PR Agencies: How not to use Social Media

 

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If you’re a PR agency encouraging your staff to find and win new clients through social media, here’s a cautionary tale about how not to do it.

Earlier today I received a tweet “wondering what the best email to drop you a line on?”. It was from someone that I had never tweeted with before, so I was curious.

The Twitter bio told me the individual worked for “one of the UK’s fastest growing and most influential PR agencies”. The associated Twitter timeline showed character, but not the kind I was expecting:

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Rather than jump to any conclusions, I thought to double-check – perhaps the account was for personal use and I wasn’t the intended recipient of the email request:

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Everyone in the office turned round to find out what was going on when I laughed out loud on receiving the response:

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So, a representative of an “influential” PR agency, who has no idea how to represent herself or her employer online, would like to represent me…

Thanks, but no thanks!

Is Your Website Optimised for Smartphones and Tablets?

According to the latest industry data 13% of UK web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. More remarkable is the growth rate – that figure is up 70% from 12 months ago.

If you plan to do business internationally, some of the statistics from the emerging economies are astonishing. In India for instance, 53% of web traffic comes from mobile!

For us at CubeSocial, our data shows that around 25-30% of visitors regularly access cubesocial.com from mobile devices.

Something we’ve been planning to do for a while is update our website to detect the type of device you’re using and deliver an optimised experience, whatever the screen size. (The technical term for this is responsive design).

The good news is that our new, improved, responsive design is now live!

Take our main products page for instance, if you’re on a widescreen desktop or laptop, you get something like this:

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Browsing from an iPad in portrait mode, you’ll see this:

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On a smartphone, you’ll see this:

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Pretty neat, huh? Whatever device you use, you get a layout that works for you. No need to zoom in on tiny text, or try (and endlessly fail!?) to click on miniscule links.

But what’s really appealing to us about responsive design are the social media and SEO benefits…

The old way of doing mobile web sites was to have a separate site, with a dedicated mobile layout. The problem with this is that there are different URLs for the same content on different devices.  This means two things:

  • SEO becomes twice as hard because you need to optimise for two different URLs.
  • If you are sharing links in social media that don’t work well in mobile devices, then you have a problem. (Because most people’s social media use takes place on mobile devices).

Have you had a look recently what your website looks like on a smartphone? If you’d like some advice or help optimising your website for mobile devices, get in touch.

Grant Thornton Lead Accountancy Firms into Social Media Future

Not sure how we missed this from earlier this year… Accountancy firm Grant Thornton’s internal video encouraging, no instructing employees to get on social media and connect with prospects and clients.

Great quotes from the video:

“Smart use of social media… will help us win business, achieve the growth we’re after and get the best people to joins us. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“At Grant Thornton using social media at work is not only permitted and acceptable, but desirable and expected.”

Here’s the video. It’s just a couple of minutes long and well worth watching:

Well done to Grant Thornton for taking a lead on this!

If you are thinking of using social media to market your services or connect with clients and prospects then give us a shout. We have years of experience working with accountants and provide a range of social media services for accounting firms large and small.

Digital Disruption in Financial Services

Interesting new report from Deloitte called “Digital Disruption – Short Fuse, Big Bang”. The report looks at how digital technologies will disrupt industries over the coming years.  This chart caught my eye.

Six industries were singled out as the ones to expect a short fuse, big bang:

  • IT and Media
  • Finance
  • Retail
  • Professional Services
  • Arts and Recreation
  • Real Estate

Deloitte write:  Digital innovations are transforming the economic landscape far more profoundly than any other big shifts, such as deregulation, oil shocks or mining booms and the way companies operate and engage with their customers is already significantly different to how it was only a few years ago.

My copy is downloading at the moment. You can get yours here.

Safely Sharing Access to Your Twitter Account

With all the excitement about our recent redesign, we haven’t had the chance to explain some of the other new features we added to CubeSocial in the latest update. Time to fix that…

Let’s say you’re a marketing manager and you want to enable other people in your team to tweet from your company Twitter account. Or perhaps you have a personal Twitter account and you’d like your assistant to be able to Tweet from your account from time to time.

Until now the only option was to share your Twitter password around your team and trust them with full access to your account.

Delegate Access to Your Twitter Account

Now when you go to your CubeSocial Networks and Services page, you can click on the Actions button to delegate access to one of your colleagues.

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Choose who you want to delegate access to and assign an access level. That’s right, not only do you no longer need to share passwords, you also can restrict access and, for instance, keep your private messages truly private.

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Add as Many Twitter Accounts as You Want

The other change you’ll see on your Networks and Services page, is the Add New button on the top-right. If you have multiple Twitter accounts for your company, just keep on adding as many as you like.

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We hope you find these new features useful. Let us know your thoughts below. Happy Tweeting!

Do you still pay for Print Ads or Directory Listings?

The incredible shrinking Yellow Pages

Do you still pay for listings in the Yellow Pages, the Phone Book, Thomson Local or industry-specific directories? Do you still advertise in the local press? Do you get any return from them?

As the Internet and social media recommendations (from Amazon reviews to asking your friends on Facebook) have grown, people are increasingly turning away from directories and printed ads as a way to discover products and services.

You might say that the directories still serve an older generation that aren’t on the Internet. My experience though is that even this audience are shunning directories… Having heard their family talk about social media they understand that there is better value to be had on the Internet even if they can’t use it themselves. So what do they do?

They ask their children or grandchildren to do the research for them and come back with a recommendation.

So as you think about how to best allocate your marketing spend over the next year take a critical look at your directory and print advertising spend and think about how you can more effectively re-allocate that online. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this.

5 Examples of Investment Banks’ use of Social Media

2012 has turned out to be a breakthrough year in financial services as investment banks finally start to work through the regulatory hurdles and wake up to the opportunity that social media offers.

Here are 5 examples of how investment banks are using social media.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank has official news services on Twitter and Facebook, plus active accounts on YouTube and Flickr, but in the main posts are sterile PR pronouncements and news releases. What’s much more interesting is the Twitter account of Ted Tobiason. According to Bloomberg Ted is the only investment banker authorized by the German firm to have a business-related Twitter account. Ted describes himself as Managing Director in Technology Equity Capital Markets and tweets analysis and opinion around tech IPOs. Especially interesting is that there are no disclaimers to been.

Deutsche Bank Twitter

JP Morgan

JP Morgan are using Facebook to promote their annual Corporate Challenge event. A great example of how social media can be used for corporate social responsibility initiatives.

JP Morgan Facebook

Citigroup

Citigroup’s Facebook page stands out amongst competitors. They have chosen to focus on their history with a great cover image showing key moments and a Facebook app letting the user navigate the timeline and learn about the bank.

Citibank Citigroup Facebook

Citibank Citigroup Facebook App

Barclays

Barclays are using Facebook as graduate recruitment tool. What’s particularly nice about their page is that it is run by recent graduates. The page encourages undergrads to Like the page to chat to existing graduates working for Barclays about their experiences there.

Barclays Facebook Graduate Page

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney famously unleashed 17,000 financial advisors onto Twitter earlier this year to mixed response. Why the mixed response? The advisors must select their tweets from a library of canned messages. No interaction allowed!

Morgan Stanley Twitter Financial Advisors

Are you on social media yet?

Have you made the move to social media yet? Sure there’s a bunch of stuff to work out around legal and compliance, but it needn’t be as complex as you think.  If you want a few pointers in the right direction, have a chat with us.

Do you have any other good examples of Investment Banks using social media?

How #youdrive ratings and advertising

imageShortly after spotting David Cameron’s first tweet on Saturday, I was intrigued to see #YOUDRIVE trending as a promoted hashtag. A few clicks later, I was being encouraged to “take part in a social media first”.

The Mercedes campaign featured three adverts to introduce the new A-Class to young professionals. The premise was a cat and mouse chase – UK rapper Kano was trying to get to a secret gig that the authorities were keen to close down, and viewers could vote via Twitter to steer the action real-time.

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Viewers were given two opportunities to select outcomes during two ad breaks in Saturday’s The X Factor. The finale was shown during the Sunday night show – it recapped the first two episodes before the final reveal.

imageIn contrast to the live online reaction to David Cameron joining Twitter, the initial response to #youdrive seemed incredibly positive, especially with Mercedes’ target audience.

What particularly caught my eye were the tweets preferring the adverts over the programme that they were being aired in: “Only want to watch #youdrive advert tonight. Xfactor’s boring #switch”… “Hurry up, I just wanna see the adverts #youdrive”…

A year or two back, I rarely watched any entertainment programmes live. I would record and fast forward through the adverts. Now, some programmes just aren’t the same if I miss the live hashtag insights and conversations.

As with email, then mobile phones, Twitter is increasingly just one more way for us to talk. The popularity of hashtags such as #bbcqt (BBC Question Time), #scd (Strictly Come Dancing) and #xfactor make it clear that social media has already changed our viewing habits. How much will social media and campaigns such as #youdrive change how advertising evolves?

Too many tweets might make a… David Cameron joins Twitter

imageNine months after @David_Cameron joined, and was verified by, Twitter, the first tweet from the account was sent this weekend (a few minutes before 6pm, on Saturday 6th October).

The first tweet made reference to a radio interview in 2009 in which Cameron was asked for his views on Twitter. Cameron used bad language in his response and had to subsequently apologise for his choice of words. I was curious about the timing, as I had been surprised to learn just a few days before that Maria Miller, who wasn’t on any social media when we’d met at the Basingstoke Business Leaders’ Forum, had also started tweeting.

Curiosity about timing aside, my first thoughts were mostly positive – it was about time (many other world leaders are on Twitter and Cameron is the 370th UK MP on the platform), it could provide some interesting insights and exchanges, and the opening tweet suggested that the account would have some personality.

Two days, and four further tweets, later, I’m a lot less positive. Here are the tweets:

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The tweets have been written in the first person, but with very little sense of them being personal. It’s social media. Yes, the account needs to be professional. But being professional is not mutually exclusive with being personable and having a personality.

Three of the tweets included links to carefully staged/managed photos, which jarred in their formality. They provided a poor contrast to How Jonathan Ross helped me see the business value of Twitter through his informal photos, and emphasised the extent of the gap with regards to engagement and advocacy.

Perhaps Cameron and @conservatives team should ask @Wossy for lessons?!

Changes Coming to CubeSocial this Week

CubeSocial has grown organically since we launched, and of late we’d begun to notice that some of the features weren’t as easy to discover as they once were. With that in mind we set about redesigning CubeSocial’s homepage to make it more useful as the hub of all your social media activity.

We’ve added a new navigation panel on the left-hand side of the home page. In it you’ll find all the things that were previously tabs at the top of the homepage, everything that’s currently in the Engage section of the site, plus a couple of new things too:

CubeSocial Homepage layout

Our testing shows that this new layout will simplify many of the CubeSocial usage scenarios. The changes will be rolling out later in the week and we’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below or email us at support [at] cubesocial.com.