Chuck Gao's PR Blog

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

Month: February, 2014

5 Key Social Media Metrics That Matter

SocialMediaMetrics.0011

As content and data gets bigger, most of companies have finally realised that at least some of them is important to their business. While when a marketers or a PR practitioner doing social media monitoring, they tend to overemphasising simple counts and totals. So what metrics are really matters and what metrics do u really need? here are 5 essential social media metrics that you can always start with.

Engagement

Engagement is about how fans or target audiences participate and respond to your social media activities. Engagement is a conversation and involvement between target audiences and a brand. The level of engagement can be seen as an indicator of the success of the social media activity. What should be noticed is engagement is not only just numbers of followers or fans. In most of cases, Engagement should be measured by the number of Facebook likes, comments and shares; retweets and comments; Youtube views and comments; Pinterest repost; Instagram likes and comments and Tumblr notes.

Segmentation

Segmentation refers to identifying the target audiences into different subgroups by their needs, interests or behaviour, in order to reach them in the best way. A brand should not apply a “one-size-fits-all” strategy when curating social media platforms. A good segmentation ensures brand optimize its communication effect. The target audiences can be segmented by demographic data such as age, gender, geographic data, psychographic data, and also their behaviour.

Content

Content refers to any posts, pictures, videos or infographics that the brand creates or curates on different online platforms. A good content should fit audience’s needs and interests. In this report, the content can be referred to Facebook posts; tweets and retweets on Twitter; Video on Youtube and imagines on Instagram.

Message Resonation

Message resonation is about whether a message created a buzz that audiences would want to share it, and how many repeating messages, quotes from tweets, mentions are generated from the message. The level of resonation is an effective way to measure “reach”.

Tone and Sentiment

 Tone and sentiment refers to the voices and attitudes from audiences, which can be measured as positive, negative or neutral. It can be tracked by analysing online comments, tweet mentions. Tools such as Twitter Sentiment, Social Mention and People Browser can be used to measure the sentiment around the brand. By analysing tone and sentiment, we could know the level of satisfaction towards the brand and also the potential problems and issues.

Social-Media-Metrics

After all, A basic point we should make sure is — all social media metrics should be from the angle of your overall business strategy. Measure these analytics on the basis of how you’re doing in pursuit of those goals, and how would you utilise the metric results  to improve your social media strategy, and to better positioning your company in the marketplace.

Further reading:

It’s Time To Start Tracking The Right Facebook Metrics

Marketers Pick: The Best Metrics for Social Media Monitoring

5 Social Media Metrics You Should Be Monitoring

5 essential social media metrics to track and how to improve them

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A Simple And Effective Way To Engage Audiences

zen-engage

I’m recently spending my limited spare time on study street photography. Last Chrismatmas , I took a short-term photography course at Central Saint Martin and then fallen in love with film camera, and I’m following a street photography blog as our tutor recommended.

Yesterday, I had look at a blog article writing about author’s philosophy on social media (link). There was a perspective he mentioned aroused my interest. He suggested to photographers that when they use social media, they should promote others instead of themselves.

Here are two quotes: “Going back to the analogy of social media being a party– nobody likes the guy at the party who brags about himself all day long (him graduating Harvard, buying a new BMW, earning over 100k a year, etc). People are turned off by braggers and people who are entirely self-promotional.” “I would say that the growth of my blog has mostly to do with the fact that I promoted other street photographers (not myself). The interviews I do with other photographers and collaborations I have done has brought more to my blog than simply my own thoughts and work. Also when you promote the work (and thoughts) of others– they feel stronger gratitude to you and are genuinely grateful. Everyone likes the guy who helps his/her friends– be that person.” This perspective is just as same as I had given in my social media metrics report by chance. The one I suggested was promote audiences updates. For the freelancer photographer, when they using social media, I think that works in the same way as a brand. What is to say, the process they use social media is, actually, building a brand for themselves. As Eric said in his blog, people are bored and tired to follow an account who are entirely self-promotional. I totally agree this point, on the contrary, when a professional promotes their customer’s updates, three great things happen: customer becomes excited and happy because their post received a social media boost. This is because they may gain some new followers by being posted on other account, especially the account that have hundred times followers as themselves. Customer becomes curious and begins to pay more attention on your updates. Audiences would found this is a interactive blog and they would want to be a part of it and put themselves under the lime light. Customer will return the favour in the future. There is one thing Eric didn’t mention, once we promote customer’s updates, apart of benefit from the goodwill created by other audiences, your content will be seen by audience’s followers, therefore, it will generate word of mouth and further benefit your account. No matter you are a professional or just a personal user, once you want to be engaging, you should know social media is not about self-promotion.

Reference:

On Social Media and Street Photograph

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2013/10/28/on-social-media-and-street-photography/

Case Study–What Flappy Bird Tell Us

270231-Flappy-Bird-Teaser

While angry bird has been much-loved figure, a bird that makes every one pissed off created a buzz recently. By now, the notorious game has become one of the viral success stories just like its predecessors such as temple run, fruit ninja and dump ways to die, to name but a few. Although its already been removed by creator Dong Nguyen, the legend is still continuing by its parodies and Ebay (see below).

iron-pants

one of the copycats

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installed flappy bird game added value of devices

So who is flappy bird?

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The three stages of the addictive “Flappy Bird” smartphone game: hope, adrenaline and grief.

Created in the span of two to three days by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, Flappy Bird is a side-scrolling mobile game featuring 2D retro style graphics. The objective is to direct a flying bird, which moves continuously to the right, between each oncoming set of pipes without colliding with them, which otherwise ends the game. The bird briefly flaps upward each time the player taps the screen, and the player is scored on the number of pipe sets the bird successfully passes through. Flappy Bird was originally released on May 24, 2013 with support for the iPhone 5.  In January 2014, it topped the Free Apps chart in the US and Chinese App Stores, and later on that month topped the same section of the UK App Store where it was touted as “the new Angry Birds.” It ended January as the most downloaded App on the App Store. Nguyen was raking in $50,000 (£30,000) a day from the pop-up ads that appeared during gameplay.

Why is it so addicted?

Screenshot-2014-02-01-15.28.23-1024x722

the growth of ranking

By now, most of critics still think flappy bird’s success was by incidental. Of course I can’t tell whether that’s true or not, but at least I can analyse why it makes people addicted. Here are 3 reasons I came up with:

  1. Conflict between simple & difficult. It easy to play, and it looks easy to get plenty of points like temple run or fruit ninja, but actually its insanely difficult, most of people spend a lot of times just in order to get out of 0. It is frustrating, but most of play don’t believe they are too dump to play this seemingly-simple game, so they try it again and again,
  2. Stockholm syndrome. People kept playing it, and they grew increasingly pissed off that I couldn’t score even 5 points, it is never ever seen from other games, so they hooked.
  3. You’re never going to beat it. People have naturally come to expect a learning curve that eases them into video games. Flappy Bird, which looks like an easy casual game, instead of having a learning curve, just drops you head first into a learning wall. For normal games, you can improve your skill by practice, but this theory is doesn’t work here.
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a chart demonstrate “how to play” flappy bird

How did it go viral?

A good game makes players addicted, but the reason flappy bird standing out of others is, its not only make players crazy, but also created word of mouth. Only a few marketers dare to create a campaign or product, which let people hates a lot, but everyone hate flappy bird.

As I mentioned, people experience frustration from this game, so they just want to know whether their friends is as dump as they are, so they get their friends to download the game to see if they are fail as he got. One of the ways people have been trying to figure out if the game is hard or if it is them is by tweeting about it on twitter and posting videos on Vine. Since social media is a One to Many form of communication, this has lead to millions of people hearing about the game extremely quickly.

So I’d like to say that the success of flappy bird was a good lesson for marketers, it offers a new angle for strategy making—-think opposite.

The game had been removed from online stores last Sunday by its Vietnamese creator. Although he claims this was because the fame of game ruin his life, I think he is a marketing genius. He stopped this game at peak time to make a limited edition, and then he tells us he is still making games. As a matter of fact, Dong Nguyen have been uploaded three new games to App store. Will they succeed? We shall see soon after.

Reference:

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-02/13/flappy-bird

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26114364

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/05/tech/gaming-gadgets/flappy-bird-game/

Useful links:

http://socialmediatoday.com/nowsourcing/2172266/rise-and-fall-flappy-bird-infographic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flappy_Bird

https://twitter.com/dongatory

Lobbying & Democratic Process

Despite its negative reputation, lobbying is an important vehicle for ensuring citizen participation in the democratic process, allowing a vibrant and participatory democracy.

According to Lionel Zetter,  “lobbying is the process of seeking to influence government and its institutions by informing the public policy agenda. It is also, of course, the art of political persuasion”(2008). As a matter of fact, Most of time when journalists talk about lobbying, they usually frame their comments in a negative fashion. “This is partly because some lobbyists have behaved inappropriately in the past, and these usually minor scandals are retrieved from the morgues and given a fresh airing every time a journalist pens a piece on the subject. It may also be because journalist feel that only they should have a direct influence on the public policy agenda, and they may be jealous of the influence which lobbyist can do exert”(Lionel Zetter, 2008).

I then looked at the history of lobbying, “Public policy is not made in vacuum behind closed doors. Public affairs specialists play a vital role in this process”(Sharif Rangnekar, 2012). Lobbying has been going on since time immemorial, and there is certainly a case for saying that lobbying is one of the world’s oldest professions, whenever an individual, or group of individuals, wields power over society, there will be other individuals or groups of individuals who will have tried to persuade them to exercise that power in a particular way. Therefore we can argue that lobbying is both natural and inevitable.

In fact the first recognised UK lobbyist was Commander Christopher Powell, who did not set up shop until just before the second world war. Commander Powell’s firm, Watney and Powell, was bought in the 1960s by another ex-military man, ormer Royal Marine Commando Professor Tim Traverse-Healy OBE.

Traverse-Healy traces the true origins of the lobbying industry in the UK to the landslide victory which Labour won in 1945. Clement Attlee set about transforming the UK political scene, setting up the National Health Service and seeking to nationalise whole swathes of British industry. It was the Labour government’s attempt to nationalise the British sugar industry which prompted the launch of what Traverse-Healy refers to as the UK’s first political public relations campaign – with its Mr Cube figurehead successfully fending off the government’s nationalisation ambitions.

The Labour victory in 1945 firmly established that party as the alternative government in the United Kingdom. If the Conservatives were not the government, then it would be formed by Labour and not the Liberals, who were in long-term decline. This persuaded big business in the UK to organise in order to defend itself against future nationalisation plans, and against higher Part One – Introduction To Lobbying 7 taxes and tighter regulation. The result was the formation of such bodies as the Economic League and Aims of Industry – and the emergence of a recognisable lobbying industry in the United Kingdom.

Democracy enables the realization of two values: First, it expands the autonomy of individuals to the sphere of collective decision-making, it enables collective self-determination (Jean Rousseau, 2006). Second, democracy embodies the value of equality among individuals. When individuals living in a community cannot agree how to manage their lives in a polity, the right of equal say for every individual acknowledges the equal value of every person and recognizes the fact that every individual’s good and every person’s interest must be considered (Peter Singer, 1999). According to pluralistic theory of democracy, which views democracy as an arena in which interest groups struggle to attain the utmost realization of their interests.  “A proper democratic process exists when the struggle among interest groups is conducted fairly. The product of such a process is arrangements that constitute a compromise reflecting the inter-group power relations, i.e., how many citizens have a certain preference and to what degree of intensity. (ROBERT DAHL, 1959)” It seems that for the pluralists lobbying is a desirable phenomenon. It enables groups to clarify their interests to the elected representatives and constitutes part of the normal democratic process of attempting to influence outcomes, along with means such as participation in the public discourse or contribution of funds to political parties and election candidates.

Lobbying programme can be divided into four types, which are profile raising, contract programme, policy shaping and legislation changing (Lionel Zetter, 2008). EU and the US built a good-sized industry with government affairs and public affairs experts. There are more than 34,000 lobbyists in the US. In EU, some 3,000 interest groups and 300-odd companies are involved in public affairs and over 100 management companies work in this space, employing some 15,000 persons. In India, estimates suggest there are more than 20 large- to mid-sized public relations firms offering public affairs expertise. There are also a few stand-alone government affairs consultancies following structured processes. The number of single-man agents, think tanks, NGOs and in-house practitioners is hard to count. (Sharif Rangnekar, 2012)

With the help of lobbying, we has seen how many changes have been made for America, The UK, or Europe Union, the significant changes have had, and continuously having impacts on many aspect of citizen’s life, from food safety laws, intellectual property, the opening up of insurance, banking, aviation and many other sectors, reduction of duties, raising of voices for farmers and human rights, and changes in laws and individual taxation, to give a few examples.

As EPACA suggests, a democracy must recognize lobbying regardless of whether it is carried out by individual citizens or companies, think tanks, governments and other groups. To realize the positive potential of this activity, there is a definite need to recognize this profession so that distinctions between fixing, preferential treatment or crony capitalism are clear.

Admittedly, there are three flaws in the democratic process resulting from lobbying: personal corruption (the ‘revolving door’ phenomenon and the dependence of representatives on campaign financing); unequal power of influence resulting in the distortion of the public agenda; and niche lobbying without competitive counter lobbying.

While the onus lies on the lobbying industry, its existence has more to do with the ethos of a democracy and the belief of plurality and evolution. The industry with its skills perhaps needs to develop a strategy to push forward, acquire greater visibility and be held accountable. It needs to work with government, politicians and the media in reaching what is a balance between visibility and confidentiality. Else, what is not seen or known will always be feared and speculated about.

However, I convinced that democratic process could not possibly live without lobbying. And I would like to suggest expand the scope of the transparency requirements in the law, by requiring lobbyists to publish online all written material transmitted to politicians and to list all areas of lobbying activity.

 

References:

Sharif D. Rangnekar (2012). Lobbying, a democratic essential, Available: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/dBMnAq6vIyunw5CvRddEXI/Lobbying-a-democratic-essential.html. Last accessed 10th Feb 2014.

Jean Rousseal  (2006), the social contract book 1, ch. 6.

Peter Singer (1973), democracy and disobedience. Jeremy Waldron, LAW AND DISAGREEMENT ch. 5.

Robert Dahl (1959), a preface to democratic theory; HELD, supra note 23

Lionel Zetter (2008). Lobbying : the art of political persuasion. Harriman House: Petersfield.

Luigi Graziano (2001). Lobbying, pluralism and democracy. Palgrave: Basingstoke.

Stuart Thomson Steve John (2001). Public affairs in practice a practical guide to lobbying. london: Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Case study–Wechat’s hongbao campaign

Chinese-New-Year-2014-Horse-1

Last Saturday was the beginning of the celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year, with this being the year of the horse, which is one of the 12 Chinese zodiac –or Shēngxiào.

People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty.C130N0023H_2014資料照片_N71_copy1

One of the best well-known customs that Chinese people does every Chinese New Year is sent red envelope, aka “hongbao” The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Red envelopes are usually given out by married couples to single people, especially to children or work colleagues.

I feel apologize if so far I may left you a impression that this is a culture blog, however, the main protagonist of the campaign is a virtual “red envelope”.

Tencent’s (Chinese internet giant) social media platform WeChat has found a way to turn traditional seasonal practices digital, in order to raise number of users of Wechat and promote its payment system.

The lasts-3-days campaign created a buzz over almost every social media platform, it suddenly became hottest topic all over the China, and everyone was talking about it from Sina Weibo to New Year’s Eve dinner. Surprisingly, most of the comments were admiring and even in a slight state of awe at the big success of WeChat’s hongbao campaign, which lets users sending of money to friends and relatives in an electronic form of the cash-filled red envelopes typically given out this time of year, over the popular instant messaging platform. In a fun twist, users can select one friend to send an envelope to, or let the app randomly divide money between a group of friends, with only the first 20 people to open their envelope receiving the money.

The over-night success cannot live without the contribute of PR. So how did PR generate this buzz? The new version WeChat was released at 25th January, the first coverage can be found as “Wechat hongbao explode new year social ” from south metropolitan daily, after one day, different kinds article such as strategy and tips emerged on the Internet. The agenda successfully settled on 28th, taking advantage of Wechat’s communication character, the campaign promptly became no.1 topic on “pengyouquan” (Wechat community) and spread virally, then the over-night buzz was blast at 29th, the Chinese New Year’s EVE.

Tencent released campaign statistics on 31th January officially: As of New Year’s EVE, the total attendant user number was approximately 5 million, the peak was appear at 30th January 1 am; moment peak number: 250,000 red envelope was open. Tencent’s share prices also benefited from the new feature’s popularity, surging 11.05% in Hong Kong before the stock exchange there closed for the Chinese New Year holiday. Moreover, According to China Daily, the introduction of the app is rumoured to have led to over 100 million users to sign up to the WeChat payment service, although the figure has yet to be confirmed.

Credit to:

WeChat launches online ‘red envelope’ app for Chinese New Year: http://www.thestar.com.my/Tech/Tech-News/2014/02/04/WeChat-launches-online-red-envelope-app-for-Chinese-New-Year/

Alibaba, Sina cast envious eyes on Tencent’s ‘Hongbao’: http://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/1421989/alibaba-sina-cast-envious-eyes-tencents-hongbao

微信“抢红包”:一场精心策划的公关大餐: http://www.chinapr.com.cn/templates/T_Second/index.aspx?nodeid=19&page=ContentPage&contentid=6054

B2B Social Media Communication, Do Not only Putting Eyes On Facebook

B2B-Marketing-Communications-Mix-istock

Because of its popularity and number of users, Facebook is now often regarded as the most social media website. However,  the  number of users of other social media sites are also increasing significantly in 2013, such as Twitter, Instagram, vine, or even Tumblr or Pinterest, to name but a few. The marketers can no longer ignore their impact for b2b communication. There was a proven trend lies in the fact that audiences are more like to see mobilized and visualized contents, so it’s time for marketers to expand their communication strategy into other outlets as I mentioned.

Doubtlessly, B2B companies are not using social media in the same way as consumer markets. Products positioning differ, sales cycles differ and product markets are differ as well. Communicating strategically Social media is always evolving and so are the decision-makers using it. Recent studies published by Eloqua and Forrester Research have offered important statistics showing what B2B decision-makers are and aren’t doing on various social networks.

CIO Social Media Habits

When it comes to more targeted audiences, some new research from Tech Heads debuted showed the social media preferences of CIOs and senior IT leaders when they’re researching a new product:

  • 29 percent use Google+
  • 28 percent use LinkedIn
  • 28 percent of “disruptive CIOs” use LinkedIn Groups
  • 22 percent use Facebook
  • 20 percent use YouTube

Instead of putting attention just on single social media site, Integrate social media websites into an entirety, by utilizing Linkedin, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter or Google plus etc. these channels will definitely magnify the communication effect to a multiple of geometric growth. For example, Linkedin, who currently have approximately 240 million professional, it will likely turn into the leading position in the B2B market in the near future. Or you can even build a social media community like CISCO did, (Case study can be found Here). In addition to that, a good community could attract Outside Writers Contribute Content. According to Jeffrey L. Cohen, “Not only Cisco communications staff and subject matter experts, the Network also features outside journalists who have covered business and technology for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, Fortune and Business Week. This brings a new level of content to the site. Many B2B blogs feature guest posts, and some even feature outside experts writing on a regular basis, but to add this level of business and technology journalism to an online newsroom is beyond the realm of what anyone else is doing. This is providing value to customers, prospects and others in the Cisco ecosystem by creating top-notch content and spotlighting it along with company news.” (The case study can be found at http://socialmediab2b.com/2011/09/b2b-cisco-social-newsroom/)

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