Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

What have you got to say?

August 29, 2018

Donald Trump

Every day without fail he is at it.

He is on Twitter consistently pumping out his messages, over and over garnering our attention and fuelling the stories that the media grab onto.

His content is on message: Make America Great Again #MAGA, Witch hunt, Fake News, Crooked Hillary, Build a Wall, Jobs, the Economy, I’m Great and those before me were rubbish!!

As much as we might hate him, his (lack of) beliefs, policies and philosophy we do get to see who he is and yes, we do make up our minds about him.

He has a target audience that he seems to understand quite well and sadly, he knows what they want to hear and he fires them up relentlessly in his favour with his often dangerous rhetoric.

This social media stuff is powerful and you and your business can use it too:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want them to know about you?
  • Start telling them
  • Start telling them often
  • Start telling them consistently

Donald…thanks for the social media tips!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Stories you can only tell with Social Media

March 13, 2018

Orange Army

During the recent extreme weather when the whole country was effectively shut down, we all had plenty of time to check our social media updates to see how each pocket of the country was faring out.

The “stories” came thick and fast like the snowfall, and one story-line in particular that caught my attention came from Irish Rail.

The teams from the state rail service had clearly been told to take out their mobile phones and capture the different work that was being carried out, with these being quickly shared on their various social media channels along with a clever narrative.

These posts complete with the hashtag #OrangeArmy (a very clever way of referring to their team in the field donning their orange reflective jackets) painted their teams as heroes, braving the harshest elements to get the country on their journeys back home or wherever they needed to get to.

As expected there was lots of interaction with the general public who were checking the Irish Rail social media account to get updates about the rail service and were seeing these clever posts.

The media even picked up on this and wrote about the fantastic work that was done by the Irish Rail team at this time – it probably makes a pleasant change!

While this was a clever way of demonstrating the hidden work that most of us never see it was also a brilliant way of involving their team and motivating them: “We appreciate what you do for us, it’s important

Orange Army - Irish Rail

All of this is a brilliant example of how best to use your social media platforms.

These are perfect behind the scenes stories, that while valuable for your “brand” are nearly impossible to share on your website, in an advert or on a newsletter.

Instead of using your social media as another place to repeat your promotional activity, try to use it to tell those other unseen stories and let people get to know you better, your personality, your ethos and your beliefs.

If Irish Rail never shared these “Orange Army” stories we would never know, but they did and now we think they are heroes…

Be clever with your social media, don’t be shy and let people get to know you better.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Social Media Consultancy and Training  from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Ok ….my first podcast is finally live!

February 28, 2018

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

This podcast journey that we have been on started on holidays last year when Brendan, my son suggested that we listen to a podcast called S-Town.

Podcast?…I’ve never really listened to them and after all I prefer either listening to music or talk radio when traveling but why not, let’s give it a try.

When my son recommends anything to us we tend to listen as he has great taste and within the circles he moves, he is on trend and if anything cool and interesting is happening he will be on it.

S-Town

S-Town from American Life was a fascinating series of podcasts that told a really riveting story. We downloaded the whole series and queued it up on my phone to make a punishing four hour journey a little less painful!

In the blink of an eye we found ourselves in the car park of our destination hotel and even though we were in the car for four hours we sat there and listened to the end of the gripping episode.

Wow, the journey flew because we were engaged with interesting content, which we had curated ourselves.

Roll on eight months, and we are now regular podcast listeners, enjoying a wide range of content on a regular basis and quite intrigued by how this simple format is catching on with people.

Why are podcasts so good?

For me the biggest benefit is that it gives me the ability to listen to something that I have total control over when I am on a journey or exercising (nothing too extreme I promise!).

While I love my music there are times when I’d like to be entertained, informed or educated and I can do all of this with my selection of podcasts as I commute to work, travel or hop on my exercise bike.

I find podcast listening has changed my media routines quite a lot – I still listen to the radio for news and topical items, but now instead of waiting painfully through a boring topic or suffering through a news cycle that repeats frequently I switch to whatever podcast that I have in my queue.

My own listening is quite diverse and it includes things like Legends and Losers, a brilliant marketing show delivered by the engaging Christopher Lochhead, The Stand by Eamon Dunphy where he talks football and covers other issues such as U.S. politics and the Maurice McCabe saga, Pod Save America and the Axe Files, both covering American politics and delivered by ex senior members of the Obama administration, Blindboy (Rubberbandits fame) where he gives you a very strange version of how he views the world, Reply All, an American Show that investigates strange occurrences online, The Anfield Wrap, which discusses all things Liverpool and an assortment of other things including The Woman’s Podcast, which gives me another perspective on life!!

All in all, this mix of content keeps me entertained and informed about things that interest me. As you can see I’ve subscribed to a mix of business, marketing, politics, lifestyle, sports and entertainment and each week I discover some new gem that gets added to my lists (finding enough hours in the week to listen to all of these is the biggest challenge).

I don’t listen to everything, I quickly hit next if a podcast doesn’t hold my interest but just like Netflix, we have another format that allows you to curate your own content, when you are ready to tune in.

While Netflix competes with TV, I reckon podcasts are now competing with live radio and music.

I’m noticing an interesting trend with advertising on podcasts (these are often delivered in person by the podcast host) whereby the same companies keep popping up – ZipRecruiter are big advertisers on many of the American podcasts I listen to. Have they figured out that this is a great way to reach their target audience?

All of this change is leaving us with a big challenge – the more our audience have the ability to ‘curate’ their own content the more it is difficult for us to get through to them.

If you want to stay relevant you need to understand the dynamics about all media then maybe you should consider jumping in?

So…..I’ve done just that and produced the very first Fuzion ‘Win Happy’ podcast (woohoo!!!) which is available on iTunes and other formats.

For this first podcast I interviewed Brendan Foster, a senior partner of Grant Thornton in Dublin on his last day as President of Dublin Chamber. The role is a year long and he has passed on the “chain” to Anne O’Leary of Vodafone.

Brendan Foster - Dublin Chamber

He is a really nice guy, who I have got to know over the last few years as a fellow Dublin Chamber Council member.

He has witnessed the highs and lows of Celtic Tigers and recessions and is a very proud Dubliner who certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth!

The whole podcast process has been a huge learning experience of buying and testing equipment, practicing interview/chat techniques, learning how to edit audio files, mix music, create intros, design artwork, hosting and putting all of this together into a final product and publishing!!!

My first effort is so far from perfect it’s not funny but at some point you have to stop deliberating and press “publish” and just accept the learning curve for what it is – I will get better !!

I’m really enjoying the whole experience, I’m having incredible conversations with great people and I can see the potential of the format for Fuzion and for our clients.

A huge thanks to Brendan Foster for jumping in and if you do fancy listening then tune in and please, please, just like that band who plays their first gig, excuse the imperfections!!!

Happy listening!!

Click here for a link to the Fuzion Podcast

Greg Canty 

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

“It’s very quiet….”

December 18, 2017

While staying in the very luxurious Cliff House Hotel (10 year anniversary treat!!) we headed down to the village to explore a little and go for a walk on the beach.

The Cliff House Hotel is located in the village of Ardmore, Co.Waterford which is perched on a cliff alongside a gorgeous beach, a perfect idyllic location on the Irish coast.

As it was a weekday in a cold December, as expected virtually every place in this summer holiday village was shut except for a little grocery store, an art gallery and a cosy, inviting looking cafe.

After a long walk on the cliff and the beach we fancied a cuppa and a treat so we headed to the cafe.

I was imagining a warm bowl of soup, homemade brown bread, homemade treats ….hmmmmm

When we entered, it was empty but it looked pretty with tables covered in bright table cloths and nicely painted chairs.

The man behind the counter didn’t quite match the place – there was a heavy aura around him, that didn’t exactly convey a ‘warm welcome’.

I ordered a coffee and a tea and I took a scone from the ‘serve yourself’ display, placing it on the paper plate provided.

The guy prepared the drinks and served them in disposable cups and placed them in front of him on the counter for us to collect.

Making idle conversation to ease the uncomfortable silence, I asked if he was having a good day – he told us that we were just the second customers all day and went on to say how bad the whole year had been. I could feel the heavy cloud.

This poor man was wearing his negativity like the heaviest ball and chain and it was pulling everything in the cafe down, including the few customers that came through his door.

Ardmore cafe

We sat and had our drinks and looked around the cafe – there was a sign on each table instructing the customers to dispose of their own cups and plates – why?

Why was the tea and coffee not brought to our table in cute homely cups, just like in a ‘tea room’ that this place could easily be?

Why were the treats served in a DIY manner and on paper plates with plastic cutlery?

Why was there very random stuff for sale in the cafe (about a dozen pairs of shoes and two boxes of golf balls!) that had nothing in keeping with the place?

Why did this cafe with oodles of potential not “own” beautiful Ardmore on social media and attract people to the place, with posts encouraging people to stroll on the beach?

Why were the parents of the school kids in the school nearby not meeting for treats before they collected their little darlings?

We finished up as quick as possible and were glad to leave the negativity behind us – we wanted to enjoy our day!

Go on…. make sure you put your best foot forward, make the most of your lovely little place with all of that potential or just hand the keys to someone else!

Are you putting forward the best possible version of you and your business?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

You look good!

July 31, 2017

I’ve just received a connection request from a person on LinkedIn.

I don’t recognise the person’s name and they describe themselves as being the General Manager of a company.

On the face of it, maybe a good person to connect with?

But….

..the person’s profile pic (not that young) is a selfie of them wearing shades and a baseball cap, pictured alongside another person. They are clearly having fun at some event and in their eternal wisdom have decided that this pic was a good one to use for their profile.

I am fascinated by LinkedIn and must admit that most users seem to have figured it out, and are quite good at putting their best foot forward.

However, I am still seeing oodles of accounts with typos, all lower case for their name, no description of what they do and really poorly chosen photos – holding a pint at a function does not make a great business photo!

LinkedIn is your personal, business website – it’s not Facebook!

Think carefully about the image you choose for yourself (and those in your team) as we all tend to judge each other by how we look.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion Communications offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The Magic of PR

April 6, 2017

PR Magic

Advertising is a way of promoting your business but it is you saying that “we are great, buy from us“.

PR is a way of promoting your business and it is more effective because it is someone else, a trusted third party saying “they are great, buy from them

Your PR makes your advertising more effective as now people believe what you are saying

Social media (when you do it right!) is a way of you promoting your business by interacting, engaging and gently saying “stop by, you might like what we have to offer

Your PR makes your social media more effective as now people believe it is worth stopping by and seeing what you have to offer.

Do all three and you have a powerful combination with PR the little piece of magic in the middle.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Business Social Media – What should you be doing?

March 9, 2017

Twitter for business

Social media continues to evolve with users switching from one platform to another, so where does that leave us today for anyone personally using it for a Business to Business audience?

If anything this has become more straightforward than it was before as Google+ has become irrelevant and most of the new social media activity has happened with the “youth” platforms, which can be ignored for now.

For anyone in business I would recommend the following:

The Basics
You should at a minimum maintain a ‘sparkling’ LinkedIn account that puts your best foot forward at all times. You should treat this as your personal website ensuring that all details are up to date, that you have a professional photograph, that you try to get meaningful recommendations and that you use it proactively for connecting with other people in business.

A big health warning here is that if you are not going to maintain your LinkedIn account properly then it might be wise to delete it – anything that does not paint you in the best possible light should not be allowed.

For example I had one client who was ignoring connection requests for over a year – he nearly had a heart attack when he realised that many of those looking to connect with him were his clients!!

Basics with more ambition
For someone with a little more ambition I would encourage them to add Twitter into their social media mix and I would advise posting on both LinkedIn and Twitter to “make some noise” and let the right people know what they are all about. When posting try to use visuals where possible as nice pictures help posts to get more attention!

Twitter as a platform seemed to be fading away a little but our good friend, Mr.Trump seems to have reversed this trend!

As part of this “making some noise” strategy I would recommend following and interacting with relevant accounts on Twitter and doing the same with LinkedIn including relevant groups – try to pick groups where you will find prospects, not other people in your industry.

Trump loves twitter

The Avid User
If you really want to embrace social media you need to incorporate it into your working day, everyday.

A regular piece of advice that I give to clients is that social media is not a full time activity but it is a full time mentality – effectively, you are always “on” looking for natural opportunities to connect, start or join a discussion that demonstrates who you are and what you do.

You will have succeeded here if people in your sector recognise you as a prominent social media user. Even more evidence of success, is when journalists who are prolific online recognise you and contact you for commentary on topics relevant to your sector.

Pro Tip– When you are posting try to use a few relevant #Hashtags frequently so that after a while they become synonymous with you.

The Publisher
The real social media “guru” is the person who publishes their own material online.

Basically I am talking about those who are writing articles and opinion pieces frequently that are relevant to the sector that they work in. These pieces would demonstrate their expertise and personality and they can be hosted on their own blog or else published within their LinkedIn account (or both). These pieces can then be used as social media posts – if posts are not time sensitive they can even be recycled over time.

For those who are excellent in front of a camera or engaging into a microphone, then video (open your own YouTube account) or podcasts are others ways to capture their expertise and personality and these can also be shared as social media posts or incorporated into their blog posts.

What about Facebook and the new social media platforms?
You might be wondering why there has been no mention of the other social media platforms – in truth I don’t think that they are relevant for the B2B audience BUT …there is always a but…

..all of your social media activity demonstrates to the outside world who you are so you must be careful that you don’t do anything detrimental to your self image by what you post and how you behave online.

While I consider the above platforms to be the ones relevant for business you will often get a business contact sending you a ‘friend request‘ on Facebook or following you on Instagram or Snapchat.

In many cases you may feel obliged to accept that ‘friend request‘ but once this happens you do need to realise that all of your “personal” posts will contribute to others forming an opinion of you.

Other developments
One of things that I have observed in the last while is that the ‘reach‘ of posts (how many people get to see the posts) across all platforms has disintegrated in favour of sponsored or promoted posts so you have to work even harder than before to get noticed and create an impact.

The other trend to note is “live” video which is becoming a big feature on both Facebook and Twitter – while you can probably ignore the feature on Facebook (for the B2B audience) it can be quite relevant for Twitter, as long as the content is clever and interesting.

Facebook have threatened developing their own B2B type platform for a while as they want to dominate all social media but we haven’t see any evidence of this yet.

To summarise I would advise everyone in business to jump in at some level and try to push it to the next level over time, I will guarantee you that you will see results but like everything else in life you must stick with it.

For the naysayers who still think that social media is a big waste of time, I would like to say a big thanks for leaving an even bigger opportunity for the rest of us!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Social Media after Death

December 1, 2016

Social Media after death

I spotted a post that a friend of mine had pushed out on Facebook of her and her husband on holidays somewhere.

I hadn’t seen her for years so I innocently posted “I hope the two love birds are doing great – must get together one of these days“.

Another mutual friend sent me a ‘panic‘ message “Delete the post, her husband died last year and she was just posting a memory as it is a year since his death“.

Oh no ….. how did I not know this awful news?

I sent my friend a private message on Facebook apologising for my colossal gaffe and offered my sincere condolences – thankfully she came back to me, was totally understanding and we actually ended up chatting on the phone.

It turns out she was happy to chat about her husband and in a strange way she was glad that someone behaved as if he was still alive..

The Last Will and Testament

I’ve been asked to go on air to chat about a newspaper article that discusses the trend of people leaving very specific instructions in their wills about keeping their social media accounts “alive” once they leave this life (or do they?).

The article claims that according to lawyers one in five people are now leaving specific social media instructions in their wills – I guess if you factor in that not all people in that supposedly older demographic have participated in social media, then it would suggest that most avid users see it as being really important.

People are nominating a social media ‘guardian’ in their wills who have the job of executing their instructions, which according to the survey are quite varied:

  • some are going as far as specifying how often their account should be updated and the type of content they want posted
  • some are requesting that a post goes from their account every single day!
  • some wish that once or twice a year some memories are posted for the person to keep their memory alive
  • the majority just wish for their guardian to reply to comments

More than half of social media users want their Facebook account maintained, which shows us that no one wishes to face the idea of someone hitting that “delete” button.

What is all of this interesting research telling us about social media and about life?

The first big observation is that it tells us that social media users while they can’t stay alive forever they do wish that their ‘digital footprints‘ stay alive…Greg is still here with us!

It also shows us that our social media presence has become our modern day ‘scrap book‘ conveniently collecting the memories that we choose to capture in our lives and this is much too precious to just ‘delete’.

These memories are a precious collection of that person’s life not only for them to enjoy but also their loved ones – maybe we should do a survey asking people if they would like if the social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away are preserved?

When you look at the very different social media platforms it does put Facebook and possibly Instagram at the top of the charts for collecting ‘memories’ from your life.

Do people who survive me really want to see my rants on Twitter about Donald Trump or Irish Water preserved for eternity? – then again all of this is part of who I am (or was!).

My last observation about this whole cheery topic is that the social media platforms need specific ways of dealing with accounts of users who have passed away.

For example on both Facebook and LinkedIn recently I have seen the platforms suggesting that I might like to ‘be friends’ or ‘connect’ with someone that I know is dead – the last thing that you would want to happen is getting a message from the social media guardian “I’m really sorry, Greg has passed away”. That would be more than awkward.

Facebook do have a process whereby the account of the person who has died is classified as ‘Memorialised‘. It is up to the loved ones to contact Facebook and invoke this process.

This means that friends and family can leave messages and memories abut that person – the word ‘Remembering’ appears before their name on that account – these accounts will not appear in public places such as ‘people you may know’ or ‘birthday reminders’.

I’m guessing that some of those who have been researched about their wills may not want their accounts classified like this?

For me I do believe that the people we love never ever leave us and I would want all of their memories to stay alive so yes, appoint that social media guardian and never delete their accounts.

As for posting on a regular basis – maybe leave that one to the people who are left behind but …everyone to their own!

I feel the sudden urge to take a photo of something nice and post “It’s great to be alive“!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Don Henley – Life lesson from a 69 year old

November 6, 2016

Don Henley - Cork

Cork was privileged once again to have some of the best musical acts in the world visit last summer as part of the Marquee series of gigs. Night after night we were spoilt by a wide range of acts, something for everyone.

The atmosphere is relaxed and fun and you get to experience your favourite artists in quite an intimate setting – while it’s not a small pub it is a big, fun tent and its up to you how far you want to push up the front to get as close as possible.

The bands invariably pick up on the fantastic atmosphere and gigs turn out to be brilliant – Robert Plant, The National, Neil Young, Duran Duran and Gavin James were some of my personal favourites down through the years.

This year Don Henley from The Eagles was announced as one of the acts and we didn’t waste any time picking up tickets.

A few days before the gig the announcement came out via the media that there was going to be a strict policy about no pictures and no mobile phones!!

My immediate reaction was to get really angry..

Who the hell is this guy to dictate to us, his fans, the ones who buy tickets and albums, how we were to enjoy our night? It’s not just his night, it’s our night

If I want to “capture my memories” on the night by taking a few pics so I would have them forever isn’t that fair? Isn’t it unfair to dictate the opposite?

Was he so precious that people taking pics would disrupt him in some way – was he back in the dark ages and had he missed the point in some way?

Sure enough heading into the marquee that night the stewards were everywhere passing out the ‘no pics‘ warnings, there were signs everywhere. The message was clear ….hmmmm.

The gig started and incredibly this 69 year old was unbelievable – his voice was perfect and instead of being the stuck up, cranky musician that we may have expected we got the opposite.

He started with some classic songs and my phone was burning in my pocket – I wanted to take it out, I wanted to take pics, I wanted to tweet …I wanted to capture and share these precious moments and have them forever.

And then something happened.

Instead of getting frustrated I relaxed. There was no point worrying about my phone and capturing these moments so instead I could just listen and totally embrace them!

I wasn’t the only one feeling like this and you could feel everyone in the crowd totally focused and immersed in this wonderful gig – we all listened without distraction to this musical giant mixing new country songs with older classics.

Someone close by us took out their camera to take a pic – in a blink a steward was over getting them to stop. They were spoiling the gig – we all wanted that person to put their phone away.

Don Henley played song after song, took a little break and came back out for his encore.

He thanked the crowd for being so good and for respecting his request to not take pics and then he invited everyone to take out their phones, ‘Hotel California‘ started and everyone now took the pics they wanted.

In a funny way the cameras became a huge distraction and in a flash (pardon the pun) we all understood why Don Henley, this 69 year old wanted us to take a break from our phones.

It turns out the ‘no phone’ rule wasn’t about him at all, he was giving us a rare gift.

Stop ..enjoy the moment, right now!

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

 

A Stick to beat yourself with or a Value to promote?

October 24, 2016

Carlsberg - Probably

Organisations make claims about their products and services the whole time, proudly celebrating key attributes that they believe make them special. When these attributes are an integral part or a key essence of these brands these attributes might be incorporated consistently into their messaging.

A very effective way to express your most special attribute as part of your branding is to introduce a tagline, which can then be used the whole time in conjunction with the product/service brand name.

When we think about some of the popular car brands we can see how taglines can be used to express something special about the range of vehicles that carry the brand name:

JaguarThe Art of Performance

BMWThe Ultimate Driving Machine

ToyotaThe Best Built Cars in the World

These taglines are typically used in all communications including adverts, brochures, packaging and even press releases consistently so that over time they become so synonymous with the brand that a consumer can recite them when they hear the brand name.

When companies develop these taglines for their brands they are creating a clear “experience” expectation with the customer – they should only make these declarations if they believe they can live up to them.

If Toyota declare that their cars are the “best built cars in the world” then they must commit to manufacturing quality cars. If a customer has a bad experience Toyota must respond from a positive place and do everything with the customer to demonstrate their commitment to quality.

Taglines and #Hashtags

With social media communications I find a very effective way of reinforcing a key message is to incorporate them into the #Hashtags that might be used when posting. Even better, if there is a tagline for the brand this could be used in the #Hashtag – if the tagline is too long then maybe some keyword variation could be used.

In the examples we gave above Jaguar might use #ArtOfPerformance, BMW may use #Ultimate and Toyota could use #BestBuilt.

VW - Clean Diesel

Sticks and Values

I was chatting with a client and we were developing a strategic communications plan for them and as part of this work we were discussing their social media messaging and the use of #Hashtags.

While the client was using a tagline consistently on all of their branding they were strangely very reluctant to use it as their hashtag.

This really confused me and I pushed them on it.

It turns out that while they were happy to make this quality claim on all of their branding and communications they were unhappy using it on social media because their feeling was it would be a huge ‘stick to beat them with‘ if anything ever went wrong.

But, shouldn’t the tagline be the same whenever you use it?” I asked

Yes, but on social media it’s different” was the clear response. “Sometimes things can go wrong, often through no fault of our own and the customer will hammer you quoting your hashtag/key message. For this reason we don’t want to use it.”

My belief is that you shouldn’t make a proud claim if you can’t stand over it. If you can stand over it then online should be no different to any other form of communications.

Your special attributes should always be celebrated, they are never sticks!

Greg Canty 

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