Content is your best product, definitely

content is your best product

If you value your content like you value a product, you realise that you have the opportunity to “sell” your product every time you create and publish content. Usually, like a product, the only content that really sets the difference is that which we create ourselves, our own crafted content, not the one we’re taking from somewhere else and simply sharing.

Take a look:

Newsletter / RSS / Database

To provide quality content that makes a change in a free private newsletter take a look at what Carlos Bravo is doing. Monday or Tuesday could be a great day for this. Perhaps you may consider doing it over the weekend, aiming to create a tribe outside the noise of the busiest days. That’s exactly what Chris Brogan does, with a long, active database that he nurtures, giving him a competitive edge. I’m currently working on the daily RSS subscriptions to my blog and they continue to rise. The greater the audience, the more new people I “bump into”. This has led to an increase in the average business opportunities (“leads”) coming through my blog: increasing to 0.9 per day (up by 0.3 compared to 2012).

Audio / Podcast

Provide audio content. Have you considered carrying out a weekly podcast that your audience may listen to while they’re practicing sport, working or going from one place to another? Juan Merodio has been doing this with his posts for a couple of years and they have now been listened to 200,000 times. Another idea is turning this audio content into subscription podcasts published through a programme (for instance, iTunes), allowing you to choose your own periodicity.

Video

Video as content. In his channel, Valentí Sanjuán entertains, connects and has something to say. With his videos, he reaches more people than any other blogger in Spain. His reach and impact continue to grow daily as a result of the significant emotional bond that his audiovisual content provides. Valentí has created a line of branded content that is tightly linked to a community of followers that continues to grow with every video he publishes. It’s easy to see how he cleverly “calls to action” in every video, pointing towards other videos that may be of interest to his audience. This maximises the experience, contact and bond with the content, making a huge impact. In the case of Valentí this is further strengthened by the great personal brand that he’s building around himself and his work.

Ebook / Book

You can compile your best and most valuable posts into a book or ebook, for offline or online use. In that way, people can read you while they travel by train or plane. This has worked for Seth Godin, or Guy Kawasaki with “What the plus!”. However, you don’t need to be a celebrity to compile a book based on your articles or posts and turn it into an ebook; anyone can do it, with next-to-nothing marginal costs involved. This makes it possible for anyone who writes to become their own publishing house. If the content is good, you will reach thousands, hundreds of thousands or, who knows, maybe millions of readers. Couldn’t it work for you? I’m going to try this out. I’m currently preparing my second book, which I was writing at the same time as my first. Let’s see what comes of it!

Sharing content is really great, but tell me something: why look at you if you do exactly the same as anyone else?

Bonus: perhaps that “anyone else” has been doing exactly that for many years.

Photo credit: Gauravonomics.

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Strategic Areas to Run Online Projects Successfully

Leading online projects is much more than simply managing a brand’s social networks. It is a bigger challenge that involves great responsibility: you need to involve more people in this task, not robots who do as you say, look down and don’t ask questions, just receive orders. No, I’m talking about passionate people who are engaged, committed and enthusiastic. It is your duty to inject them with this enthusiasm at all times.

strategic areas to run online projects

Running Online Projects

Once you face the challenge of leading, developing and running online projects, you must consider a series of concepts related with some of the areas required to carry out this type of job:

Social Web Strategy: Develop, feed, maintain, optimise, grow and lead the online ecosystems.

– Web site/blog: optimise our strong points, focusing on improving “shareability,” usability and navigation.

Community engagement: build the foundations for participation, emotional bonding and passion by interacting, answering and sharing with fans, friends and followers. Create an interconnected community that increases the online scope, passion, strength and feeling.

Content generated by the user: seek this type of content in a way that can be shared in order to strengthen affinity with the community.

Newsletters: create dynamic newsletters that are effective and can be shared: indispensable to complete a good online marketing programme. This is a valid tactic to increase leads. Depending on how fresh you content is, how interesting your product/service is and how innovative or creative your strategy is, you can programme your issues on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.

Databases: every day that goes by, your database should more or less increase and should continue to increase. That is what we live and die for in marketing. This much hasn’t changed even if the game has changed.

e-shop / ticket system: think about becoming your own online distribution channel, managing your distribution, sales, customer services, middlemen and salespersons. How? Setting up your own online store or ticket service or whatever your product/service is.

To this end, you need an e-commerce platform, excellent and efficient logistics (try to deliver your product or service in less than 24 hours and see what happens…). I’m not talking about the quality of your product/service as we’re taking that for granted. Otherwise, forget everything I’m talking about here and make sure that your company delivers a product based on excellence and a value that will change whoever purchases it. Once you achieve this, get started with the marketing and social media side of things!

Mobile commerce: think about how to sell through mobile technology, create an App that encourages the interaction between consumers and the company, an interaction that simplifies any transactions that might take place. This can happen through a direct sales platform through the App, QR codes, “print at home”, etc. There are new systems that implement all of these improvements and others such as analytics, real-time results, SMS or email support, services like “entradas a tu alcance” which, furthermore, adapt perfectly to mobile devices.

Online monitoring and branding: monitoring the brand in the online world, in such a way that you’re able to see what happens around it. Whether you like it or not, there are conversations going on about your brand out there. Some of them will be positive and others will be negative; both are equally important and, yes, you should be taking part in them!

Online support: offer support to your audience and brands in terms of customer services, post-sales, pre-sales or guidance in the purchase process.

Marketing actions and campaigns: the idea behind this will vary according to the objectives and the strategy to reach them. It could be creating a database, reaching a new segment in the audience, creating brand perception and awareness, product penetration, market testing and the list goes on. Whatever the action, make sure it has a launch, execution and end dates, a budget, team/resources and monitoring/results.

Inter-department collaboration: collaborate constantly with the press, design, production or management departments, for instance.

Online promotion programme: develop and launch programmes aimed at promoting our service/product using the online media. The idea behind this is to boost sales.

Corporate social responsibility campaigns: design and launch this type of campaigns which aim to contribute to society in one way or another. Discover new talent, courses or training for the unemployed.

How do you carry out your online projects? How do you face this challenge? What other areas am I missing?

Photo credit: katrina_30.

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Improve your results using the social web

improving your results using the social webWhat goes on out there when we use the social web to communicate our product, improve our organisation’s marketing or connect with our potential target? After a year spent observing, analysing and measuring actions and cross-referencing behaviours, this is the pattern that I’ve seen repeated the most by brands, companies and even people and professionals.

Current strategy

  • Four tweets regarding business purposes.
  • Two or three updates of the company’s Facebook page; photos and videos mainly.
  • Spending about $400-600 per month on Facebook Ads campaigns to increase the official page’s fan base.
  • A couple of images in Instagram and Pinterest.
  • One or two links shared on LinkedIn and perhaps another in the group that is closest to our industry and has the most members.
  • Perhaps posting a news item on Google+; you know, for SEO purposes and stuff.
  • Very occasionally, carrying out a promotional video about our company or about what we do, basing it on a current reference that we liked.
  • If we’re lucky, our SME, business or personal brand has a blog. Perhaps we might publish something once a week or every two weeks; more often than not, on a monthly basis. Then we massively (sometimes, intrusively) promote our post (and blog).
  • Sending a commercial newsletter to every contact that has ever given us a visiting card, whoever we exchange emails with, whoever subscribes to our blog or whoever’s in our database through subscriptions.

I’ve also seen lots being said about content marketing and strategy. Although there are some large brands using content marketing (very well in some cases), there are still many smaller companies and organisations, personal brands and self-employed workers out there. I’ve read about 40 posts that talk about content marketing as the trend for 2014. Wasn’t it the trend for 2013? Of course, content marketing is very different from filtering and publishing links that are coherent and that build towards a common goal. This is what I’m talking about.

So, it’s hard to measure change. However, I know that when you’ve done the work that matters, your social media efforts will decrease and be more focused. The more people turning their heads to take a look at you, the more things you should be creating.

The deal here isn’t the content but, rather, the results you get. Create processes that help you achieve your goals. The following ideas may help you improve your results using the social web.

What else can be done?

  • Instead of (aimlessly) publishing on Twitter, try to link with your potential audience more and pay greater attention to your customers. Look for conversations, analyse and measure them and then take action in them.
  • Set up your fan page as a place to get test samples, special offers, peripheral services that are only carried out on this platform (for instance: a form for free samples). Publish blurbs from your customers or show different ways your product can be implemented.
  • Focus your Facebook Ads budget on achieving leads to your end point of sale on your website or online store.
  • Carry out visual contests through Instagram with attractive incentives. Use Pinterest as a catalogue for your products, experiences or featured services. In the case of products, include the price so they can appear in lists of “gifts”.
  • Try to connect through LinkedIn with the contacts that can strengthen your organisation. A sales agent in the UK, a legal adviser in Colombia, etc.
  • Create a community in Google+ with the people who have things in common with what you do and share with them. Use your Google+ page to tell funny, surprising and attractive stories that resonate with your industry.
  • Create a video every month or two explaining the craft involved in the work your organisation carries out (for instance, how you prepare your rye bread or how you prepare fruit milkshakes)
  • Publish the most important thing you’ve worked on at least once a week, explaining what you’ve learnt from it and whatever may serve as a recommendation for your potential target.
  • Work on content marketing based on your strategy, defining the actions you carry out and, most of all, measuring what happens with each piece of content. It should help you.

Was this useful? Did it help your ideas? How do you use your social web to get results?

Photo credit: ntr23

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13 ways to add human understanding to the Internet

If the Internet is made up of people, I don’t understand why brands use the Internet to communicate and market their products in a way that keeps them at a distance from human relations. If human relations are the essence of the social media, I don’t understand why no one is connecting and humanising instead of just sending out the same message 100 times, aiming to have an impact or simply wanting us to click on an ad in Facebook, LinkedIn or during a YouTube video.

add understanding to the internet

How to add the human touch and understanding to the Internet

Thinking about this, I hope some of the things included here may help us to understand the term “humanise” in regard to the Internet and social media.

1. Establish the foundations for listening: spend your time processing everything that’s being said about you or your organisation and do something with this. For instance, you can offer an answer to your audience. You may not know this but they’re the new “killer App”.

2. Respond to LinkedIn invites in a personal way, reviewing the other person’s profile, taking care in how to word your message to connect with the other party. Offer individual personalised answers and don’t use templates. It works for me. The same goes for emails.

3. Start or finish any comment, message, tweet, recommendation, review or shared content by naming the person you’re addressing.

4. Always answer any comment made and try to do what you’d like people to do with you: leave a comment, RT, “like”, “recommend”, “vote” or mention.

5. Speak positively, deal with situations with optimism, even when faced with harsh criticism or comments. Don’t lose your nerve and let humour reign. Researchers from Georgia Tech found that staying positive, useful and resonating is a tactic that leads to the trust and credibility needed for people to purchase at our store.

6. Look for ways to be innovative, staying true to yourself. For instance, use a word or catchphrase that is close to you, even one you make up. For instance, “rock on”. It may seem daft but try it out and see.

7. Look for conversations that are close to your interests. For instance, the contact made between a designer and a programmer to create a new blog, or contacts made between food lovers and the cooking blog you’ve discovered. So, make that introduction, connect!

8. Take an interest on subjects that may also be of interest to your audience and offer them information. For instance, if you’re a hotel, recommend tour routes. If you’re a dinner restaurant, talk about places where you can go for a drink later or recommend clubs. If you’re a club, recommend a good after-party.

9. Filter information that may be useful to your community and transform it into actionable points you can work with. For instance, if you provide a guide on how to install plug-ins in WordPress, explain exactly what plug-ins you need to install and summarise the steps you need to take in a direct way. Otherwise, you’re not really contributing anything new.

10. Perhaps through your experience and knowledge, even through your failures, you may extract conclusions, reflections or moments –transferred into content- that may connect with your audience and which betters them. This would be equipping them. Try talking about when you lost your nerve with a client, when you launched a campaign with the wrong target or when you paid your Facebook “Ads” with the wrong credit card.

11. Look for conversations regarding your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ (hint: look for hashtags and keywords). When you find them, engage in them, contribute your point of view, share, recommend, provide information or clarify doubts.

12. Every time you want to read something interesting, spend 5 minutes looking for it among the content posted by your audience / followers / fans. You’re sure to find something worthwhile, something you can share and recommend. We’ll be grateful!

13. Ask your community what they want from you, don’t be afraid! Then, work towards making it possible if you can’t offer it right away. For instance, if people complained that there weren’t enough women in your last event, work to fix this in time for the next event.

Obvious?

I honestly think I’m not really discovering uncharted territory here. Neither is it a cure for all. Similarly, discovering humanity on the Internet or in social media is a greatly complex task. A paradox perhaps? What do you think?

Photo credit: al shep.

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What to do with your online influence

online influenceAre you influential on the Internet and the Social Web or any other field influenced by this connected economy? Tip 1: all fields have been affected. Tip 2: we’re all influential to some extent or other. However, what do you do with this influence? Anything at all? Have you ever thought about doing something that benefits not only you but helps those who probably provide you with such influence?

To save you some time racking your brain, here are some tried and tested ideas that may help you return some of that influence to those who created it and deserve it –your audience, community, fans, followers, supporters, you name it. Clue: Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Brtiney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Pete Cashmore, Robert Downey Jr. or Sergio Ramos aren’t really considered to be part of your community.

Things you can do with your influence

So, here are some ideas that will help you know what to do with your influence so that you can contribute to helping the people who make you influential.

  • What about dedicating a section in your personal or professional blog to talk about the people around you who’re doing a great job? This can be local businesses, your own team members, stories from people you don’t know but who inspire you, stories that may also help your community and readers. You could do this on a set day of the week (Fridays for instance?) or every other week.  You can give it a special name to identify this series of posts.
  • Create a local event making the most of your reach, influence and network so that people with great ideas and best practices can take part, people who may not have 10,000 followers on Twitter or a fan page on Facebook. They may not even have a blog, so no one needs to freak out and start running. You may encourage them more than anyone else and, more importantly, make them known to people in your network who would benefit from meeting them. There are several options: seminars, round-table conferences, workshops or even online events.
  • Prepare a monthly video recommendation about the person who has contributed, helped, impacted, encouraged or influenced you and your people the most. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person who has done the most for you. Sometimes, someone will simply arrive and do something that no one else has done for us. It could be the polite way someone greets you or treats you at a restaurant or hotel, or a good morning smile when you’re going to breakfast or a sincere apology that was truly unnecessary.
  • Make the most of your YouTube channel to interview young entrepreneurs who know what they want. Let the businesspeople in your neighbourhood/town/city tell the story of how they started a business that is now the leader in online sales, ahead of their competition.
  • Talks and meetings with young people who’re off to university or university students who’re about to finish their studies. These two groups are often lost in this system. Your influence may become a beacon to them.
  • Share interesting businesses in your area or neighbourhood in your Twitter or LinkedIn accounts. I’m not talking about multinationals, but rather local businesses.
  • Use Foursquare or Yelp to leave tips or reviews about these businesses and share them with your community so that people know about them. Checking-in and sharing on Twitter will also help. Tip: it doesn’t take an invitation on their behalf for you to recommend them or post a picture on Instagram. You may offer before getting anything from them; it’s a great way of helping.
  • You can use a hashtag on Instagram to upload pictures of places, people or businesses you love and that you believe others should know about and visit.
  • Go all-out and gather stories, experiences, thoughts and practices from ordinary extraordinary people who wish to inspire and equip other people through such personal and professional narratives.
  • #FF people who’ve helped you in your work during the week or more anonymous people who’ve made you change the way you interact significantly, or simply people who’ve had a special consideration towards you, someone from your team or professionals who’re doing their job well. I’d love to see more #FF for “ordinary/extraordinary” people and not so many rock stars!
  • When you want to help by sharing, don’t just RT or ‘share’; this requires a special gesture. Explain why you’re sharing, offer a personal reason why others should pay attention to it. This is the fun part, you can’t do this truthfully if you don’t read or pay attention to what you share. This is what leaves many “influencers” out of the game.
  • Use LinkedIn to recommend those service providers, workers, employees or entrepreneurs with whom you’ve had a satisfactory professional transaction or interaction.
  • Create an eBook about the people who help you in your day, month and year; publish it as a blog, on Twitter or other places. And please, keep it free of charge; getting to know these people should be a right, not a privilege.

Self-absorbed or change?

One more thing before we finish: there’s a good number of ideas to make the most of your influence to favour others in a positive way.

So, as you can see, there are myriad ways to do it. What we’re sometimes lacking is intention and purpose in using influence as a way to funnel change and not as a resource for personal gain, becoming increasingly self-absorbed. Being that kind of influencer is clearly overrated.

I’d love you to share with us any ideas that come to mind to make the most of online influence, helping to make a difference in other people. Thank you.

Photo credit: Stuart Foster.

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How to succeed quickly in the Social Web and the Internet – disruptive version

success easy internetI usually get asked questions by email which seem very specific but are as vast as the universe itself. These questions are of the following kind: “What can I do with my brand/company to position it on the Internet quickly?”, “How can I reach all my potential audience on the social web?” or “I need some advice to increase my company/brand on the Internet, help me!

Some are even more bold and direct: “What do I do to be successful in social media?”, “How do I maximise my effort on the Internet and social networks to obtain real results?”, “I need any type of advice you can give me to get results in social media” or “Could you give me any idea to sell more online?”

Success awaits you

Clearly everyone wants to be successful on the social web and Internet. And, of course, they, want that success to be fast, simple, effortless and using a special trick you download from the Internet. Oh, and I forget! It must also be free.

This is the answer to those who ask how to quickly be successful on the social web and in social networks overnight:

  • Help out a lot. Helping out isn’t taking advantage of a situation.
  • Share large amounts of useful and valuable content. Sharing doesn’t mean your own content.
  • Make it visual: use photos and videos. Remember they must be useful and valuable.
  • Say what you think. Be yourself. Use your own voice.
  • Just accept that many people won’t like you. That will help you focus on those who do.
  • Decide what it is you want to do and do it.
  • If you have something to say, say it.
  • Create chaos, start revolutions, bring about disruptive innovations, go against the flow.
  • Launch as many ideas as you can. Start things that are easy and quick to start, take on small risks.
  • Adopt a small movements strategy – those are the ones that matter.
  • Market what you do, make the most of every occasion, however small. Everything can be communicated. Marketing involves coherence, intelligence, subtlety and results. However, self-glorification means laziness, selfishness, despair and babble.
  • Do whatever may create change in people/customers and show it to the world.
  • Make your strong point your life constant in your daily work flow. That’s how you’ll be creating something that no one else usually does.
  • Come up with a blog that serves a purpose to both you and your audience, a blog that makes them better. Create it, launch it against the market and blog 366 days a year (yes, you read it right, 366!).
  • Don’t work for the likes, comments or RTs. Do it to get deeper into the problem and find the solution.
  • Consider euros in the bank as your end measurement. And work towards achieving them.
  • Invest time, Sundays, nap times, holidays, vacations and Christmas to creating your personal brand.
  • Connect in the most human way possible with the people you know in the social web. That’s what they’re expecting.
  • Use the social media universe  – not the other way round!
  • There’s life beyond LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest – just kidding!
  • Forget about online reputation and invest time in monitoring, analytics, ROI and online branding.
  • Ignore Whatsapp.
  • Be very active. You should be everywhere at all times, helping and being useful.
  • Don’t take calls while you’re doing important work.
  • Close Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and your email and do what needs to be done to make an impact.
  • Don’t accept meaningless meetings, only those with clear objectives, a defined agenda and with people in charge at every step. That is, accept only 5% of your meetings.
  • If you want to do business, go do it. But don’t say you’re going to network at an event if you’re there to do business.
  • Don’t go to so many conferences, seminars or workshops. Instead, spend more time with a blank sheet of paper and do, experiment, fail and try something different.
  • Being an expert won’t help you to be successful. It will only serve to see how wide, round and deep your own bellybutton is.
  • Change masters degrees and advanced courses for blogs, videos, TED conferences and your own experiences.
  • Trace your own plan, establish your goals, develop a strategy and find your spark.
  • Don’t say you’re an online/social entrepreneur, prove it!
  • Use all your followers, readers, fans and connections to promote those beneath you. It’s easy, doesn’t take much time and it seems to be a strategy that works.
  • If no one offers you to take part in an event, workshop, initiative or movement, build one yourself and invite yourself. Think of something amazing.
  • Results are king, not content.
  • Take the maximum possible number of fans, followers or whatever you want to call them to your website.
  • Use calls to actions wherever you go.
  • Take care of your community.
  • Talk to clients and ask them in what other ways you could help them.
  • Stay human and value human relationships above everything else.
  • Transparency, honesty, authenticity, coherence, being consistent and passionate, excitement and determination are the keys for anything to work.

I told you, overnight. You want to be successful? Then go and be successful.

You don’t claim or pretend victory, you win it!

Photo credit: marsmet541.

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Responsibilities and tasks of a social media professional

social media checklistMany still believe that a the job of a social media professional is simply to tweet once in a while, upload pictures to Facebook or videos to YouTube… but it’s much more than that! Moreover, I usually think that what people have in mind is a robot, not a person. Furthermore, if such a professional goes on and on about how cool they are and how great they are at their work (though not really working for anyone else but their own brand,) then it’s a #smokemaker we’d be talking about.

Tasks and Responsibilities in the Social Web

I think this is something that must be talked about. This will help clear our path, make it easier to understand for others. The following are some of the basic responsibilities, starting from a strategic standpoint towards one that is more actionable:

– Social Media Marketing: optimise, maintain, monitor and lead the platforms and any marketing strategies carried out in them: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Pinterest, Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Google+, Flickr, etc.

– Content creation and management: content marketing.

– Interaction with users: community engagement.

– Social commerce: leads, calls to action and conversions in social media.

– Monitoring: online media, information sources and social channels.

– Measurements and follow-up: determining the ROI of the work carried out, justifying the quality of the actions taken and, of course, the results thereof.

– Fan building: based on achieving specific ROI objectives.

– Contests and campaigns: creative input, development, starting up and monitoring.

– Qualitative aspects: Sentiment reports, strengths, scope, virality, passion and effects for the brand online.

– SEO: website, blog and social platform (social search) optimisation, aimed at improving search results.

– Keyword optimisation and improvement in new SEO/SEM opportunities

– Email marketing: development, creative input, running, results and campaigns.

– Database: creation, management and maintenance of the database, making it larger and more streamlined.

– Website: content optimisation and stimulation, improvements within the website structure: functionality, usability, navigation by users. Developing and launching a mobile version. Promoting, marketing and communicating all the website’s contents. Measurements, monitoring and follow-up of results.

– Coordination and management of press and communication tasks: contents, interviews, website news, exclusive acts, etc.

– Video-marketing: optimisation, search, keywords, sponsored videos, marketing.

– e-Commerce: creation and generation of online sales opportunities.

– Reports: online sales, online positioning, online reputation, online results.

– Community: leading online communities, brand representation in different forums and communities.

– Online branding: searching, identifying and improving all brand-related aspects in social media.

– Adviser: playing a brand consulting/advising role with regard to the online environment: opportunities, threats, new initiatives, development of digital identity and online presence, identification of potential business and new digital transactions.

I told you we’d go in at the deep end! It involves much more than what people usually believe; I wish I was wrong about this last statement. This is a proper job. As such, it requires sacrifice, excellence, determination, passion, excitement, initiative and conviction. All this certainly leaves many so-called “gurus” out of the game!

I’m very possibly leaving something out. Will you help me complete this list?

Photo credit: webbr.

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The Internet, Social Web and Human Media: an opportunity for change

The Internet has entailed a paradigm shift in our lives, not only professionally but also personally. Suddenly, a new world of professional opportunities opened up to us while we looked on at what was going on in disbelief. From a personal perspective, Internet provided a tool with which to express ourselves to the world; we began having a voice. This sent shivers to the status quo, as it threatened its existence.

System Interruption

If ordinary people (the only ones capable of extraordinary things in my opinion) have the means to express their own ideas, connect with people thinking the same as them, sharing their same interests, capable of moving the world through their own efforts, then there can be a revolution. Internet was the start of an interruption of the system we had been living until then. Internet was a disruption in the way we communicate, do marketing, sell, work, help and live.

People at the centre

Then came a revolution that was even bigger than the Internet: the Social Web appeared, with social media or so-called social networks. Paradigms were shifted once again, communication became decentralised, starting the decline of mass-market, intrusive marketing. The system we knew started to crumble. New values started to arise in communication: transparency, authenticity, coherence, commitment and emotional bonding. The core of this no longer involved the company but increasingly put people at the centre.

Creating and sharing significance

The real challenge in this online world in which we live is to create and launch something which has real significance, adding value to the world and helping people. We cannot create sustainable businesses if we don’t resonate with people behind these businesses. It had never been easier to reach anyone on the planet than right now. The online environment is the means and Social Media is the vehicle to achieve this.

The Internet and the Social Web is what we need to progress, grow and move on from the stage we’re currently at.

Stay human

You can now find work in a medical software development project with a company in New York, be appointed social media consultant for an agency in London, write for one of the most important online resources regarding social media or be hired to speak at conferences in Mexico, USA or Australia. It’s quite simple to explain, you only need two things: to be and stay human and to use the means available to you to make things happen. Are you going to create change simply by answering emails immediately, tweeting more often, “friending” lots of people on Facebook and staying at work an hour later than your colleagues? I doubt it!

We are walking towards a digital-human present, where interpersonal skills and competences developed in an online environment are increasingly important. This could be a great barrier; however, these skills shouldn’t end in the online sphere. I’m talking about the present. The future is just a distraction in my opinion, something that pulls us away from reality and from starting the movement we need to make: the rays of light that take shape in a start-up, personal brand or any other initiative. The future is only an extension of our present actions.

The economy we live in needs names. The Internet, Social Web and Human Media provides us with the opportunity of being one of those names.

Please don’t ignore the daily opportunities you have to change it all. It’s possible now!

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How to make the social web work for you

I often receive email requests with a very specific question that, nonetheless, can involve something as wide as the universe itself. Questions such as, “What can I do with my brand/company to position it on the Internet quickly?”, “How can I reach all my potential public present in the social web?” or “I need some advice to make my brand/company grow on the Internet, help me!”.

How to make the social web work for you

I’m outside social media

I don’t really care how others are using the social networks or social media. I used to care but not anymore. What I care about is discovering new paths to make the social web and Internet work in such a way that new business may be fostered, designing new digital roads beyond the social media and making a personal brand, agency or company more useful, connected and valuable. Using the social web and the Internet to develop your knowledge and expertise towards creating change, leveraging your influence towards new opportunities, strengthening processes, people and brands, building scalable ideas and launching new projects beyond the digital noughts and ones. That’s it.

How to get “this” to work

That’s what takes up my time, making sure that you get the tools, platforms, channels, strategies and tactics that form the social web working for you. This is how I do it:

  • Build your own attack. Write posts for your blog, prepare videos for YouTube, create your own social news, organise hangouts, tweet. Anything that helps you get your story across. However, make sure you stay human and interact with people rather than beating them with your message.
  • Form an ecosystem. Segment platforms and define your core value: Facebook to find people you know. Twitter for having conversations, searching and interacting and so forth in other places where you set your online presence. One use, one objective, one action, that’s enough.
  • Create your own framework. No one should trust other people’s framework or job structure. Modify them, hack them if you have to, make them work to suit your needs. Tactics, strategy, time management, work timetable, vacations: find a strcuture that works the way that you work and make it work. As Hugh McLeod use to say “ignore everybody“.
  • Learn from the outside. Extract ideas, learnings and feedback, learn to learn from the social web.
  • Negotiate your time. Use any lack of attention in your favour and create a defined workflow the allows you to structure your personal and professional tasks so that you can optimise each step of the work chain.
  • Do, make and show. Work on your project or idea, experiment, check and then share what you obtained. Seek inputs that can improve your output.
  • Burn the handbookDon’t pay too much attention to any social media preacher. For instance: if you hear that so-and-so only publishes once, try publishing twice that, then thrice that and continue trying out and experimenting, analysing where the breaking point is. Perhaps some won’t like what you do (for instance, publishing too much or placing an interstitial in your website to increase your database) but you may gain visits to your website and end up selling more.
  • Jump on the bandwagon. Take a look at what is trending in social media and jump on the bandwagon by also linking to that content. It will probably help you too. Netiquette establishes that if you find valuable content from a large brand that someone has shared, link to the person, not the brand.
  • Online reputation and blah, blah, blah! Forget online reputation and invest the hours you spend worrying about looking great in doing work that has a great result.
  • Measure whatever makes sense. Focus on metrics that measure what’s important to you; that is, your ROI. Forget the likes, followers or RT unless your job is to collect nonsensical figures regarding an overrated action. Measure the increase in orders, percentage increase in sales compared to the previous year and the one before that. Active users in your database, how many join it daily and how many unsubscribe. How many App downloads you have every week or month and the income received if it’s not a free App. How often is the content you publish shared or how many leads are you capable of taking from your social platform to your point of conversion. Whatever makes your bank account grow will make a great indicator, it’s what you should be measuring.
  • Human sells. Are you selling something? Even if your blog’s main aim is to sell, remain human, be interesting, become involved in what concerns you and add value to your audience. This isn’t the Internet we used to know. Now we have amazing tools that remind us that in order to create digital business we must start by being human. Let’s use it in a different way.

You define it

You know the best thing about it? This sleeps with you every night. It is the product of your work. The best news I’ve heard in years: Choice and not opportunity define your work…or fate!

Photo credit: Ralph S.

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Digital Marketing: Humanity rather than Technology

It’s a fact: in digital marketing, the more robotic, automatic and artificial things become, the more people we need to get results and reach conclusions, meet objectives and create human relations. We still need human insight to guarantee a ROI. It’s not a flaw, it’s a universal thing; and I hope it continues so for a long time.

Art and Science

We want to make processes easier and we hide them all under artificiality. However, we cannot automate the strategy. No technology in the world can understand your client, interact with your community as a resonating box, build human capital or create irresistible assets and guarantee a suitable ROI along the way.

Technology isn’t usually accompanied by creativity, emotions or leadership, although it does generate information and take us somewhere. But, is that enough?

It’s just like art, in any of its forms. Art is made by humans, science by technology. There are two reasons we invest in artificial processes: information integration and accessibility, and productivity and efficiency. This would include art and science.

Technology

Technology may determine the best offer you can attract a client with, based on past purchase, timing and behaviour patterns. Technology also tells us what channel to use to optimise response to this type of offer according to the clients’ preferences. A propensity model may tell us when a client will be returning and what it is they will need on their next visit. Technology also predicts how and how often offline communication influences digital behaviour, as broadcasting or direct marketing.

People as Assets

The human side starts when you start considering the clients’ experience, their emotions and feelings when they arrive at your brand or product or their connection through engagement. People can guarantee creative assets, at the right time and place. Usually, the more creative assets are needed, the more customisation we offer through technology. Every interaction with a client gives rise to new information regarding a future opportunity. Technology informs us of all this and it executes our plans, but it doesn’t create them, it doesn’t produce art; that’s what we’re here for!

How do you direct the art and science of digital marketing using a human-technology environment? Are there any gaps that technology can fill or is using human talent a better strategy?

Photo credit: NY daily news.

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