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?!

Did LinkedIn Just Get More Important than Twitter?

Two things happened yesterday.

First I came across this data from PageLever showing how referral traffic has changed since Twitter stopped allowing Tweets to be syndicated directly to the LinkedIn newsfeed.

Next, a colleague pointed out that our blog post on Thursday had more shares on LinkedIn than it had on Twitter.

Now trust me, that’s unheard of.

Normally we see Twitter getting 3-4x the number of shares that LinkedIn delivers.

So what’s happening here?

One theory is that competition for space in the LinkedIn newsfeed is significantly reduced because it’s not inundated with tweets. So posts linking to your website now get more visibility and more clicks.

Whatever the cause, it’s clear that LinkedIn just got much more important that it used to be and you should definitely make sure to post updates to LinkedIn regularly.

How to Add a Twitter Header Image

This week Twitter rolled out an update to its web and mobile apps to add Facebook-like profile header images. The header image is a custom background that appears at the top of your profile page, like this one we’ve added for CubeSocial:

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Once you’ve added a profile image it’s visible on your Twitter page via web, iPad, iPhone and Android apps.  For businesses this is a great way to increase the branding of their page.

To add a profile image of your own click the cog icon on the top right of your Twitter page then click Edit Profile.

Next click Design on the left-hand menu.  In the section labelled Customize your own you’ll see the default header image is a dark grey box. Upload your image (ideally the image should be 1200 x 600 pixels in size).  You’ll see the image in the box change immediately, but beware your header image won’t actually be saved until you click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

That’s it! Enjoy.

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:

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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:

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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?!)

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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”):

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

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“… 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!

6 Examples of Twitter Profile Disclaimers

As a B2B company starting out on Twitter, one of the things that’ll likely come up in planning meetings is the legal disclaimer that typically accompanies any written output. It’s an understandable question, so as financial, legal and other professional services are now stepping out on Twitter, it’s worth having a look at what the early adopters are doing.

(You may question whether a disclaimer is necessary at all, but we’ll leave that debate aside for the moment).

Disclaimer on the Page Background

Morgan Stanley’s corporate account has a disclaimer on the background of their Twitter page. This has the upside of being able to display more than the 160 character limit of a Twitter bio, but the downside that it’s not visible to anyone accessing Twitter through a mobile client or app like Tweetdeck or CubeSocial.

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Pfizer have a similar approach but don’t provide a disclaimer as such, instead using the Twitter background to provide important links – including how to report adverse events.

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Disclaimer in the Bio Link

In June Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial advisors got the go ahead to use Twitter. All 17,000 accounts have the same link in their bio pointing to MMSB’s legal disclaimer.

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Barclays Online takes a similar approach.

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With this approach the disclaimer will be available from all Twitter clients. The downside is that you are losing a potential marketing opportunity – that link could instead be used to direct people to a Twitter-specific landing page.

Disclaimer in the Bio

For those wanting to make it clear that they are tweeting in a personal capacity, the classic “all opinions are my own” is often included in the Twitter bio.

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No Disclaimer at All

Interestingly, the most common approach among the accounts we reviewed (even among B2B, legal and financial services companies) was to have no disclaimer at all. You’d think law firms would insist on disclaimers, right? But we checked the official Twitter accounts of the top 10 UK law firms and not one had a disclaimer on show. It seems that in the world of social media for lawyers, the accepted wisdom is that disclaimers don’t matter.

Perhaps the best advice we can give is, if you wouldn’t say it to your grandma, don’t say it on Twitter.

Do you have a Twitter disclaimer? Have you seen any examples of good disclaimers?

How to claim your LinkedIn public profile as your own

imageIf Twitter’s the virtual cocktail party and Facebook’s the virtual house party, LinkedIn’s your virtual shop front. If your ideal client were looking to hire someone with your skills, would your profile encourage them to walk through the door?

Make the most of your LinkedIn profile by providing links to your website, blog and Twitter. If your firm doesn’t have a corporate profile, create one and encourage all staff to link to it.

For the highest possible Google ranking, claim your public profile as your own by customising the URL to http://linkedin.com/in/yourfullname – it takes seconds, so no excuses!

From the Profile header, click Edit Profile:

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Then click Edit next to your Public Profile (last field below):

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Finally click Customize your public profile URL and change your URL to something unique (mine’s LindaCheungUK to match with Twitter):

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Seconds well spent Smile

Social Media for Estate Agents

imageIf you’re an estate agent planning to use social media, you may be thinking about using it to push an automated feed of property for sale.

STOP!

Don’t do it until you’ve read this…

We’ve been chatting recently to a great digital marketing company. One of the clients they are working with at the moment is an estate agent.

That got me thinking… If I were an estate agent how would I use social media to promote my business. I’d…

  • Write a blog about my local area
  • Write about the local schools
  • Get a cheap video camera and record short interviews with sellers talking about the best thing about living in their area
  • Provide easy ways (on my website) for sellers to share their property details on Facebook and Twitter
  • Post loads of photos of the area
  • Provide practical advice home movers
  • Write about local walks, with photos/video
  • Talk about the little known ‘gems’ of the area… The stuff you won’t find on RightMove or in guidebooks… The amazing local organic bakery, the great landlord at the Red Lion…
  • Write local pub reviews
  • Talk about local history
  • Support community events and promote them on my blog

I wouldn’t…

  • Talk about interest rates or the economy
  • Endlessly retweet links to property listings
  • Write self-interested, salesy content

What do you think?

To Google+, or Not To Google+

With Google opening up its Plus social networking service to brands last week, the question we have been considering is whether it’s worth our time actively using the new brand pages.

Let me say before going any further though, you should definitely reserve a page in Google+ for your brand. It only takes a couple of minutes to register your page and you’ll ensure you won’t get hijacked by brand squatters.

Now, onto the question at hand… is it worth time and investment to create and maintain a fully functioning presence?

We can get an insight into the relative popularity of each service by looking at data from the Share buttons that proliferate across the web these days. We can use this as an indicator of the relative importance of each service.

For our study we looked took a sample of news and tech news websites: BBC, CNN, Guardian, New York Times, The Telegraph, Mashable and EConsultancy. Of those, only the The Telegraph, Mashable and EConsultancy have added Google+ sharing to their site.

Next we took the top 5 stories from each site at the time we did the survey and looked at the number of shares on each service:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Telegraph

       

968

577

54

16

60%

36%

3%

1%

Mashable

       

610

5211

1684

108

8%

68%

22%

1%

EConsultancy

       

43

311

39

22

10%

75%

9%

5%

So there you have it, according to our admittedly rather unscientific survey, Google+ represents less than 5% of sharing activity on sites that have a Google+ button, and a much smaller percentage of overall sharing activity given that most mainstream sites do not have a Google+ button.

On that basis we have decided not to spend time maintaining a Google+ page (yet).

Have you created a Google+ page? What results are you getting from it?

Why do people connect with brands on social media?

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Do people have different reasons to connect to brands on Facebook vs. Twitter? There were some startling differences highlighted in last week’s report from ExactTarget

For Facebook, the primary reasons are all about getting discounts and free stuff. For Twitter it’s all about information and keeping up to date.

This verifies what we have long suspected. If you’re a retailer, into discounts and daily deals, or you’re a B2C business, Facebook is the place to be. On the other hand, if want to position your brand as an authority in its industry, you’re a B2B business, or you sell bespoke services, Twitter is your more natural home.