Social Media and your business–Part 4


Social Media and your business – Part 1

Social Media and your business – Part 2

Social Media and your business – Part 3

So far in this series I’ve provided an overview of what social media in business is (Part 1). I’ve looked at business to business social media (Part 2). Finally, I’ve talked about business to consumer social media (Part 3). Now I want to talk to you about what I believe is the most powerful social media site for your business. Any ideas?

I believe, without a shadow of doubt, that the most important social media your business should invest time in is YouTube. Why? Simple, if pictures say 1,000 words then video says 1,000,000 pictures, it is that powerful. Most people don’t have time to read so using video is a sure way to capture and interact with an audience.

So how can you use video? Before I tell you my story let me show you two excellent examples of what can be achieved with some imagination and creativity.

Will it blend –

Want to prove how strong your blender products are? Make a video blending just about everything.

Dollar Shave Club –

Selling something for only a $1? Tell people why your product is so much better than what they use now and they will come.

Both of these are excellent examples of what can be done with a little creativity, humour and a focus on your product. Sure, not every product video goes viral like these but how do you know if you don’t give it a go?

I think that apart from the product videos the other huge opportunity YouTube offers you business is creating informational videos.

Here’s a random one on guitar lessons I just found. Remember that YouTube the second most popular search engine in the world. You should see creating informational videos like these as a way of building trust with your ‘tribe’. Again, people are much more likely to buy from you if they trust you. So anything that builds trust is a positive.

YouTube also provides the ability for viewers to rate videos and have conversations around them that you as the author can also contribute to. Thus, you could post up an informational video, viewers could ask questions and you could answer. Again, generating more interaction, brand awareness and an opportunity for your business to engage.

My journey with YouTube started when I wanted to show people how to reboot their servers. They’d always be calling up asking how to do this. I’d create individual emails, but they’d still call. I created a document and emailed to them, but they still called. I uploaded that same document to a web site and provided a link, but they still called. However, when I created a video and posted it on YouTube they generally didn’t call back.

So that solved my initial issue but I didn’t count on the power of social because my video was used by other tech companies to help their customers reboot servers. They embedded it on their website, send customers links and from there it grew. Users also found my server reboot video by simply searching the Internet. When all these avenues of referral started to gather momentum, I then began to understand the power of the network effect. I began to understand how critical YouTube is to your social media strategy and growing your business.

Creating videos is dead easy these days. You can use just about any mobile, webcam or PC to capture something. You can get screen capture software like Camtasia to record what you do on a screen. Once you have recorded something you can upload it to YouTube and share with the world. You can embed the video in you web page, you can send it as a link and more.

As with any social media you need to think before you act. You need to understand the audience you are targeting and what appeals to them. You need to understand how to drive business from your videos to the bottom line. However, there is no doubt that YouTube is probably the most powerful tool you have at your disposal when it comes to this. My advice is don’t delay. Sit down today and develop a YouTube strategy for your business. You won’t get it right the first time  but keep at it and give your audience what they want.

Did I also mention that you can monetize your YouTube videos so that you receive income when people watch them if you want? You have this option as the creator of the video but if the video goes viral then that too may be a good money spinner.

I hope you can begin to understand the benefits that YouTube can bring to your business. You obviously need to do it right but you need to be doing it. Once you have a few videos you can create your own channel and drive even more business there. Have a look at my channel:

and see what I upload. Look at the different type of intros and extros I’ve used. It is a constant experiment to find what resonates with an audience. Like me you’ll be surprised when people actually subscribe to your channel for updates and start asking you to do more. It is a monster, I’m telling you so get into it today! I could go on for days about YouTube in your business but I hope you get the picture.

In the next part I’ll tell you why using emails is NOT a good way to communicate with your customers.

Social Media and your business – Part 5

If you need some help with your social media strategy or would like me to speak about social media at your business or association please don’t hesitate to contact me (

Social Media and your business–Part 3

Social Media and your business – Part 1
Social Media and your business – Part 2
In the last part of this series I spoke about how you should consider Linkedin as business to business social media. In this post I’ll talk about what I consider business to consumer social media.

To my way of thinking this means Facebook. I am by no means an expert on Facebook and I really don’t use the service extensively at all, however given the sheer number of people who are on the service, I believe EVERY business need to have a presence there.
Facebook more than any other network is where you can speak directly to consumers. A great example to look at is Starbucks:
As of this post there are over 35 million (yes I said million) people who ‘like’ Starbucks on Facebook. This means when Starbucks posts something to Facebook these 35 million people will see it in their newsfeed! That’s a huge audience in any one’s terms.
Next time you are standing around in public have a look at what others are doing. Most likely they are totally engaged reading something on their phone. I’ll bet that 90% of the time they’ll be looking at Facebook. That’s why, as a business, you need to be there. Facebook has over a billion users, most access Facebook multiple times a day for 30 minutes at a time and they do so on their mobile device. How many marketing bulls eyes does that score? Just about every one.
On the Starbucks page, people who like Starbucks can find others who like Starbucks (i.e. fostering community). They can also offer special deals to people who visit the page. They can push out news and other interesting stories. Most importantly, all of this goes directly to people who have opted in to receive this information. Starbucks knows they like Starbucks because they ‘liked’ the page!
So if you have a business that sells to consumers you need to ensure you have a slick Facebook page. That means spending some time getting the graphics right and working out what content you are going to post up there. Importantly, once you start telling people you are on Facebook you need to BE on Facebook to interact with your ‘tribe’.
An important thing here is that you shouldn’t be mixing your personal social media with business social media. If you have a personal Facebook set up a separate business account. Here is some information on doing just that:
You can also create pages for your business and its products. Here is a good starting point:
Once you have all your business pages and account set up then you need to start attracting people to these so they can ‘like’ and ‘follow’ the information you post. You do this by posting interesting information that appeals to your target market.
One very powerful option Facebook offers over a business like Google when it comes to advertising is extremely targeted marketing. Because Facebook know exactly when people login, all their details, where they go inside and outside Facebook when you purchase ads on Facebook you’ll find you can provide a level of targeting that is unrivalled. If you haven’t tried then invest a few dollars to see what I mean.
So the Facebook crowd is generally going to be very different from Linkedin and your message and information need to reflect that. Every business I believe needs to have a Facebook presence but it needs to be separate from any existing personal Facebook account.
If you feel Facebook is right for your business, as I said early in this series of posts, ‘listen’ and look at what others are doing. See what your competition does and doesn’t do. See what the big boys (like Starbucks) is doing. See who is doing it well and follow their lead. However, whatever you do don’t neglect Facebook as a social media channel for your business, the number of subscribers justifies any investment.
In the next part of this series I’ll talk about what I believe is the most important social media network you must be part of, so stay tuned for more.
Social Media and your business – Part 4
If you need some help with your social media strategy or would like me to speak about social media at your business or association please don’t hesitate to contact me (

37 pages? Really?

Having not yet upgraded my iPad to iOS 7 (never be the first kid on your block to apply software updates is my successful philosophy), I did however have to agree to updated terms and conditions for the iTunes store when I downloaded something.

When I do I MUST agree to 37 pages! REALLY? 37 pages? Who the hell is going to read this? If I have question about these who do I ask? 37 pages? REALLY?
Now Apple isn’t the only one that does this, but man, imagine what it would be like if we all sat down and read every terms and conditions we came across? There’d be little time for anything else! Problem is, there could be something in there that isn’t good (like perhaps selling my personal details) but I’m just going to agree so I can make the message go away and get my software right?
There must be a simpler ‘plain English’ way to present these terms. No?
37 pages? REALLY?

Social Media and your business–Part 2

Social Media and your business – Part 1
In the first part of this series I spoke about how social media is a conversation. In simple terms, ‘listening’ and ‘speaking’. In the next few parts I’ll cover some specific locations where you can ‘listen’ and ‘speak’ using social media.

The very first place that I think any business or professional should be considering is Linkedin. You should think of this as business to business marketing.
If you haven’t already got a Linkedin profile then you should create one. If you already have a Linkedin profile then you need to make sure that it is completely filled out and current. You can also create a business profile and have your employees connect their profile to that business but I don’t see that as a priority.
Once you have your Linkedin profile up to date then you should find a few Linkedin groups to join. These are groups based around a specific interest in which people ask and answer questions. When you join a group take some time to ‘listen’ to what others are saying and asking. When you are ready dive in and contribute. The way to get the most benefit is to offer help to others. Make suggestions, propose some good resources, share your experience and more.
Once you have joined and group and decided that it is worthwhile, contribute and keep contributing. The secret with social media is to be consistent with your contributions. If you don’t find the group of interest then move on.
The next step should then be to start connecting with others you know who are already on Linkedin. Spend a few minutes everyday working through the Linkedin directory and connection suggestions to find people you know. When you do connect make sure you don’t use the generic Linkedin connection greeting, personalize it so people know it comes from you.
After a while you should start asking your connections for testimonials and referrals. Testimonials are typically just a paragraph about how you have helped the person. Have a few pre-canned testimonials ready to offer because most people’s response to a request for a testimonial is – ‘What would you like me to say? Do you have any suggestions’. As the boy scouts say, Be Prepared.
Now, as you make new contacts and meet people through face to face networking or business ensure you connect with them in Linkedin as a matter of course. If you do some work for them ask for a Linkedin testimonial at the conclusion of the job, again as a matter of course. Using social media successfully in business means you need a system and then leverage that system. Don’t just do things randomly, create a process for every new contact you meet to get them into Linkedin, provide a testimonial and so on.
Likewise, don’t be shy in giving others testimonials if they deserve it. Don’t be shy at introducing one contact to another in Linkedin. As with the groups philosophy, always be looking to help others. By doing so you’ll get much more in return.
There is of course so much more you can do with Linkedin but hopefully there are some starting points. Firstly create an account, ensure it is complete and current, join and contribute to relevant groups and start building your contacts from inside and outside Linkedin. If you send me a connection invite to my Linkedin account
giving me a reason to connect with you (i.e. doing more than just using the generic greeting), perhaps like mentioning how much you liked this blog post, then there’s a good chance that I’ll accept the invitation.
Remember, consider Linkedin as you business to business opportunity. Create a system around it and continue to work at it regularly.
In the next part I’ll talk about what I consider to be a business to consumer social media strategy.
Social Media and your business – Part 3
If you need some help with your social media strategy or would like me to speak about social media at your business or association please don’t hesitate to contact me (

Visio and SharePoint Online

I see a growing use of Visio but what many don’t appreciate is the power that combining Visio with SharePoint Online brings.

Firstly, you are going to need an Office 365 plans that includes SharePoint Online Plan 2 because only this includes Visio Services. The plans that currently incorporate SharePoint Online Plan 2 are:

– SharePoint Online Plan 2 (stand alone)

– Office Web Apps SharePoint Online Plan 2

– Enterprise E3 Suite

– Enterprise E4 Suite

Visio services basically allows Visio drawings to be displayed directly in a web browser.


In the above SharePoint Online document library I have 3 Visio files:

– demo.vdw

– demo.vsd

– o365-plan-choice.vsdx

If I select the older Visio VSD file:


I’m asked to either open the file or save it locally.

If I however now select the older VDW file:


because I am using an E3 plan that include SharePoint Online Plan 2 with Visio services, that Visio drawing opens in a browser with the functionality of a Visio viewer.

If I now select the newer VSDX file:


you see once again, thanks to the magic of Visio services, the file opens up in a web browser.

So in summary, only older VDW and newer VSDX files can be opened directly in Visio services with SharePoint Online Plan 2.


With Visio services you can also embed a web part into a SharePoint Online page and display any compatible Visio diagram directly in a web page like show above.

Also don’t forget that Visio diagrams can contain things like links so when someone clicks on a image in the diagram (like on a server in the above screen shot) it can take them to another page (maybe a list of the specifications for that server, also in SharePoint Online).

If you like what you see get into SharePoint Online Plan 2 and Visio. Very cool!

Social Media and your business–Part 1


I recently gave a presentation about social media in business. I also discussed the presentation with a few other people would couldn’t attend and regretted missing it. So I have decided to detail the presentation here on my blog in a number of parts. Here is part 1.

Let me ask you what you believe social media in business is? Many would say that it is a waste of time. Other would claim they don’t understand how it can be applied within a business. Still more are using it but find it hard to quantify the results. Finally, some just don’t know where to start.

If you doubt the power of social media in business today then take a few moments to watch this video.

When you watch this video what is it that strikes you most? For me it is the ‘numbers’, typically the sheer scale that social media can reach. Never before in human history has a single person been able to interact directly with as many people as we possibly can today.

All the answers about what social media are great but I believe the best answer to the essence of social media is that it is simply a conversation.

A conversation is composed of two parts:

1. Listening

2. Speaking

Likewise, this is what social media is about, ‘listening’ and ‘speaking’. You can do one or the other exclusively or both together if you want. It is your choice about how you decide to interact.

The first step you should be taking when it comes to social media for your business is ‘listening’. This means you need to find what is worth listening to. Maybe that is someone’s blog (like this one) or maybe someone’s Twitter account or even perhaps a products Facebook page. It doesn’t matter, simply start by listening to what other have to say about subjects that interest you and your business.

Because there is so much out there start small. Find a limited set of things to follow and importantly adjust these over time. Like a business, you have to find what you receive the most value from and discard what you don’t. Like when you attend a party, you can’t be part of every conversation at the same time. You need to find the best conversations you can and ignore those that aren’t worthwhile.

Once you have ‘listened’ then you can start ‘speaking’ with social media. For your business, the idea is that you need to work out those who are interested in what you have to say. Your ‘tribe’ as Seth Godin would say. Once you have found your ‘tribe’ determine what their needs and interests are. Boring and irrelevant conversations are not something most people want to be part of. Like when you sought value during the ‘listening’ phase earlier, if you elect to use social media to ‘speak’ then you need to provide value to others listening, otherwise they won’t listen for long. Before you open your mouth, know thy audience is key.

In the next part of this series I’ll go into more details about the major social networking platforms and how they should fit into your business so stay tuned.

Social Media and your business – Part 2

If you need some help with your social media strategy or would like me to speak about social media at your business or association please don’t hesitate to contact me (

CIAOPS Virtual Tech Meeting–October

Registrations are now open for the CIAOPS Virtual Tech Meeting on Wednesday the 2nd of October. You can register at:
This meeting will features a presentation by Mark O’Shea (Device and Platform Lead, Paradyne Pty Ltd). Details are:
On October 18 Microsoft will be unveiling a range of updates to their server line up, with a big focus on new capabilities that help customers take advantage of public and private cloud technologies. During this online event Mark will cover new capabilities of the Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 product, as well as how some of these technologies are now more broadly available to larger enterprises as well.
There will also be the usual news, product updates, general discussion as well as questions and answers.
So if you want to get the latest on Microsoft Servers from Mark make sure you register now.
The resources from the latest meeting are also available at:
I look forward to seeing you on the day.

Office 365 Best Practices Analyser Beta

Bet you didn’t know that office 365 had its own Best Practices Analyser (BPA) that can check your setup. We’ll here’s how to run it.


Firstly, login into you Office 365 portal as an administrator.


Select tools at the bottom of the menu on the left hand side as shown.


Currently the second item under Checks on the right is the BPA. Select this hyperlink to continue.


You’ll then need to accept the End User Agreement for a number of software packages that will be installed on your system.


These updates will then be downloaded to your workstation.


The downloaded software packages will then be installed. Some of these include the .NET Framework 4.5,


Windows Management Framework 3.0.


You’ll then need to reboot.


After logging back in, the installation will continue.


You’ll also get the latest Windows azure AD module for PowerShell.


When all the prerequisites have been installed you’ll then be prompted to install the BPA.


It will download some more files.


You’ll have to agree to another End User Agreement.


Once installed you can then run the BPA.


You can run the BPA as the currently logged in user (if any) or specify a different set of credentials.


You now start a new scan.


Provide the login details to Office 365. I would suggest that this needs to be an Office 365 Global Administration account.


Wait a few moments while the scan runs.


And finally get the results.


Which you can expand for more detail as shown above.


You can also elect to save the results to a HTML file on your system for later analysis.

Remembering that this software is still beta I would have to say that it currently takes too long to get the results from the BPA. You really need something that is quick. I understand that it needs a lot of current software to run its tests and on many existing Office 365 systems that software will already be in place, significantly shorting the set up time. However, I would still like to see the process shortened.

Try it out for yourself and see what you think!