B2B, How To, social media, Strategy, twitter

Three core tactics in my Twitter Strategy

While I loath to call it a strategy, I have decided to take a strategic methodical approach to my use of Twitter.

I’ve decided to:

  1. Network, share and support a core group of influential people in my Dunbar 150 list – daily
  2. Participate in weekly #sshour social selling chats and one other #hashtag chat from a new, unrelated field.
  3. Post useful and insightful links to content from those in my 150 list and insightful sources

But why just three core things you say?

Stick to three focus points and measure their success

I have been reading the book Good To Great by Jim Collins. I which he thorough researches and presents the core elements of what’s behind great companies – those that outperform consistently over time. He summarises a good concise strategy very well.

If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any ~ Jim Collins.

Hence the three pronged approach I am taking on Twitter. They are each in different areas, are SMART and can be measured independently.

My Dunbar 150 list – or small group – allows for focused core networking

The UK psychologist Robin Dunbar did some quite thorough research into human relationships and the number of meaningful or at least memorable relationships we can keep. He came to the conclusion that the average person can only really keep – to some reasonable level – relationships with 150 people. If I think of my personal relationships this sounds about right. 50 odd work contacts, 50 odd friends, 25 family members and 25 business connections – give or take.

So hence my Dunbar 150 list on Twitter – it’s still growing, but will include a core group of people – people who’s Tweets are worth reading, they share good content and I really value their input to my time on Twitter.

Participating in #sshour now #SBizHour and other chats to discover new contacts

Being part of a larger hashtag based chat lets me discover cool new people on Twitter, to get different perspectives and a chance to expand my knowledge. I’ve also found myself following along with design hashtags, UX, customer service and just recently social C suite chats. All help me connect with more people and develop a breadth of knowledge.

Share really useful content

Finally, sharing stuff that is really of value is paying off. People comment on it and share it more frequently. If I take the time to explain why it is of value and also add a supporting visual element – content I tweet far more useful! I hope. You will get the odd motivational quote or bit of humour in the mix but I hope that in general you’ll get valuable content from my stream in 2015. Less noise, more signal I hope!

If you’d like to listen to this post I’ve made a short summary here:

On a personal note. Many thanks to those subscribed to my blog. I wish you all very happy holiday season and a great 2015!

B2B, social media, Strategy

How can my business keep up with new social media channels?

For many the growth of new social networks, online channels and apps can be hard to keep up with. Worse still is figuring out how to make the most of them in your communications and marketing.

There is a neat clip from an obscure film The 13th Warrior that sums up the best approach to communicating in new networks.

Listen, learn how to communicate and adapt to the community.

But that’s jumping ahead into getting a flavour for community norms. A first step would be to ask is it worth it? Some top level questions I ask about new networks are:

  1. How can this network or channel reach my target audience?
  2. Is there something uniquely different about it, compared to existing networks, that I can take advantage of?
  3. How quickly is it scaling?

There are various other questions I’ll ask about: frictional costs to support a new channel; content requirements and support; and  risks. But the above can give a traffic light view on the initiative.

A channel that have been exploring recently is Snapchat. If I ask the above three questions I get:

  • A large demographic of younger users on this network.
  • Messages that only exist for 10 seconds at the most.
  • User growth that is surpassing Facebook and Twitter at a similar age both globally and here in New Zealand.

At first glance it’s a tool that doesn’t fit with my main online plans. Content marketing is about creating long tail ever green content for clients to find on search engines. Creating content that disappears in seconds sounds totally wrong.   But what it does support is hyper focused moments with your audience. A chance to excite and delight. A chance to have fun.

Snapchat takes you from the real world and into your phone where you’re focused in case you miss what’s happening. With that in mind it was a great tool to connect with students online and drive interactions in real life. At Vodafone we’ve used it so far for orientation weeks at both the Otago and Canterbury University campuses.

While I wouldn’t say it is a large step change from our existing channels, it has allowed us to gather a new targeted audience / following in the local geographic area.

We’re listening and learning for now, adapting our messages as we go.  I’d love to hear of any unique new channels you’re using or hacking of existing ones.


This is actually a jellyfish that floats upside down. It is not the wrong way up. Or from downunder.

MedusaWe only consider this jellyfish to be wrong as we’re conditioned to see them floating bell up, tentacles down. But it could be onto something, maybe it catches falling food better that way?

Over the next week I have decided to switch perspective wherever possible and switch polarity if I can.

We are always conscious of our visual identity and branding in organisations, yet I think switching up the palette can be enough of a surprise to entice readers to read our email shots. Save it for special occasions  – but what about inverting the logo colours and body colours.

Put out a black paper for a change. People rarely print them right? It could even provide no answers at all to an issue, just pose questions for a change.

Timing needs a switch up too!

Hence a Saturday blog post instead of Monday or Tuesday. Why not. The boys are eating dinner and relaxing, I’ve got the time, let’s see what engagement it gets.

The other week we sent a timed email shot set for the wrong 9 am. Instead of going out prime time it hit senior HR directors Blackberrys at 9 pm. Statistics tell us never send after five, and never on a Friday if you’re after good open rates.

Yet just to prove the rule, this one had great open rates as they were all second screening, checking their Blackberrys after dinner during the blizzard. Click thru rates were amazing.

We’re now recommending either a follow up or the initial invitations to events go out at this time too.

Having said that a consistent stream of content is today’s marketing reality as @dmscott rightly points out. Constant engagement.

agilemarketing, B2B, content marketing

Perspective and Timing

B2B, content marketing

Giving away valuable information online

I’ve just been listening to Brian Clark’s talk on affiliate marketing and loved the elevator pitch he mentioned for @copyblogger.

“Build an audience and sell them stuff”.

Succinct and definitive.

This seems to be the root of all we do as content marketers. Yet as we see content marketing trending as a topic in Google trends and affiliate marketing declining, I can’t help but worry that the focus will shift from evergreen, useful content, to another keyword crammed selling fest.

Don’t get me wrong, our prime focus as marketers is driving sales. Yet old habits raise the thought – could we just regurgitate the news with a link to products? Traditionally we would tell them how to deal with this month’s flittering focus on #horsemeat (UK in joke as we worry about our processed burger supply chain).

Could we do this without thinking what has sustainable, long-term, bottom line impact for their organisation?

A colleague shared a great quote today which focused this ‘In content marketing, give and you will receive’ ~ @mbakkes.

I would adjust it ever so slightly:

“Give away Valuable content and you receive value”

B2B, social media

Digital Strategy Tip – Ask your clients what they want

Often in B2B digital marketing, we get sucked into the “me too” battle. Our competitors are doing it, so we try to do the same, if not a little better.

With a glance the CMO sees that the competitor is “doing social” has twice as many followers or likes and reacts by throwing you a target of beating them by the end of FY201X, because “everyone is doing social and it’s the future”.

You were just DMed by someone offering you 10,000 followers for four bucks, so you accept. To top it off, you are beating the industry averages for email open rates and web conversions are steadily increasing with your Google Adwords spend. The hard metrics are there. ROI is measurable and for your input and investment, you’re getting returns. In old school terms, that is…

But at what expense to future revenues?

Have I neglected generation X, Y, Z or Generation Connected with any of my strategies?

Well, who better to ask than your existing contacts?

All too often we go with our gut, but there are many light touches and more direct interactions with clients that can give us insights into their preferred mediums and frequencies.

Here are some methods to poll your existing clients – the ones you want to retain – and ensure you’re keeping them happy.

Micro poll them in newsletters

Any good B2B organisation is consistently looking to expand their email lists with qualified leads and contacts. As you’re sending your newsletters, finish then with a quick yes/no micro-poll. Don’t hide it in the right sidebar or footer. Place it as a highlighted final call-to-action in the body of the email. As a simple yes/no question, the friction of replying is minimal.

Add polls to your website

Survey Monkey and a plethora of competitors allow you to embed polls into your blog, content pieces and website. Limiting the polls to single-question, multi-answer, the clients won’t feel time-burdened.

Call/meet them

Yes, wait for it: nothing beats real-life or face-to-face meetings – even if it is to ask how we could communicate better over distance.

Telephonic aparatus

The value of client insight

During recent site testing, we interviewed a small quantity of key clients. The insights from them navigating our site, guided by a Usability Tester, were humbling and enlightening. Sneaking in a few frequency and method questions for our communications to them was a given.

We now have a far greater understanding of how they enjoy light touches, and also what they expect of us, as their trusted consultants.

Sure they’re keen to be up-to-date with our latest products, hear our thought leadership pieces, and understand market nuances. But in the current climate, what resonates is segmentation and prioritisation of messaging.

Deciding where the line sits is company-specific, but an underlying segregation still remains for non-digital natives. To me, the backbone looks a little like this:

  1. Use Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to share up-to-date trends with me and to build a rapport.
  2. Share a link to a lean-back weekend read if it is worth educating me about. The economist is right on-trend for Gen Xers with their lean-back thought pieces.
  3. Newsletter me with monthly updates.
  4. Email alert me with an important update if you will cover someone VERY topical at an upcoming in-real-life meeting or webinar.
  5. CALL me if it is a case of potentially losing revenue.
  6. Walk over and visit me, if it will affect my immediate bottom line.

I really can’t understand the fuss many digital, social media and online marketers made when LinkedIn and Twitter broke ways recently, disallowing the ability to auto-post to both networks. Then Facebook and Twitter disconnected for a few days for good measure. You wouldn’t pitch your business in the exact same way to everyone you meet, right?

To end, what our investigations highlighted most was (and it is a tweetable):

How do you segment or separate you messages?

— Post originally featured on iStrategy blog

B2B, crisis management, social media, Uncategorized

Does your brand have a clear crisis management plan?

Each day I hear more and more statistics around the majority of FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 companies getting into social media.

The reluctance to allow clients to communicate with brands is being overpowered as it becomes mainstream.

Brands that are not on Facebook or Twitter are:

  • At least, feeling the peer pressure.
  • At most, developing highly formulated infrastructures to support social media marketing and social business as their businesses are transformed by close relationships with their clients.

This pressure to “do social” doesn’t always mean brands are entering with clear plans objectives and tactics. They let the pressure build, dive in and open themselves up to customers. Unprepared for a face full of coke.

All Shook Up
© eviloars

We’ve seen some epic fails in recent time. Here are 14 for example.

Many PR and community managers are thinking – if I have to face a nightmare like @O2 – will I be able to respond with such finesse.

A lot of which could be avoided by establishing ground rules. On my list of priorities for any social media effort are:

  1. What is our crisis management plan?
    This should cover:

    • What constitutes an “issue”?
    • Who is authorise to respond?
    • Who do you call in what department?
    • Where will we respond – offline, in private or in public?
    • When – what real time quick response team is in place?
    • How will you respond? “Sweep and hid” or “my bad” ?
  2. What is our Objective?
    • Content syndication?
    • Brand building?
    • Advocacy?
    • Engagement?
  3. What does success look like?
    • How will I measure it?

Only from there will I move to looking at what success in a “campaign” or action might look like and how that fits with the overall strategy and path. Where the questions and answers vary, but having the following is key.

  1. A product owner – the task master that will ensure all content providers are in place, and that their content is on time and on brand
  2. A content calendar – however simple or elaborate.
  3. Regular content meetings – possibly even daily stand-ups where – “Each member talks about progress since the last stand-up, the anticipated work until the next stand-up and any impediments, taking the opportunity to ask for help”

But coming back to dealing with crisis – make sure you have the fallback plan in place. Know who is the second backup, who can respond with a video if nexessary, comments to the press, TV etc. Then at a smaller scale, preset authorised refunds or “gifts” as apologies.

Refreshment. Ice cold!Its important to have it all in place before the bottle explodes.


Especially over the hot summer months when someone’s server or service is bound to be brought down by the heat – just as half your team are on vacation sipping cool drinks.