Given Twitter’s unique ability to latch onto specific issues in the news agenda and flood your feed with jokes about it, it was probably inevitable that this week’s post focused on the papal election. For that I apologise, though the tweet I have chosen is SO INTERESTING it had me looking like the above lion. Well, almost.
Everybody’s favourite former Baby of the House, the Rt. Hon. David Lammy MP gave us all a timely reminder of the dangers posed by absent-minded tweeting. Really, I can’t remember such a good example since Ed Balls’ infamous tweeting of his own name.
Thankfully, Mr Lammy soon realised his mistake and shared the moral of today’s story in the following tweet. It’s a simple lesson that we should all bear in mind, though I rarely tweet from the Chamber myself:
It seems that such differences between the opinions of Twitter and the public as a whole are a rather common occurrence. As such, the Pew Research Center last week released the results of a year-long study comparing Twitter’s reaction to events with that of the general public as measured by surveys.
It’s interesting to note that the stereotype that Twitter is a hotbed of liberal opinion doesn’t always hold true. In fact, sometimes, the platform can even be more conservative than the public as a whole.
Rather than seeing the platform in purely political terms, it appears smarter to note one of the fundamental rules of the internet: people will use the platform to vent their frustrations. As such, a good rule of thumb that came out of the research is that Twitter opinion is generally more negative than public opinion. Or, as 3LW so aptly put it in their seminal turn-of-the-century ‘classic’, “haters gonna hate”.
Whilst a US-based study, this is still a pretty instructive reminder of the obvious: that the demographics (and – in my case, at least – self-selecting levels of narcissism) of those tweeting mean that it shouldn’t be taken as the be-all-and-end-all of public opinion. This has obvious implications in terms of campaign research and tracking, where we need to dig a little deeper to discover how people really feel about our brands. However, it’s also useful to bear in mind when a crisis hits and you’re calming down a client who’s feeling a bit vulnerable after a deluge of abuse.
Welcome back for the second edition of Tweet of the Week. In last week’s post, we saw Noah Smith take the award for pointing out a key piece of wisdom that investors often forget. This time, we’re being educated by @madeupstats.
This account serves to remind us to review stats we come across with a critical eye. Indeed, I’m sure we all obviously thought Annie Lennox was singing about statistics in Eurythmics’s seminal hit Sweet Dreams.
Anyway, in its own way @madeupstats also drops little gems of wisdom along the way that we can all learn from. This week’s winner concerns the perils of QR codes:
There may yet be some hope for QR codes, however. Much like any other tactic, if the rationale for their use is well-considered and the execution is creative, they can really drive engagement and add value to a client’s campaign and business. This example from Bergge Tattoo is a great case in point.
Wow, what a week it has been in the FPS team, we’ve barely had a chance to catch our breath! This week the news agenda has been much more serious – not like last week’s horsing around (sorry, couldn’t resist). Here are a couple of the things that have been keeping us busy and entertained over the past seven days
3. Newcomer advantage - The days of long, peaceful reflection and idle doodling in the university library may be long gone, but every now and again you spot a little something which suggests you did indeed learn something from the dusty text books.
Today’s FT reports how Asian banks are turning retail banking business models on their head, skipping branch models and heading straight for new mobile banking services. Oliver Wyman are quoted in the article with research indicating China already accounts for more than 40% of online banking customers.
By skipping years of slow banking evolution, relatively new banks in Asia are establishing themselves as leaders in mobile banking services. In the late nineteenth century, German industries skipped past their more established UK rivals with new production techniques and more modern factories. Ah, Economic History 101…
4. Bonus points – The European Union announced details this week of its plan to cap bankers’ bonuses at twice their salary. Whilst David Cameron was opposed to this, the FT’s Lex Column clearly adopted the “don’t get mad, get round it” philosophy.
5. #Twésumé – But for any banker who is considering a career change, getting a Twésumé sorted will be perhaps be essential. This week The Evening Standard reported that Twitter is playing an increasing role in recruitment with employers ditching the traditional CV in favour of a candidate’s Twitter profile. The Twésumé (as it has been so cleverly coined) appears two-fold:
The generous 140 character biography becomes your selling point. Writing “I love cats and beer” is unlikely to win you any fans (except of course other like-minded individuals)
Your Twitter feed must be regular, interesting and offer your opinions on topics rather than just pinching other people’s funnies
Unfortunately, in mine there is little room for anything else beyond Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
That’s all for this week folks. Thanks to Jonathan Henderson and Linzi Goldthorpe for their contributions. Have a great weekend!
It’s perhaps predictable given that we work in PR that some of us on the FPS team spend a little more time on Twitter than is probably healthy. To justify my addiction to following people around online I’ve decided to introduce a weekly feature on the blog, celebrating the very best tweets I come across. Hence, the new Tweet of the Week feature Award.
I warn you not to expect a consistent theme as this award runs. The sheer variety of content I come across means that the winners will likely win for really different reasons. Indeed, if I find Zayn Malik the most entertaining or insightful user then he will win, regardless of whether he airs his views on payday loans. This week is simple, however. A simple yet oft-neglected fact won the inaugural award for finance professor, Noah Smith:
Someone has fired the starting gun on the City and Twitter, because in recent months the number of City commentators taking to the airwaves has shot up. Some of the names are familiar from their traditional place on the rolling news channels. Others are less familiar but growing.
Below is our list of ten that are well worth following for an insight on the markets, investing and economic data. There are lots more, and we’ll run another list in a couple of months’ time to update on this:
Mike Van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets: @Accendo_Mike
1. The rise of the Sun on Sunday and the death, or rather resignation of another – On Wednesday, James Murdoch resigned as executive chairman of News International, raising speculation to the possibility of one of Jimbo’s older siblings emerging as eventual contender for the top dog of News Corp as he steps down.
2. The Leveson enquiry unrivalled another “surprise” this week with Rebekah Brooks and her gift horse from the Metropolitan Police. Sure did reveal the stable relationship Brooks had with the police. Oh the puns!
3. Facebook Timeline for brands got us talking this week as well. What it will mean for financial clients, for professional services? How to mark those significant brand milestones? I mean, issue 9.99 of an ISA account is hardly going to create the same emotional relevance, as the nostalgia of an iconic Coca Cola advert. Whatever the outcome, existing brands have just 30 days to clean up their Timeline and flip the switch.
4. In other news, banks have had their knuckles rapped this weekby the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS received over 250,000 complaints in 2011. Topping that list were Lloyds and Barclays as the most complained about banks.
5. Soon you’ll be able to use your phone for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Just earlier this week, H+K client, Visa Europe announced a worldwide partnership with Vodafone that will allow mobile phone users to pay for goods and services using their handset.
Another week, another Friday and that means another edition of our team’s Friday Fiver. This week, we have money-printing banks, Twitter-banning broadcasters, Newsnight-debriefing and Good week/Bad week. Thanks to our contributors DC, EJ, Hendog, and Josh-ua. Enjoy!
RUNNING OUT OF PAPER… It’s becoming increasingly hard for the Bank of England to convince people of the value of QE. As Fraser Nelson argued in the Telegraph, the Bank has gone a little quiet on their original reasons for launching QE which isn’t helping – nor is the fact that the links between QE and growth aren’t being articulated clearly, if it all. Yet at the same time, IHS’ Howard Archer is already predicting QE4 for May.
There's more of this in the games room
Source: Creative Commons/mtsofan
What the bank faces then is a PR challenge (as well as the frankly odd problem that they may run out of govt bonds to buy). If they believe QE4 is needed, then they’ve got 3 months to convince a sceptical media and public why it’s needed – expect Mervyn King’s quarterly inflation report next week to begin that process.
In the meantime, hats off to Stephanie Flanders last night for managing to explain what QE actually is and does – that may well be a first
SKY’S SOCIAL MEDIA COMMANDMENTS…
Thou shalt not repost non-company tweets
Thou shalt not re-tweet rival journalist or people on Twitter
Thou shalt not tweet someone else’ beat other than your own
Thou shalt pass breaking news lines to the news desk before posting them on social media networks…
The Guardian reported that the greater powers at the broadcast station stamped down their feet, and banned journalists from reposting tweets not relating to the company. Contentious guidelines even include the warning to Sky News employees not to retweet rival reporters.
The latest development raises once again, the debate on ownership of Twitter accounts, corporate or otherwise and how a brand can be represented and equally, mis-represented on social media through its employees.
The interesting question here is whether the guidelines will be applied to other parts of News Corp’s network, and more importantly Murdoch’s own account.
NEWSNIGHT DE-BRIEF…On Wednesday, members of the FPS team attended a Gorkana event with Newsnight’s deputy editor Shaminder Nahal and planning producer Samantha McAlister to hear how the show is put together and what the team are looking for when it comes to content and guests.
For those of you with a Gorkana PR log-in, there’s a detailed summary of the event here.
Looking through our notes from the event, a number of points jump out:
The show has an average audience of 800,000 but this can jump significantly in a big news week. For example, at the height of the phone hacking scandal, 1.7 million people were tuning in
Those involved in the production of the show, are incredibly passionate about their work
Jeremy Paxman is apparently a joy to work with, although perhaps unsurprisingly, he is very challenging and demands a lot from those he works with
Source: Creative Commons/Ric_James
It’s a trend we have noted before, but was one that was reiterated at the event – business and economics news has become “sexy”. Newsnight’s producers are always on the lookout for people from the City who can explain the world of finance and its wider importance to the viewer.
The show’s producers left us with the thought that Newsnight is an opportunity to set the record straight or to put across a new or important view to the nation’s opinion formers. It’s not for everyone, but for those willing to take on a challenge, there are a few more prominent slots.
On the subject of setting the record straight and BBC flagships… The embattled chief executive of RBS, Stephen Hester, addressed his critics this week and the interview is a must listen.
GOOD WEEK/BAD WEEK…Credit where credit’s due, Ed Miliband has had a very good week. To be precise, Ed Miliband had an excellent PMQs. Yes, David Cameron had a very bad PMQs. His aggressive, impatient responses to Miliband’s patient line of questioning confirmed the accuracy of his likeness to Flashman ‘literature’s most famous bully’. Public bullies don’t tend to make popular Prime Minister’s. Just look at what happened to Gordon Brown:
Miliband on the other had a bit of an open goal when it came to the NHS. Even the influential ConHome has urged Cameron to #dropthebill, so to speak. The softly, softly approach worked well for Miliband though and importantly, his line of inquiry on the NHS was consistent. Cameron’s increasing frustration at having to give the same weak lines and limp backing to his struggling Health Secretary, amplified Miliband’s taunt of ‘calm down dear.’ It was typical of the bad luck Mili E has suffered with broadcasters that the news of Harry Redknapp’s court case emerged at the same time as PMQs, therefore minimising the impact of this little victory. Cameron’s an incredibly savvy dispatch box performer and will be increasingly wise to it, but if Miliband can continue to draw out Flashman Cameron he may enjoy more success in the opinion polls.
MORE BAD NEWS…Headlines have been dominated by the arrest and trial of ‘rogue’ trader Kweku Adoboli who is accused of unauthorised trading which cost his employer – Swiss bank UBS – about £1.5bn. However, a potentially more interesting story that has come to light in recent days is the sheer scale international investigation into manipulation of Libor – the interest rate used for inter-bank lending. Regulators in Japan, the UK, the US and Europe have been investigating the scheme since at least March 2011, and have now implicated employees at a number of major financial institutions. Analysts had long been suspicious that financial institutions were covering up the size of their borrowing costs during the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.
The increase in intranational prosecutions and international regulatory collaboration has also highlighted differing standards about what constitutes corporate crime. Many American investors were surprised at the British Financial Service’s Authority decision to fine hedge fund manager David Einhorn for insider trading because his actions would not have been considered unlawful in the US. British authorities generally cast a much wider net when investigating white-collar crime but are perceived to have a miserable record when it comes to prosecutions. By contrast, their American counterparts have a narrower definition but pursue cases with vigour, even if that means crossing international boundaries to do so.
It seems likely that more cases of this nature will emerge in the coming months, especially if Eurozone crisis continues to destabilise international markets.
This post is by Sallie Bale, who is in the process of setting up her own account, but was desperate to just get blogging!
Spurred on by a recent article, ‘Why social customer service will come of age in 2012′, below is my work-in-progress Top 5 social media customer service channels. As that Econsultancy article points out, social media and customer service should be a match made in heaven. But so often due to a lack of knowledge, money or attention, some brands can get it pretty wrongg as we have seen over and over again.
As with many new issues, organisations often have a tough time understanding how digital customer service will work with their current offerings or processes. Mashable reports that many organisations are battling the same issues, which they distilled down to: Integration, Scaling and Crisis management.
I expect that many brands think they’re “opting out” of using social media channels in this way, but in some cases this simply is not an option; the customer is likely to use it any way. Referring to a study on WARC, Lawrence Fenley, MD, Sitel, said: ” With easy access to real-time information, a new generation of ‘always-on’ consumers is more empowered and demanding than ever.”
These sentiments are echoed by Mark Hillary in his insightful thought piece in the HuffPo. He asserts that the way corporate customer service is run hasn’t fundamentally changed in a very, very long time. He points out that the crucial difference between traditional customer service and social is that it is so easily amplified within the target market. To sum up, he argues:
“Consumers will complain using their own channels whatever you as a company ask them to do, so social media for customer service can no longer be ignored. It’s no longer a cool, trend-setting, inclusive, and awesome area to explore. If you are not answering your consumers within the social web then they will just assume that you are ignoring them.”
And so, with that in mind, here is my Top 5 list of great customer services channels:
This is the last time in 2012 I say this – Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good Christmas but now it’s done let’s look forward to what will no doubt be a memorable year, in many ways, most of which Dr Doom will relish, but many of which are truly historic. Here is our first fiver of the year.
Probably the best recovery of any opposition party in history
So the Labour Party hasn’t had the best of weeks. In fact on Thursday it really didn’t have the best of days. Firstly, Lord Glasman, adviser to Ed Miliband, gifted the tories and the so-called ’Miliband hunters’ in the Labour Party with a stinging critique of the Labour leader’s, err, leadership. Shortly after this excitement, Diane Abbott kicked up a storm over comments she made on twitter, later interrupting an interview on Sky News to take a call from Ed Miliband himself, who proceeded to give Abbott a ‘severe dressing down.’ The icing on the cake was a leaked strategy document script for broadcast (according to Labour HQ), which is worth a read, if you haven’t already (P1 & P2), and yes, it does include those fateful words in the above subtitle.
Count the cars
No doubt you’re bored of hearing about Europe and the mess our inter-dependent economies now find themselves in. The simple fact of the matter is, the problems are not over, and 2012 is set for more of the same.
Singing a different tune at the end of 2011 however, Sam Jones, the FT’s Hedge Fund Correspondent penned an intriguing piece about the lengths hedge fund managers go to find out what they are investing in. The crux of the article was that all may not be quite as rosy as it seems in the East and that problems may lurk within the Chinese economy. Hedge fund managers have dispatched intelligence gatherers to factory gates to “count the cars” and ensure official figures match realities on the ground.
The article also linked to a video of hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry dating back to 2009 on a jaunt amongst seemingly empty Chinese skyscrapers pondering who is actually going to rent these steel giants. Both the article and the video are worthy of five minutes of your attention.
Top 50 Most Valuable Brands in China
Moving seemlessly from empty skyscrapers to those who might fill them.
Click on the image – Simples!
Old hacks new tricks
After tweeting this in error, Sky’s crime correspondent Martin Brunt gave a quick lesson in how to shut down an embarrassing moment with this swift response.
A precise report which helpfully landed in our inbox earlier today revealed the following:
Who ‘owns’ your company’s Twitter followers?
A US firm is suing a former employee who took 17,000 Twitter followers with him when he left the company. PhoneDog Media is seeking damages of up to USD370,000 from Noah Kravitz after claiming the costs and resources invested in its followers and fans were substantial. Kravitz speaks to TheDroidGuy about the dispute and says the company never asked for the Twitter account back and suggested he could tweet on its behalf. In contrast, PhoneDog president Tom Klein says the Twitter account was created to promote PhoneDog content and to give fans a chance to follow Noah ‘as a representative of the company’. The New Statesman says the case could have far-reaching legal implications regarding the value of social media and its users and how intellectual property law has adapted to the emergence of social media. The outcome could also influence how companies choose to use and invest in such technology in future.
It is an interesting development, and follows (to some extent) the debacle around Twitter account ownership of Laura Kuenssberg, who you may remember, moved from the BBC to ITV taking some 60,000 followers with her. The central question (or one of them) being are you following the tweeter due to the specific interest you may have in them as a person, or because of the inherent brand association they enjoy thanks to their role i.e., were you following Laura Kuenssberg, or the BBC ‘s Chief Political Correspondent?