One of the great benefits of social media is its instant connectivity and accessibility to so many individuals across the globe. This benefit however can become a distinct disadvantage when things are not all rosy in the social media garden.
Let’s just look at a few examples. Staff with the responsibility of posting content on behalf of your business decide to boost the reach of your messages by tapping in to a popular hashtag #. It can be harmless and often look unprofessional, more akin to jumping on an overburdened bandwagon. One such recent example is #PlutoFlyBy .
Nice pun from the bathroom accessory guys…
Space is all over the news with the#PlutoFlyby, so let us help YOU save space in the bathroom
Or this one from a US Italian restaurant chain…
Have a breadstick on us, Pluto! You’ll always be a planet in our eyes. #PlutoFlyby
Mmm… awkward and looks a little desperate however it’s not malicious and no one is harmed in the hijacking of the hashtag.
Moving on to corporations creating their own hashtag and it backfiring; now that can be an interesting spectator sport.
#MCDStories McDonalds marketing team expected nothing but genuine “nuggets” of wholesome stories, instead they created a McFlurry storm of negativity as tweet after tweet tried to out-score the other on their terrible experiences. Ouch!
Even classy supermarket Waitrose hasn’t escaped the hashtag howler brigade. Their #Waitrosereasons campaign generated a stream of pretentious and pompous tongue in cheek tweets that played on the expense of shopping at the store. This included a tweet suggesting the shopper always transferred shopping to tesco bags so neighbours didn’t know they’d won Euromillions!
Yes we can laugh at the big brands getting it wrong but what if it happens to you and your business. We are all vulnerable to attack as soon as we “put ourselves out there” but how do we respond if someone genuinely takes against your business or someone who works in it.
Examples that hit the media spotlight often involve high profile individuals. Kevin Pietersen brought a successful claim for defamation against Specsavers when their Facebook and twitter advert suggested the ex- England cricketer tampered with his bat.
But it’s not always possible to hit the troublemakers for six. Bed and Breakfast owners Martin and Jacqui Clark failed to win their case against TripAdvisor after they had received very poor reviews on the rating site. The Judge refused to reveal the identities of those making the post which had caused the Clark’s to lose business.
This leaves something of a hole in the world of social media where trolls can continue to inhabit and inflict their pain without fear of retribution. In my view this should be addressed rather swiftly as the proliferation of rating sites has led to many attempts to “game” the sites for competitive advantage. If a review is fair the reviewer should have no fear of being seen. If they are allowed to remain anonymous the opportunity to post false and defamatory messages is made far too easy.
What Should You Do
There has been a great deal of media attention around high profile cases of social media based defamation including Kevin Pietersen, Lord McAlpine and Russell Brand. As a result there’s been a threefold increase in cases across the country as more of us gain an appreciation of our rights. The numbers are still pretty low, only 26 matters 2013-14 but the year before saw only 6 cases. Source: Thomson Reuters – Practical Law
One of the biggest problems a victim of social media trolling can face is the challenge to find anyone to listen. The huge social media corporations are notoriously oblique in their “face to face” relations with users. Facebook, Twitter and Google have layer upon layer of FAQ’s, help forums and suitably straight-jacketed reporting processes. If, as many find, your problem doesn’t tick the right box you’ll have a merry old time attempting to get a sensible answer or swift resolution.
If you find yourself in such a situation please drop me a line. Over the years I’ve had a number of successful outcomes for clients dealing with Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter.
Make an enquiry here:-
As Barack Obama appeared through the huge curtains at the Chicago Convention Centre his smile said it all, the crowd nevertheless said it for him, over and over again, a little like a re-tweet, “four more years, four more years….”.
With the economy far from recovery and very tough times forecast the US electorate have remained faithful to the Democratic Presidential incumbent.
Obama’s feisty Republican opponent, Mitt Romney had but one task, admit defeat gracefully and in a very public address he did just that.
No doubt the networks will be poring over the multitude of statistical data that such events spew out but for me there is one clear set of statistics that left me in no doubt of the outcome.
The evidence was part of our modern history.
In the Spring of 2011 a political wave started, initially overlooked by those in power. All too soon their underestimate of the strength of this wave became apparent due in no small part to the turbo charge push of social media platforms.
But four years before the Arab Spring, back in early 2007, a relatively unknown senator was running for president against Democratic nominee and household name, Hilary Clinton. But on November 4, 2008, Obama then 47 became the first African American President winning an election against Republican candidate, John McCain.
Mr Obama turned to social media platforms to gather support, raise funds and engage with volunteers the essential foot soldiers of any successful campaign.
Fast forward to the US election of 2012. Presidential wannabe Romney was trying hard to compete on twitter, facebook and Linkedin but unfortunately for the Republicans he was up against an opponent who is a natural social media communicator with a team of dedicated experts supporting his social media broadcasts.
Enough of this blogging rhetoric what about the facts?
On Twitter Mitt Romney has a respectable 1.7 million followers and has made 1,350 tweets. But just compare that to Barack Obama’s 22.7 million followers and 8,000 tweets.
As if those figures weren’t bad enough Michelle Obama has more followers than Mitt at a very healthy 2.2 million.
On Facebook Mitt has worked hard to match Barack but even his 12.1 million page likes pale compared to the re-elected presidents 32.8 million page likes with over 3.5 million actively talking about the content.
Google Plus – smaller numbers, but we’d guess at that. Obama 2.3 million +1’s with Romney less than half at 1 million +1’s.
Of course it’s not all about the numbers but if your message is being broadcast at those levels through these channels you have a major advantage, especially if your demographic fits the profile of the more active social media users.
As if to prove the point Obama’s victory tweet showing his embrace with wife Michelle and the quote “four more years” is now the most re-tweeted tweet of all time, so far RT’d over 650,000 times beating someone called Justin Bieber (you know who he is you just don’t want to admit it – ed) who’d held the record at 223,000.
Whether it proves to be the right decision for America only time will tell but one thing’s for sure, if a politician has any serious ambition they need to understand and harness the true strength of social media.
David Laud – Marketing Consultant
i2i Business Solutions LLP
e-mail me at email@example.com follow me on twitter @davidlaud
“like” our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/i2isolutions
My daughters and in fact now my son, all teenagers, would be more than happy to tell you that I’m no expert on the world’s largest social media platform.
Compared to them and I suspect the vast majority of the teenage user demographic my personal posts would look rather tame, dare I say boring but then I’m not trying to connect to that age group. I do have a few family and friends who fall into the sub 20 category and they politely comment or “like” the odd post as I in turn return the compliment.
All very civilised, and that’s how I like my Facebook but I’m acutely aware that many have a very different view of the site and use it for baring their souls or at the very least the pain of their morning hangover. Facebook can also encourage narcissistic behaviour, posed photos craving “likes”, surveys to re-enforce your view of your personality or who of your friends think you’re the best looking…”Pleeeaasse!!!” save me from this.
Back to the matter in hand my challenge as a marketer is to try and understand all communication mediums and see how they best apply and work for not only my own personal use but in a business context too. Facebook presents the biggest challenge for many businesses.
Sure, Lee Cooper, Amex, Red Bull and many others have very slick Facebook pages and are making the medium work by adding multi layered engagement programmes which include clever competitions and “like” fests. These multi million dollar corporations can and do spend to develop these campaigns but can we learn anything from their efforts, can a Facebook page help your business?
The simple answer is “yes” if the true objective to having such a presence and the audience to whom you wish to connect is clearly understood.
On my personal Facebook page I’m not interested in building a “friend base” of hundreds, (I don’t have that many friends 🙁 ) its purpose is to help me stay connected with close family, friends and an alumni offering a varied and entertaining news feed. For my part I hope to add value to their feeds through my posts…sad as they may be according to the Laud clan.
When it comes to business or personal profiles we should really apply a similar philosophy. You know who you want to engage with, the messages that you want to share and the response you’re hoping to gain.
Despite my earlier negative jibe the Facebook “like” is solid social media currency. By creating an interesting, funny, poignant post that resonates with your network you can build a bank of “likes” and even better if it stimulates readers to comment back.
Unfortunately this clammer to be “liked” has led to a proliferation of cause related posts. A good friend likened them to a type of “chain letter” which is an excellent analogy given the implication that not liking the particular post meant you were by definition taking the opposing view. So therefore ignoring these posts meant you liked cancer, bullying, mistreating small dogs and generally suggested you change your username to Voldemort. All complete and utter nonsense yet many of us do click “like” on these posts and gain a little sense of community in feeling part of a group taking a stand against a particularly offensive topic.
So no I’m not an expert but then I’ve yet to meet a true expert in any social media platform. They move too quickly to be tied down analysed and given a de facto conclusion on how to use them. We all use Facebook in slightly different ways, there is no single correct way but there are plenty of poor examples.
For business or personal pages my advice is to be clear as to your purpose, keep the audience in mind and be consistent with your message. Don’t be disheartened by the lack of response to a particular post, in offline life there’s many a time friends would groan rather than laugh at my jokes. The key is consistency and believing in yourself. Of course we are all slightly different in a relaxed social setting than we are at work. The same approach should apply.
Facebook isn’t Linkedin but the business page won’t be enhanced by the type of content you’d normally deliver to your friends. An edge of professionalism touched with an element of fun is where I find my Facebook business page personality. I’d like to think that’s not a million miles away from how I am physically at work. Easier to be true to your own personality or culture of the business than to try and reinvent yourself for each social media platform.
By being consistent across platforms you’ll gain respect and understanding from a multitude of networks.
If you’re just starting out with Facebook for your business please feel free to drop me a line or comment and let me know how you’re approaching it. Be great to hear of a variety of ideas.
To find us on Facebook go to http://www.facebook.com/i2isolutions
David Laud – Chartered Marketer FCIM
Perhaps it’s the natural born geek in me connected to the genuine interest in new marketing mediums but I’ve blogged a lot about online activity, time to consider matters offline.
What do I mean by “offline”? Well literally anything that’s not computer or even phone related, that’s my definition. Others are more specific stating online is anything internet based but with sms and app technologies I think we need to broaden that to include smartphone marketing.
Twitter, Linkedin et al are awash with marketing experts pushing particular top ten ways to…, things to avoid, the must have software all related to developing online business. True, there is a massive market out there online but we shouldn’t become too focused on this channel of activity.
Offline online crossovers do occur of course with articles and press stories appearing in online news and traditional paper based periodicals but in the most part there is a distinction.
So what offline activity should we be looking at if we’ve spent a little too long screen staring?
Events – Event based marketing that brings targets to you. Offering your guests an opportunity to experience something interesting and worthwhile that may help them in either their professional or personal life can be an ideal way to raise your brand profile.
Meetings – the opportunity to spend time face to face with a prospect customer is still one of the best methods of generating new business. With finances and time often in short supply it can be hard to persuade a prospective buyer to open their door. Preparation and an appropriate approach to each prospect is the key. These days the “hard sell” won’t get you very far customers are far too aware of the signs so taking a consultative problem solving approach can be far more effective.
TV and Radio – whilst times have been tough for broadcast media many stations have adapted to offer attractive and not always “break the marketing bank”, methods of advertising. Sponsorship of certain regular features can be a very good entry into TV or radio but it isn’t for all businesses and can still be expensive if not focused or creatively weak. This medium can still dazzle many business owners who fall in love with the idea of broadcasting their brand in this way.
Press Adverts – again publishers have been struggling to attract advertising revenues so be prepared to bargain hard if it’s a route you’re considering. As with TV and radio it can be expensive if you dip in and out rather than construct a campaign of reasonable duration unless of course you have a specific promotion and time limited call to action event. We still like to read and take in information on good old papyrus rather as well as pc although figures on readership are down generally certain local newspapers and magazines have bucked the trend.
Direct Marketing – traditional mailshots are declining. This is a result of the increase in e-mail marketing as more of us are online and the costs compared to design, print and distribution of leaflets or flyers. As with newsprint – a well designed and targeted mail campaign can still be effective. Personally I’m a big fan of a well drafted letter but many households have signed up to the mail preference service (mps) which actively prevents you targeting them for such activity. Taking the message to areas where your target market congregates eg a shopping centre, may be one way to overcome the compliance issue but again the creative execution would need to be one that makes an impact.
Not an exhaustive list but some examples of the offline activity that has worked for years and can and does still work for many businesses b2b or b2c global corporation or sole trader.
The decision to buy a product or service can be a complex one based upon a range of influences. Often it is the human interplay and physical connection that helps the customer to finally decide but subliminal supporting references gained from marketing in a variety of mediums will always help.
Online activity certainly supports the cause but it’s the traditional routes with a fresh “twist” that can help to make your business stand clear of the competition.
If you have any examples of effective offline activity we’d love to hear from you.
David Laud – Chartered Marketer
This article is brought to you with the aid of three “Supers”; Stars, Injunctions and Massive Black Holes. An odd combination but as you’ll see they’re connected.
You can’t have missed the recent media storm over celebrities and senior figures using a legal instrument to protect their privacy and prevent the media from running stories on their private lives. Personally I’m not at all interested in who’s done what to whom, where and when with whatever but of course we all know it does sell papers.
A normal injunction is a court order that asks a party to take action or prevents a party from undertaking certain activities – these are used widely in domestic matters such as family law disputes but can also be used in a wide range of contractual matters including copyright and patent infringements. OK that’s all well and good but what are these “Super-injunctions” ?
In simple terms they are used when an organisation or individual wishes to prevent reporting of a story which may bring them negative publicity, they’re also commonly referred to as gagging orders.
Over the past few weeks we’ve seen how these SI’s have been circumvented, politicians have parliamentary privilege which allows them to talk about cases within the confines of parliament and not be subject to prosecution. With parliamentary debates broadcast it makes something of a nonsense of the original objective of the SI.
There are also limitations in geographic scope and the press in Spain recently had great fun in “outing” a professional premiership footballer who had an SI in place regarding an extra marital affair.
The most recent high profile case is one that has also been played out on the web, specifically Twitter. Once the story broke in the Spanish press the twittersphere exploded with comments, jokes, jibes and some support for the outed star.
Human nature being what it is there is an insatiable desire to discover the celebrity who is trying to retain privacy whilst suffering domestic strife.
Unfortunately this particular celebrity sports star has not been well briefed or advised on how to manage the media maelstrom being played out on the social networks. The genie is out of the bottle and attacking those now feeding on the story will only end badly for the central player in this particular dama. Having shone so brightly for so many years people power that lauded this star and granted awards can equally turn and create an implosion that may turn this once shining example into a dark vaccuum and black hole of negativity.
Superinjunctions may provide a temporary “cease fire” in the battle to prevent media attention but ultimately they have been proven to be flawed and in the most recent cases acted as more of an incentive to “seek the truth”.
David Laud Twitter – @davidlaud email David.firstname.lastname@example.org