Valentine treats… with a CubeSocial orange tweak!

2013-02-14 09.37.51Happy Valentine’s to you, and Happy Birthday to us! Are you feeling the love today? We are… and we’re not afraid to show it!

Two years ago today we moved into our office, with our first hire, and explained what we wanted to build and be. What an amazing two years it’s been since then, and it’s all thanks to you! Please consider this a virtual Valentine card from all the team, packed full of affection and appreciation Smile  

2013-02-14 10.24.07You’ve done so much to help shape what we do, and how we’ve grown, and while we can’t share the specifics just yet, it’s thanks to you that we’re about to enter an exciting new evolution. How? Our conversations, your feedback, our working together… have highlighted something that’s missing for professionals. We’re busy building something for you to demonstrate and earn money from your expertise, to grow your business. A Valentine treat in the making. All will be revealed soon!

Apologies to those who think this blog post too gushing, or who are feeling a bit bah-hambug this Valentine’s Day. Please be our Valentine, join us in celebrating our birthday, and feel the love!

2013-02-14 09.16.322013-02-14 09.07.22PS. These birthday treats arrived yesterday, the book via a tweet from @dordje, the card via @AjeetMinhasGTB. Thanks David and Ajeet – how lovely, and appropriate that they were both via social media Smile

LinkedIn’s most viewed profiles for 2012 – spam or smart?

20130208 LI top 1pc emailLast Friday I received this congratulatory email from LinkedIn. I was initially flattered to be in the top percentile, then focused in on the reason behind the mailing – LinkedIn had “reached a new milestone: 200 million members”. Having done the maths, I shared a screenshot on Twitter and Facebook with the comment “Email from LinkedIn… Should I be flattered, or frightened?” The response was immediate and wide-ranging – a wonderful mixture of sincerity, skepticism and sarcasm!

It seems that there have been emails for 1%, 5% and 10%. People have been questioning the validity of the percentages attributed, and how special being one of 2 to 20 million really is. Spam? Or smart marketing?

Many have shared their top percentage on social media using the pre-typed messages provided alongside LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of Products & User Experience’s letter (reached via “Read More” on the congratulations email)

20130208 LI top 1pc read more

and even when the congratulations haven’t been received in a sincere way, they have generated social media shares, competition and conversation

image

 

 

 

image

imageimage

 

 

Of course LinkedIn has a feature, only available to Premium accounts, which enables those paid members to see who has recently viewed their profile. Members with Basic accounts are frequently sends teasers to “Upgrade… to see the full list”.

By congratulating the most viewed, this campaign has generated reaction (be it pride, envy, or cynicism) and discussion about what it means to be in those top percentiles… highlighting the paid-for feature, and potentially increasing curiosity and conversions. I wonder if LinkedIn will reveal how successful this campaign ends up being in terms of upgrades. 20 million emails could suggest spam, but I’m going with smart.

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:

image

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

image

On a smartphone, you’ll see this:

image

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.

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

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.

image

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:

image

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.

Say Hello to the Content Library

As more people in your business start using social media to connect with prospects and clients one of the challenges you’ll face is keeping all of your team on-message and primed with a steady stream of new content to share.

Today We’re delighted to announce a major new addition to CubeSocial that’ll solve this problem: Welcome to CubeSocial’s brand new Content Library!

With the Content Library you can now share pre-approved messages, links and photos with your team so that they have content to hand for any situation. You can also easily connect your blog RSS feed to the Content Library to automatically populate it with new content as you publish.

  • Keep your team on-message with company marketing campaigns
  • Provide a steady stream of new content for your team to share with their audience
  • Amplify the impact of your marketing campaigns by easily enabling branch offices, sales staff and others to make use of your social media marketing material

clip_image002

We hope you’ll have fun trying out this new feature. As always, we’d love to know what you think of it. Let us know in the comments below.

Morgan Stanley’s Green Light for Social Media – Bankers or Bots?

On 25th June, Lauren Boyman, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB)’s Head of Social Media sent out these two tweets in quick succession:

clip_image001

clip_image002

The “green light” was for Twitter and LinkedIn for MSSB’s 17,000 financial advisors. The “successful pilot” had been a year long, with an initial group of 600 being allowed to use both sites. The “compliant way” was the catch… tweets must be selected from a library of pre-written messages. For example:

clip_image003clip_image004clip_image005clip_image006

Having spent 15 years in the City, 13 of those with Morgan Stanley, I’m fully aware of the challenges. Of course there are compliance and regulatory requirements to manage, but professionals know what they can and cannot say publically, and technology can ensure appropriate records are kept.

There’s also fear – having benefited from Corporate Communications when at Morgan Stanley, I was conscious and apprehensive about there being no front line of defence when I first joined social media. Having found the Twitter account and bio for J. Scott Irwin however, MSSB advisers can rest assured that Big Brother is watching! (Maybe that adds to the fear?!)

clip_image008

But at its heart, all business is about relationships. Relationships are built on conversations, and social media is just another way to talk – old rules, new tools.

How can you build trust, show personality and spontaneity, be social… human, when you’re restricted to talking from a script? Being social on social media requires interaction and engagement. If every tweet is pre-written and pre-approved, how can we be certain there’s actually a person tweeting?

Having a library of content, where it’s easy to find official data and messages, is a great start. Advisors should then be given the freedom to share this information in their own tone of voice. People buy from people.

Throughout my time at Morgan Stanley I felt it a privilege to work with amazingly talented people – exactly the type of individuals who can wow others with their expertise and insights, and can build trust at a time of mistrust in the financial sector.

In the article that Lauren Boyman links to above, there’s mention of a small trial of 20 that have “been given the ability to write their own tweets”. I was pleased to find one such individual, and couldn’t help but smile at her retort to the critics (the link in her tweet is to an article titled “Morgan Stanley: Nothing personal – encouraged to be boring”):

clip_image009

I was even more pleased to see that less than 24 hours after I tried to start a conversation, there was a magical reply:

clip_image010

clip_image011

“… autonomy – within regulatory guidelines” – cheery, smart, nice! And good practice for every aspect of a trusted professional’s working life, not just for their social media use.

I know that change takes time. MSSB’s green light may not be on full beam, but what they’ve done is bold relative to other Wall Street firms. I would love to keep in touch with a firm I spent 13 years with through Twitter – if I can be sure that I’m following bankers, not bots!