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

Posts Tagged ‘social media

Building consumer trust location by location

leave a comment »

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, 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. 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

leave a comment »

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

Written by sociauxanswers

March 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Taking the social media high road

leave a comment »

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.

Written by sociauxanswers

February 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Who owns social media? Are you in the ring?

with one comment

2010 has already become the year for social media. While 2009 was spent learning and testing, it’s only in the past month I’ve noticed clients dedicating bigger budgets to the social web.

Social networks have become slicker and more marketing savvy. Facilities such as Twitter’s new local trends have allowed us to be more sophisticated in targeting messages to the right audiences and mobile technology has given rise to a new generation of location based social networks such as Foursquare.

As the budgets increase alongside the opportunities, the fight for ownership of the social media realm has got serious.

A new specialist agency is born every day, in house teams who have been experimenting in an unstructured way are starting to form strategies, ad teams believe they own everything and even customer services wants in on the act.

While I believe there is a place for social media across an organisation, there must be someone leading the herd for strategies to be implemented coherently.

Not surprisingly, for me the responsibility has to lie with the PR team.

We’re experienced in knitting together different strands of the marketing mix to create holistic strategies. And social media is about communicating messages effectively through conversations – that’s what we do.

The question is, will we win the fight? Read an issue of PR Week from 2009 and you will see social media discussed at arms length as a new and scary entity. This year, the gloves are off and PR Week is now running a blog called Firehose specifically dedicated to discussing issues within digital media.

PR agencies small and large are honing their social media offerings – some, such as Cow PR‘s Rabbit, have created specific digital offshoots.

We may be performing well in round one but there’s still a long way to go before the bell rings.

Only results will reveal the true victors.

Written by sociauxanswers

January 27, 2010 at 8:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

If you’re a small company, perhaps you should be making sushi

leave a comment »

This evening, I made the rooky mistake of thinking sushi from Tesco would be a good idea. I truly did not believe sushi could taste like cardboard but, believe me, it is possible.

My instant reaction was to tweet to complain. I’ll damn well let them know about my taste experience and they will be sorry.

I patiently waited for my east bound tube, keen to start my campaign against all that is fishy. But then it dawned on me, I’m not going to get a response and I’m not going to stop you (or me) from wasting your wages on disapointment.

So, is there a point when an organisation becomes impenetrable by social media backlash?

Tesco is the Ryanair of our lunch menu. We sign up for what we get. We don’t pay for bells and whistles, nor do we expect it. And that transends to the social web.

Tescos has a surprisingly limited social media presence. The buzz is there – many others have had the misfortune of sampling the sushi – but the impact it has on the company is minute.

We all love to roll out the stat that 93 per cent of consumers expect an organisation to have a social media presence – it’s almost become a cliche -but this does tend to depend on the size of an organisation.

We expect Tesco to have an advertising campaign. It should have a PR budget. We would be shocked if it didn’t.

It’s the smaller budgets where we can really make a difference when it comes to social media. It’s the small company case studies that stand out – and for good reason.

Inovate beyond your size and you will get noticed. Social media presents a cost effective solution to this conundrum.

Perhaps all small companies should start making sushi.

Written by sociauxanswers

January 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Social Media Monitoring: Meltwater Buzz vs Radian6

with 9 comments

Ask anyone with experience trying to build a brand’s social media presence and they will tell you, the key to success is measurement and evaluation. There are free tools on the market that can help you with this but increasingly, none quite cut the mustard compared to the paid for offerings.

The most well known three are Radian6, Meltwater Buzz and Brandwatch. As far as I can see, Brandwatch (which I’m also currently trialling) seems to present a slightly differing offering so, in this post, I’ll be comparing Radian6 to Meltwater Buzz – based on testing from an end user perspective.

Meltwater Buzz describes itself as a social media monitoring tool that ‘allows our clients to monitor blogs, social networks, Twitter, forums and other social media sites to get a complete picture of what is being said about your organization, your products, and your competitors.’

Where as Radian6, ‘gives you a complete platform to listen, measure and engage with your customers across the entire social web.’

Hmm… so far, so similar.

To ensure I understood each of the product offerings properly, I set up a telephone testing session with both companies.

Both responded swiftly through email, Twitter AND telephone. From a customer services perspective they are both superb – perhaps even a little overzealous.

On the initial calls, both answered some of my more testing questions in detail and with honesty. Neither claimed to offer a solution to the machine’s inability to distinguish between the positive and negative sentiment of all posts. Both attempted to solve a trying new business issue I’ve been battling, searching for particularly obscure references to a particularly niche company.

Once I started looking at each off the options, it was initially hard to distinguish between the two. Both allow you to monitor your client’s social media presence in depth, tracking by key words, creating reports and responding to individuals. Both allow you to rate posts in order of importance and track your responses over time. Both look cool and are blue. Both offer the core monitoring tools you would expect, plus some more thrown in for good measure.

I wont go in to the nitty gritty of the individual features here – both companies will happily schedule an hours demonstration – so you would be far better to see for yourself.

But, what are the key differences?

For me, it depends on the size of the client you’re working with. Meltwater Buzz focuses on beautiful graphs, making sense of trends and counting the big numbers. Where as Radian6 seems to be more about the individual responses – tracking individuals in the social media sphere and ensuring influencers are acknowledged and responded to.

If your client is a household name, Meltwater Buzz may be for you. It does what it says on the tin and gives a great view of buzz across the web. However, if you’re working with a smaller brand where every individual counts, Radian6 could help weed out the supporters AND cynics to ensure your message gets where it needs to go.

All going to plan, I’ll be putting both to the test monitoring actual campaigns over the coming months.

It would be great to get feedback from longstanding users who might have a view on my first impressions.

Written by sociauxanswers

January 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Social Media Mash Up Mixer

leave a comment »

Last night I put my reindeer jumper on and headed to the Christmas Mash Up Social Media Mixer. Ultimately, there was pizza and it was damn good! Just a few stipulations I would look for in the future…

When the event was announced, I liked the ideal of 30 minute slots of innovation. In actuality, this did not happen. The three minute slots were filled with self promotion and there was nothing left for questioning.

For me, the most interesting of the quick sessions was Geoffrey McCaleb’s announcement of his new resource, Nsyght, which will aggregate content from across the web. Launching on Friday, I’m eager to have a test.

Looking to future events, I would like to see far more interaction and much less preaching. However, I would have gone just for the comedy cartoon they showed – absolute gold.

Here’s a shot of the best shirt of the night. This was definitely one of the highlights:

Written by sociauxanswers

December 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with