A fantastic blog post from Helen Cummings (@HelenCummingsPR) showing that business can’t afford to focus their efforts solely on Facebook and Twitter, ignoring all the other social media platforms available. For more interesting posts take a look at Helen’s blog, HLCPR.
This amateurish blip from the England sponsor saw ‘behind the scenes’ information such as passport numbers and dates of birth being tweeted to their 73k+ followers. Marketing Week have stated that this ‘Twitter gaffe could make the FA think twice about the level of access to the England team it grants commercial partners during the World Cup.’ but will it? The sheer amount of money that is plowed into football teams from their sponsors makes it rather unlikely their level of access will be decreased, but it is certain that someone within the Vauxhall social media team will be getting one hell of a telling off today!
Vauxhall has since apologised for their mistake and has advised that the tweet was removed immediately. Lets just hope not too many people saw it before it was erased (nothing like having your identity stolen to soften the blow of our forthcoming world cup defeat).
This mishap fully supports my earlier blogs regarding posting to social media. Whether you are a huge international company, a small village based store or a start up check, check and check again. It could just save you your reputation.
Before the internet if you were taking on a fundraising challenge the only way you could ask for sponsors or donations would be by sending a sponsorship form round your office or begging friends to part with their hard earned cash while constantly reassuring them its going to a good cause and not into your pocket. These days it seems everyone wants to do a good thing (or at least be seen to be). I am now one of those people. I am braving the murky Thames, dodging trolleys and swimming to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.
I have done this challenge once before and found that last time the pressure of trying to get people to donate was far worse than the actual event itself. This time its different. I’ve done it before, that means…I now have a personal best! This means I don’t just have to finish it, I have to beat my time. Those that know me will probably tell you that I am slightly competitive… ok very competitive and now I have two things to worry about: 1. My motivation levels and dragging myself out of bed to train and 2. Raising more money than last time.
The first point I need to sort out by myself, unless anyone is willing to coming to my house 3 times a week and drag me from my slumber?, No? Ok so onto the second. How am I going to get people to donate their money to my chosen charity when not a day goes past without there being 3 of the same pleas plastered all over their news feed? Well that’s a question I wish I could answer. I do have the benefit that no one is normally as stupid as I am to go wandering into the scuzzy Thames! On the other hand the charity I’m raising money for isn’t one that crops up everyday and mental health is still seen as a somewhat taboo subject.
I am, therefore attempting to practice what I preach and approaching this as a sort of business. Business’ need to raise money, I need to raise money. So why not implement a few of the techniques I have been harping on about? I am making a plan of action and not just running into this full force, all guns blazing , begging for peoples money. I plan to only message (with no prompt from others) twice a week trying to encourage people to sponsor me and donate to Mind, incorporating facts about the charity and stories about where and what peoples money will be going towards to try and make them more comfortable about parting with it. I will also publicly encourage sponsorship by showing my appreciation to those that have donated by mentioning them in posts and comments and try to get them engaged. I don’t want to bombard my friends and family but i don’t want them to forget either, so I will post updates of how my training is coming along, this will provide subtle updates/ hints without pressuring people to act.
I will return with updates on if my strategy has worked. In the meantime please feel free to browse my Just Giving page and I you have any tips on how I can get donations and sponsorship please do let me know!!
As the things we do become more and more digitally based are we forgetting / failing to teach the next generation how to write a letter? Is there even a need to anymore?
Everything is brb or quick emails, filling virtual mailboxes to the brim. We are so overwhelmed by the flood of message we get every day everything is skim read and not digested properly. It amazes me the speed at which technology has come along. At the age of only 24 i already reminisce of the days when people received letters regularly. Now a days weeks can pass before anything but bills drop onto my doormat (and even then they direct me to my online statement).
Are we forgetting how to write? This is coming from someone that would much prefer to write out everything rather than type it on a screen (which is rather ironic considering I write an online blog). I wrote my whole 10,500 word dissertation by hand before typing it up. Just 10 years ago this wouldn’t be very impressive but people these days are neglecting the power that the written word can have on retention and spontaneity. You are more likely to remember the information you are writing and it comes more naturally than tapping away on an emotionless screen.
Writing allows you to inject a little personality into your communication whether its the scrawl of a quick note left on the kitchen counter for a loved one or the swirl of a calligraphic 4 page letter to an old friend, when it is written by hand it is individual to that person.
I try to write to my friends as much as possible and even though i usually get a text saying got your letter thanks and then their response i know they appreciate the extra effort that went into it.
So pick up your pens and stamps and get scribbling. And lets be honest everyone loves receiving mail that isn’t from some company promoting something or asking for money!
Let me know what you think!
Do you think we should write to each other more or is it a good think that everything is online and digitally traced?
When trying to get your voice heard on social media it can prove to be a difficult and daunting task. There is an abundance of noise you have to fight through to even have your work glanced at by the right people. But whether you’re a company or an individual, begging for shares is never the right way to do it.
Directly asking people to share and publicise your work can prove alienating and not very effective. So what if your Aunty Jane and her book club have shared your blog post or tweet? If they haven’t read it or are not interested in its content its likely that their followers wont be either so your post will be falling on deaf ears.
When trying to publicise your work you need to make sure you are targeted in your approach. Put in the effort to follow the right people and attach the appropriate hashtags to make sure it is being seen by the right people that will find it interesting. In theory if your content is good enough and you are being followed by, following or sending it to the right people it should be shared organically without the need to spam people with desperate begs for shares and likes.
The main thing to remember is not to get downhearted if your content isn’t being shared as often as you would like. Look into why and how you can improve it. It takes time to form followers and a reputation in the real world let alone on social media where you are constantly fighting to get seen. It wont happen over night, you must keep on top of it and keep working away, constantly researching and engaging. Don’t get complacent, post regularly with good interesting, sharable content and sooner or later your voice will be heard.
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Recently I have written a kind of social media audit for a friend of mine that is starting up her own business and I have come across a few things that seem logical to me, but to someone that only uses social media as a promotional tool for their business may seem rather alien. It is very easy for a start up company (or any company for that matter) to get social media wrong and it is vital they don’t alienate their audience before they have even had a chance to engage with them. I have put together 5 points that all companies and first time social media goers should remember before posting.
It’s all well and good posting frequently but if all your doing is broadcasting your audience is going to lose interest rapidly. Your posts need to have a purpose, why are you posting? to inform? inspire? humour? What ever your message you need to know what it is you’re trying to say and not just bombard your audience with tweets and Facebook posts about your company, it gets boring. Fast. A social media account that is all me me me will soon be one with diminishing followers. Yes – keep your followers up to date with whats going on within the company but also give them something else to read other than whats going on in your company. It is OK to re-tweet and use posts from other sources. In fact it shows wider industry knowledge if you do.
Don’t just post – respond. This is the best way to engage. Social media is a 2 way street and it’s the easiest way for your customers to connect and form a relationship with your brand. Don’t ignore them! I’m not saying be online 24/7 and respond straight away but do take time out of your day to reply to people and encourage more interaction, this is the only way your brand presence will grow in the world of social media.
One key thing to remember is although social media is ‘social’ you are still posting as your brand and not as yourself. Stay professional! Arranging to go for a coffee with Sally from down the road on your company account is not professional and will look amateurish. This isn’t to say don’t have fun with social – please do, but remember this is the voice of your company!
Nothing screams ‘Don’t share my posts’ like spelling mistakes. You wouldn’t publish an advert into the public domain without proof reading it, so why do it on social media? Spelling and grammar mistakes can make your business look sloppy. Make sure you check everything before it goes out and always remember, ‘A live tweet is a helium balloon in an open field — within seconds, it’s long gone.‘ As I said before social media is just another voice of the company make sure you’re coming across right and using the right tone.
Keep up to date with not just industry news but with current general news stories. This will allow you to tap into trending stories and give your opinion (be careful not be too controversial). Don’t just post about the latest news stories and trends, social media can be your research tool to find out these things. Make sure you are following influential people within your industry, for example, if you are a vintage clothing company don’t just follow fashion related accounts following anything and everything to do with vintage, furniture, hair, decor, events, bloggers. You will not only be able to find out whats going on in the wider industry you will have access to valuable information your followers will enjoy!
Don’t just post sporadically; have a plan! If you have an event coming up make sure you plan out your social media activity to create excitement. I know you’re excited that your new product is launching soon but I’m sorry to tell you, your customers probably aren’t as excited so bombarding them with posts about the event will not do anything but annoy them! Give them the information they need and remind them frequently (not in every post), build the anticipation and excitement, in the end they’ll be just as excited as you are!
Real time posts are a great way to keep your followers up to date with all the office antics and exciting news but for those slow news days scheduled posts are a god send! By taking an hour or so out of your week to schedule in 3 -4 tweets a day and 2-3 Facebook posts for the coming week you can make sure your social media is buzzing without you having to touch a thing! This is great for an up and coming launch or event in which there is a countdown or even just to make sure you have a constant stream of information going out to your followers. There are lots of social media scheduling software out there that can be downloaded for free to have a look around and see which one will be best for you. It is important to remember though that scheduled posts cannot replace interaction you still need to respond to posts to you so don’t forget to check in throughout the week.
I’m sure you have all heard the phrase ‘content is king’; if you haven’t out you come from that rock you’ve been living under. This notion that content is the most important aspect of your marketing is up for debate, especially when it comes to direct marketing.
In the world of direct marketing, yes, content is up there as one of the most vital aspects of a campaign. Eye catching phrases and images are vital to gaining you customers’ attention and avoiding being filed in the recycling with all the other ‘junk’ mail. So what is the most important thing I hear you ask? Good, relevant, up to date, clean data. The customer data you hold is the key thing to making direct marketing work and yet can be one of the hardest things to get hold of. Data allows you to personalise and relate to an individual on a mass scale. It’s a fantastic resource but can be easy to get wrong.
Having duplicate data, incorrect address’ or data of the deceased are sure fire ways to look unprofessional and annoy your customers. Nothing screams ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ like the misspelling of names, receiving more than one mailing or mailing someone that has recently died. They won’t be buying your products anytime soon and their family certainly won’t appreciate it. All these things among many more are the reasons why it is important to ensure your data is obtained in a legal manner and cleansed by a reliable data expert.
If done well using data can help your direct marketing campaigns resonate with your intended recipient and may just improve your response rate.