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Social Media

What do you think everyone will be using (online) and talking about in 2011?

“What do you think will be big online in the New Year? Will Twitter be the new Facebook? Or will a new service emerge and capture our attention? What will the new hot gadget be? Will everyone replace their laptops with the newest smart phones and tablets, or will a different gadget enter the market? What do you think everyone will be using and talking about in 2011?”

I welcome the continuing shift in thinking and understanding of social media. In 2011, it will be not so much about the “social media stars” and gurus, who tell us how it all “works”, but more about what social media enables.

The focus on technology for technology’s sake is losing the battle and emerging, via the democratisation of technology  (and with the ability users have to leapfrog technological developments) is the means to produce community-based, demand-led ideas and uses of the technology that benefit people.

This was demonstrated brilliantly at the Connecting Bristol showcase event I attended this week at the Watershed.  We were given an update on the projects that Connecting Bristol had helped flourish.

Knowle Media West and Pervasive Media talked about what they do.  Connecting Bristol stayed firmly in the background, while we learnt about local community projects,  including accessible technology training that was really changing lives for the better, giving individuals a voice, opening up new possibilities for people, increasing confidence.  An example was given of how a group of OAPs saved their vital  lifeline – a bus route on their estate – because they simply had a voice and technology enabled them to be heard.

We saw work that the space and ethos at the Pervasive Media Studio had helped to produce, simply by enabling a cluster of creative technologists and giving them a space to grow their ideas, see Antivj for instance and read about the work of Dan Dixon.

The conversations and arguments about technology platforms will become less relevant, we won’t be hearing so much excitement around choosing a  technology platform (Bristol City Council), but more on how the online facilities enabled Bristol City Council to meet the challenge of doing more for less (money) for its people in supporting local communities with its services.

Knowing that the head of Bristol City Council spent 2 hours at the Connecting Bristol’s event, on the day she was going to hear news on her shrinking budget, tells you that Bristol City Council does get the point really.

One speaker mentioned that he asked a taxi driver on his way to the Watershed if they had heard of Connecting Bristol, the taxi driver hadn’t.  Not quite the correct question I believe, I’m sure if he had asked the taxi driver if he had heard of Knowle West Media Centre and/or Pervasive Media Studio, he may have heard something quite different.

What do you think will be big online in the 2011?

In response to a question posed by Connecting Somerset:

“What do you think will be big online in the New Year? Will Twitter be the new Facebook? Or will a new service emerge and capture our attention? What will the new hot gadget be? Will everyone replace their laptops with the newest smart phones and tablets, or will a different gadget enter the market? What do you think everyone will be using and talking about in 2011?”

Social Media in 2011

Social media will become increasingly relevant, changing the way we work, learn and play, as David Cushman says “2011 is going to be the year when making/creating/doing with social media begins to gain the ascendency over messaging/using people as a channel.”. More social media services will launch, to clutter the ever busier bar of buttons beneath blog articles. The best will have to fight to stay relevant. Expect to see more location-based services too, like FourSquare.

Browsers and HTML5 in 2011

Image credit: John Martz @ RobotJohnny.com

The new browser wars (browser war 2.0?) will see additions of new features from HTML5 into the offerings from Google, Apple and Firefox, each vying for the title ‘most up-to-date’. The real battle will be over performance, with the web using evermore Javascript even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will be going on a diet, with the release of its Internet Explorer 9. All of this will be great for users with a faster, more stable web experience.

iPad, Tablets and Beyond in 2011

The iPad has been one of the hottest gadgets of 2010, with 8.5 million sold since its launch in April. 2011 will see a lot of manufacturers releasing their own versions, but with a new, cheaper model expected to be released by Apple in early 2011 it’ll be interesting to see who ships more units. The key here is that the competition will mean better features, and lower prices for the consumer.

We may even see an entirely new type of device with manufacturers exploring new designs and functionality, such as the Dell Inspiron Duo with its innovative flip screen leading to a device which is both a laptop, and a tablet. I expect we’ll see other creative solutions to fill the entire spectrum between a laptop and a tablet in the coming year, and an increased muddying of the distinction between smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and notebooks.

Resistance is futile – how the Social Media revolution overthrew your website

Social Media RevolutionThe world’s biggest annual social media survey has just been published, and it shows that, for charities, the tipping point in the communication revolution has now been reached.

Among the figures the Wave survey – published by ad agency Universal McCann* – throws up are these:

  • Over the last two years, the proportion of Net users visiting brand sites has dropped 10% (down to 74%)
  • Over the last year, the proportion of Net users connecting with a brand in social networks has increased 20% (to 30%)
  • Just under 50% of people have joined an online brand community

Brand? That means you. It means any organisation that seeks to create a community of engaged and connected followers. For businesses, it means potential or actual customers – for charities, it means potential or actual supporters.

It’s the end of the WWWorld as we know it

What do these figures mean? Along with all the other figures showing the sheer scale of social media engagement, they mean that your website has stopped being the centre of your online world.

For most charities and businesses, their web presence has been defined by their website. It’s where the “brand” lives online, how they communicate online, where they point people to for information – it’s the “official” web presence of the charity.

All that is about to change – in fact, it already has. The web is no longer about sites, its about content. Content doesn’t live on a site, it lives online – in social media, in tweets, on Facebook, emailed between friends, mentioned, social bookmarked.

Conversation not destination

It is no longer enough to concentrate your online marketing around your website, with perhaps a cursory nod to Twitter or Facebook. Your charity no longer exists online as a destination, but as a conversation.

Social Media is becoming the first place that people will find you online. It’s becoming the place where they will donate, fundraise, discuss you, support you, engage with you.

The way people use the web is changing radically – Social Media is intrinsically wound up in the way people move around online. They can Like content in Facebook without being on the Facebook site. They can sign into discussions via social sign-in, or write or comment on blogs. They can follow discussions and topics on Twitter. The revolution is being televised – on YouTube, which has become the second biggest search platform after Google.

Increasingly, they’ll stop searching for you online, and instead you – and the issues that matter to your charity – will find them.

All this is breaking down the walls that kept content – and brand – tied to a single website.

Not an option

Social Media is no longer an add-on, or an option, or a means of driving traffic to your site. It is your site – it’s everyone’s site.

When you are thinking about your website you now need to think of your web presence – the way you engage online is changing, and so must the roles of the people in your organisation that support your website.

Just like you did for your website, you need a strategy for social media engagement that directly supports your organisation’s aims. You need measurable goals, and people to ensure that those goals are met. As much as anything, you need a change of mindset away from having a website manager or team and towards having an online engagement team.

10 years ago, there were still charities that didn’t have a website. Now, no serious charity would be without one. In a lot shorter time than that, no serious charity will be without a web presence that has social media at its heart.

* apologies for those of you who clicked the link to UniversalMcCann – yes that really is the world’s most unusable site

Social Media Training for Charities

Tickbox Marketing are marketing and web specialists for charities and the arts. 

We regularly run marketing and web strategy planning, training and implementation workshops for our charity clients.

On the 28th of November we will be hosting a taster workshop at our Bristol offices for local charities. 

The workshop will cover:

  • Charity user engagement strategies
  • Which social media tools will work for you
  • How to measure resource allocation to drive your social media marketing
  • How to … guides for Twitter, Facebook and other social media apps

This will be a practical hands-on workshop and will enable you to evaluate or plan your social media marketing strategy for your charity, give you some practical tips on using the technology as well as looking at best practice and latest research in charity marketing.

Date: 28th of November
Venue: St Brandon House, 29 Great George Street, Bristol, BS1 5QT
Times: 10am to 1pm
Cost: £90 + vat

Lunch and refreshments provided

Please book in the first instance by e-mailing: training@tickboxmarketing.co.uk or call 0117 325 0091.

Numbers are limited due to our policy of holding smaller workshops to enable a more intensive learning experience for the delegate.

Don’t fear the Tweeter – opening your business to social media

There was a recent discussion on one of the LinkedIn groups I’m a member of where the question was asked “who owns the responsibility for social media in your company?”

It’s an issue that we come across time and time again – understandably enough. Businesses work hard to maintain and control their public profile, and the idea of allowing free rein to any department to speak publicly for the company can give PR and marketing managers the cold sweats.

But with a little careful planning and training – and an element of trust – having a more open social media policy in your business can reap significant rewards.

Threat or opportunity

Just look at Social Media as another way of interacting with your community – apart from the technology, it’s no different to any other interaction.

There’s often a trust issue (mistrust mostly) when it comes to taking social media out of the hands of marketing or PR teams and empowering different departments.

Companies are used to their “marketing message” being centrally controlled, but in reality it never is. Your staff are sending out a marketing message every time they pick up the phone, talk to a client or supplier, drive around in a van with the company logo on it etc.

If you trust your staff to interact with clients on the phone – trust them to interact using social media.


You train staff to deal with face-to-face customer relations, so train them in social media relations.

Social media is a platform for communication – its not the message – and it’s
no more threatening (and just as much of an opportunity) as the telephone and email. Imagine where your business would be now if you had decided in 1993 that only the marketing team could use email!

With a bit of common sense, and the usual guidelines you’d apply to any public-facing interaction, an open social media policy can have many, many benefits for a company which far outweigh the risks.