28 Jul 2014
Clearly, as someone who has earned a living off helping brands devise and implement social media strategies for around 15 years, I’m off message with this post. Or am I?
Social platforms come and go. I remember setting up my first bulletin board system on an Apple IIe back in the mid-eightys. I clearly recall building a 5000+ person email list on Yahoo Groups in the early 90′s. I ran facilitated web chats with a variety of experts in the mid-90′s. And I created a whole slew of bulletin boards, both personally and professionally, around the same time.
I’ve always been an enthusiastic (usually) adopter of just about every social platform to emerge, and sometimes die, from the late 90′s until today.
For some time now, I’ve realised that my use of social media has segmented across three distinct use cases, based on my perceptions of time and the usefulness of contacts and communities across it. Let me explain:
The Future: I use LinkedIn, almost exclusively, to connect with and keep track of people who, in the future, might be personally or professionally relevant to me. LinkedIn is like a safety net. People I can call upon later to provide support for a project as a freelancer. Who I might want to employ. Who I might want to work with or for. I have friends, as well as professional contacts, there. But the key thing is that I want to stay in touch with contacts on LinkedIn because, if they aren’t relevant today, they might be tomorrow. That and it’s my number one source of professional content, these days.
The Present: I use Twitter for the present – through the people I follow, and those who follow me, I learn, in real time, about the world. They aggregate and filter content, then deliver it to me. Twitter has replaced RSS and google alerts for me, and the human filters it applies are, for the most part, better than the technological one’s that proceeded my enthusiasm for the platform.
The Past: Facebook has, for a long time, been sort of a storage closet of my past. It’s where I learn, usually after the funeral, of the passing of a friend from years ago. Or of a fundraising effort for a friend in need. Well, that or a fundraising effort by a friend from long ago who wants their mates to finance a charity walk the length of the Great Wall of China.
Basically, Facebook is dead to me as a social platform of preference. And it’s not just a personal thing. I’d have a really difficult time, in most instances, recommending that a client focuses their energy, or budget, there. How many brands do you follow on Facebook? What’s the last piece of branded content you engaged with? I’m guessing those two questions are ones that most people, most of the time, wouldn’t be able to answer with any accuracy or conviction.
“I loved what brand X posted the other day”. Yeah, right.
The thing is, on LinkedIn, where your professional reputation is at stake, a like means,”share this industry news with people who I might, now or later in life, have a commercial or industry related interest in connecting with.” It has meaning.
On Twitter, a re-tweet is an expression of interest, maybe professional, possibly personal. A nod to collaborative filtering and sharing. Again, it has meaning.
On Facebook, a like is more of a bookmark of something you might wish to go back to later, or possibly a nod that you’ve seen something, but not necessarily a sign that you wished to share that content, saw value in it, or agreed.
I realise, probably more than most, that Facebook is the dominant social network. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a bit shit. To me, anyway, it’s like Friend’s Reunited – a curiosity to those who care about the past, but not something that will have much value to those focused on the now or the future.
I’m going to be presenting at the European Communication Summit, Europe’s top event for in-house Communications leads.
The event takes place in Brussels on the 10th and 11th of July and has a start-studded line up of presenters including AOL’s David Shing, Lars Silberbauer-Andersen from Lego, Jimmy Mayman, CEO of the Huffington Post and many others. Details here: http://www.communication-summit.eu/
29 Jan 2014
During the one year programme, successful applicants will have the opportunity to rotate through three of our specialist practices and to work across a variety of sector areas.
The programme is a great first step towards a career at one of the World’s leading integrated Communications and Marketing agencies. Come join us.
Full details here: http://fleishman.co.uk/careers/graduate-programme/
Those of you who follow me elsewhere online will have noticed that I recently started a new role as EMEA Social Business Lead at FleishmanHillard.
I’ll be working with clients being serviced by any of the 45 FleishmanHillard offices in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Richard Kanareck, Managing Director of our London office, from which I will be based, is quoted in this news release covered by Holmes Report:
“Robin is a true thought leader and will help us better support clients who are ready to move their digital and social media programmes into the strategic heart of their organisations.”
In a note to my new colleagues, I took a stab at explaining how social business is different from social media:
“Most brands recognise that social media offers new opportunities to target and engage directly with audiences through carefully crafted content and messaging. But social media is a two way street – and brands need to be well prepared to participate, as equals, with a variety of stakeholders there.
Whilst there once were clearly defined boundaries between the responsibilities, and stakeholder audiences, of distinct business functions, in social media such organisational silos often lead to poor governance, repetitive investment, and inconsistent messaging.
Social Business is an approach towards solving these challenges by bringing stakeholders, both internal and external, closer to business critical activities through the strategic application of people, platforms and processes.”
I’ve already been impressed with the people I’ve met in the London office and members of the Regional and Digital/Social leadership teams am an looking forward to getting involved in the strategic programmes they’re working on with clients. If you fancy being one of those clients, drop me a line at the new place: firstname.lastname@example.org
06 Nov 2013
It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to roll my sleeves up and get involved directly in building a website. That all changed, over the weekend, when my wife convinced me to build a website for Just Sheep, her new online business selling wool blankets. They’re lovely products, by the way.
Because I’m familiar with WordPress, which I use for Cybersoc.com as well as my (now defunct) blog about St. Albans, I decided to set up a fresh instance, buy a domain name, and install a theme.
The first install went badly, and I went a bit beyond my own capabilities making alterations to the theme, so I ended up wiping the the WordPress database using the MySQL control panel provided by my host.
To be clear, I don’t actually know what I’m doing half the time, but I do tend to understand how different configuration settings are likely to work, and actually enjoy trying to sniff out the bits of code that determine positioning, system messages, etc. After the fresh install, which wiped out a good 4-5 hours of work, it’s all been pretty smooth sailing.
The theme I bought and installed integrates really nicely with WooCommerce, an e-commerce service I’ve never used before. It handles inventory, pricing, postage calculation and all that fun back office stuff. It also has a nice shopping cart based ordering system for customers, with PayPal enabled check-out. I’ve also set up google analytics and google adwords for the site as well as a fresh paypal account, ebay account and amazon marketplace seller account.
There’s still a lot of work to do on the site. Our product photos need to be re-shot by a professional in a studio, rather than by us in the living room on a Sunday morning, and we need to get unique product codes (UPC) for the products before we can sell on Amazon. A logo is being created. The text content needs to be reworked- there are just basic product descriptions at present. And, although I’ve already set up Pinterest and Twitter accounts, there’s more work to be done planning and setting up social media services.
If you’ve not built in WordPress before, or it’s been a while since you’ve done so, I strongly encourage you to give it a bash – it’s not just an immensely powerful CMS, it’s also reasonably easy to get your head around. It’s also quite fun, if you usually work at the strategy, planning and content end of things, to actually bring a new website to life through your own efforts.