Weekly Media and Comms Round-Up – 2 July 2012

One of the challenges for brands working out a social media strategy is deciding on which platforms to be active. New data released this week shows that Pinterest is estimated to be behind 40% of all social media driven purchases (with Twitter barely making an appearance), highlighting this platform’s ever-growing importance for consumer brands.

On the subject of brand promotion, Mashable published a provocatively titled article this week, Sorry Marketers, You’re Doing Twitter Wrong, which quickly went viral across several networks. The post explains the mistakes marketers are making on social media, such as tweeting too much on the wrong days, not using hashtags enough, and simply not asking for retweets.

Microsoft has now officially announced that it has acquired social networking site Yammer for $1.2 billion, with the intention of integrating the service into its existing Office Suite software. The site is aimed primarily at companies, and has been described as a “Twitter for internal comms”. A lot of skepticism remains, however, around what success the software giant will have with the platform.

The UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has published new guidance suggesting that PRs should not edit the Wikipedia pages of their clients, given the site’s authority as a source of information. Rather, PRs should make recommendations to regular contributors on the site, and “escalate with kindness”.

PR Week has written about a recent shift to ‘owned’ media from earned and paid, whereby brands (and celebrities) can by-pass traditional third party sources such as newspapers and communicate directly with their stakeholders through new digital channels. The idea has also been applied to this year’s Wimbledon, with content now being streamed live on Wimbledon.com, rather than exclusively on the BBC.

Finally, here are 25 signs you work in social media. I think we can all associate with some of these…

Until next week.

Weekly Media and Comms Round-Up – 15 June 2012

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The PR measurement world has this week been focused on the annual Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) conference, this year taking place in Dublin. As you’d expect from a room-full of communications professionals, there’s been a very active and insightful Twitter hashtag on best practices in measurement and insights, which you can follow at #AMEC2012.

In social media, Mashable have written a 9 step guide to providing a social media health check for your brand, with suggested KPIs including share of voice, key influencer mentions and sentiment analysis. Twitter has announced the launch of expanded tweets, allowing users to see extra content within tweets from selected partner brands, without having to click through to their websites. As well as partner news brands such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal being able to provide headlines and introductory news text, non-news publishers such as Buzzfeed and Dailymotion will also be providing image and video content.

Following on from Facebook’s announcement last week about mobile monetization, the platform has now revealed it will introduce real-time bidding (RTB) on display adverts within weeks. This will allow brands to target advertising to users based on their off-site browsing history, rather than traditional user profile keywords and ‘likes’ targeting.

Influence marketing firm Crowdtap has published a study into online influence, concluding that in terms of purchasing decisions made, we are more influenced by our friends and networks than celebrities. You can view an infographic summary of the report’s findings on influence here.

Finally, as a constantly evolving industry, PR Daily looks forward eight years to predict the skills PR professionals will need in 2020. Until next week!

Weekly Media and Comms Round-Up – 8 June 2012

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It’s the time of year again when the world shifts its attention to the UK and all eyes focus in on the Queen’s four-day Royal Jubilee celebrations. It has been interesting to see media globally talk of the resulting success of ‘Brand GB’ and the huge shift in (positive) perceptions of the British Royal Family. Mark Borkowski highlights the ‘Wills and Kate effect’ as a shining case study of how to do PR – “[it] epitomizes all that is great in good communications: healthy cynicism, transparency, definition, strategy, digital fluency, mutual understanding and, above all else, a compelling set of stories”.

For when things do inevitably go wrong, however, PR Week’s recent Crisis Communications conference has provided a number of key best-practice takeaways on how to stay in control during a PR crisis. Advice includes how to plan at a very micro-level how you would respond in a crisis, how to handle social media, and how best to present your messaging. We also recently blogged on crisis communications for social media following a NASDAQ OMX breakfast conference in San Francisco, which you can read here

One company facing such a crisis this week was LinkedIn, as rumors leaked out of 6.5 million passwords being posted online. The company has come under criticism for its ‘indirect’ approach to communicating about the crisis by updating journalists and consumers solely through its Twitter channel. The lack of a formal response by the company led to security experts elsewhere being widely quoted, with the press stating that the company itself had refused to comment.

In other social media news, Twitter’s advertising revenues are predicted to hit $1 billion in 2014, Facebook is attempting mobile monetization for the first time with news-feed sponsored stories just for mobile devices, and Sean Parker announces the launch of Airtime, video-chat based around shared interests. Finally, Ragan’s PR Daily also presented us with the fascinating 52 cool facts and stats about social media.

NASDAQ OMX announces the launch of Media Intelligence

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The proliferation and democratization of the media universe over the past few years has brought about huge changes to the role of the PR and corporate communicators. Traditionally, a company’s reputation was largely in the hands of a number of key influencers, with PR being the liaison between an organization and its key media.

Now, with the rise of social media it is increasingly harder for a company to manage its reputation; as conversations about brands mushroom, it becomes harder to identify and track influencers. Individual bloggers have larger Twitter audiences than some leading media outlets, and even those with a small following can within minutes find themselves at the center of media attention.

Listening has never been more important, along with the ability to see in real-time who is driving conversations about your brand, and how these are being perceived among key audiences. The challenge, of course, is being able to identify these influencers across an ever expanding universe, understand their effects on your brand, and having real-time actionable intelligence to be able to react.

Enter Media Intelligence, the latest product in the NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions suite of services. Media Intelligence brings together all of your relevant media content across print, online, broadcast and social media in one platform, allowing you to see at a glance, in real-time, who is talking about your brand, and where (and even that of your closest competitors to keep you ahead of the game…)

Moving away from the traditional model of retrospective media analysis, and helping you keep on top of a large and complex landscape, MI’s powerful Natural Language Processing capabilities also provide real-time sentiment analysis across all your media. Understanding that a piece in the Wall Street Journal may be very different to a tweet, MI’s analytical engines are able to interpret and analyze different language types, even when that language is non-traditional (ie. LOL, J, #epic).

Warren Buffet once commented that it takes 20 years to build a reputation, and only five minutes to ruin it, something which chimes true especially for social media. Being able to see and understand who is talking about your brand in real-time gives you the time to react, before it’s too late. While MI is an excellent tool for helping prove ROI, its value also lies in alerting you when something’s afoot, keeping you ahead of the curve.

As you can probably guess, we’re pretty excited about this. If you’re in charge of your company’s PR and would like to see MI in action, please do feel free to reach out to your local rep to schedule a demo. We’d be delighted to show you the future of media monitoring, whether you’re in the New York Times, Le Monde, or just keeping track of #epic LOLs.

What can we learn from the Shippam’s paste Twitter affair?

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Let’s start at the beginning… A few weeks back a Twitter feed appeared, purporting to belong to Shippam’s Pastes, and manned by ‘Ben’, an ‘executive social media intern’. Being new to the world of social media, he was quite honest about his intentions and shortcomings:

The feed read like a social media engagement for beginners’ rulebook, sometimes perhaps a little too literally:

The Tweets led many to question who was behind the account. Was it a hoax? A genuine attempt at ‘engagement’ from a naive intern? Or a stroke of marketing genius from a largely forgotten brand (à la Old Spice…)? As the Guardian revealed over the weekend, it was indeed a hoax. The man behind the account explained, “faking a spectacularly inept attempt to ‘do Twitter’ just seemed funny – as did picking a real, but nearly forgotten, brand to do it. A large part of it was also simply wanting to see what happened.”

Funny is certainly how the feed was perceived, picking up over 9,000 followers before it was closed down. We learnt of Ben’s nights out in Wetherspoons, and his failures in seducing the local chip shop girl, as well as admirable attempts to help us consumers engage with fish paste, of course:

Having seen so many corporate failures on Twitter, as the author remarked, “A company attempting to get involved with an internet ‘thing’ like Twitter and cocking it up entirely is also completely believable.”

The feed played on the idea of ‘engagement’ being seen as the holy grail of ‘doing’ social media and ensuring the whole thing is ‘fun’. In reality though, the feed had very little engagement, being largely a broadcast of disparate thoughts and product references. It broke all the best practice social media ‘rules’, and yet was a great success.

So what can we learn from this? Largely a reminder of the old mantra that content and creativity are key, and even more so in social media, where everyone’s fighting for our attention. Ironically, given the account was fake, original ideas such as this is what brands should be doing. Content which is genuinely engaging and disruptive will attract our attention and make us click ‘follow’ (as the success of the Waterstones Piccadilly feed testifies, as well as our old friend, the insurance quote comparing meerkat).

We must not of course forget that this account was not authorised by the brand, Shippam’s. I would, however, be very interested to see their web analytics for the past few weeks, and also to see if there’s been any rise in sales. If I ever feel like a ‘batenberg sandwich of the sea’, I certainly know where I’ll be heading.

The Social Media Newsroom Part 4: Facilitating Conversation Elsewhere

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This is the fourth instalment in my 5-part series about Social Media Newsrooms – to read more about the series read my introductory article here.

Parts 3, 4 and 5 of this series look at some specific suggestions for things you can do to make your Newsroom social, with some good and bad examples of where other companies have done so. Today I’m having a look at how to use your newsroom to support your social channels and in part 5 I will look at how to make your content more personal.

How to use your Newsroom to encourage conversations elsewhere

Conversations don’t necessarily need to happen on your newsroom as you probably will need to moderate these comments and might not have the resource to do so. You may want, for various reasons, to actually have conversations with people elsewhere. In which case, use your newsroom as a way of directing visitors to the places where they can have a conversation with your business or individuals within it.

Example:  SEB, Erica Blomgren, Twitter

SEB have a nice newsroom (I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a “social media newsroom” though) and one thing I do like about their site is that they are open enough to show contact details for their experts across a range of subjects in the newsroom site. They give direct dials and email addresses opening the way for offline conversations to happen.  They are risking more spam and unwanted sales calls by doing this but they clearly think this is a price worth paying in the name of openness and accessibility. Credit to them for that.

When one of the experts listed is active on twitter they also show a link to their twitter profile. One expert that is using twitter on a daily basis to communicate news and opinion on her area of expertise is Erica Blomgren. What I like about the way she uses twitter is that it’s very focused, so people following her know what to expect, she posts regularly, and she is willing to respond to questions and give people answers online. Overall a great example of how to use twitter in a financial services context. Now SEB just need to encourage some of the other 50 experts to do likewise!

Example: BASF, Facebook

Now check this out for an impressive example of making the effort to respond to people!

BASF, a leading global chemical company based in Germany, has a Facebook page and they use to share stories about concrete in English. You read that right. Concrete on Facebook.

So they share the story and what happens? For a start 32 people ‘like’ the story but three people also post a comment in response. One comment is in English, one in German and one in Malay. What do BASF do?  They respond to each post in the language of poster!  Bravo.

The interesting thing here is the interaction between Facebook and the company’s newsroom. The conversation on Facebook has taken place because they posted an interesting story on their newsroom and people have responded to that. There is the possibility to comment on the article page itself but no-one has chosen to do that, preferring instead to post on Facebook.

What BASF should try and do next is bring some of these channels together more – for a start allowing people to like an article, tweet or share it is a simple win (I’m surprised this feature is missing given how well they’ve done other things) but perhaps they should also use the Facebook social plugin or a tool like Disqus to make it easier for people to respond to their articles? Maybe then they’ll truly deserve the moniker of ‘Social Media Newsroom’ that they’ve given themselves?

Now if a company as “boring” as a chemical company can post interesting content on a regular basis on their Facebook page and engage with people there, your company can probably do so too! Where there’s a will there’s a way.

In the fifth and final part of my series I will be talking about how to make your content more personal and to bring out some of the expertise of your own staff as individuals into your news content.

Weekly Media and Comms Round-Up – 23 Sept 2011

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If we were to take Twitter trends as a news barometer, the most important event in the past 24h (even outside of Comms) seems to have been the next batch of changes Facebook announced at the f8 conference. The good folk at Mashable have summed up everything you need to know here.

The platform shows no signs of slowing down as it passed 800 million registered users this week. Even offline luxury brands are now seeing the benefits of digital strategies, including Porsche who spoke to econsultancy about their strategy and how they measure digital campaigns.

Another luxury brand, Burberry, marked a social media first this week as they launched the world’s first ‘Tweetwalk’, partnering with Twitter to release backstage photos of London Fashion Week collections before they hit the runway.

In analytics news, the IPR and PRSA North American Measurement Summit was held this week, with a focus on social media reporting. You can view Tim Marklein’s presentation “Goodbye measurement, hello analytics” here, highlighting the need for real-time analytics. Fleishman-Hillard’s Don Bartholomew has also published a free ebook evaluating social media listening platforms.

In more light-hearted news this week, a cautionary tale has taught us the value of keeping passwords safe, particularly if you fire your copywriter

Weekly Media and Comms Round-Up – 16 Sept 2011

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Twitter was in the news again this week, as they announced the launch of a new analytics platform, providing insights into how many links and Tweets are shared across the platform. Techcrunch TV covered the event as it happened here. The presentation also highlighted that Twitter had passed 100 million users for the first time, and around 5 billion Tweets are sent every month. We also learnt this week that Twitter sentiment is being used by a hedge fund to predict short term stock market price changes (with up to 87% accuracy…).

A fascinating study by Market Sentinel on fan engagement on Facebook showed that despite huge numbers of fans liking pages, only around 0.002% actually engage with the page more than once. Given the way Facebook’s edgerank calculations work (determining what appears in feeds), if people do not engage with a fan page or piece of content, that ‘like’ will disappear from users’ feeds.

Fast Company explained IBM’s latest thinking in transforming companies into social businesses, including insights being derived from the way people interact digitally to improve various functions in the business. The BBC’s Deputy Head of the Newsroom also wrote about how social media is changing the way the BBC operates, and the shifts in the way people consume news.

Finally, the next instalment in the guide to social media newsrooms is here, where Alistair discusses comments and engagement on corporate blogs.

Weekly Media and Comms Round-Up – 9 Sept 2011

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In the first of a new weekly series, I’ll be sharing a collection of top news stories across the communications industry to keep you up to date at a glance. Of course, if you see any great news or stories throughout the week, feel free to email me with them (sc[at]glidetechnologies.com) and I’d be delighted to have a read.

In social media news, Twitter now plans to roll-out advertising on the channel to UK companies, following an established presence in the US. Brands can pay to have Tweets appear in users’ timelines and for their chosen topics to appear as trends. Meanwhile, Reuters this week reported that Facebook’s revenue for the first half of 2011 had doubled to $1.6 billion, although the revenue split between advertising and Facebook credits is unclear.

SEOmoz this week published a very comprehensive post on social media metrics and how to track KPIs, whilst Hubspot wrote about 5 ‘vanity’ metrics, which should not be measured, and offers some alternatives. On the subject of ‘vanity’ metrics… love ‘em or hate ‘em, Klout and PeerIndex continue to grow in popularity as they attempts to measure online ‘influence’, and this week the Ministry of Sound announced it is set to use the latter to help target a book launch.

Url shortening site bit.ly published a blog on the half-life of links, looking at how long people will pay attention to them, highlighting that Youtube links had a longer half-life than those on Twitter or Facebook.

Finally, Glide’s very own Alistair began a five-part blog series this week on the future of the corporate newsroom. You can read the first two parts here and here.

The Social Media Newsroom Guide Part 1: How to Fake it

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This is the first instalment in my 5-part series about Social Media Newsrooms – to read more about the series read my introductory article here.

Many companies want to be seen as “social” – there are now numerous case studies showing how social engagement online can be beneficial for business of many types. Certainly, many marketers and PR people want to be seen to be engaging in social media as it’s the latest thing to be seen doing as a marketing/comms professional.

But sometimes the priority can be on “appearing social” rather than actually being social and this can be seen in the way many companies approach communications through their website.  This is most apparent when you look at the company’s newsroom section – i.e. the place where they publish company news and/or press releases.

In terms of what qualifies a newsroom for the additional badge-of-honour prefix “social media” I think the recipe, in the minds of some companies, works as follows:

Step 1
Take one tired looking online press office.

Step 2
Stick in a few Facebook Like/Recommend or Tweet This buttons so people think they can share the story on their social media channel of choice. These buttons don’t actually have to work, just make sure the buttons are clearly visible. Throw in a few other channels for good measure (LinkedIn is popular, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon too and if you are really current try Google’s +1).

Step 3
Instead of hosting your videos on your site host them on YouTube. Everyone knows YouTube is “social” – don’t worry, you can disable comments if you don’t want people saying your videos are boring and your company sucks on a channel you can’t moderate.

Step 4
Make sure you put a few pictures on Flickr. Some people still use Flickr and people will instantly recognise the logo so it will create a warm fuzzy social media feeling inside.

Step 5
Tag clouds! Every web 2.0 site HAS to have one of these. They also make your site look like a blog and blogs are social, right?

Step 6
Show your latest tweets. This may be just a feed showing tweets telling people what’s on the page that they are already on or it may be a stream of tweets to various people apologising that their experience of your company has been bad and telling them to speak to customer services. Either way, twitter is super-social, so just shove it in. It doesn’t matter if the tweets you are displaying offer no information whatsoever to the person on your newsroom that they a) want and b) didn’t have access to already on that page.

Step 7 (optional)
Add some pictures. Podcasts are also funky; if you have them throw them in too. If you have some presentations, why not stick these on Slideshare too?  The more logos of recognised social media channels you can squeeze in to your site the better.

JOB DONE! You now have a “social media newsroom” which you can tell the world about.

“Social” – really?

Don’t get me wrong. Sarcastic comments aside, I’m not saying that any of the things I’ve listed above are bad – in fact many are actually good things that I would recommend. Tag clouds, for example, are a useful way for people to navigate through your content. And there’s certainly no harm in putting videos on YouTube or pictures on Flickr. Many of the self-styled “social media newsrooms” that I’ve seen are actually quite good as far as a corporate newsroom goes and often give a better user experience than newsrooms from other companies in their sector.

What I’m objecting to here is the notion that there is actually anything genuinely “social” about these sites. In my view, the self-applied moniker “social media” is often nothing more than a gimmick – reinforcing some of the more negative stereotypes about PR as a profession in general, i.e. doing something for a headline when the substance doesn’t match up.

But why do it? If a site is genuinely social do you really need to call it ‘social’?  Shouldn’t it be up to the people visiting a newsroom to decide for themselves if the site is social or not?  If they think it is they will ‘vote with their fingers’ by sharing/recommending your content and by taking part in a conversation with you.

Subscribe to our blog or follow me on twitter to get updates on my next posts in this series.

Next in the series: The 3 Golden Rules of Social Engagement in a Newsroom