Tuesday, 10 January 2012

I've Moved The Cheese

I'm trying out a Wordpress blog at the moment, so come and visit over at www.simonemccallum.com.....

Monday, 9 January 2012

Do Your Social Media Habits Change on Holiday?

Me & Ms 5 goofing around on holiday
Here in New Zealand, we are in the midst of our summer holiday season. A gloriously wet and rainy one (!!)  but still for most of us it's time away from the office and a chance to spend some time relaxing with friends and family.

So what happens to all that Twittering and Facebooking when you are with your Real Life chums?

Some people abandon their social networks entirely and then return after a period of deathly silence to upload 100 or so holiday snaps to their Facebook profile, only 5 of which anyone is ever going to scroll through (apart from your mum). On Twitter they pick up wherever they left off as if nothing has happened and secretly wonder if anyone missed them (which the answer is probably no. And you know it).

Of course, some of it depends on whether you have internet access wherever you are holidaying. I was amazed (shocked?) at how much mobile data I chewed through with only 3G access available to me. And one bar of 3G at that! But that's another story.

When I'm not on holiday I'd estimate I spend 70% of my social networking time on Twitter, 25% on Facebook and the last 5% scattered aimlessly around the other random networks that are left. But when on holiday, I found that I spent the biggest slice of my time on Facebook which is where the majority of my real life friends are. Since I was mainly sharing photos or tales of the holiday I was having with my own family, it made sense to do this on Facebook. On Twitter I don't share much of this as its probably quite boring to people I don't know and also for privacy reasons (but mainly the first reason if the truth be known. Sorry Mum). Also I don't like broadcasting to the whole world that I am away and then come home to a burglary. Telling my Facebook mates is not such a concern as most of them know me, so they are fully aware that there is nothing worth stealing my house anyway. True story.

This does imply that none of my mates on Twitter really know me - which is completely untrue. Plenty of people on Twitter know more about me than ... well.. me (probably). It also implies that I trust Facebook privacy settings which no-one in their right mind should do but as the same time if you don't want anyone to know stuff, then don't put it on the internet.

I have seen some talk lately about people abandoning Facebook after getting a shock at seeing their own new Facebook Timeline saying things like 'OMG Facebook knows too much about me!' Yes that is completely true - Faceboook knows all that stuff that you told them and has helpfully collated it together and put it (prettily) all in one place - and you are shocked by that? I mean - really? REALLY? If you don't want Facebook to know, then don't put it on Facebook. Simple as that really. I bet these are the same people who think nothing of sending to the NZ Herald photos of their kids running nude round the beach in the hope it will be printed on the back page.

So it is fair to say that being on holiday changes your habits in more ways than one, but when the holiday is over, normal transmission resumes.

<end of transmission>

Thursday, 24 November 2011

#FINSIA : Best Tweets - Social Media & Banking Panel

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Oink Review: A Mashup of Foursquare, Yelp and Instagram

Example of a top rating in Oink
Kevin Rose (ex Digg) launched his new mobile app Oink in early November, so I gave it a whirl to see what all the fuss was about.

What is it? Well, its a way to rate things - different from foursquare where you are rating places. So for example: my favourite lunch haunt might have great salads, but the coffee may be horrendous. In foursquare, when you continuously visit the same venue you are subtly endorsing a location, but not necessarily all the things in it.

Oink gives you a different perspective by letting you rate things. At the moment, there is loads of food and drink being rated (dieters beware!), but also things like 11/11/11, or favourite planes, TV shows, movies or toys. If you are hunting down a good flat white, then Oink can help tell you where the nearest one to you is (good if you are travelling and not familiar with where you are staying). There are 4,268 coffee ratings in Oink already. That's a lot of coffee!

Example of the Oink feed
Oink lets you add photos and spruce them up using some Instagram-ish filters (although some improvement with the resizing of images would be good - some of my images were cropped beyond my control). Also I couldn't remove an item once it was added (even as the creator) so there could be a lot of housekeeping for someone to do one day....!

You can also tag the rating with a topic or category - and that allows you to score 'cred' in that category as your rating receives more Oinks. Comments and To Dos can be added to any rating too.

As with other social apps, you can follow others and good integration with your existing communities on Facebook, Twitter and foursquare makes this easy. Also by default you are following Kevin Rose and a few others in his startup company Milk which is a clever move - they are mad oinkers so very quickly you get a feel for what you can do with the application.

Summary - worth a look, will get better as more people use it in your location. And it will be interesting to see how retailers leverage this data in the future.

You can download it free from the AppStore for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch here

Sunday, 30 October 2011

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Outsource Your Social Media Presence

If you are just starting on your social media journey, you may be wondering if you should outsource it to an external party who knows all the ins and outs of this malarky. Or you might have a social media presence already, but finding it is taking too much time and so are considering other options including outsourcing. Or maybe your team is growing and you want to evaluate a different operating model such as using an agency or consultancy.

Here are 6 reasons why you shouldn't outsource your social media presence:

1. No-one knows your business like you do (or your team).  On social media, the community can throw all kinds of curve balls at you. If these need to be filtered by someone external, sent to you for a response, you craft a suitable reply, send it back, it gets reworded, then finally it is posted on Facebook, Twitter or your blog.... well you get the idea. The moment will have passed and depending on the situation either your reply will seem very out of context or you'll have a 'situation' on your hands. Your social media community management team needs to know and understand your community - so they instinctively know what is relevant and useful - and what is not.

2. There's no substitute for informal communication - or what is also known as the office grapevine. A conversation exchanged at the coffee machine about something that is happening elsewhere in the organisation or with your customers, may uncover a great opportunity to share that story on your social channels. No meeting with external parties to be arranged, no brief to be written. You can be faster and more timely when you use an inhouse team, and social media is all about timeliness.

3. Social media platforms change more frequently than some people change their underpants. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are constantly making changes (often without warning) which will affect how you engage with your community. You need to have someone that is knee deep in how your posts look after platform changes are made, and understands what that means for you - they must be experts in how Facebook EdgeRank works for your community. If you are using an external party, chances are they won't understand this to the same depth as someone from inside your organisation who is living and breathing this each and every day.

4. The day your organisation has a crisis - whether it be industry related, a natural disaster, a technology meltdown or supply interruption that impacts your customers - this will be the day that you find out you need an inhouse team. They will need to be able to listen for any issues bubbling up on social media that could be quickly headed off, provide updates to the community about the situation at hand, and rapidly respond to questions that are posted. Remember that in all likelihood your phones will be ringing off the hook and customers wont have the patience to wait in a call queue - they'll just write on your Facebook Wall or tweet your Twitter account for everyone to see. Take a look at the Qantas Facebook page after their planes were grounded worldwide to get a feel for what might happen.

5. Do you want someone else having conversations with your customers? If you've encountered an organisation that outsources its Call Centre to another company, then you'll know how that feels when you are at the end of it. If your community takes the time and effort to communicate with your brand, they will feel cheated if they find out its not actually your brand that is responding. At the most basic level, it's not honest or transparent and that doesn't go down well on social media.

6. A good community manager is worth their weight in gold. They will know who your brand advocates and influencers REALLY are, because they talk to these people each and every day. They wont be people picked out of a report generated by some software tool based on their follower numbers or their Klout score, they will be the ones who go in to bat for you whenever someone in the community asks about your brand. A good community manager will be able to tell you off the top of their head who your top 5 influencers or brand advocates are, and they will have a relationship with them. Would the same apply for an external party?

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying that external parties such as a social media consultancy or agencies can't add value - not at all. Some of my favourite people fall into those categories and I respect their opinions and expertise. Reaching out to them is a good way of providing some third party weight to an internal decision making point, or for getting a wider view of the industry or trends when you are developing your strategy. They can be a powerhouse when working with you on a defined piece of work, or as part of a wider multi channel campaign.

But there is no substitute for a team that knows and understands your organisation, your customers and your products or services and is passionate about your brand. This is especially true when it comes to 2 way communication with your customers. These people are your brand storytellers. Embrace them if you can

Monday, 10 October 2011

5 Tips For Using The New Facebook Page Insights

Facebook released their new Page Insights last week which contains a lolly shop of goodies for Facebook admins who are managing a brand Page. The focus is quite clearly and squarely on Engagement with a capital E which is a good move away from measuring just the number of Page Likes - a common yet misleading metric in the past.

Tip 1: Here is the Facebook Insights Guide. Read it. 

Tip 2: Track the People Talking About metric for your brand and your competitors to see how engagement levels fluctuate.
One of the most obvious changes is displaying the number of people who are 'talking about' your page. Its like Klout for brand Pages!

Facebook describes this metric as "How many people are actually talking about your brand or company to their Facebook friends."
It is broken down to each individual post and includes everyone who:
Liked your Page
Liked, commented on, or shared your Page post
Answered a Question you’ve asked
Responded to your event
Mentioned your Page
Tagged your Page in a photo
Checked in or recommended your Place

Note that this does not include Wall Posts by anyone other than the brand. Data from 19th July 2011 is available on the new Page Insights.

Tip 3: Check if your ads are even working using the Total Reach analysis

The Total Reach metric shows the number of unique people who have seen your post, broken down by Organic, Paid and Viral reach for your post. This will help you track whether your paid advertising is working. For example, if you are getting a high paid reach on a post (via Sponsored Page Post or Sponsored Stories) but your other engagement metrics (below) are not improving, then your ads are probably not targeting the right audience, or are not interesting or relevant enough to that audience..... and so they just don't click on the post. Its unfortunate that the scale on the graph can make your viral statistics seem very low - make sure you hover over the purple viral bar to see how many times a friend of one of your Fans saw your post as a result of the Fan liking, commenting or sharing your post.

The metric Engaged Users is important and tells you the unique number of people have clicked anywhere on your post  -  whether it was playing a video, viewing the full size of a photo, clicking a link, sharing your post, commenting or liking it, clicking on people's names or the timestamp.

The section of this Engaged Users pie called Stories Generated is further broken down in a second metric called Talking About This. This is the number of times your post received likes, comments, shares, event RSVPs or had Questions answered. The total of this number over the past 7 days is the metric visible to everyone on your Page. If you are wondering why the number on your page doesn't add to the total of the posts showing in the past 7 days - it may be due to Questions which are not displayed (but appear in your export data).

Tip 4: Find out where your Likes are coming from.

Under the Fans tab of the Page Insights you can see further analysis of  who your Fans are including age, gender and country. This graph will show you where your Page Likes are coming from (eg via the Newsfeed, on a mobile phone, on your website or elsewhere)

Tip 5: Check who is actually talking about your page. 
You might have one age demographic which dominates your Page Fans, however they may not actually be the age or gender demographic who are engaging with your posts. Find out who is most engaged on your page on the Talking About tab of Page Insights - you might be surprised.

Lastly, here is a quick snapshot of some of the Talking About metrics for a selection of Facebook Pages you might be familiar with - makes interesting reading. Also check these stats again in a few weeks to see how these metrics change over time.

Friday, 30 September 2011

What You Need To Know About Facebook's Changes To Brand Pages

Facebook has been making a load of changes recently, with the introduction of the Facebook Timeline and Ticker into personal pages, plus the option to Subscribe to a personal page.

But what about the brands on Facebook? When do they get some Zuck-love?

Well, it looks as though Facebook are rolling out a number of changes to brand pages:

Discussion threads - to be filed under R for Rubbish
Discussion threads are a feature that have been long overdue for a rehaul. They were are a hangover from the early days of Facebook brand pages - back in the day when you could 'Fan Us on Facebook' (anyone remember those?).

However, unlike Wall posts, there were no notifications for the Discussion threads meaning Facebook admins had to manually check the threads to see if new comments had been posted or new threads started. The benefit of discussion thread was that they didn't get lost in the sea of posts on the main Wall and therefore they had a longer shelf life than your average post (and could continue on for months). But engagement on them was low, probably because threads didn't post into the NewsFeed the way Wall posts do.

Facebook has decided to remove them from 31 October 2011 as Wall posts and comments are the best way to engage your community.

Can't wait.

There isn't an easy way to export the discussion threads, but some brands may want to investigate this if they have important content captured in them.

A new format for multiple photos mirrors the layout in personal profile Timeline photos, showing 3 images like this post from Rugby World Cup:

Also, they are getting bigger in your stream and Ticker. You might have already noticed that when your Friends post photos they are much bigger in your stream? Well, this may be being rolled out to brands too - here's one from Air New Zealand as an example where the photo is noticeably larger than previously.

Top Stories and Recent Stories
There is a lot of strange comings and goings with your Newsfeed now - some stories are popping up as Recent Stories, some as Top Stories, and most importantly.... some not at all. Read about how Edgerank has changed and what this means for your NewsFeed optimisation.

Keep posted for more developments. It is an exciting time for brands on Facebook and a great opportunity to capitalise on some of the changes and be a first mover.