Archive for February, 2012

first direct report in the FT

The Future of Customer Service report, written by ItsOpen on behalf of first direct, has featured in an article in the FT. The piece by Paul Taylor is titled “Social CRM mirrors rise in customer power.”

See also previous posts here and on Social Media Leadership Forum:

first direct collaborates with customers online

podcast interviews of the author Dr Andrew Currah and first direct’s Natalie Cowen

downloads of the report and presentation

What did you Stumbleupon in 2011?

2011 was a pretty busy year. The UK had the Royal Wedding, the USA had the Kardashians and the capture of Bin Laden, and the world lost an inspirational tech leader in Steve Jobs.

But how much influence does world news have on the actions of the average Stumbleupon user? Quite a lot actually. After the awful Tsunami in Japan, Stumbles for Japan rose by 41%. The Royal Wedding inspired a 96% increase in ‘UK’ related stumbles, and the death of Bin Laden resulted in a huge 932% increase in ‘Terrorism’ stumbles. The biggest impact though was the death of Steve Jobs, which led to a 199,500% increase in searches for ‘Steve Jobs’. I wonder how many of those searching did so on an Apple device?

Check out the infographic below for some more stats from Stumbleupon in 2011.

Cabbie uses Twitter to increase and retain business

We love to hear about unusual and interesting ways that businesses, and in particular small businesses, are using social media to improve. So we’re rather charmed with a recent story about Chicago taxi driver Rashid Temuri. Rashid uses a mix of Twitter (@ChicagoCabbie), Google Latitude and Find My Friends to attract new customers. He claims that 95% of his repeat business is through his Twitter account.

To maximise his business, Rashid uses the social networks to let people know his whereabouts, receive discounts and book him. An example of one of his tweets is:

“Good morning #Chicago!! It’s a wet wet day here. 41°. Take $5 OFF the meter from now till 2PM to any airport from anywhere. :-) #ORD #MDW”

Interestingly, Rashid didn’t actually start out using social media as a marketing tool. He explains:

“I started Twitter thinking I’ll talk to people about taxi industry of Chicago. I feel there is a gap between taxi drivers and customers and there are lots of misunderstandings. They both are in such a defensive mode. They both feel like they have to protect themselves from the other and it’s just so wrong. I joined Twitter to eliminate the gap between a taxi customer and taxi driver.”

Rashid is even tech-savvy enough to offer free wi-fi in his cab (and accepts credit card payments for those that don’t carry cash). It really is no wonder people are happy to use him time and time again.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a taxi company using social media to get the competitive edge. @tweetalondoncab lets you book a taxi in London by sending a simple DM to the account. They’ll then reply straight away with a booking confirmation. Handy if you’re in a busy or loud place and don’t have time to nip out and make a call.


Would you hire a taxi through Twitter?

Five social media predications for 2012

It’s the first month of the year! So, we’ve put our thinking caps on to predict what we’ll see in 2012 in the world of social media.

Goodbye QR Codes, hello augmented reality apps

QR Codes have only just got into the swing of things in 2011, so I do feel a twinge of guilt about dismissing them. But while QR Codes have been quietly working away, augmented reality apps have jumped right in there with stunning graphics and moving visuals based on current logos and campaigns, including some interesting 3D designs.

Potentially, this is the best way for companies to connect their offline activities with their online actions. Just imagine opening a magazine, scanning an advert and watching their latest video on your screen, before being taken to the website.

The main barrier at the moment is that the design element can be costly, which is why QR codes may still have a little more time left.

Google + to sink….or swim in a different direction

The trouble is, it’s difficult for any business to launch a product in an already busy market, but when you’re as big and bold as Google, everyone is watching.

Twitter and Facebook started out small, which meant they had the freedom to try new things, make mistakes and move onto a new strategy without being in the spotlight. Google doesn’t have that luxury. Every mistake they make is analysed by millions. The only way they may be able to continue in 2012 is if they find their niche and maximise on it.

Even more Facebook integration

With Facebook pages looking more and more like mini websites, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more pages offering online stores, special content and alternative services on their Facebook page. We’ve already seen , where they often have sales specifically for Facebook fans, in order to reward their loyalty.

Quality, not quantity

In the last year, there’s been a definite shift from quantity to quality. Bloggers used to write post after post, but recent changes to Google’s search settings means that posts under 150 words will hold a much lower SEO score. Bloggers are now concentrating on longer, better quality posts on a less frequent basis.

It’s not just blogging either. With the sheer number of Twitter and Facebook users, we’ve seen a rise in services like Klout (which measures a user’s influence). Now it’s not just about how many tweets you share, but how many of your tweets are clicked on and retweeted.

The rise of the micro-blog

Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Posterous are all blogging platforms that are on the rise, thanks to the speedy nature of posting and sharing. More and more companies are turning to these platforms to get information out there without committing to writing long posts. They might not be quite as SEO-friendly as a full blog post, but they’re great for giving followers and fans a quick fix. While these platforms shouldn’t replace a full blog, they act as a good side service.

What are you expecting to see in 2012?

How much does Facebook know about you?

We’re all well aware that Facebook pushes the boundaries somewhat when it comes to privacy and security. In fact, it doesn’t seem like a month has gone by this year without a Facebook privacy data piece hitting the headlines.

But this video shows just how much data is held on each person (mobile users in particular may be unaware how much information Facebook has on their location). According to the video, messages and statuses are kept on file, long after they’ve been deleted. When Facebook provided Max, the man in the video, with his personal data he was shocked to get a CD back with 1222 PDFs. Max has since asked for further information, but Facebook has declined due to ‘confidential business matter.’

In fairness, it’s hardly big news that Facebook know a lot about us. We share so much personal information on Facebook, that sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s a company behind it.


What makes you h-app-y?

We spend almost as much time these days on our phones and tablets as we do in front of a computer screen. We surf on the commute to work, tweet in the queue for lunch and check our Facebook on our iPhones before we get out of bed in the morning.

With Apple still dominating the phone and tablet markets, apps play a big part is many of our lives. But which apps do we use most often?

According to this infographic, social media and chat apps dominate, with Facebook at the top. WhatsApp is in second place and Twitter in third. Skype follows up in fourth place, with music identifying app Shazam in fifth.

Auction site Ebay is another popular choice in sixth, and Instagram is loved by the snap happy. Bringing up the rear is Dropbox, essential for anyone who wants to access their files when they’re out and about, LinkedIn for professional networking and finally Foursquare for checking in.

by onavo via

Are you surprised by any of these?

Why the new Private Messaging service for Facebook pages is both good and bad

Eagle-eyed Facebook users may have noticed that certain Facebook pages now have a private message function, where fans can send a page a private message.

Now this, like all new Facebook services, has pros and cons.


  • Pages can directly message someone regarding a dispute or when delicate information is involved.
  • It could cut down on page spam/abuse, if pages are allowed to respond directly to certain individuals.
  • It could add a personal touch, allowing page users to personally thank certain individuals- therefore further improving the brand/fan relationship.
  • Twitter already has a similar system, and it works well there.
  • Facebook admins will no longer need to use personal profiles to send messages.


  • It could actually increase spam and abuse, with fans able to send anything by private message.
  • Equally, it could lead to controversy if an inexperienced Facebook page manager responds to a private message in the wrong way.
  • Currently, private message conversations can only be initiated by a page fan, and a page admin can then respond. This limits conversation options, and means fans hold all the power when it comes to starting a private conversation. However, reports suggest it is possible to privately message some fans when they comment on a wall post.
  • Facebook admins may choose to only respond to negative wall comments privately. Dealing with constructive criticism publicly, in the right way, can actually be great PR for a brand, so to not do so could be bad for a page.


What do you think? Are you a fan of the Facebook page private messaging function, or against it?

Can Facebook get you a job?

Following in the theme of careers and job hunting, which many people tend to think about at the start of a new year, we’ve found an infographic that shows just how much influence social media has on finding a new job.

Some of the stats are unsurprising – it’s rather predictable that 1 in 6 workers use social media to get hired, considering how many people are now on LinkedIn and Facebook. Interestingly though, Facebook beat Twitter and LinkedIn together when it came to the number of jobs it has helped people land. 18,400,000 Americans believed Facebook helped them get their current job, compared to 10,200,000 on LinkedIn and 800,000 on Twitter.

This is pretty surprising. After all, LinkedIn is more typically considered the best professional network for job hunters; Facebook is the more ‘social’ and casual of the networks.

If you’re looking to find a job this year, pay close attention to the tips at the bottom of this infographic.

Source: Mashable

LinkedIn publishes the most overused words in LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn is undoubtedly one of the best social networks for professional use. What’s more, in the current financial climate, it’s an essential tool for job seekers and those looking to recruit. Users can upload details of their CV, add further information on jobs, get recommendations from clients and share blog posts and documents through third-party applications.

But like a resume, there are certain words that creep up on a LinkedIn profile a little too often.

Wondering what words come up time and time again on LinkedIn profiles? Here are the top ten from the UK:

1.       Creative

2.       Track record

3.       Motivated

4.       Effective

5.       Extensive experience

6.       Wide range

7.       Innovative

8.       Communication skills

9.       Dynamic

10.     Problem solving

The trouble is, using a common word is a bit like using a popular keyword in your SEO activities – the competition is too high. Keep in mind what a potential employer might search for, and make sure you use those more specific words in your profile.

Interestingly, this list has changed from last year, when words like ‘motivated’, ‘extensive experience’ and ‘innovative’ topped the list. These three have now slipped down, with people placing more importance on their track record and ability to think outside the box.

Have you used any of these words in your profile? Perhaps now is the time to revamp your profile for 2012.

Samsung takes on Apple – and takes the mick

Apple fans are a passionate bunch (I say that as One Of Them). But those who don’t own an iGadget can be just as passionate about their distaste for the fruity brand. Especially Apple’s competitors.

While some of them can come across – well – a bit bitter, Samsung has decided to create quite a clever advert based on this competitiveness. It follows a line of people waiting for a new phone launch (not named but various hints suggest it’s an Apple product). While waiting, they notice a few people nearby using a Galaxy S11, and ask to see it. While some are impressed others dismiss it, with one man saying “I could never get a Samsung, I’m creative.” To which his friend replies “Dude, you’re a barista.

Samsung has managed to suggest that Apple users are brand lemmings, without actually saying it’s Apple!