I used to love What The Papers Say when I was growing up. Today, I’m happy if I catch the press panel on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House, or Emily Maitlis saying “let’s whizz through tomorrow’s papers” on Newsnight.
Now that we have rolling news and can access any story any time, it seems quaint that broadcast programmes still run slots reviewing the papers, or that journalists even talk about tomorrow’s headlines. But they do – and shows still hinge around them.
The papers review slot in BBC Worklife comes right in the middle of the running order, with business interviews and international reports on either side.
Are you getting the traffic you deserve? You may have built the best-looking site money can buy, and filled it with great products and services, but if your digital marketing is shabby, you’ll never get a decent number of visitors.
Every online business needs a good digital marketing strategy. This strategy needs several elements. These might include having an email database so you can directly contact loyal customers (try the free version of Airtable for a great powered-up spreadsheet), or sending out a regular newsletter (my fave tool for this is Mailchimp). You might want to invest in an app so your customers can interact in a more meaningful way (if you do, ask an established developer like Milo Creative).
Having a strong social media presence is essential, and you can use web analytics to track the effectiveness of your content. You’ll also need to think about whether or not you want to pay for Google Ads (formerly AdWords) or any other form of digital advertising.
Why are we obsessed with vanity metrics? Like Love Island, we know they’re bad for us, but we keep coming back for more. There’s a guilty pleasure in notching up followers, or clocking more likes on a post. But measurements that involve sheer numbers, such as follower counts and likes, don’t actually prove very much. They aren’t particularly good indicators of how well you’re really engaging your audience.
If you’re a small business owner like me, it’s hard to imagine a time when one corporate mis-step might generate headlines. But a PR crisis can affect anyone, whatever the size of your organisation. It’s good to at least be aware of potential threats. What risks are you exposed to? What things could possibly go wrong? And how would you handle it if they did?
In 2010, Nathan Jurgenson was holed up at home in Washington DC writing his PhD thesis when he noticed something strange was happening. Two big snowstorms had hit the city, there had been nearly a metre of snow and DC was in shutdown.
“Everyone was posting these photos of the snow on Facebook. They were using this Hipstermatic app. It made the photos look like they were from the 1960s…full vintage photos.”
Back then Instagram had just launched, Snapchat hadn’t been invented and Hipstermatic was the cool new thing. Phone cameras were basic and the new filters were a great way to enhance images. But Jurgenson wasn’t interested so much in the photography as in the use of nostalgia:
“Why particularly vintage? Out of all the things you could do with a photo?”
Social media is not about hard sell, or building up fan numbers. It’s about you and the relationship you have with your audience. Like all good relationships, it’s about building trust, having meaningful conversations and connecting with the people that matter.
Don’t get stuck on vanity metrics (numbers which look good on paper but actually don’t help your business goals). Try to do what you enjoy. Not only will you be more successful on social media but you’ll also have more fun. And if you’re having fun and being genuine, you’ll get a better response from your audience. It’s a win-win.
Having a strategy – and sticking to it – is essential to build engagement. It’s worth putting aside a couple of hours to make a quick, high level social media plan. Two hours invested now will mean you reap rewards later: set out your intentions so you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
The Social Media Reboot is a mini version of my Social Media Launch Pack. It’s 4 pages of templates for freelancers, sole traders and micro businesses (where you’re likely to be managing your own social media – and you’ll find it easier if your online voice reflects you).
For the last decade or so, we’ve been hearing a lot about big data.
“Data is the new oil!” said Clive Humby in 2006, after working on the Tesco Clubcard. And everyone agreed that data was a thing, and set off to find out how to make the most of it.
But the way in which our data is being harvested isn’t good. Because of course, since the early days of Tesco Clubcard, it always was our data that was the raw material: our decisions, our habits, our likes, the type of people we were and who we lived with.
These “insights” are now being used to drive psychological behaviour and we’re no longer talking just about marketing. We’ve moved beyond those clearly defined display ads. And way beyond which type of supermarket deal we might be interested in.
I was on ITV News at Ten on Friday, talking about Kevin Hart, The Oscars and social media.
Kevin Hart is an American comedian and actor who was all set to host next year’s Oscars when homophobic comments he’d tweeted in the past were resurfaced. Hart initially tried to hold on to his Academy Awards contract, but public pressure was too much. He was forced to apologise – and stepped down from hosting the Oscars on Friday.
I wasn’t asked to comment so much on the specific case as on the wider issue of historical tweets coming back to haunt us. The reporter wanted to know if we’re now living in a universe where no-one’s allowed to have an opinion on anything and all public figures must be squeaky clean.
Well – of course not. Life would be pretty boring if everyone was a cookie cutter copy of everyone else. And society isn’t well served by one-dimensional social media profiles which simply airbrush out what the people behind them are really thinking. Continue reading →
I’m writing a content strategy for Design Club. We want to build a network of 50 after school clubs in 2019, and need volunteer mentors from the design community to help us. Designers tend to love the idea of what we’re doing – but most of them haven’t heard of us.
Brandwatch is great at tracking conversations over time on social media. And its new AI analyst, Iris, can pick out a spike in mentions of a specific word or phrase and give an instant summary of the things driving that surge: these could be links, influencers, pieces of viral content (videos, gifs or images) and/ or hashtags.
Design Club is a non-profit social enterprise and we need to find a low cost way to raise our profile. Social media is an obvious channel, but we need to use it effectively. As a starting point, Iris is helping me understand relevant conversations that are already happening online.