Archive for September, 2011

Ever stumbleupon a marriage proposal?

We’ve seen a fair few romantic, and clever, proposals using technology over the years. One gentleman did it over Twitter, one guy proposed in the cinema (I may have sobbed big girly tears at this one) and one opted for Groupon. There are enough geeky proposals out there for Mashable to round-up some of the best.

So it was inevitable really that someone would Stumbleupon another good proposal idea…

She seems slightly underwhelmed, but props to him for making such an effort to put it together (and for Stumbleupon to help him out)

Which proposal is your favourite?

Source: Mashable

Posting to Facebook through a third-party app reduces likes and comments

Image representing HootSuite as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Those who use social media for professional or business reasons often turn to applications like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s quicker, easier and means you can schedule all your posts at the start of the week if you so desired.

But a new study suggests that posting through a third-party app can cut likes and comments by a huge 88%, in comparison to posting directly on Facebook.

Applum, creators of Edgerank Checker, studied more than a million Facebook updates on more than 50,000 pages to come up with the findings.

There are a number of reasons why posts from third-party apps could get less likes and comments:

  • Certain apps, like Networked Blogs, get grouped together in the News Feed, which makes them less visible to users. They often get minimised, so you have to expand them to view (even if they’re from different pages)
  • Facebook users click-through less to short URLs, which tend to be used by apps like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to track clicks and fit them into tweets, than long ones. In fact, engagement levels are three times higher for long links than shortened ones.
  • Shortened links don’t tend to transfer particularly well to Facebook. Hootsuite does let you add a thumbnail and description, but Tweetdeck doesn’t yet.
  • Just as users are suspicious of shortened URLs, some are also nervous around particular logos next to a status. Particularly given all the Facebook scams doing the rounds.

So what’s the solution? It’s impractical for many businesses to post their statuses straight to Facebook every day. It also makes it harder to post at the best posting time.

Perhaps the key is to finish a Facebook status in the same way you’d finish a blog post – with a call to action. Ask your fans for their input,and you can increase the engagement.

Here’s our call to action: How would you suggest businesses can get around this?

ROI from Social Media: An infographic

One of the questions people ask most often about social media is about ROI. The trouble is, it’s difficult to answer it. Engagement is tough to measure, and more important it’s hard to link engagement with sales, as it doesn’t always immediately lead to an increase in sales. Often social media is more about providing a more interactive level of customer service and a better brand image, than simply bringing in new sales.

That said, this infographic from Visual.ly presents some pretty interesting stats about ROI and social media, in particular related to how enterprise social software can improve employee relations as well as customer relations.

It would suggest that employee turnover is lower when employers use enterprise social software – and that sales teams that collaborate using social tools see increased sales.

via visually


What social tools do you use within your business?

The best tool for creating a social media policy

Contracts

Image by NobMouse via Flickr

With more businesses using social media as part of their marketing and promotional activities, and many employees using social media sites for personal use, the need for a social media policy is becoming really important.

There are several cases where employees have lost their jobs through the misuse of social media, while others have posted content that can reflect badly upon their employer. You only have to look at the recent blog posts on TechCrunch to see how an employee’s actions can affect the reputation of an employer.

Creating a social media policy is something most businesses should consider, but is often an intimidating task for those unsure of the right language to use.

The Policy Tool is an online tool for creating a social media policy, which takes all the work out of doing it for you. It’ll take you through creating it, step-by-step, by prompting you to enter the details relevant to your business.

The problem many businesses have with creating a social media policy, is that employees often claim it infringes on their right to free speech. This policy tool does deal with this, by allowing employees to create their own account but be clear to followers that they’re not speaking on behalf of the company.

My only issue with the tool is that it suggests people use the term ‘These views are my own’. This statement on a Twitter or Facebook bio actually has very little legal weight, so is effectively pointless. Perhaps a better course of action is to encourage users to avoid any mention of their employer, and keep their account private if in doubt. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop employees from saying negative things about the company entirely, but very little can be done about that.

Do you have a social media policy?

Being social Lady Gaga’s way

Lady Gaga’s social media strategy has been huge success. She was involved in all aspects, and decided to handle her Twitter account by herself, without outsourcing it to a PR agency. By August 2010, she had 5.7m followers, more than Britney Spears.

Many of her music videos are customised for online audiences. They are about nine minutes long, rather than the typical four minute clips for TV and radio.

During concerts she tweets messages to her audience so wherever you are standing, you feel you are actually interacting with her.

Lady Gaga also announces her new singles and albums directly to her fans through social media platorms. Before the press is notified.

OK, she is a massive celebrity. However her techniques are powerful, and could be applied by others in completely different markets.

Burberry CEO on being the Social Enterprise

Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts wants her customers to be able to touch the brand everywhere. The reality is her customers are social. So she wants her entire business to be social.

Here is a video talking about the development of Burberry’s Social Enterprise. It is introduced in trademark style by Marc Benioff, CEO of SalesForce.

Burberry is combining monitoring, employee and product social networks and mobile apps with social dimensions to reach their mobile audiences.

Many companies are going to be re-born social. Some will choose. Others will have it imposed upon them. Here at ItsOpen, and at the Social Media Leadership Forum, we are helping companies along this path by providing guidance, sharing experiences and hearing from the world’s leading internet thinkers like Don Tapscott and Jeff Jarvis, who are all speaking with members this year.

Essentially this business model/concept is for those companies who want their products and services to be ‘liked’. They want to be the enterprise that has lots of ‘friends’. They want their news to be ‘retweeted’ for positive reasons. They want to leverage social networks internally for greater productivity and better collaboration, and to stimulate innovation and more efficient ideas sharing. They want to understand what their customers like, as expressed freely through social networks, and want to be in a position to meet their needs in totally different ways.

Your progress towards becoming a social enterprise will I believe define your success as a business in the years ahead.

Burberry’s practices will eventually be the norm. For now, it is an innovative leader. The revolution, driven by the pervasive nature of new technologies, the powerful global web platform, and grown up digital users entering the marketplace, is gathering pace. CEOs will love it. Bottom-up staff will enjoy it. Middle managers will have some issues adjusting, as information is openly shared freely vertically and horizontally across the enterprise.

FT editor on the future of news

Have you seen FT editor Lionel Barber’s lecture on the future of news and newspapers in the digital revolution?

Good overview on the challenges and interesting points about people requiring news at different paces at different times.

Thanks to Emily Gibbs from the FT for sharing this (@EmilyJG).

And thanks Emily for your great talk at the Social Media Leadership Forum event yesterday!

The Future of BBC TV’s Newsnight

Been reading a lot of media comment about the future of BBC TV’s Newsnight.

The problems that Newsnight is facing are common to many TV news programmes. I used to be a regular viewer of Newsnight. I loved it when I was younger – but no more.

Why? First of all, news is a commodity thanks to the internet. I get my news when I like, whenever I like. Sometimes via the BBC web site, Google news, the radio or newspapers. So why should I have to sit down in front of the TV at an allotted time to watch Newsnight? What will it give me that I cannot get online?

But wait. I don’t want to knock Newsnight. I think it has potential. I imagine that Newsnight would like me as a regular viewer, so what would they have to do to get me back? Here are some suggestions:

1 Change the title. The idea that news is delivered at night is a complete anachronism. It might have been relevant when, at the end of the day, people wanted to catch up on their news. But in a global economy, when many people are still up, I don’t think so. This is not cosmetic. A new name would change how Newsnight is perceived. So how about: News Comment; or News Thoughts; or News Analysis; or News Alert; News Opinion, or News Briefing?

2 Newsnight needs to reach out to its viewers and ask them how they would change the programme. They need to partner with viewers to create a show which is relevant to the audience. Maybe more of a focus on local themes.
Local food providers versus supermarkets etc.

3 They need to accept that news is a commodity and focus instead on comment and analysis. They need to help us make sense of the news. They need to address key themes. Less arguments with politicians.

4 They need a 24-hour relationship with their viewers. They need to define what Newsnight stands for, and deliver during the day.

5 One aspect of Newsnight I used to enjoy was the early sight of the first editions. Whey not get the editors in to give their views and opinions?

6 Why not get bloggers in to give their views on the news?

7 Why not have a section on the Twitter trends of the day?

8 Why not get all the editors of BBC news shows in, or some of them, and discuss what news stories have appealed to them and why?

9 Focus on themes: West V Islam, for example

10  How about specials on the future of energy or the future of food or the future of politics?

11 I have read about critics saying they cannot get cabinet ministers on the show. So what?! Go broader than Westminster. Why not speak to people who send in online petitions to Westminster?

12 Newsnight, or whatever it calls itself, needs to be rejuvenated, it needs to reconnect with its audience in different ways. Get Paxman talking to bloggers. Why not have Guido Fawkes on, etc…?

13 How about guest editors?

These are just a few thoughts at 8.13pm on a Sunday night after a few glasses of wine.

I like Newsnight and think it is time for it to be reinvented. Are you listening, Newsnight?!!

Debenhams embraces Aurasma technology in their latest advertising promotion

While the UK has finally started to see the benefits of QR codes in advertising and promotional activities, another technology has crept up and made it look, well, old hat.

Aurasma is an app you can use to scan logos and posters, much like a QR code reader.

There are some differences though.

Firstly, you don’t need an special, separate code: you work with what you’ve already got. When you scan your logo or post, media (a video, graphic or image) will pop up over the item you’re scanning. What’s more, it all interacts with what you’re seeing in the real world, which makes it all the more viewable.

It’s easier to show you how it works, instead of attempting to describe it. Watch this video to see how Aurasma works:

Logos are definitely more attractive than a QR code, and this technology is far more advanced than QR codes. Imagine being able to scan a logo and see the company’s latest ad campaign, or a brand character pop up to say hello?

Without wanting to get too carried away, this could potentially be the missing link between print and online media.

Debenhams has recognised this potential, and included Aurasma in the latest ad campaign. When scanned, the poster will show the TV ad, followed by a link to the website. They’ll be printed on the 11th September, and in the meantime you can download the Aurasma app here.

Stumbleupon behind 50% of traffic

StumbleUpon

Image via Wikipedia

All too often, we rely on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to share links and increase traffic. But new stats suggests that Stumbleupon, the social bookmarking and sharing site, accounts for 50% of all referral traffic from social media sites.

The stats are from StatCounter, which tracks approximately 3 million websites. The data shows that during the first 18 days of August, StumbleUpon was responsible for 50.27% of referral traffic from the top 10 social sites. Second place went to Facebook with 38.9%; Reddit, YouTube and Twitter each accounted for less than 4%.

Considering the amount of sharing of links that takes place on Twitter and Facebook, and the fact that both sites have far more users, it’s surprising to see Stumbleupon beat them both.

Perhaps it’s the case that Stumbleupon users are more likely to click-through to a link, considering that’s the main purpose of the site. Twitter and Facebook users are there for the social interaction, as well as to share content, so the click-through rate may be lower.

One thing the results don’t discuss is dwell time and bounce rate. You may notice an upsurge in traffic on pages you’ve added to Stumbleupon, but often that traffic stays for just a few seconds before it hits the “Stumble” button again and bounces off to another website.

Not all traffic was created equal. Stumbling can bring in the perfect audience who help by giving your page the thumbs up, but it can also water down your community, giving you a spike without giving you the benefit of real engagement. Communities like Reddit, on the other hand, can direct very specific users to your site, often creating far meaningful hits.

When it comes to online communities and social bookmarking services, it’s worth experimenting to find the right one for your website. And once you’ve found it, spending proper time on meaningful interaction is the key to driving the right sort of traffic.

Why do you think Stumbleupon dominates the referral market?