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A ‘Social Media’ Christmas Carol

A Social Media Christmas Carol
Let’s all gather round for a not-so festive story I call ‘A Social Media Christmas Carol’ - a brief history of how online networking has changed.

Social media has undergone a journey over the years, from a fearful, misunderstood and somewhat unknown entity, to a diverse network that connects, improves and spreads cheer among users, but where did it all begin, and where is it all going?

The Social Media of Christmas Past

Back in the days of dial up internet, the first social media sites emerged, which were basic websites that connected people. The first recognisable social media site was Six Degrees that allowed people to create a profile and make friends. However, Friendster was once the biggest and most popular social media network that connected people through networks of friends. It was used for dating, making new friends and helping friends connect with new people. By 2006, it was pretty much dead – Facebook had stamped its footprint into the market and everything else seemed to fall in its wake. The bonds and connections between friends weakened and although Friendster tried to stay afloat, a series of technical difficulties and a lack of users resulted in its inevitable demise. As soon as blogging was introduced to the world, sites like Myspace and LinkedIn dominated the early 2000s with this idea of sharing your life to the world, meaning you could share your festive spirit to all your friends!

A popular messaging platform was MSN Messenger, which was renamed Windows Live Messenger before it was shut down in 2014. It provided fifteen years of awkward conversations, status updates, video calls, a series of emoticons and ‘Nudges’ and ‘Winks’, which were short videos designed to get the other person’s attention. MSN was once the only way to communicate with friends with an ability to ‘Appear Offline’ to avoid people contacting you. However, the platform was swiftly made redundant by Facebook’s messaging app as people could connect and talk with their friends all in one place.

Although social media had potential, it still wasn’t being used in the same way it is now.

The Social Media of Christmas Present

Presently, social media has moved away from desktop usability and turned its focus onto mobile phone apps. Social media strives to stay contemporary, but with so many giants in the playing field, it’s hard for new social sites to become popular. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter dominate amongst social media networks and are constantly changing and making improvements that keeps users entertained and engaged. Live video is the most recent development on social media as sites such as Facebook look to eliminate any reason for a user to leave their app.

Media that disappears has been made favourable by apps such as Snapchat, with Facebook and Instagram both taking on this idea of 'Stories' with images and video that are no longer available to view after twenty four hours. Instagram have created a bigger focus on photos, with many users this year gearing up to share images of their Christmas gifts for their friends to see.

Although many social media sites try to stay current, the market is moving quickly and constantly, meaning whatever is present at the moment is almost immediately outdated.

The Social Media of Christmas Future

It’s hard to predict what the future holds for social media sites, but there is definitely no sign of Facebook and Twitter going anywhere anytime soon. 2018 is bringing artificial intelligence, new algorithms and improvements for users. Social media will focus a lot more on relationships, between users and between the platform and a person. It seems sites are starting to use their methods for good, such as Facebook’s new A.I. technology that will try to prevent suicide amongst users. With this in mind, another turn for social media could be its focus on a person’s well-being, offering a more long-term relationship with posts and photos, instead of a fleeting ‘like’ or a 24-hour story.

There could also be this idea of a ‘Premium’ experience in social media. With more and more sites pushing advertisements into the faces of users, it could well be soon that sites start charging for individuals to get rid of the interruptions to videos and pop-ups.

However, it is quite likely that the sites of today will not be around in the future as technology develops and things become old news within minutes. With everything at the touch of a finger and pretty much every idea thought up and reused, it’s hard to predict what the future holds for social media, but it’ll definitely be a sight to stick around for.

Is Social Media the New Word of Mouth?

 

Is social media the new word of mouth?

Word of mouth has always been a formidable and powerful marketing tool, and it is still very much a force to be reckoned with today. Many Millennials would not consider themselves swayed by traditional advertising - and so it's unsurprising that businesses have to work hard to make customers advocates of their brand, and encourage word of mouth to their peers.

Word of mouth is the very reason many of us strive so hard to deliver the best possible service and customer experience. Its the same reason we enrich our websites with streams of reliable and topical content. In the same way that technology has evolved, and the means with which we procure our products have moved forward, so too have the ways in which we spread word of mouth and share our experiences.

Facebook user promotes Zero Noodles

A Facebook user promotes a brand of noodles by sharing details of her culinary experience.

In a digital age, any brand who champions word of mouth but refuses to embrace social media is going no where. Social media allows us to cultivate a lasting, positive experience for customers, fans and followers. Unlike other forms of marketing it allows us to approach those most important to us with timely, relevant and engaging messages - positioned in the right place, at the right time and in the appropriate tone.

Positive engagement from brand to customer

Positive engagement with a customer could result in a tweet or retweet to say thank you. Similarly, when a customer feels they have been done a disservice they will pull no punches when they jump online to rant about it. The trick is being ready and open to all feedback and suitably prepared to get the most out of each and every possible scenario.

You can never please everyone, that’s par for the course, but ask yourself this question; ‘Who would be best placed to deal with any negative sentiment received online? A business that has invested in its online presence and social media, or one that is averse to even going online in the first place?’.

Facebook user shares Splashbase content

A Facebook user shares his experience with a product and offers a download prompt to his own friends.

Developing a rich user experience by providing relevant information, answering questions and becoming a thought leader online are positive steps and are exactly how you generate brand warming; this in turn is exactly how you drive targeted, interested web traffic back to your site. Getting your business’ social media up and running, however basic, is at the very least as valuable as a recommendation from one client to another.

Social media is a new breed of word of mouth marketing; you do a good job and people say good things, you do a bad one and people say bad things. But if you do nothing then they can say whatever they want and you won’t have the necessary tools and experience to combat it!

So whether you wholeheartedly embrace social media or resent it with every fibre of your being, it’s here, it works and there is always a use for a useful tool.

What can we learn from #MyNYPD?

What we can learn from #mynypd

There’s been a lot of debate online this week in regards to the NYPD and the #MyNYPD campaign. For those that aren’t aware, Police Commissioner William J Bratton is presently ‘reshaping the perceptions’ of his officers and the people of New York in relation to the force using primarily content marketing, rich media and social media marketing.

The concept...

The idea behind #MyNYPD was to encourage people to share pictures of themselves (real time or historical) with an officer or officers and then upload those images to social networks like Twitter including the hash tag #MyNYPD. The idea was to bring people and officers closer together, celebrate the work that the NYPD does and generate some brilliant engagement opportunities. Unfortunately, the end result was not quite as expected and left alot to be desired in terms of positive outreach for the department.

What went wrong? 

#MyNYPD is a great example of a well intended idea ‘gone bad’ and one that has unfortunately hit the NYPD pretty hard. Not only has the backlash been a strong one, the fallout has also been far reaching. The fact that we are still talking about this even here in the UK, reaffirms what a blow this has to have been for the NYPD Vs. the overall objective of generating engagement and showcasing good relationships between the police force and the communities it protects.

Despite setting out with the sole purpose of engaging and inspiring people, the NYPD instead effectively kicked the ‘sleeping bear of racism and prejudice’ square in his hypothetical nether region. The bear (now quite a lot more awake a tad less than pleased) has understandably retaliated by delivering a steady precession of short, sharp hammer blows (usually in the form of inflammatory tweets, posts and photos) down upon the unsuspecting NYPD.

So where and why did this campaign go wrong? Failure is par for the course with social media, you definitely don't hit bullseye with every promotion! But like all things search, social media is usually always about experiencing success and failure in equal measure and we really only really ever hear about the campaigns that go really well, or like in this instance, really badly! So in summary, this was a simple but very ambitious campaign that sought to capture the hearts and minds of civilians and Police officers alike, but unfortunately achieved neither.

Analysis...

Had the time been taken to elaborate on, discuss, identify and work out some of the challenges that #MyNYPD could throw up, then there is an argument that there would have been a contingency plan in place to deal with the negative sentiment they received to the campaign. But we aren't for one second going to climb a pedestal, assume the guise of Captain Hindsight and poo poo the work! Because it was an extremely brave and well intended campaign that unfortunately didn't work and that's quite simply that! There is still so much to take and learn from the effort despite the fallout and even some positives would you believe!

Zachary Tumin is the Deputy Commissioner and heads up Strategic Initiatives for the New York Police Department with Commissioner Bratton. He said of the matter that “It is an unalloyed good,” That response was also echoed by Commissioner Bratton who said that there was 'no such thing as bad publicity' and that the whole episode would “in no way change the department’s approach - If anything, I welcome the extra attention." It is worth noting at this point that the department has actually gained some 4,000 followers since the story broke, so the fact that there have actually been some wins in all of this is pretty undeniable.

Phil Treagus, MD of Giraffe Social Media, had this to say about dealing with social media campaigns that fail; “Whether a campaign is successful or fails, there is always a lesson.  There are always lessons to be learned when you try anything new online - so for me it’s important to remind ourselves that failure is simply a manmade concept; despite its negative connotations, we shouldn’t fear failure.  True failure is either not trying in the first place or failing to learn from our failures.  True creative’s embrace failure, as it brings them closure to success.”

What did you think of the whole #MyNYPD campaign? We'd be keen to get everyone's thoughts! Leave us a comment or tweet us @GiraffeSM

Spring Clean Your Social Media For Employers

spring-clean

Editor's Note: This article was originally published back in April 2014. Although it is still useful for ensuring your page is prepped for any employers, our more recent article "How to get a job with social media" could be more useful if you're looking for advice on how your social media could be helping/hindering your job search.

Job seekers, take note. In recent years employers and social networking sites have become greatly familiar with each other. Time for a spring clean...

An employer can check up on your page, which is likely to be an insight into your personal life, featuring photos documenting your social life, statuses or tweets expressing your opinion on a topic – which they might disagree with – and clues of your personality.

All this runs the risk of ruining the professional image you wish to portray. So how can your social media be made presentable to employers?

Facebook

The place to start is your privacy settings. Updating these allows you to choose exactly what prospective employers can or can't see. Everything you post of Facebook has the option to be shown to everyone, only you can even customise it to restrict who can see it. This can all simply be done by going to ‘settings’ and ‘privacy’. This audience selector is also available for information such as your hometown and birthday. However, some information on Facebook is always public – your photo, cover photo, name, gender and username – this is because they are classed as ‘essential’ in connecting with people.

Twitter

Twitter is less optional, with your tweets either being open for everyone to see even if they are not following you. Although there is a private setting that allows you to accept followers, to make your Tweets exclusive to a minority. Similarly your location can be ‘on’ or ‘off’.Presentable pages

Presentable pages

Making sure your profile is tidy and respectable is a necessity, but there are also positives to prospective employers checking out your social media profiles. Keep your ‘employment’ section, particularly on Facebook and obviously Linked-in, up –to-date. It’s almost like a mini CV showing the types of places you’ve worked in and your job role. In addition, you can indicate how long you stayed at the job, which allows you to boast your reliability.

Try to leave behind any light hearted ‘groups’ or ‘pages’ you joined from your youthful school days, such as “It’s 5am, I’m drunk and on Facebook”, it’s not like you’ll miss them… Remove any comments from friends, which could affect your reputation and make sure any comments or tweets made by you are not discriminatory.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the best social networks for boosting your professional image. Unlike Facebook, it gives you the space to emphasise your accomplishments whilst describing your positions, besides from just listing them. Comments from previous employers and colleagues can also be added, as well as ‘endorsements’.

Remember to keep your email up to date and workplace appropriate – not the nickname you had in college. It would be helpful to have spellcheck activated for all your statuses and Tweets, as poor grammar will not impress employers.

Conclusion

Overall, clean up your social media from back in the day and conduct yourself as you would in person, in a professional setting. Obviously you can still use it socially, keeping in contact with friends and storing images – but remember, ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’. Don’t post anything that may cause controversy or be misread. Use your social media to present the person you would want to be seen as in the work place.

By content assistant - Alice Hughes - @aliceeehughes

Twitter’s new Lead Generation Card takes flight

Just when we thought technology and advertising couldn’t become more connected, it did. Twitter has announced a new ‘Lead Generation Card’ that could be just the right lead to simple and quick consumer engagement.

The Lead Generation Card is really quite a basic idea, but simplicity seems to be the key to success. First of all we must clarify what a ‘Twitter Card’ is. Twitter cards allow you to attach media experience to Tweets that link to your content. Twitter cards enable you control of how your content is displayed with Tweets, drives traffic to your site and can increase the number of people following your Twitter accounts through content attribution.

LeadGenCard_520_1Now that we know a little more, we can expand on what the Lead Generation Card actually is. To put it simply, it allows Twitter users to instantly sign up to company mailing lists. When someone expands your tweet promotion, they will be able to see full details and their @username and email address is already pre-filled within the Card. The user then clicks a button, which sends the information directly to you. It eliminates the use of time consuming forms, and the quick and easy process should effectively get more customers to sign up to your company.

It all sounds rather perfect, doesn’t it? As Twitter is already a globally used social media site, the traffic is already there, it is more a case of how you hashtag your Tweets to encourage people to view it and potentially sign up. However, with just the click of a button being so simple and seemingly harmless, does this mean users will pay full attention to what they are getting themselves into?

Because this new Lead Generation Card allows the instantaneous handing over of personal email addresses, could consumers be signing up to something they don’t really understand because of a spur-of-the-moment decision? Twitter has hopes to expand the Lead Generation Card globally to small and medium –sized businesses. Although, if this idea goes global, could people accidentally sign up for something that they don’t realise is not even available in their country?

We live in a fast-paced generation. Anything that takes longer than two minutes is a no-go, so this idea is really just the thing advertisers need for their clients. However, we are also living in a generation of quick-clickers; people who don’t read the fine print and just click because of the big shiny picture that caught their attention. Only time will be able to illustrate the success or failure of this new idea. Of course, it is still important to try to jump on the bandwagon and be a part of the craze if it has possibilities of generating more customers. You already have Twitter, so what’s the harm?

By Content Manager - Astrid Hall - @AstridGiraffeSM

Fight of the Film: Instagram Video vs Vine

Instagram-Vine-Video-Battle-PaceCo-Blog1

 

Twitter’s Vine app for short viral videos was a real first as iOS apps go, but is it still first in the battle for fans against Facebook owned Instagram Video?

Created by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll in June 2012, Vine was snapped up by Twitter within four months. Vine continues to capture the imaginations of the public and businesses alike over a year later.

2013 has seen Vine develop by adding the re-vining feature, video editing and saved sessions. By August this year, 40 Million users were videoing their cats, workmates and various slapstick filled happenings.

Instagram started life as the app that took your mobile snaps and worked its magic to make them look more dramatic, colourful, aged or if needed, surreal. It was only when Instagram’s owner, Facebook, decided to rival Vine by adding a new video feature (or Instavid as it’s often known) in June 2013. It offered the same chance for everyone to create extra short movies but with 9 whole extra seconds to play with. 5 million videos were uploaded in the first 24 hours of service.

Vine’s 6 second limit ups the game. Literally, every second counts. You could see it as quality over quantity, forcing you to be extra creative. But it’s clear that there are millions of people being equally expressive with Instagram’s 15 seconds of fun.

Many businesses have struggled with 6 seconds, preferring the more flexible 15 second opportunity to represent their brand. For those using the apps just for fun, there seems to be endless ways to enjoy both Vine and Instavideo.

Averaged out across the many awards, charts and lists of best Android, Windows and iOS apps, Vine and Instragram regularly top the bill, so it seems even the journalists and gurus find it hard to split the two out overall.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 11.20.39In true Harry Hill tradition, it would appear that there is only one way to find out who reigns supreme….FIGHT! And voting site Vine vs Instagram hosts it’s very own battle between our two rivals. Pulled at random from both platforms, two clips are pitched against each other with a voting button supplied for fans to say which is best.

Like the rivalry between Apple and Android, loyalties towards each of the competing apps are very strong amongst fans. As Vine was the initial creator of the mobile video short, people who had their first experience of the 6 second clip extravaganza via the Vine app won't help but feel a touch of nostalgic fondess for Facebook's video short revolution. Whereas loyal Instagram users are arguably more likely to have lapped up the new video functionality, remaining firm advocates of the platform from then on.

Haven’t tried either yet? Where have you been? Millions of seconds of fun await!

Here are some links to get you started.

Cars from paint.

A model making a model.

Photo loop.

Slap war.

Face of fury.

By Content Assistant - Vick Smith - @GYSocialMedia

What is BitStrips?

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Another viral phenomenon is sweeping across Facebook and it isn't pictures of Giraffe (although that's great too). 

Let's be frank, comics are now for the die-hard enthusiasts and are rarely seen on supermarket and newsagent shelves. But would you read a comic strip that starred you and your friends? BitStrip lets you, and it must be said, it's kinda cool.

BitStrips is an app that you connect to Facebook, where you create your own personal (strikingly similar) avatars for use in comic strips. You dictate which kind of comic strip you would like to place yourself in, such as on holiday,  enjoying a romantic meal with your girlfriend's avatar (if you're that way inclined) or clubbing with a friend. To be honest, there are so many quirky themes, that it is well worth downloading just to see what it's all about.

The customisation doesn't stop there either, you can add speech bubbles and change the facial expression of your avatars. All of the BitStrips have a caption that is unchangeable, but that doesn't bother us too much as they're quite funny anyway. The case could also be made that if you allowed users to change the caption to their own taste, you'll soon find a number of inappropriate, rude BitStrips on your Facebook news feed.

2013-10-23_1352 EricBitstrip-630x544  

bitstrips

 

So is it any good?

In truth, it's a little bit buggy at the moment. Images often take forever to load and if the servers are rammed, you get a general "comic servers overloaded. Please try again soon" message in its place. You also can't save your BitStrips to your camera roll, at least not without taking a screen shot. 

All of this aside, it's great! The BitStrips are funny, personal and it's superb for procrastination. Not that we advocate that ;).

http://www.bitstrips.com

By Social Media Manager - Bradley Gavin - @BradGiraffeSM

The China Trip Diary: Day 7&8

Day 7: Time to get touristy.

IMG_0729Our working week had ended and this morning would inevitably be the lay-in that Kane and I had agreed was most important.  I came to at about 10am, loaded up my laptop and had a little overlook of how the team back home were doing with all of our client's social.  They were knocking it out of the park, as expected - we have a great team.  Being the brilliant business partner that I am, I head out to the McDonalds round the corner and pick us up some coffees and blueberry muffins.  The beauty of the surreal realisation that I was standing in a McDonalds in China was immediately lost as I get hit by a balloon in the face, which is followed by four Chinese toddlers yelling things at me.  I look confused and awkward, collect my coffee and muffins and flee the scene.

Kane is pleased with his coffee/muffin combo.  I message Felipe, who had generously agreed to give up his Saturday to be our tour guide and show us the best of Hangzhou.  He gives us his address and we jump in a taxi and head to meet him.  A little background on the main man, he was born in Colombia and has lived in many places before settling in China.  He can speak several languages, including; Chinese, English, Spanish and Japanese - to name just a few.  He is arguably one of the nicest people I've met, who will do anything for anyone.

IMG_0740We set off on our quest to find a place to have some lunch and the benefits of having a knowledgeable tour guide become instantly evident.  Felipe guides us to this awesome restaurant that also doubles up as a store that sells vintage furniture.  Very cool.  The food is brilliant, we have some conversations about language and cultures, and then we head out to get a taxi.

The taxi takes a different route because we hit so much traffic, he then decides to let us out at arguably the busiest intersection in Hangzhou - leaving us to dodge cars to remain alive.  Felipe seems a lot calmer about this than us.  As we cross the road, we get a glimpse of the old street that everyone has been telling us about.  It is stunning.  Imagine an old Chinese market street in your head - yeah, it looks exactly like that.  Felipe guides us down the street telling us stories and facts about Hangzhou and all of these different shops and market stands.  The standout shop is a tea boutique of sorts.  We walk in and are greeted to 4 of the staff there welcoming us in perfect unison.  Felipe informs us that this is the best tea shop on the whole street.  This is where it gets awesome.  If Kane and I had just been there on our own, we'd have not been able to do what came next.

Felipe had a quick word with one of the staff members, and we were all ushered through to the back.  As we enter the back room, the sound of Chinese mandolin trickles through the air - I feel an instant peacefulness.  Incense burns in the corner and we are calmly asked to take a seat at a table.  The woman then proceeds to brew us all of these different types of tea, telling us the story of each - it is fascinating.  The whole experience was remarkable, and one I will never forget.

1238759_575324022527678_1624790129_nWe stroll around West Lake, which is even more beautiful in the day time than it is at night - if that is possible.  Felipe guides us to the metro and we catch a train back to where we started the day.  He tells us that when we get off, there will be a short taxi journey to where we will be having dinner.  As we come out of the metro station, we are bombarded with people asking us to get in their cars.  Felipe warned us about this earlier in the week; that normal civilians offer lifts to people and charge more than the taxis.  It all sounds rather illegal.  However, moments later I am in a van of sorts.  In the front, an angry Chinese woman.  The next seats are filled by Felipe and Kane - who are both laughing.  Why?  Because I am sat on the back seat, with the woman's two children.  One of which is a three year old who is clambering all over me and shouting.  This is not what I had in mind when Felipe said we'd be getting a taxi.

Felipe takes us to what seems to be the dirtiest restaurant in Hangzhou, with the promise of 'the best chicken in Hangzhou'.  He was not wrong, it was absolutely amazing - never have I eaten such a tender chicken.  Another plus is that it is this evening that I realise I have mastered chopsticks.  Ain't no thing.  I act arrogant now, but just days before I was using them to stab my food like a cocktail stick.  The difference a couple of days make.

We profusely thank Felipe for the day, head back to the hotel and spend our evening packing our bags for our trip home in the morning.

Day 8: Time to go home.

I woke up with that normal, end of a trip feeling - of excitement to be home and see family and friends, and sadness to leave the excitement and novelty of this foreign place behind.  We had made some awesome new friends in China and it was a bit gutting to know we may not see them now for a few months, until our next trip out.

There isn't much to really say about the final day, as it was just a day of planes, cars and sitting around.  Nothing of note really happened, mainly just reflection on one of the most amazing weeks of our life.

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5 Breakthrough Tips on How to Quantify your Social Media ROI

A somewhat legendary topic already in the ‘early’ stages of Social Media, but one that needs conquering. As a new media marketer myself, trying to explain the true ROI of Social Media is not as conventional and/or trackable as other outlets. Where you can typically put a cost-per-call, cost-per-click or even cost-per-thousand impressions on other media channels, social media defies this logic. Partly as we are investing in a consumer facing platform that can come not only under the umbrella of lead generation, but also that of customer service. 

This is a true tale of two sides, as marketers we now typically use social media to support other activity on the web. But social media is also a point of contact for enquiry that may not necessarily result in a direct or hot lead. What is clear is that trying to understand what capital gains surround social media and its importance to the business is often tough to answer. There is yet to be a clear strategy in place to determine true ROI on social media– but on the flip side – social media is almost instrumental to any brand with a presence online as it can leverage numerous other campaigns.

To be clear - measuring the ROI of all of your Facebook efforts is dangerous. As marketers we are performing more than just a sales role—one of customer service as well.

The following is a list of common denominators used in measuring social media, but how we put a monetary value against each is proving to be an uphill battle – phrases that are often touted include;

 

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Sentiment
  • Interaction
  • Lead Generation

 

Indeed we can account for a combination of the above – yes they are great starting blocks, but each platform holds a different value.

For example Facebook has arguably the most advanced platform for paid and sponsored ads, Google+ can offer something in the way of search rankings and Pinterest can offer inspiration. Each lands at different cycles in the buying process. The resounding difference is how do we as a business make sense of all of the numbers, facts and figures that are in the social media mix?

Monitoring everything that is said on social networks sounds like a daunting job; so much so that many marketers believe it is not worth attempting. The available mass of unstructured data, which is generated by everyday online actions and conversations without any predefined ways of recording them, can seem so nebulous as to be impossible to harness. However, some marketers are realising that, with a solid grasp of technology and achievable objectives, there are millions of insight sources and chances to reach consumers through social media that previously did not exist. Believe it or not, as we progress, consumer’s online behaviour is not as unpredictable as we first thought. There are trends within topics and volumes split by timestamp. Large chunks of supposedly unstructured data therefore coalesce around easily recognisable themes and trends. For example, the volume of tweets during a TV programme.

One of the most common approaches that brands are taking are to monitor social media is observing the comments that are either addressed directly to them or made in response to content they have posted themselves. The information can be used to either prompt further direct communication or simply for marketers to learn more about customers’ attitudes.

Obviously, the big question remains whether the value of social listening generates a return on the investment that goes into it. Here are a few ways to ease that annoyance. Though measuring social media ROI may not be perfect, it’s not impossible either. These five methods can help gauge what your small business is getting out of its social media commitment.

 

1. One way companies quantify it is by demonstrating that it costs less to resolve a problem on social media than via a call centre.

 

If it does, then a return has been realised every time a customer decides they no longer need to make a call. Other use unique phone numbers so calls can be tracked via campaign on social media, has your customer been prompted by the use of social media?

There’s no longer any doubt for small businesses whether they should be active across social media networks. If nothing else, the visibility and connectivity offered by social media has convinced most business owners that it’s worth their while.

But just how much time and effort should it consume? While it may be easy for the average small business to say it’s worthwhile to be on Facebook , most would agree monitoring it and posting 24/7 would be a waste of resources. The only way to know how much social media is enough is to have some sort of gauge on your return on investment.

 

 

2. Similar to any marketing activity, we must first decide what we are trying to achieve from Social Media.

 

What is the purpose of our social strategy? To increase brand awareness, drive more leads or is there an alternative motive? Either way we must consider all of our activity, ensuring it is fit for purpose and considering its monetary value. Are your social media campaigns driving traffic to your website or are they helping to aid customer service and consumer interaction which would otherwise result in a phone call coming into the business. It is important to understand what the primary purpose is. This will not only help a more tailored campaign but also help to quantify end results.

 

3. Never forget to track your campaigns!

 

By using available tools (many of which are free) such as Google Analytics, custom source codes, referrals and other available tools, we can begin to see trends, consumer habits and track the effects of our social efforts.  Can you see that your social activity has driven a certain amount of calls? Then that can be quantified against spend and produce a cost per call or cost per enquiry. You can also see how many responses have helped to solve a customer enquiry without the need to take the enquiry further. It again comes down to what your primary objective is.

Not forgetting to mention that the newly released Google Adwords ‘Enhanced campaigns’ (which helps target mobile devices) is sure to prove fruitful for social marketers in terms of awareness and the ways in which people access information. Are social networks an alternative to Google when looking for a product or service? Especially if it has been socially recommended by a peer!

 

4. Competitor analysis and proposition

 

Are you a start-up or long standing company? Social Media is a huge platform that allows you to see how others are using social channels. It is fantastic for competitor analysis and to gauge your efforts vs others. It will give you a fantastic insight into market trends, what your competitors commercial focus are and many more insights that are open to the public. A lot can be learnt from previous campaigns.

 

5. Analyse, optimise and re-invent

 

We often overlook the split between organic vs paid traffic. Social media platforms that are often free can be great drivers of traffic but they can also be detrimental to a company. If pages and accounts are set up, yet not monitored and managed correctly it can have negative impact on any brand. Try to look at individual platforms and see if there is an obvious metric that can be put in place such as cost per impression, cost per like, assisted conversions and referrals etc.

Facebook doesn’t limit page administrators to the data on their own admin panel. One example is Conversion Measurement, a Facebook tool that allows those who advertise on the platform to record the behaviour of those who click on ads.

Analysing these numbers by how many likes were received, multiplied by how many friends of those likes witnessed the action give a more accurate — not to mention sunnier — idea of how far your message reached.

Your website’s analytics can tell you how often people find your page via Facebook or Twitter, but it’s not always easy to tell what actions on these social media sites have driven that traffic, or how much that traffic truly cost. By analysing your website analytics against pay per click, or PPC campaigns however, it becomes much clearer.

Though no social media ROI measurement is perfect or comprehensive, neither are many measurements of ROIs in other PR and marketing efforts. Using these methods, and using them over time, will be revealing of current ROI, as well as creating benchmarks against which to measure future social media efforts and strategies.

Social media empowers the brand to listen, engage and influence, tools that may have long been forgotten since its huge intervention of the online space. The consumer has often been the advocate for brands but social media is handing the power back to the core business.

Something else that is worth remembering is that this is only a blog on 5 tips that I think should be considered to quantify your efforts, measurement however, should not stop here. The possibilities are endless and goal posts are always changed as platforms evolve, but much like social media itself, there are few boundaries -  how you quantify your own efforts will be very different to someone else’s. Establish what you are achieving, how much it is costing you and the return it provides!

By Content Assistant - Jack Cooper - @Coop_Attack 

iOS or Android?

When I hear people debating iOS vs Android it usually ends in a muddled agreement that they are of equal excellence, but it’s time to distinguish them and decide which is the best mobile operating system.

iOS-VS-Android

The tight integration that iOS has with the iTunes Store is incredible. It is so easy to discover and download the best music, apps and games that you can be using in seconds. What’s so appealing about this is that downloading music or apps is so simple and it is this simplicity that seems to drive Apple’s success. Let’s take iCloud for example, it is designed to seamlessly synchronise all of your apps, data and media under one roof so it is available across all of your Apple devices. It’s a great feature to iOS and an exciting thought that when you take a picture on your iPhone it will almost instantaneously be synced to your home computer and iPad. The fact that iOS operates in a closed eco-system or ‘walled garden’ makes it extremely slick and easy to use because apps are run individually through ‘sand boxing’ in order to prevent bugs.

iOS has the most advanced personal assistant called Siri, which has changed the way that users interact with their phones . However, if you have to hold a button to activate Siri, it does make me question the need for a voice activation service. Perhaps Apple needs to rethink the simplicity of this feature.

Android obviously has a wider range of devices backing it but let’s continue to focus on the software. Many of the apps available in Google Play are free as opposed to iOS, which has a much greater percentage of paid apps. However, these apps may hold severe malware risks – this was seen last year when over 14000 UK customers downloaded fake Angry Birds, Assasins Creed and Cut The Rope games. Android’s open eco system allows the use of widgets that can really utilise Google’s services such as Google Docs Bar and Google Reader Ticker.

In terms of phone control, Android’s ‘air gestures’ are paving the way for the future and alternate keyboards, live wallpapers and custom icons are just a few of many customisations at your dispense.

Of course, the iOS vs Android debate will depend on your intentions of use, but for me Apple comes out on top. It’s security against malware, integration with the app store and easy to use interface makes it so simple to use.

Loving it is easy. That’s why so many people do. 

Content Assistant - Ben Hunt
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