A Round Up of the PR Stories You May Have Missed

Although short but sweet (due to the Easter break) there have been some interesting stories this week – I’m sure you’ve been reading about the continued panic over the Heartbleed security breach and Amazon’s 3D phone announcement. However, I’ve highlighted a few PR related stories you may have missed, including the announcement of the finalists of the EMEA SABRE Awards, Google’s struggle with mobile, another high profile social media fail and, controversial to some, Facebook triumphing over Twitter in marketing friendliness.

We had very exciting news in the onechocolate camp this week as the finalists for the prestigious EMEA SABRE Awards were announced and we were delighted to find out that we’ve been shortlisted in the telecommunications category! Our entry, entitled: Amdocs – Unsung Hero Behind Making Telecoms Fit for the Millennial Digital Generation” outlined our work with the company to demonstrate how ‘behind the scenes’ customer experience management systems enable telecom operators to meet the demands of the Millennial generation and address the big data deluge. Congratulations to all the other nominees, and we look forward to the awards ceremony on May 20th!

SABRE

In other, non-onechocolate, news it was announced today that Google’s shares dropped by 5% despite a 19% quarterly profit increase year-on-year to $15.4bn. The reason attributed to this drop is Google’s struggle to keep up with those such as Facebook in adapting to mobile marketing. We’ve previously written about the shift to mobile and the importance of adapting PR strategy to incorporate mobile and it’s clearly important, even for giants like Google, to be adapting to the new generation of ‘always connected’ consumers.

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Another week, another social media fail. This time it was US Airways who were forced to apologise for an obscene photo which was tweeted from their account, in response to a woman making a complaint. They claimed they had tried to flag the image as indecent but instead managed to attach it to another tweet. US Airways have issued an apology and are investigating the incident.

US AIRWAYS

However the damage was already done for US Airways as the picture, which was left up for over an hour, went viral, being re-tweeted thousands of times. It’s now essential that US Airways handle the controversy in the right manner to turn it around; like O2 did when their network went down last year. They responded to complaints in a manner in-line with their target market and cleverly managed to turn negative feelings towards the brand positive.

Another social media story which caught my eye this week was that, according to research by DMA, Facebook has beaten Twitter as the most ‘marketing friendly’ social media site. The research was compiled by asking 171 UK-based marketers to rate social media platforms in the areas of campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis. Facebook came top in all three categories while LinkedIn came second, Twitter third, and YouTube and Google+ were fourth and fifth. However, within the categories, Twitter emerged as the marketer’s preferred platform for its effectiveness in building brand awareness and LinkedIn as the best platform for its user targeting tools. Interestingly, image and video based platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Vimeo and Snapchat were only being used by a handful of the marketers and therefore, were not included in the results. However, this is something which is projected to change as marketers increasingly incorporate visual’s into their social media strategy.

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#happybirthdayTwitter

This time eight years ago, five words started off a social media frenzy. Who knew that eight years later, the site, which started with the words ‘Just setting up my twttr’ would have over 15m active registered users and 300bn posts in the UK alone. And its eighth one has been quite the hectic year, with celebrity selfies, a royal baby , an IPO and a lot of trolls.  Not only that, but ‘tweet’ actually made it into the Oxford English Dictionary!

To celebrate its birthday, Twitter is letting its users journey back to their very #firsttweet, which in onechocolate’s case was back in August 2008: “I am right in the middle of something”. Over 3,500 tweets later, it’s safe to say that we, over here at onechocolate communications, are big fans of Twitter. As a digital PR agency, we incorporate social media into everything we do, helping our clients to build their brands on the social media platforms that work for them. And Twitter is definitely among the top players for both B2B and consumer brands.

As Twitter has grown over the last eight years (although its limit of 140 characters has stayed the same), so has B2B companies’ confidence in using it. In fact, according to Forrester’s B2B Social Technographics numbers, 100% of business decision makers are now using social media for work purposes. Twitter is no longer just a platform for celebrities to share what they had for breakfast, it’s a great communications tool for both professionals and brands. It’s also a place for B2B companies to develop their online presence, speak to a wider audience than ever seemed possible, and interact with influential members of their target community.

So as Twitter hits eight – you grew up so fast! – businesses need to be thinking hard about the best strategy for them to effectively position themselves as industry experts, whilst at the same time using the social media site to reach specific business-related goals. It’s no longer a question of should my company be on Twitter but rather if we’re not on it, why not?

Twitter's 8th Birthday

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Social PR: Twitter’s mobile developments for search (hooray!)

In social media it’s so hard to track influencer conversations these days – especially on a platform like Twitter where there’s so much noise. On top of that, everyone knows how frustrating it is to keep up to date with social media channels while you’re out of the office – whether it’s a lack of signal, slow download times or just fiddly apps that don’t work when you poke the screen.

The good thing about tech is – you can develop it to make it better. That’s exactly what Twitter is talking about this week.

Being one of the premium social platforms, we regularly monitor Twitter for social PR but it’s well known that Twitter’s limited search functionality has been a regular point of frustration for most. Finding a specific tweet or series of tweets is not always an easy feat. This is particularly annoying when trying to track conversations or find key influencers for a PR campaign.

To address the outcry Twitter did try (bless them) to add a feature that linked up conversations – the infamous ‘blue line’ back in the hazy summer – but really … it’s just a line on the screen that connects tweets that are part of the same conversation. And it was a letdown.

It’s great to hear Twitter is now updating the Android and iOS apps so we can follow what’s trending more easily when we’re commuting into the office or when we’re out at events for our clients.

The update will include a new ‘trending timeline’ that actually links trends with associated tweets more clearly with other useful things, like being able to see trending events close to your location. Basically, the feature should resurface tweets on your feed as others you follow respond to them. That way, if a person responds to a tweet hours later, you can see the original tweet alongside the response for the context we all need above the noise.

I really hope this isn’t an empty promise because it would definitely help us sift through the blurb so much quicker to find the relevant trending conversations, to track our own and to find the most appropriate evangelists and influencers for our clients to engage with on Twitter.   Tweeter

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Is Facebook on the way out? Can we still count on it for social media PR?

Facebook

Facebook users are quitting the social media site in their droves, blaming privacy issues and the fear of becoming addicted. The university research revealed this week also cited social pressure to add friends as a driving force towards this movement, termed ‘virtual identity suicide’.

Mark Zuckerberg’s brain child has tried all sorts to keep up with the social media-obsessed world it helped to create, such as revamping its mobile app for iOS7 and introducing hashtags.

But there still seems to be a level of disharmony between the networking site and its previously loyal followers. Friends of mine have threatened to quit on several occasions, claiming Facebook is ‘boring’ and ‘behind the times’, and some have even made the jump.

So what does this mean for our use of Facebook for social media PR purposes?

It’s always been difficult to measure Facebook’s usefulness for brands. Most users have private profiles, making it tricky to spot exactly where your brand is being talked about. However, with Twitter, a brand can both communicate with its audience and gauge both global and local perception at a glance.

Could it be that perhaps Facebook isn’t as essential from a PR perspective as we initially thought?

Then again, Facebook still provides a more personal touch, allowing more space for brands to write in further depth, outside of the constraints of 140 characters. It subsequently allows users more space to respond and connect with the brand, which is arguably a primary goal of successful social media PR.

Maybe Facebook’s charm lies in substance rather than volume and visibility. Brands are able to build more of a community and create more of a human face, causing users to feel more involved in their world.

In terms of social media PR strategy for brands, something tells me that despite its loss of users, and the growing prominence of Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, Facebook will remain useful and relevant for a while to come.

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Working out the Twitter Mafia

There has been a big realisation: Twitter as a micro blog site, is a great communication and Marketing tool where professionals and brands have discovered its power to connect with the world to network and to engage with potential employers and clients. The aim is to get followers and to follow people who you share common interests, you would like to network or do business with, or you simply like what they have to say.

Although at first sight, Twitter might have appeared to be a very clever way to waste copious amounts of your time: You could buy into the idea of fame and what it would feel like to rub shoulders with your idols and favourite celebrities in general by getting to know their innermost secrets and thoughts by becoming their follower ‘friend’.  Also,  you may have wrongly believed everyone cared about everything you had to say and your followers were your ‘fans’ – all because you became, all of a sudden an important person or a new all time celebrity.

The truth is that the Twitter revolution is growing rapidly, more and more brands are beginning to realise the benefits the micro-blog site can offer, however they are quick to realise that maintaining a presence online is not as simple as it looks.  It is therefore important businesses have a strategy and plan in place to ensure regular tweets; updates are in order for you to successfully engage with the world.

Some businesses believe succeeding in Twitter it’s just a matter of the number of followers they have.  Therefore companies providing online applications that are trying to capitalise on the Twitter swift rise.  Some of them claim to gain you Twitter followers for you to appear more popular in exchange for money.  My advice would be – Don’t Buy Twitter Followers

Buying followers, means you would go against Twitter’s rules and may have your account terminated.  It’s also considered the worst way to promote yourself, as any followers sold to you are unlikely to be real or even interested in what you have to say. Some operators also use very unethical means to add them to your account (such as creating thousands of fake accounts with the only purpose to follow accounts in exchange of money). The key skill is to engage with followers and listen to what they have to say too.

There are other so far accepted, promotional methods to grow your Twitter presence, monitor your account, schedule and publish tweets.  Some could be considered of dubious value.

Have you ever come across Twiends for instance?  A promotional method to grow your Twitter presence, they propose seeds as the ideal way to grow your social network consistently each day. Those seeds can be employed to get more exposure and either be featured or encourage and reward accounts for following you.  They then can use those seeds to pay for other accounts to follow them. The result here could be they may only follow you to collect seeds and not because they have anything in common with you and they are likely to un-follow you afterwards.

What happens when you are following too many people?  Either by extreme enthusiasm or by using applications where you get rewarded the more people you follow.  Then you can use I Unfollow to get rid of those accounts you didn’t want to follow to start with any way or the ones that have become inactive for years.

By this time, you might have become suspicious of how many of your followers were either expecting you to follow them back and you haven’t, or had only followed you to get their reward seeds. What to do now? – Despair not. Another tool can be used, such as Who Unfollowed Me to find out who has un-followed you. Also, it can be used to find out who is following you but you are not following back and those you are following but they are not following you back.

href=”http://timely.is/”>Timely, an analytics and optimisation tool that adds your tweets to a scheduler and publishes them when they are likely to have higher impact.  When you run out of ideas they offer suggestions for tweets although they seem to always be the same ones. It can also be used to calculate the reach of your tweets.

Have you ever thought it may be interesting to see how many dead accounts you are following? Manage Flitter can do just that.  It is a popular monitoring tool to manage twitter followers and non followers. It shows if they follow you or not, if they are talkative or quiet, or even if they are inactive.

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