Archive for Blog

Using Twitter for Community Cohesion

Twitter is my favourite social network.  I love its simplicity, restriction on characters and ability to connect people to each other, and them to news and information from all over the world so quickly and easily and at no cost!

Twitter Logo

I have come across examples recently in Norfolk where Twitter is being used as more than a marketing tool or news feed though, and actually enabling communities to engage with each other in real discussion and provide a sense of community cohesion.

My first insight into this was when Norfolk Tweetup was invited to Swaffham by Cllr Ian Sherwood.  He promised that Swaffham was very active on Twitter and that there would be a good turnout, and he was not wrong, it was the best attended Norfolk Tweetup to date!  Whilst there I got talking to Ian and also Town Clerk, Richard Bishop, and they explained to me how they, as town council representatives, had taken it upon themselves to enlighten Swaffham as to the virtues of Twitter.  They had held training sessions where, once sceptical local businesses, had learnt the ropes and at the same event those businesses told me how they now loved Twitter now and found it incredibly useful to share news about their business and keep up-to-date with their industry.

Richard Bishop - Swaffham Town Clerk“Twitter adds greater depth to any community, reaching some people previously uninterested in what is going on in their parish or town…” Richard Bishop, Swaffham Town Clerk.

I then did an interview with Martin George from the EDP who told me that he was actually tweeting from the Swaffham town council meetings and that the discussion on Twitter with local residents and businesses before, during and after the meetings was a real sign that Swaffham had taken to Twitter to share ideas and opinions, sometimes strong ones!, about their local town.

Martin George“Twitter has a real role in community cohesion.  It is a great leveller, with anyone able to easily and instantly communicate with anyone else, no matter what their position. The conversations are conducted in the open – great for spreading information and seeing elected representatives held to account. It lowers the barriers to participation – I’ve been to town council meetings with three people in public gallery but many times that following and joining the debate on Twitter. The debate can happen at any time, and does not have to be tied down to specific venue and date. And I have seen what started on Twitter spill out into the physical world, and lead to new friendships and relationships.”  Martin George.

Shortly after this I was invited to Watton to meet with Iain Cockburn, centre manager of the Wayland Business Centre, and Julian of the Breckland View.  They told me that they had also been running free Twitter and social media training sessions for local residents and businesses and felt strongly that as a community, Watton could benefit from being more proactive on Twitter and use it to communicate with residents and share local and business news.

Iain Cockburn‘We have set-up the Wayland Twitter Network to bring together the community to the benefit of all those who work and live in Wayland. We want to build an online community where people who care about the Wayland area can meet with others who share the same belief.  We offer a place where individuals, organisations, groups, clubs and businesses can share what’s important to them in the local area.’  Iain Cockburn, Centre Manager at the Wayland Business Centre in Watton.

I am now seeing a upsurge in Twitter accounts and people tweeting in Fakenham and understand that Fakenham Town Council are looking into using Twitter as a tool for communication.

If used well Twitter is an excellent tool to quickly communicate and share information on a local level.  It is designed to be viral and one tweet has the potential to be seen and read by many people.  It is also a free way for a local community to engage and talk to each other and share opinions.

If you would like to understand more about Twitter come along to a ‘Get to Grips with Twitter’ workshop on 15th May.

Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work

Social media marketing has evolved and developed in the last few years to become a recognised and effective form of marketing and communication for many businesses.

It is no longer a case of setting up a business Facebook page or Twitter account, posting a few times as saying: “Yes, I’m doing social media.”

Any organisation that wants to use social media as a key part of their marketing strategy needs to give the content they are sharing the same thought and consideration as they would for any of their marketing channels.

Online marketing content needs to be well thought out and provide added value to your followers/fans.  Does it provide good information?  Does it excite or entertain them?

 

Good content

Good content can include; a blog post, a ‘how to’ video or information about your wider industry that is current and useful.  For example if you were a business that made furniture then a great piece of content would be an edited film of you making something.

This video made by Ercol is a great example:

Pictures and video are rich content as they are most likely to be seen, and more importantly, shared by your fans and followers.

 

Make the content work

Spend time on creating that one piece of great content, e.g. the ‘how to’ film, and then maximise its reach by sharing it on as many platforms as possible.  A film could be hosted on your website, blog and/or YouTube channel and shared via Facebook, Twitter and email.

 

Get organised!

Have a planning session with your team or get some social media assistance to help with this.  Look at things like the natural calendar e.g. seasons, weather and public holidays but also think about your target customer.  What drives them, what will they find helpful and useful.  Then map this all out onto a calendar or spreadsheet so that you have something to refer to, to guide your content.  This should help you to plan good quality content, but you also need to be able to react to changes and trends quickly, especially on social media platforms.

 

We are all driven by our emotions..

The content you post that is most likely to be shared (liked, shared, retweeted or commented upon) is that which stirs emotion.  This is the most shared image ever on the internet:

Barack Obama Photo

Barack Obama Photo

At a recent workshop I asked the attendees why they thought this was, and they told me that it made them feel emotional and gave them a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Not all of your content can hit that hard but it is worth spending some time thinking about what you are sharing and how to make your social media marketing as effective as it can be.

Related Articles:

PR Daily: Content marketing trends to watch for in 2013

 

 

Social Networking – Why Face-to-Face is Still Important

One of the ways you can use social media platforms to promote you and your business is for social networking.  The most common platforms for this to exist on is Twitter and LinkedIn and, in certain circles, Google +.

Social Networking

Why Face-to-Face Networking is Still Important

Twitter, especially, is very good at enabling micro and small businesses to connect with each other.  This is due to its completely open format (anyone can see any tweet at anytime, without even having an account) and also its viral nature.

What online networking can’t get away from though is people’s need to connect in a more personal way, or in a face-to-face situation.  Business relationships can be started and strengthened online but there is still no taking away from getting out and meeting those online contacts in real life.  Whether it is at a networking meeting that has grown out of the social network, or in a one-to-one meeting.

My Experience

My experience since I have moved to Norfolk reflects this.  I have met other businesses and business professionals who I had already started to follow/communicate with on Twitter before I moved here, and now have strong relationships with.  I am in no doubt that by regularly seeing these contacts at business networking meetings and Tweetups, and communicating with them online in-between, that my business relationship with them has been accelerated.

I am a regular attendee of the Fabcom Final Friday networking meetups.  At the last meeting I met a new member who I didn’t have a chance to exchange business cards with, but I found and introduced myself to him through LinkedIn and have subsequently already refereed some business to him.

I am also one of the organisers of Norfolk Tweetup. Tweetups happen all over the world as an opportunity for Tweeters to get together and the Norfolk Tweetup is no different.  It has now been running for nearly a year and is well attended.  I have seen Tweeters strike up an immediate rapport with a fellow local business at these events, that they have never physically met before, but have engaged with on Twitter.

Social media and social networking are now an integral and essential part of any business marketing plan.  Like any tools they need to be used properly to achieve the best results and combining online social networking with face-to-face networking is the best way to promote you and your business.

If you would like to learn more about how to use social media to promote you and your business come along to one of my social media workshops.

Social Media Explained

A little while ago I came across this image.  At first I had a good chuckle but then I thought that, actually, it might be a good idea to write a little blog about it, as all the different social media platforms we have access to now do need a little explanation.  So, here it is, social media explained..

Social Media Explained

Twitter

‘I’m eating bacon’.  Twitter gets a lot of stick for being seen as just being full of celebrities, and mortals, posting about what they are eating for lunch.  And, while this does happen, it is also about so much more.  The reason the post is so exact though (I’m eating bacon’ is because posts on Twitter (tweets) are limited to 140 characters.  This doesn’t give room to say much and you do need to be direct and to the point but you can always link to website post or blog to make your point understood.

Facebook

‘I like bacon’.  You do have a lot more characters to play with in a Facebook post (it used to be 420 but is now pretty much unlimited) and, as this infographic alludes, people are much more likely to be friendly and chatty/emotional on Facebook.  This probably lies in its mass appeal and stems from its original purpose which was to connect with friends.  Interestingly, if you put the works ‘like’ into a post it is more likely to be ‘liked’…

LinkedIn

‘I have skills including eating bacon’.  Linked in is the social media platform of the male office worker.  79% of LinkedIn users are over 35, and it’s also the only main social media site where men outnumber women.  The main use of LinkedIn is by professional individuals to connect with other professional individuals and share information about their industry or look to recruit/be recruited.  A LinkedIn profile is akin to an online CV that is fully accessible to any potential employer 24 hours a day.

Foursquare

‘This is where I eat bacon’.  Foursquare is a location based social media platform where users ‘check-in’ to places they are visiting.  This is mostly restaurants, bars, clubs and social locations.  They can review the location and see if anyone else they know on Foursquare is there.  Venues can also offers rewards for checking-in and have the advantage of accessing enhanced customer information and user experience.

YouTube

‘Watch me eat my bacon’.  YouTube is the second most used search engine on the web and owned by Google (the most used).  YouTube is a wealth of information and knowledge for users who think visually with videos on almost every subject you can imagine available at the touch of a few keys.  Yes, you probably can watch someone eat bacon but you can also learn how to strip and rebuild an engine or make a piece of furniture.

Instagram

‘Here’s a vintage photo of my bacon’.  Instagram is a photo sharing platform that enables you to easily put effects onto your pictures, that is now owned by Facebook and has come under a lot of bad press recently.  This is because Instagram have changed their terms to say that if you continue to have an Instagram account you give them the rights to sell your images commercially.  Personally I would advise staying well clear of this platform.  If you prefer to use a visual platform then try Pinterest.

Pinterest

‘Here’s a recipe with bacon’.  Pinterest is a relatively new social media platform that has gained a lot of positive press for driving more traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ combined.  It is a visual platform that is a huge pinboard of pictures and ideas. Its demographic is still largely females in the states and, yes, there are a lot of images of food, recipes, clothes, fashion and art.  But, as with any social network, if you follow the right users you can create a feed that is interesting to you.

Google +

‘I work for Google and eat bacon’.  Yes, as the name suggests, Google + is a social media platform that was created by, and is owned by Google.  Their attempt to steal Facebook’s thunder in the social media game.  The jibe that you have to work there to be on it is directed at the fact that the majority of Google + users work in the social media/tech industries and it hasn’t really yet found its way into the mainstream.

Last.fm

‘I’m listening to music about bacon’.  Last.fm is an online portal for listening to and sharing music, similar to Spotify.  Spotify is now owned by Facebook and the notion of sharing what you are listening to, as you are listening to it, with your social media contacts is becoming increasingly popular and common place.

So, there we have it, social media explained in a bit of a tongue-in-cheek way – but also a useful topline round up I hope.

Social Monkey is running some social media training workshops in 2013in Fakenham and Kings Lynn to find out more click here.

 

 

 

Twitter Account Hacked – what you need to do.

I have been using Twitter for many years now and currently manage multiple accounts for clients.  I have witnessed a huge surge recently in fake accounts, spamming and people having their Twitter account hacked.  Which I suppose was inevitable, but will sadden me greatly if it turns Twitter into an environment where users don’t feel safe to communicate and share.

Twitter Account Hacked - what you need to do.

Image via The Redhead Riter

Hacking and spamming is not unique to Twitter, and the same rules that apply in other on-line communication apply on this platform.

The first you will probably know of it if your Twitter account is hacked is that a nice follower of yours will Direct Message (DM) you (please don’t Tweet the poor person that has been hacked and @ tag them – they will be embarrassed enough as it is!) to say that they think you have been hacked.  This will be because you have unwittingly sent them a DM along the lines of:

wow your busted in the video [dodgy link]

what are you doing in this video [dodgy link]

Now to me these scream of being SPAM – but for those new to Twitter they may not.  I can tell you it is so DO NOT click on the link!  Please just DM your poor Twitter friend back and let them know.

What they need to do is immediately change their password and check that nothing else has been changed on their account.  Delete any spam messages they have unwittingly sent and check their PC security software is up-to-date.  Twitter provide some useful advice.

In general follow these rules to try and keep Twitter a safe, spam free environment for us all:

– Regularly change your Twitter password and try to make it something a bit complex and complicated (combination of letters and numbers usually works well).

– Do not follow accounts that have ‘eggs’ as their profile picture and no bio about who they are.  As a general rule a genuine Twitter account will have about the same amount of followers to following (unless they are celebrities, then they will usually be verified by Twitter if they are genuine).  Genuine Tweeters will also be tweeting regularly and involved in conversations with other

– If you are tagged in a Tweet from what appears to be a person that you don’t know with just a link DO NOT click on the link or follow them.  Click on their profile and go to the drop down arrow which should give you an option to ‘Report spam’ and ‘Block’.  Generally these accounts will have tweeted a lot but have no followers or people they are following.

– If a profile, message or link looks dodgy then it probably is so just ignore or delete it (as you would a SPAM email).

Top 5 Social Media Blog Posts You Need to Read

August has been a bit of an odd month for Social Monkey.  Holidays, birthdays, long weekends and things being generally quiet with clients has left lots of time to catch up on some reading though.  So I thought I would share my top 5 social media blog posts from my Summer reading with you 🙂

 

Twitter’s Fake Identity Crisis– Tech Week europe

A great article about how you can and why you shouldn’t buy followers on Twitter.

 

The Value of Facebook Promoted Posts – Jon Loomer

Statistics and hard evidence about the use of Facebook Promoted Posts.

 

The 10 most-useful social media tools of 2012 (so far) – ragan.com

The title pretty much speaks for itself 🙂

 

Pop went the social media bubble. Now what? – Fortune

Interesting read regarding where social media is at as an industry and its future.

 

22 Tips for New Blog Ideas – Jon Loomer

We ALL get stuck with what to write from time-to-time and this article has some great tips on how to overcome the writer’s block and inspired this blog!

 

 

How to Schedule Facebook Posts

When Facebook floated, one of the features it brought out (but kept fairly quiet and hidden for some reason) is the ablilty to schedule Facebook posts.

The reason it is more favourable to do this on Facebook, than via a dashboard such as Hootsuite, is that Facebook algorithms prefer content that comes from Facebook over a third party source.

Here is a quick ‘How to’ schedule Facebook posts:

1.  Write your update, add links or pictures as you normally would do, but instead of hitting ‘Post’ button click on the little clock in the bottom left hand corner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  This will then give you drop down options for selecting the year, date and time of when you want the post to go out.  (It is a bit clunky compared to dashboard scheduling – but it gets the job done!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Once you have selected all your options click ‘Post’.  A little box should come up:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve done it!

If you want to check what posts you have scheduled you can do this in the ‘Activity Log’ which is also accessible from ‘Edit Page’ drop down menu at the top of the page.

You can also delete scheduled posts and change the time of them here – but if you want to edit the post you have to delete it and re-do it (I told you it was a bit clunky!)

Top Ten Tips for Pinterest

According to Experian, Pinterest is now the third largest social network in terms of users.  This puts it ahead of LinkedIn and Google +

2012 has seen social media move into its most visual phase and Pinterest facilitates this amazingly well.  I describe it to people as Twitter for images.

If you are just starting out on Pinterest, or want to make more of your account, here are some top tips:

1)    You still have to ask for an invitation to join Pinterest, but this is relatively easy, you just need a valid email address and will be sent an email to sign up pretty quickly.

2)    Avoid linking your Pinterest account to your Twitter or Facebook.  As you will just annoy your followers on those platforms with constant Pinterest updates.

3)    Your mission should be to create the best board you can on a topic and become an expert in that field.

4)    Remember to engage!  As well as creating your own boards ‘like’, ‘repin’ and comment on other users images that catch your eye.

5)    Don’t feel overwhelmed.  You won’t see everything that is going on, but it doesn’t matter, just follow people or boards that excite you.

6)    When you have established a few interesting boards on Pinterest share links to them via other social media platforms.

7)    As well as static images you can now also upload video to Pinterest, this has shown to increase engagement.

8)    ALWAYS add a link to the images you upload – preferably directly to where the image/product is on a website/blog.

9)    Use hash tags in your descriptions – Pinterest is searchable!

10) Have fun and express yourself – Pinterest is a very welcoming community.

Happy Pinning!

Related Articles:

Why the Interest in Pinterest?

Social Media Today

Twitter in the news again, and again…

Update: Since writing this Paul Chambers has won his case in the High Court that challenged his conviction BBC News

Court cases around Twitter seem to be fairly commonplace these days.  Paul Chambers is in court again today (Wednesday 27th June), being supported by Twitter celebrities Al Murray and Stephen Fry, to try and get his conviction for ‘sending a message of a menacing character’ overturned – more info here

#twitterjoketrial has been trending all day as, rightly so, all those on Twitter are interested in the outcome.

Twitter is the most fast moving, information sharing, opinion feed that exists and that’s what makes it so attractive to its 500 million plus users.  This freedom and ability to share information quickly has been attributed, amongst other things, to aiding civil unrest and social revolution.

As of yet, governments and individuals have been unable to censor Twitter – and rightly so.  Although it came close when Ryan Gigs got ousted on Twitter for having an extra-marital affair, despite taking out a court injunction that covered traditional media.  Lawyers threatened to subpoena the first Tweeter who let the cat out of the bag, but when hundreds of thousands more Tweeters sprang to his defence by tweeting and re-tweeting the same information, they were onto a losing battle.

This week there has been an arrest over alleged racists tweets aimed at members of the England football team.  In this instance (as is often the case) Twitter policed itself as another Tweeter informed the police of the alleged racist tweets and the sender.

Twitter will delete tweets and users if it feels that they are against Twitter rules.  It also has very comprehensive terms of service, that make it very clear that any content posted is the responsibility of the user.

Twitter operates outside of the ‘nanny state’ as is one of very few places where opinion and comment is free.  It is refreshing to be part of a real social network that allows users the freedom to express their opinions, within reason, and take responsibility for them.

In the case of Paul Chambers, it is a classic situation of the receiver (Robin Hood Airport) not receiving the message in the vain to which it was sent.  If he had said the same thing out loud in the airport security queue would he have been detained, probably.  It was meant to be a joke, but unfortunately backfired.  Perhaps it is a lesson to all of us to think before we Tweet?

In the words of Twitter:

‘What you say on Twitter may be viewed all around the world instantly. You are what you Tweet!’

What is a Tweetup and How Can I Get Involved?

‘A Tweetup is an event where people on Twitter come together to meet in person.’

Twitter Meetup

Or also known as a ‘Twitter Meetup’.

These events are rapidly becoming commonplace as more and more people are using Twitter.  They are a great way to connect in person with someone you have built a relationship with on Twitter.

On the whole they are very casual, laid back affairs – often in a bar or pub.  They are a great form of free, casual business networking and fantastic opportunity to meet with and strengthen relationships with local Tweeters.

If you are lucky enough to already have a Tweetup group in your local area go along!  If not why don’t you be the one to start it up!

Norfolk Tweetup           @Norfolktweetup

MK:tweetup        @mktweetup