Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Social Media is Dynamite for Sales

I worked in sales and sales management in the UK & Ireland for 25 years.

Social media, in my opinion, provides an unprecedented opportunity for people involved in sales to understand what is going on in prospect and client organisations. A new era of corporate openness and the widespread use of social media for customer service and stakeholder communications means that sales people, account managers of all types from national to global, have access to previously hidden data.

I have created a slideshow here:

This describes in 7 slides the ways a major account manager/sales person can use social media to research prospects, identify problems within those accounts, listen to what is going on and to create material to propose solutions.

This ILC model (Identify - Listen - Create) can be used by all account mangers to help them sell more. It is also a model for a service to research prospects, clients and even competitors. Get in touch if you want more details.

The Five Free Tools of Social Media Success - Updated

Social media helped me get that global publishing contract and it helps me every day to promote my services. Here are the main five tools I use to build, manage and continuously develop my social media presence:

1. A blog. Wordpress and Blogger are both good. This blog uses blogger, a free blog creation service, and my main site uses Wordpress, another free blog creation site. Wordpress has more design themes and Blogger has a simple interface with links to Google. You decide which one you want, but get blogging.

2. Twitter. My main account @LPOBryan has over 50,000 followers. I also have a second account which has 30,000 followers and my daughter Tweets for me from @IsabelleOBryan where she has 20,000 followers. I firmly believe that each Tweet you send should have valuable content, a link to an interesting post, news for writers or a great new picture you have posted on Pinterest. Make each Tweet valuable and you will not lose followers,

3. a service which allows you to schedule Tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn posts. This is a real time saver. It allows me to surf the news sites, find an article I think will interest people (adventure, interesting history, writing themes are what I like to read & post about) and press a button at the top right of my browser, Chrome, and the item link is auto-posted at whatever time I have set up in buffer. This is an amazing tool. I still use the free version daily.

4. Tweetdeck. is another great free tool. Instead of us having to open Twitter for each account and check messages, follows and @Connects, each account is on screen all the time. Using Tweetdeck I can respond to everyone who mentions my Twitter name in a post, wants to ask me a question or say anything to me. Tweetdeck has transformed the way I manage multiple Twitter accounts. My goal is to reply to everyone within a few hours of them sending me a message. It also allows me to schedule Tweets & retweets for later in the day. I believe Tweets should be spread out through the day.

5. Tweepi, for adding followers every day. I can add 50 followers who might be interested in my books or social media support services in about four minutes with Tweepi. I can also unfollow people who won't follow me back and people who have stopped using Twitter. Tweepi is great for building your follower base. I see it as tapping people on the shoulder and saying "follow me back if you are interested" and then leaving them alone if they are not. I see no reason to read people's Tweets if they won't read mine, so that's why I unfollow most people who don't follow me back. There are some exceptions though. I follow some media people and amazing Tweeters and never unfollow them. And I put them in a Twitter list to make sure I can see their Tweets easily. I love Twitter lists.

These are the main tools I use for building my presence on social media daily. I have no commercial connection with any of them. I love technology, so that makes it easier for me to do all this. Please add the tools you find useful below, so we can all share what works with each other.

Thanks for coming by. To support this site - over 60 free posts so far on social media for you to explore - please buy my guide to social media. And enjoy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Social media payback bullshit!

Someone said to me over the weekend, "In business we need proof that there will be a payoff before we invest in anything. We're pragmatic. We don't put money up without having a proven pay back."

What a crock of bullshit!

Most large businesses invest in PR and advertising. They pay to have press releases put out, to get stories in the media and to do BIG TV advertising where even the professionals say 50% of the budget is wasted, but they don't know which 50%! I wonder what the ROI argument is there? Let's do it 'cause it makes us look important?

Why is it that traditional PR, advertising and marketing are all allowed to get away with campaigns that spend money like water, sponsoring at the Olympics is just one area, but if you ask the same marketing managers to spend 10% of their budget on social media, a trackable & growing area, then they look at you as if you had two heads, at least?

Personally, I believe the reason for such shortsightedness is fear. They don't want to be told about the change that is looming. They want to keep doing what they've always done. They're scared. Well you know what that Darwin guy said, it ain't the clever or the strong that survive, it's the individuals who embrace change, dude!

Will we have to wait for a new generation of marketing heads and smart CEO's before social media takes off the way it should? What do you think? Are you scared too? Does this picture resonate? 


Thursday, November 28, 2013

At last, the 3 Keys to Higher Click Thru Rates

Mastering Language.

Getting more clicks is all about mastering language. If your goal is to get people to click on something you must think about each word and what it does, and you must also think about the structure of what you are saying.

Here are my three rules for getting your click rate up:

1. The Promise. Offer something of value, aimed at your target market. And make it easily understood value. Visitors want to know there will be something in it for them when the click. Make it easy for them. Make people want to click through.

2. Tell a story. Here's a story in six words;  "Baby shoes for sale. Never used." Respect the reader's intelligence. Keep it short and sweet. Stories can inspire and entertain. They can also get people to do things they wouldn't otherwise have done.

3. 5W&1H. Use who, what, when, where, why and how as ways to think about what you are asking people to do. Consider telling us who else likes what you are selling, what they are doing with it, when it will be most useful, where it is made, why it is useful and how to make it work. Then think of your own 5W&1H formula.

These are three ways to sharpen your use of language. You can use them in titles, in videos, in audio and in text.

What do you think of these three techniques for mastering language? Have I missed something? Let us all know in the comments below.

And here is one final thought; what would you do if you woke to find your partner missing? To find out what one person faced when this happened, click here.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Facebook users in Ireland and the Death of Traditional Media


Over 50% of Facebook users in Ireland are 34 years old or under. If you have any teenagers in the house you will know what a lot of them doing, flirting, and seeing what new clothes or selfies their friends have put up. As the age group goes up people become more serious. They join groups about their work, their hobbies and their sports clubs. Then the check out what their new friends are doing and flirt with anyone who will listen.

The most popular brands in Ireland use competitions, freebies and special offers to keep their follower numbers up. This has to be eating into newspaper, TV and radio advertising revenues. The great money sucking machines that are Google Adwords and Facebook Ads will soon become the largest advertising media in Ireland at this rate.

This situation is most likely being replicated in most developed countries. Local media, television, newspapers and magazines will have to move quickly in the next few years if they don't want to end up as museum-piece rumps of what they once were.

This competitive challenge is little understood in most media board rooms. Like the frog in the kettle who doesn't notice the water around him heating up, traditional media, basking in group-think and high CEO salaries wants only one thing, for everything to go on and before, like in the old days.

But it won't. The money sucking media machines have arrived and they are catching the audience early. And they deliver what the audience wants.

What can traditional media do?

Experiment, fight back, that's what I suggest. Has anyone got any better ideas?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest post: Pintrest and SEO by Rob Moore

Rob Moore is a writer for Page One Power , an SEO  company based in Boise, Idaho. He enjoys all things technology, reading and fine wine.

While it was once thought to be the savior of everything SEO, as of March, 2013 Pintrest links are officially nofollow. Many SEO organizations have decided to jump ship on the website, especially those who focus solely on links to their client’s website. However, there are other avenues that creative individuals can take if they want to increase their standing with search engines by using the website.

1. Optimize for Pintrest

This is, by far, one of the best things that an SEO firm can do that involves Pintrest. There are many ways to improve your rankings on the site itself. Most of these are very straightforward, like having an actual human face attached to the account. There is nothing more unappealing, especially if you are looking to build or interact in a community, than having a blank profile picture. I know I’ve been guilty of skipping over content that lacked a profile picture. Haven’t you?

Besides having a picture, it’s important to provide quality content on your page. Let’s use the Youtube for example. The comments section specifically. There seems to be a never-ending stream of comments that say something unbelievably vague regarding a popular video then try to plug themselves, even if they have no content on their channel. The same thing goes for Pintrest. There is no magic method that you can use and instantly gain a huge following that everyone can do. If your content is good, people will follow.

2. Use your keywords

Keywords are another big thing for boosting your ranking on searches. However, they are a double-edged sword. You never want to completely overload something you pin with keywords, especially if they don’t pertain at all to the content of your post. Keep your keywords short, relevant and to the point.

If you have quality content on your webpage then using effective keywords will give you a big boost in terms of traffic. Keywords are another great way to connect with users that are relevant to your industry. Making these connections by actually discussing content will also help people not view you as some kind of spam bot that is only there for the purpose of optimization.

3. Make your profile public

There is a privacy policy that is on by default that will completely shut down any efforts you make to get your Pintrest page on a search engine. Under your profile settings find one that is listed as “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” make sure that this is set to OFF! Having this option disabled will allow people that search for your brand, company, etc to find your Pintrest page in the search results.

Yes, the fact that Pintrest no longer has dofollow links on their webpage can make people instantly dismiss in terms of SEO purposes. But, I can’t help but think this is a good thing for the community as a whole. It will encourage more quality content as well as community interaction in the industry for at least one website.

Rob Moore

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest Post: Tips For Tracking Your Social Media Results

This guest post is by Camille McClane, a freelance writer and online entrepreneur in the Los Angeles area.

Social media is likely an important part of your marketing strategy in 2013, regardless of what industry you’re in. Chances are if you’re running a small business, you’re also spending a  considerable amount of your time on social media sites or employing somebody at least part-time to do so.

But are your social media efforts actually turning into sales, new clients or page views? Without an understanding of how to properly track your social media efforts, it’s pretty much impossible to know. And, once you’ve got a clearer idea of where you want to go, you can get started on expanding your social media marketing strategy to its fullest potential.

Define Your Goals

Before you start downloading tools to help you track your social media results, you need to define your goals. After all, if you don’t know what your goals are, you won’t know when you need to step up your efforts or if your plan is working.

When you first start out, more traffic to your main site might be all you’re looking for from social media marketing. As your marketing efforts grow, you’re likely going to want to see increased sales or new clients.

Whatever your goals are, make sure you plan them out step-by-step.

Monitor Your Brand Health 

On social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, people talk about brands, products and services that they like or have problems with. Monitoring your brand’s health – what people are really saying about your brand – is an essential part of using social media to benefit your business.

While you might only be able to monitor about 5-percent of the conversations on Twitter because the conversation volume is so high, that can still give you an idea of what people are saying about you.

Facebook and Google+ can also be helpful-- even though many conversations are restricted.

Learn to use Twitter and Facebook’s search and monitoring functions for business.

Use An Analytics Tool

These tools are great for keeping up with your social media results. You want a dashboard that can help you measure in real-time your social media engagement, track analytics, and use them to correlate them to your sales.

There are plenty of dashboards out there that have these features and more. Google Analytics is one of the more popular tools available. Cyfe is another fairly all-inclusive dashboard, one that’s used by big companies like Groupon and AT&T.

Even if you aren’t in an industry that typically benefits from a significant amount of social media marketing, chances are you’re doing it, at least on a small scale. In 2013, the only businesses that aren’t using social media are ones that don’t feel the need to grow or expand with the times.

If you want to keep your business growing, social media is going to be an important part of the equation.

Camille McClane is a freelance writer and online entrepreneur in the Los Angeles area. As someone with social media experience, she understands how important it is for businesses to track how effective their marketing efforts are. How do you track your social media marketing results? Share your comments below!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Are you checking your metrics?

The above is my listing at the leading social media analysis company worldwide. You can put in your country and your fav social media tool in and see where you rank.

What I found interesting, aside from me being #5 in Ireland on Google+ and #68 on Twitter, is who the biggest players are. On Facebook it's all about consumer brands, many of which offer prizes. Is Facebook becoming Couponbook in your country too?

On YouTube I see evidence of what my eleven year old son is doing. Comedy animations are #1 in Ireland. This tells us a lot about where media is heading. But how will business use animation?

One way to do it is through I saw a great intro animation for a business created there recently. If you have good design skills and an imagination anything is possible.

There are lots more nuggets on If you want to stay up to date, this is the place to go. If you have any observations about anything you see there, please comment below.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Breakthrough sales for this title, supported by social media:

The Manhattan Puzzle hit #6 in the US Amazon Crime category the day after publication.

A breakthrough position for me and good news for all of us. This is the highest selling UK or Irish crime novel at this time.

And social media helped. To see where it is now click, or view the image below:

The image is a screen grab I took a few minutes ago.

Never tell me social media doesn't work. Please share this post.

And if you want to buy The Manhattan Puzzle click here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

New offices + Invitation to work with us!

We just moved into new offices at 5 Dame Lane in Dublin 2, Ireland. Our client list has grown fast and we hope you can join us if you need support with any aspect of social media.

We have air-conditioned training facilities for up to 15, meetings rooms, office space and, most importantly shared kitchen facilities with lots of amazing design and web gurus!

The area, near Wicklow Street in central Dublin is probably the most vibrant in the city (look at the location map below). And better, IMHO, than where Facebook are, stuck way out in the wilds at the end of the river! 

And if you're a social media, design or web guru and you want to work with us send details of your experience and plans to:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Is your social media daily diary in need of disruption?

There are so many great social media sites, with real potential for building engagement on each one, it would be easy to be overwhelmed by the amount you need to do.

I recommend setting up a diary or calendar for keeping track of what you need to do. I use Google Calendar. It's free if you have a Google account and it even emails you when you should start an activity. It also allows you to repeat activities at any interval, which saves time having to write it all in your diary each week.

Here's my list of recurring calendar activities:

Everyday: Check Twitter & respond to any personal Tweets (via Tweetdeck) & check Facebook & respond to any posts of interest.

Monday: Post to 3 LinkedIn groups

Tuesday: Post to 2 Goodreads groups

Wednesday: Create a post for blog 1 & comment on 2 Google+ communities

Thursday: Create post on blog 2 & comment on LinkedIn groups

Friday: Create post on blog 3

Saturday: Post on Facebook

Sunday: Create another post on blog 1

So, I'm posting each week on 3 blogs and contributing to Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn and Google+. That's 3 blogs and 7 communities or groups on 5 social media sites. I was on more, but the above stretches me enough!

Do you think I am doing to much? Consider that I am a social media consultant and an author with books to promote.

And here's another question; what will we be doing in 10 years? How many of these sites will still be here or will they be managed in one place, more easily?

Will we end up doing it all through a new version of HootSuite or Tweetdeck or something else, something new?

I would give a new service a try if it allowed me to shift easily between communities and post at the optimum time and day, automatically, for my my responsive followers.

Anybody know of such an app?

And what's your calendar?

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Social media is useless and dangerous?

Social media detractors focus on the negatives. They remind me of newspapers printing stories about car crashes.

And keep this in mind, 32,000 people died in the US in car crashes in 2011. So car crash deaths are serious, ongoing and devastating, and at about that level since the early 1930's.

But social media isn't as dangerous as that, is it?

No, not yet! But there are lesser dangers about cars, which remind me of stories about social media.

Stories about the amount of time being wasted driving around in cars, and the danger of sexual adventures in the back seats and the people who die after being kidnapped hitch-hiking.

You don't often see stories about how useful cars are, do you?

Similarly, social media could be attacked as being useless, because of the amount of time being wasted on it (billions of hours a day), the lack of real return on this investment in most cases and the dangers of meeting psychopaths.

And social media murders are becoming common. Women get murdered by people they meet online. Not often, but it's increasing. That's scary. And you can't say it would have happened anyway, because that's simply not true. The online world provides opportunity for predators.

Does this mean we are going to stop driving cars and using social media? Yeah, right!

But it does mean that you'll see more stories about its dangers. And someone will start tracking the deaths due to social media soon, I am sure.

And I don't expect people who are against social media to change, nor should you. The people who wanted us to go back to the horse and buggy didn't change their minds, they simply retired, got fired or died off. There's no holding this wave of change back. The dangers and the lack or practical benefits for many are simply swept away in the billions of conversations, the redrawing of relationships and the laughter at funny cats.

We are human. We are social. We are social media.

Click here to order my new novel, The Manhattan Puzzle, out Oct 10, 2013.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 ways you can use social media to build customer loyalty:

Here are five things you can do to build customer loyalty:

1.   Improve your product or service by listening and responding to negative sentiment or suggestions posted on all relevant social media channels. People who say negative things about you may have something valid to say. Why not listen to them, examine their issues, and fix them as soon as possible? A responsive firm fixes things. And most customers are aware that some things take time to fix too. As long as they know something is genuinely being done many people will accept the situation until then.

2.   Ask people to recommend or retweet or re post something from you. People talk about "who promotes you scores" as a key metric for understanding customer loyalty, but the percentage who are willing to take action to recommend or retweet should be an important figure too, as it’s not about stating your intentions, it’s about taking action. You may say you will “promote” a service, but not actually do it, for instance. I suggest actions speak louder than words. Watch such metrics and compare them to your other satisfaction metrics to see if they correlate.

3.   Offer updates & special offers to people who sign up to receive posts or Tweets. By making people feel part of a community in some way you will increase engagement and loyalty. Highly engaged customers become advocates too. A high percentage of them will recommend you to others. Your Facebook page can provide special offers and your Twitter & LinkedIn  posts can too. You can also make these offers and updates local by getting each of your branches or divisions to take part in this campaign so that customers build relationships with their nearest branch.

4.   You can track if customers achieve their objectives using your product or service using social media. You can do this buy asking them direct questions, via surveys/posts, and by monitoring any replies/posts they create on the subject. This is being proactively interested in how your customers use your service/product. You may only be able to do this with a select group of customers, but the lessons learned should be applicable to all similar customers. This is a critical issue to ensure customers place the maximum amount of business with you. And if you are afraid to ask the hard questions then your business will eventually have big problems.

5.   Communicate the benefits of your product or service, not just the technical features. This is an old adage salespeople use. Sell the sizzle not the steak. It’s true for social media too. Don’t focus on how to get button A to perform service B. Tell people how service B will benefit them. Then tell them how to get it to work. Focus on the practical benefits and the emotional benefits, how happy people will be, how safe they will feel, what pleasure your service will bring, and you will have built something truly appealing to people.

Loyalty is fast becoming a key metric for social media teams. How many retweets, posts, photographs and comments people contribute on a daily basis is one measure of loyalty. How that compares to your overall number of customers and followers is another.

But there are deeper measures of online loyalty too. How often are people coming back to each social media channel? And are people using many aspects of your social media? For instance, are they posting pictures to a Facebook wall?

Some highly loyal people contribute in a truly significant way to sites, such as editors at Wikipedia, and some major self-supporting software forums such as Minecraft's.

When you talk about customer loyalty you need to define what you mean too. What percentage of your client's business in your area do you need to call that client loyal? By considering online loyalty and the customer viewpoint, not simply internally derived metrics, you will come closer to the reality of how loyal your customers really are, both online and off.

And that’s one of the best things about social media. You can get feedback faster and in a more easy to manage way.
And you can decide, fast, what to do about it. No more waiting months for the results of a survey. 

I hope you enjoyed the post. What do you think helps build customer loyalty in an online world?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Basics of Engagement

Images courtesy © spiral media & © Thomas Bethge 

Engagement is about building relationships. It’s also about the quality of relationships you have. And it's about giving back.

The basics of engagement are responding to people, being real, being human, helping and not taking it all too seriously. If you think about engagement in any social situation, listening as well as talking, telling anecdotes, little secrets, having fun, those are the same things you can also do in social media to drive engagement there too. Social media is still a part of our world.

And social media is as complex as the world we inhabit. Whatever you like to do, whatever your business is, wherever you live, with almost no exceptions, there will be a specialist social media site catering for your interests.

If you don’t believe me look up your interests combined with your city or nearest town in Google or another big search engine. You will find a lot of sites.

Birds of a feather flock together. Diamond merchants flock to certain streets in certain cities, all world class wrestlers to the Olympics and all followers of Game of Thrones to its fan sites.

It would seem obvious then, that if you are selling diamonds, wrestlers outfits or Game of Thrones merchandise that you will stay in regular touch with and participate in the communities that are growing up around most niche interests.

You will find that others who are like you in their interest or beliefs will be more likely to follow you or be part of your community.

And I’m not saying that you must stick exclusively to your own group. I do think we should all be open to mixing with people of widely different interests. All I am saying is that when you are looking for engagement, it is a good idea to look first among people who have similar interests.

Some people wonder how to increase their numbers on Twitter. Twitter is designed as a social network where you follow people and people follow you back. A percentage of the people you follow will always follow you back. And if they don’t follow you back within a few days you are within your rights to unfollow them. If they don’t want to see your Tweets then it is reasonable that you stop seeing theirs.

If you are a celebrity or have a relationship with masses of people or you’re a big brand, you should get follows by simply letting people know what your Twitter name (or “handle”) is. For the rest of us, following people and posting interesting Tweets are the main ways to increase your followers.

The number of people you follow each day depends on how much time you want to spend on Twitter and how many followers you have now. I recommend following small numbers each day (20-30), and unfollowing regularly people who don’t follow you back. You will be able to follow more people later on, as the number of people who follow you increases. I can follow 20 people in 30 seconds, so this is not time consuming stuff.

On Facebook it’s all about knowing people first, for personal profiles. People consider is bad form to try and friend them on Facebook if they don’t know you. This is the opposite to Twitter, where people who don’t know you are almost always happy for you to follow them. 

You can Like “pages” on Facebook however, as these are the public messages of the people or organisations who create them. Pages are not personal profiles. You can create your own “page” for any project, work, role or cause you want and detail the progress of the project through posts about that subject. 

I enjoy Google+ because of the amazing images and great social media and technology information and communities I find there. A lot of the people I find on Google+ fall into these areas of expertise.

If you are in a business to business environment LinkedIn is the obvious social media choice for you. I have over 1000 contacts on LinkedIn and I know that every time I spend time on it I get a response from people.

But the majority of my engagement is still on Twitter, where I get immediate worldwide feedback on a minute by minute basis to my posts.

With Facebook and Twitter and on all other social media sites it’s all about what you give back to your community. Think about what you can teach people, what skills or experiences you can share and you will be on the right track. Consider providing a support service around what you do. Is there a way you can build a community page on some aspect of this?

If you'd like more advice on engagement and on building your follower base email me for details on our consultancy service: