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Boosting your Digital Business

As you all know, the team at BLT Towers considers itself relatively savvy when it comes to social media. Whether willingly jumping in head first or through gentle coercion we try and ensure that every consultant engages in the online sphere. According to the Evening Standard, from learning about the death of Osama Bin Laden, to discussing royal bridesmaid Pippa Middleton’s derriere, social media is revolutionising the way we share news, ideas and opinions. At its peak, Twitter was carrying 5,000 tweets a second about Bin Laden and nearly 4,000 a second during the royal wedding. Clearly then, social media has gone mainstream and the question long ago stopped being whether or not to join the conversation, but how to strategically use the content.

Creating a profile on LinkedIn or a community page on Facebook is no longer enough to keep you in the game, nowadays the focus is on driving traffic to your page and ensuring search engine optimisation. It’s often difficult to make sense of the vast mass of opinions out there; however, tracking online conversations and shaping discussions can not only promote your brand but also highlight your positioning within an arena as a key influencer. A survey carried out last October by Corporate Insight showed that several leading firms, including a number of FTSE listed asset managers are now actively engaging in the digital world, using their company Twitter profile to offer customer services and answer questions.

Despite this growing trend to advertise and engage, some are still wary, arguing that for the effort required it produces limited return. Few have developed metrics for measuring the success of tweeting and LinkedIn activity and as such there is a camp that stalwartly refuses to engage. I can proudly admit that although we are by no means experts in the field, the majority of us at BLT are not in this camp and we’re optimistic about the phenomenon and willing to at least experiment with it. As such, here are our top tips to maximise your LinkedIn power and your Twitter potential…

• Tailor your Profile: It’s like an online CV, keep it updated and use key phrases
• Be Proactive: Join groups, make introductions and address potential business associates directly.
• Utilise your Company Profile: Whether on Twitter or LinkedIn post jobs, pose questions and create conversations
• Link to other Media: Blogs and YouTube add another dimension to your online presence
• Be Strict and Selective: Only follow or connect with people you want to work with. Your connections say a lot about you.
• Listen to Feedback: You can receive some of the most useful criticism by searching on search.twitter.com
Share: Whether it’s a “RT “or a “Like” it’s online etiquette for showing your support and agreement

Burgeoning economies; BRIC, CIVETS and WOMEN!

Acronyms abound in discussions on emerging economies: Brazil Russia India and China are an instantly recognisable BRIC and to those in the know, CIVETS are Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.

WOMEN of course is not an acronym, I’m using capital letters to acknowledge an economic power that is both closer to home and more universal in its impact. It’s not new either, but it’s only just being properly recognised and evaluated.

As part of investigations into the wider diversity agenda, several analyses have indicated that ‘womenomics’ is a force to be reckoned with. In her iponymous paper,
Kathy Matsui, managing director of global investment research at Goldman Sachs, suggests that raising women’s employment levels could drive GDP growth by 15% in Japan, and that rising gender equality will also boost many of the BRIC and CIVET economies.

Closer to home Annabel Smith, head of diversity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Morgan Stanley, says that increasing numbers of women in the client-side commercial arena demands an equivalently diverse response from the services provider side. There’s increasingly acknowledgement that new business can be lost by a team that is appropriately representative. On the domestic front, women as a consumer force is already well understood. In the UK women control spending on 80% of food and 51% of household goods; the retail therapy syndrome is key to the luxury brands market, and women even control 40% of purchases of men’s clothes. Superdry, Burberry and Tesco come to mind as notable beneficiaries of this phenomenon.

At the end of the day, even the most diversity-cautious amongst us must acknowledge that it’s all just about optimising shareholder value, isn’t it?

“Would you rather be an Archbishop or a Brigadier?”

“Would you rather be an Archbishop or a Brigadier?” was the question posed to one of our candidates recently. She was tempted to reply “Neither, I’m here to be a management consultant.”

How would you answer? And what lies behind the question? US-based Careers writer Kimberly Weisul sought advice and gave some pointers in her blog on the subject. Interviewing careers coach Michael Melcher he confirmed what you might have suspected: “These questions say more about the personality of the person designing the questions than what will actually be effective in finding good people,” he says. “The types of questions they ask may reinforce their self-concept as creative, edgy, out-of-the-box, et cetera, but they are not necessarily meaningful.”

Her article continues: “Here’s Melcher’s advice about how to answer the unanswerable.

Would you rather be a stream, a rock, or a tree?
Melcher says the interviewer is looking to see 1) if you can think spontaneously, 2) if you can tell an interesting story, and how you do it, and 3) if you can be relaxed and fresh when asked about things that are out of your comfort zone. So don’t just answer with one word-make up a rationale and elaborate on it, even if it seems kind of wacky. An oddball question may require an oddball answer.”

Would you have a good response?

Catriona takes a look at how the MC team fared in the Olympics ticket lottery…,

Well, did you get the Olympic tickets you hoped for?

Here at BLT we did relatively well: Sarah has some tickets for a rather good athletics session (the only ones she applied for, lucky girl); Kate is the proud winner of tickets for the men’s gymnastics; Catriona – always one to cover all the options – has some combination but no idea what of athletics, swimming, cycling, diving, basketball, table tennis and boxing(don’t ask!).

We’ll be leaving Don and Philip to mind the shop while the girls are out, although as Don is the boss we’ll let him out for a few hours to take his daughter to the horse jumping and his son to the karate. We’re good on work/life balance at BLT!

Now, I don’t want to be seen to be criticising my lovely friends in management consultancy who have played a part in coming up with the ballot scheme, ticket allocation and the related technology…….but it would have been good to know which tickets we’d got when the money was taken. Never mind, keeps us in suspense for another couple of weeks……but if Bradley Wiggins can’t get tickets for the Team Pursuit, is there really much hope for me?

Catriona looks at the perils of accepting a counter offer …..

As the market has picked up, I’ve seen the incidence of counter offers rise again. While I admit we obviously have a vested interest in individuals accepting the offers we have for them …Is it ever a good idea to stay put for a few dollars more?

While some people undoubtedly wish to increase their earnings through making a move, in my seven years at BLT I’ve rarely found money to be the sole or indeed main motivation in making a career change. Many other factors come into play and the chances are that none of these will change if your employer throws some more money your way. In fact, it’s likely you’ll be back job-hunting again in six to twelve months time. It can also be a risky strategy – you gamble on the fact that by playing your hand, your employer will then do everything to try and keep you. But what if they don’t , what if they think that you’ll leave some time soon, and in some way “your card is marked” Finally, what does it say about a company which only values its employees when they say they are leaving?.

In any event, if you really would be quite content to stay at your current firm if they paid you more money ….why not just ask for it? If you can give clear evidence of your success and achievements through for example your appraisals and client feedback and, if appropriate, comparative evidence of salaries in your competitors, then you’ve probably got a good case. It’s a lot of time and effort on your part to jump through the hoops of interviews, presentations, testing and assessment centres if really you’d be happy to stay where you are. And of course, you wouldn’t want to be seen as a time waster by your friendly recruitment consultant, would you?

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