My colleague Fran Taylor has kindly allowed me to publish her notes from the Social Media World Forum in March. There are some excellent tips below.
Socialisation of the internet
- Social media encourages mob or herd like mentality, which can be really negative. The panel gave examples of this in Japan where users of social networks are often anonymous.
- You need to think about your business objectives first when using social media.
- If you have a strong product and brand, people will be receptive to you online.
- More controversially, traditional branding is ‘plastic’, i.e. it’s based on an ideal not a reality. Organisations have to accept that they won’t be perfect and that they’re made up of real people.
- It’s important to accept that you can make mistakes if you want to be innovative. Organisations need to remember the importance of ‘playing’.
- If someone ‘likes’ you on Facebook it doesn’t mean that you’ve made it. Someone needs to buy your product and give it a good review – this is the end goal, not a social media output.
- Marketers can be too optimistic when reporting on success e.g. “I have x thousand followers’. Again, success is in reaching your business goals, not just having fans on social media sites.
- Quote of the session: “Being dull is a recipe for disaster.” From Joanne Jacobs, social media consultant.
- Sites like Trip advisor are going to increasingly come into trouble with litigation, which may affect the credibility of review sites in the future.
- Worryingly the representative from Facebook had no idea if the site was accessible for people with a disability. The panel agreed it needed to be higher on the agenda.
- You don’t have to be innovative i.e. first to market. It’s fine to be an ‘adapter’ i.e. to build and improve on what others do first.
- We can’t move completely to crowd sourcing and social decision making in the future. You still need leaders and experts.
Measuring reputation and monitoring social media activity
- The two main tools at the moment are Klout and Peer index.
- Reputation measurement is still flawed through social media – you need to take these figures with a pinch of salt as they don’t reflect the full picture, although they can be useful.
- Sites like Stack Overflow are being used for reputation scores in employing people in the tech industry.
- It’s important to know who are the major tweeters and bloggers in your industry and engage with them.
- There are lots of agencies and products that could help us measure our social media activity. Brandwatch, Synthesio UK to name a few.
- It’s important to remember that monitoring agencies can’t access private content e.g. a lot of LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Good quote: “In real life all good relationships start by listening.” You need to know what you are listening to online and what types of conversations you want to monitor.
- It’s important to collect qualitative as well as quantitative information.
- Sampling can be effective.
- Sentiment analysis is when you look at whether content is positive, neutral or negative.
- If you have more sophisticated systems, they can link in to your CRM data.
- Google alerts are misleading – they only pick up around 5% of content.
- Free tools are ok but very limited. You have to weigh up time spent vs. value.
- Measurement is about outcomes and changes in behaviour. People are not ‘avatars’ or ‘clicks’.
Where social media fits in an organisation and PR
- It’s important to be clear who is accountable for activity, but no one can own social media.
- Be clear about how you measure your activity and what your business goal is.
- You can’t control, only follow and contribute.
- You need to set guidelines for staff, coach and train them. Focus on empowering them, again, rather than controlling.
- Sometimes the line between PR and customer service can get blurred through social media.
- It’s not about being ‘liked’ it’s about adding value.