Monday, 27 February 2012

Unpacking our online presence

Friend and colleague Jayne Cravens recently wrote a blog post entitled "Why I won't follow you on Twitter" which explained her reasons for engaging with others through a variety of social media.

This got me thinking that, almost a year on from the creation of Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd, it might be useful to explain the thinking behind the various social media and websites I am involved with in the hope that this will help you think about the best way for you to engage with me/the business (and  me/the business  with you).

Before I get started I will say that with only a few exceptions the media I'm talking about here are company accounts rather than my personal ones.  So the Facebook link is to the Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd page, not my personal Facebook page/timeline.  I keep the two separate so please don't put in personal follower requests if I don't actually know you.

This is the front end to the world for the business.  It explains who we are, what we do and how we can help as well as quotes and recommendations about our work.  The homepage features links to our latest news, recent posts on Twitter and the latest from our blogs.  There isn't a lot of interaction here at the moment as that takes place via the social media covered below.

This blog is the main focus for my professional writing on a whole range of topics and issues.  Some of the content is in response to announcements, breaking news etc. and some of it is more think-piece oriented.  There is no set publication schedule and comments are always welcome, whether in agreement with what I say or to air different views.

You can follow the blog via log-in or email and/or take the RSS feed - all the boxes and links for these options are in the sidebar on the right of this page.

Third Sector blog
Once a month (usually around the 1st) I have an article published as Third Sector online's "voice of volunteering" blogger.  These posts are usually shorter than the main blog and look at a current issue or a reflect on the volunteering dimension to recent news in the voluntary sector.  As with the main blog, comments are very much encouraged.

Third Sector online is a subscription service so the blog may not be available to you unless you already subscribe to the online magazine.

Twitter is perhaps the social network on which I am most active and where most people follow me/the business.  I use the RobJConsulting account for sharing news about my work, about issues in the sector and volunteering field, upcoming events, to promote work I am involved in and to engage in conversation with others, for example via the Thoughtful Thursday discussions run by Volunteer Centre Warrington.  Twitter is also where I gain a lot of my information about what's going on with issues and organisations I'm interested in.  To that end I have set up a number of lists which I follow, from news sources to Volunteer Centres, and anyone can subscribe to these.

There is a company presence on Facebook although I did resist doing this for many months (I am similarly resisting Google+ as there are only so many hours in the day to keep on top of social media).  To date most of what is on the Facebook page is articles and stories that I also tweet, the exception being videos and pictures which I think work better posted to Facebook than Twitter.

Also, please note that I do not link the Twitter and Facebook accounts.  If you want to follow me/the business on both then please do so.

I am currently re-thinking how I use the Facebook page as I want to differentiate it from how I use Twitter, perhaps making more use of some of the more engaging features the site provides.  If you have any ideas about how you'd like us to use the Facebook page then please do let me know by leaving a comment below.

I have a presence on i-Volunteer under the username robjackson74.  I do occasionally post to the network, mainly commenting on articles other people's blogs, but I use it much more as a source of news and information.

Once a month (usually about the 16th) I publish the Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd newsletter.  This has recently undergone something of a facelift and re-launch for 2012 with a view to providing a wider range of content than just what I and the business have been up to.  So alongside some company news you'll find key news stories on volunteering related issues from the previous few weeks, information on useful resources and helpful tips and links.

The newsletter is powered by MailChimp, is totally free and unsubscribing is easy if you decide it isn't for you.

Latest news
The Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd website has the facility for its own dedicated RSS feed of latest news about the company.  A quick click through to the section will show a variety of stories from the past year, announcing events I was speaking at, conferences that were taking bookings, press releases for significant volunteering events etc..

LinkedIn - Rob
If you are interested in who I am and my professional background then you can find relevant information on the Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd website and on my LinkedIn profile.  The latter option gives access to a variety of recommendations about me and my work from throughout my career, my skills and experience and shows which other professional networking groups I am involved in on LinkedIn.

Please note that (for now at least) the company Twitter feed is linked to my LinkedIn account, meaning my tweets appear in my LinkedIn status.

If you want to connect with me via LinkedIn please bear in mind that I only really accept connections from people I know and am doing or have done business with.  I don't use it as a way to connect with people I don't really know so if I don't recognise who you are I probably won't accept your request to connect.

LinkedIn - Company
Aside from me personally the business has a presence on LinkedIn.  If you aren't familiar with company sites on LinkedIn then here is a quick run down of what you'll find on our page:

  • The landing page provides some brief summary information about the company, a link to my profile and the ability to sign up to follow the firm on LinkedIn.
  • The products and services page is where the real content is.  This provides a brief summary of the different services we offer alongside recommendations of our work from clients.  These clients' images can then be clicked on, giving you access to their profiles and thus the ability to get in touch and ask them about our work.

I'm a big fan of businesses having a presence like this on LinkedIn as it gives customers the chance to sound us out before they even make first contact.  That's an additional incentive for us to consistently deliver great customer services and satisfaction because we never know who is going to contact a client for a recommendation of our work.

If a business doesn't have such a transparent approach to what they do, ask what they might be trying to hide.

One of my aims this year is to do more video blogging.  The company YouTube site is where those vlogs will feature.  It is also where you can view videos that I think have relevance to the volunteerism field & voluntary sector and where you can access some of the videos of other YouTube users I follow professionally.

There isn't much I do on Flickr other than use it as a space to share photos of events the business has been involved in and promote the work of the photographers who I come across at conferences etc..

I'm on Skype, again as robjackson74.  I use it for free phone and video communication with colleagues across the world as well as cheap conference calling.  If you add me as a contact please do say who you are and why you want to connect.

I am involved in moderating the UKVPMs email group which I set up in the late 1990's.  UKVPMs was the first online networking forum for UK based volunteer managers and now has over 1400 members.  It is free to join and more details can be found on the UKVPMs website.

I don't expect anyone to follow me on all of these sites (except perhaps for my mum - hi mum!) but to pick and choose the content and method of engagement that works best for you.  That's why there is a range of choice for you.

However you do decide to engage with me and/or the business, I look forward to meeting you online soon.


  1. wow,...lots of places to find Rob!! You didnt mention Klout?!

  2. I didn't mention Klout Martin but I am on there. I didn't mention it as there isn't really much scope for interaction there.

  3. Fascinating insights into the scope for networking. I wonder what your opinion is regards to the value of Pages for Volunteer Groups?
    I agree about Klout, although I have been listed as an influencer. I wonder how accurate the score is and should one worry?

  4. Klout seems to be quite on the money. Certainly when I have low activity days on social media my score drops and it goes up when lots of people retweet etc. I find it more useful as an overall sense of the value of what I put out on social media and as a means of demonstrating my reach when I offer to help people promote events etc.

    I assume by pages for volunteer groups you mean Facebook pages. I think they can be very valuable. I'd very much recommend checking out Jayne Craven's resources on social media and volunteers ( and also Martin J Cowling's blog which often features tech tips.

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