Social media ain’t for the faint hearted

March 7, 2011 at 7:30 am | Posted in social media | 12 Comments
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social media

It takes wisdom to conquer social media.

Recently I was asked to meet an entrepreneur who wanted to ‘do’ social media.

On the phone, it soon became obvious he had BIG expectations of the outcomes, but no understanding of the process.

This was fine: I don’t know how to run multi-million dollar factories. It was wise for him to seek advice.

However, as we’re both very busy people, I didn’t want to waste our time. So I composed the frank (nay, brutal) email below.

To his credit, this man is now working through my documents and preparing the answers I seek.

When I do meet him, I expect we’ll proceed in leaps and bounds.

‘Dear Fred,

Betty tells me you wish to harness the power of social media to promote your new products.

This is doable, but not easy.

In two years of studying social media daily, I’ve learned that it’s a demanding, fickle, content-hungry, slow-burning beast of a strategy.

When it works, it really works.

But you have to put in.

To this end, I must see if you can give me what I need to help you.

If you can deliver, we can do business.

If not, it’s best we don’t waste our precious time.

Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Cast your eye over the following blogs and tell me which one/s (if any) you like and why:
  2. Complete the attached blog post questionnaire.
  3. Read the other attachments and tell me what you think of how I operate.

Being a writer, I need your responses in writing.

I can then review them carefully to ask you intelligent, relevant questions when we meet.

Naturally, refusal won’t offend.

Better a clear NO now than a fuzzy future MAYBE.

I look forward to your frank response.

Best regards,


Watch this space!

Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.

The future of damage control

January 3, 2010 at 10:00 am | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
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Sometimes a press release just won't cut it. Pic by Rogue Soul.

The other day I was busy convincing a client to participate in social media.

At the perfect moment, a dramatic case in point featured on the front page of my online daily newspaper.

It concerned the apparent inability of HP computers to track ‘black’ people’s faces.

A potentially brand-crippling (though rather entertaining) YouTube video was circling the globe (more than 1.7 million views at time of writing).

Yet just as spectacular (to my mind, anyway) was HP’s instant response on their blog.

Rather than rail against or try to discredit the man who made the flaw-demonstrating video, they thanked him for his feedback.

They even provided a link to the video!

They then admitted that they:

  1. Didn’t know the cause of the problem.
  2. Had some good ideas as to what it might be.
  3. Were working hard to sort it out.

Compare this to the bullsh*t, no-fault, no-blame, no-nothing damage-control press releases of old.

I’d just finished reading Groundswell, which predicts that scenarios like this will occur with increasing frequency. (I know I keep mentioning this book, but by golly it’s a ripper.)

Anyway, I sent my client the story and wrote, ‘If the sh*t ever hits the fan with one of your products, you need to be able to respond this fast. You have been warned.’

We’re on friendly terms. And she got the point.

Then came the ultimate irony: one week later, her company had to do a major product recall.

We’re now talking blogs.

Are you?

Business Blogs

Turn forums into temples

December 29, 2009 at 11:13 am | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
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Photo by David Paul Ohmer

When searching online for the names of your organisation, products or services, keep a sharp eye out for forums. 

This is where people gather to praise, study, discuss or revile what you do. 

Often, you’ll see requests for help or information which the forum’s current participants can’t fulfil. 

According to Groundswell, if you provide a forum with free tips on how to solve outstanding problems with your goods, users will worship your brand and spread the word. 

You can do this task yourself, or delegate it to a product-savvy eager beaver in your organisation as a special assignment. 

The results may pleasantly surprise you.

Business Blogs

What’s a good, inexpensive blogging option?

December 29, 2009 at 2:47 am | Posted in social media | Leave a comment
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WordPress offers functionality, ease of use and value.

If you’re a sole trader or a small to medium sized enterprise, a blog like the one I did for my horse breeding client could work for you  

Or you may be more drawn to the blog created by another (very savvy) client of mine, thinkGROWTH.

When you go to their site, click the far right Blog button. This cleverly leads to an inexpensive external blog that didn’t require them to redo their entire website.

I could set up a blog like this for you, after which I, you and/or your team could publish posts, handle comments, promote the blog and track stats.

Perhaps you’d like to read Groundswell, check these links and have a think before I throw any numbers at you.

Failing that, I could strip the identity from a comprehensive social media proposal I recently did for a large client.

This would give you some idea of the tasks and costs involved (though you may wish to start more modestly).

Business Blogs

How do I measure blog success?

December 29, 2009 at 1:37 am | Posted in social media | 4 Comments
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What gets measured, gets done.

Blogging has yielded some spectacular corporate successes, which are detailed in the seminal book Groundswell.

I strongly recommend you read this book.

I currently use six ways to measure blogging success:

1.  Site statistics.

I check my stats several times every day to see which blogs are sending traffic to which websites. I can even see which blog posts are performing better than others.

2.  Blog ranking.

I register my blogs with a ranking site that shows how well they’re performing relative to other blogs in their topic. This info is updated hourly.


When people leave comments, that means they’re visiting and reading. The more comments the better (though I do have to weed out spammers and ravers).

4.  Subscriptions.

Even better than comments are subscribes. When a person says YES to an email or RSS (short for Really Simple Syndication) feed of your blog, you know they’re digging it.

Building a subscriber base is the holy grail of blogging, as you can use it for a host of permission marketing initiatives.

5.  Sales.

Several new clients have approached me saying something like, ‘I found you via your blog, read your stuff for a while and decided you were the sort of person I wanted to do business with.’

For me, this is the acid test of a blog’s success. After all, that’s one of the main reasons we’re writing the damn thing!

6. Vibe.

In a few short months, my horse breeding client has reported a very positive reaction from clients and industry people.

She’s also feeling freer, as she’s getting prospects to read the blog before asking her questions.

She used to have to spend hours repeating herself to each inquirer.

She’s loving the process of decanting her wisdom to a blog that people can read without bothering her.

It’s much easier for her to fill in the gaps once people have some idea of what she’s on about.

And those who don’t like the blog’s style or content can deselect themselves (as they’re not the sort of people she wants handling her beloved horses anyway).

I’m heading up there for another overnighter soon, collecting photos and stories to keep feeding the blog.


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