Online Book Club Anyone?
February 17, 2014
I have finally managed to get back to my reading list and really enjoying physical books again. I recently finished Paul Adam’s book Grouped. This book is now likely to gather dust regardless of my intention of using it as a reference book.
With this in mind and with the www.congregation.ie #cong13 hat in mind I was going to offer the book up as part of book club. Some very simple rules.
- Available books to be offered on Twitter using #congbookclub and book name.
- Open call for people interested in reading.
- First to DM or email address gets the book posted to them.
- Return the karma if possible by posting back another book.
- Use #congbookclub to let people know who has what book.
- Write your name/twitter hand and date on the inside cover as record of who read it.
- Try to read the book as quickly as possible and offer onwards via #congbookclub.
- Try to review and share your views on Blog/Twitter.
Happy to kick off by offering Grouped by Paul Adams to the first person who DMs or emails me their address – eoin at congregation dot ie or Eoink and Congregation13 on Twitter.
Books I Read #4. Grouped by Paul Adams
February 17, 2014
Despite all the leaps in technology we are still complex social creatures and an solid in-depth understanding of psychology rather than technology will define the winners in marketing and business. Paul Adam’s book ‘Grouped’ is a surprisingly short read (it took me two afternoons and I am a slow reader) but its insights are based upon a lifetime of research as evidenced in the long reference lists. He debunks certain commonly held truths (the primacy of the ‘online influencer’) and also gives a succinct analysis of human behaviour. I studied psychology in college and really enjoyed the pragmatic, if possibly selective nature of the why we do certain things.
Paul works for Facebook and previously Google so sometimes the books feels initially like an justification of why certain services are so good for business but rapidly it become clear that the online functions we see and accept on these platforms are based upon a deep understanding of anthropology, psychology and human interaction. A ‘like’ feels like such a frivolous thing until you start to think about permission marketing and changing attitudes.
Some of his takeaways are:
- The web is being rebuilt around people and the social web is here to stay. Those who can market to connected groups of friends will win.
- Our immediate networks are small but those closest to us have a disproportionate impact on us.
- The impact of influencers is overrated in spreading ideas over the structure of networks.
- Our non conscious brain drives most decisions, emotion carry more weight and we look for things that match our beliefs.
- Information overload will increase emphasis and reliance on friends for evaluation, decisions and information.
The light presentation of conclusion makes this book seem like common sense but its only as a glance back through the pages that I get the deeper meaning and significance of his points.
A lot of work went into making it this simple.
On a complete aside Dublin does get a few mentions and its interesting to seem Jameson Irish Whiskey mentioned a few times as a case study.
You can see more about the author here.
Insights from 57 social media experts.
February 10, 2014
I have been a bit neglectful of the blog in recent times but I promise I have been busy elsewhere online. At the end of last year year I had the pleasure of organising a social media ‘unconference’ called Congregation.ie. #cong13
It was a fascinating journey from the initial meetings with MKC Communications, who sponsored the event, through building the website, finding the experts and watching a really interesting content marketing approach unfold (including 57 posts by Irish experts). I found the advance sharing, online socialising and the use of Audioboo by participants particularly fascinating.
The day itself tried out an experimental approach in networking and information sharing and I have compiled the insights from the experience and the 57 papers from the participants in a free eBook.
The eBook is available by clicking the image below or visiting this link. You have a choice of formats: a downloadable pdf or an ePub – the latter thanks to Bernie Goldbach (if you prefer to view on your mobile device).
The only ask is that if you are sharing online that you use #cong13 in any tweets or posts.
If you like what you see and are interested in #cong14 drop me a line on email@example.com.
Prepare for the worst. #SocialCrisis 3
October 1, 2013
One of the main things I have observed from being involved in numerous crisis is that in the heat of a crisis the quality of thinking is generally reduced, the ability to make decisions becomes paralysed and common sense gets replaced by fear.
Social media crisis happen at lightening speed and any delays generally add to the woes that companies face. Once a crisis hits it gets increasingly hard to get answers and even the clearest thinkers become hindered by the emotional turmoil that a crisis brings and the over analysis of pro and cons of certain approaches.
The time for thinking is before any crisis hits when the time consuming plotting of what could go wrong and how you could/can/should respond. This is the time to debate the pros and cons of your potential responses so you are able to ‘manage, do and tweak’ when things get really busy.
Here are some of the things to consider:
1. What is a social media crisis? Not every situation is a crisis and its important to separate an awkward situation from a crisis that has real impact on the organization. Different type companies and corporate cultures also have varying level of sensitivity to online criticism while those in regulated environments have a clearer dictate of what is crisis. Jay Baer in this crisis post talks about the three true characteristics of a crisis which can help identify a crisis including:
A social media crisis has information asymmetry.
A social media crisis is a decisive change from the norm.
A social media crisis has a potentially material impact on the company overall.
2. Recording Data. It is a really good idea to have a system for recording what happened/interventions etc before a crisis even happens. This includes listening posts which I will cover later and includes areas. For larger companies this could be their CRM system and for smaller organizations could be a spreadsheet recording dates, intervention, links, steps taken etc. This information can get lost very fast in email and having a central repository can save a lot of time and ensure everyone is on the same page especially as the team expand.
3. Integrate your communications. A social media team that is ‘siloed’ in structure is destined to fail and it is even more crucial in a crisis where the impact of a crisis expands greatly beyond social media. The social media team, structure and reporting should all be aligned and integrated with the other teams in company. This means ensuring a flat team structure with PR/Marketing departments, senior management and external agencies. A lot of time, wasted effort and miscommunication can happen where there is no predefined structure – this structure ranges from sophisticated online collaboration software to simply ensuring that teams details are shared out. Most companies have matured and fully formed crisis plans already in existence – social media crisis documentation should be included in these. Once teams are integrated all communications should be synchronized and orchestrated from email, pr, internal communications to postings on social media assets.
4. Scenario Development. It really helps to bring a social crisis document alive by mapping out the things that could possibly go wrong, what the public/customer reaction would be and how it could spread in social media. Although not every situation can be imagined, a greater understanding of what could be posted, shared, complained about can really help. A lot of social media crisis revolve around poor human behaviour or interactions. Start with a catalytic event (or something that could go wrong with your company) and then map out what the next steps would be – what platforms, type media, who would most likely talk about it, what would they say, how vocal would they be etc. Most organisations falter at this point because they believe the variety of possibilities is too great. While this may be true to some extent, commonalities rapidly appear.
5. Escalation procedures. What happens once something is spotted online (either through social listening services or unusual activity). At what point is it shared with senior management, who is authorized to respond and to what type subject matter. How does this communication happen at what speed, is there a code used in the subject line of emails to highlight crisis. Email is a superb tool but can be overwhelming. Overuse can lead to important emails being ignored as can not flagging them in advance.
6. Establish protocols, response charts. Investigating and establishing the protocols of how you respond to an incident can save an enormous amount of time. This should be as prescriptive as possible and force the organization to take a deep and committed view to what action it would take. This could take the form of a flow chat detailing yes/no responses to a series of linked statements.
7. Roles, responsibilities and actions. Predicting what could happen is essential, as is role playing and establishing protocols but these could become academic if considerable thought is not given to deciding who does what, what exactly they are responsible for and what actions they are expected to take. This also includes who sits on this team – is there a need to establish a team that physically meets and who is on the wider team e.g. agencies. How this team communicates with each other is also important – what online platforms could be used and test them out in advance to ensure they work.
8. Resources. Outside of the human capital resource requirements there may be other budgetary requirements to managing a crisis. Many organizations have elongated budget approval mechanisms and supplier accreditation and the middle of a crisis is not the time to find out that you don’t have free hand to buy Adwords, commission listening tools or hire outside help. The are a number of resource areas that need to be considered from listening software, building of dark sites, content creation, online collaboration tools to name a few. A crisis can soak up a huge amount of senior management time so its also important to be able to delegate work to other teams to ensure the business continues to function.
9. Legal Team. Involving the legal team is probably not necessary for all occasions but it is important to know when they need to be consulted and at what level. Many companies don’t factor in the time element involved in getting a legal opinion on a topic, in addition to the related debate should you decide to proceed along certain path at variance to the pure legal perspective. In certain regulated industries companies can be restricted by legal constraints but most find themselves in the trickier position of using judgment – normally based on a combination of gut feel and experience. Many pronouncements can be made in haste to dampen down a crisis that the company may find it difficult or are unable to live with – post crisis.
10. Make sure senior management is engaged. Nothing creates a keener interest by senior management in a company’s social profile than a crisis. This can result in unproductive side conversation in a crisis if management is not aligned or informed about social media and the company’s strategy. Senior management should be aware of (and ideally have bought into it through being engagement in its creation) the company’s social media policy and also the wider developments in the industry.
Some nice common sence pointers in this video post by Zoodikers Consulting
In the next post I will cover some of the other considerations for an organization before they encounter a crisis.
Social Media Crisis come in all shapes and sizes. #SocialCrisis 2
September 24, 2013
Social media crisis come in all shapes and forms.
As social media crisis are still pretty new they come in all shapes and forms and many companies are only discovering them the hard way as the stumble through them. Instances that would previously led to a few telephone complaints can now spiral out of control as trending topics on social media and end up in traditional media.
In this post I will look at the some of the higher profile Irish and International social media crisis and the catalysts that have dropped companies into hot water. Most were avoidable and as expected human intervention has a heavy hand to play.
- Scheduled Tweets. Tesco made matters worse for themselves in the middle of the horse contamination issue with a tweet that was scheduled to automatically appear. Forgetting about these automated tweets can easily happen as when a crisis breaks it soaks up all focus.
- Angry tweets are a bad idea. The escalation of a war of tweets and the impact of losing ones temper was clearly visible in the Cinnamon restaurant or TwitterGate debacle. A sorry would have defused the situation at the beginning and calling your customers names is rarely going to work out well. Tempers can get raised very fast on twitter and companies should be braced for very public niggling.
- Be real sensitive to cultural differences. The posting of a ‘proud to be British’ tweet on the Irish Starbucks twitter account once again showed how easy it is to post the wrong content when managing multiple accounts and how quickly the mistake can be spread and reworked. It also demonstrates that content on official social media accounts can be regarded as an official voice/perspective even if clearly a mistake.
- Hashtag Hijacking is a Bad Idea. The ongoing experiences of clothing companies consistently using hashtags linked to natural disasters or major political events to generate traffic or sales is clearly bad short term thinking. The resultant backlash points to bad judgement by some companies. Just because you can do it and it will probably generate more traffic does not means you should do it. Gap has reported said that the Foursquare promotion where they used #sandy cost them over $1,000,000 in direct and clothing donations. There are very few companies who can ride the controversy of trying to make a quick buck off others misfortune.
- Expect some Bashtagging. Buying promoted tweets and owning a hastag to promote a marketing initiative can be a good idea but it is also an opportunity for those who have a gripe against the company to leverage it against you. Although McDonald stopped its #mcdstories campaign after a couple of hours it was enough time for a slew of sarcastic posts by consumers using the hastag and predictably enough the hijacking of it by activists groups to promote their anti McDonalds cause. McDonalds has continued to use promoted tweets and hashtags since this so it will be interesting to see if the level of activism subsides. What you pick to promote is key and your interests are not always the same as consumer interest. Irish politicians are famous for their Phoenix Magazine test where they try vet something for possible future embarrassment. When judging whether to do a photocall or not, they first picture how Phoenix Magazine might reuse it on their front cover and then decide to do it or not. This slightly paranoid thinking might help companies be more careful in what to promote via hashtags.
- Don’t give the kids the keys. Many companies have gotten into trouble by simply divesting control of their social media outreach. This can take the form of giving control to junior staff who might not have the necessary experience and judgment skills or simply forgetting who manages the account. HMV Ireland experienced this when they closed their stores resulting in the inevitable layoffs including the person who managed their social media accounts from the beginning. They just forgot that part of their communications. Some others have been caught off guard by centralizing access to one person, so when that person goes on holiday and a crisis erupts no one can access the accounts. All of these just make a company look unnecessarily sloppy. One thing is certain – nothing brings social media more to the attention of senior management than a social media crisis.
- Misdirection is getting more sophisticated. Someone nabbing your twitter handle used to be as bad as it got for some companies. We have all seen the odd and funny tweets coming from an account that bears the name of a company but are obviously not its official account. The #shellfail campaign showed a level of sophistication that was not only technically competent but more interestingly in the reverse engineering of how large corporate entity might respond to negative tweets and mimicking them. It also showed how hard it is to roll back negative coverage even if false especially when it moves all the way down the line into trusted traditional media.
- David and Goliath. Social media gives equal power to individual expression that previously would not have had an outlet. The Graham Bolger Facebook post when he was not granted access to the Madison Nightclub in Dublin shows how simple actions can unleash a very strong knee jerk reaction online. Interesting in this example the comments in the TheJournal coverage of the same event showed how the tide can change on opinion and that the answer is not always to fire the person involved.
- Trust is sacred. While in the middle of a crisis it does not pay to try to be smarter than others and take short cuts. The distribution of photoshopped images by BP in the Deepwater Horizon crisis demonstrated that you need to be very careful when under the microscope and that there are millions of forensic experts out there. Trust is a fragile thing and own goals can jeopardise all communication.
- Competitions can break your heart. Competitions that utilise the Facebook ‘Like’ mechanic or are popularity type contests are great for spreading a competition wide and far and in Facebooks case – generating likes. However obeying Facebooks rules for competitions is not enough and you need to really carefully think through all the elements that could go wrong. The real issue with popularity contest is that as the stakes get raised people commit more and more of their emotional capital to them, so the level of disappointment if they don’t win is much greater than a casual entry. This disappointment normally leads to a scrutinizing of the winner as happened in the 7Up Minister for Crack Facebook and the Skillens Jewellers competition.
Some small instances can have a disproportionate impact when amplified on social media. Crisis can originate here or social media can be the explosive channel that ignites its amplification.
Preparation is key to managing a social crisis and thinking through all the possible things that could go wrong is a time consuming but extremely worthwhile exercise.
In the next post I will look at some of the preparatory things that should happen in all organisations before any crisis hits.
Social Crisis Attributes. SocialCrisis #1
September 17, 2013
Social media crisis are all the rage. Nothing drives sharing faster through the social-verse than a company or individual falling flat on their face.
The shock for most companies is the speed that it unfolds, the paralytic effect it has on their ability to respond and their ill ease with the different platforms.
There is no magic bullet for sorting out a social media crisis but a mixture of common sense, advance planning, keeping emotions in check and understanding the arena can help a lot.
In the next few posts I will look at the different facets of a social media crisis from its attributes through to what you can do while in the middle of a crisis.
First up lets have a look at its characteristics.
Attributes of a Social Media Crisis.
A social media crisis is different to a traditional crisis and its worth considering some of the different attributes to get a better understanding. The Ogilvy 360°Digital Influence gives a nice analysis of these including:
- Things happen at lightening speed.
- Hyper transparency and scrutiny is expected.
- Engagement is good and bad but inevitable.
- Search still crucial especially post crisis.
- Others have better tools than you.
- Traditional media is still powerful.
- Civility is on the wane.
- Sharing is not always caring.
1. Speed: Things happen extraordinarily fast in the social universe. What previously might have taken days or weeks to build up, now happens in hours with the crowd moving on promptly to the next big thing, leaving behind the hard earned reputation of a company in tatters. The mauling can also be very intense and the digital foot print is resilient.
2. Transparency: Don Tapscott in his book Grown Up Digital outlines how the digital native generation intensely scrutinizes things that a company says and does. He points out that integrity of a company is key and that they are likely to dig deeper that any generation before. Now instead of merely dealing in a war of words you have an entire army of online forensic experts testing and watching your actions. If something is being covered up they will probably find and share it.
3. Engagement: Social media has always thrived on dialogue and companies responding directly to users. This is a curse and blessing in a social crisis. Companies not geared up to respond will suffer as not only is there an expectation of more detailed responses and unending answering of questions but the timeline is severely shortened. This poses lots of challenges from basic resources to legal restrictions to revealing of information.
4. Search: Think about how the story unfolds and how people find the content. From the originators who first publish it, it moves to sharing of the story through social media, then on to the online news sites and ends up in editorial sections within 24 hours. Most of these stories will be on authorative sites like news websites and feature very high in search. For most people search is still key, especially if they are trying to verify the legitimacy of a story. Its also resides here for long periods after the event, even if an attempt has been made to remove the original content.
5. Tools: Many companies run into trouble by not understanding the nature of the platforms where a crisis might originate or is spreading. This ranges from basic understanding of the site anatomy to sensitivity to underlying values and norms. In the traditional world of crisis management and particularly in dealing with the traditional media, most companies had the upper hand in that they understood how news happens, had unparalleled access to journalists and knew what was likely to happen. In the world of social media you are most likely at a disadvantage in that the community understands these tools, the catalysts, have the contacts and are able to produce content in a variety of mediums in rapid speed.
6. Media: It would be a mistake to undervalue the impact that traditional media has on social media crisis. As social media is still relatively new even relatively mundane online spats can become main stream news if they gather enough momentum online. The first wave of this is through the online news sites which are regarded as authorative by search engines. As this initial flurry of activity dies down the commentary and analysis sections in the traditional channels can reignite the fire and bring an entirely new audience into the loop. Even the amplification through a media outlets’ Twitter profile or Facebook page can have a big impact as these profiles (both individual and central accounts) have a higher than normal influencer ranking.
7. Civility: There is much debate about whether civility is on the wane with the growth social media. Regardless, the reality is that the perceived anonymity of the internet can result in knee jerk commentary and pronouncements that previously would have been restricted to water cooler/pub conversations. Now as they appear online can provoke a pack like savaging or trolling behaviour. Although they are treated the same, online comments can be very removed from a persons real opinions or beliefs.
8. Sharing. The ease of sharing and spreading a story or link has dropped to the level that people don’t even realise they are amplifying a story. A single click can often be enough to share a story from anywhere online to a social media network and vague interest can now appear like determined stance.
Social media crisis can be the sole stage for a crisis or act as another channel for a crisis that originated elsewhere. Understanding the characteristics can help reconfigure how a company can start to plan and build response mechanism.
Social crisis can take many shapes and forms. In the next post I will look at some of the different type Irish and international crisis and what sparked them off.
I gave you a nod – I did not invite you into my home.
August 20, 2013
I always think that a Facebook like is similar to a nod – a casual nod at that. However likes are a serious business with Pennys topping the chart in Ireland at almost 376,000 likes quickly followed by Lidl with almost 300,000 likes. Although the value of a like and ways of calculating it are very varied, at an acquisition rate of €1 it can mount up pretty fast. And this is just for a simple like and not engagement.
For most people when they like a brand they are indicating a slight affinity with the brand and vaguely allowing it to communicate with them by getting updates in their timelines.
However the permission that people give a brand when they like it, translated into the real world is pretty wide. In the real world equivalent you are allowing a brand or company representative to enter your home and personal world, to sit down and see your public thoughts and moments you are sharing, to browse through your intimate photo albums, to have a look around at your interest areas and to see who your friends are. Pretty much letting them gate crash your personal world. You are also allowing introducing them to your friends, their photos and their friends.
As a brand/company page administrator in the online world you can see the list of people who have liked your page with a single click. Once you click on the person you can browse their updates, photos and their list of friends – from where you can browse their updates, photos and preferences (depending on their privacy settings).
Most people are comfortable with the concept of Facebook collating data and selling it, once its done on a macro level and their individual information is not sold. After all you are the product not the customer. This is how Facebook Advertising works in the most general sense. With the increased push to increase revenue and the rapid expansion of advertising options brand owners are likely to be liked by a much wider and possibly less relevant audience. On the liker side this amounts to casually liking something and then forgetting about it.
Of course you can unlike a page and its worth seeing looking at the pages feed on the left hand side of your home page to see what you have liked. People only really take this action if something has annoyed them or if the brand is posting too often – some event needs to trigger this action for most people. It is also a good idea to review your privacy settings regularly.
This places great responsibility on the brands to be respectful with this unprecedented level of direct information and insight into peoples lives.
Why Should You Care?
To date most of the debate on liking scams has focused on dubious pages and causes that use it as a opportunity to post messages on an individual timelines or to sell pages with large communities.
Many people do not mind commercial companies having in-depth knowledge of them but its good to be aware of what the platform allows. For example if you were applying for a job and liked the company – but would prefer to keep your personal life separate or worse still had posted something that could hurt your chances of getting the job. Or maybe for research purposes you liked a competing brand and accidentally exposed some information on your profile.
Facebook discloses what it means to like a page but its tricky to really find out the level of access you are granting and I have based this upon my own experience but I would love to hear about other experiences that people have had.
Ask before you leap into social media.
August 12, 2013
One of things I hear a lot from students on the Online PR course module that I deliver, especially those who are doing internships, is the dictum from management to sort out their social media. When I dig a bit deeper they reveal that the request is normally to get their facebook presence up to scratch or to set up a twitter account. Both legitimate requests but very tactical and while this group are pretty adept on the platforms, the lack of a strategic approach normally leads to an unhappy experience.
Those managing the social sites are hamstrung by lack of content, direction, tone and an understanding of what the company wants to achieve. On the other side, management get disillusioned with the vast time input in social media versus driving the business forward.
Although everyone wants to show something tangible as quickly as possible its best to take a bit of time to reflect on what you really want social media to achieve for the company and what resources that would take.
With that in mind I have put together a long list of questions that could help divert from the natural tendency to rush out and set up yet another Facebook account.
You might not get the answers to all 62 questions but the choices with social media are so vast that the more prescriptive you are the better the chance of it being successful for you.
- What are the core goals of the company?
- What is the company trying to achieve – the more specific the better?
- What does the company want social media to deliver?
- Is it to drive sales, increase leadership positioning, amplify special offers or keep people updated, increase website visits etc?
- How long will it run?
- What does success look like in social media – be specific on numbers?
- How many fans, followers and interaction – also google analyitics on website visits from social media?
- What resource is going to be allocated to it – both time and financial?
- Is there training for individuals and the entire group needed?
- Are there any risks especially legal ones to the content and people adding comments?
- How can these risks be mitigated?
- Who are the target audience?
- What do we know about their behaviours?
- What do they do, what do they like, what are their interests and what content do they gravitate to?
- What other causes are you competing against?
- What other groups have done well – what good Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube accounts are there?
- What can you learn from them?
- What will update reports on social media activity look like and how often will they be delivered to the group?
- What are the KPIs (key performance indicators) that really matter?
- What keywords do you wish to be found for, what keywords work well in your arena?
- Who are the online influencers, do you have any connection with them and what do they gravitate to/talk about?
- Do you have any listening posts established to know who is talking about your cause and related areas?
- Who manages comments and how will they respond?
- Can you respond to any comments or does everything have to go through the committee?
- Do you have budget to use a monitoring service?
- Where will the content and updates come from?
- Is there a rich pipeline of stories you can tell?
- Is there an editorial calendar?
- What milestones are there?
- Who is good at writing and can anyone create multi media content from graphic design to video?
- Can you get people to guest blog and who are they?
- What is your social currency?
- What do you have to talk about that others on social media would be interested in or care about?
- What are people passionate about?
- What is your tone of voice?
- Is it friendly or authorative?
- How can you grow your network?
- Who has active accounts that will help promote your cause?
- Will the group agree to cross post, share or retweet content for you?
- Are there other symbiotic social media groups that might like/share your stories or help to promote?
- Do you have a database that can be used?
- What social media sites are relevant and which ones should you focus on?
- Who is going to update these and how often?
- Will you allow people to add comments and content to your social media sites?
- What are the rules for external people using your social media site?
- Is there a website in existence for the company (or particular sections) and can you put on links to the social media sites you will be using?
- Does the website have social media sharing buttons?
- Will people include links to the social media presence on all emails?
- Who has the access codes and what type content will be utilised?
- Do you have social media guidelines in place to ensure everyone understands the language that can be used through to what will be promoted through social media?
- Is there any budget to buy advertisement space on the social media sites?
- Will you have different content for different sites?
- Will you automate the posting across different sites?
- Will you be using any tool such as Tweetdesk, Hootsuite or IFTTT.com?
- Are there crisis management plans in place?
- What is the escalation procedure if things go wrong in social media?
- Who is part of the social media team – it should include everyone?
- How will stories be passed on to the person updating the social media sites?
- Is there a structure to ensure that all communications is integrated and that announcements are coordinated?
- Are you working with other teams – website team, pr team and any other agencies that you could leverage to get the most from social media?
- How can you ensure that the social media programme is agile and how do you build learnings into what you are doing?
- How do you share the successes with the wider team so people know things are going well?
It takes time to plan social media and much of this should be done before any profiles are established. Things get very busy very fast and the more thought put into the structure, reporting, sharing and planning the more likely it will be to be successful. Unless the company understands that social media needs resourcing and they are clear about why/how they are going to use it then putting your hand up for the job might not be the best idea.
Would love to hear peoples own experiences or any additional questions.
Does my logo look big in this? Sizing your images for social media.
April 18, 2013
One of the things I notice a lot with company pages on Facebook and other social media sites is the poor resizing of logos and other images so they appear correctly. Logos unfortunately comes in lots of sizes and unless they are resized they just don’t fit and instead only display partially or zoom in on one part of the image or logo. In general the photo editors on social media sites are pretty basic and only really allow you to move around an image.
Many people I speak to complain they don’t have the software but there are free online resources available. Here is a quick guide on how to make your images fit.
First up you first need to know the exact dimension that are use. This cheat sheet from HubSpot is a very handy guide but you may need to double check with the social media site for any changes. For example although Facebook Page profile pictures are square and displays at 160×160 pixels you upload must be at least 180×180 pixels.
Next you need to resize the images. There are lots of online photo editing sites but Pixlr.com allows you to edit without signing up and is pretty slick.
Once in the service you have options of what level you wish to use. I used the advanced function as it had extra functionality built in.
From here select the image you are going to edit. If on your computer then Open Image from your computer. Next click on the Image tab at the top and click Image size. Then input the image size you need as per the exact measurements – normally in pixels width and height. In this example its 180 X 180 for the Facebook’s Page profile picture. The real important part here is to make sure you unclick the Constrain Proportion box as otherwise it will either default to the proportions measurement and you will be left with the wrong size or you get a zoomed in section of the image.
Finally just save your photo and then upload as normal on your Facebook page. As you maybe doing this a number of times for Twitter to the various Facebook dimensions its worth saving the file name with the social media platform name and the dimensions used in it.
This can really save a lot of time and present you company image in the best light.
Should PR Own Social Media?
February 1, 2013
On the 19th of February I have the pleasure of chairing a session organised by the PRII Entitled Should PR Own Social Media?
Normally these type sessions can tend to a self supporting and predictable with little dissent. However this one is comprised of seasoned representatives from the other organisations competing/operating in this space including:
- Christian Hughes, Communities Manager with Irish International,
- Colm Ó’Riagáin, Digital Account Director with WHPR,
- Eoin O’Suilleabháin, Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager with Bord Gáis Energy,
- John Ring, Managing Director of internet marketing company RingJohn
As I was researching and gathering my thoughts I stumbled upon an old piece from 2010 in the Irish Marketing Journal that I had contributed to and had forgotten about. A lot of the contributions in the article are as true now as then so I will try not to repeat the same points.
The PR industry naturally responds that it is best positioned as it has the broadest view with tentacles in all corners of the business (especially inhouse), is used to dealing with outreach and engagement, understands current cultural and environmental factors, are guardians of the organisations message, can rapidly generate crisp and clean content – the list goes how.
However the social media scene is also littered with poor examples of PR executives engaging in social media outreach – from treating bloggers like media and bccing them on general and untargeted press releases (not best media practice either) to editing of client Wikipedia pages scandals.
Social outreach means researching and building relationships with a new set of influencers with different agendas and needs than traditional media. PR has the skill set but all this entails more time and in an industry driven by charging for time this is a problem unless the client is willing to pay.
David Murdico executive creative director and managing partner at Supercool Creative does a good job of detailing where PR can take a lead role beginning with strategy development.
However following the line of who has the best skills never really answers the question.
Christopher Penn from Shift Communications makes some very sensible points on the topic rephrasing the question to
“Who should own a hammer?” is the wrong question. “Who has a use for a hammer, and can they wield it skillfully?”
He rightly points out that for some organisations social media is a customer relations tool and the PR team is probably not crucial.
Like every other industry PR is not homogeneous and not all executives are equal in their abilities and understanding. Penns final line captures this nicely
“Who should own social media? Whoever can use it to help build your business, that’s who.”
Sophie Daranyi, CEO at marketing agency Haygarth reflects what most considered articles on the topic say which is that the best results are achieved by taking an integrated approach with agencies working collaboratively and leveraging their core strengths.
Some of the advance tweets and Facebook posts on this event have brought out divergent views with some comments saying that PR should have very little input unless it a crisis communications situation.
Some of my own views are:
- PR has lots to contribute as do the others chasing this arena.
- New skill sets from content creation in different media to technical skills are needed.
- SEO will start to offer traditional PR to supplement SEO PR services.
- SEO and PR will form closer unions in very short period of time.
- PR’s core domain in media relations will come under threat from savvy social media users engaging with journalist online.
- PR executives need to move from “getting” social media to time consuming greater content creation and community engagement.
- Budgeting power for social media will continue to migrate to media buying agencies.
- Marketing managers are starting to appreciate that social media is not free.
- Those able to mine social data and interpret it will rise in importance.
I am putting together some questions for the speakers and would be delighted to include suggestions from any comments below. Also my view is only one view and what better way to frame the introduction than crowd sourced from the community.