Friday, 30 September 2011

Newsflash! Social Media Marketing is not easy and not everyone can do it!

In the past few week's articles, I've been getting into some of the nitty gritty of facebook's functionality, but this week i'm taking a broader view.

Over at Marketing Week, a study has highlighted the fact that many businesses are still failing to make the most of Social Media. It's not that they're not using it, but rather employing ineffective strategies, not measuring returns and at the bottom line, wasting money.

That money might be wasted by giving current employees responsibility for Social Media Campaigns, when they're not quite up to the job.

Like any marketing, if the delivery bloke does it between runs, it ain't gonna be that great. Whoever's doing it needs a bit of nounce (sorry to any delivery drivers reading and I know some of you do) and a realistic amount of time allocated.

At least being familiar with facebook, twitter, et al, is definitely an advantage, if not a necessity, so a young intern or temp could be useful, but how well can they really represent the culture and brand of the business? Even if they're a Marketing trainee, there's a heck of a lot for them to have to consider in a serious Social Media approach. That's a lot to ask, no matter how good they are.

A marketing manager, with years of experience, might still find facebook a foreign land and not quite have the catchy lingo to maximise a status update's 'shareablility'. Just getting to grips with how to use the various platforms would be a massive time drain and unlikely to result in anything like the necessary knowledge of the tools required.

At the same time, the marketing manager's attention and efforts are taken away from the things they're actually good at and which benefit their business.

Ok, ok, it won't always be a disaster. If there's a marketing professional working in the company, who has a good grasp of Social Media, then that money might be well spent, but that's still far from certain.

So, just like in other areas of marketing, many businesses make the decision to go outside and employ a marketing agency to run their Social Media campaigns. If they make the right decision, they'll choose a company like us, who demonstrate a considered, joint-up approach and who delivers results.

But that's not everyone and here's where money can again be wasted.

A top tip and general rule in marketing, which possibly extends further through business, is never criticise the competition. That said, some marketing agencies are just plain rubbish. So rubbish, in fact, that we wouldn't consider them competition, so I think I can get away with it. If a business chooses a rubbish agency, then they should have done there homework better, and can expect little from their spend.

Most will make a a better decision, but marketing is very multi-disicplinary, and if the online side of a good agency's work isn't quite up to scratch, they'll struggle with Social Media. If an agency's websites are just as great as their posters, they're more likely to be effective at Social Media marketing. Ideally, they'll have at least one specialist or at the very best, a whole team dedicated to the practice.

Just like us. We have a great team and our strategy's are responsive to individual businesses and always evolving, as the campaign rolls out and continues.

We don't pretend to have all the answers, but marketing within Social Media is a young discipline and anyone who says they do, is terribly over confident. Facebook on it's own has vast functionality and a scope that even Mark Zuckerberg can't predict.

Social Media itself is very young and who knows where it will be in five years, if indeed it still actually exists in anything like the form it does now. Marketing within it is always a challenge, as it's always changing, but can offer great rewards... if done right.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Heineken: The water in Majorca

Heineken isn’t a British beer. Originating in the Netherlands in 1873, it’s still primarily brewed there to this day. However, we Brits have developed such a taste for the brand that we gave it a fully-fledged Cockney character back in the 1980s. How did we do this? Through the School of Street Credibility!

This advert sees a delightfully prim and proper young lady attempting to recite the sentence “The water in Majorca don’t taste like what it oughta” in a brash East End accent, but instead coming across as if she’s in a dramatisation of Jane Eyre. The bullish but likeable ‘speech coach’ is reaching the end of his tether, desperately repeating “Ma-jow-ka” before slumping into his seat in resignation. Luckily, his office dogsbody brings in some cool refreshment, advising the woman to “get yer laughing gear round that”. And hallelujah, suddenly she could land a lead role in Only Fools and Horses, and the concluding few seconds are the icing on the cake (or the head on the pint, if you will).

Years later, we were all unwittingly exposed to a horrifying scene: Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, each dressed in romantic garb, playing the piano and swinging in a tree respectively, both singing ‘Why do birds suddenly appear?’ and making far too much eye contact with the viewer. The culmination was a menacingly calm caption that read, ‘Buy a pint of Heineken or we’ll keep running this commercial’. Those evil geniuses!

Nevertheless, the British public doesn’t like to be coerced into buying things. We each believe we’re shrewd customers: we know what we want and we reckon we’re far from impressionable. Still, this stubbornness was our downfall when, a short while later, a second version of the advert was released, very similar to the first but even more painful due to the addition of Peter Stringfellow and Vanessa Feltz. Oh, the humanity! Heineken was just as cruel this time around too, taunting us with an “I told you so” attitude.

Finally, we all surrendered and bought a pint of Heineken (let’s face it, we had no choice), and were then rewarded with something the entire family could enjoy. It was at this point that the brand’s strapline really did ring true: ‘How refreshing. How Heineken.’

Recently, in early 2011, we were treated to a particular lollapalooza of a commercial, but one that caused a wee bit of controversy. Called ‘The Entrance’, a veritable superhuman of a gent enters a mansion and wows the guests with, in this particular order, warmth, respect, surprise, speed, geniality, spectacle, chivalry, precision, high fives, sportsmanship, magic, martial arts, dexterity and music, all with unfailing charm. Some viewers believed Heineken was stating that alcohol contributes to ‘social and sexual success’. This, thankfully, was overruled by the ASA on the grounds that the character doesn’t drink a drop of alcohol during the advert and the brand itself is shown for only a few seconds during the 90-second run time.

The first global campaign in five years, this advert was shot in Spain and features the Danish group The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Back in 1999 Heineken was voted 'Brand of the Century' in the Netherlands, but the last few years have seen a slip in sales. Perhaps this current campaign, with its proactive slogan ‘Open your world’, is just what the brand needs, and with almost a million views within the first week of launching, Heineken may well receive prestigious awards once again.

So whether parody, blackmail or extravaganza, Heineken is one brand that knows how to get our attention. And for all of you out there who, like me, enjoyed the tune in the recent advert, here’s the full video just for you. But prepare yourself; it’s a Danish psychedelic space trip! How refreshing.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Google is set to take over the world!

 Today is Google's 13th birthday!
Google: one of only a handful of brand names, such as Hoover and Sellotape, to expand beyond the confines of a proper noun and enter verb territory. ‘To Google’ is to search online for something, despite the numerous competing search engines that are just as easy to access and refer to. With the corporation accounting for a 91% share of all searches in late 2010, this is completely understandable.

So far, Google covers pretty much every area of life you can imagine. With apps such as Calendar, Maps and Translate, you’ll never become lost in time, space or translation ever again. The latest additions to the family are Offers and Wallet, which work together beautifully the way online siblings should.

Having had their buyout offer of $6billion declined by Groupon, Google set to work creating their own version of email-based discounts. Currently undergoing trials in parts of America, Google Offers presents daily deals that target specific geographic areas.

Imagine it: Your smartphone receives an email offering a 25% discount at your favourite coffee shop. You walk in and place your order, present the email on your screen, then swipe your phone using Google Wallet as payment – you don’t even have to find your debit card!

Localised, relevant, up-to-date and targeted, Google Offers will revolutionise the way we shop, whilst providing retailers with a cheap and effective form of advertising and drawing app users through their doors. If all goes according to plan, Google Offers will soon be available worldwide.

Google Wallet, the corporation’s mobile payment system, is now available to Johnny Public (well, any Johnny Public that uses a Sprint Nexus S 4G phone and Citi MasterCard or Visa card at least), and works with over 300,000 merchant locations as of 20th September 2011. Incredibly simple to use, you just swipe your smartphone at the checkout and voila, you’ve paid for your groceries, cinema tickets or a big bag of Pick ‘n’ Mix for your Friday afternoon treat.

To initiate the service you need a Google account (no surprise there). After agreeing to those good old-fashioned T&Cs and creating a PIN, you can start the process of adding your cards to your account. Over time, the logical progression will surely see all smartphones, card providers and retailers embracing this new technology.

Aside from convenience and versatility, the system is also more secure than a regular debit card, meaning it really does tick all the boxes. So look out for Google Offers and Google Wallet, as they’re set to simplify and optimise the way we shop and advertise our business: perfect for all avid Googlonians.

eskimosoup is:
A Hull Marketing Agency
A Hull Web Design Agency
A Hull Graphic Design Agency

Monday, 26 September 2011

Spotlight on eskimosoup's Marketing Assistant

eskimosoup offers many services: from graphic design and website construction to social media and exciting campaigns, we use the tools best suited to what you need. Our office works as four teams, one of these being the Marketing Team. This is made up of four fellas and one dedicated girl called Becky Duncan, our Marketing Assistant.

Sneaky eskimosoup reporter Rich Sutherland, who sometimes steals Becky’s Post-it notes when she isn’t looking, caught up with her to see what her role involves.

RS: Becky, can you tell us how you got to be where you are today? (Not in that specific chair, I mean at eskimosoup.)

BD: I left school and went to sixth form for a month, then I studied hairdressing for six months, worked full-time for six months, went to college to study Creative and Media, left college, started an apprenticeship with Hull Business Training Centre and got employed by eskimosoup in March 2010. I qualified in both Level 2 and 3 in Business Admin while here and once completed was employed as the Marketing Assistant.

RS: Sounds like it’s been a busy few years. So what are you working on at the moment?

BD: Right now I’m organising the St Stephen’s Student Lock-in on Tuesday 4th October, which is a big event exclusively for students in the area with loads of special offers, competitions and entertainment. There’ll be all kinds of fantastic things like a Capital FM DJ, a Red Bull stand, stilt walkers and even an RC racecar track!

RS: Those lucky students! You’ll be telling me there’s a free beans on toast promotion next!

BD: Yep.

RS: Awww…

BD: I’m also working on the Hull BID Dine Week, which takes place from 21st until 30th October, NHS Leeds Let’s Change, Hugh Rice Jewellers and other St Stephen’s promotions, so it’s really varied.

RS: It’s probably hard to choose but do you have an all-time favourite project?

BD: I don’t have a favourite as there have been parts of many projects that I’ve really enjoyed, but I have worked at a lot of fun and interesting events, particularly for St Stephen’s and the Hull Comedy Festival. I’m really excited about the Student Lock-in and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

RS: And what do you get up to when you’re outside the eskimosoup office?

BD: I love live music and have seen a mix of people from The Sex Pistols to Enrique Iglesias to Prince. And I’m going to see Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan next month!

RS: “Like a rolling st—”

BD: Stop that.

RS: Kay.

BD: I’m also obsessed with shoes! I probably own over 50 pairs. At one point I was buying a new pair each week, and yet I still wear the same pair every day. I’ve calmed down a lot now though. I also like baking and decorating cupcakes.

RS: (See below.)

BD: What?

RS: Nothing, just talking to our readers.

BD: Oh. That’s a bit weird.

RS: Thanks for being this week's Team Spotlight, Becky. I'll let you get back to your Student Lock-in.

BD: No problem... Hey, where have my Post-it notes gone?

Next week’s Team Spotlight will be on John Gilbert, eskimosoup Marketing Director and comedy master.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Yes! Something has most definitely changed on facebook

Last week I asked the question, "has something just changed on facebook?" after I'd noticed a little difference. Then, within 24 hours of me publishing the post, facebook had a major overhaul of the newsfeed and a whole load of other features and that little difference was blown out of the water.

At which point it was more what hasn't changed, than what has. As discussed in the previous article, little changes are always happening on facebook, but every now and again there's a seismic shift, where it seems like everything changes. This was one of those times, just after I'd been on about it.

There's been the usual outpouring of dismay from users, who always have a good complain when they have to get used to something new. It will be interesting to see if any of these jump ship to Google+, since if they're having to learn new features anyway, they may as well try a new platform while they're at it.

Unsurprisingly, there's also been a flurry of activity from Social Media experts, all competing to give their take on the changes and what they mean for Social Media marketing. Personally, I'd rather let them bed in for a little while, get a feel for them and see how they effect user behavior, before I offer comment.

... except on changes to 'share'. This ubiquitous link on facebook has been the main subject in my recent articles and last week I stated that we'd look at how best to encourage use of 'share' in this article.

I had actually said the same in the previous week, but then facebook made a little change to 'share' which I had to address first. Now they've made this massive update, which includes aspects of 'share' and I'm in the same boat.

It just goes to show that when marketing on facebook or other Social Media platforms, you really do need to keep your eyes and ears open. What worked yesterday might not today, and if you can see those changes coming, you're all the better prepared.

So what's changed with 'share'?

The most notable is a great help in measurement and actually fills a hole that I identified a couple of week ago. Though the number of 'likes' and 'comments' was easy to see on a page, the number of 'shares' wasn't displayed anywhere. It was simply impossible to discern how many times content had been shared. but now the umber of shares is displayed with each post, in the same way as the number of 'likes'.

There also seems to be a difference in which content can be shared. Last week I said how 'share' was new to text only page status updates and now it seems to be gone from some personal profile posts in the newsfeed and on pages... but not all of them.

Hmm, why is this? What's the pattern? Is it to do with individual's privacy settings?

I'm not sure yet, but I'll look into it and get back top you.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Social Good Day

Today, Wednesday 21st September 2011, is when social media is used for social good. It has a wonderfully straight forward name: Social Good Day.

A simple concept that results in a huge impact all over the world, all you have to do is share information, pictures, videos, links or any other useful content with friends and followers through sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Whether you focus on a charity, campaign, helpline, workshop or even your thoughts on a particular social issue, you'll be raising awareness and making a difference.

eskimosoup are busy with a large laryngeal cancer awareness drive called Throat wrecked? Get it checked! Working with the Humber and Yorkshire Coast Cancer Network and NHS Hull, this social marketing campaign aims to highlight the warning signs and symptoms of throat cancer and the actions that should be followed. Early detection can make throat cancer treatable and save lives, so it is imperative that people know the facts and feel confident with what they should do if they notice the signs for three weeks or more.

Please help us by 'liking' the Facebook page. And if you have the time, posting the link on your wall and sharing it with others will be a great help and very much appreciated.

See what's going on across the planet for Social Good Day by checking out the Twitter trend #SocialGood.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Spotlight on eskimosoup’s Developer

We at eskimosoup don’t shout about our Technical Team as much as we should. They’re an amazing bunch that could have become super villains with master plans to enslave the world, blow up the sun, or even turn the Humber Bridge a shocking pink just for a laugh, but instead they use their powers to create top-notch websites, content management systems and simply breathtaking code.

Adam Poskitt is one such evil geni… er… I mean techie person. As an eskimosoup Developer, he’s worked on projects for numerous clients. Non-technical eskimosoup reporter Rich Sutherland pulled Adam away from his computer screen and some programming language called Ruby (which has nothing to do with the Crown Jewels) on a framework called Rails (Thomas the Tank Engine isn't involved) to learn a bit more about his role.    

RS: Poskitt, you work with computers, websites and code every single day; did you study a relevant course beforehand?

AP: I have no formal education in computer science. When the time came for me to decide whether or not I wanted to further my education, I decided I wanted to do just that. That said, I wanted my work and career to be something that I would be proud to voice (I'm not ashamed to say that I'm an egotist), so I took a different approach.

RS: So if it wasn’t a formal education, what kind of training have you had?

AP: At the time, I thought I wanted something more challenging than working a 9-5. I opted for a career in the Army working in IT as an Engineer or Technician. I trained with the Army for 3 months with this as my focus, but dropped out when my personal life became more than difficult. Even now, I reserve a place in my heart for the military. After leaving, I was unemployed for months, but I started working at eskimosoup on Monday 16th February 2009 and have loved every minute of it, even the fact that it’s 9-5.

RS: Have you always had a passion for… er… oh, I’ve gone blank. You know, those box things?

AP: Computers?

RS: Bingo.

AP: I've spent most of my life in computers. Whether it was helping out at school, experimenting at home with new software technologies or even selling them when working in retail.

RS: And what exactly do you do here?

AP: Since starting at eskimosoup as a member of the four-person Technical Team, I have developed, or at least been involved with, over one hundred websites. My job title is Developer; I build, maintain and extend sites for our clients. I strive to bring my experience from each of them to new applications that I'm responsible for.

RS: Sooooo… you make internet webpage things work?

AP: Yes, Sutherland, I make internet webpage things work. *sigh*

RS: What’s your current project, then?

AP: I've been working on websites for Vivergo Fuels, A. B. Rooms Locksmiths and the Humber and Yorkshire Coast Cancer Network campaign Throat wrecked? Get it checked!

RS: Blimey. Varied.

AP: Absolutely.

RS: And what’s your all-time favourite project?

AP: The development work on Vivergo Fuels' two websites. One is to promote their business that I mentioned earlier, the other is a partner portal that represents data from XML files that they upload in the form of bar and line graphs, making it easier for their partners to extrapolate data on their facility; this is protected by a secure login system.
RS: Blimey.

AP: You’ve already said that.

RS: I thought it was worth mentioning again to be safe. Anyway, what do you get up to when you’re not extrapo-mo-lating the Exxy Mel from the barren lines of the logging system? (Did I get that right?)

AP: Close enough. Well, despite my pedantic and specific criteria, I love to read and am an avid gamer. I enjoy writing but have found little time for it in recent years. I also find myself spending an unhealthy amount of time on Twitter.

RS: Oh yeah, I hear you follow some pornographic feed.

AP: Geographic. National Geographic.

RS: Ah.


RS: So you make universally accessible websites at work, and enjoy keeping up to date with the world and the stars in your spare time?

AP: Huh. That was quite eloquently put… for you.

RS: Blimey.

AP: Ugh.   

Next week’s Team Spotlight will be on Becky Duncan, eskimosoup’s Marketing Assistant and shoe lover.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Has something just changed on facebook?

The quick answer is 'probably'. After all, they always seem to be tinkering with or tweaking something. ,

An interesting aspect of facebook and indeed, many digital products, is how regularly they're updated. Unlike a physical product, where a new model needs to be purchased to receive upgrades, a web based service or desktop based program, like Windows, can offer it's users perpetual improvements. These are generally free and take little or no effort from the user to implement, possibly being automatically installed without the user even noticing.

Imagine you buy a second hand car. You wake up the next day and it's brand new. The next day it's a sports car. It hasn't cost you a penny and has taken no work, but your car just keeps getting better and better.

With products such as Windows, when a big overhaul is needed, a new model is released and then, there's a price. But with Social Media services such as facebook, they haven't as of yet, charged for new additions or indeed a new edition. The updates are just part of the service, which needs to stay up to date in order to stay relevant and ahead in the Social Media game.

Some of these updates, especially the big ones, receive a fanfare, press attention and often notify all users about the change. Security changes with facebook, for instance, usually draw a lot of comment, due to this particular subject always being a bone of contention and privacy as a whole, a constant consideration for the entire population of the internet.

But there are far more little tweeks that go by relatively unnoticed compared to the seismic shifts that everyone hears about. If you really do want to keep abreast of every little change, it's a difficult prospect, but a good place to start is the Facebook Blog.

I think one of these smaller changes may have just happened, but I'm not sure and can't find exact mention of it on the blog.

When a change is trumpeted, it's obviously easy to spot. But if it doesn't make the News, it could go by unnoticed, even by those such as me who work in Social Media. You might suspect it down the line, but chances are, you'll just think that's the way it's always been or not pay it a second thought.

Look at the 'like' link on facebook, next to 'comment' and 'share', which allows users to 'like' content posted by their friends and pages. It's far and away the most popular way of interacting with facebook and is an integral part of the experience.

How long has that been there? Since the beginning?

It's actually only been just over two years ago, yet it's difficult to imagine facebook without it.

This potential new change I've spotted isn't quite as far ranging, but for those of us who manage pages, it could be very useful. I'm fairly certain it hasn't been there forever, but if I'm wrong, please let me know. With so many different aspects to facebook, it can be difficult to keep track.

The change ties in rather nicely with my topic here for the past few weeks, namely the 'share' link. As mentioned above, 'share', 'comment' and 'like' appear underneath posts on facebook, allowing users to interact to them. If a page posted a video, photo or article, that content could be liked, commented on or shared by it's followers.

As discussed last week, share is possibly the most powerful in spreading that content beyond a page's follower-base, but there are problems.

The first is that if a user shares that video, photo or article, that's all they share. The accompanying comment by the page isn't shared, so any message given there is lost. We often recommend including a question or invitation to interact in this comment, which works with the first layer of followers who see the post in their newsfeeds. The second and further layers however, being follower's friends, their friends, and so on, only see what the shared post, without seeing the original comment.

I was going to look at how best to deal with this problem this week, but because of the change I've noticed, we'll leave it till next week. That change is important because it has solved the second, possibly even more crucial problem with share.

Quite simply, that problem was that a user could not share a text only status update by a page. I'm fairly sure I haven't imagined it, but until very recently only the 'comment' and 'like' links appeared under text only page status updates.

The 'share' link is now there.

Text has a far shorter download time than images, sounds and video, and is therefore the most accessible across the spectrum of internet speeds and devices around the world. This means it can reach the largest audience.

The lack of a share link was big limiter in realising that, but not any more. It's a small change, but one I'm very happy about and is undoubtedly good news for Pages.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Spotlight on eskimosoup's Creative Director

eskimosoup has two Creative Directors. One of them always wears a hat; he’s called Phill Postill. Another owns her own bowling ball; she’s called Hannah Griggs. This week the spotlight is on Hannah, but she left the bowling ball under her desk whilst being interviewed by eskimosoup reporter Rich  "rubbish at bowling" Sutherland.

RS: Hannah, you’re one of eskimosoup’s Directors. Can you tell us how it all started?

HG: Well, I took Graphic Design at GCSE and A-level and studied a degree in Media and IT at university. My husband George, eskimosoup’s Technical Director, was at uni with me. When we graduated we got jobs at the same company (we do everything together).

RS: Awww…

HG: So yeah, me and George worked for a web development company. After a while we realised that we had lots more to offer and decided to set up our own business, which we called T Media. George was the technical guru, developing the websites, and I was the Graphic Designer, but I also learnt HTML and did code here and there as required. That was from 2003; in 2008 we and the brilliant events marketing company Level M merged with eskimosoup to create a “souper” team!

RS: Lovely stuff! So you and Phill are both Creative Directors, how does your role differ from his?

HG: Phill does most of the graphic design that you’ll see in print or online. I still doodle and get to be all inventive but I also deal a lot with the technical side, turning the designs into code. I work closely with Nick, our Lead Developer, and Carl, one of our Web Developers, making sure that the websites work with all screens and browsers. We also have to make sure that they have top-notch accessibility and are in line with any new developments that might have popped up in the web world.

RS: I’m not very technical but for those reading who are, what programming languages do you use?

HG: I use HTML, CSS and Rails. I’m a self-taught coder by accident. It’s satisfying and geeky… and satisfyingly geeky. Hehe!

RS: In your time here you’ll have worked on countless projects, so I realise this next question will be a tough one, but which is your all-time favourite?

HG: It’s definitely Piccalilly, the organic babywear company. I’m baby mad, I love their little clothes and faces, they make me go all gooey! Piccalilly are really nice people and great to work with; they’re down to earth, have good ethics and I really do believe in them. Plus I’m a huge fan of ecommerce as I hate going to shops. I buy absolutely everything online, and if I ever do need to go into a shop, I find the item online first then hand the product code to the sales assistant! I love working with a fantastic online retailer like Piccalilly, it’s the best of both worlds.

RS: So you’re not so much a window shopper as a Windows shopper then. Eh? You having that? Eh?

HG: Ugh.

RS: Sorry… And what are you working on at the minute?

HG: A major focus right now is SafeOn, an online resource for those working in gas detection in confined spaces. Users can study courses, undergo rigorous health and safety training, access interactive videos and even take exams all while at home. It’s an ingenious and extremely valuable service; I’m very excited to be a part of it.

RS: As for outside of work, I hear you own your own bowling ball, although I may have fibbed when I said you keep it under your desk.

HG: Yep, I love bowling. I even won a game against Paul Moor when I was fourteen, and he’s now one of the world’s leading bowlers… although I admit he may have improved since then. I own all of my own equipment actually; I’m really into my sports and fitness. I play badminton, squash and table tennis, go swimming and running, workout, lift weights and I’m a proper gym addict!

RS: Wow! Are you really competitive?

HG: I am, yeah, and I really enjoy it. But the other reason is because I’m an absolute food junkie! I love eating in and eating out, I watch cookery shows and buy cookbooks, I just love food. If I didn’t do loads of fitness I’d be a real porker!

RS: So to sum up, you’re a Creative Director, a graphic designer, a doodler, a web developer, an e-shopper, a baby lover, a fitness enthusiast and a bowler. Anything else?

HG: I’m a real perfectionist, which is why I enjoy my work so much. Every aspect of the job requires everything to run smoothly, which is just the way I like it. Oh, and I love all things pink!

Next week’s Team Spotlight will be on Adam Poskitt, eskimosoup Developer and avid gamer.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Share and share a like. But what about comments?

'Like', 'Comment' and 'share' are the ubiquitous links that appear under posts on facebook. Whether on a page or in a newsfeed, these are the main ways people interact on the platform. Applications and other features come and go, but these remain the most common way a user spreads content.

Encouraging users to do so is (or should be) the backbone of Social Media strategy and the surest route to that holy grail of online marketing; viral propagation of a marketing message.

Actually this article's not about 'comments', or rather it is, as well as 'likes', but more about 'share'.

In last week's article, I looked at measuring success on facebook, specifically through the Monthly Active Users (MAU) statistic, which show how many fans and non-fans see a page and it's posts. Examining this with example pages, I found that even without many fans, comments or likes, MAU can still be very high. There's nothing in the stats to account for this, but there is something on a page that isn't represented in the stats.

The 'share' link, next to those for 'like' and 'comment', allows a user to post a page's status updates to their own profile, meaning that it appears in their friend's newsfeeds. It's arguably more powerful than either of the other two in spreading content, yet the number of times an update is shared is not shown in a pages statistics or indicated anywhere else.

Except perhaps in the MAU. If it is the share link that accounts for that large difference in the example pages, then that demonstrates just how powerful it can be.

It's strange because many Social Media experts barely mention it. More often than not, you'll be told that likes and comments are key, but are they really?

Let's compare them to share.

If a user likes a page, then it will appear in their friends newsfeed, but likes for posts don't. Comments on posts don't either.

Shared posts do.

Straight away, that's a big difference. Newsfeed is the first thing a user sees when they login and is essentially their facebook home page. That's the main target and if you're not appearing there, you really should be and have little chance of doing well.

Comments made on pages will appear in the newsfeed, but only if it's your friend commenting on a page you already like. So not too helpful in acquiring new fans.

So encouraging users to click 'share' is only way to get your status updates into new newsfeeds.

But how best to give that encouragment? And once they share, is your message still getting across?

We'll look at that next week.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Spotlight on Steph Collinson, Client Care

Steph Collinson joined eskimosoup in October 2010. As half of our Client Care department she works closely with every member of the team, as well as clients, suppliers, couriers, maintenance workers and the occasional Gorillagram that knocks at the door.

Relentless eskimosoup reporter Rich Sutherland managed to conduct an interview with Steph in short bursts between incoming phone calls.

RS: Steph—

SC: Hang on, the phone’s ringing. Hello, eskimosoup, Steph speaking. Oh, hi there, how are you? Yeah, not bad thanks. No problem, will do. Okay, bye.


SC: You may continue.

RS: Um… So yeah, Steph, tell us about your role at eskimosoup.

SC: I’m doing an apprenticeship with the Hull Business Training Centre and my job here is helping me to learn all kinds of new skills.

RS: And what exactly do you do?

SC: Everything. (Hehe!)

RS: Specifically…?

SC: Still everything. But it includes taking phone calls from clients, administration work, invoices and bills, ordering stationery and equipment, sourcing quotes and supplies, all kinds of things. Oh, and I order a cow load of milk from Tesco every week to keep the caffeine monsters happy!

RS: Good work! I do enjoy a cuppa or five each day. And what part of the job do you enjoy the most?

SC: Well I love getting a good bargain so I do enjoy finding the best price for high quality services, such as printing, event materials and anything else we might need to make a client’s project a huge success. We’ve built up excellent relationships with many local businesses that match and exceed anything you’ll find online, and that’s really satisfying.

RS: So what are you focusing on at the minute?

SC: Rachel, the other half of the Client Care Team, is training me in the accounts system. I plan to do a night course in accountancy in the near future, so it’s really interesting and a huge help.

RS: And in the time you’ve been here, which is coming up to a year, have you done anything particularly strange?

SC: Would dressing up as a massive cigarette and being stood on by a couple of Hull City players count?

RS: Er… yeah.

SC: Well I’ve done that as part of the NHS No Smoking Campaign, which linked in with the national No Smoking Day in March. I was also shown how to do forward rolls in St Stephen’s by Strike, the martial arts duo that was on Britain’s Got Talent in 2008. That was… interesting.

RS: Wow, it’s clear that you do all kinds of things at eskimosoup and your job takes you from the office to different sites for events and promotional activity, but what about in your spare time, what are your interests?

SC: Handbags are a must-have, I get a new one every few weeks, haven’t you noticed?

RS: Uh…

SC: I’m also into shoes, but that’s mainly due to Becky in the Marketing Team, it’s a love we share. I also think I can sing and keep getting told I can’t, but I have the radio on whenever I can and sing along when no one’s around. Plus I’ve recently started camping and fishing with my boyfriend, although he might have gone over the top when he bought a five-man tent and a year’s fishing license.

RS: Blimey, that’s wide-ranging!

SC: Yep, my work life and personal life are both nice and varied.

RS: To finish, can you tell us something that you say all the time?

SC: Two things: At work, “Hello, eskimosoup, Steph speaking.” And when I’m out on the town it’s simply “To the dance floor!”