When email newsletters go bad…

Hi [insert first name]

Well there’s no doubt about it, [insert current season] has arrived and [insert next yearly milestone] is almost upon us! Where does the time go!?

We’ve been super-busy here at [insert organisation name] – there’s certainly no rest for the wicked! [insert smiley emoticon].

We had a great time at the recent [insert event name] – if you couldn’t make it along maybe we’ll see you at our next one!

The latest news from us: we’re super-proud to have been [insert self-congratulation #1] and also to have achieved [insert self-congratulation #2]. We also got a nice wrap from [insert media outlet name] – you can read the full article[insert hyperlink] here.

And don’t forget [insert first name], we’ve still got plenty of [insert sales pitch]. After all, you can never own too many! So call us today, we’d love to hear from you!

And here’s a little something we just couldn’t resist! [insert baby rhinoceros meme]. How cute!


So that’s it from us – see you all next time!

From the whole team at [insert organisation name]!!

p.s. Don’t forget to Like us on [insert social media platform name]!


Don’t pay the consultant man – until he gets you to the other side.



It was late at night on the world wide web,
Facebook had our brand on the run,
Little time had we spent preparing for this journey;

He is closer now that the rules have changed,
But he’s reading from a map undefined,
He wants us to pay his bill,
And in return he’ll promise to deliver.

But when the engagement numbers came down,
We heard our CEO howl,
There were voices in the night, “Don’t do it!”
Voices out of sight, “Don’t do it!
Too many brands have failed before,
Whatever you do,

Don’t pay the consultant man,
Don’t even fix a price,
Don’t pay the consultant man,
Until he gets you to the other side”

In the new media mist, then he gets on board,
Now there’ll be no turning back,
Beware that bearded hipster at the rudder,
And then our newsfeed flashed, and our fan-base roared,
They were calling us out in shame,
And dancing memes that jabbered and a-moaned
On our wall.

And then the consultant man said,
“There’s algorithm trouble ahead,
So you must pay me now,” “Don’t do it!”
“You must pay me now,” “Don’t do it!”
And still that voice came from beyond,
“Whatever you do,

Don’t pay the consultant man
Don’t even fix a price,
Don’t pay the consultant man,
Until he gets you to the other side;

Don’t pay – the consultant man!”

“Social media is like a…”



“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at YouTube.” – Oscar Wilde

“I came, I saw, I left a comment.” – Julius Caesar

“The Facebook newsfeed algorithm is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump’s Mom

“Houston, we have a conversion funnel leakage…” – Apollo 13

“Insanity: posting the same thing over and over again and expecting increased audience reach.” – Albert Einstein

“Spam which does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“A cat meme gets halfway around the world before a filter has a chance to get its pants on.” – Winston Churchill

“The unexamined analytics report is not worth having.” – Socrates

“Instagram posts are always darkest just before the dawn.” – Thomas Fuller

“Be @yourself on Twitter; everyone else is @taken.” – Oscar Wilde

“Whenever you do a thing online, act as if all the world were watching.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I post online therefore I am.” – Descartes

“Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking newsfeed.” – Irene L. Luce

“The best time to start an opt-in email database was 10 years ago. The second best time is now.” –Chinese Proverb

“People often say that social media posts don’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

“Social media costs money. But then so does brand invisibility.” –Sir Claus Moser

“Don’t ever wrestle with an online troll. You’ll both get dirty, but the troll will enjoy it.”– Cale Yarborough

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to consume an unusal email newsletter without unsubscribing from it.” – Aristotle

“I have made this status update longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal

“Asking a social media manager what she thinks about her community is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.” – Christopher Hampton

“There is nothing to writing a blog. All you do is sit down at a computer and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

“I find Facebook very educating. Every time somebody opens it up, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx

“A website visitor is a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!

“A person who doesn’t tweet has no advantage over one who can’t tweet.” – Mark Twain

“Ask not what your social media community can do for you; ask what you can do for your social media community.” – John F. Kennedy

“If you can’t explain your social media strategy to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein


Dear Little Miss Social…


Dear Little Miss Social

I confess to being genuinely at a loss when it comes to social media engagement in the form of liking other people’s posts. Should I be liking anything and everything from everybody, or just the ones I actually like from the people I know?

Yours Sincerely,
Sally Blackmoore
Perth, Australia


Dear Gentle Reader

Whether to publicly like another’s social media post – or not – is a vexing issue, and one which is fraught with misguided intent and endless misinterpretation. The modern ‘like’ is a spring-trap which lays in wait for the uninitiated and where the consequences of a misstep can be socially fatal. But adherence to a few simple and commonsense rules will see you through.

Whenever you like a post from someone within your inner-circle you are ipso facto liking the person who posted it. This is its most popular use and serves the purpose of social bonding between one’s peers. But if you are liking the post of someone from an outer-circle or that of a complete stranger, you are most certainly indicating approval of the post itself – and not the person who published it. In either case, by liking a post you are signalling that you have at least seen the post. It is the digital equivalent of making eye-contact across the madding crowd and tipping one’s hat. In some instances this may be the precursor to a blossoming online relationship.

On occasion you might be inclined to like a post because you genuinely do like it. This should be made manifestly clear with the inclusion of a supporting comment or contextually relevant emoji. Care must be taken however when liking the post of a person who is expressing heightened spiritual, cerebral or physical agitation – for example, a picture of their freshly stubbed toe. To like this without a supporting comment or empathetic emodji  would be considered very poor taste indeed.

Liking a shared post performs a dual action. You are both liking the person who shared the post, and liking the post of the person who originally published it. All parties generally understand this to be the case.

On receiving a like one should never overtly acknowledge it with another like or comment – it is unnecessary and often leads to awkwardness.

Liking the last several posts at once from someone should be avoided if possible, as the value of a like diminishes in direct proportion to the elapsed time since it was published. Conversely, liking a post within 5 minutes of its publication is a mark of social excellence which is generally reserved for one’s inner, inner-circle connections – your besties.

It is both unacceptable and churlish to ever unlike a post. The exception to this rule is if the like is withdrawn within 30 seconds of granting it, providing leeway for an inadvertent like which happens to us all on occasion.

From time to time we are obliged to discharge a debt or balance the social ledger when a person has liked your last several posts with scrupulous consistency and rapidity. But care must be taken here, as a perceived haste to repay one’s obligation is a kind of ingratitude of itself. Yes, such debts must be paid with reciprocated likes, but in instalments.

So as you can see Gentle Reader, a like is not always a like – although of course sometimes it is.



So, what’s with the fish?


I won’t lie to you: I am holding a fish  – a Snapper to be precise – on the homepage of the NET:101 website. So what’s with that?

Fish is Fun

Why so serious? Everyone should unbutton a little and have more fun with their social media communications. People are attracted to brands on social who project their humanity. Snapper and I certainly know how to enjoy the occasional laugh.

Fish is Fresh

It’s different. Unusual. Fresh. Makes you look twice. Getting anyone to look at anything even once is hard enough.

Fish is Filter

When brands engage with people through social media it’s useful for them to let a little of their personality shine through. Recycled corporate comms look ridiculous in social media. The people who don’t ‘get’ the fish or the other fishesque elements of the NET:101 website are probably not ready for the course… it has strangely and befittingly become an attendee quality filter.

Fish is Food

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” A training course should do more than just pass on information, it should empower.

Fish is Fiction

Snapper has become a popular conversation-starter. There’s a brand story to be told. Stories stick, and brand stickiness in the minds of others is a good thing.

Fish is Freudian?

No, not Freudian at all – sometimes a fish is just a fish.


Social Media Private Dick


‘Sam Spade, Registered Social Media Agent’ – at least that’s what the faded gold lettering on my office door says. Not that anyone cares much anymore… social media types are like pencils – everyone has a couple laying around somewhere, and most of them not as sharp as you’d like.

I poured my third bourbon for the morning and studied the fly walking across my keyboard. An overly precise knock at the door broke the hot silence of the room. It always starts this way, and I knew just how it would end.

“Mr. Spade?”

She was in her mid-thirties, tall, confident and dressed as crisply as a 100 dollar bill – the type that runs the corporate factories downtown. And probably as comfortable with interpreting an analytics report as she is applying lipstick in the dark.

I nodded wearily. As she moved towards my desk the shadows from the ceiling fan played across her face.

“I… we… the people I represent have a small problem, Mr Spade.”

And now we both do sister, I thought to myself.

“There’s been an incident. A marketing co-ordinator we let go won’t give us back the only login details to our Facebook brand page.”

I glanced at the fly on my keyboard which was now still. Probably dead. This city will suck the life out of anything given enough time.

“Awkward.” I said. “And now you’re looking for someone to clean up your little mess?”

“Well, yes. It’s a… delicate situation. We’re a big brand you see. We have profile. We can’t afford to made a public laughing-stock. Will you help?”

“It’s 25 hundred dollars a day plus expenses, Miss…?

“Huntington. Mrs. Huntington. And that’s a lot of money.”

“You should have thought of that before. Book yourself into a social media training course next time – the world could do with fewer delicate situations. Try NET:101, they’re good.”

“Very well Mr. Spade I’ll write you a cheque. And thanks for the advice.”

“Take a seat Mrs. Huntington and tell me from the beginning…”

There are many stories in the big city, this has been one of them.


Social Media and a Message from The Man

The Man at NET:101 got a message for you, so listen up good, let it be understood.

So here it come, here it is, social media is serious biz, but it’s the brothers and the sistas that make it fly, not the rap of some suited up sales guy.

Don’t sell, don’t shrill, they won’t take that pill.

Time to connect if you want their respect. Add value to their pot, doesn’t have to be a lot. Use your content to make them want.

Show them, teach them, inform them, guide them, make them feel you know what it’s like to be standing beside them.

Use your content in some clever ways, invest your time so it pays. Cos it ain’t about the likes and the number of fans, it’s about brand credibility in the minds of your clan.

Sales is good, but don’t chase too fast, infect your pool with them sales blasts. You ain’t no fool you know the cool – it’s why you did so well in school.

So listen to The Man from NET:101, he got the message to make it all hum, hum, hum.

The 4 Rungs of Social Media Adoption


When I worked in the wine industry many moons ago we had certain classes of wines that were commonly referred to as ‘ladder wines’. These were grape varieties or styles that an individual would typically start enjoying as part of their wine journey – for most people it would stat with a sweet white such as a Spatlese Lexia. As a person’s palate matured they would move up a predicable ladder of taste sophistication to dryer whites, onto sweeter fruit-driven reds, and finally across to fuller-bodied, savoury reds.

A similar step-process plays out for organisations when it comes to the adoption (or non-adoption) of social media. These are the 4 commonly observable rungs.

Rung 1: Social Media, Unconvinced

All business professionals are ‘aware’ of social media at some level – they might use Facebook themselves to keep in touch with family, or observe their children engaging on any number of other platforms. But they are unconvinced it could ever deliver much in the way of business value. They can see other organisations who are active in the space but regard their own industry-sector as different – “It’s not relevant to what we do…”. It’s typically seen as an unwelcome distraction from the real business of business.

Rung 2: Social Media Experimental

Give it a go. The first tentative, experimental steps into social media are likely a Facebook page, a blog (as part of a new website build) and maybe a couple of YouTube videos. Most likely the blog will flounder in the first few months – it’s a bigger task than most people imagine to produce long-form text on a regular basis. The YouTube videos will sit out there and rack up a few views without doing any harm. Facebook will get the lion’s share of attention, after all it seems easy enough to push out a few product pics and announce the date of an upcoming clearance sale. The social media success measures at this experimental stage will likely be the public scoreboard of fan or follower numbers, rather than definable business goals.

Back to Rung 1: Social Media, Now Doubly Unconvinced

The initial push into social media loses momentum – the input required to maintain an active presence starts competing with other day-to-day demands. The lack of a visible business return is rightly being questioned. Maybe the person who first drove the entry into social media leaves, or the business just doesn’t want to keep paying an external agency or consultant for what now seems like a one-way flow of money (despite the accumulation of fans and followers). The organisation walks away form their social media, stepping back down onto the first rung.

Up to Rung 3: Social Media Glimmer of Hope

Something seems to be working… it could be as small as an inbound sales lead citing the organisation’s blog. Or referral traffic to the website is up and so are online enquiries. That fluid hydraulics video we posted on YouTube is now sitting at over 3000 views – people really seem interested in our stuff. And a small but highly engaged community has started hanging out on our Facebook business page… climb a rung.

Rung 4: Business as Usual

The question regarding social media shifts from ‘should we be doing it?’ to ‘how can we be doing it better?” Extra resources are typically allocated at this stage – a new part-time or full-time social media position might be created. A formal social media strategy is formulated with clear-cut objectives and measurable outcomes over extended timeframes.  A social media policy is codified. Quality content production becomes a priority. Other departments around the organisation are encouraged to get involved, to share in writing the blog, to answer technical questions, and to help the social media effort generally by sharing their expertise outside of their departmental silos.

Eventually the organisation ceases to refer to themselves as ‘doing social media’ anymore – the platforms, the content and the community become integrated into the organisation’s marketing, sales, customer service and communications mix to the point of invisibility. it’s now just business as usual.