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400 hundred blogs. If we can do it…you can do it.

400 hundred blogs. If we can do it…you can do it.

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

Yes, we are not even 2 years old and we have published 400 blogs (yesterday to be precise). In fact we have published more than that if you count the guest blogs we have published on other sites and the articles we’ve written and published on LinkedIn, but if you just think about our website we have published 400.

We are a small business. We have 5 full time members of staff. We have a reseller network (which we are currently building) and we have a series of associates who work with us in the UK to deliver some of our courses, but almost all of the blogs published have been from our five staff.

I’m not boasting, simply stating a fact. So why am I telling you this?

Because YOU can do this too. You don’t have to be a great writer (we’re not). You don’t have to have loads of time (we don’t).

What you do need though is to have knowledge that you want to share, a recognition that developing a powerful presence that people can find and engage with is a marathon and not a sprint, and above all else you need to have a process.

If you write a short blog (like this) every single day, just sharing one point of value after a year you will have literally hundreds of blogs written. That’s hundreds of pages being indexed by Google. That’s hundreds of opportunities for you to appear to be the solution to you prospect’s problems.

As a result of this we get multiple pieces of “inbound” every single day, some of which are from tier 1 companies that have identified that what they’re doing doesn’t work…and what we’re doing does!

That’s pretty powerful.

Still think you cant do it? Talk to us and we’ll show you exactly how you can prove yourself wrong!

People who read this article also read these:

Inaction is your biggest enemy

Why Your Social Selling Program Is Past Its Sell by Date

Why Social Selling Automation is the Devil

England’s world Cup defeat and what business can learn.

England’s world Cup defeat and what business can learn.

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

England is a very patriotic country, we have the Royal Family, we have Elgar’s music, we have Bake-Off and we have a national football team who we love very much, but are galant losers. 

Galant? Yes, look at their recent performance. 

Losers? For sure (the England team hasn’t won a major tournament except the world cup…over 50 years ago) in modern times. The desperation of the fans and the country as a whole in part is a great example of what goes wrong in business and the inability to shake of the shackles of the past and move forward.

But is is possible to shake-off the past.

In the mid 2000’s after the UK had won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics Team GB decided that the usual pathetic haul of medals collected from each Olympic Games simply wouldn’t cut it if we were the host nation.

So Team GB, began to invest and train athletes in a “strategic” way. They structured each athlete’s training regime to ensure that they reached peak performance when it most mattered. It worked because in 2012, instead of getting the usual 20 or 30 medals they won 65. In 2016 they won 67 as a new success-based working practice had been implemented.

Sadly English football has been some way from this, hampered by “old thinking” about how they train, how they motivate and how they reward.

Many businesses too are some way from this results focused strategy. Like the England football team their old working practices…even through they aren’t “working” are still being deployed because “this is how we do things” or “these have always worked and this is simply a blip.” This is a very dangerous game to play. Companies are falling by the wayside because either they aren’t providing what their customers want or because (like English football I suspect) their competitors have moved-on with their operational mechanics and they haven’t.

But, making this change isn’t easy. It requires a leap of faith. It requires a steadfast belief that YOU are able to make the change and be a leader and not a follower. It requires sponsorship throughout the organisation as there will likely be up and downs on the journey.

But, for businesses at least, what choice is there? If what they’re doing isn’t working (and often it isn’t) simply doing more of it isn’t going to magically make it work.

And for football? Well, two things that have come out of England’s World Cup campaign are i) a young team of inexperienced players with real talent can be more successful than we could have ever imagined when they have a good manager to inspire them, ii) Gareth Southgate – a kind, generous, supportive, mentor for the young team is a true inspiration to all.

The fact that the English team has taken the leap of faith and has been rewarded with (by usual standards) exceptional results means that it is possible to change – for them And for you.

People who read this article also read these:

The Business Benefits of Having your CEO on Social Media

Forecasting and pipelines – fact or fantasy? Or, why there’s no hiding the truth on social.

Social Selling with Pride

You Have Heard of #FakeNews Well What About #FakeViews ?

You Have Heard of #FakeNews Well What About #FakeViews ?

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

You will have heard about #FakeNews it’s been around for 100s of years, where people have tried to control the minds of other people, usually for a political gain.  In the old days it was called propaganda.

In the internet and social media age things are far more sophisticated.

(If you want to know more read then try Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnem)

In the book, it explains how in the world of the internet, people think fast.  So that initial rush of “anger” that kicks off a rant, rather than taking the time to think something though.  And probably claiming down and moving on.

Here’s a simple example, what’s 2 + 2?

4 right?  I bet you all added that up and thought that’s easy?

OK, what’s 2345 x 2345?

Now 90% of you will have gone, “I don’t know and I cannot be bothered to add it up as Tim will probably give me the answer lower down in the article”.

And that’s what we do, we think fast, but cannot be bothered to think slow.  This thinking is accentuated at the speed of social media.  A swipe on a mobile takes about 1.3 seconds.

It’s too easy to think “this really annoys me and share it”.  Now this is where brands and politics could exploit you.  Now I’m going to explain how.

I now need to explain something using an example of an individual that in the UK can be seen as a divisive character.

Now I’m making no political point, just using the thinking fast and slow example.  Put this is where it has been used by political parties to get people who are anti-something to share, which then reaches people that party wants, as it will motivate them positively.

So what do I mean?

Most political parties, brands etc, know who their supporters are, they are probably on email lists, they may follow on social media, donate to the party.  The critical thing is that they do a “Heineken” and get to people they cannot reach, contact people who are not on the email lists and motivate them to get on the email lists, donate etc.  Now let’s not forget that the people that are anti that political party or brand, they will never vote / buy from you.  So it’s pointless trying to change those people’s minds.  But those anti people will be connected to people who are pro and are probably not connected to the brand or party in any shape of form.  So using, “thinking fast and slow” concepts, you use people who are anti you to spread a message to motivate and get to people who are pro you, but you are not talking to already.  Complicated?  How about an example?

To the left is Nigel Farage he has been the leader of UKIP (UK Independence Party), they stood on a Brexit only platform.  He positions himself as a “man of the people” often drinking a pint or smoking a cigarette as his target market is white, male middle class men who like a pint.  Now if Nigel annoys you, please stick with me, this isn’t a pro (or anti article) it’s an example of how people are being manipulated on social media. 

UKIP had a problem, they had reached all of the people who they thought could vote them on email lists.  So what they did, was have a standard photo that appealed to the average UKIP voter but added the words.  “This is the photo that UKIP tried to ban”.  Anti UKIP people shared it like mad all over social media.  If you are anti-UKIP nothing like annoying Nigel by sharing a photo he had tried to stop being spread?  But that wasn’t the point.  It was spread by UKIP to motivate UKIP people (they didn’t know) to the cause.  This technique has certainly be used by pretty much all the political parties since the UKIP example.

What is #Fakeviews?

Obviously “thinking fast and slow” mentality helps to spread #Fakenews, so what do I mean by #Fakeviews?

#Fakeviews is nothing new, think of it as like old school PR (Public Relations).  Which is, there is an idea or view and vested interests want to change that view.  So they set about it by writing content and articles.  For example, when mobile phones are launched there will be many articles that are pro and against.  The ones against, are probably written (and paid for) by the competition or people paid to write by the competition.  Just the same as often influencers are paid to do this and spread a certain view through their networks.

Another example, (that motivated me to write this blog) was when the Facebook algorithm changed, a number of vested interests (the advertising industry) set about trying to change people’s minds that having lots of adverts was a good thing and seeing more content from your friends was a bad thing.  There is always somebody on social that will share it.

Another example I watched this week, was by a feminist group with a video where a person wanted the word “man” banned.  Of course, men shared this.  It created a great discussion (in my news feed anyway) and that was the point, create a debate and get it spread by people who are against you.  While this is a dangerous tactic, for some brands and groups, they have nothing to lose.

In conclusion

There is a lot to this social media and I can assure you it’s not just about posting and hoping. Hope was never a strategy.

People who read this article also read these:

Why Donald Trump is the King of Twitter (not a political post)

On Social and in Real Life, Nobody Likes a Smart Arse…

If Columbus can do it, why can’t you?


200 Blogs Published: A Million More to Go!

200 Blogs Published: A Million More to Go!

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

We’ve been going just over a year and we have written 200 blogs (in fact we’ve written a fair few more than that as we have many unpublished blogs that will gradually go-out over the next few weeks (and we’ve written a few for clients too). I’m incredibly proud that we should have passed this milestone, but that isn’t the point.

The point is that we are only (in the UK) four full-time members of staff and four regular associates and we manage to write blogs at the rate of more than one each day.

You have time to blog – if you know where to look!

I don’t know how many people reading this post will be small business type people where perhaps they have wide ranging responsibilities and seem to wear a lot of hats. And how many work in large enterprises where they have a very defined narrow role. But either way, we are living proof that there is no excuse not to be blogging. “I don’t have time” simply is not an excuse because you MUST make time for blogging. Let me rephrase that. YOU must make time for blogging.

The onus is on you. YOU MUST blog. Whether you are the CEO of a multinational, or a junior administrator, whether you are the owner of a small business or working on contract you must must must blog…and here’s why.

Blogging creates easily digestible chunks of content that people will engage with in a way that they simply won’t with white papers or corporate marketing material. This content increases your visibility as an individual and the company’s visibility too. Failure to blog means that you are handing that visibility (and credibility) to your competitors. Competitors for that next client, that next role, that next opportunity even that next promotion.

The more I practice the luckier I get

As Greg Norman famously said, “the more I practice the luckier I get”. I would adapt that and say “the more I blog the busier I get” as we have noticed a very close correlation between the volume of blogs we publish and the volume of inbound we get. If for some reason we “don’t have time” to write blogs one week we certainly have plenty of time the following week because we have no work! Well, I’m kind of joking, but only kind of. There is a very strong link between what we post and what we get and, the reason is obvious.

A few years ago, your advertising or direct marketing drove enquiries, but not so anymore because people simply don’t read it. You know that’s true because you yourself never do. But people do read blogs, blogs that educate and empower and teach them things they didn’t know (rather than try to sell them something).

What’s more you’ve probably written a blog post or two already, you just never knew it! Even better, there are plenty of topics to write about

So, in the true spirit of blogging I am making a very strong point here about what we have learned the hard way: Blog. Blog often. And the rest will happen naturally.

PS In the true spirit of a blog this is about 500 words (490 excluding the title). Good luck!

Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

A Rose by any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

A Rose by any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

by Alex Low | @Alexander_Low | LinkedIn

First, big congratulations to a lot of my network. I am seeing many updates and changes to profiles where you have been promoted or started a new role. It is always great seeing friends and peers progress in their career.

The problem is that I have no idea what most of you are doing and your headline does little to invite me to find out more. You may sit there feeling that is a little off, rude even. However, if this is what I feel, and I may well be able to buy from you, think what the rest of your 1st and 2nd degree network may think. Or not.

Stop saying the same old thing

Job titles reflect where you sit in your corporate hierarchy, not what you do or how you solve problems. Pick 10 sales directors, marketing directors, HR directors, partners, sales enablement directors (director is interchangeable with manager, executive) – I guarantee that all of you will be unique in your approach, experience and skills. So why are you telling the online market place that you are just the same as everybody else?

When you introduce yourself in a meeting and the person on the other side of the table asks what you do, I bet you don’t just say your job title and that’s it. So why would this be any different when you want to make your first digital impression?

LinkedIn have shown that when you are being searched and there is a list of bland similar headlines, those with a headline which is unique, invites you to find out more and get more click-throughs to the full profile page. Which is exactly what you want – provided of course the rest of your profile is content rich and relevant. That can be for another blog.

After all, as Juliet said, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things:
Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.


Has GDPR Killed Email Marketing?

Has GDPR Killed Email Marketing?

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Must admit I missed this article, it was only after Alex Low, who runs my Social Selling practice pointed it out, that I read it.

Wetherspoons just deleted its entire customer email database – on purpose

To save you reading it, Wetherspoons had previously been fined for sharing customer data. With the new GDPR regulations in place they carried out a risk assessment and decided to delete their email database.

That’s right they have deleted the entire email database.


With GDPR, companies now need a fool-proof system to show that a customer has given consent to hold that data.  As a sales guy, I’ve held customer data and tended to work on the basis that we would “print and be damned”.  Not anymore.

In the past, if you registered your address or telephone number to stop cold callers or mail shots the fines were around £2,000 ($2,600), which is no more than a “slap on the wrist”.  A recent study by NCC Group found that fines from the ICO in 2016 would have shot up from £880,500 to £69m if GDPR had been in force.

You cannot bluff your way out of it anymore.

A spokesperson told WIRED: “Following the data breach in December 2015, Wetherspoons has been reviewing all the data it holds and looking to minimise.

“We felt, on balance, that we would rather not hold even email addresses for customers. The less customer information we have, which now is almost none, then the less risk associated with data.”

So how on earth, will Wetherspoons have a conversation with customers?  Simple.

Where are your customers pretty much all the time nowadays?  On social media of course.

This is the email that Wetherspoons sent out. As you can see, they still will connect to customers on social.  [Graphic below]

So what is GDPR?

The GDPR is a set of rules designed to provide clarity, transparency and protection for the personal information of all European Union (EU) citizens. It focuses on protecting this information from unauthorised access and ensuring customers understand and can control how their personal information is being collected, used and shared.  Think of it as the IT world “growing up” and the recognition that it’s not fair that we are interrupted by companies. 

GDPR comes into effect on May 25, 2018 and will apply to any company world-wide that stores personal information of EU citizens. Any company that fails to comply faces the penalties detailed above.  There is no room for “going rogue” from sales or marketing.

But that’s a year away

Maybe, but as Wetherspoons has found out, making sure that every (and I mean that spreadsheet on each sales person’s laptop) is compliant isn’t an overnight job.

Brexit – But we are leaving Europe

For those of us based in the UK, while we may be leaving Europe, if you want to do business in Europe we still have to meet European legislation.  No different with cheese, cars or data.

This is all about good data practice

Several components of the GDPR revolve around ensuring companies have robust IT and security practices. The regulation offers specific time frames for reporting security breaches. Systems must be designed to ensure that personal information has high quality and accuracy, is consistent across databases, has adequate security and privacy protections, and provides clear data lineage. Processes must enable consumers to see, receive and correct (if necessary) all personal information stored in company databases. And direct accountability for oversight of all GDPR mandates must exist within the company in the form of a qualified Data Protection Officer.

This is about organisations having “best in class” processes around data and escalation points as well as the ability for employees to “whistle blow” on companies that are not compliant.

Can marketing still “wing it”?

Marketing can no longer rely on soft opt-in processes, lack of opt-out or simple blanket opt-in check box for all communication and analysis activities. At best communications, campaigns, web and mobile applications must ask for and store consent on a more individualized, action-oriented basis.  Like Wetherspoons, for some companies it might be better to start again, or maybe rethink the way they have a conversation with their customers.  For example, move from broadcast to conversation. 

And these consent forms must be captured, stored and auditable, so the company can prove when consent was given and for what. At worst, companies may need to review all customer databases to understand whether the consent they have obtained meets the GDPR requirements.  This isn’t a five-minute job and as I say above, it includes checking that there are no rogue spreadsheets on sales laptops.  Like health and safety, and confidentiality of documents and diversity, data impacts all employees.

In addition, ensuring clear communication to customers on how personal data is collected and used presents challenges, particularly when the use involves big data, artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML). These challenges are significant enough that the Information Commissioner’s Office has produced a 114 page guidance document on the subject.

Does all this sound like hard work?

Well it does to me.  As Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we connect with all of our customers and talk with them on social.  We don’t have an email list. Because nobody reads emails anymore anyway!

If you would like help and advice around GDPR or help and advice on Social then give me a call – +44 (0)7823-534557.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.