Sunday, 27 February 2011

Rowse Honey Facebook Campaign

At first I was skeptical. To be honest, any time someone on my television screen directs me to their Facebook page I'm somewhat sceptical. It seems a little convoluted for businesses to advertise social campaigns  - paying money to direct people to another promotion.

In this case, however, I was pleasantly surprised, both by the quality of the campaign, and the amount of interaction.

The concept is that staff have made their own adverts and the public vote for a winner to be aired on national tv. Not an entirely original premise (I'm pretty sure I remember a few campaigns like this using YouTube as a platform) however it is well executed and with a couple of nice extra touches.

The videos are good - bit arty but still with a homemade feel so not pretentious - and have sparked a few hundred comments on each one. There are also nearly a thousand votes or 'likes' for each video too.

An appealing feature of the page is the box on the right hand side - people will be more inclined to do something if they know their actions will cause some good, however small. And everyone likes fluffy little bees! 

The next appealing feature is an offer of a free pot of honey. Freebies are always welcome. The only slight hitch is that it's not very obvious where on the page you can sign up for a free pot, unless you spot this bit in the menu under the 'save the bees' feature:

They may not want to give honey away to all and sundry (in fact, the page now says they have run out), but making it less obvious will frustrate the user, and may lead to comments like this:

However although Rowse haven't dealt with the comment above yet, there are some good official responses on the discussion pages. The first one is a nice example of how companies can emphasise their social goals and allay claims of pure commercialism:

And this one below is a good demonstration of how brands can instil trust by being truly knowledgeable  about their product and issues surrounding it, in this case nature:

In conclusion, the Rowse Facebook campaign is a good example of how to use social media to encourage interaction from the consumer, asking for their input on a decision, offering them freebies, and adding an element of charity. It does have usability flaws, yet the friendly transparent nature of the company communications goes some way to mitigate any frustrations.

Overall 7/10   

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Seeds of technological change. (Ai Wei Wei)

Oh, a carpet?

Turbine Hall, Tate Modern (own image)

Nope. It's actually over 100,000 porcelain sunflower seeds. An installation by artist Ai Wei Wei as part of the gallery's annual Unilever series.

(Photo Courtesy of Tate Photography)
Aside from being slightly breathtaking (and raising the question 'why?') the installation caught my interest for another reason. The inscription on the side describes:

"Each piece is a part of the whole, a poignant commentary on the relationship between the individual and the masses. There are over one hundred million seeds. Five times the number of Beijing's population and nearly a quarter of China's internet users."

Since when did the amount of internet users become a way to measure vast numbers? Is it a figure everyone understands? Also, the proximity to the statement about the individual versus the masses is intriguing - certainly we feel insignificant as one seed, or internet user, but together we can effect global awareness, change and even revolution (ahem Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria?).

 Or am I reading way too much into an interesting statistic chosen by a researcher? You decide :) 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Social Media & The Law 2 - Libel

As promised, here are some more thoughts on social media and it's interaction with the British legal system. As part of Social Media Week (#smwldn), this morning I attended a breakfast workshop entitled Big Brand Social Media & Dealing with Potential Libel with a guest speaker from law firm Schillings

Points of interest were:

  • According to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) journalists are "...entitled, when reporting the death of an individual, to make use of publicly available material obtained from social networking sites. However, editors should always consider the impact on grieving families when taking such information (which may have been posted in a jocular or carefree fashion) from its original context and using it within a tragic story about that person's death". 
I'm glad the clause 'when reporting the death' is in there - it implies they have other sources. Otherwise would we see journalists prematurely reporting deaths via Twitter rumours?  

  • Q: So is personal information in the public domain, eligible to be shared by the press? Does the premise of a "reasonable expectation of privacy" apply to social media? 

A: The breakfast speaker concluded it does in some cases, but noted that a High Court Judge has ruled "blogging is a public activity" in the U.K and this may have opened some flood gates. As the story here shows, the precedent has been set for social media content to be fair game for journalists - the PCC effectively decided that the civil servant who expected her tweets only to be seen by her 700 followers, hadn't a (feathered) leg to stand on. 

But clearly, long before this ruling made it official, social media has been a valued source for hacks:

235 results found for 'on Facebook page' on the Mail Online site, dating back as far as May 2007!

  • So, when can (or should) people seek legal redress for issues arising from social media?
The lawyer this morning ascertained that only 1% of issues of this nature lead to legal action and that actions vary according to:

- the tolerance of the individual/company concerned
- who is the target, is it very personal?
- potential impact (financial being a big consideration)

and suggested it's best practice to find the lowest impact solution (both in terms of cost and negative publicity) and work with PR and social media teams to manage a response.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Digital Recruitment Confusions

Confession: I am a jobseeker. Otherwise known in recruitment as 'talent'.

Since leaving my previous job (end of 2010) it's been an interesting experience to say the least. The digital landscape is so new, and changes so rapidly, that it seems to be a confusing time for both the jobseeker and sometimes even the recruiter!

I'll give a couple of personal examples here and then a few thoughts on what could be causing all the confusion. The first example is a real conversation I had with a recruiter, X who rang me up after finding my CV on :

X:   So, I see from your CV that you have worked in social media?

me: Yep, most of my roles have involved social media work, and it is definitely something that interests me.

X:   Great, so in these previous roles were you involved in structuring social media?

me: Uh, I was involved in developing the social media strategy, for the companies I worked for, yes.

X:   Yes but what about the structure

me: I implemented staff social media training, so I had a positive influence on the communications structure...

X: [long pause]

Me: Or do you mean the structure of the platforms? I'm not a developer so unfortunately I can't claim to have built or altered the structure of a social media platform...

At which point I was cut off. I'd be really interested to see what the brief for that job actually was! Was he talking about being a thought-leader, how I had shaped  and structured the social sphere itself? Was he trying to get me to describe myself as a social media 'guru' (I wouldn't, I hate the term)? Or had he just got the wrong end of the stick when my CV said I developed a strategy and thought I built a new Twitter? I guess i'll never know. He had called from an unknown number, and I didn't catch his name.  

Experience number two was with a recruitment company I sourced myself. I found their website (a bit flash heavy, but creative and professional) and sent them my CV. They called back for a chat and told me they'd email over a job description that suited what I was looking for. Less than 10 minutes later, someone else called from the same company, to ask if i'd be interested in a job 6k under my expected salary and for a fluent French speaker. He said he saw I had a French A-level and wondered if I'd be happy doing SEO in French??

I realise these two examples won't be indicative of digital recruitment as a whole, and I am also (of course) grateful that my CV is attracting calls at all, but it does seem a bit concerning. I think I may also know one of the problems: terminology. As I said at the beginning this is a very rapidly changing environment, and the English language is slow moving. Unsurprisingly there is a bit of disagreement about we call these people that do all these newfangled things! For example:

Content Manager - this is not necessarily a managerial level role. It could be executive or even entry level. What matters is that the individual is managing content i.e curating what copy and images are on the website. They could be writing the copy themselves or just co-ordinating and sub-editing it.

Web Editor - pre web 2.0 this used to mean the guy/girl that had built the website. This now more commonly means someone who edits the copy on the website, so needs much less technical experience. Of course the web editor should preferably know some HTML, and the principles of SEO but will nowadays be more likely to be editing text via a content management system (not to be confused with the content manager, above) than coding anything.

Q: What do you call the person hired to run the company Twitter, Facebook and Youtube presences? 

A: Social media Executive/Assistant,  Social Media Marketer,  Digital Marketer,  Online Marketer, Social Community Manager (again not managerial level)Community Moderator and many many more. If they also run the blog, this can extend to job titles including the aforementioned 'content' and 'editor' keywords as well.

I have held (and also applied for) many of these roles, but that doesn't necessarily mean I have a skillset to put a swiss army knife to shame! What it does mean is I have looked past the sometimes arbitrary titles, to what the role will actually involve on a day to day level, and seen whether my experience matches this. 

For the moment, until there is an established nomenclature for positions within digital, perhaps this is the best we - as individuals - can do. Recruiters can try to gain deeper knowledge of the digital sector, listening to their clients, and listening to the jobseekers and really trying to get what the person will be doing. This is no longer as simple as "agency side (check) , account manager (check), digital experience (check)" as that last term could me a whole lot of things, in a whole lot of contexts, with a bunch of different names! 

Of course I wouldn't tar all recruiters with the same brush. Some agencies specialise in digital, and others are just genuinely very good and take the time to get to know the client and the jobseeker. I have had the pleasure of meeting and dealing with both these types. I am just interested in the way recruitment has been affected by the myriad of changes in this developing sector, and what might be causing the communication difficulties which appear to be faced by jobseeker and recruiter alike. I'm interested, as always, to hear your thoughts.