Uncategorized, social media, Social Media Working Group, new technology, IIA Toolshed, Social Media Monitoring
IIA Toolshed #3
Social Media Monitoring
We looked at four social media monitoring tools, no one is the winner because they are all very different and serve different needs.
- Market leader Radian6 from salesforce is powerful and provides all you need for monitoring and listening, but it is truly an enterprise solution and requires a hefty investment. For enterprise, Radian6 is one of the best there is.
- Mention is accessibly priced tool for medium sized companies, with budget, who have reasonably large web and social search monitoring needs and wish to centralised the management of these. Ideal for those who have report generating needs and wish to involve large teams.
- New Irish offering, Olytico is an interesting software and a service tool. You tell Olytico what keywords you want to track, they set up the searches for you, and you use the tool to view results. It neatly overcomes the problem that many face with social media monitoring tools of only being as good as your search terms, but this at times can be a bit limiting. We decided that Olytico is the perfect tool for agencies who need to report back on how far their client’s brand travelled across the social media spaces.
- Social Bakers is probably best suited to SME’s, although it only really monitors what’s being said about your own social media, rather than listening widely about broader conversations. It serves a purpose for bringing reporting together and does that very well, providing benchmark industry data.
What is IIA Toolshed? IIA Toolshed is a group of digital marketers & digital experts who know how difficult it is to keep up with the ever changing array of tools at our fingertips, to supposedly make doing business easier! To make things simpler, we’ve come together to test, evaluate and share the reviews of a broad selection of tools & technologies, to ultimately make the decision easier for you, when choosing what tools might best suit your business needs. At the IIA Toolshed, we come together every 6 weeks to evaluate a set of tools for a particular business objective, and we’ll publish our findings right here.
Who are we? The Toolers who took part this month are:
- Maryrose Lyons, Brightspark Consulting
- Eoin Kennedy, eoinkennedy.ie
- Felicity McCarthy, Sparkdigital.ie
- Ailbhe Lee, iia.ie
- Lynne Rourke, Buyandsell.ie
- Sasha Kinch, inm.ie
- David Cuddy, Realex
- Beatrice Whelan, Sage
|What Is It?||Radian6 is a Social Media listening and monitoring tool owned by Salesforce.com. It is heavily integrated with other Salesforce products (Buddy Media) and features. Very often used as part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud package. They are repackaging Radian6 with new features under a new name called Social Studio||Mention is a online social media monitoring tool that searches the main social media channels and incorporates alerts, responding capability, task assignment, reporting and analysis.||Software AND a service! It's a hybrid between self service and managed. You tell Olytico what you want to track, they set it up for you, and you can then do the monitoring yourself||Online, Self Service, Social Media Measurement Tool. Very good for competitive analysis & industry benchmark. Super basic for Free. Social Bakers Statistics = free. Marketing Suite = paid. Additional upgrade features = Analytics (customised reporting, benchmarking etc), Builder (Plan, publish, measure from single place), Advertising (plugin to FB & Twitter ads), Listening.|
|What’s It Like To Use?||Simple to use. Set up automated searches by keywords and/or company name. Search by location for better results. One of the best things about Radian6 is its ability to turn searches into really digestible reports. Within seconds I can search, measure and identify business opportunities. It is great for analysing sentiment, monitoring competitors and identifying influencers and brand advocates.||Reasonably simple set up. Does a very broad search and generates good reports. Allows you to respond to mentions or allocate to team members.||Simple to use. It's all set up for you. Can view activity by day, and assign content to team members. Cannot track whether they have actually done something with it or not. It trawls all the main social platforms (FB pages plus open groups, not profiles), Flickr, Insta, not that strong on Pinterest, plus forums, and news sites.||It's easy to use at basic level. Free Trial offered for 2 weeks. Heavily focused on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. May be more customisation possible but not obvious.|
|Does it give meaningful results for Ireland?||Yes - easy to limit results to Ireland only||Yes. Strong on Twitter especially when hashtaged||Yes. Strong on Ireland as you'd expect from an Irish tool.||Yes, as strong as any other country|
|Is There Anything I Should Know?||Salesforce seem very cloak and dagger in giving anyone access to it unless they are a large multinational and already using the Salesforce platform. Very difficult to get a price list from them.|
They can penalise organisations when high volumes of data.
|Range of functionality appears limited for the price. Much of the functionality could be achieved with free tools like google alerts and topsy/social mention. Low threshold on number of mentions means upgrade for busy accounts.||Workflow exists in that you can tick the box and assign content to team members. Team collaboration is coming, where you can mark it as done or dealt with. Good support function.||Ideally you should set up more than one business for benchmarking, so ideally you're monitoring you and your competition. I like the presentation format exportable reports. Love reports about which types of posts perform best, which times of day, and days of week, also industry benchmarks|
|Who would you recommend it for?||Organisations already using the Salesforce.com platform. Great for big companies with a sizable budget and a large community to monitor and listen to. Possibly a good tool for Digital Agencies who want to offer listening and monitoring services to their clients. Enterprise.||Medium to large organisations with budget who wish to utilise the team collaboration features. Suitable for disparate enterprises centralising brand/company mentions who appear over a wide variety of online sites.||Agencies needing to track client mentions. Or brands/businesses who are being talked about widely and not just on FB and TW. Good example given was Jameson Film Festival, who were talked about widely for a month. No annual contract means they can sign up and use the tool just for the month.||Medium size businesses who are|
|Cost inc VAT||Expensive - Pricing in Feb 2013 - The good folks at Radian6 got back to me and it turns out that they have changed their pricing model. There are now two different models:|
Business Model: $600 / month for up to 10,000 mentions
Agency Model: $950 / month for up to 1 million mentions
Historical Data: $100 / month going back to 2008 (except Twitter that goes back to 2010) Source Some hidden charges especially when there are peaks in activity, which seems counter intuitive
|Starter $29, Growth $99, Company $299, Enterprise $799 (per month)||€700 per month, without limitation on keywords or Results or seat/user. If you want separate feeds per channel, €200 per additional channel. Single chanel is good 2-3 clients..||"Free Trial for 2 weeks. $120 per month thereafter. I believe there are other more tiered products, but v difficult to get access, and default is to 120 per month. Social Bakers Statistics = free. Marketing Suite = paid. Additional
upgrade features = Analytics (customised reporting, benchmarking etc),
Builder (Plan, publish, measure from single place), Advertising (plugin
to FB & Twitter ads), Listening."
|Name of Tool:||Radian6||Mention||Olytico||Social Bakers|
|Ease of Use||3||3||4||4|
|Social Media Platforms It Monitors||3||3||4||2|
|Any Restrictions? Gotchas?||Some hidden charges especially when there are peaks in activity, which seems counter intuitive||You can’t experiment with searches||No API integration|
|Product Intuitiveness / UI||3||2||4||3|
|Team Collaboration Features?||3||3||2||1|
|Are we going to continue using it?||0||0||2||3|
What’s next from the IIA Toolshed? Social Media Design Tools in July.
This is a guest post by Robert Purcell. Robert is a member of the IIA Social Media Working Group which seeks to support businesses in the development of strategies for engaging with social media. As Marketing Manager for Post Consult International Ltd. (PCI), Robert’s main focus is developing the marketing and product strategy for the company’s Security Solutions offered under the corporate brand, Post.Trust. Post.Trust is a national-level Certificate Authority, wholly owned by An Post, providing security solutions that enable organisations to communicate with one another more securely and confidently in a trusted environment. You can find him on LinkedIn or @robgerard on Twitter.
Engage! Revised and Updated: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web
Brian Solis (Author), Ashton Kutcher (Foreword)
The second edition of Engage! written by social media thought leader Brian Solis really is a fascinating read. I haven’t read the first edition, but this instalment focuses more on enabling you to design a new media engagement program specific to your business and your customers. It empowers you to develop metrics and KPIs to measure the success of your activities and translate that data into bottom-line benefits. As anyone who has ever tried to champion a social media program within their organisation knows; the first question you are asked is, What’s the ROI of social media? This book will help you answer that question.
A word of warning though – Engage! is not a book you can pick up and read from cover to cover. Sections of the book are quite dense and academic – but then isn’t that what you would expect a Complete Guide to be? The book doesn’t define its target audience but whether you are new to social media or experienced in social media marketing, this book has plenty of substance and will serve as a source of reference in your social media activities. As Solis says, this is an opportunity to “hit ctrl-alt-del and restart with a fresh perspective”.
The book starts by defining social media and introducing the arsenal of social media tools available for creating touchpoints across the Social Web. It explores building a framework to amplify the visibility of your social objects, extending the reach of your online presence to new audiences, and defining the end game, ultimately guiding people to action through participating, listening and engagement.
Solis reminds us that understanding the rules of engagement is critical in this new world of socialised media. It’s about training and putting the necessary policies and guidelines in place to ensure everyone is singing from the same hymn book. The latter part of the book looks at the realignment and restructuring the organisation as part of this socialisation process. Finally, it focuses on the management of this social media activity; how to track, measure and translate that social data into tangible value for the business.
Solis discusses the concept of unmarketing as one of the most effective forms of marketing in this new genre of socialised media and really unmarketing underpins the ‘How’ organisations should use Social Media. Marketing is no longer about broadcasting brand messages – it’s about embodying the characteristics of your brand, being an active participant in the conversation, contributing value to earn relevance, build influence and create brand advocacy and loyalty toward a desired outcome.
At times, reading the book was a bit of a slog and I found myself going back over passages each time I picked it up because there was a lot to absorb. But on the whole, I found it uplifting and insightful, reaffirming my understanding of the real power of Social Media – so stick with it. Solis’s voice comes through the words on the page, inspiring the reader to embrace the social web, to champion new media engagement and become the expert to drive change within the organisation. The book is ‘peppered’ with frameworks, methodologies and tools to assist you in your journey towards building a two-way information bridge between the organisation and the online communities in those networks you choose to participate.
As Solis says, “The future of business is social”. Social Media cannot be confined to one person or department. The entire business must socialise. Organisations must embrace and ride the social wave or risk being engulfed by it.
“The greatest advantages of social media reside in its ability for worthy individuals and companies to shape perception, steer activity, incite action, and adapt to the communities that establish the market. Engage or die.”
I have been intrigued by sugru and how it achieved so much in a short period of time since seeing them in Time magazine and buying/testing some of its products over Christmas.
Company founder Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh from Kilkenny shared some insights into the company and how it has made great strides in getting and harnessing user generated content in its social media platforms and achieved worldwide word of mouth exposure.
Sugru (www.sugru.com) is a UK based company that has invented a silicone based modelling clay that helps people fix or improve everyday items. The product itself is a new development in this class and has some unique properties in that it cures at room temperature, is very self-adhesive, heat resistant, waterproof, flexible and dishwasher proof. The company has one core product with 5 colours and has shifted over 40,000 units in its first few months.
How did the idea come about?
The idea came from a process of material experimentation and an observation of the development of the open source community. Jane has an active interest in how additional life can be given to products and giving people an ability to ‘hack’ and personalise products.
She felt that traditional product design was very static in that once a product emerged from the factory, there was very little interaction where focus should be on discovering and finding out how people use it at home and other areas. This could lead to better products and also connects the company with its user base.
How did the idea come into fruition?
Jane’s story reflects many other SMEs as they build their brand but some initial kick starts have really helped. Jane’s product came from research she did when studying at the Royal College of Design in London, following previous study at NCAD in Dublin. One of the big lifts she received was when the British Airways inflight magazine featured the product in a column which sparked off lots queries from consumers and people in industry.
With help of the innovation department in the college she set up sugru with business partner Roger Ashby and after six years of development and initial grant and investment funding of £350,000, with a modest investment of £100,000 they converted their lab into a production facility. Their initial production of 1,000 packs sold out in 6 hours following their launch and they knew they had a viable business but needed to scale up production.
How do you go to market?
sugru is mainly sold from its website and also through some shops in Ireland/UK and is now in the process of setting up in the US.
- 25% of its orders come from UK,
- 45% from US with
- Ireland and Germany accounting for much of the remaining sales.
Initially they have focused on shipping small single orders and reacting to who wanted to buy it from the website but are now scaling to additional retail distribution.
What marketing do you deploy?
sugru defied much of the text book approach to marketing in that it spends very little on traditional marketing.
Most of sugru’s growth has come from word of mouth which has led to some high profile articles on the company also the inclusion in Time Magazine’s Top 50 Inventions and features in the Irish Times amongst others.
Its website, blog, email and social media platforms are still the key drivers of the business and Jane manages these directly. The company also organises and facilitates ‘Hack It Sessions’ such as a recent one in 091 labs in Galway.
Social Media Presence
According to Jane
“the Blog has been brilliant in terms of articulating our mission. This is not just a product. It was invented to reduce waste and give people an easy way to improve stuff”.
This is where sugru really excels. The company and product has plugged in to a growing movement of people fixing and repairing items and is an enabler of this movement. Rather than just looking at social media channels to push company news it sees the community as central. Most of the content on the channel tap into how people are using the product. Jane receives a lot of emails and correspondence from users who take the time to document what they have fixed/improved and even supply photos showing the degree of connection that the company has with users.
The company rewards and encourages this and as Jane puts it
“all of our marketing comes from customers in the form of hundreds of photo, stories and videos”.
The Hack of the Month profiles how innovative users have been in the use of the product which ranges from fixing medical devices to protecting school bags. sugru also asks for suggestions on who they should send sugru packs to and this recently resulted in packs being sent to scientists working on the largest bore holes in the world based in Antarctica. They featured stories on how they used it to repair diverse items from glasses to knives.
The outreach and investment in the online community now means they have a large gallery of photos and stories of customers documenting their use of the product.
User generated content is the nirvana for a lot of companies and getting customers to tell their stories can be notoriously difficult. Even if people really enjoyed the product getting them to invest the time and allowing you use their stories is rarely successful. Although there is no doubt that this is a very innovative and good product, the subtle difference having the ethos of the company – to reduce waste and allow people to personalise and improve stuff – central in all they do is key to their success. It’s not about sugru but rather what people do with it and how it helps their lives. This approach means people are happier to contribute as it plugs into their lives and the sugru community feels like a grouping of like-minded people rather than a community website. Even the website itself clearly positions it as being about the user and not the product itself. You get a clear impression that much as sugru benefits from user engagement people are learning, teaching and educating each other how it could be used.
Jane is the first to admit that although they do a lot with communities that there is more to do and she feel they are only scratching the surface on what could be done. Similar to most companies, measurement is evolving and difficult to quantify. Easy to measure items such as ‘likes’ are less a concern than the quality of interaction such as conversations and comments. Key is seeing if people are getting the message and spreading it. Twitter is also another active daily channel with most activity taken up by answering queries and interacting than pushing company messages. Jane herself still manages these channels directly herself showing the level of commitment to the users.
One of the other positive aspects of so much user generated content is that now the company can see recurring uses and this can be fed back in to product research, design and marketing. This translates as possible future iPhone cable and adapter products/packs as the company has seen lots of examples of sugru being utilised to fix or improve these.
Real World Interaction
As with much social media activity it’s important to have a real world footprint also. The ‘Hack It’ Sessions facilitate this and are almost a real world reflection of what goes on in the online world. sugru sometimes organises these itself or facilitates them by sending product to users who want to create a shared experience of using the product. People learning from each other and being creative opens up new views on the product that sugru could never do by itself.
Much could be learnt from the sugru experience online and according to Jane companies could really improve their online presence with some simple philosophies including:
- Have a clear mission that is people/users focused and not company centric
- Tweet and interact with people the same as if over a shop counter
- Don’t be frightened of people or interaction
- Don’t be overly promotion
- Remember people are not interested in you but rather what you can do for them
- Have conversations
- Facilitate, reward, and respect the input from people who contact you
sugru is now working on expanding its US presence directly through stores and setting up shipping locally. They are also talking to hardware chains in Ireland to extend its reach and easy of buying.
sugru has achieved a worldwide presence after only 9 months in operation and sold over 40,000 packs. Its marketing is mainly word of mouth and customer based. It has made huge progress into cracking the ‘user generated content’ nut and has built a very strong online brand by having a mission driven and customer centric approach.
This case study is part of the IIA Social Media Working Group‘s series of studies on how companies are using social media to achieve their business aims and objectives. This study was written by Eoin Kennedy of Slattery Communications, chair of IIA Social Media Working Group.
This review is part of a series of reviews that you can expect to see over the next while from the Social Media Working Group. This first one is by Eamonn O’Brien, Founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club. Here he reviews The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, by Joan Curtis and Barbara Giamanco:
This book offers an introductory guide for people who need to figure out how to both understand and harness social media in a world where traditional sales techniques may have had their day. As such, it probably won’t serve as more than light reading for seasoned social media pros.
The authors spend the first half of the book outlining the revolution that has occurred in the way businesses and customers/consumers communicate – and why companies need to learn how to adapt to a new sales era, dubbed Sales 2.0. They argue that since customers are now more in control of what they buy, and have instant access to more information prior to when they make purchase decisions, that a modern form of consultative selling (which integrates the power of social media to develop better relationships, trust and customer collaboration) needs to be used as a replacement for traditional push based selling techniques.
While there are many nuggets to be found in the first 8 chapters, including author observations, examples of how politicians and companies are adapting to/benefiting from communication changes plus a quite interesting potted history lesson on the evolution of selling approaches from the 19th to the 21st century, much of the information provided at the outset of the book appears to be rehashing of stories and observations that have been doing the rounds for some time (online and offline). Also, many of the points made in the first half of the books seemed be endless variations of a single theme; “Embrace the new technology… move away from old sales approaches, they won’t work any longer with the 21st century buyer”.
That said, the second half of the book (when the authors get into a more ‘how to’ mode) is likely to prove both interesting and genuinely useful to anyone who needs practical suggestions on how to harness social media for sales and marketing purposes. The authors did an especially good job on how Sales meets LinkedIn and Sales meets Twitter, including really helpful ‘do’s and don’ts’ tips.
Also, their observations on how to use blogging to drive better Google site rankings together with their suggested ‘rules of engagement for bloggers’ are spot on. But the real value in this book comes at the end, with a case study style 30 day social media sales challenge. This blow by blow demonstration of how social media can be used and why – together with suggestions re goal setting and performance measuring – sold me on this book, all on its own.
My Overall Book Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks a million Eamonn! More from the authors on their website.
This is a general call to all interested in helping to contribute to the social media sector in Ireland though collaborative work. We are inviting you all with an open invite to a kick off session in the Digital Hub on 24th February at from 6.00pm to 7.00pm. Please register for free online.
The group has an official set of aims outlined but in truth this sector moves incredibly rapidly and I would really love to hear people views on what they think a grouping of like-minded, motivated and skilled digital people can achieve. In essence the working group is a collective effort and we can achieve more through harnessing each other’s expertise than we can as stand-alone units. No one of us has all the answers.
My experience of these type groups is that if we follow a defined and agreed set of work that it moves quickly from a talking shop to something of real value. We will be asking for time but we will respect it and use it as efficiently as possible. Your expertise may come in the form of peer review of papers/reports we build, speaking at events or face to face meetings to run through work.
Ultimately the Irish Internet Association and the industry in general will benefit from a lot of the work done by the group but this not a selfless task and by giving up time your efforts will be acknowledged.
For my part I am committing a year in chairing the group. I don’t have all the answers and this is not driven by ego but I am passionate about the social media sector and how it changing how we communicate and do business.
At the session on the 24th I will outline some of the work done previously, the work in progress and some thoughts about areas we can make a real impact. I am stepping into big shoes following on from the excellent work by previous chairs Conor Lynch and Brendan Hughes and I would like to thank them and the other members of the group and the IIA staff for the hard work to date.
A note from Roseanne, IIA Membership Manager: While we welcome all to come along to this meeting to hear about the Social Media Working Group plans only fully paid-up members can join the Working Group. You can join online or get in touch with me by email or 01 5424154 to discuss membership with me. I will, of course, be at this meeting if you would like to talk to me then.
Calling all business bloggers! If you blog for your business, no matter what size, we want to hear more about your experience. We would like to gauge the effectiveness of blogging for business, start collecting data about trends, the costs involved, your target audiences and the benefits. We look forward to sharing the anonymised results of this survey and analysis of the data with you in due course.
This is an initiative of the Irish Internet Association’s Social Media Working Group to gather information about blogging for business in Ireland. This survey was run last year (results available online) and formed part of the data for the guide “Join the Conversation: A Guide to Blogging for Business” Your response will be completely anonymous and the survey takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Did you complete the survey last year? Please take the time to complete it again; it will help us gauge developing trends in blogging for businesses in Ireland.
A guest post from IIA Social Media Working Group Member Eoin Kennedy of Slattery Communications. You can check out Eoin’s blog here. (I particularly like his most recent post at time of writing about the implications of using multiple usernames across social networks.)
IIA Member Company SimplyZesty recently ran another successful measurement camp. The session itself was attended by less than normal but ran to a familiar structure with two presenters followed by a group activity based on three case study scenarios.
Overall although online is much more measurable than traditional media the demands to quantify it financially have not been met to date. The first wave of measurement has been around physical numbers i.e. numbers of followers, number of posts. These give a topline indication of engagement but translating this into actual worth is tricky. How much is a follower/friend actually worth? Sure it’s great to get some “thumbs up” and “love” but what are these actual measures worth? For property owners such as bebo this poses real challenges. Engagement models are generally built around the pushing and advertising of the page profile but savvy brand holders want more. The burden of responsibility is getting pushed back to the property owners as marketers want more metrics to gauge success while platform owners need agreement on values attached to elements so that they can build charging models. Currently the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) advertising model is the main charging structure used. If the platform owner is charged with the financial delivery then they need to have full control over the creative, which again would pose problems.
Philip McCarthy now ex Bebo gave a good overview of some campaigns that they have run and admitted that measurement is still at an early stage. Bebo does engagement very well but an experience with Coca Cola Burn posed interesting questions about what he should have charged. Current values are around 3 euro cost per thousand which would indicate a value of €60k for the Coke campaign that achieved 20m impressions. The campaign achieved 17,000 visits to the site, 126 comments, 7 photos, 70 quizzes, 679 skins used.
Engagement is something that social media does really well and according to Philip there must be a value to it.
Philip debated using traditional rates that are charged for advertorials, something that is pretty much set and understood with traditional media. Basing digital charging models on established off line models has merit in that brand owners understand them but is probably not the best starting point.
The establishment of a base line measurement was discussed that could be used across other media but no one has yet taken this step to any great degree.
Where this gets particularly difficult is in getting values on things like thumbs up, love and other signs of engagement used on different social networks. It’s great to get them but what do they really mean and what value could be put on them?
One of the areas discussed that could help on measurement in the real world was the use of redeemable bar codes. The idea being that rather than a virtual present that people could send a ‘printable’ bar code or even one that could be displayed on a phone. This could be taken to an outlet and redeemed. This could help track social media activity to actual sales. For example a coffee shop could build an app that allows users to send a coffee to friends. The friend could print out or show the barcode that would be scanned through at an actual coffee shop. By doing this the coffee shop could measure the actual sales generated by the voucher and social media activity. Some good work in being done in this area by IIA Member Company Zappa but problems still exist for terminals to read bar codes on screen.
The overall feeling from the event was that some leadership needs to be established in measuring the value of online campaigns and that the current metrics, while good, are not financially based enough for brand owners. The UK Measurement Camp has also suffered from similar problems.
My own observation is that once criteria that are reasonably sound are established Klout, TweetLevel for Twitter, or Technorati for blogs could start to become industry standards. At some point someone needs to take a brave step. The online community will undoubtable respond and some progress could be made.
This week’s Social Media Case Study is written by Niall Devine of MyCharity.ie. He is also a member of the IIA Social Media Working Group. In his case study he writes about some of the social media they have used and the decisions they made about how they would implement and what they learned from those decisions. He writes also about how recent change to a popular platform (Facebook) made some aspects of their social media forays difficult but happily not impossible for MyCharity.ie.
Background – what do we do.
Mycharity.ie provides online fundraising services to charities. We will enable and process more than €2.5M euro worth of charity donations to our 250+ charity customers. It is key to our business that our customer base (the charities) know that we exist and what we do. It is also key that the charities “customers” i.e. fundraisers and donors know that that we exist and what we do.
Viral Marketing – it is essential for us – how do we make it work?
We are very lucky in the way that our business works. Through email, it virally markets itself. If someone creates a fundraising page (sponsorship card) on the mycharity.ie site for a charity, they then email all their friends with the link to the fundraising page looking for sponsorship. All their friends now know about the site and what it does. Multiply 5,000 fundraisers a year x say 50 friends per fundraiser and you can see the 250,000 people viral marketing affect.
Viral Marketing – using social media
While we count ourselves as very lucky in the way that our business works from a viral marketing point of view using email, we recognise the huge contribution that social media can make.
As we all know search engines and their ranking mechanisms like video. So mycharity.ie commissioned a video from Media Concepts Ltd (a video production company) and placed it front and centre on our home page www.mycharity.ie. The text about our video says “Click here to see a short promotional video about who we are and what we do, and what our customers say about us.” It does exactly what is says on the tin and saves us having to answer the phone all the time to explain what we do saving on office admin overhead. It works very well for us as an SEO ranking tool. It cost us approx €2,000 and was well worth the investment. We can’t quantify exactly in figures what is has done for the business, many of our current customers tell us they watched it and were impressed. It all helps with getting new customers on board.
Search engines also like blogs because they create new content all the time (if maintained) and if the information is interesting and relevant it will create lots of inbound links to your site. Let’s not forget that people also like new content that is interesting to them and relevant. The search engines are just set up to reflect what people like.
So mycharity.ie has implemented WordPress Multi User on the mycharity.ie site. We have yet to upgrade the live site with it but it is coming soon. We can’t speak of what has actually happened yet, but we can tell you what we anticipate will happen.
We are giving ourselves our own blog, and we are giving all our charities their own blog for free. We will put our latest daily news, musings, funny stories etc on the blog and if people like it they will tune in. We will also use it to garner our customers thoughts and opinions on various questions that we may have, such as what services would you like to see next on the site etc.
We are also giving all our customer charities their own blog to do exactly the same as described above. But the key for us is that ALL the blogs are hosted on our site. All the inbound links and all the new and updates information will be found on our site, and hence our search and ranking, and the traffic to our site increases. It’s important to point out that we are not “stealing” traffic from our customers sites. They are of course free to implement their own blogs on their own sites. But by us doing it for them (for free remember) we get the benefit of the traffic and increased search engine ranking.
Social Networking Sites
These are very powerful if you can make them work for you, and we are doing our best to make them work for us. Lets explain what we have already done and how we did it, and then explain what new stuff we are doing now and why.
Old Facebook – Facebook changed in terms of its look and feel in October of last year (2008). Unfortunately we started to build a facebook application for the mycharity.ie site in September 2008. We ended up chasing a moving target. The application was designed to allow users of the mycharity site to post a mini version of their fundraising page to their facebook profile. The idea being their friends could see it and donate to it. We chased the ever moving facebook and eventually got there. We used a designer for cost purposes based abroad. We got the application built for approx €1,200, and it did what we asked for. However the language barrier and time zone difference proved frustrating much of the time and we had to put in many more hours into the project than we wanted to. Also their knowledge of the abilities of Facebook as a site wasn’t brilliant so we had to tell them what we wanted rather than them telling us what we could, should or might do. We soft launched the application to the charities on the mycharity.ie. It’s free at the moment because it’s not viral enough as far as we are concerned (more on that in a bit). It’s actually the users (the public) that are asking for the FB functionality to be switched on for a given charity rather than the charity themselves. The requester recognises the benefit to them to their fundraising efforts.
New Facebook – This is where it’s at. Now that FB have more or less finished messing about with their site we have a non moving target to hit. Always helps! We have engaged an Irish company to develop further FB functionality for us. No language barrier, no time zone issues, and they know so much about what FB does and is capable of, that they are able to suggest to us what we should and can do. It’s in development at the moment. We hope the new application will be far more viral. At the end of each process on the mycharity.ie site (sponsor a friend, donate to a charity, create a fundraising page) the user will have the option to “share” what they have just done on the mycharity site with their friends on facebook (and Bebo, Twitter etc). “Sharing” might be a message on the users Wall saying “I have just donated €20 to Jane Smiths Women’s Mini Marathon Fundraising page in aid of the ABC Charity”. The message is posted to the users Wall on Facebook for all their friends to see, and hopefully follow suit and donate. Many FB users would have 200+ friends in FB. So once again the viral affect of promoting mycharity.ie, the charity and the fundraiser is huge.
The cost of getting the development done is Ireland is higher but the expertise, if you find the right company, is well worth the extra cost. They will also be able to tell you if your business / business model is likely to benefit from this kind of marketing…or not as the case may be.
So mycharity.ie uses email, video, blogs, and social networking sites to good effect to promote itself. We will in the future bring the ability for users to post pictures and or videos to their fundraising pages using www.flickr.com and www.youtube.com . There are other aspects of social media such as podcasting that we may yet use. Imagine you got an email or a message on FB from a friend with an audio file of their verbal request for your donation to their fundraising effort. Personal, fun and very different. Might just get you over the line to make a donation. Our strategy is to look at everything to see if we can make it work for us. You should too!
Continuing the Social Media Working Group’s series of case studies is Michelle Daly from Paddypower was the second of our two case studies at the launch of “Join the Conversation: A Guide to Blogging for Business” Please find her presentation below. Thanks to Brendan Hughes, FBD.ie and chair of the IIA Social Media Working Group for recording and preparing the slide show below.
This week’s case study is the slideshow presented by Aedan Ryan at the launch of “Join the Conversation: The Guide to Blogging for Business” in April.
A short aside – Making an audio recording is a handy tactic if you would like to reuse your presentations on your company blog. You can easily attach a good quality digital voice recorder to a sound desk to record your voice. (I have an Olympus DS 30 with a Sony ECM-MS907 Mic) You can go even simpler and just record straight to your recorder. I noticed Alan O’Rourke of Spoiltchild using iTalk on his iPhone at an event recently – this app is free. If you are doing the presentation at an external event make sure you have the permission of the organisation for whom you are presenting before posting the presentation on your blog.