15 Incredible social media tricks to send your campaigns into orbit!

August 24, 2014

Orbit

The whole team are busy working on a plan for a ‘hot prospect‘ that we would love to win.

We brainstorm together. first ensuring we all understand the brief, and then we agree the key objectives and what we need to achieve by the plan. We then assign the different parts of the plan to the different team members who are best suited for each element and we go to work.

Often I will work out the social media strategy and the plan for the ‘new client‘ and when all our different parts are done we reconvene and review the collective plan making sure all parts work together – Fuzion!

I went off and worked on a plan that I felt would work for this new client who were targeting a stylish, cool and savvy social media audience.

My crew pulled me aside and told me my they thought my plan was boring – “the client have big expectations from you around social media and we need to ‘wow’ them. What you have put together is boring and won’t achieve that wow“. Ouch ..that was harsh!

Now here is the dilemma ….everyone wants the big trick, the big wow, the magic moment that sends their plan into orbit but I find 100% of the time that you will never ever get near the possibility of this happening unless you first get the basics right. In particular with this target audience I also felt they would see any tricks and gimmicks as trying too hard.

Unfortunately the big trick is actually doing the boring basics right and being diligent enough to do this consistently day in day out, including those days when you are up the walls and your social media posts seem trivial and a waste of precious time. Because I believe this I find it hard to pop out tricks and gimmicks in a genuine plan.

I guess I wrote a social media plan for this prospect that was designed to succeed, which probably did read as very boring and ‘trickless‘ but unfortunately that’s what I believed was needed.

In a way there were huge ‘tricks’ in the plan even if they appear boring:

  1. Get your objectives and key messages right and stick to them
  2. Concentrate on the main social media platforms and until you have these up and running properly forget about the others
  3. Make sure all the key imagery used is strong and supports these objectives
  4. Have a clear follower strategy
  5. Post regularly and at times when you know your target audience are watching – that isn’t once a day!
  6. Make sure that the posts are well balanced covering all of your key messages
  7. Stop selling, be helpful, craft your posts so that your unique personality shines through
  8. Use great and natural photos that show the best, authentic version of the organisation and not something plucked out of a corporate brochure
  9. Apply some advertising budget to carefully push your message out to the target audience
  10. Don’t always talk about yourself and start interacting with others
  11. Listen to your target audience and get the ball rolling with your followers
  12. Write blog posts that really show your unique personality and not just facts
  13. Train your internal team so they can look after your social media (always the best option)
  14. Organise your team so that social media activity is always looked after
  15. Keep doing it!

Reluctantly I agreed to a ‘wow’ social media brainstorm with the team and we did add a few quirky ideas, gimmicks and tricks because if we want to ‘wow’ them we have to give them what they expect but I did make sure the real ‘tricks’ were still in the plan.

When they master the real ‘big tricks’ those ‘wow moments’ will occur naturally and then they will be ready to fly into orbit!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

 

 

Reputation starts from the inside

August 18, 2014

You're Fired

I really was upset for my good friend after listening to the story of his exit from a place where he had worked for 15 years.

To say he worked there was an understatement – he was synonymous with the place. He was well regarded within the industry and anytime you heard the name of the Irish branch of this international blue chip professional services organisation you would automatically think of him.

He had a senior role there and had for many years. Work, work, work was his life regularly punching in late nights winning and working on some of the best accounts, one’s we would all dream about having on our client list.

The company he worked for have a really good reputation and are well known as being one of the best in the country and internationally within their sector.

We suspected that there was a change within the international organisation and our small but profitable Irish branch was attracting more scrutiny than usual” he explained

On a nothing Monday in April this year he was asked to meet with some guy he didn’t know from the UK at 4pm. “I have a client meeting at that time, can we do another time?” “No, get the client to meet you another time” he was told.

4pm arrived and this person from the UK he barely knew quickly gave him the corporate blurb about realignment of the organisation, changing trends and by the way.. “we are making your role redundant“.

The language was very careful: He wasn’t being made redundant but his role was and together they would enter a six week consultation process to see how best to accommodate his undoubted talents in the organisation. A senior role in a far flung destination was quickly mentioned.

Shell shocked after this out of the blue news my friend returned to his desk to punch in a few more hours work before heading home. To his shock and dismay his email had been disconnected along with his company phone!

4pm was ‘action stations‘ and the organisation was ruthless in ensuring there was zero risk to them just in case my buddy reacted badly to the news.

Confused and heartbroken he called some of his senior colleagues and good friends within the business to discuss what happened – the worst part of this story is that not one of them returned a call, a text message or an email. They had obviously been briefed.

Of course he took legal advice on-board and was told he had an incredible case against the organisation but it would be drawn out, upsetting and there was a small risk that if it went wrong in any way it could be costly. He also considered his own reputation and felt that if he sued his employer it could be the ‘kiss of death‘ regards trying to find another job in the sector.

A ‘chancer‘ wouldn’t have thought twice about a legal case.

Instead he decided the best course of action was to finish up immediately, avoid the 6 weeks of nonsense and he instructed his solicitor to make contact with the firm and negotiate a settlement.

To me the worst negotiation of all time took place and my friend managed to get statutory redundancy and six months pay on the condition that he couldn’t work in the industry for this period.

Ironically it was his clients that tracked him down and offered him best wishes for the future and hoped to work with him again. Even worse the business had to explain to new clients who had been pitched to by my friend that the person they thought would be doing the work was no longer there.

Sadly, there was no leaving party for my buddy, not even a quiet dinner with some of his close colleagues and friends.

I questioned him about this ..how was this possible?

That’s just the way it is in big organisations and I guess we have to accept it. All of my close colleagues would have been nervous of their own positions by interacting with me. It’s just business”

I had a peep at the companies website and I saw words such as ‘pioneering spirit’, ‘commitment’, ‘our people’, ‘thought leadership‘ and the best of all was in one of the service offerings  ‘we help to foster strong relationships between management and employees‘.

There is always cause and effect ..

..his colleagues have learnt a new lesson about where they work, his clients have also witnessed something quite brutal with someone they knew and trusted and suddenly it is quite a different place. Who is next for the royal treatment? Somehow there is a sting in the tail coming down the track when Mr Karma works his magic.

Logically, rationally, humanely you can’t treat good, loyal, trustworthy people like that just because you have a change of heart about how you want to operate your business ..then again, maybe you can?

For all of us we need to decide how we want to behave and how we want to operate our businesses, how we treat people, most importantly our own teams, our clients and suppliers. Maybe it is more than just business?

Reputation starts from the inside ..

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

For the people who colour outside the lines

August 9, 2014

Moriartys, Gap of Dunloe

I had a fascinating chat with Phil Cullen, the Mountain Man himself who is the really nice guy who started the Mountain Man Brewery in a place that I had never heard of before, Renanirree in Cork. Apparently it is somewhere in the Gaeltacht area with Macroom being the nearest town.

I met Phil at the official launch of the spectacular Heather Restaurant at Moriarty’s at the foothills of the Gap of Dunloe. We were privileged to be looking after the PR for the Moriarty’s new venture and Phil was one of the many artisan local producers that feature in the restaurant who were showcasing their wares as part of the event. If you get a chance at all take a spin to this fantastic restaurant in a breathtaking location and enjoy some incredible food. The team of Denis Pio, Ailish and Jennifer have created a real gem in the KIngdom of Kerry.

Phil, a civil engineer by profession has followed his passion like so many other craft brewers that seem to be exploding onto the market in Ireland. The collapse of the building trade made it easy for this enthusiastic home brewer to make the move and start the business in the Derrynasaggart Mountains in 2012.

Phil Cullen, Mountain Man BrewingPhil who had been home brewing for 11 years, saw an explosion of micro-breweries in Canada where he lived for a few years and the return to Celtic Tiger Ireland in 2005 just before the ‘wheels fell off‘ turned out to be perfect timing for him and his new venture.

Take one peep at the website for Mountain Man Brewing and it captures both his unique spirit and the spirit of revolution that is starting to take hold in Ireland.

We are fed up of the same, we crave things that are not only different but that are genuinely authentic.

We want this in our food, we want this in our drink. we want it in our music, we want it where we visit, we want it where we stay, where we eat, where we drink and we want it in our entertainment.

I believe there is a huge movement back to things that are real and authentic, which for me is all about appreciating craft and produce that is made with passion but it is also a rejection of all things ‘plastic‘ that poisoned us during the reckless, commercial, greedy and very shallow Celtic Tiger era.

We are getting back to so many things that are really important and in many ways rejecting some of the awfulness that was allowed to creep into our Ireland.

We can even see this in the latest trends with Irishmen. Phil’s beard might be something you would expect in the hills of Derrynasaggart but now we are seeing this ‘back to nature‘ look on our city streets everywhere!

I was telling Phil how a Guinness Sales Director said to me about 20 years ago when I was working there that he was surprised that more was not being made about the ‘Craft of Irish beer‘ at the time. This new director, just in from the UK could not understand how more was not being made of the craft and heritage and was surprised that the Guinness company wasn’t grabbing this more …he was right!

While Guinness always explored new products the priority was always the big prize with big volumes of big brands and in some ways less choice may have been an easier option.

Phil mentioned that he toured one of the big breweries and he asked the brewmaster some question about alternative brews. He was surprised when the brewmaster replied that brewing this one product was all that he knew.

Can you imagine turning up everyday and producing exactly the same thing over and over with no variation to an exact formula, which is the case with most of what we consume. The opposite sounds like heaven where you can experiment with ingredients, try different blends always bringing out something new.

Food from Heather Restaurant, Moriartys, Gap of DunloePhil quickly reminded me that the skills of that brewmaster are also essential as you do need the guys who understand how to produce quality consistently, which is just as important with craft beers.

While we love difference we need it to be reliable!

The tagline on Phil’s website perfectly sums up the spirit of Mountain Man, the Moriarty’s, the artisans, and anyone trying something new “Beer for people who colour outside the lines“.

Are you colouring outside the lines?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

The best of fun is the worst of tears

July 29, 2014

The best of fun is the worst of tears” is what I used say to my kids when I was dragging them away from a party or a friends house where they were having lots of fun.

When they were older I’d use it when they would get upset when my brother was returning to the States or someone else that was close to them was leaving.

My simple point to them was that the reason they were so upset is that they cared so much ..if they didn’t care or weren’t having so much fun then leaving would be no issue so in a way getting upset was just a sign that they experienced something great and was actually a good thing!

Today I sadly had to use it again when my daughter Ellen rang all upset because she had to say goodbye to her precious dog, ‘Paws‘ who has been in her life for most of it because the poor pet who is 13 had picked up cancer and was starting to suffer.

 

Paws and Ellen

Ellen isn’t a kid anymore but her tears today were bigger and sadder than the ones she used to shed years ago ..sadly there was nothing I could do except talk about the joy and love she shared with Paws, how Paws was such a special dog and was lucky to have been in such a loving home and how her memories of Paws will last forever.

Paws, thank you for showing my daughter so much love and for bringing her so much happiness.

The Best of Fun is the worst of tears” ..she knew what I meant.

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

The Cobbler and Upselling

July 28, 2014

The Cobbler

Why didn’t he tell me the shoes needed new soles when I got the heels done?

Its a big pain in the butt to bring your shoes with you in a bag, take them to the cobblers, store your ticket and return a few days later to collect them.

When I took them to him the soles looked ok so I just asked him to do the heels.

Just a week later a hole appears on the sole of my just repaired shoes and we go through the whole routine again..very annoying!

Surely he spotted that the soles were weak and needed to be done? Why didn’t he tell me?

In a world where we are all encouraged to up-sell is he crazy, losing easy business I wonder?

Has this wise cobbler learnt from years of experience that he is better off just doing what the customer has asked for instead of suggesting extra things that may be needed and leaving the customer with the possible view that they are always being ‘sold‘ something and maybe not returning?

I would have liked to have avoided the unnecessary nuisance of returning a second time but I did wonder how I would have felt if he was suggesting some extra work that wasn’t that obvious to me.

- If the customer trusts you they will accept your recommendation

- If the customer hasn’t built up trust with you they may feel like they are being pressurised into spending more money unnecessarily and you may lose the sale

- Until your customer trusts you do your best to point out the hole.

If the hole isn’t that obvious you might be better doing a great job on the heel and they will be back ..

What do you think?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

Big brands and the shopping bag test

July 14, 2014

Shopping Bags

We pop the boot open and the usual process of fishing out a bag or two to do our shopping starts.

I really hate having to do a big ‘weekly shop‘ so most of our shopping is done as required. The store we normally find ourselves at is Quish’s SuperValu where the staff are really friendly and it is the closest one to our home. While the selection of stock isn’t always too hectic it is a handy store for us and shopping there never feels like a chore.

When I pop the boot open I have to quickly grab a bag or two and I’m surprised how this simple exercise shows me how I feel about the different retailer brands and the ones I align with most.

My first choice is the SuperValu bag – after all, thats the shop I am going into and I feel its a good thing to bring a bag from the same store with you. It must drive a store manager nuts to see shoppers entering or leaving their store carrying a competitors shopping bag with them. I know it would really irritate me if a client came to us with some POS or other material from a competitor.

I also love the SuperValu franchise model and I feel this owner operator ethos leads to friendly community orientated stores often including a support and buy local agenda.

My next choice is the Marks & Spencer bag. This surprises me as I always like to support Irish but I do admire their dedication to quality food and I guess I am happy for that to be part of ‘my personal brand‘ as I do my shopping.

The M&S choice probably makes me look like a snob but my next bag choice would be either Aldi or Lidl. To be honest I can’t differentiate between either of these brands and regularly get them mixed up. I really don’t enjoy the shopping experience in these stores but I admire the simple value proposition and huge strides seem to have been made with quality and there seems to be a genuine effort to buy Irish. The adverts are working!

My next choice is Tesco. As a brand it still leaves me cold, with no stand out proposition but I do admire their Irish producers programme in conjunction with Bord Bia. Even though their share performance has been suffering they seem to believe that the Irish producers strategy will play a big role in winning in Ireland.

Bord Bia Tesco Supplier Development Programme

They are doing some great work with Irish producers improving their operations so they can do more business with Tesco.

My very last choice is the Dunnes Stores bag. Why is an Irish company, the one I should logically have an allegiance to, be the one that I connect with least? I really don’t get their brand proposition, I don’t understand it, I don’t see them connecting locally like SuperValu and nationally I don’t see any noise about supporting Irish – they could be the best at this but if they are I don’t know about it.

I know this is just my view and that my simple ‘picking a bag from the boot‘ analysis isn’t very scientific but then I look at the latest market shares in Ireland published in May 2014 and reported in the Irish Independent and see how closely aligned the reality is to my feelings.

German retailers Aldi and Lidl have continued to snap at the heels of Dunnes Stores, with the pair now commanding a combined 17.1pc share of Ireland’s multi-billion euro grocery market

Tesco retained its top ranking, but remains under pressure. Its market share fell 4.1pc to 26.3pc in the latest period, while Dunnes Stores also saw its position further weakened. Its share slipped 1.3pc to 21.6pc

SuperValu the chain controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group – continues to snap at Tesco’s heels. Its share of the market, which includes its now rebranded Superquinn chain, rose 0.5pc to 25.1pc, confirming its second place in the supermarket wars

Industry insiders said the latest figures will be another wake-up call for both Tesco and Dunnes Stores in particular

Maybe Tesco and Dunnes Stores should do the shopping bag test?

How do customers feel when they pick up a bag from your store?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

Liam and Deirdre

July 12, 2014

Disco Lights

I don’t know Liam or Deirdre but we are here at their 50th birthday …don’t ask !

I see brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, children, granddads, grandmothers, friends…everyone!

We danced, we smiled, we laughed, we joined in the fun.

Life is quite simple after all

Happy birthday Liam and Deirdre !!

Figuring out the Cloud

July 12, 2014

Painting by James Malmgren

I need to admit it to myself ..I’ve been a little down for the last month or so and it has affected me, my form, the way I have been towards others, my general outlook towards things and how I have reacted to some stuff that has gone on.

That cloud seemed to drift in from somewhere without me spotting it and it seemed to get a little darker and it managed to park itself right over my head.

I’ve tried to figure this cloud out and I put it down to a bunch of things, each in their own way probably feeding into the next thing.

I reckon it all started with Stevie Gerrard slipping against Chelsea in a crucial match, which led to a defeat and a Liverpool title win dream shattered. This stupidly got me down..I guess we invest emotionally in the things we care about and even though its just football it got to me. It makes no sense that a football team in a different country can mean so much to you but ..there you go!

Then there is the really irritating sore knee that came along out of the blue one day we were walking the dogs about two months ago. I thought it would clear up by itself naturally, I thought resting up while we were on holidays would sort it out but it didn’t.

This soreness has made the simple walks I took for granted every Saturday and Sunday with friends a misery, it has caused lots of irritating discomfort, it has limited what I have been able to do lately including what we were able to do when we were on holidays. The stupid thing still hasn’t got much better, which truthfully is making me feel like an old man. “Wear and tear” is what the doctor said after x-rays and an MRI. I’m trying all sorts of vitamins, ointments, exercises and shoe inserts to try to sort the damn thing.

A few other normal everyday work things got me down that I would normally just deal with and not let bother me. I’ve been cranky and those around me aren’t getting the best of me and I know it.

This is a strange place for me as I am normally very positive and can see the bright side in most things.

Logically I know everything is great and I know that I am one of the luckiest people alive. I have a great life, a fantastic wife, two incredible kids, a terrific family, great friends and a thriving business, that I am really proud of.  My stupid knee I’m sure will be better in no time (hurry up will ya!) and Liverpool post Suarez ..lets see.

The cloud has cleared away and no doubt it will find someone else to park itself over, possibly someone with a lot more serious stuff going on than me.

Watch out for that cloud…

Note: The gorgeous picture ‘Man on a Pier’ is by an artist from Sweden called Jens Malmgren – check out his website for this and much more. 

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank God for Luis Suarez

June 28, 2014

Luis Suarez, Liverpool FC

Walking through town during the week I spotted a buddy of mine heading my way.

This was a little bit awkward..

Just two weeks ago his wife had passed away after losing a horrible three year battle with cancer. The last time I saw him was at the funeral home where I joined the huge queue of mourners, shook his hand. gave him a hug and did the same with his children. “So sorry” …it’s about as much as I was able to muster up at the time. His wife had always been so great to me…I’ll miss her.

Face to face for the first time since the funeral home we stopped and chatted.

How are you doing?” while this was an obvious question I felt awful asking it ..what was I expecting? “I’m ok” he said.

What did you make of the Luis Suarez incident?” I asked, quickly changing the subject

We stood there for 15 minutes debating the issue. He felt Suarez was a disgrace and deserved a huge ban and Liverpool FC should be glad to just get rid of him. As a huge Liverpool and Suarez fan I disagreed.

The ban was about FIFA reacting to huge pressure – Suarez seems to be a nice guy, he is respected by his team mates and in England he was recently voted by the other players as the Players Player of the Year. This is the highest honour in England voted by his teammates and opponents – if he was an aggressive, dirty, dangerous player that no one respected he would not have got this huge award.

Added to this he is a truly incredible footballer who is a gift to the sport and for me the objective with the punishment should have been to rehabilitate a player with some unusual psychological problem rather than this incorrect and brutal show of power.

The punishment was to Uruguay, Liverpool FC, football fans everywhere and of course to Luis ….none of it in my view dealing responsibly with the unusual problem that he has.

We debated, we chatted and for a while all that existed was Luis Suarez and the World Cup.

We both went on our way.

Thank god for Luis Suarez, the World Cup and all those things that keep life moving along even in our darkest days

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

One complaint …two very different replies

June 28, 2014

Handling complaints

Initially I was reluctant to complain but I felt it was necessary. From what I was told I believed we were really hard done by, we received some really bad treatment and if I just let it go the same would happen again and again.

I was raging and I felt I had to do something to address this situation.

I felt it was really important to address what I felt were serious issues so I wrote a strong complaint email outlining all of my concerns to the person involved.

Reply number 1

The person I wrote to handled the situation perfectly (even if he felt like shooting me !)

He called me, assured me that my complaints were not valid but wanted to hear what I had to say because what I had complained about was very serious and he wanted to get to the bottom of it.  We had a rational conversation, he listened to my grievances and I listened to his replies. By the end of the conversation we hadn’t solved everything, all of the issues hadn’t disappeared but he understood why I felt annoyed and aggrieved and I appreciated that I was listened to.

I was raging when I complained but now I had calmed down because I was listened to.

Reply number 2

Because it was a serious issue my man sent a copy of my complaint email to his boss.

While he was busy trying to contact me to try to sort out this issue his boss was busy with a different approach.

Instead of taking my complaint seriously and wanting to listen his boss sent an angry email responding to me.

Effectively it read “How dare you make any such accusations about us and how we do our business. You are unprofessional to have done such a thing and never dare to complain again”

Hmmm..how did I feel now?

I was raging when I complained but now I was even worse.

His boss had zero interest in what I had to say, denied everything, enquired about none of the circumstances that led to me complaining and instead of treating me with some degree of courtesy and respect and wanting to genuinely listen a choice was made to attack.

This situation was really interesting as we had two different individuals taking quite a different approach to dealing with a complaint.

No one likes to receive complaints but we need to treat them like gifts, listen and learn and then deal with them in a way that diffuses the situation instead of making them even worse.

In my scenario this ‘boss’ needs to take a few lessons from the staff member ..

How you handle complaints is a critical part of maintaining the Reputation of both you and your organisation.

Defuse, don’t inflame

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 


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