helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

By Nick Stringer, Director of Regulatory Affairs, IAB

This week the IAB hosted an event on ‘How to be safe and social’ to explore how brands and consumers are protected when engaging in social media. This follows research from the IAB and ISBA that found that only 55% of UK brands currently have a social media policy with many also cautious about the perceived lack of control they face when using social and embarking upon real-time conversations with consumers.

We welcomed four excellent speakers: from Reputation Online; Malcolm Phillips from the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) – the industry body that writes the self-regulatory rules; Ashley Hurst from legal firm, Olswang; and from Betfair. The discussion was timely, as on 1 March, the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) extended digital remit goes live, bringing marketing communications within websites and social media into the existing self-regulatory advertising system. The discussion was also lively, particularly within the where there was a wide range of views on whether the ASA’s extended digital remit is a good thing or not. You can see the presentations from the event here.

The IAB believes it is a good thing. As we’ve said before, it is good for consumers and it is good for business – preserving the integrity of social media allowing it to continue to grow as a marketing platform. The very nature of the media will always mean that there will be grey areas (the ‘retweeting’ one seemed to be the most talked about) and we enter unchartered waters for digital media self-regulation. It is also good that the very nature of the media means that broader industry and the ASA will be able to listen to everyone’s views, debate the issues and get self-regulation right. Underpinned by the legal framework, the ASA system helps fill in the gaps, is flexible and a more cost-effective way of resolving disputes (than the courts): we should work with it.

You can read the IAB’s new guide to digital advertising regulations here, our FAQs specifically on the extended digital remit and / or visit CAP’s Copy Advice service (which includes a website audit at a very reasonable price!).

Follow the and / or .

By Simon Preece, Senior Consultant, RMM

If 2010 saw organisations really getting to grips with social media for marketing, 2011 might be the year we see them using social media for internal collaboration as the norm.

Successes and failures – but most importantly, experimentation – saw our awareness of what social media can do for organisations become increasingly sophisticated. Smart organisations are beginning to realise that social media can and should be a benefit for employees as well as customers.

But getting employees to be ‘more social’ isn’t just about how comfortable they are with using @ replies on Twitter – it requires a fundamental shift in how they perceive sharing knowledge in the workplace.

An oft-cited US example is IBM, which has taken the conscious decision not to have a corporate blog – instead empowering employees to drive interactions with customers and help shape the brand online. A decentralised approach has also boosted internal collaboration and knowledge sharing, with 100,000 employees making use of internal blogs to share internal expertise.

Nationwide deployed social media technologies across a number of departments, using Yammer to help redefine the way it interacts with employees. Specifically, the organisation uses Yammer to allow employees to send messages to colleagues or teams either online or via mobile. Within ten months, Nationwide had more than 8,500 employees using Yammer, ensuring knowledge and ideas are shared rather than siloed.

While not all organisations will be so technology-focused, these are good examples of getting the workforce to ‘buy into’ social media. Involving employees right at the start is key, rather than imposing rules of engagement pre-defined by those at the top of the organisation.

That isn’t to say there shouldn’t be some pre-determined guidance – rather, organisations should enable employees to feed in their own knowledge about social media best practice. Providing clear starter guidelines and specific, practical examples of how social media can help in employees’ day-to-day jobs will be helpful, but organisations should also assume these will change. Kodak prefaces its online tips for employees in social media simply with: ‘Feel free to edit to suit your needs’.

For businesses exploring this area, getting employees who are already keen to champion social media on board and enthusiastic will help reassure anyone who is feeling uncertain. This kind of grass-roots persuasion will help give employees the guidance and confidence they need to get fully involved with social media.

By Katy Howell, from social media agency immediate future

“relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships” The official Google blog

As a social media agency, we’ve been watching the dynamic relationship between social and search for a while now; and Google’s recent announcement concerning the development of its social search function is indicative of the changing shape of search.

In 2011, search is getting social.

Google has announced that it will now be integrating social results throughout the search engine results pages; noting if friends have shared these links on one of the social media platforms that Google is taking information from (Quora, Twitter or Flickr); and providing users with more control over which of their social media accounts will inform these results.

Google’s social search acknowledges the value of peer recommendation and personal relevance but it depends on a user being logged into their Google account. In other words, it is an add on service or an adjustment to the algorithm.  We think that social is affecting search at a much deeper level. Read more…

By Sarah Wood, Founder & Director, Unruly Media

The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Green Bay Packers in Dallas in the so-called ‘biggest show on Earth’ on Sunday, but the match itself has not been the main topic of discussion – it’s the ads that have dominated discussion, and that’s because the Super Bowl is not only America’s biggest sporting spectacle, it’s also the biggest event in the US advertising calendar. It’s been said that the real winners of the Super Bowl are not necessarily those wearing pads and helmets, but those in the slick suits and skinny ties; however, with a 30-second slot during the main event costing almost £2million, and with over two thirds of America watching, the stakes could not be higher and ad pundits around the world are whipping themselves up into a frenzy right now, eager to predict which big brands will return victorious and which will see their hopes ground into the Dallas dust. Read more…

By Mairi Clark, senior pr and marketing manager, IAB

It may seem incongruous that the doyenne of Seventies’ “high-tech” retailing, Argos, and the Queen Bee of digital, Facebook, have tied up a deal, but in the world of Facebook Deals, this shouldn’t be deemed that unusual.

I’ll declare myself now. I’m a huge fan of Argos. I love its ability to understand consumers and what they want, and how to serve them. To put Facebook Deals to one side, Argos – to me – at least is a retailer who totally embraces the “bricks to clicks” ethos that was bandied about when I first started writing about digital in the mid-nineties.

Argos allows the consumer to decide what they want: order online and wait for delivery, order online and pick up from the store, or check availability and then browse the ubiquitous catalogue in store. Perfect. Allow the consumer to pick how it works with your retail brand, don’t force them to use something they don’t want to.

Will its arrangement work with Facebook Deals? Yes.

Facebook Deals’ biggest challenge it to fight off the Daily Mail’s readers who will dislike the close targeting that this will allow marketers (though it will probably take them a while to work that out).

My barometer will be when Facebook Deals starts to permeate past the Big Boys like Starbucks et al and goes for smaller retailers, or more obscure. Then it will have really lit the touchpaper. But as for the data issue, I’m happy telling people about myself if I get what I use and for cheaper. In these times of austerity, we all have to fly the flag for frugality. Just ask poor Wills and Kate. Bet she’s gutted.

By Andy Pilkington, WaveMetrix,

As social media becomes an increasingly important and influential marketing tool, more and more brands are competing for consumer engagement within the space. Whether it’s fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter, brands now recognise social media as the next big step in marketing.
There are various techniques and avenues available to help brands grow an online following. WaveMetrix took a look at the various approaches taken by different brands in Q4 2010 in order to analyse what strategies seemed to work most effectively.
•    Premium brands are beginning to shape discussion around the lifestyle associated with the brand, rather than their specific products
•    Other brands are encouraging product-specific discussion, which tends to drive purchase consideration, but also leads to some consumer negativity
•    Campaigns that linked social media back into real world events helped drive engagement with the brand
•    Tried and tested competitions and giveaways are continuing to work well
•    Some brands are building on existing consumer engagement and beginning to monetise social media Read more…

, Pass it On Media

As representatives of the IAB Social Media Council group-within-a-group (The Control, Monitoring and Self-Regulation sub-group no less), we always keep a keen ear out for the latest rumblings in the world of social media legistlation.

It is therefore with interest that within a few months of the impending launch of the ASA Social Media rules, there are many impassioned stories of other governing bodies and indeed legislative figures taking firm action against social media wrongdoings.

These range from high profile cases of Ryan Babel’s ’slanderous’ comments about Premier League referee Howard Webb, Courtney Love’s defamation case as charged by her fashion designer Boudoir Queen and on a smaller yet no less insignificant scale, the resurgence of the example that courts made of Paul Chambers in 2010 whom was fined £3000 for a twitter rant threatening to blow up Robin Hood airport in frustration at the delays caused by snow. Read more…

By Shona Ghosh, RMM

2010 has seen brands becoming more adventurous with social media – partly out of a sense that it’s really exciting and partly as those up at the top realise that good social media can really turn a brand around.

What has been particularly exciting to see is how some brands are really beginning to understand the meaning of ‘social’ – true user interaction versus shiny digital ideas for consumption.

Some, but not all. Angrily, brilliantly satirising BP’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was ‘Leroy Stick’, the man who set up @BPGlobalPR. In response to the oil company’s sustained social media campaign, Leroy wrote for the Huffington Post advising BP to fire everyone in its PR department. He writes:

“You know the best way to get the public to respect your brand?  Have a respectable brand.”

Read more…

by Lisa Mané, Head of Social Media, COI

No one can deny, especially as Mark Zuckerberg has been crowned Time Magazine’s person of the year, that social media in general and Facebook in particular have become mainstream, and in a cross-gererational way.

Some of our highlights of 2010 include the Old Spice and Tipex YouTube campaigns, The Social Network movie, UK hastags in general (e.g. #ashtag, #uksnow, #GE2010), and tv programme hashtags in particular (think BBC QT and Xfactor), and of course, our own sexworthtalkingabout FB actvity. In terms of data visualisation, we all love the map of the world through Facebook connections and the one inspired by that map using public data from

Read more…

By Tom Gray, Imagination

On the 1st of December, World Aids Day, a raft of celebrities from to , to Serena Williams “died” on Twitter, with the promise that they would only return to life once their fans had pledged $1m. The response so far tells us a fair amount about how much people actually value celebrity tweeting.

So what happened? Well, the celebs fell silent. And the world kept turning. And five days on, less than a third of the money has been raised. Read more…