Renee

Tips for blending your business and personal Facebook profiles

Using social media in a personal context can still lead to business opportunities, if it’s handled sensibly. And nothing happens by chance, so we should always be prepared for someone to check us out online at any time.

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As an example, I recently met Ade, a celebrity events planner who has masqueraded around the homes of some top A-listers. We connected on LinkedIn, naturally, then – as we have a number of shared social contacts – he added me as a Facebook friend.

Now, I don’t keep my personal Facebook account particularly professional; this is my forum for staying in touch with friends and family.  It’s littered with art gallery pics, trips to the theatre, a few cat photos (yes, I am that crazy lady) and the occasional chocolate delight. My business Facebook page is the place for you to get social media and communication skills tips. Still, although Facebook is my social space, I try to avoid posting nonsense. After all, you never know when an international radio show producer will find you.

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Anyway, Ade invited me to join him at a recording of a London radio show for an Australian station, which is why I found myself in a quaint Bloomsbury theatre-cum-art gallery with an eclectic mix of British stage stars and recording artists – including Robbie Williams’ backing singer, the original female lead in the West End’s Phantom of the Opera and the legendary Freddie Mercury’s partner, Peter Straker.

But the masterpiece that blew me metaphorically to Melbourne and back was Aussie pianist Warren Wills, the radio show’s host, who belted out such an incredible Bowie compilation on the grand piano that goosebumps completed a Mexican wave all over my body. I didn’t tweet any of this at the time because I was glued there, mesmerised, but you can hear the performance on a podcast. Such nice people. Such enviable talent.

At the same event, the sister of one of my 80’s musical heroes approached me to help market her novel – a historical rhyming book that I haven’t yet read but will be downloading from Amazon before we meet next week to talk about a marketing campaign.

A second instance of a personal social media connection concerns another gallery and a different group of artists. My friend and colleague Martyn Royce took me to the launch of his summer exhibition at a contemporary gallery in Pall Mall. Momentarily standing alone to sip my champagne, a man started chatting to me, and – to cut an hour’s conversation into a snippet of a sentence – we ended up as Facebook friends.

Although he lives 150 miles away, social media showed that he was born in my town and – this was really quite unbelievable – he’d actually lived in my road and played with my neighbour as a child!  He’s now a leatherworker who does Viking re-enactments, demonstrating his craft at country shows up and down the UK; pretty cool.

A couple of days later I was at the V&A’s Frida Kahlo exhibition with my friend Caroline, coincidentally my neighbour’s sister – and she remembered him well. I’m putting them all in touch with each other as I write – multitasking at its best.

So, one week, two new Facebook friends, three galleries, a lot of fun and doors opening to new business opportunities.  Can’t be bad, eh?

Do remember though, your personal Facebook page shouldn’t be your business façade. Here are a few tips for managing it sensibly for business.

Top Tips

  • Only accept people as friends if you know them or can see a tangible connection.
  • If you want to keep business and social strictly separate, it’s absolutely fine – and not rude – to refer people to your business page and explain that you keep your personal profile for family and close friends.
  • Blend your personal and business pages when appropriate, share business updates and vice versa, but delineate the line between professional and fun.
  • Review your personal profile settings regularly to ensure only people you want to see your personal information can access it.
  • Avoid sharing negative personal updates. While some people use this tactic for engaging with friends, it’s not good practice if you’re hoping to be seen by current or future clients.
  • Don’t include ridiculous or drunken photos, swearing or anything else that falls into the realms of unprofessionalism.

Yell if you need any help with your Facebook presence!

Did Club 18-30 collapse due to ego-tourism – a social media trend?

You may have heard me interviewed this morning on BBC Radio 5 Live about the demise of Club 18-30 Holidays. The researcher that called asked about my opinion from a social media perspective, but the on-air discussion was more about our photo in the funny advertising brochure.

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The BBC found me via this four-year-old blog: Being quizzical, a specialist subject and Club 18-30 – not for the faint-hearted. I don’t remember the quiz mentioned in the blog but I certainly remember all the salient points of the 1984 trip to Ibiza!

Anna Foster, the morning show’s presenter, asked about the story leading up to my friend Gill and I  being photographed for the 18-30 brochure. She twice mentioned my social media business but, as the focus was on holiday memories, we didn’t get a chance to discuss my professional views live on air.

Club 18-30 is ending after a 50-year run, due to – according to its owner Thomas Cook – the preference for ‘ego-tourism,’ a term I hadn’t even heard of before.  Of course people want to look good on social media, but it’s not a mirror into people’s lives; it’s a reflection of what they want others to see.  Can the company really claim that people choose their holidays based on the fact they want other people to see what a fabulous place they’re in? Isn’t it more a case of simply wanting to be in that wonderful place precisely because it’s lovely and that’s where you want to be?

Naturally, I looked at Club 18-30’s social media before I chatted with the radio team. The business has a good following – 150,000 Facebook followers, yet the level of engagement is incredibly poor with hardly anyone liking posts or sharing the content. The brand is failing to engage with its target market, and this must surely be a larger contributing factor in its downfall than ego-tourism.

Anyway, my thanks for BBC5 for promoting me even though the talk show veered towards memories rather than business, and apologies to BBC4 who also called, but the timings clashed. How nice to be in demand by the national media – I thought my paparazzi days were over since my televised meeting with Prince William – but that’s another story!

What is legitimate interest? A plain English guide to this confusing topic

Are you GDPR’d out yet?

Last month, I explained my interpretation of ‘consent’ for GDPR.  The other reason many people will rely on for keeping in touch with their mailing list is “legitimate interest.”

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If you’re doing business with someone, you have a contract or you’re negotiating for one, legitimate interest definitely applies.  Consensus among the people I network with is that, if you have built your list from people you’ve met who know what you do and can reasonably expect to receive email about your business, this is a valid reason to stay in touch and can be classed as a legitimate interest. Do you agree?

Again, I recommend Suzanne Dibble’s super video collection for anyone who is uncertain about any aspect of GDPR, and some of the following information is taken from her marketing video. She suggests that, unless any e-privacy laws, ethics or industry standards are broken, in most cases direct marketing can be classed as a legitimate interest.  (There are some caveats.)

The key questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is the way you use people’s data ‘proportionate, with minimal privacy impact and people wouldn’t be surprised to receive it from you?
  • Could people reasonably expect to receive this information from you?
  • Have you worked through the “Three stage test?” This includes assessing the purpose for emailing them, ensuring it’s necessary for the purpose, and filling in a ‘balancing form’ to show whether the legitimate interest is overridden by the person’s rights or freedom. Also, did you keep a record of your ‘legitimate interest outcome’?
  • Can they opt out of receiving your emails? (If you use Mailchimp, as I do, there’s always been an unsubscribe button.)
  • Is your privacy policy lovely and clear?
  • Are people likely to object to receiving your email? And further – are they likely to object if you explained your reasoning to them? If the answer’s yes, you can’t count on legitimate interest.
  • Is whatever you’re sending likely to cause them harm? (The example Suzanne Dibble uses is people in debt receiving regular targeted emails from loan sharks or gambling websites, which can have a “significant negative effect.” If the answer’s yes, you can’t do it.)

Please note that, apparently, the ICO says that you shouldn’t rely on legitimate interest just because it seems easier to apply than consent.

That’s all I’m covering on GDPR now – and hopefully forever! Please remember that this is my own interpretation of legitimate interest; it doesn’t mean I’m correct, but I’m offering it as food for thought – or rather, fodder for further research if you think it will work for you.

So how are you deciding which legal basis to use in future? Will it be legitimate interest, consent or one of the other options?

Ten tips for using Social Media responsibly for your business

Of course, it goes without saying that social media is an excellent way to market your business. Many owners of small businesses (including me!) mix their professional and personal social media. It’s worth keeping in mind that one person’s lively banter could be seen as offensive to someone else. So, here are ten tips to keep you and your business out of trouble…

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  1. Social media can blur the boundary between your public and professional lives; stay aware of your personal image and how it may impact on your professional standing.
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  2. Anything you post can become a permanent record, there forever to be referred to, shared and re-shared beyond your control. Remember that there’s no such thing as a safe throwaway comment on social media.
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  3. Compromising photos may reflect badly on your business, even if you didn’t take or post the photo. Keep an eye on who’s posting what if you’re involved in any shenanigans!
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  4. Don’t forget that comments made in a personal capacity can bounce back to bite you, your business and, possibly, your whole industry.
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  5. Know how to adjust your privacy settings to keep personal stuff personal.
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  6. Think about your ethical and legal duty to protect other people’s confidentiality.
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  7. Beware of posting informal, personal or derogatory comments about anyone on your professional social media. Aside from it being rude, you don’t want to risk opening yourself to defamation and libel laws if your words are construed as unlawful. (Defamation law can apply to any comments posted on the web made in either a personal or professional capacity.)
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  8. If you come across comments made by others on social media that you find irritating, offensive or just plain wrong, think carefully before responding. Commenting will increase the visibility of the original comment and if other people jump onboard, the whole conversation can grow exponentially.
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  9. Without facial expressions or body language, it can be easy for people to misconstrue the meaning of your words in written social media. You and I might think something’s funny, but someone else could view it as sarcasm or rudeness.
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  10. Aim to be consistent across social media. If you present yourself very differently on LinkedIn and Facebook, it’s possible that people might question your business integrity.
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Social media has always been an overwhelming minefield, but with the GDPR data protection laws all around it’s better to be just a touch more vigilant than before. Feel free to drop me an email if you need help with anything social media-related.

GDPR consent – a plain English interpretation for email marketing and social media

“Four things you must do, four things to avoid, and six tips to make your life easier.”

Since I sent you my ‘GDPR in plain English; 10 steps to take now,’ I’ve spent a good deal of time on webinars, in chatrooms and at expert panels, where some very smart people have presented their own interpretations of what GDPR really means to us small business owners.

But the truth is, it’s still a greyish area. Maybe not an infamous 50 shades, but certainly enough hues to confuse an awful lot of people.  The guidance is quite clear; how to put it into practice somewhat less so…

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There are six lawful reasons for ‘processing personal data’ – in other words, storing information and emailing people. In reality, for most people reading this, only two reasons are likely to apply:

  • Legitimate interest; and
  • Consent

Let’s focus on consent, because what we believe to be consent isn’t necessarily recognised as consent under the new law. Here are four things you must do, four things to avoid, and six tips to make your life easier.

You must:

  • Gain clear re-consent to email everyone on your mailing list. This means ‘affirmative action’ on their part. We can’t simply assume it’s okay to continue emailing them because they haven’t told us otherwise.
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  • Gain consent to email new people. We can’t work on the presumption that a business card swap at a networking lunch implies agreement to join a mailing list.
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  • Keep a clear record of when and why each person gave their consent. This includes recording how they “signed up,” what you told them you’d do with their data and what your privacy policy was on that date. I’ll be keeping a simple Excel spreadsheet from now on and hoping that’s sufficient.
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  • Have an up-to-date privacy policy that is clearly accessible on your website, not hidden in the footer. (Mine’s still in the footer…)

You can’t:

  • Keep anyone’s personal data after May 25th if they haven’t agreed to it (unless one of the other reasons applies – such as legitimate interest or contract). You have to delete it! Yes, I know… all those years of carefully cultivating an email list.
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  • Collect people’s information without a good reason. And only ask for what you need – don’t try to find out ‘sensitive data’ like date of birth, dress size, skin colour or who they fancy – unless you can absolutely justify why you need this information.
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  • Email people for any reason other than what you’ve agreed with them. So you might hope to raise extra money for charity by emailing your business list to let them know you’re doing a sponsored parachute jump – and chances are no one will report you for this – but it’s not allowed under the new rules. Likewise, you can’t take someone’s email to send them a free gift then add them to a mailing list for marketing. This applies to social media marketing too – so there should be no more signing up for anything via Facebook then receiving unrelated emails from the same company or an associated one.
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  • Ignore the law. Lots of people are poo-pooing the extortionate fines being quoted – after all, would the ICO really bankrupt a small business owner for sending an email to someone who hadn’t agreed? Of course not, but the aggravation of a potential investigation is surely not worth it.

There are various things you can do to make the transition into GDPR-compliancy easier for yourself.

These six tips should make the process easier!

  1. Add a clearly worded Privacy Policy to your website. Make sure it’s written in plain English and addresses all the points necessary to make it GDPR compliant.
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  2. Audit your sign-up process. Check the way you add people to your mailing list – through a website sign-up form, via a Facebook promotion, from business cards, from a ‘pop your card in this jar to win a bottle of champagne’ scheme. Then ensure the way you add them moving forward complies with the law.
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  3. Watch a brilliant two-hour webinar with a specialist GDPR lawyer named Suzanne Dibble here. She worked for Richard Branson to set up Virgin’s data protection compliance and she runs a very useful Facebook group. (I’ve seen the video – she also has many short videos on various different GDPR-related topics.) There’s a link to a useful GDPR checklist too.
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  4. Buy Suzanne’s legal document pack. (I haven’t done this but I’ve seen many recommendations for it on Facebook.) This includes a standard privacy policy.
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  5. Remember that it’s about being reasonable. Could someone ‘reasonably’ expect to receive email from you? If in doubt, leave them out.
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  6. Reframe the whole ‘losing loads of subscribers’ issue in your mind. View it as an opportunity to clean up your mailing list. Having fewer people on your list can actually be helpful as you’ll have better open and engagement rates, which means more of your emails will land in people’s inboxes and fewer will go into their trash.

I’ve used the word interpretation in my heading as that’s what this is – my interpretation of it, based on hours of research and my ability to quickly sift through mounds of conflicting information to find the linguistic diamond in the sand.

So, just to get my own little beachball rolling, if you’d like to stay subscribed to my mailing list to receive social media tips – or you’d like to sign-up now, please leave your name and email in the sign up box below.

You can unsubscribe at any time, of course.  On a final note, signing up confirms that you’ve read and understand our privacy and cookies policy. Thanks!

I hope these notes are helpful. Please tell me if you’d like to know more about the ‘Legitimate Interest’ basis for processing personal data and I’ll cover that next time.

GDPR in Plain English – 10 steps to take now

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May.  If you hold any information on file about people, this new law affects you and you should be preparing for it now.

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What’s different to the current Data Protection Act?

Not a lot will change; it’s still about keeping people’s personal information safe. The way you act with regard to people’s data must still be lawful, fair and transparent – and you must have a clear purpose for handling their information.

If you comply with data protection rules now, much of your work is probably already in place.  The GDPR places greater emphasis on the documentation that you (as the Data Controller) must keep to demonstrate your accountability, so you need to have effective policies and procedures in place before May.  These must be written in plain English.

Make sure everyone in your organisation knows that the law is changing and this will impact on some areas of work, such as filing, storing information on line and contacting people by email. Brexit won’t make a difference – we all have to comply or face horrendous fines.

10 steps you can take right away

  1. Know what information you hold
    Document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with.
    Maintain clear records of your processing activities.
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  2. Be aware of people’s rights
    Check your procedures to make sure they cover people’s rights, including how you would delete their personal data or provide data electronically and in a ‘commonly used format.’ People have many rights, including to be informed, access their information free-of-charge, have it deleted and not to be subject to automated decision-making, including profiling.
  1. Communicate privacy information
    Review your privacy notices and make any necessary changes. When you collect personal data you currently have to give people certain information, such as your identity and how you intend to use their information. This is usually done through a ‘privacy notice.’ You must now also tell people your ‘lawful basis’ for processing the data, how long you plan to keep their information and that they have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if they think there is a problem with the way you are handling their data. The GDPR requires this information to be provided in concise, easy to understand and clear language – in other words, in plain English! If you have inaccurate personal data and have shared this with another organisation, you will have to tell the other organisation so it can correct its own records.
  1. State your lawful basis for processing personal data
    Why do you keep people’s information? Identify the lawful basis for why you’re processing people’s data, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it. Some people’s rights will be modified depending on your lawful basis for processing their personal data; the most obvious example is that people will have a stronger right to have their data deleted where you use consent as your lawful basis for processing.
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  2. Gain consent
    Review how you seek, record and manage consent. (The ICO has published detailed guidance on consent and offers a checklist to review your practices.) Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. There must be a positive opt-in; consent cannot be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity. It must also be separate from other terms and conditions, and you must have simple ways for people to withdraw their consent. Consent has to be verifiable and people generally have more rights where you rely on consent to process their data. In these cases, make sure it meets the GDPR standard on being specific, clear, prominent, opt-in, properly documented and easily withdrawn.
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  3. Handle subject access requests
    Update your procedures on how to handle requests to provide any additional information. Under the new rules, you will have a month to comply, rather than the current 40 days, and you can refuse or charge for requests that are ‘manifestly unfounded’ or excessive. If you refuse a request, you must tell the person why, and let them know that they have the right to complain to the supervisory authority and to a legal remedy.
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  4. Deal with data breaches
    Make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach. You may need to notify the ICO (and possibly some other bodies) if you suffer a personal data breach that is likely to result in anyone being at risk of discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss, loss of confidentiality or any other significant economic or social disadvantage. You will also have to notify the people affected.
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  5. Protect children
    GDPR introduces special protection for children’s personal data, particularly in the context of commercial internet services such as social networking. If relevant to your business, put systems in place to verify people’s ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity. Children can give their own consent to processing at age 16 (although this may be lowered to 13 in the UK). If a child is younger, you will need to get consent from a person holding ‘parental responsibility’.
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  6. Name your Data Protection Officer
    Designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance, if you don’t already have someone in this role. Look into the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments to see whether this relates to your business.
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  7. International? Know which rules apply
    If your business operates in more than one EU member state, find out which will be your lead data protection supervisory authority and make sure you apply the relevant rules.
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Hopefully, these notes will give you a head start on tidying up your systems in anticipation of the forthcoming changes. This info is adapted from the GDPR section of the Information Commissioner’s Office website where there’s loads more useful advice and guidance to set you straight.

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like help to edit your privacy statement or any other documents into plain English.

Would you like to join me for a glass of wine? (And a free LinkedIn review!)

If you’re free on Thursday, 1st March, please join me at the Art Pavilion in east London for the private viewing of “In a country far, far away.”

There will be some awesome works of art, live music, wine and dance displays – so it will be wonderful if you can come along!

This exhibition has been inspired by tales from countries in war and crisis. My exhibit is a poem dedicated to the first recorded poet – a remarkable woman who lived over 4,500 years ago in the area now known as southern Iraq. Her work has survived almost five millennia, yet I’d never even heard of her until recently! Just think… her message spread across the globe and made a lasting impact without even a whisper of wifi…

While I won’t be giving out social media tips on the night (apart from reminding people to tweet, share and Instagram their favourite pieces of artwork, of course), I will be happy to follow up with a complimentary LinkedIn review for anyone who comes along as a result of reading this blog!

Here are the details, and I really hope you can make it!

If there’s anything specific you’d like to know about making the most of LinkedIn – or any social media – but you can’t make it on March 1st, please feel free to ask.

Looking forward to – hopefully – seeing you there!

How to avoid being annoying on LinkedIn

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | LinkedIn coaching ! LinkedIn training | social media marketingA few weeks ago I received an invitation to connect with another social media consultant. I’m usually happy to link up online with other people in my field as it’s great to be able to share ideas and – occasionally – concerns, and have meaningful discussions about the digital media marketing world. Also, there’s always the chance of cross-referrals if one person is too busy to take on new clients, so it’s good to have other people to recommend.

Some of the clients I coach don’t like to connect within their own industry sphere – and that’s fine.  Although I always point out that if it’s a reluctance to connect for fear of the competition poaching their clients, it might be worth reassessing their current client relationship strategy.  Within most industries there’s enough work to go around, and a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone.

So I accepted the LinkedIn invitation and started a discussion. This person specialises in handling the social media for clients in only one industry sector – we’ll pretend it’s liquorice manufacturers. (It’s not really, but I don’t like liquorice.)

Only, later that day, a problem sprang up.  I received an email via LinkedIn from this person – trying to sell me social media services! And not only that – it rambled on and on about liquorice. My new LinkedIn connection started spamming me within 12 hours of discussing the beneficial crossovers and differences of our respective businesses!

The following day… guess what?! Another communication – this time a group message. When I received the third message in two days I emailed to remind him that I am not his target client and asked that he please stop emailing me. No reply.

On receiving the fourth email, I – very nicely – asked if his strategy when working with clients was to bombard their contacts in the hope that they may turn into future customers… Again, no reply. For the first time ever, I disconnected from someone on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a highly professional social network and, aside from its incredible power in the business world, there is an etiquette attached.  So here are a few tips to keep out of people’s annoyance zone:

  1. Personalise your connection requests: Remind people how they know you or explain why you’d like to connect if you’ve never actually met.
  2. Respond promptly: If you receive a message, reply quickly. Set your notifications so that messages filter through to your email box; that way you won’t miss anything important.
  3. Send a welcome message: If someone adds you (and you accept them), drop them a note to thank them for connecting. It’s also a good opportunity to find out why they connected and what you may be able to do to help each other.
  4. Don’t send spam or irrelevant messages: Be mindful that not all your connections are potential clients – your target group probably accounts for only a small percentage of people. Just like networking off-line, the people you know on LinkedIn will be a complete mix – and not all need your services or products.
  5. Don’t add LinkedIn connections to your email list: With GDPR approaching, that’s not an acceptable way to build an email list – it was never ethical and, from May, it will be illegal.
  6. Never ask people to recommend or endorse you if they haven’t experienced your work. And even if they have, only ask for a recommendation if you know they were happy with you. Ideally, do this at the time of the job so it’s fresh in their minds.

If there’s anything specific you’d like to know about making the most of LinkedIn, feel free to ask. I’ll happily answer questions in the comments – or write a future blog to cover wider topics.

Alternatively, if you’d like to freshen up your profile or spend some time together on a 1-2-1 basis, click here and we can make a date!

Facebook’s new newsfeed strategy will affect you and your business!

If you use Facebook to raise the brand awareness of your business, the past few days have seen a major announcement that will shake up your marketing efforts going forward.

There is a huge change in the way business information will be presented in people’s newsfeeds, which means that your business will no longer enjoy the visibility it has in the past.  Basically – anything you post will be seen by fewer people!

As a personal Facebook user, you may be pleased to know that you’ll see more of your friends’ activity and less business page news.

This is the main point…

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | LinkedIn coaching ! LinkedIn training | social media marketingMark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, has decreed that Facebook’s goal is to focus on helping people to have meaningful social interactions with their friends and families. He said, “We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.”

Feedback shows that ‘public content’ – posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. Mark Zuckerberg basically wants to make sure people’s time on Facebook is well spent and enjoyable.

What this means

This means that the posts you’ll see will be more community-focused from people you know rather than sales oriented from business pages.

Facebook will still encourage posts from large communities around things like TV shows and sports teams. Mr Z says, “Too often, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.” He wants to establish large, vibrant, engaged, realtime communities watching the same events simultaneously. (This will be a good opportunity for advertisers to shift more of their budget away from TV to Facebook.)

How it will affect businesses

In reality, this means that for business owners, the best way to be seen is to invest in paid ads. The good news, though, is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune for properly targeted advertising on Facebook (and Instagram) to help to grow your business.

My prediction is that, from a Facebook user’s perspective, nothing much will change.  We’ll all still see the same business posts in our newsfeed – it’s just that the business owners will be paying for them rather than them appearing organically!

What you can do

  • Accept that you’ll have to invest a little in Facebook advertising. Make sure your demographics are accurate and that you monitor the results and tweak ads accordingly.
  • Ask your friends and family to like, comment and share info from your business page, so that Facebook can see the interaction and recognise you as a community-interactive business.
  • Get into the habit of creating live video content, as this reportedly gets six times more interaction than standard videos.
  • Encourage any form of back-and-forth discussion, such as asking for advice or requests for recommendations.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out over the next few weeks.  If you’d like some advice or help to manage your Facebook or any other social media platform, please feel free get in touch.

Global business, LinkedIn profiles and Viking Pirate Women

Sometimes when we’re introduced to people through random conversations, we make business contacts that help us immensely in our work, but to add sugar on the top, we can build relationships that turn into valuable friendships. This has been the case with Kathryn.

A client introduced me to Kathryn a couple of years ago. (He wasn’t a client at the time; he is now). I was looking for a recommendation for a professional service, and he’d engaged her for something similar. Hence an introductory email and we were good to go.

One of the most fantastic things about our digital age is the ability to work with clients and suppliers anywhere in the world. I’ve worked with businesses across the globe from the Netherlands to Australia, via the Ukraine and USA, and my lovely team are all over the place. Kathryn hails from Sedona, a beautiful area of Arizona with russet-red mountains; an oasis of lush landscape settled like a jewel in the heart of the desert.

Imaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritingKathryn’s in Europe for a couple of months, so we met up to spend a day at the Design Museum in Kensington.  I once went to the Commonwealth Institute on a school trip and this new museum stands in its place. It’s interesting – the Commonwealth Institute slowly vanished as the commonwealth itself shrunk, yet today’s displays include a history of global communication that reflects the globality of our history.

SImaginative Training | social media blog | social media training | Plain English training | Plain English editing | copywritinghe’s immensely good company, and stunned me with the title of the lecture she’ll be giving later this month at a Danish conference: Viking Pirate Women! How cool is that?! She’s an expert in medieval literature and this is an opportunity to discuss something that I, for one, don’t encounter on a daily basis. Do you?

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Doubt they looked like this in Viking times…

Princesses and queens fighting for their thrones, avenging their husbands’ executions and avoiding marriage: these are just a few of the reasons these women took to the seas – often disguised as men in order to secure their places on-board. Sounds very Game of Thrones-ish. Compared to that, we almost live in boring times. They’d have had a few tasty posts if social media had been around in those days, that’s for sure.

While Kathryn’s having fun entertaining and educating the conference delegates in Denmark, I’ll be right here in England, educating people all over the world on the effective use of LinkedIn.  In case you didn’t get my newsletter this month, I’m offering LinkedIn coaching sessions for the introductory price of only £75 – all via Skype, so you don’t have to leave your office. Or home, if you work from home. I’d prefer no pyjamas, but I’ll leave it up to you.

The session covers an awful lot for an hour, so be prepared for fast, hard work – but you’ll achieve so much! An awesome profile, improved search engine status and the ability to find the right people to help you in business. You can click here if you’d like to book a session or find out more – or to sign up to the mailing list for hints and tips on social media.

As tempting as it was to search out an 80s vintage classic Adam Ant lyric, these far less trendy words – actually quite shocking for children – flew into my mind: “We kindle and char, inflame and ignite, … we burn up the city, we’re really a fright.”  With visions of people on Tinder throwing down their reading material so they can hit the town and terrorise the community, this is a good example of the opposite image you want to portray on LinkedIn!! Agree? Let’s chat further! You can message me on LinkedIn, of course – or ask me here: @WeekendWitch.

Lyrics credits: Songwriters: F Xavier Atencio, George Edward Bruns · Published by: Lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company