Archive for October, 2010

You cannot buy loyalty – warning to social media marketers

Many agencies are looking for ways to increase the number of fans on Facebook by offering freebies and discounts. The numbers suddenly go up and everyone is happy. But how long will this last? And how genuine are these so-called fans? And will they really support the brand for the long term? Isn’t it a bit like spamming or giving away lots of free samples and claiming the recipients are your new audience for ever?!

Manipulating search engines, creating fake fans to bolster figures is not a good long term policy. Just as conventional search engines learned how to screen out marketers who tried to manipulate their algorithms; new social search engines are likely to find out ways of screening out bogus fans.

As Augie Ray from Forrester shrewly points out, “Brands hoping to help their social search engine relevance by amassing fans should take heed — the easy way may work for a while, but the authentic and hard way always wins in the end.”

Social Media Leadership Forum grows

Into its second year now, and the Social Media Leadership Forum is continuing to grow dramatically.

Recently, the Camelot Group, Sage, nPower and Xstrata all joined the forum,  a growing private collaborative group of leading organisations who meet together to share insights into social media strategies and participate in discussions with experts.

Set up by ItsOpen, The Social Media Leadership Forum provides a fresh alternative to the usual dry ad hoc conferences and seminars which are typically dominated by agencies looking to impress potential prospects.

Content at typical trade show events is often shaped behind-the-scenes to satisfy sponsors and not to appeal to the genuine requirements of the audience. Or they are run by PR agencies, who, up until a short while ago, never mentioned social media, and are now desperate to assert their credentials in this space, as they feel they should, whilst still occupying deeply ingrained conventional media mindsets.

Technology is evolving fast and within this context, we feel that leading organisations need a different kind of format to help them learn about the vexing challenges that the rise of the social web presents. We believe it is important to provide a different kind of innovative platform from which leading organisations can build and develop their knowledge to compete successfully.

We are grateful for the excellent support we have received from all the forward-thinking members of the Social Media Leadership Forum and are looking forward to the next stage in the programme which we are developing in collaboration with our members.

If you are forward-thinking and work for a leading organisation and want to gain valuable insights from your peers into social media and directly from experts like Google and Facebook, who have participated in recent sessions, then please get in touch with Simon Welsh () and he can provide you with membership details. It would be good to have you involved and sharing with other leading organisations.

At our last session, The Financial Times, Google and The BBC debated the impact of social media on news with members of the Social Media Leadership Forum. This is an excellent opportunity for you to contribute to, influence and shape the future direction of communications.

Seizing breakthrough opportunities comes from knowing what works today and what will work tomorrow.

Washington Post bans journalists from using Twitter

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Logo
Image via Wikipedia

What do you do if an employee responds to a controversial external commenter on Twitter with what you consider to be the wrong answer? If you’re The Washington Post, you send out a memo to your employees asking them to stop tweeting back to readers.

The memo followed a negative reaction to a Washington Post article “Christian compassion requires the truth about harms of homosexuality”. The article argued that homosexuality is a mental health issue. GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, complained about the piece on their and the GLAAD website.

Unfortunately, a member of The Washington Post took to Twitter to defend the feature, and suggest that every story has “both sides”. This reaction only fuelled the fire, with GLAAD taking to Twitter to argue the case further “@WashingtonPost There are not “both sides” to this issue. Teen suicide isn’t a debate-it’s a tragedy. #LGBT”

The Washington Post’s next move was to send a memo out to all their employees, requesting that they refrain from using social media accounts, whether personal or business, to speak on behalf of the Post.

The following part of the memo was particularly interesting:

“When we write a story, our readers are free to respond and we provide them a venue to do so. We sometimes engage them in a private verbal conversation, but once we enter a debate personally through social media, this would be equivalent to allowing a reader to write a letter to the editor–and then publishing a rebuttal by the reporter. It’s something we don’t do.”

While it’s important to make sure all ‘official’ social media activity is “on-message”, banning employees from commenting at all seems extreme. As The Guardian website pointed out “To ban journalists from entering into discussion with critics is a denial of freedom for both journalists and citizens.” By refusing to give personal opinions, they’re missing the point of social media; they’re basically broadcasting and not listening. Further, it’s unclear whether this blanket ban also applies to the journalist who writes the post. Are they discouraged from responding as well?

Was The Washington Post heavy handed? Do you have a social media company policy?

Could browsers be about to get even more social?

Image via Wikipedia

A few years ago, Microsoft dominated the browser market with Internet Explorer. Nowadays, web users can also take their pick from , Mozilla’s Firefox, Safari, and Opera. Firefox in particular offers some excellent add ons, including several to enhance your social media activity and monitoring.

But until now, none of the browsers seem to have released a version with all your social media and emails built-in. has recently debated whether the big browser brands could be about to release a browser that allows you to see all your social media notifications, instant messages, status updates and emails without having to log into your accounts. It’s a hugely appealing concept, particularly for those of us who spend time flicking between various social media and bookmarking sites.

Google in particular could benefit from this kind of advancement. Their recent social media forays haven’t had the best reception, but by combining their Google services in a social browser, they could prove very tempting to the hoards of loyal Firefox and IE users.

This could all become a possibility with the release of Chrome OS, where you’ll be signed into your Google account, including Google Reader, Mail and Calender, all the time.

Facebook could also muscle in on this space, with rumours constantly floating around about the potential for a It would seem that it’s a case of when we’ll see a social browser, rather than if.

What would you like to see in a social browser?


Business social network Yammer beats the competition

Have you heard of Yammer? If not, with over one million users in 135 counties, it probably won’t be long before you’ve heard of it and used it.

The business social network, similar to a corporate Twitter, has been around since September 2008. Its , recently told Mashable that they’ve got a client base that more than 80% of the Fortune 500.

Yammer lets you create a social network for your business where users can share links and information with each other in bite-size form. There’s a free version and a paid version with a few more bells and whistles.

So how could using Yammer could help your business?

Xero, the online accounting software company specialising in simple accounting solutions has found Yammer invaluable for keeping the channels of communication open and friendly during a quick business growth. Yammer allows them to share and discuss information in the same way they did as a small team, despite being based all over the world.

For more insight into what Yammer has brought to Xero, check out this video.

WikiLeaks Thoughts…

The exposure of military documents on Wikileaks and the coverage through the media has once again put openness at the centre of the debate.

To what extent should Governments keep information secret? What should they keep from public view and what should they make available? On what basis is that understanding/agreement made?

Governments need to understand that the world is becoming more open and people are able to access information far more easily than they could previously.

The amount of data which is now available is unsettling. The default position of most organisations is that they only make certain information available in response to regulators or recognised third parties ie when they are obliged to do so. Still people continue to have unprecedented access to information on products and services which can help to de-stablilise excessively repressive regimes. Look at how the youth of Iran have previously responded using mobile technologies to express themselves.

Some companies though are realising that being open is a precondition to building trust and having more productive relationships with their customers, partners and stakeholders. Opening up data and inviting contributions can in certain contexts create a more healthy and productive result, paving the way for innovation and collaboration.

This debate hasn’t really started yet…but the trend of openness/transparency will be a key theme going forward and one that organisations need to continue to factor into their thinking and strategies.

Corona Light aims to become the ‘most liked’ light beer through social media

Corona Light-ing (reflector)
Image by Kyle May via Flickr

have created a brand new Facebook initiative with one ambitious aim: To become the “” on Facebook.

The beer brand has dedicated their advertising methods to increase their Facebook fans. Their campaign involves adverts on and, along with a huge social media and page span display ad campaign.

The campaign hopes to tempt fans to the page with the opportunity to have their photo projected on the Time Square digital billboard, if they upload them on to their page. It’s not just limited to New Yorkers either. Images of the projection will be added to the Facebook page, so the featured fans can share them with their friends.

At the moment, Corona Light ranks eighth among light beers. Considering our recent post on Facebook fans who recommend a product to their friends, it makes sense for Corona Light to concentrate their promotional efforts on the social network. In fact, Corona Light has seen sales increase by 1% in early August, since the campaign started, when competitors are seeing falling sales.

In the meantime, Corona Light have further plans for the campaign, branching out to other media channels. Could we be in for a video campaign, similar to those from Old Spice and Tippex?

What do you think about Corona Light’s campaign? Bold or dangerous?

Source: MediaPost

92% of Facebook fans recommend brands they’ve ‘liked’ to friends

Howard Lake likes this
Image by HowardLake via Flickr

We recently wrote about the benefits of attracting and retaining social media “super-fans”. However, a new survey suggests that anyone who ‘likes’ your Facebook page may already be a “superfan”.

The survey from DDB states that 49% of page fans on Facebook are “certainly” like to recommend the brand to their friends, while 43% were slightly less sure, saying they “probably” would. Overall, that’s a total of 92% fans who would recommend the brand.

When asked why they joined a Facebook page, 75% of respondents said brand invitations or advertising encouraged them, while 59% followed a friend’s suggestion and 49% found it from their own research. Recommendation appears to be the key to growing a community, whether it’s by friends or the brand.

But a brand page must be constantly updated with interesting, relevant information for the fans in order to retain them. In fact, 36% of those polled have unsubscribed from a fan page, giving reasons like a loss of interest, statuses that appears too often and dull content. If the content is uninspiring, your fans won’t remain ‘super’ for long.

How do you keep your fans interested in your Facebook page?

Source: AdWeek

Twitter gets more clicks than any other social media site

Mouse ClickIf you’re using Hootsuite or another form of social media analytics, you’re probably aware of how many people are clicking through to your links. But how does Twitter compare to Facebook for click-throughs?

A new report by marketing firm SocialTwist suggests that overall, Twitter is the most effective social media tool for click-throughs, despite being only the third most popular site for sharing.

The study looked at a million referral messages sent using the company’s Tell-a-Friend tool. Their tool allows visitors to your blog or site to share the content with their friends, either over email or social media sites. Of those messages, 55% are sent through email. 24% came from social sites, 18% through IM, 3% through bookmarks, and only 0.1% through blogs.

While email is still the most popular medium for sharing links, its popularity seems to be on the wane: it was down 15% on the previous year. Further, it produces just 31% of all click-throughs, while social media channels are responsible for 60% of all click-throughs (CTRs).

The Social Network vs Twitter

So which social media network is the most popular site for link-sharing? You guessed it, Facebook. It makes up 78% of those sharing to a social network, with MySpace coming in a surprise second at 14.5% and Twitter at just 5%.

But while it may be sitting in a rather lowly third place, Twitter does a lot more with its tiny market share. On average, a link shared on Twitter gets 19.04 clicks, compared to 2.87 for those shared on Facebook.

Twitter seems to be leading with a quality over quantity approach. Clearly the target market for Twitter is more suited to click-throughs. Twitter is about sharing information and spreading the word, while Facebook is more about personal rather than professional relationships. Plus, Facebook is something of a “walled garden”, designed to keep people entertained on-site rather than encouraging people to go elsewhere.

How often do you click links on Facebook? And when was the last time you logged into your MySpace?!

Source: FastCompany

Image: [Davichi]

Neal Rodriguez’s talks about the ‘social trinity’ in social media engagement strategy

Neal Rodriguez has a lot to say on the matter of social media, and it’s highly valuable considering he’s currently received more than 36 million pageviews to his work.

Rodriguez’s has outlined his ‘social trinity’, which looks at all the possible areas of exposure, the various points of private contact, and the popular sections of the social network, and how to bring them all together.

It’s a fast paced video, so you might want to take notes and prepare to hit the pause button.

You can read a few more of his blog posts on Rodriguez’s website.

What do you think about Rodriquez’s ‘social trinity’?