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Writing this article poses a number of questions which maybe should be considered as well.

Is Social Media providing business traffic directly or indirectly?

Also, the other conundrum is where Social Media is the conduit to followers, likes and shares but the majority of these users never have an intention of engaging in business?

Dealing with the first it is a personal view but I would look for social media to take me to more detail such as the company website yet there are a few who like the short impact and engage straight away. Basically, it probably comes down to what you are selling, and the price break point as well as individual preferences. Answer in short is you need both to be successful in most cases.

The second point is a difficult but a necessary evil.  The whole purpose of social media in our view is to extend the reach and would you prefer 100 followers that buy occasionally or the extended reach to 100 million that 1% buy but not necessarily again.

So back to the main question.

Firstly, as a business you need to be SMART.  How much time have you got, which social media platform will align to your business best and what skills do you have to manage social media.  Managing is an important concept to consider.  If you are making a product 9 – 5 and your best audience is active during the day how do you properly engage, regularly?  So, choose the right platform and either make time or employ someone to do it for you.  Without this you might spend hours of activity, but nobody is listening, or more appropriately watching.

Second major consideration is content.  Images and engaging comments will create followers.  Not every communication needs to be a selling approach.  Establish yourself as an expert by providing blogs on industry and best practices, or, comment on others on social media, or, personalise so people are buying in to you and not the product.  One of the first things in any sales training is the principle of people buy from people.

If you embrace Social Media, you must consider the impact it can have both positive and negative.  If you decide Social Media is a major channel for getting your product to market then, unless your business is internet commentator, you need a channel that social media supports.

Our quick planning consideration is as follows;

  1. Choose one and focus on getting it right before selecting a second.
  2. Do your homework on what is best for you, the business and the product.
  3. Engage with your audience make them want to interact.
  4. Grow your network, even pay for advertising to get visitors.
  5. Schedule interaction to engage at the right time with your potential customers.
  6. Ask for followers, offer an incentive or prize.
  7. Get some training.
  8. Employ a specialist to get your started.
  9. Have the other channels that Social Media supports.
  10. Assign a budget that includes Social Media as part of your overall marketing plan.

The conclusion is very much it can be a necessary evil to extend your marketing reach, but we believe that very few businesses can operate with social media as their only sales channel.  Yes, it can be a great sales and marketing tool but do not expect it to be easy!

It should also be noted and worth stressing again that employing an expert will make a difference and training will allow you to supplement the approach.  If you invest in your business a significant part of your marketing budget should be electronic and a chunk of that should be on your Social Media channels.

MSCB Social

With the Scottish Government deciding that there should be no fracking in Scotland it poses a couple of questions on what is fracking and is it really that bad.

The Scottish Government decision could be a decision that comes back to haunt them as in the immediate terms it would appear the that work with Ineos in terms of legal agreements were signed and the company had started acquiring land.  Let’s leave this to run its course but Scotland is not alone in their unilateral ban but we do expect some fall out over this.

Fracking is based on releasing gas from rock fissures using drilling and pumping pressurised water to break and release the shale gas.  The gas is trapped, similar to how oil is created, based on millennia of rock deposits trapping vegetation and from a time pre-dinosaur.  The process of forming coal, oil or gas is fundamentally the same whether it is from under the sea bed or on land, it is a pressurised environment where gas is the bi-product and finds rock pockets where it has sat for thousands of years.  The vegetation has become oil or coal and the gas sits above it.  A good analogy is where you boil a kettle and the steam escapes through the spout, if it was sealed of the steam would be trapped.

The second analogy would be the concerns over earthquakes when the rock is fractured by the pressurised water, which in turn could set of a series of tremors and subsequent reactions. Splitting a log by hammering a spike into it will make it fracture on the weakest points or through faults in the structure.  Yet one thing to consider is that with a gas it will always escape through a path of least resistance, i.e. with fracking the route the water has come is the most likely escape.  So, through geological surveying the predictability can be very much determined and also consideration to the depth of the process, the UK does not sit on or close to a tectonic plate boundary when earthquakes are mentioned it is never going to be the same as a natural earthquake.  Therefore, minor tremors may happen but in most cases these will be isolated and of magnitude not to cause damage.

The third point to consider is what extraction currently takes place and where?  In a recent article in the Scotsman newspaper around 30 wells have been drilled in Central Scotland over the last 20-years with no impact whatsoever.  These wells extract gas sitting in natural pocket or fold in the rock.  There is obviously both oil and gas extraction in the North Sea with exploratory drilling now on the west coast.  Scotland also has a long tradition of coal mining for centuries, open cast, mine shaft and with horizontal mining under the Firth of Forth.  In conclusion, the ban can only be based on the process of cracking the rock.

The Green agenda is also a consideration not to be ignored but equally there must be a realisation that the human dependency on fossil fuels is not just fuels for heating and driving your car.  Plastics, beauty products, paints, technology goods, etc, etc. are all dependent of this industry and we do not have switch that can be turn off the demand for these products.  So, we have wind and wave farms that generate electrical power but what about when the wind stops or the metal resources used in the bearing mechanisms runs scarce?  The point is there is not just one answer to our dependency on hydrocarbons and any replacement will be in decades or centuries not in a few years.

The final overarching consideration is safety and what has happened in the US has been the fatal incidents have been caused through transport and in a very few cases unregulated extraction.  The difference though is the land ownership in the US is different.  Look at the title deeds of your house and you will see that you own the land the house sits on but not the mineral rights to what is under the ground, unless you are maybe the Queen.

Over the past 50-years the hydrocarbon or oil industry has become one of the most highly regulated industries in the UK.  Health and safety is at the forefront of any commercial operation of this nature and licensing will also protect who and who cannot carry out fracking.  Do you think that the safety of the process will be compromised, corners cut, etc.?

As with all new industries what is required is caution and the geological structure is different to the USA.  Equally the deposits will in the main bigger but fewer of them based on rock structures and historical deposit formations.  The challenge as a government and as a business is balancing the books.  If you can generate wealth by other means and import then fantastic, if you can’t then the economic impact is going to be significant with our dependency on hydrocarbons.  Maybe the Scottish Governments decision was a bit premature and trial fracking projects initiated to answer once and for all what is the impact of fracking in the UK.  Equally England and other parts of the UK should initiate projects and the data analysed across the country as a whole.

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