Archive for category: Social Media

Stop Making Likes a Caveat on Charity

12 Feb
February 12, 2013

Business donations to charitable causes are important, as it’s often businesses that provide the biggest amounts that can make the most impact.

Lately though, there has been an increase in the number of businesses holding donations to ransom by giving “per Like” on Facebook, often revolving around disaster relief or hardship.

This afternoon I saw another example from 1800 PhoneHome, donating 50c for every like to a memorial fund to support cancer research.

Before I start in on the next piece of the post, let me say I have no issue with donating money to worthwhile causes, especially cancer research.

What I do have an issue with is businesses making charity contingent on increasing a social metric.

By embarking on a tactic like this, it is obvious that there is already an amount earmarked for donation. No business would simply leave the amount uncapped.

A truly charitable business would just donate the money. If your goal as a business is to be seen as such, it should be done without condition.

It’s important to differentiate business goals (to be seen as a giving organisation) from a metric (how many people love us for being a giving organisation). Confusing the two, or conditioning one on the other, reflects poorly on your brand.

By only donating per Like, your charity becomes nothing but a cost per lead ad campaign for your business.

PHOTO – marc falardeau

The Greatest Ever Example of Injecting Personality Into A Brand

13 Jan
January 13, 2013

We hear a lot in social media about how you need to inject some personality into your brand.

Many struggle with the notion, feeling their brand is boring and has nothing beyond the facts about what they do.

When you think about brands with personality, government is not one that jumps to mind. Yet the US Government has managed to pull off one of the greatest examples of brand personality I think I’ve ever seen.

For those that haven’t seen it in the last two days, the White House has provided an official response to a petition on We The People calling for the construction of a Death Star by 2016.

Frivolous and as tongue in cheek as the original request may have been, the White House requires a petition to reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days to receive an official response. When it met the threshold, it would have been very easy, and less face it, very government-esque, to respond with a simple no.

But instead, they had some fun with it.

Click here to read it yourself.

In a way that celebrated the very geekdom of wanting to build one in the first place, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget laid out a very detailed explanation of why it wasn’t possible, laden with references to blowing up planets, the kessel run, and the very thing that destroyed the original Death Star – a one man star ship.

The result – a viral sensation that’s spread like wildfire in two days.

So next time you think that you can’t inject anything fun into what you’re putting out there, just think – what is it that is really going to set your target market’s world on fire? What’s going to suprise and delight them? Try something in their language – see how they respond.

PHOTO – xoque

When “Opinions of Your Own” Can Be Dangerous

03 Sep
September 3, 2012

Something that has become somewhat of a necessary addition to many bio and profiles online is the disclaimer of “opinions are my own and not that of my employer”. I even have it on mine.

It’s a way of employees carving out some own space to say what they want, without impacting their employers brand, reputation, or at worst, bottom line.

Or so many people think.

If I can sum up in one line what I am about to talk about, it is this:


I get new followers on Twitter all the time, and I decide on following back based on the bio, so I read every one of them (if you mention the word MLM, forget it). And last week I got a cracker from a guy called Gene (or the best I can tell from his bio).

He is a rep for a clothing line, also a pharmaceutical tech, and a barber (I know, what the…?). He even adds his employers URL to his bio, and his direct email address.

Wild bio aside, he then gets into his even wilder, barely legible tweeting.

Here’s a sample – a tweet about how gay the car he is driving, references to his friends in derogatory racial terms, something about smoking a bong – and so on. And then, to cap it off, he says “doin’ what I do, don’t give a f*** if they approve”.

In this case, Gene hasn’t made the statement of “views are my own” (probably because he’d have to drop barber from his resume to fit it in), so for all intents and purposes, the company has employed a racist stoner homophobe to represent their brand online (and I know that is a very simplistic way of looking at it, but it’s a first impression you get).

If you do add a disclaimer though, what real difference does it make?

If someone’s values and attitude are so out of whack with those of a companies that they claim a link to online – are they the right person for the job? And not necessarily just a social related job – anything that claims a link back to your organisation.

For businesses, you need to decide – if you want your employees to be tweeting, or indeed on social media in general, how much link do you want back to your company? If they are going to be on there, and you have more concerns than not, should part of your policy be that they not claim they work for you?

For individuals, understand that everything you do online from a social perspective has the potential to impact on your employer. Even if you disclaim it. If you feel that anything you post has the potential to affect your employment with a business, or the business at all, consider what you are sending out. If your opinions are so different to that of your company – are you in the right job?

Interested to hear other points of view.

PHOTO – The|G|

Is Facebook Fanning Social Media Fires?

14 Aug
August 14, 2012

Target’s social media slamming today (rightly or wrongly) is just the latest in a number of social media fires that has gone viral.

While I know that there are many people who agree with the points of view expressed by people on brand Facebook pages, I know that my feed lately has been populated by my friends liking statuses posted on walls as diverse as 2UE, KFC,  Jetstar and now Target.

Up until about a month ago, I never saw this kind of activity floating through my feed, but now it seems like there is one every day. Which leads me to my question – is Facebook fanning social media fires and making it more challenging for brands?

The algorithm that Facebook uses (Edgerank) to determine what it is that you see in your feed relies on a few different things – recency, affinity and weight.

Recency and weight make sense in the context of these updates, as they amass a lot of likes and comments in a very short period of time.


However, when I consider affinity, it’s a different story.

What I tend to see a lot of is status likes from people who I don’t interact with a lot or at all on Facebook (sorry friends), so factoring affinity just doesn’t seem to work.

So I ask again – what has Facebook changed to surface these kind of posts in my feed and make me take notice?

Is there an end game? Are they looking to shore up promoted post revenue by making brands surface their responses and positive content to the masses?

Is it a deliberate move, unhappy coincidence or something else?

What do you think?

When QR Codes Attack

17 Jan
January 17, 2012

I’m just back from summer break and while I was on holidays I picked up a copy of the Social Media Monthly at the newsagent. It was more curiosity than anything, and at $17.50 despite a $6.99 USD cover price and above parity exchange rate, I now consider that curiousity satisfied and probably won’t be doing it again. But I digress…

Something that really struck me was the inordinate number of QR codes in the magazine. Front and back cover, and nearly every ad and article inside had a code attached.

I think QR codes can be a very useful and valuable tool. But as with most things I talk about here, they’re only good as long as they are easy to use and provide value for the customer.

In a bit of an experiment, I scanned all 20 QR codes in the magazine – only two went to a mobile optimised version of their site. One didn’t work all together and the kicker for me was the one for a business that specialises in mobile applications that went to their standard web site.

While a normal website can be viewed on a smart phone, the experience is not awesome. Images and text become small and illegible, and you have to drag around the page to navigate it all. If a site is optimised for mobile however, the experience is much better.

Experience is everything.

Secondly, you need to think about WHY you are using the QR code. Are you offering anything of value that might make it worth their while? As an example, all I landed on when I scanned the magazine’s QR code was a non optimised subscription page. No value to me.

Think about what you want people to do when they get there. It’s like building Facebook fans – awesome to have, but what are you delivering to them in terms of value?

Remember – value and experience – these two things should be the foundation of everything you do.

Yes, that QR code above does actually work. It’s a little gem from Scott Stratten on bad use of QR codes – plenty you can learn from here. And for those of you who don’t want to scan it, you can watch it below.