As Facebook proved when it went public, shareholders are everything but friendly when social media fails to deliver financial value.
In light of this, the blue social bird has been flying from new security features to keyword targeting to integrated apps, as it looks to prove its ability to monetise on its users before potentially going public in 2014.
This week, Ruder Finn’s digital roundup shows you Twitter’s latest money-making feature, Microsoft’s Siri-baiting advert, the efficiency of flat design and more.
The competition is heating up between tablet rivals in one of the most amusing advert we’ve seen this week, as Microsoft poke fun at Apple’s Siri.
The video compares the the Surface tablet with the iPad on different parameters, such as business apps and price, highlighting the difference between the two using responses from Siri, before leaving the voice app to conclude “Let’s play Chopsticks,”
Will Apple play to Microsoft’s tune though? Both are powerful machines but Microsoft is clearly going after the business market by highlighting the multitasking nature of the surface.
On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Microsoft has left its flagship Surface Pro out of this comparison, perhaps because, pricewise, the iPad would have had an easy win.
Will Apple respond to Microsoft latest tease? Do you think it’s an affective strategy? Let us know you opinion in the comments below.
After several security breaches over the past year, Twitter has announced it will introduce login verification to improve security for its users.
The new feature is similar to other two-factor authentication services across the Web. When a user tries to log in to his or her profile, they’re asked to provide a cellphone number. Twitter sends an SMS message to that phone, and the user will be asked to enter the code into his browser to continue the login.
The reasons why Twitter has been holding back might be that higher security measures could potentially make it harder for brands and agencies to access their Twitter accounts, if these are managed by multiple people in different places.
Although the login verification feature is optional, and can be turned on and off anytime from the settings, shared Twitter accounts will struggle to use this new feature and may find themselves just as vulnerable to hacking as they were before.
Could an admin structure similar to that of Facebook pages solve the problem?
Flat seems to be new design trend in User Interface (UI) that’s recently appeared on several pieces of software such as Facebook and Windows 8.
This type of design doesn’t rely on shadowing, shines, textures, and 3D effects. Instead, it takes a minimalist approach using simple shapes, colors, and iconography to create designs that are instantly informative.
In a time when instant usability is starting to outweigh the need for visual cues, design needs to be, not just esthetically pleasing, but also efficient.
Since it doesn’t have all the noise that comes with visual effects, flat design is lean with information and maximises usability.
However, flat design also assumes some level of knowledge. So far, users’ experience was controlled by an eye catchy fancy tables and buttons that instantly captured the attention. Now that this kind of embellishment is gone, some users may feel a bit lost at first.
What’s your take on flat design? Let us know in the comment if you’ve embraced it and why.
The appetite for art online is constantly growing and online galleries and art communities on social media are thriving.
This week we’ve taken a look at the Google Art Project’s Google+ page that posts daily about paintings, artists and events and is highly engaged with its five million plus followers.
What’s important isn’t how many followers Google Art Project has, but the fact that it’s using digital to help art overcome its often physical constrains and be appreciated by anyone, anywhere in the world.
Attempting to hijack a current news story is as old as the PR profession itself, and even though we’re in an age of social media, the skills required are still similar.
But while a well-placed story or stunt that ties into another item dominating the news agenda can earn a lot of online and offline coverage for a brand, an ill thought through newsjack – or Twitterjack, if you will - can harm your reputation faster than you can issue a retraction.
To help ensure you’re more likely be remembered for a creative campaign than a viral fail, here’s Ruder Finn’s top five rules for ensuring your Twitterjack stands a good chance of catching the internet’s attention.
1. Plan when you can
It’s far easier to plan great content when you know what’s coming up in advance, and any good PR desk will have a calendar with all major upcoming events and opportunities around these.
Twitter is no different. If you know an event’s coming up, you can at least have some ideas and images planned. It also means you’re in a better position to react quickly to any news surrounding the event.
Dulux are a good example of how a brand can leverage extra coverage from an event. Their Tweet on the evening of the BRIT Awards comparing Damien Hirst’s statue design with their colour palette was simple and clever.
2. Make it funny
140 characters are particularly effective for pithy punning and a well-crafted piece of humour that can tie your brand into a current event is always likely to gain traction on social media. What’s more, it shows your Twitter feed and company is run by people with a sense of humour.
Nando’s were particularly good at exploiting news of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, with a Tweet announcing at Manchester branches would stay open for an extra five minute - a reference to the amount of added time the club generally receive at the end of a game.
A word of warning though – unfunny or tasteless jokes won’t do you any favours. Virtual tumbleweed moves much faster than the real thing.
3. Be ready to react quickly
As with so many areas of communications, if you’re first, (and not forgetting if you’re good), you’ll probably be the brand that manages to get a fair bit of traction.
It’s why it’s important that the people responsible for your creative or social are plugged into wider events surrounding Twitter, not just your industry. It means they can react quickly to anything breaking.
Again, to take an example from Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, Golden Wonder quickly photoshopped a special bag of Fergie-flavoured crisps. It probably wasn’t the best effort on the day, but it was the first and gained those all important retweets and reach.
4. Make it visual
Two of the three examples already cited worked well because they were very visual in nature and highly shareable.
Whether it’s as simple as whipping up a quick lolcat or spending time photoshopping something a little more sophisticated, keeping it visual makes your Tweet stand out and increases the chances of virality.
It’s why US processed meat company Oscar Mayer’s Oscar-night Twitterjack worked so well. Posted after Adele scooped best song for Skyfall, their cheeky Tweet wouldn’t have made as much impact in text only – and it’s a clever comms team who can connect James Bond and bacon.
5. Avoid tragedies
Twitter really comes into its own during breaking news or times of disaster and, with so many eyeballs, it’s tempting for brands to try and muscle in on whatever happens to be dominating the news agenda that day.
However, unless it’s offering a message of condolence or is incredibly well thought through and sensitive, it’s probably best to stay away from promoting your wares on Twitter during this period.
Whether it’s Gap encouraging those affected by Hurricane Sandy to shop from the comfort of their homes, or Celeb Boutique’s attempt to tap into the Aurora shootings by promoting their Kim Kardashian Aurora dress, an insensitive Tweet can do more harm than good. What’s more, many of the tech and social blogs are likely to pick up on this, and we all know how good they are at SEO….
Recently McDonalds faced criticism for a Tweet around the Ohio kidnappings, saluting rescuer Charles Ramsey after he mentioned he was eating a McDonalds before he went to the aid of the kidnapped women.
The Tweet has divided opinion, with some viewing it as smart and others criticising the company for being insensitive, even if that wasn’t the company’s intention. Given the potential for a backlash, it’s probably best to give the bad news stories a miss.
6. And one bonus piece of advice… check your scheduled Tweets
Just as your social media team should be looking for opportunities to make the most of breaking news, they also need to be able to be aware of any risks pre-written Tweets may contain.
With many brands often choosing to schedule their Tweets throughout the day, an innocent remark can take on a very different meaning following a tragic event.
It’s obviously not the brand or PR agency’s fault – they have no way of predicting how 140 characters can go from irreverent to offensive in the space of a few minutes – but Twitter users may not be so understanding.
If bad news does break, it’s worth checking your scheduled Tweet queue and checking if there’s anything lined up that could cause problems. Ten minutes work can save you from dealing with a mini-crisis a few hours later.
The Daily Mirror apologised for a pre-scheduled Tweet that read, “Keep on running: David Luiz urges Chelsea marathon men to drag themselves over the finish line,” that was published on the day of the Boston bombings. Entirely innocent, but unfortunate timing.
Any more we’ve left off? Share your tips in the comments below.
Running a marathon is not just about running. It means we push our own boundaries. It’s doing something with a purpose, it’s believing in a cause.
This week’s All You Need Is continues to see how the online world is pushing its own boundaries. From Twitter keyword targeting to the latest social media demographics data, RF’s digital roundup has got it all covered.
Twitter has taken promoted Tweets a step further by introducing keyword targeting for advertising.
This new feature enables advertisers to reach users based on the keywords in their recent Tweets and the Tweets with which users recently engaged.
So what will this mean for users?
Users may see Promoted Tweets based on topics you have tweeted about, but the user experience won’t change as ads will not show more frequently in timelines, and the irrelevant Promoted Tweets can still be dismissed.
Setting up a campaign to target keywords in the timeline is very similar to the setup process for search.
This is an important new capability both for marketers, which can now reach users at the right moment, in the right context, and for users whose experiences will improve as they see more relevant Promoted Tweets.
Have you used the new Twitter feature? Tell us what you think.
We tend to think that we’ve all fallen under the spell of social media, but some have more than others.
A new study from the Pew Research Center and Docstoc shows exactly who uses social media and on what platforms. Some of the findings seem in line with what you would probably guess, but others are surprising, for example, women use social media nine per cent more than men do.
This is particularly significant for small brands, who can’t afford or don’t have the skills required to understand how best to engage with their target audience on social media.
But this sort of data changes frequently. In order for businesses to develop a successful digital strategy, it’s important to stay up to date with the most recent figures.
Twitter has been busy this week. While Facebook launched their Home service on Google Play, Twitter unveiled two new services: the aforementioned keyword targeting and the Twitter Music app.
With more free music available on the web than ever before, Twitter Music aims to become a recommendation station.
Its music app helps you find new music by recommending tracks based on who you follow, which you can sample through plugged-in music services Rdio, Spotify and iTunes.
The Now Playing section shows you what music people you follow have tweeted. You can also navigate to see what music artists are following or see a particular profile from within the app, which may prove more useful to those who use Twitter as a purely social network. It’s also going to show you the most popular tracks using trends.
Although Twitter music seems to be a great way for consumers to find their favorite tunes, it’s not clear how it’ll generate money for Twitter, as the recommendations have been a staple of the social web for many years now.
And one final thought: would you care about what a CEO is listening to? If you follow an opinion maker, not an artist, you might really prefer to stick to their opinions than their musical tastes.
Santiago Swallow may be one of the most famous people no one has ever seen in person. Guess why? He’s not real.
Swallow is a pure product of the imagination, which was made up by Kevin Ashton to test how far a fake person could go on the Internet before being unmasked.
In a time where popularity is more important than ever, online fame can be only a few clicks away.
All you need to do to become Internet famous is to buy a Wordpress theme ($18), buy 100,000 Twitter followers from one of those followers selling companies (40$) and create your own Wikipedia biography.
Your first reaction to this may be, “What’s the point?”
Fist of all, having fake followers is not just unethical, it increases the chance of incurring in phishing, hacking and even infecting real fans with spam links.
Secondly, a fake authoritative person should be easily spotted by professional social media analytics tools.
But I was wrong.
Businesses who allegedly claim they can analyse somebody’s social media behaviour and accurately evaluate their level of influence, gave Santiago Swallow influence score of 754 out of 1000. Moreover, according to a free white paper produced by a San Francisco based social media analytic company, Santiago is living in a “new era of consumer influence: when nobodies become somebodies.”
If even huge social media analytics businesses are so easily fooled, it’s not hard to see how other people might be taken in too. How can thousands of Twitter followers be wrong? Let us know your opinions on fake followers and identify on social media.
Have you ever closed your browser thinking you were only online for half an hour when actually it was hours?
A recent study shows that we’re spending more time online than asleep and some are beginning to think that the Internet and social media are increasingly taking over our lives.
This rather amusing video shows what life will look like once humans will realise that the Internet had destroyed their lives.
This week, All you need is… dedicated to the runners of the Boston marathon. Congratulations to both them and everybody who ran the London marathon on Sunday. The blisters on your feet will be worth every penny for all the charities that benefited from this weekend’s event.
How would you judge yourself if you read back every thought and written outpouring you made as a teenager? There’d probably be a fair bit of cringing, embarrassment and, on occasions, a degree of wonderment of who that person in front of you was. To be honest, even in your late teens, there’s a good chance you’d feel the same to your early teen self.
Thankfully, for most of us over a certain age, our angst-riding wailings remain confined to teenage diaries or our memories. For a younger generation, it’s a lot more public, as 17-year-old Paris Brown found out earlier this week.
The Kent teenager had barely stepped into the job of Britain’s first youth police crime commissioner when her past history on Twitter moved from teenage rantings to front page news. And thus a teenager posting Tweets – ranging from the silly to the idiotic with a dash of the downright offensive, but all of them very teenage – became a story.
There’s plenty to be discussed on this from a PR perspective – not least that her future employers may have wanted to do a little background checking on Paris Brown’s online presence before appointing her. But one of her comments, just after the story first broke, caught my attention.
“Older generations haven’t grown up around Twitter and social media,” she told the BBC. “They know how to talk to other about about it [their feelings]. But for young people, it’s different. ‘Oh, I’m annoyed,’ and then you Tweet.”
Whereas once these would have formed a teenage diary and kept under lock and key, they’re now Tweeted within a few minutes. Private thought become public and are swiftly forgotten about, unless, like Paris Brown, you happen to enter the public eye.
It used to be that a disclaimer that views on Twitter and elsewhere weren’t connected with employers. That’s increasingly not the case – take the story today about six Metropolitan Police staff, including three officers, sacked for social media use.
From a reputation perspective for brands, of course there’s a degree of nervousness about employees on social media. Maybe an employee might make derogatory comments in what they believe to be a personal capacity, but if the subsequent headline reads “Brand X employee is foul-mouthed rant,” context will count for little.
It’s easy to say that better social media training, internally, will help prevent this, but what about tomorrow’s generation of future public figures, who have practically been born with an iPhone and Twitter log-in in their hands? Better education in school will help, sure, but it’s somewhat naïve to think that a little extra training will stop teenagers being teenagers online.
Anybody entering the public eye would do well to check their digital footprint. It may seem unrealistic for you to remember every Tweet from the past five years, but one poorly judged Tweet or Facebook status can still wreck an entire career several years later.
Doesn’t the digital world remind you of our crazy weather sometimes? No matter how much planning and forecasting you do, something that you didn’t foresee often happens and, just like the unexpected March snow covers the first spring flowers, it changes the rules of the game.
This week “All you need is…” brings to your screen the stormiest digital news of the past week, forecasts on the future of the blue bird of social media and much more.
Followers of the BBC Weather Twitter account got a rather unusual forecast the other day when hackers, claiming to be affiliated with the pro-Syrian government Electronic Army, hijacked the account.
The hacking started with a message of support for embattled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and continued with a mixture of threats and insults towards Israel, as well as countries and governments supporting the Syrian opposition, including the UK.
It wasn’t long before the Social Media Editor for BBC News, Chris Hamilton, realised that the account had been compromised and just moments before the BBC regained control of its Twitter handle the SEA tweeted goodbye with a polite “thanks for hanging out with us” to the 57,00 + followers.
The recent series of Twitter hacks are a reminder of how important it is to protect your accounts by using good online security, especially if you are responsible for corporate social media accounts, which are higher profile and, hence, more vulnerable to potential attacks.
At the beginning of last week a new Google app made a brief appearance on the Internet before disappearing just as quickly. But a few days later Google officially announced Google Keep, its Android-only note-taking app, which resurfaced in Google Play.
Google describes the Evernote competitor as “a central place to save what’s on your mind.” You can use the app to create notes and lists, by either typing or using voice memos or photos, which will sync across all your devices through Google Drive.
It’s not clear yet whether the app will come to iOS, but the competition between Google Keep and Evernote to gain the title of best note-taking app seem to have already started.
With great surprise, last week, Facebook updated its policy regarding cover photos. Several of the limitations that were introduced with the Timeline last year have been removed from the guidelines and this brings a series of benefits for brands.
Marketers can now include a call to actions such as “get it now” or “tell your friends”, as well as price or purchase information such as “40% off” or “Download it here”.
Moreover the cover photo can now contain contact information, such as your website address, email or telephone number.
The greatest advantage, however, is that fans and visitors to the page are now allowed to like and share the cover photo (and the promotions and information contained in it), which means brands will have greater chance to reach consumer and use Facebook to drive sales.
However, before your run off to your Facebook page and start editing your cover, you might like to know that there is still one rule to limit your creativity: text can’t take more than20% of the space on a cover photo.
A part from this, have fun and let us know what changes you’ve made.
Twitter has recently turned seven and decided to celebrate its birthday with a thank-you video, dedicated to its users, showing the milestones that have turned it into this global town square with over 200 million active users send more than 400 million Tweets every day.
Happy birthday twitter!
Just like the March snow, uncertainty has its negative sides. But have you ever thought how life would be if everything was straight and predictable?
Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts and leave a comment below. Till next week… Gabs (@gabrielegenola)
“Social media or not social media?” is the question we all used to ask five years ago. Now that pretty much every person and every business has engaged with at least one social media tool that question has changed to “how to make best use of social media”?
This week, in order to try answering this question, all you need is… highlights good and bad examples of social media use that made it to the news:
Greater Manchester Police has turned to Twitter to show the world thatPolice work is not all about catching bad guys. As part of the campaign, the force tweeted links to recordings of previous calls, including one from a man claiming to have found a hair in his food at a fast-food restaurant.
Other examples of time wasting calls are a caller asking for help after forgetting her Facebook password and a man dialing 999 to ask how to dial the 101 non-emergency number.
West Midlands Police hope the day-long social media initiative will reduce the number of inappropriate calls to its 999 system, which prevent operators from dealing with genuine emergencies.
This seems to be a very good way of using social media for increasing people’s awareness about police work and educating the public on what 999 is for.
If you want to hear/read more time wasting stories check out @WMPolice.
Banks, governed by industry regulations, are still trying hard to embrace the social atmosphere and sometimes act a bit clumsily when it comes to engaging with the public on social channels. This report looked at which US banks are doing well and discovered some interesting data insights for the entire banking industry. It’s only looking at number of fans and not other areas of engagement but shows a snapshot of who’s active:
Since its release last week, Vine, has been rising fast to the top of Apple’s App Store. But like life in general, the app seems to have a dark side that is starting to show up, as users increasingly come across pornographic content while using the app.
So Twitter faces two problems right now. Firstly, is Vine going to become a haven for porn mini-vids? And the more pressing question: How long will Apple put up with having the porn-tinged Vine app in the App Store?
“We’re in the process of changing how users find and view sensitive content,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “We’re experimenting with a number of approaches and will continue to iterate.”
Trying to eliminate porn from the Web has always proved to be an impossible challenge. All Twitter needs right now is to find a good way of deselecting it.
Social media rule number one: don’t fire your employees without first disabling their access to the company’s social media accounts. Social media rule number two: don’t expect anything you say to a departing employee to remain private.
This is definitely something that HMV will remember in the future, of course assuming that it will have a future, since HMV’s official Twitter account has been populated by angry tweets appearing to be from disgruntled staff as they were being fired.
Social media rule number three: twitter cannot be shut down, just in case someone was still wondering…. it can however be temporarily broken in the case of a juicy ex-employee with a grudge – we’re all digital rubberneckers really!
Did you too receive an email from Twitter last week saying that your account might have been compromised? You aren’t the only one. About a quarter of a million Twitter accounts were hacked last week and Twitter advises all users to change their passwords.
Twitter’s director of information security, Bob Lord, blogged the news expressing concern for the recent increase in large-scale security attacks aimed at U.S. technology and media companies, such as Yahoo, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Whether these events are related it’s still uncertain but one thing is sure: 2013 will be a year of change for Internet security.
Lastly, although not related to the social media theme of this week round up, it’s the news that we’ve all been expecting for months, or should I say years…: the BlackBerry Z10 review.
BB Z10 is a really tidy and well-made phone with some great features such as speed, battery life and typing system, but it looks a lot like an iPhone. Moreover, its several OS deficiencies do not allow it to compete with its rivals iOS and Android.
BlackBerry had an impossible task with the Z10 but many believe that if it adds more apps, rolls out some fixes for the OS and wins over the personal-professional crowd, then the brand could well get back into the game.
Remember that ‘sharing is caring’ so leave a comment below and make your opinion count. Until next week… Gabs (@gabrielegenola)
Welcome Ruder Finn’s weekly roundup of all things digital. It’s been quite a start to 2013 already, with online being blamed for the demise of the high street, among other things, but also bringing snow lovers together as the UK shivers during the big freeze.
Facebook have made the long-awaited move into the search market, but it’s not quite a replica of Google.
Graph Search, which is powered by Microsoft’s Bing, is their effort to utilise the power of your friends – and friends of friends and beyond – within the Facebook engine.
So, you can search for TV shows your friends recommend, the restaurants they’re eating at, what coffee shop most of them are checking into in your area, or even searching for nearby singles with a similar taste in film, all within Facebook.
The power of Social Graph is to make greater use of recommendations from your social sphere – something Google have already been aiming for, as they aim to connect your search queries with that of your network.
There are, of course, questions about the effectiveness of Social Graph, which depends on the amount of information Facebook users are willing to share - and users of Facebook and Google have started to become a lot more privacy-savvy recently. Nonetheless, if Facebook succeeds in linking our social experiences and recommendations together, Social Graph could be a very powerful tool.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Social Graph, Wired have an excellent behind-the-scenes story of how it was built.
Fire up Twitter on any given evening and chances are a high proportion of Tweets in your feed or trending topics will be related to primetime TV. Whether it’s X Factor, Homeland, Africa or the Champions League, our viewing habits play a large part in firing Twitter conversation.
Now Twitter has released stats showing just how much the UK is Tweeting during TV – and also the behaviour patterns around selected genres of shows. According to Twitter 60% of all users access the social network while watching TV, while 40% of all peak-time traffic on Twitter concerns the small screen.
Twitter has also produced case studies around selected programmes. For example, Homeland sees spikes in Twitter activity before and after the drama, while The X Factor peaks at notable points during the show. Current affairs programmes, such as Panorama, have a much longer lifespan as people debate the contents after transmission.
On-air hashtags and celebrities Tweeting along to the show help, but the stats indicate that event TV is still very much alive and engaging viewing content still drives plenty of discussion on this online watercooler.
Troubled retailer HMV fell into administration last week after months of uncertainty over its ability to operate as a going concern. One day later, DVD rental chain Blockbusters announced it too was calling in the administrators
As news of HMV’s demise filtered through, Twitter users shared their memories of buying their first CD (or record) at the retailer, as well as bemoaning the potential loss of mainstream music shops from the high street completely.
But while Twitter indulged in nostalgia, analysts and bloggers were quick to point out that a major failing for HMV – and indeed Blockbuster – was its inability to get to grips with online retailing, streaming and the threat of the likes of Amazon.
As T3.com noted, HMV never really prioritised online and Amazon and Play filled the gap, while the stores have barely changed in the past 10 years and don’t stay open at convenient hours for many customers. To quote Which, Online shoppingis cheaper, faster and easier – and that’s hard to compete with when you’re chasing consumer spend.
It’s perhaps a little simplistic to completely blame the internet for the woes of HMV, Blockbusters and camera shop Jessops, but online was a common thread linking all three insolvencies – both in terms of products offered and the experience (or lack of) with the collapsed retailers’ own online sites.
Photo-sharing app Instagram moved assure fears of an exodus from the app when it released its latest user figures. The popular smartphone app, which was snapped up by Facebook last year, had caused a backlash when it announced changes to its Terms of Service, which initially suggested that Instagram would sell photos on the site to advertisers.
Instagram rolled back on this and despite many users vowing to boycott the service, the photo-sharing site’s users have continue to rise, with 90 million active users, 40m photos uploaded per day, and 8,500 likes on Instagram per second.
The updated ToS went live on Saturday and so far there doesn’t appear to have been any adverse reaction, although competitors have taken advantage over the privacy row, with Techcrunch highlighting Berlin-based social photo and filter app EyeEm rising to second position in the US iPhone charts for photo and video, and doubling their Twitter following.
Any competitor still has quite a way to go to usurp Instagram in the photo-sharing market though. Although Instagram pictures no longer display direct into Twitter, it still has a growing community – led by the adoption of celebrities such as Rihanna – and has the might of Facebook behind it.
Snow joke for wintery conversation
A flurry of the white stuff is always guaranteed to drive online conversation, whether it’s rating snowfall in the local area with the #uksnow hashtag, sharing pictures on social media, or liveblogs on the weather from every news organisation.
One of our favourites came from Ruder Finn’s very own Joanna Hirst, as featured in the Evening Standard’s liveblog. It looks like the Queen joined in the rest of the nation by underestimating just how cold it was outside…
Remember, “sharing is caring”, so leave a comment below and get involved with the conversation. Until next week…. Gary (@garyandrews).
We’ve had a few questions recently from clients about whether they will be able to use the new product from Twitter - hashtag pages so wanted to provide a bit more information about what they are and how they have been received so far.
Initially introduced a week or so ago via Twitter’s first TV ad, the company has shown that the curation of visual images (something Pinterest does so well) alongside behind the scenes #hashtagged content, a page relating to an event or occasion can be a powerful tool. The company used Nascar, the huge US racing sport, as the example to launch this product and so far it has created a lot of interest and buzz amongst marketers.
According to Utalkmarketing, this is the next in a line of revenue-generating products from Twitter.
Statistics pointed to by WARC show that ad revenue for the micro-blogging site grew by 213% in 2011. In the future it is suggested that Twitter will make $540m from ads by 2014.
So when and how can you get a hashtag page?
Erm….you can’t right now. This isn’t an off the shelf product, it is a partnership between the two companies and general opinion is that the pages will be consumer focused and suited to events than brands with audiences being able to see content from those directly involved in an event. You can see how for events such as The Olympics, Glastonbury, The Oscars, The World Cup etc. these pages will be a really valuable asset and will let people see behind the scenes at events at a level they would never get close to ordinarily.
…although this project was a partnership between NASCAR and Twitter, NASCAR had no editorial insight on what appeared on the page, meaning the new hashtag pages are for events, not brands. Twitter explained in an email that the hashtag event page, launched for Sunday’s 2012 Pocono 400 NASCAR race, was aimed at detailing the race experience and not the NASCAR brand. The social network employed algorithms and human curation to showcase tweets and photos from drivers, fans, pit crews, celebrities and media. It plans to continue using “twitter.com/#NASCAR” for future races.
Twitter has not yet confirmed which events will be next to partner with them in this way.
So how long have you been in the industry? I’ve been at Ruder Finn for just over a year and I’ll be honest, I thought I’d got to grips with most parts of my role… until recently, when I attended a creative writing training session with our MD. The session showed me just how important experience is in this industry and that no matter how much you think you know you’ve still got a hell of a lot to learn.
So it got me to thinking – what about everyone else? Surely they must have felt that overwhelming panic when telephoning a journalist, or experienced the utter dread when you’ve sent a client email with a whopper of a spelling mistake? Or am I the only one who, at the start of what is hopefully a long career in PR, still sometimes feels completely clueless??
To answer my question, I spoke to my colleagues and crowdsourced some opinion using my recently-acquired Twitter skills and posed the question, “What one piece of information or advice do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your PR career?”
Thanks to all of the below for their contributions and suggestions and for reassuring me that I’m not alone. If you like what you read, make sure to follow them on Twitter:
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. When things go wrong, it isn’t really a disaster, it just seems like one at the time.”
Alison Denham, Director of HR & Operations, Ruder Finn
“Respect those who have been in the space longer than you but also trust your instincts/ideas. Don’t be frightened to speak up.” Kate Boyle, Kate Boyle PR
“Don’t believe other people when they tell you something can’t be done.” Hugh McKinney, Head of Public Affairs, Ruder Finn
“I would have found it useful to know difference between agency v in-house environment and how to know which you’d be more suited to.” Nadia Shanaz, Freelance
“You should never underestimate the value of attention to detail. It doesn’t matter how good a piece of work is in terms of strategy or content – if it is littered with typos and grammatical mistakes it is that the client remembers.” Emma Sinden, Director Corporate & Technology Division, Ruder Finn
“Don’t moan, understand you’ll need to graft, start at the bottom and get on with it!” Laura Smith, Borkowski
“I wish I’d known how similar agency life can be to customer service. The strain of client needs and team demands makes me thankful my retail shop jobs during high school taught me how to put on a smile, mind my manners, and meet the needs of others no matter how ridiculous.” Alison Morris, The CHT Group
“Being honest is better than faking it when it comes to important info. S’ok to say, I don’t know-but will look into it.” Jessica Brookes, Blackberry
“In PR you just have to learn how to grow thick skin and get on with it.” Sharon Chan, Consolidated PR
“The best source of advice and most wise mentor you’ll ever have is gut instinct.” Richard George, LinkedIn
“That one day you’ll enjoy pitches, and wish you could have all the slides (instead of praying you only get the easy ones).” Jon Silk, Waggener Edstrom
“Be nice to people, as you never know when you’ll cross their path again.” Andy Crisp, Grayling
“Read everything, knowledge of the news from tabloids to broadsheets & also the industry is invaluable.” Siobhan McNeill, University of Hertfordshire.
“Remember that journalists are just like real people.” Patrick Smith, Joshua PR
“Keep a record of everything, especially anything sent to the press. Word for word.” Ray Allger, ACCA UK
N.B. If you’re looking for advice on how to get on in the PR World Chris Lee, Founder of Run Marketing, has written a really interesting blog post offering advice to graduates looking to get their break in PR – give it a read for some really helpful tips. I also find PRmoment a useful site for insight into the current issues facing the industry and great profile pieces with some of the key influencers in PR. Check them out and see what you think.
Easyjet launching themselves on social media platforms? A disaster in the making, some would think. Imagine, a soap box for everyone who has had a delayed flight, poor customer service or any of the other crises that seem to happen daily on this notorious airline, to freely air their complaints for the world to see. This surely is a recipe for a corporate communications catastrophe!
However, thanks to a very ambitious social media push to source user-generated content using networks including Facebook , MySpace and Twitter, Easyjet aims to transform its site into a ‘travel encyclopaedia’. Through a clever competition, Easyjet has achieved a great balance between the positive and the negative comments on their new Facebook and Twitter pages.
The competition that the company has introduced; ‘the great Easyjet getaway’, is the turning point on which this successful balance of opinion has been achieved. Fans are invited to submit their personal, funny story telling of why they need to get away to win free flights.
Not only has Easyjet incentivised joining their network (becoming a fan on their Facebook page allows you to enter the competition), the company has also increased the number of fans to its page and is creating a highly engaged community, as judging of the competition will be by fellow fans. Ultimately though, the real beauty of this competition is that positive and engaging feedback has been encouraged through the funny stories and if you look at the wall of the Facebook page, you’ll find comedy like anecdotes and positive messages which tempers all the abuse and by-and-large creates a tone which reflects very well on the company.
This serves as an excellent example for all those reluctant organisations who see social media as a high risk activity, that with careful and strategic planning, a positive image can be achieved for even the most unloved corporations.