Enter the London Social Media Agency 5km challenge for @GreatOrmondSt (the #social5km)

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We like a challenge at FreshNetworks. We’re a competitive bunch. As, it appears, is most of London agencyland, be they a pure play social media agency or any marketing, advertising or PR agency with a passion for social media and for competition. So, following a weekend of Twitter banter we’ve decided to accept the ultimate challenge to find the fastest agency team in London, and also the one that can raise most for charity. We’re inviting you all to join us in the 2011 London Social Media Agency 5km Challenge in June 12th. The #social5km as we’re calling it.

About the #social5km challenge

We’re taking part in the 2011 Race for the Kids for Great Ormond Street Hospital. A 5km ‘fun run’ around Battersea park on 12 June. The plan is to enter in agency teams and compete for some serious and less serious awards. And most notably for pride.

What are we competiting for

Aside from pride, there are some serious categories of competition, and it’s not just about being the quickest to finish. Current proposed categories are:

  • Fastest team (mean time for the whole team)
  • Most money raised
  • Most enthusiastic supporters
  • Best dressed runner
  • Most impressive hair

If you want to add more categories, add them in the comments below.

How to take part

Taking part is simple. You need to do two things:

  1. Enter for the race as a team (one person needs to create the team first and then everybody else join it)
  2. Leave a comment below telling us: your team name, your agency (and link) and the people in your team (with their Twitter names)

We’ll keep a list here of the agencies taking part and keep you updated in the next few months.

Oh and the friendly, competitive banter can take place on Twitter - hashtag #social5km

The agency teams

1) FreshNetworks

  • Matt Rhodes (@mattrhodes)
  • Helen Trim (@helentr)
  • Greg Hollings (@greghollings)
  • Dan Harris (@gecko84)
  • Alex Truby
  • Joy Taylor
  • Nic Gutteridge

2) ‘The caners’ from Hurricane

  • Jon Holloway (@socialvation)
  • Paul Cash (@zagology)
  • Lindsay Davies (@lindsaydavies)
  • Jo Bromilow (@redheadfashion)
  • Mauro Niewolski (@mauroniewolski)
  • Matt Simpson (@mrmsimpson)

3) Team TAMBA

  • Kay Hammond (@TAMBA_Internet)
  • Jon Broomfield (@TAMBA_Jon)
  • Adam Keene (@TAMBA_Adam)

4) Team Tempero

  • Dom Sparkes (@domsparkes)
  • Kelda Wallis (@kelda)
  • Lucy McElhinney (@lucym)
  • Frank Sheahan (@FrankusDTankus)
  • Julia Wolter
  • Esther Ivshin

5) Team eMod

  • Tearin’ Tia Fisher (@emoderation)
  • Blazin’ Blaise Grimes-Viort (@blaisegv)
  • Dangerous Dani W
  • Hurricane Helen S
  • Jumpin’ Joanne W
  • Revving Roger W
  • Tearaway Tom M
  • Fiona R
  • Janice P

Social Santas and Christmas fun

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At this time of year, what better excuse to get people out of the FreshNetworks office than a synchronised cycle ride round central London dressed as Father Christmas? And all for no reason whatsoever, apart from the fun of it.

Tourists thought we were delightful, cabbies called us a menace and the police tracked our every move - convinced that, at any moment, we might start a student protest.

With mince pies in our bellies and iPhones strapped to our Boris Bikes we tweeted all the way to Buckingham Palace. Arriving just in time to catch Prince Philip who stopped his car to ask what we were up to and to wish us a Merry Christmas all round.

Thank you Barclays and thank you Boris. We love your bikes. And thanks to Asylum Films (our favourite London production company) for making the movie.

social-media-agency-santas

FreshNetworks Blog: Top five posts in September

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that's five
Image by darren131 via Flickr

As a social media agency, FreshNetworks aims to bring you the best posts in social media, online communities, marketing and customer engagement online. In case you missed them, find below our top five posts in September that you might have missed.

1. How BBC London is experimenting with social media to cover the Tube strike

This autumn London is facing a series of strikes on the London Underground system. These are always very disruptive to commuters and when they happen the need for correct, and instant, information is great. BBC London News (@BBCLondonNews) has been using Twitter for some time as a source information, comment and research for pieces. Most notably through certain reporters such as Matt Cooke (@MattCooke_UK) who have built a presence on Twitter. But with this Tube Strike, BBC London News are doing some things different and truly experimenting with social media.

They have launched and are experimenting with the London Tube Strike Map. Plotting information shared on Twitter using the #TubeStrike hashtag, and submitted by text, email and by filling in a form on the site too. What BBC London is doing is experimenting with different ways of both sourcing and then presenting information and news. It is using social media in the way that many of its viewers are doing and providing them a real service.

2. Social media case study: Cadbury spots v stripes campaign

Cadbury Spots v Stripes campaign is a great case study of how to use social media and shows just why social media doesn’t just take place online. The campaign integrates online and offline touchpoints, and rewards people for things they do in social media and offline. What is interesting to see is that Cadbury has recognised that offline is converging with online – something that all digital marketers need to be aware of.

3. The dangers of brands over-responding on Twitter

One of my favourite podcasts is Listen to Lucy from the FT’s Lucy Kellaway and in September she has a great piece addressing how brands are responding on Twitter. Specifically how the Starbucks UK MD is responding to some tweets about the brand and the regularity at which he is doing this. The example she uses is a Tweet from a UK comedian about the hygiene in one Starbucks store, and Kellaway suggests that the MD should have other things to do than worry about the hygiene in one store, that it is worrying that he only finds out about this via Twitter, and that it appears they are only engaging people with a certain threshold of followers on Twitter.

There is a real danger with social media. Because it is easy to find mentions of your brand online there is a temptation to think that you need to respond to them. Kellaway’s point, and one that brands should take into account when planning their social media strategies, is that overall business strategy should not be driven by what is said on Twitter.

4. 5 ways marketers could use Facebook Places

Facebook Places launched in the US in August and in Europe in September. It allows users to share their location with their friends, find out who is near them and to discover new places nearby. This add another geolocation tool into the market alongside the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla and the reach of Facebook will put geolocation tools in the hands of lots of people.

In this post we suggest five ways that marketers can use Facebook Places - from discounts to data.

5. Learn from Abercrombie & Fitch: Embed social media in every customer touchpoint

When you pay at Abercrombie & Fitch in London, you are asked the same question: “Have you checked us out on Facebook?”. Rather than being just a phatic expression, this is a sign that Abercrombie & Fitch is taking its social media strategy seriously. And a great example of just how to embed social media across your customer touchpoints and with all your staff.

If you want to grow and engage more customers in social media the best way is to embed it into your existing processes. You currently have many customer touchpoints so make the most of them. And let social media complement what you already do rather than sitting on its own.

How BBC London is experimenting with social media to cover the Tube strike

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London Underground sign, Westminster, London
Image by jamesmellor via Flickr

If you’re based in London you probably know the disruption and frustration caused when there is a strike on the Tube - especially more so as the strikes are often timed to cause maximum impact on journeys to and from work. If you are based out of London you probably care less. But for all people the current strike that started today is a good example of how broadcasters are using social media both as an information source but also as a broadcast medium.

BBC London News (@BBCLondonNews) has been using Twitter for some time as a source information, comment and research for pieces. Most notably through certain reporters such as Matt Cooke (@MattCooke_UK) who have built a presence on Twitter. This is a common use of social media among news organisations, and we wrote last year about the benefits (and challenges) of user-generated news. But with this Tube Strike, BBC London News are doing some things different and truly experimenting with social media.

The are of course doing the basics - they are using and promoting the #TubeStrike hashtag, and reporters such as Cooke are sharing information, photos and retweeting other comments about the strike. They are sourcing photos through social media and sourcing stories and information about the strikes and the impact on commuters the same way.

Perhaps more exciting, however, is how they are then presenting this information back to people and how they are using social media to broadcast information and news about the strike.

The BBC is experimenting with social media to map and report on the tube strike and the impact it is having: the London Tube Strike Map. As with other such maps, they are plotting information shared on Twitter using the #TubeStrike hashtag, and they are also including audioboos with the same tag. But where they are leveraging the reach and power of the BBC is to combine these social media sources with more traditional sources - you can submit information by text, email and by filling in a form on the site too.

This is a simple tool but can be an effective one and its use will become more obvious as we enter the second day of the strikes and more content is added. What BBC London is doing is experimenting with different ways of both sourcing and then presenting information and news. It is using social media in the way that many of its viewers are doing and providing them a real service. We already know that many people will be using Twitter as a search engine to find out information about how their journey to work is being affected by the strike. BBC London is bringing this information together in one place and, perhaps critically, combining it with information it sources from other places.

Organisations like the BBC should be experimenting with social media where there is a clear benefit for their audience of doing this. If it works and attracts a sizeable and relevant audience then they can develop these tools and experiments to enhance the news and travel coverage they currently provide. With the London Tube Strike Map they are moving beyond sourcing information and research through social media, to using it as an integral part of their reporting and information provision. If the experiment works it could provide a model for how news organisations can provide such information in the future.

View the London Tube Strike Map

DrupalCon 2010 and the future of Drupal

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Last week a few members of the FreshNetworks development team went over to Copenhagen to find out about the latest developments in the Drupal world at DrupalCon 2010.

Drupal is the open source content management system that we use here at FreshNetworks to develop our online community sites.

Drupal has various advantages over other content management systems (as described in our post on why Drupal is a great social media platform (in layman’s terms)) and has grown rapidly in use over the last seven years or so.

Paul Oram and James Andres, both experienced “Drupalistas” and  members of our tech team,  attended the conference this year to speak  find out more about the latest Drupal developments.

In the video below Paul explains these developments and what we can expect from Drupal in the next release and what developments it is taking over the next few years.