Tag Archives: Blogging

Why McKinsey is One of my Favourite B2B Content Marketing Brands

I’m doing another content “audit” for technology companies, and as I did last time, my starting point is LinkedIn. Why? Because if a brand is in the B2B space, this should be the only place I need to go to find amazing content focused on enterprise business professionals.

I believe that any B2B business should be focused on delivering rich content, relevant to job functions, on company LinkedIn page as a first port of call. Prospects on LinkedIn are not really that interested in your press releases, your people, or your community activities, although that is nice. Instead, content on your company page must first be solutions focused for the audience you want to reach.

If I explained it very simply, I would say: LinkedIn is the place I go for answers to help me, not to be sold by you. That comes later, once you’ve got my loyalty.

Alas, I don’t believe the majority of brands are understanding this yet and the company pages on LinkedIn reflect this. I’m so passionate about it, I want to ring them all and say hey, do you appreciate what a big miss this is for your business? Not utilizing LinkedIn company pages today is a massive missed opportunity, not just for business, but for executives who aren’t using the blogging platform. Businesses and leaders need to focus on having a social voice now – one speaking to your customer’s challenges – and LinkedIn is an obvious place to start this journey. Let’s change it in Asia in 2015 huh?

Content marketing

One brand that IS doing world-class content marketing is McKinsey & Company – and I’m not just talking about its LinkedIn page. If you move between McKinsey on LinkedIn to its company page on Facebook, you’ll uncover a rich feast of information on leadership, business technology, marketing and sales, strategy and organisation, investment, and so on. I also greatly value how global it is (not all global companies get this mix right), the vertical and country focus, and as someone who loves the technology sector, how it delves into the business case around hot trends – cloud, data, enterprise mobility, IoT, 3D printing, and more. Its great fodder for my curious brain, which loves to makes sense out of how technology is transforming the world.

Of course, McKinsey isn’t just on LinkedIn and Facebook. There are plenty of Twitter handles @McKinsey, @McKinseySociety and @McK_MktgSales to name a few. Google+ is also utilized across its various focus areas as well. I couldn’t find a Pinterest page, but McKinsey content is definitely being shared on Pinterest – I’m sharing it here. Its great information.

However, a reason I admire McKinsey’s more is its human page: Real Life at McKinsey. This is where it tells stories of the people who work at McKinsey and what they value in both their professional and personal life. What I find interesting is that very few companies can do content like this without looking completely corny. McKinsey have mastered this art and the segmentation from other corporate content makes a lot of sense to me. If you want to see how it’s done, subscribe to this Facebook page. It will make you want to work at McKinsey.

McKinsey is doing great work and have fully grasped the concept of content marketing. It’s not about creating more of the same marketing content and pushing it out over new social channels, it’s about creating content focused on helping the customer and building their loyalty to your brand. That’s what content marketing is fundamentally about.

Content marketing

Very briefly, two other businesses of note who are doing interesting content marketing include The World Economic Forum and the BBC – yep, a news business. Let me tell you why.

Where Fox News’ #OverIT2014 campaign on Twitter was a horrible failure – a case of really not understanding those who hate your brand (not dissimilar to McDonalds #McDStories back in 2012) – the BBC gets social and content. If you watch the BBC, its fully embraced social media from the beginning, and new platforms are picked up relatively quickly – which is impressive for an old, established icon. Over the Christmas/NY period I noticed a lot of crowdsourcing of content, which was then shared, and it went spectacularly well.

My top three:

  1. The Beeb asked for pictures where ever you were celebrating NY resulted in: In pictures: How you captured New Year celebrations
  2. In Pictures: India through the eyes of its children. You may not agree this is content marketing, but I do because it’s not journalists creating this content, but a story wrapped around the photographs children have taken. Very nice
  3. And probably my favourite “Drawing the News

The BBC is providing a few seconds of fame to its contributors and curating great, human content – smart move. It does a lot more than this with its deep social media integration, but I appreciated the holiday sharing.

Content marketingI’d also like to shout out The World Economic Forum. A new addition to my reading list, check out the World Economic Forum Agenda – a rich information resource, covering leadership, business, IT, the environment, the region, and so much more. Definitely one I track daily for interesting content.

The goal of this site? “The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.”

I’m sure this blog has built an enormous amount of traffic to the site, from communities they would probably never have attracted before. Bravo.

So there you go, three of my favourites, with McKinsey tops of the pops in the B2B space. Which brand do you value for your content marketing? I’m always happy to take on new recommendations – especially in the B2B space.

Cheers Andrea

You can connect with me on Twitter or like the Communicating Asia Pacific Facebook page.

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Dear Analysts, Please Get More Social

As I’ve recently “retired” from yet another chapter as an analyst relations person in the technology industry, I wanted to share a few thoughts with my friends, the analysts. As some of you know, I sincerely believe there is a massive opportunity for everyone on social media, and I’d love to see you all embrace it. I’m an evangelist, what can I say?

What I’m suggesting is for you to get A LOT more active at utilizing social media to build your personal brands, as well as the brands of your firms. I ask this for your benefit, as well as for the benefit of the tirelessly working AR people you deal with every day.

To give you some context, when I first did AR (back in London in the 90s) we didn’t have social media, however the challenges getting vendors to pay attention to you hasn’t changed much at all – something that I know frustrates you. I’ve always seen the reason for this being the fact that much of the influence you have cannot be “seen” or measured. In Asia, that problem is exacerbated even more.

Social media

I’ve always seen industry analysts and AR people like a marriage. To have a good marriage, it’s got to work both ways

 

If I might just put you in the shoes of the average AR person.

It’s very challenging getting internal attention, because in the region, vendors are running at a million miles an hour, not everyone has access to your research, we can never know about your closed door conversations with customers/prospects unless they tell us about them (and that requires someone to capture it – impossible), and we can’t capture your media results because there’s just too many countries and languages to monitor. Fundamentally, the analyst community in Asia is a massive group of people with a massive influence, and there never seems to be enough resources on the AR front for most vendors in Asia, so it’s all just a little bit challenging.

And that’s where social media comes in.

But what’s in it for me, I hear you ask? Well….

  • Career opportunities – you may already be a leading analyst (and I’ll get to you in a moment) but for those building their reputations – internally and externally – there is no better way than to harness the power of social to help you achieve that. Influencers are on social media, so that’s where you become one, and those who do this will have much greater career opportunities. Social influence is becoming critical when being considered for career opportunities, so if you want to build your career, social media is one of the greatest tools to let everyone know what you stand for
  • If you are a super star analyst, then it is an opportunity to share your wisdom, inspire your juniors, provide your organization with a compelling message for customers/potential customers and the media, as well as a platform to get vendors switched onto you. Not everyone has access to your research and not everyone has access to you, so this is a way to reach a big audience quickly and maximize your personal influence, your organisations influence and elevate the importance of analyst’s full stop. You are the smartest guys in the room, so if you can share a little piece of that knowledge with all of us, we’d be super grateful
  • You are influencers – social media is dominated by people calling themselves ‘thought-leaders’ and ‘influencers’ and the people considered this in the technology world are the analysts, so please join the party
  • The media track social media (esp. Twitter) for opinion leaders and influencers to comment on news stories. If you want PR opportunities for yourself/your company, then social is where it’s happening today

There are many more reasons, but the essence of my message is: it’s time. The world is changing – as you are predicting – and being active participants in this new social world is more important than ever before, for everyone in business.

Now let me tell you how an AR person can benefit if you get more social.  As you know, an AR person has many responsibilities, but the most important (in my view) is to PR you and the work you do in Asia. Therefore, your involvement on social media helps AR folks, which benefits you/your organisation in return. How?

  • Blogs – one of the best tools available to analysts is blogging. Blogs provide an opportunity to capture the essence of the area you research, what end-users are saying, good experiences with vendors, bad experiences with vendors, etc… The AR person can share this internally (and externally) because it’s something tangible about your influence. It doesn’t have to be positive for a vendor, because the criticism provides an opportunity to learn. Naturally a positive piece is a great opportunity for an AR person, and your blogs provide a measurable piece of information AR people can utilize
  • Vendor events – you all attend events and I know sometimes it feels like this is all you do. Why not blog about the event, what you heard, what you liked, what you didn’t and what surprised you? IDC provides an event recap but it’s not socialized – why? Forrester is great at event recaps. Gartner I’ve never seen one. Phil Hassey is hot on this and that’s great. After an event is over, this content is gold as proof of success (or learnings) for an AR person
  • Social media – LinkedIn is a very powerful medium for analysts, so is Twitter. The IDC team are strong on Twitter, as is IBRS, CapioIT, with Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, Forrester and Gartner there as well. Just so you know, after the Analyst Summit last year I clipped every single Tweet you shared into the final wrap up report – the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes it took me a really long time, but it was terrific proof of the event’s success and learnings, so it’s valued
  • Media coverage – one thing I always appreciated is analysts sending me coverage they appeared in that was relevant to me. Obviously if it was positive I would send it over my social channels, but equally, I would share it on the internal Yammer network too – that’s why it’s a great thing. AR people can help you too

If I think of the analysts who really get this stuff, I’d definitely say:

Social media

Facebook Thinks I’m Fat

(Facebook thinks I need plastic surgery by the way – you?)

Of course, when compared to some of the global heavy weights – Tiffani Bova, Brian Solis or Ray Wang – lessons could be learned. But for everyone I’ve copied here, all are worth following, and bookmark Gartner’s blog site. A great information resource.

Concluding now. I write this knowing the analysts are super busy, and if Dave Noble’s recent blog is anything to go by, it’s only going to get busier. BUT this is about YOU. It’s about taking care of yourself and your personal brand. It’s kind of like taking care of your health, but for your career instead. Your firm obviously benefits too, but that’s not as important as what you get. I also appreciate that some of your firms have restrictions on what you can and can’t do, but you know, perhaps it’s time to have discussions to get that changed? It really is redundant thinking.

I believe in the power of social media to change the world, but it changes careers too. I’d be thrilled to know my blog helped you love social just a little bit more, because I miss working with you, but I still want to “hear” from you!

Take care, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to those celebrating.

Cheers

Andrea.

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12 Social Media Profiles – Narcissist, Spousal Invader, Or?

I was at an APSS event recently and the discussion was around LinkedIn and how to better utilize this great networking asset. It was an informative session and thanks to some pointers from Chris J. Reed, I’ve updated my profile with the new tools available. I do recommend you check out what you can do now on LinkedIn. It’s awesome.

One other thing Chris mentioned was the One Percent Rule – where one percent of people on social media are the contributors (see explanation below), nine percent are participating and sharing, with the following 90 percent not doing much at all, other than inviting you to play Candy Crush. It’s been apparent for a very long time that the 90 percent just don’t seem to get that the one percent don’t have time to play games! Those invites keep on coming though…

One Percent RuleThe 1-9-90 rule makes a lot of sense to me in regards to social interactivity in Asia, especially as I am a One Percenter. I can also see that, as a blogger, I need to ensure my nine percent group is strong.

As always, the session got me thinking, and I’ve come up with my own “profiles” associated with how people contribute in the social world. This is my observations based on my own community, however I think I’m connected to just about every country, race, religion and culture within my network, so a good test case perhaps?

The One Percenters

This group are born communicators. Not only do they create their own content in blogs, articles, etc, they fundamentally believe in the sharing of diverse knowledge – anything that makes them think, laugh or even the stuff that outrages them. Professionally, they’ll share a wide array of information on their field of excellence and support others’ writing about similar subjects. The One Percenters value knowledge and believe sharing ideas can fundamentally change the world. They’re typically open to different opinions, argue passionately, love the collaboration they get to create across the world, and most of the time, provide good fodder for friend’s timelines. The great thing about The One Percenters is they’re also terrific supporters. They’ll love your kids photos, your latest meal and if you want to launch a blog or a Facebook fan page, make sure they know about it, ‘cos they’ll “Like” it and share it – appreciating how hard it is getting any support in Asia. They don’t just communicate out with the world, they actively participate in it, although there are definitely some Narcissists in the one percent gang. Naturally, with three blogs, lots of content under my belt, and a penchant for sharing knowledge, I consider myself a “One Percenter.”

The Nine Percent Includes…

Knowledge is Power

The Knowledge Lovers

While not creating content, this group love knowledge in all its forms. This is the group you definitely want in your tribe as a One Percenter. The Knowledge Lovers admire the One Percenters, but appreciate that creating content is just not their thing. This group is more inclined towards (what I think of as) Microblogging – as in sharing not only their content , but their opinion too – rather than just sharing a link (something that really frustrates me). They’ll tag you in content they think you’ll love, acknowledge the great work of people they know, and just be general cheer leaders for this new world of social. An important differentiator for a Knowledge Lover is they will never share information they have not read first. They appreciate that their credibility is linked to the quality of information they share, so don’t expect them to retweet your blog within five seconds of posting it. It’s not their thing. This group constantly reads every chance they get.

The Narcissists

Then we get The Narcissists – bless. These folk are on social media channels and quite active to boot, but it’s all about them. They’ll share pictures, adventures, events they’re in and more, but they’ll never EVER (well rarely) “like,” share or acknowledge anyone else’s work. Sometimes it’s because they’re just too busy, but the reality is, they see social media as a one-way-street-for-information-distribution, and they’re all over it for that. Be sure to protect your heart from disappointment when they don’t acknowledge your existence. Of course, confused within The Narcissist gang can be the famous and semi-famous – especially those building a brand around their personality. These people are not narcissistic, they are just building a business, and if you are in their close community, they usually go above and beyond for their friends. It’s a fine line.

The Addicts

The Addicts typically cross a lot of social media channels – usually with one favorite in the mix, although not always. These are the sorts of people who let you know where they’ve checked in (aka the Foursquare generation), and they’re often all over Twitter, having conversations all night with complete strangers. You can usually identify The Addicts when they reveal (on social media of course) that “they just need to take a break from social media” – although the break rarely lasts long. I’ve never been a fan of the stranger conversations – preferring to build fewer, deeper relationships – so this group has always been a curiosity to me.

The Community Builders

This is another active group within the top 10 percent of participants, and their goal is to build the biggest community they can as quickly as they can. The Community Builders spend hours and hours following people, they build groups and lists, they know every powerful hashtag in the universe, they join popular conversations and participate, and they are often very successful in raising their personal brand above the noise. I personally don’t know how anyone has the time to do this while working a day job, but I take my hat off to them for the investment. If you get on their radar and they like what you do, they often support you – but it’s not for you, it’s for them.

The Social Channel Fanatics

I love this group of people. They will do everything in their power to convince you that one social channel stands above all others and that is where you need to be. You can always identify a Social Channel Fanatic by their fevered eyes as they wax lyrical about why this one single channel is all you need and why the rest are not relevant at all. While I am always an appreciator of passion, I’ve learnt that arguing the point, suggesting maybe some other channels are better for different people based on their style of interaction, is, well, generally pretty wasted. The Social Channel Fanatics are a great resource to get to the bottom of one particular social channel however, so the depth of learning can be quite wonderful.

The 90 Percent Includes…

The Voyeurs

I know these people exist, because every time I turn up at a networking event, BBQ or a party they’ll tell me everything I’ve been doing in my life, but NOT ONCE did they ever comment or acknowledge my existence online! The Voyeurs don’t participate (beyond an occasional like) and they merely observe the lives of those around them. Sometimes it’s because they’re shy, sometimes it’s because they don’t see the point, and sometimes, it’s just ‘cos the world has to have its voyeurs… it’d be boring without them right?

The Social Critics

Probably my favorite group is this one. The Social Critics are on social media – usually in a limited way – and they use every chance they get to tell you that social media sucks.  I find them a curiosity within the mix, because they do utilize social, however because they do not tend to have a professional need to use it in a more considered way, the negatives tend to outweigh the positives. Examples where it’s not necessary are: they’re getting towards the end of their career and can’t see the point, they work within a very small community so it’s not necessary for career advancement, or they have never left the place they grew up in so most people are physically close to them. While participating to a limited extent, The Social Critics deride it every chance they get. I’ve never gotten to the bottom of that one.

The Socially Inept

This group are not always conscious of their actions (or words) and are the ones who inadvertently drop comments that most consider racist, sexist, un-nationalistic, and generally, not acceptable. The comments are usually posted without expectation of a response – other than for people to agree with them – but when people do respond, often with vitriol, The Socially Inept are surprised. The social revolution has not necessarily been a great thing for this group. You can find extreme examples of how they’ve gotten it very very wrong very very often here, and here and here. While the virality of these stories were impossible to ignore, I suppose the good news is that the Socially Inept attend to learn very harsh lessons very quickly. Long overdue. We all know people like this, so perhaps if you’re aware of anyone at risk, you can share these links and help them see the light?

Anton Casey

The Newbies

I think my favorite group – because they’re just cute – are the brand new people on social media – The Newbies. They’re straggling in these days, with the vast bulk of developed country humans engaged somewhere. The Newbies post their first comment – to which most people go “about time you joined us,” and then they get tentative, before going quiet to observe what everyone else is doing. Alternatively, they post absolute nonsense and before they know it, people jump on them, and they go quiet. It’s a bit of a scary world for The Newbie, because they are entering an established “structure” and aren’t always confident in how to play this game. The challenge for this gang is they are not early adopters, so this obviously isn’t an intuitive medium for them, and thus, it’s scary. We’re not all the same. But it’s not rocket science, just be authentic and have fun.

The Yeah Whatevs

Remember when mobile phones came out in the late 90s and a lot of us rushed off and got one? Then the next round of adopters got one? Then the next? Finally, there remained a small 4th group who were all attitude, saying “why would I want one of them?” In my mind, this demographic was typically 30’ish male professionals, and they finally cracked about six years ago – the final frontier of mobile phone adoption was won. After that, they were incredibly annoying and couldn’t be without their phones – picking them up during dinner (but not to look at Facebook), interrupting conversations to take calls – yawn! Well those people are not anywhere on social media – other than LinkedIn. You can always spot The Yeah Whatev male, because they wax lyrical at dinner parties about why they aren’t on it, and everyone else is thinking “there is no escape in the long-run sunshine, you’ll see!”

The Spouse Invader

As an addendum to The Yeah Whatevs, I have to add a special category in its own right – The Spouse Invader. Again the majority are male, as let’s face it, women are natural communicators. The Spouse Invader is not on social media, although if anywhere, they do have a shabby LinkedIn profile, but never share anything on it. This group cannot make any sense of Twitter. Google+ what, why? Pinterest is women’s business, although they’ll benefit from the collection of recipes someone has been studiously collating. Facebook, no way, but perhaps I can just have a sneak peak over my spouses’ shoulder? “Hey love, you’ve left Facebook on, do you mind if I take a look?” They are participating, they just want to tell the world that they’re not. I am thankful my husband is not a Spouse Invader.

Concluding now… I promise

Obviously much of the above is tongue-in-cheek and will hopefully make you smile, but we do live in interesting times and for professionals, how we participate on digital channels will become more and more critical for our success and advancement.

In recent months, I’ve been running workshops and training sessions, trying to get more colleagues and professional friends intelligently utilizing social assets to enhance their career opportunities. I really believe in it.

As much as I’m sharing, I’m also learning and gaining clarity on the challenges people are facing. For example, some of the lessons and epiphanies have been:

  1. There is no one size fits all approach – how you engage for professional growth is a very personal journey, based on your unique character and ambitions
  2. Many professionals are being told they should get on social media, but few are explaining to them the why and the how
  3. Most people don’t even know where to start when it comes to sharing information or where they get the information from. Helping people hone in on their areas of expertise and suitable resources for information is a great place to start
  4. People are not understanding the benefit of their companies’ brand, nor are companies understanding the benefit of individual employee brands within their organization. The fundamental message is people speak, companies do not, so you’ve got to make this a priority with all employees in an organization – especially your senior execs. It’s not a nice to have anymore
  5. Successful participation in social media is about giving not getting. This is for companies as well as individuals. People are not really understanding that fundamental philosophy. We must connect with our hearts and minds to be successful. We must be thinking about what will make the biggest impact on the audience we want to influence, and then subtly weave in our own personal goals too

Stand out from the crowd

While social interaction is completely intuitive to me, for the majority of people, it really seems a confusing minefield. In the early days of speaking on this topic, I felt stupid talking about things that were so obvious to me. But they are not obvious to the 90 percent. As such, I’ve decided my goal is to help as many professionals as I can get into the nine percent gang, if not the one percent.

But people must join this world in a way that makes sense to them and can help them build towards their goals. The “What’s in it for Me” is absolutely critical to understand – and there are a lot of individual options in the WIIFM argument. Making sense of that individually is where we are right now.

Any thoughts on who I missed and which profile you can most relate to?

Cheers

Andrea

PS: I always try to write short blogs, and here I am again…

PPS: some of my professional social media assets are

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#Worklikeanetwork

I’ve been spending a bit of time with my Yammer colleagues recently, and there are two philosophies I really love about this team of inspired people. The first is “let’s change the world together” – yes please, I love that and I’m in. The second is encouraging all people to #worklikeanetwork. I absolutely couldn’t agree more and think this is an area everyone in Asia needs to be focusing on as we move towards a digital future. No matter your role, it’s relevant.

What does #worklikeanetwork mean? Microsoft defines it this way:

“It takes a network of people to serve a network of customers. Microsoft connects people and information across familiar applications, so your company can listen, adapt, and grow at the speed of a networked world.”

In fact, this YouTube flick really brings #worklikeanetwork to life

The truth is, this way of working is so tantalizingly close, I can taste it and I’m excited about it. It’s just waiting for all of us to get on board and embrace it. The technology is certainly ready.

I am well into this game, because I naturally work out loud, love sharing great information, love participating, and adore all of the information and opinions I have access to since social media changed all of our lives forever. I am a communicator and a sharer, so this new world is a dream come true for me.

When I think of the idea of #worklikeanetwork, it’s about participating across all of your social pillars, and that goes for your professional interactions as well – because social offers amazing opportunities to be really transformative in how we all approach our work and career aspirations today.

The struggle in Asia is that very few people are really understanding and applying this to their everyday work, taking into account the cultural challenges we face as well. Equally, many do not understand their role in their companies’ success within the context of how they participate, nor how their employer benefits from their participation – it’s a two-way street. Please read “Role of Personal Branding in Innovation” – specifically focusing on the typical organization versus the future organization. This is a very worthwhile read.

In Asia, many of us are active on social networks, but not enough are actively engaging from a professional point of view – we’re just too passive and missing opportunities to boot. If you read the above article (and many more on the topic) this is about building YOUR personal brand – an investment I sincerely believe will impact future career opportunities. Think about it, if you stand side-by-side with a candidate of equal measure and one of you is active, the other not, who does the new employer choose? It’s going to be that straight forward right?

Therefore, I encourage everyone to get out there and get noisy. But do it with thought, otherwise you’ll be swamped or make a silly mistake that will go against you – there are plenty of examples.

Before you make the decision to get going, I encourage you to ask yourself four questions:

  1. Who am I in the business world?
  2. What do I stand for? What does my company stand for?
  3. Am I more than one thing?
  4. What can I commit to?

Alternatively, this Forbes article – “3 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself Before Building Your Personal Brand” – encourages you to ask yourself:

  1. What makes me great?
  2. What makes me unique?
  3. What makes me compelling?

I like these questions, and believe I answered them for myself long ago. To give you some context, five years ago I decided to segment my personal brand. Firstly, I am a professional communicator (who loves content marketing, social media/business, communications, and inspirational business), BUT I’m also a Mum and I am Andrea the woman – the sort who likes dirty jokes and enjoys a good argument about religion, feminism… well you name it.

Each of these segments is me, but do they need to cross-over into each other and become part of my professional profile as well? I don’t think so, so I separated myself – as much as one can. My three profiles have a blog, as well as various social media channels dedicated to each “brand.” I don’t believe everyone needs to segment themselves like I have – some people can be who they are across all of their channels – but if you need to segment yourself, it’s definitely worth considering. Then work out who you are and what you stand for.

The final point, of my four points above, is what can I commit to? I love social and I am all over it. It’s not easy keeping up and I certainly don’t do as much as I want to do, but it’s a priority for me so I am more active than most. To give you a feel, here’s my active social channels – although SlideShare is more about reading and sharing than participating right now…

Personal Branding
Yes, it’s rather busy keeping up.

But what can you do? Is Twitter all you’ve got in you? Focus on that. LinkedIn? Facebook? Google+? Make your decisions based on what you can manage and grow from there, but don’t be half-baked across multiple platforms. You may as well not play at all.

There’s a lot I can say here, but here are my top eight tips if you’re not doing enough and want to do more:

  1. Define your voice and what you stand for. Additionally, if you want to do something else in the future, it’s good to build your credibility in that field long before you start looking for work or launching a new business. Say you’re a programmer today and want to be a florist in the future – start a blog on flowers right now and build a social channel dedicated to floristry. You’ll have credibility before you start and it’ll be much easier when the time comes
  2. Be realistic about what you can do and commit to it! Commitment is such a big priority in this area and not being consistent will kill you. This is a patience game, so if you are half baked, it will take a lot longer to get results and that can also be shocking for your confidence
  3. Support your brand. If you are working for a company, you get a lot of benefits being associated with its brand. When I ran my own business, it was much harder to get attention. With Microsoft beside my name, more people sit up and take notice. So share your companies news and information – just aim for one a day if you can’t do more
  4. Find sites in your field and share content every day. I’ve written about this before and it’s the easiest way to get going. As a simple rule, follow 1-5 great publications or blogs (I follow up to 10) that really resonate with you and your personal brand, then if you like it, share it. Copy the author if you can – this increases your reach/ability to build your network. The important part here – ADD YOUR OPINION. Don’t just share links. Inspire me to read it and tell me why I should. I’ll appreciate your insight
  5. Support colleagues and people you admire by sharing their work – because we’re still not doing this in Asia and I have been saying it for years (Like It Share It). You have a role to play in helping others build their personal brand, just as they have a role in helping you build yours. Don’t wait until you need something – a new job, a promotion, a referral, support for your new blog (I get asked to support new blogs all the time) – do it now. In fact, if you like this blog and think it will be great for your community, why not share it? I’d sure appreciate it
  6. Include three hashtags with everything – this is so simple and so important, but it’s a habit you need to develop if you’re not doing it yet. It’s important because it connects you to audiences beyond your immediate community and that means you build a stronger network. For example, if you want to reach new sectors and don’t have the connections, #tags can get you in there, so do your research on what hashtags those targets follow and use them – three is good standard practice
  7. Join, create and participate in groups – LinkedIn, Tweet chats, Google hang-outs, whatever suits you. This isn’t easy and it can be time consuming, so choose one to get started and get active. If one doesn’t exist in your community, create one – easy peasy
  8. Be kind and be careful. Never judge or criticize anyone or anything – Anton Casey is a recent example of how it can all unravel very quickly. We also had another Former Miss Singapore in the media spot light this last week, after making insensitive comments on Facebook. It didn’t cause quite as much of a stir as Mr. Casey, but nobody wants that glare. My suggestion for professional criticism is be constructive – especially when someone is creating something you haven’t got the courage to do. Blogging, as an example, is not easy. It’s hard to put yourself out there in the world, so go easy on us

The one thing I’d love to see everyone in Asia embracing is the idea that we are all a Personal Brand. To stand out in this digital future – developing, nurturing, protecting, and valuing your personal brand is critical to success. We all need to make sure our personal brand stands for something remarkable if we want to excel – that’s the world we live in now. Also understand your personal brand’s value within the context of your employer, because it goes both ways. Truly innovative companies of the future will really value those with a strong and credible personal brand.

Facebook logo

Does this get a thumbs up?

With all that said, I certainly don’t have all of the answers and I haven’t got it all right – it’s a constant work in progress. But I’d LOVE to hear thoughts and feedback from my peers in this great region? Any insight on what you think professionals in Asia can do to nurture their personal brands?

It would be wonderful to see us all harnessing the great digital platforms available today – both internally and externally – so we can all gain the amazing benefits that #worklikeanetwork delivers.

I’m definitely in. Are you?

Cheers
Andrea

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Jo Malone London and Coach. Two Brands, One Winner

Jo MaloneI have a very sweet and thoughtful husband. He makes me work really hard at birthdays and Christmas to ensure I – at least – equal his thoughtfulness in the gift-giving department. I’m a lucky gal. For Christmas, he designed my very own perfume at Jo Malone London and he got an absolute winner. It is the perfect fragrance and I wear it every day.

Steve told me (after I opened it) that he had an absolutely fabulous experience at Jo Malone London and is keen to take me there so I can experience it as well. A good endorsement for a brand – especially in Asia where it can be a bit hit and miss.

However, following his Christmas shopping foray, he also received a handwritten letter thanking him for his custom. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a commercial exchange resulted in something so personal. And guess what? Steve and I are both delighted.

Jo Malone

Customer service excellence from Jo Malone

On the other hand, I wrote to Coach in 2013 following the Bangladeshi building collapse that resulted in more than a thousand deaths. A friend challenged me to understand where my ‘brand of choice’ sourced its products after I blogged about a new handbag purchase. I’ve been a Coach fan ever since I lived in Boston in the late 90s, when I first discovered it.

It’s simple, elegant and perfectly suits my style.

Getting back to Bangladesh. This disaster upset and infuriated me. But the thing that angered me most was big global brands – who have been benefiting from low cost labor in these countries for decades – standing back and washing their hands of it, or worse, pulling out all together.

Apparently, rather than fixing the problem or taking some responsibility, they think it’s better not to be associated with it at all. I personally believe that global companies have a responsibility for the quality of their products, as well as the safety of the humans making these products. This counts if the products are made in-house, outsourced once, twice or a thousand times. Ignorance is not an excuse – not today.

CoachNow it’s very important to mention that I do not know if Coach is making its products in Bangladesh, because when I emailed Coach HQ to ask where the individual products were made, I got a reply suggesting I speak to the Singapore helpline. I replied that this was not a question the Singapore helpline could handle and asked HQ for a response to my very simple question.

I never got a response, but worse, Coach Singapore has added me to its marketing list. I now get both SMS and eDMs from Coach on a regular basis, however since this incident, every time I receive marketing outreach it absolutely infuriates me. It infuriates me because they did not answer my question yet believe I will continue to be interested in its products?

I’ve been loyal to the Coach brand for more than 15 years, but now they have lost me and I will not buy Coach again. That is what happens when a brand does not listen to a customer and answer the customer’s question. That is what happens when a brand does not distinguish between the types of communication a customer sends in. Coach did not identify that this specific request was not an opportunity for marketing. Coach did not recognize that a loyal customer had some very valid concerns and wanted it addressed. Coach got it wrong.

This is the world we live in now. I’ve had a bad experience and I’m writing about it. I’ve also had an excellent experience and I’m writing about it.

Therefore, has what I’ve written influence your attitude towards either brand? Would you walk into the next Jo Malone London store to see if they delighted you as well? Or would you bypass the next Coach store based on what I said? I’m curious to know.

It doesn’t take much to lose a customer these days, but it’s not about single customer losses anymore. One voice can impact thousands, or can it? Perhaps it’s only the Kardashians who have that sort of power?

What do you think?

Cheers

Andrea

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Does Klout Have Clout?

I love Klout. I love the idea of it and know that – over time – it’s going to be a cracking part of our digital and professional lives. However, right now, it’s not great for me. The clash is I’m seeing Klout referenced more and more to measure a person’s influence in business (which includes whether someone is employable), but I am wondering if it is really an accurate reflection of a person’s clout today?

KloutA challenge I had recently was my Klout score actually went down by an average of seven points after taking on a full-time role. If anything, I thought it would have gone up – particularly as I’m working for a global company, engaging more broadly on social media, and sharing a lot of information which is gaining significantly more shares/retweets/etc… than when I worked for myself. Suffice to say, I definitely feel I have more ‘Klout’ these days.

But my challenge continues. At the moment, Klout measures my impact based on my personal Facebook page, one Twitter handle @AndreaTEdwards, my Google+ page and my LinkedIn page. With that said, it doesn’t appear to capture all of this activity and I don’t know how to change that… probably un-tech-savvy-me’s fault!

However, I also have:

  • Two additional Twitter handles
  • Three additional Facebook pages (along with my personal page)
  • Two WordPress blogs
  • One Blogger blog
  • A YouTube account
  • A slightly inactive SlideShare account
  • and I’m active on Pinterest

There are many more social channels people are active on (and I have more accounts I’m not active on) but of my 17 social media “assets” only four are being measured (to a certain extent) to ascertain my Klout. Therefore, it’s just not an accurate reflection of what I’m doing right now, which is a shame, because I’d love to know my real Klout score.

Of course, it takes a whole lot of effort for the developers working on the backend of Klout to integrate all of these channels – I get that – but I am definitely looking forward to the day it happens.

So right now I have to ask the question – is it a valuable measurement tool to ascertain a professionals’ clout? Maybe I’m just missing something? Would love to know your thoughts.

Cheers

Andrea

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52 Tips on Content and Community From the Top New Media Experts

If you are in a marketing, communications, digital media, or any other role within the marketing mix, I can recommend downloading this eBook entitled “The New Media Rat Pack – 52 Tips on Content & Community From the Top New Media Experts.

52 Tips on Content and Community from the Top New Media Experts

Launched by Top Rank Marketing in advance of NMX 2013 (formerly BlogWorld) – an event that was held in Vegas early January 2013 – it’s a worthwhile read. Essentially it’s a top level overview of all of the new (and some old) marketing solutions available today, and includes commentary from 52 of the world’s experts in this field. It’s not deep content, and the focus (including the research) tends to be focused on the US, however by reviewing each of the sections, it gives you the opportunity to assess what is of interest to you, and then you can dig deep.

I think a lot of marketing folk in Asia Pacific could benefit from this eBook and the ideas shared, as in many areas, we remain in our infancy in regards to embracing the real business opportunities these solutions offer. B2B or B2C – it is relevant for both.

The topics covered include:

  • Branding
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • New Media Law – everyone needs to understand this!
  • Mobile
  • Content Marketing
  • Video
  • Podcasting
  • Websites

One of the great aspects of the book is the research shared. As I said, much is US focused, but here are the highlights that stood out for me.

Branding

Highlights

  • 95% of consumers now use at least one social network
  • 44% more likely to purchase based on positive brand exposure
  • 44% consumers more likely to recommend the brand to a friend

Source IDG Group

Blogging

Highlights

  • 92% of companies who blog several times per day have acquired a customer from their blog
  • The average budget spent on company blogs and social media increased from 9% in 2009, to 21% in 2012

Source HubSpot

  • Over 65% of business blogs haven’t been updated in a year or more
  • 81% of businesses agree having a blog is useful or critical to their business
  • But less than 35% blog more frequently than once per month

Source Jeffbulla.com

Social Media

“Social media is helping brands build trust, loyalty, and brand recognition.”

Highlights

  • 92% of global consumers say they trust earned media above all other forms of advertising
  • 58% of [respondents] trust [the] message on company Websites
  • 50% find content in emails they consented to receive to be credible

Source Nielsen

Mobile

In Asia Pacific, mobile penetration is significantly higher than the rest of the world, so this is a core focus area for marketers moving forward in this region – a mobile marketing strategy must be a top priority. Check out this blog “Tablet Strategies for Content Marketing” based on the IDG Connect white paper entitled “iPad for Business Survey 2012” I published last year to get an idea of the figures in AP.

Highlights

  • The average response time to an email is 90 minutes. The average response time to a text message is 90 seconds
  • 61% of people said that if they tried to access a website that wasn’t optimized for mobile, they would visit the website of a competitor
  • 1 out of every 8 smartphone users will search for better pricing on a product or service while at the store

Source Social Media Tips

Content Marketing

A subject after my own heart, this chapter covers four key areas:

  1. Blogs
  2. Social channels
  3. Press Releases
  4. Email marketing

However it also extends to mobile apps, events, gamification and more.

Top quote – “92% of US adults read content online, spending more than seven hours per week looking for content.”

Highlights

Top B2B Content Marketing Tactics:

  • 87% – social media
  • 83% – articles
  • 78% – eNewsletters
  • 77% – blogs
  • 71% – case studies

Source Content Marketing Institute

Top Goals for Content Marketing:

  • 51% – lead generation
  • 38% – brand awareness
  • 34% – thought leadership
  • 77% – sales
  • 71% – customer acquisition

Source BtoB Research Highlights 2012

And an important point to remember

“83% of all learning is visual,” John Meyer, Lemon.ly

Video

“Americans viewed nearly 11 billion video ads in October 2012”

Highlights

  • 70% of B2B content marketers use videos
  • Use of video has risen from 52% in 2011 to 70% in 2012
  • 58% rate videos as the most effective content marketing tactic

Source Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

Podcasting

Highlights

  • The podcasting audience has migrated from early adopters to more mainstream media consumers
  • Podcast consumers prefer content on their desktop, but mobile phone media consumption is surging
  • Those consuming podcasts index [was] very high for social networking

Source Edison Research

Websites

The only statistic worth noting here is this:

“97% of websites fail at user experience, according to Forrester Research.”

97%!

“A great website design must cater to the needs of the user.”

Further Highlights

9 common ecommerce Website usability issues:

  1. No cost estimate before checkout
  2. Too much info for registration
  3. Missing auto-fill on forms
  4. Absent left rail filter
  5. No instruction for input format
  6. Poorly optimized search
  7. Messy top navigation
  8. No user reviews
  9. Registration required to purchase

Source measuringusability.com

There you go. If nothing else and you don’t read the eBook, the stats could provide useful information if you need to sell the advantages of any of these ideas to your bosses.

Like I said, this book doesn’t go into great depth – as that is not its goal. Its goal was to tantalize the reader into attending an event, and if I was in the US, it would have worked. But it does give a broad-view of the new marketing solutions available today and the core focus areas for anyone in marketing. Furthermore, I enjoyed another aspect of the book – it consistently linked the story back to the original Rat Pack of the 1960s – a group of entertainers most of us know and love to this day – which made it a delightful read as well.

I thought my peers in Asia Pacific would appreciate being aware this book is available and hope the above homework I’ve done helps as well. Let me know what you think if you read it?

Cheers

Andrea

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