Archive for November, 2010

FT recommends MacroWikinomics on eve of Social Media Leadership Forum event

Over the weekend The Financial Times recommended as one of the best business books of the year.

Don Tapscott, co-author of the book, is going to be speaking with members of the Social Media Leadership Forum on 7 December.

The book – a sequel to the international bestseller, Wikinomics, looks at how mass collaboration can alter how our financial institutions and governments operate; how we educate our children; and how the healthcare, newspaper and energy industries serve their customers.

Linda Lorimer, Vice President, Yale University, has described Macrowikinomics as ‘An extraordinary book…should be required reading for all who want to create positive change for institutions and organisations.’

Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, has described MacroWikinomics as ‘A masterpiece. An iconic and defining book for our time’.

If you wish to become a member of the Social Media Leadership Forum to be able to listen to Don Tapscott and ask him questions, then please contact Simon Welsh () for more information.

The Social Media Leadership Forum is run by ItsOpen (, the specialist social media strategy consultancy.

Facebook v Lamebook

Facebook is reported to be in a dispute with a spoof Facebook site called Lamebook, who have set up a legal fund to protect themselves. Facebook has also been blocking Facebook users from linking to Lamebook as part of its
aim of protecting its intellectual property rights. this the Facebook that believes in open exchange of information?!

Also it highlights the extent to which Facebook can proactively intervene when it chooses to do so!

Facebook v Lamebook

The battle for the homepage intensifies

For many web users, Google is their default home page. Which gives Google a huge advantage. It enables Google in a sense to define our experience of the web on Google’s terms, by following and using their process and apps, etc.

That could be about to change, as Facebook is planning to ask users to make the social network their default home page. This is clearly designed to drive more traffic to Facebook at the expense of Google.

According to some analysts, Facebook already has about six per cent of home pages in the US. So it is a long way to go before it catches up with Google.

Still, the prize of being the gateway to the web is well worth the battle. Google execs always say, when challenged on their dominance, that the opposition is just a click away. Never was that more true.

From a company perspective though, if Facebook was to succeed, then that would bring significant cultural changes. If Facebook becomes the dominant gateway, its applications, and the way of information sharing it encourages, could become the dominant form of online engagement.

Twitter analytics product

Twitter is testing a new analytics product which will provide the ability for companies to get deeper insights into the impact of their Twitter platforms.

It is reported that Twitter has started inviting a select group of users to test a new product. Earlier this year, Twitter executives said they would introduce this service by the end of 2010.

Through Twitter Analytics, users will be able to see a wealth of data about their account; for example, information about which tweets are most successful, which tweets caused people to unfollow, and who the most influential users are that reply and retweet their messages.

I understand that the product will be free, which further undermines the need for companies to be spending vast amounts of money on expensive Twitter monitoring tools.

Top 10 Social Media Campaigns of 2010

It’s that time of the year when we look over the last 12 months to take stock of the year’s successes and failures and create some countdown lists of our favourite things. This week we’re looking at the which social media campaigns have been the most successful in 2010.

Sesame Street

As mentioned in a previous post this week, Sesame Street has had a very successful year with video-based social media. Taking inspiration from other popular campaigns, like the Old Spice man, they’ve managed to turn around a number of parody videos in record time. With 281,800+ Twitter followers and 138,700+ Facebook followers (and various character-specific pages), the campaign is a definite success.

Old Spice

Probably the most famous campaign of the year, the Old Spice campaign did an excellent job of bringing the brand right back into the 21st century. Funny adverts won the YouTube visitors over, while a quick response to those who commented with follow up videos won the social media experts over.

The result? It’s always difficult to tell with sales, but initial reports after the first couple of months suggest an increase of 107% of the Old Spice bodywash.


The Tippex “A hunter shoots a bear!” video was one of the first YouTube videos to really embrace the interactivity feature. By giving visitors the opportunity to choose what the hunter would do to the bear, using the Tippex mouse, the company produced a viral that mimicked the popularity of the Old Spice videos.

Sales are yet to be announced, and we doubt it will have the effect the Old Spice man had, but with Christmas card time just around the corner, it’ll be interesting to see if the video reminds people of the product.


Domino’s adopted a Foursquare check-in strategy early on, and benefited from a 29% pre-tax profit in the first half of the year. By giving out free pizza to every mayor (the person who has ‘checked in’ to that store most regularly), they increased visitors on foot and online.

Proof that jumping on the wagon before your competitors will nearly always keep you one step ahead.


A type of social media in its own right, Groupon sells reduced deals for a short period of time, once a certain number of people have signed up for it. A couple of months ago, they realised ‘Grouspawn’, a dating website for bargain-hunters. The social twist? A couple that conceives a baby after meeting on the site win a scholarship for the child.

While it’s unclear what effect Grouspawn had on Groupon’s sales, it’s clear that the company has an innovative approach to their social media. Their strategy is made up of a strong affiliate scheme, the adoption of ‘Superlocals’ who write regular local reviews, and Twitter and Facebook for every town. By realising that word of mouth and social interaction are the keys to expansion, Groupon have dominated the group-purchasing market, and continue to do so.

Coca Cola

Coco Cola’s Facebook page has been widely complimented for its early adoption of an interactive landing page. Regular videos, blogs and discussions on the page keep fans hooked, and coming back.

A great example that a simple, consistent campaign is just as effective as something flashy.


Back in June this year, a survey of brands revealed that Starbucks was the most popular brand on the social web. Their high level of followers is attributed to listening and engaging to their customers, and asking their followers to spread the word about their page. Their ability to converse with their customers and find out what they want has led to a Facebook page that is effectively customer-built.

Compare the Market

The furry star of the Compare the Meercat/Market adverts has been a cult figure for a few years, and the company made the smart decision to maximise on that popularity. Apps for the iPhone, a , and regular adverts and YouTube videos kept the popularity of the meercat going.

Are you more likely to head to the friendly meercat company, or the company with an irritating opera singer?

E.L.F (Eyes Lips and Face)

Brands that only sell online benefit most from social media, as they lack the offline presence on the high street. However, selling online usually means a company can offer lower priced items as they cutting out the middleman.

E.L.F is a prime example of a company who offers a low cost product through the medium of social media. Regular discounts for Twitter and Facebook users once thresholds are reached, a blogger outreach and a YouTube channel featuring many of the up-and-coming beauty bloggers has led to word of the new brand spreading like wildfire.

The result is a with over 87,000 fans, who constantly update the page with their own reviews and discussions of the products.


The confectionery brand has been building its social media campaign over the past couple of years, and it’s finally paying off. Sitting third behind Starbucks and Coca Cola among U.S brands, it has over 13 million Facebook fans.

The high number of followers is down to the promotions they offer, like 2 for 1s and money off vouchers.

What has been your favourite social media campaign this year?

How the world spends its time online

How much time do you think you spend online? With internet access at work, at home and on your mobile, you’re never far from an opportunity to tweet, Google something or shop online.

Check out this infographic How the World spends its time online, taken from a recent Nielsen study.

To summarise:

  • The average American spends more than 60 hours a month online. That’s the equivalent of 30 days a year!
  • 42% of users are viewing content, 22% are using social networking and 36% are using other aspects, like retail sites, email and search sites.
  • The average person visits 2,646 web pages a month, 89 domains and log on 57 times.
  • The most popular brands include Google, MSN/Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, YouTube, Wikipedia, AOL, eBay and Apple.
  • Brazil leads the pack for social network usage, with Italy, Spain and Japan following just behind.
  • Of the Americans surveyed, 55% use the internet, 45% send or receive emails, 40% use search engines and 30% get the news.

Do you spend more than 60 hours online a month?

Source: Penn Olson

Sesame Street continue their social media success

Image by pipot83 via Flickr

Whoever is dealing with the social media for Sesame Street this year deserves a medal. The classic TV series has always been popular with children and parents alike for its fun take on education. Many of the characters have taken on a cult status over the years, with Elmo in particular becoming a hit toy every Christmas and gracing the t-shirts of trend-loving students.

But this year its cult status reached new levels, with a series of parody videos on YouTube.

The latest video spoofs Apple with the song “There’s an app for that”, for the ‘iPogo’ (an interactive pogo stick.) Have a look at the video below.

The Old Spice spoof is another must-watch, getting over 2.6 million views in just five days.

Companies often want to produce videos that they hope will go viral, but they tend to go about it the wrong way: by saying “let’s make a viral”. If you set out to make a ‘viral’ rather than thinking about what people might genuinely want to watch and forward to friends, you’re already on the wrong track.

The creators of Sesame Street have thought about what they do best, thought about what people on the web are interested in, and made them something that’s both true to their brand and perfect for sharing online.

What’s your favourite successful brand viral?

Corporate Social Media Summit Thoughts…

We all enjoyed attending the inaugural two-day Corporate Social Media Summit in London last week. It was good to hear from a whole range of companies including PepsiCo, Dell, DHL, Intel, Nokia, Citi and UMBRO about how they are evolving their social media strategies.

I moderated a session on how companies can manage their reputations online through social media with Colin Hensley, head of corporate communications for Toyota and Jakub Hrabovsky, head of social media and web relations for Vodafone.

Here are some of the key points I made to the audience before Colin and Jakub took to the podium:

Customers feel that they are now the brand owners. Through social media, they want to tell you what the brand means.

They expect brands to engage in the same transparent and direct way as they expect from everyone in their lives.

Networks of people are now becoming the key force in brand communications. In this new paradigm, brands protect themselves by aiming to always create great products and services which customers love, and by dealing with individual customer complaints quickly and effectively.

Within the context of social media, brand communications has to move from aiming for solely commercial transactions to demonstrating that you share the interests of your audiences.

Protecting brands online is about building and participating in fresh networks with your customers and being useful and helpful within those networks. Because, at the end of the day, those customer networks are more efficient than any large organisation.

If you create a good relationship through those networks then it will spread fast, magnify and build positive word of mouth. Remember in this realm one person really counts because they have a whole network which they are a part of on Facebook, Twitter etc. However if you contribute to a poor relationship with your audiences then it will also spread fast with obviously less desirable consequences.

The art in this context is to make sure you use social networks strategically – and really think through how you are going to act and behave on your social media presences.

RockMelt leads the pack for social browsers

Just a few weeks ago, ItsOpen discussed the possibility of social browsers in the future. Now a new browser turns this possibility into a reality.

RockMelt is a browser with inbuilt Twitter and Facebook functions. Invitations take a few days to come through, so have a look at the video below to see the social browser in action.

Are social browsers like RockMelt set to replace normal browsers?

Five lessons we’ve learnt about social media

The last twelve months have seen companies adopt social media strategies by the truckload, leading to some excellent examples of social media….and some examples of what not to do. There’s been some interesting developments on Twitter in particular, where bad news spreads fast.

So, what have we learnt about social media?

Though shalt not steal

The web has provided a whole new way to crowdsource business ideas and creative processes. But that doesn’t make it a general free-for-all when it comes to words and designs. A writer called Monica Gaudio alerted the social media world to a plagiarism case, where her work was featured in a food magazine without asking for permission. Sadly, it’s a common occurrence, but it’s the response from the editor of the Cooks Source that shocked people.

‘The web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it….. you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally.’

To make it worse, the editor then went on to say that Monica probably should have paid her, considering the favour she did for her on editing. A further statement on the Facebook page seemed to mock Monica, and boasted that their followers had gone up.

The editor clearly didn’t understand the legalities of taking someone’s work, and clearly didn’t anticipate that followed.

Paperchase also had trouble when Hidden Eloise, an illustrator who sells her designs on Etsy,  blogged about how they had stolen one of her designs. Their slow and ineffective response led to a huge amount of bad PR across Twitter and Facebook.

The Lesson

Bloggers have a powerful voice. Befriend them instead of alienating them.

Respect the power

Nestle unfortunately learnt this lesson the hard way. Already a brand connected with all kinds of PR disasters, the company’s connection to the deforestation in Indonesia was unearthed by Greenpeace, and the message spread like wildfire on Twitter. Since then the brand has been in trouble with various activists on , and continues to struggle with its brand reputation.

The Lesson

Run your business in an unethical or disrespectful manner, and you can expect to be exposed online.

Don’t cut and paste

Tiger Airways made the mistake earlier this year of giving every negative comment a bit of a brush off, along the lines of “You get what you paid for.” This, understandably, only riled commenters up further.

It then got worse. They started deleting any negative comments, and banning users who left them.

Overall, not a great way of communicating with customers and visitors.

The Lesson

Reply to each follower individually, and try to take a negative comment as constructive criticism. It might help your business improve.

Create some rules

Underestimating the social media usage of employees was a mistake Domino’s made at the start of the year. Prior to the success of the Domino’s Foursquare campaign, the company was the victim of a recording made of two of its employees, who were filmed wiping mucas onto sandwiches. Nice.

Domino’s were quick to issue apologies on Facebook and Twitter, and produced an apology video on YouTube

Great response, and a lesson learned about how employees have to be careful on social media too.

Vodafone had a similar problem at the start of the year, when an employee posted an obscene remark on their Twitter feed. Like Domino’s, they were quick to respond and suspended the employee immediately.

The Lesson

Put together a social media policy pronto. There’s a great list of social media policies over on Social Media Today.

Don’t blame the intern

Habitat came a cropper back in 2009, when they misused the in their tweets. Hashtags are terms or words added to tweets, like #HarryPotter or #RoyalWedding, that allow people to search for all the discussions related to that topic.

The company inserted popular hashtags  into the start of all their tweets, in order to raise the profile of their content. The practice had already begun to irritate followers, who called it ‘spamming’, but the use of a tag for the Iranian election really angered people. A backlash occurred, with Twitter users retweeting and criticising the move. Explain this more – link to what a hashtag is. Imagine you’re explaining to someone who doesn’t use Twitter.

The Lesson

By patronising followers with blatant advertising and the misuse of hashtags, the company was left picking up the pieces of a damaged brand name. Worse still, the company blamed the intern! If you’ve got a social media policy in place (see above), this sort of thing should never happen, but if it does blaming the intern is a terrible excuse — not only does it make an unpaid, untrained work experience person the scapegoat, it doesn’t say a lot about how seriously you take your social media strategy.

What lessons have you learnt about social media this year?