Today I have finally managed to get back into this site – something in the log-in system had corrupted.
It was frustrating watching spammy comments get through the filter and I have several posts burning to get out.
So apologies if you’ve been watching/visited and found it wanting: I’m about to redesign – after a few short years the site looks tired and old fashioned – and reorganise – life moves on, and what I did then isn’t what I do now!
So please stay tuned: next week, more shall be revealed!
From memory, I ‘won’ the set of Guinness glasses, mostly on the basis of sharing a Tweet and a Facebook post, having filled in the form (the competition’s ‘entry mechanism’). I was then sent the glasses and encouraged to work harder at sharing to try and win the Irish break.
I love that I won the glasses. my children were excited by the parcel. It was a low entry level initially. The glasses have now gone to a good home, and Guinness undoubtedly won some ‘social mentions’ off the back of the promotion. I opted out of the second part of the competition.
However, with my PR hat on (as a potential organiser of this kind of promotion) I had a few observations on the competition, in the spirit of thinking about how we do these things. I have no ‘inside track’ and if the organisers read this I’d love their thoughts and contributions (in a spirit of shared learning).
1. I entered because I fancied a trip to Ireland. Not because I wanted glasses. I was a bit disappointed by the glasses initially. It felt like a slap in the face – your network isn’t valuable enough! I’m over it, but others may have had the same thought and not voiced it. I think there’s a lesson here around being upfront about the prizes/what will happen in the early stages – if I’d known there were more prizes to be had, I’d still have entered – perhaps more so as the odds of winning something increased! Of course I may be in a minority of one!
2. But if I’d known upfront about the second stage of the promotion, I’d perhaps not have entered. The second stage of the ‘competition’ – asking me to spread more stuff around my ‘social’ network, effectively spamming them, felt like a barrier. It’s not very ‘English’ to bombard your friends to get them to tweet and retweet. And not very sociable. It didn’t feel genuine and ran the risk of upsetting people. I’d done it once to win the glasses. To know the pressure increased half way through would have stopped me entering. So this stage was good for retweets, but bad for goodwill.
3. Asking me to get friends to share the promotion so often also fed into my insecurities – will people like me enough to retweet this? This is a particularly female thing (I recommend Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg for an insight.) As a result, I wonder how many competitions of this type are won by men (‘one of the lads’ rather than women?) I looked for resources online to see if any research had been done. I found little, but did stumble across this interesting piece in Salon.com: Why are men so foolish?
4. I initially found it hard to spot the objective in the competition, but ended up with a mixed bag of thoughts:
- If it was to get more people onto its social media streams, initially I thought I’d have just given out a voucher for a free Guinness/money off to people who followed. You’d rarely go on your own to a bar, so although it lacks the excitement of a competition, there would have been a business benefit to this approach. But of course, the alcohol promotion rules would have prevented this, so maybe this was more reasonable than at first glance. That said, just persuading people to follow directly and tweet about it for a chance to win the trip would have served the purpose just as well, and for less cost.
- I didn’t follow their social media streams. But then I don’t drink Guinness (although I do cook with it occasionally, so I am a potential customer!)
- If it was for SEO, why?
- Brand extension? Is coming from Ireland that big a USP? Maybe in the US it is….
- Brand recognition. Possibly. But without values attached, we’re talking name recognition rather than brand.
5. Because I’d been given something, free, I felt honour bound to write something up about it: thank you, Guinness. Albeit several months later!
Last week I reported on SES London for State of Search. I attended some great sessions including:
- a keynote by Dave Coplin of Microsoft, Future Forward. I’ve heard Dave speak before, and it’s always enjoyable.
- two brilliant talks on B2B video, one by Phil Nottingham and one by Greg Jarboe. As video is something I work with for clients, I loved the advice they gave, and found it both credible and practical.
- a basic introduction to analytics by Dave Rohter with some sound advice for beginners.
- and, close to my heart, website migrations (something I’ve had to manage through, although let me say for the record that my involvement was only in the absence of someone else to do it – I’m not claiming any expertise in the field, and it’s definitely not where my career aspirations lie!).
The wonderful Jackie Hole liveblogged one of the sessions I attended, where Kev Gibbons of BlueGlass and Paul Maddens gave fantastic – and sobering – presentations.
Kev’s talk was music to my PR ears: think about the reader!
Bearing in mind that SES is aimed at search professionals rather than PR people, his talk, naturally, focussed on links. He contends that Google turned turned links into commercial entities, creating some bad behaviour. Google changed the rules to correct this, so today’s metrics need a new look. The real assessment of whether a link has any value is whether it generates traffic to a site. And the assessment of the value of the page is whether people are commenting. And if they’re not, the page needs work!
Google has huge amounts of information. Chrome is now the World’s most widely used browser. It can see how many people are subscribed to the RSS feed. Google + as a verification mechanism is invaluable. Eric Scmidt has alluded to its importance in the context of identity. And Gibbons is staking that in 2013, it becomes an even more important way of establishing identity, with content from the best authors attributed ever greater value.
So in addition to normal metrics, Gibbons suggests that traffic, RSS subscribers, bounce rate, average number of links per post, number of social shares and comments as important. The recipe for success is to focus on the audience experience, on human interaction, on being topical and relevant, helping create a natural, defensible profile. As a PR person, his talk was music to my ears.
(You can see many of the other presentations from SES reported on State of Search, by seaching on the site with the hashtag #SESLon)
I have been shocked – and hurt – by the T-shirt story: T-shirts with ‘Keep Calm and Rape Me’ emblazoned across the front were being sold by a tin pot bunch of T-shirt traders, Solid Gold Bomb, on Amazon.
I’ve seen some ridiculous assertions that the whole thing was created by an algorithm and aren’t we all digitally stupid if we think a real person had a hand in it anywhere? Oh, and it’s just fine for the T-shirt company to simply issue an apology.
Sorry, but no!