Social Media

All thing social media!

The social media tool dilemna

How to pick and choose the right social tools to not get confused

Too many social tools, too many choices

Too many social tools, too many choices

Hey – check out the title of this blog post. Quite proud of that.

With the growth and then subsequent explosion of social media over the past five to six years or so has come a concurrent explosion in the number and usage of the following:

  1. Social platforms: these are types of services or networks on offer. For example, video sharing websites are a platform (YouTube!), as are micro-blogging sites (think Twitter, Sina Weibo) and social bookmarking and news aggregation sites (Reddit – one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time reading on the web).
  2. Social networks: a catch-all term used to describe a website like Facebook or Pinterest where users are able to learn, chat, listen and share their life online.
  3. BUT – most importantly and perhaps annoyingly, as I will go on to discuss, social tools.

For someone like me, it’s of critical importance to know which tools are best suited to my every day work. Before I tell you how to make sure you don’t go overboard and sign up for 1o0 tools and then realise on payday you’re paying for them all (f***ing trial periods!) I wanted to compare individual bloggers like myself and perhaps you to those that perhaps do need a multitude of tools, or prohibitively expensive ones like Radian 6 and Adobe Social.

Someone who works for a busy social media / digital agency and is in charge of multiple accounts is going to need powerful social media tools that allow them to control what is posted to a large number of social media networks and when for a number of individual clients.

Get rid of all those standing orders and be satisfied

Get rid of all those standing orders and be satisfied

These clients will be unavoidably different in their social media and content marketing strategies, so different tools may be required to measure click through rates, engagement ratios and engagement levels across lots of different networks.

Then you look at the in-house social media teams at large corporates like Dell. I can’t find the statistic, but something like 70% of all large multinational corporates have a dedicated social media team today. Dell is an interesting example, and one that I came across when reading The Social Media MBA by Christer Holloman.

Around four years ago, after consistent success in formalising its approach to monitoring customer conversations via the web and social networks in particular, Dell launched its “global Social Media Ground Control team” and then later on that year set up its Social Media Listening Command Centre – with the sole responsibility to “monitor, measure and report on Dell social media activities.” Using a customised version of Radian 6 (just to give you a solid idea of how expensive it is), Dell’s Social Media Ground Control team are able to track more than 25,000 daily topic posts related to Dell, and in the words of Stuart Handley, Communications Director, EMEA, LATAM and Canada: “Being able to track the daily topic posts and Twitter mentions means we are able to listen to conversations that have a reach greater than the circulation of the top 12 daily newspapers in the United States”.

Why would you or I pay for Radian 6 when you get so few mentions a day that you can pick up all of them on your phone? Or even Sprout Social when Hootsuite is a more powerful scheduling tool, and you have Twitonomy, Followerwonk and Manageflitter at your disposal for FREE?

The list goes on. My message is clear: Don’t pay for services unless you’re making the money back from yours or someone elses business!

Go and cancel all those standing orders and start afresh. You’ll feel right as rain ;-)



How to Utilise Social Media in an Art Gallery

My partner dragged me along to an art fair about six months ago, and by chance I had the opportunity to meet one of the most interesting, charismatic and dynamic person I’ve ever met; Rebecca Hossack. Let’s just say you really have to meet her to fully experience the energy reserves she possesses and her passion for people, philanthropy and art.

Anyway, at this exhibition I whipped my phone out and started Instagramming some of the work on display. I wanted to mention the gallery and tag it on Twitter and Instagram, so not realising who she was, I asked Rebecca if she had the Twitter handle and Instagram username to hand.

Another exhibition at #Art14_London

A very tall sculpture of the Facebook logo at #Art14_London – the most recent art fair I attended.

What followed next was a pleasure and a shock –  she became so enthusiastic about my line of work, what I knew, how she and her employees could and should be using social media, and so on. I found out that her gallery wasn’t on Pinterest (shock horror!) and their while their Twitter feed was reasonably active with a decent number of followers, it was mainly a series of ReTweets. The potential for social media making a difference to the gallery’s marketing and communications strategy was immediately obvious.

I think that art galleries have a lot of room for improvement in the following four areas:

  1. Utilising social media to educate their prospective customers about artworks and artists,
  2. Driving traffic to their websites,
  3. Engaging with artists and individuals or groups with the same values as them
  4. Complimenting the physical element provided by their gallery space with a parallel stream of attention paid to ensure the gallery’s message and content are spread to as wide an audience as possible.

Below are some tips for those willing to experiment and jump ahead of the others in the art world. These are brief points, and I’m fully aware that there will be more, especially as the platforms and tools develop and you find out innovational new was to use them. Let me know if you have any measurable success!

1. If you haven’t already, set up a Pinterest business page! Even if you haven’t, READ BELOW.

  • WHY? Because 70% of people use Pinterest as a means of getting advice on how to spend their money. If this isn’t enough, the social network are overwhelmingly middle class females. No brainer!
  • These are not hard to set up and are essential for those galleries that want to integrate lovely looking Pinterest boards showcasing all their art with their website seamlessly.
  • Verify your website from your Pinterest page – check out Jeff Bullas’ guide. It’s relatively easy but you will probably need your website developer to make sure everything is done correctly. This is really helpful as it clearly associates your Pinterest page with your website.
  • If you are ok with having little red ‘Pin It’ buttons all over your website – DO IT. You will need your website admin to help you with this, just like when you verify your website with Pinterest (above point).
  • Make sure the Pins that correspond to art featured on your website are properly optimised for search! When you Pin images you can write a little description. Use key words, the artist’s name and the price. This is crucial if you are to be found by people searching, but also as the page becomes more popular your boards are likely to become recommended to people searching for keywords that you have used in your descriptions. Jeff Bullas wrote a decent blog on optimising Pinterest pages – as has Krista Bunskoek from Wishpond.

2. Use hashtags to engage with guests at art fairs and events.

  • While at various art fairs (which I really did start to enjoy), I noticed that it wasn’t just me snapping away and Tweeting photos.What really excited me was that people were doing the same, all over the place. To see these images and who was taking them in real time, all you had to do was tap in the event’s hashtag (#Art14_London), and check out the images and Tweets that came up.
  • As an exhibitor at an art fair, you can really take advantage of this. Having that kind of data is potential gold dust – it’s basically a current list of who is at the event and active on social media. Once you see someone has Instagrammed a picture, Tweet about/comment on that user’s post, massage their ego a little bit, strike up a conversation online and then eventually ask them to come to your stand and have a chat with you or one of your sales team!
  • When interacting with people you don’t know on Twitter and Instagram (the two main visual networks that people tend to post photos on and that are easily trackable using hashtags), it is key to ensure that you ask them a question about their initial post. Agree or constructively disagree (or just discuss!) their viewpoint, say you love the image, and then talk about what your exhibition stand has to offer.
  • So, above I have outlined a way of driving real people (traffic) to your exhibition stand at an art fair – all for free. The more people that come to your stand, the more chances you have to make that sale.
Google+ logo

The benefits of Google+ are almost entirely related to increasing Google rankings, particularly if your Google Business Page has been verified as belonging to your website.

3. Make sure you’ve got a Google+ business page and EDUCATE your prospective customers!

  • While Facebook has got a great deal more active users and perhaps a more relevant user base than Google+, the benefits in terms of SEO are huge.
  • The primary purpose of using social media as part of a communications strategy in an art gallery is to channel traffic to your website. So, when you create a new Pinterest board for the launch of a new artist your gallery is promoting/exhibiting, it is very wise to post that board on Google+, making sure to use hashtags and the link to the board, as well as a few sentences describing the artist, and the exhibition.
Posting Pinterest Boards to Google+

Here you can see what you must include in your Google+ posts to get the best SEO. I have included a link (obviously!), but more importantly a short summary and a skateboarding hashtag. Google is more easily able to categorise the content.

What the Google+ post will look like on the page

What the Google+ post will look like on the page.

Personally, from what I’ve seen and heard, social media is terribly underused in the Art world (world sounds more correct than industry – maybe I’m wrong!) Perhaps it’s because a great deal of art gallery owners and collectors are averse to tainting their brand with social networks which they associate with teenagers and unwanted technological tomfoolery. I think this is naive – social media provides galleries with tools that can connect you with a vast number of people who you would otherwise not have met or spoken to.


Content is King… Forever and Ever (On Repeat)

Who coined the phrase ‘Content is King’? Ah, yes. Bill Gates all the way back in 1996, when I was eight years old. 17 years on and this still seems to be true – but this ‘King’ shows no sign of changing his ways or handing over the pen to someone else, entirely at least.

Too many Tweets, sire?

Too many Tweets, sir?

Like a lot of people, I consume content on the internet like a madman. Twitter is almost an impulse for me – if I can’t get to sleep I whip out the iPhone and systematically go through the latest 50 posts in my Home Feed on Hootsuite. Tweetdeck is constantly open while I’m at work and at home, just in case something pops up that I haven’t seen before.

Herein lies my problem, and the problem of other people who spend a lot of time reading free stuff on the internet about social media and tech.

People are writing about the same subject: cool. But they are churning out the same stuff as well!

There are some people who really, really know their stuff out there. They have gone to a huge amount of time and effort to nail down what type of approach to marketing really works on Google+, or the 5 things that you NEVER DO on LinkedIn when you’re looking for a job. Jeff Bullas is one guy (worth a follow, people!)

But they repost these blogs, over and over again throughout the day and night. I literally had to follow Jeff for a week and (I assume) he’d systematically shared his whole blog library with me! I stay tuned because when he has the time to squeeze another one out, it’ll no doubt be worth reading.

One of the people that know what they're talking about!

One of the people who know what they’re talking about!

This is turning into a moan, so I’ll bring it to an end. This is a shout out to people who really know what they are talking about – I know you’re busy and writing original content is extraordinarily hard work, but you risk alienating the people like me who see you in their feeds every 30 minutes with a post they saw yesterday!


Passion vs. a Presentation

On Thursday I attended a talk run as part of Social Media Week London (#SMWLDN) hosted by a recruitment consultancy (ManpowerGroup) and a social business consultancy (Carve Consulting).

It was a great presentation, but not because the content was especially new to me, although it was very good. Some of the slides were difficult to see, but that wasn’t important because one of the speakers – Paul Harrison,  MD at Carve was truly engaging.

The guy is a whirlwind and seems to think at 100 miles an hour, but he was there to tell a story, not solely to sell a product or tell people what he and his company had done. He was there to express how important it is for businesses should embrace social media and make it as normal to employees as using Outlook or even the office scanner.

The way in which he told the story was fantastic – he looked at everyone and everything apart from the slides – well he did look at the slides – but they just set the agenda. He swore. He obviously didn’t have a script (or need one). His presenting style oozed enthusiasm, knowledge and genuine passion for his field of expertise – social business.

Why talk about something to people if you don’t have this level of passion for a subject? Not everyone is such a natural communicator, granted, but there are ways to express personal enthusiasm for any given subject – there must be.


‘Google Linked’ – The End of Recruitment As We Know It

I work as a communications and social media executive at a recruitment company. On the way home from work last week, I started thinking about LinkedIn and it’s exponential growth in importance to recruitment agencies and company HR departments. So important, that I reckon in the near future there will be no need for the vast majority of recruitment consultancies that pepper cities and towns all over the world, and those that survive will occupy very small, niche sectors and most likely specialise in confidentiality (something which we have recently learned cannot be assured of while using the internet!)

Office workers Tokyo

While LinkedIn is used predominately in the West, particularly The US, automated recruitment software is likely to be wholly transferrable across continents

Imagine Google bought LinkedIn. Not only does Google have an almighty chunk of extremely detailed and useful data of all kinds, but LinkedIn now can take advantage of Google’s financial clout and world leading search algorithms and the brains behind them. Of course there are huge numbers of other consequences and subsequent reactions, but I haven’t the time or the knowledge to write about them.

Old Office workers

It ain’t like it used to be…

Rather than LinkedIn acting as a portal where employers are able to go and find people with the skills and experience they need to fill the role of a recently departed employee, the employer – who pays a premium subscription to ‘Google Linked’ – shows LinkedIn the leaver’s profile as it was when he joined the company in question, when he left that company and the job specification for the now vacant role – all found very easily inside LinkedIn’s databases.

LinkedIn analyses this data, and generates a list of people who have indicated if they are “actively looking for work”, “may be convinced to change current job for better opportunities”, “and those who not currently working”. All these people will match to the nearest degree the details of the leaver in terms of age, salary levels, experience, hard and soft skills, location.

They UI would also allow subsribers to their service to search for very specific metrics, like niche skills and qualifications, people they’ve worked with before – but for the specific purpose of hiring, with the right technology recruitment could become largely automated.

The employer then looks through the profiles on the list (which serve as online CVs) and makes a shorter list. A Google Calendar system synced with your work mail schedules online video interviews with those on the shortlist, and you invite the two you like most into your office for the final, face to face interview.

Subscriptions instead of fees, no phone calls with salespeople – no middleman. A simple interaction where the perfect candidate is placed in a perfect role, ostensibly.

City of London at Night

City of London at Night

I don’t doubt that this has been said before by many people, but apart from niche areas (highly confidential recruitment, physical jobs like acting or sports, and the Civil Service are all examples), I believe recruitment companies will find them increasingly sidestepped by their existing and prospective clients and I don’t think that many leading recruiters are making preparations for the change early enough.

Do you think the majority of recruitment agencies are doomed? Vote in this poll if you feel like it!