The Future of Social Media Conference

August 13, 2008

The Future of Social Media Conference will take place on 28th October 2008 at Hilton Tower Bridge, London.

The Future of Social Media is the only event in 2008 that offers you:

… Industry leading visions from both the USA and the UK

… Real-world examples from digital marketers

… Case studies from global brands who have measurable social media benefit

… Facillitated networking opportunities amongst the world’s social media elite


Go Blog Wild

July 21, 2008

by Gail Dutton

Word-of-mouth has taken on a whole new meaning with the growth of the blogosphere, opening doors to both international and local markets. Blogs forge a personal connection with readers, adding local perspectives vital for successful international marketing. 

Blogs talk with customers, not at them,” says Chris Alden, CEO of Six Apart, an international developer of blogging tools. International companies therefore need in-country experts, or at least bloggers with significant experience there, to connect to local markets. For example, a U.S.-based law firm with offices in Germany should have a link to its blog on its main website, with one of its German attorneys blogging about new regulations and court decisions. The blog itself should have links to relevant German articles.

And companies in many countries should have region-specific blogs. An American winery that exports internationally, for instance, can have links to local sites discussing restaurants, food and wine pairings, and other related topics. Links drive traffic to your blog, Alden says, so “post as frequently as you have something new and useful to contribute.”
It’s not just the CEO or head of marketing who knows how to articulate a company’s vision, Alden points out. “Find a voice to match the enterprise,” he says.  Companies in multiple countries may have blog postings from multiple authors in those countries.


Gail Dutton is a freelance writer in Montesano, Washington, specializing in business and technology.

Web 2.0 and HR: a discussion paper

July 9, 2008

CIPD’s magazine “People Management” (10 July) has a short article about the above discussion paper (by Graeme Martin, Martin Reddington and Mary Beth Kneafsey) which I think is well worth reading.

“This discussion paper has been written to encourage personal reflection and debate among the HR community about the way newer web-based technologies are influencing HR and people management. Although at an early stage, a family of powerful web-based technologies are being adopted by organisations to:

  • encourage greater collaboration
  • give customers and employees greater voice
  • help them learn about each other and, in an HR context, potential employees
  • share their knowledge and experiences.

Like every form of technology, however, there are unresolved issues, challenges and degrees of risk associated with each stage of the innovation process, which includes the adoption, diffusion and exploitation of Web 2.0 for both commercial and non-commercial ends. Perhaps more than any other managerial function, HR professionals need to be aware of these opportunities and challenges and be able to contribute effectively as members of a senior management team to policies on Web 2.0.”

The Richmond Group

March 8, 2008

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at the Richmond Group’s meeting at The Cobham Hilton on Saturday 8th March and shared my thoughts and experiences on “Business Benefits of Blogging and Social Networking” …

The Richmond Group is described as “the UK’s leading consortium of independent, certified management consultants whose members cover the full range of consultancy specialisations and work throughout both the public and private sectors.”  Further details available from the Richmond Group’s website.

I was asked to make the talk as “participative” as possible and I was delighted that the members did not hold back either with their questions or with their own valuable thoughts and insights into the topic being discussed. 

Here’s a quick summary of some key points which might be helpful as an aide memoire to those who attended:-

Business Blogging and the Benefits…

How do you start a Blog?

I use (and recommend using) http:/ for a simple yet feature-rich Blog which you can customise using a variety of templates.  Simply sign up and create a Blog and write your first Post.

I used “KayeNightingale” as the blog domain and “Kaye Nightingale” as the Blog Title.  Therefore, the URL for my Blog is

If you don’t like the idea of having as part of your blog domain then you can, instead, pay for a Blog account via to enable you to have the exact URL you’d like such as “”.  I will probably do this for my next Blog but this free account has served me very well thus far.  I would recommend a visit to the site for general knowledge prior to creating your first blog as it contains some very useful information.

How do you search for Blogs?

Google has a great feature which allows you to search specifically for Blogs rather than websites.  From look for BLOGS … you will probably find it under MORE …

I spent a lot of time researching other Blogs before I felt brave enough to get started and then realised that, actually, I didn’t need to research other people’s blogs before I was ready to get started because the whole point of a Blog is that it is a place where you should use your own voice to write about topics of interest to you (and hopefully your intended audience).  Having said that, I do regularly search Blogs whenever I want to research anything as I find blogs much more useful than searching in traditional websites. 

Should you leave comments?  Yes!

I enjoy the “communication” aspect of blogging and I enjoy reading certain people’s thoughts and opinions.  Naturally you have to be selective but once you have found a Blog that interests you I would suggest that you get involved.  Leave a comment if you found the Post interesting … include a URL in your COMMENT because readers of your comment might well then click to visit your website or blog if they were interested in your comment.  Search Engines love links so always include your own URL in every comment and always comment if you found the Post interesting … this way you will be raising your own profile.  One of the key differences between websites and blogs is that blogging is about “communication” and “communities” where active participation is invited.

When setting up your Blog you will be able to control the settings of comments received so that you can check all comments prior to them appearing on your Blog.  I receive an email when someone makes a comment showing me the name / email / URL of the person leaving the comment, with the option of accepting it / deleting it / spamming it, which gives me full control.

What is a Blogroll?

A Blogroll is simply a list (roll) of other Blogs which you are happy to be associated with.  You might include them so that you can easily go to them for your own benefit or you might include them to help your audience or you might include them to help drive traffic to an associate’s Blog.  Whatever the main reason, it is in your own interest to have a Blogroll because all LINKS are beneficial and aid your rankings with search engines.

Why should you use Categories?

When writing a Post always include at least one category. 

Categories will help your audience to easily search your entire Blog for topics belonging to a certain category of interest PLUS it will aid your rankings with search engines because it will help in the matching process (between the keywords typed in and the keywords / tags / categories used in your Blog).

Is there a good book about Blogging?

I thoroughly recommend “Clear Blogging” by Bob Walsh ….  See further details on my Website Reading List

Which Blogs (about Blogging) do I recommend?

I thoroughly recommend Better Business Blogging which contains lots of useful information.

Where can you get further advice and guidance?

It would be a pleasure to hear from anyone who attended the Richmond Group’s meeting if they need any further support, advice or guidance with regards blogging.  Feel free to either leave a comment here OR use the contact form on my website and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Social Networking – defamation by former employees

August 22, 2007

[article just received via email from HR Review]


“directory service 118 118 has asked social networking site Facebook to delete one of its pages, on which former employees criticise the company.

The ‘Survivors of 118 118’ page – set up by two former staff members – features an invective against both 118 118 and its customers, that has captured media attention in recent days.

118 118 spokesperson, William Ostrom, said: “They absolutely do not represent the views and the attitudes of the vast majority of our staff.

“We are now in discussion with Facebook for them to withdraw the comments on the grounds that they are defamatory to our customers.”

This is the latest in a series of events that has seen employers come into contact with social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

Many employers are now rumoured to be checking on both current and potential employees via the information they post about themselves on the internet.

According to a survey of managers at 600 companies by networking website Viadeo, one in five conducted internet searches on the names of potential employees and around a quarter of these searches then lead to rejection letters because of what they found out about the candidate online.

Viadeo manager, Peter Cunningham, said: “Millions of people are inadvertently contributing to their Internet reputation every day by leaving personal information online, much of which is cached and remains available via search engines even after the author has removed the webpage.

“The rise of search engines such as Google means potential employers are never more than a few clicks away from information about you.”

He added: “People must manage their Internet reputations.

“Online information must be tailored to work to their advantage.”

[article ends]

Planning a Website

August 19, 2007

Planning and Creating a Website

Target Audience

  • Know who your audience is and have a route into your website via the Home page for each target audience.
  • Focus the page(s) so that it provides the solutions needed by that particular target audience.

Plan the Visitor Journey

It is essential for you to KNOW each particular target audience so that you can be incredibly specific and focused. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes (for each different customer) and “walk” the journey that you would want them to take. You have, apparently, 7 seconds to capture their attention.

This process should stop you from writing waffle and should concentrate your mind on writing good content. Don’t write things aimed to suit everyone … write specific content for a specific target audience…and write as though you are talking directly to them; write as you would naturally speak.

You need to focus so that your customers walk the journey you want them to take and then they should take the action you want them to take … you must have a CALL TO ACTION, such as to register for a free newsletter OR submit an enquiry. Always ensure that you have a THANK YOU page to let them know that you have received their request (it makes them feel as though you are interested in them – which naturally you are) and it is MEASURABLE.

Having established your Visitor Journey (for each target audience) which should end with a CALL to ACTION, check whether they can get from beginning to end within 3 or so clicks?

Always use CONTACT FORMS to encourage contact from your Visitors rather than displaying your email address as this will avoid “spammers” being able to capture your email details.

Updating your content

Don’t leave the content static because Search Engines won’t rate the site highly. Equally your visitors like re-visiting a site which is “lively”.

The HOME page should be an active part of your marketing; an organic, ever-changing, interesting, “worth a visit” kind of place. Make a point of putting effort into your website – treat it like a new (but highly promising member of staff) – you will be rewarded by your input.


Another easy way to keep content updated is to have a blog, linked to your website … again the key is “good content” and keeping it updated … daily is perfect … weekly is OK … less often and it might not be worth the effort.

Does your company have a policy on blogging?

August 19, 2007


The Telegraph Business Club website is an excellent resource which I haven’t, until now, made regular use of. Having performed a quick search, I found an article about a topic which is near the top of my “to be reseearched” list… namely, about blogging…specifically, it discusses what employers should be doing to advise employees about blogging activity…

Does your company have a policy on blogging?

“A new survey by workplace experts Croner has revealed that more than a third of ‘blogging employees’ are posting information about their employer, workplace or colleagues on personal blog sites.
The survey, carried out for Croner by YouGov, asked employees about whether or not they kept a personal blog. Of those who responded and said that they did, 39pc admitted that they had posted details, which could be potentially sensitive or damaging about their place of work, employer or a colleague.

A blog is the posting of a personal website based diary on the internet. These postings can be viewed potentially by anyone, anywhere in the world, and because the postings are archived, may be accessible for some time afterwards. Blogging although a burgeoning state in the UK, carries a far greater risk for both employers and employees now than in future years. That is why Croner is advising businesses to consider now the potential impact blogging may have on their business.  

[full article available :- ]

So, in summary, blogging is here … employers and employees need to be aware of what is appropriate and what is not …

In my opinion, blogging is no longer just the domain of the “personal diary” and is rapidly becoming part of the Marketing and PR strategy of businesses … everyone in business needs to be aware of it and needs to make a decision about how to use it (or not).