Here are all of the posts tagged ‘bloggers’.

The search for Team Volcanicity is on!

by Amy Hambridge in News

Are you a spontaneous type who thrives on adventure and new experiences? A self-confessed social media addict who loves taking and sharing photos too? Well, you’d better listen up!

Volvic are on the hunt to find top-class, naturally bursting with life Content Creators to form part of Team Volcanicity 2013.

Team Volcanicity: The search is on...

As you may have read in Marketing, we’ve recently launched a facebook app for Volvic UK which allows fans to apply to become part of the 2013 team who’ll be responsible for bringing ‘moments of Volcanicity’ to the masses, by capturing photos and sharing the scoop from festivals, gigs and trips up and down the country live on the Volvic UK facebook wall.

Team Volcanicity Facebook App

Those lucky enough to be selected will be supplied with a state-of-the-art camera plus funding towards adventures, or, exclusive access to some of the hottest gigs and events of the year.

To enter, fans simply have to upload a photo which expresses their Volcanicity along with a short description of what their idea of the best 2013 ever would be.

Entries are being accepted up until midnight on Friday 8th February (so if this is your thing, there’s still time to enter!).

In order to drive as much reach and engagement of the campaign as possible, Volvic are asking facebook fans to vote on their favourite competition entries. Those who vote will be entered into a weekly prize draw to win a Red Letter Day voucher so that they can choose an awesome Volcanicity experience of their choice.

Voting closes at midnight on Thursday 14th February and the top 5 entrants with the highest number of votes will be fast tracked to the next stage in the selection process, by-passing the judges. The remaining finalists will be selected based on the amount of Volcanicity expressed in their entry photo, in addition to whether the description of what their idea of the best 2013 is catches the panel’s attention.

Volvic are asking their Facebook fans to vote on their favourite entries

One of the challenges which was put to us before launching this campaign was to make sure we help Volvic’s facebook fans to understand what ‘Volcanicity’ actually is…and because we love a challenge, we gladly accepted it. The output?  Well, from the beginning of this year, not only did we ensure the facebook content was actively engaging fans with light-hearted ‘Volcanicity’ related games and updates, but we also reached out and secured 3 influential bloggers, who already demonstrate Volcanicity on their blogs, to introduce to the Facebook community as Team Volcanicity’s Founding Members

Guess the word: Volcanicity Game

We’ve already started sending our Team Volcanicity Founding Members on trips and adventures to capture content to share on the Volvic UK facebook page.  We’ve been posting their content daily to firstly build buzz around the types of activities and events fans could take part in if they’re selected as part of the final team and, secondly, to demonstrate the sort of content we’re looking for from our entrants.

Introducing the Founding Members of Team Volcanicity

The quality of the entries so far have been really promising – there are definitely people out there who are already capturing moments of Volcanicity as part of their every day life, and it’s these people who are likely to be winning their ticket to the next round in the selection process.

What’s really exciting about all of this, is that finding the team is just the beginning for Volvic. The big idea behind the campaign is to be one of the first brands to put the Facebook content in the hands of the fans.

As we know, Facebook is pushing brands to deliver content that’s as relevant as the status updates we see from our friends. Ultimately, Team Volcanicity will become the page’s Community Managers, so that the content which is posted is much more likely to resonate with their peers and drive engagement.

The launch of the Team Volcanicity campaign has been a great kick-start to the year for Volvic – be sure to check out the Volvic UK page over the next few weeks to see who makes it into the final Team and follow their adventures as they bring Volcanicity to the masses.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #25

by Chris Applegate in News Google+

Facebook backlash reaches the tipping point?
We’ve reported before in Monday mashups about the growing Facebook privacy backlash, but it looks more and more like a tipping point may have been reached; May 31st has been declared Quit Facebook Day and “how do I delete my Facebook” has become one of the most-Googled search queries of recent times. danah boyd argues that Facebook is now a utility in the same sense that water and electricity are, and should be appropriately regulated as such, while Ben Parr argues in defence of Facebook.

It’s very easy to boil the whole controversy down into “Facebook should better protect its users” versus “users should learn how to protect themselves”, but the points raised are more complex and subtle than just that. Jeff Jarvis’s blog post on what exactly “public” means is a much more informative and nuanced approach to it.

…maybe not just yet
Don’t dismiss Facebook just yet – those pages could still be worth a lot to you and your brand. And then there’s Facebook’s Community Pages. There’s been some confusion about what they are, but Dave Fleet’s analysis is quite helpful – think of it as “earned media” rather than “owned media”. The difference between a Twitter search for your brand name, and your brand’s own Twitter profile, if you like. A brand owner has no control over these pages – which is a double-edged sword; great for finding out what your consumers think of you in realtime, but without any real control or interaction. Jeremiah Owyang points out it’s an example of Facebook’s “Innovation Means Asking For Forgiveness Later” strategy – and it could by no means last; we already have Groups and Pages, and yet another form of brand interaction may prove too confusing or redundant for it to take. Nevertheless Jeremiah’s advice is well worth taking.

Twitter’s Business Center launches
Twitter has been quietly rolling out business features of its own. The new Twitter Business Center offers facilities for brand owners. It allows multiple users to handle the same account (incredibly useful for anyone offering 24/7 support) and allows people to DM brands, even if they aren’t following them, so that sensitive info such as account details and email addresses can be safely exchanged. Meanwhile, the Promoted Tweets programme that was rolled out last month is reported to have been a success by the advertisers in the US who piloted it, with Virgin America recording its fifth-highest sales day in its history the day it went live.

In a separate move, Twitter is now parsing short URLs for keywords in searches, allowing you to get back not just Tweets, but matching URLs for your query. Great news for publishers but also for anyone gathering insights into what relevant conversations are linking to. In both cases, these are useful and timely improvements to the system, and a prime example of what Twitter does very well – innovating iteratively to meet the demands of the community as they evolve, as this excellent presentation by Jack Dorsey discusses.

Engagement rising as brand loyalty falters
Two very interesting surveys caught our attention this week. The first from comScore charts how brand loyalty is dropping compared to two years ago, with consumers deserting their traditional brands; this phenomenon is now spreading to sectors where it has not been previously seen, possibly because of the economic downturn. It looks like brands can no longer count on loyal customers as a base, which ties in with a separate survey by Hall and Partners which notes a positive correlation between engagement and profits. Of particular interest is the growing emphasis on integrity and corporate responsibility as part of brand identity, something which has been shown as evidence by the recent Nestle palm oil furore; it’s further evidence of how integrity is an important factor in how a brand should engage online.

Travelocity: “ChatRoulette FTW!”
Apparently Travelocity’s social marketing team have been hanging around on ChatRoulette a lot. Although they skimp a little on the details, they apparently entail having their mascot hang around and pitching to random people. Spamming? You be the judge of that. But this is the crucial bit for me:

No one in the wider world will know it was ever associated with those elements, unlike on Twitter or Facebook where a negative or disturbing Wall post or tweet can be read by everyone.

Problem is, this means nothing positive can remain permanent either. So when the person they’ve pitched is booking their holiday and trying to remember, or try and tell direct their friends to it, with no permalink, nor any way of finding it on Google, the recall factor is lost.

Finding the right fit between brand and community
News that Ford [disclosure: a We Are Social client] are testing their new cars with Mumsnet brought this revealing post from Reputation Online, advocating that these tie-ins only work if the audience are a perfect fit. While I don’t think they have to be an exact fit (good marketing should never be just about preaching to the converted), the discussion of iVillage was very interesting – they have turned down offers from several brands as they didn’t feel appropriate to the audience. They felt the importance of keeping the community outweighed the advertising revenue – something anyone considering a buy-in to a community site needs to keep in mind, especially when dealing with more traditional buying philosophies.

TopTable gets flak for censoring reviews
An example of how not to meet your community’s needs is TopTable’s recent admission that they delete negative reviews of restaurants. The reason given is that they could face libel accusations – which is no doubt a possibility if the reviews turn out to be maliciously false. But to censor negative reviews altogether destroys the point of the site – people join a reviews community is to give honest opinions about places; being able to get balanced reviews is central to its authenticity. Whether this is common practice across all restaurant review sites is not clear, but we really hope it’s not the case.

Bloggers disagree with one another; film at 11
A PR blogger got annoyed this week at an ill-advised pitch he received. He blogged about it. A lot of other PR bloggers held a different opinion. They blogged about it too. Heated debate followed. That’s it. Move along folks, nothing to see here. But if this a topic that particularly interests you then I recommend the Inconvenient PR Truth survey that is going round right now.

Choose Your Own Adventure on Twitter
And finally… we really liked this innovative “Choose Your Own Adventure” use of Twitter by French Connection – even though the chap in the background looks a bit like Sébastien Chabal

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #23

by Chris Applegate in News Google+

Facebook unveils Open Graph protocol
At last week’s f8 developer’s conference, Facebook unveiled the next stage of their platform’s evolution, the Open Graph protocol. Described as “Web 3.0”, “winning the Internet”, “advancing the semantic web” or “a great crusade of colonization” depending on which pundit you’ve been reading.

As Stefano detailed so well here last week, the Open Graph effectively extends Facebook to any page on the web. Up until now external tools on a website typically extended to social bookmarking or sharing via services like Buzz, but by accessing Facebook’s vast collection of social interaction data, you can find out who else in your friend group likes the site, and what else they read and like on the site, thus turning Facebook into a mediator of information all over the web.

Already we’re seeing interesting implementations of the protocol come up, such as likebutton.me – a site that tracks what your friends have been liking on popular sites such as YouTube, CNN and Techcrunch. And we wouldn’t want We Are Social’s fans to miss out on the action either – which is why you can now find Facebook like buttons on the bottom of all our posts (including this one).

Every time Facebook releases a new feature there is an inevitable privacy backlash, usually the domain of a few choice experts, but it’s interesting to note that this is extending into the wider Facebook audience as well. A survey out today details how Facebook users are increasingly aware of the privacy implications of the site, with 77% (of an admittedly small sample) having used the site’s privacy tools to customise their privacy options. Could the new Open Graph become hamstrung as more users become privacy aware and opt-out?

It’s not just Facebook

While Facebook makes it all about conquering the web, location-based services are having a flying start in conquering meatspace. This week saw Foursquare hit a million users just over a year since it launched (even Arnold Schwarzenegger is on it). It took Twitter two years to do the same, and as sure as night follows day, this has meant Foursquare becoming the latest startup to be christened “the new Twitter” (seriously guys, can we get this decided once and for all, so the rest of us can get back to enjoying ourselves?).

Pointless analogies aside, the growth of Foursquare and its competitor Gowalla come under more and more scrutiny. This infographic from Mashable shows an interesting trend – Foursquare has far outpaced Gowalla in the popularity stakes since SXSW in terms of mentions, but the feedback on Gowalla is more positive and less negative. As the two continue to slug it out we could be witnessing one of the best case studies possible in whether sheer numbers or member affection is key to a vibrant and profitable social network.

Blogging – for the young and self-expressive
With all the talk of Web 3.0 it can be easy to dismiss blogging as “so 2004″. Yet new research from eMarketer show that the biggest age group amongst those who blog is 18-25; 40.4% of those who write a blog compared to 28.1% from the much larger 26-42 age group. More tellingly, the reasons given were primarily for self-expression rather than making money:

Bloggers of all ages polled by BlogHer and iVillage overwhelmingly blogged for pleasure, with self-expression the No. 1 reason, followed by “fun.” One-half of bloggers wanted to give advice, and fewer than one-third hoped to earn money with their efforts.

A lesson there for anybody wishing to engage with bloggers – understand what drives them to write and engage with their topic rather than consider them as the same as paid-for writers.

#socialmediasfault
As the election campaign in the UK grinds on, the past week saw an interesting divergence in how old and social media have been treating the leaders. After what most commentators have regarded as a strong performance in the new TV debates, the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has been heavily criticised in the mainstream press – so much so even Conservative bloggers such as Iain Dale voiced their concern. Twitter had different ideas, though. The hashtag, #nickcleggsfault, coined off-handedly by Justin McKeating, spread like wildfire as Twitterers all over the UK came up with ever-more sarcastic and nonsensical things to “blame” on Nick Clegg as a parody of the media backlash. While it’s clear this election won’t just be won on social media, it’s a clear sign of the disconnect between the traditional and new media – and this is an issue that will last long beyond the election.

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Bloggers at London Fashion Week

by Louise Bury in News

London Fashion Week has now come to an end and as the fashion elite jet off to Milan and Paris for their fashion weeks, perhaps it’s worth reflecting on what we’ve learnt.

The fact that these days it’s not just mainstream media who are being given the opportunity to attend has caused quite a stir this fashion week. You may have seen the articles in the Times and on Brand Republic, referring to bloggers as ‘liggers with laptops’, going to any means to get front row seats.

The Times article states “last February, 22 per cent of the total press accreditations granted by the British Fashion Council to LFW were given to bloggers. This year, the number has increased to 33 per cent”.

As you can see from some of the great posts about London Fashion Week from bloggers like The Style PA and Coco’s Teaparty, to label them all this way is patently untrue.

But we did see some of this when we took several fashion bloggers along to London Fashion Week, on behalf of glaceau vitaminwater, and we experienced first hand the ‘scrum’ to get in to a number of the shows.

The fashion blogging community is growing and evolving everyday and as with any industry there will always be new kids on the block. So it is important for brands involving themselves in London Fashion Week to be prepared and not be ‘blagged’.

They should look to talk to bloggers that not only have reach and influence, but also who are relevant to their brand. We help our clients do this with a well defined methodology and proprietary tools to measure influence and reach.

As the market evolves, brands are going to need to become as professional in their approach to bloggers as bloggers have already become in their coverage of fashion.

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Commentariat v. bloggertariat

by Chris Applegate in News Google+

Last night I was a guest at the Editorial Intelligence seminar entitled “commentariat v. bloggertariat” – a discussion of how newspaper opinion columnists and bloggers coexist and work together.

The versus in the title immediately set the tone for contrast and confrontation; Iain Dale came out fighting for the blogosphere, with a provocative opening: “the fact that the Twitter hashtag for this event is #eiblogger and not #eicomment rather indicates the organisers believe bloggers are winning.” As well as that, he scolded The Times over the recent outing of anonymous blogger Nightjack. Batting equally fiercely for the other side, David Aaronovitch was disdainful of bloggers, boasting that no blogger could ever get an interview with Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, who he was interviewing the following day, while the Spectator’s Martin Bright said he couldn’t think of a single classic blog post he had ever read.

While it provided entertainment, the confrontational tone and setup didn’t really help bring us to any constructive conclusions. Newspapers are in trouble, it was repeatedly stated, yet bloggers are way down the list of reasons why that is so – the very fundamentals of news distribution and advertising sales have been overturned and will not return to their old state again. When the discussion moved away from the artificial distinction it proved to be a bit more nuanced and interesting – Iain Dale gave the perfect example of a blogger who has crossed over into the mainstream media – himself – while Mick Fealty revealed about how stories from his blog, Slugger O’Toole, would shape the coverage in the Belfast newspapers the following day.

Those in the mainstream media camp gave a less open-minded and concessionary view; all too often blogs and bloggers were conflated with the opinions left in comments on online news articles, or even worse, the ‘green ink brigade’ formerly managed by letters page editors (thus protecting journalists from their audience). Astonishingly, Anne Spackman of the Times suggested that the law on defamation and hate speech was a good enough set of rules for commenting on articles. The law is a bare minimum – what is agreed by the majority of society to be totally unacceptable. To better manage your communities you need a lot more than that; after all, you are only as good as the people who comment on your site – and I find many online newspaper’s reader comment sections to be poor, full of incoherence, poor spelling and grammar and some comments filled with outright spite. No wonder some journalists are utterly averse to engaging more with their audience.

There is more to social media than just allowing reader comments on your articles – indeed, there is more to the online community around your site than people leaving comments. Newspapers and their readers are capable of much more given the right tools and the right community management – such as the Liverpool Post’s crowdsourcing of its front page or the new Help Me Investigate initiative from 4iP. Mark Thompson, who was in the audience last night, and his recent analysis of safe seats and MP’s expenses, is a great recent example of blogs contributing new content and analysis whilst inspired by mainstream media.

With some notable exceptions like the above, there is too much of a culture of antagonism, on both sides in this debate, but especially from some of the mainstream media stalwarts who attended last night. Letting your lawyers, rather than your community managers, be the arbiters of what is considered acceptable behaviour and participation, is just one symptom of this culture; dismissing blogging out of hand or demanding anonymous but lawful bloggers be unmasked. The good thing is that newspapers are, relatively speaking, miles ahead of where they were 5 years ago, and some of the more social media-savvy in this space do get it; I’d love to see some of the more constructive dialogue these forward thinkers could have with the same bloggers who were there last night.

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