The Dubs ECD, Tristan Fawley, was recently interviewed about the importance of creating a professional social profile, find out what he had to say:
Category Archives: Opinion
Social Media can be really annoying. When used inappropriately and naively, it is intrusive, irrelevant and impersonal – lacking in intelligence and charm.
Social Media can however be positively impactful.
It’s not obligatory. However, understanding that Social Media is no longer an add-on – is crucial.
A recent McKinsey report summarises the importance and purpose of Social Media with aplomb:
“Social Media enables targeted marketing responses at individual touch points along the consumer decision journey”.
Right now, brands and marketers should be at the very least, considering Social Media as an important [if not a driving and defining force] when it comes to their wider marketing mix and never in isolation or as an afterthought.
Brands and audiences are hooking up all over the place on a daily basis – be that via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+ et al so it’s important to at least be considering the following questions:
- What are people saying about your brand?
- What are your competitors doing well/badly?
- Where is your audience, what are they doing? Are you there too?
- If you were to jump into social ‘places’ what kind of activity could benefit the brand and audience?
- What would be an absolute disaster for your brand in social media?
- If you have a campaign idea that has related social media activity, are you also thinking about a year round engagement strategy?
- What would you like social media to deliver for you – i.e. what would success look like?
- Do you have any internal resource that could be re-directed to manage baseline social media activity?
- Could social media ever be the starting point for your ATL campaign activity?
You now have the beginnings of a strategic brief…
Stop thinking of Social Media as ‘Social Media’ and instead think about it as: content distribution, brand familiarisation and two way conversations and then ask yourself – what would you like to START doing, what would you like to STOP doing and what would you like to CONTINUE doing across Social Media platforms?
Integrating a new communications channel such as social media into any division of the business requires planning and strategic thought to create a framework around which business objectives can move forward in a considered and measured manner.
HR recruitment is an area in which social media channels can offer many benefits.
Being active in social media channels sends a strong message to potential recruits that the business is forward thinking. It helps make the brand the employer of choice amongst potential recruits, especially Gen Y who will comprise 50% of the workforce in 8 years’ time.
Social recruitment enables conversations and builds relationships with potential recruits prior to employment, allowing brands to screen for higher-quality candidates and find hard to reach candidates which may not be possible through traditional sources such as job boards.
Social recruitment can also significantly reduce candidate sourcing costs, improving ROI for the HR department.
So how does HR take advantage of the opportunities that social media offers and what are the considerations around an HR social recruitment program?
Many businesses skip the important discovery and research phase of implementing a social recruitment program, going straight into the execution of a loose plan that operates without a pre-determined set of parameters. This inevitably leads to less than optimal results at best and outright disasters at worst.
The parameters that should be used to drive a successful social recruitment program come out of a well-planned discovery and research phase.
Points to be considered during a discovery phase would include;
- Legal considerations
- Brand communications and engagement touch points
- Risk management
For example, legal considerations might include examining potential claims of discrimination based on age, economic background or personal information such as sexual preference that could be seen on a Facebook profile because a recruitment program relying solely on social networks may not be seen as being available to the total labour pool.
One of the outcomes of the ‘discovery phase’ is a defined set of HR protocols and legal considerations.
Brand communications is another important consideration in social recruitment. A good example is Unilever which has created an effective social recruitment channel on Facebook called ‘By Grads, For Grads’ www.facebook.com/unilevergraduatesuk. Videos from people in the graduate scheme describing their personal experiences bring a human face to the brand’s recruitment strategy.
The ‘discovery phase’ leads to the development of a social communications strategy, content strategy, channel strategy and engagement strategy.
Any brand operating in a social environment will also need to address guidelines and processes to help manage risk. Social networks allow two-way communication and viral sharing of content; poorly delivered, ad-hoc communications run the risk of unintentional damage to brand reputation.
Scenario planning in the ‘discovery phase’ identifies how to manage a communications crisis in the social channels and the actions and resources required to ensure the crisis does not escalate.
Establishing these considerations as a first step and doing the due diligence in a ‘discovery phase’ before embarking on a social recruitment program will ensure a brand’s HR recruitment efforts are maximised and also produce measurable results.
Would you open your door to a complete stranger? Would you share your day-to-day life with them, beyond Facebook status updates and tweets, to learn more about culture, language and social interaction?
We are constantly engaging with friends and fans on social media sites, but how many of us actually make a difference to someone’s life? How many of our friends do we socialise with offline? How do our offline relationships stack up against our online ones?
Has virtual engagement replaced real-life community?
Social scientists claim that, ever since Neolithic times, human brains have been hard-wired to cope with a maximum of approximately 150 friendships at any one time. It’s probably evolved from the ages when we lived in small tribal units, yet this number is still reflected in today’s real-world lives.
But what about virtual relationships – are two online relationships equal to one real-world one?
Research shows 150 is also the optimal amount of ‘inner-circle’ virtual friends. So, whether we are interacting in person or online, the number is the same.
) is a social networking site that builds a bridge between real-and virtual-world connections. The premise is simple: you get in touch with people living in a city to which you’re travelling and arrange to meet up for a coffee, an event, or even to sleep on their couches and share their lives. In the process, you expand your social network, build real-time relationships and make new friends.
The brainchild of San Francisco boy Casey Fenton in 1999, this international travel-oriented network now spans 240 countries and 330 languages, connecting like-minded people around the world. CouchSurfing allows us to respond to diversity with curiosity, appreciation and respect; it’s created a global community.
The difference between CouchSurfing and most other social networks is in its sense of offline engagement and personal fulfilment, and as such has documented over 5, 766, 182 experiences to date.
Does this suggest a move towards online social communities forming real-life friendships?
Indisputably, virtual engagement has changed the way we communicate on a day to day basis. However, rather than stifling face-to-face interaction it might cultivate tangible relationships in our offline global network.
But not more than 150, of course.
Historically, agency-land has always had The Big Divide: the Client Service team and the Creatives. The two camps are separate breeds and never the twain shall meet.
But times are changing.
Much like the meshing of geek technology with human interaction, work in the studio is starting to see crossover between the camps. The advent of widespread social media means we are witnessing the dawning of hybrid roles.
Companies are realising the importance of social channels both financially and culturally, and social media campaigns are now a key component of The Dubs’ business proposition. As a result, our camps are joining forces.
The Client Service team is getting its hands dirty creating concepts, tweaking copy and directing shoots; the roles have evolved from full time organisers to part-time administrators, part-time doers. Similarly, Creatives need to be cognisant of what used to be solely the concern of Client Services: metrics, development constraints, legal requirements and channel functionality. It doesn’t matter if you’re left- or right-brain dominant, your expertise will add value and help create a more comprehensive, solid campaign.
Frequently, we hear the phrase ‘Content Is King’ in relation to social media. Humans thrive on interaction; we are social beings and this must be reflected in the way we engage online, as well as in person. Maintaining a coherent, convivial tone of voice is crucial to brand success in these channels. I would suggest that digital agencies need to recognise that ‘Convergence Is King’ as well. Building a bridge across The Big Divide is crucial to the agency offering; multi-disciplining benefits both the company skillset and the quality of work. The talent is already there, so why not work with it?
We love this video, created by the John St agency in Canada:
Whilst we produce and manage social media strategies, campaigns and content here at The Dubs, we also recognise that it’s crucial to have a sense of humour when it comes to social media and the associated rhetoric surrounding it.
As parodies go, ‘Pink Ponies’ is up there with Nathan Barley.
The rise of social networks has allowed retailers to translate consumer insights into a relevant and engaging customer experience, writes Josh Frith.
Gone are the days when customers would walk into a shop, be greeted by an assistant before browsing the shelves to find the ever elusive perfect pair of jeans. Nowadays, the trend has moved towards customers being able to find what they want with a few clicks of a mouse. More and more people are using online platforms to find what they want at the best quality and price.
So as the ABS reports another drop in retail spending and a recent Commonwealth Bank report shows that of the $9.5 billion spent on online shopping in 2010, only $5.3 billion was spent in Australia, how can retailers make their products stand out from the rest? This is an ever increasing challenge as brands no longer just have to contend with the store next door but are now competing on a global platform.
Companies need to harness social networking sites such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to maximise sales opportunities. The sites are the perfect place to gain instant feedback from customers, advertise and create opportunities for customer engagement. There is a growing trend for consumers to interact with retailers through social networking sites, with most of them using them to find out about promotions and to browse products.
Giving potential customers something, or someone, to relate to can draw them in and hopefully turn interest into purchase. So how can your retail business best take advantage of this growing trend?
Start a story that your customers can engage with
Tailor the story to the people you are trying to attract to your site/page. We recently created “The Buddies,” a branded content series for weight loss company Tony Ferguson about two people who completed the program and shared their experiences on the brand’s Facebook page. New content was uploaded onto the Facebook page each day, along with a weekly video showcasing their trials and triumphs each week. The campaign was a success, with more than 3500 active viewers and an average 5000 views per post.
Use a measurable platform to monitor the campaign
Being able to monitor how many hits your site receives or how many people are viewing certain content is a must. You need to know if your content is producing the results you need to influence sales. Take a look at Google news alerts, use Twitter Search, tweetmeme, trendpedia, howsociable or buzz numbers to track online and offline conversations and listen and respond to both positive and negative conversations.
Spend time making sure you understand your customer and what they want
Read and take on board the consumer’s feedback and remember the people visiting your site are the ones you are trying to engage with your product. Research showed that many ING Direct customers were using iPhones to do their online banking, The Dubs helped create an ING Direct iPhone Application which includes access to accounts, a borrowing power calculator, up-to-date information on interest rates and the ability to transfer money using BPay.
Keep on top of the latest technology and trends (or find someone who is)
It takes a professional to stay on top of the newest information and use it in a positive way to advance your business. If you choose to start on this path there is no point making a half-hearted effort and wasting the original effort made. Consumers will turn away in droves if you don’t keep on top of the latest trends and information. Make sure all of your sites are regularly updated and interact with followers as much as possible.
Continuously update the content as consumers have a short attention span
If you don’t have new content on your social networking site then there is no incentive for consumers to continuously check it. But, in saying that, putting up content for the sake of something new is not the right way either. Make sure it is something your audience is interested in.
Also make sure not to overload them with too much at once. There is nothing more annoying than someone constantly updating a Facebook or Twitter account – especially if it’s about something your audience doesn’t care about.
By Josh Frith, Managing Director, The Dubs
In the last year social networking has been dominated by the behemoth social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. And as people / consumers we’re now all on them.
But I wonder when the burnout for the big guys is going hit? Even with just a quick skim of Twitter you can feel people excited for the next thing to replace Facebook; Google +. But will all of these go the same way as MySpace? I can’t predict the future but I do see closed networks as the next natural evolution of social networks.
Path is a network that allows users to share their photos with their closest friends and family, the network is limited to 50 allowing users to feel freer to post personal content. This is just one example of closed social networks and there are many more out there.
The basic premise is that most of us have between 50 and 100 people we really know and so genuine social interaction will happen within these mini networks. As more of us realise the dangers (think job losses and embarrassing celebrity photos) of sharing every bit of ourselves through social media and start to crave more privacy more people will be drawn to only interacting on closed social networks with those they know rather than shouting to a mob they’ll never know.
So brands will have to work harder than ever to successfully crack the inner circle of a person’s network. People are now becoming increasingly protective of what they see as their private online space and don’t want to be bombarded with promotional tactics. Brands are going to have to find ways of engaging their customers with their story, really delving into what consumers want and how much of it they want.
Brands and marketers will have to truly understand their target customers at a deeper level, not just that they are 35, single and female.
They come with their own loyal armies of fans – in the millions. Fans who will support their [creative] direction no matter what occurs and crush any ‘haters’ before you can say “Gaga ooh la la”.
Celebrities ARE brands as well as heroes and they are inextricably intertwined with popular culture, in fact – they ARE popular culture and consumerism rolled into one; a two headed beast you could say; programmed to dominate and win.
So, perhaps it is a no-brainer for brands to be looking to celebrities for inspiration, influence and ultimately creative direction?
Recently we’ve seen the following ‘new hires’ hit the industry headlines:
And let’s be brutally honest here, we’re dying to know what it’s like in the meeting room when a celebrity Creative Director is present?
Are we to assume that a celebrity Creative Director is given a brief and tasked with coming up with ‘the big idea’? Or, is it more a case of the celebrity rocks up to a meeting and points at one of three already crafted propositions and contributes a much anticipated nugget such as ‘I like this one – but make it shiny’?
It’s a mystery that shall remain a client-side secret because let’s face it, agency-side, there is a distinct lack of celebrity Creative Directors working on pitches right now…
That said – if however, The Dubs were looking to employ a celebrity Creative Director, a quick straw poll in the London office reveals the fantasy list to be as follows:
Yep. Analyse that.
I am however thinking there is a methodology brewing here somewhere and it isn’t too dissimilar to de Bono’s six hats.
What if we replaced said hats with our celebrities and their associated traits and see what happens creatively?
Hmm, ‘bad idea’ – oh, now there’s a phrase a celebrity Creative Director may never be told…
The Dubs MD, Josh Frith, was recently interviewed on Sky News about the importance of ‘brand stories’, find out what he had to say about this cornerstone of a digital strategy: