sociauxanswers

Empowering the end user and those considering a career in digital media

A time for change

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I would like to start this post by apologising for going off the radar somewhat. Truth be told I have been suffering from the dreaded ‘blogger’s fatigue’. The top 10s, the dos and don’ts and the how tos started to make me feel disheartened and frustrated about what we’re all really trying to do.

The change for me has been seeing others take a stand. A splendid gentleman named Chris Hall wrote a post last week about bringing people together to work through the issues that will genuinely help clients. It’s this kind of attitude shift we need to show the FDs we are serious and can deliver the results.

Clients need answers to the questions we are all asking about measurement and ROI. Rather than skirt around the issues, let’s collaborate to find the solutions.

Over the coming weeks I will be launching a couple of projects that will get the ball rolling. I hope you can all spare a few moments of your already busy schedules to contribute.

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May 14, 2010 at 7:54 am

Building consumer trust location by location

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Location, location, location is the hot topic for 2010. Targeting by location enables you to build communities of customers, build customer loyalty, provide tailored offers or promotions and ultimately become more efficient and cost effective. We all know consumers trust those companies they have relationships with and those who are local, but some people find it difficult to build these relationships.

By interacting with your customers using social media it is possible to build loyalty and develop a better understanding of the needs of your audience. Segmenting these relationships by location enables you to hone the conversations you are having and make them more relevant to your customer’s needs. There are numerous platforms you can use to facilitate this, but there are some bases you should cover immediately:

When the digital atom bomb that is Google explodes into a new sector, it’s clear it’s time to sit up and take notice. Google has recently made several waves in the location arena, including the launch of Google Latitude, which tracks the location of searches and Google local search, which provides tailored search results based on your location. Google is also incorporating geotagging Google Buzz.

Twitter has become more sophisticated recently when it comes to geotagging. It is now possible to pull up location-based information from individual tweets on the microblogging website. Twitter also recently developed the facility to search and view trending facilities by location. There are some clever tools you can use to make it easier to build communities by location on Twitter, including TwellowHood, a directory enabling you to cross reference users by location and interest, TwitterLocal, which allows you to search by area, Nearby Tweets, does what it says on the tin and Happn.in, gives trending data based on location.

iPhones, Blackberries and the evolution of the mobile have had a huge impact on both social media and location-based networking. There are numerous social networks now purely based on location, including Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Brightkite and Yelp. With over half a million users, 1.4 million venues and 15.5 million ‘checkins’, Foursquare currently holds the crown as the most used location-based networking app.

Foursquare enables users to check in at different locations and compete to win points, badges and mayorships based on activity. Companies can make offers to users when they are nearby their business or organisation, offer special bonuses to the mayor and even create bespoke badges for customer to compete to win. Users can also leave reviews for their friends at different venues giving you great access to customer feedback.

Taking relationships out of social media into the real world should be your ultimate goal. Organised tweetups provide an opportunity to build on the communities you have grown online and have face-to-face time with your customers. If you’re not confident enough to organise your own tweetup, there will be existing tweetups taking place you can attend. Meetup.com gives you instant access to a list of tweetups going on in your area.

Before you start interacting with customers through social media portals it’s important you take a step back and review which portals are going to be right for your organisation based on where your customers are. Once you have determined your goals, you can then go on to build a presence. You should customise the portals to your needs and ensure you give compelling promotions and offers to your customers – but remember, the key to social media success is having conversations and building relationships first.

As your campaign grows, it’s imperative you track everything and be prepared to adapt as your customer base grows and changes. Be honest and transparent about your intentions at all times to ensure you retain consumer trust.

Lastly, don’t be put off by recent well publicised concerns about encouraging your customers to share their location. It’s important to apply some common sense and explain to anyone with concerns that they will not get robbed just because they share their location!

Written by sociauxanswers

March 30, 2010 at 10:26 am

Hollie Matthews explores the use of social media in healthcare

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Guest blog from Hollie Matthews of Ash Healthcare in celebration of Be My Guest Month

I have found social media to be a major bone of contention, debate and worry for many within the healthcare industry.

Its seems that communications teams want to utilise the vast audiences who use social media, regulatory bodies, such as ABPI in the UK and the FDA in the States, want to regulate pharmaceutical companies use of social networking sites and medical liaison teams within the pharma companies has to try and police the constantly changing regulations and the creativity of the communications teams, ensuring that they stay within company policies when communicating to the general public or to the healthcare professional.

The problems that truly face pharmaceutical companies with regard to social networking is the general public. It is what the public is able to say on the company’s profile, what the company can say to the public from its profile, and the lack of control this two way system provides. The pharmaceutical companies have made it there mission in recent year to be ‘transparent’ but, who is liable if it all goes wrong? This is what concerns them, it all comes down to the fact that what is said could mess with someone’s health. Whether this is good or bad, this is a risky business if you are only in control of one half the information.

Now, I have mentioned the two different governing bodies, the ABPI and the FDA, and although they have a similar stance in regard to the use of social media in healthcare communications, regulations in the two sides of the globe are different with regard to marketing and the promotion of prescription medicines. Direct-to-consumer is not allowed in the UK, and any specific adverts of a drug for a doctor must include the correct referencing. Now you tell me how to fit that into 140 characters!

Despite all this, communications specialists will never be defeated and there are more and more cases were we have adapted and started to build our own personalised social networking communities, not just using Twitter and Facebook. They include clinical trial recruitment micro sites, patient support networks and online digital resources/communities for doctors. We are evolving the social networking communities to combine the latest in media and the best for our audience in a highly regulated environment.

About Hollie

Hollie is a PR consultant and Ash Healthcare and tweets from @holliematthews

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March 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

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Laura Gajewski sizes up Seesmic

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Guest blog from Laura Gajewski of PR Creator in celebration of Be My Guest Month

When I first joined twitter, I was happy with just the web version. I mean, it’s easy to use, simple, and you can customize it. What more could you want? Clearly, a lot more. As time went on I got more curious about the line below each post claiming where the tweet came from. Whether it was TweetDeck, Seesmic, Co Tweet or one of the many others, these Twitter platforms seemed just as popular as the Web version.

This past week I’ve been playing with Seesmic, the second most popular program. Now this application has two different ways to use it, Seesmic Look and Seesmic Web. I’m honestly having a hard time finding what’s different about Seesmic and what makes it better than the other options such as TweetDeck or Chromed Bird, etc.

Seesmic Look was my first stop. While this application is very pretty and almost reminiscent of Apple’s design with its bright colors and smooth lines, it fell short. It’s simply a window that is constantly open and quickly runs out of API calls (how many times it can get updates from Twitter). So, not only is it another application open on my task bar, but it isn’t always up-to-date. The print is also large, which I don’t see the point in, I’m not blind and neither are most Twitter users. It seemed a little too dumbed-down. There was some fun animation, but honestly, this doesn’t help me stay connected. I can’t see DM’s, mentions, searches or anything else in the same window.

Now turn to Seesmic Web. This is a little better. It’s a lot more like TweetDeck, with multiple columns and no fancy designs. Just cut and dry, which I liked much better. The only down side is that it’s a web page you have to have open all the time. It has columns and you can customize it so it’s more conducive to efficient monitoring.

Seesmic staff responded to this review, finding it on their own, and promised to take these things into consideration. That definitely wins them points in my book!

Personally, I’m a fan of TweetDeck. It made the easy transition into my work day. I can monitor my coverage and what others are thinking and saying quickly and easily. Only a few months into the Twitter world, TweetDeck makes my integration simple and even fun.

About Laura
Laura Gajewski is a PR professional working at a trade association in Alexandria, VA in the United States. She has a bachelor’s degree in public communication and a passion for writing and creating. You can find her blog about social media and public relations at prcreator.wordpress.com.

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March 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm

The truth about how to get retweeted

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In your daily Twitter stream you will see countless individuals offering tips on how to increase your numbers of retweets. The advice ranges from overall strategy to specifics on the ideal number of characters in each tweet.

I find this a little cringe-worthy. Yes I feel the familiar flutter of excitement when someone I respect pays homage to my posts. But this is not why I tweet. Anyone who manages a successful Twitter profile will tell you, the key to success is not about the number of followers you get but who those followers are.

Twitter has given me an outlet to build a network of like-minded individuals with whom I can learn, share and help each other achieve in business. The links I post are there because I hope they will help others in the same way they helped me. When they are retweeted, I assume it is because someone feels their followers could also benefit.

The irony is, the more you share genuinely useful content in the spirit of collaboration, the more likely you are to get the retweets you desire. So, drop the formulas and tactics and start sharing what you yourself would want to read. Only then will you make the most of the relationships you have built.

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February 25, 2010 at 9:04 am

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Taking the social media high road

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post titled Who owns social media? exploring where I think responsibility for social media management should lie within the marcomms mix. For those who took the time to read it, you will know I strongly believe it should sit within a digital specific division of a PR company.

There is a secondary consideration which all agencies need to take into account, whether digital specific, marketing wide or PR – the DIY amateurs that believe they own the company social media profile. You may have come across the internal die hards who do not want to relinquish what they have build themselves. It’s tempting to be condescending but by not getting them on board, you could be missing a trick.

Rather than competing with the vigilante for control, they could become an alie nestled within the organisation. Building these kind of allegiances with like-minded individuals on the client side can be the key to keeping the business.

Their initial toe dips in to the pool of social media can also serve as a testing pot when you’re developing your more holistic social media campaign.

Operate in the spirit of collaboration and you will be rewarded – it will at least make your life a lot easier.

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February 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm

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Did Klout just get a lot more Klout?

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Hootsuite, the somewhat underrated social media management tool, had a major revamp last week. The most significant addition was the ability to manage your followers in a more effective and efficient way. Users can now flit effortlessly between Twitter accounts and view changes in follower numbers, easing the decision of who to follow back and when.

A large part of this development was the addition of Klout influencer scores to each of your followers. Your Klout score is determined by cross referencing a number of factors, including number of followers, type of posts and tweets shared, to give you an overall influence score.

This can be mighty useful when trying to decide who is worthy of a follow back and who we may be able to learn from. Hootsuite’s recognition of the power of Klout has itself added more credibility to the Klout ranking system.

But can we measure influencer levels based on an automated system? Take a look at your own profile and you will often find tweeps who you respect with a lower ranking than you. The ultimate downfall of the system is it’s inability to recognise the influence of people’s roles in the real world on their Twitter pull power. Respected in the real world and it may only take a tweet a day to satisfy your followers thirst for interaction.

Regardless of the flaws, any tool that streamlines the Twitter management process has it’s benefits and Klout offers a comprehensive glance at what you could expect from a potential Twitter connection. This becomes particularly helpful when coping with large numbers of followers or managing multiple accounts.

If you’re not sure of your Klout score, you can register at Klout.com. Remember to update your Klout account regularly to make the most of your profile and track your own development.

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February 23, 2010 at 7:48 am

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