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.

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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/

How Do You Get People To Do Something For Nothing?

oxfam

I have been volunteering at Oxfam for a few months now and yes as selfless as it sounds I must admit I first joined because I was bored, needed a distraction from writing my dissertation and it would look good on my CV. Then something happened. I really enjoyed it and I started getting this overwhelming sense of doing good. But now here is the problem. We have recently started to experience a massive decline in the amount of volunteers we have and as you can imagine this isn’t good for a shop that is only staffed by volunteers. No volunteers, no opening of the shop.

This is a tricky one, how do you convince (excuse the generalisation) a predominantly selfish, won’t do nothin’ for nothin’ society to give up at least 4 hours of their week for nothing but a warm fuzzy feeling as payment? My thoughts are don’t. I don’t think this position should be solely marketed as a thing to do for the ‘greater good’. I think, especially in this area which is mainly populated by students, they should appeal to a person’s selfish side. Oxfam can give you communication experience and give you something to put on your CV that the other 500 applicants applying for your perfect job role won’t have. It’s a win, win situation they get a banging CV and Oxfam get staff. (Obviously this isnt the only people they should target!)

The shop in Southsea, Portsmouth currently doesn’t have much in the windows and I think if they are going to get local volunteers this is a must. The footfall past the shop is huge and there is nothing telling people they are needed, there’s less chance of people volunteering if they don’t know we need volunteers! As well as this there are so many different ways to get more local volunteers that are free!

Twitter being one of them, the online town crier.  The best thing about raising awareness using Twitter is it allows you to hone in on a specific location or find people that are discussing similar topics to what you are promoting, through their advanced search you can find out who is saying what about volunteering or charity work in the Portsmouth area by using just a few key words. By tweeting Portsmouth news, The Galleon, Portsmouth Tweet and other such accounts the message that Oxfam are looking for just 4 hours of a volunteer’s time a week will reach so many more people. The use of social media on even a local scale allows small charities or companies to have a bigger presence. There are loads of helpful sites to help them find the right kind of people to volunteer including followerwonk and sproutsocial to name a few.

And just to cover the footfall past and in the shop I might whack a black board out the front and try some good old fashioned customer service. No harm in asking!

Any ideas about how Oxfam can gain more volunteers will be most welcome!

Do you want to volunteer at Oxfam Southsea? then email oxfamshopf4023@oxfam.org.uk or call 023 92 817131

#Facebook

In my last post I said that ‘Facebook is where you talk to your friends and twitter is where you follow people you wish you were friends with’  with Facebooks recent move to enable the use of hashtags this may no longer be the case. the use of hashtags on social media sites other than twitter is not a new thing Instagram and Google+ are already doing it but is it a bit too samey for Facebook?

I personally think this change may have been the wrong move but only time will tell. Yes hashtags are currently being used on Facebook already but this receives a lot of mixed feelings from users due to already having this feature available on another platform. It may start to seem as though Facebook is developing into this conglomerate, encompassing all things social media. First they take over Instagram, which was rife with privacy alterations issues and now they’re edging into twitter space. Will twitter stand for it? Should they be worried about their competitor or is working together the right thing to do?

Facebook have said that they will “continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world’s conversations.”… sound familiar? isn’t this just the same as the twitter trend feed?

There is the risk that users may begin to see Facebook more and more as a corporate identity instead of a platform where they can socialise with their friends. I’m not convinced that creating one large social media platform (because that’s the way its look as though it is heading) is the right way to go. I still strongly feel that Facebook and Twitter are two social media platforms that can be used to target people in different environments.

As I said before, who knows? Only time will tell if the hastag activation is successful.

If Facebook were a Country…. So What?

land1

Today I have been scouring blogs, LinkedIn discussion boards and marketing magazines looking for something to write about. Whilst on this quest for inspiration I have discovered something that really gets on my wick about blogs and articles surrounding the topic of social media. The statement that usually goes a little like this ‘If Facebook were a country it would be the largest in the world’ or  variations of this. This annoys me for a number of reasons:

1.       Majority of people looking for advice on how to expand their reach using social media already know how big it is, that’s why they are looking. I understand the metaphor and I understand that the first time I saw it I was impressed and somewhat shocked but I think we need a new way of getting it across because after seeing it over 50 times in 50 different articles it loses its impact.

 2.      Yes it’s all well and good that if twitter was a country it would be the 12th largest in the world (try typing that into Google…see everyone says it!) but so what? The Philippines is actually the 12th largest country in the world but I don’t speak Filipino so this doesn’t help me promote my business. It’s the same with social media, unless you know how to communicate, it doesn’t matter how big they are. Companies need to understand that under this social media umbrella there are separate channels that need to be treated in their own unique way. You wouldn’t go looking for a conversation on Instagram or a descriptive review on twitter. Different types of content have to be used on each platform.

My theory is: Facebook is where you talk to your friends; Twitter is where you follow people you want to be friends with. I would never have David Beckham on Facebook (I wish!) but I follow him on Twitter, you get the idea.  You need to adapt your message to the platform you’re using, just as you would if you were doing both a TV and Radio campaign. You have the same message just communicated differently. People that live in the ‘country of Facebook’ also live in the ‘country of twitter’, companies need to be aware of this and understand that they must keep their base message consistent and this needs to be considered throughout their social media activity. This is where the use of an agency comes in handy. Back to my Philippines metaphor; you could either spend years learning the language or get a translator, that’s what agencies do they translate; they are the experts so you don’t need to learn every digital term in the book.

I recently read a blog in which social media marketers and what they do was discussed and I really liked this view on it:

‘Anyone can schedule a tweet, but knowing which times will attract the most views by your chosen demographic, the text: visual content ratio that your target market responds to, the key words to initiate interaction and tailoring your posts and tweets accordingly is not something any keyboard junkie can do. We’re in the business of making Mass Psychology look friendly; it isn’t numbers or big terms, but instinct and opportunity recognition.’ (See original post)

3.     And finally, It could seem from these country references that Facebook and twitter is the be all and end all of a companies social media activity, which quite frankly is ludicrous. There are so many different social networks targeting niche markets. Yes Facebook has numbers but niche networks have engaged numbers around a specific topic, interests, regions. It makes sense to target a place where the people that will be buying your products are active. Companies should still work within the larger platforms but shouldn’t neglect the smaller niche platforms that may focus directly on their target market and therefore engage the right people.