Monday, December 10, 2012

Jim Traynor, Rangers, and the decline of Scottish media

Much as I enjoyed Michael Grant's piece in The Herald this morning on Jim Traynor's move from the Daily Record and BBC to a senior comms role for Rangers, it missed one important piece of insight.  

If Grant is right and Rangers are successful in their media strategy to move away from servicing the needs of Scotland's newspapers and broadcasters in preference to direct channels like Facebook and the Rangers website to communicate with their support, how does this impact on the Scottish mainstream media? If Rangers and their significant supporter base don't need the Record, Sun, The Herald or Radio Clyde to provide the latest news from Ibrox, this can potentially have a huge impact on their numbers of viewers and readers, and consequently their advertising revenues.

 While it's clearly difficult to attract paying subscribers to online news services when free alternatives are easily available, you can definitely see that there might be a market in providing exclusive content direct to supporters when the service provided to external newspapers and broadcasters is restricted. Why should Rangers let others make money from exclusive interviews and stories when the club themselves could be reaping profits from clicks and building closer relationships with their customer base?

 I'm sure a few of Jim Traynor's former colleagues will continue to attempt to have some fun at his expense over the coming days and weeks. I'm also sure that if Michael Grant is right about Rangers' media strategy they'll only have a few months grace before this directly impacts on their own future, and not for the better.

Monday, December 3, 2012

How Third Sector organisations can use social media more effectively

I had the pleasure of running a couple of group sessions at the ACOSVO Annual Conference in Edinburgh earlier this month. 

Here's a Q&As on the main issues raised on the issue of how Third Sector organisations can use social media effectively.

What should we use social media for?

Different organisations and projects use social media for different things, you have to decide what goals will help drive your business. The Social Charity Index should be able to give you a few ideas from organisations already engaged with social media.

Do you need to better connect with your client base to let them know about new and events? Do you want to have a forum for individuals to share experiences and provide support to each other?  Have a look at Facebook and Twitter Pages of other organisations and projects in your area of expertise or sector and replicate good practice.

How do you get buy-in from staff?

The best approach for this is to be open and transparent with your staff and then ask for their help.

Have a session with your team to give them an introduction to social media tools and then ask them how they think Twitter/Facebook etc could help them in their own work.

Be supportive of your staff, and be upfront about your plans. You already trust your staff to speak to customers and clients in person, on the phone, and by email, so using social media is just another communication tool for this.

How can we measure the impact of our work through social media?

There are a number of free tools which can help you measure the impact of your work around social media. The ones I use most are:
Facebook’s free analytics tools for Pages. These appear at the top of the screen which you login as a page Admin. They tell you a range of stats, including how many likes you’ve had, how many people have seen your page etc. is a great free tool for Twitter. It has a range of metrics, including how many people have seen your tweets, how many times your tweets have appeared and which tweets and followers have contributed most to your impact.

Should we link our social media channels together, and if so, how?


Different people use Facebook and Twitter for different things, so don’t hook up your Facebook page to automatically update from Twitter (or vice versa). It’s OK to share content or to advertise your Facebook content from a Tweet, but give some thought to this rather than joining everything up.

A good rule of thumb is to update your Facebook page a few times a week, and to Tweet a few times a day. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

How can Third Sector CEOs use social media effectively?

I had the pleasure of running a couple of group sessions at the ACOSVO Annual Conference in Edinburgh earlier this month. 

Here's the Q&A of the 3 main issues raised on the issue of how Third Sector CEOs can use social media effectively.
How can I use Twitter to connect with and influence key stakeholders in my area?

You should follow people you want to hear from and those you want to connect with.

There are a few tactics you can employ to achieve this.

Firstly, Twitter can search your address book to find your existing contacts who are already on Twitter which is a good way to start out. Click on ‘Discover’ at the top of the Twitter homepage and then select ‘Find Friends’ from the boxes at the top left of the page.

The 'Activity' stream in the 'Discover' tab of Twitter also shows you which people your followers are following. Twitter also recommends people who have similar twitter networks to you.

If you attend an event which uses a hashtag e.g. #ACOSVO12), a search for that on Twitter will show you tweets from other attendees as well as a (hopefully) interesting selection of comments/observations/contributions from the day. (Likewise fans of X Factor can find likeminded souls via #xfactor, etc etc). Looking though the follower lists of other Twitter users can be a good resource in finding similar people.

Some people create Twitter lists to group similar users together. @BIGScotland has created a list of the Scottish Third Sector on Twitter which currently has 500 members from across the sector. You can either click on the button on the page to follow the list, or scroll through the list members to find individual users at you'd like to follow. Other useful lists may include @newdirect's comprehensive list of MSPs on Twitter or @stevebridger's Charity CEO list.

How can I get enough of the right people to follow me?

·         Follow them! Most Twitter users will follow back someone who follows them, especially if your Twitter profile demonstrates that you share interests/sectors/friends in common.

·         Use appropriate hashtags for events etc so that other users can find you (but please bear in mind that #overuse #of #hashtags #is #unnecessary #and #annoying).

·         Say interesting and informative things (!) that are appropriate to your audience. This can involve:
·         Sharing links to articles that you find interesting and/or useful
·         Retweeting content from others (always credit your sources)

·         Talk to people. It’s nice to be nice, so thank people who have shared a link that you found helpful. Ask questions, as everyone knows it’s flattering to be considered an expert so you might be surprised who you can get into a Twitter conversation with. 
How do I find time for this additional activity when I'm already so busy?

Don’t letter Twitter hoover up your time. Instead set aside a few minutes every day to catch up on what your followers are saying and thinking about what you might say to them.

I know of one CEO who only uses Twitter when on the train to and from work, and when sitting in waiting rooms or receptions for his next meeting. This approach means that he’s not using up time on Twitter when he could be doing other things in the office, but still keeps up with what people are talking about today.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Scottish Local Authorities and Twitter

A couple of months ago, I carried out a piece of research as part of my work on my CIPR Diploma on the use of social media by Scottish Councils. 

The aim of this research was to examine if and how Scottish Local Authorities communicate effectively through the use of Twitter.

I carried out a survey of each council, then gathered their answers together for comparison. I then measured the actual use of Twitter by each organisation through their main account at a specified point in time. This established the extent to which communications though this channel is simply a series of broadcast messages or whether there are examples of organisations engaging in dialogue with their followers.

I came up with a few conclusions at the end of the exercise, which I plan to share in due course. But over the past couple of weeks there have been a few Twitter conversations on the issue which made me think that it might be useful/interesting to publish my initial data for others to see. With this in mind, you can find a copy of the questions I asked and the answers I received here:

In addition, I've also put together a definitive Twitter list of the main accounts of Scottish Local Authorities:

I'll be posting some of my findings in a couple of weeks, but please let me know in the comments if you've any questions or anything to add.