‘I bore of your analogue attitude’

5 10 2009

I came across the video below via Seventy Seven’s Spinning Around blog, in an aptly named post called ‘Social Media Wank.

In James Gordon-MacIntosh’s words:

“This film sums up exactly how I feel about too much social media talk… all you social media specialists could do with watching this because, too often, it’s exactly how you come across.”

Harsh, but fair. Watch and you’ll see why.

I think that anyone who has taken an interest over the past couple years in how social media is impacting the ways brands communicate online would be lying if they didn’t feel slightly uncomfortable at one point or another while watching this video.

But that’s probably a good thing. We should feel uncomfortable if this is how we come across as an industry, and don’t address some of the underlying criticisms in the video.

‘I bore of your analogue attitude’

I came across this video via the Seventy Seven blog, in an aptly named post called ‘Social Media Wank.’

http://t4w.blogs.com/

http://t4w.blogs.com/spinningaround/2009/10/social-media-wank.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKCdexz5RQ8&feature=player_embedded

“This film sums up exactly how I feel about too much social media talk… all you social media specialists could do with watching this because, too often, it’s exactly how you come across.”

I think that anyone who has taken an interest over the past couple years in how social media is impacting the ways brands communicate online would be lying if they didn’t feel slightly uncomfortable at one point or another while watching this video.

But that’s probably a good thing. We should feel uncomfortable if this is how we come across and don’t address some of the underlying criticisms in the video.

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Two Facebook resources you should check out

2 10 2009

This week I did some training work with a (very) large corporate and came across the resources below that I thought would be worth highlighting. The training covered six markets (Turkey, Romania, Russia, Poland, the Middle East and India) and delved into social media trends in each. Stating the obvious, uptake and popularity of different social media applications/services varies widely from country to country.

I spent a lot of time online collecting all of the data that I could about usage trends and service popularity in the regions mentioned. The most relevant stuff I think for the UK, is the Facebook stuff below. Plus, I have been on a bit of a Facebook kick as of late so why stop now?

CheckFacebook.com

CheckFacebookBookmark this site now. It was developed by Nick Gonzalez, a web analyst specializing in social media and former writer for an obscure blog called TechCrunch.

Each day, CheckFacebook.com tracks data reported from Facebook’s advertising tool to help marketers and researchers understand how Facebook is spreading across the globe.

Mouse over country and up pops an up to date user figure. Select said country and it will give you a demographic breakdown of users. It also tracks the Top 10 Largest Countries on Facebook, as well as the 10 Fastest Growing countries over the past week.

With Facebook hitting 250 million users on 15 July, then cracking 300 million users only two months later on 15 September, this is a handy resource to have.

O’Reilly Research – Active Facebook users by country & region (August 2009)

This presentation is only a month old (or is it a month out of date?) but provides a comparative analysis of Facebook users worldwide. It goes into some depth, providing a global overview of users by age and gender, as well as diving into things at a regional level.

Combine the CheckFacebook.com stats with the presentation template laid out by the O’Reilly Research slide deck and you’ll be well on your way to creating up to date bespoke Facebook research.

Not bad eh?





The day I (accidentally) spammed everyone on Twitter

26 09 2009

On Wednesday I attended the #TechPRDrinks night at the Savoy Tup with ‘the great and the good ‘ of London’s tech PR scene, organised by Will Sturgeon. There was lots of drink, lots of banter and a lot of familiar faces. I soon found myself having to answer one of the most important questions of our time:

BatmanSpiderman

Who would you rather be Batman or Spiderman?

Rachel Hodgson from Fleishman-Hillard was in the Spiderman camp, and Tim Hoang of Porter Novelli was representing Batman.  Neither side would give in, so we agreed to disagree. And then Tim and I agreed that Rachel was wrong. Batman is awesome.

The banter carried on to Thursday over Twitter:

SpamBanterSpamBanter2SpamBanter3 - Copy

In an attempt to put this baby to rest, I created a poll on POLLpigeon:

SpamThisEnds

Modest results came roaring in, and the POLLpigeon app sent a few public tweets on my behalf like so:

SpamPOLLtweets

I expected the app would do this much, which I was alright with. Then I shut down the laptop for the evening, and went to the world premiere of Rage with Skype, the world’s first interactive multi-venue film premiere (I’ll post on that later).

spam-boyUnbeknownst to me though, while I was offline and at the movie, POLLpigeon was sending DM’s to anyone following me begging them to enter this stupid poll. Add that to the public calls for participation and I began to look spammy indeed.

Flash forward to Friday morning, when slightly worse for wear, I fired up my laptop to find evidence in my inbox and on Twitter that ‘I’ was indeed spamming people by DM.  I was pleased though that people were either concerned my account got taken over by spambots or reassuring me that they would do the poll by DM. Both reactions, I find quite sweet. A taste:

SpamWarningsSo WTF happened? Well, apparently when I signed in with my Twitter username and password to create the poll, I must have authorised them to send out DMs to the people nice enough to follow me. This doesn’t really appear in their terms of service or anywhere else on the site.  And it’s particularly embarrassing when one creates such a completely ridiculous poll, as I did.

A couple public apologies later during my morning coffee, and a bit of access revoking for POLLpigeon (Settings > Connections > Revoke Access) and order was restored.

SpamSorryI know it’s not the end of the world, and probably not worth a whole blog post. But there was a weird feeling in my stomach as I read the concerned DMs and replies on Friday morning, worrying that people might get the impression that I would purposely spam them.  Not a great reputation to have for people in my line of work.

I was happy I got the benefit of the doubt though, so thanks.

SpamUnderstanding

fbzombie1In closing, screw POLLpigeon. I don’t mind coming off like a bell end sometimes, I just like it when it’s in a manner, time and place of my choosing.  On a more serious note I worry that seemingly harmless apps like this will take Twitter the way of Facebook 1.0, when you couldn’t log in without being informed you’ve been bitten by a zombie.

Oh, and since you’re dying to know, Batman FTW.

pollresults

[Big honking disclaimer, Skype is a client]





Rubbish social media stats let the side down

20 09 2009

It’s been about a month or so since I first came across this video via a post on Mashable called 30+ Impressive Social Media Stats Visualized.  The video was put together by Erik Qualman, author of the upcoming book Socialnomics, and has received over 646,000 views to date.

At first I thought that it was pretty decent, especially if you like numbers and stats and all that (which I do).

But a few things just didn’t seem right at first.

It might have been the use of a Moby as the backing track, which is enough to make me suspicious of pretty much anything. Or perhaps it was the opening teaser question ‘…is [social media] the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?’ Um, no. That’s just nonsense.

But I looked past all that, and enjoyed the video. It was the sort of thing I could picture myself pulling up in a training session. I even jotted down what I thought were some of the most noteworthy stats, which were to form the basis of this blog post.

SocMedFailWhaleBut focus of this post has shifted completely since I began looking into some of these grand stats more closely. It seems that Qualman has fudged or completely misrepresented a few numbers which makes the video now look a bit sloppy.

Read just a few comments on Erik’s blog and on the original Mashable article and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Robert Cole has written a fantastic blog post about his reaction to the video and some of those duff stats, and the following summary bears repeating:

…we have accurate statistics mixed in with a bunch of hyperbole that inadvertently undermines the credibility of both the presentation and social media. The video is a perfect example of social media at its worst.

So what’s the big deal? Well, a couple of things.

  1. Some of the stats are just plain wrong. This not only takes some of the shine off the glossy-techno-social-media-love-fest, but also arms those who watch it (and don’t question it) with incorrect facts to perpetuate. By way of example, the Mashable article has been re-tweeted over 450 times.
  2. At a time when social media enthusiasts from PR/Ad/Media circles are trying to determine the best way of measuring effectiveness and ROI, the last thing we need is someone overstating the case for effect (or to sell more books). It’s counterproductive for a start, but also gives anyone who thinks this area is a little flaky the ammunition they need to be, well, right.

I’m sure Qualman’s intentions were good and completely genuine. And I do agree with one of the closing lines of the video: ‘[social media is] a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.’

But huge numbers in social media – like Facebook cracking 300 million users this week – though impressive, tell only part of the story.  I worry that by overstating the numbers to inflate the impact of social media, the Qualmans of the world let the side down a bit.

Related Articles





Event: Measurement Camp London

8 08 2009

Measurement Camp

On Thursday 6 August I popped along to another installment of Measurement Camp, hosted at We Are Social’s swank offices and facilitated by Will McInness.

measurement camp

Measurement Camp

There was a really great turnout, though not quite the 96 people who signed up on the events page. As ever, it was a diverse bunch with representation from Media, Ad, Digital, Social Media and PR agencies, as well as a few clients.

Beth Granter from the Good Agency took the stage again to share a campaign case study that she recently completely for the RSPCA. It needs to be said that she stepped up and pulled the presentation deck together only the day before, so her ‘hardcore measurement camper’ status is well deserved.

This particular campaign was all about getting people to sign an online petition in response to the Government’s public consultation on the welfare of racing greyhounds. They used a combination of blogger outreach, forum discussions, Twitter and Facebook ads to make that happen. The campaign looked pretty well thought out from its inception, and social media measurement wasn’t an afterthought, but rather it was built into the execution from the very beginning. Nice one.

This is what I took away:

  • Facebook ads drove the most traffic – Facebook ads appeared to drive the most traffic to the petition by a healthy margin, no doubt due to the precise targeting and segmentation that can be achieved. I haven’t dabbled with Facebook ads much myself, but am increasingly curious as to how they might be employed as part of a PR-led online/social media campaign. (Or is that just cheating?)
  • Twitter/blog/forum users were more engaged – Beth presented a slide showing the source of web traffic to the RSPCA site, and the approximate length of time each user group spent on the site. It seems that people who came to the petition via Twitter/forums/blogs spent the longest time on the site. I found this fascinating and I think you could persuasively conclude a few things:
    1. The audience who either chose to ‘follow’ the campaign on Twitter or read about it on a forum/blog they frequent, are likely to be the most interested in the subject matter and therefore engaged in the campaign.
    2. I think it’s also reasonable to assume that they were also the most likely to fill in the petition, hence all the time that was spent on the petition page of the website

So, to crudely summarise the online behaviour from the tactics above, Facebook ads will give you quantity, but social media ‘content’ will deliver quality engagement.

The Facebook ads seemed to be successful at providing a short burst of high volume activity (visits to the website), but this interaction may have been fleeting (less likely to fill in petition). By contrast, the Twitter/blog/forum audience was smaller, but probably the ‘right’ one and took the time to complete the task at hand.

Very cool indeed.

All in all, it was a good session as evidenced by some of the #measurementcamp comments flowing on Twitter during and after the event.

At the closing of the session Will unveiled to everyone the newly completed measurement camp brand and logo (above) to be licensed under creative commons ‘so you can bosh it on stuff’.  A move so simple and smart, it begs the question ‘why didn’t we do that earlier’?

I look forward to the next one.

Other links:





The social web’s most engaged brands

20 07 2009

Interesting report out today about which big brands are doing the ‘best job’ online across a number of social media channels. The study was conducted by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint, and ‘ranks the top 100 brands by ‘social media engagement’. The social media channels in question include blogs, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, and discussion forums.

Amazingly, the study claims a correlation between social media engagement and revenue growth. Working in social media marketing/PR, this is music to my ears. But I’m inclined to agree with TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld:

I really doubt that their level of social media engagement had anything to do with their revenue growth, it is just that the strongest brands are the most engaged.

That said, this study was conducted by former Forrester Analyst Li (Groundswell anyone?) so I wouldn’t count the findings out completely.

So who comes out on top?

  1. Starbucks (127)
  2. Dell (123)
  3. eBay (115)
  4. Google (105)
  5. Microsoft (103)
  6. Thomson Reuters (101)
  7. Nike (100)
  8. Amazon (88)
  9. SAP (86)
  10. Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

I love lists, but I love case studies even more and the report contains some best practices from Starbucks, Dell, SAP and Toyota. Its definitely worth a skim.

For me, the report highlights the need to keep my finger on the pulse of what other brands are doing online – and learning from it. When I come across a decent case study online I tend to file it on my Delicious profile under a ‘casestudy’ tab for future reference.

Some notable case studies include US electronics retailer Best Buy and soft drink giant Coca Cola, by Robin Grant from We Are Social. Michael Litman from Consolidated also did a smashing job a few months ago with his Mashable post about the Compare the Meerkat campaign. Beyond that, here are a few others that caught my eye recently:

Am I missing any?

[Full report – ENGAGEMENT: Most Engaged Brands On Social Media]

[Photo and article via TechCrunch]





Update: United breaks guitars

11 07 2009

Seems as though Dave Carroll has become something of a hit back home with his United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube. When it caught my attention a few days ago, the video had clocked up 500,000 views. Now that number sits at over 2,000,000.

Due to the success, Carroll has released a statement on YouTube yesterday expressing gratitude, telling people to go easy on Mrs. Irlweg and for United to donate their belated offer of compensation to a charity of their choosing. He also appears to be going ahead with the promise of three songs and to expect the next one shortly.

I think the video update was a pretty smart move on Dave’s part, and he comes off as very likeable (and Canadian?). United’s compensation offer strikes me as ‘too little, too late’ though. I suppose it was good of them to make the effort, but the effort is disastrously late.

Will be interesting to see how this whole story plays out with another few more songs on the way. The second album is always the hardest…