Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will ‘Like To Enter’ Kill Your Facebook Fanpage?


If you think a ‘like to enter’ competition on your company Facebook
page is a cunning way to grow your follower numbers you are probably
right- in the short term.

There seems to be a proliferation of the little thumbs up competitions
rolling through New Zealand at the moment and excited marketing
managers are finally ‘doing’ social media. Or so their agency tells

The promotional mechanic is not new. It’s the modern version of
putting your business card in a bowl for a $50 bar tab draw. As
customers, we all know how this goes down. They company will then add
your details to their database and send you offers via email or text.
Continuously. To the point where you can’t take their noisy crap
anymore and you unsubscribe.  Or, in Facebook’s case, hit the ‘hide’

If companies continue to treat Facebook as a loyalty database they
will end up with the same problems that direct marketers have fought
with since Claude C Hopkins first started busting out coupons in the

Getting the balance right between engagement and spam requires people
driving the accounts to understand their community and have a sense
for what they will tolerate (in commercial messaging) versus making
them find your company unbearably annoying.

You need to keep an eye on the stats running in the background of your
Facebook fan pages and keep an eye on your exit and hide rates; not
just your engagement rates (likes and comments). All standard issue
loyalty marketing stuff that you need to report on as you would with a
Farmer’s Beauty Club or a Flybuys card database.  Watch your campaign
flight planning and make sure you aren’t fatiguing the community with
stuff that is exciting for you e.g. ‘check out our new TV ad!’, but
that is of no interest to your punters.

In the tips for new players category, read the Facebook competition
terms of service and stick to them. Big brother is watching you and
they will kindly send you a warning email that you should kindly
comply with or your fanpage will be disabled.  ‘Comment to enter’,
‘upload to enter’ and ‘like to enter’ have to be setup a certain way
to meet Facebook legal requirements and it pays to educate yourself on
what’s in and what’s out.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Air New Zealand's Bizarre Higher Ground


It seems people affected by the tsunami aren’t the only ones
clambering to higher ground.

Air New Zealand’s Robbie Fyfe has decided to waggle his finger at a
few news organisations for alleged sensationalist coverage of the
Japan nuclear issue.

Not only is it a boring and petty issue that a CEO at that level
should not be entering into; it opens them up for criticism of some of
their own media management. Finger-pointy-glass-housie-stone-throwing
is not cool. It might even cause a cynical Monday morning member of
the typing pool such as myself to question the company's jealous
outburst at Mike Pero for daring to take some of the sunshine off
their media gush-fest to Erabus in 2009?

Or perhaps their stage-managing the return of Air New Zealand plane
crash victims in full view of the media complete with soundtrack? A
nice touch or a publicity stunt?

Shouting down 'The Listener' for daring to criticise the organisation
in an editorial piece? Clever campaigning or corporate defensiveness?

Take your hand off it Air New Zealand and keep your top talent out of
handbag arguments.


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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bring The Noise: Social Media and Contact Centres



A few comments from yours truly on the mega-topic of social media channels and their interaction with call centre. Excellent analysis and write up by Keith Newman. 


Newman, Keith. Telecommunications Review, February 2011. 
Social media transforms the business feedback loop and contact centres geared up to deliver customer service through these channels will leave their competitors in the digital dust. 



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Friday, March 11, 2011

Is it easier to be liked as a man than as a woman?



Prince Willy is a likeable toff and I’m quite excited that he’s coming
to New Zealand next week to waltz  around in a high-viz  and kiss a
few babies in Christchurch.

John ‘smile and wave’ Key and Saint Bob Parker will be completing the
royal flush of warm fuzzies.  The golden triangle of current media
darlings. The three nice guys of news and current affairs.

I’m a fan of all three but it has lead me to think: does it make a
difference that they are guys?

Is it easier to like a man in a leadership scenario than a woman?

Note I said ‘like’. Not ‘respect’ or ‘admire’ or ‘submit to’. To
genuinely like them.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Anna Bligh did an excellent
job of fronting the Queensland floods issue and I was impressed by
what they did. But I can’t say I get the ‘awwww didn’t he do well’
factor I get with Saint Bob.

Is gender a contributing factor to likeableness or is it just a matter
of personality?

If we subbed out Lady Diana for Prince Willy would the Christchurch
like-fest have continued? Probably. If we subbed out Helen Clark for
John Key would we still be as enamoured? Probably not. Julia Gillard
cried during the floods and got mocked for faking it. If John Key
cried, every woman in New Zealand would probably rush to Christchurch
to give him a hug. Women look quite silly in hard hats, look frumpy in
flat shoes and can come across as being bossy when issuing key
messages. Everything just seems to work against us.

As a child raised on a diet of Women’s Weekly royal covers, Disney
handsome prince movies and TV1 6pm news, maybe it’s just how I’ve been
socialised and the familiar makes me comfortable.

I’m just pleased Willy’s won’t be bringing that tart that ruined my
chance of becoming a Princess.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Virtual Workforces Are Virtually Impossible


"This trend will, in turn, encourage the increasing virtualization of the

organization. As 24/7 connectivity, social networking, and increased

demands for personal freedom further penetrate the walls of the

corporation, corporate life will continue to move away from traditional

hierarchical structures. Instead, workers, mixing business and personal

matters over the course of the day, will self-organize into agile communities

of interest. By 2020, more than half of all employees at large corporations

will work in virtual project groups." Roman Friedrich, Michael Peterson, and Alex Koster, Generation C at Work


The concept of virtual workforces is very appealing yet highly unlikely.


In some industries, it works well and online collaboration ensure that the best

heads are put around a project regardless of their geographical location.


For the most part, I don’t see employees ‘self-organising into agile

communities of interest’ mainly because existing power structures are still

locked into a 1960’s mentality of spending 8am to 5pm, bolted in a cubicle

with half an hour for lunch.


One of the most frustrating scenarios that inevitably crops up with the project

work I do is the ‘where were you?’ conversation or worse still, the ‘what time

do you call this?” conversation.


I make it very clear to all my clients that I’m contactable 24/7 but don’t expect

me to sit at a desk and pretend to look busy for eight hours per day.


(If the meeting is at 10am, I’ll turn up at 10am, not 8am and then read the

paper and fluff around and have a coffee until 10am).


What’s the point?


The reality is, most of the people that sign my invoices (and their employees)

ARE required to clock in like good little factory workers and they don’t see

why I should be treated any different.


Often, the C-suite have been with the organisation their whole career and

have come up through the ranks by being the first to arrive, the last to leave

and aspiring to climb the corporate ladder. The complete opposite of a flat,

egalitarian, trust-based structure that virtualisation requires.


Human beings are naturally competitive and any opportunity to tar a

colleague with the ‘slacker’ brush is often taken by middle managers trying to

make themselves look good in the ascent.


Some people make their whole career out of crowing about how busy and

important they are and making sure that the other bees in the hive know

about it.


You just need to go to Friday night drinks at a large corporate to hear ‘ Jason

had two hours for lunch today’ or ‘Sue is always on the phone organising her

house renovations’ moans of injustice.


Virtual workforces are a nice idea, but a long way off and certainly not

something I expect to see dominating in the next 10 years. What are your thoughts and experiences?

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Are You A Sheep, A Shepherd Or A Dog?


If it’s one thing that the recent uprisings in the Middle East have
taught us it should be the shocking price individuals and society pay
for fear.

Perceived power rules the world.

Perceived. In reality individuals such as Mubarack or Gaddafi or even
John Key started out with no more or less power than anyone else.
Gradually they assert leadership, gather authority over others and
create power structures with money, armies and political regulation.

We, the sheep, go along with things and take our instruction from the
shepherd and the dogs he employs to bark at us. In reality, if the
sheep get organised, they could easily roll the shepherd and trample
the dog but our individual fear keeps us running. And it's often not
in the direction we want to go.

After watching the uprisings and the terrible scenes from Christchurch
it has made me think about how important it is to really get into life
and not let perceived power stop me from doing things. Some of the
things I asked myself were:

What am I afraid of?

Who am I afraid of?

Who or what is asserting authority over my life that is causing me fear?

Who are the people speaking fearful words or warnings into my life? Is
it useful or is it holding me back?

Where could I be using my power more effectively to change things? Am
I a sheep, a shepherd or a dog?

Tony Robbins uses the phrase “design your life or someone will design
it for you” and I’ve found the process of pondering and consciously
removing the sources of fear and perceived authority quite
fascinating. It’s made me realise how much power I have and how much
energy I waste being afraid of silly things and letting people impose
their fears on to me.

Staring down power structures is strangely, empowering, and it's
energised me to kick down a few doors, laugh at a few people and laugh
at myself.

Give it a go. If the shepherd doesn't have your best interests in
mind, ignore him and his barking dog.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Have You Got Social Media in Your Emergency Comms Plans?


Many New Zealand companies and organisations have rushed onto Twitter in the scramble to communicate through the Christchurch earthquake.


Thankfully, the large enterprise angst around social media policy and usage was outweighed by a genuine need to help people that were (and still are) in real trouble.


The lack of experience is obvious on some accounts but that really doesn’t matter. Real-time communication is critical during an emergency response and I’m pleased to see that corporate hand wringing hasn’t stopped people keeping the flow of information going.


I hope this has proven the case that social media tools aren’t for kids and early adopters. I hope that people can see that including social channels in emergency response planning is not just a gimmick and that it is as important as press conferences and media alerts.  I’ve written a few emergency management communication plans in my time and not yet have I been able to include a line for social media response. Empowering people to connect and help each other at a hyperlocal level is critical and saves lives.

Use the tools that are there and make sure that it's tabled at your next EOC meetings. 


Hang in there Christchurch; we’re thinking of you.


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