For the opening day of Social Media Junction 2, we held a Public Sector Workshop, spearheaded by Simon Wakeman. Simon is Head of Communications for Medway Council in the UK and is considered a thought-leader in online communications within the public sector. He regularly speaks at conferences and blogs on his personal site, which you can find here.
The day began with audience members being asked to write down their expectations for the workshop, along with their personal role within the public sector. This was a useful way for people to get to know each other and a timely reminder of the importance of sharing information and experiences between delegates as much as gaining insights from the speakers themselves. Continue reading
After a hugely successful inaugural conference in May of this year, which attracted more than 200 NZ marketers, Social Media Junction returns with six international speakers, 16th-17th November at SkyCity in Auckland. The theme is Achieving ROI in your Social Media Marketing Strategy. US keynote Lee Odden will offer his insights into how to build long-term business benefits through great digital engagement on social platforms.
For more information and to buy tickets, please go here.
This morning I read a really thought provoking article on The Guardian website about Google Instant. The article is essentially all about how the internet is making our attention spans shorter and shorter.
For those of you who don’t know, Google Instant is a new addition to internet search technology that shows results below the search window as you type. The aim is to reduce the time spent searching for what you’re looking for, often without the need to even press ‘enter’ to bring up the right results. And yes, you can turn it off if you so choose.
I was at a conference recently where Google Instant was being discussed and I was pondering how great an innovation it was. This was another step in making it quicker (and hopefully easier) to find the right content online. Brilliant.
However, after more consideration and since reading the Guardian article, I’m now slightly concerned about the wider ramifications of the way things are heading. Continue reading
I recently delivered a presentation at Realestate.co.nz’s ‘Future of Real Estate Conference’. I spoke about how real estate agents could use social media to engage with potential customers.
One of the overarching themes of the event was how real estate agents can make themselves a central part of their local communities. This can be achieved through a mix of talking about the local property market and also about news in the surrounding area.
This can be anything from local festivals to new shops opening. It’s another example of how online communications are becoming more personalised in order to increase their relevance. Here’s a great example of a real estate agent leveraging the most out of online. Thanks to fellow speaker, Joel Burslem for highlighting this one.
In terms of my presentation, these were the main points I discussed:
· The relationship between PR, SEO and the real estate industry
· The changing nature of being an influencer
· The differences between a journalist and a blogger and why this matters
· Business outcomes off the back of social media Continue reading
I delivered a presentation this afternoon to the B&T Digital Bootcamp on where PR fits into the Social\Digital Media Mix.
For the full presentation, please click here.
However, here is a summary…
It had to happen. It was inevitable. Rumours are abound on Mashable and Advertising Age that Facebook is adding location features this month, which probably means the end for existing location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla. Facebook’s huge critical mass allows it to get to where its smaller rivals could only dream of being and at the flick of a switch. Continue reading
Research giant Nielsen recently released a study that confirmed what we have all probably known for some time: optimising your site for mobiles is the next game-changer for global business. The research features on Australian SME website, Smart Company and highlights several salient points, notably the relevance of Google maps via smartphones. As Matt Bruce, managing director of Nielsen’s online business, says:
“Google is making big plays in mobile, both in terms of maps and mobile search. I think businesses need to pay attention to local business listings, and that type of activity, because people are increasingly using these tools to get around.” Continue reading
People often refer to YouTube as the world’s second most popular search engine, but is it really a search engine? People don’t search for ‘builder in Auckland City’ or ‘movie times in Wellington’ like they do on Google or Bing. Most people tend to be pointed to YouTube via another source, be it Facebook, Twitter, word-of-mouth or even (shock horror) email. I would personally call YouTube a video sharing platform. Continue reading
There is an interesting guest post on Social Media news site Mashable about the ‘billion dollar battle’ between Facebook and Google to be your default social profile.
It highlights how the talk around location based services and group purchasing tools hasn’t yet gone mainstream, despite the hype. The real questions are whether Google Buzz and Wave are going to reach their much vaunted potential and if social commerce (the ability to buy ‘direct’ from within Facebook) is the way forward for retailers. Check out sites like Payvment to see what this is all about.
With news that Google has just announced the next step in its plan to take-over the world , one tech sector at a time, it seems like an apt moment to highlight how it does PR/marketing. Continue reading
SEO and SEM specialist First Rate recently pointed out how data from Hitwise (the online data monitor) shows that Facebook has overtaken TradeMe as New Zealand’s second most popular website (after Google, of course).
With the rising popularity of other social media such as Twitter and Flickr and the further news that Facebook has just signed a deal with market research company Nielsen to boost its credentials as a genuine advertising platform, businesses in NZ need to be aware of how these events are changing the way they need to work. This ‘socialisation’ of the internet is not simply a way for people to stay in touch; it’s bigger than that. The use of social media tools to speak to potential and existing customers has broken down the traditional barriers between businesses and the man on the street.
Check out this YouTube effort by Canadian band Sons of Maxwell who have been fighting United Airlines since March 2008 over compensation for damaged guitars while touring. Clearly, the band felt they weren’t getting a satisfactory response from the airline, so after a frustrating 12 months or so, they finally took matters into their own hands. The video was loaded onto the Sons of Maxwell YouTube channel on Monday, and after only three days it’s already had 640,000 views!! It’s certainly not doing any harm to the band’s reputation at the moment, with loads of coverage both online and offline. Continue reading
When the National Business Review interviewed me recently on the role of Twitter, I told marketing reporter Hazel Phillips that those companies contemplating Twitter shouldn’t get too distracted by the early adopters who may appear to dominate the conversations with endless updates of banal goings-on. The fact remains that there is a remarkably high level of serious communication taking place on Twitter and, more significantly, much of this is exclusively taking place on Twitter. So my first comment to our clients is: if you are not there in the first place, how can you take part? Continue reading
I spoke at an Auckland Chamber of Commerce event this week on the benefits of blogging for small to medium businesses. It really is an ideal channel for companies offering niche products and services that lack the brand presence of larger organisations. Here are five reasons why blogging is such a great tool for SMEs:
- Cost – Access to free software such as WordPress make a blog an extremely cost-effective branding tool for companies that lack a substantial marketing budget
- Presence - A blog site external from an organisation’s website expands its online footprint, increasing its visibility. There are a lot of poorly-optimised company websites out there, making a blog a particularly vital SEO tool
- Personality - Blogging gives a business a means of breathing a bit of personality into its brand, conveying an authenticity that engenders loyalty and trust in consumers. Many small businesses are run by the individual(s) that started them, so why not give an outlet for the passion they have for what they do?
- Conversation – A blog is a great opportunity to instigate conversation with a customer base. I spoke with a lady at the event who was a naturopath. A blog is an ideal communications channel for such a business, allowing it to hold conversations with customers who are seeking advice or who might have queries about natural medicines. That one-to-one relationship adds significant value to a company’s offering
- Community – As I have noted, with many SMEs operating in niche spaces, a blog is an opportunity for them to position their brand as a community hub. For example, I spoke with a chap who sold kickboxing equipment. Setting up a blog on kickboxing would give him a platform to position himself as an expert, provide his customer base with a focal point to discuss the discipline and deliver his company with excellent brand positioning, and an avenue back to his sales channel.
I gave a presentation on online public relations last week to the Sales and Marketing Institute of New Zealand, which included the topic of corporate blogging. As a result of a number of questions following the presentation, I have compiled a list of key benefits, which are in no particular order of importance:
- Cost: it?s cheap to set up with little ongoing costs except your time
- Online makes sense: A lot of people now have broadband at work and at home, and they are with this as a communications channel
- Ease: online publishing is easy; posting blogs becomes second nature
- Content: Most companies are sitting on a mountain of content. One post minimum on average per week is respectable
- Media relations: the blog can help enormously in strengthening your relationships with key journalists.
- Blogger relations: a blog makes it much easier to start to attract the attention of influential bloggers; they provide links to your posts, driving traffic to you
- Connecting with customers: this can become a real cost effective direct channel to let your customers know what to look forward to
- Research/polling capability: the direct relationship ultimately may allow you to do this
- Gain better insights of your customers: find out what they want, get greater detail, demographics etc
- Providing an online community for customers: the comments capability will allow feedback and discussion; strengthening your customer relationships, and making isolated customers feel together
- Attracting prospects: the blog can drag in prospects virally and show them what they?re missing out on.
- Strengthens your brand: makes key influencers sit up and take notice; a blog shows that you are progressive, dynamic, 21st century, customer ?centric, etc
- Risk: comments are moderated which deflects unsavoury content or spam
- Potential advertising revenue: yes, why not? If you build your readership, you may end up with an attractive advertising target
And in particular, here are some important Search Engine Benefits of blogging
- Create inbound links to your blog: having a blog at yoursite.co.nz/blog means that these links benefit the ranking of your main site
- Create niche content: By blogging about niche subjects you are able to create highly optimised content, increasing your rankings for key terms as well as the ?the long tail?
- Fresh content: Search engines love fresh relevant content; regular posting will benefit search rankings
- Social media: By submitting each blog post to relevant social media sites like Scoopit, Digg & Reddit you not only allow content to spread virally, you can create a lot of incoming links
As public relations embraces online communications, PR practitioners need to understand the fundamental importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). With so much information out there about optimising web pages for Google it can be hard to know where to start.
Here is what I consider the most important aspects of Search Engine Optimisation,
1. Page Titles
3. Content / Copy
1. Both the page title & the file name are important, try to start with relevant words. ie. If your page is about “computer chairs” Then name your file “computer-chairs.html”. Your title should be something like “Computer Chairs – Your Business Name”.
2. Headings have a lot of weight when Google determines what your content is related to. Your main heading should be surrounded in heading tags (H1, H2 for subheadings etc.) and contain the same keywords as your title & file name.
3. The most important aspect of your page is quality content. The content of your page should be related to and contain the keywords that you used in the first 2 steps. Don’t overdo the keywords though, a good rule is it should contain the keywords but not seem obviously ‘keyword stuffed’ when a user reads the page.
4. Inbound links make all the difference to where your page will show in the Google results. As a general rule the more websites linking to your page or website, the higher up the results your site will show. This is because Google counts each link as a vote for your website and the better the linking / voting site the better the value of the link.
My next post will discuss different methods for acquiring links so stay tuned.
With the rapid growth of user generated media, managing online reputations has become critical. In New Zealand, Google is the search engine of choice in approx 95% of all searches. Each Google page shows 10 results, and in an ideal world you would fill all 10 spots on the hugely important first page with positive brand affirming content. Today, social media provides you with an opportunity to create relevant, compelling content beyond your own website.
This can be achieved in a number of ways, for instance:
- Create a YouTube profile page & upload related videos. Content on YouTube frequently obtains high rankings in Google results.
- Create a Myspace page for your corporate identity / brand.
- Facebook – Create a public group.
- Create a Digg profile page and Digg your content.
- LinkedIn – which allows you to create an individual profile page.
(And let?s not forget Blogging, which we will discuss in detail on the Bullet Points blog.)
Remember, relevance is the key! Each of these locations must contain good solid relevant content which makes for useful viewing.