— blending the mix


I spent ages writing the usual considered analysis of the Eurostar debacle, only to find that someone had beaten me to it – so be it, but good piece anyway. It’s well worth a read. (one question though – why the hell use posterous to publish such a lengthy blog post…)

To any business out there considering social media – this is your wake up call. Let Eurostar get a kicking for this and learn from their mistakes.

YOU on the other hand can do it the right way. You cannot get involved in social media if you don’t:

1. Know who is already talking about you – for god’s sake if you do NOTHING else, listen to conversations taking place about you.
2. Have your assets protected – make sure you own your brand name on all the places you need to use
3. Get your back office sorted:

  • Assign people – Know who is going to do the listening, where and with what.
  • Triage comments – deal with the most important/dangerous/
  • Define the information flow – know how information will get from the end user to the person capable of answering it.

As much as We Are Social annoyingly name drop work they have done into every comment they leave on the web EVER, they have some bloody smart people working there and I do think they have been unfairly criticised for their role in this – they have gone beyond the call of duty to manage a problem that is not of their doing, nor their brief to sort.

Eurostar it seems, just didn’t want to do it properly (although I’m not sure I would have said as much on my company blog) which is a fundamental problem and one which ties up my previous post about clients needing to place more trust in the agencies they appoint – that they are doing this properly.

Sure, the problems would not have gone away, but Eurostar would have been much wiser to listen to the people they appointed to run Little Break, Big Difference – after all that is a great piece of work requiring a major budget. If they can trust we are social to implement an initiative of this size, then SURELY they must trust them to help them manage their comms in the same channels too?

Emma Harris, Eurostar’s Sales and Marketing Director shows the problem:

“We’re the commercial department and we were kind of ready for social media but the business wasn’t. To start involving crisis communication and disruption messages into social media, we just weren’t ready for it. “

Again, as per my last piece, perhaps there are so many snake oil agencies out there that clients have come to distrust every agency they meet, or perhaps the comms team see social media as a marketing thing…or perhaps marketing see this as a comms thing…whatever, if you learn one thing from this post and the whole debacle:

Customers are platform and stature-neutral – they don’t care about who you are. Find ways to deal with them in their playing field how they want to play.

WAS – good job folks. I think you’ve delivered above the call of duty and given a good account of yourselves.

Update: please read Andrew’s post for an incredibly balanced, considered view! Your life will be better for it!

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So you’re a social media specialist/strategist/expert/….well you’re nothing more than a bullsh*tter if you’re not making your recommendations using a monitoring system. 

I read Jeremiah’s post the other day with mixed emotions – I didn’t like the sense of pleasure he seemed to get from social media “gurus” losing their jobs for taking an unmeasurable approach. I’ve been out of work twice and Jeremiah, let me tell you – nice it is not, definitely not something from which to take pleasure, nor wish upon anyone.

BUT, I totally agree with what he was saying about the recession forcing the bullsh*tters to be accountable. I’m not sure if any business needs metrics MORE than social media. As the monitoring industry has matured, there are now clear differences between how and what the systems measure.

I have been using Live Buzz for a couple of years and swear by it, but was introduced to Radian6 last year and spent a bit of time evaluating it. I have to say, I’m not at all convinced about how genuinely insightful it is, especially given the UK/.co.uk problem (the only way you can monitor UK-specific commentary is to tell the system to monitor .co.uk domains) but it does a fantastic job in introducing clients to the concept of measurement over and abover Google Alerts – and the graphs look good too!

But, my opinion is changing. Since seeing the video below, Radian6 looks like it is evolving with some interesting new features – ones which could actually make a big difference to your strategy offering.

I won’t go any further as the video is actually a work of genius:

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