Tag Archives: Facebook

The shape we are in – social media goes back to school.

September – what a great time to evaluate. Back to school and back to the desk we go. But what kind of shape are we in?

This morning I logged on to Twitter and I make no bones about it, I was looking for inspiration. As I flicked through the burbling of a thousand bored/busy people I felt a bit depressed by the lack of substance – what I really wanted was something fresh and insightful about the state of social media today. I wanted something to kick start my new term.  

Unable to find it I started to think for myself and this is what I came up with.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a great place to start because it doesn’t just tell us about where we are in the life-cycle of emerging technologies – peak of inflated expectations -slope of enlightenment etc it informs us about how we are actually feeling in relation to those technologies. I know a lot of bloggers who are stuck in the trough of disillusionment and it might really help them to point out that according to the Gartner curve we are about to emerge onto the slope of enlightenment and onward into the plateau of productivity – Hallelujiah!

Social Media journalism, like all journalism, loves a launch and will expend vast numbers of words on the next big thing. Pinterest and Instagram are the new Twitter and Facebook – Reddit is coming back –  bla de bla bla bla.  But we fetishise the new at the expense of evaluating the old at our peril. Getting into the nitty gritty of daily social media use is not glamorous, it doesn’t have the hot excitement of inflated expecation, but deflating our expectations a little won’t hurt – it is realistic and will help us get the job done.

So what am I taking forward into my new term then?

For a start, I think that every single social media user/client is different. Everyone needs a tailored approach using a different blend of tools. Some just need some great old fashioned marketing – you’d be amazed by how many people still aren’t able to point to a usable database they can send e-mails to. Some clients need to go away and develop a really good understanding of where their people are in order to engage with them there and we all need to think in terms of giving people a little of what they want before we can get them to take up what they need.

Think compelling headlines, lovely pictures, aspirational content, useful articles, invaluable advice.

Finally – keep re-evaluating. We need to have this back to school conversation at least 4 times a year if not more. Has our favoured social media fallen by the wayside are we talking to the same old people – have our people moved on – do they want something different? Reassessing the situation regularly will keep us on our toes and keep it fresh – after all we don’t want want to fall back into the slough of disillsuonment do we (it is acutally a trough but slough works well if you live in Berkshisre.)

What do you think?

How to find the right audience for your Linkedin Group

How do you get on with LinkedIn groups?

Time was, when a LinkedIn group was in the top 4 weapons in your social media armoury, along with tweeting, blogging and Facebook. A ‘group’ brought people together around a subject so they could chat and share ideas in a non salesy way. I joined a handful about social media, and played a part in setting up several others for clients.

But now I have got stuck on a problem. My latest group is not growing. It is stunted and despite lots of tender ministrations and lovely high quality content, it is not finding an audience.

Are the days of a great group gone?

Well let’s look at the facts. The groups that work well for me are the ones where we are genuinely occupying a niche. The specialist recruitment group has hundreds of members and over the past 6 months by focussing on getting the content right, it has started to generate good levels of engagement from other group members. A success! Another even more niche group is to follow!

But over at my cloud computing group things are static. These are the problems;

  • The members all work in the computer industry and are primary LinkedIn contacts, rather than target audience, which is a different crowd altogether.
  • The content is aimed at people who work in a diverse range of professional services and want to learn about cloud computing, but don’t know much about it yet.    
  • Therefore the content is not finding the right audience. 

My suggested remedy is to change the group’s name so that it reflects the type of people I want to join, perhaps using the phrase ‘a beginners guide’ or ‘how to’ – then I need to line up some content that really matches the name change before setting to and publicising it.

I still have faith in LinkedIn groups, but I think it is harder to get an audience – especially in areas like computing where the competition is tough. What is your experience with Groups and do you think the strategy I have outlined above is going to do the trick?

Corporate hashtags – is big brother watching?

I was reading this article about whether hashtags  are useful and I knew you would find it interesting because we have talked about hashtags before – notably here.

And it put me in mind of a phenomenon I have come across recently –  the Big Brother hashtag. This is a corporate hashtag that allow enormous organisations to keep in touch – not as you might imagine, with what is being said by others about their brand – but with insiders, who work for or with them.

The very large company I am thinking of goes in for social media in a big way. All praise to the way they have embraced it and everything it can do to spread the message worldwide. Checking out their name on either Twitter or Facebook brings up not just one account, but literally dozens for each branch of the organisations work and each country where it operates. As someone who usually works in small business this is BIG.

So far so good. But the thing which worries me, is the suggestion that all arms of this spider, including the smaller partners, should tag their tweets with an array of tags which allows them to be tracked by the powers unseen. In some instances I have seen tweets laden down with hashtags including the company name, the product name and the name of a forum or conference they are attending. The result is something very unattractive, unreadable and un-re-tweetable!

My conclusion, as the rebel in the corner, is that social media has to be useful and when big corporations get involved sometimes clarity and simplicity go out of the window.

I would advocate getting that clarity and simplicity back. So let’s use the corporate hashtag in moderation and where appropriate. Big brother really does not need to see small partner companies shooting the breeze with new clients, although perhaps if they did, they would learn a few things about social media? 


How to get people to follow you on Facebook.

How to get people to follow you on Facebook

Why headlines have become the story.

Pushed for time, I’m skim reading again. Glancing down the story list on BBC news on-line I take in the main news of the day without clicking. Now I’m flicking through the pages of the Evening Standard looking at the photos and then taking 30 seconds to scan the underlined bits of the school newsletter. It is much harder these days to get me to stop and read the full version because there is so much media competing for my attention. So, in this busy busy world the headlines have had to become the story. 

Ticker tape news headlines now run across the bottom of the TV screen, on mobile phones, on bill boards and in school/hospital/hotel receptions. Text alerts are the one sentence headline that has to tell the whole story.

Now think about the way you use social media – Twitter is just a series of headlines and those links on LinkedIn and Facebook – do you actually open them or just read the top few lines that display on the page?

Once you get this, you know that you are implicated too. It’s not just about how we consume, it also has to translate into how we produce – because we all ‘do’ content now.

So make your headlines count.

Confusingly there are 2 approaches here. One is to accept that your audience is going to want to swallow the information in one bite, so you need total transparency. This has to be upfront, honest and factual;

2 dead in Solent jet ski crash

The other way in is to tease the reader into opening the link. Here you can try clever, funny and irresistible. It’s hard and it’s a gamble – so good luck with that. Ideally you can be both witty and transparent, handing over both a piece of useful information and an invitation to find out more – like,

10 things you need to know about social media marketing

or, The New York Post’s,

Headless Body In Topless Bar

There are puns ; “Diageo reports spirited growth in whisky sales.”  

and then there are just times when punctuation causes confusion; “Hospital sued by 7 foot doctors.”

But nobody can rival The Sun for headlines. In Feb 2009 to accompany a picture of a Kestrel and a Barn Owl  fighting over food:

“Hawk Kestrel manoeuvres in the park”

or on the marriage of Elton John and David Furnish,

“Elton takes David up the aisle”

and finally a Yorkshire tale of foot and mouth disease – not the Sun I think,

“Sheepless in Settle”.

Something to think about while you’re composing your masterpieces. Do you have any favourites?

In search of the social media holy grail?

I’ve been at this social media marketing and pr a few years now, yet there are still times when I long for a quick fix, a universal panacea – an answer to all my problems.

Because, as I am sure you know, each social media project raises new issues and problems. This is not a one size fits all kind of game. Some clients need a dynamic Facebook presence while others are going to thrive on LinkedIn AND the landscape of social media itself keeps changing.

So every so often I go trawling the internet for answers. God what a frustrating business that can be! It seems that everyone today has become a how-to merchant and a ninja monger. At best you will find straight forward tech advice, at worst you will find badly spelled cut and paste jobs masquerading as top advice. It makes me wonder who I was taking advice from when I used to suck up all this stuff years ago.

Well it’s good to know that there are still some reliable refuges. Again and again I come back to The Social Media Examiner for a huge range of articles pitched at varying levels. I would also take a look at Social Media Today which aggregates thousands of articles from around the web and Hub Spot for a trawl through the archives. Next time you are stuck, try these resources and you are bound to find something of relevance.

What I’ve found is that even if you can’t locate the exact answer you’re looking for, you can get enough information here to set the brain ticking over and with a little thought, trial, error and effort the solution will come to you. Either that or you need to get a man/woman in!    

How to be more efficient with social media.

Everyone wastes time on social media, but if you are running a business or acting for a client, then efficiency is vital.

But how much time is too much and what are the dangers of not enough? I think we need to look at that.

Browsing a PR agencies blurb the other day I came across the proud boast that they would update their client’s social media across all platforms – wait for it – once a week! With the prices they were charging that amounted to a whole lot of cash in exchange for very little.

I update my client’s social media every working day and I know that this will take me 15 minutes each time if I am going to do it properly. What do I mean by properly – here’s a check list.

  • Posts should be well written.
  • Posts should be accompanied by an attractive photo, link or other media.
  • Posts should address an objective – whether that is simply creating a certain ambience or being helpful to a local business but don’t lose sight of your overall marketing and pr goals when you post.   

Surely you can get all that done in less than 15 minutes a day? If you post and go then maybe you can, but you also need to take time to look around. Post and go is not much different to broadcasting and maybe in those circumstances a targeted ad would be more effective?

I think you need to hang around social media a little to see what others are saying and while you do it you might perform these tasks;

  • Check your @ messages to see if people are talking about you.
  • Check your direct message to see if people are talking to you.
  • Check your new follows and decide if you want to follow back. Send them a message and maybe check out the people they follow if they look really good. 
  • Scan the tweet stream for conversations you would like to get involved with or use hashtag searches to home in on specific discussions.
  • Do a good deed – promote someone elses blog, or product but do it mindfully and with an objective – even if you simply want to be their friend or their products chime in with your vibe.

Now you need to get out before you waste too much time but don’t forget that you can make yourself more efficient by linking Facebook to Twitter or any other combination that suits you. You can try a pre-planned schedule and automated tweets but I prefer to use those with a light touch – being present, relevant and flexible is much more important. Journalists know that if a better story comes along you must ditch the plan and make a new one.  

Now I’m out of here.