Podcast 36: Panel Discussion – Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Panelists discuss using social media to grow your business

Welcome to episode 36 of the Waiake – My podcast to help you take your brand to new heights online.

In this episode I wanted to share with you the wisdom of my three co panellists from the recent Harcourts Real Estate Conference. We talk about digital marketing and using social media to grow your business.

We were interviewed by Troy Rawhiti-Forbes who has for the last few years been the conduit between New Zealand’s largest telco and our nation on Twitter and Facebook. Having experienced the highs of branding brilliance and the lows of national outages and email hacks Tory is in good space to bring out the best in my fellow guests and to prompt me to say a few things of merit too.

Coming from quite different backgrounds it was really interesting to get some diverse perspectives – yet hear some common themes as to whats best when using social media to grow your audience and business.

I’ll let you hear Tory give the impressive introductions (I cringed through mine) and I hope you find it of worth as the topics covered work in many industries.

If you’re keen to follow along the other panelist are:

HR

Key takeaways:

  • Know your Unique Selling Points and incorporate this into your online presence and SEO.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new networks, find out what fits best with you.
  • Always be transparent in your actions.
  • Think – “What would I want to hear from a brand?” and “How does this help my customers?”

HR

5 sources of innovation for your digital marketing

Now as a digital marketer or online marketing specialist, there’s a lot of innovations I need to keep up with.

There are technical updates in the various fields of the role: SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing, PR, email marketing and mobile marketing that I need to monitor so that I’m optimising and measuring efforts correctly.

But beyond that, how can you keep a competitive advantage in the online space?

Can we look at different perspectives, emulating competitors, extrapolating on someone else’s technique? Here’s some options you might wish to explore.

Reflecting. Still Sunday in NZ

A post shared by Nick Allen (@nickwallen) on

  1. I’m starting to think more seriously about my photography and one method I use to create new shots is to emulate a technique that someone has used on a totally different subject. Maybe there’s methods that you use in web development that could help your content marketing?
  2. Attend a conference but look outside your industry when choosing break out sessions. If you market to consumers throw a B2B presentation into your mix. Very rarely will a competitor share the big secret to their online marketing, but someone in a different industry might.
  3. Learn a language or switch continent. I google a topic in Spanish and Portuguese to see if there’s experts there that are doing things differently. Sure, most of the SEO and PPC innovation comes from the US, but there’s quite a few Chilean and Brazilian startups doing innovative stuff in the Mobile and location (checking into locations) space.
  4. Think about external sources for your content like your supplier or resellers. Ozone Coffee Roasters tell their suppliers back story very well. Discussing suppliers can often lead to great long tail SEO.
  5. In your A/B testing, do something counterintuitive occasionally. OK, I’m not saying do something that will alienate your customers completely, but try sending out a new article at 8pm instead of 8am, just to see…

These are some of the ways I innovate. What do you do to keep ahead?


Some thoughts on different perspectives and using tactics from other specialities or industries to spice things up.

What Crazy Chef – Gordon Ramsay – Has Taught Me About Online Marketing

In the background this evening is Ramsay’s kitchen nightmares playing on the TV.

For those who have not been blessed with the acne scarred, expletive derived, Michelin star holding master chef – this post is about a restaurant expert coming in to put things right.  How it relates to digital marketing? You’ll see.

20130429-233125.jpg

Gordon is travelling around the US visiting SMEs and owner operator restaurants. It’s brutal truth as always with expletives in every sentence. Yet…

There are main themes that come through that I would relate back to digital marketing.

  1. Of course his expertise means he can comment on quality and that is step one that many of us forget. User surveys, customer insights and anecdotal comments at client meetings all need to be collected and aggregated.

    We need to understand explicitly what customers feel about your web presence and work to prioritise improvements. Including users within the organisation!

  2. The second point is that NONE of the owners have an exacting view over costs and income. At either end they are throwing away good food or not catering to the right market and missing income, or don’t even know their income.

    Having a clear understanding of cost per acquisition, how many of your warm leads are converted to sales or even how many conversions you get from PR, PPC, SEO or Social is paramount to selling ‘marketing’ to your colleagues.

  3. The third is finding your USP, what differentiates you from competitors, direct or indirect. Ramsay brings the basics: fresh, seasoned and tasty. Yet every restaurant brings its own twist. Be it Michelin star presentation, hyper local produce or just like Momma makes.

    More often than not, once Ramsay has been through they’re leading on price and offering top quality and service.

    Likewise, we need to have a fresh take, content and aggregation that can’t be found elsewhere. We also need to support this with well managed PPC and SEO to feed the sales loop to be ahead of competitors.

  4. As I watch Gordon work his way around the restaurant each staff member openly shares their thoughts on what’s wrong, and very few seem horrifically off the mark. Flattening hierarchies and asking for feedback from the front line is paramount with your online channels as well. Open communication is needed about how hard it is to run with an incomplete lead, how hard the analytics are to understand, or simply how long it takes to publish. All reflect on your end website and service.
  5. The main underlying point though seems to be stepping back from the routine to focus on what could we do differently. Doing this seals the episode.

    If we could all schedule a monthly day-long growth hacking session, where the day to day grind is completely dismissed, I am sure that our digital marketing will grow from strength to strength. Innovate.

As Henry Ford said –

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Rich Snippets and Open Source Architecture

Theres two topics for today’s post, and both on very different streams. The first, rich snippets, is the ability to tell search engines to display text and images, that you provide, in the manner you want, on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Hubspot wrote a great article on snippets earlier in the week. The article is robust and covers so I won’t go into too much detail. But in case you aren’t aware there are snippets that allow you to provide structured detail for:

  • Authors
  • businesses,
  • music,
  • videos,
  • products,
  • recipes
  • and events.

With my blog hosted on WordPress, I will need to explore how far I can take snippets, but Twitter does already recognise the first image and paragraphs of my post, displaying them in stream much like Facebook. Which is a reasonable first step.

Two benefits I can see from ensuring your snippets are in place and working are:

  1. You really get a chance to optimise and enhance your calls to action and distinguish your result. I for one would be more inclined to click on a well formatted link, even if it was mid way down the results page.
  2. You also get the chance to start feeding through your brand, corporate palatte and tie this to your site. Consistency between the author image in the SERPs, and tone of voice can’t help but improve the users experience.

Priory park. #nofilter #spring

A post shared by Nick Allen (@nickwallen) on

The second edition of Sunday Session was recorded at Priory Park today. I shade from the wind beside the lake, looking across at the pavilion, a feature piece of modern architecture in Reigate.

Which vaguely leads me to the second topic today. UNStudio architects in the Netherlands have said in June they will re-form as an open source architecture studio.

Here’s the tweet which proved popular – perhaps as it is an innovative step for an industry that is still, like many, tightly holding onto IP and what they believe to be competitive advantage through knowledge.

I think this could be an exciting move for the studio, as they vow to make as much as possible of their processes and architecture open to the public and other architects.

It’s not too dissimilar to content marketing and sharing how to, or instructive guides like Hubspot has above. When UNStudio release what would be mainstream architecture fundamentals (say the design of a 3 bed townhouse) it frees them up to focus on innovation and differentiation. Rather than redrafting the same things constantly, to add a flurry at the end.

What’s more, unable to find a structure within their industry that they felt could innovate fast enough, they have looked to the startup scene and the likes of Square, Xero and Twitter. Tech companies using Agile project management.

While the process may not be truly agile they are letting the teams self select and focus in their strength among four topics in the new open source platform: sustainability, organisation, materials and parametrics.

It is definitely one I’ll be watching this year, and that I hope succeeds.

Listen along…