OK, these tips may not exactly transform your business but they are very good.  And I’m following one of the tips myself which is to do better blog headlines.

I’ve spent the day in Durham at the CIPR’s northern conference.   It’s not often you are able to say that every speaker was good, engaging and you were able to get valuable tips from each session.  Well done to the organisers and thanks to the speakers.

I’m going to give a snapshot of what I took away today and plan to develop some of this in more detail at a later date – after I’ve had some sleep!

  1.  Good blog headlines

Murray Newlands gave us his hot topics from the London conference last week on Social Media Marketing.  Sue Keogh’s presentation was apparently one of the highest rated – you can access all her slides on writing good copy for tweets that travel.  Very clear and helpful.

I particularly liked Smashing Magazine’s formula that she mentions, for a good blog headline:

Number + adjective + design item + sticky message

Examples she gives are:

“83 WordPress themes you (probably) haven’t seen”
“7 awesome CSS3 techniques you can start using right now”

  1.  Three great books recommended by Thomas Power

Thomas Power is a highly engaging speaker.  A visionary searching the world for the next big thing, he is at the cutting edge of technology and social media. He recommended three books for building online communities (and he said to read them in this order)

Free by Chris Anderson
Engage! by Brian Solis
Trust agents by Chris Brogan

  1.  Three years to build an online community

Yup.  Three years minimum according to Thomas – and probably five years. Even though we say to our clients that social media takes time, I was surprised to hear the expert saying it takes quite this long – and actually, reassured.

  1.  iPhones change the way you behave

Again, this is from Thomas.  He reluctantly said goodbye to his Blackberry last year and bought an iPhone.  It’s taken him five months to get used to it but he is now your classic convert – completely devoted.  He said that once you get an iPhone, it is ‘goodbye web pages, hallo web stream’.

He is using an App called My6Sense which you can apparently educate like a dog to sort out all your information into what you really need to read.  It takes around 50 to 100 hours, spending an hour a day for about three months to get it to where it is really useful.

Before he found this software, Thomas said he had been saying to his wife ‘I can’t do this anymore, all this information, I can’t cope’.  Again, it is reassuring.  I am concerned about the volume of information hitting you when you start in social media.  Up to a point it is energising, but if the rest of your life is particularly stressful (kids doing exams or gap year, winning new business, looking after client crises and the other priorities) then I reckon social media could send some people over the edge!

So it seems My6Sense is the magic we all need to sort our lives out.  Though it sounds even harder work getting there.

  1.  My first 16 tweets

Rory Cellan Jones, another lively speaker, took us back to those heady days of our youth when we were all starting out in social media.  OK, that was 2007 for Rory and Christmas 09 for our own first tweets (and earlier for blogs)!

In preparing his talk, he tweeted asking if anyone knew how you can find your first tweets.  Someone came back to mention Mytweet16.   This all neatly made the point about how journalists are now using Twitter for research in their daily lives.

  1.  Smooth management of your Twitter accounts

We use Tweetdeck to manage ours and client Twitter accounts.  A useful tool to see several accounts on one web page, along with Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and so on. Chris Stainthorpe from BGroup gave us some other useful sites that will do the same:

Tweetie
Seesmic
Twhirl

I want to reflect on some of the other points made by the keynote speakers for a future blog – about the role of social media in a business and the amount of time it is demanding.  Particularly how a chief executive should be directly engaging with his or her audiences.  Thomas Power was saying that if Tony Hayward of BP had been using social media and responding direct to the comments and criticisms, he wouldn’t be where he is now.

I think my view is that Tony Hayward is just not a good communicator and social media would probably have made the problem worse. What do you think?