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Is all social media worth it?

twitter-292994_1920It seems we all use social media these days; Facebook, Linkedin, Whatsapp and even Skype have become common, if not essential, everyday communication tools.

However in the work environment, LinkedIn still seems to dominate.

The accepted thinking is;

  • LinkedIn is serious, professional and for business
  • Facebook is for friends, family and posting pictures of your cat

And many LinkedIn users seem quite forthright agreeing with this, jumping to defend the integrity of ‘their’ network.

Post something more personal or deemed less professional on LinkedIn, and comments certainly seem to follow.

Personally I also held this view and have always preferred to keep each network quite separate…..  ‘the two shall never meet’ was my approach too…

A statistical realisation

However, a recent statistic has prompted a re-think.


I knew that Facebook dominated, but I was amazed by just how much.

LinkedIn is undoubtedly targeted, tightly focused on its user group and extremely useful in a professional/business environment.

However Facebook has a larger user base than LinkedIn…. not by a bit, but by a huge factor of 16x…. it now represents over 20% of the entire global population.

Not a Facebook person?

Admittedly, I am not really a Facebook person; Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp kind of make sense, but Facebook is one I have struggled with.

However, then I found Facebook groups, especially those in my local community, which have quickly become my source of most local news.

This is something Facebook seems to do best…. building community…. I would recommend trying it.

But what about work?

Social media has undoubtedly been an area of interest in business for a while.   It is a great medium for consumer advertising and there are plenty of reports to help you understand its growth.

The information online can also be invaluable, providing useful data for decision making and indeed hiring.

But in terms of personal presence, and especially from a professional point of view, it seems we may all need to have a blended network strategy.  It is important to be on not only the networks you identify with, but also those with the greatest reach.

Is all social media worth it?

Yes, it certainly seems so…but, which ones..?

….this may help… “social media explained through doughnuts

(PS…I can now be visited on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter..!)

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High value from low cost?

IMG_20160805_112433Over the last few weeks I have become fascinated by low cost models in business.  Be it airlines, hotels, or indeed banking, many of us are turning to these businesses to find value and in some cases more responsive service.

I have found myself, becoming quickly reliant on ‘apps’ to book low cost travel, buy quality produce from no frills supermarkets and even manage work life through low cost alternatives to traditional players (remember linux).

Okay, maybe I am just cheap…! however, I have also found there is plenty of value there too, with some interesting lessons to be learnt for us all.

The low cost model

After ‘extensive market research‘ it feels like they are three main variations of low cost model in place.

  1. The ‘all inclusive’.  In this model everything is included in the price. It may be cheap, but you are promised the same as the traditional businesses, just for lower cost.
    Pros: if everything works well, you get what you need at a much lower cost
    Cons: if something goes wrong, there is little margin available for the company to resolve properly, it can be frustrating
  2. The ‘everything is extra’. In this model you are presented with a rock bottom price, it is unbelievably cheap for the basic service.  However everything else is extra, including some things you may expect to be included.
    Pros: can be really cheap if you know the tricks to get the deals
    Cons: if you end up not being aware of some features, you can get stung with additional charges and end up paying more.
  3. The ‘half and half’. This is the blended model. Some things are included, some are extra, billed as you need them.
    Pros: you get a low cost no frills deal, but with a little extra so there are no surprises
    Cons: not as cheap or as great a sense of value as others.  Sometimes add ons can be a expensive too.

Hopefully you can recognise these from your own experience (drop me a note if you need an example or two).

However, what does all this mean for us in the rest of the business world?

A focus on cost, a focus on value…

Across the more traditional business world there is continued focus on reducing costs.  We are all looking for opportunity to do more with less it seems.

In this environment, the low cost business model seems very attractive and is being pursued by some as a clear strategy.  They are transforming their businesses in order to be competitive; digital automation is a hot topic, as is reducing cost and eliminating waste.

However, there is much more to this than just automation and slashing expense.

A template for organisational culture change…

In many ways these low cost businesses also offer a template for cultural change, re-thinking and streamlining products.  It is not just about being the cheapest, but also how to offer the most value.  Key to this is how the business interacts with the customer; there are extra new rules is seems.

  • Automate, but keep the customer informed at all times where they are in the new process.  Transparency is key.
  • Build in standardised flexibilty, but still stick to the process. Unplanned variation costs money, standardised processes generate economies of scale
  • Find alternatives to traditional suppliers.  There is a lot of flexibilty out there, spend only on what you need and similarly look for net value not just lowest cost
  • Provide core services (include for most customers), however also have extra services available on an as needed basis.  The customer saves as they only spend on what they need.  If the price is reasonable they will still buy more.

We are all low cost now…

Undoubtedly these new businesses are shaking up the market.  Customer expectations are changing and without legacy products these businesses are moving fast.  They are unemcumbered by legacy systems, enabled with new technology and quickly gaining market share.

For the rest of us there is plenty to learn… and it is an opportunity to adopt some of the best practise out there.

Who will win in the end…? 

I am not sure it is even a competition.  Large established players will gradually transform, taking and incorporating the best ideas into their businesses.  New businesses will grow rapidly, becoming large businesses and then become subject to some of same rules as the rest.  All we can say is there will be change and standing still is not an option.

However, by watching, listening, and extracting the principles for your own business it is possible to stay abreast of these changes, providing extra value for your customers.

In the end this does sounds like a win to me…..


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Struggling with the new reality

almond-blossom-5378_1920 I admit I have been having trouble holding it together post the EU referendum result.

To sit by and have to watch the effects predicted take place is very hard for many.  The Leave camp responded to presented facts, by persuading people they were lies, to not believe experts and that we are Great Britain, be optimistic it will work out.

However now they are happening, it is being reported as fact, the mistruth is clear, yet the damage is done.  It is upsetting.

  • It is upsetting to watch the pound fall, markets drop, summer holiday prices and eventually food go up.  This is now being talked about as fact.  Where was all this reporting 1 week ago?
  • It is upsetting to have to read openly racist, bigotted and xenophobic comments being posted online.  It insults educated and respectable figures (not to mention making my blood boil).
  • It is upsetting to find out that a significant majority of those under 45, those that are the future of the country voted Remain, is heartbreaking. The young, the middle aged and the EU citizens who could not vote, are paying the pensions of the older group.  Those that voted Leave have denied their children and grand children many of the very opportunities they had, a (somewhat selfish) slap in the face.
  • It is upsetting to hear the leave campaign now admit some of their claims were false. Some clearly believed this stuff and yet now it is said untrue.
  • It is upsetting to hear talk of Scottish independence the very next day.  Hardly surprising for those in Scotland, however stunning that the leave group are surprised this would occur and the possibility of a UK breakup.
  • It is upsetting to observe the panic and now subdued nature of the leave campaign. They clearly did not expect to win.  The reality, there was no plan it appears, and now they need to solve for the mess they have created.
  • It is upsetting to hear EU officials talk of hardline negotiations and limited concessions.  The arrogance of some vs our true place in the world is becoming clear.  Our bargaining power is now limited.
  • It is upsetting to hear of EU nationals, who have been here for many years, paying UK taxes and being pro-UK now not feeling welcome in the country, being in tears as they drop their kids off at school and worrying about the uncertain prospects for their future.

And lastly

  • It is very upsetting to hear about Leave voters, being surprised and concerned on the result.  Saying ‘we never expected to win’, ‘it was a protest vote’, or ‘I didn’t expect this to happen’. This was not the vote to ‘send a message’, it was the real deal.

I will calm down, and probably need to stop posting, however I do not want to return to the pre-EU world of the 1970’s.  Something needs to be done to fix this.

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