Tag: social media

Sunday Column (128)

My head is spinning for several reasons this week. I had a interesting week with lots of things to think about, some work related and some private things.

Let me start with the London riots. I published my thoughts and fears, as well as my Buddhist thoughts on it too. Without twitter and the update from our @beckenham community tweet, I think I would have been more worried. As David Cameron said, no one should be fearful in his own home. I would have fought for my rights and safety of my family and community. However, I never thought I had to feel like I did in the UK πŸ™

This leads me nicely on to the next topic. For a while now I am debating with my wife and work, whether the UK is the country we want to work and live in. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with both my job and the UK, but after 10 years, I am thinking, whilst the kids are still young, whether we should try a few more countries before we make a final decision where we’d like to settle and bring up the kids. This is a decision that is not to be made before next year for various reason I don’t want to go into just now and yet.

However, I met a good friend of mine this weekend; I met her 10 years ago in Aberdeen. We had different lives but both being German, we had lots in common and good conversations back then. For the past 7 years I lived in London, and she lived in Aberdeen. We both got married, we both had children. Now she lives in London and after a long 7 years we met again. And, as described above, she is in a very similar situation: she wouldn’t return to Germany, would like to live abroad for a while and then decide where she wants to settle. It was really good meeting her and her husband, to discuss dreams, thoughts and just to catch up on a long time we mainly spoke via Facebook πŸ™ A sad life social media plays, no?

On the note of social media, and I know I am going on a bit, we have Twitter that saved my sanity this week. Heello which is a twitter clone I signed up for, Facebook which is great to keep in touch with friends over time and distance, and of course Google+. It is getting a lot, but that is the industry I am working in, the thing I do. I love social and online but sometimes feel I should be more disconnected. Could my next 30 days challenge be to stop using Facebook? To not tweet? That would be hard. And amongst all the social media, there was one person this week that kept me sane, just by being normal and a good mate – in the real world too.

I am not sure what it is but I’d call it Sehnsucht which translates to longing. I am longing for simplicity without missing out on things and giving up what I enjoy. I am longing for freedom and peace without giving up the choices, loved ones and friends I have. I am longing for stability, planned future and a normal life.

I guess I am just a bit sentimental and think too much about life. It is silly because life is going to do what life is going to do. Simples.

Alles wird gut, ich vertraue Dir.

Have a fantastic week, I am looking forward catching up with some really good people!

Best
Volker

Google+ has hit it off with users….

Google+ has hit it off with users the world over who wanted to get the latest slice of technology on hands. There is a delirious response to the search giant’s newest social networking service, which is hyped by many to deal a death blow…

The international business times published an article on Google+ with some quotes, including mine πŸ™‚

You can read the full article here.

Socially public

Now this post was triggered by Claire at the iMedia summit in Brighton. Her, and also John, were speaking about connections made through social media.

It is difficult to think where I best start, and what I really want to say. I was supposed to launch the social media unit of an agency back in 2009. It never happened but it gives me a certain authority to speak about social media. I also managed to get a corporate account up to 1,000 followers within 3 weeks. However, of course I never ran a social media campaign, or did I?

I have my blog. My blog links to Facebook and to Twitter. Twitter links to Linkedin, and my Linkedin profile of course has a link to my blog. Anyone searching for my name will find me, and find out what I do and where I am. The latter thanks to Foursquare which I recently joined (for good).

Now what is my reach? Just short of 1,200 followers on Twitter, over 2,000 connections on Linkedin, and about 160 friends on Facebook. With the latter I am very selective as I am happy to speak very openly about my feelings there which I wouldn’t do on any of the other sites. That is where I draw a fine line between personal and public social life.

But can there be a personal social life? I start to disbelieve that to be honest. I share my life, and I don’t mind. I am happy for John Smith to know that I just checked in at Victoria Station on my way home or that I am at work. He can read my blog and find out how much I love my kids and wife. And I am happy to share my feelings, what I believe is special and what I have done all week. Not many people are interested, but more so my clients enjoy reading my blog. A client said the other day “you are on my Google reader”: I thought that was a compliment.

In our industry, digital and online marketing, we are not client and seller, we are friends with the same passion. Most of us anyway. It is about opportunities, creating value and not being one in a million. We share our lives without being shy about what we think. This industry is open, we share!

However, there is a small percentage of my life I prefer not to share. If my wife is ill, when my dog dies or when I look for a new job. No one’s business really. How bad would it be for me to share on Twitter that I need a new job before my employer finds out. Or for me to tell the world that a close friend died whilst I just have to keep up morale in a client pitch.

This is, luckily I suppose, the minority of my experiences. Besides I am happy in my job, I don’t have too many “problems” that I don’t want to share.

Hence for me the answer to the question whether you might want to have different profiles for a “work twitter” or a “personal twitter” is NO. You are one personality, you are one person. You are who you are, and of course, even Google has a profile of me.

So for me being engaged in social media, writing a blog and being active in and for our industry, I am happy to share. Twitter is me, my blog is about me, and Facebook is my private little online space reserved for closest friends.

I love it. A mini celebrity, somehow. Don’t you think? πŸ˜‰

Sunday Column (118)

What I like about blogging is that actually more people read my posts than anticipated. Not only my boss makes comments, but also my clients. I like it, and the good thing is that I don’t think of changing my style or content just because they do.

Social Media, and surely a blog is part of it, is social, open and determined to ask for comments and discussions. The only difference is Facebook. Or is it? I have this love hate relationship with Facebook. Whilst Twitter is open, links with Linkedin, and the aim for me is reach, Facebook is private. Private to the extend that I am connected with some clients and some work colleagues.

A friend put it a while back as “Facebook are the friends you would invite to your next big birthday”. He is right in my opinion. However, there are still people that insist being my friend and my social life from the USA 15 years ago is all on Facebook, my only connection. But not everyone can see my full profile there, which makes is unsocial if you like. So really, Facebook is selective. Actually, I am thinking of changing it and open it up to everyone, however removing people I wouldn’t invite to my 40th….

Looking back at the week, it was an up and down. Monday was an additional day off and the pizza I made was soggy. My wife always hates me for making soggy pizza, so I have to perform this weekend πŸ˜‰ Tuesday back at work was just one thing: busy. Wednesday working from home I didn’t finish until 10 pm. Thursday we had a major meeting and a lot of things to finish, so that Friday was just a wind down really. One of those bank holiday weeks where you just want to get to the end as you cramp 5 working days into 4. Have seen it all before.

On Thursday night I met Peter. He told me the story of John Snow, the man who found the outbreak of cholera in Soho, London. The story goes, as John Snow traced the outbreak to the water source (the water pump on Broadwick Street) everyone started drinking beer in the pub next door, now called the John Snow (probably more known for gay couples kissing these days). Maybe the early start of binge drinking or just the old excuse πŸ˜‰ Anyhow, it was a great evening, chewing the fat about the industry, technology and life in London with a family.

Now, this really wraps up my week. I can’t wait for next weekend when my older one turns 2. I cannot believe he has been with us for 2 years already. Fantastic, and I hope to put together a little birthday post for him.

Just this weekend again shows why you love being a parent. Friday night Colin got really upset around midnight. He cannot say what bugs him yet, so it takes a lot of cuddles, convincing, a drink (of water) and a cookie to calm him down. Just when you go to sleep around 1 am, the next one wakes you at 3 am for his night feed which turns out to be a “mini feed” and you wonder why he woke up in the first place. And, just back to sleep, dreaming all sorts of wild things, you wake at 5.30 am to feed again, close your eyes to hear the older one next door. Wow, it is 7 already. Yes: we spend 7 hours in bed. No: we didn’t sleep more than maybe 4-5 hours.

A lot of people might not understand that you can function on little sleep. I have done it before, e.g. slept 5 hours on average. It is easy. 5 hours interrupted: harder. But you cope. You must. And you enjoy and get a deep satisfaction of being able to be there for someone who needs you. No one can take that feeling away from you, that deep love and understanding of each others needs. No matter what. The love for a child goes beyond any other love I have experienced ever. And for nothing in the world would I want to miss that.

I’ll write more about that soon. In the meantime have a good week. June is here, summer is here, and next week promises to be fairly busy again with me being off on Friday and the Monday after (another long weekend πŸ˜‰ ). I am in Leeds on Tuesday and meet with a good friend Wednesday night. My parents and in-laws arrive Thursday for Colin’s birthday. Also, I finally plan to go back to the gym on Monday and swimming on Wednesday morning. Fingers crossed this all works out.

Have a good one,
Volker

Social Media Baby

Before I write more on the baby on Sunday, I thought I drop you guys a line of something that had mixed reactions: myself putting info about the progress of the birth on Facebook. Wow! Unthinkable.

Back in the days before we had mobile phones, internet or even smart mini computers, there was no way of informing anyone about the birth but getting to a phone box and having change. Things have come a long way.

Facebook and Twitter make it possible to do what I used to do in the navy: broadcasting. And they do more: they offer you, my friends and followers, to comment on what I write. Hence it is a communication tool, very simple.

As most of our friends (I sent a text to about 10 people tonight of whom I know they don’t use Facebook too often) are on Facebook, and we had mobile reception in the hospital, it was a good tool to keep people up to date. I didn’t speak about the gory stuff or anything, but just that we went into labour, that we are making progress, and of course I uploaded the first picture, tagging my wife. Once that was done, the picture was uploaded to my blog and the link sent on twitter for everyone who I am not connected with on Facebook. So everyone I knew then knew.

Everyone? Not everyone. There are still my parents who were disappointed that people on Facebook have seen more pictures of our newest addition quicker than them. Other people that seemed to expect a call from the delivery room. They almost felt left out. Same with some friends who didn’t find out until late because their phone number changed, or they aren’t on Facebook. That is the way it goes, time moves on.

But it also is scary of how willing we are to share information. Some people cannot see my status updates on Facebook, and we try to be as protective as possible. But we also enjoy sharing the love and fun, and joy of having a baby. Most comments were really supportive.

What did my wife think of all that? She liked the idea in general, but almost felt a bit under pressure to perform. Nothing I wanted to do or achieve. Just the opposite. Guess a birth is more private for a woman than a man, and of course I didn’t sit there updating Facebook, smoking cigars, and cheering whilst having a beer and some crisps, watching my wife giving birth. I tried to be selective but informative, as vague or undefined as possible but still wanted to share the love.

It is a struggle to balance social media. It is difficult as it will always involve a whole lot of people – hence it is social πŸ˜‰ And is it wrong to look up the midwife’s facebook profile? You do want to know who you are dealing with? But that is the way it is. You might comment on someone’s picture, take a picture of a hippo, make a funny comment for some and an offending one for others. Where does balance strike. Is it wrong or right what I did?

In all honesty. I enjoyed the comments, the sharing and found it very “enjoyable” to do so. It was (hopefully) the last time in the situation. But I love sharing my life, and my experience. You are just reading about it.

So for anyone not understanding, please shout out in the comment box below. And, for my wife, I am sorry if I shared too many details or if you felt under pressure. I guess I just didn’t get the balance 100% right. Maybe next time…..

Have a good weekend,
Volker

Sunday Column (73) – communication on Facebook?

Now, this week there is so much to talk about that I save it for next week. However, there is something I thought I write about, and that is social media. Again, you might think.

My wife ALWAYS makes a point of telling me anything that is going on with Colin prior to putting it on Facebook. And, I appreciate that very much. However, I am sure there are a few dads/mums out there that see their child grow up on Facebook.

So this is not about having a go at anyone but a general question of influence of social media towards our lives. Now let’s think of the following situation: a husband leaves the house in the morning after changing his daughter’s nappy around 7:30. He comes home around 7 pm from work and feels exhausted. By that time his wife had a busy day with the daughter, seeing her speak, walk, and grow up.

Dad however thinks that he is losing out, so during the day he logs on to Facebook and discovers that his wife keeps posting videos of first steps, pictures and many comments on other babies’ sites. It looks to him as if his wife is enjoying herself, sees the daughter grow up and has all time in the world to comment on other mummy and baby sites. However, he also only sees on Facebook how his baby daughter is developing.

How do we live these days, and what is it I want to communicate with this story?

It is simple. Life is getting more and more complex. We (generally) don’t have time to meet with friends, exchange notes and sit down to discuss things. Instead, we are always busy, striving for more action and achievement. Hence we are trying to fit our social life in a little box which currently is Twitter or Facebook. That is where we share, connect or download the information we are in control of. It becomes our newspaper, our blog and our website, our “shout out place”.

And to talk about a child growing up is nothing different. Life is for sharing, isn’t it? But if one person uploads all the information, e.g. videos, pictures and the other person is only downloading the information due to lack of time, one person loses out. The person that cannot physically be there because life has gone too complex to actually be there in person to see his daughter grow up.

These thoughts make me chuckle and worry at the same time. On the one hand it seems nice that we have the ability to download any information, including death of relatives, growing up of children or first / last steps from a website. But, on the other hand, I am worried about the relationships we create, the relationships between people.

The classic and basic communication model suggest that you have a sender, then disturbance, and a receiver. If this disturbance might become Facebook, or communication changes completely to “Sender-Facebook-Disturbance-Facebook-Receiver”, you end up with more factors where communication can go wrong, and does go wrong.

To all those couples where the partner is not as sensitive as my wife, please think about the above. Think about what you share on Facebook and how it may be perceived. Our information surplus and our need to communicate make social media websites strive, however, that doesn’t mean that you can live a relationship through social media or see your kid grow up on Facebook. Because you cannot make them there either πŸ™‚

Have a good week with some human touch.
Cheers,
Volker

Digital Marketing Thoughts

Ok, I admit it. On Sunday afternoon, just before the game, I had one of those moments. I thought I had to write a blog post about Digital Marketing and why and how it works. Here are those thoughts:

I spoke about Inbound Marketing on my blog before. The idea of inbound marketing is that, particularly online, you as a company or individual make enough noise to be seen and getting interest. This interest is then converted into sales. I know that is over simplified, but that is basically it.

To do that, e.g. making enough noise, a lot of companies use Social Media these days. Twitter to form an opinion or to build a brand, maybe a Facebook page, some Facebook discussions, a group on LinkedIn or just a good blog that gets quoted within the industry. Speaking at events is usually welcomed, or sponsorship at events to associate a brand with a sport, e.g. Rolex and Golf as an example.

Now, there is another way of creating awareness. I recently, as you know, entered the online display arena with a company that executes media plans across ad exchanges. That means we can buy inventory more cost effective and get a greater reach for less money than using ad networks for instance. This brand performance can be used solely for branding or it could be used for branding in association with direct response to actually measure the ROI straight away, similar to search marketing.

Another way is to use TV of course. Maybe less targeted (until IPTV comes into play) and of course more expensive. However, the costs of producing a good display ad (creative) or TV advert might differ, but both shouldn’t be neglected.

To my mind, and thanks to Kotler, the 4Ps are still valid. Product, place, price, promotion. People buy because they know a product or a brand and they saw it in a place or associate it with a certain status. Then the price….that is tricky but general speaking if one really likes something, one will be able to afford it. So now, the promotion, is really what I am talking about.

Looking at a Digital Marketing Strategy, there are only a few ways to think, and these ways are 90% online and 10% offline (or all online) and to have the right mix between inbound and outbound Direct Response. What do I mean with that?

1st:
As a brand you need to create a lot of awareness. Brand performance is the newest word I use for that. To do that you can use a mixture of TV and Display Advertising with a measurable KPI, e.g. sign-ups or voucher code use. This way you don’t only spend money on a big brand reach and awareness campaign but you start from the beginning to focus on your ROI for every penny you spend.

2nd:
User Engagement. Again: competition or user codes, discussions in forums or blogs, feedback and research rounds, social media like Facebook and Twitter. Having all that combined and using the feedback you are getting from your customers to improve your service and products is key.

3rd:
The trick is to utilise the user engagement (2) and turn that into sales. Using DR (direct response) channels like Display (DR & brand awareness = brand performance), PPC (DR but also brand awareness), social media, and Email campaigns. That means you are turning your brand performance into DR and get a list of hot leads.

4th:
Use good sales people and close those hot leads. Using their feedback and good account management skills for client engagement to make sure clients are happy.

5th:
Feed all those information back into your system – CRM Software. That means you have a feedback loop and know exactly which channel worked best, where to spend more money, where to spend less money and which channel gives you the greatest ROI. Measuring, comparing, adjusting.

It sounds simple but there are a lot of things where brands do go wrong. And, don’t forget, not every user is the same, and not every brand either πŸ˜‰

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my Digital Marketing Ideas.

Volker