Archive for August, 2009
August 28th, 2009
Some how I managed to miss the ENGAGEMENTDB announcement from Charlene Li at Altimeter the first time around, but Antony Mayfield’s post today on the subject has re-ignited the issue, and I’m taking the opportunity to get involved.
Here’s a quick summary: Altimeter, in conjunction with Wetpaint, has released a new research report called “ENGAGEMENTdb“, which looks at how the 100 most valuable brands, as identified by the 2008 BusinessWeek/Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking engaged in 11 different online social media channels, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, and discussion forums.
Here’s the press release for further details. Charlene said they “critiqued the brands on not only their breadth of engagement across these channels, but also their depth, such as whether they reply to comments made on blog posts. Each brand was given a numerical score.”
So what’s so interesting? Well, if the ENGAGEMENTdb site isn’t interesting enough for you (you can rate your own brand as well), the findings of the report: â€˜confirm that deep engagement with consumers through social media channels correlates to better financial performance. The ENGAGEMENTdb study showed significant positive financial results for the companies who measured as having the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement. These “Social Media Mavens” on average grew company revenues by 18 percent over the last 12 months, while the least engaged companies saw revenues sink 6 percent on average over the same time period.”
That’s where it starts getting really interesting: â€˜The ENGAGEMENTdb study showed significant positive financial results for the companies who measured as having the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement‘
If these results offer evidence of exactly what we’ve been preaching for years, i.e. social media is an organisational change, not a channel, and if the hard data is made public, could we see a real step change? I.e. can we step away from shoe-horning old media ROI scores into a social media environment?
Before, I get slammed for that comment, yes I know there is a lot of work being done on social media measurement and I know there have been successes, but let’s be honest, there’s still a lot of shoe horning being done, and still a lot of shoe horning being demanded.
As Antony highlighted in his post: â€˜It will be a tough one to defend in the court of cynicism though, or even against healthy skepticism.’ And I agree this will be jumped on from a great height by the critics, but the movement towards measuring social media success/development by a brand’s commitment to and success in social media at an organisational level, rather than against sales metrics and ROI alone, is very positive in my opinion, or as Antony puts it:
‘It makes sense that the value delivered by social media engagement would be delivered at an organisational level, that it would be meta-value rather than transactional value, trackable only to point where individual interacts with brand. It’s meta-ROI, then?”
We’re not talking about a brand paying some attention to social media by asking the PR/marketing department to get going with a social media campaign, but thinking about how the organisation engages at every level, listening, conversing and evolving to meet the requirements of today’s business/consumer â€˜whatever’ environment. Or as Charlene says: â€˜social media is no longer the responsibility of a few people in the organization. Instead, it’s important for everyone across the organization to engage with customers in the channels that make sense – a few minutes each day spent by every employee adds up to a wealth of customer touch points.’
Isn’t that what all brands should be looking to achieve? Isn’t that the essence of social media for brands? Isn’t it obvious?
So, if this is a small step/giant leap towards looking at social media and its measurement as the degree to which a brand embraces the cornerstones of social media theory then I’m right behind it. And if this measurement correlates to financial performance, I think ironically…it’s an easy sell.
August 21st, 2009
In terms of brand communications, Twitter has been the hot topic for longer than we all care to remember. The doubters and supporters both offer good arguments, but what’s the truth about Twitter and why should you care?
In the last few months we’ve seen headlines such as: â€˜Just 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the content’, from a Harvard study of 300,000 users, and more recently, social media revolution is going nowhere from the Telegraph and Â 40% of tweets are “pointless babble”, which came from Pear Analytics who captured 2,000 tweets over the course of two weeks and catagorised them.
Interestingly, the rest of the stats from the Pear analysis were a little more revealing: 37.5% of tweets were conversational and 8.7% had pass-along value, 5.85% were self promotion and 3.75% was spam.
So, very nearly the same amount of tweets that grabbed the headline were in fact conversational, and here is the point Ladies and Gentleman; Twitter is all about the conversation. Conversation between individuals, groups, networks, brands, whoever. Twitter is a conversation engine.
So why the doubters? The point that many are missing is that Twitter is not the answer to every communications issue. It’s not going to change the world, and it will eventually be replaced by new social platforms, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable now.
Furthermore, not all Twitter users will be relevant to you, your brand, your conversation, just as not every person at an event is relevant to you, your brand or your conversation. Some people use Twitter for fun, some use it to stay in touch with their network, and some use it as a sales tool, but at Twitter’s core is a group of highly motivated, well-networked, socially-astute communicators that use Twitter to listen, discuss, converse and yes sometimes self-promote and babble as well.
The problem for many doubters seems to be that they simply don’t get it, and drop out pretty much straight away. Nielsen reported that Twitter was hemorrhaging users in April as 60 percent of new users leave the service within a month.
Many of these people seem to dip in, expect everything and receive nothing. That’s because as with any form of conversation, you have to work at Twitter to get a return. You have to identify your community, listen, add value to the conversation and build your reputation to succeed. Not everybody is willing to put that time in.
When the time is put in, the rewards include open conversation with your communities, direct access to authorities that you would never have been able to reach previously, learning, news, opportunities, sharing ideas and much more than I have the room to list here.
Yes, you may also find out when somebody missed a train, or lost their phone, but isn’t that all part of the conversation?
August 20th, 2009
There has been a lot of talk recently about which is more effective at building brands and authority: blogging, tweeting, Facebook fanpages andÂ groups.
Obviously there are many other ways to build brand authority and reputation but these three are some of the most common and well known. So the question is, which one is would you choose?
We’d love to know your thoughts, and you can cast your vote via this nifty little survey that we have created.
August 14th, 2009
I’m going to revisit an ongoing and, at least in my opinion, slightly tedious argument. The discussion around who should own/lead/manage social media campaigns and social media in general.
What or who has rattled my cage? Well no one specifically, I’ve been discussing the issue with a few different people this week, and also came across an article in PR Week (US Version) via David Teicher’s blog: Aerocles, which popped up in my feeds. Thanks David, just to confirm my points are not related to David’s post, but the PR Week article that I found via his post.
So, onto my point. Well, the PR Week (US) article is innocent enough, it’s based on some research by 2009 Digital Readiness Report from iPressroom, Korn/Ferry International, and PRSA in the US that surveyed 278 PR, marketing, and HR professionals over six weeks. To quote the article overview:â€˜The study found that PR generally leads several aspects of digital communications, including blogging, where PR leads at 49% of organizations, compared to 22% for marketing. PR also leads microblogging (52% to marketing’s 22%), and social networking (48% to 27%). Marketing usually leads e-mail marketing and SEO aspects of digital communications.’
Seems relevant, and unsurprisingly a PR magazine is reporting on research that puts PR at the head of the social media table, something you might think I would be happy about as a PR professional, at least originally. I have no real issue with the article, but if I was to read this in a search specific or advertising title, with a slant towards their industry, I would merrily rant away in disagreement. So why not when it positions PR at the head of the table?
My main problem with this type of article, based on research though it maybe, is it’s missing the point. Trying to position PR as the lead in social media, or owning social media is simply not relevant. Sure, PRs have some very relevant skills that must be part of a social media campaign to be a success, and David overviews some of these in his post, but are we really that arrogant to think these skills can’t be passed on or learnt by marketing communications/digital marketing professionals with other specialisms?
My argument, which I seem to go back to every two or so months judging by my posts here and here, is that no one sector can own social media, and trying to do so really is a pointless exercise. The smart people/agencies/brands are learning a blend of skills – PR, content development, search, creative and a whole host of digital marketing skills – that allow them to be more useful and relevant in a social media environment.
I was having this discussion with the head of a well known digital marketing agency just yesterday, and at that agency they are taking a more inclusive approach to their social media than just thinking their original specialism can â€˜own’ the area and everybody else is wrong. In my opinion that’s a big reason why they have been so successful to date.
So, research or no research, good arguments or no good arguments, can PR lead social media? Nope, not alone, but no one will. If anyone is going to â€˜own’ social media, and the irony of that statement is not lost on me, it’s individuals and agencies that will grow out of the melting pot to become multi-skilled and simply think social.
In the future we will see a continual blurring of sectors – PR, search, advertising – in fact we already are. The end result will be socially and digitally aware communicators, and before you ask, I’m not going to label this new breed, as it’s too soon.
Even then, ownership is irrelevant, because the evolution will continue and new skills will be required, but isn’t that the fun part?
August 7th, 2009
So, yesterday afternoon Twitter went down, and if the most recent stories flying around the web are to be believed, it’s the work of the Russians. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be blaming the country as a whole, the Government, armed forces, individuals, but the finger is being pointed at â€˜The Russians’ for this massive denial of service attack that affected Twitter, Facebook, and also targeted LiveJournal and YouTube via Google.
In a throw back to the cold war, it seems the hackers may have been trying to silence a pro-Georgian blogger by overwhelming the websites he used to communicate with sympathisers on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Georgia.
I’m sorry, is this actually for real? Or is it simply a stunt by the BBC to publicise the next series of Spooks. Seriously, this sounds like a great episode where geeky IT boy Malcolm, who occasionally saves the day, will again get his one episode of note per series before drifting into the background and getting shouted at to track mobile signals or rewire an RFID tag to disarm a chemical weapon…oh sorry, that’s episode two.
Anyway, before I waffle on, let me get to some sort of point. It’s not that I don’t believe such an attack is possible, of course it is and ultimately somebody has done it, but why do it to stop a blogger from reaching his community, when the ultimate outcome will be to bring more attention to said blogger that you were trying to block? Ahhh, but maybe it’s a double bluff, and it was actually….oh never mind, there are only so many conspiracy theories I can deal with on a Friday afternoon.
Dissecting the various articles that have been published to date, the main evidence seems to be as follows:
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The co-ordinated cyber assaults shut down Twitter for a couple of hours and disrupted access forÂ Facebook users
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â LiveJournal was also hit while Google managed to fend off “denial-of-service” attacks
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Georgia and Russia today mark a year since the outbreak of their war
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A Georgian blogger by the name of Cyxymu has accounts on all the websites and was the target, according to Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook (BTW: according to the Guardian Cyxymu’s name is styled after the Cyrillic name for the disputed Black Sea city of Sukhumi, and the blog is written in Georgianised Russian.)
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Security experts believe the attack originated from Russia
I’m no legal expert, but if that was the evidence against me in a court case, I’d be pretty relaxed waiting for the verdict.
My favourite quote from this story goes to Graham Cluley, from Sophos, who when explaining the technical elements of the cyber attack, said:”A denial-of-service attack occurs when computers bombard a website with requests for information.
“Typically hackers can control thousands of innocent users’ computers centrally and command them to visit a site that they wish to flood with traffic, making it impossible for other internet users to get through.
“It’s a bit like 15 fat men trying to get through a revolving door at the same time – nothing can move. In the meantime, micro-bloggers around the world are likely to be left twiddling their thumbs.”
15 fat men in a revolving door – beautiful.
Oh and finally, I’m still having problems with Twitter, so if we can sort that out soonish it would be much appreciated.
August 5th, 2009
Late last night sitting on the sofa, nothing was on the box so i turned my attention to my iPhone. Every so often I check out the apps store to see if there’s anything I fancy. Having checked out the top 25 free apps I came across a neat game called Real Tennis 2009 by gameloft. It was only the demo version, but judging by the graphics it looked like a bit of a time killer.
I proceeded to download the trial and in a matter of minutes I was activating the game and at the main menu screen options page. 3 options appeared; 1 instant play, 2 buy full version and 3 Twitter. A Twitter option in the main menu screen of a game, is that a first? It is for me anyway!
However, my interest quickly turned to disappointment. Having clicked on the link that took me to the game’s Twitter profile Tennis_Open I discovered the profile was following 1 person, has 168 followers, but has updated only once on the 3rd of April.
Gameloft have missed a real opportunity here, the 168 people that have signed up to follow could have been engaged and encouraged to find out more about other Gameloft titles, news or products. At the very least they could have put in a twitterfeed of some sort.
So top marks for trying to integrate Twitter into the game, but no marks for doing the hard bit – conversing.
Just to let you know the game was average and it took me 2 sets before I won my first point!
August 3rd, 2009
Over the last few days one particular sports star hit the headlines with his improper use of Twitter.
The star in question was Darren Bent, Tottenham Hotspur’s centre forward. The controversy started when the star’s proposed transfer to Sunderland hit dodgy ground. Bents’ response to this was to vent his anger on his personal Twitter account:
“Seriously getting p***ed off now,” read his first message.
The striker then went on to add: “Why can’t anything be simple? Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest. Do I wanna go Hull City? NO. Do I wanna go Stoke? NO. Do I wanna go Sunderland? YES.”
Bent later went to make this public apology: “I appreciate that transfers are seldom straightforward and are often complex. However, after a long period of waiting following my withdrawal from the plane to China, I had become incredibly frustrated by the time these things take and I posted inappropriate comments on my Twitter site.”
Shortly after this controversy unfolded, which made national television and back-page newspaper headlines, Tottenham introduced microblogging guidelines for all staff and players.
Moving on to the NFL – similar rumblings have been felt.
Recently, San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman tweeted: “Coach said we can’t tweet in the blding so i called my lawyer and found a lupo [loophole] in that contract…tweeting outside yeaaaaa.”
Other instances include Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (formerly Chad Johnson) and the league. Last month, Ochocinco floated the idea that he would Twitter from the sidelines during regular season games.
The league sent out word almost immediately that it has a pre-existing rule barring the use of mobile devices from the bench area. Ochocinco, who has nearly 79,000 followers, immediately responded on his Twitter page: “Damn NFL and these rules, I am going by my own set of rules, I ain’t hurting nobody or getting in trouble, I am putting my foot down!!”
Now sports stars are increasingly seeing the power of a tweet and the resulting effect it can have, especially on employees and governing bodies and, moving forward, tweets with endorsements.
I will leave you with this thought.
Top sports star with 1 million followers starts tweeting about all his Nike gear – what’s that worth to Nike?
August 3rd, 2009
Pressitt Social Media Newsroom competition
In order to celebrate the launch of our new Social Media Newsroom offering, Pressitt is offering a limited number of free bespoke news release templates and Social Media Newsrooms, which of course can be used in conjunction with the Pressitt platform and easily linked to from your own site.
What are were giving away?
Three packages are up for grabs that include a Social Media Newsroom and bespoke Social Media News Release template that our designers will mock up in the style of your present website.
Your Social Media Newsroom and release template will be given a unique url: yourbrand.pressitt.com
View an example newsroom here: Bright One
The competition will run for one month after the publishing date of this post.
The competition is open to agencies, corporations, challenger brands, and anyone who has a passion and interest for the Social Media News Release and is going to use it!
To enter, all you have to do is sign-up to Pressitt with a valid email address. No Google, MSN or Yahoo sign upâ€™s will be entered into the draw (make sure you only enter once).
All previous active members who have signed up with a valid email address will automatically get entered into the prize draw.
To qualify for entry, you need to have released one newsworthy SMNR on the Pressitt platform.
The draw will be made by an impartial adjudicator.
The winners will be contacted via email and sent a briefing sheet for completion of the Newsroom and bespoke release template.
A bit about the Social Media Newsroom.
The Social Media Newsroom is a unique company landing page offering access to all of your multimedia news releases. It is a first touch for brands wanting to engage and participate with online communities, including journalists, bloggers, and even consumers researching your product or service.