How can blogging help you sell?


Do you want to know how blogging can help you sell?

Are you sceptical if it will work in your business niche/sector/industry?

Are you trying to figure out if you should start a blog?

Then read on…..

While on holiday in Thailand I saw this article pop up in my Flipboard.

7 Dynamic Ways Businesses can Blog for SEO, Brand-Building, and Thought Leadership

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What is social business - balance

What is social business?


social media RIP tombstone

Do you want to know what social business is?

Do you want to know how it will change business in the future?

I believe there is no such thing as “Social Media”. It is just a phrase to describe the current state of the internet.

I believe social business is the future of business. Social business will be the way business is done in the future and eventually what we know currently as social business will just become “business”.

I have come up with my definition of Social Business.

Restoring the equilibrium of power, to make the values, interests and beliefs of the customer/employee equal to those of the company Continue reading

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.

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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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build trust - falling man caught by team

How to create a business case for a social selling


£20 note fanned outDo you work in sales?

Are you passionate about how social can help your organisation sell more?

Do you want to know what role content marketing and content creation will play in the future way you will  communicate with your potential customers?

This post explains how you can build a business case to help change the way your business sells it products and how your sales process works.

In my previous post on how to sell in a social era I explained some of the differences between a traditional sales person and person selling in the social era. I mentioned that up to two thirds of buying process is done before you speak with a salesperson. With this post I want to go into a bit more depth and help you demonstrate the return on investment to get buy in, so you can focus in this area. This post will give you some ideas how you can demonstrate the concept to the following people:

  • CEO
  • CMO
  • Managing directors
  • Sales directors
  • Sales managers

It will allow you to spend more time in your current role or create a new role so you can help your company do it better.

For the purpose of this post

I define social selling as using the social web to help you sell your products or services

I define content as information which conveys a message, such as a blog, video, podcast, ebook etc

Teaching vs selling

abc writing

There is a phrase which I learnt from a thesaleslion.com post called assignment selling. The higher the value item you sell –  the more relevant this is.

The concept works like this. When a salesperson goes to a sales appointment they spend a great deal of their time trying to inform the prospect what their product does and why they must have it. If the prospect doesn’t know this information before you visit then you risk wasting time your time with a prospect, who is never going to be a customer.

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£20 note fanned out

How do you sell in the social era?


Are you looking to improve or modernise the way you sell?

Do you want to learn how you can use the social web to help you sell more?

In this post I will discuss both the traditional and the new ways salespeople can work.

After reading this post you will have an insight into what the future of selling will look like. Hopefully you will start to see that there are alternative ways of working that will help you to help your customers more, which in turn will help you hit your sales targets.

A salesperson is often one of the highest paid people in the business. I believe unless salespeople change the way they work, they will lose their influence over the sales process, which warrants their high compensation packages.

£20 note fanned out

What does a salesperson actually do?

Wikipedia explains the verb describing what a salesperson does:

Selling is offering to exchange an item of value for a different item. The original item of value being offered may be either tangible or intangible. The second item, usually money, is most often seen by the seller as being of equal or greater value than that being offered for sale

Basically a salesperson attempts to convince a potential customer that there is more value in what his company is trying to sell than what they are charging for it.

Imagine a world without salespeople? The world of business would stop. Right? Continue reading

Why you don’t need to buy any social software


(Until you read this post)

If my last post on why I wish social was NOT in my job title didn’t stir up enough controversy – then this one might!

“Invest in social culture before social technology”  

In this post I will explain the harsh question you need to ask yourself before you decide to spend a pound, euro or dollar on any social media related software. And while you’re at it, hold the head count for any staff to work on social media as well.

Social is a not about the technology, it is about a cultural shift to create a more honest, open, transparent way of doing business.

“No one can sell you a tool to fix your culture”  

To clarify my definition of software in relation to this post I am talking about a company trying to sell you a tool do something with social: monitoring, responses, collaboration tools etc. I am not including free software such as WordPress, Hoot suite etc.

You can achieve so much without spending a penny. If you have a plan which builds a strategy for using free social tools closely aligned to your core business objectives, then you could achieve more than any other “social strategy” which could easily cost hundreds of thousands or more.

So what if you have 100,000 likes on Facebook. Who cares if you’ve got 100,000 followers on Twitter. Neither of these translate into anything your CEO cares about.

Free things to do with social that really help drive business in a way your CEO cares about Continue reading

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 > >  http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_dare_to_disagree.html

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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How @itv2 could make more money from advertising from #towie using #socialdata


How @itv2 could make more money from advertising from #towie using #socialdata

Screen shot of the hashtag on screen or the picture of one of the people holding up the twitter sign on the trailer

I was walking down South Woodford high street (in Essex) with my girlfriend and her friend suddenly a girl came chasing after us. She wanted us to be extras in the latest episode of “The only way is Essex” (TOWIE). As it happened I couldn’t make it but I was a bit gutted!

I might lose all my credibility by admitting guilty secret, that I watch TOWIE. It makes me cringe every time I watch it but I can’t help watching the next episode. There is something I find interesting about a cheesy almost-reality show set in your high street where the people go to some of the places you go (not the tanning shops I want to point out!)

The show is quite unique in some respects with something which is out of the control of the producers in that the audience pay a part on the story line. A lot of the people on the show in relationships talk about people on twitter who are not on the show telling them that their partners have been cheating on them.

Officially I am in the target audience for ITV 2 but I dont know if a I do not know if a 30 year old male (me) is in the target audience for the show.

ITV do a great job of encouraging social media activity with shows likes TOWIE, X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. I am sure they have goals based around viewer engagement and are probably doing quite well against those targets. I am sure it has helped contribute towards TOWIE achieving its status as ITV2’s second most popular show.

I have had a look around ITV’s advertising site  and see no signs that they are using social data in advertising. I wrote an article a few weeks back on Future of social media in television but I wanted to elaborate more upon how social data could be used to make ITV more money from advertising.

Although most people appreciate it is a necessary evil to support commercial television, there is a fundamental problem with advertising. It is disruptive and gets in the way of people doing what they want to i.e. watch their program.

Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms. Its shareholders are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and UKTV, who together represent over 90 per cent of the commercial TV market in the UK through their owned and partner channels. They say the use of personal recorders increases the viewing figures for the people for people who couldn’t watch the show live. They published some research on the use of digital TV recorders. They put a positive spin on people fast forwarding the ads or “speed watching” them as they call it.  Although this is true I still feel that the way advertising is sold and consumed is not personal enough so people don’t want to watch it.

Imagine a world where the people who watched TV shows were just as interested in the advertisements as the content? Imagine if people would pause the adverts so that they didn’t miss them rather than disappearing to make a cup of tea during the break in corrie?

What I think is possible today
You do a great job of encouraging your viewers of your shows to get involved with conversation on social networks. I think you could take this to the next level by using the data that could find out about your audience from their engagement to personalise the ads. You could analyse the people who are actually watching the show to give more specific demographics for the audience. You could identify on a personal level who is actually watching. You could analyse what that person has been talking about in their tweets or Facebook statuses. What brands they like and what products they talk about. You could use this data to say to advertisers we know a specific number of people in our audience either like your brand or have talked about their products in the last 6 months. This data could be used to offer the advertisers a whole new level of targeting based upon more specifically who is watching and what they want to watch.

What could be done in the future
These ideas would require the way tv is viewed and broadcasted to be changed. I am sure there is some technical bod out there in your company or out there somewhere who could tell you how this could work.

Using the ideas suggested above you could understand who is watching and what they are interested in. If you knew who was watching and on what device you could serve them an advert specific to their own personal interests and preferences.

Imagine if the person watching had tweeted about their interest in a specific company or brand or liked the brand on Facebook. Given this preference information, if you showed them an advert for that brand, do you think they would be more interested or pay that add more attention?

Your turn

It costs £55,000 for a 30 second slot to advertise during TOWIE, do you think you could generate more money if you could target the audience better? If you could guarantee you could serve an advert for a brand where that individual or a vast majority showed an interest in that brand?