#teamDTW Social Media Video

All off to Meerkat?

Live streaming is one of those technologies social has had a hard time harnessing for its own uses. Yes, Skype and Facetime exist for video chats and have achieved the biggest market saturation and name recognition while apps like Viber offer similar options – there has been little in the way of live streaming just for social.

Google have made a good fist with Hangouts On Air, allowing 10 people at a time to take part in a video chat. It will also link to YouTube allowing an unlimited number of people to watch the stream but it somehow doesn’t feel as instantaneous.

Enter #Meerkat. A new app for the iPhone and iPad, Meerkat crosses video chat with the disposability of Snapchat letting the user live stream from their device to their friends or anybody with a link while it is streaming. Once the stream has finished then that’s it, over, gone – literally watch it live or not at all. The technology isn’t new but the opportunity to reach the audience through Twitter with its proven ability to spread trending items quickly is.

Less than a month old, Meerkat is already getting a lot of attention – particularly from media organisations, journalists and savvier brand-builders like Gary Vaynerchuk – who realise it’s a cost effective way to reach a potentially huge audience quickly.

This implication has been grasped by Twitter who bought a rival service, Periscope, and has immediately sought to limit Meerkat’s ability to use its service. The fierceness of this competition, literally only weeks after one was launched shows that they understand the potential free, widely accessible video has.

Smart brands and agencies will already be thinking about what they can stream, (or Meerkat or Periscope – you can tell how successful a service is by the time it takes to become an adjective) especially when tools to embed and curate the streams become available. #TeamDTW have already been experimenting with Meerkat so watch this space!

Sadly, this could have been the killer app Google Glass needed to become a mainstream success – the tech equivalent of Charles Goodyear shutting his tyre factory because of low sales the week before Henry Ford launched his Model T.

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Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable
Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable
Creativity is intelligence having fun
Creativity is intelligence having fun
A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge
A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge
New streets should be Twitter friendly and be named with hashtags up front. I'd build a house on #LoversLane
New streets should be Twitter friendly and be named with hashtags up front. I’d build a house on #LoversLane
I'm going to keep going until I succeed
I’m going to keep going until I succeed

We’re celebrating #WorldBookDay at DTW with a selection of our favourite literary quotes.   It was a tough process whittling them down from our huge list of suggestions we put together.

We think the quotes we’ve selected above reflect what we look for in team members – tenacity, curiosity and intelligence. As a team we like to do enjoy what we do and make sure we know what the next big thing is for our clients and ourselves.

Feel free to share these with your friends or share your own favourite quotes with us @DTW_agency or #TeamDTW on Twitter!

#teamDTW Photo Social Media

What wearable are you in this season?

So farewell, for now, Google Glass.

Reports of its death are quite understated – it’s dead in the same way that a caterpillar entering a cocoon is dead – it is merely metamorphosing into a lean, slicker, more public and battery-friendly version which unlike its ancestors rise and assumed fall, will not launch until it’s 100% ready.

Naysayers will claim Glass has been an expensive failure, a very public flop but I would counter that it’s actually been the most successful public beta trial of a tech product ever. The technical and consumer behavioural lessons learned will be invaluable for when Google Glass 2 is unveiled. Sony is about to launch its own line of wearable eyewear with the launch of its SmartEyeGlass devices so it’s very much a sector that is growing before our eyes, literally.

On the other hand, or wrist, is the emergence of the Smart Watch as the leader in wearable computing at the moment. LG and Sony have been the big players with their Android-based Smartwatch designs with hipster Kickstarter favourite Pebble about to launch a colour version, possibly causing a schism in their digital artisanal following to rival that when Dylan went electric.

All this will pale by comparison when the tech T-Rex drops its foot into the pen this month with the launch of the Apple Watch. Taking up a mere 12 pages in the latest issue of Vogue, the device which will enable the user to fly, walk on water and cure every illness at the tap of an app (if the pre press is to be believed), will put the market back at the centre of public attention but like the original Google Glass, is it ready for primetime?

It’s a big burden of expectation for a device that will only allow the user to play music, track steps, view emails and social media updates and of course, tell the time. At least Glass had the hands free video camera and stills capability.

Apple and Google are betting on cloud computing taking people away from the concept of individual devices and storing information centrally, and allowing us to access data from anywhere. The ubiquity of personal assistant apps like Siri or Google Now is also the key to wearables.

Wearables bring the personalisation of data into everyday life. The Apple Watch is showerproof for a reason. Maybe this is where Google went wrong all along – Google Shower Goggles anybody?

Google Glass in the Shower
Take two wearables into the shower? Not me!
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PR professionals – still journalists’ most important source

The relationship between journalists and public relations went under the microscope today, as CisionUK broadcast a webinar examining how journalists use social media, and engage with PRs. The webinar focused on the findings of Cision’s 4th UK Social Journalism Study.

The results are refreshing. The survey conducted with the help of Canterbury Christ Church University, and which surveyed 466 journalists across the UK, made the key finding that PR professionals are the most important sources for journalists, followed by experts/academics and then other journalists and media outlets.

Source: Cision UK “Social Journalism Study 2015”

Interestingly, journalists valued news and information provided to them by public figures, government officials and the general public much less. It’s clear, when journalists want an informed view on an issue, they turn to professional communicators.

It also demonstrates when reporters need to cut through layers of bureaucracy, management speak and corporate jargon they still turn to PRs – the people who live and breathe communications. Great news for our industry.

But, the way PR agencies contact journalists is changing. As an increasing number of media outlets and journalists embrace social media, more and more of them graze the medium for their stories. Although more than a third of PRs still use the phone to pitch stories the number is falling. In 2013 the phone was used by 59.3% of PRs, but by 2014 that had fallen to 38.6%. 

It’s a big drop and it’s clear that some of those communications are now done using social. The survey supports this shift, with 32.4% of PRs using social media as their primary communication tool in 2014, an increase from 18.5% in 2013.

Our approach – horses for courses – figure out how journalists like to communicate, and engage with them on their favourite channels. That’s what works.

#teamDTW Creative PR Social Media Video

Why ‘Use a professional’ is a campaign that matters in PR as well as with the Law Society

DTW is in the media today, with the focus on our new client The Law Society – we’re delivering a major PR and marketing campaign for it across England and Wales.

The national ‘Use a Professional’ campaign, which is launching across England and Wales this month, is to promote private practice or high street solicitors and encourage people to use their services.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 13.34.43So, if you’re reading this and you need some good service from a solicitor – jump on to the Law Society’s free online Find A Solicitor website, which matches people needing legal advice to qualified professional solicitors in their town or area.

It’s a great project, and the office has been buzzing with ideas and inspiration with #teamDTW spending the summer finalising and testing the creative concepts, travelling around the country shooting videos, working on real-time bidding advertising campaigns and planning creative PR and social media campaigns.

The focus is all about the importance of using a professional solicitor to deliver important services that you need – sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet many of us don’t do it – we’d rather get something done cheap or fast.

Whether we are getting a ‘good’ service is often overlooked.


The legal profession is not alone – as any PR and comms people reading this will already have realised.

Everyone can do PR, right?

Wrong, but professionalism is something that the PR industry is still grappling with. Talk to people at CIPR Council meetings or the more engaged members of the PR community and they get it – we need to be professional in everything we do to deliver a future for the industry – training, evaluation, ethics and professional development.

What we’ve collectively been less good at is demonstrating the huge value that the public relations function can bring to organisations. In an era when reputation has never been so important, we must take this issue and tackle it head on.

That can mean challenging colleagues, superiors and clients when it comes to devising and delivering campaigns that make a difference. We must be relentlessly focused on outcomes, think from a customer perspective and not compromise on quality.

The Government Communication Service, under the watchful eye of Alex Aiken, is doing a great job in showing the way. Those of us operating in the private sector should take note.

Professionalism and expertise isn’t a ‘nice to have’, whether you are getting legal advice, growing your business or delivering challenging behaviour change campaigns, it’s an essential.


Social Media

Apples and Oranges

When you work in an emerging industry such as social media, it can be hard to keep up with industry standard knowledge and accepted practice.

Not just because its practitioners in the main are young, inquisitive and exactly the sort of people who will be challenging the status quo but also because it is so new itself. In PR, you can argue about certain tactics but general strategy is more or less fixed because everybody understands what billboards, newspapers and news bulletins are and what they do. In Social Media, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s the equivalent of a newspaper deciding to print a copy one week then transforming itself into a radio station the following week – the very conventions and rules that the various platforms are built on are changing regularly and practitioners have to be more agile than most to adapt to the constantly shifting sands.

Whether its Facebook changing its algorithm to drastically reduce the number of people who will see a business’ posts unless they pay to have them seen; or Google+ taking posts on a topic and showing them to other users in their search results, or Twitter offering businesses the chance to have their own hashtag featured in the previously sacrosanct trending topics list – Social Media is nothing but fluid.

Which brings us to the point of this post – this infographic from Sumall – highlighting the worst times to post on Social Media. It’s a nice twist on the usual best times to post and I’m sure it’s backed up by various analytics and stats to prove that engagement is lower at those times. That’s not what my gut is telling me though.

Speaking as an individual Twitter user for a second, most of my tweeting and more importantly, checking my lists and tweets is done after 8pm, once the bum is parked on the couch and the kids are firmly secured in their holding cells.  LinkedIn is said to be least busy during the working day, which given the nature of the platform being the most professionally and work focused seems out of place. Tumblr users must party hard because none of them surface before lunchtime and there’s a black window on Pinterest users schedule between 5pm and 7pm.  Is this while the users are off preparing those delicious meals they’ve been pinning and repinning all morning?

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing so while you should use data, big or little, to inform and guide your decisions, the final choice should always be yours.  In fact you could make the counter-argument that if these really are the least busy times for posting then maybe that’s a great opportunity for brands and businesses to get their content out when there’s less noise?

Social Media

US Airways Twitter aflutter!

US Airways have joined the long and growing list of organizations that have had some explaining to do after an inappropriate tweet or post appears on their account.

You can find the story details here but needless to say the story focus quickly moves on from the original error to the response. Once that hacking has been eliminated the company has to face up to the fact that it was an inside job and look at securing the damage as soon as possible.

This can involve locking the account, changing the password and making sure that only trusted sources have access in the minutes, hours and days afterwards when scrutiny of the channel is going to be at its most intense.

Regardless of whose fault it was, people are looking for honesty, transparency and accountability – the most effective social media apologies have been all of these things. Not every instance has to end with a sacking.

In the case of the American Red Cross, more funds ended up being raised for the organization by the beer brand mentioned in the tweet because it was handled sensitively and sensibly. I doubt an identikit corporate responsibility statement stripped of its humanity and humility would have achieved the same response.

Red Cross Tweet

All of these stories underline the key truth of social media company accounts – even though they represent brands, they are run by humans and humans are all as fallible as one another – so if an unfortunate post and its aftermath jumps to the top of your in-tray one rainy day, bear that in mind and act like a human, not a brand.

Social Media

LinkedIn says Goodbye to products & services tabs and Hello to Showcase pages

“I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was, now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it is weird and scary to me. It happened to me, it’ll happen to you too.” – Abraham J Simpson

Grampa Simpson wouldn’t have known that he was talking about the life of a Social Media manager but he pretty much was.  As soon as you get used to the workings of one platforms after it tweaks its processes, algorythms or associated electronic jiggery pokery, then another goes and changes it’s feathers too – in this case LinkedIn.

For a good little while now, LinkedIn let company pages display their products and services in a separate tab on the page – kind of like an online catalog that could then link back to a website or microsite and could also be recommended by grateful and helpful customers. Last week LinkedIn announced that they were doing away with this feature and replacing it with something called ‘Showcase’ pages. (Above)

These pages at first glance look like subpages – the screenshot shows Microsoft’s LinkedIn company page and the Showcase pages they have set up for Office, Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft Lync (me neither). There is a ‘see more’ button underneath but if you scroll to the very bottom of the page (again, me neither) you will see a carousel displaying other Showcase pages a Company Page may have. Microsoft has 12 but you wouldn’t know by looking so I’d expect this feature to be tweaked shortly.

If you click onto a showcase page then this is where things start to get a little confusing. The page looks exactly like a Company Page in its own right – there is a large cover picture at the top, a small description, website link, industry category and even a list of followers. There is a small ‘see more’ button underneath which when clicked displays the ‘home’ Company page and other Showcase pages a brand has but it’s very well hidden.

LinkedIn Showcase Pages

The Showcase page functions exactly as a Company page does with updates that can be liked, commented upon and shared within your own network.

All of which confirms my own initial thoughts that LinkedIn is trying to get into the content publishing and sharing game itself and is trying to make up the ground on Facebook and Google+ by building its own little data-mine of your likes and preferences.  The more you tell it about yourself through your own sharing and posting, the more it will learn about you and tailor future product updates and roll outs towards you, and help make you more visible and viable to it’s corporate client base of recruiters and headhunters.

On a personal level, more and more thought-leaders, celebrities and big names have been given publishing capabilities within LinkedIn, which is a shorter form Blog similar to Medium, which is distinct from a regular post.  Ordinary folks like me have are beginning to receive this capability now, again I suspect with the intention of creating more specific content to let LinkedIn narrow down the kinds of things you’ll be interested in down the line.

I think the departing Products and Services tab will be a loss compared to the current format of Showcase pages. If you are a big corporation like Microsoft, then yes, you have more rationale for setting up these pages but if you are a smaller company or producer, by taking the plunge you risk diffusing your content and messages as right now the onus is very much on the user to go hunting through the Showcase pages of a company to find precisely what they want to know – it’s a lot easier if it’s literally on the same page.

Social Media

Turn the Page?

Another month so there must be another change to Facebook – and this one is more than simply moving the search bar from the right to the left of the screen.

Facebook announced that its Pages are getting a new, more streamlined look but if you manage pages for your organisation or clients, you need to be across what is going to happen.

The biggest change is that the timeline is going down from two columns to one, which means it’s goodbye to highlighted images and videos. Yes, they are making images slightly larger and introducing new fonts and icons,  but it’s not going to have the same visual impact that a highlighted piece of content will.   The timeline is also switching position so it is now on the right with follower information and company information in the left column.

Apps are now hidden away under a tab called ‘More’ – as are personal profiles and other details. They will be accessible but how many fans will take the time to click through and explore without at least a visual reminder?

For page admins, a weekly metrics section has moved to the top right and includes ad data, likes and post reach along with the historic timeline underneath it, Total page likes has moved left under the profile picture but critically the talking about this number has disappeared – raising the importance of page followers and the possibility of another recruiting followers arms race.

Cover images may also need to be adjusted as the page name and category now appear in white text at the bottom of the image and the profile picture itself has moved a little bit higher than before.

It looks like Facebook are attempting to bring their mobile and desktop viewing experiences into closer harmony which is all well and good but does this mean they are prepared to sacrifice fangates and other useful apps to make it happen?

We’ll see.

PR Social Media

CIPR guide to social media monitoring

I’ve spent a bit of time over the last week scanning through the CIPR’s new guide to social media monitoring.

The new guide, which reflect the best practice outlined in the Share This and Share This Too books (a great starting point for social media stuff for the uninitiated) is a really good attempt at ending the confusion about the plethora of monitoring tools and approaches and aligning this activity to real business objectives.

I don’t claim to be a social media guru (and don’t trust many who do) but anyone working in PR and comms who is still in denial about the power and influence needs to wake up and smell the coffee.  More often than not, the problem comes with senior management who are reluctant to harness the power of social media because they are terrified of losing control.

To me they are missing the point – social media gives you the opportunity to listen to and learn from the conversations about your brand or organisation that in the past you just didn’t know about – any hotel that doesn’t monitor and respond to reviews (good and bad) on Trip Advisor or council that ignores feedback on twitter is just sticking its head in the sand and will suffer as a result.

What business doesn’t want honest feedback from its customers? The core three-step approach of listen, engage and influence highlighted in the guide is a good starting point to anyone still unsure how to begin engaging.