What Price Freedom?

Liberals versus Libertarians with a few Geeks thrown in…..

Unsurprisingly, Boris Johnson decreed the rescission date of the vast majority of safety related Covid 19 laws and regulations to be called Freedom Day. Because that’s what the World’s Oldest Democracy would obviously call the removal of temporary totalitarian style safety laws. But when his chubby fingerprints are all over it you know in advance it’s going to be a shambles and arguably a death sentence for some of the (vaccinated) unvaccinated, vulnerable (3.5M) and co-morbid proportion of the British people. If you wish to impose chaos and confusion in a population, make Johnson your leader. But the seemingly closet eugenicist & Darwinian also has his party back benchers and funders to appease so what’s 100000 maybe 200000 daily Covid cases, the usual percentage of mortalities and hundreds of thousands of Long Covid sufferers in the grand scheme?

This week I was in a forum group discussing Internet Relay Chat (IRC), remember that? A nineties forerunner of Social Audio, IRC was then, and now, the preserve of computer geeks who enjoy operating outside of the mainstream. In fact I understand that anything new in the Bitcoin and Crypto realm is initially published on IRC. Much the same as attitudes amongst programmers and hackers to the Dark Web, there was a majority who favour of a completely unregulated web – and you know the type of thing that would exist there. But the consensus was that in a democracy, no Government, Internet Company or citizen, should tell anyone else what to do, or how to lead their lives. Nobody is condoning criminal activity, you shouldn’t prevent criminals communicating, but let Natural Law take effect. A British political paradox would be the UK Government naturally criticising China regarding Internet accessibility and clampdowns on public dissent in Hong Kong, but simultaneously imposing the Police & Crime Act 2021 here (look it up if it’s not crossed your bows, you could be in for a surprise). Even as an occasional left leaner I get that.

So this is where the two worlds collide, the same people instructed with the task of voting in a referendum to secure our future prosperity by continuing our preferred relationship with the World’s largest trading bloc and getting it tragically wrong, now tasked with acting in the national interest and taking responsibility for the suppression of the deadliest, mutating virus pandemic in a century. What could possibly go wrong? (Proustian paragraph :-S )

Well, despite 1200 independent scientists declaring our pandemic stance to be a danger to the world and the British Isles becoming a vaccine resistant Covid mutation petri dish, BJ and his Conservative cronies Sunak & Javid have reopened the country. (Is this why Hancock had to go? The indiscretion video was probably not news to them) That’s pubs and nightclubs reopening, no requirement to wear a mask, (or social distance? Do you or I even understand the regs now?) By declaring continued mask compliance, regional mayors have attempted to keep public transport safe, but the !£37Billion! Serco Track & Trace App is now pinging so many people to self isolate that before even Freedom Day One critical infrastructure such as the London Underground is now at risk as well as major firms operating here such as Nissan, Rolls Royce etc. on the verge of temporary closure due to half their staff sat at home. This is only going to get worse. Have you watched the Euro football, Summer Beaches, the younger unvaccinated congregating in major cities and kids crammed in skate parks?

With around 50000 infections a day and graph climbing like a Saturn 5 we have reopened, while The Netherlands with 14000 daily cases have reintroduced more stringent lockdown measures. A double vaccination, the U.K.’s main national defence has deadly holes in it, vaccinated people are becoming infected by the Indian Delta Variant Strain including our Health Secretary. No doubt in a few weeks the UK will have to lockdown again. Personally, regardless of any political ‘cost’ of a climbdown and facing down opposition, I would have extended the rules until the cases were significantly decreasing and there was no longer a particular threat. All along I’ve thought that as a major economy, we could afford to treat the cost of the pandemic as a one-off one hundred year event and pay it off over the forthcoming decades. The Libertarians and including my IRC geek friends might say otherwise. But that’s the point, a mortal and economic cost. But ‘Who is anyone to tell us what to do?’

There’s an opinion for you, what’s yours?

Post Script. News – 19/07/21 3pm. 500000 people have been pinged by Track & Trace and the country has run out of Lateral Flow Tests. Where will it end?

Freedom Day

Video Killed The Literary Star

The Rise Of Instagram Reels Video & TikTok over static images. The new 2021 Instagram Algortihm.

Earlier today on Clubhouse Social Audio during the 4:13 Leadership forum I was asked to compare marketing online now versus twenty years ago. Categorically I would say it’s far more sophisticated, much lower cost, far more effective and offers high quality metrics to measure your efforts and spend. As they say, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. But as far as some platforms are concerned the writing associated with posts is becoming redundant in favour of video for a generation with very short attention spans.

Where platform leaders go, others follow. So with this in mind we are all going to have to consider how we can promote our businesses within the realms of 30 second short video and longer forms of 5 to 15 minutes of content. Influenced by the success of TikTok amongst it’s key demographic, Instagram are moving towards being more of a video than photography platform and ranking Reels use far greater in the algorithm. Post Likes are being dropped in favour of Saves and Shares so it’s vital you encourage followers to support your efforts by doing this with your posts.

I don’t believe the original developers of Instagram ever envisaged that it would be so heavily used by business marketers and like everything in business we should all have a Plan B ready should Plan A be lost to us. Thus we need to develop our use of video in a market sympathetic way, and find alternatives to support the graphics and photography we use as a lead magnet presently. With this in mind, Pinterest looks like a safe harbour and I’ll be looking into this platform next.
 
Instagram is still a heavily used platform so I would continue to post as you are until your analysis shows a diminished return on your time.

The Rise Of Instagram Video Reels and TikTok

Brief Take On Domain Authority

With Internet development, a website’s Authority is a compound metric used for measuring a domain or individual web page’s overall quality and SEO performance particularly against other websites within a similar realm. The score is based upon many metrics representing authority within the field and trustworthiness. Machine Learning (ML) ensures the result is fresh so do not expect to get 100 – it’s a moving target for you to continuously improve and attempt to remain in the top quartile.

The old days of recent, relevant and frequent posts that determined your website’s position in the major search engines list of results has been replaced by a more sophisticated approach. None of the engines officially publish how they rank your site but it is generally accepted the following is instrumental.

Initially an algorithm uses organic search data, web traffic, and back link information to understand the ranking of the most trusted domains on the web. Then a second algorithm uses backlink data compares how your site wins or loses authority by gaining links. The number and own authority of referring domains. The volume of outbound links from referring domains. The total number of IPs and backlinks pointing to the site. Plus further esoteric information.

The measurement is within a range of 1 to 100 with very few domains scoring late nineties.

In my previous post ‘Discoverability’ I described tuning your website and good housekeeping before approaching other businesses within your realm to link to your site – and therefore positively affect your Domain Authority (DA) score. In this respect there is no ‘Good Score’. Obviously you don’t want to be zero and under fifty would highlight obvious improvements that need to be made, but whatever your score, even improving the content, SEO and backlinks for your site may not improve the score if ML comparison websites have also improved or further authoritative sites have been added to the subset and less authoritative dropped.

I’ve mentioned before in Social Selling posts that ‘niching down on a niche’ is the way forward for marketing SME sized companies online in highly competitive fields to become a trusted leader within that particular industry and this is relevant with DA. Ordinarily, you may think that linking to a blog or site with a lower score would be disadvantageous, but in fact, within a niche it could help your own DA. The important thing is to compare your DA with competitors to ensure that your SEO and recently published content is working and giving you a higher rank in search engine’s result lists.

In summary. If a domain score is upwards then a concerted effort with SEO may be yielding results. It may though be that a competitor has fallen back. You see, it’s not a simple yes or no. Heading downwards could indicate a very competitive niche, lack of effort with SEO.

Link building to sites that do not already link with you, listing on trusted directories, mentions in respected articles online (linked) and eradicating broken links or links to toxic sites will all improve your DA.

Astute use of keywords within your content, titles and tags are also a great way of positively influencing this.
 
An analogy may also be, you wouldn’t expect to run a takeaway food business of the scale of MacDonald’s, Burger King or KFC, but you could aim to be the ‘best of the rest’ more achievable and far less frustrating!

Domain Authority Description

Discoverability

SEO = Discoverability = Profit

The best way to make your website more discoverable, increasing engagement and interest in your products, services and SALES £$ is to keep it tuned up. Optimal tuning will ensure it’s more discoverable by the main search engines. The Domain Authority (DA) * more on this next time, is much improved along with your site being included in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) if great ranking sites relevant to your industry link to your website and pages, but before researching and contacting them to enquire about linking it’s essential your website is in the best possible shape. But where to begin?

Checklist

Optimise your website so it loads quickly.
Check and repair any broken links.
Check that each page has consistency across, file name, title, subtitles, relevant & keyword rich content, matching tags.
Optimise image file sizes and create alt. tags – searchable and describe images when images are switched off by the user. This has got lazy since ‘my day’ 1999-2005.
Relevant meta tags on pages and images.
Name image files don’t just use file names.
Check internal links are not broken.
Optimise each product page by using techniques described above.

Once you have an impressive super-speedy loading website begin approaching targeted companies to link to you then watch your DA & SERPs climb!

Thank-you for reading. Find me on Clubhouse @ thestevecee

 

2021 Q3. Sales Interrupted

Whether you sell New Cars, UHD-TV, Play Stations or White Goods, by now you’ll be aware of the ‘Worldwide Semi-Conductor Shortage’. This is having profound influence on sales, profit and achievement of manufacturer bonus related targets that prevail in many industries. Not least because these companies appear led by people stuck with a process, Sell x product in 3 months = bonus £$ and unable to be creative around incentivising dealers to market and sell what is actually available, not simply adding to an order bank already stretching five months. That’s five months to receive the cash and profit from a sale and as far as the automotive sector is concerned, a used model part-exchanged which adds to used car inventory = another sale and profit delayed. The obvious effect of the present rarity situation is the increase in asset value of used cars.

The three primary causes of the shortages are; Taiwanese Drought, yes really. In a perfect example of the Law Of Unintended Consequences, your new car has been delayed by the lack of rainwater in Taiwan where ultra pure water in large amounts is required to produce these electronic components. The global Covid 19 pandemic, obvious one this, more people were at home in 2020 and the last quarter of the year saw a 25% plus increase in electronic goods (boredom) and car sales (avoiding public transport) globally, pulling forward components impossible to manufacture quickly. Finally, the China – USA Trade War, yep, pesky Chy-Nah is preventing your new microwave pinging in the kitchen. Last year the United States Government / Trump Administration placed trade restrictions on China’s biggest silicon chip manufacturer, which made it harder for them to sell to companies with American ties. These restrictions forced companies to use other manufacturing plants like Samsung and the aforementioned Taiwanese companies. However, these companies were already producing at maximum output.

My point of describing this current handicap is to ask the question, ‘What is your business or industry doing to be CREATIVE about selling what is PHYSICALLY available to sell and not just taking orders to deliver months into the future. Reverse engineering a result? Let me know in your comments.

Thanks for reading.

Find me on Clubhouse @ thestevecee

Black Tie / White Noise

Noisy neighbours.

There are various types of learning styles. Visual, Auditory (hearing), Reading, Kinesthetic (touch, or tactile learners). What’s your preference? Over the years I’m aware my own is a combination of reading and listening. Then particularly with quotes or important dates, writing out passages and even associating dates by breaking them down and attaching to words cognitively.

Auditory learners are able to ascertain the true meaning of spoken words by listening to changes in tone and build trust from tempo, tone and timbre. They are also good at writing responses to lectures (hand up here). It’s claimed that auditory learners prefer background sound and work better while learning. I’m listening to an album on the HiFi – and louder than you might imagine with no loss of concentration. Auditory learners are great storytellers, solve problems by talking them through and respond well to sound or voice oriented information.

It’s no surprise then that I have taken to Social Audio aka Interactive Podcasting. The pioneer app in this space Clubhouse, is now a year old and new entrants, Twitter Spaces and Spotify Greenroom (aka ‘Greenhouse’​ to hardcore Clubhouse users) are capitalising on the popularity.

If so many learn by listening and a combination of the above, then it’s not that Social Audio should be a surprise but that it’s taken over a decade to arrive. Like all disruptors, why didn’t we all see it coming?

Over the past few days so much debate and comparison between Clubhouse and Greenroom. To paraphrase the great Sir Alex Ferguson, Greenroom is the ‘Noisy neighbour’​ there is nothing to be done by any platform in relation to competition except remain on the planned course and introduce upgrades to ensure an excellent and stable experience for the user. A point that I keep coming back to though is that all professionals will choose whichever app suits them and offers the greatest Return On TIME Invested, and that all competition only breeds improvement in performance and service. In other words, choose your weapon and let the provider make your experience as enjoyable as possible. I have no doubt though that people who arrive at the Greenroom app via the Spotify homepage/podcast section will learn of Clubhouse, perhaps pay a visit and stay if they prefer the greater visual appeal of white space, are an older demographic and a more sophisticated user. The more frantic, with smaller icons, reversed out (dark mode background) Greenhouse will thrive on younger, music and creative themed topics (& hopefully for them) along with the predominantly sports user base they inherited when they purchased the Locker Room app to modify and relaunch.

For me, I have invested four months on and off with Clubhouse and have 600 organic followers who have either appreciated my commentary or profile. I see no point in trying to establish myself on alt.voice platforms and will enjoy the development of the app’s features and the arrival of more like minded, creative thinkers, the like I have come to make the acquaintance of since March.

Come and find me to say hello, I am @ thestevecee on the app.

Back To The Futurism 3

Futurist Preamble Ramble Pt.3:

The Clubhouse app analogy. Like attracts like, people follow those they respect and meet more like minded, all these people invite their friends to join the app and a ripple effect of like minded & a virtuous circle. An app that existed before the pandemic but floundering, came alive when we were stuck at home and realised that interactive podcasting meant you could contribute to the discourse of your pet subjects and interests. Typically, the larger platforms are now on the bandwagon with their own offerings. Speaking and sound was the last of the senses to be properly catered for by Social Media, the effect of hearing tone in someone’s voice is more personal than text creating an unexpected hit. Unexpected seems to be a thread.

At the creator level, ideas from people across the world are disseminated and applied to individual markets. Collaboration is a natural effect.

On a buyer level, obviously influencers are embedded, but micro influencers are targeting a smaller niche audience from subsets of interests. It’s simpler to market a niche product or service than larger.

How many have dyed their own hair during the pandemic and how many have sought reviews online? Some ultra agile smaller brands have capitalised mightily in the last twelve months by creating simple to use products and receiving rave reviews. The rise of the #RavingFan !

Social Media Groups are simple to create and market to. Brands who interact at a quantum level in these forums build trust in a subscriber that they are the most qualified supplier of goods and services (Social Listening). Backed up by encouraging great feedback within these forums and the Internet in general. Your brand’s clean fingerprints have never been more vital in a world where you simply cannot erase a poor review.

Back To The Futurism 2

 

Futurist Preamble Ramble Pt.2

Creatives can use Blockchain as a method of dating and copyrighting their output – Intellectual Property is becoming critical when nation states are prepared to steal copy ideas and products. Leading creatives will create a Cryptocoin that reflects any rise in their stock. Imagine investing in designers Johnny Ive, Dieter Rams or architect Frank Lloyd Wright stock at the beginning of their careers.

The development of creator to brand exchanges where creatives will bid for work and brands can pick from the most competitive and creative talent to bring new messages to their customers.

We have only scratched the surface of the effect of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. There is nothing to prevent well known brands jumping this bandwagon, encouraging investment in their coin generating interest bearing tokens that can be exchanged for limited edition products, uniquely offered sale goods and media launches and cross brand endorsements. Brands expanding outside of the regular economy into the decentralised economy that even countries like the newly independent Great Britain*, a G7 economy are considering entering – maybe tied into Free Port policies.
*I am Remainer lol but we are stuck with Brexit so we have to make it work.

In summary, a new breed of independently funded creators will provide infinite new competitively priced content to brands wishing to personalise their offerings to a savvy consumer.

Convenience
Consumers want Ease, Speed, Reliability & Consistency.

The rise of apps. Expedited delivery. Free Returns

Tribes & Influences
People want advice from like-minded people or people they admire & respect. We all want to belong.

They want to support brands they relate to and admire too. Cont.

 

Back To The Futurism

More of the brainstorming from last week’s futurist marketing think tank.

Futurist Preamble Ramble Pt.1

The pandemic has enabled work from home and freelance culture. #WFH This was coming down the tracks with inevitable automation of industries but accelerated due to national lockdown policies. Home schooling (Child & Adult) and public service broadcasting was simply enabled to accommodate this. Surely a key to future economic prosperity would be a permanent extension of learning via television and Internet resources.

Millions of people around the world may become or are already unemployed or soon to be laid off when stimulus and furlough ends. Disruptors will radically alter industries like banking and law one by one as the dots are joined between industries to create recombination businesses like Air BnB and Uber. These were unthinkable a decade ago, but technology and the acceptance to use apps on smart phones by the general public plus price competition is fuelling this rise. The more sophisticated the apps become the more personalised and effective the offering will be to sectors of the demographic.

Already AI embedded plug-ins will track your e-commerce website journey and pigeon hole your behaviour then tailor a specific discount or offering to your buyer type. Rather like the person in a store who makes a purchase when an assistant only has to say “Have you tried the orange top with the blue skirt?” Until now sites like Etsy could only offer you a blanket discount across your range, added to their commission this was prohibitive. Imagine how profit can be increased when on an individual basis you offer only what you need to give to gain a sale? Or recognise a re-visitor who wants something no longer in a sale but would buy with a small incentive.

The New Creator Economy means self employed freelance creators will need to be ultra creative and competitive to create content and bandwidth to make an income. I’ve started using the hashtag #ultracreatives

These will be prolific, high quality content creators.

Cont.

Brainstorming The Future

Apologies for neglecting my weblog posts, reality keeps me from what I love to do. Some unfinished brainstorming for a Clubhouse friend prior to her Digital (Auto) Dealer Conference presentation ‘Digital Dopamine’ in Florida last week. Broken down into four Instagram posts there’s content in here to apply to your overall thinking. I enjoy applying my experience in retailing and retail advertising / marketing and adding in current shifts in buying trends and expectation. Of course also what is state of the art coming down the tracks at us all. If you’d like to add commentary and your own ideas as a collaborator please feel free to do so in the comments. As ever, please Like, Comment, Share & Save especially the latter which are vital to being on the correct side of the altered Instagram Algorithm. Are you aware of this? The brief was to think tank external influence on selling mid pandemic, post pandemic and through the era of disruptive businesses. Feel free to contact me if you would like to add to the discourse, it’s an ongoing project.

1.Path to sale

Tribes & Influences, Restrictions, Budget, World View, Brand Values (fairness, Green, ethical investors etc.) The Big Picture, Media, Contemporaries, Dominating Values, Funding, Research

2.Inspiration & Decision

Brand attitude to staff and customers, Socially Aware, Reaction to newly taboo methods like fast fashion, plastics etc. Personalisation, Greater Purpose, Entertainment, Engagement, Trust,

3.Buying Experience

Convenience, Feeling Appreciated & Valued.

4.The Sale & Follow Up = Path To Next Sale

Serving (Explaining & serving not selling) Simplicity, Speed, Courtesy.

5.The Future

The End Of Pandemic (Withdrawal of stimulus, furlough), The Creator Economy, Blockchain uses. More recombination industry disruptors. Social Funding / Universal Basic Income – impossible to avoid?Security & Intellectual Property, Artificial Intelligence, 5G / Internet of Things, Sensitive to Sustainability, Protection of Employment, Reduce Consumption, Re-Use & Repair, Alt. Energy & Products Yet Unknown, Gamification, Transhumanism.