Social media ‘barely negligible’ as a sales lead: you’re missing the point

October 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Not long ago, a research report from Forrester made headlines when it claimed that less than 1% of online transactions reviewed in the study could be traced to a specific social media post. Despite all the hype, the report concluded, social media was failing to generate any results, and businesses were being lured by the bright lights and shiny new platforms only to end up empty handed.

So I suppose I should pack up my things and leave my pass and snake oil certificate with reception?

Well, maybe not just yet.

As my colleagues in the US have identified, there is much more to social media than getting people to click through to buy from a single post. As they correctly identified, the report from Forrester was based on 30 days’ worth of data – not much when you consider that 2.5 quintillion (two and a half billion billion, or 25 followed by 17 zeros…) bytes of data are created every day – which presents two problems in my eyes, and two core principles behind business success in social media that this report fails to address.

Firstly, social media is not a 30-day campaign, or a 60-day one for that matter. Social media requires a long-term view and commitment to develop tangible results. There is no switch to flick which will lead to instant business success. Unfortunately it’s not just Forrester that is critical of the short-term pipeline issue around social media, with many Australian businesses adopting the perception that a Facebook page will result in increased revenue. Why? Will having a website without a clear strategy and mapped user journey lead more people to buy your product?

We need to move our thinking away from ‘what can I get from social media?’ to ‘what potential can I unlock by integrating social media as part of my broader communications and business activities?’ and we are starting to mature in our approach. This attitude is beginning to shift, with marketers locally beginning to understand the importance of developing a relationship before earning the opportunity to sell to customers. In fact, a recent report from iStrategy revealed almost 50% of marketers have ‘engagement only targets’ for social media, while one in five had already implemented ROI targets for their businesses. For me, this indicates that marketers are still struggling to pin down the exact measures for their social media activities, but it also suggests there is work to be done in developing a clear understanding of customers’ needs and how to use social media channels to engage them.

For Aveeno Australia, the brand was looking to drive awareness of a new product launch while also activating brand ambassadors and driving word-of-mouth around its product suite. It understood its customers and prospective customers, knowing there was a disconnect between awareness and consideration. However, once the product was tested, customers were convinced and converted to using the product. Based on this insight, Aveeno developed a campaign targeting Facebook users to drive consideration and purchase, seeing a 7% increase in sales as a result of the campaign. While the sales increase was welcomed, the CRM benefits of capturing an audience of potential advocates to engage with around future product launches and brand activities was a valuable secondary outcome.

Secondly, social media requires investment in building and nurturing relationships, understanding stakeholder needs and meeting them wherever possible. You may not produce an instant sale or conversion, but you will develop stronger ties to those with whom you will do future business, both in the B2C and B2B environments. Social media provides the opportunity for businesses to connect with people where previously impossible. While your enewsletter or direct mailer may not make it past the trash, engaging in conversation via a LinkedIn Group with your target audience affords you the opportunity to showcase expertise and value with an audience where no formal working relationships previously existed.

One of the best examples of this investment in relationships comes from American Express who, through its OPEN Forum online community, provides a unique value proposition to small businesses online. Rather than trying to generate immediate sales, Amex has developed a collaborative forum offering advice and insight to SMBs, providing them with the tools and expertise to do their jobs more effectively. Far from being a one-trick pony, this community engagers influencers, showcases real business success stories, ties in offline campaigns (like the Small Business Saturday movement), and ultimately directs users to Amex products and experts for conversion. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a comprehensive social media listening and monitoring process ticking away in the background as well. This concerted effort to have a conversation with stakeholders rather than push product ensures Amex better understands their needs and provides an enhance service as a result.

Ultimately, if the only value social media provides for business is driving less than one per cent of sales, I expect corporate investment will rapidly taper off and companies like LinkedIn and Facebook should probably start jettisoning stock immediately. But if businesses use social media channels to develop a clear understanding of (and engagement with) their customers, choose the environments or platforms they are active in, communicate via compelling and engaging content, and create a sound social strategy based on listening to customer needs and wants, there is no reason why they can’t drive not only sales but valuable, lasting business relationships.

Published 26 October, 2012, in Marketing Magazine

By Roger Christie.

Don’t ‘like’ our brand

June 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Social media historically has been the method in which a customer can forge a relationship with a brand. Since it’s inception as a popular customer service channel, brands have been under increased scrutiny with their products, how they deal with customers and whether or not they trade in an ethical manner. It’s interesting then, to note that we’re witnessing a reversal. The uptake so far has not been huge, however we’re seeing brands begin to push back on their customers. The largest footstep in this direction has recently been from the popular American cookie brand Oreo.

Oreo boast one of the largest Facebook communities in existence with nearly 27 million fans. That’s a lot of fans to be worrying about; it’s a lot of fans to be worrying about if you loved each and every one of your fans equally.

Let’s change tack for a second and think about that. Are all Facebook fans and Twitter followers created equal? Or, for that matter, are customers in general always right, especially when it comes to complaints and customer service related issues on Twitter?

Recently, a colleague of mine mentioned that her mother was currently going through some issues with an Australian bank. The advice was to immediately set up a Twitter account and tweet the bank in order to progress her complaint. Her mother did and her complaint was escalated and was hurriedly resolved.

But, doesn’t this reveal something behind the mindset of customers who simply wish to get something out of a brand? The public nature of social media offers great power to honest customers, and in some instances, more to the dishonest. The spotlight can be shone easily on a disgruntled customer’s issue, and brands – tending to get nervous in the spotlight – tend to back down and shrink away.

I’m aware that all I’ve done is ask questions of you so far, but think of them as rhetorical. We now return to Oreo. Oreo took the big step of posting a rainbow centred Oreo onto their Facebook page and boldly captioned it ‘Pride’. With Barack Obama recently coming out (if you’ll excuse a pun) in support of gay marriage, it seemed only a matter of time that a brand with similar social clout did the same.

But what does this mean for them? This means that they can take back some power. An update such as that allows the brand to see the quality of the fans that are attached to them. Oreo clearly want fans who are open to gay marriage, who aren’t homophobic and aren’t afraid of sexual alternatives. They don’t want to associate with people who have a bigoted attitude toward same-sex relationships, and, as a brand they don’t want to sell their products to people who do.

The update received 207,824 likes, 62,670 shares, 32,729 comments and their Facebook Wall was flooded with well wishers and thanks from existing and new fans alike; many having joined the page simply to thank Oreo for having the courage (as a highly visible brand in social media) to make the statement.

As for those who don’t align themselves with Oreo’s latest statement on gay pride, the update likely resulted in a percentage of fans ‘unliking’ their page. And yet, I believe that’s exactly what they wanted.

By Koby Geddes.

43 Questions & Answers About Facebook Timeline

May 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Thank you to the more than 500 people who attended yesterday’s Mumbrella Facebook Timeline webinar! As we didn’t have time during the hour to answer all of your questions, Brian Giesen, Greg Tan and I have compiled all of your questions from the exit survey and answered them below.
Below is a full compilation of all of your questions… and our answers about what’s changed. And if you are still catching up with all of the changes – don’t worry, there are signs that Facebook is testing even more Timeline changes.  But, in the meantime, lets get into the Q&A:

Q1: Apart from advertsing, what do you think is the best way of increasing fans?
A: Using a structured approach for engagement with conversation calendars that tie into your event calendar and competitions. During these periods you will find a higher engagement with the brand and more opportunities to drive traffic to your community. Additionally cross promotion from other social platforms such as Twitter and YouTube channels can drive more fans to your Facebook page. Have a look through a previous webinar we hosted on “Facebook for Business” which outlines some ways in which you can increase fans through non-paid means.

Q2: How often should we change the cover photo?
A: I think there are two things involved in getting the cover photo right. One is to change it when you are changing the “big story” that you’re telling via your Timeline. That could mean quarterly, or monthly or somewhere in between. Secondly, if you have a large community and lots of brand activity happening throughout the year, you might consider changing things up on a weekly basis – again mapping to the story you’re looking to tell through the Facebook page. Tourism Australia’s Facebook Page was featuring a fan photo of the week, so that’s a great example. I wouldn’t recommend changing it more frequently than once a week, however.

Q3: What’s your feedback on the app? As the comments on the app store are not very positive.
A: We’ve recently tested the app on a few brand pages and it works quite well. It’s a great tool to be engaging on the go, however it shouldn’t be viewed as an outright replacement for web-based Community Management. You can download the Facebook Page Manager app from itunes.

Q4: Any info on how many brands on average a user will engage with on FB on a regular basis?
A: Whilst there’s no info on how many brands a fan regularly engages with, an Infographic from Kiss metrics shows FB users are, on average, connected to 80 community page, groups and events. That’s a lot of clutter to cut through, making it essential to go the extra mile and be really compelling with the content you share. Take a look at the Kiss Metrics Infographic.

Q5:  Hi, I was just wondering why some posts can rise above newer posts on the timeline if they run in chronological order? Thank you Verity #FBTL
A:  All posts in Timeline will be placed in chronological order, with the except of pinned posts, which will remain at the top of the Timeline for up to 7 days.

Q6: Do you think the introduction of the compulsory timeline is a bit too intrusive for individual users?
A: It has always been Facebook’s way to ensure that all users are accessing the same platform when it comes to both news feed and personal pages. Facebook are typically quite accommodating by offering lengthy ‘trial periods’ where users are told of the upcoming changes, and given the option to change to the latest version when they feel comfortable. Ultimately it is a choice to be on Facebook and Timeline can be utilised as much or as little as users feel comfortable.

Q7: Can you think of any brands that have executed successful competitions using the new FBTL format?
A: There’s a great case study on Red Bull who launched a great scavenger hunt and worked well to stay within FB Guidelines to create a really compelling experience and contest for their fans and new visitors. Check out the Red Bull Case Study.

Q8: How useful is Timeline in f-commerce?
A: F-Commerce is definitely an emerging trend and something that marketers need to understand to determine if it fits their overall sales strategy moving forward. The social proof of your Facebook connections ‘liking’ and purchasing products via Facebook can have strong benefits in generating positive word-of-mouth for brands.

Q9: More on copyright – can you use google images on the feed as part of a post?
A: We would recommend against using Google images in your posts. Try to use sites such as Flickr where you can search for images that have Creative Commons licensing selected by the image owner. These are images you can use freely. Additionally, sites such as Getty Images have huge archives of either free or fairly cheap images. The best advice is to approach the image owner to state your desired use for their image to see if you can gain their permission for use.

Q10: What is the app called that allows you to manage a page?
A: The app is called ‘Facebook Pages Manager’ and it’s available for free download from the App Store here.

Q11: The 90 piece of content on facebook seems high – is this all new content?
A: This stat was reported on by Facebook itself. There’s a great infographic from kiss Metrics that shows this and many other great stats here.

Q12: Is the size of the profile picture adjustable?
A: No, the display size is 180 x 180. For this reason, it’s recommended that you make it as recognisable to fans to make your posts stand out in their news feeds. If you need more detailed information about the specs of the cover photo and an explanation of the other elements of the new Timeline layout, Facebook has a great Facebook Pages Guide (pdf).

Q13: How will it work…reach generator. Is it part of the facebook ad structure?
A: Facebook Reach Generator is a new ad product from Facebook designed to get your updates out to more of your fans. Reach Generator is not yet available here in Australia and will be available only to pages with more than 50,000 fans.

Q14: Hi. When I post on the timeline of my business page it doesn’t appear in the newsfeed of my business page, but it does appear in the newsfeed of my profile page. do you know why? thanks
A: As a community manager, you have access to two versions of Facebook – one as you, one as the business. If you are posting on your business page and using Facebook as the business, you will only see newsfeed content from the pages your business likes. When you post as the business, and you go to the business newsfeed, the content you see there will be from other pages.

Q15: if you are a community organization – without a budget- so cannot afford the ‘reach generator’ – if a key post will only rech 16% of your audience, should you post it more than once?
A: No, we would not recommend posting the same thing multiple times during the day. The key to success is to know when your fans are most active on the Facebook page and to time your posts accordingly. Also, keep in mind that the 16 percent is an industry average, so it might be that your Facebook updates will reach more people. Jeff Bullas wrote a great post that included a tip around the best time to post on Facebook.

Q16: Hi there – can you pin more than one post per week?
A: Yes, you can change the pinned post as often as you like. There can only be one pinned post at a time, and after 7 days it will effectively ‘expire’ with the next post taking the place at the top of the news feed.

Q17: We post 5 messages accompanied with 5 images per day – is that too much?
A: In general, we believe that “everyday engagement” is what is needed in order to cultivate an active and engaged fan community. So that means, in most cases, posting at least once per day. From our experience, we have observed that more than two posts per day begins to have a negative impact on the community – you may begin to see people unlike the Page if you post too frequently. However, if you have a large community of over 100,000 “likes” you could look at geo-targeting your posts so that fans in only certain areas see the customised posts… in which case posting five geo-targeted updates reaching different people per day might be OK!

Q18: I wondered how I can add apps that are not just notes, events and videos… I’m interested in Competitions and additional info but couldn’t see how.
A: There are a range of 3rd party app suppliers that can do the above, and they range from free to quite expensive enterprise level offerings. You’ll have to do some digging to find out what works for you and the budget you have, but Buddy Media, Involver and Wildfire are great places to start, and Short Stack is a free one that might be handy. We also through our partners at DTDigital can develop custom contest apps for Facebook pages. You do get what you pay for!

Q19: Apart from advertsing, what do you think is the best way of increasing fans?
A: A solid content strategy. Engaging updates. Leveraging influencer engagement. Rewarding existing fans. Encouraging them to share the page to their own networks with incentives. Increasing awareness of social media channels on other assets e.g. websites, offline marketing material. The question is – why do you want to increase your fans? Once you have that rationale in mind, it’ll be easier to create a targeted, qualitative strategy rather than just growing the fan base for numbers’ sake.

Q20: As most people use Facebook on their phone these days, do you think that some of the energy creating engaging content is lost?
A: No. As CMs it’s thus now our opportunity to understand the mobile consumption of social media content because it’s only going to grow.

Q21: Most businesses haven’t been around for 100 years. Can you show some examples of young businesses using milestones effectively?
A: Spotify’s Facebook page and the history of music. Check out the Spotify Timeline.

Q22: When you highlight key content, it only changes how it appears on your page, not how it appears in your fan’s newsfeeds – is that right?
A: Yes – but you can then turn it into an ad if you want.

Q23: Hi guys, will the recording of this webinar be available for download?
A: Sure will be! You can download a copy of the presentation deck here on the Social@Ogilvy Australia Slideshare account. And you can view a recorded version of the Facebook Timeline Hidden Implications webinar here, thanks to GoToMeeting which powered the webinar.

Q24: Hi, wondering what the pros/cons are of having number of likes as one of 4 apps displayed?
A: It depends on what you’ve got available on the page in terms of the other apps. Most brands use the “number of likes” on the page for bragging rights – and to be fair, it’s an indicator of success that there are lots of people that like the page, because it means that there’s value in being a fan. That said, if you’ve got an app or campaign running that you’re trying to push your fans towards, you should probably give that precedence over the “number of fans” app.

Q25: For those tabs, any idea when custom tabs will be viewable on tablets and mobile?
A: That’s a question for Facebook, unfortunately! That said, we’ve been assured that it’s in the pipeline.

Q26: Confused if can still set up a welcome page for sign ups. If not, what’s the best alternative for timeline?
A: With the new Facebook timeline, you are no longer able to provide a “Welcome tab” that fan-gates content on the page. All users, whether or not they’re fans on the page, will arrive on to your brand page on the main timeline. That said, there’s a great opportunity for Timeline here in the sense that you can still “fangate” quality content or competitions, which makes brands think about creating quality content – but remember that you are not allowed to use a Facebook “Like” as the sole entry mechanic for Facebook competitions! You should check out the Facebook Promotions Guidelines.

Q27: Re cover page: Can you have keywords re your business?
A: You can have keywords, but they can’t be calls to action, or be about promotional activity – more details are available by Facebook Promotion Guidelines

Q28: Wouldn’t you think the LV cover photo is a call to action which is against the new rules?
A: It’s a tenuous line, but it’s not strictly a “call to action’ because it’s not asking users to do anything. It’s simply letting them know that events were going to be taking place. You can read more about what’s allowed in cover images here.

Q29: Can you recommend a piece of software for pre-programming Facebook posts?
A: Hootsuite is a great free tool, but you should have a look at the other 3rd party tools available – as it really depends on your needs. Buddy Media is another great (paid) tool to consider!

Q30: Are you able to add a photo when you ask a question on your timeline through the event/milestone/question area?
A: You can for events (once you actually create the event, you can change the event photo after you create it). You can also definitely use photos for milestones. For questions, you won’t be able to use a photo for the official “Question” tool, but if you want to, you can post a regular status update asking a question, and insert a photo then. We’d recommend being clear and concise about the possible answers though, i.e. “Which do you prefer, apples or oranges?”

Q31: Have you heard of plans from FB that will allow brand admin features to be accessed on iphone/ipad FB app??
A: Yes – there is an app called ‘Facebook Pages Manager’ which allows admins to manage pages on their mobile device.

Q32: Hi There…I’ve done this but why can you only ‘pin’ once…I tried to do it a second time for a month-long promotion and it stayed in its original position. Thanks!
A: You can only pin posts for 7 days at a time, and once the 7 days pass, you’ll have to re-pin your post to the top of the page. Also, you’re only able to pin one post to the top of the page at a time.

Q33: should the profile pic change just as often as the cover photo?
A: While that’s really up to you, we’d recommend against it – the cover photo is meant to let you and your brand be creative and provides some “colour” to your Facebook page. Your profile picture tends to be more directly reflective of your brand, which is why they’re often logos. That said, you can consider changing the background of the display picture to match your cover photo (rather than having a plain white background behind your logo)! Check out Qantas’, which is a good example. 

Q34: Do you have to pay for conversation calendar? Where do we find it?
A: The creation of conversation calendars is a service that we provide here at Ogilvy, and we’d be more than happy to help you out. That said, you should be able to create a conversation calendar by keeping in mind what’s going on in your industry and region, as well as what’s going on I your regular marketing calendar.

Q35: where do we find out more about the rules and restrictions using a facebook page to ensure we aren’t shutdown?
A: You should be able to find most of the information you’ll need here.

Q36: Why wouldn’t these creative efforts be put towards a brand’s own website? What is the benefit to putting all this creative time into Facebook versus a tailored and credible site?
A: Brands should definitely put a similar amount of creative effort into their own website, but it’s probably come to a point in the conversation now where it’s not an either/or question. The reason why brands are on Facebook is because that’s where the people – their customers – are, and it’s a great opportunity to provide another immersive brand touchpoint with fans and advocates of the brand and interact and continue to build the relationship with the brand and company.

Q37: Do updates with previous dates come up in current news feeds when they are posted? Or do they just get posted into the timeline without going into fans feeds, to be seen by readers viewing back in your timeline?
A: Milestones do not post to the News Feed, only to your page’s Timeline. You can, however, “Pin to Top” a Milestone, if you like.

Q38: Can we have contact details in the profile pic (125×125) square? I work at an automotive dealer and can’t have two sets of locations in my “About” section, so I have these details in the profile pic.
A: The profile pic at 125×125 is very small, and it probably wouldn’t look very good to have both your logo as well as contact details in that small square. Would it be possible to include both address details in your “about” section and say at the top of the “About” section that you have two locations, one in X and one in Y? Users will then know that the address in “Location” is for only one of your locations.

Q39: Would it be against the cover photo rules to add an arrow pointing at the ‘Like’ button (assuming you didn’t make any reference to it in text)?
A: It’s a tenuous line, but probably not. That said, Facebook intended the cover photo to enable brands to have more control over using their Facebook brand pages as part of a larger brand narrative, moving the purpose and conversation away from merely generating “Likes”. Would recommend having a look at something of the examples we highlighted during the webinar as best practice and brainstorm similar ideas, rather than going with simply encouraging users to Like the page. You should also be asking yourself what you’re trying to get out of the fans on the page, and using the answer to that question to inform a broader content strategy – it isn’t always about quantity!

Q40: Are there any initiatives as part of the new timeline feature that will help brands?
A: Completely understand where you’re coming from, but that’s a question many have asked. The reach generator was created for large brands with large fan following to reach more of their fanbase – but Facebook’s regular advertising model has still proven immensely helpful for follower acquisition, especially when it’s centred around a campaign or competition, or other compelling incentive.

Q41: While the ‘important dates in history’ is a nice feature of timeline, is there any evidence to suggest that fans actually have a look at this information or get any benfit from it?
A: Because the “important dates in history” functionality is so new, there hasn’t been a whole lot of research or data as yet that shows actual industry averages. That said, it’s sure to vary from industry-to-industry. Realistically, the historical timeline will not be something that all your fans will spend the time to look through, but is a fantastic opportunity to create an immersive brand experience for the true brand advocates that you have on your page to have a better understanding – and build a stronger relationship with – your brand.

Q42: reach generator – how does this work? Are brands paying to mees with my feed?
A: Reach generator is a tool that Facebook has created for brand pages with more than 50,000 fans and who post more than 7 times a week. Facebook has a great Reach Generator Guide, which is worth checking out. These brands aren’t messing with your feed, they’re trying to increase the volume of engagement that they have with their existing fanbase, and you’ll only see it if you already “like” the brand page. As a consumer and user of Facebook, you ultimately make the decisions over the types of branded content you see on your news feed – and it keeps brands and organisations on their toes to make sure that they deliver the best quality content they can to their fans!

Q43: How much does it cost for a community manager per month for a site like MILO?
A: Unfortunately, this question is very much a “how long is a piece of string” one, as it depends on the size of the community, the strategy behind the Facebook page, what you’re trying to achieve and what’s required of the community manager’s time. If you’d like for us to give you a clearer quote for your needs, feel free to get in touch for a chat!

Authors – Brian Giesen and Mitch Phillips

Cutting through the content clutter

May 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

There is so much clutter out there in the social media space that one day we will combine them all – YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. We’ll call it, YouTwitFace.

Well, that’s what US chat show host Conan O’Brien reckons. He also thinks social media is good for nothing “time waster”.

Sara James, Dateline NBC journalist and MC at the recent sell-out PRIA Women in PR Forum in Melbourne, certainly put his notion to bed. She, in fact, blew it out of the water.

“Social media is not just changing how we report the news, it’s changing the news and the world,” James enthused.

“It’s fair to say that there would not have been the Arab Spring nor would there have been the Occupy movements seen across the world had there not been a world wide web and all the social media devices we count on today.”

Lelde McCoy, founder of the annual event and Managing Director of Ogilvy Public Relations Melbourne, welcomed 250 senior PR professionals to the forum and said that the ever-changing media landscape provides new opportunities for public relations professionals.

“Social media certainly is not new, however the platforms in which it’s delivered and the integration of these platforms into traditional media channels continues to evolve,” McCoy said.

“The Women in PR Forum, now in its eighth year, aims to discuss and provide answers to new issues faced by practitioners and to hear from some exemplary leaders in our field.”

To bring the point to life, on the panel of this year’s Women in PR Forum was Jeffrey Browne, Managing Director, Channel 9 and Linda Bracken, Head Multiplatform and Content Development at ABC Radio.

As consumers turn to the web for their daily news fix, online content is exploding through a variety of platforms including mobile, web and tablet.

Increasingly, we all want a piece of the action – our 15 gigabytes of fame. This is especially true for our clients and brands.

And now, audiences are heading to the web not to check dedicated online news sites, but to check their ‘feeds’ to see what is trending.

Earlier this week, photographs of Michael Clarke’s ‘secret wedding’ were posted by Michael himself on his Twitter page. The next morning, every newspaper in the country was leading with the story – the Herald Sun had it on its front page.

Consumers are actively searching for alternative and authentic sources of instant news and they’re looking to people they trust to provide it – their friends, their networks.

The creation of content and its dissemination through today’s maze of media channels has become an important part of public relations professional’s job, according to the PRIA.

The internet has changed the media landscape and it has certainly changed the job description of the public relations professional.

James explained: “The new media landscape is really the democratization of news. Of news, entertainment and the way we live our lives.

On the web you can find fact and fiction – so you need to be savvy to distinguish what is what. But also, it allows everyone to comment, to have a say and to be heard.”

Asked if the internet made it easier to know what audiences really wanted and who they really were, Nine’s Browne agreed it certainly made broadcasting decisions easier. However, there are a lot of people to listen to and therefore please.

Browne explained: “The Twitter opportunity is the chance to engage the audience in what was a previously static platform and make it a conversation.”

Take, for example, Channel Nine’s The Voice. The show currently has more than 200,000 Facebook ‘Likes’ and during the live shows, garners some 350,000 tweets a minute.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and definitely has contributed to the success of the show,” Browne continued.

“The Voice shows how free-to-air television has caught up. A lot of people think of the medium as an old fashioned medium and that no one is interested – but social media has breathed new life in TV and its audiences.”

Radio has had to adapt too – probably more so, explains the ABC’s Bracken, “Radio obviously has that captive audience where people might have it on in the background or while they are driving.

“To what we’ve been concentrating on is making our radio brand 360 degree multi-platforms. Triple J for example has been a great example of this given it is a brand people want to align themselves with even if they can’t listen to the station all of the time.”

Triple J has more than 500,000 Facebook fans and almost 100,000 Twitter followers. The station uses the channels to find talent, case studies and of course, distribute its news.

So how can PR’s harness the power of this platform explosion to give their clients the edge?

We need to cut through the clutter and information mushroom cloud with compelling stories that grab attention and can be told across a variety of mediums to a variety of audiences on a global scale.

And, as always, we need to stay one step ahead. Social media certainly doesn’t stop here.

By Melinda Varley

5 Friends ‘Like’ Your Kidney Donation

May 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Whenever Facebook says there’s a ‘big announcement’ in the works, the social media world grinds to a halt with bated, anticipatory breath and the recent announcement was a bit of a doozy. Facebook have announced that it will allow its 900 million members to share their organ donation status with their connected friends and family. Users who intend to make their donor status visible will then be linked to a database where users in need of organs can ‘find’ a donor.

It’s a very noble, humanitarian tactic by Facebook yet for some, it may be met with even more scepticism around privacy concerns. Pessimistic? Perhaps, but you can’t be too careful these days. It’s been well reported that frustrations are abound when it comes to Facebook’s Machiavelian approach to privacy and perhaps this announcement is one more step in that direction.

For those unperturbed by this knowledge share, you can follow the below steps to update your own organ donation status from Facebook Timeline:

1)      Go to your profile.

2)      Click Life Event.

3)      Scroll down to the Health & Wellness section.

4)      Click Organ donor and type your state information and date you became a donor. If you’re not officially registered, click on the link that will take you to the state agency responsible for such information.


By Koby Geddes.

Foursquare for Business

August 13, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Social Media has changed the way businesses are operating across Australia, with consumers spending an increasing amount of their time on Twitter, Blogs, Facebook and other forms of Social Media.

Companies can no longer afford to ignore discussions online about their brand. Working in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, Ogilvy’s specialized Social Media team has created a series of tutorials to help companies take those first steps.

The latest in the series, “Foursquare for Business”, will take place on August 19 at 1PM Sydney time.

Foursquare is the hottest new social media platform that is taking Australia and APAC by storm.

Part game, part social network, Foursquare allows people to “check in” wherever they are via their mobile devices, become “Mayor” of their favourite locations, and earn fun “badges” along the way.

Foursquare presents some tremendous opportunities to brands and businesses of every size. From Microsoft’s launch of Office 2010 via a Foursquare Mayor Meetup in Australia to Dominos Pizza seeing an increase in profit through a Foursquare program, this new social media platform is proving it’s worth its weight in ROI.

Join Ogilvy’s award-winning Asia-Pacific Social Media team, including Brian Giesen and Thomas Crampton for a free 30-minute online seminar powered by Citrix GoToWebinar.

Attend this live, interactive Webinar to learn:

  1. What is Foursquare and why is it so addictive?
  2. How do you use Foursquare to achieve a communications or business objective?
  3. How should you assemble a strategy?
  4. What NOT to do with Foursquare?

Space is limited for this 30-minute Webinar* and registration is required.

Sign up here

Is social media becoming more or less sociable?

March 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

The murder of a Queensland schoolgirl, a video of a group of teenage boys in Italy taunting an autistic boy, a $30,000 defamation verdict and Lara Bingle have all combined in the last week or so to show that the world may at last be starting to catch up with social media.

The growth of social media over the past decade has been exponential, so much so that the legal and ethical restrictions that society has for virtually all other activities have struggled to seem relevant.

“The internet is different”, people cried, “Its very basis is the free exchange of information.”

Well, maybe.

A Victorian man posted an anonymous comment on HotCopper, a stock market discussion forum. The comment, about a WA technology security company and its managing director, was defamatory. The managing director tried to get HotCopper to identify the poster. HotCopper refused, but was forced to by a court order. The registered name ended up being false but the poster was eventually tracked down and taken to court for defamation – the result being the $30,000 verdict against him. Two other supposedly anonymous posters on the same site have court action pending against them.

The moral: a court has shown that anonymous is no longer anonymous, and the normal rules of law will apply to anything you say.

In Queensland an outpouring of grief over the murder of a young girl led to a tribute page being set up on Facebook. That page was defaced, with people posting insulting and derogatory remarks and links to porn sites.  The call was for Facebook to “do something”, with the general tenor being that Facebook and other sites should be responsible for the material they contain. But, as University of NSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre executive director David Vaile was quoted as saying on, making website owners or internet providers more accountable for online content would lead to their demise and see the end of free social networking sites.

The moral: administrators of Facebook pages need to be aware of their responsibilities. If you set up an open site then you should be able to moderate it – around the clock if necessary. If you can’t then either don’t set up the site or bring in reinforcements.

In Italy, the six month suspended jail sentences given to three Google executives has led to a further outcry. The executives were on trial for defamation and for violating Italy’s privacy laws. The trio were found guilty of the privacy charges in that they were held responsible for Google having hosted the offensive video. The video was online for around two months but was taken down as soon as Google was informed of its contents.

Google announced it would appeal, saying the ruling “attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.”

Google said the European Union law gave hosting providers “a safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its existence…  If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist, and many of the economic, social, political and technological benefits it brings could disappear.“

Well, again maybe.

It would certainly create havoc with the Google business model, but perhaps that’s what the judge was getting at. The reasons for the decision have yet to be published but Marc Rotenberg, writing in the Huffington Post, says that there seem to be similarities between this case and cases in the early 1900s which established a person’s right to privacy in the US. Those cases established that a person’s image could not be used for commercial purposes without their permission. Rotenberg says that the Italian case hinged on the prosecutor’s claim that Google was making profit out of the video, which was driving people to the site and its advertisers.

The moral: not certain yet, but it may well be that if you are making money by hosting advertisements on site then you may end up being viewed as a commercial operation rather than just a host.

And to finish with Lara Bingle, the social page habitué who announced that she was taking legal action against AFL player Brendan Fevola after a nude image of her was made public on a website and in a magazine. The picture shows Bingle naked in a shower trying to cover herself.

Bingle is taking action “for breach of privacy, defamation and misuse of her image.” Just what that will result in is anyone’s guess, but it could end up a cautionary tale about mobile phone cameras, ease of downloading and the relentless spread of the web.

The moral: be careful of the company you keep.

By Sam North.

Sam North and Brian Giesen take second place in the Ogilvy Digital Influence Essay Writing Competition

March 2, 2010 by  
Filed under News

In November 2009, the Ogilvy Digital Influence Essay Writing Competition was announced.  All Ogilvy employees from Asia Pacific were invited to submit an essay on the topic of Digital Influence.  Our very own Sam North and Brian Giesen joined forces, with their essay Digital Influence taking second place out of 28 entries submitted.  Congratulations Sam and Brian from everyone at Ogilvy PR!

Digital influence

By Sam North (with sorely needed input from Brian Giesen)

At the start of 2009 Ogilvy PR in Australia makes a brave decision. No doubt some think it foolish, but at the height of the Global Financial Crisis two senior people are employed – and to newly-created positions.

One is a 57-year-old, overweight, grey-haired, career journalist, direct from a 21-year stint at the Sydney Morning Herald where he had ended up as the paper’s Managing Editor. He’s the Sam North in the above byline and it’s fair to say that when he begins as Ogilvy’s Media Director he is pretty much a digital influence sceptic.

The other is Brian Giesen, a buff, enthusiastic 35-year-old from Ogilvy in Washington DC, and a digital influence expert brought to Sydney to give the locals the low-down on this shiny new toy [Note: Giesen says that ‘’shiny new toy’’ is North’s description. Giesen describes the digital world as the most exciting, liberating thing to happen to communications since the invention of the telephone].

The two find they get on well together, but North delights in asking the hard-bitten, cynical questions of Giesen and other experts at the various educational forums run for the Ogilvy crew in Sydney. He throws around phrases like ‘’how do we see a return on investment’’ and intimates that the likes of Twitter and Facebook and Yabber are of interest only to the young and the restless who will soon move on to something else.

Giesen and North give speeches at the same new media conference in Brisbane. Giesen talks about the election of Obama and how social media is harnessed to motivate tens of thousands of usually apathetic Americans to become involved in the political process. His speech is a triumph.

North talks about how the old media is still alive and kicking. He sounds, even to himself, like Canute trying to hold back the tide. His speech is politely ignored.

Giesen and North work on a KFC campaign to promote a new grilled chicken burger. North provides some media training for the spokespeople while Giesen sets up a Facebook page for KFC.

Facebook for a chicken burger, thinks North. Yeah, right!

Traditional media virtually ignores the launch but the Facebook page, which offers a coupon for which a free burger can be redeemed, has hundreds of people lining up around the block causing pedestrian chaos in downtown Sydney.

Within a week the Facebook page has attracted 84,000 friends.  A handful of people post messages attacking KFC for the nutritional value of its products, but those voices are quickly stamped on by other KFC fans. It’s the perfect scenario, consumers standing up for the brand without any input from the company.

Giesen has the good manners not to mention North’s nay-saying.

His prejudices wounded but still functioning, North hangs on to his suspicion that it’s only the young and tech-savvy who get the digital world.

Then Giesen shows him a statistic from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. For the uninitiated, the ABC is Australia’s public broadcaster with TV and radio networks. The demographic of viewers and listeners skews towards older people. What Giesen says is that the ABC audience (in a country with a population of 22 million, mind you) downloads 5 million vodcasts and podcasts each month.

While North ponders the fact that there might just be a few older people out there with at least some semblance of technical skill, Giesen tells him that of the 8.1 million Australians who use Facebook, 700,000 are over the age of 50. I must get myself on to Facebook, North thinks to himself.

Giesen, never one to let an opportunity pass, adds that in October Facebook’s Australian users uploaded 80 million pictures and wrote 32 million wall posts and 45 million status updates.

North pretends not to be impressed by that, or by the help Giesen’s team gives him during a big announcement for Ford in Melbourne.

They set up on-line monitoring for the period surrounding the announcement and North finds himself finding out in real time what the websites and blogs and Tweeters are saying. It’s an invaluable service that gives North the opportunity to react and target the message to counter any growing trend of criticism, complaint or query. North looks good, Giesen and Ogilvy look better.

Giesen’s glow becomes even rosier when the TED organisation want help with publicising the quest by religious scholar Karen Armstrong, the winner of the 2008 TED Prize, for the world’s major religions to come together in recognition of the principle which is at the core of all faiths – compassion.

At the heart of the campaign is the Charter for Compassion, a document crafted by people of all religions which was launched in November with the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond TuTu as its first two signatories. It is intended that people will access the website to join the charter and show that the overwhelming voice in all religions is one of compassion – not negativity or violence.

Giesen’s team creates a 3 minute video featuring prominent Australians saying just what ‘’compassion’’ means to them. Those giving their thoughts range from celebrity chefs through to influential food and marketing bloggers.

The video is completed in a day and a half and is sent to around 200 bloggers and Twitterers. By any measure it delivers an outstanding, authentic, heartfelt message.

The video is picked up by Australia’s major news organisation and run on its websites, with more than 20,000 viewers choosing to spend three minutes of their time thinking about compassion and being driven to the Charter’s website.

Giesen then steps right into North’s territory and builds a social media centre for Microsoft Australia’s website, to coincide with the new Windows 7 operating system. North thinks he knows something about media centres so logs on to pick holes in Giesen’s work.

There’s access to Twitter and Facebook and Ustream TV. You can click onto various Microsoft bloggers. There’s are current and historic media releases, and recent news items featuring Microsoft, not to mention the impressive image bank available via Flickr and the plethora of videos. Suddenly North is feeling that the current crop of journalists have it too good.

The year ends with North at a pitch. ‘’You should think about social media,’’ he advises the client, without even a hint of embarrassment.

North explains that in the future every campaign is likely to embrace social media and will get ordinary people involved in a brand, a campaign, or an issue, through sharing values and opinions.

He goes on about all forms of communications being about conversations and about how it’s not necessarily all about a brand interacting with its customers but as much about facilitating customers’ interaction with each other.

‘’Social media will grow your brand, strengthen the connection between you and your customers and keep you grounded and aware of what people really think about your company,’’ he says with all the conviction of the newly-minted zealot.

A wry, tolerant smile touches Giesen’s lips as his innate good manners prevent him from commenting.

The Executives Guide To Social Media For Business-to-Business Companies

February 2, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Social Media webinar

Across Asia, social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogs have redefined how businesses operate.  While the focus is often on Social Media strategies for reaching consumers, companies operating in the B2B space – consultancies, wholesalers and manufacturers – can sometimes benefit even more than consumer-focused companies.

Shouldn’t you learn how to leverage social media?

Join the award-winning Social Media team from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide for a free 30-minute online seminar powered by Citrix GoToWebinar.

This webinar will provide concrete examples, action plans and case studies, including:

· 5 key steps for a business-to-business strategy;

· How to build and engage a community of potential and current customers;

· Real-life case studies from successful business-tobusiness strategies;

· The highly popular – and now extended – Question and Answer section;

· Much more…

The seminar will be led by Brian Giesen and Tania Chew, both senior regional strategists in Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence team, and moderated by Thomas Crampton, the team’s Asia-Pacific director.

Hurry! Space is limited for this 30-minute webinar* and registration

is required.

Join us Wednesday, 3 March at 11:00am (Hong Kong time)

To register go to