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.

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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.