ABC use Twitter to join the conversation

Here’s a quick example of how a major organisation can use social media to connect with people simply, directly and honestly: Mark Scott, Managing Director of Australia’s public broadcaster regularly communicates with ‘followers’ through Twitter. A few minutes ago, he send this out:

abcmarkscott Amazing wild weather pics sent in by ABC listeners . Nana Glen shot an artwork. #nswstorm

Direct communication with the head of the firm using Twitter.


Using Twitter for better PR

Twitter is a simple tool that people have learnt to use in a host of wondrous ways. Using Twitter for PR has become an important way businesses interact with this social media technology.

Twitter can be used to generate knowledge as a PR professional, or it can be used to execute campaigns. Here are some examples.

Generate Knowledge about PR: Goto and search for #PRadvice or #PR – this will launch you into the stream of Twitterphiles talking about PR related issues, giving advice, commenting on good, bad and ugly PR campaigns, sharing links to PR blogs, campaigns and sites. It is an excellent way of being thrust deeply into the PR world.

Execute PR Campaigns: The social media and online world is a tricky and dangerous world to operate in. Here is a top ten list of PR do’s and don’ts on Twitter, and some campaigns to remember (ie: AVOID the FAIL) are Witchery’s Girl with the Jacket (not Twitter), The Starbucks Twitter FAIL – and the MARS Skittles campaign that throws up a numbers of questions for future campaign strategists to answer.

And note this post, ‘Twitter now mainstream enough to be basis for lame PR campaigns’ from Silicon Valley Insider.

Will Britney Spears crash Twitter

A few days ago Michael Arrington over on TechCruch ran a story about Britney Spears joining Twitter, or more precisely, her management team starting TheRealBritney avatar for her fans. At the time of writing this post there were 5,045 followers of @therealbritney for only 26 updates. So what? Barak Obama has 101,133 followers (though with only 238 updates); surely this has been the real test of Twitter over recent months. Well, perhaps not. You have to run campaigns to get people to vote in the USA. Politics is for a select group of very interested people whereas music is for everyone – maybe not Britney Spears’ style, necessarily, but even with her haphazard performances of recent years, more people worldwide would know of Spears, than Obama. How can this effect Twitter?

The Allure shot of Britney that caught Dvorak's attention on TWiT 165

The Allure shot of Britney that caught Dvorak's attention on TWiT, episode 165

A few months ago, during the great Twitter instability, when the platform was losing contacts and going up and down, I was listening to a podcast episode of TWiT (This Week in Tech), and the team suggested that Twitter would fall over when a genuinely international celebrity spruiked the platform. (Leo and Dvorak talk about it again in the current podcast – episode 165) They suggested that Twitter is being pushed to the limit by insiders, bleeding edge adopters and technology geeks who are not only testing the viability of micro-blogging, but seeing how it can be used for communication, business, marketing, social networking and whatever else falls out when you shake it hard enough. It was under this strain of rapid early adoption that the platform was finding it difficult to scale. They went on to say, if someone with real international purchase like Paris Hilton jumped up and said “Hey guys, I heard about this really cool thing called Twitter, you should give it a try”, the whole thing would fall over in a heap from the massive traffic surge – so badly, I remember them saying, that it would never recover.

Is Britney the Paris Hilton of that story? Or has Twitter become robust enough in the past few months to withstand the pop Queen’s assault?

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Jeremiah Owyang’s recommended web strategy reading

I get a great deal of value out of reading Jeremiah Owyang’s blog and tweets. Here is an extract from a recent post where he has summarised some of his best and finest for everyone’s benefit. Shel Israel’s theory of “Lethal Generosity” (link from Jeremiah) is also worth a read.

Here is an extract from Jeremiah’s recent post:

In the spirit of sharing, over the past few weeks in client calls, I’ve referenced these posts several times, one of the challenges of my blog layout is that it’s difficult to find the most visited or commented posts, here’s some I think you’d enjoy.

The Many forms of Web Marketing for 2008 (translated into 5 languages): A large index, be aware of the toolset before you begin crafting a strategy. I’ll be updating this for 09, so please leave a comment, I’ll credit you.

The Irrelevant Corporate Website (translated into 10 languages): “Blasphemy!” A marcom manager told me yesterday.

The Many Forms of Web Monetization: an important post for startups in today’s economic times.

A Chronology of Brands that Got Punk’d by Social Media: This is the list you want to stay off of.

List of Social Media Strategists and Community Managers in enterprise corporations: Unlike a wiki, I vett each submission and check their profiles to the best of my ability.

Impacts of Social Media on Customer Reference Programs: If your company harvests positive brand mentions and make case studies and toss the negative ones, they need to read this.

Social Media by Industry: Auto, Finance, and Insurance. Need to find examples for your boss or client? These lists can help.

List of Communities, Virtual Worlds, and Social Networks for Youth, Boomers, Retired, and Beyond: Need to reach a specific demographic, this list is a start.

Applying Social Computing to the Entire Product Life Cycle: If you’re thinking about social media for marketing only, you’ll need to expand further.

How to Successfully Moderate a Conference Panel, A Comprehensive Guide: I’ve been moderating quite a few panels, and have found some patterns that work for me. I still need to self-check to make sure I live up to my benchmark.

How I use Twitter: I often tell people I don’t mind if they unfollow from on Twitter as I’m very high volume, but there is a method to how and why I use the tool.

For the rest of the post click through to Recommended Web Strategy Reading

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Bigpond, Spam, Twitter and why Australia needs to sort this out

After setting up a support facility through Twitter, Bigpond has identified its concern that their correspondence with people through the social networking tool may constitute the “sending of unsolicited ‘commercial electronic messages’”, commonly referred to as spam, under the 2003 Spam Act.

@BigpondTeam Twitter page

@BigpondTeam Twitter page

There has also been significant discussion (much of it criticism) about the way @BigpondTeam has used the Twitter tool to communicate with their followers. Social Media experts such Stephen Collins have identified the boilerplate, bot-style responses being used and spoken about the internal restrictions being placed on the Telstra team. Much has been discussed on the Telstra-managed blog NowWeAreTalking, with plenty of comments adding to the explanation. Another comprehensive post can be found at Blogwell.

The Bigpond issue has also been analysed on Julian Cole’s blog from a legal perspective with some important points from Gavin Heaton, Granleese and Zac Martin from Pigs Don’t Fly. Comments range from the legality of Bigpond’s position to the poor execution of their Twitter project.

Last year, as they continued to recover from the exploding notebook catastrophe, Dell began experimenting with Social Media. They used Twitter and other social media tools to identify problems early and communicate with customers. These conversations ultimately grew into a new channel to communicate directly with journalists and customers on an ongoing basis.

Strive’s Notes has a post about this:

Andy Lark who runs Dell’s corporate marketing … says:

“The social media stuff is probably the most important we do today, from a marketing stand point. The other elements of marketing mix has sort of become more and more transactional and more and more tactical in nature. Social media stuff is much more strategic… Use social media to power the fundamental of the business. That’s what we’re focused on”.


Dell’s Kerry Bridge gave an interesting presention on the cool stuff they are doing.  She said that there are 4,000 unique conversations relating to the Dell brand taking place online each and every day. Kerry and her ‘SWAT team’ identify where they are taking place, prioritise them and engage when they feel their participation would make a positive difference.

Does this sound like what @BigpondTeam was attempting to do?

It’s all about the finesse of the execution that impresses, and the engagement you achieve. That’s what social media is all about – being social. Being engaging. Being human.

As far as spamming, it will be interesting to hear what the legal experts come back with, but solving a genuine problem when a well-trained “team identifies where … their participation would make a positive difference” can’t be spam, can it?

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Twitter misunderstood by marketing press

I receive Digital Media magazine in print and e-newsletter format, which I generally enjoy. Today, I was reading through some past issues of the e-newsletter and came across this:

Twitter has purchased Twitter search engine Summize for a reported US$15 million in a cash and Twitter stock deal. The announcement comes after weeks of outages- caused by increased demand that forced the social stalking site to pull back on service features in a bid to keep the platform running. Twitter is believed to have 1 million total users, 200,000 active users per week and 3 million messages daily. The Summize acquisition may help Twitter extract value from its burgeoning audience and shape some sort of business model out of what seems to be a social networking site looking for the big monetization solution.

Twitter users are familiar with this news by now, however, I was disturbed by the phrase “the social stalking site”. Using Google, the only other place I could find this phrase was on the satirical blog, AJNN, where they used it to refer to Facebook.

Marketers, and those writing about marketing in the digital space, should be well aware of the power of micro-blogging sites. They can help you stay in touch with the market, learn from and communicate with thought-leaders, gather information quickly, promote your ideas to thinkers operating at the bleeding-edge – and all the rest. I’m not going to create a list of reasons to use Twitter because a thousand other blogs and articles have done that. What I want to say is, if you write for or edit a digital media publication and you think a social media or micro-blogging site is a “social stalking site”, you need to come up to speed, fast! As Stephen Collins might say, “This is your five minute warning”.