Monthly Archives: November 2010

Why Real Time Is Still Relevant

I read a blog post today that took issue with the expression ‘real-time’ Lindsey McCaffrey said she doesn’t want to see it in our copy as she argues that in today’s connected world the expression no longer has any power.  

I want to disagree because ‘real-time’, while it may have been around for a decade or more still has tremendous relevance, not least because so many organisations are still struggling to get come to terms with it.  

Take for example, responding in real-time to conversations and complaints about your brand online. Is everyone so slick at this now that the whole idea has become passe?

I don’t think so. You only have to read David Meerman Scott’s excellent book Real Time Marketing and PR to come across myriad examples of the need to engage swiftly with detractors in yes – real time. I have championed this book before but I do think it is a must-read for anyone working in marketing and PR during this time of enormous change.  

My own example of failure in real time came only this weekend. I was struggling to work out how to use a new pair of Speedo hand paddles which I bought for my first-born. She needed them for swim training the next day and there was a sense of urgency about the task. However,despite coming with yards of plastic surgical cord which clearly had to go somewhere, there were no instructions on the packet. I searched online and came up with nothing and so decided to follow Speedo on Twitter to see if I could raise some help that way.

Despite tweeting directly @speedo and using a swimming hashtag I got no response in real-time or any other time for that matter. Despite having a Twitter account, Speedo_uk obviously don’t monitor their social media, which has got to be a mistake.

My point here is that some real-time response would have transformed my experience of their brand and would have encouraged me to make more Speedo purchases in the future and as a swim mum I can tell you there are plenty of those coming up! Speedo corporate tweeters clearly don’t work on a weekend (do they work in the week either?) but a company empowering large numbers of staff to monitor and respond 24 hours a day, whenever they happen to be online could have spotted this and dealt with it.

People’s frustrations happen in real-time, they happen now and need addressing swiftly. If you wait until the next management meeting to clear issues, discuss them and act on them, you are never going to get this “always on world” – you will always be playing catch-up.

So let’s hear it for real-time – there is life in those two words still.

How to Spot a Social Media Faker

I have some ground breaking advice.

If you are going to advertise for help with your Social Media Marketing know enough about the subject to work out if you’re hiring the right person.

I wrote this yesterday before I saw all the hoo ha over at Danny Brown’s blog about how to tell whether someone is a social media expert or not.  There’s quite a row going on because the measures of SM expertise laid out by Chris Kieff  in his blog have been deemed to be a bit random – how many followers does a real expert have? How many recommendations on LinkedIn before you feel you are in safe hands?.

Well before I even read Danny Brown’s blog I was working on a very simple idea based on experience.

Once you decide to hire someone to take your social media marketing to the next level please do this one thing, check to see which of your job applicants have followed you on Twitter.

I reckon you could clear out half the field in five minutes using this method.

If you haven’t checked to see how social media savvy your candidates are, how can you possibly rely on them to be your SM representative in the future? If checking out your website and following you on Twitter weren’t their first actions when they saw the job advert then they probably aren’t as passionate about social media as they say they are.

After that you might want to see if they have also commented on your company blog, re-tweeted your content or made any attempt to engage with you on social media at all, because if they haven’t, what are they doing applying for this kind of work?

So please – if you want to make sure you hire the real deal, find out enough about it to ask the right questions and then start by asking every single candidate whether they follow you on Twitter – and if not, why?

Are You Sharing The Right Stuff?

People share what they find useful – but do you really know what that is?

This insight came to me as I was pondering the unexpected success of one of my tweets this week. I usually try to keep my tweets business-like, with a little personal stuff thrown in for colour but this weekend, in a totally out of character move, I tweeted a recipe.

I don’t know what I was thinking, because I put in on Facebook too. I think I really wanted to share it because I genuinely thought it was good.

The resulting response was really heart warming. People retweeted it, liked it on Facebook and one person even made it that very day. I was really surprised and have been thinking about it ever since. What was it about this tweet that took off in a way that other more profound thoughts had not?

I came to the conclusion that I had truly met a need.

It was a cold Sunday in November, there were a lot of pears sitting around in people’s fruit bowls (this is a pear and syrup pudding) after an autumn glut and the recipe just exudes the warmth and  comfort of hearth and home. It caught a mood and it met a need.

So now, with any luck, you know where I am going with this. If you want to spread your ideas, or sell a product or build your reputation you have to share things that really strike a chord with other people. You have to hit the target right in the sweet spot that means people can’t help but pass it on or take action.

Sometimes it’s fairly obvious what people want to talk about. For example, one of my posts went viral back in my early blogging days when I was writing about   Twitter as the home of breaking news how this would spell the end for journalism. It was a controversial stance but the topic was hot at the time and it gave concrete examples of a phenomenon people were talking about.

But sometimes we get it wrong and end up sharing things people are just not that interested in. That’s when it is worth thinking differently. Could you be sharing something totally other but still building those valuable connections and relationships that are going to get you to where you want to be?

Please don’t think I want you to share cat videos – I don’t and even recipes is pushing it a bit far for a social media blog – but experiment with the things you share and meet your community where they are and not where you think they should be.

Now I’m not going to get away without telling you this recipe am I? So here’s the link – now get sharing.

How Long do You Need? Or, How to Make it Happen Now.

You need to have fast reactions in the always-on world. Opportunities bubble up out of no-where and disappear just as fast.

This week I am in the middle of my very own living case study about the need to move quickly and make things happen now…I blogged about it here a couple of weeks ago.

As you know, the marketer, PR or business person who doesn’t seize the day is one who’s out of a job, so when I was asked to help implement a campaign for a client I was on it like a shot.

The activity we are planning and  promoting doesn’t kick off until next year, so there’s plenty of time to sit back and polish the ideas you might think.

Not a bit of it. To catch the press in this particular sector we have to be ready by next week, including input from collaborators who don’t even know we want to work with them yet!

Am I mad you might ask?

No, I don’t think so, because the alternative is to fold our arms and say “oh dear” – we’ve missed the boat – we’ll just sit here and scratch our elbows until the next opportunity comes along.

There is no reason why businesses can’t turn on a dime, especially small ones with good contacts and social media already in place.

True, I am relying on my potential collaborators to be able to see a great opportunity and move as fast as us over the next week or so and events may not be straight forward, but in this always on world you could say “How long do you need?” or you could just make it happen now.

Why Are You Still Not Doing Social Media?

I ran into a friend at the weekend who has just sold her business for millions and is already starting work on the next one.

She does not use social media. Does she need to when she has been so successful without it? Is that why you gave up on twitter because you’re doing so well  you can afford not to?

Here’s some reasons why you won’t be getting away with it all your life.

  • The venture capitalists behind Google,  Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers have just announced a £160 million fund for new social media start-ups. Do they think it’s going away?
  • Mark Zuckerberg said this week that every industry could be revolutionised by social media.
  • Your competitors are already doing it.
  • Because without it your online presence is static. Using twitter to drive people to your blog which in turn sends them to your website is dynamic and engaging.
  • Influencers are talking to each other online all the time, can you afford to be out of the equation or can you wait until the next business lunch – in New York?
  • Generation Y will not forgive you when they come looking for you on social media and you are not there. (Gen Y may be interns now but they will be CEOs quite soon.)

What would you tell my millionaire friend about why she needs to start with social media now?