Posts Tagged ‘Training’

Do you need a fighter?

June 11, 2015

Dr Martin Luther KIng

I was part of an interview panel recently for a client and during the course of my pre-interview preparation I did my usual checks online with the various candidates.

This normally reveals a lot – you can see how strong their presence is online, you can see how good their communications skills are and you can see the things they care about.

Often what you discover from their social media activity can confirm what they have described on their CV’s, it can further illuminate who they are or it can even bring everything into question – is this a different person?

I love the LinkedIn profiles in particular and the great ones have genuine recommendations written for them supporting the work they did in particular roles, which makes it really easy to assess them.

You can also see other evidence of their lives, their blog posts, the websites they are listed on and even some media coverage they have been mentioned in…all very interesting.

Unfair dismissal

In one individual’s case I quickly found a newspaper article whereby they had taken and settled a constructive dismissal case against a former employer!

According to the article the case was settled on the steps (of course!) and both sides were quoted as saying “they were happy with the outcome” – no doubt a cheque was written and this person backed down.

The unfortunate thing about the article is that this person was the only person named (the organisation was named but not the individuals involved) and as a result they have this against their name for people like me to find on a simple Google search.

Their CV obviously didn’t mention this incident – how could you even go about presenting this information to a prospective employer in a positive way? The CV told a different, quite positive story.

My immediate reaction was alarm bells – is this person trouble and are things not so rosey in their garden?

And then I reflected – maybe this person was bullied, maybe they were one of many in the organisation who were mistreated and instead of quietly moving on just maybe they were the ones who were strong and brave enough to stand up for themselves and make sure that this behaviour stopped?

Maybe they did this to ensure the practice of bullying stopped within the organisation?

Instead of being a huge negative maybe this incident gave a huge hint that this person was a strong person with high principles who was prepared to stand up and fight for what is right, even if it had the potential to make them look bad. In this case you could definitely argue that it did.

Isn’t it possible that a person like this is a rare gem and not the ‘troublemaker‘ we first thought?

The unfortunate truth is that in most cases this person won’t even get as far as an interview because we do jump to conclusions quickly so what can that person do?

Taking control

They most take control of their ‘story’ online – make sure LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook tell a really positive story. Get those recommendations from previous employers and other people in business who will enforce the good stories.

The other big thing that person can do is to start self publishing online – start blogging, start guest blogging, push that expertise and passion out there and quickly that Google space will be filled with their own material and those old articles will gradually get pushed down the ranking and will not be found.

If they get to interview and the ‘topic’ comes up they should be prepared to tell the real story.

In this case the person had withdrawn from the process even though we were quite happy to interview them.

If they are a fighter they also have to fight for their own online presence and reputation!

A fighter could be the very person you need ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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




You get what you pay for – maybe you get a lot less?

March 9, 2015

PR versus advertising

You get what you pay for ..maybe when you pay you get less?

At nearly every talk I attend about social media these days a business Facebook user asks the question about the crashing reach of their posts – a few years ago when you posted something this post would reach a large number of your users (fans) who had signed up and followed your page.

Over the last few years the ‘reach’ of your posts has been crashing and we are now at a stage when some posts will get just a handful of views.

PR versus Advertising

A savvy customer will believe editorial or an article they read a lot more than an advert – a standard mechanism in the PR industry values media coverage three times more than the equivalent advertising space. (Have a peep at a blog post that our own Edel Cox has written on the topic).

After all if you pay to say you are great it’s not worth as much as someone else saying you are great!

The very same argument can be applied to your posts on social media.

As we have mentioned above Facebook have well and truly entered the ‘show me the money‘ era as fans of your page are no longer seeing your posts that they have signed up to see. Sooner or later this moment was going to come as all the social media platforms must make money just like any other business.

If 10% of your fans are seeing your posts then you are doing extremely well. From my experience those doing better than this are generally either giving away bucket loads of free stuff or have fallen into the trap of posting irrelevant funny videos.

Show me the money

The only way to really ensure that your fans are seeing your posts is to ‘boost‘ them. This is done simply by paying a few quid (the amount will vary depending on how many fans you have) to ensure that your post is pushed out by Facebook to your existing fans and beyond that if you wish.

The big problem with this approach is that suddenly these posts appear in your fans timeline with the word ‘sponsored‘ above them. Your post that was never intended to be an advert has now become an advert and just like the PR versus advertising argument its value has reduced to a third.

In my view the only way around this is to find other ways of talking to your “tribe” – we need to post frequently on Facebook (carefully choose the times that your audience are online) so that we are not fully reliant on the adverts, we must start using the other social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram (which are still relatively “pure”) or try to get your fans to sign up for your e-newsletter, which isn’t quite as conversational.

The important thing, however you go about it is that your tribe believe and trust what you are saying to them

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

Me and Kim Kardashian splashing in the sea!

January 11, 2013

Kim Kardashian Why is it so hard to build followers on twitter?” I get asked frequently by clients and at my courses.

Kim Kardashian has over 17 million followers on Twitter. Maybe she holds the answer to that question?

What’s the magic? Does she say incredibly inspirational things, is she really interesting, does she have unique insights into the mysteries of life?

A quick peep at her tweets over the last few days ..not a whole lot going on really except a few posts with links to some old pictures of her (very nice!) and some articles that she is featured in.

She’s obviously one of those A-List Hollywood stars, famous from the “Keeping up with the Kardashians” reality TV show, she has a colourful life and of course she looks really well !! In 2011 she was the celeb who was searched on Google more times than anyone else.

While Kim is extremely popular on twitter she isn’t too bothered about what other people are saying – she follows 160 people on twitter, a mixture of her own fan sites, some beauty and fashion brands, designers and even Sylvester Stallone gets a look in!

Apparently on twitter Kim just has to open an account and the numbers of fans will flock to her..

Then there is me and you!

For some reason us mere mortals don’t have the exciting lives and magnetic lure that Kim has, so when it comes to gathering followers on Twitter we need to sweat a little harder to gain some followers. It’s not going to happen for us by sitting back, posting the odd nugget of wisdom and waiting for the hordes of followers – nope!

We have to do the leg work, we have to start following others, we have to do the interacting, we have to reply and comment on posts, we have to do some re-tweeting, we have to start posting really clever things, we need to be funny, we need to be genuine, we need to be helpful and nice, we have to build rapport, trust and visibility so that we will first get noticed and then followed – we have to jump into the sea with everyone else and start splashing!

Let’s face it ..I’m not like Kim and it”s highly unlikely that she will ever swim in the sea with me but if I want to get noticed I’ll have to start splashing!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg is a social media expert who provides Social Media Consultancy and training in Dublin and Cork

The Business Social Media Dilemma

May 2, 2011
Gary Vaynerchuk - Thank You Economy

Gary signing copies of Thank You Economy

In the terrific Smarter Egg book learning programme our group has just finished reading and discussing the excellent book by Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy” , which deals broadly with businesses adopting a “Thank You” philosophy and embracing the Social Media opportunity properly to be successful in the marketplace.

The book was really interesting but in it Gary V took a huge swipe at PR companies for their approach to Social Media for their clients, which was a little unfair (then again, it depends on your PR company!).

Basically he stated that 90% of the worst social media engagements were produced by PR companies! Even stronger than that he accused PR companies of spotting that the “wind” was blowing away from them towards social media and the reason they are engaging with clients in this area is just to bolster up their fees and chargeable hours.

In my experience Gary is way off the mark but it does put the spotlight on what I refer to as the “Social Media Dilemma“.

Social Media Dilemma

It goes like this – as a PR company who always takes a broad “holistic” approach to communications we know and clearly understand the benefit of Social Media for our clients, in fact in 99% of cases well before them. We push for them to engage in this area properly but we do realise that the “voice” used on the platforms should be a trusted and skilled internal voice.

Now for the dilemma – often this trusted and skilled voice is not available and our client is not prepared to allocate the proper resource to this area.

To make sure that they do not get left behind their competitors we will make ensure that our client’s open up their Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and their blog), that they look the part as they are an extension of their brand online and we will also provide them with the necessary training so that they are well equipped to use them proficiently.

We know we cannot do this for them but we will always be there to support them and will never be shy in recommending that they should be more active in that space. Sometimes as an option we might assist them in the “learning phase” until they are fully up and running. (often we have to be quite careful with Social Media conversations because if a client isn’t ready to listen you will end up annoying them!)

We see the huge opportunity for clients and if the Social Media platforms were not there we would be gutted – they add so much opportunity for all our clients.

Swiss Watchmaker

Master Craftsman

Dilemma: Who? – Social Media Manager

Who looks after the Social Media in a business is a vital issue. Gary V refers to this person as the “Community Manager” and is quite right in stating that it should not be someone that you can’t find anything else to do with!

He rightly suggests that this person should not be an intern or another junior person. It should be someone who knows the business intimately, who understands the customer, who is passionate about customer service and who is well able to communicate in the “social media” arena – this person must be quite skilled in this area, which is often underestimated.

Why Social Media activity fails?

This leads me to Gary’s suggestions as to why most Social Media initiatives fail:

1. Using tactics instead of strategy

2. Using it to exclusively put out fires

3. Using it to brag

4. Using it as a press release

5. Exclusively re-tweeting other people’s material rather than generating “own” content

6. Using it to push product

7. Expecting immediate results

I agree with Gary on all of these points 100% but I think it is missing a BIG, BIG last point – a NUMBER 8!

8. Skill

This for me is probably the biggest point and while Gary alludes to it at times I think he actually doesn’t fully appreciate it and maybe he takes his own talent in this area for granted.

Using social media is a very highly skilled discipline, which requires individuals:

  • who understand each of the media intimately
  • who have strong “informal writing” ability
  • who understand the business and customers well
  • who can be fully trusted to be the voice of the company,
  • who have enquiring minds
  • who can manage the unstructured nature of the communications
  • who can respond themselves under most circumstances but knowing when they need assistance
  • who can spot and manage communications with genuine customers and at the same time filter out posts by possible competitors/cranks
  • who have the ability to summarise and relate issues back to management in a timely fashion.

To add to this the platforms have to be managed 24/7, which requires some co-ordination of resources, consistency and dedication.

Wow – that is some job!

Gary Vaynerchuk is a social media genius who is the passionate owner of his own wine business, which makes him quite unique – maybe he underestimates his ability in this area and as a result thinks it is easy for anyone to just jump in and be an expert.

So Gary, thanks for the book, thanks for the terrific examples (Old Spice and the San Francisco dentist!) and insights, never underestimate your own skills and please don’t be too hard on the poor PR companies in the future!

Fuzion provide Social Media Consultancy and Social Media Training.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

£35 a week!

December 31, 2010

Greg Afro Canty

September 1982 and this 17 year old hopped off the bus (this was unusual because every other time that  I went to work it was on my trusted bicycle – then again it was day one of the rest of my life!) on The Grand Parade in Cork and headed to work for the first time to Barber & O’Leary, Financial and Management Consultants, on the South Mall no less!

To celebrate this special occasion I had a new brown blazer with a choice of different trousers, each a different shade of brown or beige to complete this classic ensemble. The “piece de resistance” was my curly afro, while quite unique was probably a talking point for many!

Despite the grand title the firm was really a small to medium sized accountancy and audit firm, but the partners did have some investments in their own projects, which we all ended up working on at some point.

While I was confident I could make my mark on the business world, I was also quite nervous – I didn’t even do accountancy in secondary school!

Jumping right in at the deep end, that September I started 5 fabulous years working by day and studying for my accountancy exams by night. We dealt with clients of all sorts, big and small including my favourite, Mrs O’Sullivan who had a right skip in her step after her beloved husband passed away .. The glamour of her all of a sudden!

The amazing thing with accountancy (a profession often mocked quite unfairly) is that immediately because you are dealing with peoples finances and their “financial stories” (I always had a romantic viewpoint that the accountant is actually a financial storyteller), you are taken into a position of trust, even at the age of 17!  This is a privileged position to be in, considering that employees could be working in that business all their lives and never be in that position of trust and influence that the young accountant can often find themselves. Wow, I absolutely loved it.

Many people assumed that I must have loved working with numbers and that is why I did accountancy .. Nah , I loved the idea of being in business and I reckoned this was going to be the best business degree of all – day in day out we worked on all sorts of clients, doing bank reconciliations, sorting out total messes at times, preparing accounts (storytelling, I tell you) listening, learning and advising.

My god, I learned so much from one of the partners of the firm, the fabulous James Barber, who was an absolutely brilliant boss (I would love to catch up with him some time and find out what he really made of the curly haired 17 year old!) and I tried my best to avoid the other partner , the unpredictable Sean O’Leary, who mostly didn’t seem to care at all and the odd time took too much interest.

The crew inside there were great but I must admit I learned the most from the enigmatic Christopher “third degree” Burns who was an erratic but brilliant accountant, a chancer most of the time but the only one in my view who could handle our biggest bully of a client Mr B (unfair to name the man but he shares a surname with my mums side of the family – maybe we are related? Scary thought.. ). I still tell people stories about Third Degree to this day – a total and very colourful legend!

Robert Arnopp from Bandon, shared the same love of music as me and we swapped albums continuously throughout this time. I later met one of my best buddies Brian Sexton, who joined the year after me and later worked with me again in the drinks industry. Brian famously noticed the very attractive secretary, Bernadette Dilworth on his first day at work (“cop on Brian” she is out of our league were my clear thoughts) and ended up marrying her years later! For some reason Brian and I started to call each other “Bob”, which  we still do to this day. Why? I have no idea .. We managed to have some of the best of laughs out on different jobs that we worked on together – we were just kids, behaving as professionally as possible, but at times we just couldn’t control the giggles!

These were my formative years, I worked hard and studied hard, I learned incredible skills that have always stayed with me and I ended up leaving the practice five years later as a young qualified accountant. I was asked to stay on but I needed to discover more about the world of business!

I started at £35 a week, just like any other apprentice (I was making more than this on my newspaper round, which I continued out of necessity!) and genuinely loved every minute of it except for the 3 months we did the most boring study in the whole world for the Cork Harbour Commissioners, which was one of those times I wished Sean O’Leary would take less interest!

Regarding our huge pay packets, Robert had this great story of going to the bank and lodging his monthly pay check. He knew the bank teller who commented on how much he was being paid, very impressive indeed. He didn’t have the heart to tell her it was a months pay and not a weeks!

To Mr Barber, Third Degree Burns, Robert and Brian thanks for the fabulous business degree, which always stands to me and to be honest, the really great time!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

But you have no experience ..

December 20, 2010
Fuzion Christmas Card

Fuzion Christmas Card - Paul Wade

On the 1st October a really bright young aspiring Graphic Designer called into Fuzion to show us his portfolio. This followed a very courteous email about wanting some work experience at no charge.

The situation is really simple – Paul Wade a recent graduate of CIT, the Design & Communications course, like so many other graduates has no practical work experience. He is looking for a job and of course …. he has no experience!

Instead of this being an obstacle he simply removed the problem by asking us to take him on for free in exchange for “experience” – he has been working and learning under Graham our Senior Designer for the last two months. As he says himself, he has learnt more in these two months than he had in his few years at college.

The one thing we can’t teach him is something he had already in bucket loads – a great can-do positive attitude.

The other thing about Paul is that he also has a job in a local supermarket, which pays his bills.

As soon as the workload permits we would like to take him on here – why? He has a great attitude, he is a nice guy, he has integrated with our team and he has learned a lot.

By the way – the Fuzion Christmas card you can see on this blog – that’s Paul’s work!

Well done Paul for making it happen!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The New PR Guru’s!

June 10, 2010
PR Guru

The PR Guru

This week we started off round two of the PR course that we are doing for the South Cork Enterprise Board.

Can I tell you a secret – I love it !!

The first group were absolutely terrific, they bonded, we bonded, and we all learnt some great new stuff and had fun in the process.

Having a room full of business people all with interesting stories and all pro-actively pushing the door to try to make things happen for themselves is totally exhilarating.

.. among them we had people from an art gallery, an online antique jewellery business, en established Cork firm trying to make new waves, a ballroom dancer, an Irish festival crew, intern placement, oriental gifts, high end electrical installations, makeup experts and even a PR person sharpening their skills.

Listening to people sharing their issues and challenges and then taking these objectives and applying the PR process to it is really great .. and don’t forget about the Purple Cow – they had to hear a lot about that particular creature from yours truly!

Can’t wait for next week ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications, Marketing & PR