Optus displays great customer service with a Christmas card

Optus Optus displays great customer service with a Christmas card
The card above was sent to me by the nice people at Optus’s Social Media team – Julz in particular. As you can see this is no mass mail out.

In my books this card is bloody good customer service and is indicative of the way Optus engages with its customers more broadly. Tweets I have sent Julz and the team requesting assistance, during office hours, are typically responded to within 30 minutes. Though the good service also extends beyond the social media team. The call centre staff are some of the best I have dealt with. If the issue cannot be fixed in the first call the consultant tells you when they will be working next and commit to come back to you personally. That makes a big difference to me and ensures I don’t have to repeatedly talk the consultant through the issue.

Obviously Optus isn’t the only company that has excellent customer service or a social media contact team, but I thought this was pretty special. It certainly made me feel special.

Thanks Julz and Optus – keep up the good work.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Want to work in a PR agency? Here are some tips

This week I had the honour of presenting to PR students at the University of Newcastle (my old university) on the topic of working in a PR agency. Above is the presentation I gave. It was intended to be light-hearted and was pitched assuming minimal knowledge of the agency environment. The simple reason for this is that when I was at uni I had no idea about what a PR agency did or how it all worked.

I often get asked what skills you should have to get a job in PR and how you go about getting a job at an agency. My advice typically covers the following points:

  • Do work experience - every junior hire we make is via work experience, I know of almost no exceptions to this. If you want to get a job in a PR agency the best route is to identify the agencies you would like to work for and approach them about work experience opportunities.
  • Know the media – understand the media. Watch all the television news regularly and not just the news you like. Understand the difference between ABC, Ten and SBS. Read the papers and not just the one you like best. Know the difference between the tabloids and broadsheets, understand the difference between the SMH and The Australian. Listen to the radio, think about the stories they cover. Read online voraciously. Google News is a good start. It provides a good overview of the Australian landscape but also gives an insight into international media too.
  • Read and comment on blogs – read PR, marketing, social media and other personal interest blogs. Understand how writing for a blog differs from a traditional media outlet. Make sure you comment and engage. The beauty of blogs is that it is about  a two way conversation. Take part and enjoy the benefits. This post by the PR Warrior Trevor Young provides a good overview of some blogs to get started with. The fact I am listed in hist post is not the only reason I suggest following his advice either. icon smile Want to work in a PR agency? Here are some tips
  • Understand how Facebook can be used to build a community – Facebook is a brilliant platform for sharing photos and staying up to date with your friends, but it can also be a platform for building a community around a particular topic, brand or passion point. Join and analyse some of the Facebook pages of your favourite brands. In fact why not try it for yourself? Set up a page for your football club, your university club or other organisation.
  • Have a digital footprint – I always perform a Google search when I receive a new CV. What will I see if I search for your name? Having a blog is one of the most obvious ways to grow your personal brand. Your traffic will not be high to start with, but it is not about traffic rather is more about having your thoughts and opinions there when someone searches. If having a blog is too daunting Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are easier places to start. For extra points you may want to start building an understanding of basic SEO and HTML. Check out my advice on growing your personal brand online.
  • Get a university degree - having a university degree is one of the things I look at. A comms degree is the obvious choice, but really I am not all that fussed what degree you have. The reason I mention a degree is because it shows you understand how to research, know how to form and present an opinion and perhaps most importantly can stick at something and get it finished without having someone looking over your shoulder. Having said that I have also worked with some amazing people that don’t have a degree.
  • Get involved and help a local charity - if you are a PR student odds are you already know a lot more about PR than the average punter. Why not volunteer some of your time to a local charity to assist them with their PR and social media planning. The experience you gain will likely be invaluable and will make a difference for a needy charity.
  • The marketing mix is converging, so understand the whole marketing mix – gone are the days of clearly defined roles between marketing functions. Media, advertising, digital and PR agencies are all increasingly offering similar services as the roles blur. The more you know about all these disciplines the better.
  • Finally, be creative in getting people’s attention - PR agencies receive a lot of CVs each and every day, so think about how you can stand out from the rest of the pack. Rebecca Griffith from the University of Wollongong got my attention by posting a job request on the Mumbrella job boards and this effort by an advertising hopeful in America is brilliant.

This is just my advice. What other tips should we be giving to students and others looking to start a career in PR?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Social media and Election 2010: a missed opportunity

juliavotes 420x0 1 Social media and Election 2010: a missed opportunity

Photo: Andrew Meares (SMH.com.au)

As I have mentioned already we at Edelman have been conducting research through the 2010 Election campaign on Twitter use by Australian politicians and the election. As I prepare to spend the night watching the results of the election I wrote the post below for our Edelman Election blog. I thought I would repost it here also. Would love your thoughts on the election campaigning so far in the comment box if you feel so inclined.

Reposted from here:

As I write this post Australia votes. On the whole I think social media has been a massively under utilised platform for connecting with and influencing the voting decisions of Australians.

There have been examples of social media use:

  • The Liberals offered a Facebook app, and managed a Facebook community, but with only around 14,000 members this is a massive missed opportunity when you consider there is in excess of 8 million Australians on Facebook of voting age.
  • The Labor Party created a YouTube video, which has generated around half a million views, which is considerable, but with no clear call to action at the end, this too has to be considered a missed opportunity.

There were other examples, but not many. Social media was seen simply as something to dabble with on the periphery of the campaign. It was not integrated, or used nearly as effectively as it could have been. Imagine the communities that could have been generated in Facebook if the advertisements on television and in print media directed people to join a page. This simple exercise could have created environments where information could have been provided, social actions could have been encouraged and political movements created. Instead the ads simply ran at great expense to the political parties without a clear call to action to engage online.

This post by Trevor at Park Young is a good overview of the opportunity missed. Also worth checking out is the excellent The Social Election blog the team at Amnesia Razorfish created.

The final standings in our Twitter influence rankings are outlined below. There were no great changes throughout the campaign, but we do like to think we played some small part in getting Julia Gillard to engage.

[table id=2 /]

Yesterday we presented our research as part of a PRIA panel. Check out the presentation below:

Twitter and the Australian Election 2010

View more presentations from Matthew Gain.

What do you think about the election? Do you have comments on our research? Do you think social media could have influenced your vote?

If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

As I mentioned in my previous post, myself and the team at Edelman have been monitoring the use of Twitter by Australian politicians and their staffers at – Election.TweetLevel.com.au. On the whole it has been rather uneventful. The majority of the politicians are simply ignoring the platform and social media more broadly for that matter.

But all of this took a turn this week, when Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, started engaging. The initial impetus was the offer of a charity donation in exchange for a @reply by Karalee Evans and another staffer at digital agency Amnesia Razorfish. Check out the full story here.

Following this initial engagement, JG has been replying regularly to Tweets she is receiving, including a message to yours truly.

In response to this message:

MG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Julia Gillard sent this response:

JG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Obviously, social media will not be the only thing that wins or loses this election, but it will have an impact. So Julia engaging in my mind is a very good thing. Jim Macnamara commenting on this in a SBS News story tonight summed it up best:

No one thing will cause people to vote, not newspapers, not TV debates, not social media, but does social media have a role? Yes.

I couldn’t agree more with Jim. Social media does have a role to play. If most politicians continue to ignore it they are missing a trick. Follow this link to view the SBS story, which in addition to Jim, includes an interview with myself and Karalee Evans.

What do you think? Do you care if our politicians are engaging on Twitter? Do you think their time would be better spent on Facebook? Or should simply stick to traditional media?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Want to know who is the most influential Australian politician on Twitter?

TweetLevel image1 Want to know who is the most influential Australian politician on Twitter?Election 2010 offers politicians the opportunity to embrace an ever-maturing portfolio of social media platforms to engage with Australian voters, but sadly most are simply using social media platforms to push out their messages in a one way direction.

Myself and the digital team at Edelman Australia have been working on some research in the lead up to the election that aims to measure the Twitter activity of Australia’s politicians and staffers and provide a rank on who is the most influential. Check it out at the dedicated site we have set up – election.tweetlevel.com.au

Methodology

To track Twitter’s influence on the election, we have input all the politicians we could find into Edelman’s TweetLevel tool, which measures the influence of individuals on Twitter based on a number of factors including re-tweets, followers, frequency of tweets, references etc. We have included a detailed overview of how the tool calculates the scores on the site.

The results

Currently the top ten most influential political Tweets are:

[table id=1 /]

The findings at the moment show that the Greens are using the platform most effectively with a large section of Greens MPs and candidates using the tool effectively to communicate and engage with potential voters.

The top two positions on the table are controlled by former party leaders Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd. Malcolm is effectively using the platform to engage with his followers and tweets regularly. Kevin Rudd on the other hand has secured his position largely due to the huge following he has (close to 1 million followers), and updates his account sparingly and engages in virtually no two way dialogue via @replies.

Both PM contenders Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott feature highly on the influence score, but this is due in main part to the high number of followers and the high number of re-tweets they are generating. Disappointingly, both candidates are only using their Twitter channels to push content as opposed to using it to engage with Australian voters. Both engagement scores are woefully low.

Will the battle for votes be won by Twitter?  Not this time it seems, but Twitter’s influence on the conversation and its use as a political organising tool cannot be underestimated.

We will be updating the Election.TweetLevel.com.au site on a regular basis over the course of the election campaign, so check in regularly if you want to stay up to date.

Another site that is tracking politicians’ use of social media during the election is The Social Election, which has been set up by digital agency Amnesia social media guru Karalee Evans. It is well worth checking out as well.

Any feedback you have on the research we are undertaking would be very much appreciated. If you would like to discuss it with me don’t hesitate to get in contact with me via the contact form on this site or via Twitter – @matthewgainIf you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Competition: Announcing the winner of Problogger’s book on blogging

ProBlogger book Competition: Announcing the winner of Problogger’s book on blogging

Two weeks ago I launched a competition to give away my copy of Darren Rowse’s and Chris Garrett’s guide to pro blogging, Problogger: Secrets for blogging your way to a six figure income.

Competition:

The competition invited readers to submit in the comment box the most successful blog post they have written and explain why they thought it was so successful. If people didn’t have a blog they could simply provide a link to post the liked on someone else’s blog.

Results:

The competition generated 17 entires, from all over the world, which is more than I anticipated. The fact Darren first and then Chris tweeted the competition no doubt helped with this.

There wasn’t a strict criteria I used for choosing the winner, other than wanting to select a winner that I thought would benefit the most from the book.

It’s a shame I don’t have 17 copies of the book to giveaway, because they were all interesting posts. Though like in any competition there has to be winners.

The runners up:

The runners up, which unfortunately win nothing, are:

Meikah:

Meikah’s post on poor service at Louis Vuitton really hit a nerve of public discontent generating more than 40 comments outlining similar poor service. Makes you realise the importance of monitoring what is said about you online. I expect there are store managers that would be horrified to hear this, but then again perhaps not?

Yvonne:

Yvonne’s excellent post on 10 ways to get creative in seven days is in my opinion a near perfect blog post. In fact it was simply too good to win. The intention of this competition was to pass this book onto an up and coming blogger who I though would really benefit from the tips. Considering Yvonne employed so many of the techniques Darren and Chris recommend I don’t know that she would benefit as much as someone else. You’re just too clever already you see Yvonne.

I encourage everyone who reads this to check out Yvonne’s post and follow her advice, it is really good. I am following it myself.

Sanjeev:

Sanjeev’s post detailed a fairly lengthy overview of Windows Live Writer (disclosure I have worked at Microsoft and my employer has Microsoft as a client). Despite the post being incredibly long Sanjeev broke his post up with plenty of headlines, which made identifying the sections you wanted and those that you didn’t really easy – very important when you consider how much of the web there is to read.

Winner:

However there can only be one winner and that is Jess Morris. In the scheme of things Jess’s post on Twitter service at Australia Post isn’t technically the best written blog post entry, yet it generated 90 hits. Not a bad number of visitors for a new blogger. It has also generated comments from her audience and has been retweeted by her Twitter followers.

As all experienced bloggers I suspect would attest, it is exciting when something you write is so well received by your audience that it generates a spike in traffic, is shared via retweets and comments accrue as people join the discussion. It’s those posts that give you the blogging bug.

Jess, I hope the book will allow you to generate more successful posts like your entry to this competition and continue to evolve your blogging. Remember though, you have to pass on the book once you have read it. I look forward to following your blog.

Thanks again to all entrants.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Microsoft Kin social media marketing – a case study

Rose Microsoft Kin 300x244 Microsoft Kin social media marketing   a case study

To build buzz for the launch of its new phone, Kin, Microsoft has been undertaking a fairly large scale new media campaign involving live events, a range of social platforms including, YouTube and  Facebook, and a tour of America that explores the concept of a ‘friend’ in today’s society.

The work, which I believe has been created by Exposure, is in my opinion refreshingly good and a welcome departure from previous Microsoft social media marketing attempts like the Windows 7 launch video party series (although ironically the views of these videos far outstrip the Kin ones).

The campaign launched in April and will include 15 webisodes starring Rosa, a likeable personality who is travelling across America to meet in person her friends on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

The webisodes in my opinion are good. They are professionally created and engaging. The integration of multiple social media platforms has also been done well and two way engagement is going on across all of the ones I have viewed. The campaign has now launched another phase involving a series of live music events with bands such as The Black Keys.

Below I have embedded a couple of examples of the webisodes and also given a quick overview of the campaign elements and why I think this campaign has been successful.

This is the trailer to the series:

An example webisode:

Campaign elements (all numbers roughly accurate at time of posting):

  • Facebook – more than 187,000 people have liked the page and there is lively discussion going on via the wall. There are customised tabs for competitions. Videos and live events are also being publicised via the wall.
  • YouTube – a branded channel has been set up that has 3,130 subscribers (this isn’t huge), but has generated close to 600,000 views.
  • Twitter – the account has 4,487 followers and is being used to promote gigs and events happening in American cities. It is also being used for conversation and questions are being actively responded to.
  • MySpace – A highly customised page showcasing the webisodes as the hero content
  • Live events – live music events are taking place all over America, but to find out the details you have to be following the channels mentioned above to get clues and information
  • Microsite – this is the online hub for the campaign. Links off to all the social platforms and also provides more detailed information about the product.

What I like about this campaign:

  • Microsoft is everywhere its audience is. It has recognised that people interact on different platforms for different reasons and that no single platform is the answer. Refreshingly as well, Microsoft is playing on its competitors’ platforms (Youtube in particular) and not trying to confine this to their own platforms. Nice.
  • The videos are highly produced and engaging. The video quality is good and the talent obviously well thought out. Rosa is excellent natural talent that I found incredibly likeable. The initial trailer was obviously well promoted (165k) views, but subsequent videos were much less so – typically around the 5K mark, which must be somewhat disappointing.
  • The product mentions are not in your face. The Kin phone is present in each video, but where it is used it is relevant, not obtrusive and natural. Congratulations on this Microsoft.
  • The campaign involves online and offline elements. The offline elements give people something to engage with and offer situations for the public to generate and share content around the brand.
  • Microsoft is engaging in a two way dialogue. Across the Twitter and Facebook pages it is clear Microsoft is responding to questions and engaging in the conversation.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft and its agencies continue to capitalise on the momentum they have generated thus far, but roughly a month in they appear to be off to a good start. I am not entirely sure about the phone, but I am only going on some reviews I have read and the form factor. I guess time will tell on that point.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this post why don’t you subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Full disclosure, I am a former employee of Microsoft and Microsoft is a client of both Weber Shandwick and my new employer Edelman. However Microsoft or its agencies have had no involvement in this post.If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Fail Whale artist releases Win Penguins

win penguins 260 Fail Whale artist releases Win Penguins

Win Penguins by Yiying Lu

Yiying Lu, the designer of The Fail Whale, made famous as the image symbolising a Twitter outage, has been commissioned  by a San Francisco couple to create the ‘opposite of the fail whale’ to celebrate their marriage, according to Mashable.

The result (above) is titled Win Penguins. Aren’t they lovely? Hopefully these little fellows will see as much success as the Fail Whale.

Hearing Yiying Lu speak at the most recent Social Media Club Sydney event I learned the Fail Whale has quite a back story and was originally known as ‘Lifting Up a Dream’. According to Yiying Lu the design was originally created to symbolise making dreams happen.

For those interested in the back story of The Fail Whale check out this post on ReadWriteWeb.

lg share en Fail Whale artist releases Win Penguins

If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .

Want to understand how Twitter's Promoted Tweets work?

UPDATE – the video I embedded in this post has been removed from Vimeo and everywhere else on the web it seems. As soon as I can find it again, or a version that is as good, I will post it again.

Heard the buzz about Promoted Tweets on Twitter, but not sure what it all means? Well helpfully the good folk at Twitter have put together a handy 140 second video overview on the topic which you can see here.

[vodpod id=Video.3430988&w=425&h=350&fv=]

more about “Promoted Tweets“, posted with vodpod

Watch the video here if viewing in a reader, or on email.

No doubt promoted tweets will annoy some of the purists out there, but I am really interested to see how this plays out. The process appears to be modeled on the highly succesful Google approach to sponsored links and presently only comes up when people perform a search.

According to Ad Age, advertisers can presently buy promoted tweets in lots of 1,000 and there are plans down the track to integrate Promoted Tweets into the standard Twitter timeline and also Twitter applications like Tweetdeck.

Have you come across Promoted Tweets yet? What are your thoughts? Did it annoy you, or do you accept this is part of the monetisation of a free service?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you\’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .