Archive for April, 2010
An interview in BrandWeek with Erin Nelson, Chief Marketing Officer of Dell.
In it she talks about ’…Customer connectivity and the ability to have conversations that drive our brand..’ being the most important thing and that ‘….Digital and social are tools to allow that to happen…’
Working over the last few years with UK local Government and Agencies I have noticed just how many still ban employee access to social media due to ‘managagement, IT or security issues’. At a recent Kable event over 70% of the attendees in my session (Sharing Data for citizen engagement) said that they either did not have a policy (and so banned access) or their IT policy was to ban access anyway.
In comparing other Governments policy it is interesting to see how the US Department of Defense (DoD) is approaching it. Here is an article about social media from the troops and family perspective when serving on active duty abroad.
The Department of Defence is now ‘positive’ about social media use and has an official policy covering it. As their web site says they ‘…wecome and encourage all DoD employees and families to use social media…’ but to be aware of the safety and security issues. This is where Net Smart – CyberSafe policy comes in (see logo above and link here). It is interesting that an organisation as large and security concious as the US military has found a way to navigate the issues social media may cause.
As to be expected for such organisation its leadership is embracing social media – the top brass are using Twitter, blogs, Facebook, podcasts and other tools to engage with service personnel and their families as well as the general public. You can see the lists here. They have also created a DoD Social Media Hub where information, best practice and advice can be shared. The hub also includes a central resource listing what parts of the military are actively using social media. The idea is that by sharing examples and best practice everyone can learn without having to manage it as a single massive exercise. In effect they are ‘crowdsourcing’ ideas but within a framework of guides and leaders ‘modelling the way’.
As mentioned in a previous post the US Air Force has produced a guide on social media and its use that is provided to all recruits as part of their basic training. Within the US State Department all employees attend specially designed training programs. These are also run for all employees at US Embassies overseas.
Businesses considering the practical value and use of social media may well find the guides and materials that the US DoD and specific branches of the military have developed useful background reading and good sources of content.
An interesting podcast from US FederalNewsRadio on what the US Government is doing with Web 2.0/Social Media. It is a recording of a lunchtime meeting earlier this month where 3 US agencies discussed their experiences of engaging with citizens using social media.
The 3 people are:
- Janice Nall, Director E-health Marketing at the Centres for Disease Control
- Amanda Eamich, Director New Media at the Agriculture Department
- Liz Olmo, Director, Department of Homeland Security
An interesting interview on FederalNewsRadio with Jeffrey Levy, Director of Web Communications at the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA.
The EPA published an updated guide in January 2010 for their employees on engaging in conversations with citizens using social media.
Jeffrey talks about this being considered a fundamental change in engagement and not just a ‘tick box’ exercise. This means that Government employees need to be pro-active and re-active but within some guidelines in terms of authority to talk on the specific subject matter and investment of time into the conversation (as Jeffrey says – there are a lot of comments on social media platforms that are not worth spending taxpayers money responding to but factual inaccuracies or misinformation should be corrected).
The issue of Goverment employees having rules on acceptable behaviour and engagement with citizens is discussed especially where private and public personas interact. In business this equates to being a ‘brand ambassador’ for your organisation and where private comments and behaviour may have a negative impact on the company.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) join forces to educate people about the risks of using Chinese Lanterns near farmland and the coast. In the video - part of the MCA Podcast News Series – a coast guard officer mentions that last year over 340 incidents took place involving lanterns.
Interesting research from Neilsen as reported in AdAge showing that Facebooks ads are especially effective when linked to friends.
All three measures – recall, brand awareness and purchase intent – increased. The increases were even more marked where friends within a network became ‘fans’ of a product. Social networking influence increases the potential to purchase.
Having run briefing sessions on Introduction to Social Media for over 400 people in the last 18 months in Northern Ireland, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Berkshire and London I thought it would be useful to share some of the feedback on what people have said about them.
‘A great overview’
‘Very well presented, extremely enthusiastic – making it easy to learn’
‘Case studies were very interesting. I definitely gained new ideas’
‘Knowledge greatly increased’
‘Enjoyable discussion which will be extremely useful in my marketing’
‘Very interesting. Got the message across how important social media is’
‘Enjoyed the session. Learnt more than I thought’
‘Superb. Really got me thinking about social media. Very clear, informative, practical and challenging. An excellent session’
‘Gave lots of ideas for our business to go forward’
‘Great session. Would have liked more time and some practical help using the tools’
‘Wasn’t sure if a small group format would work but I loved how it meant we could talk about our specific business issues and needs with everyone. You cannot do that easily in a big seminar format. I realised our challenges were often the same as others.’
How can you measure the RIO of Social Media activity? At one level you can measure the number of friends/followers you have got. You can also measure how many times you are re-tweeted or mentioned in blogs but what is actually being said about you? You can even check out how many followers/friends they have got so you have a measure of ‘reach’. Is what is being said about you positive, negative or neutral? Are the people mentioning you influential or not? Beyond follower numbers etc how would you decide that?
So far software tracking solutions have not really been able to accurately track and report on sentiment and influence reliably or accurately. I remember a couple of years ago when running a social media campaign for a retail client having to personally read every mention in Forums, blogs and social media sites we could find, to check what was said and rate it. At least it was only for a product launch that covered a few weeks. i would have gone mad if we had needed to do it on a longer or ongoing basis.
I was really interested when I saw a Tweet from Katie Paine (one of the foremost experts on online PR and measurement) saying that she was attending an SAS event announcing their new Social Media Analytics product/service. I was even more impressed when Katie was asked about the accuracy level and she said her tests had shown it exceeded 90% which was better than any other product on the market at the moment.
The demo and Q&A sessions indicated an ‘onboard’ of a few weeks as they set up the system parameters and target sources and key words. This phase seems very manual and includes some fine tuning. They mentioned a cost of $50k. The dashboard reports are set up and then there is a monthly cost of ‘$10k – $15k’. These costs mean that they are priced for the Enterprise market.
What is interesting is the percentage of people who say they would give up TV rather than an internet connection. The big break is at 45+ where the majority would keep the TV. Under 45 it is reversed with the majority wanting to keep the Internet in preference to the TV.