#savethearctic comes to my street

It’s not every day that imaginative environmental campaigning against a global oil giant, effectively employing social media as part of a wider campaign of activities happens on your own door step, but that’s exactly what happened to me today in Edinburgh.

If you weren’t aware, Greenpeace have been running their save the arctic campaign, protesting against Shell’s oil drilling activities in the Arctic. Up until now I didn’t know about the campaign, but as I cycled past the Shell petrol station in Dalry today, I couldn’t really miss it!

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Emblazoned across the roof of the garage was the slogan #savethearctic and what hit me straight away was that this was a hashtag!

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Hashtags have been used in countless protests and demonstrations but seeing this example on my own street really brought home to me how powerful and useful hashtags can be, allowing groups and individuals to track the spread of a story across the web. This is a great example of Greenpeace using social media as part of a wider range of activities, where today they attempted to close down Shell garages across London and Edinburgh. Check out this video of the highlights

I love the imagination and passion used throughout this campaign, with the hashtag #savethearctic and social media right at the core of the activities. From a purely marketing and advertising point of view, other organisations could learn a lot from this campaign.

What are your thoughts on this campaign and what examples of effective or disastrous hashtag usage have you seen? Love to know your thoughts!

ch ch ch ch changes at Linkedin

I’ve noticed a few changes and bits of news about LinkedIn and apparently, we are not too far away from a LinkedIn redesign. You can’t so easily share tweets to your LinkedIn profile now, which is a change I like  as this has given it a more professional focus and taken some of the clutter out of the updates. In Facebook world, following the IPO, they are seemingly moving in to LinkedIn territory with Facebook Jobs. This has made me think about LinkedIn and how it fits in with the social networks I use.

LinkedIn is probably third or fourth in terms of social network usage for me, behind Twitter and Facebook and about even with YouTube. The way I use all of these sites is very different and I for one like the way that each network fulfils a different niche; Facebook for keeping up with friends and family and what is going on at the rugby club, Twitter for following and sharing mostly work related content and YouTube for finding content about subjects I am interested in. With all of these different networks to sign in and out of (not to mention my occasional visits to instagram, foursquare and pinterest) I can see why people often say ‘I wish there was one place that did it all’, however, I like the differences between these sites and the different aspects of my life that they apply to.

Having recently changed jobs and been in the job market, I can vouch for the fact that prospective employers do look at your LinkedIn profile (love the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ feature!!) and as more companies and individuals get on board, I can only see LinkedIn profiles being more important when looking for work or in the process of hiring that new team member.

LinkedIn Tips

  1. Don’t post things you don’t want your professional network to see! i.e. ‘I’m looking for new opportunities’ might not go down too well with your existing employer.
  2. Get your profile completed and up to date; skills, specialities, previous roles, job title and  job description can all help your profile become more visible in searches and are an opportunity to impress potential new employers.
  3. Join some (relevant) groups. There are lots of different groups on LinkedIn, many of them are full of spammy links, but if you can find a good group where people are talking about subjects relating to your industry, this can be a great networking opportunity.
  4. Explore the features, I personally really like the events feature under ‘more’ on the menu tab, as it’s a good way to look for events near you in your industry.
  5. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that LinkedIn can replace actual face to face networking! The value of networking is well documented and LinkedIn can add another layer to this, with a good presence adding to your credibility, but nothing beats actually getting out there and meeting people face to face!

Please share some of your experiences on LinkedIn, are you selective about who you connect with, or are you happy to connect with anyone just to get your numbers up?  What tips would you share with people on using LinkedIn? Any work related nightmares on Facebook?

Social Media and Tourism – is there anybody out there?!

I’m not long back from a little ‘stay-cation’ down in the South West of England and ahead of my trip I sent out a few tweets about the area hoping for some advice on places to go, things to see and good places to eat but I got NOTHING back in reply. I felt like the Twitterverse had abandoned me! Undeterred, I continued to try and find out if anyone was out there but I was further dismayed to find a general lack of use of social media and general lack of interaction. The campsite we stayed at had a Twitter account but hadn’t been active for a LONG time, I went paddle boarding and had a great time but the place we got a lesson from doesn’t have a twitter account, I went to the River Cottage Axminster Deli, Tweeted about them AND checked in on Foursquare and got no response (despite the fact that they are seemingly pretty active on Twitter with over 1,000 tweets and over 2,600 followers).

All of this left me feeling that businesses are missing out by not getting more involved in social media, especially in the tourism sector as people love to talk about what they have planned and what they do/did on holiday. Travel and tourism depends on word of mouth to spread recommendations and opinions, and social media allows people to quickly share these thoughts.

Tips for Social Media and Tourism

  • If you operate a business in tourism, have a presence in Social Media! For most this will be a Facebook and/or a Twitter account, but find out where relevant conversations are happening and explore other platforms.
  • Do some basic monitoring. Use something like hootsuite to have some searches set up. These could be based on your geographical location, your specific business, your competitors etc. basically to pick up on conversations that could result in new customers or find out what people are saying about you.
  • Engage with people. If someone has taken the effort to follow you, like your page, tweet about you or post about you at least acknowledge them!
Social Media and tourism info.
  • Check out the social media in travel and tourism awards, this is what the big players have been up to. You might not have their budget but that doesn’t mean you can’t take inspiration from their ideas!
  • Imagery can be so powerful in marketing in general so have a look at this tnooz article on why imagery is dominating social media in travel in 2012.
  • On a more local level, check out #scotlandhour on their website and on twitter, a great initiative giving tourists a place to find out more about Scotland and businesses a platform to promote themselves.
What are your experiences of social media in tourism? Maybe you are a business making social media work for you or maybe you don’t know where to start!? Would love to know your thoughts!

Social Media Monitoring

Ahead of this weeks Edinburgh Social Media Meetup, where there is the potential for me discussing Social Media Monitoring (SMM), I thought I would put some ideas (mostly other peoples!) and links down for people to check out. Having in a past life worked in SMM, it is an area that still interests me and which I am  passionate about, in terms of the benefits for individuals and businesses of all sizes.

What is Social Media Monitoring?

If you’ve ever searched twitter for tweets about your football team, your favourite band or your business, then you’ve already carried some SMM of your own! If we go to the font of all knowledge that is wikipedia and search for SMM it redirects you to ‘Social Media Measurement’ and defines this as ‘the tracking of various social media content such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs,  social networks, video/photo sharing websites, forums, message boards, and user generated content in general as a way for marketers to determine the volume and sentiment around a brand or topic in social media” I think this definition is just about right but I think that monitoring social media benefits more groups than just marketers.

Benefits of SMM for individuals

  • Career/job – I search for content around marketing and advertising to keep up to date with what’s happening in my industry; top stories, best people/accounts to follow
  • Find Content to share – if you are monitoring for a certain topic you can find interesting content to share and use to build your own following
  • Networking – find people and events for networking

Benefits of SMM to businesses

  • New customers – In my past role we would monitor social media for people using the term social media monitoring and potentially contact them if we thought that they could use our services. This works equally well if you are a small business for example an electrician can monitor for the words elecrician and the area that he works in and will find people asking for reccomendations on good electricians
  • Monitor your market place – keep up to date with what is happening in your market place
  • Monitor competitors – what mentions do your competition get in social media? what are they doing in social media?
  • Monitor Own Mentions – are people talking about your business in social media? If not why not? is this a good thing? if they are what are they saying about your business?

These are just a small selection of the benefits, Radian6, one of the biggest SMM  companies published an article about 100 ways to use SMM which can be seen here

How I monitor Social Media

As I said before If you have ever gone on to Twitter and searched for tweets about your football team or favourite band then you’ve already done some social media monitoring of your own, taking this a step further there are some great free tools that you can use. Social Brite put up a good list of their recommends and how they can be used.

Google Alerts – I run the twitter account for my Rugby Club so I set up some Google alerts and this tells me whenever the rugby club gets mentioned in the news, twitter etc this gives me good content to share and highlights tweets/mentions I might have missed. Check out the video below

Hootsuite – I use Hootsuite to monitor my own social accounts and at work I use it to monitor mentions of my clients. Hootsuite allows you to set up searches,which are there waiting for you when you log in to hootsuite. At work I use this to monitor mentions of my clients and for the rugby club I use this to monitor hashtags and conversations to find people that I might want to engage with. Hootsuite is more than just monitoring though as it allows management of your social profiles including scheduling and link tracking. The best place to find out more is at the Hootsuite Website

Social Mention – This is a social search tool which can help you see where you’ve been mentioned but also offers some sentiment, keyword and influencer analysis.

Topsy –  I use this in conjunction with Social Mention as it offers some different analysis like graphs of mentions over time.

Hopefully these ramblings and the links included will be a good starting point for having a chat later this week! Always keen to check out new things not covered here as well so leave a comment if there’s something you think I might be interested in.

IPA Creative Minds 9th May 2012 – From Dragons to T’s and C’s

Attended an interesting IPA event last night, which was a Q & A session with Nicola Mendelsohn, Russell Marsh, Wyndham Lewis and Nick Cohen. They covered loads of interesting topics so I thought I would post some links to articles relating to what they talked about.

Russell Marsh’s Pinterest infographics-fest can be found here – http://pinterest.com/russellmarsh/info-graphics/

A little bit of info. about zeebox

http://www.crunchbase.com/company/zeebox

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX3dlgCtdNU

Prometheus ad. campaign

http://www.redcmarketing.net/blog/online-marketing/prometheus-the-most-interesting-viral-marketing-campaign-ive-seen-this-year/

http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/9767-prometheus-ad-campaign-reaches-15m-twitter-users-but-was-it-worth-it

The Filter Bubble

http://www.thefilterbubble.com/

Klout and job prospects

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/04/ff_klout/

By no means is this everything, so If there is anything obvious I missed, let me know!

Passive location based apps (sounds boring to me as well)

Back to the old school……….

I was approximately four years late in joining the Foursquare ‘revolution’ (did it/will it ever really catch on?) and looking at my list of four friends and zero check ins in the last week, it is safe to say that I am over it already.

The Present Day

Reading about SXSW 2012, it appears that the most talked about startups are all location based apps/networks, taking the Foursquare idea on to the next level, alerting you to who is nearby, what they are interested in and what content they are sharing. The apps in question are Sonar, Banjo and Highlight, with Highlight taking the top spot as the most talked about. Although I was four years late to Foursquare I can see an opportunity to only be a week or so behind the coolest/geekiest people in the world in adopting these ‘next big thing’ apps!! Exciting!

Doing some very basic research into which one I should try out, they all have their pro’s and con’s, so it looks like I will have to try them all!

The Future

Having done my very basic (lazy?) research it appears that my iphone battery life will be limited to about an hour, I will sacrifice all privacy and information from my social profiles and no one else I come across will actually be using these apps. But in the interest of having something to write about I will try them out and let you know how I get on.

PS does this mean I am an early adopter now? or just another wannabe?

Instagram – is it all that?

OK so my profile pic was taken by a friend using hipstamatic and I thought it made a cool picture, but people were taking cool pictures before the likes of hipstamatic and Instagram came along right?

So just what is the appeal? Apparently Instagram has hit 25 million users and having recently announced an android version is on it’s way, that figure is set to sky rocket. Clearly it has mass appeal, but I don’t quite get it. Is it just a set of cool filters to apply to pictures?

Don’t get me wrong I am open to being convinced and just last week downloaded it to get some pics of the current enLIGHTen Edinburgh event going on http://enlightenedinburgh.wordpress.com/about/ but I dont see myself using it regularly.

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1. People I am interested in finding out about, I follow on Twitter, and they tend to post any Instagram pics they take there, so why would I follow them on yet another app/social network?

2. You can take cool pics already without using yet another app

3. I can’t bring myself to give up more time to another app or social network. Facebook is for Friends, twitter for people and subjects I am interested in, LinkedIn for work……. so where does Instagram fit in?

Open to being convinced but just not sure!

I will enter one of my photo’s into the enLIGHTen Edinburgh Photo comp and see if winning  £100 can make me an Instagram believer!