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2 #startup your social media

2012-12-28 23.54.10In one of my first interviews about my start-up journey, I mentioned how much I have to thank social media for. After an intense and inspiring day mentoring dotforge start-ups this week, here are my top tips for increasing your profile and serendipity on social media – whether you’re building a start-up or advancing your corporate career.

1. Social media is just another way to talk: I often hear people refer to social media as “marketing”, “something that brands use”, “irrelevant”… but 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. 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 Twitter account!

2. Speak where your contacts want to listen and engage: You don’t need to be everywhere. Discover where your contacts hang out on social media and prioritise those platforms. As a social CRM and social media consultancy, some think it is unusual that we don’t have much of a Facebook presence – but many of our contacts, who are predominately from professional services firms, simply don’t want to talk about work there.

3. Think – old rules, new tools: Traditional best practices still apply, but you can reach a larger, yet more targeted, audience. Social media accelerates the know-like-trust-buy-advocate cycle. The real-time and searchable nature of social media means that you can find contacts and conversations of interest. By demonstrating your expertise and personality, you can become the host of the virtual parties that matter to you – with prospects/investors/employers approaching you, rather than you needing to find and pitch to them Smile

4. LinkedIn is your virtual shop front, Twitter the virtual cocktail party, and Facebook the virtual house party: Dress/speak appropriately! Make sure that your virtual shop front has a great address and would encourage your ideal client/employer to walk through the door. Twitter is incredibly powerful for building your profile and network because who you follow is not connected to who follows you… as with real-life networking events, you can join any conversation uninvited, as long as you have something interesting, insightful and/or amusing to add. Many of our professional services contacts demonstrate their expertise by hosting events. Twitter is a great way to build interest, conversation and engagement before an event, which in turn increases attendance, and social sharing during and after; whereas the same contacts/firms may use Facebook for charity events, summer parties, etc. once relationships have been firmly established.

5. Be social via and on social media: Social media is a wonderful research resource. I now routinely read the websites, blogs and profiles of contacts before speaking with them for the first time – whether in person, or online. Time can be saved and conversations made more relevant when you already know someone’s areas of interest and mutual connections. Relationships that might have taken years to build can now be formed in a matter of months, sometimes even weeks. Don’t join conversations and meetings without this easily available intelligence. And whenever possible, help to #jointhedots / in #joiningthedots – if you take a peek now, you’ll find all the fantastic entrepreneurs and start-ups I met this week Smile

2 Valentine treats… with a CubeSocial orange tweak!

2013-02-14 09.37.51Happy Valentine’s to you, and Happy Birthday to us! Are you feeling the love today? We are… and we’re not afraid to show it!

Two years ago today we moved into our office, with our first hire, and explained what we wanted to build and be. What an amazing two years it’s been since then, and it’s all thanks to you! Please consider this a virtual Valentine card from all the team, packed full of affection and appreciation Smile  

2013-02-14 10.24.07You’ve done so much to help shape what we do, and how we’ve grown, and while we can’t share the specifics just yet, it’s thanks to you that we’re about to enter an exciting new evolution. How? Our conversations, your feedback, our working together… have highlighted something that’s missing for professionals. We’re busy building something for you to demonstrate and earn money from your expertise, to grow your business. A Valentine treat in the making. All will be revealed soon!

Apologies to those who think this blog post too gushing, or who are feeling a bit bah-hambug this Valentine’s Day. Please be our Valentine, join us in celebrating our birthday, and feel the love!

2013-02-14 09.16.322013-02-14 09.07.22PS. These birthday treats arrived yesterday, the book via a tweet from @dordje, the card via @AjeetMinhasGTB. Thanks David and Ajeet – how lovely, and appropriate that they were both via social media Smile

5 LinkedIn’s most viewed profiles for 2012 – spam or smart?

20130208 LI top 1pc emailLast Friday I received this congratulatory email from LinkedIn. I was initially flattered to be in the top percentile, then focused in on the reason behind the mailing – LinkedIn had “reached a new milestone: 200 million members”. Having done the maths, I shared a screenshot on Twitter and Facebook with the comment “Email from LinkedIn… Should I be flattered, or frightened?” The response was immediate and wide-ranging – a wonderful mixture of sincerity, skepticism and sarcasm!

It seems that there have been emails for 1%, 5% and 10%. People have been questioning the validity of the percentages attributed, and how special being one of 2 to 20 million really is. Spam? Or smart marketing?

Many have shared their top percentage on social media using the pre-typed messages provided alongside LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of Products & User Experience’s letter (reached via “Read More” on the congratulations email)

20130208 LI top 1pc read more

and even when the congratulations haven’t been received in a sincere way, they have generated social media shares, competition and conversation

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Of course LinkedIn has a feature, only available to Premium accounts, which enables those paid members to see who has recently viewed their profile. Members with Basic accounts are frequently sends teasers to “Upgrade… to see the full list”.

By congratulating the most viewed, this campaign has generated reaction (be it pride, envy, or cynicism) and discussion about what it means to be in those top percentiles… highlighting the paid-for feature, and potentially increasing curiosity and conversions. I wonder if LinkedIn will reveal how successful this campaign ends up being in terms of upgrades. 20 million emails could suggest spam, but I’m going with smart.

Getting started with Twitter – top 5 newbie questions answered

imageAs a Facebook Novice to Social Media CEO I’m frequently asked about my conversion from social media cynic and how I got started with Twitter.

Here’s a roundup of the most popular questions and my responses:

  1. Where to begin? 5 must-dos
  2. How do hashtags work? A case study (see the comments section for a link to another example)
  3. What are these “mystifying acronyms”? #FF, DM and RT explained
  4. Why are full stops added before Twitter usernames? Who sees what you’re tweeting
  5. Am I stuck with the username I chose on sign up? How to change your username

Should this list be extended to a top 10? What else would you like answered?

If you and/or your team are getting started with Twitter and would like some social media training or 1-to-1 coaching, get in touch.

How to change your Twitter username

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So you’ve created an account, worked though the 5 must-dos to get started with Twitter, then realised that your username is tricky for people to say or spell, or not a tweet way to raise your profile. Don’t worry, it’s very easy to fix…

1. Go to Twitter, click on the cog (top right), then Edit profile:

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2. Select Account, then change the username listed (mine’s LindaCheungUK to match with LinkedIn – you can also claim your LinkedIn public profile as your own):

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3. Save changes at the bottom of the page:

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That’s it! If the username is taken, you will be prompted to choose another one. Usernames can contain up to 15 characters.

Changing your username will not affect your existing followers – they will simply see a new username next to your profile photo when you update.

If a CubeSocial contact changes their username, a new contact card will be created by tweet conversations, then you can simply merge the new with the old Smile

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1 3 Financial Services Social Media Success Stories

As financial services firms step-up their use of social media, we’ve been looking for some early success stories. Here are three great ones:

The Rock Group (a Morgan Stanley company) generated 28% of their revenues from social media in 2011, including one $70m account. Financial advisor Mitchell Rock explained that the key to success is to understand your target market and focus on a niche.
Source: Reuters

LPL Financial win a $3M account from a prospect who followed the firm’s Facebook Page for 8 months. Financial Advisor David Armstrong was prospecting a business owner but the person was not ready to make a decision. That person, however, decided to follow the firm on Facebook.

“It was an easy way for him to see what we are thinking without us bothering him,” he said. As a result, the prospect later told him, “I love what you have been writing for the last eight months. I am ready to move my accounts to you.’
Source: Financial Planning

Morgan Stanley financial advisor wins $2.6m account from Linkedin.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney adviser Mark Scribner one day noticed that a business acquaintance he hadn’t spoken to in 15 years had viewed his LinkedIn profile. Scribner called the acquaintance, mentioned LinkedIn, and within days was handling a large life insurance policy for the man’s boss.
Source: Wall Street Journal

PR Agencies: How not to use Social Media

 

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If you’re a PR agency encouraging your staff to find and win new clients through social media, here’s a cautionary tale about how not to do it.

Earlier today I received a tweet “wondering what the best email to drop you a line on?”. It was from someone that I had never tweeted with before, so I was curious.

The Twitter bio told me the individual worked for “one of the UK’s fastest growing and most influential PR agencies”. The associated Twitter timeline showed character, but not the kind I was expecting:

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Rather than jump to any conclusions, I thought to double-check – perhaps the account was for personal use and I wasn’t the intended recipient of the email request:

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Everyone in the office turned round to find out what was going on when I laughed out loud on receiving the response:

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So, a representative of an “influential” PR agency, who has no idea how to represent herself or her employer online, would like to represent me…

Thanks, but no thanks!

1 Grant Thornton Lead Accountancy Firms into Social Media Future

Not sure how we missed this from earlier this year… Accountancy firm Grant Thornton’s internal video encouraging, no instructing employees to get on social media and connect with prospects and clients.

Great quotes from the video:

“Smart use of social media… will help us win business, achieve the growth we’re after and get the best people to joins us. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“At Grant Thornton using social media at work is not only permitted and acceptable, but desirable and expected.”

Here’s the video. It’s just a couple of minutes long and well worth watching:

Well done to Grant Thornton for taking a lead on this!

If you are thinking of using social media to market your services or connect with clients and prospects then give us a shout. We have years of experience working with accountants and provide a range of social media services for accounting firms large and small.

Do you still pay for Print Ads or Directory Listings?

The incredible shrinking Yellow Pages

Do you still pay for listings in the Yellow Pages, the Phone Book, Thomson Local or industry-specific directories? Do you still advertise in the local press? Do you get any return from them?

As the Internet and social media recommendations (from Amazon reviews to asking your friends on Facebook) have grown, people are increasingly turning away from directories and printed ads as a way to discover products and services.

You might say that the directories still serve an older generation that aren’t on the Internet. My experience though is that even this audience are shunning directories… Having heard their family talk about social media they understand that there is better value to be had on the Internet even if they can’t use it themselves. So what do they do?

They ask their children or grandchildren to do the research for them and come back with a recommendation.

So as you think about how to best allocate your marketing spend over the next year take a critical look at your directory and print advertising spend and think about how you can more effectively re-allocate that online. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this.

5 How #youdrive ratings and advertising

imageShortly after spotting David Cameron’s first tweet on Saturday, I was intrigued to see #YOUDRIVE trending as a promoted hashtag. A few clicks later, I was being encouraged to “take part in a social media first”.

The Mercedes campaign featured three adverts to introduce the new A-Class to young professionals. The premise was a cat and mouse chase – UK rapper Kano was trying to get to a secret gig that the authorities were keen to close down, and viewers could vote via Twitter to steer the action real-time.

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Viewers were given two opportunities to select outcomes during two ad breaks in Saturday’s The X Factor. The finale was shown during the Sunday night show – it recapped the first two episodes before the final reveal.

imageIn contrast to the live online reaction to David Cameron joining Twitter, the initial response to #youdrive seemed incredibly positive, especially with Mercedes’ target audience.

What particularly caught my eye were the tweets preferring the adverts over the programme that they were being aired in: “Only want to watch #youdrive advert tonight. Xfactor’s boring #switch”… “Hurry up, I just wanna see the adverts #youdrive”…

A year or two back, I rarely watched any entertainment programmes live. I would record and fast forward through the adverts. Now, some programmes just aren’t the same if I miss the live hashtag insights and conversations.

As with email, then mobile phones, Twitter is increasingly just one more way for us to talk. The popularity of hashtags such as #bbcqt (BBC Question Time), #scd (Strictly Come Dancing) and #xfactor make it clear that social media has already changed our viewing habits. How much will social media and campaigns such as #youdrive change how advertising evolves?