Social media connects us on a global level with one click. I met Otoabasi Umonting, a social media trainer and consultant, at an event about public speaking and I had the chance to interview him recently on my Digital Leadership Insights Interview talk show.
We are both Londoners, but with different backgrounds. Otoabasi grew up in Nigeria and I in Sweden. Being able to use social media to keep in touch with people all over the world makes life easier as an expat and when you want to stay in touch with all the friends and people you meet in business.
The internet and the World Wide Web are here to help us to share our knowledge, insights and skills, and to help us to connect with each other. I am sure that we are just at the beginning of what will come, and I encourage you to explore new ways to connect and collaborate online
In this post I will share some of the insights from the interview.
1) How to stay on top and keep learning
We started the interview by talking about change and speed. The speed at which social media platforms evolve is very quick, they are improving and changing all the time and it’s hard to keep up-to-date.
‘It’s the human rules of interaction that you need to learn to master social media tools’, says Otoabasi. We love to stay connected and our ability to connect has driven humanity forward to where we are today.
Otoabasi added that when you have basic fundamental knowledge about how social media works you will find it much easier to use all platforms; even new platforms and those that tend to continually change.
2) Don’t procrastinate when it comes to your social media presence
In many cases brands avoid social media because they are afraid of being judged by their audience. They remain quiet and prefer to keep a low profile.
This strategy is not very productive; you better get over your shyness and define who you are and what your core values are.
Otoabasi and I discussed the importance of you as a brand creating content that tells the world who you are. If you don’t do this there’s a risk that other people’s views and comments will be featured online and will be more visible than your own message.
3) Your promise to your customers ‘Your projection to the public defines your brand’, says Otoabasi. How you deliver your content will determine how people perceive you as well as how they connect with you. This insight led me to think about how you must help people to connect with your brand and that everyone is different. Some like to call you on their phone, others prefer Twitter.
4) How to build rapport online
The number one tip from Otoabasi was to keep sharing information that your audience is interested in. It may seem like a no-brainer, but there are so many brands out there that share completely irrelevant information.
We learn constantly over the course of our lives and people are curious. Even experts are still learning and they tap into other people’s knowledge. Social media provides a good opportunity to share information with people interested in your favourite subjects.
‘Consistency is key as well. If you are sharing a new blog post every day and then suddenly stop, your audience will be confused and ask themselves why’, says Otoabasi. You lose the connection if you break your communication rhythm.
What you can do is to find new ways of sharing information, try out new channels and methods. This will help you to expand your knowledge base as well.
Also, if you change the topic of your blog or social media profile your followers will wonder what’s up. It’s like a TV show that suddenly changes its theme or swaps characters. We wouldn’t be interested in the next episode anymore.
5) We must all have mentors and great teachers
Social media is an extension of what your organisation is doing – it’s everywhere, in marketing, PR, sales, operations, product development, security, IT and so on. To stay on top of what’s going on in social media you must learn from others.
Otoabasi said that he has learned a lot from one mentor in London and that he has also been learning a lot of new skills from online mentors as well. My comment on this is that when you reach a certain level of expertise it’s easier to tap into more complex knowledge to enhance your skills.
Good mentors and teachers will help you to think critically about problems and to think in new ways. One social media personality that Otoabasi has learned from is social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vaynerchuk started a video blog in 2006 where he spoke about wine and interviewed lots of people about wine. He had a huge number of followers and his online show was very popular.
6) Online storytelling
We then moved on and spoke about storytelling. ‘We started the interview talking about where we were from and sharing part of our journey’, says Otoabasi. Social media is all about telling a story. We can share our story in different ways using social media so that people get a clearer picture of what we are about and what our brand stands for. People connect with the story of a brand.
In our interview Otoabasi spoke about Tim Ferris, author of The 4-hour Workweek. He has been sharing his story and knowledge using social media for years and he has thousands of followers. His fans love his story and the way he is sharing his philosophy.
7) What makes a brand an authority online?
‘The more emotional equity you have and the more you know about how human relationships work the better you will be at connecting online’, says Otoabasi. The more we learn about human psychology the better we are at responding online.
In the interview we both agreed that we should listen more to what people feel they would enjoy learning about.
If you are good at listening then social media is great, if you are not interesting in listening then don’t bother with social media – or have low expectations, the outcome may not be great if you are not responsive to feedback.
8) How to measure KPIs and how to agree on what to measure
Otoabasi and I also discussed the importance of KPIs, key performance indicators. I’ve always found the term ‘KPI’ very unsexy and if you are not defining what matters when measuring KPIs then you are opening yourself up to problems.
Otoabasi says, ‘You are looking for a better end-result, that is what key performance indicators are helping you with. Maybe new leads? More email addresses to add to your lists? Do you want people to come to your events?’ KPIs can be measured in many different ways. One rule always applies though, bad calls to action will make people leave your website or page before you have been able to connect with them.
Knowing what your demographic looks like may help you to better understand your KPIs, including the regions and the age ranges you are reaching out to most. Who is your information reaching?
Another gem that Otoabasi shared with me was, ‘When you are measuring what is happening online you are tracking what is moving your business forward.’
9) Final tip and conclusion
If your brand is focused on value-based content then you are more likely to make the most of your social media campaigns. Don’t focus on trying to get something to go viral. That is not likely to happen.
Digital Leadership Insights Interviews.
Fly higher. Reach further.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Otoabasi Umonting.
The Book Review by Susanna Stratton November 2013. Thank you!!
“Digital Leadership – How creativity in business can propel your brand and boost your results.” Sofie Sandell’s book on digital communications for business.
For this first book slot I’m reviewing a book written by a fellow member of the “Fabulous Women” network. Sofie Sandell is a trainer and speaker with a successful track record of helping organisations to expand their digital and social media strategies.
“Digital Leadership” has been described as a “common sense approach” to the subject matter and I agree. I am not a marketing person by background. I have never worked in the world of marketing or indeed a communications department. However I am passionate about leadership, creativity, collaboration and innovation. I also now run a business which means I have needed to get marketing and I love social media. I love how you can put a tweet out and people hear you and reply or even better retweet and you can connect with so many people. It’s magic. Can you imagine we didn’t have this stuff twenty years ago?
Like a lot of people however I often wonder if I could be doing better . I’ve gone to a few talks on the matter, looked up YouTube “how to” videos. You can learn how to do lots of things on YouTube but I’ve never read a book on the subject before. I found this book so easy to read.
There’s no jargon to frighten the complete beginner. I have a few friends who’ve never used social media ever and I’ve recommended this to them once they’ve registered and had a go.
I have a lot of contacts in the NHS. I will be recommending it to them because the NHS definitely has untapped potential when it comes to social media. so many audiences and so many opportunities for health promotion.
I have contacts in education. Schools are often terrified of getting involved in digital communication. They fear their kids will be posting terrible things about the school. If kids are going to do that they’ll do it anyway. It’s up to the school to take the lead in what it communicates about itself and use media to help engage its kids. So don’t be afraid of social media and don’t be afraid of this book. It couldn’t be friendlier.
Sofie’s book is about a lot more than just digital communication. It talks about another one of my favourite subjects which is organisational culture. In particular the culture of creativity. Some cultures inadvertently have fostered a culture that sounds the death knell to new ideas as the words are out of someone’s mouth. It’s the “ Yes but….” culture. “ Yes but” basically means “NO!” and it takes only the strongest and most resilient pioneer to keep pushing with the idea until everyone can see that it works.
However these businesses are wasting opportunities for new ideas some of which could be the winner that brings in new clients and generates growth. So “Yes and…” opens up the conversation for new ideas to stretch and grow, get feedback, tweak, and problem solve, test and try and become the next big thing.
Sofie captures these concepts with her stories from her own experience. Infact I’d say it’s her art of story telling that really sells some of these ideas.
The book also talks about the need for connection, collaboration and sharing. We don’t have the digital technology we have today by the thoughts of one man or woman or one company. Ideas need to be shared to grow colossally and change the world. Creativity needs connection and collaboration. In the old days competition could sometimes slow down creativity.
Some companies even went out of business because they refused to share their technology. However the younger companies have a new way of looking at the world. They want to compete but they want to collaborate too. They don’t act like soldiers going to war to fight their enemy to the death.
They behave playfully like a sports team going out to compete against the other team. We might lose this time but we’ll win next time and there’s always a next time. What’s more playing this way means the game keeps getting more interesting as we just all keep getting better, stronger and faster.
Sofie’s book is great advice for organisations that want to be more creative but also for individuals that want to be more creative and for leaders that want to foster creativity.
There’s lots of excellent practical advice on how to manage your image on line as a business, how to manage conflict, how to use positive language to encourage others amongst other things.
Above all “Digital Leadership” walks the talk when it comes to thinking about how it communicates its message.
The book is well laid out and written in a very accessible way being very easy on the eye when you’re reading it. I’ve totally enjoyed reading it. On her website www.sofiesandell.com/bonus you can find extra resources. Her book is available on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1780356943
I am on my way to Mechelen in Belgium, just outside Brussels, early November. I am speaking about Digital Leadership, digital strategies and social media at two events.
The delegates at the 4P square have asked me some interesting questions in advance, I will share some of them with you now and then I will add my answer to the blog later this week. Some of the questions are stimulating your brain for sure!
I really believe in and I admire people driven by passion for their profession, I’m also a “facts and figures” person and I’m very interested in proven Return-on-Investment figures. Can you share some facts about ROI in Digital Marketing?
I would like to hear some stories and opinions about social media in a B2B context. I already have my own view, but I am curious to the point of view of others.
I am active in B2B myself and I am interested in the digital applications in B2B-marketing. What are the latest trends for the use of digital application in B2B environments?
How can you use social media in a B2B environment? Please share some examples.
How would your digital strategy be different in B2B versus B2C?
If you were a utility company with no or only a limited presence in social media – how would you start building your digital footprint?
Is there a chance that users will be negative to platforms that are becoming too commercial in the future?
How will the battle between Google and Facebook evolve according to you?
This week I had the opportunity to visit Social Media Club Göteborg which is a network for people interested in social media in Göteborg – as in the name.
We met for lunch and interesting discussions at Incontro and the theme was how authors can use social media to promote their books and what it is that make you choose to read a book from another. Each table formed a group and I sat with three other authors, two of them I got a book from – Kajsa Asp and Kristina Svensson – thank you!!
Every group then shared their thoughts and this was steamed live via Bambuser. Super smart!! You can see me in the video, I am speaking twice, sharing my group’s discussion and a story about my book 🙂 Time: 4.50 min and 16:36 (the video is in Swedish)
Q: Will my potential customers judge me by what I write on Twitter?
A: The answer is short and neat: Yes, they will judge you by what you say on Twitter, and online in general. Before anyone does business with you they check out your credibility online and they will Google your name and your brand name. What you write and say about yourself will help them to make up their mind about you, who you are and if they like you. We tend to choose to work with people we like when we meet them, and if their online messages connect with us then it’s even easier to make up our minds.
Google rank Twitter high and will show off your Twitter account among the first results when someone searches for you.
Bloomberg—a trader’s best friend—has pulled Twitter into its terminal since April this year. This is a sign that the stock market is taking information published on social media seriously. Read an article on this topic published on Mashable.
You have to make a decision about whether you would like social media involved in every aspect of your business, which makes it more effective, or if you are happy to send out a message every now and then.
What you need to know:
Who is your audience?
What do they want to hear from you?
Where is your audience online?
When you know more about who your audience is you can compose a better message and use the right channels.
Doing well on Twitter is not about having thousands or even millions of followers, it’s more about connecting with the right people who want to connect and listen to you. So go out and find them.
From my book ‘Digital Leadership’
Sofie says: “We all have an OBD—an Online Bullshit Detector. We can see immediately if anyone shares something online and doesn’t mean it. You are better off showing who you are, with your flaws, and keep being authentic to your values.”
Speaker, trainer and author Sofie Sandell is launching her book ‘Digital Leadership: How Creativity in Business Can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results’ 3rd October in London 6.30pm.
Come and join Sofie Sandell at her book launch party as she signs her book DIGITAL LEADERSHIP on Thursday 3rd October at 6.30pm at The Crypt, St George the Martyr Church, Borough High Street, SE1.
The book covers why social media matters and how creativity in business works. These are essential skills for any profession today. The digital tools are here to be used to create change in the world and Sofie is encouraging all leaders and people who want to inspire others to use them smarter.
How innovative your organisation will be in the future will depend on how well you are at managing creativity and innovation. Creativity is free and a real business advantage that you should use and utilize. Many new ideas in the future will involve digital and social media, so you need to be open to new ideas and learn how to nurture them.
Said about the book
“An essential guide to de-mystifying how social media and the digital world can work for you… a real common sense approach for you and your business.”
– Lesley Young, JCI Executive Vice President Europe
Sofie says: ‘More people, and especially leaders need to discover the digital leadership principles. Creativity is available for everyone and many people in the world have access to social media, we should really make the most of it and stop making excuses for not being creative.’
MC for the evening will be Annik Rau, founder of the London based public speaking club Pony Express. It will be a fun evening and you will learn a lot of great tips about social media, leadership and creativity!
If you want to learn more about it, then drop by the official book launch on 3rd October, 2013 from 6:30 at The Crypt, St. George the Martyr Church located at Borough High Street, SE1, London, United Kingdom.
If you would like to learn more about social media, creativity and leadership, then the book Digital Leadership: How Creativity in Business Can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results is definitely for you. Let the writer, Sofie Sandell, enlighten you and tell you all about how it is done.
The book will be available to buy online at the end of September in both print and ebook format.
Sofie Sandell is an entrepreneur with interests spanning from technology and leadership to art and sailing. She is a speaker, trainer and author, she wrote this book to be able to share what she is speaking about with a wider audience around the world. Sofie was the first social media manager at a big publisher house in London and has been involved in digital media for over ten years.
Sofie is also a regular contributor to the technology radio show #TechTalkfest where she talks about all things digital. Sofie has had a number of leadership roles in non-governmental organisations and in 2011 she was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her service to the city.
Would you like to invite Sofie Sandell to speak at you event please get in touch. Sofie is also going on a book tour and if you would like to organise an event let Sofie know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many years I’ve been studying websites and other digital communication tools used by Junior Chamber International (JCI) chambers around the world. When chambers tell me about their successes I can see a connection between using technology in an intelligent way and membership engagement. The most outstanding chambers have changed their processes and have a person on the board who is a digital leader. They are also more externally focused when compared with chambers that are not growing or keeping their members.
The leading JCI chambers around the world understand the importance of technology and they use it in a strategic way to communicate with their members and partners. JCI chambers that do not do this are not adapting to the changing world around them, and are probably not listening to their members’ feedback either. This tends to show up as low membership engagement.
Technology, when used in the right way, can strengthen all the relationships you have in life, be it with your friends, in business and in JCI. Not using the technology available might make your JCI chamber irrelevant to the world around you.
JCI UK goes digital
A few years ago, JCI UK was a brand with an old website system that was very difficult to update and manage. The website looked old-fashioned which was most likely scaring away its visitors. The discussion about setting up a new website had been going on for years without any progress. In 2009, when I became JCI UK Marketing Director, we started work on the specifications of what we wanted the new website and database to do for us and one year later, in October 2010, we went live. Every one of the local chambers of JCI UK has adopted the new website and this makes the brand look professional and consistent. You can have a look at the website here: www.jciuk.org.uk.
JCI UK has one principle website that is connected to the local chambers’ websites. Some of the content is the same on all websites, and all major events are fed into all local websites from the JCI UK website. This is very clever as you only need to update these events once, which makes life much easier for local chambers.
When you have a website solution that is manageable on both a national and a local level, that looks and feels the same for all chambers, you have rolled out the red carpet for each chamber to become visible digital leaders.
All JCI UK chambers and members can influence others by sharing their thoughts and ideas online. They can write blog posts about their causes, ideas and projects. They can promote events from the website and get others to share and promote them online. It is much easier to promote something if you have a website that looks and feels good and it gives you credibility when you use the JCI brand.
Tips on how to become a digital leader in JCI or elsewhere:
Social media and digital technology are here to stay. Learn how to use the tools.
Use your inspiring words to empower others. Learn how to write in a way that engages others online.
All individuals can use digital solutions to help and empower others. This means that YOU can do it too.
You have seen the change happen, look at yourself and your organisation. Are you taking up all the opportunities available to you?
Always, always be a student and gain new insights about the digital world. Things have a tendency to change quickly.
Using digital technology to succeed in JCI’s mission
The digital world is democratic: it is open for anyone to start making an impact. To be able to do this, all you need to do is learn how the digital world works and dare to be creative.
Relationships and processes are now global and not confined to your town or city. You can work with people on the other side of the world with the help of technology. I often work with designers who are based in Asia and the US. This is possible thanks to Skype and email.
JCI’s mission is to empower young people to create positive change. That is in itself a big task. By having a good simple and solid digital solution set up, JCI UK can help its members to make an impact in the world by using digital tools in an intelligent way.
Sofie Sandell senator #70055, is the author of the book ‘Digital Leadership – How Creativity in Business Can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results’. Read more here: www.sofiesandell.com/book . Or, contact Sofie via email: email@example.com.
Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a worldwide organisation of young leaders and entrepreneurs. They have over 200,000 active members in over 100 countries. JCI provides young people with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, social responsibility, entrepreneurship and networking opportunities necessary to create positive change.
Junior Chamber members throughout the world have made a positive contribution to their local communities. Many have gone on to become business leaders and testify that their time spent in JCI was invaluable to their personal and professional development.