Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook befriends Spotify

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 by Gemma Ellis

Another week, and another Facebook update that’s caused a racket in the media. This time it’s the social network’s partnership with digital music service Spotify that’s got punters in a spin.

Facebook will now offer free music streaming through Spotify whereby users can share their listening habits with friends, get personal recommendations and see what’s trending. To complete the union, it will also be compulsory for new Spotify customers to sign up with a Facebook account.

So, thumbs up from the social media giant in terms of user engagement – Facebook has access to a whole new audience who are being engaged on the site for longer and in more diverse activities.

But – surprise, surprise – privacy is once again an issue.

Subscribers are up in arms that their music choices should be made public while many feel alienated that Spotify would ‘sell out’ by enforcing Facebook membership on its customers.

I can understand why people are irked but personally I’m excited about having access to an eclectic music library based on what my friends are enjoying, rather than what the critics tell me to. Besides, the option exists to privatise listening activities, so if you do want to hide those guilty pleasure records, you can.


Social Media – Pro or Con In The Riots?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011 by Hannah Newbould


During last week’s horrific rioting it has become clear that social media was criticised as playing a major part in organising these terrible events. With gangs tweeting about meeting spots and bragging about looting family owned businesses, it is no wonder that people are pointing the finger at social media.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Blackberry Messenger has actually been a key player in the organisation of these events. In fact, if anything, social media has played a positive role in the riots.

The Guardian reported that the most up to date rallying in the London riots took place not on Twitter or Facebook but “on a more covert social network, Blackberry Messenger.”

In Twitter / Facebook’s defence, it is great to see that there was such a vast amount of people using social media to rectify the problem.  People of many generations are taking to the streets of Manchester, London and all the other affected cities to clear up the scenes of destruction.

Hashtagged as #riotcleanup people have travelled to arranged spots with a broom in hand and with all the passion in the world to clear up what these rioters have created.

Over 1000 people turned up to last week’s clean-up in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens armed with brooms and bin bags alone.

It’s encouraging to see that there was such a great number of people wanting to clear up the mess and they came together via social media channels to arrange this.

The Metropolitan Police have also created a Flickr album named ‘London Disorder – Operation Withern’ in order to showcase rioters in the hope of catching them through the social networking channel.

Stephen Fry also backed the campaign tweeting earlier in the week “I do hope that if I was in London now, I’d be as good & brave & kind as all those who are agreeing to meet & help clean up.”

Ex-Big Brother contestant, Sam Pepper,  also created an anti-riot operation himself by creating a Facebook event page named Operation Cup of Tea which has trended on Twitter all day last Wednesday. ‘Make Tea Not War’ and urging people to stay at home and enjoy a cup of tea and post a picture of themselves at 8.30 pm last night – designed for those who would sooner stay in and drink a cup of tea.

The social media world of football

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 by Jo Rosenberg


90% of football fans have decided who their favourite football club is by the age of 10.

No question then that football fans are fiercely loyal and, unlike the average consumer in most other walks of life, they want to know everything about the club’s supply chain and voice opinions about decisions, whether it’s an on or off the pitch matter.

Yet despite the fact that social media provides a global forum in which a club can engage with every single fan and as a result, improve and develop club fan relationships, it is still, in many cases, practised with caution, and rightly so.

Fans don’t want to be talked at via social media channels, or fed useless, second hand information. They want exclusives, they want debate and interaction with the club and its players and if there’s an opportunity to win money-can’t-buy, club-related prizes then all the better.

To design and host an effective social media platform requires time and effort; yet once a resource is in place and a strategy agreed, the benefits to both the fans and the club can be considerable.

Content is king, relevance is critical and the tone must be friendly and engaging and appear to be opening the door of the club to its fans. It must also provide a two-way conversation, hence a designated role should be created to ensure the content is well-managed and well-timed.

Like many industries, the use of social media in football goes way beyond being simply a communication vehicle; it can also provide revenue driving opportunities. Big sponsorship deals can only be justified if the club reaches a bigger audience and this means international markets which are not easily reached by traditional media.

And when social media is well established, there are potential opportunities via affiliate marketing by adding value to sponsorship deals, cross promotional activity with sponsors, or through direct sales of official kit or unsold tickets.

And let’s not forget how instrumental social media can be in a crisis situation by providing the club with the opportunity to set the record straight.  It might be a player scandal or a controversial boardroom decision. Either way it’s an instantaneous channel to fans which can’t be obscured by journalists.

Manchester City FC is one of the most proactive clubs when it comes to social networking, utilising the obvious Facebook and Twitter networks along with Flickr, in which they encourage fans to share photography, which the club admits has helped inspire new PR and retail campaigns.

But a football club can’t just dip in and out of social media. Fans will feel cheated and will quickly retort. A key and critical point to including social media within a marcomms strategy is to build virtual relationships with fans which must then be maintained. New fans must feel welcome and existing fans must feel valued.



Burson and Facebook’s reputation lesson

Friday, May 13th, 2011 by Jon Clements


Update: Now, Burston-Marsteller is outed for deleting negative comments on its Facebook page…

When the news broke yesterday about PR firm Burson-Marsteller’s covert campaign to rubbish Google on behalf of Facebook, I had to check the date. Had we, somehow, returned to April Fool’s Day; was this an elaborate hoax.

Alas, for BM, Facebook, the reputation of both (and the PR industry generally), it was 12 May.

If you haven’t yet heard, Facebook hired the PR company to place stories in high profile media such as the Washington and Huffington Post attacking arch rival Google’s privacy policies in relation to its social networking feature, Google Social Circle.

The plot was outed when journalists challenged BM about their “unnamed client” and the anti-Google campaign, and Facebook eventually came clean. The PR company later released its own statement on the debacle, saying: “This was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined.”

It added, by way of justification, that “any information brought to media attention raised fair questions, was in the public domain, and was in any event for the media to verify through independent sources.”

Well, all of the above may be so. But it begs the questions: who thought that launching a smear campaign on behalf of a mystery “other” was a good PR strategy that would skip along unquestioned and unchallenged before being, ultimately, exposed? Did no-one involved in communications on either client or agency side raise a hand to say ‘I know this is the way you want to go, but this could go horribly, horribly wrong’?

Rather than having to concoct damage limitation statements about “public domain” information – insinuating that there was some casual, benign purpose in Facebook/BM’s story – wouldn’t it have been better for PR professionals to bury this campaign at birth? Surely, with BM’s “double-digit revenue growth” last year, it doesn’t need the money that badly to engage in dubious client projects.

At the discussion stage of this campaign – regardless of what column inches the client may have been salivating about with this story – good client counsel should have been focused on the more important element of reputation. Not least because Facebook’s own record on privacy issues has been under fire.

Not one for grandiose statements, the Guardian’s technology editor, Charles Arthur, described it as “an epochal moment”.

Neither Facebook nor Burson-Marsteller has come out of this well. And thinking, selfishly, from a purely PR industry position, we’re all the poorer 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 ''

Fortune500’s blogging blues

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 by Jon Clements
Update: friend of PR Media Blog, blogger at PR Communications Blog and head of digital marketing at Pace Communications, John Cass, has produced a useful table of F500 companies with blogs and where to find them
As UK social media practitioners muse about 2011 as the real golden dawn for social media uptake in business, the view from the United States is perplexing.

The latest study into social media activity among Fortune 500 companies, fresh from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, is remarkable mainly for revealing the unexpected.

While 23% of the F500 companies now have a public-facing corporate blog against 16% when the study first came out in 2008, it’s only a 1% increase on last year’s figure, suggesting a slowdown in the battle of the blogs.

And while a third of all blogs among the F500 fall within the top 100 companies, this group has also seen the biggest decline in blog usage, down from 39% to 32% year on year.

While the study hailed blog activity across the F500 as a truly interactive exercise, its companies lag behind the occupants of the Inc.500 list of the fastest growing US private companies, 45% of which have an active corporate blog.

However, blogs aside, corporate adoption of other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook paints a very different picture: 60% of the F500 have an official Twitter account (up 35% on last year) with – according to the study – a high level of interaction with other users. Meanwhile, Facebook now features 56% of corporate America’s leading businesses.

So, what does it mean? This decline in blog activity could reflect the sometimes Herculean effort it takes to maintain a flow of compelling and hard-working (i.e., richly-linked and optimised) blog content. If blog content creation is not an effective mixture of planned posts plus material reacting to a breaking sector topic, it can quickly lose its way and its audience. And if internal ownership of the blog is vague, stasis tends to result.

But is this wrong?

Online marketing consultant, Chris Kieff, seems to think so: in his Social Media Today blog post he asserts that this is a “lack of commitment of these Fortune 500 companies to become engaged, transparent and authentic with their communities in social media” because “blogging also naturally promotes a deeper discourse with comments of substance that would have to be addressed. In simple terms it’s harder to hide when you blog, compared to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.”

While you would expect PR Media Blog to concur with the value of blogging, I think Chris Kieff is wrong to suggest that working in other social media platforms is less “engaged, transparent and authentic”. On the contrary, Twitter and Facebook have the potential to engender a dialogue that many blog comment sections would kill for. Equally, Twitter and Facebook don’t require the posting of new content by a brand for customers to kick off a conversation, whereas a blog needs that regularly refreshed content to inspire engagement. Without it, discussion dries up quickly.

And as far as transparency goes, a blog-based discussion will often remain within its digital walls, unless either owner or commenter has the desire to take it beyond. Meanwhile, the highly versatile sharing capabilities of both Twitter and Facebook mean a debate can literally go viral in seconds.

Clearly, there’s room for all methods of social media interaction. And if the F500 has decided to scale back its blogging, you’d hope it was done on the basis of analytical evidence that the return on effort wasn’t worth it. It might suggest that less is more in the depth of editorial content required by social media consumers.

Whatever the reasons, you can be sure any marketing method failing to provide a tangible return for business will not last long.

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 ''

Facebook – an invasion of privacy?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 by Jon Clements

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, appears unperturbed by accusations surrounding his company’s attitude to the privacy of the online network’s 500 million active users.

Surely, that’s a lot of customers to risk upsetting?

Today’s quotes from Zuckerberg’s interview in the New Yorker magazine in which the Facebook CEO says: “A lot of people who are worried about privacy and those kinds of issues will take any minor mis-step that we make and turn it into as big a deal as possible.” His mission is apparently “trying to make the world a more open place”.

Ironically, as journalist Jose Antonio Vargas points out in his New Yorker interview, Zuckerberg “remains a wary and private person. He doesn’t like to speak to the press, and he does so rarely. He also doesn’t seem to enjoy the public appearances that are increasingly requested of him.”

On his own Facebook page, he comments in one update: “For those wondering, I set most of my content on my personal Facebook page to be open so people could see it. I set some of my content to be more private, but I didn’t see a need to limit visibility of pics with my friends, family or my teddy bear :)”  (note: smiley face is his, not mine)

So is privacy a movable feast for Facebook and its boss?

As the company strives to persuade its users and the world at large, Facebook privacy control is at your fingertips. But how can you be sure you understand the way privacy settings work? The functionality’s in-built “recommended” settings make some rather arbitrary assumptions about what should be visible and to whom. And how many users have delved even that far into managing their public profile? 

An interesting/disburbing post from David Iwanow, marketing director of The Lost Agency, suggests that Facebook is actively mining contact details from email accounts and representing them as possible “friends” to connect with via the Friend Finder function. This can mean it suggests anyone you may have ever had contact with via email.

Iwanow muses: “how much can you put up with Facebook using your own profile information for its internal marketing purposes?” It’s a fair question, but do users feel that allowing the network to go about its business of building a highly targeted, worldwide, consumer database is simply a fair exchange for the fun they get from sharing multimedia content and jokes with their friends?

It’s been said that at age 26, and despite the business behemoth he gave birth to, Zuckerberg doesn’t yet have the maturity to appreciate the nuances of personal privacy and why it’s important.

A final quote from the New Yorker piece: Danah Boyd, a social-media researcher at Microsoft Research New England, added, “This is a philosophical battle. Zuckerberg thinks the world would be a better place-and more honest, you’ll hear that word over and over again-if people were more open and transparent. My feeling is, it’s not worth the cost for a lot of individuals.”

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 ''

Kurrently searches Facebook conversations

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 by Patrick Chester


Brands can now monitor public Facebook conversations through new search engine Kurrently. Kurrently is a search engine exclusively for Facebook and Twitter, and it works in real-time. For Twitter it’s not so special, but for Facebook, it allows brands to monitor exactly what’s being talked about in user profiles.  

This is revolutionary, as in the world of social media monitoring, Facebook has always been a “walled garden”, or a closed online network, for monitoring brand reputation. Twitter, blogs and forums are easy to access, and brand conversations can be recorded and packaged to clients (media monitoring services already do exactly that). Facebook is much more difficult to monitor however, as the social network covets its user data as much as its users covet their privacy. Kurrently will allow businesses to find out exactly how their brands are being talked about on Facebook. It will be a real boon for marketers, but perhaps to the detriment of online individual privacy. 

For everyone who is not in marketing or PR, it’s a good way to check out scandals ignored by the main press but which often catch fire on social networks (try searching for a well-known footballer, it’s hilarious).

About Patrick Chester

Patrick is an account executive at Staniforth. He also runs a book review site at

Ignore social media? Not a cat’s chance…

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Jon Clements

Type “woman” into Google search today – in fact, go as far as “w-o-m” and you will be presented with “woman puts cat in bin”; 1.97m searches on this term alone, just a day after a Coventry woman was filmed putting kitty in the litter.

Not only is the story a shocking example of animal cruelty, it’s a salutary lesson to any organisation that hasn’t yet recognised the power of social media. Imagine that the hapless Coventry woman at the centre of the furore was, instead, your company or brand.

Look at the facts: number one in Google search; more than 50,000 views on YouTube; nearly 30,000 fans on Facebook, posting nearly 1,000 comments on the matter; 743-and-counting online news articles and, now, a police guard on the offending woman’s home.

Granted, the ire of the British animal lover should never be underestimated.

But where did this firestorm take hold? Within social media.

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 ''

PR Media Blog smart content – round up #1

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 by Jon Clements

As you may imagine, PR Media Blog spends much of its time soaking up PR and social media knowledge from around the web.

It’s not novel by any means, but sharing some of the more interesting and useful links seems like a socially-inclined service to our readers. So, here goes for round up #1…


1. Who owns social media?a view on how responsibility for social media criss-crosses several departments in an organisation, c/o @mashable and @smmguide.

2. Facebook facts – both useful and mind blowing, rendered in a cheat sheet infographic, c/o @PRwise.

3. Foursquare and Starbucks cosy up over coffee – there’s profit in them, there online geolocation services, as shown in the tie up between Foursquare and Starbucks (via @SocialMedia411)

4.  Nestlé, Kit Kat and the Orang Utans – was it social media that saved the rainforest? (via @PRwise)

5. “What will social media do to us?” how ready is your business to tackle the social media revolution? (via Forrester)

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 ''

Social media sanctified by the BBC?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 by Jon Clements

PR Media Blog, when it comes to religion, is at the very least agnostic and certainly non-denominational.

But when the venerable institution of BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day talks social media, quotes Mark Zuckerberg and namechecks YouTube, we simply have to listen.

There’s no doubt that TFTD has divided opinion, with Christians championing the need for religious broadcasting while humanists and atheists urging the broadcaster to do less, if any, God at all.

But, sometimes, the chosen TFTD speaker manages to harness the zeitgeist and build a meaningful connection between faith and a modern, technological world, seemingly indifferent to the church.

Read here or listen to here what the Rev Dr David Wilkinson says about social media and the importance of relationships.

Could social media be the saviour of religion or, ultimately, become its replacement? To paraphrase Karl Marx, could social media be the new opium of the people?

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 ''