16 top podcasts - social media, marketing and more


Image via FlickR - by Gideon TsangI’m a podcast fanatic. I listen in the shower, on my cycle to work (sorry mum, I know that’s not safe) and when swimming (using the excellent Speedo Aquabeat). I have tried hundreds of different podcasts to find some that are consistently good. I thought you might like to know my favourites I’d love to hear about yours.

Social Media Podcasts

  1. Jaffe Juice and JJTV - author of “Join the Conversation”, Joseph Jaffe is a coherent and straight-forward social media commentator. Some of his podcasts are conversations with other industry leaders which can take occasionally random, but generally interesting paths.
  2. For Immediate Release - by Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz. Recorded in the US and UK, this podcast provides a frequent deep dive into weekly events in the PR-focussed social web. I enjoy listening, but always do so at double speed - it’s very long and I feel they can spend more time on issues than necessary.
  3. CMO 2.0 Conversations - Francois does an excellent job of securing some superb client-side interviews for these podcasts.  He has a very relaxed style that gets people talking, but sometimes I wish he’d push them harder for more detail or hold them to account on some of their statements

Marketing and Digital Podcasts

  1. 3 Minute Ad Age - short and snappy. Often a video from a marketing conference. Wide subject area so it can be hit-and-miss, but great for filling that few minutes of a journey.
  2. HubSpot TV - a digital marketing weekly TV show from the lovely people at Hubspot. The show is full of great guests and bristling with sexual tension. I often think I’d like to listen in double time, but being a video, I have not worked out how to do that yet.
  3. DishyMix - I’ve been listening to Susan Bratton since meeting her during the Travelling Geeks trip to the UK. She’s an excellent interviewer - never lets her subjects off the hook with wooly statements. Some of the topics veer off into self-help and I do find myself having to fast through the adverts, but in general she gets strong guests and uncovers interesting insights.
  4. NMA podcast - now only monthly. A useful overview of what’s been going on in the UK digital marketing scene

Other good podcasts

  1. David Maister’s Business Masterclass - everything you ever wanted to know about running a successful services business. I always listen to Maister in the week leading up to my board meetings because he gets me thinking. It’s a bit like having a virtual (and free) non-exec.
  2. More or Less, Behind the Stats - Before FreshNetworks I started the research consultancy, FreshMinds. I suspect it’s my background in research that makes this my favourite podcast. Tim Harford, FT journalist and author of The Undercover Economist, brings an indepth analysis of every-day statisitcs and seeks to uncover dodgy analysis.
  3. The Bottom Line with Evan Davis is another BBC Radio4 podcast. Some excellent business guests (usually UK CEOs) and gentle probing from Evan make this a good listen. For some reason I find this is always where  start with when going for a run in the park. I particulary enjoyed the recent argument about PR
  4. Business Week - Behind the Cover Story - This is the best Business Week podcast. There is also a good innovation one and the Welch Way with Jack Welch. Sadly John Byrne, Executive Editor,  seems to have handed over his host role to others in the editorial team. That’s a shame as he had a wonderful style and eclectic music choice. But it remains a good topical podcast.
  5. Economist podcasts - I never find time to listen to all of these. A great shame as The Economist’s journalists deliver sharp insight and a beautiful turn of phrase at every opportunity. Recently I have enjoying their new book of the month episodes.
  6. Great Lives - Matthew Paris piecing together some womderful biographies of famous folk with celebrity guests
  7. Harvard Business Ideacast - useful overviews of the books that HBR authors are about to publish.
  8. TED talks - no list would be complete with out mentioning these amazing set of downloads. some of the world’s most interesting (and random) speakers on topics that range from global finance to microbiology. Ken Robinson is a must-listen.
  9. Listen to Lucy - Lucy Kellaway of the FT taking an entertaining swipe at corporate bullshit. If you’re after something more heavy-hitting, Martin Wolf the FTs Chief Economics Commentator, is excellent. But you really have to concentrate. Sadly I’ve had to stop listening whilst cycling as I almost crashed twice trying to decipher his arguments.

That’s my listening list. What’s on yours?

Podcast: The importance of owning your personal brand in social media


The icon used by Apple to represent Podcasting.
Image via Wikipedia

Perhaps one of the most exciting developments with social media is that it allows anybody, from a large global consumer brand to an individual to build their personal brand online. To some extent some of the same rules apply - decide what you want to do and why you are using social media and then make sure you are using it in a way that helps you to achieve this. For individuals, of course, the most important thing is acknowledge in the first place that by using social media you are building your own brand, whether you intend it or not. The main advice is that only you can be in charge of your brand online and in social media, and so you should take control of it.

This is important - especially for job-hunters. I recorded a podcast for Guardian Careers last week talking about the importance of owning your personal brand and building your network online in social media. We also discuss:

  • what a social media agency is and what it does
  • why it’s best if a brand manages its own presence online (but why it usually needs expert help to do this)
  • how you can network and build your connections online
  • the best use of LinkedIn (and how this is different from Facebook)
  • why you need to be aware that people are able to find information out about you even if you haven’t told them
  • that you should take control of your own brand and use privacy settings sensibly to help you do this

Oh and you’ll also find out how I got from a degree in French and Russian at Cambridge to be where I am today.

You can listen to the podcast on the Guardian website: Careers Talk: Job hunting using social media

The podcast is also on iTunes

A masterclass in public speaking


Jim Collins is out promoting his new book. I have no idea whether the book is any good, but his promotion is first rate.

This morning, as I cycled to work, I caught him talking about the book in a BusinessWeek podcast. He’s clearly a phenomenal public speaker and I urge you to download the podcast for a masterclass in public speaking. I almost ran into the back of a bus listening to it.

Listen here

Key things to listen out for

  • The pause - he uses pauses in his speech with great effect. Sometimes long, sometimes short, but always attention grabbing. I particularly liked that he paused at seemingly odd occasions, in the middle of a sentence as well as between points.
  • Stories - his speaking is litered with stories to bring concepts to life; personal stories, real-life and make-believe: “imagine if…” the stories were often illuminating or reinforcing and always engaging
  • Signposting - some excellent signposting of content he’s about to talk about, is talking about or has just been through. There is a lot of content, so signposting is essential
  • Changing speed, tone & volume - there are many changes to the way he speaks that help keep the momentum and interest.

I hope you enjoy it. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and whether you’ve seen him live.

FYI, his book is called How the Mighty Fall

Energising word of mouth through social media


MegaphonesImage by djfoobarmatt via Flickr

We highlighted Mayo Clinic in a recent post of examples of online communities in healthcare. They are doing great things with blogs, podcasts, video and online communities. That’s why this week’s Required Reading at FreshNetworks is a great presentation from Lee Aase, Manager, Syndication and Social Media at Mayo Clinic. He looks at how the use of social media at Mayo Clinic has progressed and, in particular how it has helped to spread word-of-mouth.

The presentation highlights an important for those of us who work in social media - technology really should be invisible. Whilst the technology you use must meet your needs and aims it isn’t the most important factor in making your use of social media a success. Of much more importance is how you use it, the way in which you encourage people to engage with you and the quality of the content, comments and conversations that you have on your site.

Whether your technology costs zero dollars, or many hundreds of thousands of dollars, it is the way you use it and the way you manage the conversations and engagement that will make a difference.

Energizing Word of Mouth through Social MediaView more presentations from Lee Aase.
  • Social media experience at Mayo Clinic (fastforwardblog.com)
  • Sharing Mayo Clinic Goes to Facebook and other Social Networks (ducknetweb.blogspot.com)
  • Mayo Clinic launches new culture blog (tissuepathology.typepad.com)
  • How Mayo Clinic utilizes Web 2.0 (ivor-kovic.com)
  • Health Care Meets Social Networking (designmind.frogdesign.com)
  • FIR Interview: Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic (nevillehobson.com)

Simple, effective market research


wavelength podcast

Enterprise rent-a-car have a legendary reputation for customer service. What I didn’t realise is just how large a role market research played in helping them grow and maintain that reputation.

Last year I attended an excellent conference - Wavelength 100.  I guess it’s a UK version of TED, their stated aim being to connect “visionary companies making a difference in the world through business”.

The delegates and speakers were a fascinating mix. In my first session I struck up a conversation with Peder Kolind who I happened to be next to. It turned out that having set up one of the world’s largest security firms he sold up to kick off six philanthropic projects in Nicaragua. Later, at lunch, I found myself sitting between Martin Narey who used to run the prison service and is now CEO of Barnados and Mark Addlestone who runs Beaverbrooks the jeweller - a family business that has been in the top 10 of the Times and FT Best Companies to Work for lists for four years in a row.

It was one of those days where you couldn’t help but feel in awe of your surroundings and rather small by comparison.

Anyway, the conference was excellent. I didn’t get to see all the sessions so I have been catching up on those I missed buy listening to their podcasts - which you can find on iTunes under “Wavelength 100 Listen Again“. Last night I had the pleasure of listening to Donna Miller, HR Director Europe at Enterprise-Rent-a-Car.

It’s a fascinating story.  Enterprise was founded in 1957 by Jack Taylor. Given that one of my other businesses is the recruitment consultancy, FreshMinds Talent, I knew about their policy of hiring graduates and investing deeply in their development. What I did not know about was how they had developed their customer satisfaction research over time.

Donna talks about how the firm came to realise the old truism: what is measured is done. She explains the evolution of a simple set of research questions around customer satisfaction and the importance attributed to the results of these surveys. At Enterprise, you can’t get a promotion unless your customers rate your service as excellent. That rule works all the way to the top of this $9Bn company. So even if you’re running a huge team across many sites and producing great profits, you’re promotion is still bound by your customer satisfaction scores.

Well worth a listen. And if you go to iTunes to get the Enterprise podcast, I also recommend:

- MyC4 - a superb social enterprise where anyone can loan money to African SMEs to help them invest and grow. You can start with just £5. It’s also an example of online community building for charities

- Southwest Airlines - a firm renowned for their outstanding people management. it has a very strong internal sense of community

- Middelfart Sparekasse - Hans shares a few fascinating stories about how this Danish Building Society has developed a strong community feeling and incredibly loyal workforce

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  • Customer Service Is Public Relations (davefleet.com)
  • Voice of the Customer: Service Based Differentiation Matters (seomashup.blogspot.com)