Category Archives: Community

US State Department spent $630,000 getting you to Like its Pages

The US State Department has spent around $630,000 on two marketing campaigns to increase fans of its four English Facebook pages.

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It increased Facebook fans from about 100,000 to over 2 million for each of its English language pages. The campaigns also helped to increase interest in its foreign language pages which ranged from 68,000 to over 450,000 likes.

That works out at around 12.06 cents per ‘Like’.

The Department justified its advertising spend pointing to the ‘difficulty of finding a page on Facebook with a general search and the need to use ads to increase visibility’.

The four English language Facebook pages had over 2.5 million fans by March 2013, however interaction was low. Only two per cent engaged with each page on Facebook.

Posts had fewer than 100 comments or shares and most of the interaction was in the form of likes on a page.

The report noted that the bureau uses Facebook to advertise in 25 countries with the largest number of young users and the highest engagement rate.

The International Information Programs (IIP) justified its continued spending and blamed Facebook for it needing to do this. When fans do not interact with a page, then over time, posts from the page no longer appear in the users news feed – unless the page buys sponsored story ads to ensure that the post appears on the users feeds.

The Department said that the change ‘sharply reduced the value of having large numbers of marginally interested fans and
means that IIP must continually spend money on sponsored story ads or else its “reach” statistics will plummet.’

It commented that a posting on cyber censorship in March 2013 reached 234,000 Facebook users on its first day whereas only around 20,000 would have seen the post without it advertising. Its post on Women and the web was shown in 360,000 Facebook feeds instead of 27,000.

Many staff in the bureau have criticized the advertising campaigns as buying fans who have no interest in the topic and have not engaged further.

It has been recommended that the bureau directs its advertising to ‘specific public diplomacy goals’ and adopt a social media strategy that ‘clarifies the primary goals and public diplomacy priorities of its social media sites.’

Does it matter if the bureau is ‘Liked’?  With over 150 social media accounts that are uncoordinated and overlap, does the bureau need to focus on its core messaging and not its sponsored posts and like generation?

And is the US taxpayer prepared to spend over 12 cents for each ‘Like’ that the bureau receives in these economically straightened times?

Image Credit: Enoc.vt

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Cash mobs go beyond the ‘Like’ to make a difference to local businesses

It is all very well liking pages on Facebook, sharing images and links about something you care about, but how many times does your action have a positive effect?

Charity nominations and just giving pages sometimes get overlooked. The post or email gets read and left in your inbox for another free moment. Once we have liked the page, we move on to the next article.

Struggling shops get our sympathy. Huge multinationals moving into our local area get our ire and anger at the destruction of the local economy.  We retweet things on Twitter and share articles on Facebook. But what do you actually do about it?

Cash mobs actually go beyond the passive idea of the Facebook Like. Cash mobs use actual hard cash, spent in a local shop.

So how does it work?

It is all done through the local community grouping together and using their combined networks to spread the word about the local shop that needs support. It is a little bit like crowdfunding only this generates real cash for bricks and mortar businesses in the local community.

The community gets together and decides to spend £10 ($20) or less in a local shop on a designated day. The local shop gets business that would have otherwise gone to a multinational chain of shops and the local community is energised.

Photo: Cash mob tomorrow! Hope to see you all out at Cederberg Tea House and Four Winds.News of the designated shop gets posted on social media. The information is broadcast amongst the community in the local parish magazine, village flyer and local social media. On the specific day, members of the community visit the store and buy something.

Cash mob, Bremerton in Washington state, US has a Facebook page and advertises when and where the next cash mob will be. Cash mob at Queen Anne Heart advertises its cash mob target in chalk on the pavement.

Chagrin Hardware in Ohio had so many customers when it was mobbed in 2012, the credit card machine had to be reset. The community flocked to Petosa’s Family Grocer in Edmonds, Washington after flood damage.

It is a simple concept. Shop local, buy from local shops to keep the local economy alive. And the initiative has support from large multinational companies too.

Throughout July, American Express is encouraging everyone to support local shops. It is running an initiative for July in encouraging you to ‘shop small’. Register your Amex card, and spend £10 or more at a local shop. Amex will give you £5 credit per location for up to ten different shops cafes and restaurants. That’s £50 in credits just for shopping locally.

So why don’t you register, organise a Cash Mob in your area and help local businesses survive. After all, the independent shops, cafes and bars are the reason that you love living where you are.

So put some of your money into local businesses, and keep your local community alive.

Image Credit: Queen Anne Heart / Facebook

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Flip your clothes using social marketplace Threadflip

I like the concept of Threadflip.  It is a social marketplace where you can sell your old clothes and accessories, and browse for fashion that suits your style.

Threadflip is:

‘is an exclusive and unique social marketplace designed to let you refresh your closet in a few easy steps. Sell the items you no longer wear, or share your own designs. Use your credit to shop the closets of your favorite designers, collectors, bloggers and friends or just cash out! Here’s a glimpse of what other fashionistas are flipping on Threadflip’

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As a start up, Threadflip relies on investors, and has just secured a $1.3 million round of investment. It competes with other social shopping sites such as Poshmark, and eBay.

It is currently available to buyers and sellers in the US only, but has plans to increase its reach worldwide.

Users can sign in with Facebook, upload images of items that they would like to sell.  If the item is sold, the seller then ships the goods to buyers.Threadflip takes 15 per cent from the sale of each item.  if you have not time to do the selling yourself, Threadflip offers a white glove service.  They take care of the sale for you, and send you the cash from the sale.

You can state your fashion preferences and shoe size to ensure that all of the images you see are of items that you would like to buy.  You don’t need to search for the items, the items find you.The feed, which looks a lot like the Pinterest feed, shows who has liked the items, and comments for each item, and you have the opportunity to follow people who love, comment or purchase goods. ught,

One of the great advantages of social marketplaces is that buyers can share information about items that they intend to purchase, or have already bought.  The concept is like a collaborative swap meet, you sell and buy from people with same style as you.  Its a good idea – especially for female netizens who like to shop and share online.

Hopefully international commerce will be opened soon – I have my eyes on several items already Smile

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

20 Pinterest features–good and bad…

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Pinterest.  You might be wondering what all the fuss about.  I’ve put together a few points about Pinterest, how you can use it for marketing and personal use…

Growth:

  • It is a visually driven social network with 12 million users.  Not bad for a community that started in 2012
  • Users create pinboards with web images.  You can put a button onto your browser and click to pin images that interest you
  • Pinboards are organised into categories.  You can name your category anything you like
  • over 90% are female – 10% male – Marketers need to be aware of this.  Fortunately, females often like the same things that males do
  • Ages range in the main from 25 – 54 – in the main.  This will change as awareness of the site grows

Uses:

  • Collect images that are useful to you and pin them to the site.  You can pin them in the default pin boards or create your own each time you pin
  • Repin articles and images that you find.  If you see something interesting then you can pin it to your own board
  • Build collections of pinned objects such as buildings, animals, technology etc.  Comment on other pins to interact with who has originally shared the image
  • Build a following – just like any other social network – and grow your own following too
  • Broadcast your pins to your followers
  • Great for viral marketing – if used correctly

Brand promotion

  • Images often are marketing materials for brands.  if used wisely, brands can draw traffic to their web site
  • It drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined
  • 26.4% of referral traffic comes from Facebook – having a good presence there can be advantageous
  • Brands use it to post products and projects
  • Don’t over do it and spam – you will lose followers and traffic

Challenges:

  • Copyright issues.  Pinterest puts the burden of copyright on you… Here are a couple of snippets from the site:
  • Certain areas of the Site and Application (and your access to or use of certain Services or Site Content) may have different terms and conditions posted or may require you to agree with and accept additional terms and conditions.
  • You may not Post, upload, publish, submit, provide access to or transmit any Content that: (i) infringes, misappropriates or violates a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy;
  • “YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE ENTIRE RISK ARISING OUT OF YOUR ACCESS TO AND USE OF THE SITE, APPLICATION, SERVICES AND SITE CONTENT REMAINS WITH YOU.”

So be careful of the pins you are sharing – they might be copyright – and you might get yourself into hot water…

 

It will be interesting to see how Pinterest fares moving forward. Can it get over the legal and copyright issues?  Do we actually care what images we are sharing – or stealing.  Is copyright a big enough issue to prevent you having Pin boards?  Or are you not worried about your images being used across the web by others?

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

 

Data from the MGAdvertising infographic and images and information from Pinterest itself

Domino’s uses crowdsourcing to find innovation and ideas

Domino’s has empowered its user community to steer the direction of the brand by launching its new crowdsourcing app, ‘Think Oven’ on Facebook

Think Oven has 2 parts,’Projects’ and ‘Idea box’

The Project area encourages comments and suggestions around a current project – at the moment its around the Domino’s uniforms.  The Idea box is a place for suggestions – that might turn into future projects.

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The idea mirrors the My Starbucks Idea project that has been running for some time now.  Although we celebrate community collaboration like this, Crowdsourced ideas are not new.

Back in the ‘olden days’ the company suggestions box had the potential to turn up some innovation. Now everything is done online. With voting, comments and suggestions enabled in the Domino’s app the brand can get a really good idea about what its fans really want.

Using the army of Facebook fans to garner ideas is a good move for Domino’s.  We are used to interacting on Facebook, we are much more likely to interact with the brand in this way.

Hopefully Domino’s will implement some of the better ideas and report on its success.. Perhaps more brands will take up the initiative and work towards getting better customer service levels, new products and a re-energised business…

Meanwhile, Domino’s… I have an idea… Smile

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Crisis communication: Twitter and the Queensland floods

A year after the floods that devastated Queensland Australia, a report has been released by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCI).  The report discusses the impact that Twitter had in enabling efficient crisis communication during the floodins episode..

There are some interesting call outs about Twitter and the use of hashtags in the top line points from the report:

The hashtag, #qldfloods became the central coordinating mechanism for floods-related user activity on Twitter.

50-60% of #qldfloods messages were retweets

30-40% of messages contained links to further information

Twitter users amplified emergency information and thereby increased its reach.

Twitter became a source for mainstream media to report on the flooding.

Users uploaded and distributed flood photographs taken on their smartphones and digital cameras to sites such as Twitpic.

Retweeting of messages focussed especially on tweets with immediate relevance to the crisis at hand

Over 35,000 tweets containing the #qldfloods hashtag were sent during the period of 10-16 January

More than 15,500 Twitter users used the hashtag #qldfloods.

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Source: CCI Australia flood report

The report also shows how much we share images – especially related to disasters, with those not in the immediate area of the flooding participating in sharing the images and broadcasting links which were picked up by media and shared on Facebook.

There are pointers for emergency services to consider coordinating a crisis response using social tools such as Twitter and Facebook:

An established presence on Twitter is important, and on-going monitoring of Twitter activities is valuable.

The community is willing to support and assist the work of emergency services

Emergency services should develop comprehensive, flexible strategies for using social media in times of Crisis

Emergency services staff should be trained

Emergency organisations should engage with and respond to messages received from the general public.

If Emergency services and official organisations use social media effectively, then it is easy to get the right information spreading rapidly. False information is quickly suppressed as the report shows,whilst information about help is propagated to rebuild communities after disaster strikes.

Used correctly, Twitter and other forms of social media have valuable parts to play in crisis situations.

Unfortunately, there are still many organisations that don’t yet have the correct procedures in place.  But with the actions of people in the community, help and information gets to those who need it most.

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

 

Content strategy the Coca-Cola way

Coca-Cola has disclosed its content and creative strategy for the next phase of their journey which will take its key brands up to  its goal in 2020.

The intention is to move from creative excellence to content excellence. Goals are to:

  • Create ideas so contagious that they can not be controlled
  • Through telling stories they will provoke conversations that they can earn a disproportionate share of popular culture
  • Create a conversational model centred around brand stories to create ideas, provoke conversations that coca-cola can act and react upon
  • Harness the distribution of creativity.  Coca-cola has observed that user generated content outnumbers coca-cola generated content on its brands
  • Respond to the on demand culture where consumers can turn their demands on 24 hours a day
  • Leverage existing ideas and behaviours used in other companies using social media
  • Develop a deeper emotional connection through storytelling

Moving from one way storytelling to dynamic storytelling is a challenge.  Creating a unified band idea needs system wide capabilities amongst technology platforms.  Storytelling needs to be at the heart of communities and cultures and should be captured across the brands

Brand stories should be captured and should demonstrate commitment to making the world a better place.  Without this the brand won’t succeed.

The 5 guiding principles Coca-Cola mention are worth noting:

  • Inspire participation amongst the very best
  • Connect these creative minds
  • Share the results of efforts
  • Continue development
  • Measure success

Chapter 2 of the Coca-Cola content creation story is here

Applying the 70:20:10 principles to content will ensure a good mix.  70% is bread and butter content, consuming less time and engaged broadly.  20% is medium risk content, which engages more deeply.  10% is high risk content which introduces brand new ideas for the next set of medium or low risk content idea.

By using conversation in an iterative way, the conversation can evolve and have longevity. using great measurement tools can ensure that the increased investment in social activities.  However, bringing the consumer conversation into the mix can make sure that each activity is exactly what the consumer wants. and can evolve to match changing needs.

Iteration not replication of the content will ensure the correct evolution of content and bring the company towards its 2020 ambition.

If Coca-cola can do this successfully – then their ideas could also be adapted for use in your own business.

It’s certainly worth a try

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.