Social Intelligence Information about the use of social media in PR


Digital Direct Marketing

Direct marketing encompasses all forms of marketing communicated straight to the consumer, via a range of advertising and communication techniques. This can include: mobile messaging, online adverts, email and now, even social media.

Direct marketing may be the bugbear of many; no one likes spam, but now-a-ways, there are lots of effective filtering programs to block it out and there are now regulations in place that make it much harder. Direct marketing is regulated by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations. Regulations state it is illegal to send un-solicited emails unless in specific circumstances. Therefore, consumers need to first be interested in a product or service, to be able to contact them.

For businesses however, it can be a powerful way of promoting services or products, as messages can be tailored for specific target audiences. If the sender knows the organisations or individuals on the mailing list are interested in what is on offer, the more successful this medium can be. Social media and direct marketing both focuses on individual networks of people based around a specific passion or interest, for business or pleasure, and can work fantastically well together.

For direct marketing to be successful, it is imperative marketers remember:

Be Relevant: Target the right people, people who are already interested, are already customers or could be. If people already have an interest they are more likely to opt-in. Email can be an effective and economic way of engaging with consumers, if you can get them to request information through this medium. Many e-commerce sites require customers to register before purchasing.

Give Incentives: If you give consumers an incentive to opt-in, they will. Understand what interests them and use that as inspiration. Special discounts, pre-release previews of products, will entice your audience, but you must give them the option to opt-out. This is a legal requirement and if you don’t, you will be breaking the law.

Don’t bombard people: You will only annoy them and make them opt-out. Use user analytics tools to understand what times of the day are best to attract the attention of your target market and communicate with them when they are most likely to be receptive. Put all the information into one document and send it periodically. Once a month, allows enough time for the information to be appreciated properly.

There are many ways you can engage your consumers and prospect, these are only the beginning, but they are certainly a good place to start.



Social Media Audits: The benefits and how to do it.

For those who work in social media and in fact many businesses, the company audit is no stranger to you. Whether it’s a new client or even a blogger you’re considering outreaching to, it is vital to understand everything you can about the subject in question.  Its history, products, markets, USP’s, the structure of the organisation, values and mission statement are all vital pieces of information. What will also put you in good stead for creating an effective strategy for your new client, is an  understanding of brand perception and the internet is the best place to look. Nowadays, all of this information is on the web and with the right tools it is easy to compile a professional and insightful audit, one that will measure online sentiment and brand perception.

The importance of an online audit may have been as imperative as now. MD of Immediate Future, Katy Howell, for the CIPR confirms, “Consumers who engage with companies using social media spend up to 30% more than consumers who don’t.” Not only do these consumers spend more but research conducted by Bain & Company shows that these consumers “are more loyal and emotionally connected than consumers who are not socially connected.” (, 2012)

For many, social media is a scary and alien concept. Many organisations realise it is something they should or need to get into. A common problem is a lack of time and effective social media management can be time consuming. What many don’t realise is that, whether an organisation or agency has incorporating social media into the marketing mix or not, there is already an online conversation going on where people are talking about the brand, products, and are sharing their opinions and experiences of both. Even marketers struggle to grasp the impact of digital marketing. A recent McKinsey Global Survey uncovered: “Marketers are unable to translate analytic results into insight, or identify the right metrics in the first place.” (Yu Lam, C. We Are Social, 2012)

The survey also uncovered “31% of marketers feel that online metrics do not adequately quantify the financial impact digital marketing has generated for their companies. Alarmingly, 24% can’t even understand what these metrics actually measure.” (We Are Social, 2012) The problem with this statement is that there is an abundance of tools online that can deliver results, invaluable insight and provide return on investment.

A simple Google search is a great place to start your audit.

Understanding influence is key and tools such as Alexa are a great starting point. Alexa is simple to use and understand. By entering a URL into the search box, Alexa will give you a traffic rank - the traffic driven to the site, the site’s nationality, how many sites link in to the page, for example by hyperlink, search queries that drove traffic to the site and audience information.

Another simple tool is Google pagerank. This can be downloaded as a browser add-on and will give the site a rating between 1-10 based on how many visitors the site claims.

Tools that enable you to manage communities, monitor consumer comments and response in one place are a fantastic and effective time saver. One of the first and simplest I ever used was HootSuite, which enabled me to do all of the above, for multiple accounts, all in one place.

Sysomos Heartbeat and Map is a brilliant tool for monitoring and evaluating conversation and sentiment insight. Based on specifically selected search terms, it will listen to conversations across social media channels and platforms, which can be sorted and recorded into reports.

These are only a few of the never ending list of tools available. Over the coming weeks I will endeavour to post about individual tools for social media auditing, monitoring and measuring to give a more detailed look at each tool.