Tonight I will be attending this Edinburgh Internet Marketing MeetUp Event featuring two guest social media experts,
Adam Gordon Norma Corlette (change to programme) of Gordon BDM and Colin Gilchrist, The Social Tailor and will be liveblogging my notes here.
Adam seems cued up to talk about LinkedIn which will be of particular interest as I’m getting myself organised to give a talk for students arranged by the University of Edinburgh Careers Service on LinkedIn and how they may want to start to think about using it to begin building their career. Colin, the second speaker tonight, is always great to hear from so I’ll look forward to seeing what’s currently on his mind – perhaps Google+ or perhaps the just-announced Microsft so.cl search/network? We shall see…
For those based in Edinburgh that haven’t been along to the Internet Marketing MeetUp group before it’s a really useful space for networking usually based around interesting talks and presentations. I don’t make it along very often but it’s usually useful and interesting when I do so it’s well worth a look. And tonight, I think mainly as it’s a joint event with the Business School’s E-Club, it’s a really packed event!
Right, here we go…Firstly an introduction to the E-Club which is open to all to join. And now it looks like it’s going to be Colin to speak first.
Colin Gilchrist – The Social Tailor
I’ll be talking about optimising your business and using social media. Four key areas essential for your strategy: Surveying; Training; Planning; Analysing. You need people talking in the right way with the right tone.
I started off life in fashion design. Ended up being part of the Burberry buying team under Rosemary Burbers. Part of my role was closing down the Scottish Burberry stores and I stayed here. I hooked up with some guys from the Leith agency and we got into doing stuff on the web. I come from a fairly creative background
Hugh Mcleod was blogging from about 2000 (gapingvoid.com) and was copyrighter for ad agencies and a cartoonist. Back in 2000/1 he told me about is blogging life and he was attending geek dinners and he picked up on a particular brand of wine which he couldn’t find anyway. He persuaded them to give him lots of wine and he brought that to the geek dinners and encouraged bloggers to write about them. Then knocked on doors of shops and supermarkets with print out of posts. They were importing 1/4 million cases of wine from zero after that.
In 2006 looking after websites for people like the proclaimers. In 2007 we were doing viral videos. Created a twiter product back in 2008 called Tweetabits – ahead of it’s time but no longer there. In 2009 worked with Zappos – introduced them to some software tools on Facebook. Went from 0 turnover to 1.3 billion. It’s a very social business. So March 2010 doing social media strategy training and planning and keeping website.
So, you want to…
So this is my route, what I typically do…
- Survey clients/customers – to know what they think about, what networks they use, what they know about. Identify the produts and services with biggest margin that they like best and why. Build up stock of potential content, you need to generate lots of content and you need passionate and engaged people. When you know what makes your customers tick…
- Survey Team – You need to build a team – it’s not one person’s job. Poppy Scotland is an interesting local example. We have Chief Exec, PR people, Fundraisers, etc. all of those people create content. All of my strategies centre around the blog – it’s what you control and you can feed your other channels from there. So you have a team of 7, 8, 9 people, maybe less. You need to know what networks people are good at, what they like, what they enjoy, how big is their network – are you including people with loads of connections? Consider everybody? I always want to integrate everything into existing marketing practices. The strategy is an ongoing voice. You involve a marketing agency for peaks, campaigns that all need to be aware of. So, for example there is an advert going in Vogue, Cosmo and Elle. You don’t just expect business – you tell your contacts etc. about it to make sure it gets seen, it reaches the most people possible. Advertising doesn’t work alone it must be integrated into the plan.
- Involve Your Agency (marketing/advertising)
- Local voices work – really important especially if you are multisited. People listen to a local voice, it works. Harder to manage but that’s where trianing comes in.
- Crisis Management – what’s the plan when it all goes tits up? I get a lot of calls about this. So there is a local internet company whose services went down – if you were a client you lost everything. In 7 hours Twitter decided the business had closed out. They sent out one tweet “we have issues”. That was it. The chief exec said something a little more helpful but nothing else. Nothing on Twitter or Facebook, their own website was down. So what to do. Lists are a good place to start. So you’re a law firm, say something happens that is scandelous (nice example here that I’ll not fill in in detail) but you have a list of everything that *could* go wrong. And you assign words and phrases. Then you go to Google AdWords account and buy ALL of those phrases. And then you can ensure people are seeing what YOU put on your site, you do the same on Facebook etc. You create a funnel to something you can control. On twitter every 5 minutes you update people of the situation, you post something on the blog. Different platforms require different techniques.
- Analytics and Monitoring – lets get this right – management need to know! Loads of tools dependent on budget. Ultimately one person directs what activity is wanted..
- OK, so who hands out the KPIs?
So lots of activity, lots of voices but one set of targets.
So for example going back to Poppy Scotland. We started work in August 2010. Got Facebook to 6000 Likes, increased web visits by 20%, 5% donations increase (£150k). By 2011 up to 41,000 likes, 50% increase in visits etc.
So the Facebook page is integrated to other activity. Huge image communicating message. Not just a screed of postings on the wall.
Another example… Darren McMullen (@darrenmcmullen) needs more followers – Colin’s working on this but do throw Darren a follow!
I started up a blog called Socialtailor.com which was nothing to do with his digital agendy but to do with ongoing interest in fashion. Last year I was up to almost 3000 people per day visiting, just through taloking about stuff that excited me. So that’s become the business. Ultimately now a creative director of fashion director we are taking to market in February. How bizarre is that, just from a blog!
So what matters in social media is 3 things: Passion, Focus, Communication
And now we are moving onto…
Norma Corlette – An entrepreneurs perspective: how can you use social media to promote your business
Norma explains that she started out as an entrepreneur setting up her own businesses. In 2008 she started advising others on how to build and develop their businesses specialising on high growth and often online business.
Adam set up his company in 2009 looking at LinkedIn etc. when few others were focusing on that. He put out a white paper to 28,000 people and from that platform we are building an international business
Adam recently set up Cogniscence – a LinkedIn group you can apply to join – with 1000+ key decision makers there already. It is only our Scottish Cogniscence, we will be launching regional versions across the UK, next up is London and Yorkshire. But I’m an entrepreneur and so I don’t care about the follows, I care about the money. And I am MD of Cogniscence. One of my clients is Edinburgh Zoo and I’ll be picking up Colin’s great crisis tips for my next meeting with them!
What’s coming up next is professional profiling in multiple sense. That’s where we are looking to.
I will talk about where I’ve come from, 5 key principles and how to profile yourself.
I got into this because you can establish a need but if people are not interested in that need then it’s not worth while – whenever someone asks you for your card you’ve said something important, that’s something you can sell – and when I mentioned LinkedIn and profiling people took interested. This started because my son got headhunted through LinkedIn. One of my clients also had one of their software engineers headhunted on LinkedIn. That’s two people who were doubling their salary there. It became clear that profiles really matter. So I set up a LinkedIn Homework Club (I used to be a teacher) and we all ended up with increased activity and enquiries etc.
Then someone from O2 came to me and asked me to find their client group – what I need is everyone in the EH area – Edinburgh & Livingston – between 10 and 200 people in legal, finanial, IT or recruitment sector. And she needed decision makers. I did some research and presented that to her. And we now have a rather large contract with LinkedIn. There’s 120 million people on LinkedIn, all at professional level. Right now it’s something we should be exploring for whatever reasons.
So here are 5 principles to remember:
- Everyone prefers to communicate in a different way – I had a young graduate with me in a place with a lot of people they could meet and network with. And I was introducing her around and she was asked to tweet one of these new contacts – she looked a bit astonished. Some poeple prefer phone, some prefer LinkedIn, some prefer Twitter, etc. The most succesful businesses connect in lots of ways.
- Enhancing your network – people often connect with others like them. But you don’t want to do that. For business that’s not how you find new leads. You want to connect with your business groups, the people you want to make business. You can do that in so many ways so that you broaden your network to meet your business needs as well. You are building your future clients and sales.
- Be where your audience is – where are they? I know where mine is. I’m very specific about it. One of the biggest things that attracted me to Adam he was really clear about the clients he works with – he knew his sector and he only wanted to see heads of departments or businesses – they have budgets to spend. My time isn’t wasted dealing with them. This becomes really important
- Leading the conversation – there are loads of different groups on LinkedIn, you want to be involved in the conversation. So if you are a lawyer and in a legal group you can’t just spout legal stuff. You have to get inside their head and get their interest.
- Free as a currency – a lot of you will get this in a way that my generation don’t. Adam and I are sitting now, because of his courage and his work, we have this guide to LinkedIn we can send you if you give us your email. He took all that he knew, he wrote it, he made it easy to read and put it out there and said here it is, free… And now 28,000 people know about Adam Gordon. He is top of McKinsey Quarterly and has been for a wee while. That’s free as a currency. Find a way to get it out there. Look at the position. I think I’m about to build another international business and we wouldn’t be there without that white paper.
So shall we look at profiling?
So firstly looking at Norma’s profile. She’s searching for Board Director in the people search – she’s second in the list… and the person before her is the one that showed her how to do this. Go study Norma’s profile to find out how. Part of this is about using the same terms over and over again. So this profile has board and director mentioned over and over. The same applies to particular specialisms. Adam also mentions LinkedIn in multiple places. The more you use these key terms the more you push your position up. Whatever you want to be you use those words… you have to look at it from a client point of view too, what will people type in.
But that’s not enough. Gets you interest but then it dies away… so how do you get the recruitment opportunities?
So… Think this through. If you are a recruitment company you are looking for someone with skills. Just putting a job title isn’t enough. You need a bit of your skills. So need to put in your roles, your skills, the things you specialize in. You need that stuff even in your top heading. The next thing LinkedIn looks at is your current position – so you need to build in all of your roles here. And then LinkedIn looks at your past experience.
You need to spend a weekend sorting out your LinkedIn profile – that white paper is your recipe. When you’ve done that you need to adding activity every week. You need a great picture too – not one at a wedding or something, you need to look professional.
When you edit your profile you can see who has looked at your profile. And you can see the search terms being used to find you. And when the activity is. And those searches tell me how people are finding me. When I was first on there it was my former married name appearing on LinkedIn – I wasn’t communicated in the way I wanted to get the business. Now I am. I am really clear about what I am and what I do.
A good question here – is this a premium feature? Well the people who have seen your profile is free, the stats are premium.
So, if someone has looked at your profile – and if they are a good potential contact, they have lots of good connections, that’s a great time to approach those people, connect with them etc. and make best use of those potential connections.
So, get started. The ones that are on here are the ones that get found, end of story.
Q1) How do you generate traffic to your Facebook Page
CG) What do you want to do? Do you just want Likes? What do you do?
Q1) I am a t-shirt designer, I’m trying to generate sales etc.
CG) Do you have an opportunity for people to like your Facebook page where you sell the product? Even one like per product. Images of people already liking it. I have a handout somewhere with 26 point about how to up your likes – drop me an email and I’ll send that on.
Q2) If you were starting a business today and you were looking to get into social media – should you build a personal brand or a business brand?
CG) for me I would always start with a blog. I got to 2-3000 people today because I was posting articles 2 or 3 times per day. I shared it on Twitter and Facebook but I wasn’t communicating there, I was just sharing that. If you open that Twitter door and you are busy people will expect responses, you need to control those conversations. Blogs need less time, and is more controllable when starting out. With more time and staff you can open up and engage with people and have a conversation. It’s always dangerous to set something new up on your own, if you have a team you can manage them.
Q3) Question on blogging and linkedin. I have an ebook search site which is modestly successful. Opportunity to blog on an industry standard newspaper blog site – should I blog on theirs, or my blog or both?
CG) I would blog on theirs, link to that from your blog, and tweet a link to that to.
Q4) How does Google connect to LinkedIn, would people look on LI for a garden designer etc. I am a sole trader. I do tweet. I use linkedin. And I blog. But I’m trying to figure out how they all slot together.
CG) the blog thing is fanastic. To find people who want a garden designer LI will be brilliant – there will be construction companies and developers who are looking for garden designers etc.
NC) Going back to that girl from O2 who had a specific radius and type of business. You can go for a specific industry if you want. You’re doing well already.
Q4) We are in groups on LI with other gardeners… should I approach people?
CG) Make a point of NOT doing a direct sale. Be a point of advice and expertise. Much more attractive than pushing sales.
NC) Think maybe about your target group financially but do it for yourself at your level
Q5) You mentioned tone of voice at the beginning of your presentation, when you are planning for your clients is it easy to find a tone a voice?
CG) depends on the channels. We’ve used strategies that include point of sale, email, ads all in one strategy. There is a campaign strategy but different tone for each presence. The people managing the twitter account will find the right tone to engage. Twitter is very conversational and you find the tone. Facebook you put stuff out there. YouTube is interesting – more traffic on making of than video, it’s typically more relaxed.
Q6) A more basic question in a way. Interested in what was said – a company not saying anything on Twitter for 7 hours…
CG) The company just didn’t think to use the Twitter account that they had already. They had the ability but just didn’t think of it.
Q7) How often do you use Google’s Pay Per Click, and would you advise using it.
CG) It’s not something I’m hugely experienced with. But it works.
Q7) But it’s high cost…
CG) Yes. The difference between trying to create a big audience yourelf versus pay per click is x20 or x30… it’s monstrously bigger. We did a couple of Facebook ads for poppy scotland – maybe a cost of £200 in total – and that saw the big jump of traffic. If you get it right it’s very successful.
NC) eCommerce are very strategic about when they use pay per click. When people start out they put those pay per clicks out but quickly phase those out – a retail product here.
Q8) On LinkedIn, I know which people I want, they are people with power and budget in pubilshing companies. But what job title might that be – it could be one of many things.
NC) Maybe communicate with them and find out. That happens in every industry. You have to just start communicating with people
CG) Try the ones you have success with already and see what they call themselves.
NC) Have confidence in what you are doing.
Q9) The Facebook Ads thing… Are there any limits on that. Can you do giveaway or competitions?
CG) You can’t have competitions on your Facebook wall without breaking the terms of conditions. You generally need to use third party applications.
Q9) So I was wondering about doing a giveaway to promote my business.
CG) You can do that but you need to use an app NOT your wall.
Q10) I was wondering about your thoughts on Facebook for B2B rather than B2C?
CG) There are some groups that amuse those in construction, say, on Facebook. But you have to be creative about what you do. It has to attract attention in clever ways. It has a place but talk to your creative agency.
Q11) I work with various small companies who want to use social media. They don’t have much time or experience. Any advice on outsourcing to others?
CG) Lots of people do that, and lots of companies do that. But I’m not a fan of it at all. The companies that do it for themselves – it’s a true honest voice and it’s more effective. If it matters to you you have to make the time. I struggle to get volunteers to write a post once a month. If you live and breath your business it just has to be part of the process!
And with that we are done for the evening and moving on to some relaxed networking.
**Update: Tim Willis of Flexpansion has also blogged this event and pulled out the key themes, well worth a read: http://www.flexpansion.com/2012/01/great-social-media-linkedin-marketing-tips/**