Tag: Marketing

A social media book for strategic thinkers

Book review:

Financial Times Guides: Social Media Strategy: Boost Your Business, Manage Risk and Develop Your Personal Brand (2018) by Martin Thomas

By Melanie Ferris

Strategic thinkers rejoice! This is the social media book for you. While many social media books look at why people should be using social media, this book asks: How can people get better at social media?

The cover of Social Media Strategy by Martin Thomas
The cover of Social Media Strategy by Martin Thomas

Boost Your Business is useful for anyone working in any organization that is going to be in the public eye. As the author says, “just about every company, charity, community group and public sector organization has some form of media presence.”

Thomas asserts that since social media is no longer a passing fad, it’s best to just take it seriously. He explains, “Social media is emerging as a powerful leadership tool in the hands of a generation of leaders.”

While social media use abounds, the author explains that most organizations lack robust systems and processes OR the resources to make the most of social media and minimize its risks. He does a great job of helping the reader think about ways that plans can help to minimize and proactively address the risks that come with using social media.

This four-part book includes tips/direction for:

  • Developing a successful social media strategy
  • Harnessing the power of social media to boost your business
  • Managing risks and measuring performance
  • Developing your personal profile and leadership skills

The author provides examples of different types of social media. The two pages of examples is an extensive list that gives the reader a clear understanding of just how widespread social media is. Some examples of popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube. There are many other lesser-known platforms such as Trello, Slack, Periscope, ClassDojo, Slideshare, Glassdoor, and more.

With the sheer volume of social media platforms, the author explains that it’s important for organizations to “focus your attention on those social media channels where your stakeholders are spending the majority of their time or the channels that have the greatest influence on their behaviour and attitudes.”

One way to determine which social media platforms are most suitable for your organization is by doing a survey with your customers/users. Page 11 of the book provides 5 questions to ask your customers/users and suggests you repeat the survey on a yearly basis.

One important lesson the reader will get from this book is that you should use strategic planning when undertaking social media activities. The planning process includes:

  • Defining objectives
  • Measuring success
  • Creating an operating system
  • Developing a program of activity
  • Ensuring management safeguards are put in place to anticipate and litigate problems and handle crisis

The book walks you through all the steps for using strategic planning in your social media activities. It addresses common misconceptions about social media and contains great diagrams to help you plan, do, check, and be. One common misconception, for example, is that the youngest person in a company might be the person best equipped to handle social media management. The author provides plenty of explanation about why this may not be the case.

“My primary purpose in writing this book is to encourage you to think, to analyse, to plan, to ask questions before embarking on any social media initiative or making any significant investments.” explains Thomas.

I think he did a great job as I personally felt more excited about my own social media initiatives after reading his book. I also feel more equipped to work with leaders and Boards of Directors to help them learn more about how and why they should play an integral part of any social media strategy connected to their organization.

Diagram showing social media tips for leaders
The author shares these social media tips for leaders

The only downside to the book was that the book was published in the United Kingdom, so some examples or case studies may not be relevant to people living outside of the UK. The author provides suggested action steps and case studies throughout the book, which makes it a very user-friendly book except for some minor editing/formatting issues. I would have recommended that this book go through one final edit to clean up the text and formatting a little more, but it’s still worth a read.

If you pick up the book, be sure to let me know what you think! You can contact me here.

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Things to consider when planning a website

 

Planning to build a website for your business, campaign, or personal use? there are many factors to consider. This post breaks the process in to 5 questions, that when answered properly, will help direct your project.

How many times how important a website is for your business, campaign, brand, and even career? But researching “how to build a website” can lead to a healthy dose of information overload. This breakdown helps you organize all that information into questions that serve you and your project team.

A little bit of research, will reveal the pros of having your own website, which include;

  • giving your brand online credibility
  • making your service or product easy to find
  • helping you engage better with customers
  • automating your marketing
  • and many more.

 

This is a simple approach to planning your next website project. It is a broad overview but a great starting point if you are stuck. These are the questions that I have found need to be answered when building a website. The answers can be very different depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Whether you plan to build your website from scratch, use a web builder, or hire a professional, answering these 5 questions will make the entire process easier.

What’s my domain name and where should I host?

Your domain name is an easy and readable digital address. Having one is an important and strategic step to improving your online presence. When choosing a domain name, the main rule to follow is it should not be long and complex. Your host sets up a web server for you, think of this as a computer on the internet that stores all the information used by your website. Your host also provides the resources you will need to use and manage the server. These resources include storage space, email servers to direct your email traffic, backup and security tools and configuration access. It is the infrastructure that supports your website. Hosting services usually provide you with options for getting your domain name also. You can find a list of good hosting services in this review: https://www.hostingadvice.com/reviews/. Things to consider;

  1. Domain names with a unique end AKA top level domain (i.e. www.myname.live, www.sun.guru, www.beesknees.tech) may not be supported by a service you plan to use.
  2. Some hosting services are optimized for certain technologies (e.g Bluehost & WordPress). Mixing and matching these improve your chances of having a great web building experience.
  3. If you are already using an email service like GSuite or Zoho mail, make sure your host supports integration.
  4. If you plan to get paid through your website, include an SSL certificate in your hosting package.

What kind of content will I produce?

Think about the information you want provide to visitors. Is it mainly text, are you planning a blog, will it be images or videos? This information varies depending on the purpose of the website. If you plan to market a product/service or compel your visitor to do something, consider hiring a copy writer. If you need to sell or rent properties, hire a professional photographer or videographer.

What information do I need to collect?

Think about all the information you require from your users. This could be their contact information, their project information and budget or as simple as answers to a survey. Whenever you collect information of any sort from your users, you will require a privacy policy. This explains to your visitors, what information you collect, how you use it, how you secure it and how you share it (if you do).

What tasks do I need it to perform?

A website is a tool and like all tools is best when it is designed to perform specific tasks. Determine the core purpose for your website. This helps to control the process and channel your resources when building your web project. In this step you want to consider all the ways your visitors might use your site and how it should help you serve them. Will they register for a service, book and appointment or just buy a product? More complicated functions include things like geolocation and cart tracking.

What is my brand identity?

Is your online identity going to be professional, simple, bold or colourful? Your design works with your content to send a message about your brand. Your website design is influenced by your industry, target audience and your content. Decide what the colours, styles, fonts and backgrounds should be. This could be determined by details like your industry, audience or personal preference.

Conclusion

There are many services online that will help you build and manage a professional website. Not all services that handle these different aspects of a website work well together. That is why I encourage consultation with a web professional as much as possible when beginning. Remember, a website once built can always be improved and refined to serve your needs more efficiently and drive the metric that matters most. If you have questions about planning your website project, contact me by any of the following means:

Twitter: @niyi_adewole

LinkedIn: Matthew Adewole

Email: niyi_adewole@clearcutcomms.ca

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