Category Archives: Social Media

After Hours – Co-op Digital

Working in technology, I enjoy listening to the experiences of other professionals. These occasions allow me to learn from the experiences of others in technology, before applying them to my own work and sharing with others.

Recently I attended the first ever After Hours event at Avenue HQ, which was organised by Oh This Way (OH). This featured Gail Mellows and Matt Tyas of Co-op Digital, who talked about their experiences and how they have used the skills learned on their digital journey, to benefit Co-op Digital and their clients.

Listening to Gail and Matt speak, I picked up on several reoccurring themes. These included collaboration, experimentation, quality of content, and working with other people. These are very important themes required in every single industry, as well as in everyday life.

In addition, there were other useful pieces of advice, that l learned from the event. These correspond to the themes that I have already mentioned, and in the spirit of learning and sharing, I have included some of these below.

  1. Never assume what your customers want.
  2. Experiment with different ways of working.
  3. Use your skills from childhood (e.g. drawing, sketching with colours, or using Lego), to get your ideas across.
  4. Prototyping is the start of collaboration between designers, developers and customers.
  5. Duplication needs to be reduced as it causes inefficiency, is unfair on colleagues, and is ultimately bad for customers.
  6. Important to research thoroughly and involve everyone.
  7. Prototyping allows you to make mistakes safely, quickly and cheaply.
  8. Give teams the right tools to do their job.
  9. Content needs to be designed so that it is legible, readable and accessible to all.
  10. Content and customer needs dictate the design outcome.
  11. Good design should go unnoticed.
  12. Quality of content is perceived by how a customer interacts with it.
  13. What you leave out is as important as what you include.
  14. Use the right words and not more words.
  15. Learn from what succeeded and failed.

To summarise what I have learned, content needs to meet the requirements stated by the customer. This is achieved by using different working methods, techniques and the right tools, to constantly experiment with various scenarios, before creating content that meets the required outcomes. As well as the above, content needs to meet quality standards, be accessible to everyone, is user-friendly, and based on strong foundations of thorough research and robust testing, from all relevant parties.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Robyn Dooley and Victoria Murray of OH for organising the event. My thanks also go to Gail and Matt from Co-op Digital for sharing their experiences, and also to Avenue HQ for hosting the event. This was an interesting and very useful discussion for me, and I am looking forward to the next After Hours event.

You can find out more about Co-op Digital’s work by looking at their blog.

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Social Media Meetup – Thursday 19th April 2018

Recently I attended Social Media Meetup, which was held at Launch22 in Liverpool. This was organised by Mark Russell of bmicro, and featured knowledgeable speakers in Peter Buglass of Objective Comment Consultancy and Edward Ridding of Umami.

I had never been to this event before, although others in my network had recommended it, through word-of-mouth on LinkedIn. Therefore as a blogger, I decided to attend the event, and see what I could learn. It was certainly worth the investment of my time and energy.

The event featured a brief talk from both Peter and Edward, who shared their professional experiences of using social media, as part of their businesses. Peter and Edward also gave their views on the recent announcement of JD Wetherspoons, closing down their social media accounts, and allowed the audience to contribute to the discussion.

From this, the discussion opened up a wide range of opinions, leading to other relevant issues surrounding social media. These included how organisations collect and use personal data, to provide personalised communications to their customers. A typical example is Amazon using data collected on customers, to send personalised ssm2_290418recommendations, based on browsing and shopping habits.

In addition, the event allowed the audience to ask each other questions, and discuss how to improve their online platforms. This was a good opportunity for me, to tap into the experience of the speakers and audience, who gave me some useful advice and pointers.

There was a real community feel to the event, as the audience was a diverse mix of professionals from different backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, digital marketers and bloggers. The bloggers I met included Jo Fitzimons who not only has a travel blog called Indiana Jo, but also a prosecco themed-blog called Visit Prosecco Italy. Another blogger I also met and was impressed by was Aditi Chawla, of Try New Today. Being surrounded by like-minded people, and a friendly dog called Buttons was very relaxing and pleasant, making this one of the nicest events I have ever attended, and one that I recommend to anyone.

If you have ever been to Launch22’s offices in Liverpool, I guarantee that it offers something completely different (in the words of Monty Python). As a co-working space, Launch22 has a quirkiness andssm1_290418 homely environment allowing for entrepreneurs and creative-minded people to launch their dreams. Such homeliness was evident, when I noticed a huge teddy bear in the office.

To conclude, I would like to personally thank Mark, Peter and Edward, and everyone at Launch22 for putting together an evening, rich in learning, delightful conversation, and for the popcorn.

I shall certainly be looking forward, to attending another event in the near future!

Professional Liverpool – Networking Lunch with Dean Currall

Marketing is crucial for businesses in every industry. From law, digital, construction, technology, manufacturing, finance and others, it is a key role shared by everyone. However one of the common pitfalls encountered are professionals talking about themselves and their businesses first, rather than listening and learning about what potential customers want.

I had the pleasure of recently attending a networking lunch organised by Professional Liverpool, which looked at marketing. The speaker was Dean Currall of Verb Marketing, who gave a presentation about how professional services can utilise marketing techniques, to develop fruitful and productive trust-based relationships.

There was plenty that Dean talked about, that really fascinated me. From the importance of giving solutions to customers, in the form of services and structured content, I found Dean’s presentation to be tangible and relevant for businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals today. In this era of digital technology, companies need to use the capabilities provided to tailor their marketing approach, in order to attract clients and promote their services.

In addition, Dean also provided other useful nuggets of wisdom, which I have listed below.

  1. You need to have a marketing strategy and objectives that are relevant, achievable and measurable.
  2. Create and give free content that resonates with people.
  3. Promote and boost content created and shared by others (e.g. blog posts, published articles and presentations).
  4. To sell content to boost your brand, you need to offer solutions.
  5. Your content needs to include tangible information.
  6. Become a thought leader and develop a relationship of trust.
  7. Do more seminars and blogs!
  8. Sell stories, experiences, solutions and benefits.
  9. Segment your content using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database.

From the points listed above, I was able to relate this to my blogging work, and how I constantly strive to create relevant and useful content, that resonates with people. Listening to Dean speak about structuring content, providing relevant information and how it needs to capture the personal attention of others, was a defining moment for me.

It also made me think back to a past experience, when I wrote and published an article about learning from failure, back in June 2016. When I published and shared the article, I discovered later on to my amazement, that it was viewed 88 times that year, which I was not expecting. Therefore I was taken completely by surprise with how the article struck a chord, and resonated with many people. It still surprises me today!

I was greatly impressed with Dean as a speaker. I not only learned plenty from him, but he presented and delivered his content, with a knowledgeable yet easygoing tone, that I could easily relate to and understand. In addition, I was also impressed with his knowledge of the mechanics involved with successful marketing. This has given me a greater understanding of creating and marketing my blog content.

A delightful bonus of the event was networking with familiar and new faces. These included Paul Trickett of Bathgate Business Finance, Agnes Fitzgerald of Irish Business Enterprise, Elaine Courtney of Courtney Reid, Jon Davies of Jon Davies Accountants and Simon Robb of The Alternative Board, amongst many others. Overall it was a pleasurable event, and I sincerely hope that everyone who attended also enjoyed Dean’s presentation, and found it to be as interesting and useful as I did.

I would like to personally thank Dean for sharing his marketing wisdom, and also to Alex Clark and Emma Rittenberg of Professional Liverpool, for organising a top-notch networking lunch.

Getting the Best Out of LinkedIn

LinkedIn has transformed how professionals interact with each other. From students to CEO’s of FTSE 100 companies, LinkedIn is growing as a necessity in the changing 21st Century economy. Therefore we must be willing to accept and adapt to new digital platforms, to professionally project ourselves and our institutions, to a wider Internet audience.

With LinkedIn, you can build your online resume and network with other professionals. In addition, you can read up on industry trends, through articles, industry groups and by following LinkedIn Influencers, who provide personalised insights and knowledge. LinkedIn also allows you to promote your organisation and yourself as a personal brand, which is an essential attribute required for entrepreneurs. An added bonus is that it is free to register for a basic account.

The points below will help you get started with getting the most out of LinkedIn. These are not exhaustive, but they will provide you with a foundation to build your profile.

What you should do.

• List your roles, accomplishments and achievements.
• Network and connect with other like-minded professionals.
• Contribute and share content through discussion, articles or a personal blog (like this one).
• Join groups relevant to your industry.
• Be patient and persevere with LinkedIn, when using it for the first time.
• Have an appropriate profile picture.

What you must be aware of.

• Avoid expressing inappropriate language and controversial opinions.
• Don’t have an anonymous profile, as this is disliked by many users.
• LinkedIn is a professional networking site, it is not Facebook!
• Be truthful, as your LinkedIn presence must reflect you in reality.
• LinkedIn is not a replacement for face-to-face networking!
• Don’t be an online creep by repeatedly browsing the same profiles!

I enjoy using LinkedIn for various reasons. These include, allowing me to build my online presence, network and share content and experiences with others, and to keep abreast of new IT developments. It has also enabled me to learn about other industries, through connections, discussions and published articles. To summarise, LinkedIn has been an invaluable tool that has benefitted me immensely as a professional and as a person.

Others will not want to use LinkedIn for understandable reasons. Such reasons can range from work and personal commitments to valid concerns about online privacy. Nevertheless technology is driving changes to our everyday lives, including how we work and market ourselves, and LinkedIn is part of these changing times.

To conclude, I recommend signing up to LinkedIn. As we progress in our respective professions, I believe LinkedIn profiles will become as vital a recruiting tool, as a traditional CV.

The Impact of Social Media on Businesses

Social Media has changed how businesses interact with customers. Online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, provide a platform for two-way relationships between businesses and customers.

On Tuesday 3rd February 2014, I attended a event about impact of social media. Held and organised by Edge Hill University’s Business School, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). As a user of social media, I am interested in how it produces positive and negative effects on businesses and individuals, and importantly how it should be used properly to enhance rather than diminish.

The event covered several aspects of social media, from making a Twitter impact in 140 characters using hashtags, to using Facebook to engage with local people through word of mouth. Two important points I learned about was that social media makes or breaks businesses and the importance of getting real-time analytics and reports. Other useful tips included:

1. Getting your points across in as few characters as possible.
2. Tailoring your content towards what your customers want is important.
3. Social media is great for attracting visitors, building relationships and closing leads, but least effective for selling products.
4. Be positive, enthusiastic, passionate and avoid negativity.
5. You cannot control what people say about you.
6. With social media you are talking to a global audience.
7. Engage with customers who use social media to raise an issue with you.
8. The above also applies to individuals too!

I mentioned the last point because, every professional including myself is also a marketeer, even though we may not be consciously aware of it. Each of us have our own values and principles, that forms the genesis of every successful working and business relationship with others.

In conclusion, social media is a powerful tool, which can either enhance and grow businesses or negatively affect reputations and lose customers.