7 WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS SOCIAL MEDIA BETTER TODAY

7 WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS SOCIAL MEDIA BETTER TODAY

Social Media Icons

We manage social media for many of our clients, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

We find that many SMEs don’t really understand how to make the most of social media for business, so if you’re not at the stage where you can ask an expert to look after it for you, we’ve put together a few tips to help you:

  1. First impressions are important. Personalise the page properly. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all allow you to set not just an avatar or profile image, but also a header image and in the case of Twitter, you can even set the colour used on the page to match your corporate identity.
  2. Add value to your content This is the key to increased likes, follows and interactions is. As well as tweeting your company updates and industry news; post tips, whitepapers, blogs and how to’s that people will genuinely find useful. It will position you as not only knowledgeable, but also helpful.
  3. Use hashtags effectively on twitter and Instagram. The hashtag symbol in front of a word, groups posts that feature the same word into easily accessible lists which are searchable. This spreads your tweets and posts further than just your own followers.
  4. Choose quality and commitment over quantity. There are so many social channels to choose from, if you had a presence on them all, you’d never be able to keep them up to date. If you’re pushed for time, pick just one that works best for your business and concentrate on that. We’re happy to advise on which one might be best for your type of business so speak to us if you’d like more help.
  5. Post at least once a day. A neglected social media account can be more damaging to a business than not having one at all. It looks lazy and unprofessional and if you genuinely can’t commit to keeping it up to date, then just take it down until you can.
  6. Avoid repetitive and ‘filler’ content. ‘Top tips’ are fine if they’re different and insightful every time. Likewise, promoting your business services and goods is a great way of telling people what you do and finding potential customers. But if your posts samey or you keep recycling content, people will get bored with you very quickly and probably unfollow. As a rule, if you don’t have something interesting and original to say, don’t say it!
  7. Simply RT-ing or reposting others does not give ‘you’ a voice. Whilst it’s fine to repost or RT content that you generally feel is worth sharing and will be valuable to your audience, you need to ensure that there is a good balance of this alongside your OWN original posts. A profile full of RTs (which is something we are seeing more and more lately!) is not likely to inspire anyone and may in fact put them off following you.

We hope these tips are useful, please let us know if you have any questions on how to manage your social media or are thinking of outsourcing it!

The Black Hare team x

X MARKS THE (SOFT) SPOT

X MARKS THE (SOFT) SPOT

Chrissie has been over-analysing lately. In particular about the virtual kiss and where it fits into the world of professionalism…

I’m a serial kisser. Not real kisses, but the ‘X’ type at the end of text messages and emails. The thing is, not everyone else likes to use the affectionate sign-off.

To me it’s an innocent symbol of ‘I quite like you and I’m going to strip the formality out of this. Let’s be friends!’ If you’re like me, beware: those with a stiff upper lip can have utter contempt for this over familiar approach. They think kissers are idiots – people who have no control over their emotions and who are likely to spoil a perfectly professional relationship with their awkward display of patheticness.

There are some people in my professional circle who kiss every time. There are others who do it never. And in both scenarios I tend to follow suit. And that’s fine. We all know where we stand. But there are others who kiss sometimes, presumably depending on their mood. These confusing kissers lead you on, leave you hanging and generally make you wonder if they are intentionally playing a cruel game with your emotions.

Serial kissers will know that kisses can be withheld in situations where a display of disapproval is warranted. In a world of instant and remote messaging, where much can be misconstrued and misread, there is no mistaking the obvious slap in the face of the absent X. I use this tool with my boyfriend every day.

And then of course there’s the question of whether an X compromises professionalism. Does a kisser get taken less seriously than a non kisser?

The question I always ask is ‘why so serious?’ And since when did professionalism equal a lack of emotion or affection? At this point I could lead quite smoothly into a discussion about crying at work and how damaging that is to your credibility as a professional, but that’s for another blog! One thing I will say is that serial kissers might well be serial cryers as well. (I am not admitting to this. I’m not.)

Forgetting professionalism for a moment, let’s explore about the obvious male/female dynamic here (because let’s be honest, plenty of affairs are instigated in the workplace). Perhaps the weirdest thing about virtual kissing is when it’s between members of the opposite sex and no-one really quite knows where they stand. Is it there for a reason or just out of friendliness? If someone kisses, do you kiss back? If you don’t you’ll almost certainly look cold and unfriendly. And you’ll probably make the kisser feel stupid. But if you do kiss back, you might be encouraging a further advance that you really don’t want. Then you’ll just be accused of being a tease!

In some situations there is no way to win.

I have a few clients who sign off with an X. A few are male, most are female. I have close friends of both sexes who never use a kiss. I don’t know if they’re trying to keep an emotional distance from me or are just not the soppy type. But I have decided it doesn’t really matter. Clients, colleagues and friends know me well enough to know that I’m a bit emotionally unhinged and unorthodox. Everyone else can learn that the awkward way!

In summary, I have compiled a list of rules to ensure kissing doesn’t open a can of worms. I hope it helps the undecided to maintain a respectable reputation:

  • Be selective. Kiss who you know you can get away with kissing. Not someone who might well take it as a come-on or someone who will just think you’re a prize prat and will look upon you with disdain from that moment on.
  • Be consistent. If you’ve started kissing someone, kiss them every time. You’ll look emotionally unstable if you stop and start. Or worse still, it will look like the ‘one time’ might have been an accident. And that you’re happy to kiss other people, but this rogue kiss was an awful mistake, the thought of which makes you want to vomit a little.
  • Reciprocate. Unless the email is from the office pervert and/or you have pathological hatred for the sender, kiss back – at least once. Or you’ll look like you have intimacy issues.
  • Consider the relevance of your industry and reputation. Kisses from lawyers are bloody weird. From PR darlings they are a recognised form of arse kissing.

Glad I could help! x

HEADWAY BLACK TIE DINNER RAISES £3K

HEADWAY BLACK TIE DINNER RAISES £3K

Recently we were honoured to become involved with the Derby branch of Headway, an organisation devoted to helping people who suffering with acquired brain injury. Part of our support for them was the organising of their first ever Black Tie Fundraising Dinner on Fri 3rd March 2017.

The evening was a great success – we had a fantastic time and the feedback has been brilliant! We raised £3k for Headway Derby and they have announced that they’ll be using the money to open their drop-in centre for an extra day to offer support to those suffering with brain injury, their carers and family. It’s so satisfying to know that the money is being used to help Headway members directly.

James and Chrissie of Black Hare Marketing; Paul Clarke, Service Manager for Headway Derby; Headway Trustee Debra Morris; Headway Service Member Richard Czekalskyj

Thanks to everyone who helped to make the night the success that it was including Michael Rowlands, Paul Grundle, the team at Hansons for conducting our charity auction and all the businesses and individuals that donated auction items and raffle prizes.

We’ll be continuing to support Headway Derby through an annual Black Tie event and other fundraising activities throughout the year. Stay tuned to hear more on these, we’d love your support!

 

 

WHY CREATIVES NEED TO RECLAIM ‘CREATIVE’

WHY CREATIVES NEED TO RECLAIM ‘CREATIVE’

Recently, LinkedIn revealed the top ten ‘buzz words’ it says marketers over-use on their LinkedIn profiles and CVs and it’s disturbing to see that one of these words is ‘creative’.

How can this have become a buzz word, when the vast majority of modern marketers aren’t remotely creative? The digital landscape (another couple of buzz words for you there!) has bred a legion of left-brained marketing professionals that think laterally and numerically instead of creatively. That’s not a criticism – we need these analytical types to be able to navigate the intricacies of modern digital marketing. Just think analytics; detailed segmentation; targeting; social media algorithms; complex KPIs and relating sales figures back to online campaigns and assessing paths to purchase. It’s a science. But it’s not creative!

 

True creatives love to peer in and have a top level understanding of how these factors relate to the beautiful campaign they’ve just conceptualised. But they baulk at having to get really immersed in the science behind the marketing.

That’s why when someone refers to themselves as being ‘creative’ they should think about what creative really means.

For the same reason that I wouldn’t refer to myself as analytical and scientific, people shouldn’t be casually throwing around the word creative unless they genuinely  like to ‘create’. I get tired of the word being used to define ‘a different way of thinking about things’. That has nothing to do with creating anything.

When I refer to myself as being creative it’s because I like to see a project through from conception to delivery, but more than that, it’s because I am eternally concerned with the way things are experienced from a sensory perspective, especially how things look. I get a kick out of being a part of creating something that looks amazing.

So in summary, yes, creative probably has become a buzz word. But it’s the new version of the word that’s causing the problem.

I’d love true creatives to be able to reclaim it and stop marketers using it to describe everything that they do!

Original article in The Drum here: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/01/30/linkedin-reveals-the-10-most-overused-marketing-buzzwords-cvs-and-profiles

 

 

PR FOR OUR NEW NETWORKING EVENT

PR FOR OUR NEW NETWORKING EVENT

Some of you may know about the monthly networking event that we launched in June called Fusion. It’s been a massive task to generate PR for this and to get word to businesses in and around Derby and in fact the whole East Midlands region!

Fusion Trans - cropped

We’re really happy with the amount of online and print coverage we managed to secure for our launch, both pre-event and post-event. Thank you to all the journalists and editors who helped up with this.

Here’s a round up:

Derby Telegraph
Derby Telegraph
The Business Desk
The Business Desk
East Midlands Business Link
East Midlands Business Link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Business Desk
The Business Desk
Midlands Business Insider
Midlands Business Insider

THE ‘GET REAL’ GUIDE TO EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING

THE ‘GET REAL’ GUIDE TO EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING

Chrissie tells it like it is, with some vital advice for anyone considering experiential campaigns.

Every year in the UK, brands spend millions of pounds on experiential marketing. If you’re not familiar with the term and haven’t considered how it could work for your brand, it’s simply a form of promotional marketing that creates an ‘experience’ for the consumer. Hence the name! It’s favoured by brands with huge throwaway marketing budgets and a new product to launch; but it’s also popular with smaller brands and start-ups, to create a PR buzz and jump start their brand awareness.

The thing about experiential is, it’s often poorly planned. The campaigns are usually the brainchildren of misinformed office execs who have never had to implement a field-based promotional campaign; let alone tried to engage face to face with commercially disillusioned and cynical consumers.

In my early career and even prior to it, experiential work (or promo jobs, as they’re known in the business) paid for me to take holidays I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford; it saw me through university, bought me expensive shoes and a nice social life. But crucially it gave me an understanding of how these campaigns are delivered by staff and received by consumers.  And I’d like to share what I know, because if you’re thinking of going down the experiential route, there are many pitfalls you can avoid to ensure your spend is maximised and the campaign has the desired effect!

Let this be your guide.

 

Recognise & embrace consumer greed

Sampling activities are the easiest to carry out and the most popular with consumers, who will congregate around sample bins like flies around you know what. As cringeworthy as this is to see, it’s invaluable for your brand awareness. They’ll make sure that whatever they’re queueing for is worth it.  This means they are taking in your brand and product message.

Once they’re willingly congregating, you have created what is priceless – a buzz. You must understand that you will struggle to create that without giving something away.

The only other time I’ve seen it happen was when me and a few other members were hired to look after an Xbox 360 stand at a music festival. People could queue up to compete with each other playing games that hadn’t even been released yet. Essentially this was still a desirable giveaway, they were loaning their equipment and sought after games for free. It was an exclusive.

The lesson? Give consumers a good reason to give you their time and attention. One spritz of perfume or a leaflet is not that.

 

Work within the boundaries of average human tolerance

It seems simple to consider the people delivering your message and product to the masses, but promotional staff are rarely given enough consideration. Why should they be considered? – brands will ask. They’re just students earning well above the minimum wage to do a pretty simple task. I cannot express how wrong and short-sighted this is. Sure you might not give a rat’s ass about these people or how they feel for their own sake, but what about how it impacts on your brand?

Many years ago, I worked on a campaign for a famous brand of coffee. It was winter, we were outdoors and my team of unfortunate brand ambassadors had to wear jet pack drink dispensers full of coffee. If you’ve never had to wear a jet pack full of liquid and stand around on the same spot for hours, let me tell you it is f*cking agony. Aside from the back pain, they are huge and make you look like some kind of human/giant tortoise hybrid. An hour into the 8 hour shift and we were miserable. We weren’t allowed to put the packs down, even for short recovery periods. The staff dropped out of the campaign one after another (myself included) and the ones that remained had faces like a wet weekend. I doubt that’s what the coffee brand wanted their consumers to be faced with, but it’s what happened.

The lesson? First, use static tanks for liquid sampling and set up a stand. Jet packs are not worth the hassle. More importantly, use some common sense and consider what you’d be willing to put up with for the sake of some extra money. Few ‘promo girls’ give enough of a sh*t to put up with yours.

 

Get organised

I can’t count the times I arrived at a promotional job only to find the uniform as promised wasn’t on site, the branded stand was nowhere to be found and the store staff didn’t even know to expect me. This was less the brand’s fault and more due to the incompetence of the agency they’d hired to implement the campaign.

It has several ill effects  – firstly the brand ambassador isn’t very…. erm, branded. Secondly, they’ll feel a bit daft stood there all in black, clutching a product they’ve had to take off the shelf and randomly approaching customers who haven’t a clue what they’re doing and find the whole thing a bit odd. At all costs, promotional staff should be surrounded by and emblazoned with visual branding. It’s the most minimal requirement of any activity.

Lesson? If it’s worth doing and spending money on, it’s worth doing properly. So make sure it’s done properly.

 

Don’t overcomplicate things

A promotional campaign doesn’t exist to make demands on the consumer. However it’s hard to avoid this when it comes to data capture campaigns. By their very nature, they take some time to complete and require consumers to part with a lot of information that they might be uncomfortable or impatient with. Every single data campaign I worked on could have used a significantly shorter and more concise questionnaire that took half the amount of time to complete. Instead, participants were so impatient and huffy about how long it took, that we had no choice but to abandon the interview halfway through or cut out half of the questions and make up the answers later. It was that or no participants at all. (Of course this is far from ideal because it affects the integrity and accuracy of the data.)

If you’re thinking of conducting a data capture exercise, give the participant a little treat to lure them in and keep them sweet. Who cares if chocolate isn’t your brand? People love it. Your offer of a free double glazed window if they buy the other six, probably won’t work.

Lesson? Give an incentive. And don’t expect consumers to wait around all day answering your questionnaires. Twenty questions should be an absolute maximum if they are simple to ask and to answer. But aim for more like ten.

 

Acknowledge the difference between selling and promoting

More and more brands are setting sales targets to promotional staff placed in store. That’s fine, but there’s no guarantee your brand ambassador will be able to sell effectively. Sales, as anyone in business knows, is a real skill and setting a £600 target to someone on a fragrance demonstration is not only unrealistic, but it’s demotivating.

When planning your expectations of an activity, you must understand there’s a distinct difference between promoting a product (which is to inform customers of its existence) and selling it. Promoting involves smiling sweetly whilst emblazoned with branding and telling interested customers about the product. You don’t need me to explain why that’s not the same thing as persistently setting up and closing sales. There’s nothing wrong with expecting sales off the back of an activity, it’s just important that you communicate this to your staffing agency clearly, so they can assign their strongest salespeople to the job.

Lesson? If it’s a sales drive, be clear and be prepared to pay more for the best salespeople.

 

Black Hare provides expert experiential consultancy and strategic planning for your experiential campaigns. No matter how big or small the ripples you can afford to make are, don’t waste your budget. Get it right the first time!

WHY SO SERIOUS?

WHY SO SERIOUS?

Chrissie has a message for everyone who’s too boring on social media. Lighten up already!

There’s a common assumption that businesses can’t have a sense of humour or a wicked side. That they have to be eternally respectful, wary of every development at the school of political correctness and generally on their best behaviour.  Typically they’re worried that they have a reputation to uphold. But when did a positive reputation equate to being a boring old stuffed-shirt?

Nowhere is this lack of humour and character more apparent than when a business dabbles cautiously with social media. Social media was intended for people to connect with each other. People as individuals, are more likely to convey their quirks and personalities via Facebook and Twitter. But when businesses realised social media would be a great marketing tool, it became a channel by which we could be bombarded with the humourless, the mundane and the downright dull. I’m all for content marketing and the golden rule that if it benefits the reader, then share it. But does it have to be so bloody boring and serious?

Here’s where I prove this isn’t a cleverly disguised sales pitch. At Black Hare, we happily manage social media for clients but if you’re serious about social media and genuinely want it to be an outreach tool to your customer base (notice I didn’t call it a sales tool!); then I strongly advise against having anyone else touch it. Keep it in-house and give it to someone who understands the business properly.

Learn from the best.
Learn from the best.

When you hand it to a third party, your social media has no chance of reflecting the true spirit of your business. How can it? A third party is going to be even more risk averse than you are when it comes to your reputation. Only you know how far you’re prepared to push the boundaries, whose sensibilities you need to be careful with and how much you can truly get away with. And only you can reflect the character behind your business, because that character is yours. And only you can be responsible for it.

Charmin Tweet
There’s plenty of fun to be had with bog roll jokes!

People do business with people, especially in the B2B world. Everyone knows that – it’s the most important thing to remember when you plan your marketing and networking strategy. Even in the consumer world, people will buy into brands that give them a reason to relate on a human level. Brands that convey emotion, human strength and weakness as well as that crucial thing – humour, they do well. There’s no reason why social media shouldn’t reflect these qualities too.

This year, if your social media streams look like pages from the Times business section, why not mix things up a bit. I’m not suggesting you go all out trying to replicate the hilarity of Paddy Power or turn into the next Ricky Gervais and spend a large portion of your time antagonising religious groups. Just post like a human! Otherwise, you’re just not going to stand out. Or if you do, it will be as a boring fart with a stick up your arse.

My list of things to remember if you want to give your social media posts more character:

  • Know your audience and program your level of humour accordingly.
  • Don’t be frightened of a healthy amount of sarcasm when it’s called for. It is afterall what we, the British, are famous for.
  • Everyone laughs at toilet and sex humour. (Sorry, but they do.)
  • Reflect the quirks of your team and give people a taste of what it’s really like inside your office.
  • Be random at times. Not everything has to be industry related business news!
  • Don’t give the role of social to anyone who’s still wet behind the ears. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the job for an intern or apprentice unless you’re happy with boring and non-spontaneous. (And checking everything they post.)
  • Play the humour game with caution on LinkedIn. People react to tomfoolery on LinkedIn like they do when someone wears a joke tie to a networking event. With disdain. Sheer disdain.
Too far?!
Too far?!

GROUNDHOG DAY FOR JOHN LEWIS

ADGEEK! GROUNDHOG DAY FOR JOHN LEWIS

James has got beef (or should that be tofu?) with John Lewis. He thinks it’s time they stopped playing it safe & changed tack… We’ve seen it all before!

I imagine that back in 2011 it took the agency that makes John Lewis’s Christmas ads months to come up with a new and original idea that would get everyone talking. To be fair to Adam & Eve it worked well and The Long Wait made them the official kings of the heartfelt Christmas ad. The little boy that can’t wait any longer, tries using magic to turn the clocks forwards so that he could have that buzz of Christmas morning and see what presents he’d got.

But, wait a second, he’s not opening his own presents at all. Screenshot 2015-12-01 at 14.16.17 The twist: his excitement was not selfish, he simply couldn’t wait to give his parents their gifts from him! All set to the slow rendition of The Smiths (still amazed they pulled that one off) ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’ by the aptly named Slow Moving Millie. They created a winning formula – to tug at the heartstrings with a sweet story, a happy twist at the end and a slow cover of an old classic.

And they’ve recreated it every year since! The next year was The Journey (our office favourite as it happens!); the year after that they gave us The Bear & The Hare; the year after that it was Monty the Penguin and this year we have The Man in the Moon (although they appear to have cut the happy ending for 2015. Is it just me, or does anyone else think this advert is painfully depressing?! The poor old lad is still stuck on the moon alone, and to make it more frustrating – he can see everyone else enjoying Christmas!) Aside from that, John Lewis are getting a little too comfortable and predictable now. The ideas that probably took months to create originally, I can now imagine now come together in a matter of weeks, it’s like working off a blueprint.

Screenshot 2015-12-01 at 14.17.41

The old saying goes ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’. The thing is, whilst people may still anticipate the arrival of the John Lewis advert at this time of year, they who are never knowingly undersold are getting a good run for their money from other retail giants. Sainsbury’s in particular stepped it up last year with their World War II inspired weepy and I imagine it gave the folks at JL a bit of a scare in the race for the Christmas crown. That same company have upped it again this year with the tale of Mog – The Cat That Nearly Ruined Christmas. A great advert that has been cleverly created, has a cute and clumsy but still very lovable main character and the same near miss; with a happy ending outcome that we all need see play out. It apparently took 18 months to make, but in its first 12 hours of release it was shared more times that Lewis’ was in the first 24. It might just convince everyone else to mix it up a bit next year rather than use the same old, stick with what we know, way of thinking!

Screenshot 2015-12-01 at 14.26.16P.S. It’s not officially Christmas until you’ve seen the Coca Cola advert on the telly – they literally wheel out the same one every year and we still love it just as much! Enjoy watching, in case you need getting in the mood. Holidays are well and truly coming! 😉

 

THE ANTISOCIAL NETWORKER

THE ANTISOCIAL NETWORKER

As festive networking pandemonium rolls in, Chrissie has racked her brain to figure out what makes a great serial networker. And what you should never, ever do…

2015-11-23 09.57.29

I’ve met people to whom networking comes as naturally as breathing. I’ve also met many who break into a cold sweat at the very thought of it and start panicking days in advance. One thing I’m certain these people all have in common, is that they could all be better at it. See, there’s a fine art to networking – it’s not just a case of confidently turning up; not if you want your networking acquaintances to become clients or at the very least champions of how great you are and how much other people should meet you.

Now I hasten to add, I’m not a networking pro by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve ballsed up enough networking events to know what I should have done better. However, what I do really well is observe and reflect. And thus I would like to share some of that painful wisdom with you!

This is how I believe you network like a God damn pro:

Choose the format wisely. Personally I loathe events where everyone is forced to stand up one by one and do a 60 second ‘elevator pitch’. I find them fake and forced. That said, I’m well aware these events are fruitful for many a small business, so if you like them, don’t let me put you off. But if they make you uncomfortable or disengaged, find a more casual event where you’re not made to feel like you’re taking part in a school show and tell session. If you pick the right style of event, you’ll be relaxed and happy and you’ll be yourself. The most important thing of all.

Embrace your natural body clock. Do NOT go to breakfast networking if you take ages to get ready and hate mornings. And avoid evening networking like the plague if you’re an exhausted rat bag after 6pm. Generally lunchtime networking is a good catch-all option when most people can be wide awake and alert with a sociable disposition.

Rock up on time. I find it impossible to be anywhere on time and I pay for my sins whenever I go to a networking event where I don’t know anyone. Because late comers just end up making friends with the free nibbles. Unless you’re the Wolf of Wall Street and people fall over themselves to pat you on the back and buy you drinks as soon as you walk in, get there early. Even those with superhuman levels of self-confidence will find it difficult to break into closed conversation circles in a room full of people they don’t know. When you’re one of the first there, people will naturally gravitate towards you, introduce themselves and trust me, it all gets easier from there.

Have a drink. If there’s alcohol and unless you’re teetotal, I do advise having one drink, early doors, on a reasonably empty stomach. But I did only say one. Because one loosens you up enough to relax and let the inner you shine. Don’t get drunk and don’t go looking for alcohol at a breakfast event. You’ll look like you took a detour en route to your AA meeting.

Stand facing the door. When you do get there early, make sure you’re facing the way in, because you can smile welcomingly at other people who turn up alone. You’d want people to do that to you and you’ll find most of the time, they’ll come over to chat.

Be yourself. So many people go into robot mode when they enter uncomfortable territory. They speak mechanically about what they do, they ask predictable questions and they’re a bloody bore. I’d rather get to know you as a person first, not as the spokesperson for your business. We’re all human beings and we engage effectively when we spark off other people. Let them see who you are. For all the people who think you’re a weirdo, just as many will ‘get you’. And that’s the jackpot.

Respect people’s personal space. Getting too close is not something I’m guilty of unless I can’t hear over the music. (By the way organisers, that is SO not conducive to effective networking!) But I know people who stand way too close to people whenever they have a conversation, to the point where I’ve been convinced they’re about to move in for a kiss. I do not want to smell your breath, have spit land in my drink or inspect that herb between your teeth. Find a toothpick, man! And back away, please. (I’ve hard you can lick someone’s face for lolz if they get too close, but it’s not really my bag.)

StandingTooClose
If you have any success with face licking, I’d love to know…

Try not to be a douche bag. You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t?) how many people let basic social graces evade them at a crucial time like this; letting insecurity get the better of them and undermining their industry peers by being argumentative, rude and dismissive. I’m sure you never do this, but just in case you do, stop!

Don’t force your cards on people. People will ask for one, when they want one. They really will. Don’t make yourself look arrogant or worse still, desperate. When someone rams a card into my hand before I’ve even shown a passing interest in what they do, I have to confess, I just throw it in the bin.

Give a little. Apparently it’s the season of goodwill, so maybe now’s as good a time as any to learn this simple trick – dish out a bit of free advice. Yes, we’re all in business to make money, but a bit of showing off what you know never hurt anyone. Business today is so competitive and there’s bound to be at least one other person in the room that does what you do. So take a moment to shine and give someone a little leg up, not to mention a reason to remember you and that you’re great at what you do.

Get a grip. When all is said and done, even in the worst possible networking scenario you find yourself in, these are only human beings, just like you. They’re all insecure in some way and they’re all self conscious, so take comfort from that and soldier on. Imagining them stood around naked might help too. Careful you don’t get excited though, that’s not networking etiquette at all…

Keep going. Don’t stop because you think it’s hopeless or you don’t seem to be succeeding. Just commit to a group and go regularly. It gets so much easier the more you go, after a few months you’ll know most of the people in the room and you’ll actually start to enjoy yourself.

SMOOTH LINES THAT’LL MAKE YOU SNORT

SMOOTH LINES THAT’LL MAKE YOU SNORT

Black Hare Boss Lady Chrissie, has some irreverent advice for those foxed by what to say in an email subject line. Follow this at your own risk! We do not accept liability for client loss and red-faced regret.

Email is the modern business communication tool of choice, but it turns people into faceless robots. You don’t have to become one of the drones, boring everyone to death with your duller than dull email intros. Everyone knows the subject line is key, it’s like the picture on a box of chocolates; a naughty, wiggly finger, teasing you in.

I’ve spent many an hour agonising over a subject line, wondering how inappropriate I dare be, in order to get the attention of some pain in the arse who never goes through their emails properly. That said, most of the time a quick summary of the email content is sufficient. Not every subject line has to be a finely crafted work of marketing genius but sometimes it does help. It’s especially useful for PR work – a press release to a busy publication has a minuscule chance of survival in the din of the average newsdesk inbox. You could improve its chances with a subject line that can’t be ignored.

LOWER THE TONE

There are times when you have licence to be more creative and daring than others. For example, when you have a client in the adult sector, subject lines to the press are a sheer delight to write and I rarely fail to get a response to a request for coverage from even the most mainstream of titles. In fact, I look forward to the next time I can titillate a steamy-spectacled features intern on a Monday afternoon.

I bet you think this won’t really work if you’re in the industrial B2B sector. Come on people, have some imagination! (Worth a click, most definitely worth a click…)

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THE FOOL WHO CRIED ‘URGENT!’

If you can’t use filth, you could try urgency. I remember testing out some subject lines once, at a previous agency. I sent an EDM to my boss, with the line URGENT, OPEN NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She came back from lunch and opened it in a panic, despite it being sat in the middle of a pile of ten new emails. This was of course a joke and I’m not really suggesting you do this, but it might depend on how desperate you are. You are at serious risk of never being taken seriously again. And it generally only works if you recognise the recipient as an individual. It it comes from a company, it screams spam of the worst kind. Like, past-its-sell-by-date, sweepings off the factory floor spam.

Even as an individual, you should use with caution. Only the other day, one of my suppliers was moaning that he has an infuriating client who sends every single email to him, with URGENT: at the beginning of the subject line. Not even 1 in 10 of the emails she sends are urgent. So now he makes sure he reads and actions them all last. Not quite the reaction she was hoping for! Silly mare.

CONFUSION REIGNS?

Subject lines are equally vital for email marketing campaigns. I have a pesky client who sends out his weekly newsletters with a subject line beginning: Re. (So you immediately think it’s a reply to something you’ve sent.) It gets me every time it lands in my inbox, I open it straight away thinking it’s the latest part of some recent correspondence. So it must fool other people as well! Although I have warned him that it might annoy people to the point of unsubscribing, especially if they’re not that interested in the content of the email. But possibly a risk worth taking…?

On a more serious note and as a general rule, remember the following:

  • You’re talking to a human not a machine. Show some personality.
  • Exaggerate as much as is reasonable. (Don’t tell an out and out lie, the content will just disappoint and irritate.)
  • Use urgency carefully and only when it really matters.
  • Apply innuendos where you think they’ll be appreciated, avoid them where you think you’ll cause genuine offence! Upsetting Maud in accounts ain’t gonna get your invoice paid any quicker.
  • Size matters. That’s not an innuendo! Most studies show that very short and very long email subject lines have both shown a significant spike in open rates. Give it some thought and consider each email and campaign individually.