Social Media for Business: Avoid the Dark Side of the Hype

Hype Sidious on Thisissamstown

Teens are on Snapchat. Facebook is dead – but records 1.55 billion users. Pinterest was and is the new visual thing while Instagram is in the top 3.

In a few sentences, that is the logic of social media summed up.

It is a strange, ever-changing world of magic and fantasy where trolls cross path with gurus and ninjas.

As businesses are making their way towards digital and social media adoption, they also face the dark side of this force to be reckoned with.

Every business can easily create a Facebook page, a Twitter account or any other presence on one – or many – of the numerous networks available. Yet, social presence, especially for businesses, has to be handled like the business itself.

Social media require strategy

A business plan is a mandatory path to starting a business and following a defined line. Strategy and planning is similarly needed for social media. Here are some of the basics to keep in mind when getting started:

  • Audit your brand, message, audience and competition. Define where you stand, what the voice of your business is and who – and where – your audience is.
  • Define the main – most relevant – media to use to listen, reach out and engage with your audience. Nobody can be everywhere and do everything. Select the top 3-4 relevant networks and focus on these. Add some others, if relevant, once the foundations have been set.
  • Create a playbook. Every network has its own parameters and special features. Prepare materials and documentation for all of them. Starting with profiles. Even if the profiles have to be consistent, the size of pictures will differ and so will banners (where some may be leveraged for added communication) and the number of characters allowed in each bio. Get some templates ready for posts and pictures as well.
  • Plan. Planning is the crucial part. Put together an editorial calendar and global repository (if many team members are involved) for content. Create and curate content relevant to your market and industry, stay on top of trends to feed your content machine and plan the posting.
  • Be human. No need to be a robot. No need to wear a positivity mask (I would call your bullshit). Just ensure having human beings behind the tools. Acting like humans.

There is plenty more to say but follow these pieces of advice and you should, at least, be off to a good (educated) start.

Then, I am only a tweet or email away – and a human ;)


#StartupAus, innovation and startups made in Australia

[Please note that I initially posted this article on Medium where you can read it all]


“What is a long read when it is about a whole country’s future?”

Policy Hack happened. The posts, articles and interviews are now gone. The first takes from the recent activity suggest that the effort still needs to be structured. There has been a lot of buzz and excitement with a whole startup community happy and eager to push its ideas to the current government but, like for any startup, thinking and planning is crucial.

There have now been some ideas bounced here and there and a beta done. It is now time to sit down for a second and make use of the whiteboard.

This is demonstrated by the simple fact that StartupAus “will now curate the content” of the OurSay posts and compile it with the ideas from the policy hack. A task which should have happened prior to the policy hack, not only to bring value to discussions but also define the “champions” who would be invited to discuss these ideas during the hack.

In this particular case, the thinking will be done after the acting. No time wasted but, at the same time a whole day resulting in standard takeaways and some “niche” ideas.

Overall, the policy hack day has been a great success, bringing members of the ecosystem together and feeding the government with smart input and directions. Well done Wyatt Roy and all! However, sometimes, noise is too much noise and critical items may be overlooked. Or, at least, not mentioned a lot in the variety of posts, tweets, etc. published after this event.

Building on experience and bringing an outside look to the table, here are my main talking points about innovation and startup success for Australia.

… Continue reading on Medium

SXSW South by South West

SXSW has been bullied into speaking about bullying and harassment

SXSW, South by South West, the one massive event for all things, music, film and interactive (startups, innovation, etc…) has made the headlines for a different reason than the usual hype and noise. After cancelling two panels about harassment in the tech industry, the event organisers have faced a serious backlash and the likes of Buzzfeed and Vox even threatened to withdraw from the event.

Between the outrage and the risk to lose two prominent media (which could have created a move followed by more), SXSW have now re-instated one of the panels and are even thinking about having a forum about online harassment according to Recode.

Announcements are yet to come but it seems SXSW have successfully been bullied into accepting to speak about bullying and harassment.

Social media management 101: use a dashboard, use Hootsuite

Social media management on Thisissamstown

Most people engaged in social media management will tell you the same, you should use dashboards (like Hootsuite which I am focusing on here) and other tools to make your daily life easier. With an ever-growing base of tools and social networks, having one place to rule them all (or some of them at least) does make a lot of sense when looking for efficiency. Managing several profiles across just as many social platforms can become near impossible – or, at least, seriously time-consuming – if not using dashboards like Hootsuite.

Hootsuite main features: social media 101

I have been using Hootsuite for years now and I keep recommending it, especially to beginners, because the tool’s features also act like a tutorial for social media management. From the ability to shorten links to the scheduling of content or the analytics attached to your activity.

Here are a few top Hootsuite features – and must-do – for every social media manager.

Hootsuite: Mobile and Web App 

Hootsuite is available on various devices, through the web or apps. Although they may not offer all the same features, your accounts are still synced so no matter which device you’re using, you’ve got the most up-to-date information. The most important feature of the mobile app is the notifications. From a strict community – or social media – management, you can be alerted to tweets and messages even if being on the go.

This may sometimes create some hassle but it is also crucial from a customer service and experience point of view.

Scheduling Content

Firstly, please note that scheduling is not automation. Strict automation, for example having an automatic direct message (DM) sent to every new follower on Twitter should absolutely be banned.

Why? Do you really like to get dozens of spams everyday in your mailbox? Question answered.

Scheduling, if not mandatory, is a major time-saving functionality. And a strategic tool.

You can not shoot all your content out at once when you are online. At the same time, you can not be available 24/7 on all social platforms. Hence, for the sake of spreading out your content, saving time and reaching a larger audience, the need to schedule it. Hootsuite gives you this ability to create a tweet or a post (LinkedIn, Facebook, …) and define a specific time for each tweet/post to be sent. To make it even easier for beginners, there is an auto-schedule feature which allows you to create your content and let Hootsuite ensure posting it at the best time to reach the most of your followers. Magic!

Shorten your links

Back to basics, shorten your links!

Twitter only allows 140 characters; why spoil some of these on posting full urls? Hootsuite has a built-in link shortening option (ever seen some links?) available when composing your post. Just paste your link and shorten. Not only does it save space for your content but also adds analytical capabilities (Hootsuite analytics coming next) and you can also customise the links to make them easy to remember and share or even for tracking purposes.

Big data and Analytics

We live in a data world. Whether you are speaking growth hacking, data science or just social media strategy, data are at the core. Base your decisions on actual facts and figures.

With Hootsuite, you have a range of reports available, some for free, some through paid options, covering everything from your Twitter following (the one vanity metric) to clicks on your links (see previous chapter).

One of the challenges of social media being reporting and ROI, make use of every opportunity to gather data and use them to assess your goals/results and make educated decisions for the next steps to take.

Last but definitely not least, searches. It is in fact the most important feature on Hootsuite – and advice for social media. Search and explore. Keep track of tags, mentions, topics or people in your circles. 

You may see the people speaking about “listening” being even more important than sharing or posting on social networks. 

This is a rule of thumb. Do not go out making noise when you do not know what you are talking about. 

Create Streams for hashtags or keywords

This is one of my favorite features of Hootsuite: the ability to save a search as a stream. Like the Twitter timeline, the feed keeps updating.

The uses of this feature are numerous. Whether you use it to keep track of your competition, a specific hashtag, things happening in your industry, in your region, etc. You can also use it to stream the tweets from people you have gathered in a Twitter list.

Twitter lists will certainly become a massive tool for you as you progress too.

Why? As your account(s) grows, so do usually the number of accounts you follow, creating a fast-running timeline which becomes increasingly difficult to read and curate.

Twitter lists do allow to create boxes/folders making it a lot easier to cut through the overall noise.

Having used and tested a fair amount of tools, I have become a Hootsuite ambassador and keep recommending it for the same reason: it is the Lord of the rings of social media.
The one tool to manage them all.

And a tool you get get started with for free, prior to accelerating and going pro.

You’re now set and ready to go. Open you Hootsuite dashboard and start going professional on social media.

Join the Hoot gang and get in touch anytime!

Rant: Funding raised and valuations, the startup hype bubble

Startup hype bubble on

Hype and unicorns

Startups now become unicorns, everyday valuations go through the roof and the tech journos put funding news on a pedestal.

However, just let go of the noise and headlines for a second. What do you get at the end of the day?

A fait amount of bullshit and not necessarily results.

Funding and valuation have become the ultimate fantasy in the startup world. But is the point of any company out there not to actually MAKE money? Companies are born and die but they share the same goal: generating revenue and creating value.

Yet, startups have been allowed to play with millions and burn them for the past 10 years while the world would not care.

The “bubble” so many are speaking about at the moment is here. Created by letting kids in at an open bar and making it a trend.

The bottom line of this trend: the hype allows the “cool” kids to get millions when the companies with a business plan do not manage to raise the few do-or-die hundreds of thousands of dollars they would need to pass the tipping point and generate revenue – and profit – out of a solid business model. Yes, most founders I know do not have time to ask you what your superpowers are as the one and only question when recruiting but are rather interested in your background, achievements and personality.

News outlets are highlighting this trends too but seemingly for the sake of it when tech “writers” keep producing pieces about funds raised at the same pace, alternating with the neighbour’s – or drinking buddy – latest “tech”/fun/random project.

The bubble is there. It is just not a financial one, just a hype one.

Startup life (picture)

No words needed – startup life

Picture Startup life for Thisissamstown