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A regularly updated resource of information and news items.

Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Why you don’t involve your company in social media…..

Posted Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

At SWARM we’re trying to preach the good word of social media. To us it makes perfect sense that you should immerse your company in this modern, fashionable and highly effective form of PR, Marketing, Advertising and Communications. So we can list reason after reason why you SHOULD be on social media but we thought we’d address the concerns we’re confronting in meetings and explain why these aren’t motives to stay away from social media at all!

I don’t like it… …I don’t have a profile.
You might not like social media but your business’ target audience does! 50% of the UK population are on Facebook and 20% have a Twitter profile. In fact it’s not just that they have a profile, 15 million people in the UK login to their Facebook profile every day.
Your company can’t ignore the fact that despite your personal belief that it’s people making strange updates and spending too much time on the platforms, it is where people are communicating with each other and surely you’re business wants to get involved? Don’t miss out on the conversation!

What if people say negative things?
Whether you like it or not people will always have an opinion and often they’ll want to share that with people on the social networking sites. This is NOT a bad thing. In fact it gives you the opportunity to manage your online reputation. Where in the past, most criticisms were spread across the internet on forums and various sites, with the rise of Facebook and Twitter, you have the opportunity to monitor what people are saying and most importantly contact them and make sure any problems are corrected. In fact it shows that your company is on the ball and responding to feedback. Make sure that if you do enter social media you’re monitoring your profiles regularly and responding carefully- it’s even worse if you’ve created profiles and then not replying to comments or mentions.

There are so many sites I don’t know which ones are best for me
Following on from the last concern, you have to decide which social networking sites will best benefit your business. Pick a couple which offer the best return and stick with them. Don’t spread yourself thin because you’re less likely to keep on top of it and if there are comments that need attention, you’re more likely to reply if you have fewer profiles to check. If you’re starting on social media for the first time, start with Twitter and Blogging for six months for instance and then assess whether it’s beneficial to move into Facebook and LinkedIn if it fits your strategy.

I don’t understand it
If you want to keep your social media management in-house then there are plenty of webinars, articles and blogs on social media and the best ways to use it. But in the most case, we explain why you should be on social media, the benefits and the returns  and we talk you through it. We’ll outline the basic principles of social media and it’s our job to ensure your business gets the best from social media.

Stay in contact with SWARM on Twitter


The new corporate must-have: the social media manager

Posted Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Over the past couple of years, an entirely new kind of executive has begun to appear in the upper echelons of US corporations: the social media strategist. Some 200 major US businesses now employ such a person.

If you want to understand why, just look at what befell Sarah Palin last week. She’s not a corporation exactly, but her recent adventures in social media have been salutary – showing why engaging with people online can be such a double-edged sword.

Since emerging on the national scene, Palin has used social media like Twitter and Facebook to rally her core supporters, with a fair degree of success. But then she got embroiled in the aftermath of the horrific shooting of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona earlier this month.

Palin‘s first mistake was to allow an employee to claim on the day of the shooting that a poster her campaign created last year and which featured gun sights superimposed on locations where she hoped to help defeat Democrat incumbents in fact depicted “surveyor’s marks”.

That explanation was quickly de-bunked when journalists found an old tweet of Palin‘s referring to the map as featuring “bull’s-eyes”, leaving Team Sarah to appear either shiftless or guilt-ridden. Next, more than 350,000 people raced to US expat Karin Robinson’s ObamaLondon blog to read how negative comments on Palin’s Facebook page were being erased in almost real time – but not before Robinson was able to copy the original posts and share them with the world.

Then, last Wednesday, Palin posted a video to Facebook defending herself from accusations of inciting political violence and accusing her detractors of perpetrating a “blood libel” against her – a term widely construed as being either shockingly ignorant or grossly insensitive, or both.
It added up to a nightmare week for the possible 2012 presidential candidate – and should give pause to anyone concerned with their online reputations.

Most US corporations, of course, care very much about their reputations and many will be thankful to feel at least a step ahead of Palin when it comes to managing their presences in the complex new social media world.

But they are only a small step ahead. The confluence of social media with the long memories of online search engines has dramatically altered how national conversations about politics, or products – or oil spills – now run. So it’s hardly surprising that the people whom companies have been hiring to try to influence such conversations are making up a lot of what they are doing as they go along.

Among the challenges they face is the potential for anything anyone said months or even years ago to return and haunt the speaker. It used to be that your critics had to keep archives of the right press clippings or spend a lot of time in a video library to find material relevant to their cause. Not so today.

It’s never been easier to “prove” someone’s hypocrisy by exposing inconsistencies between what they say now and their comments in the past.
Tweets, meanwhile, can seem ephemeral, but once sent are all but impossible to repress. And, as Karin Robinson deftly illustrated last week, Facebook comments are tricky to edit quietly when you suddenly start getting trashed for something you’ve done.

In the wake of Palin’s (and others’) mass online editing following the Tucson shooting, CBS Business writer Erik Sherman wrote: “Executives need to understand that social media isn’t a trivial plaything to be used on a whim. They need strategy as well as tactics, and the tools and sophisticated business processes to control them.”

Establishing such a strategy is the corporate Social Media Strategist’s main job. Distinct from traditional roles in marketing, advertising or corporate communications, the position also requires a comprehensive understanding of how social media change the overall media equation for businesses, an ability to prevent everyone from senior executives to low-level employees from blogging or tweeting things they (or the company) will one day regret, and the foresight to know what those things might be.

Many such strategists also run their company’s corporate blog and Twitter feed. That makes them public figures in the way that only CEOs or paid celebrity endorsers used to be. Take Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford, for instance. He has nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter.

“This role will become pervasive in the coming years, just as leaders who manage the corporate website have become essential,” believes Jeremiah Owyang, a technical analyst who began noting corporate hiring in social media back in 2007 and has been tracking it ever since.

While it can easily pay a cool $150,000 (£94,500) salary, Owyang calls the job of social media strategist “deceptively challenging”. That’s partly because corporate leaders are often clueless about what the job actually entails or why they need to listen to the person occupying it.

It’s also hard to measure the value such positions add – at least until you have a full-scale social media brand disaster on your hands.

Many hired into these roles are online marketing experts. And yet “most social strategists and their programmes lack maturity”, concludes Owyang in a recent report. To succeed, they’ll need be highly strategic in their thinking, he writes, or risk relegation to “the social media help desk”.

The repercussions for their employers can be worse. A brand disaster is pretty much how you could describe Palin’s recent online experience – a performance variously described as poorly-timed, tone-deaf, offensive, shameless, self-pitying, and anti-semitic. Others have speculated that her actions were calculatedly divisive.

But companies would be wiser to view Palin’s as a textbook case of what not to do – and hire themselves a social media strategist quick.

Business Blogging Tips – The Art Of Subliminal Advertising

Posted Friday, November 26th, 2010

Business blogging isn’t much tuned to the practice of blogging, as it is to the art of subliminal advertising. These are tips to better the advertising layered intricately within every single post on a business blog.

Any business only maintains a blog for lead generation and boasting brand image. There are no two ways about – even the Google blog attempted to sooth over concerns of net neutrality to maintain their “do no evil” image. Impressions don’t matter, the number of comments doesn’t matter – all that this blog (and company) is concerned with is to get across it’s message to the right people as best as possible. Think of it like Inception – the purpose is to plan an idea and watch it mature. Establishing that, let’s get down to…

Business Blogging Tips To Get Your Message Across
Create Content About Business, Rather Than YOUR Business
Create posts about your industry, its best practices, guidelines for new entrants, the trends it follows – basically, write about the everything relevant in your industry. The idea is to become somewhat of a inspiration and/or a guru to people in your industry. Let them know how things are done, while remembering that you’re doing so merely to establish two important facts: you know the business and your business knows the industry it belongs in comparatively well.

Referring a specific brand too often causes readers to read between some very thin lines, and realize the intentions of a business blog. Allow them to gain knowledge, insights and exposure, but do NOT expose them to the brand behind the blog. That’s a connection you want them to make on their own.

Make A ‘Somebody’ Write Your Business Blog
This is an important one, and it continues to surprise me how many businesses continue to get it wrong – the blog needs a blogger, an identity. Your blog needs a face. I went through the top 25 results on Google for “business blogging”, and it’s amazing to see all of them resonate with a lack of online identity. Understand this – every business needs a face. Everything from the logo and font on your business card, to the architecture of your office(s), is part of that. To forget that essential attribute of brand image building is (at least to me) sacrilege.

Understanding Blogging – Regular Posts Are Essential
I’ll make this business blogging tips short – if you don’t make regular posts, comments and additions to a blog (any blog), it will fail. Without regular posts, expect not to get any of the following:

RSS subscribers
Followers’ on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, etc.
Consistent visitors + Free word-of-mouth advertising.

Social networking for business is next big thing

Posted Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Social sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn feed the craving people have to find one another, exchange information, catch up and solve problems.

Commercial Appeal, June 8, 2008

But there’s more, and for business, this matters. In the back-and-forth of ordinary conversation, ideas pop up.

They may be about your product or ways you could do things better … or new products your customers could use if you were hearing what they had to say.

“Those conversations are going on online anyway, believe me. You want them going on in your foyer,” Barger said.

The idea, of course, is that if people are talking in your presence, you’re the first to hear what is being said.

And if it’s said on your site, the exchange can be cataloged and stored, giving you a tidy archive of correspondence.

Barger, president and chief executive of LunaWeb Inc. — a Memphis company that does Web design and Internet marketing — is speaking Wednesday on social networking at the Public Relations Society of America meeting at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.

“It has gotten to be such an important part of a PR person’s job right now,” said Bob Phillips, chapter president and Thompson & Berry Public Relations account exec. “Listen, business is so competitive. Everyone wants to know as much as they can find out.”

Barger is likely to start his talk by reminding the audience that “business used to be a faceless entity behind a security guard at the corporate gate.

“A perfect corporation was a business entity that could be perfected with mass production and quality assurance. It was all mechanized, and not human,” he said.

Now, with the push to put a face on the corporation, companies are using professional photos of employees on their Web sites, for instance, and finding employees, such as Don Dodge at Microsoft, to blog in voices that are credible and, well, folksy.

Blogging opened up a dialogue that social networks expanded. Today, there are more than 200 social sites, excluding niche networks — sometimes called vertical sites — tailored to specific audiences.

LinkedIn is one of the best for connecting professionals. In Memphis, about 100,000 people have Facebook pages. Two years ago, the population was probably closer to 40,000, Barger said.

Everything changed last fall, when Facebook broadened its membership beyond its college core, and the universe changed overnight.

“Now all of sudden, Facebook is saying, ‘Business, we welcome you. Here is how you set up shop; here’s how you engage your client base,'” he said.

“Businesses tapping into social networks to expand customer base need to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve,” said Chelsea Dubey, account executive at RedRover.

“You need success metrics, such as: How many people use the site? How many prospect leads are generated?

Social networking just for the sake of social networking isn’t always a good investment. It needs to connect to other elements of your sales and marketing strategy,” she said.

When FedEx Corp. created NetFace in 2006, a social networking site for employees only, it did no promotion but sat back to see how quickly a community would form, said Nicole Heckman, manager of innovation research.

“We found it was much more viral than we expected,” Heckman said. “Over several months, we had 2,000 active users.”

People into social networking use the word “viral” to describe how quickly networks form and spread.

Some companies build in viral functions, giving users gifts for telling friends.

“One of the things I found was that it really did give employees a way to have a personal identity within a large organization,” Heckman said.

People were soon connecting in and outside work to talk with people who had worked on similar projects or simply to play flag football.

“It really doesn’t have to be a huge investment,” Heckman said. “We accomplished FaceNet with a team you could count on one hand. You do obviously have to have someone manage it, but it wasn’t someone’s full-time job.”

For people who think the networks are just for kids, the average new Facebook enrollee is in the mid-30s.

“Many of my friends that are older and less tech savvy could care less,” said Gwin Scott, president of business incubator EmergeMemphis.

For him and the startups he works with, social networking is a chance to attract like-minded people, plus it gives business a way to tap into audiences that aren’t watching as much TV or paying as much attention to other traditional media.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division rolled out a blog in January, frankly as damage control after the utility was rocked with leadership scandals and contributions to its Plus-1 charity fell to record lows.

“We had to look at taking a more creative approach to communicating with our customers,” said Glen Thomas, head of the utility’s public relations. “We had to take the blinders off to look at the different ways to reach our customers, interact with them and respond to them.”

When looking over the staff for a potential blogger, Thomas suggests someone already passionate about the subject area.

“The woman writing our blog would chastise us if someone had a plastic bottle in trash,” he said.

Oh, he also suggests frequent views of the blogs that tend to break news in Memphis so you’re not caught off guard when the media come calling.

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