Tag Archives: Twitter

What’s not going to happen in 2013

So by this stage, already one  week into this gloomy, gloomy year, you’ll have read the millionth ‘what’s going  to happen in  2013’ list, so I thought I’d approach the topic a little differently. This is my ‘what’s not going  to happen in 2013′ list.

1) Tablets will not be the magic bullet for publishers. Only ever wishful thinking and hype on  the part of publishers, 2013 will be the year that the industry collectively slumps in its chairs and reluctantly admits that it’s still  harder than ever to make money from the  printed word. This has been driven in part by the poor  quality of ‘tablet editions’ – many are little more than a linked-up PDF. Another ominous sign was Murdoch’s decision to close his tablet paper, in The Daily, in December, after losing  $30m a year.

The same goes for print books; while tablets are a great  innovation for consumers, for publishers it only means tighter margins as Amazon executives rub their hands together with glee. But that’s not to say there’s not some success from the more esoteric operators. Legal publishers like Thomson Reuters are investing heavily in professional-grade e-readers, able to cope with  the very specific demands of the professional services, such as dynamic searching and note making. We’ll see more innovation in this area I think, but not for a mainstream consumer audience.

tablet  colour

2) Specialist social media PR agencies will no longer (generally) have competitive edge. Let’s face it, any account executive in any PR agency can set up a Facebook page or talk about  twitter content plans. What was once the  domain of the few is now firmly in the  mainstream, at least when it comes to the agencyland bubble. However, what this means is that those specialist agencies are (or should be) looking beyond the obvious, and are moving into exciting and dynamic new areas; branded content, experiential, app development, SEO, all founded by great ideas that get  people talking, whatever the medium. Success will become defined by  those willing to pioneer, and a huge agency grey area will  start to swirl.

3) SEO will not take over the PR/social media mix. For all the talk of  SEO usurping content-led social media and PR, the latter  discipline will continue to prove its worth on all fronts; from a creative, strategic and ROI basis. What we’ll see is a merge; traditional SEO agencies will continue to embrace great content and golden links from high traffic news sites, recruiting or acquiring PR talent and  agencies in the process. Meanwhile, forward-thinking PR agencies will continue to hire SEO talent, to bolster the credibility  and  knowledge–base of their own offering. 

facebook

4) Consumers will not tire of Facebook. Pah! As if anyone seriously thought that would happen. While Google+ continues to update its proposition and talk in hushed  tones about how it will help search results, how many of us really use it? Or even enjoy the experience? While Facebook adoption might plateau in Europe, America and  the Asia Pacific, there will be  always be new growth areas. A bit like the tobacco industry. And it’s still the best, most dynamic and  exciting way to reach and engage with a mainstream consumer audience. Facebook will increasingly become the lead-channel in  integrated marketing  campaigns. Maybe we’ll even see traditional websites and (gasp) the 30 second  TV spot  disappear. Probably not for a while, but one thing’s sure – no matter how many times Mark Zuckerberg sells our data or betrays us, we’ll keep coming back for more, me included.

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Social media metrics – avoiding ‘over-information-itus’

The beauty of social media is that everything is measurable; clicks, impressions, engagement, web traffic, blog views, you name it. There’s a wealth of data available resulting from every single piece of activity you do. So it figures that all this information makes it easy to measure the effectiveness of campaigns right? Unfortunately, not always.

With all this information comes problems; namely a common and acute case of acute ‘over-information-itus’ where there’s so much data that your head spins and your brain becomes mush. Or, even easier is falling into the trap of simply ‘counting’ metrics, such as Facebook ‘likes’ or video views, without matching up the data with your marketing objectives.

When analysing the impact of any campaign, it’s a good idea is to have a ‘measurement dashboard’ in place; a checklist of key metrics that you apply to every piece of activity, helping you measure the impact of any social media and justify any investment in this area. While your marketing objectives will vary from campaign to campaign, typically they’ll exist within a fairly narrow genre; sell more products, boost brand awareness or drive web traffic. With that in mind I’ve developed a basis dashboard you can use when analysing your own campaigns.

Audience reach

A no-brainer. Just as you’d calculate how many people you reached with your event or ad campaign, you can do exactly the same with social media, and the good news is, it’s easy. Let’s say you’ve uploaded a brand video to Youtube, you’ve tweeted about it, put it on your blog, posted it on Facebook and outreached it to two mummy bloggers. Simply count the total number of views across all platforms. On Facebook look at the ‘insights’ page on your brand dashboard, which is increasingly sophisticated.  For twitter, you’ll need to use a free tool to calculate audience reached, such as Tweet Reach. Your blog will have its own back-end analytics telling you how many people have viewed your post. And don’t forget to count the audience of any third party bloggers who have featured your campaign – to do this either use a tool like Alexa [xwww.alexa.com], or ask the blogger nicely for their daily uniques (good luck with that!)   

Engagement

Reaching a large audience is good, but engagement is more important. It’s far better to have 100 people interested in what you’ve got to say and therefore more likely to buy from you and tell their friends about you than 1,000 people who are indifferent. Engagement is a key indicator into how effective your marketing message is in terms of galvanizing your audience into action.

Measuring engagement in Facebook is easy. Again, check out the ‘insights’ button and look at the ‘talking about this’ tab. Other indicators of engagement are number of comments on your blog, number of twitter re-tweets and @tweets, and number of Youtube comments and interactions. Always remember to contrast engagement levels against a ‘base’ level to give you a frame of reference as a percentage increase i.e. at a time when you’re not running any specific campaign activity.

It’s also a good idea to look at the sentiment of what people are saying, as well as key conversation themes – is your activity driving positive on-brand conversation, or negative, off-topic conversation, for example? There’s a number of sophisticated paid-for tools that can do this, and they don’t come cheap. However, you can check out a nice little free tool called Social Mention which measures both these elements and is well worth a look.

Community growth

In theory at least, reaching a big audience and successfully engaging with them should lead to your community growing as more people decide they like your brand, and want to hear more from you. You should measure how this is increasing (or god forbid, decreasing). When we talk about ‘community’ we mean any social media member community that you own – so count increases in Facebook fans, twitter followers, Youtube subscribers, blog subscribers, or whatever social media platforms you’re using. A handy tool for tracking twitter growth is Twitter Counter.

Referrals + Social media conversation

Like it or not, social media has to ultimately come back to sales, or at least play a role in the sales cycle.  So first of all, you need to drive people to where a conversation can take place, typically your website. And the good news is research has shown a customer arriving on your website from a social media channel is much more likely to buy from you than if they’ve come there directly. This is where ‘referrals’ come in – the more referrals to your website you’re driving from social media channels the better. Google analytics (ask your web guy or girl to install analytics tracking on key pages of your site) is the best tool for this and will list which websites are referring traffic back to your site. If your social media activity is effective, then you will start to see these channels appearing in the top ten referrers.

Secondly, it’s important to look at the business value of your social media activity – the hard sales bit. You can measure conversion through properly set up web analytics, but this isn’t terribly easy unless you have access to a specialist. An easier route could be to calculate your average conversation rate and average spend per customer, and apply this value to a percentage of the total traffic arriving on your site from social media. And if you carry out PPC activity, then you can attribute your average pay-per-click cost to each piece of traffic from social media.

And remember, this is not an exhaustive list. Keep flexible and add additional metrics that suit your specific objectives, and help you justify your social media budgets.

 

Image used under Creative Commons via jrbrubaker

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Media comment: Sydney Morning Herald

I’ve just been featured on the Sydney Morning Herald’s small business channel, talking about twitter tips for the SME. Check it out below.  It’s always tough to make this kind of thing meaningful in only five bullets, but that’s the nature of the beast.

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Help me on my crowd-sourced holiday

I’m off to Melbourne at the weekend, the first time I’ve ever been there. Usually I’d take a stack of guide books, leaflets and maps. I’d spend hours pouring over them, planning my day; what bars to go to, the best sights to see, the quirkiest restaurants to eat at. If I didn’t cover off everything in my list I’d get depressed and stressed. I’d feel I’d somehow wasted my time and money. You get the picture.

But not this time.

This time I’m going to do things differently. I’m going to keep things firmly 2011 and have a completely crowd-sourced holiday. That’s right, I’m binning the books and, using only my iPhone and a range of social networks, I’m going to go it alone.

That means from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave Melbourne, I’m basing my trip on information I can glean from Twitter and Facebook, venue suggestions and tips on Scvngr and must-dos on Foursquare.

This could lead to a dreadful holiday experience, careering from random venue to random venue. Or maybe it will lead to the most amazing, spontaneous holiday ever. Either way, it’ll be fun finding out. Look me up at www.twitter.com/willockenden if you want to help out. The results will be published right here, very soon…

Image used under Creative Commons courtesy of Endlesstrail

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Alright, snow

So, if you’re like me, you’re getting increasingly sick of reading Facebook updates on how bad the snow is. From the relatively calm (Sunday to Monday) to the increasingly hysterical (Wednesday morning onwards).

Local TV news are also in their element, last night resorting to three-way split screen ‘on the scene’ report of different snowy areas across Yorkshire, all showing essentially the same gloomy scene. So, I though to myself, the perfect opportunity to try out some snow-related analytics…

So firstly, #UKSnow and Snow are top trending topics on Twitter, as you’d expect…

There’s massive peaks on Trendistic around 5th Jan as people talk about the snow…

And mixed feelings around the snow on a Tweetcloud – ‘inches’, ‘love’ and ‘falling’ all feature

And my favourite, panic as people search for salt suppliers, the RAC and boiler repair men!



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Forget Tweeting, it’s all about Boo

My current favourite application is audioBoo. It’s the audio equivalent of Twitter, where users upload short audio clips, detailing the intricacies of their lives. It’s simple: instead of a ‘Tweet’, you ‘Boo’. Current King of the Internet, Stephen Fry is a massive advocate (obviously) as are the usual crowd; tech geeks, musicians, but few brands, interestingly.

But it’s not all plain sailing. It’s all pretty raw; the site is ropey as hell and is prone to sudden errors, and whether it ever achieves mass adoption is another thing. But, it’s certainly a clever, useful and interesting tool. And, if it all sounds a bit of an esoteric medium, there’s a PhoneBoo app, letting people without iPhones boo away too.

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