How to be happy

I have just spent the last two weeks in Thailand and I am currently writing this blog on the 13 hour flight back from Bangkok to London. Thailand is an amazing country. I have experienced it’s two extremes – the busy streets of Khaosan Road in Bangkok and the peace and tranquillity around islands such as Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and Ao Nang. I was fortunate enough to experience things such as:

A Buddhist monk prayer session in full flow. Hearing them recite their ancient chants in the Wat Pho Buddhist temple, home to the worlds largest reclining Buddha. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Passing my open water PADI Scuba diving course 18 metres under the Andaman sea with green turtles and leopard sharks to keep me company.


Riding an Asian elephant called Nancy bareback into the sea and then swimming with her after she decided it would be funny to throw me and my unsuspecting girlfriend into the sea OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The one thing that struck me above everything is the entrepreneurial spirit of the Thai people. The less the person had, the more they tried. When you are on a remote island where there are no shops for miles, the locals set up stores in their houses to serve the community around them. Locals on the streets were working all hours of the day selling fruit for small amounts of money that the western world would not consider worth picking up off the floor. By western standards the low pay, long hours and shanty town living would deem their quality of life as unlivable. However, on the whole, the people seemed very happy. The holiday made me feel very humble and gave me some time to reflect on how lucky I am and the things that have helped make me happy. I wanted to turn these thoughts into two tips to help you live a happier life.

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How to embed a tweet button in your blog

Have you ever wanted to embed a tweet button into your blog post?

Rather than tweet a link to the whole article, have you ever wanted to tweet just a quote or snippet?

In a previous post I explained how to get people to share your content through social networks. This article will help you to make it easier to get people to share parts of your content rather than just the traditional way and sharing the whole article.

Below is an example of a tweet button that I embedded into a previous post. This tweet button was designed to give readers a chance to tweet the quote that I had listed in the post.

tweet button example

Example of a tweetable quote with tweet button embedded into the post

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Why use social media?

why use social media

Are you considering using social media at work or in your professional life?

Are you trying to figure out what social media can help you achieve or see if it’s worth your while?

Read on to help you understand the value social media can bring to your career and some examples of how easy it is to start getting results.

Most people I talk to about social media fall into two categories: those who think it is important but don’t use it much if at all and those who don’t see the point because they don’t think they can get anything out of it.

I want to share some tips on what I have done to achieve a few milestones of success in a fairly short time frame. If you follow these tips you will be able to define what it is you want to achieve and get results a lot quicker than I did.

My social media goals

  • Establish credibility inside and outside my company
  • Build up my personal brand so people know who I am before I meet them
  • Communicate my thoughts and ideas to more people
  • Build up my industry knowledge so that I can be perceived by others as an expert
  • Connecting and conversing with like minded people

If you share any of these goals then read on and I will give you some tips to help you achieve them.

How can you achieve these goals? Continue reading

Why you don’t need a social media strategy from #smwldn

Speaking at social media week

I have had a busy week this week, having spoken at four separate events. Yesterday I had the privilege of being asked to deliver a presentation at Facebook’s London office as part of Social Media Week 2012. I had a room full of people for an hour to share my views about social business.

It was a great experience to take my thoughts and ideas and share them with a room full of people and get instant feedback. It is similar to me writing a blog but with instant comments from more people. I would take 50 people in a room over 50 page views any day.

I wanted to share with you my slide deck, the video recording of the event and some key insights from my presentation from the people in the audience.

Slides from the event

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Video on demand

The event was streamed live and recorded so you can watch on demand below


Tweets from the audience

I went through the event hashtag (#SMWSTRATEGY) and took out the things I spoke about which people felt warranted sharing with their networks. I thought it was great feedback for me as to which points people found most valuable.

Can conflict in social business be a good thing?

ted ipad app screen shot

When I work from home and take a break to eat lunch I normally get my iPad out, open the TED app and watch a video to see if I can find any additional inspiration for the afternoon.

Yesterday I searched for leadership and came across Margaret Heffernan’s talk called “Dare to disagree.”

The official description is below

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counter-intuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

Trouble viewing? Click here > >

She talks about a doctor who was investigating why there was a high death rate from childhood cancer in the 1950’s. Continue reading

screwed up paper blog post

How to write your first blog

I have spent the past week sunning myself around a pool, high in the Italian hills of Giaole in Chainti, Tuscany.

tuscany chainti feet infinity pool

For the last 30 years I have been convinced that I cannot hold my breath under water with out holding my nose. During the first day around the pool I was embarrassingly trying to explain to my friends why I can’t hold my breath. Someone said just give it ago. So I did. After two attempts, surprise surprise, I managed to do it. The best thing was, I didn’t  drown! Seeing how happy I was at my new found skill, my friends jokingly said that I should blog about it! So here I am.

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top five graphic

Top 5 #socialmedia blog posts


I have been blogging for 8 months now and I thought I would do a quick recap of the most viewed posts on my site. It has been a great journey so far and I have loved every minute of it. I would recommend it to anyone. Thanks to Marcus Sheridan for your inspiration and to Michael Brenner for your help in giving me the platform to tell my story to a wider audience.

These 5 posts topped the lists for various reasons including controversy, thought leadership, good search engine optimisation and writing nice things about a bunch of people who retweeted the nice things that I had said.

1. Why @o2 failed with their promoted tweet about #blackberrysale

This post caused some controversy: it was a learning experience for me. I think it was a great idea but the execution probably could have been a little more refined. I want to describe this style of marketing as “Micro-marketing” and copyright the phrase . I think this could be the catalyst for people to change how they market to their customers. It takes marketing to a whole new level of personalisation. I hope you read this in 10 years and think, if I only I had listened to that crazy Chris Heffer guy!

2. Why should you write a blog and what can you achieve in 63 days?

This was one of my early posts which talks about why you should write a blog. It tells a story of how, in 63 days at my company and through writing a blog, I managed to get myself onto the same blogging platform as the CIO, the CMO and many senior leaders. The post performed very well in google which drove a lot of traffic to my site for answering the question “why should you write a blog?”

3. Can social media replace email?

This post talks about how an evangelist at IBM has started a trend of working towards a day where email no longer exists. A quest for a more productive way of working. If you are a senior exec and want to understand more about how blogging and social networks can help you be a better, more productive leader then your should read this post.

4. How do I motivate people to buy?

This post talks about the great ideas and theories of Simon Sinek. I am not a religious man but Simon is the nearest I can get to totally believing in a set of believes from one person. His thoughts, ideas and values deserve the highest level of respect. This post may change the way you look at the world and the way you operate in it.

5. Crowd sourced summary of #SBSS12 in 60 tweets!

In many ways, this was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. It started my popular series of crowd sourced summary posts, showcasing the most insightful messages from the day. This article was retweeted to over 90,000 people within 1 hour of posting, which is one of the reasons it got into the top five posts.

How to use twitter at a conference

This article follows on my from my post about how an event organiser can use social media to enhance their event. I thought that I would give the other side of the story and help people who attend conferences, to get the most out of them using twitter.

Twitter is a great tool to use at an event. If used successfully it can help to increase your personal brand and indirectly, promote what you do.

Be sure to follow the event hashtag while the people are speaking, if you can. You can retweet any  good tweets from other people also listening to the speaker.

How to increase your visibility at the event

One of the things I usually do to increase my visibility at events is to tweet some of the key facts or ideas from the speakers.  Tweet about the ideas, concepts and facts that people will want to retweet because it is interesting, insightful or useful. A lot of people can’t be bothered to tweet but it’s easy to retweet.

Example tweet

The format I generally use for this kind of thing is below. I usually copy and paste the start and the end of the message, then add the insight in the middle. See the example below

.@speaker-twitter-name says (insert your message) #event-hashtag

Be sure to put the full stop at the start if you use the @mention. If you don’t do this, it will limit the number of people who see the message. See this Twitter’s support page for more information about why.

If you do this, you will get people who are following the hashtag retweeting you and often the speakers will retweet you as well when they finish their presentation.

Do not forgot to tweet pictures

I often tweet pictures of the event and @mention people in the pictures if they are on stage.  Almost always get people retweeting it.

Continue on after the event

After the event I usually write a crowd sourced blog post with all the key information from the event.

Crowd sourced summary of #SBSS12 in 60 tweets!

Crowd sourced summary of #SBS2012 in 63 tweets!

Crowd sourced summary of #CSMB2B in 42 tweets!

I then tweet the blog out and @mention people who I have quoted and most people retweet it. For one of these articles, I was retweeted to over 90,000 people within 1 hour. This resulted in a spike in traffic to my blog.

Your turn

How have you used to twitter or any other social network to promote yourself at a conference? Do you think twitter can help enhance the experience or distract people from the content? What tips have I missed that could help you use twitter at an event?

How to use social media during your event

I have attended a number of different social media related business events over the past few months. I think they have achieved a varying amount of success in being social at the events themselves. This post may give you some ideas as to how you can improve the experience of people attending your events through the use of social media. This is aimed at events which focus on social media as their subject matter because they should be good at this stuff.  This equally applies to any other event that wants to be great at social media in their event.

As a social media event your event should be very socially enabling for the attendees. A social event should be pioneering the way that all events should be run and you should encourage people to be more social while at the events. Some of the simple things that I would do to make it social would be

    • Make sure EVERYONE can get on wifi, this ensures that everyone can participate in the conversation
    • Capture everyone’s twitter handle and/or blog/website on registration for the event so that you can put it on their name badges
    • Have twitter handles for all speakers on the speakers list and attendees list
    • Have twitter handles and hashtags on every single slide of every deck
    • Put event  hashtags on all your on site signage
    • Have a twitter wall to encourage people to tweet and to get more people engaged
    • Make sure that someone has set up a place for people to check into on Foursquare and tell people to check in. If you have a large event, then set up a foursquare badge and tell people in advance what they need to do to earn it
    • Make sure your hashtag makes sense and relates to the event name, so that it is easy to remember. Make sure the hashtag hasn’t been previously used elsewhere
    • Offer prizes for the best/funniest/most important tweet/quote using your hashtag
    • Use networking app – as this enables everyone to connect before, during and after the event

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If you use social media at the event, you will not only improve the experience for the people attending but you increase the reach of your event’s hash tagged messages. If nobody is tweeting about your event then anyone who is not in attendance will not get any benefit from your event. There will be less buzz, less conversation and potentially a lower attendance for you next event.

Other related posts you may be interested in:

What is social data?

Why complain using social media?

Can social media replace email?

Your turn

How have you used social media at your events to make it better? What events have you been to that have used social media well? What things did they do well?