social media

Comms by the Coast 2015

A few weeks ago I hosted our annual students’ union communication people gathering in Brighton – Comms by the Coast.

I wish I had more time to write about the things I learned and the ideas it sparked for me but the run-up to new students arriving is more hectic than ever!

After everyone had grabbed a pastry Suki and Aisling from LSE SU and Arts SU talked about how they’ve used calls to action in their email marketing and reflected on their experience working between two different unions.

>> View Suki & Aisling’s presentation

Eleanor from Ofgem talked about how they’ve shared their ‘Be An Energy Shopper‘ campaign on a limited budget.

>> View Eleanor’s presentation

Jess and Heather from the Open University Students Association showed us how they’ve been engaging their 200,000 distance learners.

>> View Jess & Heather’s presentation

Christine from Musterpoint talked about engaging with the media and the public.

>> View Christine’s presentation

Chris from The Student Room showcased some of their insight into students.

>> View Chris’s presentation

After a sunny lunch, Tom from Bristol, Emil from UEA (now at Goldsmiths) and Lucy from Sussex talked about their rebranding projects. It was really interesting to hear about three different approaches and see their final looks.

>> View Tom’s presentation

>> View Emil’s presentation

>> View Lucy’s presentation

Finally, Jamie from Swansea talked about his experience of working for a students’ union and a university.

It was so nice to see everyone and pick their brains. The discussion session the afternoon before the main event was sooooo useful and I came away with loads of ideas.

A massive thank you to everyone who came along and to everyone who contributed.

You can see presentations from Comms by the Coast 2014  on my blog too.

Jo

August 21st, 2015|Communications|0 Comments|

Quick & dirty ways to measure & test

I’m a massive data nerd. I love spreadsheets. I love experimenting. MASSIVE GEEK.

One of the aspects of digital that I enjoy is being able to see what is working (or not) and tweak things.

These are some of my quick and dirty ways to measure how things are going. Some are specific to particular tools, others apply across a variety of things.

1. Use different collectors in SurveyMonkey

We often use SurveyMonkey for surveys and I try to set up different collectors for different channels, e.g. social media, email to all students, our newsletter, website homepage, url on banner.

This means I can see which promotional channels are working well (so we can focus on those) and which are not (so we can abandon those or try to boost them).

2. Use custom campaigns in Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows you to add information to the end of urls so you can track them via Google Analytics. These are custom campaigns.

I’ve talked before about how I use information to help make decisions including examples of using custom campaigns to track our social media activity.

This works offline too. You can create a long link with the tracking information in it then use a link shortener like bit.ly or your own tools to create shorter, more attractive links to put on printed materials.

3. Track links using tools like bit.ly

Bit.ly and other tools like Hootsuite’s ow.ly shorten your links so they aren’t so long and rambly. They also allow you to track how many people have clicked them.

This is useful as it is, you can see how popular what you’re sharing is.

You can step it up a notch though and use it as a form of split-testing on social media. Try posting tweets on the same topic at different times of the day, with and without images, long and short text or any other combination of factors. If your aim is to get clickthroughs you can use bit.ly to see which format(s) work best.

4. Make use of split-testing where available

If your tools allow for split-testing DO IT! I’ve used it a few times for our email newsletter to test sign-up forms, email bodies and subject lines.

Changing the subject line of our ‘vote now’ elections email resulted in twice as many votes at one point (though over time the gap between the two fell a little). You can see the tests I ran towards the end of my ‘data driven decision-making’ slide deck.

 

What else have I forgotten? What have you tried? Please let me know. Like I said, I’m a massive nerd for this sort of stuff

Jo

August 9th, 2014|Digital|0 Comments|

Things I’ve been reading recently

In an attempt to get some of the things I find interesting out of my head and into my blog I thought I’d share some links on a semi-regular basis.

I’d love to see what you’ve been reading and pondering so feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments or tweet them to me – @jowalters.

These links come largely from my Feedly saved items. You can read more about some of the blogs I subscribe to in my earlier post and see more of the things I’m bookmarking at delicious.com/jowalters.

What’s a Playbook and why do I need one? – Kim Townend, Government Design Service Social Media blog

The gov.uk team have released an alpha version of their guide outlining how and why they use various social media channels with lots of useful tools and insights.

Seven useful tips to help with your mobile copywriting – David Moth, Econsultancy

Most of these tips actually apply to writing on the web regardless of platform but show that writing mobile requires special consideration. As I’m going to be running training on writing for the web again soon I’ll be making sure I’m covering these points.

Inside a service manager’s head – Giles Turnbull, Government Digital Service blog

Yes it’s another GDS post but a) I love them, and b) I subscribed to even more of their feeds last week so I’m catching up on things! This post talks about moving to digital from paper, working within guidelines and various other things that I’ll be doing at work in my new role as Digital Engagement Manager so it is interesting to see how other organisations handle it.

Five simple ideas for free content curation on Twitter – Ben Davis, Econsultancy

Ideas for content sources including Spotify playlists which I’ve found these work well, both sharing existing playlists and asking for contributions to themed collaborative lists.

This column will change your life: interestingness v truth – Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian

“A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting.” Even in the world of academia, most people aren’t motivated by the truth. What they want, above all, is not to be bored.”

This article – from a regular column I find interesting (and hopefully truthful) – reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from ‘Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck‘; “An accurate but useless idea is still useless”. I’m not advocating misinformation or inaccuracy but sometimes we lose the human factor which makes something interesting in the pursuit of complete (and sometimes boring) accuracy.

Vintage sexism: 20 things men don’t like about women in the office – Maya, Feministing

There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

Amazing.

On that note I’m off to offer some impudent criticism and ask impertinent questions!

Jo

Data-driven decision-making

Ashamed of having to write ‘blogs sporadically at joannwalters.co.uk’ in a few profiles recently I am determined to blog more regularly about the thoughts floating around my head.

This is a somewhat cop-out blog post however as it is just pointing to a conference session I ran at Students’ Unions 2013 – a national conference for students’ union staff and officers.

I pitched several sessions (never shy about waffling on in front of a room of strangers who are bound by social norms to stay until the end then clap) and was asked to talk about how we can use data to help with communications decision-making. You can view slides from the presentation on SlideShare though my presentation style means they’re quite light on text and heavy on random images!

I will endeavour to write a more lengthy post including my thoughts on some of the topics I covered but for now just enjoy the colourful pictures and imagine how long it took me to find them all on Flickr…

Jo

 

July 3rd, 2013|Digital|1 Comment|

A tiny little love letter to social media

A tale told largely via screenshots (aka lazy blogging)…

Facebook picture of Brighton map

The map I posted on Facebook

I put this picture (right) up on the Students’ Union’s Facebook page to highlight changes proposed by the local council which are likely to have an impact on housing for students and graduates in the local area…

… and it was soon shared by students and attracted lots of comments (not all favourable!) I then got this message (below) from Tom, a former elected Communications Officer for the Students’ Union (back in the glory days when I was the Activities Officer);

The Brighton picture sums up the impact of social media on membership engagement

and it highlighted to me too the difference that social media has made for membership engagement.

Pre-social media it would’ve taken longer for the message to get out, we wouldn’t have been able to see and respond to people’s comments and they wouldn’t have been able to pass it on so easily.

I <3 social media (and not just because 90% of it is cat-based)

 

Jo

July 13th, 2012|Engagement|0 Comments|

Clandon Wood – branching out into digital marketing

Clandon Wood is a 31 acre area of new native woodland, wildflower meadows, lake and wetland in Surrey due to open in May 2012. It will be planted and landscaped to attract wildlife, accommodate natural burials and provide new habitats for people to explore. They aim to appeal to nature lovers, school groups, people looking for natural burials and people who just want to enjoy the beautiful woodland.

As a relatively new project, Clandon Wood are keen to learn how they could use social media to attract and involve people. With lots of planning and action required to develop the site and their services, they are after some quick, easy and effective solutions that won’t take any more than 30 minutes per day.

These are some of my suggestions for them to consider. They’re super brief at the moment to give them some ideas about what they want to focus on…

Website

Their temporary website is online now at clandonwood.com and a new one is on the way.

It’ll need to contain relevant keywords to help people find it via search engines. These should cover all of the aspects of the project – burials, nature, woodland – as well as local keywords such as Clandon, Guildford and Surrey.

They should follow basic SEO principles such as getting links from relevant, quality sites and producing regular effective content. They might want to use a blog format to update visitors on the development of the site and day to day activities once it is up and running.

They can integrate Facebook & Twitter to their site, either through clickable icons or with embedded content featuring their latest posts.

They could make use of a free Adwords voucher which are available from time to time. This would allow them to experiment with Google’s paid search to see if they should continue to use it in the future to drive visitors to their website.

Newsletter

If they’re looking to build a community of like-minded and/or local people, Clandon Wood should consider setting up an email newsletter. This could be segmented to allow people to subscribe to different aspects of the business or follow the development of the site.

Twitter

Clandon Wood are already on Twitter – @clandonwood – and chatting to people but a quick look over some Twitter basics might be useful to get to grips with how mentions work (where you put someone else’s username first in a message mostly to them to avoid clogging up people’s feed with conversations). They could also change the name on the profile from an individual staff member to the organisation’s name.

They can search for relevant people to follow based on the different areas of what they do. This could include local organisations, nature organisations and those related to death and burials. This will also help by finding useful and interesting information to retweet from others to add variety to their Twitter output.

They could set up searches for keywords on Twitter to find people talking about relevant topics and local issues. This can be easily done using software such as Tweetdeck. There are plenty of apps for smartphones too which allow you to keep an eye on things on the go and easily respond.

Facebook

I’d suggest Clandon Wood set up a Facebook page which is the best format for businesses (rather than Facebook groups or personal profiles). This can be used to post updates and photos and gather people interested in what they’re doing.

I always recommend not auto-posting between Facebook and Twitter if possible as posting separately allows you to make the most of each format, e.g. posting photos directly to Facebook and keeping within Twitter’s character limit.

Other ideas

Clandon Wood could think about using Pinterest to share beautiful images of the woodland and collate images that are relevant to what they do. More and more brands are experimenting with Pinterest (and I personally spend faaaaar too much time looking at beautiful images there)

They can set up Google Alerts to keep an eye on people talking about them (with a [Clandon Woods] search) and other relevant search terms if they want to stay updated on other relevant topics too.

They should set up a Google Places entry to help people find them via location-based searching.

It sounds like video and photos could be used to showcase the location and services on offer.

Routine

In terms of a routine for Clandon Wood, this is what I’d suggest initially;

Daily

  • Check Facebook & Twitter for people requiring a response (and respond!)

A few times per week

  • Post interesting, relevant information to Facebook & Twitter
  • Keep an eye on Google Alerts and saved Twitter searches for mentions of Clandon Wood/related topics

Weekly

  • Post a blog update

Final thoughts

Clandon Wood’s plan will depend on their objectives and the amount of time they have available to sustain their digital marketing activities.

Once their activities are more developed they can branch out (no woodland pun intended!) and measure the impact of their activities to test what is working best and where to focus their efforts.

January 24th, 2012|Digital|0 Comments|
  • Reading UnMarketing
    Permalink Reading UnMarketingGallery

    ‘Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging’ ~ I love this book

‘Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging’ ~ I love this book

Marketing is not a task.
Marketing is not a department.
Marketing is not a job.
Marketing happens every time you engage (or not) with your past, present, and potential customers

So, recently I’ve been reading UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. by Scott Stratten and I thought I’d share some of the bits that made me go ‘oooooo yes I should definitely change how I do that’. Problem with that is that most of the book made me do that so here are the top best bits (as well as two pictures featuring my knees…)

UnMarketing notesThe book talks about the importance of building relationships with your customers and gives lots of examples of how this has been done well and badly by various organisations (the bad examples are my favourite!)

Scott emphasis the need to be authentic and real and not be tempted by automation where it kills personal contact.

He has a fancy diagram (who doesn’t love a diagram?) that shows that the best customers are those who have a relationship with you based on trust.

He describes the ‘trust gap‘ – “the amount of trust you have to earn before your potential customer will consider buying from you” and the ‘experience gap‘ – “the space between the best services, often what a new customer receives and the worst experience”. You need to work out how to bridge the former and minimise the latter.

The book is full of easy to read case studies and examples. The chapters are short and snappy which makes it perfect park reading material…

Reading UnMarketing

Scott definitely practises what he preaches, I tweeted this picture and mentioned @unmarketing

Working my way through the @ book in the sunshine earlier :) http://twitpic.com/4jbo97
@jowalters
Jo Walters

… and swiftly got this reply :)

@ Nice! Hope you're enjoying it!
@unmarketing
Scott Stratten

You should buy the book and go have a wander through the UnMarketing website – www.unmarketing.com

Jo

Thoughts from TFM&A – tying social and email together

Today I went to the Technology For Marketing & Advertising (TFM&A) show in London where my time was spent alternating between making apologetic faces at exhibitors (no I don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on your shiny software) and scribbling pages of notes in the seminars.

Ironically (for a day about digital stuff) I scribbled pages and pages of notes in my notebook (well, its a little book and I have big writing) and will be adding them here for you to read and ponder. If you want to buy me one of these I can make sure I get my thoughts to you faster in future :)

As I picked up so many interesting bits and things that might be useful for other people on my course I’m breaking this down into a series of posts.


The first session I went to was ‘Tying Social and Email Together – Designing a multi-channel campaign‘ by a speaker from ExactTarget which focused on how email and social media can complement each other.

We’ve moved from a one way organisation to consumer relationship in which the organisation tells the consumer what to think to a consumer to other consumers relationship where they tell the brand what they think. Data about customers is now a key business asset.

Email: Familiarity, manageability, trust & privacy, relevancy, exclusivity
Facebook: Connection, self-expression, entertainment, discovery, control
Twitter: Influence, brevity, accessibility, interaction, versatility -> Twitter has the most potential to drive affinity (or damage your brand) as users talk about your brand

Email marketing is becoming more targeted and more relevant, e.g. Amazon emails based on purchase/browsing history, which means a higher conversion rate and higher ROI. Advanced segmentation can be based on demographics, engagement, purchase behaviour and/or brand advocacy

‘Forward to a friend’ in emails can be developed using social share, e.g. encouraging people to share things on Facebook/Twitter. This also helps identify brand advocates.

SMS can be used to convert customers to online (with all the data analysis benefits that brings), e.g. high street shops (an environment where most people have their mobile phone with them) using an in-store discount as an incentive to text your email address to their shortcode.

March 3rd, 2011|Digital|6 Comments|