stop-reaching-out

Stop Reaching Out!

The secret of success is sincerity.  Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

This quote, frequently misattributed to Groucho Marx and Gerorge Burns, is actually from French dramatist Jen Giraudoux in his 1933 book The Enchanted.

Why mention it?  Because it is what comes to mind whenever I see the latest imported trans-Atlantic abomination which is doing its best to ruin our beautiful English language.  Hot on the heels of the word “awesome”, used to describe anything fractionally above average, “reaching out” is infecting every piece of marketing material, every Facebook page, every website with its awful ubiquitous blandness.

To reach out to someone should evoke an image of personal contact, of warmth or empathy; even, dare I say it, sincerity.  Not any more.  Now it’s a synonym for email or phone call.  How many times do you read “we reached out to Company X”.  No they didn’t!  They emailed them or left a message on some awful automated phone answering service, they did not make personal, human contact.

So for everyone who sends me an email or written material that starts off “I just wanted to reach out to you to tell you about this wonderful offer….” be aware that I know it means “I want to sell you some crap”, and rest assured that your materials go straight in the rubbish bin.

Branding

Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age

“People buy from people” – we have all heard that old saying, but have you ever taken the time to think about what it really means?   People buy from people who they know, like and trust – from people with a consistent, effective and appealing personal brand.   Have you considered your personal brand?  How do people really see you? Are you in control of their perception?

Are you, like all great brands, offering a remarkable experience, good value, magnetism and outstanding memories leading to brand loyalty?

Do you take care to ensure that your personal brand is reflected in your digital presence – on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook?

Are you ensuring you’re making the most of every opportunity to build your personal brand reputation and delivering your ultimate promise of value to everyone you meet, whether in person or online?

We have teamed up with Tessa Hood, the UK’s Personal Brand thought leader and renowned international speaker to create a network evening with a difference.   Over nibbles and a glass of wine we will explore the key elements that make up a personal brand, clarify how you should reflect your personal brand in your social media presence, and how poorly considered profiles could be doing immense damage to your business – with examples!

There will also be an opportunity for you to get that perfect headshot which exemplifies your personal brand from Ingrid Weel ARPS for only £20, a discount of 50%.

To find out more, or to book a place, click here

Are You Listening?

Not listening

I was recently at an event listening to experienced business people talk about social media and how they use it to engage with customers. My ears pricked up when one businessman said that he couldn’t see the point of social media because he had already spent thousands of pounds on SEO (search engine optimisation), and that social media is “just another form of advertising

That’s not an uncommon reaction, and it means that people who think that way haven’t yet understood that, regardless of the platforms you use – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever – social media is not a broadcast mechanism, it is a conversational one.

Think back to people you regard as great conversationalists, whether that’s on TV or down the pub. The secret they all share is that first and foremost they are good listeners. When the local bore is always talking about themselves what do you do? Mentally, you tune out.

The same rules apply to your social media usage. If you listen you will find out:

• What your customers want
• What your competitors are saying
• What their customers are saying about them

Why wouldn’t you want to know that?

If you manage a business and are not already taking the first steps to start meaningful conversations with your customers on the various social media platforms, call us on 07768 264274 for an informal chat. What have you got to lose?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Facebook is not Twitter!

FB is not TwitterThe lines are getting blurred between Facebook and twitter.   Just this week Facebook’s photo-sharing application Instagram added video capabilities, copying twitter’s Vine app.   Now hashtags, common for years in twitter, have come to Facebook.

 That’s fine as far as it goes, but we need to be clear on how and when each platform is best.

On Friday each week, twitter users have become used to seeing the hashtag #FF, (standing for Follow Friday), where users recommend other twitter accounts to their followers.  It’s a good social thing to do, it spreads the word and everyone appreciates a mention in a #FF tweet.

But today I saw Facebook posts with #FF, mentioning lots of twitter accounts.   Why?

This is just lazy marketing and, I believe, likely to hack off a lot of Facebook fans who do not want to see twitter-style posts cluttering their news feed.  If you want to use hashtags on Facebook go ahead, but use them sparingly and above all think before you post – is a list of twitter accounts really useful to your Facebook fans?

The two platforms exist for different purposes and different audiences, please don’t start annoying and losing Facebook fans just because the facility is there – keep your tweets on twitter and your posts on Facebook.

Truetwit – the world’s most annoying twitter tool

This is a blog post that I first posted almost four years ago – and sadly is as relevant now as it was then.

More and more Twitter users seem to be using Truetwit in the belief that this will stop them being inundated with spam.  But is this really anti-spam or is it just anti-social?

If you try to follow one of these users you will get an automatic message back requiring you to visit a website and take an eye-test masquerading as a security mechanism just to prove that you’re human and not a robot.   If you manage to pass, you can then follow them.  Superficially, that sounds sensible – but is it?

Why would anyone want to stop a person – or indeed a bot – from following them?

After all, it’s not your followers that fill your timeline with rubbish, it’s the people you follow; and Truetwit won’t help you there.   What’s the worst that could happen if a robot follows you? Your tweets end up on their timeline.  So what?

The real filter that’s necessary is one to prevent you from following spammers, and the best way of doing that is to use the grey matter between your ears.   I’ll follow you if you look interesting, but keep bombarding me with get-rich-quick schemes or gushing tweets about “Awesome Software” and you’ll be unfollowed before you can blink.   (After many years in the IT industry, I am firmly of the opinion that software is binary, it only comes in two kinds – stuff that works and stuff that doesn’t.  None of it is awesome.  I digress).

When involved in any kind of communication, and Twitter is just one such medium, it’s important every now and again to check for interference – is the message that was received the same as the message you transmitted?

Use a validation mechanism like Truetwit and I guess you’re transmitting “I want to protect my Twitter feed from spam, so please validate that you’re human and then we can be friends”.   Unfortunately, what I receive is “I am so important and influential that you will have to jump through hoops to get the benefit of my wise words”.

Maybe that wouldn’t be quite so bad (although still arrogant) if there was any logic in using Truetwit – but there really isn’t.  It doesn’t stop you being spammed, only your intelligence and discretion can stop that.

So, to save me having to send tweets to all you Truetwit users, take note:  Follow me if you wish, but I will not take a badly designed eye-test to follow you back.   If you really want to use some form of filter, at least make it human – such as this from @ProfDimond that I received:

“Thanks for following me :) If I haven’t followed you back, just send me an @-reply to say hi… it helps weed out the spammers & bots.”

Hallelujah!