Vauxhall Tweets England Squad’s Passport Numbers

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.45.42Yesterday’s leak of the England squads passport numbers by global car dealer and Football Association (FA) sponsor Vauxhall is proof that not even the big boys can get it right all the time.

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.

1 Sure Fire Way to Lose Friends and Followers

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.

 

Also check out:

4 Worst social media mistakes avoid

3 Actions to try instead of Begging

5 Social Media Must Do’s for New Businesses

List BlogRecently 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.

Engage

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.

Be Social

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!

Check

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.

Research

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!

Plan

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.

 

 http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/25-things-that-make-you-look-dumb-on-twitter/

http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/03/open-question-correct-tweets.html

http://theantisocialmedia.com/tag/13-social-media-rules/

If Content is King, Data is Queen

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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.

Brands Grow their ‘Mo’s’ for Movember!

Image9So November is fast approaching and before long we will be seeing a sea of unkempt men at different stages of hairiness. This month of dishevelled festivities raised a whopping £92m globally and sparked an impressive 2.7 billion conversations around men’s health in 2012, according to the charity.

Movemeber is a great way for brands to show their community spirit and get in touch with the younger generation whilst raising awareness for a fantastic cause. By being official sponsors of Movemebr brands are tying in with an exclusive group. Yes, Movember has been criticised for being more fashion than fundraising but that’s how you gain the attention of the younger generation. Dress it up as something cool and then what do you have? A little advert on the faces of millions reminding people what month it is.  People hear about Movember and are reminded of the cause throughout the month by all the Mo’s around. If someone grows a fashionable Mo and raises £10, growing the Mo has still raised money and awareness. Thus, fulfilling Movembers purpose!

Ok that was slightly off topic back to the supporting brands. With such well known brands supporting them Movemeber have a fighting chance of spreading the word further and to a variety of different people and it has obviously worked. I challenge you to find someone that doesn’t know what Movemer is! Brands such as Gillette; Movembers ‘grooming partner’ and HP sauce are household names. These items are seen on a daily basis and serve as constant reminder of the cause.

By being promoted by names such as the Links of London Movember shows that the campaign is not just for everyday goods but is also being supported by high end brands, making it more desirable to grow that all important Mo. This is also true with the involvement of celebrities. Last year Michael Owen, Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Alan Carr, Jamie Oliver and Richard Branson attracted a high volume of attention on social media for their Mo’s.

This year the Movemeber crew are targeting a new generation, not Gen x, not Gen Y but Gen Mo! This continues their themes of targeting different types of men, 2010 saw the country gentleman and 2011 the modern gentleman but with their new logo Movemeber are said to be targeting ‘a new generation of fundraisers and drive positive change’. So come on boys (and girls if capable) quit that shaving malarkey and don your Mo’s and help raise awareness for men’s health!

And this year you can get merchandise!!!!

Alternative moustache references are acceptable such as:-

-Lip warmer                                                                       -Caterpillar
-Crumb Catcher                                                                -Nose Bug
-Face furniture                                                                  -Dirt Squirrel
-Flavour Saver                                                                   -Lip foliage
-Facial Fur                                                                           -Manometer
-Mouth Brow                                                                     -Nose Neighbour

Tesco – In the Dog House Again!

tesco-christmas-puppy-46_460

Well, well, well, being a huge international company you would have thought marketing publications would be proof read, monitored and well thought out. This does not seem to be the case for supermarket giant Tesco. As if horse meat scandals, insulting Halloween costumes and accusations of sexism weren’t enough bad publicity for one year they have gone and done it again, this time in the form of their Christmas brochure.

The brochure shows an image of a child with the words ‘All I want for Christmas is a puppy’ shown on a blackboard in the background. Animal charities are well known for putting great effort into publicizing the importance of not buying a dog on a whim or as a gift, especially around the festive period, and have stated that they are ‘incredibly disappointed’ with the image that goes against their ‘A puppy is for life’ mantra. The public have also shown their outrage through the power of social media. Just glancing at their Facebook page and twitter feed you will see an astonishing amount of complaints (and rather amusing images depicting what ‘should’ be written on the blackboard). In fairness to Tesco they are responding to most posts, apologising and explaining the situation.

Although they have apologised, vowed to work with Dogs Trust (shock) and stated that they did not intend to encourage the purchasing of canines as festive gifts, they really do need to start protecting their brand image especially when you take into consideration the battering it has taken this year!

Evidence that Traditional Marketing Techniques aren’t Dead

With the constant barrage of ‘Is your company digital?’ ‘Have you got a digital presence’ ‘Social Media, Social Media, Social Media’ it can seem that traditional marketing is sinking into the background but is this true? TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, outdoor marketing, promotional material, and the list goes on and all of these are still being used to drive sales and traffic to companies websites and working. I was inspired to write this blog by an article and a mug.

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A mug? I was sitting at my desk pondering what the day will bring. I got handed a very lovely cup of tea, as some of you may or may not know I am a bit of a tea addict and this will surely be one of about 8 today (even in this weather), but something was different about this mug of tea, the mug itself.  This mug did its intended function very well; my tea stayed where it was supposed to, the only thing that was interesting about this mug was the design printed on it.  The mug was a simple promotional item, just a list of tick boxes of a situation everyone can relate to, deadlines (as you can see from the photos). The overall message it was trying to convey was come and have a look if we can take the pressure off. All the details were there and yes I admit it’s not a mind blowing, innovative, never been seen before idea but it worked.

IMAG0908

It managed to catch me at a time that I was already on a break so I had time to have a browse of their website. I wasn’t looking for promotional goods but still I now know that the company exist if I ever do want to use them, their advert is going to be used every day as a constant reminder of their services so when the time does occur that I need 5000 branded piggy banks for an event I know exactly where I will go to, my trusty mug.

They have demonstrated their abilities with regards to the products they are selling and they have caught me unawares, when my brain is relaxing and therefore more accepting or susceptible to ideas. It’s proven that when you’re not trying, you find your greatest inspiration, they didn’t hassle me into looking they let me come across them in my own time. Now I’m not saying this little mug is my ‘greatest inspiration’ I just thought it was a very clever piece of advertising and a very good sized tea mug!

So no traditional marketing methods are not slipping away there are just more platforms than there were 5 or 10 years ago, so logically there is less time being allocated to traditional marketing as the time now has to be divided among more areas.  This is yet again evidence that a company’s marketing team needs to consider all marketing channels and not get overwhelmed by the new ones.