Idea: Real Estate Offices As Nation Wide Network Of Gig Economy Co-working Spaces?

Just letting a stream of thoughts fly here.

What if real estate offices leveraged their prime – centre of the neighbourhood – offices, by turning them into startup hubs and really respond to the gig economy?

A while back I was pondering over the two great problems that real estate agencies have:

  • Maintaining a constant source of great leads
  • The overhead of having to have a physical High St office like all of the other brands.

In today’s economy everything is moving to an ‘as a service model’. People are renting everything to avoid the initial costs of starting a business.

A number of startup hubs are forming in core cities around the world and their features of very similar to the needs a real estate office.

If you think about a high performing real estate office the staff should never be there – they should be out selling. They only group or regroup to align and share the current listings or to attend a training session or to run a large – normally after hours – auction. With their schedule of open homes and visiting clients the office could be left free for startups to use as Co-working spaces.

These freelancers and startups could be a constant source of residential leads that have brand awareness. Or as they scale enough to require their own space, expand the rent roll of a commercial Property Management arm.

To increase brand equity and surprise and delight those using their the coworking space the real estate company could bring in presenters. They could present and train them on sales and marketing – and the agency could leverage the presenters to teach their own sales team.

Expanding their services beyond just property they could branch into:

  • opening a cafe
  • a print house
  • a digital agency
  • event management
  • and all of the other ‘as a service’ offerings that a startup would consume.

Each time extending the rent roll of that commercial real estate agency.

Ultimately the real estate brand and it’s agents will become the hub and source of all of its thriving and a community.

And isn’t that exactly what they all want? Inbound leads arriving daily!

Here’s hoping a brand takes this up.

I would love to support them with the logistics and bookings and connecting with the startup community through marketing.

Do this weekly, heck daily if you’re brave enough. The Retrospective!

What’s my one tip as a coach?

Do this weekly. Heck daily – if you’re brave enough. Challenge your team to do regular retrospectives.

The biggest #GROWTHHACK I can think of is consistent and regular review of:

– What worked?
– What didn’t?
– What are we going to change?

The best organisations have mastered this rapid iteration and constant velocity of improvement. Taking cues from Ray Dalio’s Principles – the top 1% document their change decisions so that even the way they learn (and make decisions) evolves.

Reflect, Recognise, Reward, and Realign


Make learning a key part of your week

Structuring Teams For Growth

I’m an Achilles heel, but I know it! The nature of our industry implies we have teachers, head teachers, academic leaders and a principal or CEO.

This centralised hierarchical structure means we have clear interfaces with the government and regulatory bodies, roles with built in dependancies, and bottlenecks when it comes to decisions. From a risk perspective these bottlenecks are strategic weak points. Heck even my current job title, Head of Marketing, sounds ripe for lopping off and leaving a lifeless directionless body…

It’s an org structure that historically has been well adopted, but is it the right structure for today’s VUCA world?

Beyond my KPIs as a Marketing Director, I see my role in any organisation as head of distribution. Where possible moving from a centralised system to a distributed model. At least in terms of our marketing capacity if not the wider organisation.

Creating scaffolding. Enabling with tools that allow open records, transparency around actions and accountability, and systems that empower my team to make decisions that better serve customers.

So why did the centralised systems form?

When we identify chaos our first reaction is to classify what we’re seeing, create order and build complex systems to make the chaos understandable and tolerable. It’s why we have forms, policies, procedures and why everyone (except well intended guests and relatives) puts the coffee cups back in the same spot. It creates efficiency.

But at the start, who decides if your draw goes knife-fork-spoon or spoon-fork-knife?

Historically we had tribal leaders that knew what to do and could make decisions. Without procedures or scaffolding, we would look to those leaders for guidance. It seemed like the right way to run a company. When you get a lot of bodies together it seemed easier to control them through orders and one commanding voice. Think of that guy on the megaphone at a busy ferry terminal or at the start of a marathon, barking orders usually on a platform in a top down fashion.

A tribal leader was usually, in Darwinistic fashion, the toughest or strongest one that could win the battles.

centralised-decentralised-distributed

Decentralised Was A Step Forward

As globalism spread, we realised that a certain degree of decentralisation had to occur. If just, as an example, to scale and let the East India Company make decisions that couldn’t be shipped back and forth like goods every month.

Progressing slightly, decentralised movements gave some resilience. Each node has a head and the required body parts to function. But the constant battle is to standardise processes and procedures again in order to make sense of the differing markets. You loose economies of scale, as you gain some independence and diversity of revenue.

Distributed Independent Organisms – Starfish over Spiders

Modern first world society has become so dependent on centralised structures that we are all just 9 meals away from anarchy. So how do we mitigate this reliance? Re-wilding and home grown organics maybe? We’d be distributed for sure.

What if we look back beyond our assumption that an organisation is a tribe that needs leadership. What if we saw it as an organism?

Brafman and Beckstrom Draw a fantastic analogy in their book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.
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Highly responsive, naturally resilient and adaptive, distributed systems and organisations cannot be controlled. This is in fact the basis of internet, a distributed system.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Wikipedia – Where no one author or contributor is responsible for verifying an entry, it has become a very strong source of basic encyclopaedic knowledge.
  • Terrorist cells – Modern terrorist cells are very hard to immobilise as each cell operates independently and can do so without revealing themselves through communication with others. In fact the most effective counterterrorist efforts have been conducted in cell like, rogue units, operating disconnected from the typical structured (predictable and traceable) Seal and SAS efforts.
  • Epidemics – AIDS and Bird flu are particularly hard to fight as our antibacterial usage struggles to combat continuous mutation and developing separate strains.

For some business examples check out:

  • Burtzorg (Europe) distributed healthcare
  • VALVE (USA) manager-less – game development
  • Enspiral (New Zealand) a cohort of self managing, distri ventures.

But why create something so organic/different from our current societal norms Nick? 

Are generation X,Y and Z customer and cause, not company focused?

Centralised organisations are very internally focused and looking up for guidance. Internal noise in many instances can drown out the outside world. At the very least it can leave your speech filled with acronyms and make communication with customers difficult.

Leaders now need to focus on managing the environment, connecting people with the purpose of the organisation and maintaining accountability.

Is it time to remove our exoskeleton and open up a connection with the customer?

Should we let the customer decide or lead the way?

Developing small distributed agile teams I believe is the way to go. It will take a while, and many may never to shed their hierarchies.

Design thinking and distributed teams are a good step in the right direction.

Whom would you recommend?

My biggest lesson of 2017? WEAK TIES ARE A GOLDMINE!

TL/DR: The more random and diverse my network — the more my career grows and the more exciting (ad)ventures become. Take thirty seconds to think through your conversations in January. Connect your contacts to someone that could help in the comments below.

Your network is your net worth

5+ years ago Facebook first published this article on degrees of separation. It shows the degrees of separation between every user on the network.

At the time there were 1.5 Billion users and the big statistic was: “The average person is connected to every other person by an average of 3.57 steps.” 

For reference, back then:

At the time I could reach every user on Facebook, with just 2.8 degrees of separation.

Here on LinkedIn, I connect to add value. There’s a great mix, of English, Russian, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese in my feed each day. Contrasting opinions, debates, and support. I can manage the egos, clickbait, and fluff.

This variety sparks creativity, innovation, and alternatives.

I encourage you all in 2018 to make a new connection each month, with a personal invite, to someone different.

WHY SEEK DIVERSITY?

What got you into a mess won’t get you out of it.

  • A wise man knows how little he knows. Think through an idea in another language or from the perspective of another culture. If you can’t, ask a friend who does. They might have a solution. Side note, Empathy is gold.
  • Two heads are better than one.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. — Jim Rhone

  • If you really want to grow you need to be spending time with people that are more evolved than you. I’m not calling you an ape or neanderthal, but I want to complete an Ultra Marathon, so I’m not spending time doing 5k park runs with amateurs in skate shoes.
  • Hemmingway was such a successful writer because of the people he connected with and the scene he was in. Tim Ferriss, Benjamin Franklin, Harrison Ford — all accredit their success through proactively building the right connections with people they felt embarrassed and amateur around.

I know someone who works there.

  • If you’re in business development and just connect with industry or those in #bizdev your echo chamber will never reverberate with the sound of leads.
  • If you ever need to make a move or switch roles, your workmates and previous colleagues aren’t as much help as a connection at a prospective employer. I’m yet to secure a role through a recruitment agent, maybe in the future one will break this streak.
  • Procurement and finance will love you if you can source supplies at mates rates.
  • There’s a reason old boys networks, Lions clubs, Rotary and the Freemasons continue to grow.

HOW?

  • Get off the internet and out to Meetups, coworking spaces or Creative Mornings. Attend a new one every other month.
  • Use your contacts, ask for recommendations.
  • Get a hobby, run with strangers (note with not after, that gets you new friends and a lot less freedom to attend Meetups).
  • Join the local business council.
  • Join the Rotary or Lions club. Join the Bikers club?
  • Use my contacts — I’d be more than happy to make a connection?
  • Use this article. Ask for contacts in the comments.

Thanks for reading. If you’re feeling generous, connect me with someone you think I or others should know in the comments below!

hello-tag

Stickers, Scars and ENGAGED Agile Superstars

If they ever perfect teleportation I’ll be a late adopter. Sure it would save time but for so many events arriving or getting there is the best part. Think of the pilgrimages, flying around the Sugarloaf mountain into Rio de Janeiro, or into Manhattan from JFK in a yellow cab.

All too often in business we are far too focused on the end goal and ignore the journey, the learning it offers and the chance to improve as we go.

More importantly, we don’t give proper recognition to progress. Why do we wait until a project is complete rather than celebrating the little wins along the way? Quick wins deserve celebrations too!

So many project wins are an anticlimax that could be chopped into micro moments of merriment!

A framework exists for working in incremental micro-moments, that creates agility, flexibility, and engagement. Agile Project Management is spreading throughout the organisation, not just in software development teams.

Why move to Agile Project Management?

May teams move to Agile project management because they can see the productivity and velocity benefits, or they like the idea of being able to change the product being created as they go – a misguided idea. The real benefits I think are in the way teams are recognised and released to do their best work.

The Scrum Tight Four: Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-Ups, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective

Beyond their original intent – helping software teams build better products – the Scrum framework is fantastic for employee engagement.

Sprint Planning

A recent Gallup poll suggests 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in goal setting. Employees whose managers involved them in goal setting are 3.6x more likely than other employees to be engaged. 
Sprint planning before each period of work allows the Product Owner to prioritise and refine the stories (goals) they wish to complete for the sprint. AND it involves the team doing the work, they help form the solution, how long it will take and what done looks like. They have ownership of the goal.

Daily Stand-Ups

Every day the team communicate with each other (not to their boss) what they have done since last time, what they are working on today and what is impeding their work.

  • Done – creates a sense of belonging, responsibility and a little bit of competitiveness and support. If one team member is ahead the others might compete to get more done, or offer support to someone who is struggling.
  • Doing – lets the team see what they aim to accomplish, they can see if others are in need and where there are external dependencies, they can choose to cooperate or collaborate. My sales teams often prioritise between themselves when there is a queue to get something done externally.
  • Impediments – any impediments should be minimised but when all the developers are held up by something it needs fixing and you have strength in numbers to get it done.

Sprint Review

At the end of the sprint, the team gets to show off the value they have created for customers. Internally, within the team this creates connection as they see how each element is coming together to form a whole. Externally, it allows others to see what the day to day heads down grind is accomplishing. The regular and often reviews create recognition and emphasises the feeling of accomplishment.

Recognition breeds engagement.
Accomplishment feeds happiness.

Sprint Retrospective

Two of the US Navy’s highest performing leaders Leif Babin and Jocko Willink will tell you that there’s no such thing as a perfect team. Circumstances and opponents change, a team must constantly grow. What makes a ‘high performing’ team is their discipline and constant analysis of their performance.

“Don’t count on motivation, count on discipline” – Jocko Willink

Retrospectives allow you to reflect on what’s working, what’s broken and what you’ll do differently next time. The team develops ownership of their performance and what they will do to improve it.

What’s key to a great Retrospective is that it is impersonal. It’s not a time for blaming others, it’s about taking ownership and changing actions for better outcomes. It’s also a time for reflecting on what’s working and doing more of that!

Create discipline around relentlessly doing what it takes to succeed.

Discipline di.sci.pline ˈdɪsɪplɪn: Train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.

Stickers and Scars

The daily Scrum and the scrum environment always focus on a visible Taskboard. A Whiteboard containing the teams Sprint goals, backlog items, tasks, tasks in progress, “DONE” items and the daily Sprint Burndown chart.

  • DONE – The DONE column is a spot for STICKERS, patches, and signs of the team’s accomplishments. Every completed Story and Epic is something to hold up, be proud of and stick to the wall for others to see. Pin release feedback, customer star ratings and industry awards to those stickers and attribute them and the team’s actions to your wins.
  • SCARS – Scars are where strong teams take the lead. They pin their failures right beside their stickers. Reminders of what not to do with analysis and actions from it.

Take Action with Agile

I’m starting personal analysis now but my guess is teams using the Agile framework that recognise Superstars regularly will out-perform those who get a complement sandwich and annual bonus.

If you’re interested in boosting engagement, velocity, visibility and transparency in your teams by adopting Agile practices, get in touch.

Is this normal? How can I deal with chaos?

The one constant in life and business is change.

When it’s your socks that need changing most people can sense, assess and respond with appropriate action. But when you’re marching days into the arctic circle, your main issues is survival, not stench. Frostbite, not the fragrance of your socks.

When normal is abnormal and you have multiple inputs you look to group and rationalise so that you can act accordingly. You create routine and discipline to make things simple.

The day ends, socks from everyone in the family go in the wash (grouped in the washing basket), we put new ones on tomorrow (found in our individual drawers).

In fact, I’m grateful that most of us have accepted the standard daily routine and haven’t chosen to optimise or experiment in sock longevity.

How about when things are more complicated?

How do you deal with multi touch attribution in marketing, while the market is in flux? How do you fund your entry to a new market with confidence, while exiting another?How do you work out if something is normal, when you’re doing it for the first time?

Huh, it’s no wonder there’s mixed satisfaction with first times given the varying research, scenarios, and inputs that go into them.

Heck if THAT first time had a stakeholder brief, a pre-meeting meeting, budget analysis, room allocation and a pre-mortem I’m sure billions would have far better memories of their first time. Such is the irony that those who have worked in large corporate multinationals can attest to: you often have far too much planning involving far too many, for events that should be a walk in the park for two.

So standard events and first times we can handle, but what do you do with chaos, disruption, and disorder?

“Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” — Mike Tyson

Dealing with utter chaos

There’s a framework I was introduced to a couple of years back that builds from the Agile cycle of Launching, Analysing, Learning, and Adjusting. The Cynefin Framework, penned by Dave Snowden almost 20 years ago is the perfect aid for today’s VUCA world.

Simple or Complicated?

When confronted by seeming disorder, in most cases we can: sense, categorise and respond. Some points may require analysis but overall we can form best practice and good practice to deal with most scenarios.

Complex?

When things are complex we can: probe, sense what’s happening and respond. This works when there is some sort of flow or pattern occurring that we can see happening. Think of putting patches on a leaking boat to see which stops the water coming in.

When there are one hundred holes in your plan, profits leaking everywhere but it’s all going in one direction you can probe, sense which holes are now leaking less, and respond. The patterns are complex, but you can start to move them into some complicated best practice.

Chaotic?

When there’s no order, rhyme or reason: act.

Things seem uncontrollable, so act through which you control, sense what happens and respond.

Next, hunt for leverage.

Act. Start creating and pulling levers one by one.

Discover the biggest lever and pull harder.

Turn the chaos into order and set the direction you desire. The art is focusing on the right big levers.

“ You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.” — Marcus Aurelius

From Chaos To Simplicity And Back

The best companies in the world and products, take us from seemed chaos to simplicity.

  • Spotify use machine learning to take us from a bunch of CDs on the wall to a play list that suits us, our mood, and activity.
  • Amazon takes the chaotic world of online shopping creating a simple categorised way to hunt for your Christmas gifts.
  • Apple took a complex digital camera and put it in your phone for in-focus shots from your lock screen. They combined it with a bunch of other things that used to take a backpack to carry, but now fit simply in your hand.

The key for growth being that continual path from chaos to simplicity and ensuring that for your customers: simplicity doesn’t equal boring and repetitive. The most thriving brands and platforms have variety, novelty, and investment. They’re not just simple.

Their simplicity enables complex and chaotic interactions.

You came to Facebook or Instagram for the easy photo uploads and the novelty filters or old friend connections. But you come back because of the variety and unpredictable messages (almost chaos) your connections post. You keep coming back because of the investment you’ve made in data, shared history and connecting with a community.

Anyway, before you jump over to Facebook or Instagram…

Spot the complex, get complicated and dive into chaos!

Oh, and please commentshare or like if you think someone else needs a little chaos in their life.

Creativity – Daniel Flynn from Thank You Water

Almost a year ago I Brought Daniel Flynn’s book Chapter One, the story of Thank You Water to date.

The notion that a small band of university students would ditch their studies and launch a national water brand and go on to sell a range of food, cosmetics and baby care products to Coles and Woolworths – is crazy. For anyone that has been or seen their contacts scarper to get any product into a nation wide FMCG market for years and years, launching a product range in WEEKS, not months or years, is the stuff of legend.

As a Not For Profit giving 100% of their profits to charity Thank You Water are committed to their WHY. Daniel, in a time of doubt received a sign, as he flipped through his bible it opened to a page of giving water to those in need. Since that day he’s doubled down on his WHY.

Together with weekly consulting sessions by his mentor, a billionaire responsible for global creative projects Daniel’s been able to inspire his team to greatness.

Today I heard again Daniel discuss their amazing journey from $1000 seed capital across the three founders to over $5 million dollars of impact to their causes.

Beyond a powerful social impact cause being the backbone of Thank You Water, the second powerhouse to their success has been creativity.

The team’s creativity and their stoic belief that this will work have been the keys to their success.

Here are some of the highlights I took form Daniel’s story around creativity.

Think creatively around funding

The team had $1000 of seed capital and the initial RFP requests had the market suggesting an initial run of their product could cost between $200k and $400k.

Good, they thought.

They went to EVERY supplier until one bucked the norm and agreed to supply their goods in advance.

Think creatively around path to market

Most products start out in farmers markets, growing slowly, bit by bit.  They decided that the best way to do things, was to do the opposite. Go large, hit the mid sized retailers first. Sadly, without patents or protection of their ideas, two declined the offer to work with them and promptly created their own charity water brands.

Daniel’s thought was – “Good, is this such a bad thing?” They got creative for their biggest targets Coles and Woolworths. Being agile and learning from the last attempts they went big publicly with their intent.

The massive news coverage ensured that Coles or Woolworths couldn’t run with their own brands and ultimately led to both brands taking on their food range as well as their water.

They had a full product range hit the shelves in record times (weeks) and their products hit spots one and two across Australia.

Get creative with pricing

Thank You water was building through the network of contacts the founders were building. They knew that this would be the engine for them to expand, not just through sales deals with these lead retailers.

Daniel always jokes that bottled water is a silly product that people pay silly money for. With that idea in mind and after some deep reflection Daniel wrote a book called Chapter One – priced using a Pay what you want model.

They managed to convince the Airports in New Zealand and Auckland to stock their book on a month by month basis through the power of their social media networks and the PR they promised would ensue. It did. The book sold out in the first weeks in many locations. It was the top of the business category and to date has had prices ranging from 15 cents to $5000 a copy.

The book has raised $1.7 million dollars and counting, selling in Australia and NZ airports in a year and has funded the launch of their baby care products and explorations into New Zealand. In the airport bookshops it was second only to Harry Potter launch week and the book store directors gave them the annual innovation award for their product launch.

Get creative with leadership

One of Daniel’s final points was to get your ideas out there. Too often we hide our ideas until we feel they’re worth sharing. He suggested, or maybe this is my interpretation, that we underestimate the value of the efforts our team members, colleagues and connections can make in nurturing our ideas and bringing them to fruition.

“Bring it to the market, to the community and get it heard.” Sharing your idea will create LEVERAGE – the more people that know your journey and the ideas you have, the more they can bind to your WHY and generate momentum.

He’s certainly got me thinking around creativity and challenging what we consider to be unmovable paths, truths or conventions…


 

I highly recommend you order his book Chapter One, it challenges conventions from the first page. Literally,  it opens vertically.

 

 

Meet your audience where they are at!

These days even the most face to face, person to person sales deals can be assisted through social media, a website or maybe a cunning piece of content marketing. The battle for the sale can be won or lost before it is even fought.


Marketing online and building out an ongoing content marketing strategy is all about meeting your audience where they are at. We build out a set of answers to the problems our clients and their company are facing. But we must serve and reserve this at the right moments, feeding it to our clients as they discover more about our brand and gain confidence that we have the solution they are after.

Understanding the problems you clients have and where they are at in their understanding of both, powers the growth of your content strategy. Hitting the main problems and then developing answers to all their problems is a great way to develop an online reputation as a trusted consultant.

For those new to content marketing, MOZ.com have developed an online archive that easily places them as one of the best, if not THE most trusted consultants in the SEO space. You’ll see they have answered almost every question there is regarding SEO, and they have content for novices and experts alike. The experts keep following their blog and “Whiteboard Fridays” where topical updates are shared and in-depth reports discussed on Video, with an accompanying whiteboard diagram. They are truly

They are true ‘thought leaders’ and seen as trusted consultants.

MOZ even discuss the use of AdWords and other paid advertising online to support your SEO and content marketing efforts. Something that all companies should consider, to support the discovery of their content marketing and to get it in front of new and existing audiences. Layer over this Remarketing to get your audience to return and move further through your sales cycle and you have a  relatively robust online marketing channel that brings your audience to where you are at. Hopefully, by the time your client is ready to discuss or make a purchase they have significant confidence in your product or service through the work you have shown online.

Qualify leads at various stages through the sales cycle can ensure that the content experience meets them where they are at.

Knowing this, the last paragraphs above are useless unless you get the basics of your SEO and content marketing right. Much like talking at an advanced level about the specifics of your product and technical elements to someone who is just discovering it. For most B2B salespeople, qualifying leads is an art and intuition they develop.

Customer feedback is essential here in discovering exactly how your content is resonating.his is not just your website or corporate channels but the way your sales team define themselves as thought leaders too. How do they “show their work”? What evidence is there of thought leadership online? How easy is it to see that they know their stuff and should be your trusted advisor?

This is not just your website or corporate channels but the way your sales team define themselves as thought leaders too. How do they “show their work”? What evidence is there of thought leadership online? How easy is it to see that they know their stuff and should be your trusted advisor?

As an owner, employee, CEO, CMO, maketer or consultant how hard is it to find proof that you’re a thought leader online?


 

Have a look through my Content Marketing archive for further thoughts on this and Thought Leadership. Hopefully, it prompts you, or gives you some ideas as to how to ‘show your work’.

Monitoring your brand online

Track the open web with Google Alerts

One way to ensure you are aware of mentions of you or your brand is to set up a Google Alert.

This tool has been around for some time, but many are still yet to adopt it, or leverage it correctly.

Visit Google alerts and you can use Google to monitor for news about your brand or industry. To ensure the results are relevant enter your search term  (the brand name or industry terms you’d like to see information for) and click show options.

You can select how often you whish to receive the alerts, “as-it-happens” or  a weekly digest. I find the as-it-happens setting ideal for responding to mentions in the news and gives me a chance to respond with immediacy, thanking the author for the mention.

From there you can choose “only the best results” and limit the country results to your country of interest. This is helpful for neighborhoods that take their name from the United Kingdom or other locations in the old world. There are a number of areas called Canterbury around the world, for example.

Build your brand and interact with your industry

One novel ways to use Google Alerts is for mentions of key themes that you wish to create content around, or be considered a thought leader for.

I have filters set up to monitor for specific exact terms that I use to inform me of movements in the industry . You could do the same, for example to monitor the green construction industry, with a search like: “SIPS” or “passive house” or “Blower door” or “airtight construction” .

Limit the results to your country and you will very quickly find those that are outspoken online in the industry and potentially the local online influencers. Cross referencing their social media profiles with a tool like Klout and you can have a basic understanding of their influence online, or at least you will know if many people find the content they share relevant.

You can then effectively surround yourself with online experts, build your knowledge and inform yourself to create interesting content that we know resonates with the industry.

A video introduction to Google Alerts

A few other searches you could try are:

  • competitor’s brand mentions – keep an eye on their activities
  • legislative terms for your industry – be the first to comment on a law change
  • misspelt brand terms – this is handy if you have a brand that’s hard to spell
  • negative industry terms – just to keep an eye on potential acquisition opportunities
  • unhappy customer terms – you can then use social selling techniques to introduce your brand
  • some fun terms to receive jokes or fun videos clips on a Friday.

Monitoring blog mentions and Twitter

Google may not catch all mentions of your brand and obviously doesn’t index closed social network posts or dark social media (Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Wechat for example).

Socialmention.com is a great free tool that provides a pretty accurate record of blog and Twitter mentions. They have a daily email alert service that you can subscribe to,or an RSS  feed that you can use to monitor your mentions.

Socialmention also provides some breakdown of popular hashtags associated with the posts and a register of the top profiles that have mentioned the term by frequency.

Again you could leverage this for industry insights and share relevant content with your audience.

Hopefully these tools can improve your interactions with customers and industry peers. I’d love to hear of any other tools people have used successfully.

Using Live Video and Stories

Two strong trends have emerged in the social media space recently.  Live video streaming, that allows users to react and comment while watching a live video and Stories, that allow users to create a collection of videos and images which disappear after 24 hours.

Live Video and Stories can be great tools for activation and real-time storytelling or news-jacking.

Both are unique in their functionality, audience and potential uses. Once we’ve explored the mechanics involved let’s see how you  can best use these mediums to reach connections and enhance your brand.

Understanding Live Streaming

With Facebook live being made available to every user in April, the world’s largest social network joined Twitter’s Periscope and gave users the ability to live stream from their phones.

Compared to the separate app and clunky functionality of Twitter, streaming your activities live on Facebook is a relatively seamless process. If you combine the ease of adoption with the much larger user base, and connections – Facebook live becomes a compelling tool to communicate with your friends and followers.

Facebook Prioritising Video And Live Streaming

On top of the larger user base, Facebook’s algorithm (prioritisation) for displaying content to other users, favours live video over and above all other content. They even have a separate priority push notification that you will receive if a friend or brand you follow goes live.

What And Why Would I Live Stream? 

Live stream by nature suits to reaching your audience immediately. Here are a few ways to leverage the medium.

Local event – Streaming the bustling activity of a local fare or fundraising activity could be a great way to get more folks down and participating.  Turn the camera to the scenery around you and let them soak in the action. Of course remembering to value their time, when the action’s over.

Thought leadership – As a business owner you could leverage the channel to highlight your expertise. When legislation changes or something significant happens in the market, live streaming could be a great way to bring your followers up to speed.

Being of service to your customers or followers should always be your first thought when sharing – even on live video. Think would I find this interesting or useful?

Another way to portray thought leadership and be of service to your client could simply be to bring a friend/colleague/expert into the conversation. For example if there was a current forest fire risk in your neighbourhood – bring on a fireman to advise clients on protecting their property.

Team Updates –  As a business owner, an unconventional way to keep your team up to date might be live streaming to a closed Facebook group, you could give insights on the go and your team could catch up later if they missed you live.

Ask me anything or behind the scenes – Two final uses for live streaming could be answering questions from followers or providing a peek into your craft. I would use these sparingly and only when something unique or extraordinary is happening in your career.Remember this is Facebook not ‘bring a colleague to work day’.

A great example is Carlos Burle Brazilian pro surfer, who takes us behind the scenes at Waimea.

For more tips check out Facebook’s own ideas.

Try out personal live streaming

From your home screen there is a simple live button that allows you to:

  1. set up an enticing title, select your audience (Public, friends or a custom group you’ve created.  If you launch the live stream from within a closed group it will also protect those privacy setting as well.)
  2. before clicking go live, select a spot where wind and background noise are at a minimum
  3. clicking the blue go live button commences a three second countdown that you can use to frame yourself or your subjects correctly and to start smiling.

Stream from your Facebook Business Page

By downloading the Facebook Pages Manager app it is also possible to stream you can access the functionality by selecting:

  1. the page you wish to manage
  2. post
  3. choose a title and select which geography and demographics to target
  4. and then clicking go live, which again initiates a three second countdown.

As with all videos once uploaded they feature in your timeline and can be found by others. Remember to remove any videos that are only of relevance for a short time.

 

Instagram Stories

Originating in Snapchat, the ephemeral or short lived stories collections run in contradiction to the rest of the web and dissapear after 24 hours. Historically as marketers and salespeople our web and social media content was created to be of service to our clients, the more content we create, the more they answers a client could find and build affinity with our brand. Now, with Snapchat and Instagram stories, brands can create content in the moment, in a more playful, throw away form.

With almost double the user base or Snapchat, at 400 million (source) Instagram recently added their version of the functionality to its platform.  Instagram has a more mature user base when compared to Snapchat. So if you’re looking long term to build a relationship with millennials then try Snapchat. For a more active group of higher net worth customers – try using Instagram Stories.

Creating your first Story item

From the home screen of your app the add to story icon is top left.

  1. Tapping  the circle icon for an instant snaps a picture onto which you can draw or write (should your picture not speak the right 1000 words). Your drawing or words can then be moved around the screen and positioned.
  2. Holding the circle icon with record video for as long as you hold the icon, release the icon and the upload arrow is ready to add the recorded video to your story.

 How to leverage Stories? 

Stories could allow you to give insights into what it would be like for a client to work with you. Take the story beyond you just doing your job but the extra mile you go to ensure excellence. Be of service to your clients with a handy tip.

You could also use it to alert your followers of other longer format content – a new blog post or longer video, maybe even a live streaming event on Facebook.

@garyvee Owner and instigator of Winelibrary.tv and the social media agency Vaynermedia uses his Stories to alert followers of his latest motivational videos – linking to his DailyVee updates in his bio.

Showcase your customers and celebrate their wins and if there’s something topical in the new relevant to your client’s give them a quick update.

I’m sure there’s a whole lot more useful techniques for brands on Instagram Stories but for a few more ideas check out this article from buffer, with a list of inspirational users to follow.
My top pick for instant work stories jealousy –  @chrisburkard who shows behind the scenes footage of his landscape photography.