Archive for the ‘Social Network’ Category

Blanchard leads the way with social media

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 by Jon Clements


Ken Blanchard

Ken Blanchard, the 73-year-old co-author of the One Minute Manager may need his grandchildren’s help with the technology; but this hasn’t stopped his lifetime commitment to building relationships through embracing social media.

This was among many illuminating lessons in Altimeter Group’s excellent webinar, “The Power of Relationships in the Facebook Era” yesterday.

Hosted by Altimeter’s co-founder, Charlene Li, Blanchard evangelised about the way technology has taken his effective leadership beliefs to their natural conclusion:

“Leadership today is not about you, it’s about the people you are serving; it’s about treating your employees as business partners, working side-by-side with them and sharing information, ” said Blanchard. To emphasise the point, Li added that adding social media tools to the mix means encouraging people within businesses who may be more familiar with the technical tools to communicate and develop relationships.

Where young people and their use of digital technology, Blanchard claims, are “all about relationships”, he points out the perceived threat to those further up the food chain, and particularly those managers who are “ego-driven”: “They are afraid of the feedback and what they might learn!” Feedback, he says (a number of times, in what must be one of his favourite motivational catch phrases) is “the breakfast of champions”.

Clearly, there is no place for ego in building relationships and making social media interaction work. Li describes it as having the “humility and confidence to give up the need to control” while Blanchard asserts how top managers should be “empowerment” rather than “control” freaks, freeing up their teams to develop client relationships and treating profit as the by-product, not the reverse.

However, he qualifies, the traditional management hierarchy still has its value in terms of setting strategic direction, goals and plotting the journey.

But how can the business case be made for the focus on relationships, via social media or otherwise? Blanchard is in no doubt that companies “blow people away by responding to them”. He added, “the customer is NOT always right, but it does need dialogue”. Problems tend to arise when companies try to cover up their mistakes, where admitting to them is the first step towards customer service recovery.

And so, as leaders may finally be realising they can no longer control the spread of information as previously, they can certainly – as Li suggests – “get in on the act”. She says: “As a leader, think what you can share today – then figure out the channel.”

Not unexpectedly, both Blanchard and Li acknowledge the vital role of the CEO in the move to social media/relationship building. He says: “The CEO needs to see the value to really make it work and has so much to do with whether it goes viral or not” while Li adds: “The CEO needs to be the arbiter of how social should be owned across organisations.”

If there was ever an excuse that social media as a tool for relationship building should belong only to a younger generation, Ken Blanchard heartily disproves it!


About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Can social media help diagnose illness?

Thursday, June 16th, 2011 by Hannah Newbould

With social media used for so many different things, should it really be used  by people to self-diagnose  health problems because they are too scared or embarrassed to visit a GP?

We are all guilty of visiting Google and typing in the symptoms and praying we don’t see something more serious than a common cold. However, more and more people are going online to diagnose their symptoms and even sometimes taking it one step further by ordering drugs using an online pharmacy. However, is this really a safe method of finding a quick fix to our problems health problems?

GPs are now campaigning that people, specifically males, should be targeted through social networking and phone applications They believe that giving any males the chance to use a new app will encourage them to search for their symptoms and then to visit their GP. The beauty of this is the anonymity but is it really safe and accurate?

Over 42% of men die before the age of 75 compared to 26% of women, however, men visit their GP 20% less frequently. Surely encouraging men to visit the doctor and giving them access to booking appointments online and via phone apps is only a positive approach. Access to information about health problems should be made readily available to men, as long as the information is accurate and it does then go on to encourage guys to make that dreaded appointment.

The Department of Health says that a new health campaign aimed at young people using Facebook and smart phone apps will start this year, though these are not specifically targeted at men.

Facebook apologises …again, and again

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 by Rob Brown

So Facebook has said sorry about the way it rolled-out facial recognition software. which scans photos and automatically identifies people (including you) from friend lists and tags them.  Although there is the option to switch the service off users complained that they were not explicitly told.  Seriously? Facebook was unclear on a privacy issue?

Forgive me if there is a sense of deja-vu, but it appears that Facebook’s approach to corporate reputation is to implement, then say sorry and just carry on.

Roll back to September 2006 and when they launched the news feed feature.  Mark apologised.  We really messed this one up. When we launched News Feed and Mini-Feed we were trying to provide you with a stream of information about your social world. Instead, we did a bad job of explaining what the new features were and an even worse job of giving you control of them. I’d like to try to correct those errors now.”  The Newsfeed is now the central feature of a Facebook page.

In 2007 and Facebook Beacon waslaunched as part of an advertising system that sent private information from external websites to Facebook.  “We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it…”   They took nearly two years to shut Beacon down when they faced a class action that later cost them $9.5 million in settlements.

In 2010 Facebook was under fire for turning down privacy settings and not explaining what it was doing. Zuckerberg again:

We’ve been listening to all the feedback and have been trying to distill it down to the key things we need to improve…

I want to make sure we get this stuff right this time.

I know we’ve made a bunch of mistakes, but my hope at the end of this is that the service ends up in a better place.”

Then there was the alleged Google PR smear campaign that hit the headlines in May “The issues are serious and we should have presented them in a serious and transparent way.”

I’ve said it elsewhere but sorry isn’t really enough; it points to the past and not the future.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

Roland Bunce – the Next top model?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 by Jon Clements

Can you spot the odd one out?

In the modelling world view of beauty, it’d have to be Roland B, who currently happens to be one step closer to the catwalk than his other rivals in Next’s current become a model competition which has been taking to the streets in recent days.

A Facebook campaign to get the Northern Irish 24-year-old into the top slot is about championing the “underdog” and asserting that you don’t have to be “commercial” to win.

Probably not what Next had in mind but, hey, the social media community has spoken. But how well has the fashion retailer responded to the unintended consequence of its online initiative?

As reported on the Belfast Telegraph’s Fashion and Beauty section:

“Miffed organisers are failing to see the funny side of the internet campaigns. They declined to comment on Roland leading the field and said they will not contact any contestant until deadline for voting has passed.

“However, they said they had no reason to suspect Roland is not a genuine entrant: “It’s a public vote. People can vote for whoever they like without restriction. The competition is open to any age, height, size or look.”

Branding them “miffed organisers” feels a bit like poetic licence, though it’s a fair assumption when you’re on the look-out for the next Kate Moss or Baptiste Giabiconi and you get Roland Bunce.

But is Next missing an opportunity  in the irreverent forum of Facebook, to show some good humour and humanity without degrading its competition? Clearly, having a bit of fun with the concept of beauty and who makes a good model could end up with them being flooded with a sea of non-mainstream beauties. Consequently, guardians of the brand might end up with heart attacks.

To its credit, Next is not being drawn on whether the public is right or wrong in their choice of Roland Bunce as numero uno.

And Right Brain, Left Brain blog seems to have it about right when it says: “I can’t help but feel that if Next had the guts to go with what seems to be the public favourite, there is massive PR potential in turning the Roland Bunce into a stylish man about town, kitted out in Next clobber.”

The question is whether, if Roland seizes the title, he will become the face of the next photoshoot?

And what a great face it is too…

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

What does Google’s +1 button mean for brands?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 by Jenny Mason


Google has got social, with the release of a button to allow its new +1 function to be added to websites.

Since its launch in March, +1 has let those signed into their Google profile endorse search results and share their recommendations with their social networks. Now, users will be able to recommend content directly from websites with the +1 button.

Google is billing +1 as a tool to help it provide more relevant results to its users. From a consumer viewpoint, its benefits are clear – but what does its launch mean for brands?

With +1 playing a role in determining organic rankings and users only likely to +1 something they feel is worth recommending, its launch will serve as a reminder to companies of the importance of maintaining a regular stream of engaging and relevant content on their websites.

The +1 button will also be a welcome addition to the measurement toolbox, serving as an up-to-the-minute barometer of a brand’s online reputation.

The function is, of course, not without its limitations. A user’s public Google profile is not always synonymous with its true social network and, as stressed on Social Media B2B, this is particularly the case for companies trying to communicate with a B2B audience. For these brands, the launch of other sharing buttons – such as LinkedIn’s last November – may have been a more significant development.

With +1 seen as a direct competitor to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, it will be interesting to see which social networks users begin to favour when sharing content. +1 may offer a similar functionality to that of its rivals but, with its impact on search, it has the potential to be even more powerful.

About Jenny Mason

Jenny joined Staniforth in August 2007 and is now an Account Manager in the B2B team.

Twitter, the law and the silent fat lady.

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 by Rob Brown

It’s all over for privacy and the courts can’t legislate under the weight of social comment.  So scream the headlines in the wake of the latest failure of the injunction process.   It may not however be quite so simple.

The influence of social media on privacy and the law has been evident for some time.  I wrote about it in April shortly before the current media storm blew.   The Trafigura debacle more than 18 months ago highlighted the significant changes brought about by the dynamics of mainstream media access.

One of the central plinths of the current debate is that Twitter, amongst other social networks, is not a publisher and therefore can not be mediated.  That’s true but to to say that Twitter has zero influence on its output is also inaccurate. Look for ‘Giggs’ as a trending topic this morning and it simply wasn’t there.  Twitter presumably throttled the API output using the same technique it used to remove Justin Bieber from the trending lists when most users became bored with his omnipresence.

To say there were too many twitterers to pursue in the Giggs or any other case also ignores the fact that every tweet is time coded so it is a simple job to find the first to breach the court order.  Schillings and Carter Ruck are staffed by some pretty smart people.  The world has changed but it won’t be very long before the courts begin to adapt to the new order.  We have some way to go before the diva warms her vocal chords for the final act.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

Twitter and football – a beautiful game?

Monday, May 16th, 2011 by Ghida Basma

Recent years have seen football transform into a multimillion dollar business and footballers become multimillionaires and celebrities in their own right. One of the main consequences of this modern dynamic of the sport has been a breakdown in relationships between football fans and players. The common perception among fans is that footballers are wannabe superstars who are not worthy of their salaries and have been so overshadowed by stardom that they have lost their real identity.

Interestingly, Twitter, is helping bridge these gaps as an increasing number of footballers embrace the social media phenomenon. The micro-blogging site is allowing footballers to voice their opinions and communicate with the public on a more personal level.

Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5), for example, recently reached the landmark of one million followers on the social network, making him the most followed footballer in Britain and a major source of sports news. The player has managed to cement himself as one of the social website’s most celebrated athletes and has smartly utilized the power of Twitter to promote his own brand and reach his fans…and many footballers are following suit.

Among those recently joining the site is Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) who managed to get over 300,000 followers in less than a week. However, not all footballers enjoyed a positive reception from “Tweeps”. Another Manchester United player, Darron Gibson, was forced to close his account just two hours after he opened it, following a series of attacks and abuse from fans for his poor performances on the pitch.

Regardless, the relationship between Twitter and football is growing, and Twitter is proving to be crucial in reviving the lost relationship between fans and football players. It is increasingly seen as a reliable source of news and fans are rejoicing the fact they can tell footballers exactly what they think of them.


Twitter to Launch London Office

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by Rob Brown

Photograph by Mike Peel (

In the last 24 hours Twitter has revealed a few details of its plans to launch a UK based operation, as part of a global campaign to attract commercial partners.

There is a new twitter account @TwitterUK that went live a few hours ago and the company is advertising for UK staff.   Initially just four posts have been identified: Account Executive, Senior Account Manager, Communications Manager and Business Development Mobile/Electronics.  It might seem like a very small team but despite having a valuation of around $7.8 billion only has 400 employees.

Twitter are also planning to launch an operation in Japan.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

Radian6 Nets £215 million Price Tag

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 by Rob Brown

Five years after launching, social media monitoring company Radian6 has been sold by its founders Chris Newton and Chris Ramsey for £215 million ($326 million)  The company has been acquired by Salesforce the company that provides cloud based sales management software.

Radian6 is a software solution that allows organisations to monitor, measure and engage in conversations on-line  It claims to track over 150 million social media sites.   The system provides an interactive dashboard that measures and interprets results and can be used to provide reponses via the Radian6 Engagement Console.

Achieving that valuation in such a sort space of time shows just how important social media monitoring is becoming to the PR industry as a whole and to big businesses like UPS, Kodak and Dell all of whom are Radian6 customers.   It’s also a something of a risk for Salesforce as the social media monitoring market is fast paced, fast moving and fast changing.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce said: “We see this as a huge opportunity. .. this acquisition will accelerate our growth”

We should expect to see more consolidation in the market over the coming months.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

I tweet, you tweet, we tweet…Twitter at 5

Monday, February 14th, 2011 by Jon Clements

And so, Twitter will shortly turn five years old.

From a niche club to an estimated 190 million users today; in-depth, double-page spreads in The Observer and a social media platform replete with tales illustrating the positive and negative power of communication.

No doubt, it has changed lives. Sometimes – as in the case of the Robin Hood Airport tweeter and whoever made monumental misjudgements for Habitat and, latterly, Kenneth Cole – probably for the worse.

But for every life changed, how many are still waiting for something to “happen” for them on Twitter? Has it changed my life? Well, yes and no. I certainly haven’t “monetised” Twitter in any way my wallet’s aware of (then I’m not sure Twitter has either, despite the fortune it’s supposedly worth) and there hasn’t been a singular, life-changing tweet I can claim.

What it has been is a vast, virtual lending library in which people are, perpetually, throwing books at me; some of which I manage to read and learn from. But what it’s been more significantly is a great repository of humanity in which I’ve found, befriended, shared laughs with, helped and been helped by people I’ve never met in person. I can’t think of another environment where that’s ever happened. And it’s proven to me that the once derided concept of the “online chatroom”, with all its shady connotations, can be so much more than that.

To get a sense of what Twitter means to people I follow, I asked a selection of them whether they could live without it and, if not, why not? This is what they said:

David Edmundson-Bird, director of executive programmes and principal lecturer (Digital Marketing Communications) at Manchester Metropolitan University: @groovegenerator

“Couldn’t live without it professionally. 1st source of expertise, trusted community, biz dvpt opps. Live and asynchronous method of support for students and great networking opps. I refer to true Tweeters wearing their whole heart on their sleeves. The truth will out. Still needs greater critical mass, but keeps fighting off alternatives.”

Louise Bolotin, freelance journalist and co-founder of InsidetheM60: @louisebolotin

“An essential working tool for me, from shoutouts for contacts to plugging my work, plus I use it to network and socialise.”

Adrian Slatcher, digital development office – innovation, Manchester Digital Development Agency: @adrianslatcher

“If Twitter finished tomorrow (or you had to pay for it) I’d probably wait for the next, not quite as good, thing. What I wouldn’t want to do is spend an age building up my network again on another platform – so that’s the value.”

Hamish Thompson, MD at Twelve Thirty Eight: @Suburbman

“I couldn’t live without it. I’d pay. People underestimate significance. Great provider/democratiser – a human right.”

Adrian Johnson, Umpf: @adrian_johnson

“Could NOT live without it – it’s my news filter. I check Twitter first rather than direct news channels.

Tim Difford, social media consultant: @timdifford

“The answer is yes. I did before and could do again. Most people live without it now. Would I want to? Definitely not. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that it has enriched many aspects of my life… from heightened productivity through to enhanced engagement and greater awareness. What’s more, I’m better connected, better informed and better looking.”

Georgia Brown, Digital Account Manager Connect Group and Director @GeorgiaBrown

“Twitter as a tool facilitates simple, effective, useful interaction with a like minded community of often geographically dispersed experts. But I am sure we would cope without! Nothing beats networking in person at conferences/events, but this isn’t feasible on a daily basis!!”

Nigel Barlow, co-founder and writer for InsidetheM60: @NigelBarlow

“Yes,of course I could live without it,but it provides an invaluable tool for collecting,contacting and broadcasting information at little or no cost apart from time. But, as with any technology, one day it could be redundant-look what happened to MySpace for example. I also worry as a society that it has narrowed our attention span and further eroded our social skills as has a lot of technological advancements and continued a trend towards materiality at the expense of substance.But could I live without it? At the moment No.”


Thanks to my fellow Tweeps, each of whom responded via Twitter in under an hour. Now that’s what I call collaboration!

In my humble opinion (or, should I abbreviate, IMHO) while LinkedIn is all about professional advancement and Facebook – at its best – is a private domain for your closest friends and family, Twitter is like one of those packed-out virtual parties that typified Second Life when it was all the rage. But instead of having to play out a role through unfeasibly flattering avatars with fake identities, in Twitter you are trading only on yourself; to work, that requires authenticity, honesty, and generosity. And we’re all the better for it.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''