Key Advice Blog

Archive for February 2010

Social media, if measured in human life terms, was a toddler in 2009. Now in 2010 it is definitely a young adult with talent. It is growing fast and furious. And the big guys are wanting social media on their team. Are you growing along with social media? Look at these headlines for a new perspective.

The Next Web (@thenextweb) has just reported that ‘Microsoft pulling Facebook and MySpace into Outlook’.

Social Small Biz (@social_smallbiz) reports that Americans are turning away from email and selecting social media for news and information.

Attitude Branding (@TBSocialmedia) blogs about 10 Ways to Get Serious About Social Media, examining ways to measure effectiveness of social media activities.

And as social media matures, it will become much more. Best to get involved now, learn as you grow up with it, and enjoy the benefits of having been part of the phenomenal coming of age of social media. It is more fun than standing by the sidelines, watching from a distance.

Source: Twitter.

Last night I attended Cumbria’s most successful Tweetup to date – and my first. Around 25 people – Twitter novices to experts – were there to meet and share. Afterall, Twitter is all about getting people together. There were three ingredients organiser @KayHebbourn mixed together to produce this fantastic result. To start with, she put people at the heart of it.

1. Location, Location: When we first discussed the event, ideas for the venue were analysed at length. Kay chose The Mill at Ulverston, Twitter event friendly and with the perfect meeting room. They also provided a prize for the draw.  Kay also put charity fundraising on the agenda. Which leads me on to tip two.

2. Compeition and Charity Combination – Run a prize draw and raise funds for a charity. It encourages sponsorship (people already wanting to provide prizes for next Tweetup). It adds excitement and gives energy to the evening. The other prize was a bottle of organic wine provided by @Thegamechanger Archie Workman.

Kay also chose @CancerCareLocal as the charity and a specific fundraiser – who was there in person! This gave everyone a chance to support a worthy cause and get up close and personal to something that all too often is done in the background. As many of the Tweetup attendees were small business owners, this gave us a ‘group’ fundraising feeling.

3. Promote, promote, promote: Cumbria’s top media Tweetup supporter CN’s @nickincumbria Nick Turner was there, made a nice speech and is now writing it up for the NW Evening Mail. Kay used a variety of online platforms, most notably TwTvite, a top tool for getting your Tweetup organised, publicised and found. With the help of attendees tweeting about it, a Google search returned 114 links!

But, that’s not all, the post event Twit chat was also extremely strong.

Check out @mashable’s How To Organise a Successful Tweetup or simply put the string in a search engine. But, having been a supporter, an attendee, and seeing the results (connections, idea sharing, tips) I can’t wait for the next one. It was such a bonus to meet the people I Tweet with face-to-face and get new faces to follow.

Thanks @kayhebbourn.

The LinkedIn Marketers on Twitter group was presented with the question ‘Twitter, Waste of Time?’ by Col. Laird John B. Cutty Kt, and they have responded in the hundreds. The replies are themselves a valuable source of research into one of the hottest social media platforms to hit the Internet. Here are some key views – and feel free to comment with your feedback!

Here is a random sample of excerpts from the over 200 (and I received at least three email notifications of more comments on this topic while writing this) posts:

‘If you are very focused, have clear goals and strategies then it can be a powerful way to communicate, reach strangers, influence and network’. Richard Derwent Cook, consultant.

‘It is a great tool that is not being used well. It is a tool that joined with others makes a very good and cheap marketing solution’. Fernando Bergamaschi, photographer.

‘Twitter can be very relevant for a small business, especially if you are short on “traditional” marketing dollars’. Brian Murphy, marketing exec.

‘I cannot say that Twitter is “Valuable” in my business. I apply two metrics; (a) the amount of new business provided and (b) the amount of useful information provided…Linked In has been far more useful’. Paul W. Reidl, lawyer.

‘It depends on a variety of factors- type of business, location and target’. Bhaskar Sarma, green energy practitioner.

‘As a fortune teller, I began tweeting topics that my clients were asking about while maintaining their anonymity. That drove more purchases by potential clients whose questions were similar’. Alexandra Chauran, Fortune Teller.

‘…but in 4 months, the amount of direct revenue attributable directly to Twitter has surprised all the sceptics in my business’. Anthony L, hotel manager, @fallowfieldsuk (His post included a list of 10 ways they use Twitter).

‘Twitter can be of great value for your business. Provided that your target-audience is on Twitter’. Rob V, RUI analyst

There were also many who agreed with Frank Feather, that it was a waste of time.

From my experience:

1. You get out of Twitter, what you put into it.

2. Twitter is most successful when integrated into your marketing strategy.

3. You need to apply basic marketing – target the message to a target audience.

For me Twitter pays in dividends, providing a living, breathing network of expert advice, that I could not (due to time and resources) find on my own. I also think if it is to be used to its full potential, it needs to be managed by something like TweetDeck or Hootsuite, so you keep on top of it. And, in TweetDeck, don’t forget to use the favourites link to keep the really important ones.

Do you have any opinions, examples or tips you want to share? Please comment.


In Plain Language Websites, co-authored with Cheryl Stephens, we included a list of tips for assessing your website design against basic usability guidelines. In all the excitement of setting up a new website, or becoming so familiar with your existing one, it is easy to overlook basic design aspects that can hamper usability. So here is a quick checklist to help you carry out a design health check on your website.

From Plain Language Websites:

1. All non-text items – graphics, images, symbols – have a text equivalent inserted using the alternate text feature.

2. Content that is in colour is also visible if the user turns off the colour feature.

3. All links are functioning as expected.

4. Site is easily accessible from all pages.

5. Row and column headings used on forms and tables are visible.

These are just 5 of the 9 tips listed (page 56) in the book, now available via Amazon or LuLu.com.

Why not join the Plain Language group on LinkedIn?


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