The racist keyboard

Conceptualised by Dentsu Webchutney, the spot features the ‘world’s fastest pianist’ Aman Bathla. He is challenged to play the famous song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Celine Dion on a piano made entirely of white keys.

The tune sounds very different from the well-known song, thus asserting that both black and white keys are important to create harmony.

#SoundofHappy could make marketers happy too

C&G baby club UK have produced this fantastic video around the making of a song ‘to make babies happy’.

With thousands of shares already it is a great example of how you can create great content without blasting your brand all over it.  But it’s approach once again challenges traditional marketers approach of telling people about their product and expecting them to rush out and buy.

So where is the benefit you may ask? Whilst they do not mention C&G Baby Club in the video – which points to soundofhappy.com the website does, providing that brand impression. By being less ‘in your face’ in the video people are more likely to view and share the video – especially compared to say a video just talking about their products.

Baby food for thought you might say…

You can no longer ignore video as part of your marketing strategy

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ now it’s ‘A picture is worth a thousand clicks’ and ‘A video is worth a million pictures’.

Without an image on your web page if someone shares it on social media it is less likely to be clicked and therefore less likely to be shared.

Along with static images short, concise, informative and fun video content can help you massively increase your reach. Important to remember it’s not just about creating a video, there are millions of videos on YouTube with just tens of views,

Important to remember it’s not just about creating a video, there are millions of videos on YouTube with just tens of views. It’s about videos with useful content for your customer helping build trust and putting you at the front of their mind when they come to buy.

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Should you respond to that social media comment?

Together with great benefits that social media brings, it can also be challenging. Social media can bring negative comments, often with good reason. But how do you tell the difference between a valid negative comment and a troll? When is a comment worth responding to or when is it not?

This infographic is extremely useful in giving you a decision tree for when and if to respond. Beyond this businesses need to look at how feedback from social media can help an organisation by changing business practices and identify opportunities.

social-media-response-flow-chart

A couple of extra things to consider:

  • Never respond in anger (or after alcohol?). If the comment has annoyed you then maybe write down what you want to say, walk away and come back when you have calmed to see if what you were going to say still stands.
  • Be the better person. Others will read the comment and your response and you need them to come away thinking that you are being more reasonable.
  • Remember people don’t necessarily believe overly negative comments, and sometimes will come to your defence when people are unreasonable.
  • Keep perspective. Many of the worse trolls on Twitter have very few followers and even follow themselves from other accounts to give themselves some following. Even if someone has a few hundred followers the number who will see the post will be tiny – by responding you could be giving a troll a much bigger audience.

Facebook returns to normal – but will I block you?

Even prior to the EU referendum I had struggled how to deal with some of the people I am connected with on Facebook, who on reflection I would prefer not to be. I spent months, weeks and the last few days seriously considering what to say. Here are my words that I shared publicly on Facebook.

Following the EUref normal Facebook service has been resumed. Where I will continue being anti-racism, pro workers rights, supporting the Labour Party, for equality and full of hope for future generations.

If you don’t like my posts, do us both a favour and do the simple thing and select unfriend. We can return to exchanging cards at special occasions, smiling and doing small talk at social events – it’s what we did before Facebook so why change that.

And if you share ‘Britain First’ posts I will not bother writing to you asking not to post this crap anymore. Family, colleague or friend – I will block you. This is not because I don’t believe in democracy and debate. It’s because there is no debate in hate. You are regurgitating the vomit of some of the most hateful aspects of our society and if anything the EU ref taught me it is we need to stand up to and expose these views and those who hold them louder than we have ever done before. We need to call hate – hate, a racist – racist, a sexist – sexist… Guessing you get the trend. Otherwise we allow these views to grow again with far more dangerous consequences.

If you don’t understand my view, you don’t understand me – so go on, go on – do us both a favour. For all those that do, thank you for your friendship even though we may often disagree – as a great woman said – we have more in common than that which divides us xxx

Top content marketing best practices by SMB marketers

The idea of sharing other people’s content may still be alien to some marketers. Like it or not, it is an essential part of making sure your social media feed is followable and shareable. This is especially the case if you don’t have a regular stream of engaging content of your own.

I have used the 80/20 rule for sharing: 80% other people’s content and 20% of your own. Though if you don’t have a great deal of content I would go further. I would look at as high as 95% of others people’s content.

Why would you do this? On social media, you need to demonstrate that you are a trusted source of interesting content. You will then gain followers and they will look out for your posts. When you post your own content, as a trusted voice, they are more likely to click on and view your own content.

This does not replace the need for developing your own content. Marketers recognise whilst content curation is important, posting your own is not far behind.

SMB_Content_Research_Via_ScoopIt-Chart-e1461807121326

Sort your visual strategy now or be lost in the stream

Words are not enough. A weird way to start a blog – but in the battle for attention images are everything.

Video, infographics, photography and animation are key to capturing your audience’s attention. In social streams, you are competing against a whole range of exciting messages. To fight for attention you need to stand out in those streams. This is where these visual tools can come to your rescue.

Research has found that 79% of marketers recognise that video will increase in importance. In all the visual formats, mentioned in the graph below, marketers predict they will increase in importance. Video clearly topped the poll.

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Don’t believe me (or my fellow marketers)? A few stats that might help

  • Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts
  • Tweets with images earned up to 18 percent more clicks – 89 percent more favourites –  and 150 percent more retweets
  • The number of videos appearing in Facebook’s news feed has increased 3.6X (Nov 2015)
  • Facebook posts from brands that included images earned 87 percent of all engagements

With the fastest growing social media channels visually based, the trend is set. Marketers need to adjust their strategy. They also need to adjust their budgets.

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This infographic shows how we are changing, and how you need to adapt… or get left behind.

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Weather Warning: Media cannot be trusted

Talking about the weather is a common British trait, however recently it seems we are constantly having the ‘worse weather ever’ according to some media outlets, and it’s not just climate change that is to blame.

The media is well known for its sensationalists headlines, obviously designed to help sell newspapers. As the media increasingly transfers their focus to the digital age they are moving to a modern equivalent – Click Bait.

Click bait is described as ‘content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.’ It is often a successful short term strategy in driving traffic to your website – however in the long term this tactic can diminish trust and damage your brand.

Back to the weather – as the headlines have shown this winter we have constantly been sold stories of impending doom, where often we have suffered from little more than what just is Winter.

Daily Star WeatherTelegraph weatherDaily express worse winter ever

And it is tempting to do this. I have seen that by sharing stories of impending doom about the upcoming weather these posts receive higher than normal rates of engagement and sharing. This in turn results in higher levels of organic views on Facebook as it’s algorythm sees these stories as interesting and shows them more often.

But is this a long term tactic for driving traffic? Maybe eventually people will wake up to the fact that many of the warnings simply don’t happen aka The Daily Express ‘Four Months of Heavy Snow’.

Daily Express commentsComments about weather reports

We can only hope that more people will realise and stop clicking these links, oh, and that the weather get’s better.

Don’t loose your precious digital memories

Photographic memories have always been precious, and like the printed versions digital photographs are at risk from fire or other losses. If you have only saved your digital photographs on a local drive, then if this drive fails you could quickly loose images that can never be replaced.

Backing up your digital photographs is the best way to make sure those moments in time are kept whatever happens. Watch this video where I tell you the best ways to make sure your digital memories are kept secure.

Measuring social media measurement

With the number of social media users projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018 I would hope by now that even the most ardent social media denialists will be able to accept that social media is not going anywhere soon.

Businesses extensively use social media as part of their activities including for customer service, where efficiencies and savings can easily be demonstrated; and for marketing where both paid and earnt activities can have a huge impact on the reach of a campaign.

Despite the use of social media by businesses maturing, still many struggle to measure the impact of their social media. They struggle because often it is difficult to accurately attribute the benefits of particular activities, especially where you have activities across a number of mediums. It is easy to count the number of followers, retweets, post likes etc actual impact on the bottom line that you can directly attribute to social media is harder and sometimes impossible to record accurately.

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If you are experiencing the challenge of measuring the impact of social media on your business, as you can see from this survey by the CMO you are not alone. However as the share of marketing spent on social media increases the need to measure becomes even more important.

Important things to look at when measuring social media:

  • Put measurement in from the start of your campaign, not an afterthought
  • Agree what you are measuring against – what good looks like – otherwise the social media denialists will move the goalposts
  • Accept somethings cannot be measured accurately and see these as indicative measures
  • Attribute indirect influence by measuring trends over time
  • Keep it simple – by attempting to measure too much you will end up measuring nothing

Finally social media can be of huge benefits to your marketing activities, however where it cannot provide the measurement you would like to see – ask yourself if your other activities could provide that information before dismissing using social media for that purpose.

It’s not your fault your password is rubbish

In a now annual event, the media mocks us for using passwords that are criminally easy to guess. Despite this we continue to ignore the warnings and choose simple passwords but to be honest it is not our fault.

Why? Well online services both make it too easy to allow us to choose a common password, they could easily block these after all, and too hard by varying rules for what you have to use ie: including a capital or not from service to service.

Other reasons we pick rubbish passwords:

  • It’s too hard to remember a different password for every service
  • It doesn’t seem to be that important – until we are hacked
  • We fear forgetting them so try and pick something easy to remember

One policy that really annoys me is organisations who insist you change your password periodically. This often forces people to choose something even simpler as they know they will have to come up with something new in a month or so. It would be far better to encourage people to create a complex password they can stick with unless it becomes compromised.

I created this video for BT to help guide you on how to create a more secure password that is easy to remember, the formula for doing this is thanks to advice from presenter Leo Laporte.

Truth to be told, the only way this problem will be fixed is via biometric passwords and behavioural monitoring. As with the latest iPads and iPhones you will in the future be able to login via your finger or other biologically unique feature. Additionally behavioural monitoring will be able to add an extra layer of protection, learning about elements of how you use devices then requesting extra verification when these behaviours change.

Oh, and the most common passwords for 2015 are (with change on 2014 in brackets)

1) 123456 (unchanged)

2) password (unchanged)

3) 12345678 (up 1)

4) qwerty (up 1)

5) 12345 (down 2)

6) 123456789 (unchanged)

7) football (up 3)

8) 1234 (down 1)

9) 1234567 (up 2)

10) baseball (down 2)

11) welcome (new)

12) 1234567890 (new)

13) abc123 (up 1)

14) 111111 (up 1)

15) 1qaz2wsx (new)

16) dragon (down 7)

17) master (up 2)

18) monkey (down 6)

19) letmein (down 6)

20) login (new)

21) princess (new)

22) qwertyuiop (new)

23) solo (new)

24) passw0rd (new)

25) starwars (new)

 

 

Dead again… on social media

A new phenomenon is growing on social media. Alongside an increase in the number of people commenting on sad deaths of celebrities, many are taking to their favourite social channel to lament the death of others who died months a long time ago.

dead againIt seems in an age where news can be old news in the tweet of an eye, our recollection over who has already passed on is fading just as fast. This is not helped by online publications featuring popular related stories which can result in articles from several years ago rising to the top .

Another factor that is resulting in people seemingly dying more than once, is how many of us do not really read what we see online. Many share without ever checking out the original article let alone looking to see when it was originally posted.

From my own posts on Twitter I often see where more people have shared an article that I have linked to than those who have clicked to view it.

One of the latest celebrities to die again is comic actor Leslie Nielsen. Whilst it could be upsetting for his family and friends to see him ‘die again’ across social channels – I can only think that he may find the fact he has re-died some 6 years later a tad amusing.

Digital Marketing is dead, Long live Digital Marketing

A Gartner survey has shown that the term “digital marketing” is on the wane. The report showed that many CMO’s are “done” with the term with 98% of marketers no longer making a clear distinction between marketing online and offline.

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This is a welcome development, seeing full integration of digital marketing into the mainstream and end an era where digital was often an afterthought or totally ignored.

The integration of digital marketing into the mainstream demands that many marketers upskill. For many marketers who studied marketing before Facebook were a glint in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye, this is a real challenge.

In some sectors there is a digital skill shortage in the marketing profession. Over the years I have met many marketers who struggle with the basics let alone what I call the ‘social media denialists’, those who continue to dismiss the value of social media as a marketing discipline.

As with any trade it is essential that marketers keep up-to-date with the latest developments in their chosen field. In marketing, arguably keeping up is not enough and you need to be ahead to have an edge on the competition and to maximise the potential of new developments.

The Gartner survey shows the industry pointing in the right direction, it’s a warning to those marketers who have had their heads in the sand and can no longer ignore digital’s permanent place as a core marketing discipline.