Archive for the ‘Social Media Influence’ Category.

Major events influenced BBC’s news online

It seems that major events were the impetus for most steps forward the BBC has taken in engagement. At yesterday’s Social Media Influence conference in London, Pete Clifton, Head of Editorial Development for Multi-Media Journalism at the BBC, spoke about the lessons they had learnt and the steps taken. And to me it seemed that major events were the catalyst for much of this change.

Event 1: The 1997 General Election Campaign

The BBC news website grew out of an experiment during the 1997 General Election in the UK - an important time and a major campaign which saw the Conservative Party being replaced by Tony Blair‘s New Labour after 18 years in power. The BBC put up a few pages to cover the event as an experiment of how news could work online. The plan was to take this down over the summer following the campaign, but a second event stopped this.

Event 2: The death of Diana, Princess of Wales

Just as the site was to be wound-down, a second event occured that would also merit from some special treatment online. The death of Diana, Princess of Wales in the summer of 1997 led the BBC news team to set up a second set of pages - updating these and letting viewers email in their tributes and opinions. The first interactive news article on the BBC’s site was born and the site was not taken down. The importance of news online was realised and so the full BBC news site launched later that year.

Event 3: 7/7 bombings in London

By 2005, the BBC News website was well used and formed an integral part of the channel’s news outlet. The events of 7th July of that year in London helped in the shift of perception from multi-media news being something that sat apart from main editorial activities to something more integrated. When news-wire and London Underground reports were still reporting a power surge on the tube network, and nobody really knew what was happening, BBC News received an email containing a picture of a bus where one of the bombs had exploded and an eye-witness account of the events. Interacting with viewers through multi-media and online was now making the news. In fact the opening sequence on the main TV news bulletin the following evening was entirely UGC - videos shot on mobile phones from inside trapped Underground carriages.

These major events seem to have shaped the BBC’s activities and strategy for news online. In fact it is now an integrated part of the news offering and will soon no longer be a separate team, but will sit with the rest of the newsroom.

Australian hospital uses blogs to boost internal morale

Joanne Jacobs from Xenial Media gave a great example at yesterday’s Social Media Influence conference in London of how blogs were used internally in an Australian hospital.

The hospital wanted to improve morale and the satisfaction level among staff. Their solution was relatively cheap and made good use of social media. They installed screens in kiosks across the hospital and choose a handful of bloggers from different departments in the hospital. These were trained in how to write short (50 word) blog posts about what they were doing and what was going on in their department. They blogged during their day and they posts were streamed live to the screens. Letting everybody in the hospital know what was going on and helping them to connect with others and feel a collective sense of pride in what they were doing.

This example was apparently very successful. It was relatively cheap, engaged staff and, critically, involved a period of training to mean that those who were doing the blogging felt comfortable and able to do so. Great example!

Don’t be afraid to be personal online

I missed the morning sessions at the Social Media Influence conference in London yesterday, but turned up in time for Alex Burmaster from Nielsen Online.

The core themes from his presentation were:

  • Listen and respond
  • Exploit your website

Talking about consumer feedback and measuring it online he showed that not only is most feedback still emailed directly to the brand (54% of cases) but 55% of people would go first to a company website or blog to get information, and not somebody else’s site. In this context therefore, it is critical that you not only have a compelling and informative website (to increase the use people get from visiting it) but also that you listen and respond to comments and feedback you get (to encourage this kind of engagement).

In fact both of these elements are about thinking that your web presence is less about just marketing (pushing out a message) and more about engaging. Alex stressed that it’s important to make your website personal. This can be as simple as using personal phrases (such as “Meet us” or “Get involved”), to exploiting video on our site or integrating some community elements (such as blogs or forums).

For Alex, every product should have a video and every brand can have a community. Videos are the easiest thing to spread virally or embed. And he thinks that there is a community element to every product - people need it in their daily lives or they wouldn’t buy it.

For me, this shows that the best way of monitoring and controlling your brand’s image online is to be proactive - much of the key to success is probably something brands themselves can control.