A prefect's musings on digital and social media

Tag Archives: Facebook


Views, likes, shares and tweets – If your campaign is going to succeed these near sacred words are going to define it.  In a media climate in which everyone competes to carve out a digital presence, ‘going viral’ has become the foundation of many marketing strategies.

The essence of creating a viral campaign is the ability to make something shareable. This necessity for the content to be organically shared from person to person usually means it has to be amusing or shocking in some way.

Although this may sound obvious this simple fact has completely changed the style of mainstream advertising. Traditionally adverts were often based around a sense of aspiration, whether its scantily dressed supermodels parading around or coffee being served in the house of your dreams, products sat upon this glossy pedestal. Although this element of aspiration still underpins the messages of modern campaigns, increasingly adverts are tailored for virality by being controversial, funny and most importantly raw.

A good example to illustrate this change in style is delivered by the evolution of Pepsi adverts:



Here you can see the clear difference the Internet has made. Video hosting platforms, such as Youtube, are at the heart of this change not only in terms of how the advert can be shared but also the aesthetic style of the advert. Very often viral campaigns are centred around a first person or fly on the wall style, tapping into real life experience and ultimately allowing a much more intimate relationship to be made between the brand and the consumer.

As well as Youtube, social media platforms, such as Twitter, act as important catalysts in the modern viral process due to the hash tagging function. This is used to great effect by Pepsi as they deliver their homemade style advert coupled with the hash tag #gordontestdrive. Creating this allows your content to ‘trend’ which essentially means the content becomes popular within twitter, with the activity accumulating under this particular hash tag category. This functionality can be seen below where the ‘Trends’ column shows live updates of the most popular hashtags, whilst the search for #gordontestdrive shows how Twitter users have interacted and shared the content:

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 10.26.42

Aside from the advantage of having your message and product rapidly shared across the world, viral PR campaigns are comparatively cheap to make whilst being far more engaging.

To summarise, the most important way to make your material viral is to make it engaging. We all share videos with our friends and family, think of the style of content this is usually comprised of; whether it’s a cute dog doing a trick or someone hilariously falling over, the content is usually relatable, shocking or believable. When it comes to creating your own promotional material the most important thing to remember is to be innovative and imaginative, the sheer scale of platforms such as Youtube means that material quickly becomes copied and indistinguishable, how are you going to make your message stand out?

With the new year often comes new years resolutions – and if yours was to improved your understanding of social media and you are starting to flounder already, I thought it might be useful to highlight a few books that can give you a helping hand!

Understanding Digital Marketing – Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones

A useful resource for outlining potential digital marketing strategies – this provides a more general overview of various different digital marketing platforms such as search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, social media etc, which is a very useful starting point.

My favourite thing about this book is that it provides you with a ‘chapter pledge’ at the beginning of each chapter, which is really useful if you want to pick up the book at various points for advice, rather than read it all the way through, it helps you identify what the chapter will teach you and whether that is relevant to what you are looking for.


Once you have drilled down on the particular areas you want to focus on, it might be worth getting a book dedicated to that area for some more in-depth information.

This is Social Media: Tweet, Blog, Link and Post your Way to Business Success – Guy Clapperton

This book is a really good starting point because it provides a brilliant overview of a wide range of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ecademy, Flickr, YouTube, Bebo, MySpace, Blogs, Podcasts, Mobile and more)!

The steps are easy to follow and there is also a really useful ‘jargon buster’ feature, which can help you to understand some of the technical (or not so technical) terms that are regularly bandied around.

Definitely a good start point if it is social media in particular that you are looking to crack!

Twitter Power – Joel Comm

The Twitter bible for businesses wanting to try out the microblogging phenomenon!  This is honestly the most useful social media book that I have read (and believe me I have read a fair few)!  It provides real examples and genuinely useful hints and tips.  The book is split it into bite-size chunks that take you through the process step by step – from setting up your Twitter feed and establishing a following right through to the legal considerations.

It also has a useful ’30 day plan for domination Twitter’.  Seriously, if you want to join and understand Twitter, this is the book for you.


Other books that you might find are worth checking out, but weren’t quite the ones for me:

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott – whilst it had some useful hints in it, I found this one a bit of a hard slog.  However, does provide some good blogging tips in Chapter 5.

Social Media 101 – Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online by Chris Brogan – a really interesting read for those particularly interested in social media, but the ‘101’ format means it is probably not the best starting point for beginners!

Public Relations and the Social Web – How to use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications by Rob Brown – another really useful overview!

So hopefully in the above you will find something that will keep you on the straight and narrow with your digital media strategy this year…


Yesterday I received a very poorly targeted piece of mobile marketing, a text message from a company called H&R (whom I have never heard of…but do feel free to enlighten me if you have) saying ‘now that the kids are back to school it is time to think about YOU.  We have plenty of packages for YOU time at H&R, call xxx’ etc. etc.  You get the general idea.

So why was this so poorly targeted, I am after all very keen on ME time.  What H&R had neglected to notice is that I do not have any children…I may have a requirement for me time, but this has not been as a result of a hectic summer holidays with the kids at home (the closest I get to kids in my household, my boyfriend, has in fact been very well behaved throughout the summer holidays).

Mobile marketing, which is widely credited as beginning in 2000, is not distinct from many other forms of marketing in the fact that it can often fall foul to poorly targeted marketing.  But this is somewhere that social media marketing in particular (and arguably mobile marketing as well) must get it right – because it is encroaching on people’s personal domains.  Facebook profiles, in particular, are often very personal arenas – they are places where we socialise with our friends, share pictures of nights out, post updates on our day to day activities.  They are certainly NOT places where we want to be spammed with inappropriate and irrelevant content. 

Perhaps this is where Facebook’s profile targets advertising (e.g. advertising targeted at your interest) comes into its own.  Initially people were wary, but would you not rather receive an advert for something that is relevant to you than targeting men with feminine hygiene products, for example. 

Companies should also be bearing this in mind when targeting consumers through social networking sites with their own profile pages and news feeds.  The golden rules being:

  • Make sure information is correctly targeted
  • Ensure that information you are supplying is both relevant and interesting to your audience
  • Make sure it is accessible (e.g. can users easily identify what you company does and how it might be relevant to them)

Following the news that Facebook is aiming a full launch of its virtual currency Facebook Credits in September I, like many others, am left wondering whether Facebook will eventually take over the world.

Source: logoinn.net

Facebook credits will initially be used to enable users to buy games etc. through the site.  However, it is thought that eventually this will roll out to allow users to use credits to purchase goods on sites outside of Facebook – making it a service to rival PayPal.

I can see that this might be very useful.  I do have a PayPal account, but use it rarely and often feel both confused and nervous purchasing items on Ebay via PayPal (not, might I add, that these feelings stop me making said purchases when the need arises).  Digital Prefect/social media addict I may be but that in no way instils trust in all things virtual or over rides the natural skeptic in me.  So I might feel more comfortable using the known entity of Facebook to purchase my goods online.

But are we really looking for a one-stop-shop from our social networks?  Admittedly, whilst I indulge many online fads initially, I do tend to return to the usual suspects for my regular status updates/photo-sharing/gossip gathering/business networking. 

Yet, Facebook alone does not negate my desire to Tweet (there are celebs ahoy there and I am extremely nosy) and similarly, I have no desire to conduct my business networking in the same space that I ‘socialise’ (albeit virtually) with my friends.  Potential clients may not find last weekends antics either amusing or impressive, whilst my friends have limited interest in the latest networking groups I have joined/presentations I have uploaded/new contacts I have made (though I like to think all are avid followers of this blog *ahem*).  If I want people to know my exact location at any given time and earn points for regularly drinking/dining at the same venue, I would probably join FourSquare to do so (though I don’t and I haven’t).  I am happy to browse the plethora of e-commerce sites available on the internet, and utilise the payment systems provided should I decide to make a purchase.  Facebook does not need to be all of these things on its own.

So do we really want Facebook to become our one-stop shop for all things virtual, or do you think it should stick to what it does best, social networking.  What do you think?

I read with interest Mark Ritson’s article in Marketing Week, rebuking his client for big budget spend on social media and pointing out that Facebook, Twitter and the like only reach a small percentage of a companies stakeholders (largely of course depending on who those stakeholders were).  It was wonderfully refreshing to see a Marketing professional that doesn’t blindly jump on the social media bandwagon, but instead recognises that its merits need to be weighed up against a companies individual marketing requirements.

Refreshing though it might have been, I do feel that Ritson also missed the point – social media should not be about mass marketing and reaching out to millions of consumers in the way that advertising or direct marketing might.  Rather, it is about a targeted approach, providing useful and interesting content to the digital generation on platforms that they already actively engage with.  It allows the opportunity for engagement and collaboration with companies and brands, but it does not enforce this.

If companies ignore this opportunities they neglect to even open the door to engagement and collaboration.

Ritson is also right that it does not need to command a major chunk of marketing budget, but the investment with social media is largely time and that does need to be realistically accounted for.

Source: smallbiztrends

Social media should be integrated into the wider marketing mix, not necessarily as a predominant element (though again that is dependent on the company) but as another string to the bow, and this in itself emphasises the need for strategy. 

This does not have to include an arduous process of months of consultation and a 100 page report before social media strategies can be implemented (by which point things will have moved on anyway) but it should include a thorough analysis of what a company hopes to gain from social media, how this can best be achieved and a realistic exploration of the platforms available to implement this.

So..the social media election that we were promised turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. There weren’t any particularly awe inspiring tweets from party leaders, no furious tapping away on blackberries and despite strong online support for the Lib Dems (Nick Clegg ‘won’ each television debate according to Facebook voters) this did not materialise into votes.

Don’t get me wrong, social media campaigns were launched by the parties, but it seems to me they were mainly half-hearted attempts:

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

The Conservatives, launched an iPhone application at the beginning of March offering news from the Conservative campaign, a guide to all the party’s key policies, and a mechanism to make party donations.  Hardly a vote winner for the undecided.  They made a slightly better stab at the social media jungle on voting day by placing an advertisement outlining their “contract” with voters on YouTube.  A quick way to reach up to 10 million people – but was it too little too late?

Labour, meanwhile, made their digital media foray through mobile and social networking – sending a mass text message to supporter urging them to encourage others to vote Labour and releasing an application for Twitter and Facebook allowing users to change their avatars (or profile pictures) to ‘I’m Voting Labour on May 6’.  But was it successful – I did see few of these cropping up on my Twitter feed (and actually found it quite irritating), but none on Facebook.  And is preaching to the converted really the way to sway voters…

The Lib Dems were hailed as Kings of Digital with the most ‘user friendly website’ and commanded social media attention with Twitter #iagreewithnick hashtags and YouTube responses on the same theme and Facebook flash mobs in Trafalgar Square – but these were produced by users rather than initiated by the party itself.  User generated campaigns should arguably be more influential, but as I have already noted, this support did not convert into votes.

But where social campaigns were lacking, there is no denying that there was a lot of talk about the general election, particularly surrounding the television debates and the run-up to election day.  Perhaps it is enforcing the message that we do not want to be preached to on social media, we want to debate and share our views with like-minded peers.  It was the people that made the social media election – not the politicians.

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