Blog Archives

Lessons From Topman’s T-Shirt Debacle

Topman tshirtThis week in the Guardian Woman’s Blog, Jane Martinson wrote about some offensive t-shirts designed and produced by Topman. There are a number of social media lessons that we can learn from this whole event. Read the rest of this entry


5 Social Media Realities in November 2011

Social MediaWhether you are starting out in social media, or have been using it for some time, here are 5 useful tips that will help you keep ahead of the competition as we come to the end of 2011. Read the rest of this entry

Social Media Sharing Made Easier

Social media sharing toolThis is a blog that centres around social media, so it goes without saying that I use social media networks quite a lot. In isolation, each network I use is fantastic in its own way. I mean, they all have their little quirks. Facebook is annoying, Twitter is sometimes a bit too simple, barely anybody is on Google+ and don’t get me started on Reddit (their link submission tool is a real pain to use sometimes). Read the rest of this entry

Can you measure the return on investment (ROI) for social media?

Or, more to the point, is there a fully comprehensive way of measuring ROI for social media?

Well, the conclusion that a room full of marketing, social media and PR professionals, as well as a panel consisting of people from a leading digital agency (@robin1966), retail organisation (@HN_Manchester), major sports brand (@AaronLavery), a digital research and analytics agency (@needleinsights) and a shy and retiring @johnrobb77 was ‘No’.

More to the point though, does this actually matter? In my opinion, the answer again is ‘No’.

#thefeed2 panel and audience

ROI of social media

The question of ROI of social media activity is brought up over and over again because, unlike some other marketing tools, it is measurable in some, but not all, aspects. If a marketing tool can accurately be analysed with results linked to it directly (e.g. email marketing), or alternatively if it is widely conceded that accurately measuring ROI is impossible (e.g. motorway billboard), then it will often fly under the ROI radar. Social media doesn’t have this luxury and is very much on the radar. Because elements of it are measurable (number of followers, number of RT, referred traffic – NOT Klout, which is as useful as a random number generator), people are of the opinion that we, as social media professionals, should be able to allocate a pounds and pence value of social media activity.

Social media ambassadors

Rather than finding this elusive reporting technique that offers a solution, I actually believe that social media will break free from the constraints imposed on it by the ROI debate through the education of wider audiences about the true nature and benefits of social media. We need to remember that as a medium social media is widely used, but is still relatively young and widely misunderstood. Your typical internet surfer skims along the surface of online content, barely engaging with brands. Social media, on the other hand, gives brands and content providers the opportunity to distribute content to a deeper degree. Their content is qualified through being shared amongst friends and like-minded audiences along with the opportunity to foster longterm relationships. Do I have a quantifiable scale to illustrate this? No. Sometimes you have to make informed assumptions though. Would I take a safe gamble that an integrated social media strategy will pay dividends? 9 times out of 10, yes.

The way forward

The organisations that benefit the most from social media will be those that fully embrace and integrate it into their marketing strategies. Too many conversations relate to social media in isolation, when it should be integrated as an element of the marketing mix. It is crazy to do otherwise. You can have the best car stereo on the planet, but if you don’t fit it into a car, it’s as useful as…well, Klout (not very). Still we are seeing social media strategies being put into play that are not being integrated into wider marketing strategies, and as a result are working at a fraction of their potential. To be successful, the same amount of care that goes into brand consistency should be applied to ensure that every marketing message has a consideration for social media potential. In many cases a cultural shift will be required within an organisation to properly accommodate truly effective social media strategy, and SMEs will be able to make this shift more easily than larger corporations but, regardless of the fact that the benefits can’t be accurately forecast, if done properly I’d bet my pay cheque that it would offer a good return on investment of time and resources.

And if all else fails, just get Hello There Cupcakes to make you some social media and QR code cupcakes to take your mind off things. Nom nom nom!

Here are the associated tweets for The Feed 2 event.

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Quick fix: How careers services can utilise social media

I presented at the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Technology Day this month, I’ve added my presentation to this post.

Part of the day included a Q&A with a student panel, made up of 4 students from various courses. The comment that hit hardest was that the panel was barely aware of the careers service and the support it offered. This is a situation you will find at most universities, but how on earth are careers services supposed to build their reputation with every student when resources and budgets are so tight? Well, I’ll run through the other points raised by the students and, hopefully, some quick fixes showing how careers services can use social media to work towards building their reputation amongst students.

When asked what the best way of reaching them (students), they all replyed that email is probably the best channel

Although currently this is the case, owing to a slow uptake with Linkedin and Twitter, I think that this provides the perfect opportunity for careers services to act as educators in social media. If you, as a careers service, teach someone how to use a tool that they will use for the foreseeable future, you will be engrained in their conciousness forever. Considering that the panel had bearly heard of the careers service until this point, this would be of massive benefit. This is further supported by the following point…

We (students) would attend sessions or view online how to videos showing how social media can be used to search for jobs

A member of the audience raised the point that they don’t have the time for this sort of activity, which is a fair point. But consider this; in one afternoon you could either see up to 6 students in one-to-one sessions, which is useful. Or you could download some free screen capture video software, which records your on-screen activity, plug in your webcam to record your voice and record a video commentary showing how to set up a Twitter account and search for job opportunities. There is an interest in the student and graduate market for this type of information and, along with some promotion, it will reach thousands of students and graduates. Include a link to your careers services pages at the end of the video and it will act as a traffic driver to raise awareness of your careers service.

All panel members use YouTube and Facebook

Once you have created your video as outlined above, you can upload it to YouTube and post the link on Facebook. This is where the concept of waterholes comes into play, i.e. be where your audience is. Also insure that your video is posted to the main university Facebook page and any other pages associated to the university (including the Student Union). After all, the one thing all of these page users have in common is that at some point they will be searching for jobs! Get creative with this, maybe record a ‘How to tie your tie for an interview’ video, or run a competition on campus for the funniest careers related video. User generated content such as this will give your Facebook and YouTube channels a personal touch that will make them extremely shareable. At every careers event, get your camera and video camera out there and create some content!

A member of the audience asked the one question that everyone, including myself at one point, asks about social media. ‘How can I justify allocating the time to tweeting or updating Facebook?!’. I believe that the extra investment of time is worthwhile because it amplies the effort that you put into each task and provides a soundboard for your service. If we’re honest, whatever we have been doing thus far to promote on-campus career services has not worked as well as it could have. So, let’s change it up and try something different. Try commiting some time over the next 3 months and I am sure that you will see the benefits.

5 tips: social media for recruitment

I spoke at an Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) technology day on Wednesday, the aim of which was to discuss how technology, including social media, can be used to improve the standard of, and accessibility to, careers advice and information.

Although it was written for a higher education audience, I think that regardless of your industry, the 5 points raised can be applied across the board. Remember that these are just the slides, the majority of the context was included in what I was saying. If the presentation raises any questions, add them as comments and I will respond. If you would like me to hold a similar talk at your university my contact details are on the final slide.


Short video – social media for recruitment

A short video recorded by Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach) at last week’s Social Media Surgery Manchester, the title of which was ‘Social media for recruitment: Getting a job through Twitter or Linkedin or Facebook’. Ian asked for the one piece of advice that I would give to a job seeker using social media. Before you watch, I’d like to apologise for 3 things:

  1. The “I’d…erm…” at the start of the vid
  2. The horrendous black waiter’s shirt I was wearing
  3. The terrible hair do

This was taken after a long day at work, upon which I blame these 3 things.

You can still access the live blog from the evening and if you are a job seeker you may wish to take a read of my social media surgery take away, which offers some pointers on the effective use of social media in your job search. Keep an eye on my Twitter account (@OnlineAStevens) or drop me an invite on Linkedin if you would like to know more about the next event. The likely topic of discussion will be content generation for social media and reporting stats accurately.

#mansms takeaway: Social media for recruitment

Social media for recruitment takeawayThe May 2011 Social Media Surgery Manchester event took place last night, the topic for the evening was ‘Social media for recruitment: Getting a job through Twitter or Linkedin or Facebook’. Social media surgery events are free to attend and supported by the Manchester Digital Development agency (@MDDA on Twitter). The event was transcribed by Holleh Nowrouz (@Orchard_holleh) from Manchester-based digital recruitment agency Orchard. You can find details of the panel, attendees and the discussions that took place on the live blog page.

Following last night’s discussion here is my social media for recruitment takeaway, designed for job seekers as opposed to tactics for using social media to recruit:

  1. Don’t neglect the Old Skool. We are in the midst of a cultural shift and, whilst a professional social media presence will offer many advantages in a job search, they will be immediately undone if your CV is not up to scratch. A strong CV and cover letter remain an essential element of a successful job search. My employer has a great CV and cover letter section. Once you have a strong CV, then move on to setting up a professional social media presence (your personal brand), and if appropriate take it even further with a Facebook CV, page or video CV (ok, maybe not like this one, but you get the picture).
  2. The social media shop window. Don’t just look at social media as a channel for searching for opportunities, use the various channels as an opportunity to showcase yourself, i.e. help a recruiter to use social media to search for more information about you. Don’t be under the illusion that if you create a fantastic set of social media profiles a recruiter will come knocking on your door. You still have to put the same amount of effort into finding a job, but you can use your CV to direct potential employers to your social media profiles which will then give them more of an idea about what you’re about and the skills you possess.
  3. Linkedin groups. Join Linkedin groups that your target employers are members of, not just the ones that they set up – for example the Association of Graduate Recruiters group. Don’t just be a spectator, contribute to discussions and share your experience, and more importantly try to add recruiters as connections after engaging in discussion with them – give them a reason to connect with you. Read my 9 simple steps to getting the most out of Linkedin post for more advice.
  4. Social media amplifies your efforts. Every piece of work you do, every event you attend and every conversation you have requires effort. Make the most out of these interactions and activities by tweeting, blogging and connecting. To use #mansms as an example, I blog prior to and after the event. I tweet before, during and afterwards as well as following all attendees and panel members. I direct people to my Linkedin profile and try to connect with as many attendees as possible. I also take a picture for blog posts and my Flickr account. So from a 2 hour session, which is very useful even in isolation, I’m amplifying the benefits by using it to create content for my social media profiles.
  5. Be social. Remember that social media, regardless of the tool used, is about facilitating relationships. If you meet someone face to face, add them on Linkedin and Twitter so that you can build on that relationship. Also, if you have an online connection that you regularly communicate with, arrange to meet them in person to consolidate that relationship. Whether they are potential employers, potential job referrers or just an interesting person, good connections always lead to opportunities.

Here are the attendees from last night’s surgery. Whether or not you attended last night, feel free to add your name, a bit about yourself and your social network profiles as comments to share/connect with other readers of this post.


Twitter for events/social media for recruitment

 The last Social Media Surgery Manchester event took place in April (hashtag: #mansms). Local businesses pitched their questions to myself, Chi-Chi Ekweozor, Ian Pettigrew, Adrian Slatcher and Fran Holden relating to the use of social media to generate interest and awareness in events that they are running. You can still access my resulting blog post and the live blog from the event. Ian also cruelly made us commit our thoughts on using Twitter to promote events to video, and here are mine…

The next Manchester surgery will be held on Tuesday 10th May from 5.30 p.m. until 7.30 p.m. discussing ‘Social Media for Recruitment’. You can find out more information and book your place here. It’s free to attend, there is plenty of opportunity for Q&A and whether you are a social media beginner or expert, the discussions are always useful. The panel will consist of myself (@OnlineAStevens) from Graduate Prospects, Ian Pettigrew from Kingfisher Coaching, Carol Maughan from DLA Piper UK LLP, Jess Perriam Online and Radio Content Producer and Matt Hackett from Orchard.

Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it tweet your questions along with the #mansms hashtag and we will try to answer them on the night and include the answers in the live blog.

Social Media for the CEO: An evening with Eve Mayer Orsburn

On Tuesday night I attended Social Media for the CEO Manchester (#SM4CEOMAN), a presentation by Eve Mayer Orsburn who is known by her 43,000+ followers on twitter as @LinkedinQueen.

I must admit that after the first 5 minutes, where Eve gave some top-level social media information and quotes from the Nielsen report highlighting that 90% of online consumers trusted recommendations from people they know, I was worried that this was going to be pretty much the same content that has been spouted or written about social media hundreds of times before.

However, it quickly became apparent that there was much more to the self-proclaimed LinkedIn Queen than generic social media advice. This was introduced when business context was given to the presentation, initially with a quote from 7 habits author Stephen Covey related to writing any strategy:  “to begin with the end in mind”.

This is a pretty simple concept, but one that is so obviously simple that people often forget to apply it. I’m guilty of that myself. I set up my @OnlineAStevens Twitter account without first setting my end goal. Same with my LinkedIn account and to a degree this blog. The thing to take away is that whether you’re creating a personal brand or just trying to do your job more effectively; like you would with any marketing or business strategy you need to set your end goals as well as clear intermittent goals to help you get there.

Another change in perspective that I took away was in my content strategy for Twitter posts. I have always said that you need a rich mix of content to keep people interested. Like having a conversation with a friend, you wouldn’t constantly keep asking them to read your blog or buy a product. You’d engage in proper conversation, sharing interesting information and funny stories. I always pushed the following mix:

  • 25% – General content: What you’re up to and such
  • 25% – Retweets and @mentions: Share the love
  • 25% – Relevant info: Links to content specific to your industry
  • 25% – Irrelevant info: Links to content from anywhere except your industry

However Eve gave a much more focused approach that has your ultimate goal in mind (taken from the presentation):

Inform (20%)

Provide general information and facts about your industry. An example of this type of content came from a member of the audience, from a law firm: “20% of compensation claims are successful if made within 2 months of accident”, simultaneously informing and promoting your offering.

Entertain (20%)

It’s still people that you’re communicating with and people like to be entertained (just ask keyboard cat). Share humorous videos, odd/amusing laws (law firm example again), stir controversy and tug on people’s emotions. Say things that will inspire debate.

Interact (40%)

Ask people what they want. Listen. Respond. Act. Simple!

Convert (20%)

Eve said that many people from the social media industry advise to steer clear of trying to convert business via Twitter. However the fact is that people expect to be sold to and respond very well to offers delivered via Twitter. Conversions are ultimately the reason you’re engaging with Twitter, so don’t be afraid to try to convert business or traffic. Eve herself drives 40% of her business through Twitter and LinkedIn. Your followers won’t mind, because 80% of your tweets include useful and engaging information!

So, give it a try. Apply the above strategy to your corporate, university or personal Twitter accounts and see if it works for you. Comments and experiences below please, thanks!

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