Are You Strategic about Social Media?

are you strategic about social media

This has been a busy week with a speaking engagement at Salisbury Big Business Event.  I would like to thank everyone involved for making it a great event and I really enjoyed meeting a wide range of business people, exhibitors and other speakers.



Karren Brady, an eminent British business woman and Deputy Chairman of West Ham Football club gave a very inspiring keynote on her experience as a woman in the business of Football.

In case you were unable to make the event, I would like to share with you my thoughts about Social Media Strategy and how to use Social Media Marketing to really engage with your customers.

My talk was entitled “How NOT to be the next Comet – Marketing in the Connected Economy“.  Comet was an electrical retail business in the UK which lost its connection with its customers and went bust.  It metamorphosed from being a retailer to being a high street show room for Amazon.

I have made a 12 minute video, embedded below, in which I have covered all the main points from my Presentation and below this you can download the slides which are on Slidedeck.

The full slide deck can be downloaded from Slideshare and is provided for you below.

Marketing in the Connected Economy from jbdcolley

Comments following the Presentation

Here are a few of the Tweets and Comments I received following the presentation:

“If you are looking for a superb strategist, tutor and social media expert, John would be a great asset to help make the most of your business. John is personable and a professional, I cannot reccomend him enough.” Eliot Jones, President, Salisbury Chamber of Commerce

@personnelplace Very welcome, thanks for yours! Really enjoyed today’s presentation at SBBE.

@futrsocial thank you very much for a extremely informative and engaging talk yesterday!

@personnelplace Morning John – many thanks again for yesterdays seminar – such useful advice that I will be putting into practice!

@tylrsguesthouse Good presentation today @SalisburyBBE Thanks to @jbdcolley

@puncturesafew Very stimulating and thought provoking presentation you gave this afternoon at BBE Salisbury

@simonwardphoto A great talk from @jbdcolley about ‘How Not To Be The Next Comet’

@eliotcjones Great to listen to @jbdcolley @SalisburyBBEcorporate strategist, blogger and social media specialist. Thank you John for your advice

@wiltshirehour @KenziaDigital @SalisburyBBE How remiss of me ! Apart from previous mentions, credit due to @jbdcolley for his sound advice.

Kenzia Digital Salisbury Presentation – 12 Ways to be more Effective with Social Media Marketing

Amanda Kennedy from Kenzia Digital, a fellow speaker at the event, has kindly given me permission to share her complementary presentation which covers 12 specific pieces of advice on how to be more effective in Social Media Marketing.  You can also find Amanda’s presentation on Slideshare here.

Salisbury Big Business Presentation from Kennedy PR

If you would like to know more about the Strategic use of Social Media for your marketing, why not get in touch with me to discuss how I might be able to help your business.

Why not sign up for my weekly VIP Newsletter to get exclusive content about Business Strategy and Marketing to help your business, including instant free Access to my Six Minute Strategy Review now.



Do you have an iVideo Hero? Let me introduce you to one!

As you may have realised I have been teaching myself how to make videos with my iPhone as part of the blog since the beginning of the year.

Well I have found a great new source of inspiration in the form of Jules Watkins at who has an amazing CV in television and is a real expert on video. You can find his course here (affiliate link)

He has created a course which teaches you all you need to know to really get the most out of your iPhone using its full 1080P HD camera and I am already trying out some of his ideas.

Check out this video below I have made incorporating a couple of tips from Jules.

[Read more…]

Do Your Customers Trust You – Check out my Guest Blog Post for Jeff Sheehan


I am thrilled to share with you that I have posted another guest blog post, this time at Jeff Sheehan’s excellent Sheehan Marketing Strategies Blog.

Jeff is one of the world’s top followed B2B Sales and Marketing Professionals on Twitter specializing in Technology,  Integrated Marketing & Social Media. Jeff offers value to his clients as a Marketing Consultant And Speaker. He is focused on helping businesses, professionals, non-profits and individuals maximize their marketing presence, market share, and sales revenue potential by leveraging multiple sales and marketing tools including the most relevant Social Media developments.

Jeff can be reached at the email

I made this video to introduce the post, I hope you enjoy it.

Do go and visit his site and check out the post and let me know what you think.

My thanks to Jeff for the opportunity to guest post on his site.

If you like this post and you would like to get more from The Six Minute Strategistclick here and subscribe to my mailing list.  You will get sent a six part video course on Technology M&A.

To visit my podcast on iTunes, A Conversation with the Six Minute Strategist, click on the  link.  If you like it please give it a rating, this really helps and if you have time, please leave a comment.

Six Minute Strategist Short Quiz – Do you speak SEO?

As a preface to my next post about Search Engine Optimisation -SEO – I thought it would be fun to set out a short Quiz on the subject so you can see how much you know about the dark art of Search Engine Optimisation. As Google (and other search rankings) become increasingly important, understanding how to get ranked on the first page of a search is critical to converting search enquiries to sales of your goods and services.

There are Six Questions and three alternatives answers each. Mark it yourself or swap with a friend!

Question 1. What is a Back Link?

A. Part of your spinal column
B. A component of medieval chain mail
C. A link back to your website from another website

Question 2. What is Page Rank?

A. The seniority of a member of the Royal Court
B.  A bit like a taxi rank but for Pages?
C. The importance attributed to your website by the Google Algorithm on Scale of 1 to 10

Question 3.  What is a Market Samurai?

A. An economically forward thinking Japanese gentleman from the 18th Century
B.  A killer retailing tactic used by stall holders
C. A complex software programme used in Search Engine Optimisation

Question 4.  What is the “Long Tail”?

A. A 600 page work of fiction about a British boy wizard
B.  Something you find on the end of a cat
C. A retailing strategy, which works well online, of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities

Question 5.  What is a Domain Age?

A. The length of time a country has been established
B.  Something to do with prehistory and the disappearance of the dinosaurs
C. The age of a website’s domain which is taken into account by search algorithms when determining the ranking of the site

Question 6.  What is Black Hat?

A. A common form of head gear among witches
B.  A white hat worn by a coal miner
C. An SEO methodology which is disapproved of by the Search Engines as it attempts to improve rankings using deceptive methods.

My next post will explore some of these important issues and will start with another question:  Who is your most important customer?

If you like this or have any questions about Business, Finance or Social Media email me at jbdcolley[at]aol[dot]com.  If you like this please share or RT on Twitter.




How to Structure a Social Media Strategy in Six Minutes

What is the core strategic framework for a corporate social media strategy?  One of the core objectives of this blog is to cut through the forest of information and sites to clearly identify the trees you need to focus on.  This post will set out the online structure that can form the genesis of a social media strategy.  In the second post of this two part blog post, I will discuss the underlying media and content strategy that works in parallel with this ecosystem.

Lets look at this structure, starting with your home web site.

Would You Like to Know More About Online Social Media Sales and Marketing?

Click Here to Find Out More About My Video Course – The Social Sales Cycle: 8 Steps to More Sales Through Social Media

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Home Web site

Your own website – personal or corporate – should be at the centre of everything you do. There is one very strong reason for this.  You own the website and therefore you completely control its contents and direction.  Leading on from this, your home website is the central foundation of your online brand and this is the core of your strategy – building your on line brand value.

You will need to register your own domain – a .com or (for uk based companies and individuals) is probably best and you will need to get this hosted.  I use but other hosting agents exist too.

The core tenet of this strategy is that everywhere else you go and establish a presence in the online world, you aim to bring your contacts and your customers back to your home website – where you own them.  From here you can engage with them and in due course monetise them.

Linked IN

This is the clear market winner (at the moment) in the professional online network.  While it is a “social” network, it is better thought of at THE business network. This is where you ought to be able to find most of your suppliers, customers and competitors and where by connecting with them you can expand your reach and increase your presence of mind engagement.

This is not the place to set out a detailed Linked IN strategy but it is important that you set out as complete a profile as you feel comfortable with as it is important to be findable.  Just as important make sure you have links back to your home web site and other key touch points including your blog – when you set it up.


This is where the conversations take place but Twitter is already so much more than that. Again, a complex strategy needs to be evaluated and implemented but there is much to learn easily.  Firstly follow your friends, customers, competitors, suppliers, industry guru’s and websites relevant to your industry.  The key reason for doing this is to listen and to learn from them.  What is going on.  What is Hot and what is Not.  Twitter has become one of the best educational tools available for business.

The next step is to build a base of people following you where you can entertain and educate, share and connect with a growing base.  This is not a platform for selling but you can make your network aware of news announcements and new posts of blogs, podcasts and vidcasts to keep them up to date with your business developments.


I am still learning how to use Facebook more effectively for business.  However with reportedly 600m people now on the platform, you cannot afford to ignore it.  It is possible to set up pages for your company and to promote these using links and connections to your website, twitter and (I think) Linked IN.  The key point is to first establish the presence and then learn how to use applications which widen the scope of your connectivity and productivity on the platform.

It is important to understand with Facebook that its Terms and Conditions enable Facebook to take ownership of all the content you post on your pages.  This is one of the main reasons NOT to make Facebook your home site on the web but to use it just like any other satellite site to your own home web site.

You Tube

This is the home of video content.  It has significant reach and is one of the leading search engines in its own right.  Again any posts should have links back to your home website.  Furthermore as the search engines cannot search the video content per se, it is important to label and tag your videos to make them visible to the search engine bots.

It is also important not to underestimate the impact video content has and to therefore regard it as an important element of your social media strategy.  The downside is that professional and complex video productions are expensive but you will see from visiting the site that many videos are shot with hand held cameras by amateurs.  I think some post production work is worthwhile but it is possible to find a happy medium between cost and the message.

Niche Network – Ning

While you may not want to spread yourself, your company or your resources too thinly, if you are operating in a niche market, it may be worthwhile hosting or joining a niche community to address this market – and thereby increase your engagement with the market.

A good example of this is Jay Berkowitz’s Internet Marketing Club (I am a member but do not derive any financial benefits from the community).  Jay has built this on the Ning network platform and has exceeded 1,000 members in less than six months.

Geo Location

I have left Geo Location to last because I do not think this aspect of the strategy is applicable to all businesses.  The leading communities are Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places.  If you are a retail business with a strong “bricks and mortar” element to your customer appeal, Geo Location communities can attract business by offering customers benefits to “check in” – which they can only do when they are on your premises.   As well as the gaming element which is fun – becoming the “Mayor” of a location on Foursquare for instance (achieved by being the most frequent checkin within a defined period of time) – discounts and coupons can be made available on your mobile phone or directly to the Mayor as long as they hold the title.

In a broader sense, letting your communities know that you are going to be visiting a particular location or checking in at a trade conference gives you an additional dimension through which to reach out to your audience.

For more thoughts and considerations about content I can strongly recommend (no disclosure required) Scott Scanlon’s podcast Defining New Media Marketing.  He is currently (17th Jan 2011) broadcasting a series on new media content which I have been enjoying and which I believe will help you engage with Social Media by challenging the thinking behind Content – you can find him on itunes or here at his podcast page

If you like this post, please let me know and/or RT.  Any comments on any aspects of the post are always welcome.

Would You Like to Know More About Online Social Media Sales and Marketing?

Click Here to Find Out More About My Video Course – The Social Sales Cycle: 8 Steps to More Sales Through Social Media

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Digital Coach – to be or not to be? That is the Question!

The Digital Coach Magic Hexagon

I recently spent half a day  with Thomas Power and attended his Digital Mind Set Seminar in London.  The purpose of the seminar is to help attendees understand the role of the Ecademy Digital Coach and whether this is for them.  Ecademy is one of, soon to be many, organisations which are moving its Social Media expertise into the coaching market.  The reason for this is simple, there is a huge market of corporates and individuals who need to learn more about Social Media and Ecademy needs to scale its teaching business and use greater scale to leverage its knowledge.

But what does this all mean?  What is a Digital Coach?  Why is there a market?


Lets start with a definition.  A digital coach is a teacher/mentor who can lead the change (in an individual or organisation) to adopt new business practices embracing Social Media.  In Thomas’s words the company needs to move from a Closed, Selective, Controlling mind set to Open, Random, Supportive approach.  Corporate Structures are based in the baby boomer theories of business which emerged with military-like hierarchies and processes following World War 2.  Social Media today has no such structure, the content of your twitter streams are random, followers and friends are concepts which encourage support.

Six Skills of a Digital Coach

The transformation is effectively a 180 degree about turn in how companies address their markets – through online channels.  The old offline channels will not work.

To be a digital coach you will need:

1. A sound grasp of the Social Media Ecosytem

2. A clear understanding of how to operate within the Ecosystem

3. An understanding of your client’s business and its customers

4. The ability to help your client devise a strategy consistent with its offline message to engage online

5. Staying power to take the journey with your client  (and help them with the bumps in the road)

6. Continual evolution of your go to market strategy as the technology evolves and changes.

Corporate Need

Is there one?  In my opinion the answer is a resounding YES.  I meet many companies and few of them have any idea of the importance of Social Media or the potential benefits it might have for business.  I listen to many US based podcasts (see previous posts) and it is clear that (as usual) the US is already far ahead of us in the UK.  I agree with Thomas Power – we are falling further behind not catching up.  In part this is a generational problem – Baby Boomers are running these big corporates and yet Social Media requires a Millenial business approach.

The key problem is that the young start up companies are run by Millenials and they are changing the rules – frankly whether we Boomers like it or not.    There really is no choice.  Just as companies had to embrace “Just in Time” business processes to compete with Japanese manufacturing efficiencies in the 70’s and 80’s, today Social Media is throwing down the gauntlet!

Its time to Pick it Up!

Market Opportunity

What is the market opportunity for a digital coach?  I would have thought it is considerable but I have not attempted any quantifiable market studies.  Intuitively, taking a ROI approach, any significant sales arising from better connections with existing and new customers make the cost benefit analysis a no brainer.  From the company’s point of view,  a corporate could offer part fee, part % commission on additional sales.  I would imagine that they would switch back to a fee based only structure quite quickly. For a Digital Coach to make a reasonable living, this per diem would have to be a sensible figure.


I think the required skills mix is more complex than just knowing about Social Media.  I believe that coaching and training tools are important.  As critical is the ability to hold your own in the Board Room infront of the collective board of the company.  To my mind this means that some consultants will be comfortable advising large companies, others will be more suited to advising smaller companies or individuals.  It will be critical to the success of the process that your advice is accepted and respected.  That will be largely down to you.


Resistance is likely to be more than the “not invented here syndrome”.  The “A” type personalities who typically make successful CEOs are likely to be the antithesis of the personality type who will naturally be inclined to address the issues of the apparent chaos of Social Media.  It will be important to recognise this character based challenge and work closely with the CEO and the whole board to win their support.  The best route to this may be to have a small pilot project which can demonstrate the effectiveness of the Social Media Strategy.


The challenge for the Digital Coach is to monetise his expertise.  While so much is free on the web, good business advice is very valuable and should be priced accordingly.  Chris Anderson, author of the “Long Tail” and “Free” talks about Freemium model.  It is necessary to share some information for free (this blog is a good example – published under a Creative Commons licence),  but beyond this some initial consulting can be charged on a day rate which is relatively low risk for the client and only later ask for commitment to a strategy process which would entail higher costs – but backed by the confidence that the pilot project has proven the model.  Don’t let your clients think this is a freebie or a contingent arrangement.  If they don’t pay you they won’t value you.  It is important to have your fees and monetisation strategy clearly defined and ready to explain before you have your first meeting with the client.

In summary, I believe that there is a huge need and market for digital coaches.  I have spent months and months learning about Social Media because I think it is important for corporate strategy and business development.  If you think the Ecademy course and qualification might be for you, check it out here.

Full Disclosure: I am a Blackstar in the Ecademy Network but I have no financial arrangements with Ecademy regarding its Digital School.  I am an informal (unpaid) adviser to Thomas Power and Ecademy.  I have written this blog because I think what Ecademy is doing is important and not for any financial incentive or benefit.

10 Golden Rules – Rules OK!

10 Golden Rules Internet Marketing Podcast is presented by Jay Berkowitz and is an absolute must listen podcast for anyone interested in internet marketing.  Over 49 episodes (todate) Jay has delivered consistently great content, great tips and call ins but above all really interesting and helpful interviews.  Many of his high profile guests develop their own 10 Golden Rules on some aspect of marketing and this becomes a great take away.

The first two episodes set out Jay’s 10 Golden Rules of Internet marketing and these should be your first stop.  Warning – you will find yourself listening to the next 47 episodes in quick succession and at an hour or so each this is two days of information rich listening ahead of you.  I know – I have.

Some of my favourite episodes are Episode 5 – 10 Internet Marketing Tips for Small Business, Episode 14 – 10 Golden Rules for Promoting a Blog, Episode 15 The Ten Golden Rules of Networking and Episode 19 An interview with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and 10 tips to start your own podcast.

Jay’s Team at 10 Golden Rules also do a “live from the blog” segment most weeks which has some really useful tips pointers and ideas.

Jay has a 10 Golden Rules Blog which goes back to 2006 and has some amazing content.  check it out here.

As if this was not enough, this year Jay has started a great community at the Internet Marketing Club – the place for internet marketing and learning.  There are some interesting groups there including a new one on plugins which I have already found really useful – this is moderated by Tim Utzig who has posted some great check lists.

As you can see I am a great fan of Jay’s team, work and content.  I have learned a great deal from him and I am sure you will to0.

Full Disclosure – I have no financial relationship of anykind with 10 Golden Rules.  I am recommending the podcast because I have learned a lot and want to share this with you.