Tag Archives: corporate

The future of social media… What’s new?

Social media and online marketing are a crucial part of any clients communications strategy, and it’s a vital area that PR agencies need to be on top of. Brands need to understand that they are being talked about online whether they like it or not, and being a part of the conversation is (in most cases) the best strategy to have.

I have put together a little list tools and trends which I believe PR’s and those pulling communications strategies together need to be watching out for…

  • Geolocation – Tools such as FourSqaure and Facebook Places have adapted to an increased usage of mobile internet which is now becoming more and more advanced every day. New tools keep appearing every day such as Bizzy, a check-out switch on the traditional FourSqaure idea. There are also many recent developments with Groupon, who have launched Groupon New, which is based on their ever so successful deals and special offers. You highlight your preference ‘hungry’ or ‘bored’ and based on your location Groupon will give you a range of activities or places to visit. (Image from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com)
  • Keep you eyes open for new developments and news on this ‘Geo-location’ based topic which could change ways brands can interact. This is especially interesting for the tourism industry’s point of view, as many are using this to rate places people visit e.g. restaurants, bars, museums etc. On the other hand, read the recent news regarding iPhone’s Tracking device… this privacy issue could cause problems to these types of apps in the future.
  • Crowd Sourcing – Not a new idea, but one which is constantly been developed through the use of social media and online communications. Large brands such as Starbucks are engaging with customers through allowing customers to share their ideas and views, and therefore feeling apart of the brand. As people become more experienced online, this concept will be reachable to a larger audience and not just the social media experts.
  • Likeonomics‘ – Is a term used to describe the way the public interact with brands and push their options out into the open, this is done through ‘likes’ on Facebook and personal comments through Twitter. Consumers are constantly looking for personal recommendations and what our peers are commenting about, sharing and ‘liking’. Therefore if done well, brands can inspire ‘word of mouth’ through social media platforms and encourage further brand awareness and loyalty.
  • Near Field Communication Technology – This advancement is said to lead to half a billion people worldwide using their mobile devices as travel tickets by 2015. This technology is already in use, but is a working development. Retail outlets such as McDonald’s are already in progress in using this technology to purchase products. Certainly one to watch out for!
  • Quora – This site is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. An important tool to consider key ‘influencers’.
  • Scribblelive – I have added this little tool in as it’s a great tool for keeping up to date with the ‘culture’ of now. This tool enables real-time journalism and audience engagement without any delays. Brands can also publish live real-time content and reach internet consumers demands.
  • Zipcast is a relatively new online meeting programme. This works through SlideShare, so you can not only just upload your presentation, but can now hold an online conference and speak through your presentation with your audience. This tool is a competitor to the previous Webex online meeting device.
  • Bar code scanning is a development which could change the way we shop. You have probably already seen recent adverts on TV which highlight how iPhones can add products to an online shopping list. Apps can now compare in-store prices whist you are shopping. E.g. Tesco iPhone app: Again, these developments are taking on ‘recommendations’, so when you scan a product you are subject to a world of peer / consumer feedback. It’s these changes that brands need to be aware of, as consumer comments can be extremely powerful – you can see this through sites such as Tripadvisor.

This is just a little list of developments which I thought would be useful to highlight. Do comment or let me know about any more advancements which you feel should be included within this list. There will be those that I have missed as the internet and social media is changing vastly and quickly and keeping up with all changes is a challenge, but an extremely interesting one.

Queensland, Where Australia Shines – Global Facebook Campaign

Last week, Queensland’s tourist board started a new global social media campaign where entrants can win a holiday for them and 9 friends to Australia, Queensland.

Passport to Shine is a unique global social media campaign which provides Facebook users in Australia and across the world with a virtual passport which they can fill with Queensland experiences to be in the draw to win an ultimate Queensland holiday worth up to $100,000.

This campaign is one of the first high profile social media campaigns to be ran by a tourist board. Tourism agencies are realising the potential that free social media tools can mean for campaigns, as tools such as Facebook generate access to millions of people, many of whom are willing to hand over contributions to make a campaign grow. Brands are realising more and more that user-generated content is a cheap, effective and successful way of gaining brand recognition – and as in the case of Queensland Tourism, promoting your brand alongside a competition can achieve huge results. A few days after the launch of this campaign, they had already received Facebook followers of 117,000 people. It will be interesting to see how this campaign grows. Check it out at: www.facebook.com/visitqueensland

Watching every online move!

It’s interesting to think that somehow, someone, somewhere can damage a company’s brand reputation through a home-made movie or an angry tweet… well this is true and exactly what can happen through the use of social media.

A great example of this is Dave Carroll’s United Breaks Guitars video which has now been watched 9.23 million times. His video was a backlash against United Airlines who damaged his expensive guitar whilst he was on one of their flights. Dave complained and got no where with the airline who appeared not to care, so from his frustration he created a video to convey his anger and concerns.

Less than a few months after the video had been created, the airline had a massive public relations crisis on their hands, as not only did Dave’s video highlight the bad response of the airline in a creative and funny way, but more people then came forward to vent their frustrations online too. This caused the whole idea to snowball out of control.

I think the obvious change in the media environment is the blurred boundaries between ‘news’ and ‘social media’. The significance between a front-page news story damaging a company’s brand and one persons voice are no longer different – all it takes is one Tweet, one video one Facebook post to catch the attention of others and it can cause a PR disaster!

On the other hand, social media can be beneficial or disastrous for employees or job-seekers. As much as we are watching what companies do, they are also watching us! Our online footprint can be tracked and followed so being careful about what we write and how we write it is crucial. There have been many examples which show individuals slagging their bosses off on Facebook and getting caught out, but then there is many examples of individuals gaining jobs through their online work.

Social media tools are very accessible and therefore not easily monitored. This can create problems for both companies and the general public alike because anyone from anywhere can mimic a company by calling themselves by that company name. A great example of this is the fake Birmingham National Express Twitter account called Travel_WM which has been set up by someone other than the valid company itself. They are damaging the reputation of the company through tweets as shown below. The account looks valid as they have even used company logos and added company details into the description boxes, therefore people believe it’s real – and why shouldn’t they! However, the tweets that are being displayed on the account are not beneficial for the Birmingham travel company.

This range of examples show the changing environment we all now sit within, whether we are a company a consumer or both we are all effected by the social media and we should all learn to acknowledge it and embrace it where possible. If working for a company, traditional or not, we need to understand how social media can effect the reputation, brand and workings. There is a lot of trial and error happening, but we are fast learners and keeping on top of the new social media trends will allow PR professionals to help their clients and themselves out in situation which will occur.