Thursday, January 3, 2013

I've moved

If by some slim chance you still visit this blog, even though I have not posted in 18 months or so, and by some slimmer chance you actually still want to hear what I've got to share then ...

Head on over to my new business, Content Grasshopper

Monday, July 4, 2011

I am not going to go on until every single person …

A community managers and content managers we just get how it should all work and can see in our mind what it should or will look like.

We have a vision.

Getting others onboard and moving towards that vision is the challenging part. Sometimes it hurts our head when people can’t easily share in our vision and just ‘get’ how it should be and why. We speak to people and they still ask us “What’s this BookFace all about and why would I want to Twitter?” What is wrong with them?

But we don’t give up. We are determined to realise our vision. We stick to our guns and keep chipping away, day-by-day, one-by-one, until enough people are on board and we begin to realise the vision.

This was brought home for me today when I was listening to Benjamin Zander giving a TED Talk. Here is a snippet.

If you replace the word ‘leader’ with ‘community manager’ or ‘content manager’, and ‘classical music’ with ‘our community/vision’ then this quote describes us.

We know deep down we can get people to realise the vision and how things should be. We don’t doubt that. That’s not to say we have all the answers (I don’t), and collaboration along the way isn't important (it is essential) but community and content management is, as a profession, an infant. As such, not many people understand it well like they might understand accounts/finance, HR or administration. But we do.

I am interested to know whether Zander’s quote strikes a chord with you and whether you feel it describes you and the challenges you face.

View Benjamn Zander’s full TED talk Music and Passion

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

8 blogging tips from my blogging friends

Part of my role as Online Community Manager at the Global CCS Institute is to help guide and support those staff and industry contacts who help us create great content for our online community.

They are all super smart people in the industry and have heaps of great information and insights to share. Like lots of industry people, however, blogging doesn’t necessarily come easily to all of them.

As part of the support I have drawn up a cool ‘Blog Writing Blueprint’ (a step-by-step guide which I will share here in the future) and developed a list of 44 blog ideas. I have also set up a ‘Bloggers Anonymous’ blog that kind of acts as a place for myself and Brenda Somich, the other Online Community Manager at the Institute, to share ideas and thoughts to help our bloggers.

One thing I have recently done is to go out to some of my favourite bloggers and marketing industry contacts and asked them to shoot a short video giving their top blogging tip or two.

A big thanks to @nathbush @juliancole @scott_drummond @leehopkins @joshstraw84 @zacmartin @jymmysim and @brendasomich

Enjoy and feel free leave  comment and add your own blog tip that these guys forgot ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The best customer service ever

Charles Tyrwhitt We in the blogosphere are often quick to use our blogs to have a whinge about poor customer service we have received. I am guilty of it myself with blogging Is A Great Product/Service an Excuse for Bad Customer Service? and A Pure Unadulterated Rant.

We all come across instances of good and bad customer service every week but most of it is what I would call ‘acceptable’. I often muse that we get so used to ‘acceptable’ customer service, the type that is good but not memorable, that there are great opportunities for brands to easily stand out through exceptional customer service.

I experienced exceptional customer service the other week from a company by the name of Charles Tyrwhitt which was born in 1986 because the founder, Nicholas Wheeler, believed he could make a shirt better than anybody else. Since then, the business has worked to make “the finest menswear in the world, as well as a big dollop of good old-fashioned values including outstanding value for money and unbeatable service.”

I first came across the brand on a rainy day in Dublin, back in 2001, when I was in the city to see Ireland play the Wallabies. I was just killing time for the day and wandered into one of their stores. I didn’t really want anything, I was just browsing, but was so impressed by the store, the range and the customer service that I left with 3 shirts and 2 ties. They were beautifully packaged in gift boxes and I felt just a little bit posh walking around with my shopping bags. For a while after I always bought shirts from them.

But then I moved back to Australia and for one reason or another stopped buying them. Probably because there are no retail stores here in Australia. Then a friend was telling me he orders shirts online from the store.

So I jumped on and ordered a complete set of new business shirts (I was due anyway). They turned up from the UK in a week-and-a-half but unfortunately they fitted like a tent. Whoops.

I jumped online to chat with a customer service rep and that’s when the exceptional customer service started. Below is a transcript that was emailed to me as a follow up of our online conversation:

clip_image002 Andrew Blair: Hi, you’re speaking to Andrew Blair at Charles Tyrwhitt. How can I help you today?
clip_image004Daniel Oyston: Hi Andrew, just had some shirts delivered to Australia but unfortunately they are too big. What do I need to do to exchange?
clip_image004[1]Daniel Oyston:
My order number was w36217982
clip_image006Andrew Blair: Please return the shirts to us including a completed returns form and we will exchange them and send you a fresh order once we receive them back. Alternatively, you can place a new order for the correct size shirts now and then return the original order to us for a full refund.
clip_image004[2]Daniel Oyston:
Thanks Andrew. Think I will place a new order for the same shirt but diff sizes ... that way they will arrive quicker.
clip_image006[1]Andrew Blair: That's a good idea as this will speed up the process considerably.
clip_image004[3]Daniel Oyston:
Do you have a link for the returns form? I just had a quick look on the returns page of the site and couldn't see it
clip_image006[2]Andrew Blair: I don't have a scanned copy of a returns form anywhere. If there isn't one included with your order, just enclose a brief letter or note with your return detailing your name, address, customer number, contact number and the reason for return.
clip_image004[4]Daniel Oyston:
oh, oops, sorry, it is on the back of the form that's in the box.
clip_image004[5]Daniel Oyston:
Thanks for your help. Appreciate it.
clip_image006[3]Andrew Blair: My pleasure. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
clip_image004[6]Daniel Oyston: Yes there is. I notice on the form one of the options for return says "2 sizes ordered - one kept". I don’t want to be a smart arse but is that acceptable if you are unsure of sizing? Just order 2 and send the one back that didn't fit?
clip_image006[4]Andrew Blair: Yes, that's something that we'd encourage our customers to do if they're unsure about sizing.
clip_image004[7]Daniel Oyston: awesome. sounds good then. I'll do that. Thanks again. That's everything sorted. Good work mate - keep it up
clip_image006[5]Andrew Blair: My pleasure! Many thanks for contacting us at Charles Tyrwhitt and enjoy the rest of your day. Goodbye.
clip_image004[8]Daniel Oyston:
Actually, one more thing - how the hell do you pronounce Tyrwhitt?
clip_image006[6]Andrew Blair: I know it doesn't look that way but it's pronounced 'tirrit' to rhyme with 'spirit'!

So I did exactly that and got 2 sizes of new shirts promptly delivered and returned the others for a refund.

Nicholas, if you read this post then you need to go and give Andrew a massive pat on the back, employee of the month, case of beer or free shirt or whatever you do there to reward employees because the way he easily looked after my problem, let alone made me feel like a valuable customer, was outstanding.

The brand also has a great presence on Facebook including some great video tips for men's dressing and they also make good use of Facebook as a customer service channel by engaging with customers.

You too should buy all your shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt because as the website says you will get “the finest menswear in the world, as well as a big dollop of good old-fashioned values including outstanding value for money and unbeatable service.”

Trust Oyster, you won’t be disappointed.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Community Manager Round Table – Brisbane, June 2011

Last Friday I attended the Community Manager Round Table organised by Greg Lexiphanic (@lexiphanic) #acmrt

It was a great opportunity to meet some new people and hang out with like minded individuals (something some of us don’t get to do at work all that often). The format was pretty causal with everyone having the opportunity to submit topics for discussion. We spent about 30 mins a time discussing topics such as building a community from scratch, engaging difficult/fragmented communities, metrics and just the general lie of the land.

We all have our unique challenges with some of us building communities around climate change, credit unions, government initiatives, large corporations and two of us building communities around the inevitable fact of life … death. While we all had unique challenges I think we also face many of the same challenges. It was a bit of a support group at times :)

One little project that came out of the day is on engagement. We were discussing engagement when Russell Allert (@RussellAllert) mentioned that in his role he started down the path of creating a scoring system for measuring engagement e.g. +1 for a like, +3 for a share, +5 for a comment etc. He said that it all got caught up in the detail a bit, so he shelved it, but with a promise to help the group has taken on the project of the engagement measurement framework finished.

Others involved in the day were @corza @alisonmichalk @joolliee @amandaolsson (in spirit) .. BTW – is Bob on Twitter?

A big thanks to Greg for organising. He did an outstanding job with wifi organised, coffees on arrival, lunch ordered before we got to the pub and even the offer of a lift to the airport. All that and great conversation for $40.

The next one is being slated for Melbourne later in the year with @venessapaech looking likely to coordinate? If you work in community management, or know someone who does, then I highly recommend you get along to this day. It certainly got my mind ticking. You might also be interested in Swarm Sydney being organised by Quiip which will “connect Community Managers with the aim of sharing resources, best practices, information and ideas, alongside creating a dialogue around the future of online engagement.”

We will be sure to share the results of the engagement framework in due time.










Image by Jyri (via Quiip)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Now this is an awesome job application

new belgium brewingI have often said to myself that “next time I am applying for a job I am going to cut out all the bullshit resume talk and do something that stands out”. Somehow, I never get around to it. I end up playing it safe.

Not Josh Mishell. This is a truly cool website/resume application to New Belgium Brewing for the the role of Strategic Marketing & Branding Director (I think, I don’t actually know the specific job but looking their site it would appear to be this one).

I retweeted Josh’s link and he seemed genuinely impressed it had made its way to Australia (the home of Cascade, one of his favourites). Whoops, update, I am told it is Cascade in Poland :(

Check it out by clicking on the image below. Would you like to get a a job application like this?

Josh Mishell

Monday, May 23, 2011

44 Content Ideas

Here is a list of 44 ideas for creating content for your blog or website.

I thought I saw a similar list somewhere once before but I can’t find it in my delicious bookmarks and none of the websites I guessed I might have seen it on had it.

So I scoured the net for ideas, and add some of my own, and now I have a list of 44 things that I can use to give people inspiration when I ask them to create content for me.

If you would like a word version so you can brand it yourself then shoot me an email at danieloyston [at] and I’ll flick it over to you.

The list is primarily ideas for blog posts, so doesn’t include things like ‘Host an Event’ but maybe we should have a more rounded list? Leave any ideas for content in the comments and I will add them to the doc over time.

PDF Icon



Monday, May 16, 2011

31% of people that have ‘liked’ a company on Facebook have actually ‘unliked’ it

like-and-dislike-stampsExactTarget and CoTweet have released research that provides us with insights into Facebook users and “liking” companies – or more specifically, what happens when fans decide they no longer like a company.

As with most research, you have to read the words very carefully to understand what they are saying.

For example, the report states that 55% of people have liked a brand but then later decided they no longer wanted to see posts from that brand. My gut tells me it is probably higher but it is the nature of how the question is asked that influences the answer (unfortunately we rarely get to see the questions). I recon the results would have been higher if people were asked “Do still like 100% of the companies you have liked on Facebook?”

The report goes on to say that of that group, only 57% actually seek out the unlike option of a particular company. In other words, 31% of people that have liked a company actually unliked it. Again, you might have liked 100 companies but because you didn't like one particular one, and maybe actually unliked it, you get counted.

Fair enough though, I don't want to sound negative about the results but you always have to take it with a grain of salt and consider how it applies to your situation. It is always useful because it gets you thinking.

So I started thinking … there are more than 500 million active users on Facebook with 50% of active users logging in on any given day. Of that, there are more than 250 million (50%) active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices and these people are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users (Official Facebook Stats)

But you can’t unlike something from your mobile – well, from the iPhone Facebook app anyway. Not that I can see. Facebook provides advice but it is only relevant if you are accessing Facebook through a browser as opposed to an app. Starts to make the figures above seem pretty murky to me. 

So I thought, what should Facebook do? The average punter probably couldn’t name all the companies that they have liked let alone all the ones they don’t like. Maybe Facebook should have a tab in our account settings that let’s us go in and view all the companies we have liked and let us uncheck those that we no longer like. They could send us an annual “like” review reminder so that we are prompted to keep our info up to date.

Surely this would strengthen their position and help them target ads better?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The competitive advantage of a “no assholes” policy

I read a great post today over at Brand Builder, by Olivier Blanchard, in which he argues that “The customer-facing organization with the least amount of assholes wins.”

Love it! Not only is it true, but asshole is such an apt description of some of the people we receive poor service (and a bad attitude) from.

I started writing a comment on the blog but my mind kept coming up with points to make so instead of leaving the world’s longest comment and I have decided to write a post (yes, yes, I know I have been sporadically posting but I have good intention to stick to posting more regularly … well I intend to anyway).

You should really head over and read the post here

Ok … you’re back … nice to have you.

It’s often argued that people expect good customer service from everyone these days. It’s a must, a gimmee, you can’t do without it. I agree to a point but people also expect to run into assholes in customer facing roles. It’s just that they don’t know when and where and what brand will provide them with an asshole.

Oliver gives some examples of how to asshole-proof your company – two of which result in assholes working for your competitors – a) Don’t hire assholes (this assumes they stay in the industry and thus work for a competitor) and b) give your current assholes the “opportunity” to go work for your fiercest competitor.

We all know that a competitive advantage is hard to maintain. The beauty of a “no assholes” policy, however, is that it IS a competitive advantage that you can maintain (assuming your competitor aren’t smart enough to read Oliver’s blog and thus do not know that their businesses are invested with assholes).

The further beauty is that time compounds the competitive advantage for you. The longer you ensure that you have no assholes, and the longer your competitors keep damaging their brand by employing assholes, and the longer customers are leaving them and coming to you, then the standard of customer service gap just keeps getting wider. Furthermore, your company will increasingly attract the good staff from competitors, further weakening their position, and new employees into the industry will also be attracted to your company.

It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity and all the while your competitive advantage is becoming easier to maintain (and your organisation a nicer place to work)

The customers are not guilt free in this problem though. It’s not just management’s fault that assholes continue to prosper. The fact that customers can’t stick up for themselves only encourages assholes. Just like a bully.

Now, I don’t mean yelling and carrying on like a goose. I mean put them in their place.I guarantee that saying, in the right tone, calm, but with purpose … “Excuse me, I would appreciate it if you didn’t speak to me like that” or “Excuse me, please do not talk over the top of me. I let you have your say and now I would like you to afford me the same courtesy. May I continue?”

It will make the asshole feel like a child and it will  a long way to helping them keep their heads pulled in. It doesn’t need to be rude, just stern. Don’t be an asshole yourself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

4 Awesome Posts/Links You Probably Missed

I have been a bit busy playing football for a week and then being best man at my mate’s wedding. So, time for a bit of a lazy post. Lazy for me anyway but for you its awesome! Here is a collection of awesome links/posts that you probably missed over the last week or so. You can thank me by standing up at your desk and clapping loudly.

Buyer Personas: Where (and How!) to Start

Aligning your content to your target audience is essential. But how do you know who your audience is and what makes them tick. Buying persona’s help solidify, in your mind, your audience and are particularly useful if you ask a guest blogger or other staff members to produce content. In this post, Jeremy Victor, answers the questions that are most likely top of mind for you when it comes to buyer personas. Check it out >>

Oyster ColourOyster ColourOyster ColourOyster Colour Oyster Grey

3 Marketing Lessons From Drug Dealers

In this post Mike Volpe recounts a presentation he attended from John Moore of Brand Autopsy. John’s talk was an analogy that drew heavily on two ‘drug’ denizens – Frank Lucas, the purveyor of ‘Blue Magic’ heroin in the 70s as depicted in the movie American Gangster, and Starbucks, our own nation’s top retailer of caffeinated energy in a cup. Though only one of these substances is illegal, both organizations used product and marketing to develop a uniquely loyal following. Great stuff! Check it out >>

Oyster ColourOyster ColourOyster ColourOyster Colour Oyster Colour

5 Totally Awesome Social Media Infographics

Gary Thomas provides some stats and interesting tidbits on just how many people are using the internet to share, research, and network with one another. Check it out >>

Oyster ColourOyster ColourOyster ColourOyster Colour Oyster Grey

Relevance is Not an Option

Ardath Albee outlines what happens when people don’t find your companies messages relevant. She goes on to outline that part of what causes messages to become irrelevant is that companies make assumptions about what customers want via a relationship on social media. A new study by IBM found that the perception gap is likely wider than you think. This is deffintley one of my favourite graphics … ever. Very powerful. Pull your head out of the sand! Check it out >>

Oyster ColourOyster ColourOyster Colour  Oyster ColourOyster half