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#EENsocial – startup your social media

#EENsocial workshop Startup Your Social Media – 28th February 2018, BASE Bordon Innovation Centre

Delighted to be delivering this Enterprise Europe Network workshop for Oxford Innovation next week 😊

It’s an by-invitation event which has generated lots of queries so here’s a quick roundup. If you send a quick the team can keep you posted about when/where I’m speaking next. In the meantime, do join the conversation with #EENsocial

Don’t know your ‘like’ from your ‘hashtag’? Got a LinkedIn account, but not sure how to get the most out of it? Use Twitter in your personal life, but not sure how it works in a business context?

It is well established that effective networking is crucial to startup and scaleup. It is also clear how omnipresent social media is to digital presence. But many of us are still not bringing the two together strategically to maximise the value of business networking and profiling via social media.

At its heart, business is about relationships, and relationships are built on conversations. Conversations first became virtual via letters, then telephones, faxes, emails… and now social media.

Can you imagine telling an important contact that you don’t have email? Can you imagine their reaction? Many will now look at you in the same way if you don’t have a human (rather than company) Twitter account!

This workshop will help you to identify and optimise the social media platforms that are most appropriate for you. We will begin with a presentation on social media business context and best practices. This will be followed by interactive session on delegates’ social media objectives, and a review of selected participants’ online profiles and activity.

There will also be opportunity for peer-learning and networking, creating and updating social media profiles, and drafting and sharing social media content live with support.

Event Objectives

Strategic business understanding and use of social media, including:
(1) identifying which social media platforms are most appropriate;
(2) building and optimising profiles; and
(3) effectively networking via social media.


Startup advice from #CherylsTrust launch

Today was the official launch of Cheryl’s Trust, a partnership with the Prince’s Trust to help vulnerable young people in the North of England.

Having worked with disadvantaged young people, I was touched to hear Cheryl share how her life could have turned out very differently, and how lucky she was to be given the opportunities she had to succeed.

When Cheryl was asked if she had a message for young people going into the music industry today, she offered straight-forward advice:

“You need to know what every area of the music industry involves, who means what you to on your way.

It’s not just you on your own, you have a team that helps you with everything that you need, from management, to labels, to branding.

You need to know what you’re getting involved with.

Be educated on it [the industry] like any job that you would be going into.

It’s not just dancing and singing. It’s a job that involves a lot of people.

You need to know what it is that you’re doing and who it is that you’re working with.”

Those who follow me on social media will know that I’m advising Muebox – a startup that I first met when judging pitches on a SETsquared Entrepreneur’s Programme.

Muebox’s mission is “a better music industry” – founder Dean Bryan is passionate about making the industry accessible so that music artists can turn their passion into a business that works for them.

Listening to Cheryl, I thought “what great advice for the people that Dean wants to help”… then “what great advice for any startup” – hence this post!

If you’re 18-30 with an innovative idea and want help turning it into a successful business, check out the Young Innovators’  programme and #IdeasMeanBusiness – another Prince’s Trust partnership (this time with Innovate UK), which provides support, advice and funding.

And if you’re a growth business who needs help crafting the right offer to target your ideal clients and explode the growth of your company, say




Facebook fun or sinister scam? Are you innocently sharing your security data?

Use the last three digits of your phone number to see what you need to be happy…

We’ve all seen these types of posts on social media and often add to the chain, either by sharing or commenting.

When I saw the three words that my friend had shared, I smiled, started to look at what mine would be, then thought why “last 3 digits” seemed so familiar…

Was it what my bank would sometimes ask me for? Or had I seen those numbers on emails from my car insurance, so that I felt comfortable clicking on links?

I noticed that no-one commented on my friend’s post without sharing their words or numbers and that some comments included both home and mobile phones… “Love, alcohol and sex – don’t think so!! That’s my mobile number. Landline is better – alcohol, food and shopping – ha ha!”

Could these numbers be used by unscrupulous individuals to hack into people’s accounts? Maybe not in isolation, but what if these individuals had already collected other details from social media, such as birth dates or favourite places, children and pet names? It is well reported that these details are frequently used in passwords.

I would love to hear what you think. If this post has made you nervous to comment publicly, message me!

Habit is what keeps you going

On Goals vs. Habits


Raise your hand if 2017 sucked.

Come on, I see you at the back there. Get your hand up!

Right about now you are probably busy making resolutions or setting your goals for 2018… learn to play a new sport? … Spend more time with the family? … Make more sales?


The Problem with Goals

It turns out we’ve been doing it all wrong.

There’s a reason that sports stars don’t talk about winning the championship halfway through the season. It’s the same reason recovering addicts don’t set a goal of lifelong abstinence.

  • It’s too easy for your goals to be derailed. Often times, unexpected events happen. Pick up an injury and there’s no way you’ll make that 5K run you’ve been working towards. Your car breaks down and there goes the savings you’ve been stashing away for the holiday of a lifetime.
  • Goals have an endpoint. How many times have you or someone you know lost a load of weight then put it all back on again? Too many times when we achieve a goal, we stop doing what got us there in the first place.
  • Working towards goals requires a huge amount of willpower. And that’s hard work. A week into your new exercise plan and suddenly that 5K run seems even further away than it did before.

Instead sport stars focus on just winning the next game. Recovering addicts only care about being sober the next day.

They focus on HABITS.

Habits mean we can overreach our targets.
Habits are easy to complete.
Habits are for life.

Here at CubeSocial, for 2018 we’re going to be focussing on habits.
As Stephen J. Covey writes:

Sow a thought, reap an action;
sow an action, reap a habit;
sow a habit, reap a character;
sow a character, reap a destiny.

Beware of Spam LinkedIn Email

2014-09-05 13.17.46Pause before you click!

The image on the left is a screenshot from my phone. At first glance, at the From, the LinkedIn headline and formatting, it looks genuine.

However, I always make sure to pause because clicking on a link, and during that pause I was surprised to see the email addressed “Dear LinkedIn User” rather than to my name .

As I was in the office, I thought to have a second look at the email from my computer. While the From had looked genuine on my phone, it did not on my computer screen:  20140905 LinkedIn Spam

Thought to share and say beware!

Start-up Now – Insights from the 2011 Seedcamp teams

imageWhat did you do in 2011?

Like hundreds of entrepreneurs around Europe, we spent 2011 building, pitching and growing our own tech start-up: CubeSocial

Towards the end of the year we decided we’d like to share what we had learned with other aspiring entrepreneurs. 

What you see here is the result of that work… a ground-up initiative by a group of around 40 passionate start-ups that all took part in Seedcamp during 2011 and have come together to share their experiences and learnings.  You can download the ebook here for free. Our gift to you. There’s also an easily embeddable version here.

Please pass this book on to anyone you think might find it useful. Tweet it. Blog about it. Share the information as widely as possible.

Best of 2011

CubeSocial - B2B Social Media ManagementAt this time of year it’s traditional to look back, so we thought we’d share our most popular content from 2011, just in case you missed it

  1. Twitter Clinic: A Hashtag Case study – Wow, it seems like there are plenty of people curious to know how Twitter hashtags work.  If that’s you… read on!
  2. “All opinions are my own” – disclaimers, risk warnings and social media – Will social media ever take off in highly regulated industries like banking and pharmaceuticals?
  3. Leave your phones on – How social media is changing business etiquette – You know those people glued to their smartphones and iPads during your presentation… they are probably paying more attention than you think!
  4. Twitter Clinic: #FF, DM and RT explained – Another in our series of Twitter Clinics. The title says it all.
  5. Ambush Marketing: The Accidental Twitter Ambush – How we accidentally pulled off an ambush marketing event at a conference we had been barred from.
  6. Klout… and how it can be manipulated – The story of what happened when we spent a month specifically trying to increase our Klout score.
  7. Twitter Clinic: 5 must-dos to get started with Twitter – If you are totally new to to Twitter, start here.
  8. Twitter Clinic: Who sees what you’re tweeting – Those @messages – are you sure you know who can view them?
  9. Four Reasons Your Company Doesn’t Need a Social Media Policy – Lawyers are running around telling everyone that will listen that they must have a social media policy… but do you really need one?
  10. GeeknRolla: Rock star or one-hit wonder? – Just how awesome is the self-proclaimed “awesome annual conference for tech startups in Europe”

If you like the stuff we write, remember you can sign-up for updates in your RSS reader, or subscribe for email updates.

And with that we’d like to wish you a happy new year, and we’ll see you all again in 2011.

Why Twitter’s 140 Character Restriction Can Make You a Better Marketer

PeopleEven if you aren’t using Twitter for marketing purposes, I think it can still help you become a better marketer. One of its most basic features can help us write better marketing copy, regardless of medium.

When I first started on Twitter I struggled with the character limit. In speech we’re used to using superfluous words and long sentences. Soon I realised it was forcing me to learn a valuable skill.

Keep It Relevant

On Twitter the character limit means brevity is essential. Marketing, as I understand it, is about getting your message across as effectively as possible. Saying everything we need to in under 140 characters means we have to communicate our core messages succinctly. Once you’ve got to grips with condensing your main points into one Tweet the same practice could make writing your marketing copy easier and more fruitful.

No Room for Padding

In a tweet there is no room for jargon and sales speak. Faced with a customer, we have less than 140 characters to convince them to buy. We really have to think about the main benefits of our product. In doing so we might even raise valuable questions about our overall marketing plans.

The more we think about how to clearly communicate our message, the better we become at it. When we next have a Press Release to write, with lots of important information to fit into just the title, we have had a lot of practice. When next thinking about the first paragraph of our website homepage, we have that extra knowledge on keeping it snappy.

Help or Hindrance?

Reviewing and analysing your own copy is one way to learn to be more succinct, but I think that learning by doing is always faster. Trying to tell people about your product in less than 140 characters will help a lot more than any amount of proof reading and study.

At first I didn’t like Twitter’s character limit. Now I realise that it could make me a more effective communicator. What do you think? Has it helped you convey your message more effectively, or have you found yourself too restricted?

Why not share your thoughts in the comments section.

How to Decide If a Twitter Follower is Relevant to You

Reading GlassTwitter is all about engagement. In real life we try to avoid people who are of no interest to us, whether for personal or business reasons. The same applies on Twitter. How do you know whether or not a follower is worth your time? Twitter has a few ways of helping you decide.

What Are They Talking About?

It may seem obvious, but the content of a follower’s tweets can tell you a lot about how useful they could be. I ask myself:

  • Do they engage with their followers?
  • Do they talk about things that are relevant to me?
  • Who else are they talking to? They might be talking to someone I want to connect with, and could provide me with an introduction.

Friends and Followers

Although some people do follow back to be polite, following can be a one way thing. I compare the number of followers a person has to the number of people they are following.

Being followed by more people than they are following suggests that they have something very relevant to say. If they are being followed by a lot less people than they follow, I ask myself why that might be. There’s a chance it’s because they’re not engaging.

See If They’ve Got Klout

Klout is a great Twitter app that scores users out of 100 on their Twitter ‘influence’. It also shows you what topics they regularly talk about, so one way I can quickly decide on a follower is whether or not their Klout is high in the topics that I am interested in, or they’re meant to have expertise in.

A word of caution: Klout can be manipulated, but, it can be useful as a deciding factor if you’ve looked at the other two things and are still unsure of a follower.

The Signs Are There

I find that looking at these three things can give me quite a clear picture of what kind of Twitter user a person is, and whether or not I want to engage with them. The elements are almost like flags on a beach, telling you where (and where not) it is safe to invest your time.

That reminds me, I have Klout to gain and followers to earn!

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