Been a while since my last update – holidays and life got in the way, but I did finish the London Marathon. It didn’t go to plan, but I managed to cross the line regardless. An absolutely brilliant day with seemingly all of London out to support the runners.

What social media platform should I use?

In what can only be labelled as shameless self-promotion, I wanted to point out a panel discussion I recently took part in about how to navigate the maze of social media platforms and choose the right one for your needs (there’s also a nifty Storify of some of the Tweets from the discussion if you don’t fancy reading the whole summary).

Hosted by @CorpCommsMag and @PreciseTweets at the London Museum, the panel also featured the significant talents of @AlexPearmain, @thebeaverhousen and @steeleworld

Key points for me when choosing a social media platform:

  1. Governance: Who’s actually going to run this, do they have the time/resources/skills, what are we actually trying to achieve here, how does it fit in with our business goals, how are we going to measure if what we’re doing is actually worth it, what are your escalation procedures should things hit the fan, … This is the somewhat less exciting stuff. But get this right and you’ll have more ammunition to go and ask for more money to do cool stuff with!
  2. Cost: Contrary to what you’ve heard, social media is not free. Yes, it costs you next to nothing to set up a social profile. But to make a platform a useful part of your comms arsenal you need time, money and dedicated people to keep it going and – increasingly – to have your voice heard above all the brands vying for attention
  3. Audience: Who are you trying to reach and are they actually on the platform?
  4. Listen: Such an old chestnut that I feel embarrassed to include it here. But as part of 3, have you actually listened to what people are saying? This will help in figuring out what you can respond with
  5. Exit strategy: Once you’ve gone through 1-4 and you’re set to launch, don’t forget to have a plan of shutting the whole thing down
Missing from the list: Jelly (Look at this cupcake. Someone have the recipe?) and Secret (Those cupcakes I brought in to charity bake-off at work and everyone complimented me on? I got them from Sainsbury’s!)

t’Interwebs reacts to #TubeStrike

On Tuesday morning I walked to Hammersmith Tube station hoping it would open at 7am despite the Tube strike. I was greeted by a crowd of people staring grimly at the locked gates. Standing to the side: two protesters, I don’t know if they were London Underground employees or union reps. They didn’t say a word and were politely shunned by myself and my fellow disgruntled commuters. A lonely police constable completed our group.

After 30 minutes and sporadic and conflicting updates from a LU engineer, the PC and one or two overzealous customers spreading Twitter rumours, we were let into the station and were on our way to work.

My next trips through London were spent on Boris Bike (I’ve really developed quite a fondness for those things recently) and running into and back from work. The smugness of cycling/running past people stuck in a gridlocked London is irresistible Twitter fodder.

But how did t’Interwebs react?

The Poke kicked us off with a great bit of advice on how to survive the Tube strike:

Buzzfeed went for the somewhat unimaginative listicle “31 Intensely British Reactions To The Tube Strike” of Londoners queuing politely and demonstrating the obligatory stiff upper lip and resolve to get to work while at the same time bitching about it on Twitter. Meanwhile, The Poke picked up on non-Londoners’ intense enjoyment of a new episode of Tube Strike Schadenfreude.

More worthy bits of reactive comms came in the form of MacMillan and Save the Children who highlighted that unlike London Underground lines, their phone lines were still open for donations (big thanks to @JojoNW3 for pointing these out):

There was also this cheeky effort from Thomas Cook incorporating two timely references and a competition:

Overall though, this instalment of the Tube strike was greeted with much less social media frenzy than the last strike Londoners enjoyed in February – at least in terms of volume:

  • February’s strike saw #tubestrike mentions spike at 70,000; last week’s peaked at 48,000
  • In terms of impressions generated by the hashtag, it is similarly clear: 240 million for this past strike, 325 million for the one in February

The winner of the Tube Strike on Twitter?

Cyclists, pedestrians and runners; definitely not the unions. Going by the most retweeted messages, it was @Queen_UK‘s timely commentary that got her into the top 10 most re-tweeted messages a three times. Well done, your fake royal highness.

Why start a tweet with a . ?

@GaryVee explains in a way that only he can

Bits and bytes

  • Google develops a time machine – well, on Google Maps at least. You can now look at Streetview photos of your house from back in 2007 to really see how long you’ve been meaning to paint the damned gate
  • A great piece by @Tive on Medium arguing that Twitter’s #OwnTheMoment planning tool (essentially a glorified Excel sheet based on news agenda planners that journos and PRs have been using for decades) is bad for real-time marketing. Why? Because you shouldn’t plan for the event, you should plan for how you respond to an event that isn’t on any planner (Twitter’s or otherwise) faster than anybody else
  • What makes an image popular? A shot of a beautiful woman wearing a bikini and carrying a gun, according to this research paper from MIT. Yes, that MIT.

Videos of the week

The omnipotent marketing juggernaut that is Lego has done it again. An entire Simpsons episode in Lego. Here’s the trailer for the episode that airs on Sunday in the US.

Apple’s commitment to being better: not just in terms of their products, but in terms of the values, their impact on the environment. A bold step that in the UK was accompanied by wrap around ads on the Evening Standard of Apple’s 100% solar powered manufacturing centre. It’s no ‘Crazy Ones‘, but it’s not bad.

Honda’s new PSA about road safety gives a new perspective on texting while driving.

And finally

TL;DR Wikipedia

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