Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Amelia Torode’.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #4

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Social networks are making people more likely to complain online
LexisNexis last week announced the results of a survey that should make brand managers / online marketers / customer service departments take notice:

  • Just over half polled said that if they are unhappy with something they have bought or used they will complain about it online
  • 60% of people have chosen not to buy or use a product or service after reading negative comments about them online
  • 67% of complainants made online were ignored, leaving customers to act as detractors online

The lesson is that companies who fail to monitor their brand online are missing an important opportunity to turn unhappy customers around, or gain new ones if negative comments aren’t addressed.

PR community split over paying bloggers in PRWeek poll
A straw poll run on PR Week about whether it is acceptable to pay bloggers for favourable coverage divided the PR community last week. 57 per cent agreed that it was unethical to pay blogger, but “a significant minority (43 per cent) believed that it was acceptable for bloggers to accept such payments”. A surprising finding indeed, and Robin was quoted in the article responding:

The results of the PRWeek poll only show the naivety towards social media in the PR industry; they haven’t got their heads round it and aren’t set up for it.

ITV.com on social media and engagement
This interview with ITV’s social media manager Ben Ayers makes for an interesting read, as he discusses key platforms used by ITV to get closer to fans (notably Facebook and Twitter) and his views on future growth areas for social media in general. Listening to the opinions of fans and feeding this back into production is a core element of ITV’s online activity, as is working with a wide variety of stakeholders (web editors, operations teams, show producers) in order to maintain their social media presences.

The Battle of Big Thinking
Last week was Campaign and APG’s Battle of Big Thinking at the British Library, an annual event where leading strategists compete for the coveted ‘biggest thinker’ prize. We Are Social’s very own Sandrine Plasseraud was up against Jeremy Ettinghausen, digital publisher at Penguin and VCCP’s Amelia Torrode. In case you missed it, Gordon Macmillan, Haymarket’s social media & international editor, captured it all in his ‘live blog’ of the day.

Study: Inc. 500 CEOs Aggressively Use Social Media for Business
The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth conducted a study for the third year in a row, about the usage of social media among Inc. 500 companies. Respondents were asked about their usage and familiarity with six types of social media tools (blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, message boards, and wikis) and according to the study, social media usage has definitely grown in the last year:

  • 91% of companies (compared to 77% in 2008) reported that they use at least one social media tool

Some other interesting finds:

  • 44 percent of companies without a company blog say they plan to start one
  • 34 percent of companies reported that they were using social media to communicate with vendors and suppliers

The key takeaway is that smaller organizations are innovating with social media marketing strategies, as there is more room to “for innovation because it requires less processes to adopt”.

LinkedIn hits 3 million members in the UK
Professional social networking site LinkedIn reached an important milestone last week, when it announced they’ve racked up 3 million members in the UK on the company’s blog.

We’ve watched the British professional community take to the site with the sort of industrious enthusiasm that typifies the way business is done in this country.

On that note, perhaps this is a good time to mention our LinkedIn group?

Twitter Declared Most Popular English Word of 2009
And last but not least, the Global Language Monitor, which tracks language trends, declared Twitter this year’s Most Popular Word in English… Enough said.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #2

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

It’s time for We Are Social’s Monday Mashup, a quick round up of research, news and case studies that caught our eye over the last week and we thought were worth sharing. Here’s our pick of some of the web’s finest.

Crowdsourcing advertising – can it work?
A fine post by Amelia Torode about Peperami’s decision to crowdsource their latest interactive advertising campaign. It calls into question the monetary reward being offered, the inadvertent creative role that Idea Bounty has taken in vetting a manageable number of ideas for the client to chose from, and the implications for agencies:

Maybe it just troubles me as the logical conclusion of an initiative like this is that you don’t need agencies anymore, you simply crowdsource the creative ideas cheaply and then partner with production houses.

The post kicked off a lengthy discussion in the comments section, so get a cup of tea and start scrolling. It’s worth the read.

Trouble At Twitter: U.S. Visitors Down 8 Percent In October
Twitter’s explosive growth of 1271% from October 08 – October 09 was bound to slow down eventually, but recent numbers from comScore have demonstrated that last month “the number of people who visited Twitter.com from the U.S. actually declined for the first time by 8 percent month-over-month”.

Twitter has been working furiously to make its website better by rolling out the new Retweet button, Lists, and Geolocation features. As Twitter loses ground in its home market (and Facebook keeps moving ‘further and further ahead’) the question is whether the new changes will be enough to reverse this downward trend?

LinkedIn works with Twitter, and vice versa
Last week LinkedIn and Twitter announced a partnership that allows your LinkedIn status to show up as a tweet when you set it, or for a tweet to also appear as your LinkedIn status.  The rationale? “Because when you’re trying to get something done, you want Twitter and LinkedIn to work together”.

In effect, the move is meant to save you time while you promote your professional identity across the web and cut out having to login on multiple platforms to share the same status/message.  And crucially, you can be selective about what appears in your LinkedIn profile i.e. you can set LinkedIn so that all your tweets appear, or only those with the hashtag #in.

SideWiki changes everything
If you haven’t been keeping up with Google’s SideWiki innovation, this post is a good place to start. PR guru Mark Borkowski considers the impact that SideWiki will have on reputation management and PR on the web.

Few people in PR, it seems, have considered the way that SideWiki will change the lives of beleaguered PR folk. In time, this tool will significantly change the way brands strategise, think and exist. SideWiki is going to challenge PR by providing the masses with the tool for the ultimate expression of people power, something uncontainable that will need constant monitoring.

A sweeping statement? Yes, but read on.

Did CoTweet just take Twitter’s business model, and future customers?
Twitter’s usefulness and exceptional growth are as legendary as its lack of revenue stream and business model. The key question here: “what happens if Twitter takes too long and third parties take over the market?”

CoTweet might be doing just that, and the startup has recently launched a paid for service to allow clients to “reach and engage customers using Twitter.” Econsultancy examines the diminishing market opportunity for Twitter, as 3rd parties like CoTweet develop direct commercial relationships with brands and advanced tools for them to manage their relationships online.

People open to marketing in social media
This is reassuring news for those who, say, work for social media agencies.

Performics conducted a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. consumers, which “comprised 100+ questions to determine how various segments of consumers use social networks in their daily lives, specifically in regard to finding out about different types of products and in relation to other media channels”.

The study found an immense opportunity for gaining customers and growing sales so long as marketers “communicate relevant messages in consumers’ language and on their terms”.

The Connected Brands Index
Last week iCrossing introduced the Connected Brands Index, some research out of the US designed to measure a brand’s effectiveness online “not just on their own properties, but also across search and social media”.

According to iCrossing, a successful online brand is made up of five key attributes – visibility, usefulness, usability, desirability, and engagement – which can be measured by looking at 65 different metrics.

This research does not tell you what the most connected brands on the web are, but looks at the top 10 global brands according to the Interbrand study and should serve as future reference for benchmarking. Download the full research here.

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Monitoring Social Media

by Luke Brynley-Jones in News

Monitoring Social Media 09 is taking place in London this coming Tuesday. The organiser, Luke Brynley-Jones, talks about the inspiration for the event and what it aims to achieve.

In the dying days of the summer, Asi Sharabi wrote a late night rant about the state of social media monitoring. He directed his anger squarely at the many social media monitoring services that have emerged in recent years, highlighting dodgy results, issues with data, limitations in sentiment detection and often somewhat overblown claims of what can be achieved.

As it turns out, Asi wasn’t alone in his frustration. His post struck a chord with people that resonated across the blogosphere. The debate began and is now up to 50 comments on his original post. Suppliers, agencies, brands, bloggers and data-heads: everyone seems to have chimed in with their views, gripes and come-backs. It was this frenzied discussion that led me to believe there was room for a conference that focuses squarely on social media monitoring, it’s goals, it’s potential, how it works, whether it works, it’s impact on organisations, it’s costs and how to gauge ROI.

Tuesday’s MSM09 will not be a typical social media conference. We won’t have a spew of incumbent-funded sales pitches. We aren’t beholden to any particular viewpoint. In our lead Panel discussion “What’s Wrong with Social Media Monitoring Services?”, Asi will be joined by Amelia Torode (of Compare the Meerkat renown) to debate the issues with the CEO’s of two leading monitoring services, Mark Rogers (Market Sentinel) and Nick Koudas (Sysomos).  Equally we won’t have any long, self-obsessed presentations. Our speakers get just 20 mins to make clear points and recommendations before the mic is wrestled off them.

While our focus is on monitoring and measurement, we also plan to cover important related topics, such as: the truth about data (sources, quality and accuracy); monitoring for reputation management; and “beyond brand”, i.e. how to implement monitoring as a key business process. One of the things I heard repeatedly during my consultation process was the need for experience-sharing and case studies, so we will also have a number of “live” case studies on the day and be providing attendees with a pack of case studies to read through (or watch) afterwards.

One of our “live” case studies will be provided by We Are Social’s very own Robin Grant. He will be spilling the beans about their work with Skype – explaining how they helped Skype to set-up and run their own real-time social media listening and responding programme, which tools and methodologies they used and how this helped the world’s leading VoIP provider contain a major crisis. Other “live” case studies include, Chris Thomas from The Conversation Group – who will present a social media-driven competitive analysis of the launch of the first Google Android phone – and Celia Pronto, Marketing Director of STA Travel, who will demonstrate how her team embraced social media monitoring and reaped the benefits.

Lastly, we will have a bunch of tools for attendees to try out. Visible Technologies, Brandwatch and White Vector (to name a few) will be showing off their wares in the break-out room. Hopefully, at the very least, we’ll save a few people the tiresome process of beauty pageants by getting these guys in one room. Hope you can make it!

Luke has kindly offered We Are Social readers a 10% discount on the MSM09 £195 ticket price, by entering the discount code MSM0910 when buying a ticket direct from the MSM09 site.

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IPA Social: 10 conversation starters

by Robin Grant in News Google+

Social Media is a conversation. That seems to be one thing that we all agree on

Last week, Nathan, Sandrine, Leila, Simon, Seb and I went along to the launch of IPA Social, where Neil Perkin presented their 10 conversation starters:

You can read all 10 in full here (which I highly recommend doing):

  1. Mark EarlsPeople not consumers
  2. Le’Nise BrothersSocial agenda not business agenda
  3. John WillshireContinuous conversation not campaigning
  4. Faris YakobLong term impacts not quick fixes
  5. Katy LindemannMarketing with people not to people
  6. Neil PerkinBeing authentic not persuasive
  7. Jamie CoomberPerpetual beta
  8. Amelia TorodeTechnology changes, people don’t
  9. Graeme WoodChange will never be this slow again
  10. Asi SharabiMeasure and evaluate

As the IPA’s President, Rory Sutherland says:

At a time when the population of Facebook is now greater than all but three countries in the world, and when BT is delivering customer service via twitter, this is an area which forces us to question many of our ingrained assumptions about advertising, brands and intangible value.

and from Mark Earls’ scene setting essay:

For all the excitement today around the Twitters and Facebooks, the tougher problems for the advertising industry to get to grips with are all rooted in the way social media – the stuff that connects humans with other humans – changes the game for our clients and society at large.

IPA Social is an admirable initiative, one which we’ll continue to participate in, and their 10 principles are an excellent overview of how brands need to come to terms with social media, representing the thinking of some the greatest minds in modern advertising (all of whom are good friends of ours). The launch event was also a great evening, focused on starting conversations rather than presenting a revealed truth.

However, it still was very focused on traditional ‘advertising’, with a large proportion of time spent hearing about VCCP’s Compare the Meerkat campaign. We split out into groups towards the end of the event and in the group I led, we discussed whether campaigns like Compare the Meerkat are really social media campaigns. Although the campaign has rich presences in social media, we’re weren’t sure that was a factor in it’s success. We felt it was the strength of the creative idea and the media spend at work here – and the fact that Oasis’ Rubberduckzilla has substantially more fans than Aleksandr the Meerkat on Facebook, despite no attempts to engage with social media helps re-enforce this point. It was felt that real social media campaigns are ones where the conversation itself drives the success of the campaign (like our This is Now campaign for Ford).

I also couldn’t miss joining in the discussion about which types of agency were best suited for social media. The point I made was as follows. Over the last ten years digital agencies stole a march on above the line agencies by building bigger, better and more motivated specialist teams. This let them innovate faster and develop a critical mass of best practise that accelerated the skills gap between them and their above-the-line competitors. Specialist social media agencies will do the same to digital and other agencies. To use We Are Social as an example, who else has a team of twenty experienced practitioners, entirely focused on innovative, creative and effective social media marketing and communications? Each day and each new hire widens the gap between us and those in pursuit.

Overall, I left feeling comforted that the specialist agencies’ lead in social media was safe for some time to come…

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Brands and Twitter

by Robin Grant in News Google+

Campaign

So after being on the front page on Marketing the week before last, this week we’ve hit the pages of Campaign, with our inclusion in a feature article about, you guessed it, Twitter:

Three years into its existence, the recent media frenzy around celebrity Twitterers, including Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross, and Barack Obama’s successful use of the medium in the run-up to the US election, has seen the popularity of the “microblogging” site increase 27-fold in 12 months.

Advertisers could learn a lot from celebrity Twitterers using the site to shape their personal branding, creating a close, one-on-one relationship with their fans without constantly filtering their thoughts through a PR sieve.

Robin Grant, the managing director of the social media agency We Are Social, which advises Fry on his use of Twitter, explains: “The advice we gave to Stephen centred on being himself and having genuine conversations with people. It’s the same for brands. It’s about being human, showing your real personality and allowing people to connect with you on an emotional level.”

The article then gets quite bizarre, with Flo Heiss, the creative partner at Dare giving this advice about who should sit behind a brand’s account:

It could be a real person, such as a receptionist, or character made up by yourself

How about an imaginary friend who’s a receptionist, Flo? On to David Bain, an ‘internet marketing consultant’:

it’s cleverer when you don’t anthropomorphise it. What if an inanimate object was to Tweet, for example?

Why is it cleverer David? And what would it say? Amelia Torode, managing partner at VCCP:

It has to be a friendly, chatty brand. A brand such as Coca-Cola would be too large in its entirety. You need to work less at a higher-brand level and go down to the actual campaigns or smaller brands under the umbrella in order to start up the conversation.

Not quite as unhinged as Flo and David admittedly, but I’d point to the examples of brands like Burger King, Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, Starbucks, JetBlue and even VCCP’s client O2, who are having meaningful and useful conversations at the higher-brand level. As usual, our friend Faris Yakob talks sense:

Previously we had a model of buying attention from media companies. Now we’ve got direct relationships so we have to earn that attention – we have to earn it by being entertaining, useful and also nice.

To be honest, there is no ‘right approach’, but there are some general principles that apply (as expressed by myself and Faris above) and then there is the hard won experience at the coalface, learning what works and what doesn’t, that brands doing it themselves (and the agencies like ourselves helping them) have acquired. Most importantly your approach should be built around, yes, you guessed it again, the business objectives you’re trying to achieve.

This diagram from Fallon’s Aki Spicer of six different potential participation strategies brands could use is a useful thought starter (each of which of course might be used in combination or not at all), but even the approaches I deliberately ridiculed above could be valid in the right circumstances. Fictional characters can work really well as part of a campaign as VCCP’s own Compare the Meerkat work shows, and I’m sure at least one of Zappos’ receptionists is on Twitter. Even inanimate objects might have their place – in fact I’ve been trying to persuade Kew Gardens to get their plant life on Twitter for a while now.

But deciding on a strategy is only the first and easiest step. The hard work is the day after day of micro-interactions with real people, and striking the right balance between the opportunities and risks presented by having a real person as the voice of the brand, which I touched upon in the hotly debated post on learning to speak human. David Armano brilliantly investigates this dynamic in The Age of Brandividualism and his recent follow-up, Battle of the Brands (both of which are required reading here at We Are Social towers):

For each brand on Twitter, there’s an individual (or individuals) behind that effort. It’s both business and personal. The two have become one. The tactic comes from a fundamental truth when it comes to the social spaces on the Web. People want to talk to other people. They want transparency. They want to know who they are talking to.

The potential reward of course, is the ability to spread surprise and delight, turn negative word of mouth into positive and to really engage people with your brand at an emotional level. There is no greater prize…

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