Archive for March 2011

3 ways Facebook ‘Questions’ feature can help your brand

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Facebook has recently added “Questions” to its list of features.

Facebook Questions has the potential to be a valuable market research and engagement tool because:

  1. The interface is nicer than the Facebook Polls application.
  2. You can pay for Facebook advertising for your Questions (via the URL), which could provide a significant, targeted response for market research efforts.
  3. It’s easy to share the question with your friends and follow the question to keep a track of written responses. (Some respondents may find it helpful to look for people with similar mindsets,  which you can do by clicking the  button. Others might find it invasive and shy away from engaging over privacy concerns).

The Tesco GB Facebook Page, which has just over 9,300 followers, received over 200 votes and 9 followers within the first hour of publishing its poll. Looking back through its wall feed, this is a much higher level of engagement than its other wall posts (except for the one which offered a £50 prize).

Even more Interestingly, in the half a day or so since the question has been up, it’s had 436 responses, which means nearly 5% of all fans have so far interacted with the poll. This is an excellent response as usually anywhere between 0.5-1% would be considered a good response for most brands.

The question that Tesco asked through Facebook Questions was a simple poll with probably little inherent value:

‘Has everyone adjusted with the clocks yet?’

However the response rate indicates the potential value Questions can have for brands.

So is Facebook Questions a survey-smasher? Not in its current form - its options are too simple. It is however a great polling system and may, with improvement, be among the best online-market research tools.

If Facebook can find the balance between the depth needed for market research; the targeting options it has for brand page posts; privacy, and the sharing options it currently features, it will be a winner.

How can retailers use online content to engage customers in-store?

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Image courtesy of FINA

Retailers are increasingly using digital signage to engage their customers in-store.

According to a survey conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), more than 46,000 stores are now using digital signage, compared with just 12,500 in 2007. This figure is expected to rise to 58,000 by the end of this year.

Clearly retailers are trying to influence consumer purchasing through digital channels in both the on and offline arena. However, content on most digital signage screens is still “push” advertising or static images of products on offer. Perhaps retailers would be better placed to further integrate the online and offline world by making the content “social” or, at the very least, user-generated?

POPAI  found that bespoke, regularly updated content was the most effective at engaging consumers in-store. Surely the product-specific, user-generated content, appearing in real-time on the social web and written by the consumer for the consumer, is as up to date and bespoke as you can get?

Brands or retailers with an online community or Facebook page dedicated to their products or services would be particularly successful at exploring this option. Some of the content needed probably already exisits and the digital signage screens would just serve to bring it to the eyes of the consumer in-store.

Retailers are realising that in order to achieve an increase in footfall, and therefore sales, stores and shopping malls have to provide customers with a more engaging shopping experience. Digital signage is a fairly cost-effective way for retailers to utilise the consumer generated content online to increase customer engagement in-store.

Facebook the peacemaker

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A great deal has been written about social media’s role in the recent Middle East uprisings. This week Mark Zuckerberg alluded to a second, equally-important, role as a bridge that connects people accross political or religous divides.

The chart below comes from peace.facebook.com. Launched in 2009, Peace on Facebook hopes to play a part in “promoting peace by building technology that helps people better understand each other”.

Connecting friends accross borders has proven to be one of the most effecitve grassroots methods of changing perceptions. There are many Arab-Israeli projects working for peace in this way. It can only be a good thing that Facebook is helping thousands on both sides of the divide to connect every day.

Coca-Cola cut ad spend by 6.6% and invest more in social media

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Image courtesy of Adhistory

The Grocer recently published its Top 100 advertisers report and showed that Coca-Cola cut ad spend by 6.6% in 2010 and invested more in social media.

A spokeswoman at Coca-Cola said that while TV is still an important medium from promoting their brands,”many of our recent advertising campaigns and promotions have also utilised online facilities such as Facebook and YouTube more”.

With the launch of Coke Zone, a social media oriented site which offers Coke drinkers access to exclusive content and rewards, Coca-Cola has clearly realised the value of integrating offline and online marketing.

While Coke Zone is considered to be a valuable point of interaction with consumers, what’s more interesting is that using social media has allowed Coca-Cola to break out of the stop-start cycle of more traditional media campaigns and to start engaging on a more frequent, ongoing basis. Coca-Cola’s social media strategy is clearly about long-term sustainable engagement, developing advocacy and encouraging brand loyalty.

This is something that other fmcg brands would do well to think about. Social media is not just about campaigns or generating buzz around a new product launch. It can be used to engage with consumers on an ongoing basis in order to deepen relationships with a brand.

Perhaps it’s time for other areas of the consumer market place to reconsider their advertising spend too. In particular, household brands. Household brands spent a whopping £177.8 million on advertising in 2010. But with the rising cost of detergent ingredients threatening retail prices (both coconut oil and palm kernel oil are up 130% on last years price) can household brands continue to spend big bucks on advertising or should they be looking at alternative means, perhaps through social media, of developing brand loyalty?

5 examples of job hunting with social media

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Job hunting in the age of social media can be a difficult thing to do. Trying to differentiate yourself in the sea of voices created by social makes it harder to stand out from the crowd and throwing a few pictures at the top of your CV isn’t quite going to cut it any more.

Below are 5 of what we think are the best examples of people and companies using social media to help with job hunting. Enjoy.

1) Graeme Anthony and the C.V.I.V.

When Graeme Anthony sent his prospective C.V.I.V. (curriculum vitae interactive video) he didn’t anticipate the amount of buzz it would create. Although not originally intended for the public eye, you can appreciate why it went down so well. A truly pioneering effort from someone that clearly ‘gets’ the digital mindset.

2) Laura Tosney

Laura, like Graeme, understood the power of video for job applications and the touching stop motion video below showcases Laura’s creative side beautifully. Again, like Graeme, this got the attention of her soon-to-be-employer quite effectively, and she got the job.

3) Susan Lewis hires a boss

Every once in a while someone comes along and turns a concept on its head. Susan is one such person. Reflecting on the traditional model of ‘person asks company if they could work for them’, Susan broke the status quo, and started a blog where she hired her boss. The uptake on this wasn’t unanimously good, but this kind of change in attitude isn’t going to wash with everyone. You can read the blog here.

4) Alec Brownstein – The Google Job Experiment

Falling perhaps slightly outside of the social media remit, but incredibly relevant all the same, the Google Job Experiment by Alec Brownstein was an incredibly insightful reflection on the (what some call narcissistic) tendency of people to Google themselves. Armed with this knowledge, he paid for a Google Adwords campaign to target 5 high-level executives. Check the video below to see the results.

5.) The Saatchi & Saatchi Internship

This time the shoe is on the other foot, and Saatchi & Saatchi have used social media to recruit for their summer scholarship.

At a basic level, the brief asked grads to start a new Twitter account and get as high a rating as possible. The top 250 applicants would move onto the next stage of the process. This is a fascinating use of social media to hunt for grads, and a similar campaign back in 2010 using Facebook groups resulted in 5 full-time hires.

The facebook group can be found here.