Last week I was invited to discuss how businesses can use social media for a video City AM are producing. After years of being behind the camera I’ve managed to find myself in front of it twice in two months!
I love talking about how small businesses can use social media effectively, so to be able to do that in the company of others just as passionate about digital marketing as I am was really quite something.
The Estate Agency of the Year Awards, in association with The Times and The Sunday Times, are the Oscars of the estate agency world.
After six years of writing and submitting numerous (award winning!) applications on behalf of a number of London estate agents, I was thrilled to experience life on the other side as a judge for the 2016 awards.
It was a pleasure to interview dozens of passionate estate agency owners from around the country, but more on that in another post.
Today I just want to say how much I learnt from my fellow judges. They’re a clever bunch from a variety of backgrounds and you can check them out in this slightly embarrassing Estate Agency of the Year Awards judges video! (You can spot me cracking up at the 2:32 mark…)
As the sole marketer in a small business, time-saving tools are my friend.
I’m in the Guardian today discussing why Buffer is my favourite.
Buffer is a social media management app that allows you to schedule posts across different platforms. If you share responsibility for social media management among your small business team you can add other team members to one account. Its analytics feature shows you how well each of your posts has performed (in terms of reach, retweets, likes) so you can tweak the tone, content and timings of your posts accordingly. The tool is free to use if you are scheduling posts on four platforms or fewer, but is around £70 a year for integrating more social media accounts (up to 10) and more posts (more than 100).
It’s not often that you fall head over heels in love with a brand, but that’s how I feel about Moz. Firstly, their product is superb. Moz is by far the best tool I use as a small business marketer and it helps me do better work. Secondly, their blog is a treasured resource of information – I learn something new from every post.
Each year they run a conference called MozCon and this year I’d love to go. However as it takes place on the other side of the planet there’s just no way that I can afford to attend. That’s why I’m sitting indoors on a sunny Friday afternoon (such a rarity for London, so that’s commitment for you), writing a blog about why I’d love to attend MozCon 2016 in an attempt to win access to the conference to end all conferences.
Why I’d love to attend MozCon 2016
I got myself a swanky whiteboard because I had dreams of making it as famous as Moz’s whiteboard. Networking at MozCon will definitely give me some much-needed ideas about what to write and draw on it.
2. I ordered too many business cards
We recently rebranded and I now have hundreds of swish new business cards that I’m desperate to hand out. It would be nice for them to see more of the world as currently they’ve only travelled as far as my Gran’s fridge.
3. Workplace culture
When I turned sixteen I started my first job in retail. As part of our induction we watched a video about teamwork, and during that video I was introduced to Pike Place Fish Market for the first time. The image of fish being thrown around has stuck in my mind and I’d like to see it in action. I know I’ll learn a lot about workplace culture in Seattle, and a visit to the Fish Market and the MozPlex would be high on my bucket list.
4. Education, education, education
I love to learn and spend at least three hours a day reading about social media, content marketing and SEO either on my mobile or on my laptop, and participate in Facebook groups to communicate with fellow digital professionals. As much as I like sitting behind a computer, learning and chatting about an industry I love, it would be really great to learn something new from a live event – and to have real life human beings to talk about it with afterwards.
5. I’m lonely
I work for a great company that’s full of energy and my colleagues are as passionate about their work as I am about mine. However as their work is totally different to mine I don’t have anyone to discuss digital stuff with. That’s fine 95% of the time, but it would be really nice to spend a few days talking to people that are just as passionate about digital marketing as I am.
As you can tell, I’d love the opportunity to attend MozCon 2016. I’ll be checking my email – email@example.com – obsessively. Thanks for considering me!
P.S. if you’re reading this blog and don’t work for Moz, definitely check out the other competition entries by searching for #MozCon on Twitter. There are some especially awesome video entries!
Growing up my parents never told me off if I got a poor score on a test. It didn’t matter to them if I wasn’t as good at Physics as I was at English, as long as I continued to try my best.
But I was told off for things that required zero talent. Leaving a textbook at home or missing the school bus would have meant serious trouble, because 99% of the time they’re inexcusable mistakes.
In life there will always be times when you question your talent, whether your self-criticism is justified or not. Those challenging moments are easier to work through when you’re already practicing a few positive things that require zero talent each day of your life.
Employees who join a company through employee referral are likely to be better, more loyal performers according to the Financial Times. Additionally they’re more likely to be well informed about the company after seeking insight from their contact before applying.
Rather than setting an arbitrary goal for employee referrals, employees sharing job vacancies should be the goal every company strives towards. After all, nothing says you’ve created a great place to work than your current employees voluntarily encouraging their contacts to apply for available roles.
But how do you turn your top employees into valuable recruiters? Does splashing the cash work, or is it all about creating a great company culture?
1) Referral schemes
Many businesses offer financial incentives to employees once the candidate has accepted the job offer or completed their probation period. Although incentives carry huge weight they’re not right for every organisation, and ideally you want to create an environment that inspires your employees to spread the word without the promise of personal gain.
2) Company culture
Once a month I get a free massage at work. There’s a range of herbal teas in the kitchen cupboard, a fancy coffee machine at my disposal and I’m treated to a number of lunches and dinners with my colleagues each year. They’re small things that make a huge impact. And they’re the things I make small talk about with friends, acquaintances and new people I meet at networking events.
However company culture isn’t just about nice things you do for your staff and the talking point opportunities they offer. Ultimately it’s about the following:
Culture guides discretionary behaviour and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.
Create a great company culture and you’ll only have to hire when you grow as a business – not to replace staff that wanted to leave.
You can’t prevent employees from using social media and expect them to spread the word about open vacancies in their spare time. Trust your staff to manage their time appropriately and allow them to access Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin during working hours. You’ll soon see positive chatter about your business begin to grow as they share company updates, write positively about events at work and promote job opportunities to their network.
Employees need to know what positions are open in order to refer people. Even Google found that they needed to ‘nudge’ employees into making more referrals by reminding them about specific open positions. Whatever size company you are be transparent and share job descriptions and relevant opportunities, whether that’s in person at a company meeting or by sharing a post on the company intranet.
5) Showcase your business online
With a great company culture and employees in a position to share what’s good about your company online, make sure your social media profiles and website are up to date and represent your organisation’s culture too. Your employees best connections will spend time researching your company before applying for a position; help them get a good idea of who you are so they can make sure they’re a good fit.