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This week on Talk Learn Connect, Freelance Writer Yvonne Reddin asks The Digital Mentor and Podcaster - Alan Hennessy to share some TLC (Talk Learn Connect)

Can you give the Talk Learn Connect (TLC) audience a summary of your professional path?

I’m a digital mentor and marketing consultant, podcaster and LinkedIn expert. I help solo entrepreneurs and business owners to navigate the digital landscape and break through the noise of social media to help them create visibility and build awareness for their brand. I've been in this profession for fifteen years and I also have two very successful podcasts.
My two podcasts are quite different - the Social Media Talks Podcast is where I talk to some of the world's leading experts in digital marketing, social media and business.  The other podcast - the Curious Fire Podcast, I co-host with my good friend Trevor Lorkings.  This is more of a passion of mine and delves into subjects that are a bit off-center but they are topics that people don't ask.
The types of topics are Procrastination, Digital Dopamine, Where are our Thoughts and The Wisdom of Age and we have conversations about them. So, you can see the two podcasts have very different content and I like that variety of conversation.



Alan Hennessy profile TLC

You have interviewed a range of guests for your podcasts, what or who inspires you?

Many years ago, I heard a quote that I think is brilliant and it sums up what I do and what I believe in - ‘Your only limitation is you.’  I think it's so true because we limit ourselves and we seem to say, we can't do something that we can actually do.
There would be several people including Simon Sinek or Mark Schaefer that  I aspire to.  Simon Sinek has a way of speaking the truth and his explanation of understanding life and your own ideas of life. Mark Schaefer looks at a subject and develops it in such a way that the reader can understand it and we all learn from it.
I was fascinated by his book - The Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins.  It changed my perception and vision for marketing because he came at it from a different angle.  It was so insightful and a pleasure to read.


"When I began my podcast, I remember one of the best pieces of advice I got was when I interviewed Ted Rubin.  I was quite nervous interviewing him because he was such a celebrity, an innovator and a marketer of global standings"

When I got on the podcast, he actually came off from another interview about Amazon on CNN News, he came on, and said, "Sorry for being late, I was just finishing an interview on CNN news."
I said to him that really has made me a little bit more nervous and his exact words to me and it's the advice that I've carried through with everything I do is that, "It's just the two of us having a chat, person to person, friend to friend.”
I will always remember that because we are all doing the same things just in different ways.  It really resonated with me and I've carried that through in everything I do in regard to training, business and people I have met in my life.

Your work is primarily Digital Mentorship, what are your views on the future of social media?

I think social media gets bad publicity and it has for a while because it's portrayed a lot as being very destructive - and it can be. But it can also be used in such a positive, productive way. It brings so many people together. It helps us to build solid relationships, connect with people that we would never have been able to connect with. We can now understand how people are thinking.
We understand how people are feeling from what they are uploading and it gives us the ability to nurture relationships.  I think, social media going forward, will see a huge shift and if you are to succeed on social you need to connect with your audience.  You will need to listen to what they are saying and also see how you can reach out and help solve the problems that they have. The social media landscape has changed from just predominantly based promotion to connecting with your followers on a human level and engaging with them.

"There will be more structure in personal connections over the next number of years where it's not going to be about the brand, it's going to be about the people that are behind these brands"

There will be more inclusivity with the people involved in social media.  It will also give companies a huge opportunity to show the human side of what they do. It's very similar to what you do here with your Talk Learn Connect series, we find out more about the person behind the brand.  People we never thought approachable are now on their social media platforms interacting with their audience.
So, social media will keep growing and is not going anywhere, it's part of our lives and is powerful once we utilise it in the right way.

Can you give any advice to people considering the path of digital marketing or podcasting?

The biggest piece of advice I can offer, is to understand where it is that you want to concentrate your efforts on. This means finding your niche and audience, understanding it, absorb your craft and keep developing it every day.
Going forward, don't just say, "I know it all," because none of us do. It is so important that we keep learning new things.
And understand the industry that we are in, it's forever changing, so there's continuous updates, new concepts and new behaviours to keep up with.  When I started first, it was all images, this has advanced quickly to video content. It has pivoted and it's changing on a daily basis.
So, I would say pick your niche and work with it and become the expert in that field. Never stop learning, stay ahead in your profession.
Alan Hennessy - The Digital Mentor -