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This is a really interesting post, Howie (aside from the kudos, for which I thank you wholeheartedly). It's funny, as I've a half written post on this topic following those discussions.
In essence, I agree with you. From a black and white viewpoint, if you can't identify the money, then why invest in social, right? BUT...as you yourself say, there is a value in brand campaigns and reputation (not image) building. The entire PR industry is built around reputation creation and management. And I don't believe it's black and white.
Brands/companies invest in social for many different reasons. Where I do entirely agree is in how they/their agencies represent results. Creativity is great. Things that catch the eye and the hearts and minds of consumers are wonderful. But that's only half the story. The reason I include ROI metrics wherever I can (and I've done some great stuff that I have no ROI metrics for) is that I try and insist on at least SOME data.
But listen, take ME as an example.
So I'm now an independent consultant after years of working agency-side. Since I went independent demand has been huge and that is SOLELY down to social media: people I've met online and the network I've built in the last few years. I've done no marketing at all yet.
But how do I measure ROI on that? I can't give you any kind of meaningful metrics on it, but I 100% know it works. For me personally (and my business) does social media have an ROI? Definitely. Can I measure it? No.
3 weeks, 3 days ago on Why Return on Investment (ROI) is Important
Can I just say what an amazingly awesome post this is, Gini. People 'talk' about transparency in business, but very few demonstrate it. And yet here, with the words on this page, you're showing the world how to do it. You're advertising for a job for someone who's leaving! That's hugely admirable, I have to say.
I compare it to my recent experience of setting up independently and not only having to work out my three month notice period, but being effectively barred from talking about it to anyone!
And Lindsay, best of luck finding something. I don't doubt it'll turn up very, very soon, especially with this kind of thing to help you. Be sad to see you go though.
3 weeks, 6 days ago on Losing a Valuable Team Member is Hard
@ginidietrich Maybe we're talking slightly different things, but for me a content calendar is something fairly detailed and granular. That's distinctly different from knowing what's going on in your organisation and planning accordingly. For me, one is strategic, the other is tactical.
I published the post I mentioned here, which hopefully expands on this a little: http://paulsutton.co/2015/01/16/time-binned-content-calendar/
And there was also a great debate on Facebook about it, here: https://www.facebook.com/thepaulsutton/posts/10205388107078888?pnref=story
1 month, 1 week ago on An Editorial Calendar Equals Lots of Content from One Idea
This is probably predictable, @ginidietrich, but I disagree with you.
I've had a half-finished blog post sat in my drafts since the new year asking whether it's time to bin content calendars. I'll finish it and post tomorrow.
But essentially, I question the value of any form of content calendar beyond having a strategy that enables you to have an idea of what you're producing content around, but continuously pivoting and adjusting as you go. For me it's about 'feel'.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on An Editorial Calendar Equals Lots of Content from One Idea
Personally, I love vanity metrics. And buying Twitter followers. They make me look good. And anything that makes me look good is all just fine and dandy by me :)
3 months ago on 2015 Social Media Predictions
I'm not sure about this one. It seems to me that there has to be more to it and that, until we know what that is, it's unfair to judge SWA on what did or did not happen.
The act of asking a tweet to be deleted is largely pointless, as we all know. And why that should make any difference to whether someone should or should not fly is odd. But we don't even know what the content of that tweet was.
At the end of the day, since 9/11 you HAVE to take the potential risks of flying seriously. If the guy represented a security threat with whatever he said, then he HAD to be taken off the plane. The odd thing to me is letting him back on.
Like I say though, I think it's unfair to judge until we know the full story from both sides.
6 months, 3 weeks ago on Social Listening Gone Wrong: Southwest Polices Tweets
@Danny Brown As an idle aside, just wondered whether this incident was, at least partly, behind the shift in your blogging?
7 months, 3 weeks ago on The Moments We Do Not Take
Wow, man. I'm late to reading this but I'm glad I did.
I know the feeling all too well. A couple of years back when Izzy was probably about 2 I broke her collar bone. I still feel guilty about it to this day even though it was an accident and even though there was no lasting damage. But, as you say, a) it could have been a lot worse, and b) the guilt of hurting your little girl is crippling.
We'd been playing a silly little game where I was lifting her under her arms up into the air and then dropping her, catching her about a foot off the ground. Bearing in mind I'm over 6 feet tall and was lifting her as high as I could, she was probably dropping for about 5 feet before I caught her. Stupid, huh?
Anyway, this had been going on for a few minutes but I'd started to tire. A 2 year old's heavy! I should have called it a day, but thought 'just a couple more' as she was laughing so much. It only took one 'miss' and she tumbled out of my grip, landing on her shoulder on our wooden floor.
Fortunately, kids are tough and resilient. There were lots of tears and she slept very badly that night. Michelle took her to the docs the following day and, after an X ray I had a call at work to say she'd fractured her collar bone. I felt physically sick. I still do now if I think about that moment.
But to cut a long story short, she recovered fine. But I did and do think 'what if she'd tumbled just a bit more and landed on her head?'
I guess what I'm saying, mate, is that 'it happens'. Kids are kids and dads are dads. I'm really glad that Salem is OK, and try not to beat yourself up about it too much.
@Danny Brown Can of worms is about right. Except this is more like a barrel full. There are so many ethical and moral implications it hurts your head to think about them.
8 months, 1 week ago on What Does the Right to Be Forgotten Mean to You?
@ginidietrich The days I left nightclubs in a drunken stupor were LONG before t'internet :) I guess my big questions revolve around the criteria, how you prove things and how it's policed. Doesn't make a lot of sense at the moment, I don't think.
@belllindsay Hmmm...fair point. Although to be honest, I'm in Europe - I'll just get it cleansed :)
Take your point, Gini, but...why on earth do you/women even WANT to be like men?! Let them/us brag and shout; maybe women don't need to? I don't necessarily agree that women have and are not becoming more empowered. Quiet confidence wins every time in my book. The meek shall inherit the earth and all that.
You may feel in the shadow of Mr D, but you're one of the strongest women I know, whether or not you believe that. You project an image to women everywhere of confidence and success without HAVING to brag about it. That's a brilliant example and I for one admire you for it. I wish men were more like that.
THAT is why women ARE already awesome. Just saying...
10 months ago on Women Can’t Be Awesome: What’s Really the Root of the Problem
Yeah, bit selfish of you really. Could have shown you around the village of Downton Abbey fame too... :)
On a more serious note though, thought the book was great. And with this community of loonies behind you, I think you'll hit your 10,000 target this week. If anyone can, you can.
11 months ago on Spin Sucks (the Book) is Here!
luck from the other side of the pond @ginidietrich ! Have blogged a review today (http://wp.me/p2zpIm-rX) so
will do my best to get some UK traffic to Amazon for you! Feel a bit
isolated sitting in Oxford though :o/
@RobBiesenbach Really? Is it some kind of in-joke among the power players? How come you've not been invited, Gini?!
11 months, 1 week ago on Why We Won’t Shut Off Blog Comments
Personally (and hey, WTF do I know?!) I didn't really swallow Copyblogger's rationale for doing this. Something didn't really ring true in the explanation. For a site like Copyblogger, or Spin Sucks for that matter, it sounds like blogicide.
As you well know and have openly stated on many occasions, Spin Sucks is all about the community that exists within the blog. Sure, the outposts in G+ or Facebook or wherever are great. But split this community into different platforms and you'll lose the 'community'.
Maybe Copyblogger doesn't really have a 'community' in the true sense of the word? It may get lots of comments (spam or not), but that doesn't translate into community. So that'd be my guess on it.
And for what it's worth, I thought Mark Schaefer's post on this was pretty good too: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/03/26/eliminating-comments/
I'm a bit late to the party on this one, Gini, but I completely agree. Also read that post by Jason and went through the same thought process (and meant to write a post, but never got round to it!).
Only last week I had an open conversation with a major client (a large corporate) who essentially implored me to keep not only measuring vanity metrics like Facebook fans and Twitter followers, but to keep them increasing. He basically told me that even thought he didn't believe in these as true measures and appreciates the direction we're trying to lead them in (looking at metrics that have more value to them as a business), the vanity stuff is what the guys at the top understand and look for when it comes to social comms. They put pressure on him according to those metrics, which gets passed on to us.
So yes, we can (and must) keep trying to educate clients and move them to more valuable measures, but until such time as there's no longer a demand for vanity metrics they are, as you rightly say, a 'necessary evil'. And there's not a lot of point in fighting it in my opinion.
11 months, 1 week ago on Vanity Metrics in PR May Be a Necessary Evil
On it. Done it. You've got to be in it to win it... :) Besides which, it'd be my pleasure.
1 year ago on Become a Spin Sucks Brand Ambassador
This is fantastic, @ginidietrich. Can I come and work for you?!
The implementation of a 'no work at weekends' policy is great, and something I try and adhere to with my team unless there's something that NEEDS to be done. And I love the idea of unlimited paid leave. Now THAT is adventurous. I'm interested: how much leave do people actually take, given they can take as much as they want?
1 year ago on The Power of Time Off
Kudos for posting your annual goals publicly, @ginidietrich! Not sure I've got the balls to do that.
I checked mine last week and am ashamed to say I'm carrying most of them forward (with minor tweaks) to this year. Not sure if the fact we found out Michelle was pregnant about two weeks after I made them is a genuine reason for the lack of achievement or just an excuse!
1 year, 1 month ago on 2014 Business and Personal Goals
I feel compelled to point out that us Brits do not in any way whatsoever speak like the accent in the Bustle vid. That's all. Thank you and goodnight.
2 years, 1 month ago on Gin and Topics: Pranks, Public Dancing, and Ballet
I'd never really thought of things this way until we spoke, Paul. But reading this piece it seems almost inevitable that the successful blogs will be incorporated within 'media empires'. I'm not sure what form that takes exactly or what the implications of that would be for the independent guys (or the content of the blogs that become owned), but it could be that @ginidietrich does become a gazillionaire soon by selling 'ownership' of SpinSucks to a new media corporation of one type or another. I've always liked you Gini... :)
Are platforms like Howwwl the answer? I don't know that either, but I really like what you're doing and think there's a real future for community-based platforms organised around content streams.
[Full disclosure: I've recently been working with Paul and the team at Howwwl]
2 years, 2 months ago on What’s Next for Media Democratization?
@ginidietrich In what way, Gini? I know we chatted briefly about platforms like Howwwl and the trends in media consumption that Paul's covered here, but what specifically has got your brain whirring?
Totally agree with everything you say here. I've been pondering this since you asked the question actually, and came to the exact same conclusion. I find relationships upheld purely through Twitter to be a lot more superficial; it's not that people are necessarily more guarded, but that you don't really get to know a lot about a person in brief 140 character soundbites.
Over the last year or two I've been doing the same as you and trying to connect with more people I've met (and like) on Twitter through Facebook (like yourself, for example). I feel that I get to see more of a person's personality in Facebook and get more of a sense of that person. Which is great. I can divide up who sees what content using Lists, and connect more deeply with the people I want to. Twitter's great for what it is - an information resource - but the old adage of "it's all about the conversation" just isn't so true anymore.
In fact, I wrote a post on this exact topic in March 2011 called 'The Cool Kids Play on Twitter But the Masses Play on Facebook': http://futurecomms.co.uk/2011/03/30/the-cool-kids-play-on-twitter-but-the-masses-play-on-facebook/
And finally....FacetwitinterestInsquare+ IS the big thing for 2013. You heard it here first...
2 years, 2 months ago on Reflections on Change: Why I Left Twitter for Facebook
Personally, I'd just give you kudos for trying to do it differently. I can understand, when you talk non-retainer and results, some prospects looking at you like you're ever so slightly insane...hell, it's YOU after all, @ginidietrich ;) But then I'd guess at the end of the day that maybe those guys aren't the clients you really want to be working with anyway?? I'm sure there are plenty out there who appreciate the different approach.
2 years, 2 months ago on The True Art of PR is Combining Creativity with Results
I agree with everything you say here, Mrs Catfish. Well OK, to a point (you know I don't do 'full agreement'). I'm fully behind the call for creativity, but in my experience there's sometimes an issue getting that creativity from the Powerpoint it's presented to the client on out into the world. I agree there's a divide when it comes to large and small clients, but I don't think it's got anything to do with budget. It seems to be (as a generalisation) that larger clients are simply more open to more creative, interesting and risky work.
Many SMEs (not all) LOVE the ideas on paper but then baulk when it comes to implementation. So you're contracted because of your creativity and then end up doing run-of-the-mill projects that have far lesser elements of creativity. There are exceptions, obviously, and we're working with one challenger brand at the moment that is getting fully behind some out-there stuff. But I do see it a lot.
And that's REALLY frustrating. I don't necessarily believe that creativity is lacking among PR people (at least the ones I know) and I think it's unfair to tarnish them/us with this. But equally, I don't have an answer as to how to circumvent (is that even a word?!) this issue.
2 years, 2 months ago on Bah Humbug! New Study Shows PR Industry Lacks Creativity
I totally agree, @magriebler I understand storytelling, you understand storytelling and @ginidietrich (probably :) ) understands storytelling. But the library thing (love that!) illustrates perfectly what I mean. As a term for what we do or what it means in a marketing context, it's BS. Although I may now change my job title from Head of Social Comms to Head of Storytelling just for laughs...
2 years, 5 months ago on Self-Hating PR Pros and the Change in Industry
@ginidietrich I think it's the spin thing that I don't like either. Got a half written post of my own on this topic. I recently did a competitor analysis for our agency and discovered that, virtually without exception, agencies (in the UK who I surveyed) refer to storytelling in one method or another. Whether it's website or blog or Twitter or whatever. I don't think clients know what it means (hell, half of the PR industry don't know what it means) and it just smacks of bullshit. We ourselves are working on a different way of expressing this. It might take some time...
Interesting. You're not alone in ditching the term 'PR', although I think there's still a very strong resistance from most agencies to moving away from it. PR is, after all, what they've always done. Where do they sit if they're not a PR agency? And more to the point, prospective clients (at least in the UK) still search for PR agencies, not comms agencies.
That said, I'm totally with you on this. For me, the term 'PR' is now almost derogatory because of the implications of what it means, which you point out eloquently above. It's such a limiting descriptor that, personally speaking, I never use and hate it when my agency does.
But I think the same goes for the term 'storytelling' and the description of what we do as 'telling stories'. As a term, it's meaningless. It has connotations of sitting in a classroom talking to 5 year olds. It's the latest, greatest buzzword. And I don't think it's doing our industry any favours. Or is that just me?
I'm a tad late to the party with this comment (hey, I've had a baby - give me a break!) but I'm somewhat ashamed to say I've never read Groundswell. That said, after reading MITR it went straight to the top of my list. Well, along with Deirdre's latest book and Social Media ROI (which I've had a copy of for 6 months and STILL haven't read). Never seem to have (or make) the time to read books anymore. Maybe I read too many blogs? Hmmm...
2 years, 6 months ago on Get Your Summer Reading On While You Still Can
I've got to say, Danny, if I was this joker I'd be shitting bricks right about now. I'm not normally one for name and shaming, but in this instance, fuck it. Name...shame...sue...
2 years, 7 months ago on Facebook Hacking and the Value of Social Currency
You and your freaking Pinterest! :) Seriously though, good to see a grounded, common sense and BIG PRINT case study of simple use of analytics to demonstrate ROI. Nice one.
2 years, 7 months ago on How to Measure PR and Social Media Results
And I so need to start a Twitter list called 'Not Sheep'.
2 years, 7 months ago on What Makes You Different?
@amysept Complex indeed, and extremely hard work. I find myself waxing and waning between the two all the time. I know where I WANT to be and where I naturally feel comfortable - questioning, probing, challenging. Asking 'why?' as much as my 3 year old daughter. And yet doing so (at least, on an ongoing basis) is isolating and can be lonely. Finding like-minded people on that basis is hard work. As @bellindsay says below, there's a very fine balance.
Loved finding this post. Thanks for writing it!
@wabbitoid Thanks very much. I love the screwdriver analogy and the words "jamming a phillips into the slot won't do". May well be adopting that myself :o) I think that a lot of people pay lip service to social media as tools and will even say so to clients and peers, but when it comes down to it, show them something new and they're all over it like a rash. I genuinely don't believe that many...maybe MOST comms pros actually UNDERSTAND what 'social media is just a tool'really means...
2 years, 11 months ago on #FollowFriday: Paul Sutton
@Anthony_Rodriguez See, now I'm going to have to start arguing just for the sake of it :o)
@HowieSPM @belllindsay @ginidietrich @shonali I feel like I'm in an episode of The Twilight Zone...
@ginidietrich It's not like you to be smug. Oh, hang on... :o)
By the way, I don't understand civil discourse. Had to Google it...
@Sean McGinnis @ginidietrich I was under the impression is was just you and me, Sean...
Thanks @ginidietrich What a totally unexpected but very wonderful surprise. A week before the big FOUR-OH and I've achieved a life-long (ish) ambition with a Spin Sucks #FollowFriday. I can now retire a happy man.
Being your nemesis is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I mean, I know for a stone-cold fact that every single time I go up against you I'm going to lose. But if it creates debate and makes people think, I'll continue to be the fall guy.
Thanks again, Gini. Feeling very humbled right now.
@belllindsay See @ginidietrich , I'm not the only one who thinks Pinterest sucks... :o) Thanks Lindsay - although my wife hates that picture, believe it or not.
@ginidietrich @Shelley Pringle Thanks Shelley. I'm intending running the post I talked to you guys about on FutureComms next week. Was planning on early this week but time ran away. The one you've got hold of is opinions of the BOTTLE crew, so not quite your own more, um, outrageous thoughts... I'll let you know when it goes live :o)
Totally agree with the sentiment of this post, Danny. Great stuff.
BUT...in the name of dissention, doesn't everyone like to believe they're loyal? I mean, challenge 1000 people to read this post and ask the question of themselves 'am I loyal to my employees/ employer/ colleagues?' and I'd put money on 1000 of them saying yes (or close to). The point being, people will read this and relate it to how they're treated, not how they treat others as they'll already believe they're doing the things you recommend. I might be wrong, but what do you think? Am I just being cynical?
2 years, 12 months ago on If You Want Fierce Loyalty, You Need To Be Fiercely Loyal First
I have something else to throw into this debate at this juncture (and sorry I've now been here to put my side across over the last few hours - I do value sleep and even now it's only 5am in the UK!).
So this was raised in a conversation about this debate on Google+. I'd started to wonder whether there was a huge divide in usage of Pinterest across the Atlantic, as all of the stories I've been reading about genuine business value and, particularly, massive adoption among 'the public' (eg non geeks) simply do not make any sense in a UK context. In the UK there is talk of Pinterest, but this is mostly driven by the hype in the tech/social media blogs - there's very, very little in the way of people using it for much or understanding why they're using it if they are! But Gwen Morrison posted this gem, a map of how popular it is around the world: http://www.appappeal.com/maps/pinterest/ .
It explains a lot. In the US, Pinterest is the 30th most popular site. In Canada it's the 74th. And yet in the UK it's only the 149th. There is traditionally a lag of take up in most social media platforms between the US and the UK, largely because the vast majority come out of the States. (Other than Spotify, which we had for about 2 years before you guys...mwah-ha-haaaaa!) Given this, it's no wonder that there is such a marked difference between my opinion and that of Miss @ginidietrich
3 years, 1 month ago on The Pinterest Debate Between Two Friends
@ginidietrich For 'bad roofs' and 'how your roof is leaking'? Isn't that stretching the point just a tad?!
@belllindsay Thank you! At last a voice of reason! :o) As you say, it's very niche (from a marketing standpoint as well as a user standpoint) at present, and unless that changes I just can't see any long-term or wider benefit from a comms perspective. It's early days, so it may yet develop in a slightly new direction, but at present, nice try but no cigar...
@LinkYeah Thanks for the comment. I agree that many businesses embrace new tools out of fear. And I'm far from convinced that's a good thing. They hype that goes along with, admittedly, promising new platforms like Pinterest is amazing, but I feel it can lead to a lot of wasted time and effort. If the novelty hasn't worn off in a few months, then yes I'll completely concede the point to @ginidietrich ...but not until then... :o)
@ginidietrich@BestRoofer You see, I think 'wait and see' makes complete and utter sense. I see far too many people and companies jumping on 'the latest big thing' with no idea whatsoever what they're doing or, more to the point, why they're doing it. It's the over-hyping of everything by people like us that causes it!
@Danny Brown I also revelled in the G+ app for a little while for no other reason than I could :o)
3 years, 6 months ago on Enough With The Opt-Out BS, Klout