The Rise of the Social CV

  I really liked this blog post from James Poulter about how the CV was “becoming less and less appealing to HR directors, whose inboxes are filled daily with the word document versions of young hopefuls, applying for graduate schemes and alike. So many are now trying their hand at getting noticed by the powers that be, by using a different set of tools – those being digital, mobile and most importantly social”

As I step away from my role at Microsoft into a new role at Cisco, my focus is moving much closer to Enterprise Social Computing  and Blog posts like James reinforces that it is a great move for me. Organisations are changing, not necessarily from Top Down, but from the Bottom Up. As GenY begin their careers, they are brining a social evolution to Corporate Britain which will only gain momentum as time goes by. This infographic may not work for everyone but it sure is more exciting than looking at 2 pages of A4!


Effective Social Media Engagement – The Radio Show Experiment

So everywhere you go people are talking about Social Media, if you don’t have a Twitter account you aren’t in the Game. Social Media driven by Gen Y (and younger Gen Xers) is now so mainstream that traditional Media companies like Radio, are having to embrace it. A lot of them are using their scale and reach to encourage tens of thousands of “Fans” to their Facebook page, but are doing very little else to engage them. If like me you believe that Social Communication is all about listening and being interactive then I have a feeling you’ll be disappointed in most of the Radio Shows out there; apart from one.                                                                                                                                                   

The Ian Collins Late show is a Radio show on TalkSport which airs Monday to Friday from 10pm till 1am; so not a peak radio slot like Breakfast or Drive time. However what makes TalkSport different from a lot of stations is that they are focused heavily on interaction with their audience. TalkSport make money from Advertisers and Callers to their shows, so Social Media could be seen as a threat to that business. However the Ian Collins Late Show, a news based show, has seen through this threat to create a new channel to communicate with the listeners. The Facebook Page drives topics to be discussed on the show that evening, comments left on them gaging the public feeling. On Twitter Ian drives effectively recruits new followers by sharing pictures and videos of Guests and topics live on the Radio which make the audience feel like they are in a virtual pub. I’ve often had to jump out of bed to turn my smartphone on to see what has been posted. The Upside of this approach is that it seems to be driving more intelligent people to call in to comment, which in turn then makes a better opportunity for Advertisers. The driving force of this Social approach is definitely Ian himself who is a self-confessed Apple Fan boy. Despite this he comes across as a really well balanced guy who loves engaging with people. One look at his Twitter activity clearly shows how much time he spends replying to the mountain of tweets he gets.  Social Media is about interaction, the clue is in the title. Those that do get a richer experience.

 (Illustration by Hugh MacLeod)

The Search to be a Social Media Specialist..

Working at Microsoft does have lots of benefits. Not only can I mix with some really exciting creative people who have a passion to develop solutions to solve multiple problems; I can also get last minute tickets to attend various business events. A few weeks ago I had 2mins away from the day job to notice that were hosting a “Hit me! Social Media and Search” event at our offices in London. As this looked like something that would help my Social Media Career development, I track down the Microsoft owner of the event and managed to get an invite (thanks Cedric, I still owe you that coffee).

The event was quite well run with around 200 small business owners attending to hear how they could embrace Social Media and Search in their Industries. I got there around 9am however due to typical public transport issues many others didn’t; it surprises me why people try and organise events in London before 10am.

The morning session was hosted by Nick James from FBT and included Microsoft Advertising’s Cedric Chambaz and Mel Carson who talked about how Social Media and Search are interwoven and critical to your online business; especially when building and leveraging a community. I really enjoyed these sessions and as a “classic” Microsoftie it was interesting to see what our cooller brother was up to. I particulary enjoyed the real world scenarios and think there are practical elements I can take back to my day job and share with our classic Microsoft Partner Channel.

The rest of the day included experts from the field of Social Media, PR and SEO. Twitter heavyweight Mark Shaw “Demonstrated his expertise” by using plently of examples to inspire the audience and alloing everyone to see the potential of Twitter. Rob Shaw from Epiphany Solutions gave a excellent talk on tapping into existing communities to build social networks and increase awareness of your brand. Adam Parker from Real Wire highlighted the importance of PR and what it means to your SEO which was an eye opener to a lot of the audience. There were also thoughtful talks from Tiger Two’s Nancy Williams and Mat Morrison who grounded the audience by talking about the truth of Social Media and how its important to measure the influence and impact. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the final two speakers but I throughly enjoyed the day and will certianly be finding out more about the speakers I did listen to; all of whom came across as very knowledgable and people who you would want to work with. This event was certainly a perfect step forward in allowing me to use Social Media more and devloping my knowledge to do so. Big Thanks FBT and Microsoft Advertising!  

As you already know Im a big fan of Social Media if its used as part of an overall Marketing Strategy. Its not the be all and end all; its just a tool that Businesses can use to be more human. Ive been luckily enough to have had some great mentors in the past, one of whom said “2 ears 1 mouth”. Which is the most important aspect in Social Media…its a shame not everyone knows this


Speaker Presentations – Hit Me! Social Media and Search at Microsoft

Fresh Business Thinking’s Facebook fan page

My Social Marketing Project – “Black Flys”

Well, its clear to see that I’m not the most regular blogger in the world. But over the last month I think I have a fairly good reason. In a bid to become more proficient in the world of Social Media Marketing, I’ve taken on a project helping Black Flys sunglasses launch into back into the UK. Those of you who are from the X sports arena or live in the USA might have already heard of Black Flys before; those of you who haven’t, Black Flys are a cutting edge So-Cal Eyewear brand associated with extreme sports and the California lifestyle. Yes, it makes me want to go on holiday as well!

Well the last month has been great fun working with the UK Black Flys guys, Jared and Ben. Their skills are in business development so they have let me have free rein in building up their Social Media presence on Facebook and Twitter. So far the Black Flys UK Fan Page is well over the dreaded Dunbar Number of 150 and seems to be climbing upwards. The good news is this can only get bigger after the official website is getting a makeover and Im signing up some cool young talent to join Team Black Flys in the UK.  We already have a couple of great inline skaters in Jenna Downing and Sam Tuffnell; both of whom are no stranger to winning things! But over the last few weeks I’ve also signed up Watergate Bay’s Josh Piper, a Top 5 British Surfer;  GB Ski cross rider Ed Cozzi and BMX rider Anthony Watkinson. All these riders fit the Black Flys brand really well and I’m looking forward to working with them all to build not only the Black Flys brand but also helping them build their own individual brands.

If you want to know more or get involved, join the Facebook Page above!

Like Minds 2010 in Exeter

 In my continued journey to become more practiced in the art of Social Media and Communications I attended an event called “Like Minds” held in the Capital of the South West, Exeter. I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest, especially as a relative novice, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The event was very well put together by Drew Ellis and Scott Gould and they managed to attract some of the best known names in the Industry such as Chris Brogan, Joanne Jacobs and Oliver Blanchard.

 The theme was “People” more that “Tactics” and Drew and Scott created a great formula of varying depths. Firstly a “expert” Key Note presenter would address the audience for about 20mins, giving insight into some of their experiences and theories. They were then followed onto the stage by a Panel of 4 “experts” who took questions from the crowd; answering them from their own individual perspective. The final level of interaction was over lunch, where the “expert” engaged with smaller groups and created stronger connections in restaurants all over Exeter. A clever idea facilitated by the City Manager who was also fully behind the conference.

As well as the experts we also heard from several Charity Endeavours throughout the day. Some truly inspirational 5-10mins slots from people that not only are doing the right thing, but also using Social Communications to do it.

 So was the audience just full of Devon and Somerset folks? Well no. There were certainly lots of people from the South West, however I met people that have travelled down from London, Birmingham and indeed Scotland. It seems that Like Minds has the right balance between being an Industry event and encouraging the local community to embrace Social Media to create a little pocket of skills outside of Soho. Certainly the audience was very Agency heavy and at one stage I was almost nervous to raise my hand when the question was asked, “who is from a client”. But Like Minds isn’t a place where you’ll get sold to, its more of a community.

 So I guess the next question you’ll ask, is “what did you get out of it?” Well, quite a lot really; I was inspired by some great speakers, I made some excellent connections and a learned a hell of a lot. I joked on Twitter yesterday that I’ve had a 4 day headache since Like Minds finished and I suspect its because my brain is now full to the brim with Social Media knowledge. My Moleskin note book most certainly is full! Some of my favourite bits of advice are:

  • Social Media enables Communities and Networks, its doesn’t create them.
  • If you met your Brand at a party, how would you describe them?
  • We are not “Experts”, we are Influencers
  • Apple iPhone only has 14% on the market
  • Games make people want to participate
  • Focus! Always Strategy before tactics and tools
  • Make the Guest Experience fun and relevant

 I’m already looking forward to next year’s Like Minds event which will also be held in Exeter, which as a side note seems to be a great town! As I mentioned early the City Manager fully supported this Conference, and why not? Like Minds has brought in leading “Influencers” from all over the Globe to attend, as well as several hundred others who visited, ate, drank and stayed over in local establishments. I was really impressed by John Harvey; in a time that people have a dislike for politicians, he strikes me a forward thinking man trying to do the best for his City. Oh and he did a great job on the new Princesshay shopping area!

I cant wait to go back to Exeter!