30 Apr

Should you buy social media followers?

Can you buy friendship?

It’s an interesting question and one even more relevant today as friendships now exist online as well as in the real world

I recently got into a (mini)debate about this subject over on LinkedIn, where a fellow user posted an article, offering a service of buying Twitter followers.

(See discussion on LinkedIn comments  – note: exists within a group – membership required)

To summarise  – the poster was offering to get followers for your brand / product via click-sites like TwiendsYou Like HitsAdd Me Fast. These are a simple, fast way of getting a lot of followers.

However, I wonder – what is the VALUE of those followers?

You may find a small handful who are interested in what you have to offer but the vast majority won’t be. You are doing the equivalent of the junk-mailout, hoping enough will stick to make it worth your while.

With a mailout, you are hoping the recipient doesn’t throw your letter in the bin and acts upon it.

With a mass-follower approach, you are hoping they follow you back, and act.

But act on what?

Are they going to follow you back – because you followed them? Some may. Others will look at your tweets at ask “what’s in this for me?”. If your Twitter stream is full of sales messages, or even worse, nothing at all, it is unlikely that they will let you into their circle. (and even if they do follow you back – an unfollow is likely if you bombard them with sales pitches)

Are they going to buy your product after a simple Twitter follow? Are they going to be so impressed that you’re found them, that they’ll immediately switch to your brand?

You are not generating any form of loyalty by engaging in mass following.

Social Media is “social”

get twitter folowers

My advice to any client is to treat social media in the same way you treat making friends/contacts. You do not walk into a dinner party, hand out a load of flyers with your phone number, and walk out again. In reality you have conversations, engage and entertain.

With social media you need to literally “make friends” with your followers. You need to nurture those friendships, avoid upsetting them and keep the conversation going.

Ironically, one of the Twitter follower websites mentioned by our friend in the original article, seems to actively promote this “quality over quantity” approach. (See infographic left – click for original)

There is some excellent advice here – which all point to the social element of social media

It’s a shame that clients are falling for this “mass clicking” approach, when – in the long run – it won’t benefit them at all.

 

27 Apr

Current Projects – mystery clients, Olympics, forums and rockin’ maps!

After a relatively quiet period, recently I’ve had a flurry of work  and opportunities – and some very interesting ones at that. Excuse the lack of client names, but many of these are active projects.

If you are interested in hiring me – you can find me on Twitter (@carolinebeavon) or email carolinebeavon at gmail.com

Thanks

PROJECTS

Infographic > Local Authority Olympics

I was recently asked to create an infographic of information about the Olympic Torch relay, for a local authority.

This was an unusual project for me as it involved text instead of numbers. Instead of creating charts and diagrams, the project involved illustrating blocks of text and using colour and glyphs to support the issues.

Whilst this infographic was concerning the Olympic Torch Relay, the client was not an official partner of the event. Hence, there are a host of restrictions on use of logo, branding, symbols and colours.

You can read the official guidelines here – and I was genuinely surprised at the extend to which these restrictions extend. For example – the Olympic rings, even if used in silhouette, are restricted, as are the Olympic colours used together in a design.

Working with the client, and based on a website they had already drawn up for the coverage, we opted for simple red, white and blue theme and avoided ALL Olympic shapes or suggestions.

Multiple data graphics  > Communicate Magazine

Communicate Magazine is a monthly B2B (business to business) magazine within the Stakeholder Relations field. As their in-house Data Visualization Specialist I work with research data and create 3/4/5 quarter page graphics to support articles in the magazine.

You can view past work for Communicate here

The task at hand here is not wrangling a huge dataset. In fact, it is often a small set of numbers and the challenge comes in making a few results look appealing and interesting.

The focus here is definitely on design, that works at a small quarter-page scale.

Over recent issues I have used the official brand colours (shades of red) but I was delighted when the client asked for a change – using blues and greens instead.

Infographics > Mystery Client

I have also had the privilege of being contacted by a well known international tech brand (my lips are sealed) who asked me to create a few simple infographics for use in a ideas pitch to a 3rd party.

My contact was based on the West Coast of America, so the time difference has led to a few phone calls at 11pm at night – no problem for me!

Fingers crossed it comes off as it would be a fascinating project to work on.

Infographic > Kerrang! Radio

As a very quick favour to my old friends at Kerrang! Radio, I was recently glad to help out with a map visualization of listener postcodes.

I initially gave some advice to the in-house designer/web dude on tools that would be able to create intensity circles on a map (using Fusion Tables etc) but in the end I stepped in and assisted by using Tableau.

Social Media Strategy > Wolves Civic

I have worked with Wolves Civic (a set of 3 music venues in Wolverhampton) for some time  – formerly looking after their social media content, and now as a consultant.

They are a very innovative team and are keen to embrace the new developments in social media.

I have been working with the Marketing Team on a shake-up of how they deal with their Facebook and Twitter accounts – it’s something pretty innovative and I will be watching with interest.

EVENTS

Thanks to my former tutor, now work colleague Paul Bradshaw, I have been receiving some very interesting offers to get involved with media conferences, workshops and forums.

AOP Data Journalism Forum – 16 May 2012

I will be featuring on an expert panel at the AOP Data Journalism Forum. I am awaiting more information so will update you when I know more!

The Specialist Media Show – 24th May 2012

I will he holding a workshop on Data Journalism for Publishers at the Specialist Media Show on 24th May 2012

Data is the new buzz word. As public bodies bow under increasing pressure to be transparent and open, so companies are coming under the same pressures. The new breed of savvy consumer is not content with the story that YOU give them. They want the background, they want to interrogate, play, sort, visualize and they want to share across their social networks. It is up to publishers to be more open with their research, and present it in an accessible, interesting and honest way. From simple downloads, to high-end interactive pieces, there are a host of opportunities for publishers to get involved in this data revolution.

(extended blog post on this workshop here)

27 Apr

Client Work

I work for a variety of clients – including B2B publishers, statistics websites and local authorities.

COMMUNICATE MAGAZINE

Communicate Magazine is a B2B (Business to Business) magazine specialising in Stakeholder Relations

As their in-house Data Visualization Specialist I create graphics from research data for publication within longform articles.

GATEWAY FAMILY SERVICES

I was comissioned to create  a series of postcards to be used at a corporate event.

These were to show some of the key success statistics for this organisation.

25 Apr

Covering a live event: a quick guide

Covering live events can be a chaotic, stressful and sometimes unfulfilling experience. Battling with the digital elements can mean the finished product is disappointing.

However- there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself

(feel free to comment with more below  – I will also add to this as ideas come to me!)

Background Research

Find out as much about the event as you can.

Where is it? – how are you going to get there? Public transport? Where can you park?
When is it? – what time does it start? What time do you need to be there?
Where will you be – do you have an allocated desk? Will space be tight (should you get there early to secure a good seat?)
Who is running the event – are you on the event mailing lists?
who is going – try to get a list of speakers / delegates beforehand. This is useful to make contacts and arrange interviews ahead of time!

Make sure you have all the information with you and easy to find. I often make a crib sheet for myself of the address, directions, contact names / numbers etc.

See more on content and research in Live Blogging, below

Power

With the increase in laptop and smartphone use at events, the demand on power outlets is great. Always take a power lead for your device and a LONG extension lead (this means you can share one plug amongst many devices – great for charging phones, laptops etc at the same time).

Internet Connection

Vital if you are going to live blog, tweet or in any way cover the event online.
In the days before the event, check with the venue/event organisers if there will be free wifi available and that you will be able to use it. Don’t rely on 3G (especially in old buildings where often traditional mobile coverage tends to drop off).

If there is no wifi available invest in a 3G dongle (although often these struggle in old buildings / internal rooms).

If you are worried, try to visit the venue ahead of the event to check internet coverage. This gives you time to solve any issues.

 

There are several ways you can cover an event – a straight forward article written after the event for online or print, social media updates (eg Twitter, or Google+), web streaming, audio capturing and live blogging

As with any form of reporting, preparation is key. However, with live blogging especially, ANYTHING you can do to make your job a bit easier once the event gets underway, the better.

Live Blogging

If you are using a live blogging tool such as CoverItLive  – save as MUCH content in the tool library as you can:

  • photographs of speakers
  • build a quick contact sheet for each of them, with Twitter links, websites etc which you can paste in when they begin talking
  • links to statements, policies, etc.
  • running orders
  • presentations – easy to embed and link to with tools like SlideShare.

A few other ideas:

If you are there with other reporters, get them to take pictures from different parts of the event and tweet them with a #hashtag. You can then add these into the live blog stream …

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020