Connected Business #ConnectedBiz

#ConnectedBiz is the Twitter hashtag for Enterprising Barnsley’s annual conference Connected Business – Making Online Work For Your Bottom Line.

The event tomorrow will be Enterprising Barnsley’s third conference, and I’m delighted to be asked back after speaking at their first event in 2012.

Clockwise from top left in Enterprising Barnsley’s photo of the line-up:

  • Me and CubeSocial Smile – I’m going to be speaking about the evolution of LinkedIn, and questioning whether LinkedIn profiles are now a business basic or burden;
  • Adrian McEwen, MCQN – will talk about the rise of interconnected smart devices and how the ‘internet of things’ could impact business in the future;
  • Greg Williams, WIRED – hosting the conference;
  • Simon Biltcliffe, Webmart – will share his experience of taking advantage of digital resources in order to grow his business; and
  • Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent – conference keynote.

For more on the conference, including how to register and details of Mark Asquith’s masterclass, see: Agenda

If you didn’t make the kick-off event, here’s what I had to say on the power of social media for business: Video

And regardless of whether or not you can join in person, do join via the hashtag: #ConnectedBiz (when you click this link, you’ll see the most recent tweets).

Looking forward to being back in Barnsley and seeing you all soon!

#joiningthedots – how one tweet can create credible coverage

#joiningthedots has been central to CubeSocial, ever since a random tweet led to our first breakthrough: a 45 minute slot on BBC Radio to talk about our business – before we had determined what our business would be! People often ask us how that came about, and the answer is a random tweet.

A financial services journalist tweeted about passing though “grim” Basingstoke on a train and asked if there was anything good about it. I replied asking if she knew that I had moved there. If yes, how rude! That led to an email exchange which resulted in me being asked to write an article on ‘Why I left the City for a start-up in Basingstoke’. Two days after the article was published, the BBC phoned.

So I was delighted to learn of another #joiningthedots success story last night. Of course, I was notified by social media – first by Google+, then by a tweet, both from Paolo Fabrizio.

Paolo’s Google+ post was headed up “The power of online connections: from a tweet to a Forbes article” and included a screen shot of the tweets which resulted in an excited reply with a Forbes link:

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Without social media, this wouldn’t have happened.

It’s easy to make introductions at the virtual cocktail party on Twitter. #joiningthedots takes seconds, and it still amazes me what you can start with a tweet… Smile

As Paolo says at the end of his Google+ post: “That’s the power of online networking”.

Networking in the Digital Age #MFWsocial

#MFWsocial is the Twitter hashtag for Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) Women London’s event this Wednesday 10 September – Networking in the Digital Age: Social Media is just another way to talk.

I will be speaking alongside MoFo Women London’s chair, Sue McLean, on how to incorporate social media into business networking.

In keeping with the spirit of the event, Sue invited me to speak after seeing my recent interview by Lexis®Commercial about the use of social media by law firms on Twitter. How appropriate / What an handy example for the event!

Echoing Socially Aware’s announcement, if you:

  • don’t know your ‘like’ from your ‘hashtag’;
  • have a LinkedIn account but aren’t sure how to get the most out of it; or
  • use Twitter in your personal life, but struggle with how it works in a business context

… join us. It would be great to see you there Smile

For more details, including how to register, see: MoFoWomen

If you’re not based in London / can’t make 6pm in person, join via the hashtag: #MFWsocial (when you click this link, you’ll see the most recent tweets)

And if you’re curious to learn more about hashtags, take a peek at these blog posts:

Once you see how hashtags work, I hope to see you enjoying and benefiting from them!

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!

Tapping into the social media treasure chest

imageIf the heading looks familiar… it’s because you’ve seen it before! I was recently interviewed by Lexis®Commercial about the use of social media by law firms, and this heading is from Paul Caddy’s article.

Click here to see the full interview – while it focuses on law firms, the themes covered apply to all professional services firms:

1. Social media is fast becoming a hygiene factor in business

Can you imagine telling an important contact that you don’t have email? Can you visualise their reaction? Many will now look at you in the same way if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter account.

2. Social media is just another way to talk

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

3. Find out what people are saying about you, your colleagues and your firm

Not being on social media doesn’t mean that you’re not being spoken about. Head over to Google and search. Next, see what bloggers are saying on Google Blog Search. Then go to Twitter and search there. Each result or conversation that you find is an opportunity to influence. If no-one is mentioning your firm, why not?   

4. Find out which platforms your clients and prospects are using

You don’t need to be everywhere. Discover where your contacts want to engage and prioritise those platforms. LinkedIn is your virtual shop front, Twitter the virtual cocktail party, and Facebook the virtual house party. Twitter is a very powerful platform for professionals. As with real-life networking events, you can join any conversation uninvited, as long as you have something relevant and/or amusing to add. You can also boost the ROI of events by integrating social media.

5. Think glass half-full

Some are afraid of social media because it’s public and real-time… which means that social media is searchable: you can find contacts and conversations of interest; reach a larger, yet more targeted, audience; and accelerate the know-like-trust-buy-advocate cycle. By demonstrating your expertise and personality, you can become the host of the virtual parties that matter to you – with opportunities and prospects coming to you, rather than you needing to find and pitch to them.

6. Plan your content, set a strategy

– What you are going to talk about? How will those topics be interesting to your target audience? Effective use of social media means creating content that is provocative… content that provokes a reaction so that readers want to share or engage. It’s better to have a strong opinion and be prepared to defend it rather than sit on the fence.
– Who will be the ‘faces’ of your firm on social media? What training will those individuals need? It may seem like a lifetime ago, but it’s not so long since people needed training on how to use faxes and emails!

4 Publishing on LinkedIn – Pros and Cons

20140415 LI invite to pubishWhen LinkedIn started the rollout of its publishing platform earlier this year, I asked: is publishing on LinkedIn a privilege or a pain?

A few months on, most seem to think the latter! But there are some positive experiences to share too…

Tipping the scales towards Pain:

imageCharles Christian, Award-winning legal technology journalist
I’ve published there but think LinkedIn has lost the plot, and object to the fact that premium users get to be influencers.

 

imageJulian Summerhayes, Consultant | Coach | Speaker
I think people will regret publishing on LinkedIn. What I’ve seen so far doesn’t fill me with much hope that people have thought about their buyer persona, the digital buyer journey and how LinkedIn has treated its users in the past with dumping certain aspects of the platform.

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Janet Bebb, Social Media Trainer, Content Manager & Consultant
I’ve not got round to publishing yet. Reason – not even blogged on my own site so hardly likely to blog on LinkedIn. Negatives: Seeing some peoples articles that I’m 1st line connected to that I’d rather not! Benefits: just that, it can get you back in front of your contacts!

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Aynsley Damery, Partner, Tayabali Tomlin
Honestly, a pain in addition to the TT blog, status updates, posts, tweets, etc. Agree with the valid concerns in your blog! For me, the idea is good, but… need to focus on 1, 2, 3 [what to write; how to find the time; and being mindful that the content is not under your control].

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Tara Taubman, Founder at FlyAKite.org
Technically, just ok. Had trouble editing my first post from iPad and some comments won’t show on iPhone. Also, in a very short time, one day, LinkedIn is saying more than 250 views, so I am a bit sceptical.

Tipping the scales towards Privilege:

imageJennifer Janson, Managing Director at Six Degrees
Despite the fact that I regularly post on the Six Degrees blog, I only rarely get comments. Within 24 hours of adding my first post to LinkedIn, I had comments which included lively debate among the readers. I think that’s priceless. It might mean that I am doing something wrong on my own blog, or more likely, it means that there truly is power in the LinkedIn network.  Although it will add greater demands on my time, it’s a wonderful way to stay connected with my connections on LinkedIn, in a meaningful way. I do worry about the fact that my content might one day disappear on the whim of someone at LinkedIn, but while the publisher platform is there, I am going to do my best to use it.

imageDeb Dobson, Marketing Technology Manager at Fisher & Phillips LLP
My firm and I have been busy writing on the platform. We are seeing an increase in views, engagement and followers. It’s easier to get in front of a target audience and if a post gets picked up by a LinkedIn Pulse Channel than it really gets distributed to those following specific topics. One post got picked up by two channels that were definitely the audience the post was meant for. I would encourage the doubter to consider it one more place to publish on in addition to website/blog. We are using standard [rather than premium accounts].

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Paolo Fabrizio, Social CRM I Blogger I Speaker
My opinion was and remains very good. In particular, I’ve experienced positive results in terms of reach, networking and engagement. I set a clear strategy before posting my first article. That was: 1) Writing on LinkedIn only in English; 2) Not copying or mixing any content of my Italian blog; 3) Covering the same topics (social customer care, corporate blog, online reputation). If you don’t have a clear strategy, you won’t get any result. In such cases, just don’t do it!

How are you finding publishing on LinkedIn? Do your experiences tip the scales towards privilege or pain?

4 Social Media Beyond Marketing

imageHurrah to Deloitte UK getting that social media is just another way to talk! Their new video – The Growing Power of Consumers features Nick Turner, Digital Lead for Consumer Business, but the principles he mentions also apply to the B2B world:

1. Engaging needs to go beyond the marketing function, it requires collaboration across different departments in managing different touch points. 

You don’t meet marketing departments at events, you meet human beings. You may have no interest in following a law firm on social media, but would tweet with a lawyer with expertise in your industry. Social media is not “just marketing” or “something that brands use”. Can you imagine telling an important contact that you don’t have email? Can you visualise their reaction? Many will now look at you in the same way if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account.

2. Technology and analytics can help integrate and track interactions across all touch points and channels, to guide real-time targeted responses.

When I left Morgan Stanley I had less than a dozen connections in LinkedIn, and had never used Facebook or Twitter. I was initially very uncomfortable about social media being real-time and public… until I realised the flip-side: that social media was searchable, and you can find contacts and conversations of interest. Social media is a wonderful research resource, helps you do more with less and increases serendipity. You can virtually join events that you’re unable to make in person and conversations can continue long after the event. I could go on…

3. Reputational risks need to be managed.

Nick Turner refers to Social Command Centres. Others refer to CLOs (Chief Listening Officers). Not being on social media doesn’t mean that you’re not being spoken about online. The first step is to find out what conversations are already going on about you, your colleagues and your firm. If no-one is mentioning your firm, why not?  

It’s time to understand which social media platforms are relevant to you, and how to build and optimise profiles on those platforms. This doesn’t mean that you need to be everywhere. Discover where your contacts hang out on social media and prioritise. Speak where your contacts want to listen and engage.

4. Content creation should be focused on inspiring and informing contacts and prospects, not just selling to them.

Plan your content. Set a strategy. What you are going to talk about? How will those topics be interesting to your target audience? Who will be the ‘faces’ of your business on social media? What constraints, if any, are required on what can be said in public? 

Effective use of social media means creating content that is provocative. That is, content that provokes a reaction so that readers want to share it with their friends or engage with you on the topic. It’s better to have a strong opinion and be prepared to defend it rather than sit on the fence. 

5. Arm contacts with the right information, improve trust, and increase loyalty.

Old rules, new tools! At its heart, business is about relationships, relationships are built on conversations, and (say it with me!) social media is just another way to talk… with the added advantage that it’s searchable and accelerates the know-like-trust-buy-advocate cycle Smile

4 Morgan Stanley joins the virtual cocktail party… with chaperones

imageMorgan Stanley’s ears must have been burning! I was talking about their social media use just last week, with an international consultancy that currently trains their consultants to tweet from a library of pre-written messages. 

The conversation reminded me of Morgan Stanley’s Green Light for Social Media – Bankers or Bots? because Morgan Stanley were heavily criticised for adopting the same approach when they approved 17,000 financial advisers to use Twitter and LinkedIn back in June 2012. If every tweet that you share is scripted and pre-approved, how can the contacts that you’re trying reach know that there’s a real person tweeting?

It’s taken two years, but this week Morgan Stanley finally gave their brokers freedom to tweet self-authored messages. Advisers who have at least 15 followers are now allowed to create their own tweets… if they attend an online training course, and get each message approved before posting, which “could take several hours”.

It is a step forward, but can you imagine going to an event and every time that you wanted to start or participate in a conversation you had to stop and ask a chaperone to approve what you were about to say?

Having spent 15 years in the City, 13 of those with Morgan Stanley, I’m fully aware of the challenges. Of course there are compliance issues and regulatory requirements to manage, but professionals know what they can and cannot say publically, and technology can ensure that appropriate records are kept.

The speed and reach of social media can exacerbate fears, but I have yet to discover a concern that does not also apply to emails and calls. I had a recorded telephone line at Morgan Stanley. I knew that my email account was monitored. But I did not need to ask for permission before making a call or writing an email.

Social media is just another way to talk. As with telephone/fax and email before, you will need training if it is new to you. After that, if you’re trusted to attend and speak appropriately at real life cocktail parties, you should be trusted to do the same at the virtual one!

#AMBAspring – How the conversation can continue after an event

AMBAspring

#AMBAspring was the Twitter hashtag for the Association of MBAs’ Spring Refresher at Kent Business School. I was one of four speakers – between us we were to “cover the core modules taught in today’s MBAs… innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing and finance”.

There was limited conversation on #AMBAspring before the event, so I arrived prepared for cynicism and heckling… let’s just say that there were a number of spirited exchanges!

But a shift was happening. And slowly but surely, the shift that was happening in the room could be seen online… new Twitter accounts were created, those who were already on Twitter welcomed the newbies and connected them with other attendees, reviews and reflections of the day were posted and shared… all via a hashtag that may have been considered to have already served its purpose.

And it didn’t stop there Smile

I was delighted to see the hashtag mentioned again a month after the event when I was tweeting from the #LeanInLondon launch:

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Social media makes it easy to keep #joiningthedots – make sure to continue and grow the conversations (and networks) that are of interest to you!

#WEB2014 – How do you inspire?

WEB20142,000 Women in European Business gathered at Deutsche Bank’s Conference on 4 June to hear “trailblazing individuals who leave their mark both on society and in business” answer this question. The evening was choc-a-block with lessons learned, inspiring stories and valuable advice…this blog post provides a roundup, despite my usual means of note-taking being restricted by these pre-event signs – Argh!Please switch off
When I shared this photo on Twitter, with “Hmm, that’s going to make it tricky to tweet” @TDRsalon immediately replied with “When will they learn!”. Regular readers may be surprised that it’s been three years since I voiced my frustrations to The IoD and they committed to change their announcements to “please leave your phones on”.

Frustrations aside, an excellent event, with fantastic speakers and panellists…

Interview with Joanna Lumley – conducted by Mishal Husain, BBC News
Joanna LumleyAbsolutely fabulous Smile Within seconds of stepping onto the stage, anyone who wasn’t previously in love with Lumley, fell. As Husain introduced Lumley there was the clunk of a bottle falling against some glasses somewhere in the audience. Lumley immediately responded with “steady darling!”. In amongst all the laughter and loveliness was an abundance of gems (Lumley knew Husain’s grandparents – handfuls of emeralds were involved):

  • My mother told me: there is nothing you can’t do, so do it; she also told me to stand up for the underdog and face the bullies.
  • If you’re going to take on something, don’t let them finish the sentence – just say that you’ll do it. Have no fear. You mustn’t give up. See it to the end.
  • Ab Fab took six weeks a year. £3,000 per episode, £18,000. People should know. They think you earn millions.
  • Don’t be afraid of getting old! It’s thrilling. I may be the only person in London who’s kissed every single James Bond – each was special in his own way…
  • Mistakes? Not listening… when caught, say: Go on!
  • In response to: Why a bridge in London, rather than, say money for Birmingham? – If you want to raise money for Birmingham, raise money for Birmingham. I’m raising money for the Garden Bridge. Do what you can. You can always do something.

For more, see Joanna Lumley’s lessons for the ladies of Deutsche Bank by Sarah Butcher at efinancialcareers.

Business panel discussion
Panel

Husain asked the panellists to share key lessons learned, skills required for leadership, and the most valuable piece of advice that they had received. From left to right (sorry, I didn’t take a shot including Luke Johnson):

Ann Cairns, President, International Markets for MasterCard

  • Women often apologise for doing their job – stop saying sorry.
  • You’re only as good as your boss thinks you are. For the best advice, ask your ex-boss. Once you stop working for them, they tell you everything!
  • Leaders must have a clear vision – they need to communicate it well, and give people the ability and responsibility to execute.

Emma Howard Boyd, Stewardship, Jupiter Asset Management

  • Seek out what’s important to you.
  • Giving back is essential for leadership.
  • When applying for a job, women want to meet all the criteria and not look at it as a challenge. Be very clear and precise when seeking a new role.

Daniela Barone Soares, CEO, Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation

  • Focus on transferable skills. My transition from Investment Banking to Save the Children proved that my skills were transferable.
  • You need both mentors and sponsors, You need to ask.
  • Work out what motivates and drives you. Leaders have to have self-awareness – know your strengths and what trips you up.

Luke Johnson, Chairman, Risk Capital Partners

  • I do worry about failure, but it’s only from trying things out that you get to the winning formulas. Innovation and experimentation are necessary for us to advance. You learn more when things go wrong. You will always recover from failure. Success is moving from failure to failure without giving up.
  • Everyone should have a go at running a business at some point in their lives. I believe that entrepreneurs are vital for job creation, they are key to the UK economy.
  • Most valuable advice? Two pieces: (1) start a business; (2) never give a personal guarantee.

Closing keynote – Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
Power-posingPower-posing! I was aware of nonverbal communication and body language affecting how others see us… but can we really change our own minds by changing our posture?

Cuddy’s research shows that standing in a posture of confidence (even when you don’t feel confident) can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in your brain. It can take as little as two minutes.

Testosterone = dominance and confidence. Cortisol = stress.
Increased testosterone + Lower cortisol = Increased power/leadership/success Smile

In Cuddy’s own words:

  • Years ago, following Joanna Lumley would have made me want to hide, now I’m inspired.
  • When animals feel power, they stretch, expand and take up space. When we win, we automatically do this – arms up in the V, chin slightly lifted – we can’t help ourselves, it’s hard-wired. The instinct is so  strong that congenitally blind people also strike the pose when they win. It doesn’t matter that they’ve never seen it.
  • What do we do when we feel powerless? Again, both animals and humans do the same thing. We wrap ourselves up. We make ourselves small.  
  • What should you do before difficult situations? … two minutes of power-posing improves all elements of the equation, increases creativity and your pain threshold. Our bodies can change our minds, and our minds can change our behaviour.
  • Presence creates power, and power creates presence. Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.
  • Power posing doesn’t change what you say, but how you say it. It’s not about faking it until you make it, but faking it until you become it.

For more, here’s Cuddy’s TED talk.

Great conference Deutsche Bank, thank you. Power-poses all round!image