Friday, 26 February 2010


Occasionally things happen when you're running your own business that, initially, can be upsetting. They can even progress to being vexing, but eventually mellow to a humorous anecdote with a side order of food for thought.

Ezinegate started when someone that I've worked with sent around their monthly E-Newsletter. (No names, no pack drill!) They made some comments about a number of businesses - other than their own - which were less than flattering.

My company specialises in Social Media. This was one area that was targeted thus:
"Then we have the social Media experts who are usually broke, but have thousands of friends on Facebook of followers on Twitter. They are all about building relationships, but struggle to offer something and ask for the sale."

At first - I'll be honest - I couldn't help but take the comments personally. I soon got over that as I know that this person is not daft enough to make a personal attack on anybody! Whatever I may now think of them, they run their business effectively.

Then I was vexed at what the networks we had in common would think. Now, it's become a something to laugh at and the negative emotion is long since spent.

It has, however, made me think about how Social Media is perceived by businesses that have yet to take the plunge. It has also made me think of what assumptions are made about companies and people that offer Social Media services.

People who meet me (yes, I do go out of the house!) are quickly disabused of the code bashing hermit stereotype. I'm not a pale, ghostly figure chained to a keyboard - social media is as much about people as any other sort of networking. The fact that it uses technology as a way of facilitating interaction can be misconstrued.

So - what did I learn from Ezinegate?

I think that there is a need to actively challenge the negative assumptions made about social media and the people that use it. It's a mainstream business tool, not a minority curiosity. We're clawing our way out of a recession and every inch of advantage needs to be fought for and held on to. If I need to change the view of business one person at a time I'll do it!

Will you join me...?

Monday, 15 February 2010

Back to reality

I've been swamped with jargon this last week. What's worse is it's someone else's idea of snappy terminology and not a natural area for me to dabble in.

In order to get as much information as possible for myself and for my clients, I entered the twilight zone of the "deal closers".

This has nothing to do with re-imagined vampires that sparkle in the sunlight! It has even less to do with normal human interaction from what I can ascertain.

Apparently, I need to "master the art of the soft close".

Up until a few days ago my knowledge of "soft closing" was limited to kitchen drawers. I think I would have been more comfortable had things remained that way!

If - as I am led to believe - the era of the hard sell is over, why do we have people dressing it up as new wave "customer needs gratification"?

I've looked at the path that leads to masses of timed tweets, auto DMs and pseudo relationships. I turned around and resolutely walked away. I'm back on my own path.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Against the anodyne

I've been doing a lot of research this week to ensure that my new client's Twitter feed gets real results.

I did some market segmentation based on the results of this research and it has proved to be really effective in targeting tweets. Based on the initial click through data, I've also optimised the time the tweets occur to hit the correct timezones. I'll keep monitoring and adapting this.  Already I'm in contact with some great people and I'm engaging them in conversation.

Hang on a minute. Why am I bothering?

I could just set up a load of timed clone tweets, press "go" and collect the client's money couldn't I? That seems, to me, to be what some social media "specialists" do for their customers.

Apart from the fact my "moral compass" doesn't point that way, all it would serve to do is convince my client that social media doesn't work. They wouldn't recommend it - or me - to anyone else. It would be a one off contract with no hope of renewal. Even worse, there would be another social media sceptic in the world!

Social media gets its name for a reason. It's about interaction, people and engagement by them and with them.

Anodyne feeds don't fulfil people's needs. They don't work. Please don't use them!