It’s been a crazy year. I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and all the best for the year to come. May your heart be open and your dreams come true! Big thanks Paul Donnellon for the santa cartoon.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) turned five years old this week. As part of their birthday celebrations, the team tweeted a series of one minute videos. I love these birthday videos so much, I wanted to keep a log of them here.
I’m presenting to my local school’s Code Club next term – it’s a really diverse group and I want to talk about careers in technology and help them believe that these types of jobs are for everyone. Women and people from black or minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds are still under-represented in STEM roles. These videos will make perfect little demos.
Code Club is a brilliant way of teaching children to code, and giving them that empowering idea that they can build anything they want. But it’s also an introduction to the concept of a UK digital industry.
If you’ve read many blog posts, either here or at interactiveknowhow, you’ll know I’ve always liked to see social media as a force for good: a means of helping us become more transparent, open, collaborative and connected.
Of course, social media is also a marketing tool. And it’s interesting that angry, divisive, polarised messaging is doing so brilliantly at present. In terms of truth and openness, November 2016 will go down in history as a seminal month: the month no-holds-barred emotion officially became ‘better’ than actual facts.
In November, ‘post-truth’ became Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year as we saw our world go full ‘Black Mirror’. Donald Trump credited Facebook and Twitter with winning the US election, social networks struggled to control fake news, Silicon Valley witnessed the Tech CEOs’ nightmare – a president totally at odds with their values, and, oh yes, Tila Tequila was suspended from Twitter. I’m quoting that last one not so much for the absurdity of a forgotten celebrity making headlines again but because someone suddenly thinks it’s ok to be neo-nazi.
You never know what to expect from a brand-organised conference. A little bit of hard sell, a whole lot of soft sell, maybe some interesting speakers, possibly nice people, undoubtedly decent catering and an ok sort of venue. That’s pretty much the best case scenario.
NYK Europe, the new social media intelligence conference from Brandwatch delivered on all those fronts. And probably more. It was nice to spend time with lots of other people deeply interested in social media analytics and consumer marketing insights (yes, leaving the rest of you FREE to party on without us)!
Here are five things I learned:
1. The key to meaningful innovation is empathy – Clara Gaggero and her magician husband Adrian Westaway designed the only phone manual ever to be put on display at MOMA. After observing elderly people struggling to un-box and set up new mobile phones, they made two hard-bound books which the sim card and phone could be placed into, creating a fun, interactive process with packaging, gadget and instruction all blended into one. Such a cool, simple idea.
2. Some nice lines to use about working with influencers: “Influence is contextual. It’s not absolute. It’s not a commodity. Influence is an eye-dropper: diffusion not infection. It’s all about planting a seed”. Thanks Dr Paul Siegel! Influencer marketing is still so misunderstood – good to be reminded it’s all about relationship-building (a la old school PR) not sledge hammers.
3. “Social for good” is something we can all be working towards: it’s all about using social data to solve read world problems. Yes, thanks Edward Crook (research manager, Brandwatch) – let’s have some more of that!
4. A 25 year old man can be a global figurehead for challenging gender stereotypes. Liam Hackett has been working with Brandwatch to research misogynistic language online and see how it impacts on men as well as women. Their first report was published in January. More collaborative work is coming. Liam’s agency worked with Lynx on a new tone of voice – as revealed in the aftershave’s latest campaign, Find Your Magic.
5. Mark Zuckerberg may have come to the party late, but he really knows what he’s doing with virtual reality. I hadn’t seen this latest video but its clear that the marriage between Oculus’ technology and Facebook’s 1 billion strong marketplace is frighteningly powerful. Meanwhile, if Twitter doesn’t innovate fast, we could all be deleting our accounts. Just two stories I heard on NYK’s savvy audience grapevine.
Thanks for having me, Brandwatch! Look forward to the next one.
Social media consultants used to talk about the difference between “broadcasting” and “listening”. You don’t hear that so much any more. One of the reasons Twitter isn’t the fun it used to be is the reversion to broadcast across so many profiles. (Combined with the rise of trolling – which makes Twitter like a party full of bores and bullies. And who wants that?)
One reason brands broadcast is because they can’t actually “listen”. Not in the true sense of the word. You can have all the monitoring systems you want, all the data gathering, all the analytics, but you can still completely miss the point.
Like puzzled parents trying to chime in with their kids’ conversations, or the proverbial dad on the dancefloor, many brands may need to face up to the harsh reality that they can never really be cool. At least, not that cool. Not achingly hip, blink and it’s over, cool.
However faddy influencer marketing might have become, the concept of influence is a useful one – anything that gets us away from vanity metrics (Get me 1m followers now – I don’t care who they are!) and onto something more meaningful has to be a bonus.
Influence is a metric social media marketers can actually work with – and something non-experts can easily understand. Well, hooray for that.
This week Brandwatch soft-launched Audiences, a product that trawls data from user bios and content on Twitter to bring you instant, real-time insights into who’s leading the conversations that matter to your brand.
Your digital footprint is your personal brand. It can help to approach it in the same way as you would a corporate brand: have a focus, be consistent and make sure clients and customers can find you.
It takes time and effort to build a personal brand online. But there are plenty of tools and shortcuts you can use to ensure you’re getting the best possible return on investment.
1. Use a decent photo
This is stating the obvious, but it amazes me how many people (even in comms) use a blurry or inappropriate photo or (even worse) don’t bother with a pic at all. People want to connect with other people. A face in your avatar or profile photo shows you’re human. A smiling face is even better.
Like every good meme, the one about the English being shopkeepers lives on because there’s truth in it. Napoleon (or Barère) may have meant it as an insult. But that’s ok, the modern day English/ Brits (in all our diversity) have embraced shopkeeping with open arms. We now own the s-word.
From pubs to tea shops to books, it turns out that running a shop is the number one dream career for UK citizens. Because, let’s face it, who can resist a nice-looking shop? There’s something reassuringly familiar about the carefully arranged shelves, well-chosen products and politely disinterested service.
But what we really want is those elusive freedoms (that have been at the heart of the current heated Brexit debate): independence and autonomy.
Not only do we love the idea of shop-ownership, the UK Government is happy to put shopkeeping firmly at the centre of its economic strategy.
The UK festival season has kicked in: everyone’s talking about summer and, if you’re that way inclined, you’ll want tickets to your favourite field party. So how are festival organisers making the most of it? I compared ten of the UK’s top independent events on social media, using Brandwatch to track mentions and hashtags.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a healthy conversation around music festivals in April and May (5980 mentions in total), with a strong contribution from mainstream media (led by online local newspapers).
Kendal Calling and Festival No 6 come out top of the comparison, with volume of mentions roughly in proportion with their social media following. Secret Garden Party does less well – despite having nearly the same number of Twitter fans as Kendall Calling (around 50,000), they generate less than half as many mentions.
I’ve had a nice time over the past few weeks delivering not one but two #techmums programmes. The #techmums course is made up of five modules: Google Apps (Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs), app design, web design, social media and coding (Python). The ethos and approach is simple: have a go, enjoy yourself, don’t worry if you don’t know everything (none of us do).
I first met #techmums founder Dr Sue Black (above left) ten years ago at a Google Women in Tech event – we got chatting and became friends. Since then, Sue has saved Bletchley Park, written a bestselling book and become an OBE. But she still remains the same warm, funny, down-to-earth person – now committed to doing whatever she can to share her success with others and open up technology to everyone – especially women who may lack confidence because they’ve taken time out of work to raise children.