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The Social Explorer: Analytics made easier with Twitter & TweetDeck?

24 May

Is any Adobe Air developed beta platform worth $40M? Twitter says yes.

Twitter Logo

With the news that Twitter has finalized a deal with TweetDeck to acquire their analytic and reporting platform, are we to look forward to a full reporting suite withing Twitter? Facebook already has Facebook insights, and though it’s not the most comprehensive of tools it is at least a simple integrated and official analytic platform for all to use. It would be an exciting (and time saving) prospect for businesses and personal users alike to be able to use TweetDeck within Twitter BUT I feel that we are some way away from this.

TweetDeck In Action

Maybe Twitter will use the developers code to put some sort of analytic platform within the Twitter interface in the future, keeping the more detailed bits outside of this and on a seperate application. But the main concern is…will Twitter keep TweetDeck as a free to use bit of software or are we going to be paying monthly for it? It doesn’t currently drive any revenue, it’s simply an Adobe Air developed beta piece of software. But Twitter have paid over $40M for this software…without a hope of it making them any money back unless they allow advertising within the application or charge you for it. So if this becomes the official Twitter analytics platform, would you pay to use it on a business level? What other social analytics tools do you use?

Let us know in the comments below…

– The Social Explorer

The Social Explorer: Coca-Cola done it right…

17 May

If you expect your fans to trust your brand, Coca Cola tell us you should trust your fans first…

Good morning blog readers! I wanted to share a story that I read some time ago… It involves super brand Coca-Cola and 2 guys that decided Coke were too slow off the mark in the world of social media.

Dusty & Michael

After hunting on Facebook for Coke’s fan-page, and failing to find anything official, they took it upon themselves to create a fan page all about the insanely well known brand of Cola. They set about writing about the brand’s history, amassed a range of images through the lifespan of the brand & managed to encourage over 3 million people to become a fan of their fan page. So, when Facebook flipped the rules and announced that only people authorized or employed by a brand can maintain a page about that said brand – D & M approached Coca-Cola and asked them if they’d like to close the page or take it on themselves.

Did you know 'Coca-Cola' is the second most recognised term in the world after 'O.K'?

Instead of taking the corporate low road and closing the page or taking it over, they asked D & M if they wouldn’t mind maintaining their Facebook page for them – making them ‘official’ Coca-Cola brand evangelists. They are now celebrated on the page, have events to mark key milestones and have grown the Coca-Cola page to over 25,000,000 fans making it the 11th most liked page on Facebook. This is a fantastic example of how good a page can be when run by people who truely love a brand and know how social works. A big pat on the back for Dusty and Michael, and I can’t wait to see what other ‘movements’ this may inspire in corporate social media. Seen anything like this before? Do you think this is a brave step, a sensible step or stupid of Coca Cola? Let me know your thoughts below…

Dusty and Michael reach 25,000,000 fans...

– The Social Explorer

The Social Explorer: Social Media & Small Businesses…

15 May

Social media savvy small businesses can benefit most from a sound social strategy…don’t get left behind!

Good use of social media by a small business can be even more beneficial than it is to a large corporation. The stand out difference could be that the smaller business has a focussed fan base – having targeted key blogs, emailing directly and taking time to advertise to the relevant end-user means that the smaller business will be more engaging in its social spaces. There’s an argument that a small business won’t have time or resource to implement a good and impactful social strategy. And when you consider that 75% of the largest companies have less than 3 people working on social media at any one time, is it any surprise that a smaller business could fail to justify investment of time and resource into this marketing tool?

Get the thumbs up from potential customers with your social media strategy...

So I’m here to say (for what it’s worth) that if you provide a product or service, part of your business plan should include a social media strategy! It’s free to use across pretty much all platforms and it gives you the chance to interact on a personal level with existing and potential customers. Now…its not particularly easy if you’re not social media savvy and you may be tempted to take on an intern or employ a social media specialist (perhaps not an option for a small business) so its important to learn the ropes first. Looking at businesses in your sector and their social spaces is extremely important, as well as ‘nerding up’ on the how to guides the likes of mashable and techcrunch will talk about. Once you know your Posts from your Tweets, its time to get yourself out there – create your profiles, set up a Twitter account and maybe even get yourself onto FourSquare.

I’ll be posting a step by step guide of how you can create your own profiles, administrate, communicate effectively and generally make the most out of social media. For now, if you’re a small business owner don’t forget that communication is king and if you’re not part of the ‘social revolution’ then your competition and customers will leave you behind…

– The Social Explorer

The Social Explorer: Guerrilla Marketing at its best?

13 May

Guerrillas in the mist…stand out and make your mark with a unique campaign…

I am a big fan of Guerrilla Marketing when it’s done right. It can be inspirational, funny, witty, clever or commercial and if it’s really good then all of the above. The reason these campaigns excite me so much is that they’re all about imagination, creativity and it seems more energy and time is put into the thinking behind the idea (vs. traditional marketing) as well as the application. The other side of this is that it doesn’t revolve around huge budgets so it’s open to anyone with a truly unique and engaging idea.

One of my all time favourite examples of strong Guerrilla Marketing (though it doesn’t hit the humour mark) is Sixt’s European Airport rental campaign. The sheer simplicity of this campaign is what Guerrilla Marketing is all about. They were struggling to make their deals known in the advert heavy airport environment – getting lost in a sea of posters, wall hangings and floor decals (really you can’t look anywhere without being attacked by a brand?!) So…’Solution’ – they plugged in 6 very strong wi-fi routers, changed the names of the routers to explain the deals and made a custom landing page explaining everything for all those who used the network. Laptops, iPhones & Blackberry’s could all use the free wi-fi and were all exposed to this brilliant campaign. Though the results weren’t posted, you can certainly imagine that the ROI on this would have been astronomical given the relatively small set-up costs. Here’s the YouTube video…

And Sixt have continued with their Guerrilla Marketing campaigns, though I’ll leave you to decide if this was a success or simply a bit offensive…(even Sixt are asking themselves same question…!)

What are your thoughts on Guerrilla Marketing? Is it effective & have you spotted a campaign that makes Sixt’s efforts look old hat? Comment away…

– The Social Explorer

The Social Explorer: Failing to plan…

12 May

Failing to plan is planning to fail when it comes to social media strategy…

This is a bit of a sensitive subject, but when we look at a lot of major retailers and their social presence, there’s a scary trend of ignorance towards the consumer. When fan acquisition is the number one task for the in-house social media ‘expert’ or agency, my gut feeling that this is their only step in a short lived social strategy. So you’ve got 500,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook and 100,000 ‘followers’ on Twitter…so what? If the strategy behind your social media proposition doesn’t involve talking to and with your fans (rather than just at them), then all you will do is very quickly turn your new best friends into your newest nightmare…

ASOS manage their social spaces fairly well – paying particular attention to Facebook. They seem to reply to most comments though we’ve spotted that they do hide away from negativity. There really isn’t an excuse here – if you’ve got the resource to make a page, open a Twitter account or post videos on YouTube then you must ensure you have the resource to manage these pages and talk to your fans. H&M are a fantastic example of a big company with a HUGE social presence managing their consumers expectations. With over 7,000,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, they reply to 90% of customer queries in a professional and timely manner. So what’s your excuse? The only improvement for me would be to make the approach more personal and less ‘template’ like. But – they do reply and that is key.

H&M on Facebook - 7,000,000 fans and still replying!

So, my suggestion is for retailers who want to be a part of the 21st century social ‘revolution’ to get to grips with Web 2.0 first and plan conversation and dialogue into their social strategy.  If you don’t, customers and other retailers will leave you behind – wishing you’d adopted dialogue much earlier. The way I see retailers who are ignorant to conversation with their social fans is how I see self service tills in Tesco. Yes, we live in an exciting and often clever digital world but lets not take away the personality and communication that humans crave.

– The Social Expolorer