Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

The Prince of social media

Thursday, March 6th, 2014 by Tim Hudson

Prince and 3rdEyeGirl - Manchester 21st Feb (2)

Prince and Social Media are two things which have been hard not to notice and have caused quite a stir in the UK recently.

Prince has been in the country performing a series of ‘pop-up’ concerts, promoting a forthcoming album and, if speculation is to be believed, working on some summer festival deals.

It’s not just the concerts themselves, taking place in small venues in London and Manchester, that have reasserted Prince as a man who stands out from the crowd in both talent and approach, but the way those concerts have been promoted.

As Econsultancy’s David Moth points out, “the ‘guerilla’ shows are part of Prince’s policy of avoiding middlemen and traditional marketing.”  Famously (infamously, perhaps), Prince has given away new albums with UK newspapers and was part of a long and well-documented dispute with his former record label, Warner Bros. over creative ownership and control.

And so, no one was really surprised that the man who once said “the internet is dead” promoted the recent spate of gigs almost entirely through Social Media, not only prompting queues thousands-long outside the venues but also gaining print and broadcast media coverage, most notably through Woman’s Hour and Newsnight.  As noted in The Sunday Times’s profile, “when a current affairs news show takes notice, you have got an event.”

Prince’s management and PR duties fall to CEO of Kikit Ltd. and Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee, Kiran Sharma, and the aptly named Purple PR.  Ms Sharma was very visible throughout the campaign, using her personal Twitter account to make announcements and share comments from fans and Prince’s current band, 3rdEyeGirl.  The PR company, however, seemed almost invisible.  And that’s where the success of the last few weeks lies.

The perception was that Prince and his troupe had arrived in the UK and were looking for some small venues to play, with no real planning.  On the red carpet of The Brit Awards, a member of 3rdEyeGirl said, “we don’t know until the morning where we’ll be playing that night.”  This sent fans into a frenzy, connecting via Social Media from across the UK to try and dig out and share any vital information on the gigs.  The hashtags #princewatch and #princearmy appeared, seemingly from the fans, and a fan-run account @PrinceWatchUK was set-up specifically for this purpose.

Kevin Costner was once told “if you build it, they will come” and here was an excellent example of this at work.  The hashtags trended, there was 24 hour engagement and this all seemed to be coming just from the fans, with a few pieces of input from Ms Sharma and 3rdEyeGirl (for example with official YouTube clips from the gigs).

Clearly there was more going on behind the scenes than was presented.  In order to move that many people around London, let alone the UK, this had to be well-planned.  There’s even been suggestion that, on the night that tickets rose from being £10 to £70 and fans created the #10poundprince hashtag as a backlash, prompting tickets to be reduced again, it was actually Purple PR hard at work creating some trickery to gain yet more attention.

Whatever mastery was at work, this was a unique event, promoted in a unique way.  This was a utilisation of modern media, the like of which has not been seen before, purely relying on the word-of-mouth generated by Social Media output to sell-out each show played and generate a huge amount of valuable mainstream exposure. (They even turned Manchester Town Hall purple for the occasion!)

What has all this done for Prince’s reputation?  Certainly there has been upset from those who don’t regularly use Social Media; has he alienated a large amount of people?  Those who are disabled and unable to queue all day outside gigs have also been challenged by his tactics.

I would suggest that Prince’s team will be more likely asking the question, “Has all this helped us achieve our goals?”  If those goals were indeed to pre-promote the new album and secure that lucrative summer deal then only time and album sales will tell.  For a few days near the end of February, though, one didn’t have to look far (be it online on the radio or on the newspaper rack) to read word of Prince, hear his new music and see fans going crazy!

About Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson is an Accredited PR Practitioner, a member of the CIPR North West Committee and is currently based in-house at Cheadle Hulme School. Tim has seven years’ experience in the education sector and specialises in copywriting and social media.

The real reason companies fail at social media

Friday, March 1st, 2013 by Bridgett Gayle

Social media is pointless for companies. According to a 10-year social media study at Northwestern University’s Medill School in the Integrated Marketing Communication Department, social media users do not use social media seeking products and they have no brand preference. Professors Don E. Schultz, PhD, and Martin P. Block, PhD, conducted this survey and concluded that social media users will not become brand loyalists because people use social media simply for “social purposes.”

So is social media just a wasteland of meaningless social chatter?

No, says Dave Kerpen. What companies should do is join the social chatter and view that chatter as an opportunity to learn more about people. Kerpen is the founder and chairperson of Likeable Media, a social media and word-of-mouth marketing firm handling the social media presence for more than 200 companies. And he’s also the author of Likeable Social Media, a book of social media strategies. The real reason why companies are failing at social media is due to their incapability or unwillingness to just shut up and listen.

Like with any other type of conversation listening is the key to a successful interaction. Kerpen’s latest book Likeable Business explains how companies can listen to and benefit from the social chatter.

“Likeable Media has grown over 2,000 percent in the last five years,” says Kerpen, “and I credit listening as being a big part of that growth. Social media allows for better listening than ever before.” Think of social media as an impromptu focus group, a place to find out what people need or wished they had. Listen to their problems. Listen to their interests.”

Companies need to listen with the intention of understanding, considering, figuring out what is important to people. Kerpen offers Blockbuster LLC’s bankruptcy as an example of a company that didn’t see the value of social chatter.

“Blockbuster failed to listen to the massive negative volume of tweets and Facebook posts about their late fees. Had they been listening and paying attention, they could have adjusted their business strategy earlier and avoided their downfall to Netflix.”

When Netflix experienced its own massive negative social chatter about its decision to split into two companies, Netflix listened to the chatter and nixed its plan solely because the plan was unpopular with people.

Kerpen admits he used to be a poor listener and had to learn how to listen. “You can work on listening. The best way to do it is to practice. Measure how many minutes you spend listening versus talking in any given meeting or conversation. Practice asking questions instead of giving answers. Those who excel at listening talk only when necessary.”

Yes, people use social media to be social and are not interested in hearing any business marketing spiels. But there is business value in that social chatter. It’s an opportunity to listen and find out what people really want. And when your company isn’t listening to the social chatter your competition is.


This was a guest post by Bridgett Gayle.

About Bridgett Gayle

Bridgett Gayle is a writer and content marketer bringing common sense solutions to improve the business-customer relationship.

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.


ASOS Feels The Digital Love

Thursday, September 29th, 2011 by Julie Wilson

ASOS, Very and are the three most loved digital brands, a study by Tamar has revealed.

The BrandLove25 report explores the degree to which consumers demonstrate their support and enthusiasm for a digital brand through their social interaction, and ranks companies on a number of different metrics including numbers of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and revenue.

Joining the companies in the top ten are:;;;;; and

Whilst it is of no surprise to see ASOS and Very feature in the top spots, both companies having been amongst the first fashion retailers to adopt and embrace social media effectively into their marketing strategies, credit has to be given to for achieving such a respectable position.  In just five years since launch, the online fashion retailer has firmly established itself as one of the UK’s top online providers of women’s fashion, picking up a number of industry awards along the way and, as this report shows, positioning itself firmly at the heart of consumers.

What makes a brand engaging could be said to lie in the eye of the consumer but there are five key principles to which companies should adhere if looking to achieve the social medial top spot:

1. Know your customer and identify their wants and needs

2. Stay true to your brand and ensure your voice conveys your personality

3. Maintain consistent participation and invite consumers to be a part of the conversation

4. Address the balance – commercial message delivery versus general interest

5. Provide real added value

Speaking on the results of the report Tanya Goodin, CEO of Tamar said:  “In the current climate many ‘traditional’ bricks and mortar brands are struggling but pure-play digital brands are powering from strength to strength.  However, this second edition of our Best-Loved Digital Brands league table shows that, even within the digital sector, some brands are performing much better than others.  The size of social media communities give an immediate and very visible way of measuring the ‘love’ customers feel for brands and reported revenue gives us a clear indication of how that ‘love’ translates to sales.  The brands here have demonstrably capitalised on the seismic shift from ‘bought’ to ‘earned’ media and are seeing stellar financial performance as a result.  Digital brands who don’t make the Top 25 table need to look at the stars appearing and take note.”


Is social media the answer?

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 by Jon Clements

Despite its invasion of mainstream society – and contribution to the fall of a few despotic Arab regimes in as many weeks – is the jury still out on the long-term value of social media?

PR Media Blog would be the first to admit its quasi-evangelical standpoint on social media, having been both involved in and observing the successful outcomes of its use. Our team has trained companies to understand the potential of social media and seen them develop it in ways we, and they, probably never imagined.  And we’ve been hands-on for other organisations who preferred to outsource the job.

But, maybe, as I reach the milestone of 200 blog posts for this site, it’s a good point to get another – perhaps more reflective – view on where, and how, new media now fits into communications and business.

Recently a number of academics at The University of Warwick tackled the topic in something the university’s online Knowledge Centre summed up as “New Media, New problems”.

Economics professor Gregory Crawford, director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, Dr Chris Bilton and sociology lecturer/researcher Dr Eric Jensen noted that new media had given the public an “amplified voice” which can “to a certain extent, influence the market”.

However, they dispute the “clichés” about new media having wrought the “Death of the author” and “publisher”; simply, older power structures have been replaced with new, exemplified by the movement from major record labels to iTunes, from big broadcasters to Google and from people reading newspapers to self-publishing.

But where one of the mantras of the new media revolution has been “content is king”, Bilton’s view is rather that “context is king”. By this, the inference is that content is not the endgame, but selling the “experiences around the content”. With a generation of consumers who assume that online content should be free, the sensible option for companies seems to be creating and distributing content gratis, while using it as a hook into other commercial transactions.

What does this mean? Well, in markets where some organisations are already creating free content and using it to enhance their relationship with customers and build bridges with prospects, those firms who are still scratching their heads about digital media are placing themselves months, or even years, behind the competition. In other words, if you are still debating “why create content?”, you’re making it harder for yourself to create a compelling “context” in which the customer can consume, or at least consider.

Warwick’s researchers, while acknowledging the “democratic potential” of new media, as a “Fifth Estate” holding powerful media interests to account, are cautious about how brave the new world offered by new media is: Jensen pointed out that offline media and its employees – such as CNN and BBC – dominated also the online sphere, going as far to say that new media was “essentially old media online”, citing Twitter as bursting with “conventional media personalities”.

Among those of you active in social media, do you think the conclusions of these academics is on the money, or are they out of touch with a world understood best by its practitioners?

Let me know – either way, the jury still has some thinking to do.

A summary of the Warwick University discussion and associated podcast is available here.

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 – 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.

Newspapers with a ‘hyper local’ future

Monday, July 18th, 2011 by Mark Perry

Local newspapers have a future if you listen to Sir Ray Tindle, owner of regional newspaper group, the Tindle Group which publishes 27 newspapers.

In a message last week to his staff he advocated launching more titles as a way to combat the downturn – and this in a year which has seen his group’s revenues half.

At the end of June Tindle launched the Chingford News and earlier this month the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Observer in West Wales joined the stable.

Interestingly he sees the key to this being ‘hyper-local content’ focusing on ‘names, faces and places – but strictly local names, faces and places.

This puts him in direct competition with one of the key attributes of social media which can deliver content directly relevant to the user.

Is the offer great enough to encourage people to start buying a newspaper again? His response to this is: “Make it a really good paper and you’ll find people will pay for it. Forget going free.”

Time will tell if his hunch is right.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Social media – an unhealthy medical mix?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011 by Hannah Newbould

Medics have been warned that adding patients to their social media network is a big mistake and could jeopardise their career. The British Medical Association has pointed out that doctors may face  problems if they decide to befriend their patients on Facebook and Twitter.

The main problem is the fine line between personal and professional lives becoming blurred and has the potential to threaten any student nurse or doctor’s career.

The new guidance, titled ‘Using Social Media – Practical and ethical guidance for doctors and medical students’ addresses topics such as the ethical need to keep patient confidentiality which is as  important online as it is in any other media. It expresses that it’s inappropriate to post comments relating to patients that are personal or derogatory, that doctors and medical students have an obligation to declare any conflicts of interest and defamation law can apply to any comments posted on the web in either a personal or professional capacity.

This follows a series of cases in which a number of NHS staff were suspended from work due to content posted on social media sites, including one member being suspended for being photographed on a hospital helipad.

Although many medical students and doctors use social media sites without having any problems, there is the chance that they are damaging their professionalism, but isn’t this true of any career?

There is a growing concern that posts by doctors could offend their patients and colleagues without even realising.  Something posted innocently or as a joke could come across in a totally offensive manner. Vice versa, patients could be commenting on things that haven’t been analysed in a normal consultation.



Jaffa Cakes launched into digital world

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 by Hannah Newbould


United Biscuits has launched its biggest ever digital campaign in order to promote popular juicy biscuit brand, Jaffa Cakes. The brand has been launched into the social media world in a campaign to increase its online presence.

Media agency, MEC interaction has assisted United Biscuits in launching the integrated social media campaign.

The social media drive consists of two main microsites , ‘Cult of Jaffa’ and ‘The Jaffa Cake Broadcasting Corporation’ (JCBC) – both pages created and managed by MEC.

Cult of Jaffa is an ‘underground’ organisation that has been safeguarding Jaffa Cakes for over 500 years from the likes of the House of Garabaldi. It allows Jaffa Cake fans to become council members, inviting Facebook visitors to become a ‘Grand master, a ‘Jambassador’ or a ‘Keeper of the Scrolls’ .

Fans are encouraged to upload detail of why they should be recruited for the selected role. This acts a community platform and cult members are selected to promote the brand on and offline.

The campaign will roll out two phases over nine months, building a cult of ambassadors and then following the chosen team into their induction.

Sister site – JCBC is a spoof news site that lists news from Cult of Jaffa – today’s breaking news ‘Biscuit Boss in Mega Injunction’. The headlines play on the current news agenda.

Both sites are also supported by Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flickr in the hope of increasing Jaffa Cakes’ online presence .

Their online strategy presents an interesting use of social media from both microsites and they host a creative platform in which fans of the brand can interact and engage.  It is a fun strategy with lots of tools for visitors to involve themselves in the activity.

Cult of Jaffa requires you to upload a video or photo of yourself being a bit Jaffa crazy and may require too much effort for people to apply. But who knows? Just because I dropped out at the  ‘upload video of self’ stage, it doesn’t mean that the population’s Jaffa crazy people will.  We will see…..


Think Before You…

Friday, June 24th, 2011 by Julie Wilson

It’s good to talk, but not online is the message from the Ministry of Defence.

In a drive to protect its service men and women and prevent the leaking of sensitive information, the MoD has launched a campaign highlighting the dangers of service personnel engaging on social media sites.

The campaign, a revival of the 1940’s ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ poster campaign, is entitled ‘Think Before You…’ and demonstrates the potentially devastating repercussions of service men and women sharing too much information online through a series of short films.

In the first of the films, two sailors are seen heading out for the night, casually messaging friends to confirm the evening’s meeting point and checking-in along the way.  The film cuts to the sailors laughing on the dance floor before panning to two armed men in balaclavas.  “Is it just your mates who know where you have checked in?” the film asks.

A second film sees a soldier’s mum enjoying tea with an armed terrorist.
The films, the first in a series, close with the message “think before you tweet, blog, update, tag, comment, check-in, upload, text, share.”

Commenting in a Defence Policy and Business News article, Major General John Lorimer, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Communications Officer, said:

“Social media has enabled our personnel to stay in touch with their families and their friends no matter where they are in the world. We want our men and women to embrace the use of sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, but also want them to be aware of the risks that sharing too much information may pose. You don’t always know who else is watching in cyberspace.

“The MOD Headquarters has its own Facebook, YouTube and Twitter feeds and we see no reason to stop our personnel from tweeting or posting on their own walls. But the MOD has a responsibility to warn personnel of the risks they could be exposing themselves to, hence the launch of this new campaign.

“‘Think Before You…’ is a reminder that personal and operational security should be a primary concern and that social media merely provides a different context where sensitive details can be found.”

With over 50% of the UK population registered Facebook users and Twitter amassing over 145 million users worldwide, the MoD campaign is a stark reminder as to the potential risks of sharing personal information on social networking sites.

Online conversation may not carry such potentially devastating results for the majority of social media users, but for servicemen and women, careless talk can cost lives.