Posts Tagged ‘social media’

How many jobs carry a required task list of “swim, explore and relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef” and offer a salary of £73,400 for a six-month contract?

Is this your office?

Is this your office?

The answer, surprisingly is now none but only last week it was one. adn that job has now been filled. As part of a £800,000 tourism campaign to publicise the charms of north-eastern Queensland (really? I thought everyone was aware of how gorgeous it was, surely “look at Google images” would be sufficient) the job was advertised and attracted over 35,000 applicants.

So how exaclty is this going to be work for the lucky winner – British charity worker Ben Southall. Well, from July 1st he begins what is easily the best Social Marketing job in existence – as if the Great Barrier Reef needs optimising for that. All that swimming, exploring, living in a luxury villa looking over the Coral Sea and enjoying those white sandy beaches will be relayed to the world in a blog.

Scuba diving, sun bathing, exploring and living the life of luxury. In a blog. For six months. £73,400.

As much as I wish congratulations and good luck, I think I (and everyone else for that matter) would be lying if they said they weren’t extremely jealous.

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OK, the explosion of social media is not something that can be ignored either by its users and, now (finally) by the media and (possibly unfortunately) businesses.

to post or not to post?

to post or not to post?

That businesses are making more and more use of the opportunities offered by social media optimisation is little surprise. That businesses, and therefore potential employers, are now getting up to speed on the once fun-only social sites and tools  is affecting the way they’re used on a personal level is now becoming increasingly evident.

I’ve now been in two companies where, during quieter moments, candidates have been looked up on facebook to see what “they’re really like.” A well documented practice that has led to people either blocking all but their friends from viewing and (I’ve known several people do this already) close their accounts entirely because they feel social sites (and their online lives) are up for interrogation from companies.

This morning I read an account of how a brief twitter exchange could cost you your job, I apologise for forgetting the source but I’m sure it can be easily found. It goes like this, someone got offered a job and posted up the following tweet:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Unfortunately, social-savvy Cisco were following the candidate and replied with a brisk: 

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Of course, this is only one example of what I’m sure are many “oops, I really shouldn’t have posted that there,” but the  presence of companies and their reps on twitter is only going to increase. Given that estimates now place some 6 million users (myself included) clocking up something like 55 million views a month, twitter has been propelled to the third biggest social media site and has forced the biggest (Facebook) to sit up and take notice – there’s surely been countless articles on the new app. 

But, as more companies join the tweet flow and social medial fun, is it now limiting the freedom with which users once operated and, accordingly, removing the original elements – and fun – that attracted so many users to them in the first place?

Doing one of my numerous flicks around the net I found this video on the perils of pitching SMO:

He makes me think of an over-enthusiastic Larry David (except for the bits after 00:47 when he loses steam), but I think Sage’s point is still valid a year or so after he made this commentary: businesses are still craving ROIs in relation to social media optimisation campaigns. 

So while Sage may have, and probably still does, guarantee that SMO pays and the benefits are well known, SEO blogs all talk about the troubles with actually measuring the ROI for it in plain numerical terms, it’s not as if you can show this to a client. So how do you measure the success in terms an FD would accept?

So the big news in the social media world is how Ford are embracing all us bloggers and lovers of the communities but offering 100 people a free Fiesta before they launch it in the States. Great huh? 

Well, there’s a couple of catches. The first is that you’ve got to be deemed socially cool enough – they’re looking for people who have what they call a “strong presence on the web.” Then you get the keys to an “international model” Fiesta, for six months. Then you get to generate an online buzz over the new Ford

Except… well if you saw my lost post, the “international” Fiesta isn’t the one that’s launching Stateside in 2010. 

So… unless I’ve read this wrong the winners are getting the funky little super-mini we all love here in Europe for six months in order to promote the chuffing great sedan?  Making the ‘Ford Movement’ a great big exercise in futility. 

America needs a small car but the Full-Fat Fiesta isn’t likely to be it. Or am I missing something here in this campaign? Anyone???

For the last week or so I’ve been hard at work on a site dealing with International Removals. The idea has been to get some nice fat ranking results and use social to squirt some link juice on the “moving to..” pages. Working in the Social Media environment I’m all too aware of the facts regarding the user stats for Facebook yet, having also been using the site on a personal level long before a professional one, I was also aware of  how much of that whopping statistic is likely to be useless.

A short scurry showed how much I’d under-estimated the useless quota . Surely all those lovely groups would be a good way to garner information on what people want to know about moving to another country? Instead, it proved to be yet another lesson in the own-going education that this job is providing.

fbmarketLet’s look at the results for one search that were typical of what I found. The only difference being the destination: Moving To Canada. I, naively was hoping to find a few people trying to find out what they would need for their immigration dreams.

No. Try page after page of the displayed image. This is one of the very few screen shots available that didn’t involve racist, sexist, offensive and otherwise unusable images.

Whilst this manages to serve as an example of how fickle a certain nation can be – without wanting to offend any readers – it’s more an example of how little use Facebook can be for garnering market information. Not because of the type of group or search term, merely due to the lack of substance in the response.

Even looking at the image reveals that while these groups had thousands of members each, they’re all shedding images. Which means that not only is the potential market not likely to follow up on their statement, they’re actually retracting it.

There’s also the sheer proliferation of these groups. In theory there need only be half a dozen. Instead, rather than join an existing group that shared their feelings, they created their own. As is their right, don’t get me wrong. But if this principal were applied in the area these groups are dedicated there would be hundreds of political parties and not one of them would get anywhere.

THAT'S not ecommerce

THAT'S not ecommerce

While the idea of trusting market research has never been a sound one, the motivation in using social networking sites was to gain an insight into what the target demographic was feeling. However, with the ease of creation and user-control of such sites that makes these sites so successful and attractive, also makes them irrelevant from an information gathering point of view. Not only that, but the sheer amount of such groups and trolls puts it worryingly close to the domain inhabited by early network-sites (anyone remember Bolt?) and about as much use as the spam-covered Google Groups.

Of course, the lack of being used from a marketing point of view makes Facebook users happier. Creating a pool of target demographic information isn’t its goal. It’s there as a social interaction site etc and etc. However, if there is no intelligent qualitative market research available from it, how long before businesses stop paying attention? If they’re getting nothing from it by way of usable information are they really going to sponsor it with advertising cash? Especially when, as a user, I know how very little banner ads get looked at let alone clicked on.

I wasn’t even looking for an appropriate place to throw up an advert, nor was I looking to grab traffic or send people to the sites I’ve been working on. I simply wanted to know what they wanted to know. Marketing agencies and professionals (and I’m no exception) often suggest that Facebook, Myspace etc is a barely-touched pool of customer data just waiting to be tapped.  Problem is that if I were to use the information I gathered  I’d be building sites that provided information as to which political figures were in office in another country as information on Moving to Canada.

So with the sheer wealth of user-orientated sites and forums out there, where can accurate consumer information be found without having to wade through pages of the above? Or can it? I’m not talking about haranguing with questions and surveys either, just simple, “what do our customers want?” And, if there is no way for companies to hear the social-buzz on their product or industry, will they start looking to place their advertising and marketing budgets elsewhere and how long will the sites last then? Will the user-orientated, no businesses element that started these sites become their downfall?