July 21, 2009
Interview with Mums in Control magazine – out this summer. MIC is a fast growing network of mums in business or mumpreneurs. A fast-growing phenomenon I am part of, and keen to support. Not sure about the “in control” bit, but hopefully in balance more often than not.
Mothers are increasingly fed up with jobs that do not allow them to spend enough time with their children. So instead, they are starting their own businesses. The number of women working for themselves has leapt by nearly 20% since 2000, according to official figures, and now tops a million.
And an opinion poll commissioned by the government shows that the most significant factor in the increase is a desire among women for a better balance between work and family life.”
From BBC News
Clarification: my services extend beyond online social networking. See here for more.
Making Social Networks Your Business…
The social web changes the marketing game by making it participative. LIBBY DAVY, inspirational social web expert, artist and mother, offers insight into becoming SMART (specific, measurable, achieveable, realistic and timely) when marketing your business.
Read this article carefully, it’s the new holy grail for all aspiring mumpreneurs…
An Australian communications and PR specialist with an engaging smile, Libby Davy now lives with her technology-savvy husband, young daughter and dog, in Brighton, West Sussex. She’s a web champion with a social conscience, who is hugely enthusiastic about the way women use the internet today. “We are natural social animals,” she explains, “Women love to communicate, to collaborate, to create connections. The internet’s our natural home.”
A few years ago, terms like ‘googling’ and ‘surfing’ may have felt alien, but today we all do these things with the same ease as hanging out the washing. The web’s become invaluable and not just for doing the supermarket shopping. We’re also communicating with old friends and ex-colleagues and keeping an eye on our kids through the social websites they use, like Bebo and Facebook, too. Oh! and of course some of us are using it for dating, as well. Even so, are we really taking full advantage of the internet’s social dimension to support our business needs? Libby shakes her head; clearly thinks not.
She and her husband run a technology company called, Nodestone, which combines middleware development (her husband’s bit and a techy term you don’t need to understand) with a social networking consultancy (the bit we are interested in). Through it, Libby runs workshops to explain how the web is a social network that enables you to do far more than keep in touch with your mates. Whilst traditional media can still be useful for promoting your business, the web is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). Libby encourages us to, “Try not to fear the jargon. There are a few new terms worth understanding, as they will give you confidence to harness all the values the web has to offer.”
She points me to her website for some clear advice. It tells me that “vast numbers of people are using blogs, social networks, photo and video sharing sites as important marketing and engagement tools.” Libby explains further, “Building your buzz in these spaces is a good way to find your market. Getting the right bloggers to write about your activities (blog outreach) is also a good way to reach interested people.”
These activities will help build traffic to your business’s website. This is critical if you want to raise your search rankings. (e.g when someone keys your business type into google or Yahoo search your company to come up towards the top of the results). Libby explains that to achieve this, “exchange links with relevant blogs and other sites, and remember that a personal request works best. A good way to start is by commenting on other blogs that are writing about your topics. It’s also a good idea to have a blog as part of your site; it’s an easy way to keep the content fresh and the site alive.”
You can use social networks to build a list of ‘friends’ who you can message in a similar way to email and so promote your website. Social networks also have a viral aspect where people sign-up to your cause because they’ve seen it appear in a friend’s newsfeed or on their profile. You can make it easy to sign up by adding links to your Facebook, Myspace, Bebo or other social networking profiles on to your website homepage.
“Social networks work best when you put a lot of time into them, sending messages, responding to friend requests, commenting on other people’s profiles,” Libby warns. “But the results can be really worthwhile. They are informal social spaces, so the more personal and friendly you can be, the better. People in social networks will tend to ignore corporate communications.”
She advises that you think carefully about who you are trying to attract using social networking sites, in some societies they are mostly used by a younger audience, however they are increasingly gaining popularity with different communities.
Twitter is the most recent term on everyone’s lips, since Barack Obama used it so successfully for his presidential campaign.
“It’s hard to describe Twitter well,” laughs Libby, “Except as a mixture of micro-blogging (160 characters per entry as in mobile phone text messages) and social networking. It works across the web and with mobile phones and feels ‘live’.”
People are using Twitter to share interesting content, especially to respond to things that are happening at that moment or to share snippets of and links to interesting articles and blog posts.
I ask her how you can you see if all your social marketing is working?
“A simple tool you can use for free is Google Alerts,” she says. “You can set this up through going to the main google website and specifying which key words you want it to alert you about when they are used on a website. Google Alerts then emails you when these keywords are mentioned in online media and blogs.”
“The mantra of online marketing is ‘measure everything’. For your site, the main tool will probably be Google Analytics, it’s free and provides a lot of detail on your website statistics; who’s using your site, where they are coming from to reach your site and what they are looking at. For your social networks you’ll largely be relying on the stats you can get from them, such as number of friends, number of comments, and number of video views. The web promises what traditional PR & marketing never could – the possibility of measuring engagement.”
The social web changes the whole marketing game by making it participative. You don’t just want to get people interested, you want to get them involved. Encourage people to bookmark your site in social bookmarking services like Delicious and always encourage friends and supporters of your initiative to and encourage your friends to promote your cause.”
With this Libby takes a breath. “There’s so much more to say,” she laughs, “but perhaps this is enough for one day. “
10 new web terms your business should know….
A blog is a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse time order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject; some function as more personal online diaries. Blog software (eg. Wordpress) is often used to build websites for organisations now, as it is easy and free to use.
Syndication means that anyone can subscribe to your blog and receive automatic notification that it has been updated. It uses RSS feeds.
Really Simple Syndication is a technology that allows Internet users to receive ongoing, constantly updated information from many sources through a simple reader or aggregator (eg. Google Reader). This is supplied through an “RSS feed” that users can subscribe to.
A feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news reader or simply as an aggregator, is client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing.
The ability to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks through services such as Delicious and share them with others. Users may also take bookmarks saved by others and add them to their own collection, as well as to subscribe to the lists of others.
A group of websites with a common theme, built in a loop, allowing a surfer easy access to subsequent sites in the ring by clicking on links. There are thousands of web rings around in all sorts of categories and issues.
A broad class of websites and services that allow you to connect with friends, family, and colleagues online, as well as meet people with similar interests or hobbies. Popular examples include MySpace, Facebook, Linked In. Even photo sharing websites like Flickr have become places for social networking through shared interests.
Online Media Storage
Websites that allow you to store, share and view a range of media such as digital photographs (see Flickr), audio files like podcasts, video (see YouTube).
Weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly roundups of blogs on a particular issue or topic.
Note: things have already moved on, and this would not still be my essential list of terms.
February 17, 2009
Lots in this fine presentation, but well worth flicking through and pondering.
Communities of Practice came up when I began an MA in Person Centred Education. I believe they have profound implications for lifelong learning.
February 3, 2009
We are all enjoying reading “YES! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion” by leading academics Goldstein and Cialdini with Martin making it pacy and very readable. Even Bea (8) snaffled it to swot up, priding herself on the ability to convince her parents of just about anything.
What I’m liking about the book, other than the credibility of its empirically based contents, is its ethics.
Reviews say “earnest and honest… Jedi-like… perfectly pitched for smart business people…charmingly practical.”
I’ll be quoting from it often.
“Constructive tools that help build authentic [there's that word again] relationships with others, highlight the genuine strengths of one’s message, initiative or product, and ultimately create outcomes that are in the best interests of all parties.
“When these tools are instead used unethically as weapons, however – for example, by dishonestly or artificially importing the principles of social influence into situations in which they don’t naturally exist – the short-term gains will almost invariably be followed by long-term losses… the long-term reputational consequences are dire when such dishonesty is eventually discovered.”
In a post-Cluetrain world where the blogosphere and online consumer ’sharing’ can bring down the biggest or the smallest bullshit artistes, the time has never been more ripe for telling it straight – and well.
The Science of Persuasion is a great read to help you do so. I am not surprised it made it into Britain’s most prestigious award for science writing from the Royal Society.
Let’s hope Bea wields her new-found knowledge with kindness and wisdom! Let’s hope we all do… with carrots not sticks.
COMPETITION FOR NODESTONE READERS
Examples please people… let’s start adding up the real-life situations of positive persuasion, and the costs of unethical propaganda… A copy of Naked Conversations by Scoble and Israel or Yes! for the best entries (with links to case studies ideally) in the comments section.
January 17, 2009
|31 January, 2009|
|10:00 am||to||2:00 pm|
I was lucky to attend the first one and I really recommend this workshop and follow-up session with Sarah.
It ain’t your standard marketing workshop. Sarah uses a variety of techniques to get deeply into what you want to communicate about what you do and then leads exercises that help explore what is stopping you getting the word out. We all want to be communicating honestly and authentically about who we are and what we do, and this workshop explores that in a surprising, supportive and fun way. And the followup one-on-one is great for cementing that new direction or going deeper.
In the Workshop:
We will explore a different way of looking at marketing that offers a bigger picture of where your business is, and where you would like it to be. We’ll use a systemic perspective and open up the idea of business communication as a flow of energy through your organisation. Approaching your business at a deeper level helps you check that your marketing messages are coming from the heart and are targeting the right people in the right way. This is a creative session with a small group in a friendly, supportive environment.
In the One-to-One:
Bring all your ideas from the workshop and use my professional experience to help you tailor your perfect marketing strategy. Channel your creative energy through your practical business plans.
I loved it, and I’m not one for marketing workshops. There was depth and authenticity in this approach that worked for me. You’ll see some of the results of my insight here on Nodestone in the next few months.
More info from Marketing with Heart
January 11, 2009
If you haven’t checked it out yet, have a good look at Message in-a-Box “A toolkit for communicating your cause”.
It’s relevant to anyone that needs to communicate in life and work.
When Nodestone was commissioned by the Tactical Tech Collective earlier in the year to help bring it together, I faced a somewhat overwhelming task as you might imagine when you see it.
What is it? A rather large online resource for learning how to communicate better, to put it simply.
More specifically, it’s an international educational platform for people in NGOs and campaigning organisations that demonstrates how to use low-tech and high-tech tools and tactics to work on some of the hardest issues of our times.
We show you how to think strategically (about goals, resources and time) and then know which tools and tactics (eg. images / print / audio / video / internet / mobiles and media) to choose to get your message across.
Here’s how Tactical Tech describe it:
“…a set of strategic guides to using communications tools for social change, together with a suite of open source tools to get you making your own media. The toolkit is designed for small and medium-sized NGOs, advocates, and citizen journalists to help them create and distribute content for their advocacy efforts while exploring the constantly evolving world of campaigning and communications.”
The feedback has been excellent around the world. A much needed resource.
Here’s an example of how it works:
This section helps you find out how others have used images effectively and creatively. It helps you learn how to find, create, edit, share great images, with an emphasis on photographs, comics, maps and simple animated images.
Images add impact to stories, blog posts, websites, posters,brochures, email campaigns – whatever campaigning channels and tools you are using.
What do you need?
Essential: ideas, creativity, imagination, a strategy.
Extra: people to help, internet access, mobile phone and/or a camera (digital or other), source books/comics/cartoons collected from anywhere or commissioned.
Having worked in communications as a consultant, writer, activism and educator for (gosh!) over 20 years, it was a dream to be able to put these threads of life to good use. To make something practical and tangible.
Message-in-a-Box is about the power of PR being brought to the people who have historically had least access to it. Things were all explained in the simplest possible terms with examples and free software downloads. From human rights abuses to clean water – NGOs on little or no budget obviously need education and support. It’s an egalitarian Aussie’s delight.
In London, Botswana or Mumbai, Message-in-a-Box is now available for free, 24/7. A print version with DVD software is also being distributed. It’s actually a good resource for anyone a clear (hopefully) perspective on getting your message across.
Along the way we got to massage the words and ideas of some great folk like Becky Faith, Dr Dan McQuillan and Heleana Quartey. Hopefully to first incarnation is already being put to some good use.
Once thing I’m hoping Tactical Tech do soon is to improve collaboration and “stickiness” on the site. Feedback, registration etc… Also the use of images and stills, sound and video clips to make the resource more visual and interactive – to practice what we preach!
Over the years we have increasingly worked on projects that pass positive screens for social / eco accountability. Put another way… that feel good. Like:
- widgets for TrickleStar and the BBC
- social carbon measurement for Global Action Plan
- edu-marketing for the Guerrand Hermes Foundation for Peace
- teaching blogging to communities and companies
- setting up The Big Love Gift Guide
- running a massive campaign for TV Turn Off Week.
But as long as you aren’t arms dealers, we can usually find or create some positive values in just about any project. Get in touch if you want to know how Nodestone can help you feel good about your work.
October 3, 2008
Back in my dark old days as a corporate PR consultant, we had a room full of poor sods somewhere in the bowels of the machine, cutting out column cms from dead-trees-pages. Why? So we could justify our exorbitant fees and monitor our clients reputations. It was also so we could respond to a debate or manage an “issue”.
In some ways, nothing’s really changed. That is still going on, but many people would say the real action is now happening online. And the best thing is, I don’t have to feel sorry for the Google search spiders having to crawl through the myriad pages to retrieve what I want. It’s what they love best!
Here’s a helpful piece from E-Consultancy about how to monitor opinions, articles, conversations relevant to you and your organisation – without paying a brass razoo (in most cases).
Before you get cracking (because you know it’s time) – here’s a quick Nodestone guide to getting sorted.
1. Know what your goals are
- Do you just want to know what being said about you online, or are you planning to enter the conversation (and if you are not sure, best you be reading up on the power of web 2.0, blogging and the social web. See our presentation here for a start.
- How far do you want to go and what resources do you have to manage your responses?
2. What key words are most relevant to you
- Various spellings and shortened versions of your company, major projects/products and names of key people
- Major stakeholders (eg. legislators, major customers/shareholders, funding partners).
- The sector that you are in
- Other key words, eg topics you would scan for when reading a newspaper
3. How are you planning to circulate and act on what you find?
- If there is a live debate on a blog or in a forum about your key topics, what will you do? Who will be ready and able to respond to misinformation or genuine criticism?
- If there is a chance to offer a positive follow-up story to an influential blogger or mainstream journalist, who and how will (you) act?
- If there is a positive story about your project/organisation – what will you do? Who will you share it with?
- If there is an interesting story written, how can you use it in your own communications?
- Will you carefully subscribe to certain blogs or newsfeeds and read them?
Welcome to the great conversation of “us”. In some ways it’s never been easier. If you do nothing more than have a play with Google Alerts – you will learn a lot.
If you want to discuss a proper strategy about media monitoring and reputation management, give me a tinkle. We’ld love to help you improve your communications. It might be as simple as a short chat and a sign post to send you off in the right direction.
September 18, 2008
Watch it. Think. Act. It is as simple and as difficult as that. There is no other way.
Lovely piece of animation too ;-)
July 21, 2008
These slides from the training session for the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce last week. Let me know if you want us to come to your event or run a bespoke event or Masterclass.
More details on our Social Media for Good course soon (looks like next date will be Oct 3 in Brighton).
Covers a bit of an introduction to social media and blogging, plus some questions to get you thinking about your own context, opportunities and challenges.
Some good thinking in the room and animated conversations. Quite a few organisations ready to get blogging and exploring integrated social media in more depth.
A few of you made pledges are you walked out the door about your goals and intentions, so let me know how you get on!
Thanks to all for your warm feedback and to those who helped make it a positive event, especially Lorraine Bell (BCP), Tania “Radiance” Fullerton (Brighton Steiner School) and Fay McDonald.
July 17, 2008
|21 August, 2008|
|6:30 pm||to||8:30 pm|
One of our special Nodestone colleagues Mr Jim Callender is running a session soon that can’t be missed. Well, except by us as we will be swanning around in France having a well earned break!
For those of you who will be around, do get along. Email is one of the most tried and true, low cost and high response online marketing / social media tools to use. Do it well, and it might even go viral.
Jim will be co-presenting with the now-famous pure360 – total email marketing solution people. Great resources available on their site.
Thursday 21st August, 18:30 – 20:30
Payment by donation to The Werks.
June 26, 2008
When I read this, I also include social media (eg. blogging / photo sharing / social networking).
Commentators like Clay Shirky and Charles Leadbeater tend to be a bit snobbish when it comes to acknowledging the inherent human need to be heard, to share, to tell our stories.
Lawrence Sanger told me he was worried about non-experts getting together to construct their own knowledge. But he would say that.
I say – do it! Experts be damned. Speak your truth, and find others that share it.
[[ Just be careful about checking the facts that really matter. Which is not what we are talking about here anyway. The subjective realm is far vaster than many wish to acknowledge.]]
Writing is egalitarian; it cuts across geographic, class, gender, and racial lines… vice presidents of insurance agencies…factory workers…lawyers, doctors, gay rights activists, housewives, librarians, teachers, priests, politicians…
We all have a dream of telling our stories – of realising what we think, feel and see before we die. Writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate.”
Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones