The Future Of Social Media

On Tuesday last week I went along to the morning session of the NEXT day at Digital Shoreditch, a two week long festival for digital creatives. Speaking was Greg Williams, Executive Editor at Wired, Ben Scott Robinson, Creative Director at We Love Mobile and Matthew Cooke, Founder of Unruly Media... to name a few. Below is a light round up of our possible future, both online and off, as predicted by these speakers. An emphasis on a seamless connections between the digital world and reality, and how new technology can enable this was the key focus for the talks.
Even with the rise of online and mobile advertising spend, TV advertising is still attracting a lot of business. It’s even forecasted for online/mobile advertising to match TV spend by 2014. What is also predicted, is the affect of “second screen” in TV campaigns will evolve their purpose into fueling customer conversation (bring on the Community Manager jobs!) If we look at the recent Prometeus film TV advert as an example and the subsequent Twitter TV advert response (see story #2), we can see evidence of this happening now with forward thinking agencies. Another example of this evolution and the affect online and mobile has on Television is the BBC's conversations during Social Media Week. I attended an event where they discussed the way that “second screen” affects news and current affairs and how they predict this will continue with Olympics. The BBC even toyed with the idea of have a twitter feed open on screen during the games - what would Grandma say?!
“Mobile is the saviour of TV advertising; it's a platform to get people engaging and to allow you to gauge success.”
Ben Scott Robinson, We Love Mobile
With the possibility of measuring engagement on both mobile and web, you can see the affect of advertising instantly - sshhh, don't tell advertisers, they'll ask for the ROI again. It's this and the decline of spend in print media which is foreseeable to continue in the upcoming years, that will result in management changing their business model to accommodate it.
It’s reported that a massive 80% of the world has access to a mobile phone (that’s more than the number of people with access to clean water!) – this not only changes the way we advertise but also has an affect on other industries such as retail and banking. The importance of a “mobile wallet” is increasingly evident in countries where access to a mobile phone is more common that people having a bank account. As voice use declines, mobile providers now concentrate on data. From mobile content to access to social networks - users want it all. Just looking at the range of businesses that rely on Facebook is huge – which begs us to ask if it has reached saturation? As well as, “beyond the walled gardens, beyond app stores, beyond the social networks, there is more waiting to happen”?

The affect of social media and the companies that have spawned from it.

Another take away from the day was the importance of reviews and recommendations when purchasing, and not only from our peers - 80% people research a product before they buy. This is further evidence of the importance of connecting the real world with digital to push through purchases as well as encouraging loyalty through rich engagement on digital platforms. Advances in technology from companies like Connecthings help can bridge the physical and digital worlds. From shopper’s reviews, to live bus updates and translations of signs for foreign visitors, the possibilities seem limitless using NFC to bring together contextual information for users with location based software. It was explained that all this engagement is data rich that can be used with a CMS platform that has the ability to manage both content and network, as well pull out key insights for the brands involved. 
Finally, it was the importance of storytelling and the cognitive affects of narrative on human behavior that is predicted to change the face of brand advertising and PR in the next few years. In 140 characters, throughout the day millions of people across the globe share the stories from their lives on Twitter, with photos on Instagram and with video on YouTube. Like design, storytelling has become key for businesses to define their purpose and create a relationship with their customers. It can even affect how we interact and feel towards brands.  With new technology (tablets and smartphones) we now have the ability to share stories without the traditional gatekeepers, which not only give consumers a voice but gives brands the ability to humanise themselves. With this vast amount of content floating around the web it’s easy to say that content is cheap, however, finding meaning within that is not and it is what brands should strive for. As Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder once said, "data is the new oil." 
Lazy take-aways
Couldn't be bothered to read all of this? Don't blame you! Here is a break down of the above... 
·      NFC technology for the everyday person is now a reality, from information uploads to banking; soon we will be connected to everything wirelessly.
·      The “Second screen” affect on advertising - the integration of mobile when creating memorable campaigns and when to consider mobile or TV as that “second screen”.
·      With the increase of social media, storytelling has become an integral part of brand awareness – this will become increasingly important as social platform enable brand to become more “human”.

During the session we saw quite a few case studies and but it was Bing’s particular use of storytelling in association with the launch of Jay Z’s autobiography ‘De Code’ which was highly impressive.
Anyway, it it was an interesting morning and I wish I could be more indulgent and attend more of these but... I have to work for a living.


Duke's Brew & Que, London

Duke's & Que is a pub. It's a pub disguised as a restaurant and don't let their drool worthy menu fool you as it has done with many. I went here for dinner and after sampling a few of their meaty morsels and their well selected cocktail menu I can confirm that this place is worth visiting.

I like ribs. The vegetarian in me still winces when I pick up that meaty hunk of flesh attached to a bone all covered in sticky barbecue sauce.

Last night, I indulged my inner caveman at Duke's Brew & Que with beef ribs, pulled pork sliders, mac and cheese, fried pickles and okra and some of their BBQ beans. I washed this down with a margarita (unfortunately not frozen) and my dining partner with some of their beer from their extensive menu.

Duke's & Que is also a brewery, although they only make a small amount at a time. They have a huge selection of beers and tequilas though as well as a solid cocktail menu with a couple of classics on it. The food is hit and miss. I'll be honest, we ordered well. I rarely go for dinner somewhere new without scoping out the reviews online to see what I should order.

I'm glad I did so here. The beef ribs were not only tender but huge in side. I'm glad of it too, the cocktails were strong and I needed something to sock up the tequila. The fried okra was a little dry and the mac and cheese was oozing oil (not always a good thing). Even saying that I still think that they know what they're doing when it comes to food. The ribs were perfectly cooked and the pulled pock juicy in a sweet white bun.

I'm a huge fan of condiments and along with the usual suspects there was a homemade BBQ sauce that was tangy and spicy along with a horseradish and mustard homemade mixture that made my eyes water. It's certainly worth trying if you're a fan of wasabi!

So this is a cool part of town, well to be honest, it on the edge of the cool part and that means you'll get a mix of hipsters, media mummies and daddies with their offspring and few lost locals from the council estate across the road.

This use to be a locals pub and you can tell that it has had a somewhat smooth transition into a dining boozer. I insist you go, and eat meat, and drink beer...

Duke's & Que | 33 Downham Road, London, N1 5AA
020 3006 0795


Critical Mass London

I ride around London on my bike and in my head I'm thinking, "Cycling, F*#k yeah!"

I'm better than other Londoners because most days (when my bike isn't being stolen or if its not snowing) I cycle everywhere I go. Unfortunately, the rest of London doesn't always agree. Yes Addison Lee, I'm talking about you...

For those of you who live under a rock, Critical Mass is a monthly event in London, where "there are probably as many aims as there are participants". For many of the people involved, it's about reclaiming the road and after a brush with one very aggressive driver who was using his car as a weapon on Newington Green a few weeks ago, I'm all for owning a bit of road.
This is me, and my pink bike...

Last Friday was the 18th anniversary of Critical Mass London and I decided that it was about time that I went down to see what it was all about. I arrived at about 6pm to a mish-mash of wheels and feet under the Waterloo Bridge. As it was so close to the London Mayoral Elections, it had been hijacked by some cycling politicians but to be honest that was all part and parcel of the fun.

Just so you know, after the big protest from the war that Tony Blair led us nicely into a law was created stating that you could not organise a protest or the like without permission. As a result you'll find little information about Critical Mass or it's organisers online. If you go down there though, everyone is super friend. As it was the 18th anniversary there was cake and beer and biscuits being handed around along with pink balloons and party hats. It was all rather festive.

Just after 7pm we set off, what started out as less than a hundred, turned into what seemed to be thousands of cyclists, scooter-folk, skate boarders and more. What was most suprising is that so many of them were normal folk, and I certainly overheard conversations about working freelance and a few people moaning about Tesco value range. These were regular Londoners who had decided to reclaim the road and it was bloody fabulous. While cycling along, all the traffic stops for you and finally you feel some power.

I'd recommend this for any cyclist in London. Even if you don't cycle much, there were Boris bikes there along with the rest of us. You'll also meet other lovely people and it's totally free - what more could you ask for?

What? Critical Mass London
When? Every Last Friday of the Month, meet 6.15pm, ride begins 6.45pm
Where?  Meet under Waterloo Bridge, outside National Theatre on South Bank
Who? YOU


Do you need a Community Manager?

I am a Community Manager... not a Pony.

A Community Manager is someone who represents your brand to the World. World, as in World Wide Web and World as they are a real person who will attend events and be a spokesperson for you. This person will have excellent communication skills, a fabulous bedside manner and will have (hand)bags of common sense. They'll be your voice on all social platforms, they'll write the content plan for your blog posts and email communications. They'll work closely with your customer service, PR and marketing teams - giving a voice to your audience within the company. They will be on the front-line when you have to communicate with the masses and will negotiate with key influencers. Their KPIs are the size of their audience and the volume of conversation generated around key messages. Their KPIs are also the overall feeling from the public towards the brand (ie. are you likeable). They are never off duty. The work that a CM does for your brand is for you and not them, they will reflect the praise and positive comments towards who they work for and not them directly.

A Social Media Manager is someone who manages your presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. They will generate content calendars and moderation guidelines inline with the greater overall social media strategy for the brand. This person will need to be up to date with all the latest platform developments and on hand to advise the brand when conversation in the digital space requires action from either CS or PR.  Their KPIs are provided but the Social Media Strategist who will define a goal for each platform for the brand.

A Social Media Strategist is someone who will look at your social media footprint, work with your sales/marketing team and create roads to common goals with can be implemented by the SMM.
They will have to be familiar with social media monitoring software and be able to analyse vast quantities of qualitative and quantitative data to generate a fully integrated plan of actions. They will also have the skill set to translate this information into an understandable plan for action for board members, account managers and clients.

As you can see, these are three very different roles. For every company, duties can vary depending on the brand, but the basics are all here. I often have to explain my role to people - most of the time it's recruiters trying to put me forward for a job that I'm quite often not interested in and most often not qualified for.

Social Media is important for any company that hopes to survive and grow in the next few years. If people aren't buying your biscuits I can damn well be sure their bitching about them on twitter and they'll tell you why. For service companies, using social media is key to understanding your users wants and needs. As for community, this is when you want to take your brand that step closer to your audience. This is where you want to create a kind of consumer that is a brand ambassador without handing over your hard earned cash. It takes time and you have to see it for the long term - it's not a quick fix. It can have many advantages but it is a brand by brand situation, speak to many people to find out what will suit you best.

PS. I am not a guru. If you call yourself a Social Media Guru you're a twat. If you are on the hunt for someone to help you with social media and you put Social Media Guru as the job title, you'll attract these twats. You'll also attract people who talk more that they do, yes they'll impress you with the latest SM news and the last article they read on Mashable but what have they actually done? The online digital industry is so new and continuously changing and evolving that calling yourself a Guru is pretty small minded. We're all learning... Even the experts!


Nail Wraps

I'm a little obsessed with nail art and on a recent trip to New York I got a decent haul from Sephora. Now some of you might remember that Sephora was once in the UK - it failed and left. My world is now a darker place.

The collection I purchase included what Sephora like to call Real Lacquer Strips, or to you and me Nail Wraps. This was my first attempt - I'm supper happy with them and I'm actually surprised at how easy they were to apply. Not only that, they were dry straight away and there is zero chance of smudging. As a result I tootled on down to boots and picked up some Nail Rock wraps. No they aren't as wonderful as the design I got from NYC but they'll hold me over until I can get a loving friend to send me some...


The Future Of Digital Social Sharing

I love a good infograph and a love sharing one even more. Sharing, it's like giving a gift. No matter how much we do it for other people, there always is some personal reward in it.

I am totally hooked on my Google Reader. I have it set up so it brings me my very own feed of personal interests, sorted into categories, so if I feel like flicking through thousands of nail art images I can, and if I want the latest Social Media news, I also have that.

This is my waterfall of knowledge that I share on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin - oh look, now I'm sharing on my blog too. But what do people share and how will this change as Social evolves? This lovely little infographic from The Wall Blog give you quite a bit to think about:


Dabbous, Whitfield Street

I lost a few hours of my life one evening last week in a basement bar in Noho. I drank four very strong, well made cocktails propping up the bar of Dabbous. It all started quite innocently with intentions of dinner, but on discovering the wonderful eight page cocktail menu and quiet, well staffed bar, a judgement call was made to stay and drink.

If you're looking for a New York style drinking establishment, with more space and less fashionistas,  recently opened Dabbous could tick all your boxes. It's quite lovely downstairs with attentive staff and a slightly impressive selection of gin. It was the first Wednesday they had been open and it was clear that there were a few teething problems.

I'm not going to lie, I like this place, I just don't love it. The fact our bill came to over £100 and they didn't care to inform us that their card machine wasn't working until we were both slightly inebriated was a little off. It's also worth a mention that although they had a menu of bar snacks, this involved  less than a handful of options, two of which were caviar and black pudding.... Eeewww! We ordered chicken bites, which were possibly the smallest bites I have ever seen and a steak sandwich, which essentially was meat on a slice of toast. All very tasty, not very impressive. To be honest, I'm not even sure I'd want to try the restaurant after this bar experience. What was quite frustrating, was that as we were leaving we were informed that we could have ordered from the full menu downstairs rather than just bar snacks. Considering that we had arrived and asked for a dinner table, it's poor form that they didn't tell us this right away.

I'm rather fond of sitting at a bar and chatting with the fine gentleman mixing my drink, Dabbous is just perfect for that. I managed to get served by one of the very charming owners (Ollie Dabbous' partner) who chatted away comfortably about the cocktails. You certainly can't knock the service here, as soon as you sit down, ice water is served and you are made to feel very welcome. The cocktails menu has a great selection of classics - including my favourite, an Aviation. It was made well, served in the correct glass and I even got to sample it with a selection of gins.

Come here as a bar, on a date, with a good friend for a catch up. The low lighting might have made finding the loos impossible but it certainly made the cool calm bar intimate. Overall, I'll come here again, but I'm not sure if it will be for more than a drink.

Dabbous | 39 Whitfield Street London W1T 2SF
020 7323 1544


Community Manager Confessions

So a few days ago I was approached by Social Media Citizen to complete an interview about Community Management. It seems that they're putting together a collection of qualitative information on the Social Media industry. I just couldn't resist!

I've seen so many "Social Media Gurus" preach about these subjects I felt it was about time that I sat down and told you how it was. So here it is...

(this is me)
Lizzie Gold started work as an Online Producer for GCap Media, she quickly established the key to engaging and growing your audience was building a community. She then then went on to be the in-house CM for Global Radio before moving to Yelp UK, as their Community Manager for London. She currently works for The Social Practice as their Community Manager for a range of our clients. In her spare time she blogs, bakes and cycles around London.

What are your top resources for community management (websites and people)?

Tempero and eModeration both write blogs worth reading, as are industry White papers produced by eConsultancy. Yahoo group (yup, we’re going old skool here) eMint is a fabulous resource as is following the #cmgr tag on Twitter. Please ignore anyone who uses the word “guru” to describe him or herself - it really gets my goat!

Who are your favourite community managers or community management case studies?

I'm quite fond of the chap who tweets about Monster Munch – but that could just be because I like those little crunchy monster paws.

Where is the best place to build the community? (Company website/Facebook/Twitter and etc)
I've worked on a variety of social projects; the most successful have always been on stand-alone purpose built sites. That does not mean “Build it and they will come” should be your attitude. I would seed a community on other social platforms and encourage my community members to share on these networks.  It also doesn’t mean I wouldn’t search for an experienced Community Manager to curate this activity on these platforms.

Social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are a great way to build a closer relationship with your audience and customers.

The definition of community, is common ownership; on Facebook brand pages (not including purpose built apps), Google+ and Twitter, it’s difficult to provide this. I find functionality limiting on these and the strict guidelines take away the freedom, creativity and ownership enjoyed by a community’s members.

What do you have to provide the community to make it work?

Ownership. As with any community you’ll find varying levels of user that you have to enable and reward. this re-enforce behaviour from your members generates an environment in which new members feel welcome and other can become more active and help the community grow. Giving users ownership gives them a sense of pride and will work to your advantage. Every social group has its super users – the prolific faces that you associate with that community – this is not the paid community manager, these are the blood bumping around, generating content and excitement and magnifying the work that a Community Manager does. It is these users you need to recruit and nurture.

How do you attract new community members?

I’m old school when it comes to Community Management. I believe in face-to-face recruitment and word of mouth. No amount of money you throw at advertising will grow your community; it might grow the number of Fans or Followers, but not the people using your space for a common goal. That comes from recruiting believers, super users if you will, that help make the community a place that people want to go.

But how do you get these super users? With time and effort. Being a Community Manager is a lifestyle job – like leading a church or being a head mistress. Just because you’re in Sainsbury’s doing your shopping does not mean that you ignore community member Jason S. who wants to tell you about his cat’s funky breath. Every user is special and unique. The more time you spend getting to know them and communicating with them, the better your community will get – for you and your members.

Oh and the great thing about these super users… they recruit new community members for you, because they believe in the common goal of the group.

What are the best ways to spark a discussion among your community members?

Look to other well established communities and forums for inspirational content and ideas. Using a RSS reader and Tweetdeck following trends and topics of interest is key to staying on top of things. I would recommend networking with influential people around your topic/genre remembering not to get too hung up on being shunned. This does happen, and the bigger you grow your community, the more industry “professionals” will start to take you seriously. Part of your job as a Community Manager is as a trend watcher.

What kinds of content do you share and post most often on the community platform?
Think about your users. How many super users do you have? How many dippers? How many floaters? How many skimmers?

Your goal as a community manager is to be there for the community. This means replying to question, encouraging UGC and giving them something to engage with. If you have a site full of skimmers, there’s no point in reaching for a level of engagement that is beyond their grasp or desire. If you’ve got a greater percentage of super users and dippers, they’ll need challenges and the ability to feel like they add value to your content.

Every community platform will have varying levels of engagement from a simple up vote or like to something more demanding like writing a review or comment. Different users will use this functionality to suit them, which will give you a greater understanding of your audience and the content they like.

How do you reward your community stars?
This all depends on which community you’re talking about. What throws newbies about the social industry is the fact that there are people out there that are willing to spend hours producing brilliant content, inspiring new members and being a spokes person for a brand, seemingly unpaid. To understand this, it’s important not to forget that just because it’s online and out of the usual social environment, it does still fit into the Cost Of Social Norms theory. Simply put, the same way you will give time and energy to your friends and family, for the reward of friendship, respect, support and acknowledgement, many super users give above and beyond to their communities.  Once you’ve grasped this concept, you’ll understand exactly how to reward your own community super stars and stop worrying about other people!

Does the size matter? Big vs Small community – what to aim for?
How long is a piece of string? (Apparently if you’re American, you might have to Google that phrase) Yes, it’s all rather wonderful that there are communities popping up all over the Web, but don’t be fooled; these all have a purpose. Growing brand awareness, building a customer relationship, insights into your audiences behaviour and interests, and possibly the simplest of the all, drive traffic. Take a look at Reddit for example – this community of internet super users has evolved and is now split into sub-Reddits. This huge community has suddenly become more useful to its members whose goal is pure entertainment. It’s evolved though it’s member’s ownership and dedication into an internet phenomena that baffles and terrifies even the most cocky “Social Media Guru”.

What are the most common mistakes in community management? What should companies do to avoid them?

Brand: Lets build a community
Community Manager: Why?
Brand: Everyone else is doing it.
Community Manger: Okay


Brand: Someone said something negative about us!
Community Manager: Let me delete that for you

How do you measure the ROI of your community? (ROI indicators)

I want to scream that this is a stupid question. What the ROI of friendship – wow that sounded cheesy. But seriously, what’s your goal or motivation?

Communities are valuable to brands. When they're well run they enable you to have an open conversation with your consumers. They are your Social Media PR force, word-of-mouth marketers and your market researchers; they are your cheerleaders and your most valuable teachers.

The insights you gain from the conversations you have within your communities will be the life or death of your brand – it just depends if you’re listening to them.

I'd love to hear your comments and know your thoughts. Feel free to share them in the little box below...


East Street, Rathbone Place

I drank out a bucket. It had rum and real sugar coke in it and I shared it with my friend through a straw. It felt so wrong, yet so right! Welcome to East Street. No not the market, the Pan-Asian (cringe) eatery in Soho.

If you like Wagammas, you'll like East Street. It's budget food, that's hot and tasty with service that actually smiles. East Street is actually Tampopo, re-branded for a London audience.  If you didn't know already, Tampopo is a small chain across the UK in various shopping centres serving up a similar Asian cuisine. It has been described as a "Jack of all trades, master of none" but I have a higher opinion of it than others.

Don't stop reading now. This place is certainly worth a visit. They have a interesting menu with a selection of dishes for Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and more. Granted, they do taste very much like each other, but are served up generously and for a snip of the price of other places. They don't hold back on the veg and everything comes out freshly cooked. I ate Nasa Goreng which was nothing like the authentic dishes they serve up at Rasa Sayang, but still enjoyable. There was a lack of a whole fried egg on top and they didn't serve Satay on the side.

I had a side of Korean beef which was accompanied by Kimchee. Again, really generous portions of beef, seasoned and cooked beautifully but the Kimchee was a little off. It just didn't taste quite right, still tasty, just not particularly authentic.

I work on Rathbone Street in Soho. The advantage and disadvantage of this is the array of tasty food options at my fingertips as I roll out of the office. I ate at East Street twice the week I discovered it. It's good. Considering this place is in the heart of Oxford Street's shopping area, it's perfectly priced and you can pretty much ensure you'll always get a seat.

It's also good to note that these guys also have a selection of Asian sauces and products for you to buy. They're marked slightly higher than you can get in Chinatown but they really add to the authentic feel (think; I'm eating in a market). The whole place is decorated with large neon signs which everyone seems to like, even if they aren't always spelt correctly.

I can't help but like this place and everyone who come here, foodie or not, seems to agree with me. It's a gem and a welcome addition to the Wahaca, Pho and Moolis genre in Soho.

East Street | 3 - 5 Rathbone Place London W1T 1HJ
020 7323 0860


Clean Up Your Apps!

Oh how I love a good pun (or a bad one...) and discovering this simple website last week not only excited me with its simplicity but also inspired me to write this post.

Working as a community manager across a selection of platforms, you tend to have your life "out there" on the internet for the world to see. Privacy is hard to come by and you have to be comfortable with who you are to ensure this public scrutiy by the people within your community doesn't destroy you. As a result, anything that helps me 'clean up my act' online in terms of permissions is a godsend.

Enter mypermissions.org – a sexy page which has eight shortcut links to the "edit permissions" pages for some of the most used social networks. As a result, in around 2 minutes you can readdress who has access to all your information from these profiles.

Just on a side note; you may have noticed that your Facebook advertising has become increasingly personal over the past few months. It seems that Facebook are tracking what you view on other tabs when you are logged into the site. If like me, you always have an open tab with Facebook, you might want to consider having this open in a browser that you don't use for anything else. I have a preference for Firefox because I love their add ons and use Chrome for Facebook only. But if your browsing is mainly Esty and Reddit (as mine may well be), you might not care too much about this...