Digital Knowledge » social media http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson Mon, 09 May 2011 09:44:25 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 5 social media lessons we can learn from talkback radio http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2011/05/04/5-social-media-lessons-from-talkback-radio/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2011/05/04/5-social-media-lessons-from-talkback-radio/#comments Wed, 04 May 2011 03:45:24 +0000 Mandi Bateson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/?p=170

Today we had the pleasure of hearing  John Stanley talk about his experiences as a presenter on 2UE. While the focus of the roundtable was to have a better understanding of how H&K can provide better counsel for media training, I found all of John’s points could easily be translated to social media best practice.

It’s not the first time that I have been fascinated by the similarities between talkback and social media. The #qanda Twitter stream is the perfect example of that well known mix of contributors who are fired-up and passionate about a particular subject and those who love a soapbox for their 15 seconds (or 140 characters) of fame.  Social networks pull together all the elements of the talkback environment – people who want the opportunity to tell their story, a forum to publicly voice comments and replies, community hubs to nurture common areas of interests and polarising opinions to ignite discussion. And it can all happen on your Facebook Page.

Don’t be afraid to stand your ground against detractors

Earlier this year Julia Gillard made national news with her fiery debate with 2GB presenter Alan Jones. In fact if you Google “Julia Gillard vs” the first autocomplete recommendation is Alan Jones. As the Prime Minister, Gillard is no stranger to having her statements challenged. As one of Australia’s most controversial talkback  radio hosts, Jones is perhaps not as accustomed to a challenge as he is to defence. John also discussed with us the importance of following up a story with a journalist and told us how the likes of Ray Hadley would be all too ready to set the record straight should a story from his show fall victim to an overly biased or inaccurate point of view. However obviously he can’t do that unless a senior media representative contacts him to challenge the original detractor.

What can we learn?

Keyboard warriors are loud, aggressive and can command a sizeable audience. As John pointed out, the PM earned credibility for challenging Jones in her attempts to clarify statements that would “mislead your listeners”. If you have a vocal detractor posting inaccurate or misinformed statements about your brand, products or services you have a right of reply. In fact, this is often the reason companies finally include social media in their communications strategies – without a presence these statements are left unchallenged.

Be prepared to discuss your audience’s agenda

John had a great story about how Roger Corbett, Woolworths CEO (at the time), was on his show, prepared for the onslaught of questions about pokies, liquor stores and co-branded fuel outlets. When John threw the phone lines opened Roger fielded 45 minutes of calls from the audience on one standout subject – what was behind the policing of the 12 items or less line?

What can we learn?

While you might be ready to push your brand messaging to your social media communities, they are there to interact with you on their terms. In Craig Pearce’s e-report, Public Relations 2011: insights, issues and ideas, I wrote:

… your audience doesn’t care that your organisation has very separate PR, marketing, sales and customer services departments. And whichever one pops up in the social space first should be ready to manage expectations – the Facebook page you created to extol the virtues of your environmental program will be used for venting frustrations regarding service outages if that’s what they want to say to you.

Roger Corbett knew his business inside and out so thankfully he didn’t find himself struggling with this unexpected line of discussion. Those responsible for your social media voice should be equally prepared to deal with any topic of interest from your audience. Sometimes this will require significant organisational change so that your community managers can represent PR. sales, customer service and account management whenever the need arises.

Transparency will win in a world of spin

One of my favourite pearls of wisdom from John is that we need to respect that the audience has changed the way they view the media and can see through the spin. With pop culture favourites like Frontline, The Hollowmen and The Gruen Transfer shining a light on old tactics and the backlash to incidences of cash for comment, the audience is ready to question anything they find suspicious. As John said, those who go against the trend of using “weasel words” and remain transparent about sponsorship deals and advertising are earning respect and credibility from a more educated audience.

What can we learn?

Consumers know you’re there to sell a product, not to be their friend. Why can’t we admit that advertising is advertising? Why be afraid to link a campaign to the desired outcome – a product sale? Why not acknowledge that a business is run by people, and not droids, and that regular, personal engagement may be susceptible to less than perfect interactions? Australians know this better than anyone; we can relate to brands that are inherently open, transparent and accountable. We love a straight shooter.

The voice of your company should be connected to a brain

John spoke to us about the increasing popularity of “advocacy journalism” where presenters find themselves abandoning traditional lines of questioning to try and create a result for their audience: “how can I fix this?”.  Think how Karl Stefanovic has been taking on the insurance companies on behalf of flood victims or how telcos are taken to task over service or billing disputes. John played a sound bite from a discussion he had on air with a media spokesperson in this kind of situation who had clearly been media trained to the point of detraction. He was unable to deviate from the prepared statements he obviously had in front of him and even began reciting the company values and examples which had no relevance to the topic at hand.

What can we learn?

This is a fitting example for why the voice of your company should be prepared, but should also be prepared to improvise. And most importantly, this is why your social media presence should be managed by an experienced communicator and not just a junior who understands all this new technology. Was that clear? You can write up all the key messaging documents you like but at the end of the day you are speaking in a live, dynamic space that requires maturity, common sense and agility. The representative for your company should always be equipped with the skills to react and adapt in this environment.

Have something to say and be interesting when you say it

This one covers a few examples. I’m sure most PR practitioners have hestitated before arranging interviews with key spokespeople for one of two reasons: the spokesperson is as interesting as a bowl of oat bran or the spokesperson wants coverage for something that is in no way newsworthy. John was realistic about it – have something interesting to say and be interesting when you say it or you won’t be invited back.

What can we learn?

Without the barriers of pesky journos, producers or editors to put the brakes on branded stories or content, the responsibility is with us to maintain an opt-in audience. As I have mentioned before, if you don’t deliver relevant and interesting content then you won’t continue to be invited to promote your brand, products or services in someone’s sacred social network feed. I really loved this article from Viral Blog that dissects the benefits of a good content strategy and this sentence resonated with me,

Nowadays your brand is being used more than it is being preferred, and if you give the people the right reason to use you: they will.

If you’re planning to speak to mums through popular social networks on a daily basis, your campaign will require an online editorial strategy – enough relevant and interesting content to seed every day.

I hope to see radio presenters like John on the conference circuit in future. They’ve been dealing with the same objectives and challenges that are now facing many a community manager and I think we’ve got a lot to learn from them. What are your thoughts?

Photo credit: Ian Hayhurst
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How to win fans and influence people http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/10/27/how-to-win-fans-and-influence-people/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/10/27/how-to-win-fans-and-influence-people/#comments Wed, 27 Oct 2010 11:23:52 +0000 Mandi Bateson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/?p=96

Next month H&K will be presenting at Digital Now Australia or DNA://10, a conference in its second year with speakers from other WPP agencies TNS and GroupM and the local team from Google. The conference will be hitting up Sydney and Melbourne with the aim to take some of the hype and hyperbole out of digital and focus on the strategic direction required to achieve real results. With the recent release of TNS’s Digital Life – the most comprehensive study we’ve ever seen on digital lifestyles – it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate how each agency uses insights into consumer behaviours to develop kick-ass strategies across the marketing mix.

As we’ve constructed our presentation to represent integrated communications we’ve realised just how much there is to say on the subject. Unfortunately we don’t have all day. Fortunately I have this blog to explore all of the other avenues that pop up for discussion. Now all I have to do is find the time!

Here’s a teaser for our presentation How to win fans and influence people. We’ve broken it down into 3 key areas:

Know your influencers

Famous Chinese Man who rode his tricycle tousands of kms to the Olympics _0311 PR has always been about finding and leveraging influencers. What we love about social media is that the shifting dynamics of influence has highlighted the importance of this skill.  So why is your loyal PR team reeling off a list of unfamiliar names as your next campaign hit list? Your influencers may not be who you think they are but the journey to find and connect with them will give you a better understanding of your audience and the opportunities at hand.

Plan to give good content

The Story of My Life So you’ve decided a Facebook page and Twitter are a great way to connect with your fans. Have you thought about what you’re going to say? Even the most enigmatic community managers would have trouble maintaining a daily conversation without some great content to share. Plan ahead and then plan to adapt that plan – often. And don’t forget to tuck away some extra budget and resourcing in case you need it when you least expect it!

Conversion is king

Head for Chess 62:365 We’ve heard content is king, we’ve heard conversation is king. It’s time for the heir apparent to take the throne! Big ideas are great but not without reason. When you forget to focus on your objectives things often get complicated fast. Before you kick off that user generated content competition ask yourself why you need your audience to go to that much trouble. Will you benefit from it? Will they? We also make the distinction between outputs and outcomes. What are you measuring and why?

As you can see it’s fodder for endless discussion and the tangents – oh the tangents! – could fill whitepaper after whitepaper. For now we’ll be refining our thoughts into 3 key takeaways to get the audience motivated and inspired. And we’ll play a little buzzword bingo on the side just for kicks.

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Social Media Blues http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/09/02/social-media-blues/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/09/02/social-media-blues/#comments Thu, 02 Sep 2010 10:20:21 +0000 Mandi Bateson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/?p=73

How well do you know your social media blues?

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Measuring social media effectiveness http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/08/20/measuring-social-media-effectiveness/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/08/20/measuring-social-media-effectiveness/#comments Fri, 20 Aug 2010 02:26:30 +0000 Mandi Bateson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/?p=54

On Thursday I spoke at the 3rd annual Local Government Web Network Conference, organised by superhero and pocket rocket Reem Abdelaty. The conference presents an interesting challenge as the audience is a mix of PR, marketing, web development, web design and IT staff with one thing in common – the responsibility of their council’s web presence.

It was great to talk to the attendees and understand their pain points. These in particular came through loud and clear:

  • Where do we start?
  • How do I motivate others to get involved?
  • How do I scale back those who are too involved?
  • I don’t have time!
  • I don’t have resources!
  • I can’t stay on top of all the opportunities – which is the best one to go with?

In my presentation, I looked at measuring social media effectiveness. I framed the presentation by answering who, what where, when, why and how. My entire presentation is below but I thought I’d just touch on a few key points for each section as my slides aren’t all that obvious.

Who

Remember that while technology enables what you are measuring, in the end you are still measuring humans. This means that caution regarding sentiment analysis and consumer behaviours should be taken into account. Examples: we have different preferences for how we like to consume content while our litology is still too complex for a machine to definitively categorize.

What

I described a list of key performance indicators that I use based on how they match the objectives of the campaign. Examples: if we measure new search terms in the research phase of the sales cycle, we have the opportunity to strengthen our message to meet the needs of our audience.

Where

These days we need to ensure we’re not just measuring the content that we host ourselves. Your content could be shared across the universe, so make sure you know where it’s going and how it’s being received.

When

Lots of great free tools have a very short window of time to report on your data. If you find a reporting tool that you love, check if it needs to be extracted weekly or monthly and get your hands on the data regularly so you don’t miss out on the insights. Also don’t do all your reporting post campaign. Digging around beforehand might help you deliver a more effective campaign or even offer you opportunities you didn’t know existed!

Why

Some people say if you’re getting the results you want then you don’t need to worry about measuring each stage of the process. And miss out on the opportunity to improve that process and increase your success? Pah to that, I say!

How

So this is where I spent a little more time. I went through the structure of a report and the opportunities that both free and paid tools gives us. I discussed the platform specific reporting tools and why the insights they provide might give you a reason to integrate it into your strategy (*cough* Foursquare! *cough*). I pointed out that while Google Analytics may not work on Facebook or Wordpress.com, we can be grateful for companies like Webdigi who share useful tactics on their blog.

In the presentation there’s also a list of Delicious bookmarks that I have put together of free tools that help with websites, search and social audits. I did spend some time going through subscription based tools however it is an expense worth shared rather than a standalone investment.

So unfortunately it seems I may have compounded a few of the challenges listed above instead of solved them! Luckily the feedback was great and hopefully they’ll now have access to some practical resources to help them whatever stage they may find themselves at in social media measurement.

Finally I’d like to give a shout out to Reem who put on a fantastic event. From the published booklet of stories from the various councils and the selection of topics; to the conference dinner at Fix St James and the online repository of conference information – an extremely well run event of value to delegates, sponsors and presenters. Thanks for the invite Reem!

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Who owns social media? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/08/03/who-owns-social-media/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/08/03/who-owns-social-media/#comments Tue, 03 Aug 2010 01:33:14 +0000 Mandi Bateson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/?p=50

This post was originally published at PRINKS.

They say if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the marketing world this means when a client comes to us with a problem, we assume our discipline has the solution. If we’re humble sometimes we may admit only part of the solution. So who does it best?

As an example let’s look at the question of the virtual hour. Who owns social media – PR/comms? Advertising? Digital creative? Citizen journalists? No one?

Forget ownership by discipline. Social media, just like every other marketing channel, is owned by strategy.

If you’re in PR, don’t buy the top keywords for a Google Adwords campaign and consider SEO ticked. If you’re in advertising don’t assume a few links broadcasted each day equals community management.

I’d like to hand this explanation over to some of my favourite smart cookies. I asked them all these three questions:

1. Why is your niche a must-have component of a marketing strategy?

2. How does your discipline compliment an integrated marketing solution?

3. Why do you need a strategic approach to your area?

Here’s what they had to say.

SEO

Kristin Rohan, Founder & Director, SassySEO

Search engine optimization store, Shoreditch, London, UK SEO is the foundation of any online presence – whether a site, blog or social media engagements. SEO is about doing research, analysing data to focus content & ensure it is valuable & relevant to the audience. SEO is also about helping people find your site and easily engage with you – to lead them through the sales cycle and then analysing what’s happening– optimising the site, social channels, and content to improve rankings, visibility, awareness & create quality relationships.

SEO compliments an integrated marketing solution because it can be useful in any area of marketing – keyword research is used in content & messaging, competitive analysis is used in defining brand or niche, analysing visitor/site stats is critical to understanding target audience, optimising social media engagements is needed so businesses can find & attract quality prospects.

It’s imperative SEO is a strategy so a business will start thinking about focusing their products, messaging & content from the beginning — a proper SEO strategy will enable this. A new site needs proper focus, organisation & content — and a firm plan to lead prospects and customers through the site to maximise opportunities to engage them in the community, with your business or in a sale. SEO should also be part of Social Media Strategy so the proper measurements/analytics are put in place, relevant & valuable content is shared, and data is analysed to improve participation in their community.

PR

Kim McKay, Director, Klick Communications

Social media in itself is the perfect conduit for text book PR. Universities preach to their students about “two-way symmetrical communication” and that’s exactly how PR works in social media. Relationships, engagement, communication… all these interactive elements that are at the crux of PR are also those which make a social media marketing strategy effective.

PR is the glue that ties it all together. PR is reliant on receivership and response, and in this way it is not only a way to gauge the success of an integrated marketing solution, but also the fuel which motors the next move.

PR (anything in fact) without strategy is a bit like baking a cake for the first time without a recipe; it can be done but it probably won’t be good. PR is a multifaceted practice, and you need the right measure of all the integral elements in order to produce anything decent.

Media

Joel Pearson, Online Account Manager, PHD Media

Media strategy and channel planning play the crucial role of identifying audience and when and where to reach them. The best creative idea on earth is nothing if nobody see’s it.

The way I approach media planning I believe that it is crucial that all people involved in the strategic direction of the campaign ensure they are on the same path before any actually planning occurs. Ensuring everyone is working towards the same business outcomes and that they want to communicate the same thing allows for a much more integrated planning style that ensures the media works with the creative messaging instead of just acting as a housing for it. Too often a media agency pulls together a plan, a creative agency has some concepts and the two are forced to work together even though the advertising may look like shit within a tiny banner.

All elements of marketing require a strategic approach. In particular when assessing and choosing media you need to understand in what way you are planning to influence thinking or behaviour because different mediums are consumed in very different ways and are processed in different areas of the brain. This kind of detail needs to be balanced with both media and production costs as well as business outcomes in order to come up with the optimal mix of media to deliver the clients campaign.

Community Management

Nicola Swankie, Account Director, McCann Sydney

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual MashupsHow can you be proactive in controlling the sentiment of your brand that is out there?  To do that we know we need to be a part of the conversation, listening, giving our customers something of value and transparently acting on what we hear.    But how do you credibly join in that conversation and where?

I believe through being a part of your customers’ community or create a community they want to be a part of.   Online or offline. The words Social Media can be scary.  But if your brand goes in with the right kind of approach and role within a community where you do something your customers will value either from an engagement or utility point of view it should result in positive sentiment and results for the business.

I really like Gareth Kay’s thinking   on how today we need ideas that do, not ideas that say.  For me any great marketing solution will always involve an idea that does something and involves people in it.  And where you have a whole bunch of people involved in doing something, to bring it to life you essentially will build a community around it by default.

The purpose of community should always come from the strategic direction and purpose of your business overall.  Whether you choose to join a community or create one yourself it is important to ensure you can link what you are doing back to business results and metrics.   A solid strategic approach should ensure that it does.

Think you deserve the lead on an integrated social media campaign? Your strategy should be managed by someone who understands and respects every element, even if only to brief (and not execute) other components. This will sort your truly strategic marketers from those using a buzzword as an invoice line item.d

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Why you should take the long road http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/07/27/socialmediashortcuts/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/2010/07/27/socialmediashortcuts/#comments Tue, 27 Jul 2010 03:52:22 +0000 Mandi Bateson http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mandibateson/?p=22

No matter what you do in life, someone is always looking for a shortcut, from get rich schemes to fad diets. Last year I blogged:

Shortcuts aren’t just for keyboards

Despite the fact that many aspects of our lives continue to be made inexplicably easier with each passing year, there will always be a special group of people looking for a shortcut. 10,000 followers on Twitter in 3 days; a popular blog with scrapings of everyone else’s brilliant content; instant You Tube fame complete with sponsor interest and meme infamy. It alienates those willing to invest time and effort and irritates almost everyone who has to put up with the result. And yet it continues because unfortunately it works. Those who succeed (and even those who don’t) then get to take it to a new level – selling the secret shortcuts to finding the shortcuts.

By my own admission, some people succeed with shortcuts. Here’s the part where I convince you to consider the long (and often hard) road when it comes to social media.

Promotion

Avoid the Field of Dreams approach because the mentality that “if you build it, they will come” will end in Waterworld sized disaster. It’s like creating a direct mail campaign and hoping your customers will happen by your office to pick it up from reception.You need to drive people to your Facebook page, your community of interest, your brand new blog. Your overall objectives should reflect whether you choose to do that through advertising, an email blast or PR activity.

Another unfortunate shortcut is only committing time to the community the day of your campaign launch or promotional activity. You will probably need a few weeks of community management and content generation to build momentum so that your audience doesn’t arrive at any empty space.  You’ll need to work hard for your interactions so ask questions, reward early contributors,  create loads of content to share and remember to give as well as take.

Engagement

In the “who owns social media” battle for supremacy, agencies are talking down the key skills of other disciplines as they hustle for more of the budget. Now I know that digital agencies and in-house marketers value the expertise of communications in social media because of the number of requests for detailed content plans complete with tone, timing and “test” examples – as part of the proposal.  If the focus of your strategy is conversation, invest in someone who can communicate for you, internally or externally.

The difference is remarkable – below is an example of a page run by a digital agency in November who were giving away what must have been a total if $50,000 in daily prizes. Comparatively, during February and March I was managing a community with good old content and conversation and a few giveaways worth maybe $300 in total. Hire the right people for the right job and you’ll get the right results.

Measurement

Unfortunately we can get so caught up in the numbers that we miss one of the most important components of social media reporting – context. With all the hype around social statistics and sentiment during the election, in many cases there has been little done to define the the audience, to what non-social activity the community is responding, or the previous authority of the so-called influencers.  At the time of writing, a spam account actually rounded out one tool’s Top 100 Influential Australian Political Twitterers.

Election hype aside, context tells you if “volcano” is a popular keyword because it’s considered spectacular or dangerous. It tells you if your page views are double the average number because one person keeps refreshing the page to see who has replied to their comment. It tells you that some of your negative sentiment is down to the fact that your audience “can’t wait” until your product release.

Don’t be discouraged by the extra work because at the end of the road you’ll be reaping the benefits. Here’s to your double rainbow.

Double Rainbow while driving to Manitowoc races (8.11.2007)

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