[H]APPY ABOUT APPS: GOOGLE / OFFICE

Some really smart folks have got me on the Google Apps train this year and it has been a life changing experience. Seriously, I love Dropbox because I've spent so much time there and have everything nicely organised, but Google Drive and Sheets/Document apps make life so much easier when you are out-and-about or sharing documents with other peeps. 

Finding my Tribe

WARNING: Not so much a social media related post, but simply a short story.

Today I got really lucky, I have been waiting for about a month for a one-on-one chat with the 2IC for Foundr Magazine, regarding my membership in their new Foundr Club and yesterday I found out that he wouldn't be able to sit in for the Google Hangout, so the CEO, Nathan Chan, would be taking this as a Skype chat. Needless to say, getting bumped up to the boss was amazing news. Let alone the fact that I've been listening to Nathan's Podcast and reading the magazine for the past year or more and am incredibly impressed with what he is achieving. You could say I was fan-boy'ing a fair bit at the chance for a phone call chat. 

But I was also a little bit scared, mainly because often in these situations you end up disappointed because they don't live up to expectations. At 12 minutes in I was starting to feel like I was about to get wrapped up and it would finish without us really connecting, this is when things all of a sudden got about 100% more interesting and Nathan started to dig a little deeper with his questions and I felt like we really started connecting. He seemed to have a reasonably clear picture of where I was at and during our 56 minute conversation I'd say I got 4 new ideas and 5 action steps that I can take during the next 48hrs to 7 days depending on action. 

The reason I wrote this though is to acknowledge the importance of finding people that understand what you are going through. I read alot about the importance of a mentor and that is true, I find mine incredibly valuable, but finding a tribe of people that understand is equal if not more important. Those peers that you can chat with that are at similar levels, that can give you tips on what is working for them right now, rather than previous experiences, people that can motivate you because they are also in the trenches. 

Today I feel even more confident I've got a few more people in my tribe. If you are an entrepreneur you really need to check out the Foundr Club, or at least listen to their podcast and read the magazine. 

What does a Digital Consultant Do? 3 “What’s” to look for.

I get asked a lot "what do you do?" because while people understand that I manage a zine 'Newcastle Mirage' and am a professional DJ, they don't really understand the other stuff. I refer to myself as a Digital Consultant with a portfolio career, since there are clearly parts to my portfolio. I decided to put this together so I have something to refer people to and so you can understand better, how I will help your business. 

What does a Digital Consultant Do?

There is probably so much variation on this generic terms these days that everyone that refers to themselves as a Digital Consultant has different skills. For myself, I am an incredibly practical person. While I understand broad-level strategy, I've found that often the kinds of people that talk up there, have no idea how strategy articulates into action and that they are much better teachers than they are 'do-ers'. There are a couple of components to what I 'do' and firstly that is to clearly extract from a business what they are all about and what they are selling. Evaluating where they fit against competition and opportunities. Then I design a plan to increase awareness, actions and eventually customers. At this stage it varies depending on the business and can include social media plans across: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat. As well as a general website plan, email marketing plan, customer relationship marketing, traditional marketing and branding plans as well. It's at this point I'm also starting to make suggestions around alternative opportunities for businesses to develop and other revenue streams. 

I would say my key skills are in managing and communicating on behalf of businesses across the listed social media assets and developing a broad digital strategy in regards to this to increase customers. I have a strong record in developing content that assists businesses and an advertising strategy to complement sharable media. 

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But what should you be looking for when you hire a Digital Consultant for your business...

3 “What’s” to look for.

1.     Experience – What is their track record? You need to evaluate the projects they are highlighting they've had success with and decide if that business has enough connection to what your business is about. Is their success in areas you believe you need or clear connections to people that will help your business grow. If there isn't enough proof, ask for more evidence. 

2.     Goals - What are you looking for them to do? It is nice to say that you want to "Make more money and gain more customers" but you need to be specific. If you are a venue, hairdresser or other location specific business, you'll need someone with regional expertise to help push you to the right locals. Do you need a website with ecommerce facility and have they managed this previously and will they be able to help problem solve when things go wrong. Will they manage your social media presence or will it be a partnership or will you be doing it all. 

3. Plan – What is your marketing strategy? You need to be thinking about things like if you will be advertising on traditional platforms like print, radio or tv. Are there elements to the business with opportunity to push PR. What will the budget be allocated and how will you be collecting data to understand what has been a success and who will be responsible. You want this consultant to be able to ask you the right questions about your business, evaluate where you are at including your plans strengths and weaknesses, articulating clearly where they would fit in and improve this situation. 

Updates to Social Media Channels and how they affect you

Here are the things we've noticed in the past few weeks and our thoughts on how they may affect you...

Facebook’s News Feed is changing again to prioritise sites that users actually read. Facebook realised that the amount of time people spend reading or watching content they clicked on is a strong indicator for what types of content they like. So now, when you click on a link to an external website or open a page in its internal browser window, Facebook will calculate how much time users spend there after the content stops loading. Sites and articles where people spend more time will be shown higher and more frequently in the News Feed, while those users quickly ditch will be demoted. Boom! (TechCrunch). What does that mean for those of you with blogs (like us)? It means you, more than ever, need to create engaging content that is 'sticky' and keeps people on your site rather than clickbait that generally has you returning back to Facebook quickly. I'm still yet to find any further data on timing, but knowing their timing on other elements I'd predict that more than 30 seconds is a good start.

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Facebook has proved just how serious they are about live video with huge product updates (FB Newsroom) and with the rise of live video they have announced:

  • Replayable comments and on-screen reactions
  • Live is looking more like Snapchat with the ability to write and draw on video plus filters!
  • Dedicated Live Video Hub(here)
  • Go live in Facebook Groups and Facebook Events
  • New metrics: total live viewers during broadcast and a new chart showing concurrent live viewers

Facebook and Instagram introduced new features for purchasing and planning mobile video ads in ways that align to traditionally-bought television ads. My tips to make effective videos? Creative:

  • Move the brand mention early and capture attention from the very first second
  • Make Short videos
  • Change aspect ratio to square to increase visibility in the feed environment
  • Add text to convey the message without sound
  • Instagram will now allow regular users to post 60-second clips. Previously, the limit was 15 seconds. (Business Insider)

You know how much I love Snapchat. If you aren't on there you might not understand Geofilters, they are an overlay you can place over the top of videos based on location or for a specific event and are quite popular from people on holidays highlighting their location. Snapchat Geofilters are now available in Australia. Businesses can purchase branded versions and you pay per time and the location. We've heard a few rumours from a couple of big local businesses about adding a Geofilter to upcoming events so it is a great time to get involved with Snapchat.

Snapchat opened an Australian office and these guys are not mucking around. They named former News Corp Sales Director as the Australia GM, hired three senior advertising execs and are about to accelerate their growth in Australia. (AdNews)