19 March 2013
You may have seen the (re)launch of flattr this week, a service which has
just becoming bigger and better from the idea first proposed in
2010. The basic concept is that, providing there are the (pre-paid)
funds to do so, anyone viewing a post, a picture, a blog, or a
video can give the creator of the material a flattr credit by
simply clicking an icon - essentially heralding the era of
microdonations. The service is compatible with nearly all major
platforms, including Instagram,
flickr, twitter, Facebook and various blog
What this means is that there is, perhaps, finally a small scale
monetisation opportunity for everyone creating fresh, engaging
content, through a broad all-encompassing service - such a reach
that means the reliance on individually monetised silos could be
obsolete. This has long been one of the biggest challenges for
content creators in the social era; how do you make yourself
profitable as a blogger or occasional commentator?
This 'Oyster' card approach is one which could become hugely
effective in that it could break down the barriers to siloed
content - you can't help but wonder whether if newspapers got
together and created a similar approach they'd be able to monetise
their content collectively rather than in individually subscribed
If you could pre-pay to read a finite amount of content across a
variety of news sites (which then divvied up the proceeds based on
reader behaviour) then you'd browse more. As it is, the increasing
number of subscription-based models merely means people get tied to
one title only - or, as seems to be the case, simply find the news
for free elsewhere rather than pay multiple subscriptions to be
able to browse multiple sites. There's power in working
For individual bloggers, it provides a nice opportunity to see
tangible rewards for your work (albeit rewards that are unlikely to
allow you to retire), as well as be able to give flattr credits to
others you enjoy reading, watching or reposting. It's a novel idea,
and it'll be interesting to see it progress.
Social media, Blog, Social, Reward | 1 comment
07 January 2013
It shouldn't *really* be a surprise that people
tweeting ad infinitum about social media techniques and tips should
describe themselves as 'social media gurus', but the
report from What's Next Blog shows how ridiculous this
self-aggrandising chest thumping has got.
Over 180 thousand twitter users describe themselves as 'social
media gurus' in some shape or form, with some of the worst
perpetrators being those who modestly dub themselves 'warriors',
'mavens', and (strangely, given the industry's relatively nascency)
What would be interesting would be to assess the
*actual* guru-ness of these people. In my
experience, accounts who boast such a title are often the worst
culprits for spamming linkbait blogs repeating the same old
nonsense - let's be honest, there is a genuinely finite amount you
can write about how to run a good social media programme or
engaging twitter account. It doesn't need a dozen posts a day to
explain it. Furthermore, they often have tens of thousands of
followers, but rarely a RT - they're not practising what they
preach by means of engagement.
What really annoys me though is that these accounts follow
people, then, within 24 hours, unfollow if they're not followed
back, or unfollow you the moment you do so to them (when you get
bored of being spammed crap blogs).
Twitter isn't about reciprocal follows, it's about following
people you find interesting, funny, or informative; 'follow me if I
follow you' is the wrong approach, yet so many self-styled 'social
media gurus' do just that - harvesting followers to increase their
We're all, individually and as an industry, constantly learning
about the opportunities social media brings and finding new (and
not always perfect) ways of using platforms in the best way
possible. However, calling yourself a guru is perhaps arrogant at
best and when you fail to grasp the basics, downright annoying.
Social media, Twitter, facebook, social media guru, annoying, LinkedIn, follow, unfollow, spam | 3 comments
02 July 2012
This time last week I was at home, recovering from the
Isle of Wight
Festival and basking at the sheer joy of being home, and clean,
and on a proper bed, and clean, and having had more than three
hours sleep, and importantly…being clean.
The idea to go the Festival was first seeded over a bottle of
wine, when I asked my friend whether being the tender age of 32 and
13 months made me too old to go to a festival. A gentle 'No babe'
was given in reply and a plan was hatched. Yes it might rain a bit,
yes it would involve camping and I'd be cold, but we'd have each
other and booze, which would make it all okay, right?
Our plan first seemed at risk when the weather report in the
week ahead looked shoddy at best. 'No fear', I said. 'I have a
Kagool and Jack Daniels, it will be ace.' The closer it got to the
event, the more it rained and the more nervous I became about it
being a mud-fest. So, I put my hope into modern communications to
aide me. After all, knowledge is power.
I became obsessed with weather reports and following anyone
vaguely useful on Twitter,
from official festival organisers and ferry operators through to
anyone tweeting about their journey. Come Thursday afternoon, day 1
of the festival, tales of woe were literally flooding in and there
was a Twitter frenzy with people complaining of being trapped in
their cars and on ferries in the Solent. No one could get
into the festival site due to mud and social media was awash with
panic. Rumours were spreading that thousands were trapped, the main
stage was sinking and the whole thing had been called off.
People wanted answers. What they got were two tweets. One at 2pm
in the afternoon saying that there were some difficulties getting
people on site. The next one six hours later saying 'Cerys Matthews
is opening the Big Top' which was understandably met with a torrent
of expletives from people who were still stuck on the road and
hadn't moved in eight hours.
It comes down to this. If you have a Twitter presence, use it.
If people have questions, answer them. If you have nothing to say
or update people on, tell them. Just keep in touch. The organisers
said that they were busy helping people get on site which is why
they were unable to talk to media or put updates on Twitter. This
sounds noble enough but just doesn't cut it in an age where
everyone is online. Knowledge is power but if you opt for radio
silence, you lose that power and the online world will make up
their own reality.
In the end, after purchasing an extra groundsheet and an extra
bottle of Jack Daniels to see me though, we had a surprisingly easy
journey to the festival. Yes we renamed it 'Mudfest 2012', yes the
mud will haunt me for years to come and yes it was a brilliant
weekend in the end, but poor social media management meant that we
could have called it off altogether.
So, my two 'take-aways' from the weekend are as follows. Silence
isn't always golden, and white isn't always a sensible choice for
festival attire - evidence below.
, Social media, Twitter, Isle of White Festival | 4 comments
14 June 2012
It's been all over the news this week - Google falling
foul of Britain's privacy watchdog over the misuse of personal
data. The online search engine has been accused of using their
Street View cars to gather information from unsecured Wi-Fi
Scary stuff! Even scarier that George Orwell told us extreme
surveillance was going to happen - fair enough he is about 28 years
out in his predictions, and we aren't all being controlled by the
dictatorship of The Party - but still this 'Big Brother' state is a
Yesterday, I frantically made my Facebook profile private in as
many ways as possible, without removing the ability for people to
write on my wall... which is actually just a space for me to post
things that I/other people find funny.... I digress; I suddenly
became very worried about who had seen my photos and who had been
trawling through them, although in reality it is probably just my
mother taking a peek at what I have been up to. Still, I do know
people who take great pleasure in extracting information from
people's Facebook pages - "OMG did you see she
liked his status? I am
defo looking through her
photos!" The thought of someone doing that to me
worries me greatly, especially as these are individuals, not
companies, who are following our online movements! **Shivers**
Let's face it; if Google weren't going to extract data from
unsecured wi-fi networks then they would probably just get
it from our online movements. Both of which are creepy. My advice?
Everyone should get offline and go play in the sunshine…..Oh wait?
It's raining? I better update my Facebook and Twitter and tell
everyone just how much it's raining #EnglishWeather.
Rambo (aka Kelly) @KelRams
, Social media, Google | 1 comment
01 June 2012
Driving to work this week enjoying the sunshine with my
window down and music turned up I was not best pleased when a stone
bounced off of a passing lorry straight towards my
windscreen. I closed my eyes but knew from the sound of the
stone hitting the glass that it had chipped. I decided to
take the mature route of cursing at the chip and at the lorry which
had now long gone and continued my drive to work. What a crap start
to the day.
When I got to work I vented my frustration on Twitter as most people do (we all
know that's what it's really for).
Within an hour I was surprised to see a reply from @Autoglass - especially
since I hadn't tweeted them directly or hash tagged them. My first
reaction was that it'd be a sales punt that would've caused my
frustration and annoyance to spiral. But I was pleased and shocked
to see it was a charming, friendly personal note. It cheered me
I replied, thanking them for the tweet, and said that I'd speak
to my insurers and give them a call if I needed any further help.
Turns out my insurers work with Autoglass anyway. So I gave
them a call, booked an appointment and they repaired it.
But what makes this even more remarkable is that it has very
little value for Autoglass (it only cost me £10 to have it fixed).
I was so impressed with how personal and effective they had been
that I've been telling everyone about it (as will this blog!). My
experience shows that using Twitter correctly can really help to
engage customers and help shape brand perceptions.
I later found out that Autoglass are using Radian6 which is how they came
across my tweet. They simply monitor tweets that contain
words like 'chip' and 'cracked' together with 'windscreen' and
'car'. Specific searches are set up so that irrelevant tweets
such as those that include the words 'chip' and 'fish' are ignored.
People tweeting about their dinner obviously won't need to be
I think this is a fantastic example of a brand engaging with
consumers through Twitter successfully. Autoglass listened and
understood my tweet before responding, were helpful without being
pushy and made an effort.
Social media, Twitter | 1 comment
29 March 2012
Customers, employees and journalists came together this
week for a Taleo breakfast event discussing the impact of LinkedIn
on recruitment, which I was lucky enough to attend.
The event saw a series of insightful sessions from speakers such
as Dan Dackombe (EMEA Enterprise Sales Manager Hiring Solutions at
LinkedIn), Richard Doherty (Head of Business Transformation, Taleo)
and Chris Phillips (VP EMEA Marketing, Taleo). We all know how
social media is transforming the game in terms of PR, so it was
interesting to see it applied to the world of recruitment.
All about LinkedIn, from LinkedIn
First up, I was really interested to hear Dan give some great
insight into LinkedIn itself, and he impressed the audience with
some serious stats on the business. Take these for example; in the
past 14 months, the number of employees working across EMEA for
LinkedIn has grown from less than 50 to an impressive 350. And for
anyone doubting the impact of LinkedIn, Dan told us that 62% of all
UK professionals now use the site.
He also explained how LinkedIn works to the following three
1) Identity - to
help recruiters, companies and individuals create an online
identity that is constantly evolving.
2) Insight -
allow potential candidates and recruiters to learn more about the
individual or the company through various groups and
3) Everywhere -
make the process of recruitment and job-hunting a constant
experience through their mobile app.
As ever, the Q&A session brought up some nuggets of vital
information, and one of the biggest questions for employers, it
emerged, is how to engage employees in social media
participation? However, the Q&A threw up a great
number of things for employers to consider when it comes to social
media. Creating groups within your network, thereby allowing
employees to own a group by contributing content, beginning
conversations and forwarding invitations onto friends was just one
idea, as was giving employees the chance to talk about their
company or about relevant topics. This allows employers to carve
out their identity amongst the greater community and reach their
target audience of potential employees, even if they are only
What I definitely learnt is that social media means that the
world of recruitment is undergoing massive change, led by the
expansion of social media recruitment and the acceptance of new
mobile applications and platforms. It's not just PR that social
media is changing.
As the morning concluded, many recruiters were left excited
about beginning or expanding their journey into the world of social
media and all were full of delicious mini eggs Benedict and hash
Social media, Client | Leave comment
23 March 2012
The creators of Friends Reunited were arguably pioneers
in the social space. And it wasn't created by some Harvard geeks,
oh no, it was the brainchild of Steve and Julie Pankhurst from
Hertfordshire in our very own Blighty.
When the site launched in 2000 Mark Zuckerburg was only a wee
nipper at 16, and whilst he was hardly collecting his pension when
he launched Facebook four years later, Friends Reunited had already
established itself with 20 million members and a bit of a
reputation as the go-to community site to reunite with old school
Their success didn't last long sadly, and despite a lucrative
buy out by ITV for £175 million - lucky Steve and Julie - it went
on to be sold to Brightsolid for only £25 million (ouch for
But news announced this week says Friends Reunited is on the
cusp of a re-launch on March 27th. Interestingly though
it's not planned to be just a new look and feel site but a whole
new approach to the very nature of social media - private content
focused on digital memories, firmly planting the control of content
back with the user.
With momentum building against Facebook's vast monopoly over an
incredible amount of the global population's data (845 million
active users at the last count) and some rather questionable
privacy policies, it most certainly is quite a different
proposition but can they pull it off?
They certainly have a bit of a challenge on their hands shaking
off pre-conceptions of Friends Reunited of old but it might be
worth shaking the dust off your old username and password and
checking it out.
With the frenzy around Pinterest, visual led social media
interaction could be the next big thing and a site that gives
control back to the user could be the next evolution of social
Social media | 1 comment
16 February 2012
Nowadays you can find just about any brand on Twitter,
Facebook and LinkedIn, as so many have jumped on the social media
bandwagon to engage and communicate with their customers. However,
how many of those embracing social CRM actually have a successful
strategy in place?
Up until last week, I had been having so many problems with my
mobile network provider Vodafone and had been resorting to the old
fashioned call centre for first hand advice and help. However,
having been put on hold for hours on end and being transferred to
different call centres all over the world I officially gave up and
as per usual took to Twitter to let off some steam.
Now I'm a huge fan of Twitter, I use it as a platform to share
my views, catch up on news and gossip, and have the odd rant here
and there. Many a time, I even mention brands within my tweets, for
when I complain about their miserable staff and @NationalRail for
leaving me stranded at the train station for hours. However, not
once have any of these brands ever responded to me or acknowledged
my tweet. I was therefore taken by surprise last week when @VodafoneUK decided to
reply to my tweet within seconds, after having complained about
their call centre customer service.
Within an hour of me complaining, Vodafone had responded to my
tweet, sent me a link to email their web team about my issue and
acknowledged receipt of my complaint! I then received an email
within 24 hours with an apology and resolution to my problem.
Never did I think a simple tweet would be the answer to my
problems having spent hours on the phone to eight different call
centre advisors, neither of which had helped me. It just goes to
show, with a strategy in place and a web team responding to your
tweets in real time, any brand can win over their customer... hats
off to you @VodafoneUK!
, Social media, Twitter, Social CRM, Vodafone | 1 comment
13 February 2012
This week, I've seen a crazy amount of articles and blog
posts talking about Pinterest.
So, why not add one more. I joined Pinterest a few weeks back, as I
wanted to see what all the fuss was about. According to some, it is
the 'holy grail' of the internet, and apparently this website is
what the internet was made for.
I guess for those of you who haven't heard about it, or are
still trying to figure out what it is (which I am too, to a certain
extent), you could describe it as a "visual pinboard of dreams".
It's a place where you can gather all the things that you love and
show them off to the world, by sharing your pinboard with others.
It is also a place where you can dip into other people's dreams and
inspirations; you see something you like, you pin it. Someone likes
what you have Pin-ed and Repins it, and so on.
Having been around for a few years, Pinterest has only in the
last few months started to gain traction, and people are starting
to pay more attention. Having taken a while to surface, Pinterest
is slowly but quickly becoming mainstream and I fear we only have a
short window before we see it hi-jacked by brands, and the
monetisation opportunities become all too apparent.
However, brands taking advantage of this "next big thing", is no
bad thing. It is a site that should definitely not be overlooked by
marketers as there is huge potential here. Not for direct customer
engagement as this is not a platform where you want to invade
someone's social space, but more of a situation where you provide
the content and wait for the magic to happen.
A brand can showcase its products and allow its audience to take
them far and wide. Tailoring is key here, as the content shared
needs to be carefully selected to attract the attention of a brands
desired audience. Brands can offer 'sneak peaks' of new product
launches, then sit back and watch people share and spread the
Pinterest is a platform that complements the likes of Facebook
and Twitter, as these platforms can be used as a pathway to draw
people in to your "pinboard of dreams". As it becomes more
and more familiar to brands and consumers, the viral nature of
Pins/Likes/Repins will prove to be wildly successful and, when
absorbed into a company's existing social engagement strategy, we
will see its content spread to a much wider audience.
The buzz around Pinterest is increasing at a rapid rate and as
more and more brands and consumers flock to check out this new and
exciting platform, the flow of content will continue to grow and
create a visual explosion of what the world thinks is, well,
marketing, Social media, Pinterest | Leave comment
10 February 2012
Sure everyone's aware of the Snickers story doing the
rounds at the mo. But just in case here's the gist: Snickers 'hack'
a celeb's Twitter profile posting Tweets that appear to be
incongruous with that user's house style.
Jordan, for example, Tweeted that Chinese leaders are likely to
loosen monetary policy to stimulate growth. A few other
surprisingly fiscally-minded Tweets followed, before a Twitpic
popped up with said celeb holding a Snickers with the tagline
'you're not you when you're hungry'.
The bit that's confusing me is why this campaign is being
positioned as a fail or backfire by some in the digital media. One
(fairly spurious) reason being that it's insulting to Jordan. Well,
I'm sure she's dead pleased that the digital media is mobilising to
support her - but she shouldn't be surprised - such has been the
unflinching nature of their support for her and her work in recent
years. Further, if Jordan is in on the joke then why is it a
problem? Surely they're not concerned that Jordan is... *gasp*
...being manipulated at the hands of Snickers? Poor, naive, non
media-savvy individual that she is.
Anyway, let's be real; Jordan doesn't generally tweet about the
fiscal policies of the world's super powers, and that doesn't
necessarily make her stupid. Which is the point of the joke.
It seems to me that this is more about a 'Fail' story being more
interesting than a success story, than it is about providing a
genuine insight on a brand campaign. I have noticed this more and
more in the digital media recently, this desire to chase the fail,
over-analysing campaigns to urgently seek out the most negative
stance. I understand that analysis is what they do, but let's not
forget that the average consumer won't be arsed to dig that deep
(and who can blame them?).
Snickers should be applauded for doing something a bit
different, and for successfully causing buzz about their brand -
something which is mentioned in an irony free manner by many of the
articles I have read. Moreover, as far as I can see, the only real
negative buzz is that which has been created by the media.
Maybe it's an overly personal viewpoint, but I just don't like
brands that have stuck their necks out being run down in the media
for doing so. Let's save that for agencies that send dead goldfish
to the media or whatever.
NB: As far as Octopus is concerned you won't be seeing our
Twitter handle posting or RTing any 'Fail' stories
PR, , Social media, PR Fail, #Fail, Snickers, Jordan, Katie Price | 1 comment
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