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

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 Andy Pilkington, WaveMetrix,

We’re all familiar with particular examples of great social media campaigns, but many of us are still in the dark as to what makes these campaigns so successful. To address this problem, WaveMetrix have just released their latest quarterly summary, which details exactly what made Q3 campaigns successful, or not so successful.
The latest Social Media Quarterly from WaveMetrix attempts to pinpoint exactly what made social media campaigns successful or effective during Q3. By taking a look into some of the most interesting campaigns during the last few months, the report concludes that successful Q3 campaigns hinged around the following factors

•    Relevance – successful campaigns were always relevant both to what the brand wanted to achieve and to the consumers it tried to reach
•    Loyalty – good campaigns leveraged existing loyalty bases to build engagement in their target market
•    Targeting – effective social media content often reached out to specific target audiences, even on mainstream sites
•    Cultural consideration – brands who failed to take into account cultural norms tended to achieve unexpected reactions, whereas those who properly considered foreign markets tended to resonate with consumers more effectively
•    Timely response – brands who averted potential crises responded in a timely and appropriate manner to social media problems and issues Read more…

By Tony Effik, chief strategy officer, Publicis Modem

IAB SM logo for blog(Not necessarily the loudest!) Do you, like me, sometimes tire of all the noise in social media? As a group dedicated to the promotion of social media, we’re actually faced with quite a dilemma. Do we add to the hyperbole surrounding the discipline, while the substance suffers, or do we work together to contribute to a genuine future for social media? I think we’re all agreed on the latter.

Which is why we’ve launched an initiative that’s purely dedicated to nurturing new talent – a practitioner programme for new starters, cutting through the hype and educating them about the realities of social media.  You can book here to be a part of it, (unless places have been booked up already!)

As mentioned in my interview with the IAB previously, we have now set up the framework for the practitioner course, a first for the SMC council, starting on 19th April.  The programme will cover key areas such as the definitions of social media, challenges of measurement, how to evaluate a campaign, measuring the importance of online engagement, brand and reputation management, social media display-planning and buying, legal regulations and privacy issues. The course will be spread over a series of five sessions all lasting 2 hours each, with a graduation (party!) on 12 August.

The main reason for creating this credential is because we believe as a council that it is vital to support young talent within social media in order for the business to mature and go from strength to strength. Our core objective in creating this course is to ‘turn the inexperienced into real experts within the social media space’ providing them with a clear perspective of what it’s really like to work within this side of the industry. Various IAB SMC members such as Tamar, RMM, We Are Social and have joined forces to produce a diverse curriculum for the delegates in order to achieve this.

Throughout the course the attendees will be expected to complete work outside the class room as well as blog about their learning process.  Those delegates that complete the certificate will be awarded with a ‘Rising Voice in Social Media’ badge to showcase on their own blog once they have graduated.

The course is free for all IAB members and UK advertisers and spaces are going fast. Alternatively email to book your place!

Peter Kwong Senior Planner at Publicis Modem asks what should clients ask for…

As everyone looks forward to 2010 being the year of social media it has become more apparent that brands will be asking increasingly for activity that leverages it. But what should they be asking for, especially from their agencies? It is not common for clients to call up and say “ you know what I would really like to do an iphone app” or “we need a facebook page”. The question of why they want to do it should be one that we ask back.

Some brands can take to social media more easily, Burberry’s facebook page has 829,000 fans at the time of this post and their commitment to building on their loyal fan base has been seen as vital to their increasing growth. For many however creating such a following doesn’t come easily but can be built given the right platform and I would say the right idea.

Another choice quote I had heard that was asked of an agency was a client wanting a “meerkat” style campaign. We all know about the success of the Aleksandr Orlov the meerkat with 669,000 fans but it is idea behind this campaign that makes people want to engage with it not because it is on a social network. It’s the same reason why people share their runs logged on Nike Plus with friends and fellow runners because these are excellent ideas that engage, entertain and are useful to peoples’ lives. As a result they do a great job in building a connection between a brand and their audience.

I hope this will be the year of great ideas that come to life in social media and the one where we can encourage brands to ask the right question.