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16

Mar 2012

How can you secure your social media accounts?

Posted in Blogging | 0 Comments

Thousands of people log into Facebook and Twitter every minute of everyday, whether it’s for personal or business use, which unfortunately makes it even easier for spam, viruses and hackers to attack hundreds of accounts.

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15

Feb 2012

A Tale of Hashtag Hijacking – infographic

Posted in Social Media | 3 Comments »

Words! Pictures! From us, to you!

 

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14

Feb 2012

A newbie’s guide to Twitter – infographic

Posted in Social Media | 0 Comments

 

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8

Feb 2012

Five things I wish people would stop saying about Twitter

Posted in Social Media | 2 Comments »

Picture of a somewhat clueless looking blue bird.It almost feels like five is too low a limit, but there you go; I’m sticking with it. Without further ado, five things people tend to say about Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks (no point in mentioning them by name, as they’ll all be gone in a year or two) that I wish they wouldn’t.

1. It’s a waste of time. Whether you’re an author, an SEO consultant, or a person who just likes to tweet about their day-to-day existence, social media is not a waste of time. If you’re getting something out of it, it’s not wasting your time, is it? Connecting with people, sharing ideas, learning about the world, following the news – yes, clearly this is all pointless. C’mon!

2. Team follow back! I don’t know who invented this bizarre trend of following someone to gain a single follower back, but let me smash through your preconceptions of how amazing that is, and explain something to you: a non-celebrity with 50,000 followers, and 50,000 friends, is not good at social media. A non-celebrity with 50,000 followers and a hundred friends definitely is. Why? Because lots of people follow that person because they are interesting, or funny, or both, or other cool things. They follow a few people, because to follow 50,000 people means your feed will be utter garbage.

3. Twitter analytics are informative when it comes to potential sales. No, they’re not. Tweeting to your 100,000 followers about a new laptop doesn’t mean you’ll have sold a hundred thousand laptops by the time you leave work. It means that most of the people following you will see it (some don’t check all the tweets gone past in the time since they last checked, some follow too many to keep up with). Social media works similarly to any other kind of advertising. You could have a tweet on the TV screen, half-time at the World Cup. Doesn’t mean everyone watching it thinking “right, off to the shops”.

4. It is only for self-promotion. You know what happens if fifty people shout their thoughts into a room with earplugs in? No one actually hears anyone else, and everybody leaves the room none the wiser. This is what happens when people assume that Twitter is a DIY RSS feed. Talk to people. Respond to people. Don’t plug your stuff all day long – it’s monotonous and makes you look incredibly self-centred. This goes for businesses, too.

5. Automation is fine. No, it’s not. Seeing a clearly automated tweet on my feed, whether it’s from some site charting what game someone’s playing to an announcement by FourSquare that someone’s out of their house (nice job – burglars will be pleased to hear that) drives me up the wall. It’s one thing to have it link to a blog post, and sometimes that … on the end of an automated blog announcement can be intriguing, as I recently found out. But can the rest of it. It makes you sound generic and thoughtless.

That’s just five – I’m glad I didn’t title this list “five things I wish people would stop saying on Twitter”, as five thousand would not be a long-enough list.

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13

Dec 2011

Are Microsoft immature, or smart?

Posted in Business tactics, Online PR | 0 Comments

Ben Rudolph is what tech companies like to call an “evangelist”. Personally, I think a more realistic term is “paid fanboy”, but there you go. He works for Microsoft, specifically focusing on the Windows Phone 7 brand. But why’s he appearing in the news this week?

Well, it’s because he’s giving Windows 7 handsets to those who tweet their Android issues at him, and use the hashtag #droidrage. Yes, that’s correct. Tell him why your Android phone sucks, and he’ll send you a Windows 7 phone. Doesn’t sound like a bad deal. Unless you’re Google.

This is essentially the equivalent of being at school and offering anyone who calls Jimmy “fat legs” a chocolate bar. Few people are actually doing it because Jimmy has fat legs; they’re doing it for the free chocolate. But regardless of what their motivation is, Jimmy gets a load of bad press.

#droidrage could potentially become a trending topic in the United States today, and that’s going to cause Google a fair few PR problems. But what’s the right response? Offering Android handsets to those who tweet using the hashtag #wp7hasnoapps? Or being a little more mature and weathering the storm of bad-press anecdotes, some of them potentially fabricated?

It might be a new approach Microsoft are testing to see whether they can shake things up a little bit. Given that as I write this, news is going out that the head of Windows Phone 7 has been replaced, a new direction might actually be on the cards.

The legality of the issue is a little hazy, because neither the fans or Rudolph are saying anything libellous. But I think anyone who’s not waiting for Google’s reaction with bated breath clearly doesn’t have much interest in the future of the smartphone market. Android has a whopping market share (51%) simply because it’s not tied to one brand, as iOS is, and that’s its primary advantage. But if it starts to appear flawed in any way, all it will take is the average user becoming aware of the flaws, and Android’s grip on the market may begin to slip.

It’s a dangerous approach to marketing Windows 7 phones, but who knows? It just might work, provided Microsoft can get away with it. Thoughts?

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7

Dec 2011

Can Twitter’s trending topics really help a small business grow?

Posted in Blogging, Social Media | 0 Comments

We all wish that our businesses was talked about as much as the headline news or the next big election. The key to getting noticed, of course, is to increase publicity – to somehow wangle our brand into the eye of the public. One good way to achieve this is  by becoming a popular and trending topic on Twitter. But how can we reach these heady heights?

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15

Nov 2011

Does Twitter’s feed effect trump traditional media

Posted in Social Media | 0 Comments

It’s arguable that in recent years, the “buzz” has overtaken traditional channels of promotion. But what about news, and journalism? Is it faster to glean the headlines from your feeds, or from the front pages of whatever eclectic mish-mash of physical and digital content providers you’ve gone to, regular as clockwork, for years?

If you look at the hashtags for anything from Libya to The X-Factor, it’s clear as day that people are happy to inform each other and keep everyone up to speed, because what they’d tell five people around the water-cooler is now something they can tell hundreds of millions by tweeting – and both take less than a minute. In an astonishing turn around, journalism – a discipline that champions brevity and concise description above all else – has, in some aspects, been usurped by the popularity of a big old chat. Or has it?

The For

News has become stale. That’s not because it’s badly written, but because news, in its infancy, was about bringing people the facts as soon as possible. There’s an age-old saying in print journalism that your first paragraph should contain everything someone needs to know. Not only is this common sense, but it also means that if your article gets chopped down during the editing process, it doesn’t “break”.

In 2011, it’s possible to go one better, and present someone with an entire article’s worth of information in 140 characters, which trumps content several times the length. It’s said often during technological discussion, but we’re becoming an extremely impatient people, and seeing “Libya liberated, Gaddafi dead” flood my feed, rather than it hitting me once at six ‘o’ clock – rather than taking time out to read the news during the day – is what matters, to me.

If you’re a business, it also means that you’re able to reach into a space you couldn’t before – consumer’s personal information spheres. By doing so (tweeting at them, talking to them, and generally not being an old-fashioned “we only tweet promo content and never retweet or reply) you enable yourself to impress them directly, rather than through the love-hate filter of the press.

The Against

Twitter, Facebook – they’re far from perfect, and what’s worse is that they’re like blogs and their impact on online journalism – suddenly, everyone’s an journalist, and with Twitter, everyone’s an informant. As most people are a) prone to gossip, and b) not trained journalists, and will therefore proceed to repeatedly provide their followers with hearsay cast as fact, and hashtag relentlessly in order to flood key searches with irrelevant statements.

It can also be used alongside traditional journalism, or online – simply by delving into it and using it as a promotional tool, and if your business happens to deal in information, news, reviews and other media, there is no platform more prone to content going viral than social media. But to replace long-form content entirely would be a horrendous miss-step, especially given the long-established place in the media that journalism has, in comparison to the fly-by-night nature of social media – even Facebook’s losing members.

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It’s certainly a tough topic, and I think a mix of the two is best – read your long-form stuff, but grab your water-cooler headlines from Twitter or other mediums, such as Reddit. But for those businesses who are wondering whether their product press releases are going to be required reading for anyone in the near future when we’re social to a fault online, I’d keep your cards close to your chest until we see where Twitter and the like end up in 2021. Time will tell.

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3

Nov 2011

Why companies should tune into the world of social media

Posted in Blogging, Social Media | 0 Comments

 

Why businesses should keep up with the times

 

Developing a new products can be difficult especially if you are trying to gear it towards a specific market, which most companies are. There is one area that some people overlook, and this is the growing world of social media. We would do well not to overlook it as most of our customers use it on a daily basis.

Online presence

As customers become better versed in Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and the rest, they will expect companies to be doing the same. In 10 to 15 years’ time, most customers will be within the ‘Facebook generation’, and have grown up with social media as a prominent part of their lives. These sites are where they will share experiences, socialise with friends and most importantly they will talk about products and services, and recommending them too. If businesses want to get ahead of the game, then infiltrating that world and building an online presence is essential. Keeping in touch with customers in a more personal way, providing them with useful updates and facts to keep them interested is invaluable. Adaptability is key to keeping a business successful in this day and age.

Know your market

Social media is really useful not only for keeping in touch with customers, but for conducting product research and development. If businesses keep track of conversations and comments on social media sites, then they can gain an impression of the way that their customers think and plan accordingly. The Social Media Examiner expands upon this idea with some great tips for ways to use social media can help make a business seem more accessible to customers and if they feel able to communicate with it on a more personal level, then they are more likely to remain loyal.

Getting your recruiting right

If a company is looking for new additions to their team, chances are they will want to find people who are in touch with the modern age of technology and the web, who can move with the times and bring something fresh to the company. Where do you find these people? Well, chances are they are all using social media sites already. If you are looking for a certain type of person, one who is proficient in internet use and social media language, then look for them in this way as well. If the company uses their Twitter page of LinkedIn to advertise a vacancy, then the only people who will apply will be those who know how to use these sites already. This raises the chances of finding the right person for the job.

At the end of the day, everyone should be aware of the rising interest and use of social media. Recent research has suggested that a surprising number of CEOs do not use social networking sites and as this article on CNET shows, “the most admired CEOs had a greater online presence…than those who were less admired.” Social media is not going anywhere and those who keep up with it will be able to keep up with the marketplace.

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1

Jun 2011

Has Twitter usurped Facebook as the better platform for businesses?

Posted in Business tactics, Social Media | 0 Comments

For some time, it’s been argued that the social network every business should be tapping into is Facebook, but is this really the case?

Social Media Examiner states that “with 500 million people on Facebook, chances are more of your customers are active on Facebook than any other network.” Aliza Sherman of GigaOM claims that in terms of advertising, “there’s no question that Facebook wins.”

It all appears so clean-cut, and it’s interesting reading when you get into the reasoning behind their championing of Zuckerberg’s platform. The ease of viral promotion, the size of the existing community, and the way in which Facebook constantly pulls users in towards it because it’s so central to modern social communication.

However, a recent study by Three_D, the social media arm of PR company Threepipe Communications, has revealed that 65 companies on the FTSE 100 use Twitter instead of Facebook. While they may only represent sixty-five companies out of countless millions across the globe, a majority vote for the small blue bird from a hundred of the most successful companies in the UK is a significant statistic.

Twitter is no longer the novel concept it was in 2006. It now has over 300 million accounts – a growth of 60 million a year. This stands in comparison to Facebook’s 500 million accounts, accumulated since 2004, a growth of 71 million. The difference isn’t all that great, relatively speaking, and the immediate accessibility of the Twitter platform means it takes minutes to set up a company account, rather than the longer period required to adequately establish a Facebook fan page.

Sherman concedes similar points within her article, and her differentiation between the two platforms is key to understanding what some businesses prioritising their Facebook presence are missing: the reasons consumers connect to your company. “The way you accumulate page fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter is different,” states Sherman. “You might gain a fan on Facebook just because someone sees someone they know becoming your fan. You gain followers on Twitter — genuine and engaged followers — because they actually want to hear what you have to say.”

Twitter is a feed of information that the user selects themselves, rather than another group affiliation or sign of consumer appreciation to be hung on the Wall of a Facebook user. Businesses are no longer seeking those who are willing to give them no more than a nod of approval; they want people to connect with the company out of personal interest.

It’s also not surprising to learn that potential customers are leaving Facebook along with the companies now devoting themselves to the 140-character marketing effort. The New York Times suggests that there are several factors at work driving people away from the social networking site, amongst them the overlapping of personal and business relationships, and the “inevitable” Orwellian undertones of Facebook’s aspirations to usurp Google as the central hub of today’s online society.

Twitter certainly seems like the better option, at least from my own perspective. There’s a sole purpose to a Twitter account – to tweet i.e. to communicate. There’s little else to do, nothing in fact, if you discard personalising your display picture, your small bio or your website link. It’s a streamlined experience that separates itself from the Facebook morass of Mafia Wars, Wall comments, privacy paranoia, and the endless struggle for the consumer’s “like” click. Perhaps the pro-Twitter trend will extend beyond the FTSE 100 in future. If the New York Times’ exodus analysis is anything to go by, it’s almost certain.

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8

Apr 2011

How not to market yourself.

Posted in Books and Guides, Business tactics | 1 Comment »

A wee while back, someone on my Twitter feed linked to an ebook review that I can only describe as constructively negative. The book, from what I could tell, was shoddily written, with little thought given to grammar, punctuation, sentence structure or even common sense. All in all, the concept was fine, but the execution was horrendous, and with one bad review comes a few good ones, surely?

No. With one bad review comes the author, and she was not impressed.

As you can see, she went completely berserk. Attacks directed towards the reviewer soon expanded to encompass the entire wealth of commentators delving into a writhing morass of criticism and defensive attitudes that became the pitiful sight of a debut author going down in flames. There’s little else to say. Within a few hours her comments had gone from long and badly written to profanity, and it didn’t take much to provoke her.

Some people say that it was unfair for everyone to jump on the bandwagon, but is it? In this day and age, being an idiot on the internet is generally a bad idea, especially if you’re selling a product, running a business, or you have some form of celebrity status, either online or not. Her mistake was doing this publicly, as the moment it hit the Twitterverse, even esteemed fantasy author Neil Gaiman was weighing in with his bafflement at her approach to a negative review, stating that this was how not to self-promote.

I decided to do some research, as she initially claimed she’d had a fair few five-star reviews. All of them jokes, apart from a couple which are written by either the author under quite an obvious pseudonym (given that the review itself contains the exact same grammar mistakes found in her magnum opus) or a relative who couldn’t even be bothered to change her surname. Astonishing stuff, really.

Sure, it’s a little disheartening to get a bad review, and of course the amount of people ripping into her must have hurt, but what would you do when someone’s lashing out with four-letter-words at you for agreeing that their book was bad? In the age of the instant search, there’s no longer room for error. Once you’re done, you’re done, and it seems like a harsh judgement to pass on someone, but if you’re going to upload an extremely short novel clearly written during NaNoWriMo, without any editing whatsoever, when why should people bother? Why pay for a product you’re selling as an independent creative entity?

I’d love to see someone try and pull this again. I think she stands as a strong warning to authors about to flip over a harsh few words from a critic. Pro Tip: people will never like everything. If your book had bad grammar, it had bad grammar. Suck it up and edit properly. But in an era where I could tweet about your bad reaction and have it appear on ten thousand accounts within a few minutes, I am the Consumer-Peasant, and you are the Unruly Sovereign. And the peasants will revolt.

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