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Prakkypedia

Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide

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March 2012

But .. I can’t find you on Facebook!

Facebook.com/PrakkyCom
This is where you'll find me! Facebook.com/PrakkyCom

Ever seen a sign that says “Find us on Facebook”?

It has to be one of the most aggravating marketing calls to action.

Find you? You mean, type your business name, or its nearest approximation, into the search box of Facebook?  And then you want us to assess the results, do some filtering, reject listings that aren’t related to you, reject any groups or community pages  or places, until we may (fingers crossed) find your business on Facebook? <sarcasm font> that doesn’t sound difficult at all </sarcasm font>

You don’t ask customers to “find us on King William Street” or “Google our website” do you? “Look up our number in the White Pages”?

With approximately the same number of characters you’ve used to tell us to “Find us on Facebook” you could have given us your actual Facebook URL.

Life would be so much easier if Mars Coffee Bar said “Join us at facebook.com/MarsCoffeeBar”. Don’t you think?

Grab your Facebook URL

Sometimes the problem is that a business doesn’t have a vanity URL on Facebook. They are easy to acquire, by visiting www.facebook.com/username

Of course, your exact business name may have been claimed by another Facebook user. So you’ll have to go through different iterations. You might try MarsCoffeeAus for example.

Grabbing people’s attention is a battle. If you have it, you need to make it supremely easy for them to take additional steps such as connecting with you on Facebook. Don’t ask people to seek or type in addresses. So:

  • Grab your Facebook URL
  • Spell out your Facebook URL in marketing collateral
  • Hyperlink your Facebook URL to your Facebook logos

Read Facebook’s brand and logo guidelines to make sure you comply with Facebook’s  permissions. It’s interesting to note that they’ve encouraged people not to hyperlink to the Facebook login page, so I take this as another vote for hyperlinking direct to your vanity URL.

Weekly social media segment on ABC radio

Since January, I’ve had a weekly gig on ABC 891 Adelaide radio.  Big thanks to Michael Smyth for the opportunity.

Each week, we discuss trends in social media and share tips on how you might use platforms.

Yesterday (23 March 2012), we discussed YouTube and Wikipedia – the ‘forgotten social network’. Listen to it here: Prakky on ABC 891 Adelaide 23 March 2012

You can tune in to the 10-minute social media segment every Friday from 4.30pm, South Australian time. We welcome questions – phone 1300 222 891 or SMS 0467 922 891.

Four Must-Do Comms Chats On Twitter

If you’re in the communications or social media field, you might enjoy the following list of regular Twitter hashtag conversations. I know I do!

They provide a rich source of social media tips, inspirations and news. They also connect you with great communicators around the world.

Beware, you may have to get up pretty early in the morning to participate live. But it’s worth it. If you do want to take part live, use the Time Convertor to help you schedule when you need to be online. Or simply catch up with the hashtag conversation later on. Like most good hashtags, these are contributed to during the week.

The list (in no particular order):

1.       #commschat
CommsChat is the home of Europe’s most popular communications conversation. CommsChat broadcasts at 20:00 Monday and 14:00 Wednesday (UK times)”. Co-founded by Emily Leary.

2.       #blogchat

Run via @BlogchatNews. ““News about #Blogchat, Sundays 8pm CT, and the latest posts from #Blogchat participants! Have a question about #Blogchat? Just ask! Managed by @Beth_Collier. On Twitter every Sun nite!” Its website has some great info on the purpose and etiquette around #blogchat.

3.       #smchat

Founded by @sourcePOV. “SMCHAT is a weekly Twitter Chat on social media, looking at new ways to network and collaborate as the paradigm continues to evolve.”

@commschat on Twitter
@commschat on Twitter

4.       #smochat

Founded by social media service Crowdbooster. “Let’s discuss lessons learned, successful tips, and how we optimized and achieved better results. Join our conversations on Twitter to learn from other like-minded professionals. This chat is hosted by @Crowdbooster, a social media optimization solution, in collaboration with @StanzaOne”.

Local social media tags
In Adelaide, we have the #socadl tag to corral social media conversations and occasionally have live conversations. It’s part of the @socadl community. We’re also home to the #npau chat hosted by @connectingup (Wednesday fortnightly at 3pm South Australian  time).

Do you have a favourite communications chat hashtag?

The Fallout From The Top 100 Adelaide Twitter List

A recent Sunday Mail article listing South Australia’s most prolific tweeters has stirred up a lot of discussion.

I was briefly quoted in the article, and in this post today I’d like to make some observations about the fall out.

From Sunday Mail, 18March 2012
From Sunday Mail, 18 March 2012

The article set out to “reveal our 100 most active tweeters”. Most active was measured according to the number of tweets that have been sent from the account. The article then commented on the demographic profile of the most prolific tweeters: most being female and young. Twenty eight males were on the list. The Sunday Mail then attempted to explore why the list has a greater female representation.

Criticism of the article

I’ve seen tweets and blogs criticising the article for:

  • Basing an article on number of tweets rather than, say, influence measures or the number of followers
  • Listing people who have only recently joined Twitter
  • Listing people who, in the opinion of the complainers, tweet ‘spam’
  • Focusing on ‘quantity’ rather than ‘quality’, whatever that means

What a lot of snobs we are.

So what

So what if the list entrants tweet a lot? So what if they joined Twitter just six or 12 months ago? So what if they tweet about transport, Justin Bieber, their homework, their breakfast, what they’re watching on TV. So what if they don’t have as many followers as you? So what if they score low on a social media influence tool?

They can tweet about what they like. Social media is there to be used and enjoyed as we see fit. Who are we to determine what type of tweets are valid and what constitutes spam? Who are we to say what ‘quality’ is?

We were all beginners on Twitter once. We’ve all shared vacuous tweets (and always will), we’ve all had people unfollow us for varying reasons.

I’ve seen some local Twitter users and bloggers disseminate absolute rubbish. I’ve seen them pontificate about subjects I couldn’t give a hoot about, sharing opinions I disagree with, bombing hashtags without regard to that hashtag community, whining about their illnesses and their employers and their ex lovers. But it’s their right. And if they’re enjoying social media, if it’s helping them fill a need in their lives, more power to them.

We don’t know why some individuals are extremely prolific on Twitter. We don’t know their personal circumstances. What if they’re housebound? What if they’re an international student struggling to find friends in Adelaide? What if they’re finally stumbled onto a sensational tool like Twitter, which enables them to share their thoughts with their followers and feel like they have some connections for the first time in their lives?

We don’t know why some tweeted their way onto the most prolific list, but I sincerely hope they’re having a good time and that the fallout from the news article hasn’t deflated them.

The list interested me …

… and some people won’t admit, but the list interested them too. I wasn’t aware of who tweeted the most in South Australia. Were you?

I had never heard of the top three. That’s interesting to me.

I had never heard of a lot of people on the list. Sometimes I think I operate in my own little Twitter vacuum and need to get out more, especially when I often interact with groups like the @socadl community. There’s a danger that you can tend to think you know the local ‘Twitter crowd’ when in fact there are many more out there enjoying the platform – apparently using  it voraciously – who  you didn’t even know existed.

As for the veracity of basing an article on numbers, we analyse by numbers all the time. Yes, you’re the Devil if you focus on stark numbers in social media land. But we crunch the numbers in newspaper and online articles all the time – because it generates discussion. Who has the leading number of possessions in the AFL right now? How many outstanding questions is the Government yet to answer on the Questions With Notice list in Parliament? How many trains were late this month? How many call outs did the SES attend during the last storm?

Who tweets the most in SA? It’s entirely valid to take a look.

We get our best social media news and analysis on social media platforms

I don’t turn to mainstream press for social media analysis. I don’t expect the Sunday Mail or The Advertiser or West Australian or Sydney Morning Herald to trawl through influence tools to try to ascertain Who Wins Twitter.  I read Mashable and TNW and RWW and countless other blogs. I follow links shared by others, and I ask and answer questions in social media communities.

You know what? It’s the same in a lot of other industries and we should get over it. Do you think lawyers, doctors, teachers, vets, scientists turn to mainstream daily papers for insights into their craft? Of course not. They have their own journals, blogs, online communities and papers  that they trust.  And they’re similarly frustrated when a mainstream newspaper can only take a slice, a peek, at their craft.

In any case, if influence tools were used for the Sunday Mail article, we all know there’d be an incredible fuss about that. “Why was that influence tool used?” “ That influence tool fails to measure this this and this.”  “How can that person be more influential than that person?” and of course “What does influence really mean, anyway?”

Where the article did fall down

The headline. The Sunday Mail headline let it down and set everyone a flurry.

“They’re tops when it comes to Twits”.

One: the use of the term Twits is derogatory and overdone by the media. We know it’s to help non-tweeters laugh at us. We’re Twits. It’s now time to point fingers and laugh at us.

Two: the use of the term ‘tops’ may have given quick readers the impression it was a piece that looked at the quality of a Twitter account, or the number of followers. But on reading the first few paragraphs, the list is quickly put into context.

Just carry on tweeting people, and do please try to enjoy.

“Coles and other social media crises I’ve met”

It’s getting out of hand.

Writing about the next ‘social media crisis’ has become a popular mainstay for some journalists, bloggers and media industry analysts. It’s easy fodder.

Step one: regularly visit major brands on Facebook or Twitter. Step two: wait for brand to ask a broad question or kick off an online competition. Step three: wait for any negativity to emerge and take a snapshot of  posts. Step four: prep article with ‘crisis’ and ‘social media’ in the headline and tweet the heck out of it. Bonus points if you rehash all the previous ‘social media crises’ in your article, too.

When I looked at the Coles Facebook post that sparked stories like this I found more benign or positive comments than negative ones on the page. Look at the screenshots below (in response to the statement “in my house it’s a crime not to buy…”)

Coles Facebook page comments 1
Coles Facebook page comments 1
Coles Facebook page comments 2
Coles Facebook page comments 2

It’s always a danger when a brand sticks its neck out and offers the public a chance to communicate on an open network.  It’s partly why I wrote Community Management not for the Fainthearted.

But a lot of organisations believe that the risks of using social media are outweighed by the benefits (or at least, they intend to operate in the space for a while in order to make a judgement). And communities increasingly expect their brands to be on social media now, for a lot of reasons (some outlined by me in “Social media is its own beast, the Qantas way“).

Let’s also consider the vitriol you can experience online, in general. The sarcasm, backlash and venom you see on social media pages is often nothing compared to what we see in online news forums of our daily newspapers.

Companies and government departments field complaints every day. They’re received over the telephone, by email, by angry fists slammed on counter tops, direct letters of complaint, letters to the editor and more. The difference with social media, of course, is that the public’s complaining, angst and disgust is played out in a space for everyone to access.

Thus, it’s incredibly easy to compile an article that’s 70% republished tweets, then to top and tail it with an intro about brands bumbling on social media and a reminder of past social media ‘crises’.

In the meantime, Coles soldiers on. Today  there’s a competition on Facebook with 594 likes for one post, and 227 comments of which most are entry contributions. Yesterday it posted a photo of hot cross buns, with 157 likes and 40 comments ranging from positive to complaints, and also a healthy debate about ingredients,  freshness, storage and comparisons with other stores. It amounted to some nice pieces of market research and insights for Coles. (Can I say it again? Social media is its own beast!).

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