social media

Is your Intention purely Self-congratulatory or is it Selfless?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

When browsing the internet, my apple news app and the social media networks, the content speaks volumes.

The content largely is self-congratulatory, especially on Facebook. There is very little value in the content that gets posted whether by the news media, your friends, colleagues and the hundreds of strangers that you are connected to. 

Everyone is trying to distract us from our attention in the moment and engage with their story, bring us into their world view and opinions. Mostly it's #fakenews and sucks us in to express a like, heart, laugh, cry, wow or mad, and if we can be bothered, write a comment. 

 

Whether you believe the research or not, they say it takes you 25 minutes to return to the original task after only an 11 minute interruption. That is an absolute age, have you ever tried to sit still for 25 minutes? It's impossible and lasts a very very long time. 

So why do we do this to ourselves?

Don't get me wrong, I like social media, I really do, well maybe I did and I am starting to wonder how much time I have actually wasted on social channels, whereas I could have been creating some fabulous stuff and change my life for the better?

Realising that social isn't going away soon I have started to re-assess my activity there. I used to post 3 times per day via my favourite scheduling app, Buffer, but now I only post once per day. I paid for the 'awesome plan' so that I could have all my channels there and post to all of them and now I just have the free plan with only a few channels to post to. I continually had to search for new and interesting content from other channels, I even have a feedly account to locate all that content. The stress of having to keep finding content was crazy at times, when I saw my buffer of content emptying, I panicked and had to spend a few hours to find more stuff to load it up. I am feeling like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders by not having to do that any longer.

But did it actually work and did I get a return on my investment. I never truly know whether it did or not and my hunch is that it probably didn't. My engagement is no better or worse as a result of reducing my content sharing. 

So what about the way forward? Pretty much as the image says really.

  1. Be impartial.
  2. Inform next steps and offer guidance.
  3. Answer questions.
  4. Solve problems.
  5. Listen, respond and be helpful.
  6. Make people smile, laugh and sometimes give them pause.
  7. Design engagement and customer journeys across screens, platforms and networks so they are seamless.
  8. Create experiences that are delightful, memorable and shareable.

How about you, what have you noticed?

@stayingaliveuk

Are you aware how disappointing you are?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

As a consumer, I genuinely want to help the companies I buy from. Sometimes it comes out as criticism, but there is always a genuine intention to assist. Sometimes they just don't listen until you give them more direct and sometimes hurtful feedback. Take LinkedIn for example. I have been giving them feedback for years now on their customer service. I have even resorted to writing about it. You can find my articles here and here.

When you want to give feedback to brands and companies and nobody takes you seriously your love for them dies a tiny bit every time until one day you may turn around and say enough is enough. It's like the whole world falls in all at once, but it never did happen all at once, it happens a little bit at a time, usually over a long period of time. 

My wife and I stayed at a recent venue for a short retreat and when checking out, I wanted to give the receptionist, whose sole duty there was to check people out, some feedback on a couple of things during our stay.  Her answer was not unsympathetic but she answered by saying to include our comments on the feedback form, which would be emailed to us. Needless to say the feedback form was very impersonal, no place to add your own personal details and just one generic box to add comments. My love for them died a tiny bit. Not huge but it did hurt a little and whilst I could have been a raving fan, I'm now just a fan. It won't take many more incongruent experiences for me to no longer be a fan.

Brands and companies across the board struggle with this. I do understand, nowadays comments can be flying in from all directions. In the old days the only way you received customer feedback was when they were directly opposite you or you received a letter of complaint.  There was no mistaking how that feedback would be received. Now the comments can arrive in at least a dozen different ways and actually they will never find their way directly to you. They just exist in the cloud and potential customers find them, read them and decide their action. 

We are wired to think negatively or rather we have a survival instinct. This means that when we read negative reviews about a brand or company, we take them seriously. Even if it's just about food, which as we all know is highly subjective. Our primitive brain assumes that if the food is bad we could die, so we will avoid it at all costs. Yes people can get food poisoning however, I personally don't see that many stories of people dyeing in restaurants. When we absorb reviews about places to sleep, we too believe that we could end up feeling threatened in some way. Our physical or mental health could be under threat. 

I do get it, brands and companies lose customers every single day and it's natural to do so. You buy your loaf of bread from one outlet one day and then maybe some other outlet the next. And this is because very few brands and companies really think through the whole buyer's journey, from reading reviews, seeing their network's comments, adverts, the physical buying experience online and offline and the follow-up. How many times do you get a call from your baker to ask you if you were happy with your loaf today?  Not that many right?  It's just an extreme metaphor to make the point.

As the image suggests, true engagement is something you feel!

What's your view? Answers on a postcard or in the comments field below will do nicely!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #customerservice #help #feedback #reviews

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.

So, what's it like in the Rabbit Hole?

Whilst being active on social media, our objectives are essentially selfish. Let's be honest, we can list our desires from social in a very short list.

  1. Wanting to get noticed. 
  2. Wanting to get noticed. 
  3. Wanting to get noticed.

The advice for getting noticed runs in the millions of posts across the web. It is literally deafening and equally overwhelming. There is so much stuff out there that we have gone blind. Our brains are zoning out the noise, our subconscious has been trained to ignore the majority of content that's being pushed out in front of us. The major social networks are managing to convince us that to get noticed you have to advertise, organic content isn't going to hack it.

Unless you make a conscious effort to seek content out for a particular and motivational reason, you are actually ignoring most things. Again they are hoping that advertising will make a difference to this.

However the most engaged conversations that I witness is when someone posts a controversial comment, accuses a big corporate of bad service or they say something about themselves that is deeply personal. After all we are very very curious (nosey) and interested in other people’s bad news or controversy. The, let's call it, old fashioned media have known this for centuries. The bad and controversial news about government leaders, business and celebrities is what interests people the most. Good news stories don't sell newspapers or online clicks for the advertisers.

Just pause for a moment. What was the last good news story you remember? Please do share it in the comments below, we all love hearing a good news story, there's so much bad news out there.

We are all ‘social media-holics’ in one way or another. Granted there will be people not on social media yet, but have a look at the stats, they are astounding.

3 Billion active social media users on the planet and growing every single day. Facebook has a mission to get Africa on the internet for one primary reason, allow them to get onto Facebook. 

LinkedIn has a mission to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, last count there are 3 billion of those! Their platform is at half a billion currently, so they have some distance to travel and no doubt they will do it. 

Can you imagine how much content is going to be posted on these platforms when developing nations achieve massive internet access in the remotest parts of the world?

All the social platforms know that the western world are highly addicted and eventually will start dropping of members, so they have to look at other nations in the world to keep their billions of revenue coming in.

Nothing wrong with that of course, except creating more addicts in the world, more 'social media-holics'.

If you have managed to cut through the noise and found this article, well done to you!

My advice to you and I'm only talking to you directly, nobody else. 

Reduce your social media posting to just one post per day of your own content. Then spend more time if you wish, on just one platform of your choice, engaging with your connections' content. 

And with that I mean real conversations not a link post as such. 

Just do this once per day, spend just 20-minutes researching your connections and respond to their real conversations.

That's it, it's my new minimalism social media strategy.

Looking forward to having more meaningful conversations with you.

@stayingaliveuk | #makesocialworthtalkingabout

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.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 4 - The END

@stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

Now you know that everyone thinks in stories and that we all love them too. What do you think a marketer should be creating when they are promoting their product or service?

Correct! You guessed right... they tell stories.

Then there is just one final thing you need to be aware of and that’s ‘VAK’.

V stands for Visual

A stands for Auditory

K stands for Kinaesthetic

When you listen to or watch a story you are either taking in visual cues from the story or you are literally creating your own visual representation of that story. You will often relate it to yourself, i.e. you put yourself in the story as if you were experiencing it.

If the story has any audio, in the case of, say, a radio programme, a movie (video) or a podcast, then you’ve got an additional way to absorb the story more meaningfully. When you are reading a book and they describe sounds, then more than likely you will create that sound in your brain without actually hearing it. Do you ever wonder when you read a book, whose voice do you actually hear? In fact whose voice do you hear right now when you are reading this? Okay, I’m probably getting a bit deep now, let’s move on.

Kinaesthetic refers to learning something by doing it or feeling it. When it comes to storytelling it refers to how it makes you feel after hearing or engaging with the story.

Take all three together - Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic - and you have the best possible formula for the viewer to engage with your story. Tell an engaging storythrough visual graphics, add a voiceover with some music and ensure the story itself leaves them feeling an emotion and the story will literally wire a new neural pathway in their brains.

The END

Do you have any great examples how storytelling has won you business?

You can download the full story by clicking HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #digitalmarketing #storyteller #visual #auditory #kinaesthetic #nlp

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 (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Do you clearly articulate your purpose in your content?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

In the image above, the part of the sentence that grabbed my attention is ‘we stand for something meaningful’.

Deciding what content to write and publish is the easy bit. Seriously it is becoming easier, because there are so many great content writers out there, which means our subconscious is absorbing it and eventually this comes out in our own content.

The tougher part is making it connect to your purpose, your passion and making it meaningful. 

Most content nowadays is forgettable, even the headlines are so sensational that they are becoming a massive turn off. The professional media is trying desperately to get our attention.

Whether you are in employment or running your own business, you have a desire to feel valued, for your contribution to be meaningful and deliver something that will have an impact on people’s lives. Most of us have those desires. And even if we don't have those desires for our business, we will have those for our family. 

There is a meaning, a purpose to all our lives and maybe you are not fully aware of it yet, it is vital that you understand what it is when you are writing content.

If your content is just about what you do and how you do it, i.e. selling yourself then you are, sorry to say, going in the wrong direction.

Simon Sinek is a master at teaching us how to become better at defining our purpose, our WHY? I have included his best video to explain this below. It's only had 30+ million view so far, so he must be on to something right?

Our ‘why’ has to be evident in what we say, what we write and how we market. Basically all our content.

The reader has to feel a connection with you beyond the words, the facts and the content. She needs to be convinced that you are congruent with your content and have written it with the right intention and with purpose and meaning.

If you are not clear on how to do this, start with thinking about why you do what you do? What you love about what you do and how you would like to make an impact in the world or maybe closer to home in your community. Once you start getting clarity about this and portray this through the content you write or share, your audience will feel a closer connection to you, a deeper feeling of trust will develop and a greater connection will emerge.

Defining yourself by metrics alone is never enough. Awards and league tables are the result of ego and self congratulations. You can only ever measure yourself, your business, the impact on your community, by the amount of change that is taking place as a direct result of your purpose.

How are you articulating your purpose in your content?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help us out and share your answer below.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance

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 (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Are you practising Mindfulness?

There is an issue with the word ’Mindfulness’. It sounds like ’Mind-full-ness’. It should be called ’Mind-emptiness’

As I viewed my Apple News app for my daily fix of world headlines, I’m totally blown away by almost every other article talking about the US Presidency. Whether it's tapes, emails, quotes, the constitution it's all over my News app. There's almost no space for anything else. I really should stop looking. 

But that's the problem, it's hard not to. We're so wired-in to streams of content from all directions, that trying to ignore it is almost futile. 

It really is like living inside a Star Trek episode featuring The Borg. 

This is their quote:

“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” 

Seriously that's how I feel sometimes. And when someone says to you, ’did you see...’ and I act all clueless, they look at you as if you've committed a crime. So does that mean we all get sucked in to mindlessly having to read, watch and absorb content that we'd prefer not to?

Being distracted by so much content is becoming a task in itself. How to decide what to read, what to watch and how to relax is now as stressful as work. I'm convinced that there will be a new career in helping people to switch off from ’content overload’. Helping them to identify the real things that are truly important in their lives and will move them forward in achieving their goals and dreams. One thing’s for sure, spending mindless time on Social Media and watching TV is not going to deliver that for us.

So what advise should I give you? I haven't a clue yet is my honest answer, as I've also been assimilated. However my goal is to chunk my time in 20-minute slots. I now even teach people what to do on LinkedIn each day in just 20-minutes per day. Feel free to have a browse through the slides below.

When you chunk your time in say 20-minute slots you will not feel as overwhelmed by it all. If you do need your daily fix of news and social media, just spend 20-minutes per day on it, that's it no more and no less. 

Test it our for a day. 

  1. Catch up with the news for 20 minutes in the morning.
  2. Sit down for breakfast for 20 minutes.
  3. Catch up with email in the office for 20 minutes.
  4. Perform some of your outstanding tasks for 20 minutes at a time.
  5. Attend or chair a meeting, make it last just 20 minutes.
  6. Spend some quiet time during the day, take 20 minutes.
  7. Maybe go for a walk for just 20 minutes.
  8. Spend some time with your kids, even if it's 20 minutes.
  9. Catch up with the news in the evening for just 20 minutes.
  10. Workout for a power exercise session again just 20 minutes.

And I could go on. Chunk it down into 20-minute slots and you will be surprised how much you can achieve. Be patient with yourself, experiment and try it out, even if you don't apply it to everything. You could never watch a film in 20 minutes and that's okay. Just try it out on a few things, especially Social Media. I'll be doing the same!

Let's share how you're getting on and enjoy the process.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and meaning of the words and illustrations.

@stayingaliveuk

Are Your Suffering from 'Social Deafness'?

How many social networks do you belong to? The average person has five social network accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day, accounting for 28pc of the total time spent on the internet.

Probably a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube and substituting with LinkedIn, Tumblr and Google+ (other Social Networks are available). However, most will be struggling to stay on top of them all.

It’s just too time consuming these days.

’Social Deafness’ is a phenomena that I'm describing as the reduction in our ability to take in all the social messages and content being pushed out on your social networks.

Before social media came along, our lives were already quite busy and we didn't ask for these networks to occupy our lives, but as these networks have grown and expanded it has become common place in the modern digital world for us to belong to many of them. Furthermore with the expansion of mobile computing, it’s become super easy to engage with your preferred networks through apps and on the web whilst on the move.

Much has been said about our addiction to these networks, but the addiction is not necessarily with our connections but more about what we as individuals can get out of these networks. When our connections, like, share, retweet, comment and repost, we feel loved. That feeling of love releases dopamine in the brain, which is highly addictive. We're then looking for the next hit, the next bit of engagement. I'm sure you have seen this play out on Facebook when your friends post comments that have left you wondering what's wrong with them. Comments like ’I'm feeling very annoyed’. Having no clue what they're annoyed about it causes you to ask the question and giving them some desired attention (love). Whether you think it's appropriate or not, this is current reality with social networks.

We're all looking for attention (love).

As we become more used to all the social media noise that's going on across social networks, we actually start tuning-out and developing what I call ’Social-Deafness'. It's just an abbreviation I’ve coined for describing how you are starting to ignore social media (network) noise. Even those cries for help are starting to be ignored, as we intuitively know that folks are in fact seeking attention. We all know the saying:

‘The girl (or boy) who cried WOLF’.

By the way it's not their fault, they are just copying what others are doing in their networks, noticing the attention others are getting and hoping for the same. Plus of course the networks keep emailing us telling us that we're missing out and really should be going back to our networks. Just try for 5 days to avoid one of your favourite networks and they will be in touch with you for sure.

They play on our instinct and a condition called FOMO = ‘Fear of missing out’.

When this ’Social-Deafness’ spreads across global social networks, it makes the job of marketing to us so much tougher for big brands and even Micro Enterprises. It’s much harder to get noticed and develop sustainable engagement.

This is why more and more folks are spending more and even more time publishing content to these networks hoping that something will stick and develop some sort of engagement at ’scale’ (a fashionable and trendy term used by LinkedIn management a lot!).

The only way to develop a sustainable engagement strategy is by bringing people on board one person at a time. The execution of that in reality is more time consuming and not always guaranteed, but the potential results are easier and more predictable.

The challenge is to build trust in your network over a sustained period of time, which will potentially support a level of conditioning in your connections’ brain to believe that they already know you. A feeling of trust that makes them think you've already met and they know so much about you already. This potentially (note there's no guarantee) means that when you contact them by email or even by phone they believe they are communicating with a long standing acquaintance.

This method is actually no different to what advertisers use by repeating their adverts regularly to you. Even if you think you're not paying that much attention to adverts they all go into your brain and over time you brain has been conditioned with a product or service. Ever come home from the supermarket with a product you didn't need it, had never bought previously and then wondered why you bought it?  Now you know what I mean.

Do you believe that you are suffering from ’Social Deafness’?

Have you managed to build trust with your connections on social networks and how did you make that happen?

Would love to know your perspective and your experience.

@stayingaliveuk - ’Share Your Story’

 

Are You Afraid of Rejection on Social Networks?

IMG_1187

You should be...

Many more social networkers are being more discerning in deciding who they connect with. I'm sure by now you've heard the saying: ’you’re network is your net worth’.

It’s more important for networkers to show off 'WHO' they are connected to, compared to 'HOW' many.

What's needed is some {old-fashioned} personal branding. If you're reading this then you're already a personal brand and you might not have realised it yet. It doesn't mean you have to be a Rock Star or some YouTube celebrity, although of course it would help. What's a personal brand? I'm not talking about celebrities, it's anyone these days, who has a profile on a social network, a blog or any other profile that resides on the web, like YOU! Personal branding 2.0 is alive and kicking. Anyone nowadays has a voice, whether, you Tweet, Facebook, Google Plus or LinkedIn, you and anyone else can share their inner feelings and thoughts about any national or any international affairs. Plus your opinion on companies, their customer service and their products and services, counts. Potentially you can cause massive damage to reputations of companies or individuals.

With this power also comes great responsibility.

I am assuming that your reputation matters to you and this means, you should take it seriously. Anyone with an internet connection can interrogate your presence on the web. And as you're probably reading this on LinkedIn, a search result of your LinkedIn profile will very likely appear on page 1 of Google when someone searches for your name.

In 1 keystroke any searcher can learn everything about you in a just a few seconds.

Doesn't this warrant a great presentation of your personal brand? It absolutely does. For the past few years we've all rushed to join the latest social network in 'fear of missing out' (#fomo) or ensuring that as a minimum we've got a profile in case someone happens to search for us there. And in that rush we have proliferated our profiles across these networks causing a huge amount of inconsistency. Here are just 4 items from my audit checklist for you to review and examine how you're doing with your own personal brand:

  1. Do you have different profile photos on different networks? Most of us are still super critical of the way we appear on photographs. This means we scour our photo library picking out the best photo that we perceive will represent us in the best light. What happens is you may select a photo of yourself in business attire and place that on LinkedIn. You’ll find another one from your holidays maybe with family and friends in a T-shirt, crop yourself and place that on Facebook. Or maybe a family picture and use that on Google plus or Twitter. And when you are developing your personal brand this type of inconsistency completely confuses the viewer.
  2. Are you using the company logo instead of a profile photo? If you are a big brand great, push your recognisable logo if need be. However if you are a small or micro business, using your logo is THE most impersonal thing you can do. And using a logo on your personal profile on LinkedIn is just plain silly and actual against LinkedIn's terms, which you agreed to, remember?
  3. Do you write a different ’about’ section on each profile? It's one of the easiest errors we can make. To become a recognisable personal brand you need to have consistency as readers will scan your profile and at least pick up a few keywords from your ’about section’ with an opportunity to remember them. If they vary greatly it will lead to readers being confused and not remembering anything tangible from your ’about section’. I know the no. of words allowed also varies greatly, which means that brevity counts.
  4. Are you using different header images across networks? Everyone has gone header crazy. Plus the sizes differ hugely. Furthermore how the header interacts with the profile photo and how it appears on mobile devices is another factor that complicates things further. Use your graphic designer to help you get the best look and resolution.

Take a few minutes and review your social networks and adjust them to be closer in line with each other. After all your personal brand is important to you, it's time to take it seriously.

@stayingaliveuk

ps. A great business friend, Richard Tubb @tubblog, asked me to review his media branding and this inspired me to write this article. Thanks Richard!

Are You Improving Your LinkedIn Profile?

I teach people every week how to improve their LinkedIn profile. However there are millions on LinkedIn who don't bother to improve their profile. Most aren't getting it yet and don't appreciate that your profile on LinkedIn is your personal brand. Ignore it and you will reduce your chances of finding that perfect job, that career progression or that perfect client. The 1st key area is the profile photo. I still see many profiles and receive invites from people who don't even bother with a professional head and shoulders profile photo. Or they have a badly taken photo which could be a holiday photo or where they stand far in the distance. I completely don't understand this. The other day someone's excuse was that they had put on weight and therefore didn't want to share their photo. And what part of you thinks that people will take you seriously without a photo?

Personally I say, what are you hiding by not wishing to post a photo of yourself? In fact if you don't post a photo of yourself the chances of people connecting with you is reduced by at least 50%.

So it is essential you make this a priority.

The 2nd key area that is ignored by many is your headline. Many make the mistake to enter a title like; manager, director, coach, programmer, student etc. Of course you can use this if you wish, however you have 120 characters of space to tell the reader what you can do for people and what you are good at. OK, granted if you are a student it makes it slightly harder however you also want to stand out of the crowd, so putting something like ’Researching the meaning of the Universe to better serve my future clients’ or something equally different will make you stand out.

The reason for putting something different is that your headline follows you around wherever you go on LinkedIn. For example when you send emails inside LinkedIn, when you send invites to connect, when you post discussions in groups. Each time your headline will be shown and if you just keep your title only, it won't tell the reader anything about you. In effect it's your elevator pitch that is presented every time they read something from you.

20140105-124500.jpg

The 3rd area is your skills and expertise. LinkedIn have developed this section carefully over a number of years, originally it was called specialities, which was a simple text box, where you could list your specialities. Now LinkedIn suggests to your connections to endorse your skills and they have succeeded tremendously with this initiative. The main reason they have developed this is for their advertisers. Advertisers are able to target their ads very specifically to you based on the skills on your profile. Now you know why LinkedIn keeps giving you suggestions to endorse people. The profile header has even got a new button at the very top saying ’endorse’.

Now most members overdo it. They list the maximum 25 skills. Firstly only 15 will show on your profile but only 10 are in a list with the photos of those that endorsed you, which tends to be the list that most people go for. Everyone scans profiles and because the main list of 10 is more visual they tend to just go for those. Plus they tend to be the highest endorsed and that's why it makes it easy for them. So reduce your list to 10 and keep very focused.

Once you've identified your list and you are happy with it, this list of skills become your keywords. Keywords inside LinkedIn is essential if you want to be found on search. With 260 million members your job is to have your profile optimised for search.

Then take those skills (keywords) and spread them intelligently throughout your profile including a few inside your headline.

This will definitely help when people are searching for members based on skills.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 08.09.22

Finally the 4th key area is your summary. Most of the time members use this to promote themselves, which is fair enough if you're looking for a job. However most are actually looking to promote their business or their employer if they are an employee. Of course you need to say something about yourself and I would suggest this is done under your experience section. THE most important part of your summary should be some text that describes what you can do for people. Note, ’what YOU can do’ for people ’NOT what you DO’!

Keep the text short, lots of white space and bullet points wherever possible. This allows the reader to scan your summary in super quick time. Remember people are time poor and don't have time to read a very wordy profile summary.

OK I think that's enough for now. These in my view are the 4 key areas on your LinkedIn profile that need work. It shouldn't be too overwhelming for you. Another tip is to re-visit your summary, headline and skills regularly. It is vital that you refresh these and update them based on things that are changing in your world.

Wishing you massive success always!

How Do You Share Content?

As part of your journey into ’Social Selling’ and becoming your own ’Personal Brand’, you will inevitably need to share content. You don't always need to write your own content, although it’s obviously better if you did. Not everyone likes writing, certainly it took me a few years before I started blogging.

So curating and sharing other’s content is OK, providing it adds value to your own authority on your subject matter.

So how do you do it? Or rather how do I do it?

First we have to answer a few questions. Why share content in the first place?

Well, it shows that you are interested in your subject matter and more importantly that you wish to share it with your network and maybe, just maybe they will get something from it. Don't be concerned about not receiving any comments, likes or shares, that should definitely NOT be the reason for sharing your content.

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However they might and it's that possibility that should encourage you to keep sharing. You just don't know where it could lead to.

I use just 3 apps for doing all my curating and sharing.

Firstly the best sharing app that I use is ’Buffer’.

I have written a separate blog on buffer, so go ahead and read more about it there.

The second app is Flipboard, where I follow different streams that are closely connected to my subject matter, plus all the posts from people I follow.

The third app is ’Pulse’, a LinkedIn app, which allows me to find more content, by LinkedIn Influencers and many other news streams.

Buffer allows me to email all content I find on the web, either via these apps or generally on the web.

I have set my buffer to share the content 3 times per day, meaning my content is posted automatically in the morning, lunchtime and evening. Times of the day that people are most likely to browse their mobile devices.

I will add additional content now and again on a more spontaneous basis. And I also add some personal comments now and again about any subject I wish. This will hopefully show people that it's not all about business and they will see my personality come through too.

So it's time to start writing, get searching, reading and finally sharing. Have fun and ensure that you have your audience in mind when sharing content.

Wishing you success always!

Are You a Social Ninja?

Social Media is not actually that old and the networks that dominate the Internet with our insatiable appetite for everything social are growing at an alarming rate. Thousands of small social media advisors have popped up all over the place, well actually all over the planet and everyone these days is an ’EXPERT’.

flickr | pete prodoehl

But will we all be looking back in years to come and say to each other...what were we thinking?!

We spend all those hours on social media when just a few years ago it didn't even exist.

What will you do when it stops? Because knowing how fussy we are as humans, it will inevitably stop at some stage, plus when a younger generation have developed something more interesting and more engaging, 'like' video conferencing instead of typing.

With google hangout (have you tried it yet?) you can video conference with up to 9 people, share your desktop, share YouTube videos and SlideShare. And the quality is excellent!

But...there is still no substitute to meeting people face to face and discussing opportunities.

This is where my 'social selling' concept comes in. It's the perfect blend between social media interaction and face to face meetings.

There are just 3 key things involved with Social Selling.

1. The LinkedIn Connection 2. The Phone Call 3. The Meet Up

Connecting with prospects or connections who can introduce you to prospects has never been easier, providing you know how to behave. LinkedIn is the best vehicle in the world right now that allows you to do this. After all with 2 new professionals joining every second, that's 63 million 72 thousand per year, which means in 5 years time it will have an extra 315+ million on top of the current 259 million. Pretty impressive!

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Connecting on LinkedIn is not the final deal though, yes you can be lucky but the chances are that nobody will buy from you unless they know you. This is where the Phone call comes in. Schedule a call with your connection to explore how you can help them, note how you can help ’them’ and not the other way around!

The Phone call is not the final deal either, once you believe that you can help them an even better way to make the connection is meet up for a coffee or maybe even lunch.

Only a combination of all three will get you closer to making that next deal.

Hope that makes sense and if not, join me on my next #LinkedInstinct Masterclass.

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Are you using the new LinkedIn Contacts App?

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Well you should!

Let me share with you what I discovered.

First I tidied up my address book on my iPhone/iPad/Mac (iCloud). It took a while but I did a few letters of the alphabet each day, which made the job less daunting, but still delivered a great result. I removed about 2000 contacts, phew! How ever did I manage to accumulate those? I have no idea! Also make sure you remove sensitive data. You don't want this going up onto a server do you? Instead move those somewhere else.

***DATA HEALTH WARNING***

You MUST do this task first, as otherwise you end up with all the rubbish inside your LinkedIn contacts and you really want to avoid this.

If you do this task first you will thank me for it and it is about time you did this and when I share with you below what you can achieve, you will be delighted...no ecstatic!

Step 1

Download the LinkedIn contacts app

(***DO NOT OPEN IT AFTER DOWNLOADING***).

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/linkedin-contacts/id635424128?mt=8

Step 2

I am assuming you have the standard LinkedIn iPhone app, but if you haven't please make sure that this is downloaded too.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/linkedin/id288429040

You can open that one and ensure you are logged in. Providing you have set 'download connections' to ON inside this app, (if not click on the IN in top left corner to reveal the setting cog wheel top right. Click on the wheel>download connections and activate this. It will download all your LinkedIn connections on to your iPhone and keep them updated too. This is an important step to complete before going on.

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Step 3

On your iPhone, go to settings>privacy>contacts and make sure the contacts app button is switched to on/green. If you forget this step, no worries the app will remind you to do this.

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Step 4

Open the LinkedIn contacts app on your iPhone, it will import with lightening speed all your iPhone contacts, find them on LinkedIn, and pull in all the data, plus send all the data to LinkedIn too.

Pretty impressive actually how fast this goes.

NOTE: I don't have my Facebook connections in my address book any longer. I ended up with too many duplications and then had to link those together, which was a real pain. As I only want to have my LinkedIn connections in my address book, I don't want to disturb things. And I highly recommend excluding Facebook. Remember each contact on your iPhone will be uploaded to LinkedIn.

To switch Facebook off for your address book, go to settings>facbeook> and switch the contacts switch to off/white.

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Step 5

Check that everything has worked. Search inside the app for a contact, anyone will do. Make sure the data from your address book has been pulled across.

Check on the LinkedIn website and go to network>contacts and then filter by source>iPhone and check if the number of contacts agrees with your iPhone.

NOTE: Don't expect numbers to agree 100%. Mine are out by about 10, but I know that is because previously I had some contacts that were linked with Facebook and messed things up. If it is there or thereabouts, then happy days it has worked.

That's it job done!

But now for the magic, this is where you will be very grateful for using this app.

First let me share with you how people tend to work on LinkedIn. Most people will only share their personal emails address and no phone number.

So when you have someone's business card, look them up on LinkedIn, send an invite to connect and they accept, you will see that the email address that they have on LinkedIn is their personal one. Usually no phone number.

This means you need to add their business email and phone number details. Well firstly LinkedIn has a bug on phone number formats, which means it will not accept a European format, only USA formats. Which is a real shame and yes I have had a dialogue with their support and no fix is imminent either.

But have no fear here is the solution.

Now that you have the LinkedIn Contacts app, your problem is solved.

Step 1

After someone has accepted your invite to connect or you have accepted their invite, you need to go to the standard LinkedIn iPhone app and open it up from time to time, to make sure that LinkedIn downloads these contacts to your iPhone. This makes sure that you don't have to manually enter their details in your address book. i.e. LinkedIn does it for you. However you will more than likely only have their personal email address.

So once per week, I go into my address book iPhone/IPad or Mac (iCloud), with my business cards handy, I look up those people, that I know I have sent invites to and update their record with their business email and their mobile. I don't usually bother with their land line number. If they move in the future that will change and their mobile often stays the same. (unless they have give you their business mobile only).

Step 2

Once you've updated the address record on your device, go to the LinkedIn contacts app and open up the alphabetical view (doesn't matter which view you are on) and then pull down the page, which will then start an update process and a spinning circle appears. You have to see the spinning circle, so make sure of that.

***THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS*** The LinkedIn contacts app drags the information from your address book, with your latest updates and pushes it to LinkedIn.

Now your contact record on LinkedIn, has updated the business email address, as well as the mobile phone number.

This is pretty amazing actually, because also the phone number format bug inside LinkedIn has been overcome by adding the phone details in this way.

Now you have the correct contact details sitting inside LinkedIn as well.

What this means in fact, that as well as downloading data from LinkedIn onto your iPhone, with the standard LinkedIn app, you can also push data to LinkedIn.

I felt this was such an amazing discovery, I just had to share it.

I hope it works for you and if you have any questions, just let me know.

***DATA HEALTH WARNING***

When dealing with contact information in the cloud, it is possible to create duplicate records. This has happened to me in the past, so please take each step carefully and check your records regularly.

The steps above worked for me without any issues, but I can't take any responsibility for your records and the way that you upload/download from the cloud.

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

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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.

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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.

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Third is iA Writer

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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!

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

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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!

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Are You Losing Growth on LinkedIn?

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Members are losing growth because they are using the mobile LinkedIn app.

Since I started using LinkedIn seriously, I made sure NEVER to invite new connections with the standard LinkedIn invite sentence, 'I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn'.

It made a massive difference to growing my network and reach and I'm pleased with my progress.

I teach others to always use a personal message and write something to make the invite personal. All of you know this right?

So why has the standard invite not been changed?

And why hasn't mobile given us the same opportunity for sending a personal message?

Now that LinkedIn is being opened up to a bigger and younger audience, guess how they will invite someone? Correct, via mobile! Guess how many rejections they will receive? Loads.

Why? Because business professionals are saying that they will not connect to someone they don't know and especially if they don't include a personal message.

Mobile will by far be the biggest opportunity for LinkedIn growth, most new members wish to grow their network fast, especially young people, as they are keen and excited with a new opportunity like LinkedIn.

They've been used to just invite hundreds of school friends on Facebook and follow like crazy on Twitter. It will be wrong for them to replicate their behaviour from those platforms, but we both know that they won't and will make a massive mistake but just sending out tons of invites, by clicking on ’connect’ against profiles showing up on their mobile devices.

Please Mr. LinkedIn, please change the way that you can invite members to connect on mobile and please, change the standard #LinkedIn invite sentence or at least add a flag that says, say something personal.

The ’only invite people you know’ message just doesn't work anymore.

Looking forward to some positive action from you Mr. LinkedIn.

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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.

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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!

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?

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Are You Supporting Your Local Economy?

If you believe the journalists, you'll be cutting your expenses right now, if you believe the politicians, ah forget that one, I know you don't, lets try that again, if you believe the IMF (International Monetary Fund), then like most of us, you'll be apprehensive of economic recovery any time soon. I know, I know there are always exceptions, but in the main, most people are worried, anxious and cutting back.

Now what does that do for the local economy? You're right, it slowly and gradually kills it. Why? You and me start looking for discounts, bargains, 2 for 1, petrol vouchers etc etc. And because only the giants are able to provide these deals, we're all flocking to them, so they don't really feel the pinch that we're feeling right?

But let me ask you another question! Who would you rather support? The small business on the high street (charities excluded) or the giant supermarket and massive retail chains?

I thought so, cue OnlyUncle.com. I only became aware of OnlyUncle.com a few weeks ago, when I connected with Paul DeCouto, their business development manager.

I became curious because I watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r13IdnBEaIo

I became even more interested when I read their Manifesto and after signing it and showing my support, I asked to meet the founder Vinny Hira.

He explained to me how this was a project 24 months in the making, how he has a vision to reignite the local economy by getting local shoppers to support local business and by being a conduit for this.

And how's it done? Very simply by providing a “deals” site for small businesses;

  1. businesses can post their own deals
  2. for as long as they like
  3. with their own terms and conditions
  4. their own social media sharing options
  5. have their own consumer fans
  6. have a profile with images, videos, payment terms, hours of operation etc
  7. a series of tag words that allows for fast discovery and SEO

And the best part of all of this, is that OnlyUncle takes zero commission, not a penny, all the profit stays with the business.

Of course there is a cost but it's tiny compared to what you get. What do you reckon the value of this would be to a small business?

I reckon the value to a small business would be in the region of £250 - £500 per annum as a minimum and some small business owners have even suggested it might be as high as £1,000!

Well, Vinny, Paul and the team at OnlyUncle.com have decided to launch the service for just a tiny, very tiny £29.99 per annum. Watch Steve explain the deal;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QlRwTgdjGQ

That's a ridiculous price and well actually that's for free then! Because I can make that money back on just one deal and generating some extra sales in the process. The fact that I don't need to share any revenue with them means its a no-brainer, not just for me, but also for the millions of other small business owners out there.

The moral of this story is more than just getting a cheap website for putting your deals on.

The purpose is to get all of us to consider small businesses in our local economies and start supporting them.

How can you support?

  1. Sign the OnlyUncle.com manifesto pledging your support
  2. Sign up as a consumer on OnlyUncle.com
  3. And if you are a business owner, sign up for the 15-day trial with them and try it out. You could even make the £29.99 in 15-days to pay for the subscription.
  4. Spread the word to others. And yes you could earn through that too. Sign-up to become a referral partner and earn £10 for every business you refer. And if you're a business owner and introduce just three businesses, you could get your subs for free that way.

And why am I sharing all this with you? I've decided I want to support the local economy regeneration as well and I am assisting Vinny and Paul by making that happen and doing my bit. And besides I like the Uncle character too!

Let's do this together!

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Are You Collaborating yet?

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Tech companies are investing heavily in ’Social’. You have to ask yourself one major question; Why?

You like most of us are already wired into ’Social’. And Tech companies know that the next big thing for corporates is ’Social Collaboration’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_collaboration

After TQM, Six Sigma, Lean and many other management process improvement practices, they have all tried to achieve one thing; ’Social Collaboration’ and never really succeeded, because they created too many meetings and actually reduced productivity, the very opposite of why these practices were actually invented.

Now that you and I are wired into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more social networks, corporates are delighted that those networks have managed to train you and me in the art of being virtually social. You and I have become comfortable in using these networks, happy to share personal and professional information publicly, plus sharing what we learn in our day to day lives, including recommendations for goods and services.

So now that we have been trained to do this, the natural extension of this is to bring ’Social’ into the organisation. Some have already started with patchy success, but the smarter executives realise that in order to capture the knowledge contained in employees heads and get true collaboration started, they will have to, without fail, invest in a corporate social network. By the way women understand this instinctively and men have to work at it much harder.

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A Corporate Social Network, doesn't only connect employees with each other across departments, countries and continents, it will save them billions in travel costs, training programs and on-boarding (induction).

Corporates are a bit slow in the execution of this, because all they have been focussed on was things like, ’if we open Facebook and Twitter to employees, then no work will get done’, instead of saying how can we get those type of networks replicated inside of our business?

So major global tech companies, like Microsoft, IBM, Google etc., have all invested in social network start-ups to add to their portfolio of products allowing corporates to implement these networks seamlessly with existing software.

You might be a small business reading this and thinking, that's great for larger corporates, but what about me as a start-up, a home office or a group of entrepreneurs, how do we do this?

Well the time has come for small business to collaborate with others. In order to compete with the larger corporates it's absolutely essential that we embrace ’social’ as well.

You are already ’wired-in’ to LinkedIn, so now it's time for you to maximise your activity there and start collaborating in order to grow your business footprint.

Ask me how and I will be delighted to collaborate on something with you.

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