Mar 01

Three Little Pigs – Guardian advertisement for ‘Open Journalism’

Guardian released a new advertisement on Wednesday 29th February, which I have to say I thought was brilliant.

Based on the story of the ‘Three Little Pigs’, it takes you through how the Guardian would cover such a story both in their print, and also online.  But it follows the story as it morphs through social media, it shows how passionate people are about events, current affairs, and how they are now communicating this through newer faster channels online.

But the story follows a range of twists and turns, that the original story couldn’t have predicted and shows how the original story could just be the tip of the iceburg on what is really going on.  The Guardian are talking about ‘Open News’ or ‘Open Journalism’ which is a bit like crowdsourcing to get to the bottom of the story. It highlights the number of strands a story can take through the various platforms we now use to communicate with, all in ‘real-time’.

But there is a curly ending to our much loved fairy tale, so make sure you watch it through.

Mar 01

The expansion of customer service

Stop with that naughty social media! Quick, ban it! That’ll stop them…

Yes, this long cringed at activity is still happening.  A lot less than it was, but with the cautious being over cautious they are in fact just putting a lid on a boiling pot. It’s happening people, but now you just can see it under that bubbling lid.

I’m going to be blunt and say that a companies lack of social media inclusion is archaic!  It’s like only accepting cheques as a form of payment, or having a website but you can’t email a query, you have to make it in writing or fax it. Both of these situations I am sad to say have happened to be in the last 6 months. One resulted in me not booking with said accommodation as I don’t have a chequebook. The other resulted in me running around trying to find a printer and fax machine, and guess what, a fax machine is a hard find these days I know.

So for all of you who were not totally offended by my description of your archaic company, and are still reading this then let me explain a little further.

Social media is about finding where your customers/clients are, and ‘listening’ to them. That is not finding them, and then butting in and shouting your awesomeness come buy from me speech. That would be frowned upon, so just don’t do it. But when, in the corporate world, do you ever stop and listen? Do you actually have the time to hear what people are asking, what issues they face, what problems grind them down, and all of that may be about your product/brand/organisation/company.

These people don’t pick up the phone and dial your dedicated customer service number to be given terrible ‘on hold’ music for several minutes, informed their call is very important to them, and finally get through to someone who can’t help with their query in the first place. These customers and clients are already talking about you in forums, on twitter, maybe even having a conversation on facebook about your terrible/crap/awesome or amazing service. Can you hear them? Because this isn’t just about the bad, this is about hearing and responding to your biggest advocates, responding to them, thanking them.

a customer 'touch'Sometimes the smallest ‘touch’ can have the biggest effect.  A ‘touch’ is every potential opportunity you have to shape and influence a potential customer or client., a touch can leave an impression, and it is up to you to make it the best impression you can. Old style touch was a billboard, a TV advertisement, radio and telephone, new style ‘touch’ is still the telephone, but engagement has evolved to Twitter, feedback forums like Yelp, 1-5 star rating websites like Amazon, 1-10 diner ratings as on Top Table, Facebook page comments.

I see social media as having many tentacles in an organisation, and it’s not limited to marketing, corporate and sales. The one that I think is terribly overlooked is customer service. When in fact the part of the organisation best equipped to deal with a complaint via social media is the customer service team.

And there are so many funky ways to include your customer service team in social media for your business.  Hootsuite provides the option to dedicate items to team members, there is software for online chat when a client/customer/user is on your website and needs assistance.  Why wait for them to ring, why wait to possibly lose them whilst on hold, if they are ready to talk, ask a question, make a suggestion, comment, speak to you, or buy your product then make it easy for them. Stop waiting for the phone to ring.  Try it, what have you got to lose…nothing, maybe a bit of time waiting around for those phone calls, and a bit of training for your staff (call it upskilling). What have you got to gain, positive customer experience, solved problems, happy clients, your staff are engaged in conversations with clients, that isn’t a bad thing is it?

The other option is to watch the dust settle, because things are changing, and you either keep up, or get left behind, that is the nature and speed of social engagement today.


Feb 29

How much do you want Google to know?

This is the last day folks, Google’s new security policy kicks off tomorrow 1st March.  Basically this allows Google to gather, store, and use all your juicy information.  And that means all data already collected about you, already stored about you, will be used for your online identity.  If like me, this just feels a little big brother, you can at least wipe some of it clean before it is too late.  After today, opting out, means opting out of Google altogether.

So whats collected then???

If you have logged into your Google account, then started searching around, all those search queries are stored, sites visited, age, gender and your location. More information can be found on Tech News Daily, and in all honesty I should have written this post a week ago to help inform readers if you do want to ‘opt out’.

Now search data in itself can be particularly sensitive for some, particularly sensitive information. maybe you have been sick, health concerns, your religious affiliations or lack of, your location, dreams, aspirations, sexual orientation, age, the list goes on and can sound a little frightful for some.

But from my limited internet research (Daily Mail,, Fox Business, ZDNet) there seems to be a quick and simple way to delete your search history. I mean Europe are going mad on privacy, the Centre for Digital Democracy has filed a complaint and wants the Federal Trade Commission (US) to sue Google so it really is all kicking off.

1. Login to your Google account

2. There is a dropdown menu to the right of your name (or your image if you have one) in the top right hand corner of your page

3. Click account settings






4. Find the ‘Services Section’




5. There is a subsection that reads ‘View, enable, disable web history’ – you need to click the link next to ‘Go to web History’

6. Click on ‘Remove all Web History’

It may not stop them from gathering it, but it will stop them from storing it against your identity, so it will be anonymised.



I’m interested to know what and how Google users are responding to all of this. Fear, annoyance, ‘who cares’? Or are you just going to change search providers? I mean Google may be the most well known, but it was users who put it there, and users can choose to go elsewhere?

Bing and Yahoo are still out there.

* Image courtesy of NewStatesman

Feb 29

Profile Fatigue

‘Profile fatigue’ – love this term, and in fact when I read about it, there was this part of me that sighed and said ‘I hear ya’. No, I didn’t coin this phrase and I’m not sure of its originality but I first read about it on this blog.  Yep, I was intrigued.  As a self confessed early adopter of all things digital and social, how many profiles do I have out there?  No doubt there are many gathering dust and a bit like my post on Spring Cleaning your Social Media Accounts, maybe my online profiles needed a bit of a cleanse too.  No doubt some were so old that they are from the dinosaur era of online, as I still receive the odd highly irrelevant, job suggestion from a recruiter possibly from their database that they haven’t updated in 10 years.

So time for a search, now have you ever googled yourself? Come on, hands up, it actually brings out all sorts of interesting snippets. And they say people are actually googling their dates before going out with them…. Brilliant, I just wish there was a google in my dating days it could have saved me some disasters.

In my googling, I got 139,000 results in 0.25 seconds. Wow! Pretty impressed that all on the first page are me.  LinkedIn yep, Twitter yep, Skillspages – old profile, haven’t updated that one and I really don’t see the point (reminder to delete). Facebook yep, BraveNewTalent – hmm, haven’t used it really (reminder to check it out again), Quora kinda updated yep, Identified – deleted already, Google + – interesting that it’s at the bottom of page 1 on Google?

Google screenshot Haylee Corfield

Page 2 – There is another Haylee Corfield in there playing Rummikub (definitely NOT me), but the rest are Klout, Pinterest, Hootsuite, a very old ‘TagsWalk’, and a blog post from Mervyn Dinnen about my culinary skills.  But I am getting bored of writing new profiles and remembering new passwords. I like the fact that both with Facebook and LinkedIn you can login to sites, as I am at the point of seeing the ‘complete your profile’, and clicking out of the website these days. Particularly if this then bars you from doing anything else within the website.

As with these applications though I am now a regular social media cleaner, and if the application or website doesn’t live up to my expectations, I cancel their access.  My advice, make it easy, have a quick and simple way to complete a profile (if it is really necessary), or people will quickly start turning off, as some already are.

And one not so secret tip for jobseekers: Google yourself, because your potential employers already are.

Feb 29

LinkedIn Follow Button

Do you have a corporate website? Do you have regular information, status, blogs, content, and jobs that you want to distribute? Do you already have a company LinkedIn Business page? Then make sure you get the ‘Follow’ button onto your website.

If you don’t have a company page, and have somewhat of a blank stare at your computer screen right now, quick, read this post first.

I’m not asking if you are on LinkedIn, I’m asking is your company on LinkedIn?

Once you have got that sorted, you can move onto getting the follow button onto your corporate website. They only announced this funky little feature this Monday on the LinkedIn blog, but why make people search for you. If they are already on your website, and want to connect, give them every opportunity.

Feb 28

Les Menuires 7 take on employee rights

This wasn’t an intentional fight for employee rights, but the story involves 7 wronged Robin Hoods, and an evil King, and how a community rose via social media to support them.

What a PR nightmare when you think you can boot some chalet staff out, without pay, and without flights. Ye-ouch!

And the story goes like this…

So there once was a company called, they were a cheery little London based company who were a little short on staff in the chalets based in Les Menuires in France. So what were they to do, quick smart they shipped out some keen eager chalet hosts, willing to do all the work necessary with a cheery smile on their face to ensure the clients had a fabulous time on holiday over the half term break.

So they diligently work hard for 3 weeks only to be told, no you are not needed anymore, no we’re not paying you and no, find your own way back to wherever you came from but be out by tomorrow. So what do they do, they take up residence in one of the chalets and promptly become famous as Les Menuires 7. Now what transpired was genuine social media networking. Friends set up a page, friends tell friends, who tell friends, who post links, who post more links and likes.

And there grows a ‘following’, people who support a cause, are passionate, encourage and feel aggrieved for them.  I’m sorry, if like me you have ever been in a catered chalet, you know they work pretty damn hard to do all the things you don’t want to do for your week on holiday. On top of that they provide you with ski tips, awesome runs, bar suggestions, and where to go for the best happy hour deal, all with a cheery smile on their face like they are having the time of their lives. Whereas we all look at them and think, wow, what a life, when I was their age I should’ve done that.

So back to the Les Menuires 7, they set up a Facebook page and started to tell their story as they saw it.  Been completely unfairly treated, left in the lurch, homeless and without money in a foreign country by a UK based company that refused to even talk with them.  Their Facebook page started to get a following, newspapers picked up on their plight, TV channels, and before you know it the French authorities started to question what was going on.

The long and the short of it is that these guys stood up, and through the power of social media gained incredible support and had a victory.  Not only that, but they actually got better work conditions for all employees of  So with 4,923 Facebook likes

les menuires 7 - facebook page


A further 635 followers on Twitter @lesmenuires7 several more tweeting #lesmenuires7 and none at all sounding very favourable for the company or twitter @skichalets3v

les menuires 7 twitter feed

But interestingly enough on the website for they are very proud to have launched Facebook and Twitter.  Brilliant, lets see what juicy feedback people are saying about them…

I started with the skithe3v Facebook page….. and amazingly there was absolutely nothing. Not a bad word, in fact nothing had been written since the 2nd of February. Sounds fishy right? Well they have actually disabled the ability for people to comment on their wall.

So Twitter then, they can’t delete other people’s comments or stop people talking…

I decided to take a look at 2 searches, the first was their actual twitter, so people talking about @skichalets3v and then links and hashtags using skithe3v (which is their website).  Interestingly no response or anything from the company account since 2nd February again but there were definitely people talking about them.


twitterfeed skithe3v and skichalets3v


This story has got mammoth publicity, if like me you are an avid snow bunny, I have seen articles, links, TV interviews, newspaper interviews, blogs all talking about this, I even heard it on the radio the other day, but in my limited french, I knew what they were talking about, but then they were talking too fast and I couldn’t keep up. Ski chalet companies have really picked up on this, why? Because this type of publicity can reflect badly on the entire industry. I believe this will cause a major shake up to the seasonal chalet host industry in Europe as the French authorities have obviously found a large loophole some of these companies were jumping through, and good on them.

So if you are planning a ski holiday in a luxury apartment in Les Menuires, I for one will definitely be doing a bit of homework to ensure the company is reputable and trustworthy before handing over my hand earned cash, and I’m guessing you will be too.  I agree with Hugh @ehu (above) ‘Viva La Resistance’!

Feb 27

Responding to negative feedback

Social media has provided a fantastic opportunity for brands, companies and organisations to gain massive insight into the conversations people are having about you.  But, firstly you have to be listening.  There are a variety of free ways you can sift through the mammoth amounts of conversations happening daily, and as my one main tip in this post, I would say please set up a google alert.  It’s simple, easy to do, and you will be able to find those  blogs where people are saying the good, the bad and the downright ugly about you.  Yes there are other ways to track what is being said about you on twitter and other forms of social media but I think that is an entire post in itself.

What I want to talk about it how to respond to the negative feedback you receive.  It can be done right, and it can be done oh so wrong.  The web is full of examples of how companies and brands have done it wrong, but winning an argument online, is not winning at all, you have already lost.

Choosing to respond to criticism say on your facebook page (for example) can be daunting, but there are 3 big tips I would recommend.

1. Act super quickly.

A negative comment that has been on your facebook page for 3 days, seen by everyone, fed on, gossiped on and ‘liked’ is not where you want to be.  Get in there and respond in a fast and timely manner, just as you would a customer service complaint, do not ignore and hope it will go away, or you can well be feeding the fire.

2. Sound like a Human, not like a muppet

Sounds simple right? But if you come out with what I term corporate mumbo-jumbo, without being personal, you can still come off like a muppet and not achieve anything. You have a name, this is the time to use it, don’t hide behind a logo or twitter handle. If people are jumping up and down to an anonymous twitter account, or brand logo, but once you put a human being in there, it can quickly tone the situation down, someone is listening, someone is responding, and that someone has a name.

3. Find a fix, try and make it right.

You have a fantastic opportunity to turn the negative comments into a positive customer experience.  It’s now not about the problem that matters, this is how you will fix the problem.  How will you make it up to them, and still sound genuine, this is the chance you have to shine.  How you respond can blow the socks of your critics, and even turn their comments into positive comments, return customers, and loyal followers.

In essence, this is basic customer service, but social media has allowed a new means of communication.  Again, this is not new, it’s just that how you handle your response is far more visible.

Responding to negative feedback


Feb 27

Content Marketing Boom

I have had a lot of conversations of late around ‘Content Marketing’, what continually strikes me is that people are calling this the new marketing.  Lets get one thing straight, it isn’t new, it’s been around for ages and it is just that finally people have woken up to its benefits.  I think the 80′s and 90′s were all about the hard sell, corporate push, he who yells the loudest and all of that.  But as it may have worked for some it didn’t work for all. Content marketing is about subtlety, just quietly going about your business, but being found, read, explored, understood, and appreciated.  Of course as it all grows it gets a lot bigger, but the key here is that it is not new.

I found a great infographic I want to share, but more because a couple of the earliest examples of ‘content marketing’ even I learn about in Marketing 101 at University.  They are the good ol’ Michelin Guide and the ‘Jello-o Recipe book’.  Both classic examples of content marketing, both designed specifically for the consumer to help the consumer with problems and provide solutions they may need and both took off like wildfire. None of this ‘We’re awesome, this is why’ type content, I mean the recipe book for example, you want people to buy and use your ingredients, giveaway a free recipe book.

 History of Content Marketing Infographic

Like this infographic? Get more
content marketing
information from the
Content Marketing Institute.

Feb 22

Spring clean your social media accounts

So, how long have you been on Facebook now? 3, 4, maybe 6 years? And how many times have you clicked yes to allowing (insert name of website or app) to access you facebook?

What about twitter, you can login to so many places via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook now, which makes things a bit easier, but can you really remember who has access to all your personal information?

I found this website via a Twitter link at least a month ago, but it is so good, I needed to write about it and make sure other people are just as aware of how many applications can access your information.

My Permissions

You might (like I was) be a little shocked at how many there are, and wonder just what half of them are. So, as the snow is beginning to finally melt where I am, and the temperatures a finally hitting positives again, it’s time for an early spring clean of your social media accounts.

Feb 20

Recruiters drop the clichés please

I have just read an article from Firefish about the cliches that recruiters use when posting job ads, LinkedIn status updates (that are job ads), maybe on their Facebook page, possibly even a tweet.

They usually go something along the lines of this…
My ‘client’ is looking for a (insert job title), a ‘great opportunity’ to work for an ‘innovative company’ with a ‘competitive salary’.

Wow, bet they have loads of people beating down the door to that one. In fact it rang so true to adverts that I had been reading that I actually laughed.

Lets dissect this a little bit. The job apart from the job title said absolutely nothing.

The lack of specifics is having a negative effect on the jobseeker, why do I know this. When I resigned a few months ago, I debated what I wanted to do with my career so I spent 1 week heavily job hunting for roles I wanted to do, I researched types of roles, salaries, what I wanted to do, what was out there. I also obviously ran my eye over hundreds of written job advertisements. Your application still had to stand out for me to do more than glance at it. No salary, no company specifics, too generic = too boring and I moved on. If you make the job sound boring who are you attracting?

Where did job advert writing go so mainstream that we thought adding in a whole bunch of cliches was going to attract top talent? Tell me the benefits by actually explaining what the benefits are. Being generic is lazy, cliches are even lazier.

So I can understand that you have to be a little mindful of the client and possibly confidentiality, but you can sell the company culture, the vibe, why people want to work there? So you don’t want to give a specific salary, provide a guide at least. It’ll save you time sifting inappropriate applicants, and it’ll also save applicants time in choosing if the role is even at their level.

Opportunities. If you’re an optimist everything is an opportunity, but is their room for career progression, learning on the job, what are these opportunities?

Benefits. By listing a few funky benefits are you really giving away company secrets? The job advert below seems to have nailed this.


Competitive Salary. This gives no indication of the level the job is pitching at. A 30k manager could think its competitive but someone with better experience could be earning 45k and that’s not pitching anywhere near their level.

By being a little more transparent, you are finding a better fit for the role, and you avoid being ignored and lost in the jungle of jobs. Or worse, boring your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook contacts with the same non-specific, generic role that you only post in your status updates.

I am approaching this from a marketing perspective, not a recruitment perspective remember I am not an human resources professional, but maybe a change in perspective is required if you want to even have a chance of standing out from the crowd – Recruitment Copywriting 101.

I feel a post forming… The Most Over-used Words in Job Adverts.

It’s going to start with ‘dynamic’, ‘rapidly expanding’ and ‘outstanding’, but I’ll leave that for now.

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