Saturday, 14 September 2013

I've moved home, check out my latest posts on Tumblr.

My relationship with Blogger has had its ups and downs, we faced challenges that we overcame together, we've had good times and bad times,  but sometimes you just grow apart. I'll never forget the happy times I've spent with Blogger, but we've said our goodbyes. It was an amicable split.

If you fancy checking out my latest posts, you can find them here:
Images from theyounz, Flickr

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

"Thank you" - A couple of questions for social media bods

I'm sure that anyone working in social media or community management has a reasonable degree of experience in handling complaints. I'm sure, or at least, I hope, you've also received your fair share of 'thank you' messages if your responses have lead to a prompt and positive resolution, or if someone else in your organisation (customer services, membership support, etc.) have delivered a really good response. 

I had a rather pleasant experience today. I booked some tickets over the phone* with StenaLine for a holiday I'm taking next week (yay!). The person taking the booking, Daniel, was very pleasant and polite. It was all sorted in a matter of minutes. 

After a couple of hours I became worried that my confirmation email hadn't come. I was worried that my email address may have been noted incorrectly (my accent is still reasonably strong, and my phone line was poor), or that there may have been an issue with taking the payment.

Under those circumstances, I did what any other Twitter user might do, I tweeted @StenaLineUK about the time it typically takes for their confirmation emails to arrive. As sod's law dictates, the confirmation email came a few minutes after I tweeted them, so I responded saying it was fine, I'd received the email. 

A few minutes later they tweeted me saying "Excellent! Have a great trip! :)". This didn't solve any problems as such, and some companies may not have tweeted back, but StenaLine did, and it made me happy. It also reminded me of the positive experience I'd had with Daniel, the guy I spoke to on the phone. I felt all warm and fuzzy, the entire process was a positive experience.

None of this is ground-breaking stuff, it's about:
  • Having good customer service
  • A friendly 'voice' online
  • A reasonably quick Twitter response time
StenaLine kept it simple and did it well, and that made me happy. So happy, that I thanked the people managing the StenaLine Twitter account, asked if they could pass my thanks to Daniel's manager, and am now writing a short blog post about it :)

The questions (promised in the title) are:
  1. When you receive 'thank you' messages on work accounts, do you pass them to the relevant people/teams/managers?
  2. When you've had good service from other organisations  (over the phone, via social media, over email, etc), do you request that your thanks be passed on?
You're often among the first to receive complaints or thanks if you're working in social media, and I'm sure we're all aware that there are things to be learnt from the complaints, but I firmly believe that passing on the thanks is very important too. 

Do you spread the love?

*I could have booked it online if I hadn't left it so late, but that was my fault.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The "Please RT" test

Following Mark Morton's  'A very unscientific test about using ‘Please RT’' we decided to conduct our own using our main Girlguiding Twitter account.

Mark's test involved sending out the same tweet at the same time on consecutive Tuesdays, adding "Please RT" to one of them. We sent out the same tweet at the same time on consecutive Fridays. The first at 3:15pm on June 7th:
And the second at 3:15pm on June 14th:
Both tweets generated six retweets, the earlier one (sans "Please RT") also picked up a favourite. I was disappointed with the level of retweets and favourites on both tweets,

We also measured click-throughs, and found that we had remarkably similar results on that front too.

What does this data tell us? Not very much I'm afraid:

  1. I should have chosen a subject that better matches the interests of our community on Twitter for the purpose of this test. 
  2. In this instance, the addition of "please RT" appeared to have little discernible impact, although there are many variables at play:
    1. Did including "please RT" on the second tweet rather than the first have an impact?
    2. Did people interested in the role choose not to RT?
    3. By the time the second tweet came around, had many people already advertised the posts via their Twitter accounts?
  3. The "Please RT" tweet appeared to have a longer half-life as far as clicks are concerned - Is this relevant?
It also raises more questions, such as:

  1. Would including "Please RT" at the start of the tweet result in a better response, due to the call to action being given more prominence?
  2. Would relevant hashtags such as #job, #thirdsectorjob, and #charityjob have helped, and if so, what would the difference have been?
Interestingly,  tweets from my personal account generated 54 clicks, not far off the number of clicks generated for each of the two examples above, despite the Girlguiding account having more than 13-times the number of followers I have on Twitter. This raises an interesting point about relevance of content. Whilst many of the people that follow the @Girlguiding Twitter account are passionate about guiding, many may not (for a variety of reasons) be interested in working with us. On the other hand, many of the people that I chat to on Twitter from my own account are Third-Sector professionals, some of which may be interested in a new job, and others that may know someone else looking for a job in the charity sector. I guess the lesson here is; "Know your audience".

I'll close, as Mark did, with a plea: Please do not stick "Please RT" on the end (or at the front) of every tweet. Marks sums up the reasons why

Have you conducted similar tests? What results have you seen?

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

BREAKING: Absolutely appalling jokes are being posted to Twitter #DistractionJokes

Reports are reaching me that contend that terrible, terrible jokes are being posted to Twitter. The source of this outbreak of cliched whimsy is still to be confirmed, but the worst offenders (and their offences) have been catalogued below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These people have terrible taste in humour and should be avoided at all costs, particularly the first person quoted.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Wanted: Award-winning writer. Must deliver puns in 140 characters or less #Eurovision

Pic from Observation Desk
Congratulations to Denmark, who last night (Saturday 18th May) won the annual cheese-fest that is the Eurovision - I'm not really a fan (can you tell?).

I am however a fan of people doing interesting things on social media, and of how those ideas might apply to other situations.

The BBC did something interesting last night, they hired Dan Maier, part of the award-winning TV Burp writing team, to manage their BBC Eurovision Twitter account. Dan was also in place for the semi-finals earlier in the week. The result on each occasion was dry wit, guffaws, and some edgy humour. I didn't follow the Eurovision broadcast, but I did follow the tweets from (and replies to) the BBC Eurovision twitter account - Great fun!

My question - No doubt the BBC had all sorts of safeguards in place, but handing their Eurovision account over to an immense comic wit undoubtedly carried some risk. It paid-off for the BBC, but would your charity be prepared to do something similar, giving a donor, member or someone with a high-profile control over what you post?

If you have already done something like this. please do comment and let us know how it went.

Here's a selection of the things Dan was posting:

Missed the winning entry? Here's Emmelie de Forest with Only Teardrops:

And, given this is a post by an Irish guy, here's the obligatory embed of My Lovely Horse (Courtesy of Graham Linehan & Father Ted, performed by The Divine Comedy):

Monday, 25 March 2013

#GoodIdeaBadIdea: Saying 'hello' on Twitter

Edit: Luke Williams has offered a very insightful comment below on his experience, well worth a read.

For people of a certain age (roughly my age), the term 'Good Idea, Bad Idea' will bring back memories of  the juxtaposition and acting out of of two phrases, often using the same words, but in a different order, leading to hilarious consequences.

Yes, I did watch Animaniacs, and I hope you did too (If not, here's a good intro).

Anyway, I reckon the 'Good Idea, Bad Idea' concept could work really well when a applied to social media, I doubt I can do it as well as our friends at Warner Bros did, but here's my first stab: Saying hello to someone on Twitter.

Good Idea

Have you  just followed someone? Why not say 'hello', let them know why you've followed them, although, this isn't essential, it is polite to say hello, and that could be the start of an amazing conversation.

Has somebody followed you? If so, check out their bio and recent tweets, if you're happy that they aren't a bot, and that you might share some mutual interests, why not say 'hello'? Ask them about what they do, or tell them a little about yourself, or the nature of your tweets (just don't spam them).

Bad Idea

Setup an auto-DM to send to people as they follow your account.

Ever followed someone to receive an alert shortly afterwards? You reopen Twitter (or check your email) with eager anticipation thinking; "Has this person/org just reached out to me, do they care about me, about what I do?", and then you read something along the lines of:
"Thanks for following us on Twitter, like us on Facebook here / sign up for alerts here" 
Oh, I guess they don't care...

Thankfully most accounts I've followed recently haven't done this, but some have, and some of those are major organisations that should know better. For me, it creates an instant sour taste, it makes me regret trying to make that connection.

A personal response after a follow is great, but you don't necessarily expect that after following the account of a large organisation, and that's fine. But one thing I hate is an automated DM. I would rather have had no response.


People like people, people don't like bots. People like real interaction, they don't like automated messages. People certainly don't like spam.

Say hello, and don't auto-DM

And finally...

If this post has left you with a hankering for Animaniacs, here you go:

Monday, 18 March 2013

Facebook penalising 'link posts', but by how much? About 240%

We've all heard that Facebook penalises some posts, right?

It's been clear for some time now that Facebook affords posts that encourage activity within Facebook more reach than those that drive users away from Facebook (ie - posts that link to your website), but what exactly is the difference in reach between a post that has a link that drives users off-site, and a call to action that keeps users chatting within Facebook?

According to a test I've conducted, it's about 240%

Now, this figure is the result of one, non-scientific test. I will be conducting more tests, but the stats are interesting and demand further exploration. The raw data from my test is available here.

Test set-up:

  • Posted a post to Facebook twice, one including a link, the other a carbon copy of the first post minus the link.
    • The linked post was targeted to Facebook Page fans aged 13 -34, a potential reach of 8,200. It was posted on March 14 at 11:58am and is available here
    • The post without the link was targeted to Facebook Page fans aged 35 - 65+, a potential reach of 7,160. It was posted on March 14 at 12:00pm and is available here 

Test results:

  • There was a massive difference in levels of reach and engagement between the posts.
    • The linked post had a potential reach of 8,200, but only reached 2,128. The non-link post had a potential reach of 7,160 and reached 7,251 (The 100%+ reach is probably due to the level of likes, comments and shares resulting in the post reaching an even wider audience)
    • The linked post generated one comment, 27 likes and three shares. The non-linked post generated 17 comments, 67 likes and 43 shares.

Test flaws:

As I said before, this test is not scientific, there are a number of reasons why my results/data might be skewed:
  1. I've targeted two very distinct age groups. They may have very different typical levels of response to Facebook posts.
  2. The post that I posted second came out on top - Does this have any impact on the stats (despite that fact that the posts were targeted to two different audiences)?
  3. The post itself may have been a post that appeals more to an audience aged 35+.


Despite all of the flaws with the test that I have pointed out above, the difference in reach, about 240%, is very, VERY significant. I need to conduct more tests before I come to any solid conclusions but the data above strongly suggests that Facebook heavily penalises posts that drive traffic away from Facebook.

You can help:

Do you have relevant data you can share? It would be great to get a broader overview of the impact of links on the reach of Facebook posts if you can share data from the Facebook Pages you manage.

Note: Obviously this requires further tests, and we should also test the impact of images and videos on reach and click-throughs. It isn't scientific, but it is very interesting.