My new site www.prandsocial.com is due up this week. It's long overdue but hopefully will be worth the wait.....
Delayed flights and thick fog meant a very late arrival home last night and a very addled brain so here are some, not always coherent thoughts, on the second day.
The start of Day 2 was considerably quieter than the first day which undoubtedly had something to do with the official party the night before (I was very boring sensible, opted out and ended up having a lovely dinner with some fantastic people including @vero and @bash). Jeremiah Owyang's talk was much anticipated but a bit of a let down. Although he's undoubtedly insightful, articulate and extremely knowledgeable, it did feel a bit like he was preaching to the converted with talk of 'listening' and recruiting brand advocates to help amplify your cause.
The Legend that is Yossi Vardi popped up like a malevolent genie, with a seemingly unending collection of funny photos and videos scraped from YouTube. As Paul Carr pointed out,"It's like my grandfather has just discovered the Internet."But whatever you thought of his talk, there's no doubt he was a breath of fresh air in the face of all the earnest talk of how real-time is changing the face of search/the internet/world/universe. I inadvertently stumbled across him and managed to grab a quick audioboo. And yes it was a slightly bizarre question to ask, don't blame me, I was star-struck, it was all the idea of Mark Rock.
Then the arena become thick with anticipation (and security guards) at the arrival of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. She received a rapturous welcome and went out to deliver a surprisingly intrancing speech. I have to say I was sceptical beforehand but there's no doubt she's intelligent, perceptive and using her incredible power to do some fantastic charity work.
Into the afternoon Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Steve Rubel and others discussed how brands can adapt to real-time WOM. It was a genuinely interesting discussion, not least because, let's face it, these are the heavyweights of the social meeja world (that's naff but you get my point). There was a heated debate about the old chesnut how to demonstrate ROI, with some of the panel members suggesting that we shouldn't try, CEOs need to understand that it's not about trying to measure against old metrics etc at which point Brian Solis came out with the quote of the day: "This panel may resonate here but we all have to report to people who don't give a shit". Quite!
There were more tech gazilionares in the afternoon including Fabrice Grinda (just what was the combined wealth of all the speakers.....) who was refreshingly honest about how great it was to wake up and realise you are worth $40m. And of course the AWESOME Gary Vee.
It's the first time I went to LeWeb but I truly hope it won't be the last. Well-organised, fun, inspirational and exciting. I'll leave the last words to @loic and @geraldine
Friendbinder, an aggregator of social networks that allows you to see conversation trends and search just within your friends.
Tigerlilly, a really neat app that makes it much easier to customise the tabs on a Facebook fan page. It takes away the requirement for FBML plus it's makes it much easier to change the tabs once set up. Marketers will love it.
Tasky:ly, a streamlined task manager, that made me think "that's exactly what I've been waiting for".Sokoz a real-time auction system - think ebay but snappier
Yesterday I came across this fantastic post 'Please Design a Logo for me. With Pie Charts'. Do read it, it's genius.
Also very timely. A bit of a rant coming up but I'm getting an increasing number of requests to provide information/advice for free, along the lines of "could you just send me that list of blogger details you mentioned?" or "what's the best way for us to measure xyz and could you just let me see how that works?"
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to provide advice, input, suggestions for existing clients and indeed with peers, potential clients, others in my network. But there comes a point where knowledge sharing turns into getting stuff for free.
I'm a freelance consultant, that means my knowledge and skills are how I earn a living. The proliferation of content for free on the web, especially around social media and PR, seems to be resulting in people thinking that these kinds of requests are OK. But really it's like asking your lawyer or accountant to give you some free advice. And I can imagine the response you'd get to that.
their Social Media and Online PR report yesterday, providing a comprehensive
insight into how businesses are currently approaching social media (or not) in
the UK. The headline to fall
out of the report is that the overwhelming majority of companies (86%) plan to
spend more money on social media in 2010, and a further 13% are planning to
keep the same level of budget. But I think of equal interest is whether we’ve
moved on in the last 12 months: are businesses really embracing social media or is there still more talk about it
than actual action.
In my recent
experience the only larger business that are really embedding social media into
their business are either a) those with someone at board level who understands
it or b) younger businesses without a pre-existing company culture to stifle it. The report bears this out citing lack
of knowledge (50%), lack of senior buy-in (33%), lack of resource (32%) and
company culture (28%) as the main barriers preventing clients from engaging in
social media activity.
It’s also interesting
that smaller organisations (turnover less than £1m) are significantly more
likely to be heavily involved in social media. Makes perfect sense, it’s much easier to change direction if
you’re a nippy speed boat than a lumbering cruise liner.
I was genuinely surprised that
when asked what people viewed as the main benefits of social media, “increased
direct traffic to website” was only viewed as a “major benefit” by 56% of
respondents. I mean what? Brand
awareness, customer engagement, reputation management are all vital but perhaps
not understanding how being able to demonstrate ROI by measuring the effect of
activity on brand owned spaces, is why we’re not, as an industry, winning the
battle of trying to convince clients why they should bother in the first place.
The first three are lovely and what we know to be valuable but on which we can’t
as yet put a price tag, the last one can make it easier to open the door to the
sceptic at the top table.
Overall it seems there
is still along way to go before social media engagement (is it just me or isn’t
digital engagement starting to sound like a better term?) is anywhere near
being an accepted part of business operations. As an industry, education and best practice not quick wins,
will be the only way to move this on.
That Tipping Point is a way off yet.
Pushchair manufacturer Maclaren announced yesterday that it was recalling some of its models in the US over fears of little fingers getting trapped and injured in the hinges. Potentially hugely damaging to its reputation: it's one of the most important purchases a parent makes, as of this morning, it's looking like Maclaren are struggling to win the PR battle. Firstly they're only recalling products in the US which has led to comments like this one popping up all over the internet:
It may well be that there is a valid reason for it (they vaguely try to answer it in the guardian piece) but if so, they're not getting the message across.
Secondly their PR response appears to be woefully inadequate. There is an overlay on the home page of the site explaining the recall and a 'click here for more information' but you are then taken to a general news page (below) rather than straight to the information, meaning you have to click again to see details. That page does have a FAQ but again it's a bit woolly about why they are recalling in the US and not the UK.
Thirdly it's hard to see them doing much proactive outreach. The twitterverse is full of chatter about the recall and yet their own twitter feed appears to be broken? Oh dear Maclaren, come on. You've got to move now, not in 2 hours or 12 hours or 24 hours. The clock is ticking.....
In honour of the news that Marissa Mayer has been named one of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year, I'm flagging up this great video interview, done earlier this year. If you don't know anything about Marissa or have never seen her speak, this demonstrates why she's an inspiration to so many - me included.
Today's Guardian has a good piece from Mark Borkowski about how Google SideWiki is a potential game changer for brands. He's right of course although I'm surprised its taken the Guardian this long to write about it (in the context of PR). Neville Hobson's piece on the subject, which was written a couple of weeks ago, is better; much more comprehensive and also flags up the rather essential issue of adoption. SideWiki has the potential to be incredibly disruptive - user comments in your own brand space, the marketers should be taking note. But as always, it will stand or fall on whether it becomes adopted by mainstream users.
SideWiki entries for bbc.co.uk
Often I find debates curated on twitter fairly dull. Lots of posts all about the same thing flooding your twitter stream and adding nothing but the other day there was a really interesting one set up by hashtagsocialmedia. Todd Defren moderated a conversation about the role of PRs within social media. He covered topics such as where does social media belong within a corporate environment,what should a PR plan integrated with social media look like plus the relationship between PR, social media and SEO.
Many people suggest that the PR team within an organisation are not the right people to look after social media because PR = spin whereas social media = transparency. I'd completely disagree with that. Having worked with digital agencies, SEO agencies and PR agencies, I'd say that PR people are the most natural to look after social media because they are familiar with building relationships, generating that 'talkability' factor and starting conversations. The irony is however that at the moment PR agencies are the least well equipped to be able to handle social media effectively since, with a few notable exceptions, they're lagging behind in their understanding of the online environment. They need to change that...and quickly.
You can see some of the twitter responses to Todd Defren's questions on the righthand side of the page here (although this page may well change in the future).