“Have a Nice Day!” smiled the robot

Automation makes it easy to spam people. Makes it easy for normal business-people — people who are quite genuine in their day-to-day dealings — to spam people.

Part of the problem is the curse of subjectivity — their email is spam, my message is an valuable communication. Caught up in our own projects, it’s easy to forget that people receiving the email/sms/tweet may not care.

But that kind of unwanted message is relatively forgiveable. There is a worse kind — the message that pretends to be something other, to worm it’s way past your defences. The insincere message. And it’s surprisingly easy to write one,

The main culprit is the advert that doesn’t acknowledge that it’s a sales message, but pretends to be something else — helpful or part of a conversation. My inbox is full of these.

  • “Are you validating performance for your mobile users?”
  • “Re: Making Great Customer Experiences”
    Double spam points there! Pretending to be a reply to me, plus a subject line that doesn’t acknowledge it’s an ad.
  • “Daniel, open this email for 12 people you should meet :)”
    Sure, the cheap trick of using my name did help them get noticed – but to what end?
  • “I want you back for good”
    Suggestive for a B2B message! But pretending to be on friendly terms with a stranger is insincere. It doesn’t make the message cute, it makes it annoying.

Straight to spam! And when you do read one of these? Disappointment lies ahead: the headline makes click-bait promises to lure you in, but then post does not deliver. You’re likely annoyed at having been fooled into a click — hardly the best start to a customer relationship. If a company starts the conversation with an insincere email — do you trust them?

As a contrast, here’s a sincere sales message:

Network @ BDX Glasgow Next Week (And Win Your Own Office!)

Good honest work BDX: It’s clear from the subject that this is an ad for a Glasgow networking event. If I’m interested, I’ll read it.

In real life, if someone behaves insincerely, soon enough they notice people avoiding them. With digital we may not notice the bad impression insincerity leaves. And with automation… Automation can amplify the problem. With automation, one can be insincere at scale. Pushy insincere tactics can get more clicks. But click-counting doesn’t measure that it also annoys. The pushy marketer doesn’t see the people who don’t click. This can lead to companies blindly optimising for spam, and trashing their own brand.

The problem is not automation, nor is it measurement and optimisation — these are tools that can amplify an underlying problem. The problem is a lack of sincerity.

Here’s a simple test of sincerity: If the recipient knew the full story behind the message — how the recipient was chosen, how the message was crafted, and what the sender hopes to achieve — Would that affect how they read it? If so — some insincerity may have crept in.

So: At SoGrow we’ll be trying to keep it sincere. When one of our bots talks to you, they will hopefully act in a sincere manner — e.g. being open when doing sales.

Yours sincerely,

– Daniel

You’re Reading This on Mobile, Aren’t You?

You’re Reading This on Mobile, Aren’t You?

Don’t worry, we aren’t watching your every move. Yet. But if our analytics are right, there’s about a 90% chance that if you came across this via your social media, you’re reading this on a mobile device . Of course, we do realise that in saying this, there’s also 10% of you rolling around laughing – “No, silly writer, I’m reading this on my trusty Windows 95 powered desktop, and that’s not changing anytime soon”. We salute you, hermits of the technology world. Some of you are working through whether we’re right or not, after all, Mike shared it, meaning you found this on your desktop, but you wouldn’t have seen it at all if Mike wasn’t on his mobile to share it. And speaking of Mike, why doesn’t he call like he used to?

There’s also a fair percentage of you that are now locked in internal debate on a range of subjects, from whether you have a mobile, mini-tablet, tablet, or some unholy combination of all three, and if you count as part of the 90% of readers. And even more likely, some of you have tuned out, and wrote this whole article off as an uninteresting and dreary read that isn’t worth your time. You might be right. But maybe not. Only one way to find out, and that’s be brave and read the 3 reasons why we’re so sure.
Now. If we were cheating, we could probably come up with some super clever redirect whereby if accessing by desktop, you would be sent to another article, and if by mobile, you would come here – boosting the numbers to match what we said. But there’s no fun in that. So here’s how we figured it out as best we could.
1) Analytics don’t lie…well. Usually.
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Here’s the thing about analytics. They’re great at telling you what’s happened, and indeed, can be great as a forecasting tool. However, to do it effectively, it’s important to realise that not all analytics are created equal. Our Facebook figures serve as the base indicator for our 90% assumption – we can see our reach from past campaigns, and based on that, make assumptions regarding shares and observe click-throughs. Which is great. But remember, we’re making the claim that 90% of you found this article on a mobile device, not just Facebook. So we need more sources, otherwise, we’re just big liars. And we do try not to be.
2) All hail Google
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Our favourite behemoth. Sure, they maybe ramped up the evil lately. They may even start knocking us down a bit in the page rankings if we start spamming keywords (AI, Automation, Twitter, best in class, social media, excellent hair). They might even send the driverless car to run us over next Tuesday (if (author identified) {action = do not kill}). But when it comes down to it, one thing that analytics will tell us, is that you most likely didn’t come here from Bing – even if it used to be Spiderman’s search engine of choice. From Google Analytics, your business, blog, or any page that you run which has it enabled, can see where the traffic comes from, where people leave the website, what sources they arrive from, and everything in between. The trouble is, you need to know what you’re looking for. 100k hits on your page last week, with nearly half being referred by social media? Great. But if your business is about selling coffee, and you’ve got 50,000 tea drinkers visiting your page, then what’s the point?
3) There’s always a point
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The point is this – analytics can give you detailed insights, and allow you to respond appropriately. You might decide to start selling tea. Or you might decide that really what you need to do, is attract the right people. In terms of social media, and Twitter in particular, SoGrow is an excellent way to do this. Using it’s intelligent search, SoGrow automatically reaches out to people that you ask it to find – in this case, coffee shops, baristas, and coffee lovers. It automatically follows them, and if they follow back, will send them a nice message (though not straight away – no need to let them know you’ve employed the robot!).


On top of this, it will like, retweet and share relevant content for you, and unfollow anyone who hasn’t followed you back after 10 days. There’s benefits here not just for business, but for individuals too. Got a blog that you’re trying to get off the ground? Use it to find like-minded individuals for what you’re writing about. Maybe you’re a new student, and trying to find other students to make friends and go drinking with? SoGrow can help you find them. How about a small business owner, that’s trying to connect with businesses abroad but hasn’t got the time? SoGrow.

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SoThere you have it. We estimate that 90% of you came here because of mobile social media. Now that you know that analytics are your crystal ball, what’s in your social future? We hope it’s SoGrow.


Visit www.sogrow.co.uk, and launch your 30 day free trial today.

Philosophy of Social Media – Should you stay or should you go?

Philosophy of Social Media – Should you stay or should you go?

The Philosophy of Social Media.

Cast your mind back. It’s the 14th of February.

Stephen Fry takes to the stage as Bafta host, and in his unique and wonderful fashion, made jokes at the expense of some participants – think Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, with considerably less controversy. Except, while news outlets perhaps did not pick on Fry to the same extent, on Twitter, criticism that night was rife after a joke was poorly received by a large part of the social network. Fry has, for now at least, deleted his account and labelled Twitter as “A stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended – worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know”. This got us thinking. We’re a social media company, who couldn’t exist without it. But what about us as individuals? Could we realistically step away from social media in our personal lives? And if so, should we, and would we?


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Social media can be a daunting place. High profile figures from Hollywood such as Penelope Cruz have labelled it “frightening and unnatural”, while LeBron James has been named the NBA No.1 Social Media Ambassador – and it’s important to remember that James is as good a businessman as he is a basketball player. For those who take a moment to truly think about what social media entails, it does sound fairly scary – you’re sharing your personal information and data with your friends, but also a company that you may know very little about. Your words and thoughts, if retweeted or shared, can easily go viral overnight and have everyone from the general public, to journalists or the police at your door. Conversely, it can serve as a platform for good – Facebook’s implementation of the Safety Check during a disaster can be a priceless tool for families and friends who are cut off from each other but are worried. It shows, in one small way, that social media is more than just content. And yet, content is what powers social media.


Without enough users inputting data on a regular basis, the news feed runs dry, and the network isn’t used. With this in mind, let’s consider the positives and negatives of you sharing data. On one hand, it can be a brilliant way to keep your network (personal and professional) fully up to date with what’s happening in your life. For everything from job seeking to celebrating important occasions, social media allows people to bridge geographical distance and involve everyone who is remotely important to them. However, while the content you share will reach your friends, there also remains the chance that your data will go beyond your friend circle. Not everyone feels comfortable sharing close and intimate family occasions, and if you’re one of these people, social media may indeed not be the place for you.






There’s also a certain degree of comfort that comes from curating and managing your social media, and indeed, observing that of others. It allows the user to “blank out” parts that they don’t want to share, and project the best version of themselves to the world – even for those who don’t use extensive filters etc, it can be argued that they are presenting the form of themselves they feel is most appealing. Russell Belk famously wrote on the concept of the self, that we purchase and interact with things in order to move us closer to our aspirational self(pictured above), and become the person we want to be. Social media provides a cost effective way to fulfill our ambitions. However, in doing so and showing a wonderful life, it can create feelings of envy or jealousy among the readers of your content. This can make it a difficult balance, whereby your comfort from social media is arguably achieved through creating discomfort for others.




Perhaps, therefore, the conclusion is to engage in social media in a way that is giving. Through sharing, liking, or retweeting content, you get to interact by sharing content relevant to you and “own” a piece of it, while the original poster feels the benefit of having their content appreciated. Of course, this can’t work in practice as content must always come from somewhere. However, it does highlight the importance of truly reading and understanding someone’s social persona – and above all, remembering there’s a real person on the keyboard at the other side. If we remain respectful and understanding of each other’s perspectives online, the same can be achieved offline – to the benefit of all.

Images From:


Relationship Management – Life is a series of experiences…

Relationship Management – Life is a series of experiences…

In a world where we’re 140 (or less) characters away from venting our emotions on social media, the way in which a business manages it’s customers has never been under more scrutiny. Traditionally, this would be done through relationship management, with a view to making sure the right message hit the right people, at the right time. It would be changed every time so as to be topical, inviting and engaging. But this meant something slipped the net. What about all the little things that happen in a relationship? Isn’t it all the little moments that decide whether it can be sustainable in the long run? From here, a new thought process emerged – experience management.




While the concept of experience management is far from new, it has only recently become an area of key focus for business – particularly in relation to social media. In 1998, Pine and Gilmore hypothesized the idea of the “The Experience Economy”, building on existing theory and bringing it to the attention of a wider audience. They would go on to demonstrate how this worked through examples such as the Rainforest Cafe, where the whole point of the restaurant was to take you on a journey that stimulated all senses. The food wasn’t anything particularly special, but the experience created by the environment made it so. In time, this lead to widespread re-focusing on creating a unique experience dependent on the product or service offered. Not only was it about how businesses wanted to be seen, it was about how they could be touched and interacted with. Below, is the diagram as used by Pine and Gilmore;



The key task is identifying your type of offering, and providing an experience which matches this well. Understandably, this can present a real challenge – often because this varies from consumer to consumer. For example, not everyone likes their bank to run adverts about them being out and about in the community helping educate small business, because it’s making them feel actively involved with an industry that has had it’s share of bad news. But then there are those who expect this as a form of corporate social responsibility, and will be disappointed if their bank don’t help out. Should they aim for the active participation of their customers in the educational sense, or look to provide more of an esthetic and passive offering to the market?

The answer to this scenario was usually by making a binary choice – ignore them, or compromise. The business could choose whether they would stick to their guns on the message they sent out, and trust that the right followers would come (the Field of Dreams approach), or compromise, and never really satisfy anyone entirely. Now, through social media, business has a way to get the best of both worlds.


By adapting and being flexible with their social content, varying from hashtag laden photos on Instagram to deeper and insightful business posts on LinkedIn, business now has a way of bringing the right experience to the right target market. From here, new customer specific content management ideas can be formed, allowing for targeted messages from the brand to the consumer based entirely on their interests and social personality types. However, this also changes the concept of relationship management, as now to be effective, a business must manage tens of different relationship channels and create engaging content for all of them. This, of course, is very time consuming.

Fortunately, there are now tools on the market able to help this, either in scheduling posts for the future, or fully automating a channel to decrease the workload. By being responsive and creating memorable experiences in each social interaction, a business can now position itself to create lasting and meaningful relationships, provided they continue to offer engaging content.

Help! I’ve Stalled

Help! I’ve Stalled

You’ve put in all the hard work to get yourself noticed on social media. You liked, retweeted, shared, connected and messaged for months. Your followers, friends and connections grew huge amounts every week, and you believed you were on the cusp of creating the first true e-brand of your industry. And then…




It stopped. Suddenly, you’re putting in the same effort, but instead of growing your presence, you’re only maintaining it. But what went wrong? Your strategy didn’t go wrong overnight. Everyone retweeted you, you were near viral locally. They can’t suddenly dislike you…can they?

Sadly, this isn’t an uncommon story with expanding SMEs when it comes to social media. Fortunately, there are reasons why you’ve hit choppy waters, and better still – there are solutions. Let’s review a few, and get your sails pointed towards the calmer seas again.


1) It’s them, not you…  


broken-heart-saidaonlineYes, in the style of a classic break-up line, there is the possibility that it’s not because of you. Like most things that have experienced organic growth, social media has a tendency to become seasonal. While every case is different, hits on websites can observe a seasonal dip, and the methods of access can change – the trend towards mobile doesn’t look like changing soon. This is particularly true if you deal in a tangible product, for example, if your business makes solar panels, you will likely experience less interest in the depths of winter. But come Spring, this should come back around. Sometimes all it takes is patience and persistence.




2) Double Down



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You might find that the reason for your plateau is because you’ve accessed all the low hanging fruit in your field. How do you take your brand further? Ultimately, it comes down to output – increase it and change it. Perhaps you need to write copy tailored to daily trends? Do you need to change your posting time, so a different country can see it? Could you add in a new social media stream – how about experimenting with Pinterest or Instagram, and communicating in a new way?



3) Quald233180ab5b88966e3af1d04a00ec86city over quantity  


Imagine that you’re a beekeeper, who’s business is selling fresh honey and high quality jars. You would typically look to be interacting with consumers who could afford your higher prices, local consumers and stores, while maybe trying to find supermarket buyers and get yourself in front of them. Is it better for the beekeeper to have 150 new honey-loving followers who adore their content, or 600 random followers with a myriad of interests? Certain products and sectors will always attract more traffic and interest than others, and as such it’s important to look at competitors and assess your performance realistically. The independent coffee shop won’t have more followers than Starbucks worldwide, but in your town or city…maybe you can!



But how do I find the time to do any of this?


Well, we are a little bit biased. But we do believe the best way, is SoGrow. Through our early bird offering, for £19 per month you can place a uniquely intelligent system in charge of managing the targeted growth of your social media – turn the key and watch it go. And with SoPlay, our playlist for users to upload their own unique and original content, you won’t lose your originality or creativity – you’ll be allowed to express it, with none of the leg work.

And let’s face it – Everyone hates leg day.

Click here to reignite your social media journey today.



Images sourced from:


Using Twitter for Business: 4 Strategy Tips

Using Twitter for Business: 4 Strategy Tips

Twitter typography

Social media marketing is not just a fad or a buzzword anymore, but has undoubtedly become a vital part of the marketing strategy for all thriving organisations. Due to its cost-effective nature, compared to other outbound marketing strategies, it is particularly attractive to small businesses who often have to operate on tight budgets. If done correctly, social media marketing can be an invaluable tool in helping you to generate high-quality leads but on the other hand, if done naively, the benefits will often not be worth the effort put in it.

As of the third quarter of 2015, Twitter averaged at 307 million monthly active users.1 This vast pool of users is very attractive to marketers and as such companies from around the world now consider Twitter as a major platform for promoting their brands and advertising their products and services. However, smart social media marketing via Twitter is often easier said than done (and this is true for other social networks too). A good social media strategy will greatly improve the results you see. A good strategy generally involves the following major steps:

1. Targeting the right people. The key here is to find customers who may truly be receptive to your solution. This involves identifying issues which people have which your product or service could address, by for instance watching conversations related to your field.

2. Connecting and engaging with potential customers. Once potential customers have been identified, it’s time to break the ice and get in touch with them while being careful not to appear like a greedy salesperson. You can start by joining some of the conversations and being helpful by providing advice or sharing useful and relevant content. This not only allows you to build relationships with them but also allows you to establish authoritativeness.

3. Being here for your audience. Ignoring customers is an easy way to put them off! Be responsive by picking up and responding to queries in a timely manner.

4. Monitoring your campaign and refining your strategy. Unfortunately, social media marketing doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s therefore useful to monitor how your campaign is doing, and to use the feedback to tweak your strategy accordingly.

That sounds like a lot of work…

Well, yes! The pay-off of implementing a quality social media strategy can be invaluable but it indeed requires work and dedication. Many start-ups, struggling for time, can find it overwhelming to deal with all the aspects of Twitter marketing mentioned above. As a result, most of them either fail to sustain their social media campaigns or simply decide to pass on it and to focus their limited resources elsewhere, consequently missing a great opportunity to generate quality leads and to grow their business rapidly.

Others try to automate the process. As a matter of fact, various tools exist, such as those provided by Hootsuite, Buffer, and SoDash, which allow you to schedule tweets ahead of time or which can suggest relevant content to post by analysing your content history. But you still have to be there and choose the right people to follow, identify the potential customers, and start a conversation with them among others. Those tools can be quite useful but still, you can’t just sit back and relax…or maybe you can?

What if you could put everything on autopilot?

Imagine that you could fully automate your social media growth and engagement strategy. Wouldn’t this be like the Holy Grail? Well today’s your lucky day. Meet SoGrow. Even if you’re struggling for time, from now on, you too can leverage the power of social media marketing on Twitter.

From identifying potential customers and building relationships by sharing valuable content and starting conversations to generating quality leads and monitoring your campaign’s performance, SoGrow takes care of the basics for you. Focus your time and energy on developing your product while SoGrow automatically takes care of the boring repetitive tasks.

Sounds too good to be true? Have a look for yourself with our 30 day free-trial.

[1]: Over 300 million monthly Twitter users: http://www.statista.com/statistics/282087/number-of-monthly-active-twitter-users/
Image: (cc) Jennie on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/girlgeek/