Category Archives: Business

Social Media Replacing Research Surveys?

Many journalists, bloggers and businesses rely on research surveys to direct their products and output.

Research surveys have been vital in the past but the top research executive of Procter & Gamble Co., (Joan Lewis) has said that she expects research surveys to dramatically decline in importance by 2020. The reason?-  social media.

Joan Lewis, is responsible for P&G’s $350 million budget in annual market-research outlays. She has warned that the advertising industry should get away from “believing a method, particularly survey research, will be the solution to anything,” she said. “We need to be methodology agnostic.” However this doesn’t just apply to the advertising industry. It has more far reaching applications to any businesses or media.

Another important element P&G warned was that businesses are not being interactive enough. Indeed, P&G were the only UK company among the top five companies to use Twitter.

Joan told the conference: “The more people see two-way engagement and being able to interact with people all over the world, I think the less they want to be involved in structured research,” she said. “If I have something to say to that company now, there are lots of ways to say it.”

As UGC is recognised by big business we should realize it is just as important in our online community and journalism.

Using online polls, Twitter and other forms of trending provide an insight into the feelings of the online community. As the online community can include a whole strata of the public, it can offer a good cross section and therefore act as an accurate research facility. The ability to target a specific audience by targeting different social media forums is also a key advantage.

Well, what do you think? Vote below!

By Vanessa Holland

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Brand Yourself: Building and Organizing Your UGC Identity

In today’s community whether it be social, professional or online your own identity and personal branding is essential.

Raising awareness of who we are, building careers, and giving them a voice they may not have had before. Social media overlaps all these aspects of our lives. There are many tools that are available as we build our personal brands. monitoring them and promoting them. Here are some useful tools to help build and organizing your own personal brand…

Gravatar: Your Gravatar is an image that appears on social media sites. It appears beside your name when you do things like post a comment or a blog. These help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so keeping the same picture throughout is an easy way to give your online identity continuity.

bit.ly: Is a great way to shorten your URL web addresses so you can share links to share more easily on Twitter (and other sites) that have a restriction on how much space you can type. It also offers a real time link tracking so you can check how many people clicked on your link. Not only does this simplify your social media, it also is a good way to check how popular your content is.

Plaxo: When you begin building your own personal brand, you will start to have lots of different social media forums on which you build your identity. When you do this, keeping track of your contacts may become confusing and Plaxo can help you keep on top of this. You can import them in, then have them present in the cloud. Then you can access all these contacts whenever you like, from your computer, your mobile, or on the go!

Delicious: This is a good way to keep track of all the internet pages that you like or use. Its a good tool to organise your life, bookmark what you like and put them in categories so you can organise your personal brand.

 

Wisestamp: Everybody sends emails and they may seem mundane and not relevant to social media, but you would be wrong! With this site you can include a  social signature which links to your blog/website, and important social links. Its fast and easy to set up and will help formalise your personal brand.

by Vanessa Holland

How Media outlets can use User Generated Content for Feedback and Complaints. ‘Ranters to Ravers’ a Case Study

Lots of people like to comment and complain about the media coverage. Be it that they are unhappy about a TV presenter’s beard or that they are not happy about the panel of a Question Time programme.

The audience is key in media, they are the reason journalism is created. All TV, radio and online content is catered to specific audiences and demographics. This is so strong that some companies go to great lengths to create a fictional character that embodies the kind of person they are trying to make content for. They often even give the character a name. For example ITV Daybreak’s person might be called Sheila. She has 3 children, has a part-time job in an office and is a stay at home mum the rest of the week. At meetings it wouldn’t be totally bizzare to refer to Sheila by saying “now remember Sheila I don’t know if she’d like to see someone having their arm amputated at 9 in the morning.”

Well you get the picture!  Audiences are crucial in media, so it has always been open and receptive to comments about their shows. Traditionally this was done through the good old Royal Mail. Your letter would get through to a person in for example the BBC Points of View office who would, if you were lucky, broadcast your views on the PoV show. These days most people don’t send letters, but they do send lots of angry emails and tweets over the internet at just the click of a button!

The fact that people can tweet or use other forms of social media including Youtube to ‘rant’ about media coverage as it happens could be detrimental to a network’s ratings. If twitter is ‘trending’ for example #bbcqt (BBC Question Time), and all of the tweets are negative, surely it would be a good idea for the network to try and improve people’s perceptions of the show.

Some businesses like Dell have managed to harness the art of complaining into an online experience which transforms as they put it ‘Ranters to Ravers‘. I.e. people who hate the service to people who rave about it! I think that this form of user generated content is something that journalism and media outlets could learn a lot from.

They connect with their customers online, helping them with problems and listening to their views. Unlike many outlets which people contact and never receive any reply. They try to find solutions to their problems and change people’s perceptions of the company by improving their experience of the product.

Here Dell’s Stephen Jio talks about the project:

If people knew that their views were being dealt with in real time, they would perhaps be more willing to keep listening or watching a show. It would be equally useful for the media to listen to their audience and interact with it as they would know what they like and what they don’t. They could therefore cater to their audience’s every wish and who knows they might see their ratings shoot up…

What do you think?

Is it enough that BBC Question Time only has these ways of contacting them ? Or is it time for them to bring feedback and complaining into the social networking century?

This is a good article about how companies are profiting from customer interaction over social media.

http://www.fishburn-hedges.co.uk/news/articles/new-media-age-event-reputation-online

By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm

Army Recruitment app adds new dimension to UGC

On Monday, the US army launched a new iPhone App to recruite soldiers.

The app is free and takes content from the website Army Strong Stories and allows people to access more than 600 soldier bloggers’ content as well as allowing users to share their own “Army Strong” stories, photos and videos.

A spokeperson from the U.S. Army Accessions Command called the app and a mobile website that also launched on Monday “a natural extension of the Army’s ongoing commitment to engage potential recruits via social media channels.”

When the blog first started in 2008, it was a blog platform only allowing soldiers to tell their stories. Now, anyone with an army story is invited to tell it. I wonder if this may cause any difficulty if people start accusing others of misbehaving and particularly when the army provokes a lot of emotion for many people.

Not only that, but isn’t it a security risk if soldiers start saying things they aren’t meant to…Or perhaps it is a very good thing and will replace psychological therapy by allowing people to talk to each other and share memories rather than an exploitation tool.

Army Accessions Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley told the Belvoir Eagle, “Soldiers should join Army Strong Stories for a number of reasons. … Online and in the media, the negative stories are always given a platform. Soldiers, every one of us, have some of the best stories to tell.”

I agree that it is a great place for soldiers to tell their stories and therefore give a rounded view of life in the army, but what if they say something bad? Are their blogs vetted?

And the idea of recruiting people through it makes it seem like their recruits are in decline. This says quite a lot about the wars that the US are currently fighting. I’d love to hear what anyone who uses it has to say.
By Linzi Kinghorn

Karl Schneider from Reed Business International on how Business to Business publications are using User Generated Content

We had a chat with Karl Schneider, editorial Development Director of Reed Business International, about how his publications are using UGC. He told us that User generated images are the most widely used form of UGC across his Business to Business publications.

They use UGC because RBI is comprised of niche publications. It is therefore often more beneficial to use user content as it is their users that have the most knowledge and access to niche subject matters.

He gives a great example..Farmers Weekly live-tracked the spread of crop disease with data collected and mapped by users. UGC was then effectively helping save farmers crops. By providing more accurate and speedy updates issued by farmers themselves, they were able to share and spread information much faster and more efficiently than traditional media.

Karl told us that this is why UGC is important to RBI:

  • 70% of their revenue comes from online
  • They aggregate user sourced information eg. tractor theft/crop disease which is very useful to their audience, and therefore brings them to the website
  • They create structures so it’s easy for people to add their own information. This can help add essential information to a story that a journalist might not know
  • Forums can help create content for their journalists
  • They can immediately involve the audience in the journalistic process
  • Their readers can let them know what information they need thus creating story ideas for their journalists

If you want to hear more you can watch the interview here:

It could therefore be said that publications can benefit hugely from their audience’s specialist knowledge.

By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm

Dell’s Stephen Jio on UGC, citizen journalism & social media

Stephen Jio is Global Mobility Online Merchandising and Content Manager at Dell.

He told us that Dell’s most valued form of UGC is customer reviews and ratings on products they offer. They find that their users trust other users more than they trust a big corporate company.

He also tells us why he thinks UGC is making the media more honest.

 

 

By Kirsty Malcolm & Lucy Hewitt