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Time to geek-out

Time to geek-out

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

Okay, I admit it. I am a geek. A closet geek perhaps, but a geek nonetheless.

When I was writing my first book I studied everything that I could find about social media analysis, network mapping and measurement. I even went as far as to study statistics via an online course from Berkeley. It is a fascinating rabbit hole…but a rabbit hole nonetheless.

When Tim and I founded DLA we quickly realised that being clever (knowing all of this social media science stuff) largely wasn’t of any use to our clients because, whilst they may understand the principles of social media they were seldom practicing the techniques they knew.

Analytics in all of its forms is often wasted because organisations (and individuals) are not doing the basics.

Analytics data can, if you’re not careful, deliver little except pretty graphs that perhaps help you to hold on to your job but seldom deliver insights that help move the company forward.

Since we started DLA we have had a bit of a love-affair with Brandwatch because what it does is deliver insights that are actionable. Yes, it can do the pretty graphs (Vizia – their data visualisation tool creates artworks from your data) but it does more than just report. It helps us to benchmark what we are doing well and what we aren’t and make changes to that. We have the biggest share of voice for social selling on social (we know this because of Brandwatch) some of our prospects have no visibility whatsoever (we know this because of Brandwatch) when we run a campaign and we need to know just how many people have seen it we can work this out (with Brandwatch)… in fact Brandwatch is the tool that enables us to see whether our gut-feel is right or wrong.

But Brandwatch is not perfect, it has some major limitations, particularly around historical data, but we have been able to work around this. Brandwatch is not the only social media listening tool in the market…but it has been the best for a long time (despite its weaknesses)

So imagine our delight when we heard (from Giles the Brandwatch CEO) that they are merging with Crimson Hexagon. I kid you not about ‘delight’ because one of CH’s recognised strengths is its ability to provide lightning-fast access to historical data.

So, over the next 12 months as the two products become one gradually the strengths of each will iron-out the weaknesses of the other.

I don’t for a moment believe that the merging of the products will deliver perfection but I certainly do believe that the merging of these products will make them head and shoulders above any other tool that exists.

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We empower YOU to be great.

We empower YOU to be great.

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

We speak to lots of organisations that “help” their clients embrace social media. I use the word “help” in quotes because if you help someone (or a business) what you do is make a difference and so often that isn’t the case.

The two types of organisations we see are: Agencies and Digital Transformation Consultancies.

Agencies do he work for the client. Perhaps this is based on managing their client’s social presence, or writing content fo the client or creating adverts but all of these things work in the same basic way. The client outsources part (or all) of the work to the agency.

I get why this is attractive. It’s a quick fix. The client doesn’t have to spend time either learning or doing so the agency can simply sweep-in and make the pain disappear. 

There are however, a couple of things to consider with this approach.

  1. the client pays quite a lot of money for relatively little. If I were running the agency I would buy-in the staff and sell their services out at a profit, therefore typically the client gets a junior person for a senior price.
  2. When the client stops paying the agency, the benefit ends. It is a very tactical approach and not one that we at Digital Leadership Associates favour. Our clients do on occasion say to us “can you do this for us” and we always say “no because we would rather teach you how to do it for yourselves” as this leaves a permanent benefit rather than creating an ongoing cost.

Digital Transformation Consultancies, or Management Consultancies. All of the large consultancies like to offer social media as part of their “digital transformation” programmes as they acknowledge that this is a crucial part of how people communicate these days. However, deploying social media within a business has little to do with knowledge transfer and education but has everything to do with changing people’s behaviour. Everyone’s behaviour.

That cannot be accomplished by putting in an appendix which says that ‘people will be encouraged to use social media by sharing company approved articles” because this is not social…this is spamming. 

The process of success in social media comes from a combination of:

  1. a clear process. eg. when an important prospect posts an article like/comment/share that article. Always.


  1. empowerment. Everyone needs to recognise that they have a crucial role to play and that the value that they add is THEIR voice (rather than the company’s voice).

In my experience the “social media experts” within Management Consultancies are not experts. A quick glance at their own social media presences will underline that they are not experts because they are not exhibiting the sort of behaviours that experts do. Drinking the Cool Aid is the perfect metaphor. I (personally) and everyone at Digital Leadership Associates (and our resellers) is an experts because you need only look at our profiles and you will see that we are all demonstrating Best Practice.

If your advisor doesn’t lead by example they simply cannot understand what you are grappling with because they clearly have not grappled with (and solved) it themselves.

LinkedIn has nearly 600,000,000 members. Facebook has nearly 2.5bn users. For every major social media platform the number of users is simply mind boggling and if you want access to those people you will have to work hard to achieve that.

What I mean is YOU will have to work HARD.

For example Kylie Jenner (to pick a celebrity at random) has made $900m from her social media presence, at a smaller level, Zoe Sugg aka “Zoella” (a young British YouTuber) makes seven figures per year. At a smaller level still, my co-founder Tim Hughes is generally regarded (well by pretty much all of the influencer measuring tools) as the world’s top Social Selling expert – Tim hasn’t made $900m or seven figures per year…but like the others he has built a large following that listens to what he says. So when he says the steps are A – B – C then you know that he has experience of what’s required to achieve this fame and to be frank it’s hard work. Tim is ALWAYS on Twitter answering questions and posting interesting content, Zoella is forever making videos (yes she has a small team to help her now, but the is still the subject of a video or more per day) and Kylie Jenner has a (larger) team sporting her but she is still the person shooting the photos and in the clips.

The one thing that they have in common is that they are all working hard to achieve their fame and if you want [appropriate] fame you will need to work hard too.

But one thing is for certain, it’s a great flea easier to post a few videos per week and tweet some interesting articles than it is to make 200 cold-calls per day or live on the “hope” that your campaign might solve your pipeline problems.

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The Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) – Marketing Flywheel

The Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) – Marketing Flywheel

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Based on the Box flywheel as outlined in the book “Lost and Founder” by Rand Fishkin.

I’ve written before about people over complicating Marketing theory, not sure why but I guess it’s so you get scared, panic and you hire them.

Marketing isn’t that difficult and this is where the Marketing flywheel comes in.  Yes I know it sounds complicated, but I will explain.

If you think about what you do leads onto something else in a circle.

  1. Using Keyword Research and Industry Intuition you
  2. Create content.
  3. Publish this out out through your network.
  4. Promote through social channels.
  5. Earn links and get amplification.
  6. This should (hopefully) grow your social, followers, interactions.
  7. This grows your domain authority with Google.
  8. You earn more search and referral traffic.
  9. You rank better for keyword search (KWS).
  10. Which brings you back to you …. using Keyword Research and Industry Intuition you
  11. Create content

You keep going round this route, each time you will increase your amplification, shares, followers, domain authority, SEO, etc, etc,

It’s that simple.

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The blame culture is ready made for CEOs that lead their businesses into extinction.

The blame culture is ready made for CEOs that lead their businesses into extinction.

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

We live in a society that has adopted a blame culture.  Nothing is ever our fault and in 2013 during the press conference to announce the mobile phone branch of NOKIA was to be sold to Microsoft, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop ended his speech saying “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. Forgive me, but if you didn’t do anything wrong………

We live in a society where anyone having a different opinion and sharing it on social media can be shot down by a posse of trolls. Constructive criticism or questioning can also be met by a hostile response. I recently sent a message to a ‘star’ (using the term very loosely) of a fly on the wall documentary series on, questioning something about them, I received a response that mentioned the f-word three times and called me a ‘no job c**k jockey’ – that’s a new one to me!

It got me thinking. The way people react to others that aren’t their clone, forces many people in business to sit tight and keep quiet, even if they believe in their thoughts and ideas. Many employees feel too afraid to speak up and many senior managers are too scared to air their views in case their narcissistic CEO shoots them down.

Many of us will know someone that is always open to suggestion and ideas, happy to talk them through but will then go with their own. As if taking on board an idea that wasn’t theirs is a sign of weakness. I say a sign of weakness is not ‘properly’ listening to others.

Regardless of what you may read online from the band of cold calling diehards – the way we sell has changed. The power has shifted to the buyer and social media is their favourite and most valued tool. That’s why programmatic social selling is so important, not just for sales and marketing, but for the whole organisation.

At Digital Leadership Associates we work with big, ok I’m being modest – huge global names! We also work with national businesses that want to remain at the top of their game. They realise that without adopting social selling deals will be harder to come by. The pipeline will become harder to fill and selling will resort to the dreaded ‘hope and luck’ strategy.

I also come across many businesses that are far too busy plugging away with their out of date sales and marketing plans that were born in the 90’s. Businesses with CEOs that still, yes still, think social media is a fad that will disappear. Maybe it will disappear like Kodak and MySpace did – remember them? Maybe it will disappear like the 52% of companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired or ceased to exist since 2000? Or maybe it’s the CEO and C-suite members that will disappear?

Yes, you can scour the internet and find others that are singing the praises of 1991 style selling and be wowed by the stories of the huge deal closed from a telephone cold call. Or you could read about businesses that have a sales pipeline like never before, businesses that are closing 20-30% of additional brand-new revenue. Or the businesses that are getting more inbound than ever – and spending less on outbound marketing.

However, you may want to rebuff anything that you don’t understand.

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How a Poster in the Washroom at Microsoft Singapore got me Thinking about Social Selling

How a Poster in the Washroom at Microsoft Singapore got me Thinking about Social Selling

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

While we were in Singapore onboarding team DLA to cover the Asia Pacific area we visited on a number of occasions Microsoft office. After drinking a couple coffee I needed to use the washroom.

On the wall were two images, one told me to wash my hands properly, the other told washroom users not to waste water.

So what do I do? Do I wash my hands? Or I could save water and not wash my hands? Of course I washed my hands, but used my common sense to use the water wisely.

This reminded me of my previous company where I worked where one day to speak to the outside world required you to attend a two day course on how to talk to the press. You were then registered at headquarters as a spokesperson. If you didn’t do this and spoke to the press you were fired. As one high profile “Influencer” found out.

The next day day, the corporation told everybody, we want you to go on-line and talk on social.

So, yesterday I would get fired, today I don’t.

You can imagine, nobody posted on social. Of course not, we were programmed that if posted on we got fired. Our behaviour didn’t change.  It didn’t matter how many webinars were run, webinars don’t change behaviour.

Now like the hand washing example some common sense needs to be applied, but knowing and doing are two very different things.

Change didn’t happen overnight and expecting people to change habit or the way they work, companies cannot assume it will happen. Some cultures want instruction, some don’t, but either way the change we need coaching and mentoring.

Some choices are not as “simple” as hand washing, it can impact on incremental revenue and competitive advantage. In that case a company might not want to rely on posters in the washroom.

Here at DLA we see that Social Selling is a change in mindset, you don’t get a change in mindset by webinars and intensive knowledge transfer training. If I want to get slim, I don’t go to the gym for two days, I go running every other day and change my diet. The same with Social Selling.

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A bright young artist is keener to nail social than many international businesses.

A bright young artist is keener to nail social than many international businesses.

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

I was recently invited to the wedding of a wonderful couple – Ellie and Danni. During the day I was speaking to the talented Bristol based artist, Tom Miller (check out his website) and the conversation shifted to social media. I asked Tom where he was spending most time and effort on social and he said Instagram (millermartart). No surprise I hear you say – it’s the obvious choice for an artist as well as Facebook where he keeps an up to date page.

As we continued to talk I asked Tom if he was on Twitter – ‘No’, for an artist I could understand why he didn’t think Twitter a good place to share and gain interest in his work. I explained that it’s still a great platform for networking – important for a young artist. Tom asked when was the best time of day to post content, what hours should he not post – he was unsure of social media etiquette. That was an easy one for me to answer – post anytime you want. He has a potential global audience so when we are relaxing during our evenings in the UK, America’s west coast is active and whilst we are asleep, the Asian, Far East and Pacific regions are active. I once again assured him ‘don’t worry about what time Tom, social is global, there’s always someone active’.

Always someone active? That’s a huge understatement! There’s 3.356 billion people active on social media. My advice to Tom was – post, post, repost and post again. Share content on multiple platforms and start to tell your audience about you – the artist and the man. People like to find out about the person – the back story and the journey. Think global – you don’t know where the person is that could help you get the break you deserve. They could be anywhere around the world – be accessible to as many people as possible.

To everyone reading this blog – I would give the same advice. Social media doesn’t sleep, it doesn’t take a day off and it doesn’t have ‘down time’. To get the most out of social you need to be active – you need to post and share content, you need to let people see what makes you tick – we call it your ‘why?’. Check out my LinkedIn profile and you will see what I mean.

Anyone with a service, product, solution or creation – has to be active on social. To abstain is not only foolish but could mean the end for your business, or the end of your dream. Social can make or break you – break you because if you’re not on it you are effectively leaving cash on the table. You are telling the world – actually, park that. You aren’t telling the world – because you clearly don’t believe in what you have.

However, as I’m in a happy ‘post-wedding’ mood – I’ll cut you some slack. If you do believe in what you have and realise you should be active on social but are struggling to get started. Contact me.

Put it off and one day soon you will come across someone like you – enjoying a level of success that can only be attained by being active on social media.

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