3 Inspirational Shares on Thursday

With so much content getting posted around the world each day, it can be a challenge to separate the wheat from the chaff…So I thought I’d share a few gems I’ve uncovered over the past week or two.

First off, yesterday morning, I started by my day by watching a (Google) Talk by a guy Gary Kunath. It was a full hour long and seldom (if ever) do I sit and watch something from start to finish like that (when it’s not a film or TV show).

But yesterday, I started watching it in bed on the iPad. It then went with me to the kitchen, and I watched it on the TV there, as I had my breakfast. Then I moved onto the computer when I got to my desk, and before you know it, an hour had passed and I’d watched the whole thing! And you know what? I will watch it again and take some notes because there really were some lovely “takeaways” in this. See for yourself…

 I rather loved that this Google Talk had a Ted Talk sandwiched in the middle. And it was a damn good Ted Talk too, wasn’t it? If you haven’t seen it, push play now, I’ll wait…

MOVING ON…

Today’s my last day working IN NSDesign – though I believe I will continue to work WITH the company in a training capacity. It’s just my last day with the guys in the office. It’s a bittersweet feeling leaving people who have been like family to me for three years to pursue your own thing. I’ve never worked in such a fantastic office – at a great, award-winning company, run by such a talented, fun, creative and inspirational guy — Gary Ennis, that is. (No wonder he won CEO of the Year this Year! He totally deserved it! Truly the best boss, ever!) Ok, enough gushing…

Alas, it’s time to take what I’ve learned over the last three years (and previous twenty or so) and set up yet-another-business.

For weeks now, in my spare time, it’s been the joy of business plans, trying to come up with a name (one that merges my two worlds CA and Glasgow), and pricing structure, meetings, networking to find potential clients…so it seems fitting that I share with you some inspirational business quotes now…

50 Famous Business Quotes!

50 Famous Business Quotes!February 14, 2012 · www.entrepreneurskorner.com · by Lee on February 14, 2012 There are times where you are just bored or simply just lack in motivation and enthusiasm and want to check some quotes to keep you going. We all get burnt out, so whenever your thinking to yourself: how can I keep going? Just read some of these quotes from the greatest business men in the world. Here is one to get you started : “A bank is a place which will lend you money…
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And for one more bit of content, I’ll leave you with this article that I came across earlier this week, (or maybe it was last week, days blur together – don’t they?) It totally encapsulates what I think and talk about a lot these days. How our social media lives are taking over our social lives. Digital seems to trump real on every corner. In real company, out in the real world (or even in our own living rooms) we’re staring at our small screens instead of the people in our vicinity. If you find that’s the case too, and it rather irks you, then you may enjoy this…

Turn off, tune out, drop in.

Turn off, tune out, drop in.July 17, 2013 · www.irishtimes.com · What do people want from life? It’s time to realise that the future will be experienced offline. Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 12:11 (Image: Pale Blue Dot) Authentic. Experience. Emotion. These are words that used to mean something, but have long since been co-opted by advertising agencies in order to sell you beer and deodorant. Authenticity is not brand heritage. Experience is not interacting with an app. Emotion is not crying at a YouTube video. Jonathan Safran Foer’s recent thoughts on…
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Also you may enjoy my recent rant Get Off Your Damn Phone too. Let’s re-claim our social lives and spend lives watching what everyone else is doing. Real Life Should Almost Always Trump Digital.

Until next time…

References:

  1. “Gary Kunath: “Mastering Life Balance”, Talks at Google” · atgoogletalks · July 17, 2013 · YouTube
  2. “50 Famous Business Quotes!” · Lee · Feb. 14, 2012 · Www.entrepreneurskorner.com
  3. “Turn off, tune out, drop in.” · July 17, 2013 · Www.irishtimes.com

Full Day, Basics of WordPress One to One Training

Thea Newcomb's Spundge profileSome big changes are on the horizon for me, work wise, come the month’s end. After three years as a consultant at NSDesign, I am leaving the fold.

Thankfully, I am not severing all ties with the team that has become like family to me. I will still work with the guys, primarily in a training capacity, particularly for Business Gateway, but also on a project-by-project basis – in terms of content and social media.

Now though, I feel that I have acquired the skills/ tools and dare I say confidence – to follow my passion of one-to-one web and social training…A skill I didn’t know I really had, (and enjoyed), until actually working with NSDesign – so I’ve been grateful for all that experience…

NEWCOMB’S NEW CO…

It’s not easy to launch a company that has a USP in this day and age – especially when it comes to things like the Web and Social Media – development and training. As there are so many wonderfully-talented firms and individuals, (including NSDesign) around Glasgow and the west, I’ve had to work hard to find my niche in this area, and I think I have.

From August 2013, I’ll be offering a core package of 1-2-1 training in WordPress to Central Scotland (predominantly Glasgow and the West).

So for people who either have a WordPress site and don’t know how to use it, or who need one starting from scratch, we’ll build it and I will train customers (mostly SMEs) on it, in ONE DAY.

Thea Newcomb uses Sprout SocialIn that time, I’ll also be training individual clients on themes, plugins, security essentials, basic SEO and help with Social Media “best practices”. All of this training will be bespoke.

The super-good-news is that for the vast majority of clients there’s funding for this to help cover the costs.

In addition to the core business of the WordPress training, I also train on a variety of topics such as:

Get in touch today if you’re interested in finding out more about this bespoke, one-to-one WordPress training or any of the other courses I’ve mentioned above.

PS: For my last day in the NSDesign offices I’m excited to be attending their Advanced HootSuite masterclass on Friday. Even though I use it on a regular basis and know it pretty well there is certainly “room for improvement”. There are still a few places available. Act fast. Maybe see you there.

Get off Your Damn Phone!

MOBILE PHONE BLESSING OR CURSE?

Are you someone who talks on your phone during checkout at the supermarket? Do you sit in restaurants yapping away? Or how about on the train, the tube, a bus or a plane (before takeoff or when landed)? During a concert? In the back of a taxi? How about at a funeral?

We’ve all seen, or heard, people do it, haven’t we? Maybe we’ve been guilty of doing things like that ourselves. I am not completely faultless when it comes to mobile phone rudeness, (I am sure my friends would be the first to tell you that…)

But I like to think I have some amount of awareness when it comes to being on the phone in public places. To me it seems like it’s becoming far too common an issue at the larger, modern, societal level.

Call Kaye Show on BBC Radio ScotlandOn Friday, last week, I made my first appearance on the Call Kaye show on BBC Radio Scotland. It was an absolute delight to do the show and the topic was inspired by the woman, Jo Clarke, who made such a stick about having to hang up her call before the Sainsbury’s cashier would put through her groceries. [NOTE: If you don’t know what I am talking about, here’s a BBC report about this somewhat controversial subject.]

Now-me, I tend to see both sides to every story. It’s one of the things I actually LIKE about myself…and frankly, I thought both women were RUDE in this particular case. If I had to side with one of them though, it would be the clerk not the Chatty Cathy, I mean Jabbering Jo.

According to one report I read, the woman, Jo, was allegedly just calling her brother to say she was leaving the store. Really? Was it that important you had to do it then? Could it have not waited until after you got through the checkout?

I, myself, was at a superstore in Greenock a few weeks ago. I chatted to my best buddy in SF the whole way around the store, and when I got to the checkout line I said to him, “Hey I’m at the checkout, I’ll you back when I am through” and that’s just what I did.

No phone call is that important. If it is, then don’t make it in a supermarket, or wait until it’s a convenient time to break the call, and then join the line.

Or, heck, stick the mobile in your pocket until you’ve handed over your cash and bagged your groceries and hopefully greeted the clerk doing the tedious, thankless job.

Then, resume your oh-so-important call.

Before and after the radio show appearance, I posted a few posts (mostly on my Google+ page) about this very subject. The feedback from my peers was in line with my own opinions. One comment that really highlights the issue for me was from Garry, who will hopefully not mind me sharing this,…(as it was made on a public post, I am going to assume it’s OK):

The worst place for me was when I was at funeral. A woman in front of me in the Church proceeded to take a call in which included giving her kid instructions on how to use the microwave!! Astonishing!

Weirdly…There are currently 82m handsets in use in Britain with one in six people admitting using their phone at a funeral.

WTF?

Anyway, if nothing else, this whole incident has sparked quite a debate on Mobile phone etiquette here in the UK.

Sure, we can all be guilty of being anti-social when it comes to mobile phone usage…As I said before, myself included. But taking it back to the checkout at Sainsburys, if it had been me who was told to get off the phone, I’d have been annoyed, sure, but more so embarrassed.

Having customers hang up their phones at checkout isn’t Sainsbury’s policy, but maybe it should be?! To me they were a bit spineless, and sure, go ahead offer the vouchers to Jabber Jo, but maybe they could have also said “it’s an unwritten policy” and then offered her the vouchers,…Then it’s up to her if she wants to trundle off to Waitrose in the future.

SO COMMON PLACE, TODAY

These days we’re so used to being connected anytime, anywhere that we have come to believe that we’re entitled to be on mobiles – texting or talking – whenever we want wherever we want. When we are riding public transport, in a line at the bank, supermarkets, post offices, airports, on planes, in taxis – wherever….

Is it getting better or is it getting worse? I don’t know. Depends on who you talk to, I guess. I was out with a guy recently who seemed to have his phone surgically attached to his hand. If he wasn’t texting or IM-ing on it, he was talking to this person or that. I found it so distracting (and a little insulting) – so much so that it’s really made me consider my own usage when in company of friends or indeed with the general public.

Sometimes, I’m sad to say that I honestly feel that we’ve lost the art of communicating in person – I have friends, close friends, near by whom I almost never see anymore. All we do now is instant message on WhatsApp, Facebook or text. And when we do get together those phones often still take center-stage. I’m now trying to make a conscious effort to switch mine to silent or off altogether. (Shock horror).

When was the last time you sat around a table and there were no phones out at all? Well, if this has become an issue with your family or friends in the future, I’ll leave this video – by way of a a solution with you. It’s worth a try! Enjoy! 🙂

References:

  1. “Phone Stack (Don’t Be A Di*k During Meals) by Lil b | Funk’d Up Films” · shitasiangirlssay · Jan. 12, 2012 · YouTube

Microsoft PowerPoint is Pointless – Use Prezi

Well, before I begin, this is just an opinion piece on presentations. I’ve been to quite a few conferences/events this year (both in Scotland and in Silicon Valley) and was quite frankly startled that 99% of the talks that I saw given still use PowerPoint. Frankly is just feels so 90s to use Powerpoint still. (Remember I said this is just an opinion piece – you may love PowerPoint…to each their own and all that.)

Over the last three years in working with NSDesign, I’ve seen what really good presentations can look like. Oh and they’re done in Prezi. They’re slick, attractive and engaging – if done right. Yes, it’s true that if you over do it on Prezi you can make people a bit quesy, but nine times out of ten when I’ve delivered my Business Gateway Training or Google Plus talks, people have asked me what the software I used was – because they loved it. Well, as much as anyone can “love” presentation software that is. . .

So if you’re a presentation maker who’s getting a bit fed up with PowerPoint, and wondering what Prezi is, then take two minutes and check this out.

If you’re interested in some training in Prezi – NSDesign is one of the only companies I’ve ever heard of who deliver it around here. They can do it one-to-one or train one-to-many (your whole staff) – the choice is yours. Find more information on their website on this Training and Consultancy page. Note: there may be some funding available to help cover some of the costs too!

Now, if you 1) loathe PowerPoint as much as me and 2) love to laugh – then you have to grab a tea or coffee (or beverage of your choice) and get a load of this. It did make me laugh so at least PowerPoint is good for something….

Hilarious or what?

References:

  1. “Life After Death by Powerpoint 2010 by Don McMillan” · Yvo Wueest · June 26, 2013 · YouTube
  2. “What is Prezi” · howtechweb · June 29, 2013 · YouTube

5 Social Media Tips for Business (Plus Training Opportunities)

Because my NS colleague Colin Kelly was out of town, he recommended me for a visit BBC Radio Scotland’s morning show Mac & Co with Fred MacAulay on Monday. I’ve said it often, but I’ve just loved doing Fred’s fab show for years now – especially when these days it’s not about breakups but rather social media (much less depressing).

This particular topic was inspired by an email to one of the producers for a job as Social Media Manager for Man United. So I went in to discuss that role, and the role in general, as it might relate to SMEs (not just big brands).

Here are a few tips  that I never really  managed to give on the show, but I thought may be useful to someone out there who’s dabbling in Social Media or simply considering it…

1) KNOW WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ACTUALLY ARE

Knowing where your customers are is paramount. Is it a visual business pertaining to weddings? Then maybe Pinterest might be the best place for you. Are your customers CEOs of companies then a LinkedIn business page might work best. Are they young and on Facebook or Twitter? Then that’s where to be.

You may want to be on one, two, or three channels or you might just choose the best one to focus your efforts on, and do that one really well. It’s ok. Try and see what works best for you but be sure you…

2) HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY, APPLY IT CONSISTENTLY & MEASURE IT

Know why you’re on there, what it is you’re trying to do/achieve – be it inform customers, get them to buy your product, or book your service, have them download your album or ebook,…Simply know what you’re hoping to achieve before diving in.

Make sure you’re managing your time and measuring your progress, but don’t always assume that it’s a big numbers game. Better to have 100 actively engaged followers (who actually care what you have to say) than 100,000 who don’t – (in my opinion).

So don’t rate your value just on how many followers, likes, circles you have – base it on any conversions you may have from them or engagement with them!

3)  IT’S ALL ABOUT USING THE RIGHT TOOLS

Social Media Management on Different DevicesUse tools that can help you monitor your name, your company name or relevant keywords (using geo tags if you’re a local business). There are far too many tools to list here but try out a few and see which ones work best for you. Personally I the ones I use (or have used in the past) include things like HootSuite, TweetDeck, Sprout Social – all which will help you immensely….on this next tip….

4) LISTEN / ENGAGE / RESPOND / CONSISTENTLY

It’s a total turn off to just be sold to all the time. If all you’re doing is some sort of broadcasting of salesy messages, asking people to like this, or download that, then all you will do is put people off.

So make sure you’re engaging with your audience amidst the “calls to action” that you may be posting/tweeting. Be authentic. Have a personality. Mix a bit of personal stuff in there amongst all the business stuff so people can connect with a real person. Remember that people do business with people they like.

Respond to questions, and especially criticism, as soon as possible. Be shown to be there and care. Take it off line as soon as possible.

Be consistent. You don’t have to post every single day though you’ll likely fair better if you do. At least aim for posting/tweeting – a few times a week if possible. Nothing worse than, as a customer we land on a page and the last update or tweet was months ago.

5) ASK THE PROFESSIONALS

If you don’t know what to do with regards to social media, then ask some professionals. Take training from certified trainers on the subject. There are a lot of FREE courses out there, and there are even grants to cover paid ones – (courtesy of the Scottish government) so do some research. There is no reason to not be learning about this stuff. If you don’t – you’ll likely be left behind.

FINAL TIPS: Why a business might be on Social Media

If you’re working on a social media strategy – here are a few reasons why you might consider going social:

– To get more sales

– To engage/respond/listen to customers (and find more by targeting through “GEO Location”)

– To drive traffic to a website (or channel: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc)

– To see what competitors are up to

– To build brand awareness

– For data capture – email addresses for newsletters or what have you

– To promote your business

– To find suppliers

– To network with other businesses

– To get advice/recommendations

– To get endorsements from customers

 

It might be some of these, all of these, or completely different reasons altogether.

Just work out what your own reason is – that’s what’s most important here.

If you’re interested in some one-to-one training then please get in touch with me. Or I can highly recommend NSDesign’s Embrace the Space all day masterclass. I myself will be attending their Advanced HootSuite half day course so I can learn more about this popular tool. We can all use a brush up on our skills right? Right.

Tomorrow I’ll jot down an update about the Scottish Business Awards – last Friday. (Former) President Bill Clinton was the keynote so as you can imagine that was a pretty “hot ticket”.