Major Supermarket analyses social media to understand their customers better

ItsOpen was asked to help a major supermarket discover what its customers were saying about the brand online. The work explored what customers were saying and sharing about particular products and services, and what social media tools they were using.

Insights from the project revealed how supermarket customers are using social media in general, as well as what kinds of conversations they are having on what platform.

As in this case, good social media analysis can teach you a great deal about your customers and the data can be used in decisions on brand strategy.

Helping Financial Services companies use Twitter to achieve their communications and marketing goals

It is relatively simple to set up a Twitter channel, but how do you ensure your Twitter channel achieves your communications and marketing goals?

ItsOpen was commissioned by one of the world’s leading insurance brands to provide insights, practical tips and strategies for how to develop the reach of their Twitter channel.

We shared our best practice with the team and demonstrated how Twitter can be used to:

- Build strong relationships with key stakeholders;
- Help set the news agenda
- Enter into useful conversations with key influencers online

In addition, we looked at how leading companies can use Twitter to:

- Present themselves in a more individual and human way
- Curate relevant news and information for key audiences
- Direct audiences to other online platforms (for example, company sites)

As part of our Twitter best practice work we also provided the team with a bespoke Twitter manual to help embed the key strategies and tactics within everyday practice.

Facebook and the Social Media Leadership Forum

by Justin Hunt

Facebook is going to be presenting to members of the Social Media Leadership Forum on September 29 and everyone here at ItsOpen is really looking forward to the event.

Facebook has transformed social life. The Google model is that information, organizing the world’s information, is the most important thing. The Facebook model is quite different. It stems from the idea that humans maintain mastery over technology – people are the most important thing.

Mark Zuckerberg is an inspiring CEO  and clearly cares a lot about using Facebook to build new kinds of bridges to people. Protecting people’s sensitive data and sustaining the enthusiasm of the millions of people who
originally joined Facebook to communicate with their friends remains the consistent challenge.

Members of the forum which ItsOpen set up and runs have already started sending in their questions to Facebook. We thought we would crowd source the questions, so the Facebook team can incorporate them into the session.

Demand for the Facebook event is building – if you are part of a leading organisation (no agencies, sorry) and would like to become a member of the Social Media Leadership Forum so you can benefit from being able to participate in sessions with the likes of Facebook, please contact Simon Welsh (). Simon will be happy to help you with any questions you might have. There are still some spaces left for The Facebook event.

Oldies getting into social media

by Rob McLuhan

One of the biggest developments with digital marketing came with the discovery that older folks were getting to grips with the Internet. It seemed a bit quaint at the time: parents and grandparents figuring out how to use email and order online. Whatever next! It didn’t take long for businesses to wake up to this huge new opportunity and stop treating the Internet as a place merely to find the under 40s. After all, it’s the seniors who have the most purchasing power.

So it’s interesting to see the first real signs of a similar shift with social media, a medium long associated with young people. Pew’s new survey suggests that older adults are now the largest growing demographic for use of social media: social networking use among internet users aged 50 and older soared from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010. More specifically, the number aged 50-64 using social networking sites grew 88%, and doubled for the over 64s.

Email is still the main form of communication for older users, the report notes, but there is a definite shift towards social media as a way of keeping in touch.

Could this affect the way that younger people use social media? They might not be so uninhibited about revealing their innermost thoughts and doings if Mum and Gran start joining in.  Possibly, but this is a fast developing medium anyway, and who knows how it will look in two or three years time. In the meantime, the growing presence of the older generation in social media can only make it more attractive to businesses as a way to maintain dialogue.

Read tmore details here.

Should you be selling through your Facebook fanpage?

With Facebook giving users ever more room for customisation on their Pages, businesses can now take advantage of the option to sell their goods through Facebook. One of the largest payment process apps for the pages is Payvment. This lets you feature your products for visitors and fans to purchase directly.

Payvment has recently announced a new export tool, allowing Etsy sellers to upload all their products up onto their chosen fanpage. The process should be a popular one considering the number of Etsy and Folksy sellers now embracing social media as a promotional tool. It’s not a bad move for Etsy too, giving them a wider customer base and an edge over similar handmade marketplaces.

Read the rest of this article »

How to attract and retain social media “super-fans”

One of the greatest advantages of a decent social media strategy is having an army of fans who can sing your praises and recommend your products and services to their friends, family and followers.

Unfortunately, not all your fans will become the kind of “super-fan” who can help promote your brand organically. Turning an average fan — who rarely visits or interacts with your page — into a passionate advocate for your products and services isn’t easy. However, there are certain steps you can take to help them transform.

How to gain “super-fans”

Three benefits, other than ROI, that social media can have for your business

The first thing most companies want to know on approaching a social media or community management plan is, what kind of ROI will I get? Which is fair enough. After all, what’s the point in investing huge amount into a strategy if the bank is empty at the end?

But social media can have a multitude of other benefits for a company, helping improve their reputation and providing a solid standing for further improvements.

Intrigued? Check out three of the benefits below.

Read the rest of this article »

Privacy in Germany

by Rob McLuhan

If you reveal information about yourself on Facebook can you complain if it used against you? In Germany apparently the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – the government is drafting a law that will make it an offence for employers to snoop on job candidates’ social media pages during the hiring process.

There’s no question that Facebook has become a useful source of information for employers, double-checking up on job candidates to see if their online personality matches the person they met at the interview.  A survey last year showed that nearly half of businesses do this, and a third of them admitted rejecting candidates after discovering they had lied about their qualifications or were accustomed to dissing their former employers.

Well, why not? If you’re talking to the world you shouldn’t be surprised if the world suddenly sits up and pays attention. But Germany is always a special case where privacy is concerned, its citizens having endured first the Gestapo and then the East German Stasi constantly snooping on them. Apparently this comes naturally to some German employers as well – there has been a spate of scandals in recent years about businesses spying and eavesdropping on staff members, even putting cameras in toilets and changing rooms.

Obviously the ban won’t apply to LinkedIn and the like, nor will firms be banned from using the Internet to gather general hiring information relating to job candidates. But where Facebook and other similar sites are concerned, in Germany it’s as though a big PRIVATE sign is being slapped on the door.

Interesting to see what politicians elsewhere will make of it. Could it catch on?

Lessons of Reverb PR agency ruling

by Justin Hunt

By now most of you will probably have read about Reverb Communications, which has had to settle with the US Federal Trade Commission for misleading consumers online.

The PR company was accused of writing positive reviews in Apple’s iTunes store without revealing it was being paid to do so. The PR company is alleged to have posted reviews about their clients’ video games ‘using account names that gave readers the impression the review were written by disinterested consumers’.

The FTC said that advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers.

This is yet another example of a PR company failing to understand the culture of social media. You have to be transparent – otherwise you are going to get burned. Without transparency there is no trust. Other established PR agencies have fallen into the same trap, with damaging repercussions for the companies they represent.

Leading organisations need to be very careful about taking on mass media, established PR agencies. ‘Astro turfing’ (ie faking grass roots support online) as it is called – will get more exposure as the social web spreads; and companies caught doing it will lose the trust of their key stakeholders and could face the ridicule and outrage of bloggers and users of Twitter and Facebook.

It is in the interests of companies to be transparent and honest as spinning can be exposed so easily online. Traditional media spinning does not work in the networks of the social web. Openness is the best PR you can have. And that is not something that PR agencies have traditionally been good at.

You can catch up on the story here.

TV and social media: friends forever?

by Rob McLuhan

Could social media take over from television as the premier advertising channel? That’s the question asked by Deloitte UK in an interesting new study.

At present the relationship is more symbiotic than competitive. The firm’s survey of 4000 adults underlines in particular how social media is helping to amplify the reach of television and finds the effect is particularly strong among 18-24 year olds, who comment on social networking sites at least occasionally on programmes they have watched. Obviously, online recommendation can be make or break for some programmes and commercials.

But the study also suggests that the relationship between the two could become more adversarial, as social networks continue to expand their reach and value, and start to attract more advertising revenue than TV. With precise targeting and real-time measurability, social media enjoys advantages which TV just can’t match, it argues.

The report has been given to attendees at the Edinburgh International TV festival, and can be requested here.