers will tell you that you need to know and understand your customers and present them with what they want.  This seems like common sense but it’s often harder to do than it sounds.  Brian shows us how to segment our audience so that we can really understand them, he talks about connected consumers, those of us who rely on technology and social tools to make our purchasing decisions, it is clear that these people will be the most important consumers for businesses in the future.  Most connected consumers are ‘Millenials’, also known as generation Y, these are people born between the mid 70’s and the late 90’s.

He takes a look at the way technology has changed the way we communicate. We must have all been at a table full of people who instead of communicating with each other are conversing online via smart phones or tablets, this is becoming a part of everyday life.  As marketers instead of fighting this we need to understand and even embrace it.

The real message of the book is that if businesses are going to survive as the Millennials grow up we will need to adapt, we will need to look at the new tools that allow us to communicate with our customers and craft our marketing to serve these consumers.  The book is packed with inspirational case studies demonstrating how companies are already adapting, already using tools and evolving with the connected consumers.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it took me a while to get through it but with each chapter I found there was something I could learn from and bring into my own marketing.  It appealed to my inner nerd but I think you’d have to be a nerd or deeply interested in the psychology of marketing and social media to get into the book.  It’s not an easy read and I found myself hiding away in my bedroom so as not to be distracted whilst delving in, maybe this is a sign of the short attention span common in the connected consumer!

Here’s my key takeaways from ‘The End Of Business As Usual’

1. Segment your customers, accept they might not all consume information the same way.  Some will use social tools, some email, some you will need to make personal contact with via phone or face to face meetings.

2. Learn from your consumers, adapt and grow with them, find out what they need from you and use this to create valuable customer experiences.

3. Reward influencers and amplifiers as they will help carry your message further.  Craft shareable experiences or social objects that will assist them.

4. Be willing to pull your entire business apart in order to better serve your customers, in the future the power of the customer is going to be huge, we need to adapt and change now in order to survive.

Have you read this book?  What was your top takeaway?

Pinterest still seems to be the social network attracting the most buzz this year and now there’s a way to find out how influential your pinning is.  This weeks Monday cool tool PinClout takes your stats and converts it into a score out of 100.

Create an account or log in using Facebook or Twitter, give PinClout your Pinterest details and it calculates your score according to a number of statistics including how many followers you have, how many you follow and how many likes you have.

 

Although probably not too accurate a representation of the reach of your pinning it’s a bit of fun and looking at my woefully low score of 29/100 it looks like I should be putting a bit more effort in! How did you score?

You may have noticed Facebook Like boxes on websites, they are those boxes filled with the faces of the people who ‘Like’ the Facebook page connected to the website, some may even include details of the most recent posts from the page.  There is a massive advantage to having a Like box over a simple link or button that brings you to the Facebook page.

1. People don’t have to leave your website to Like the page

2. When we send people to our Facebook page they may get distracted by other Facebook activity and forget to click the Like button

This week I show you how to create the code for a like box.  Before you start you will need to know the dimensions in pixels of the space that you want to plug the Like box in to.

There is currently a bug with Facebook that makes it necessary to add a snippet of code yourself.  Watch to the end of the video and I’ll show you how to fix it.

 

This week has been full of Facebook, as the 29th of Feb approaches speculation about what is to be announced is everywhere, however Pinterest is still holding it’s own, being one of the most talked about things over the last seven days.  I’ve also found some great reads outside the news, it was really hard to narrow them down as there have been so many good posts.  Hope you enjoy my choice.

Pinterest and Copyright

Pinterest has become a real phenomenon.  I posted about it here a few weeks ago and it’s popularity has continued to rise since then. Of course when something becomes an overnight success it’s not long before we start seeing the flaws, the most recent concern has been about copyright?  Are you breaching copyright by pinning to Pinterest even if the image is attributed and linking back to the original post?  The answer is, you could be, depending on the copyright on the original image. This post from Neville Hobson lays it out clearly and is worth a read.

Pinterest have been quick to respond and are now allowing websites to disable pins. More here.

If you are contemplating Pinterest and wondering if it could be effective for your business this is a great read from Write On Track.

New Facebook Ads for Premium Users

With the recent announcement of the Facebook IPO it’s not surprising that Facebook are looking at new ways to make money.  I’m expecting to see mobile advertising appearing really soon and will be watching closely for other changes.  This week it was leaked that premium ads (that’s ads used by big brands) will be changing too.  I’m not going to go into the changes in depth but what is interesting about this for small businesses who use regular Facebook advertising is the statistics that emerged from the leaked document. Apparently ads that originate from page posts are hugely more effective, encouraging up to 40% more engagement.  Translated into the regular advertising programme we should maybe look at sponsored stories or ads that bring users into an offer on your page rather than directing them off site.  Read more about the new ads here.

Facebook Commerce is Dead?

Large retailers are beginning to close their Facebook shops, read more on Mashable.  It seems strange that a year ago we were looking at brands opening stores online and hailing it as the beginning of the era of F-Commerce.

I don’t believe Facebook commerce is dead, in fact I’ve seen some small businesses make effective use of the tools.  However to be successful I think you have to make sure that your Facebook store is offering something different to your online store.  It could be exclusives or a discount outlet.  You also have to be aware that people won’t just visit your Facebook store tab, it will take a lot of work and updates through the newsfeed to drive traffic to your page.

There are rumours that Timeline for pages will bring with it a better commerce tool but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

How To Deal With Customer Complaints on Social Media

This is a wonderful post from Social Media Examiner, it’s hugely important to plan for negative feedback or customer complaints and this article can help.  All to often I encounter businesses who say they know what they will do but when it comes to the crunch are completely thrown.

There’s some great examples here of businesses that handle customer service and complaints well and it’s a refreshing change from stories about customer service disasters.

Step by Step Guide To Completing Your Linkedin Profile

Have you got a fully completed Linkedin profile? According to Krishna De having a 100% complete profile will improve your visibility in searches and with a huge user growth rate this is going to become more important.

It’s also important to revisit and update your profile on a regular basis, take a look at Krishna’s step by step guide on completing your profile which is as relevant for refining your existing profile as it is for new users.

The Best Ways To Customise Your Status Updates for Facebook & Twitter

It is becoming more and more important to craft your message specifically for the network you are sharing on.  Each network has a different user base and a different way of communicating.  It is no longer enough to post the same update to all your networks at once, to be effective you must spend time deciding how and why you are posting updates.  Yes this is more hard work but as more and more businesses take up the social media mantle it is going to be those who are most creative and work hardest that are going to see the real benefits.

This post from HubSpot is a magnificent resource taking you through the types of updates, the frequency of updates and even the best ways to foster engagement on both Twitter and Facebook.  This is my number one top read of the week, if you ignore the rest read this!

Why We Speak Freely On Social Networks

I get a bit tired of hearing the term ‘real people’ referring to those we meet in real life.  Does this mean those we interact with online are somehow not real?  In some ways those we converse with online are more real.  We often feel we can talk more freely online, we share more and give people an insight into our real selves.  That’s why I find this article fascinating, it examines the psychology behind why we are happier to share more using online tools when we may find it hard to communicate face to face.

And From Spiderworking.com this week

Discover what social networks your contacts use with Rapportive

Rapportive, a handy tool to research your customers and potential customers via Gmail.  I’m still playing around with this tool but I do love that it brings the Twitter feed of my contacts straight into my Gmail account.  Read more here.

7 tips from measurement conf #donedealsocial

I managed to condense my notes from Measurement Conference Dublin into 7 key points and look at how we can apply this knowledge to small business.

How to use photographs to get more engagement on Facebook

I seem to be a bit obsessed with engagement on Facebook at the moment and have been playing around to see what works best for me.  This video tutorial shows you how a photograph can help you get more engagement, and how to measure it’s success.

If I’ve missed a great link this week do leave your suggestions below.

 

I always think that no matter how busy my schedule is it’s worth taking time out to learn, with this in mind I took myself to the Measurement Conference in Dublin last week.  It was worth the time out, I was sucking in information all day long, I also got to meet a lot of people, both those I’d communicated with online in the past and lots of new people.  Here’s the top tips I picked up on the day.

Learn What To Count And How To Count It – Laurence Veale

It may seen obvious but I find that one of the biggest challenges for small businesses is to define the goal of their social media activities.  Lots of us start using Facebook or Twitter without an objective in mind and it’s often those who don’t define these that find it hardest to see the benefits of their campaigns.

Laurence Veale suggested a list of business objectives for using social media including:

Generate sales

– Maximise lifetime customer value

– Creating leads

– Reducing costs by offering self service

Take a step back, decide what you want to achieve and work out what metrics you need to know if you succeed – Dena Walker

Yes this means the same but it’s worth repeating.  It’s such an essential part of marketing and always the first thing I ask my clients.  I asked Dena at the questions and answers session how she would apply this to small business and she suggested some metrics that could apply including footfall and increased consumer spend.

Fans and followers are a massive ‘so what’ – Dena Walker

The days of counting your followers on Twitter or your Likes on Facebook are gone.  It can be a hard mind set to get out of but they no longer have as much relevance as they once did.  You have to recognise that the people who ‘Like’ your page will only be a small proportion of your target market, this is why it’s important to foster word of mouth, engage the audience you do have so that they recommend you to others both on and off social networks.

Your Facebook page is not a community – Mat Morrison

Mat showed us some really great analytical examples that prove that Facebook business pages offer far more two way communication that community communication.  We talk to our Likers, our Likers talk to us, there is very little chat Liker to Liker.   This is partly due to the way that Facebook pages work, we no longer get a notification when users reply to a thread on a business page we’ve been active on unless it’s from the page admin.  I can see why this is the case, we don’t want to be flooded with notifications from a popular post but it does inhibit community and fosters one to one communication between us and the brand/business.

Although it’s hard to argue with Mat’s analysis I have seen plenty of community interaction on small business pages.  Maybe this is because the customers of smaller businesses are more likely to know each other?

People will not unsubscribe to you if you never post – Mat Morrison

The question about how often we should post to Facebook comes up all the time.  We fear we’re going to loose Likers if we post too often but we want to make sure that we’re posting often enough to keep people engaged.  The more we post the more our ‘Talking About’ score will rise yet we risk unsubscribes.  However as Mat says if we never post we’ll never loose subscribers.

Conversation is already happening online, brands have nothing to lose by engaging – Georgina Bowes

I find that one of the most common concerns that small businesses have is that by embracing social networking they’ll be encouraging negative comments.  This is why I’ve picked this particular quote from Georgina.  People could already be online talking about you, they will do so even if you aren’t online.  By having a social media presence you are able to respond to complaints or negative comments.  Customer service and responding to negative comments must form an important part of your social media strategy.  Done well it gives you the opportunity to showcase your customer care and turn dissatisfied customers into brand advocates.

Photos are more social than video as there is no barrier to viewing

This came up during the panel discussion.  Photos on Facebook are by far the most engaging content, even more so than video.  Video requires a further action and an investment of time by a user where as image can be digested and reacted to quickly.  If you missed my videocast last week on how to use images to encourage more engagement you’ll find it here.  I’d steer away from only posting images as a variety of content will encourage different users and different types of interaction.

Were you at the Measurement Conf?  Or were you watching online?  What was the top tip you picked up on the day?

I always recommend that the first step you should take in social media is to find out where your existing clients and potential clients hang out on line. This week’s Monday Morning Cool Tool is Rapportive, it plugs in to your gmail account and provides you with a list of social networks associated with a particular email address.

It attaches to your browser e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Safari (it doesn’t work with Internet Explorer)  and requires a download. Just click ‘Install’ and it takes you through the download process.

To find social networks attached to an email address just click ‘compose’ on your Gmail account, enter the email address and all the networks pop up on the left hand side. It even includes a mini Twitter stream from the user.

Once you’ve discovered the networks your clients and potential clients use you will know where you should be too.

Have you tried Rapportive?  Do you like it or does it feel like stalking?  I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

This week I look at one way to increase engagement on your Facebook page.  Not only does a photograph catch the eye of your audience more than a link or status update, it also has better edge rank (a stronger likelihood of appearing on the news feed of the people who Like your page.)

Engagement is becoming crucial on Facebook, the more engagement you get the more likely it is that your next story will appear in the feeds of those Likers that engage with you.  It also has the added strength of spreading the virility of the post beyond your existing Likes and to the friends of your Likers.

Photographs are crucial and in this tutorial you will discover the best way to share links using photographs as well as discovering the best way to create and add to photo albums.

This week we’ve seen the Measureit.ie conference in Dublin & the Timeline for Facebook pages rumour has gained traction.  I’ve also discovered some great blog posts on Facebook, Linkedin and more here’s my pick.

Facebook Timeline for Business Pages?

The end of this week seems to be all a buzz with Timeline for Facebook pages.  For some time we have suspected that Facebook will be launching Timeline for business pages on 9th of February.  The rumour gained more traction this week when several influencial blogs started talking about it.  Inevitably Facebook will have to convert pages at some stage, I dont’ see the future of Facebook including completely differnt profiles for business and people.  However it wasn’t until I saw this image shared on Mari Smith’s Facebook page wall that I was convinced:

As many of the articles were predicting it will be rolled out to big brands first, and it looks like Coca-Cola are going to be one of those brands.  Could it be a bit soon?  With so many users still not switched to the new Facebook profiles, and many of them pretty unenthusiastic about the prospect, I suspect that we will see a drop off in page views as our Likers get used to the new layout.

For those of us who offer Facebook customisation it puts us in limbo.  At Spiderworking.com we have temporarly stopped developing customised Facebook pages until we know how they will work in Timeline.  Here’s AdAge’s take on what Timeline could mean for business.

Twitter & Privacy

Last week we talked about how niche network Path had been in trouble for storing users contact lists.  They reacted really well, admitting their mistake and rectifying it immediately.  Since then it has emerged that lots of iPhone apps, including Twitter were storing personal details on their own servers too.

Again the response from Twitter has been good but I think it’s a shame that the revelation about Path last week resulted in lots of people unsubscribing from the service something that is unlikely to happen on Twitter.  Also Path have taken the brunt of this scandal, now we know everyone is doing it we seem less concerned.

The real bad guy in this story seems to be Apple who are allowing apps to use information this way. You can read more on the reactions from both Twitter and Apple here.

Measureit Dublin

The place to be this Wednesday was the Measurement.ie conference in NCI Dublin (aka #donedealsocial).  Organised by Damien Mulley it was a fantastic day for social media practitioners, commnunity managers and business owners alike. My keyboard was smoking all day as I attempted to take down all the top tips from the speakers.  It would be really hard to single out one or two speakers that inspired me the most… but I’m going to do it anyway!  Both Dena Walker (@CurlyDena to the tweeters out there) and Georgina Bowes (@GinaBo) gave energetic and compelling presentations.

I’ll be writing more about what I learnt at the conference next week but for now here’s Dena’s presentation as recommended as a great read by Zwartbles Ireland.

In other Irish social news word of the massive #SMEcommunity Tweetup in Birr made it into the traditional press. I was lucky enough to meet some of the people involved at Measureit and they were full of enthusiasm and support.  Congratulations to all involved.

Using Facebook In Business Mode

A few weeks ago I shared some basic tactics on using Facebook B2B.  There are lots of compelling reasons to use Facebook in business mode and although not all businesses are on Facebook it can be a great way to build relationships between businessses that are much the same way that you can on Twitter.

This excellent article from the Impactiv8 blog gives you 8 more compelling reasons to use Facebook in business mode.

Linkedin Marketing Gems You May Have Missed

Whenever I share Linkedin articles on Twitter I always get a great reaction.  In fact Linkedin is one of the networks I get asked about a lot.  Most people get as far as setting up an account and completing their details and then stop.  Linkedin can be a hugely effective network for finding new leads and attracting new customers.  So if you want to put a bit of polish on what you are doing on Linkedin have a look at this article from Hubspot that takes you through some of the features you may have been neglecting.

5 Facebook Changes

Facebook changes so fast it can be hard to keep up with it.  Luckily Mari Smith is always on hand just in case you missed any of these recent changes, this guide is no exception.

I’m looking forward to seeing her take on Timeline for business pages and I’m sure I’ll be referring to it constantly as I try to navigate my way around.

When Is The Best Time To Post On Social Media?

This is a question that gets asked a lot and of course there is no one catch all answer.  However this is a pretty interesting infographic from Dan Zarella that suggests that you are likely to get the most ReTweets on a Friday afternoon and the most Facebook likes on a Saturday.

Of course results will vary for every user but it’s inspired me to run a totally unscientific mini-study amongst my Facebook Likers.  More info on that here soon.


And From Spiderworking.com this week

This week’s videocast was a tutorial on how to add a sign up form to your Facebook page using Google Docs and WooBox.

On the blog this week I interviewed Beatrice Whelan from Sage Ireland about their recent cloud computing launch and the use of ‘Flogos’ – floating sage logos that became fantastic social shareable objects.  What is a social shareable object? What is a Flogo?  You’ll have to read the article in full to find out!

Do keep me up to date with your news.  Have you written or read a great social media article?  Leave your links below.

 

Today’s Monday morning cool tool is a fluffy one but with Valentines day coming up fluffy is good.  Twit Amore searches Twitter and finds your perfect  love match.  The good news is that not only can you find out who you love but you can also find out who any Twitter user loves, it’s a stalkers delight!

All you have to do is type a Twitter username into the box, click ‘go’ and Twit Amore will find the person of your dream.

Apparently my perfect match is Lorna from @GarrendennyLane … but her true love is Mindful Productivity.  My love will have to remain unrequited!

Who does Twit Amore say you love?  Did it match you with your real loved one?  I’d be interested to hear if it matched you with your crush!