Technology

Have you been on a Social Media Diet yet?

Well if you haven't yet, I promise you that one day you will.

I feel for parents these days. They have the toughest job, especially with addicted kids and teenagers. Addicted to their emotions and technology. I know we joke about Wi-Fi and Battery life being before Physiological needs on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but it's probably true. Try taking a teenager's smartphone away from them and they won't be talking to you for weeks, if ever. You might as well have chopped off their right arm. 

This is the opening sentence by Tristan Harris during his latest Ted Talk filmed in April 2017;

'I want you to imagine walking into a room, a control room with a bunch of people, a hundred people, hunched over a desk with little dials, and that that control room will shape the thoughts and feelings of a billion people. This might sound like science fiction, but this actually exists right now, today.'

He used to work in one of those control rooms. He witnessed that the major social networks that we love and hate are planning to make sure that they grab, as he calls it, a bit of your mind's time. So all those social networks, all of them, want a bit of your mind's time, time you never knew you had to give to them. Even when you are reading this article you are giving a bit of your mind's time to something you never knew was going to happen or even needed it to happen. By me writing this, sharing it on the internet, I am asking you to invest a bit of your mind's time into reading my article. 

I've been sucked in by all of the networks in believing that I also should be, not only investing my mind in absorbing the content, I should be creating it too so others can invest their mind's time into my content.

Tristan talks about a feature on Snapchat called 'Snapstreaks'. Here's what he says;

'And they invented a feature called Snapstreaks, which shows the number of days in a row that two people have communicated with each other. In other words, what they just did is they gave two people something they don't want to lose. Because if you're a teenager, and you have 150 days in a row, you don't want that to go away. And so think of the little blocks of time that that schedules in kids' minds'.

Watch Tristan's TED Talk in full. 'The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention.'

Kids and teenagers are addicted to the internet, fact.

And dare I say it, I am and you are probably too. Want to take the test? Follow the link below. Maybe try and carry out the test on your child and teenager, somehow?

http://www.globaladdiction.org/dldocs/GLOBALADDICTION-Scales-InternetAddictionTest.pdf

Analyse Your Results:

0-20: Not at all nomophobic. You have a very healthy relationship with your device and have no problem being separated from it.

21-60: Mild nomophobia. You get a little antsy when you forget your phone at home for a day or get stuck somewhere without WiFi, but the anxiety isn’t too overwhelming.

61-100: Moderate nomophobia. You’re pretty attached to your device. You often check for updates while you’re walking down the street or talking to a friend, and you often feel anxious when you’re disconnected. Consider a personal detox.

101-120: Severe nomophobia. You can barely go for 60 seconds without checking your phone. It’s the first thing you check in the morning and the last at night and dominates most of your activities in-between. You may need to seek professional assistance.

Read the full article: Technology and Internet addiction: How to recognise it and recover from it.

https://www.comparitech.com/internet-providers/technology-internet-addiction

You might also enjoy an article I wrote back in 2013 title: 'Do Social Networks Sell Drugs';

https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/blog/2013/06/do-social-networks-sell-drugs

Now I know that they do, as I have probably been an addict since then.

All of us for sure will be going on a Social Media Diet. And I have it in my mind to be writing the first one of it's kind. Mind you it means I will also have to try it out! Now that might be a lot tougher.

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Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me http://styin.me/discovery-call-20mins.

Did you know LinkedIn has been removing features for years?

If you have been an active LinkedIn user for a number of years you might remember that LinkedIn removes features on a regular basis from their platform. At least one per year I would say.

Who remembers ‘Events’, ‘Polls’, ‘Reading Lists’ and many more retired features? And then there are features that just stop working without any warning, like 'Reminders', but that's another story altogether.

Share your favourite ones!

The reason sited always is that features are removed because they are not being used as much by members and therefore are retired to the internet abyss.

Below is an image of an email confirming their latest such action.

This particular feature, saving a profile to your contacts, which is being retired at the end of February 2016 is a handy little shortcut when you are searching for individuals that you wish to connect to.

You can (for now) save them to your contacts by clicking the star underneath the profile header or you can click the dropdown on search results and save them that way.  Especially handy when you have saved a favourite search for Lead Generation. See the images below on how this is allowed to be done currently. But not for long.

Maybe I’m a little suspicious.

I am a premium member and recently my premium account got a fantastic free upgrade. ‘Sales Navigator’.  A brilliant and very useful tool for Lead Generation and Social Selling. Really I mean it, it’s great and very useful. So now I don’t actually need to save anyone that I find on search to my contacts, I just add them to Sales Navigator and I am able to do much more with those profiles in Sales Navigator compared to the regular LinkedIn.

But there are lots of folks that are not on premium and have no intention of upgrading, but still would like to do some interesting stuff,  like saving and tagging people on LinkedIn without having Sales Navigator. 

Could this action by LinkedIn just be a ploy to promote Sales Navigator to us all?

I know, I know, actually not many of you realised you could do this anyway. I agree it isn’t very obvious at all and no-one actually advises you that you can do this, apart from LinkedIn Trainers.  And this is the reason, I guess, why LinkedIn are retiring it.

So my question to many of you is, ‘if you had known about this feature would you have used it or not?’

Be honest because this is like my straw poll to see what responses I get and maybe just maybe we can ask LinkedIn to reverse their decision. Now to help me,  please share this with your own network on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

Answer just 2 questions below.

I really appreciate your help with this.

Success!

@stayingaliveuk

Image credit: @gapingvoid

Why Did You Endorse Me?

By far the most frequent asked question I get from my LinkedIn students is around the Skills and Expertise section.

The question usually is around why connections endorse them for skills that they haven't actually experienced, i.e. someone endorses you for one of your skills but you have never demonstrated to them that you have that skill. 

So why are they endorsing you? There are 2 reasons for this.

  1. Because they can.
  2. LinkedIn prompts them to do so, regularly.

Let me explain further. The skills section is something LinkedIn developed out of something that was called ’specialities’, which sat at the end of your summary. When they upgraded this to the Skills and Expertise section it morphed into a brand new and clever system to develop LinkedIn’s objectives to a) get more traffic to their website and b) assist advertisers to target their adverts more accurately towards members who will be interested in those ads.

Every social media website is competing for views. When there’s more traffic to a website, it becomes a more attractive proposition for advertisers. LinkedIn’s advertising real estate is actually very small. See the images below. You can see that there are just 3 areas on their website for adverts.

  1. A sentence right at the very top of the page with a hyperlink.
  2. A banner ad usually a full colour image, which sometimes is animated.
  3. Small ads that appear bottom right, depending on what page you are browsing.

The advertiser has a number of different criteria they can choose from when constructing their advert. And as you are probably guessing by now, skills is one of those criteria, which they can select and is extremely powerful to narrow down your target audience. In the example below it took my target audience from 347 million, the full approximate membership number on LinkedIn down to just 12k, a select audience in Birmingham UK with some specific skills on their profile.

Pretty powerful stuff for the advertiser, which makes it very attractive to advertise on LinkedIn and of course at a lower cost too, because you're targeting a smaller audience. 

Then we have the ecosystem that LinkedIn has created whenever you visit your profile, a connection’s profile or browse the mobile app. Regularly you will see alerts for you to endorse your connections for certain skills. You have no idea whether these skills do actually exist on your connections’ profile. 

The only sure way of making sure that these skills are indeed on their profile is to go there and make sure they are. Sounds like a lot of work, perhaps. However if you don't, LinkedIn will continue to suggest new skills for your connections’ profiles because LinkedIn knows that their skill list is not yet up to maximum 50. It appears that LinkedIn’s primary goal is to make sure that as many of its members has a full list of skills on their profiles. More skills, more targeted advertising and more $$$ for LinkedIn’s shareholders. Got it?

I have a few tips for you to ensure that you are both maximising the skills section for your benefit and as such assist you to be found on LinkedIn.

I decided that making use of this nice infographic on your profile means that the viewers of your profile will get a quick overview of what you are all about.

  1. Have a maximum of 12 skills, you will find that most won't bother to endorse you for more than 3 anyway.
  2. Decide that the key skills you've identified become your keywords for your profile.
  3. Ensure you intelligently spread those keywords (skills) throughout your profile to assist you being found on LinkedIn whenever someone is searching for people who have certain skills. 
  4. Whenever someone endorses you for a skill that does indeed exist on your profile and it’s one you've decided to display there, then the best way to thank them is to endorse them back. You will know from an email sent by LinkedIn, what someone has endorsed you for. (See image below).
  5. If someone has endorsed you for a skill that doesn't appear on your profile, again you will receive an email but this time LinkedIn will prompt you to add it to your profile. If you're not happy to accept this skill, then delete it from the top of your profile, where it will appear as an outstanding action.
  6. If at any time you wish to remove a skill, go into edit profile mode and move to the skills section where you can edit skills by clicking on ’add skill’. Delete and move a skill when you're in edit mode.
 You will receive this email, when your connections have endorsed you for skills that are already on your profile. You can return the favour by visiting their profiles and endorsing them for their skills. There is no further action required.

You will receive this email, when your connections have endorsed you for skills that are already on your profile. You can return the favour by visiting their profiles and endorsing them for their skills. There is no further action required.

 When you receive this email, LinkedIn has prompted one of your connections either when they visited your profile or when they were browsing on their mobile app to endorse you. It's very rare that they have decided to endorse you for that skill, LinkedIn prompts them to do so. When it says 'add to profile', you will know it's a skill that you don't have listed. If you click through that skills will be added. Watch the video below to learn how to dismiss any new skills.

When you receive this email, LinkedIn has prompted one of your connections either when they visited your profile or when they were browsing on their mobile app to endorse you. It's very rare that they have decided to endorse you for that skill, LinkedIn prompts them to do so. When it says 'add to profile', you will know it's a skill that you don't have listed. If you click through that skills will be added. Watch the video below to learn how to dismiss any new skills.

If you are unhappy with the Skills & Expertise section on LinkedIn, I recommend you give LinkedIn some feedback, either via a ’feedback’ link on the site or send a support ticket to LinkedIn help.

Now you know how the Skills & Expertise section works, you may decide to review the skills listed, decide on just a dozen or so and include them throughout your LinkedIn copy.

Feel free to share any questions you may still have about this section on LinkedIn.

@stayingaliveuk


Are LinkedIn Missing Out?

 LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

LinkedIn - Communication - Vision!

Is LinkedIn missing out on communication? Yep BIG time!

About 3 years ago LinkedIn removed their event app with the usual statement saying that 'from time to time we review our services and adjust our offer to ensure the best experience for our customers' or something like this. Commendable I think?

It was quite a useful app I thought. I used it to invite customers to my external webinars or public training events. 

Now most of us use external apps like Eventbrite. 

Also at the time I was searching for a free webinar app and to my delight Google launched Google+ Hangout. 

The web conferencing web app is amazing and works like a dream. The only problem is that today still not that many business people are on Google+. This means I have to educate them on how to use G+ and then train them on how to use G+ Hangout. Time consuming and frustrating. It ways exactly the same when Skype came out many years ago. Nobody had heard of it and didn't know how to use it. Now potentially every business person has heard of Skype and uses it.

G+ Hangout also has a messaging facility, although not that great yet.

Within the last few weeks (April 2015), Facebook launched their dedicated messenger app for the browser. It was already well established as a separate app for mobile, despite some complaints from users in the early days when it moved away from the standard Facebook page. It works and it works well and looks great inside a browser.

I'm sure I don't have to mention all the array of other messenger apps on the market. Just have a look at the graphic below, where the number represents the number of active users in millions. Facebook with messenger and WhatsApp are pretty much dominating the space.

 Graph from statista.com - April 2015

Graph from statista.com - April 2015

What happened to LinkedIn? All they've got is a very basic email service, which only in the past month (March 2015) allows you to attach a file. Fantastic! Not really, I was being sarcastic then in case you hadn't noticed!

Can you imagine how amazing it would be if you had the ability to instant message your connections? Alright, I appreciate that you'd be worried with spammy messages, but they could make it so that you have to invite people to your instant messenger list and request permission in exactly the same way as connection invites.

I guarantee you that the current younger generation when it grows up will demand such a service on LinkedIn otherwise they'll be doing it on Facebook instead. The younger generation believes that email is too slow, they don't use it. Instant responses are something they've got used to and want to experience this when they enter the world of work.

If we were able to instant message than surely the obvious extension of that would be video conference calls. The need for group web conferencing, being able to share and discuss in real-time all around the world and carry out training is absolutely essential nowadays.

It just leaves the facility for events. Like Google+ the event facility would give you the option to schedule online meetings with connections or audio/video conference calls. 

How cool would that be? This is one massive way to get more eyeballs on your site Jeff Weiner

Conclusion: LinkedIn is definitely missing out on the massive explosion of messaging and web meetings.

I look forward to the day when this will change, really looking forward to it!

@stayingaliveuk

Have You Got Content Sorted?

Social Selling experts say that one of the pillars of Social Selling is our ability to demonstrate that we are experts in our industry/sector and thought leaders in our own businesses. One way to show these attributes is to share insights.

Firstly what is meant with insights? Relevant content. Content our buyers are interested in reading and hopefully they'll remember you all the more for sharing it.

The trouble is where do you find those insights/relevant content?

Well, I'm here to share with you that I've pretty much got this part completely sorted. Well in my own mind I have, because I've spent hours refining this and in the process discovering that app developers haven’t made it that easy for us, as of course they aren’t active users of their own apps so there’s no joined-up thinking. 

Until finally the day that joined-up thinking occurred and I'm soooo delighted that those wonderful app developers out there have just made my life even more productive, even though they don’t even know it.

There are just two apps involved and in combination they are my winning formula and very easy to master. If you master this, you will be able to share relevant insights quickly, regularly and easily, with the minimal investment of time and effort.

The first one is Flipboard. Flipboard is an awesome article and news aggregator. And with its magazine style format, it's a dream to browse and flip through the articles. But there are some key things to do, to complete the perfect setup.

  1. Connect all your social accounts in order to get the newsfeed from each of them flowing in your Flipboard. A tile represents a social stream or your selected stream inside Flipboard. Think of it as your individual social magazine.
  2. Do you have twitter lists? Create a separate tile for those.
  3. Have a favourite hashtag? Create a separate tile for as many as you like.
  4. Do you follow key news accounts on Twitter? Like LinkedIn’s Pulse? Add another tile for them.
  5. Create a tile for blogs you follow easy. Get the RSS feed and search for it inside Flipboard and create a separate tile for as many as you wish.
  6. You can create literally dozens of tiles.
  7. Complete the set-up in Flipboard.

The second one is Buffer. Buffer is the best social media sharing/scheduling app on the planet, really it is. Forget Hootsuite.

  1. Download Buffer, free account up to 10 future posts. Paid account $10 per month up to 200 future posts. Go for the paid account, I did.
  2. Connect all your accounts in there too.
  3. Buffer will give you a free email address so you can literally email anything to your schedule (Buffer)
  4. Once you have Buffer installed, I suggest that you learn how to use it properly.

Now with both apps installed and working, you can literally share any article from your Flipboard direct to your Buffer.

Click on the square and arrow icon bottom right, to reveal ‘More Options’ for sharing from your iPhone or iPad. Click on the 3 dots to show more sharing apps and the Buffer logo will be visible. Just select it, be ready to insert a title or message, select the accounts you are sharing to and press ‘Buffer’.

I know it sounds easy and my journey to achieve this has meant that I spent a few hours to learn how Buffer worked and how Flipboard operated.

If you want to have a super-easy, fast, time efficient way of sharing content, this is by far the best route.

I wish you success and let me know when you have mastered it.

Sorry this article is only for iPhone/iPad users.

Is your Social Media Policy liked?

I read with interest a recent newsletter with guidelines and policy on electronic communication and social media. Electronic communication has been around for a while and whilst it’s good to be reminded about what should and shouldn't be done, especially for new starters and young workers who may not be so used to email, in general it’s well established and most people know what is and isn't allowed. Social Media though is a different matter all together. The first question we have to ask ourselves is ’Why is Social Media so popular?’ Well because it releases dopamine in the brain, inside our pleasure/reward centre and that in turn makes it addictive. I wrote a paper on this last year, ’Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’.

IMG_0656

As it’s addictive, it means for many it's almost impossible to leave it alone. Think about it, whenever someone, likes, shares, retweets, follows, invites, accepts, pokes or any other social network activity that has become part of daily behaviour, we feel good about ourselves. We feel like someone approves of us, in a world where mostly we receive criticism, it means we feel like we are getting praise. And of course that feels good and if it feels good, it becomes addictive. Especially young people, who get criticised by parents and teachers alike day in day out. Therefore when they are on social media they (mostly) will get positive messages. I know it has its down side too.

So now we need to think this through, because if it’s addictive and people can't leave it alone, will we still be as harsh on them when we catch them accessing their personal social media networks, whilst at work? Or do we accept, actually this is part of the modern world now and very little we can do to fight it.

Research from 2012 suggests that smart phone owners check their devices 150 times per day, about once every 6 minutes. But we're now in 2014, so we can safely assume it has gone up significantly? Americans aged 18-64 who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so, according to research conducted in November 2012 by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX). (http://styin.me/1b1O73t). I'm sure the UK is not far behind them and that figure will have gone up too.

flickr | rockerictic

One way to allow your employees to engage in social media activities is to supply them with an internal social media platform, which connects everyone inside the business, across geographical boundaries, allowing everyone to learn from each other and to collaborate on projects. Also allowing colleagues to like and comment on posts. This way you are distracting them from their personal networks, by allowing them to still engage in similar activities and satisfy their addiction. Actually personal Social Media, is allowing millions of workers to train themselves in order to assist their learning inside the workplace. Think about it, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have provided free online training. Make sense?

Of course there have to be some rules, but we have to recognise that there is a bigger picture and we need to be conscious of that too.

Wishing you success always.

Just 3 Apps for busy Executives?

Just 3 apps for busy executives...really? If you are a baby boomer or even if you're not and you're not sure which apps to download on your shiny new Apple iPhone 5S or iPad Air.

How about just having 3 in addition to all the ones you get free from Apple of course.

The idea is for you to achieve a super fast review of what's going on what is being said about your company, so you can scan it (read), write it or find it.

Number 1 is Flipboard

flipboard-banner-logo-640

Flipboard is still for me THE best social integration magazine app around. There are others but as Flipboard was first and they made the biggest impression, for me they have stayed ahead of the crowd.

What do you need to do?

  • You need your company social feeds as priority 1. This means you can view and keep up to date with what your marketing teams are sending out.
  • You need your own social feeds if you have time to be engaged with them. You can have feeds from all the major ones, plus you can post and engage from within Flipboard too, so there's no need to download the individual apps. Its basically your single dashboard for everything.

IMG_0527

Second is LinkedIn

If you're no making use of LinkedIn, then you are missing out on some key intel. LinkedIn is now THE biggest and MOST important professional database in the world.

Fortune 500 employees are there for sure and most Executives have a profile, even if some of them are hiding them.

Time to get out of the shadows and be seen!

The LinkedIn iPad app has received a major overall and now its fast and accurate. You have to meet someone, call them or even research them. Using LinkedIn is the best tool for doing that.

Your company profile should be there too. With all the detail of your latest marketing posts.

Remember of course you can pull a lot of the feeds into your Flipboard too! Primarily though this iPad app is for research and engagement.

IMG_0528

Third is iA Writer

logo

Not much to be said, its a simple writing app, no distractions, no formatting, no fluff, just think and write. A draft email, a report, meeting notes, just anything that needs recording simply easily and safely. Done!

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 16.49.40

 

Go and get those and STOP playing games, use your mobile devices to do some business and stay focussed!

Success!

 

 

Where Is Your Video Advert?

I still see many businesses, who are not making use of video to educate their customers, prospects and leads about who they are and what they do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGog-0UY7NA

Think about it, do you have time to read websites, read emails, read tweets, read LinkedIn updates, read your children's Facebook updates (no time to post your own of course!), carry out your own work, delivery fantastic customer service to your customers and colleagues and also pay attention to your family?

Of course the answer is a big fat NO!

You don't have time and neither has anyone else.

But...

Could you watch a video which is less than 90 seconds to understand what someone is saying about their business or present your own explainer video about one of your products or services to a new customer or prospect?

Of course you could!

So what's stopping you?

Time? Money? Commitment? Procrastination?

Oh yes indeed, read the stats...

- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month - Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube - That's almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year - 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute - 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US - YouTube is localised in 56 countries and across 61 languages - Millions of subscriptions happen each day, and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year

Time for you to get creative. Talk to me for a no-obligation review of what can be achieved using a videographic to tell your story!

Success!

 

 

 

 

Have you used Buffer app yet?

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 08.59.03 You may not have used Buffer as yet, but I'm here to tell you that if you haven't then you MUST. Of course only if you are involved in posting on different social media platforms for your own business or you are doing it on behalf of the business you work for.

So let me summarise what in my opinion are the MAJOR benefits of Buffer.

It's a very simple app, that is focused on doing one thing really very well

It works elegantly on all mobile devices as well as your desktop or laptop browser

You can post direct from any browser by installing the plugin, which allows you to buffer anything that you come across on the web

You can install a sharing button on your own website for other buffers to use When you send your posts to buffer it does exactly what it says, it puts them in a buffer and releases the post based on your preferred time schedule, which you set-up in advance for each account

You can set up many different channels and after a recent update the following channels can be activated; Facebook (personal), Facebook (company page), LinkedIn (personal profile), LinkedIn (company page), LinkedIn (group), Twitter, Google+ (company page), Google+ (personal profile not yet available).

The ability to send an email to all your active accounts in one go and the post will be scheduled according to your time schedule

The app also provides analytics on the posts, which you are able to collate and monitor If you don't want to auto schedule your post based on your pre-determined time schedule, you can customise a specific date and time for specific posts

You are not distracted by other streams from your connections as with other scheduling apps

If you just want to share something instantly, you can do it in the moment and of course it will go to all your active channels

You can switch certain channels off to be included in the auto schedule and instead included as and when you wish

If you have your own URL shortener it will automatically convert it to your own URL. Needs a bit of organising but it works very well!

Buffer’s team are awesome and give fantastic customer service

They write brilliant blogs and not just about their service

Here's a blogpost sharing great tips for using buffer tog tether with a cheat sheet with shortcuts.

20130913-231249.jpghttp://blog.bufferapp.com/top-hidden-buffer-hacks-features-social-sharing

Enjoy it and if you need any help, let me know or just contact @bufferapp.

Success!

What can The Workplace learn from Social Media?

culture map flickr - dgray_xplane For decades organisations across the globe, are searching for the holy grail, ’Employee Engagement’.

Engagement levels are on the rise globally but shifting across regions. Although the economic impact of the recession continues to rebound in some areas and recess further in others, engagement levels rose slightly to 60% in 2012, up 2 percentage points from 58% in 2011. We see the largest engagement increase in Europe (improving 5 percentage points) and Latin America (improving 3 percentage points). North America’s engagement decreased slightly by 1 percentage point—particularly in the U.S., where engagement dropped 3 percentage points—and Asia Pacific remained the same. [Source: AonHewitt: http://www.aon.com/attachments/human-capital-consulting/2013_Trends_in_Global_Employee_Engagement_Highlights.pdf]

So globally we've pretty much stayed about the same, which means 40% of employees are NOT engaged. But what does engagement actually mean?

Does it mean they show up but nobody is at work? They do the basics but nothing extra? They prefer not to get involved in those famous ’let’s be a team’ activities?

Or...people are busy with life, work is just a part of it and they carry their worries with them wherever they go including into the workplace? After all we have just one brain and leaving your troubles at home, just doesn't work, because our brain goes with us wherever we go.

But Social Networks have exploded and people are very engaged there! So what happened there?

I've been fascinated by Social Networks for the past 5 years, not only have I actively engaged with them, I've wanted to understand why everyone loves them so much.

That's when I decided to write ’Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

So here's the bombshell, we are not loving our workforce enough it’s as simple as that. Many years ago I was involved in the Health and Wellness industry and tried to alert organisations of the need to improve their wellness efforts at work. One of the ways that I suggested they did this was through an online survey called the ’Wellness Inventory’.

I remember presenting this to a major building society in the UK to the HR Director. One of the items on the ’Wellness Inventory’ that people had to answer questions for was an item called ’Love’. He saw this and immediately said; ’actually we don't think that is appropriate here’.

I realised in that instant that I was pushing water uphill with this inventory and getting organisations to adopt it and sure enough I had to change direction after a few months of getting nowhere.

I hear stories every day now from employees who work for small, medium and large organisations. Those stories confirm to me that people at work are not loved enough.

It's time to examine the success of Social Networks and take on board the tactics that these Social Network giants adopt to gain more members, more engagement and share the love.

It's not a bad 4 letter word, you must just try it!

Does Business Networking Deliver Sales?

I am a small business (SOHO = single office home office) and I know how lonely it can be at times to work on your own. Therefore for years I've enjoyed going to business networking events. Interaction with humans and talking about what you do, makes you feel worthy and loved.

But actually it's a feeling that doesn't last very long at all. Almost immediately when you leave the networking event, you start thinking about what you've achieved. Usually nothing at all. Of course you've met some nice people, had a nice breakfast or lunch and exchanged some business cards.

So you have a few more extra business cards, which most of us do nothing with and even if someone showed some interest in your work you are unlikely to get a follow up email or call, from them. Why? Because they are their selling themselves and if you haven't bought from them, they are unlikely to want to go after you and buy from you.

Of course there are exceptions, but in the main, everyone is at the meeting trying to find business and an opportunity for an introduction at least.

Don't get me wrong I have had business through these events but my thinking is changing. I've been trying a different approach. So please read on...

You actually have no idea who will be showing up at a networking event and even if you did, they're probably the wrong people for your industry. Thinking that if you show up at regular events and people get to know you, it will eventually deliver business is a myth as well.

Then there are the BNI clubs or referral type clubs, where you are encouraged to find referrals for your club members. These only work for certain types of professions and it often ends up being very internal to the club where members are obliged to give business to their members in order to show that they are contributing. Actually excellent for people starting up in business, but no good for those who have all their business services covered. Plus it's expensive.

These clubs not only have high costs per year and weekly breakfast costs, over time they do not deliver ROI.

And yes there are exceptions, I know, but times are changing.

You can now find your leads through careful and considered searching on the web. And of course searching doesn't deliver sales either, but now there's LinkedIn.

With 500+ million globally and 23+ million in the UK, LinkedIn is the only and best business professional network. Here you can connect to your prospects and develop relationships like you've never been able to at any time in your business career. (I'm a baby boomer so I've been around for a while).

Now it's not easy and it's not that hard either, you just need to train yourself to be disciplined and laser focussed.

Sales is a process and not a game of luck. You have to work through the process with discipline and resolve and ensure that you don't give up on your efforts, even if they aren't delivering results to begin with. After all you've been going to networking events with no sales results for years and have kept going!

By the way I’m not advocating that you shouldn't go to any events, one or two per month will be fine. But some small businesses spend hours upon hours going to networking events. Have you ever worked out the costs? Lets do an example and I know it won't be right for everyone but maybe you can do your own calculation based on the following blueprint.

  1. Cost of event, lets say £20 (non-membership events)
  2. Cost of travel to and from, lets say £10
  3. Parking is free sometimes, I know, but City Centre events maybe £5
  4. Time taken to travel on average lets say 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes
  5. Time at event on average 2 hours
  6. Lost productivity time, stopping and starting project work 30 minutes
  1. Total monetary costs £35
  2. Total approx 3 hours @ a modest £40 per hour lost time = £120
  3. Total costs £155
  4. Across the month for just 2 events £310
  5. Total cost per year £3,720
  6. Add to that any club memberships if you have any or do the calculation for that instead

Actually I've been very conservative in my estimation and I believe the figure is closer to £5000 per year on average, because we add new events now and again and waste more time in the process too.

Feel free to use the link below to the calculator to work out your own costings.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Vt77AtGNYkwszXqYMER28KDHB3Uh8Kpv_QkpMEKJ-oc/edit?usp=sharing

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I would like to get an accurate figure for this so I am doing a quick survey and will appreciate your contribution. Complete the survey via http://styin.me/networkingresearch2 or scroll the form below to complete it here.

Time to take on a different approach. My new approach!

  1. Use LinkedIn to grow your network and this doesn't mean connecting to strangers but it does mean uploading your current address book. On average you know at least 200 people and in some cases even loads more!
  2. They also know at least 200 people, so in one action your network already will be 40,000 people. Many more than you will ever meet in your lifetime of going to networking events.
  3. Do you think there might just be at least one person in that network, who you would be interested in connecting to? The great thing is that your connections already know that person, so asking for an introduction will be an easy thing to do right?
  4. Remember that it's not your connections that you are necessarily interested in, it's their connections where the money is.
  5. And we haven't even explored a myriad of other strategies you can adopt on LinkedIn to get closer to that ideal connection.

Now just making the connection isn't enough is it?

Most people that have connected to me, never follow up with me and I used to be one of those too. But not anymore. Firstly I always acknowledge a connection and secondly, I ask that new connection to have a Skype video call with me so that I get to know their business better. You may think, oh dear that's very impersonal! But actually it's not, having a video call is actually more personal compared to a face to face meeting and some people shy away from this method I know.

You see, in a public place there are more distractions so you don't have to listen to everything the individual says but on a Skype call you have to listen to every word and believe it or not you remember more about the person and get a better insight to what they do and what they are looking for.

Now remember that you are wishing to learn more about them and indeed you do want to help them find new business. Only when you come from a place of wishing to help does this work. If you are only there to sell, this will not work and people will see straight through it.

The response I've had from people has been wonderful, they've enjoyed the video call and are delighted too that they've not had to travel, get up at the crack of dawn, pay for fuel, parking, breakfast or lunch and not wasted 3 hours of their time in the process.

We have a much closer and better relationship from where we can build.

But of course that's not where the work stops. You have to keep in touch with each other, look out for each other and recommend each other.

To start with you can endorse their skills on LinkedIn, which will enhance their own profile and they will more than likely return the favour too. Writing recommendations can come later when you or they have done a piece of work.

Social selling has never been easier and by taking the time to strategically find your connections and develop them intelligently, you will transform your business. And just because your business may be successful with current busy customers, you have to keep topping up with more prospects, even if you don't need those customers at the moment.

I hope this will give you some food for thought and for more tips and advice, follow me on twitter @stayingaliveuk or follow my tips via hashtag #LinkedLectures.

Success with your LinkedIn Networking.

Are You Wasting Your Time on Social Media?

More than likely you are. Be honest with yourself, how much time are you now spending on social media compared to say 2 years ago? It's addictive right? Don't worry I am not judging you, and it's not your fault. All the social networks know that we as humans are curious by nature and very very interested in other people's lives. Yes you are, whether you wish to admit it or not. It's not an issue, really it's not. And...you just need to be aware of it.

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Peer pressure exists too, how many times have you heard someone say, you're not on twitter really?? Or...well I use Facebook to spy on my kids that's all I use it for. Liar!!

The majority of 16 - 24 year olds will be massively engaged with social media. Wind forward 10 - 15 years, what will the world look like?

OK so you're a baby boomer and don't think much of this social media lark and will not get drawn into to it. Wrong!

flickr | meijergardens

You are already part of it whether you like it or not. Whatever you say or do in business or in your private life, people (and family) around you may be tweeting, facebooking, linkedinning you (for real Michael??).

Yep, before you speak and if you don't wish to be quoted, tell your gathering that they haven't got permission to share what you say via their social media channels.

So whether you're part of it or not, resisting or engaging, annoyed or happy, you do have to get your time spent on it back in check. Become more targeted and laser focussed on what you wish to achieve. Random doesn't work any longer and you'll get found out. Just this morning I saw someone on LinkedIn (no names) who had posted 18 articles from their website in a matter of 2 hours. Wondering who's in charge of their marketing efforts?

I've been studying social media for 5 years now and after several years of intermittent study with the thought leaders in the USA, I've recognised where this is going. No I'm not unique in my thinking.

Firstly social media is no longer a new phenomena it's now part of the marketing mix, except that it should in most organisations expand into customer service, sales and the executive floor as well.

flickr | smi23le

Social media has expanded into social learning, social selling, social marketing. But in a few years the word social will start to disappear. You will be left with the originals, learning, selling and marketing.

The only difference will be that the major platforms that support these activities will become synonymous with them.

For example LinkedIn will be known exclusively for selling. Indeed what was once a recruiters website with employees CV’s is becoming THE most powerful lead generation platform in the world.

FB will become the product marketing platform in the world. Just imagine all those people on FB that could be watching your product advert on their 4G mobile.

FB has enabled message voice recording already and its just a matter of time that they will introduce video message recording technology. Your written messages will be video email instead. We are already tired of reading, but will we be happy to watch a short video?

Camera shy?? You'll get over it!

flickr | Rego - d4u.hu

I was involved with video email even before YouTube, the only problem was that most people were on dial-up then (2005). Now with 4G becoming standard and super fast fibre broadband, it will open possibilities we've not even imagined yet.

flickr | Gavin St. Ours

Video cameras in your smart phone or tablet are common now, but you've heard about google glasses right?

So just imagine a world where your glasses are connected to your smart phone and whatever the camera (in your glasses) sees it can find on your smart phone, of course no need to tap on your phone, you just do it via speech if at all. The mind boggles!

flickr | Stuck in Customs

I'd love to hear your views, good, bad or indifferent about social media, technology and where this is taking us. I'm excited, are you?

Success!

The PC is dead, long live the iPad

I've had a life long ambition to operate in a paperless office. And my ambition has finally become a reality. My career using computers covers a short 30 years. But they were never able to deliver a truly paperless office for me. I still had to sort through mountains of paperwork in addition to using computers.

But as this decade can now officially be named the ’decade of mobile computing’, it means that I am able to declare my office ’virtually’ paperless.

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The only paper I still receive are a few bills and of course receipts from shopping.

And now that every large tech company is moving towards tablet computing, it's probably highly likely that they will increasingly dominate our personal and business lives.

For me it's the one tech product I've been waiting for all my career.

And you will probably gasp now when I say that I can't remember the last time I wrote down notes with my pen!

I just don't need to anymore. I do remember the days when I had to take written notes to only transfer these to my computer.

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Now I use mind map software on my iPad and take brief notes to jog my memory of the meeting, which can be typed up if needed, in my writer software. But very often I will send a mind map of the meeting and most people are delighted because its on one piece of paper and a fast summary, nobody has time these days to read even one page of notes, let alone 2 or 3.

If you haven't tried it yet or are sitting on the fence, I highly recommend that you explore what it can do for your personal and business lives.

Typing this article on my iPad, whilst Clair is watching ’strictly come dancing’, would have been unthinkable a few years ago. I don't have a laptop, but even if I did, it would have drawn so much attention to what I was doing by bringing out the laptop. The typing would have been noisy and having the screen open a distraction to anyone else in the room too.

And if I do need to watch some training videos on youtube or watch another TV channel, I can just open up the catch-up channels apps and stick my headphones on!

Try it out!

Success!