Social Workplace Conference

As conferences go, I’ve not seen a stronger line up of talent in this country than at the Social Workplace Conference. The speakers and panelists feature pretty cool thought leaders many of whom I’ve been following for a few years now. I’m really looking forward to hearing from the big guys IBM, Oracle, Headshift, SSP  and Verizon as well as from the independent experts like Benjamin Ellis, who I’ve had the pleasure to work with a couple of times and Mark Morrell, who I connected with over Twitter about 3 years ago, discussing either intranets or football – mainly Brighton and Hove Albion.

Coming from a communications background, there’s been a few conferences recently, which I’ve followed on Twitter and thought, this is the same conversation I’ve been hearing for 3-4 years now, when is it going to move on? I’m really hoping this conference will move us on to the next level of content delivery and define the ‘what’ and ‘how’ to of a social workplace, leaving everyone with a clearer understanding of the different elements of a social business, and how these are linked creating systems of collaboration, communications and workflows, which are social in the purest sense.

I’m particularly keen to hear the ‘how’ conversations; how to implement a social strategy into a business, how to drive social behaviour within a business, how to measure the success and how to prepare for the future trends. With sessions such as; Social Workplace: Making of a Socially Connected Enterprise from David Christopher, Social Media Business Leader, Oracle EMEA, Implementing a Social Workplace Strategy: Employees First from Elizabeth Lupfer, Senior Manager, Employee Experience, Verizon US and Social Business Design: Focus on People Powered Processes from Jon Mell, Social Collaboration Leader, IBM North Europe I’m pretty sure the ‘how’ will be well covered. We should then be able to return to the next conference with stories of success and a clearer vision of the future of social business.

Judging from the speakers and panelist that have agreed to take part and the conference agenda, I believe this event could be a defining point in the story of social business in the UK.

I think there are still some spaces left, here’s a link to the registration page – it would be good to see you there.


Internal Communicators and the Social Media issue.

I was following the hashtags from two conferences in London yesterday, one focused on Intranets and one focused on Internal Communications (IC) with a session on Social Media (SM). The intranet focused conference featured more technical conversations on topic such as UX, algorithms and search within an organisation, but most importantly featured discussion on clarity of objectives, whilst the IC conference looked at softer subject such as adoption and ‘how to get employees using social media’.

What was apparent from the feeds is that Internal Communicators could really do with actually working closer/listening to the Intranet folks to get a better understanding of what they are dealing with and to better define their goals. To my mind, very few practitioners actually understanding why they are actually talking about social media, they know they should be talking about it, but they are not sure why.

I think the crux of the problem is that organisations are embedding social technologies across the entire business, using it for different purposes. A few years ago SM was seen a communications tool alone, which is why PR as an industry adopted it so readily, naturally where PR leads IC follows.

The problem is that at the time Internal Communicators picked up the SM baton when talk was about SM as a collaboration tool was a really hot topic (still is), which is where the confusion lies. Internal Communicators don’t actually know, what they should be focusing on, should they be focusing on more efficient ways of messaging and sharing messages, enabling fluid social channels for feedback, or should they also be focused on enabling collaboration tools (my thinking is that they are stakeholders in this area, not owners). Now social customer service is upon us, does the IC team feel the need get involved in that because it’s Social?

How this can be address;

Stop using Social Media as one umbrella concept – define what the Internal need is and set the appropriate objective.

From the defining the objective, focus on what you are the about is clearer feedback channels through the organisation, is it an awareness campaign for the news strategy, If it’s collaboration or community building, set up a working group, don’t for second think this is just an IC issue,whatever is let’s not call it a SM campaign

I’m pretty sure if Communicators took as step back to define what they really need from social media, then we would move past the stage which Internal Communications seems to be stuck at right now.

If you would like me to help you define your social objectives please get in touch @kev_mcdougall or via

Notes from #a4uexpo

The good thing about being a cross discipline communicator is that you get to see the best of both internal and external communication practices. Today I was a delegate at the affiliate marketing (now called performance marketing) conference a4uexpo in London.

It was a great day and confirmed my previous thoughts that every communicator should experience a different discipline to really put ‘thinking’ into perspective and to create a greater understanding of communications across the board.

I learnt (and re-learnt) more than i can remember today but here are my highlights from some great sessions.

Session 1 – Launching a brand a fiercely competitive market
Traffic sources Q1 – 80% PPC, 15% Organic, 5% email
Focus – Building links and optimising
Traffic sources Q2 60% PPC 25% Organic, 10% email, 5% other
Focus – Competitors, landing page optimisation
For affiliates differentiate the landing page with reviews and video. Content is still king even from data feeds.
Put offers into Meta descriptions – this takes away the PPC activity and reduced costs. It was the most eye-catching meta description.

Session 2 Analytics
Try to take out sections from the Google funnel
Try Yoast
Only measure what you need and segregate data
Measure sections/categories rather than whole site
Group channels ie Facebook and Twitter as Social Media

Session 3 – linkto Video
Jeager catwalk video online on homepage;play video click on model’s clothes and be taken to basket with that item in. Shopping straight from video.
Content is becoming bigger than the channel
Facebook video takeover – PR from great videos

Session 4 – Online in 2020
Fragmented landscape
Middle ground between search (Google) and content (Facebook)
Payments from Facebook accounts
Less privacy concerns
Content worth more than mediums – look out for XFactor TV
Affiliates need to be fleet of foot and move quickly to capture customers
Communications = disruption open API’s and transparency

Session 5 – Link building
Never buy a link based on PR (pagerank)
Buy links from reputable agencies – Doh!
Constantly update content
Build links to different sections
Watch competition – they are watching you
Control inward links by creting own external content on different IP’s