Digital Marketing Toolkit – workshop December 5th

07 Nov

A brief post to let anyone interested know that I’m running a one-day workshop, at York St John University on the 5th of December, on behalf of UKeIG. It’s all about marketing with new technologies.

Moving beyond the social network basics, this course will look at how to identify which technologies will be useful for marketing your organisation, how to use them effectively, and tips, tricks and general best-practice for marketing online. Topics will include marketing with video, viral marketing, mastering geolocation (such as FourSquare), mobile apps, publishing online, getting the most out of QR Codes, and taking social media marketing to the next level.

I’m also keen to accomdodate any other apsect of digital marketing that people would like to cover – if you’re already booked on the course then let me know what you’d like to cover (and if you’re not attending, I’d still be interested in the kinds of things you’d like to see covered on a course like this…).

Details of the event (including a booking form) are on the UKeIG website.

Hope to see you there!

- thewikiman

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The curse of ‘oh, we already did that’

15 Oct
Image of 'tried, tested, legit' poster

Proven, tested. But how recently?

Things move a lot faster in library-land than people outside the profession would ever imagine – approaches, trends, philosophies and pedagogies all shift on an on-going basis. For this reason, the fact that something didn’t work 2 or 3 years ago is really not a good enough reason not to try it now (and by the same token, the fact that something DID work 3 years ago isn’t enough of a reason to keep doing it – we have to make sure it’s still working in today’s landscape).

This happens a lot though – someone new comes into an organisation and says ‘why don’t we try such and such?’ and the reply is ‘oh we already did that; it didn’t work’ and that’s the end of it. In effect, a policy has been built off the back of one experience – and that experience may not be representative anymore, because things change, and people change.

This is particularly true in the web 2.0 landscape, where individuals’ attitudes to interacting with organisations and businesses changes all the time. A Library may run a trial and the conclusion ‘our users don’t want to be friends with a Library on Facebook’ emerges. If this trial took place in 2012 then it is entirely valid; don’t waste your time and effort on a Facebook presence. If the trial happened in 2009, it’s almost entirely without worth! That is SO long ago as to need re-visiting before a decision can be made on whether or not Facebook is a good idea – web 2.0 years are like dog years, so a 2009 Facebook study is the equivalent of a 1990 Library Management System study. :)

So, if you come across something that has already been tried, and you think the landscape has shifted sufficiently to try it again, don’t take no for an answer! It may be that it doesn’t work this time either, or it might be a huge triumph – either way, your Library’s policy will be based on something current, and will be more likely to reflect the needs of your users…

- thewikiman

p.s I was in a Lean methodology training session the other day, which is what inspired me to finish this post which has lain in my drafts folder for a couple of months. It turns out a lot of Lean principles are things I’ve been thinking about for a while, including the business of not just doing things one way because they’ve always been done that way, and not trying anything new because it has been tried once before in the distant past. Lean puts it in terms of the five whys – asking why (or more likely, ‘yeah, but WHY though?’) enough times to actually get to the root cause of something. Heidi Fraser-Krauss who led the session gave an example of a hospital who asked their staff to sign into a book when they rode their bikes into work. No one knew why, it had apparently ever been thus. The bike-book went back as far as the 40s and was, it turned out, something to do with rationing during the war… So it just goes to show, some processes need a quick currency-check to see if they’re still needed. Eliminate waste.

We’re being asked to take on so many new functions as part of the changing role of the Information Professional – if we don’t make sure we also lose anything non-essential, we’ll eventually run out of steam…



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Social media for organisations: getting the basics right

14 Aug

A quick post to let people know that Megan Roberts and I are running a one-day course for UKeIG, on social media for organisations. It’s open to all but aimed mainly at information services – and it’s all about using social media at an organisational level rather than a personal one. Anyone who’s started a library twitter account or facebook account will have quickly come to realise that the needs for library accounts are very different to the needs for librarian accounts!

The idea of the course is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to be able to use social media successfully – we’ll be exploring best practice, seeing how the leaders in our industry use the tools, and answering thorny questions about how to deal with tricky situations online. Pretty much every information service needs to be using social media in its marketing these days; it’s not that intimidating when you know what you’re doing, and it represents a fantastic opportunity to achieve a lot without spending a whole bunch of money…

Details, including a the booking form, are on UKeIG’s website.

When and where

The course takes place in York, at the York St John University, on the 4th of  September, from 09:30 – 16:30.

What the course covers

We’ll be talking about what social media is, how it works, and how the approaches involved differ from traditional forms of marketing. We’ll cover why you should be using the tools available, how you can tell if it’s working, where to start in terms of platforms, netiquette, identifying stuff to talk about online, and using tools to manage the burden. Specific platforms covered include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, LinkedIn, Flickr, and yes, Google+ and Pinterest!

There’ll be plenty of hands-on experience of using the tools in question.

A potential follow-up workshop…

I’m running a separate workshop in December (also for UKeIG, at the same venue) which operates both a stand-alone session and a follow-up for attendees of the social media for organisations course.  It’s called the Digital Marketing Toolkit, and it’s all about using emerging technologies to market your service: full details are on the UKeIG site.

Hope to see you there!

- thewikiman


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A book about Prezi

10 Aug


the cover of the book

Mastering Prezi for Business Presentations, by Russell Anderson-Williams, has just been released by Packt Publishing.

I have an interest in this, because I served as one of the two Technical Reviewers for the book. Check it out, I even get a little bio in there!

A bio, of me


About the book

As the name suggests the book is aimed at people giving business presentations – but basically all of it is applicable to anyone wishing to progress their Prezi skills to the next level. What I really like about it is it’s written by someone from a proper design background, so there’s a lot of technical stuff which is really handy if, like me, you quite like designing multimedia things but have no real idea what you’re doing. The sections on using audio and video are really good, and Russell certainly knows a lot of tips and tricks which were new to me. He really gets to grips with the potential of the software, and it’s very engagingly written.

About being a technical reviewer

The way the process works with this particular publisher, is that they send you each chapter basically as soon as it has been written. You’re encouraged to use the comments facility of Word to go into as much detail as you can, suggesting changes and improvements or highlighting the bits you think work really well. There’s also a questionnaire for each chapter, which includes questions like ‘what do you think the next chapter should be’ and so on. You send back the chapter and the questionnaire, they pass it on to the author along with the other reviewer’s comments, and then you get sent the next one or two chapters once they’re done.

It’s an odd process because you want to be doing a good job as a reviewer and actually making constructive suggestions, so you want to add as many comments as possible – but at the same time you don’t want to be finding fault where there is none, and the fewer comments you make the more complete the chapter is already, which is a good thing. So the balance is a hard one to find.

I was doing this around the same time I was finishing off my own book, and I have to say I would have found it very difficult to work like this – showing people what I’d done as I went along. I’m the kind of person who likes to have anything creative more or less complete before showing anyone – and that includes having all the chapters drafted, for context! Facet asked for one chapter early on in the writing process (to check I could actually write) but then let me get on with it thereafter till it was a completed draft. At this point they said they could send it off for proofing, indexing etc – or they could get it reviewed. I asked for it to be reviewed, and specifically asked if Antony Brewerton could review it; I’m really glad I did as the extremely helpful comments he came back with led me to actually restructure the book quite significantly, moving content around and adding some stuff in.

All in all reviewing this Prezi book was enjoyable. Sometimes I found it hard to turn around the work in the time the publisher wanted, and I never really had a sense if what I was doing was actually useful – I asked for feedback but I was told they’d be in touch if there were any problems, so hopefully that means there weren’t any. The best part of it was definitely getting to read a great book! There are loads of really useful tips I’ve adopted, and my recent Prezis are much better than my earlier ones because of it.

One thing is certain – I much prefer this kind of reviewing than critical reviewing for publication, and when I get asked to do that I always suggest someone else to take it on. Knowing what goes into writing a book means I could never really criticise anyone else’s knowing they might read that criticism, so a review from me is of no use to anyone…


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