Monday, March 29, 2010

Ask the Chancellors - who won?

If you missed the C4 debate between George Osborne, Vince Cable and Alastair Darling, you can watch the highlights on the C4 website later on.

According to the poll conducted by C4, Cable was the winner with 36% of the votes, with Darling and Osborne on 32% each. Other rating systems mirrored the same findings, as did the anecdotal reports. The only outlier was The Times online poll, which made Osborne a clear winner with 44%, which may say more about Times online visitors than actual performance in the TV debate.

My take was that Vince Cable put up the best showing, with Darling getting somewhat flustered (though having the best hair), and Osborne underperforming. While Cable dodged the party bickering and called for an all-party approach to solve the economic crisis, Osborne and Darling traded party insults.

I suspect that the least happy bunnies tonight will be in the Tory party HQ. Vince Cable will no doubt get a pat on the back from Nick Clegg. I'd be interested to hear what others thought

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to demonstrate you know FA about management

The Football Association (FA) is looking for their seventh chief executive in eleven years, following the departure of Ian Watmore over the weekend. It was clear from the manner of his leaving that all is not well at the FA. Mr Watmore was only in post for nine months. Apparently the last straw was a row over a leaked internal briefing paper.On his departure, he fired off a furious email to fellow board members, including this threat "I don't know which sad person thought to brief yesterday but we know it had to be from this list as you are the only people who received it....If I ever find the person who leaked the briefing then I will ensure that that person's reputation is damaged beyond repair. This is the last time I share any information in advance."

It is no secret that the FA has been riven by bickering and personality clashes for years. But this public display of pique does no-one any favours. It certainly does not help the FA, who have now had to appoint an acting director. It does not help Ian Watmore, since presumably he will be looking for gainful employment at some stage in the future. Nor does it reflect well on the board as individuals, and the way the FA is managed.

Whoever gets the permanent post next time had better be a diplomat, and a good communicator, and a very capable CEO. Oh yes, and a knowledge of football may help.

Rumours that the FA Board is thinking of running a whelk stall have been denied.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Five tests to verify a social media expert

Back in December 2009, a search by B L Ochman found almost 16,000 self-proclaimed social media experts on Twitter. That's a lot of (apparent) expertise. If you needed social media expertise for your business, how on earth could you choose? I believe there are some very simple checks you can do to give you the best chance of finding a genuine "expert". Here are five tests that I hope will help you.

1) Evidence of success.

Rather than explaining what they might be able to do for you, any genuine expert should be able to "show and tell" a number of examples where their work has been of benefit to clients. Ideally, they should be able to quote examples of similar work to that you are asking for, and provide proof of their success. Look for numbers and financial value. If they say that their value is "impossible to quantify", be very wary.

2) Referrals from happy clients

This is similar to the one above, but your potential expert should also be able to provide contact details of past clients who will vouch for them. Ideally, they should allow you to select several clients from a list, and then provide you contact details so that you can take up references. If your expert claims that all of their work is "confidential", or "too early to tell", this should give you cause for concern.

3) Referrals from other experts

This one is a bit more tricky. In my opinion, people who are very good at what they do become known by other experts in their field. There are a number of universally acknowledged expert in social media, such as Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, Amy Jo Martin, Chris Brogan and Joel Comm (yes, and some others - make up your own list). I think it is reasonable to ask your "expert", which of these people knows them and could vouch for them.

4) Online presence

Real social media experts use social media a lot. That's why they get good. It's not just about the number of followers they have (though that is significant), but it's also about whether they post regularly, engage with their connections and appear to know what they are doing. If you their Twitter profile and find they are following 2,000 people, but have only a few hundred followers, run away quickly.

5) Published expertise

Have they written a book (yes I know, very 20th century), blogs or wikis that you can look at? Do they speak often at large events? Real experts publish their knowledge widely, and are often asked to speak. It's not a guarantee of expertise, but it's another sign.

This list is not exhaustive, and nor does it mean that if they don't tick every box, you should not engage their services. But if they only meet one or two of the above criteria, are you sure they are a real expert? If you're putting your money out there, you need to be confident. Take care.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Have a break, have a social media disaster

Oh dear, oh dear. Nestle have put an enormous, chocolate-covered foot in it. They've discovered Facebook, but not how to use it. Here's a message that greeted visitors to their Facebook fan page:

“This page is for fans of NestlĂ©. Linkspamming, abuse etc will be removed, and repeat offenders will be excluded. Posts that have been recently removed have either been abusive or been linkspamming (or both).”

Well that seems clear, if not exactly in the spirit of social media. But it got worse. Whoever runs the page has now started bleating about the way in which visitors are using the Nestle logo. They are also offering advice on spelling and grammar.

Here's what the administrator said "We welcome your comments, but please don’t post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic – they will be deleted.”

So far, so disastrous. There are now over 90,000 "fans", many of them posting comments very critical of Nestle. Personally, I'd like to thank whoever runs the Nestle fan page for a social media strategy that is so wrong, it makes a great case study.

Why not go and see it yourself?