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I changed my Twitter handle to JoDtw

It’s been a busy day for me on the blog today. I have over 140 unfinished blog posts that I’ve been trying to complete, plus loads more ideas and I’ve also been tinkering with the design a bit (again).

But I just wanted to let you know, in case you follow me on Twitter, that my handle has changed from @Pose to @JoDtw. If you are already a follower, this won’t affect you as the account is still the same, but if you tweet me you just need to make sure you get the right name. So if you’re thinking about changing your @[name] on Twitter, which you can do in your account settings, you will retain all your followers and people you are following.

Why did I change my Twitter handle?

I changed my Twitter handle for a few reasons:

  1. I wanted people to be able to find my name easily when tweeting me. If you use Hootsuite, there is an auto-complete function whereby you start typing the first few letters of a handle and it shows you the potential usernames. As my name is Jo, it seemed more natural to me that people might start typing ‘Jo’ when starting to tweet me, rather than having to remember ‘Pose83.’
  2. I thought it was more professional. I actually don’t think Pose83 is unprofessional as such, but to most people it really doesn’t mean anything. I’ve been to a lot of conferences lately and done a lot of tweeting, so I wanted people to be able to associate my Twitter name with me.
  3. It’s shorter. This wasn’t actually intentional and I was amazed I managed to get a 5 letter handle as I thought 6 letters was pretty good going. I’m always surprised when I see Social Media professionals with long Twitter names. The fewer characters, the more content people can add when messaging or retweeting you.

What happens to @Pose83?

Well, before anyone tries to snap up my Twitter name, I actually still have registered to another email account. I didn’t want anyone attempting to try and become me on Twitter, in case anyone has such as desire, unlikely as that may be.

I would advise anyone switching their handle after a prolonged period of time to do the same thing. There is no period of time between relinquishing a Twitter name and someone else taking it, so if you’re going to switch, make sure you grab your old one on another email address/account ASAP.

How you changed your Twitter name and if so, why?

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Sales Messaging

This is a bit of a ranty post, for which I make no apologies. Bounce off the page now if you want to avoid.

Professionally, I get a lot of people trying to sell me stuff. It doesn’t seem to matter that I have very little responsibility for purchasing decisions, they’re looking for an ‘in.’

I don’t object to sales messaging completely, but there are some techniques that need some improvement.

Adding me on LinkedIn

People keep trying to LinkIn with me with the blatant intention of selling me their services. If you send me a generic invite, with out so much as a sentence providing me with a reason to connect with you, yet I can see on your profile that you own some SEO agency or are business development for some buzzword entitled software provider, I am highly disinclined to accept your invite. At least try and personalise the message.

LinkedIn Group Spammer

Worse than the above, but still on LinkedIn, you’ve found me in a group that you claim to be a part of and use this to strike up a conversation. If I’m not active in that group, I won’t care that we have this in common, and if I am active in the group, I’ll know whether or not you are. If you’re not active, I’ll call you out in the group as a spammer and you’ll most likely be banned. (This happened in the Marketing Over Coffee group).

You know me because you tried to sell me something previously

Now you work at another company and assure me your new company has a better product than the old one. I’m not sure I trust you any more. Unless we built up some kind of rapport previously, please don’t bother. It feels like you’re clutching at straws rather than truly considering my needs as a customer.

You jump into my Twitter conversation with someone else and go straight in to the sales pitch without adding any value

As soon I have any conversation about Social Media providers, there’s Salescloud, Meltwater Buzz, Pulsar and some other random provider telling me to contact them directly. How about showing me your expertise in Social and actually getting involved in my conversation. I get that your monitoring tool has picked me up on your social radar (keyword group), but that is the least I’d expect of a Social Media monitoring tool. I want you to prove yourself as an expert too.

I know it’s not easy selling something cold, so why try. Shouldn’t your company be offering trials, speaking at conferences and networking in person to build some interest?

Contact the businesses you genuinely believe you can help and demonstrate this through having a two way conversation with them and showing your expertise. Listening, personalising communications and offering trials are all good options.

Do you have any pet hates about sales messaging? Drop me a comment below.

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I heard it said today that if you aren’t putting the customer in the centre of your activities, you shouldn’t be in Marketing. I agree.

But do you always remember to employ customer centric marketing?

I also heard today a clever idea for keeping that sentiment present in everyone’s minds in your Marketing team and beyond.

A woman from a company I spoke to today at eConsultancy‘s Digital Cream event works for a company that had a variety of ‘customer muppets.’ These were different character puppets, which people carried around the organisation and took in to meetings.

Whenever a disagreement occurred and conversations became heated, someone would put their hand up a muppet to animate it and ask ‘what would the customer say?’ This had the effect of immediately lightening the mood, but also focusing conversations back on to what the customer wanted and needed. Simple, yet effective.

I thought this was a great idea and I wanted to share it. It made everyone at my table smile, so I doubt I’ll be the only one telling others about it.

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Improvisation: I’ve Started To Make Things Up

If you’re a regular around these parts, you might have noticed a new category in the navigation bar called ‘Improv.’ Gone are the days when I’d frivolously create a new category and proceed to put one solitary post in it, these new categories require commitment.

So, why add it? I’ve been involved in improvisation since around May 2013 and this year I’ve made the conscious decision to make it a bigger part of my life because I enjoy it, it makes me happy, it focuses me and I feel like I’m learning from it. I’ve also met a load of wonderfully talented new people and attended a lot more small and local theatrical productions, comedy nights, musical performances, etc. off the back of it.

Why did I get into Improv?

Last year when I was setting up websites left, right and centre and I was unemployed for about 10 weeks, YouTube held Comedy Week. I was already spending a lot of time in front of my computer at this point, mainly writing, so moving over to spending a little longer on YouTube wasn’t a massive leap for me.

I watched a lot of Comedy Week and during that time discovered Daily Grace (I also discovered Sorted Food, but that’s another story). I wanted to be just like Daily Grace and figured I was funny enough for that. It turns out I wasn’t, so I did a bit of research and found out that Grace had done loads of stuff that helped with her creativity and humour, such as drama and screen-writing at college (I wasn’t about to go back to full time education) and IMPROV! You can find out about her path to YouTube stardom on her Draw My Life video.

I’d seen improvised comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and had a friend that was previously involved in a group, so I thought I’d try and find some people that would let me join in their fun.

How did I get into Improv?

Well, Google is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? And Birmingham has a lot going on it in, what with being the UK’s second city (deal with it, Manchester*). The first group I found were called Box of Frogs and they met in one of my favourite parts of the city, Moseley, which is now also my home. I emailed the contact on the website and received a very warm and friendly encouragement to come along in response.

Having made the realisation that I was not as funny as I thought, I was incredibly nervous about walking into a room with a group of people who had probably been meeting for weeks, months, years. My experience of most sorts of arts clubs at university was that they were all a little cliquey and ‘lovey’ for me. I’d struggled to break into the crowd and settled on trampolining. However, straight away at Box of Frogs everyone made me feel welcome and while I still felt awkward with some of the exercises, watching the scene work was hilarious and my face hurt from laughing at the end of the 2 hours session.

Why blog about it?

I want to write about improv, because like everything else I write about, I’m passionate about it and I hope that by noting it all down, I can refer back to it and perhaps, just perhaps it will be of interest to someone else and teach them something, encourage them to get involved in improv themselves or just entertain them (all of the above would be great though).

I’m not an expert and would never claim to be, but I’ve learned a lot from watching and practicing improv and I’d like to share that.

 

*I actually do like Manchester. I learnt to snowboard there and have a cluster of lovely Northern friends there too. Plus, it’s a pretty good night out.

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The Twitter Full Stop / Period – who knew?

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Have you heard about the Twitter full stop or period (dependent on where you live) that can alter who sees your reply tweets? Well if you haven’t, you’re not alone. I claim to have an interest in Social Media and I only found out about it last week. What am I on about? There appear to be a piece of functionality in Twitter that is triggered by a simple ‘.’ before the @ at the start of a message.

How the Twitter Full Stop Works

Say I wanted to send a message to my mum (@MissDigwell) from my Twitter account (@Pose83):

@MissDigwell Can you make stirfry for dinner again? But get chicken and not prawns.

Well, you would only see this message in your feed if you follow both me and my mum, not just me (and this applies to Hootsuite too). You could go on my Twitter page and see it, but otherwise it wouldn’t show up.

However, if I put a little ‘.’ in front of it, it will show up for the whole world to see (well, all my followers) e.g.

.@MissDigwell Can you make stirfry for dinner again? But get chicken and not prawns.

Neat, huh?

You can just about make out InStyle using the full stop on Twitter in this tweet below.

InStyle Twitter Full Stop Period

Apparently this has been around for about a year now. Who knew? I can see how this functionality would be useful, especially when you want your conversations to be broadcast as well as being, well, conversations.

 

Replies or No Replies? You Decide

Another little feature I’ve noticed, though I did pick this up a while, is that on the Twitter pages that tend to do a lot of @ replying, probably for Customer Service purposes, you can choose whether or not to see their replies on their Twitter page. It’s turned off by default. I like this function. I makes sense to me. Check out O2′s below (they are dynamite with the good Social Media examples, btw).

O2 Customer Service Replies

Any other Twitter functionality you think I might have missed? Let me know if the comments below.

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The Social Salem Media Witch Trials

Witch House, Salem, Massechusetts

Well, I’m not going to get many SEO points for that title but let’s get going.Witch House, Salem, Massechusetts

Recently (November) I visited Salem, MA (Massachusetts) as part of my epic American tour for my 30th birthday (Note to self, I really need to change the photo on this site as that is definitely not 30 year old me on the right there). We probably all know that in the 17th century Salem was hardly a safe haven for the broomstick toting, cauldron cooking sorcerers and their familiars. Why am I banging on about Salem? Well, the trials of 1692-3 actually struck me as having some similarities to modern day Social Media, especially for celebrities and companies/brands, though individuals get caught in the cross fire too.

If you don’t know much about the Salem Witch trials, I’ll give you a brief synopsis:

  • In 1692, Reverend Parris came to work in Salem Village as it sought to distance it’s self from Salem Town, which is now just Salem, bringing with him his family and slaves, one of which being Tituba from the Caribbean.
  • Tituba would tell Parris’ daughter, niece and local girls in the village stories of witch-craft, sorcery and the afflictions that could affect such people.
  • The girls began to start suffering with these afflictions, fainting, convulsing, talking in tongues, etc.
  • The doctor was called, but no physiological complaint could be found in any of the girls, so the natural conclusion was that they were under the spell of witchcraft.
  • This bizarre conclusion provided the girls with much attention, which they played up to, even re-enacting their convulsions in the local tavern for patrons’ entertainment, which gives us our first Social Media similarity.

1)  Ordinary Social Media users get the most attention when they are doing something extraordinary. This varies from being something emotive, hilarious or useful to something extremely offensive or extremely defamatory to another party, whether warranted or not. – Act up in Social Media and you may get the kind of attention you’ve never received before, so continue with the bad behaviour to continue receiving the attention.

  • Questions began to be asked about who had cast spells on the girls. They began to accuse townsfolk, who were then arrested and put in prison, deemed to be witches, even though no other evidence supported these claims.

2) You don’t have to be guilty of anything for people to make an accusation against you in Social Media and for that to have a negative impact on your personal, brand or company reputation.

I actually have a few examples of this. Someone I know, who will remain nameless, has been making complaints about companies on Twitter to try and free stuff from them and it’s working.

I also know of similar accusations where people have lied about their position in a company in order to appear like they have more authority or influence than they actually do. In this case they were offered a gift voucher by customer services, but it transpires that their complaint was completely unjustified.

My advice? Make sure that whoever you have responding in Social Media is connected enough to investigate complaints to understand whether or not they should actually be upheld. There are several ‘holding’ responses you can use while investigating an issue and before admitting liability.

Anyway, Salem is now super pro-witch, possibly because of the tourism opportunities if I’m being cynical, however this goes to show that…

3) No matter how bad your Social Media complaint or crisis you can handle it so it has a positive outcome. Don’t believe me? Then you don’t know about O2′s customer service during a network outage or Buffer’s response to getting hacked (FYI this article was posted on a really good blog). There are some other examples such as Oreo, Red Cross and Burger King here.

So, there you go. Human behaviour hasn’t necessary progressed since the 17th century.

Can you spot any other similarities between historical events and Social Media? Let me know in the comments below.

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How to Prepare for Laser Eye Surgery

Today one of my best friends is having laser eye surgery.  As you may know, I had laser eye surgery in November 2012

Links here, here, here and here!

So, I have given her a few tips to prepare for today and I thought you might find them useful if you too are having laser eye surgery.

Firstly there are several products that you will want to buy.

As you can’t wash your face properly for a few days I have advised her to purchase some face wipes.  Along with not being able to wash your face you also can’t wash your hair. I would have recommended dry shampoo, but this has been vetoed due to the fine dust it is made of and the risk of this getting in to your eye. Instead I would recommend a variety of hair accessories. Your beautiful hair is perfect for trapping all kinds of bacteria, so it needs to be out of the way. Furthermore, you can’t wear make up for a while (2 weeks) after the surgery, so accessorising is your friend!

You might also like to buy some of your favourite painkillers, though I would advise that you stay away from ibuprofen as I believe that this can hinder the recovery process.  My friend has bought paracetamol and codeine.

On the day of your laser eye surgery decide where you will be most comfortable when you return home.  Ensure the route to that place is clear of obstructions and easy for you to get to with limited vision and try to light it as dimly as possible.  Tune your radio to your favourite station, make a play list of your favourite songs or download several podcasts to listen to in the first few hours after your surgery.  I found that the first 2 hours after my surgery was the period in which I was most in pain, uncomfortable and restless.  I also found it difficult to sleep.  The only thing that seems to relax me was marketing podcasts.

You’ll be given all the information about your eye drops and when to put them in, but I would also advice anti-bacterial hand wash at the ready and a clean towel.

Other than that, you’ll want to listen to what your body and eyes want, rest and recuperate.

Good luck and let me know how it goes in the comments below.

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agency

I do not now and never have worked for a Digital Agency, yet I’ve amassed a few reasons why some aren’t getting as much work as they probably should be, especially as some are actually working on some pretty nifty projects.

So, here are the reasons I think some agencies might not get hired from the clients point of view:

1. Poor SEO

You say you can help with our SEO (search engine optimisation) and I can’t find your website through obvious search terms unless I include your agency name, and even then it’s ambiguous

This is true. I went to an agency recently and even after searching their name and location, I still had two different web addresses to choose from.

Listing the locations you operate in and writing more about your work will help this. I’m not SEO expert, but if you’re claiming to be, you might like to look in to this.

2. Poor Social Media Presence or Recommendations

You want to help me define my Social Media strategy but you’re not demonstrating yours very well.

I’ve seen all these issues from Digital agencies offering Social Media management as part of their offering:

  • You don’t tweet
  • You don’t have a Facebook company page
  • You’re suggesting non-compliant Facebook cover art
  • You’re suggesting non-compliant Facebook competitions/promotions
  • You want to measure everything in terms of followers/likes
  • You’ve got non-compliant Social Media icons on your website

Come on guys, get the basics right.

I also believe that most agencies will try and help you run a Social Media campaign, which is the fun bit of Social Media, but they won’t actually help you to set up and robust and sustainable Social Media infrastructure because that stuff is hard work.

3. Over-familiar biographies

The biogs on your employees aren’t relevant to the job I want them to carry out.

I get it, you want us to get to know your employees; show how fun and wacky they can be. Guess what? I just want them to do a job. I certainly don’t want to hear that their childhood idol was Rolf Harris as I read on one agency’s website.

As a Digital agency, you really shouldn’t be short of content for your site, so you shouldn’t need this stuff.

Delete off old employees too. The Rolf Harris agency (would you really want that as your moniker?) had a news item from 2 months previous welcoming their new Social Media Manager, which was the job I was interviewing for at the time. Asking if that was someone I’d be working with my interviewer responded with ‘no, she was a bit of a dragon, so we fired her.’ Ouch! She managed to find herself a new role and actually I almost interviewed at her new agency. Anyway, leaving up now irrelevant news items that could invite questions that you might not want to answer isn’t recommended.

So, what agency faux pas have you witnessed?

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Today's featured image: A lobster from Mardi Gras world in New Orleans.

I love celebrity gossip. I don’t know why. I especially like the photos of people in fancy dresses, of the skinny girls looking a bit plain and the curvier girls looking sexy and awesome, cue Rebel Wilson at the Correspondents’ Dinner or whatever that shindig at the White House is called (David Cameron needs to work on something like that).

But where do I go for my fix?

1. Celebitchy

This has been my staple celebrity gossip website for years now. It covers most of the American stories, with an increasing inclusion of British celebrities, especially now that the new generation of British Royals are providing such excellent media fodder (naked Prince Harry anyone). Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston are also particular favourites of this site. It takes a while to get to grips with some of their ‘in’ terminology, for example ‘biscuits’ refer to a woman’s lady parts. I’m still not 100% sure what ‘mini-coopering’ relates to, but I think it has something to do with cheating and Anderson Cooper. Mini-coopering is definitely something Kristen Stewart did with Rupert Saunders to Robert Pattinson.

2. Daily Mail

Not strictly just a gossip website, but more useful that using it as a news website (there are far more reliable sources out there. Try BBC). This website seems to be really popular with the people I work with, both in my last job and my new one. It has a nice spread of US and UK gossip – juicy! Oh and unlike some other newspaper websites, they’re no payment wall. Hurray!

3. Jezebel

Jezebel is owned by Gawker (the same folks that own Lifehacker – check that out, I think you’ll like it!) This website is so easy to consume and happily renders perfecting in my Feedly RSS reader. It pulls bit of content from across the internet and adds just about the right amount of jovial and/or sarcastic commentary to boot!

You know who I’m not that fussed on? Perez Hilton. He drawers all over his pictures. Impressed that he’s now super buff, just not fussed on his celeblog (is this a word I’ve just made up?).

Bonus: OK! Facebook

I don’t really ever go on the OK! website, but I do follow them on Facebook. I genuinely started because I thought something they were doing was relevant to my job, now the gossip just helps to break up my newsfeed when my friends are being a bit boring a posting about exercise and babies.

Today's featured image: A lobster from Mardi Gras world in New Orleans.

Today’s featured image: A lobster from Mardi Gras world in New Orleans.

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I’m Back

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Hello there. How have you been? I’m sorry I haven’t in so long. I’ve really wanted to and I’ve missed you.

But I’m back now and I have a long list of topics on my iPhone that I’m going to write about, so hopefully I can operate with a little more frequency.

So, where have I been? When I left you I had just sold a house, was actively seeking work and was also actively dating.

Well, I guess a few things have changed since then. I have a job at least and I have been there for nearly 6 months. It’s not without it’s challenges, but I’m enjoying it and hope to be in this role longer than the last.

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What’s coming up?

More Social Media posts, some posts on house-buying, some on Affiliate Marketing and I’m sure a few odd little bits thrown in too, such as posts on my new hobby.

I’m hoping that you’ll enjoy my upcoming posts. Maybe you’ll learn something, maybe they’ll pique your interest in a new topic and maybe, just maybe you’ll leave a comment.

Anyway, it’s good to be back. Oh, and as for the featured image, a lot of the things I write about are difficult to illustrate in a picture, so I’ll just be putting up pictures of random things, like my recent trip to America.

Today’s picture was taken in Austin of a painting in the guest house we were staying in – enjoy!

Jo x

 

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