Posted tagged ‘SMCSYD’

How not to do social media

1 December 2010

As my friends can attest, I’m a big Socceroos fan.

Socceroos fan

I grew up playing football (aka soccer) and although a few different codes compete for my attention in my home town, the World Game is the one I truly care about.

It was to my great joy, therefore, that the national administrators of the sport comprehensively revamped the local league several years ago. I think it’s fair to say the previous administration was widely perceived as incompetent, so it was no surprise when it was scrapped. The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) was born, and in 2005 the A-League kicked off.

Side note: I wasn’t the only one scratching my head when West Sydney wasn’t a founding club. Maybe it was a sign of things to come.

Around this time I was getting into Facebook. I had become a “fan” of a couple of other sports clubs (eg Wests Tigers) when I noticed there was no Facebook page dedicated to the Australian national football team. So, being the passionate fan that I am, I started one.

In no time I had attracted over 10,000 fans. I dutifully sent out updates for upcoming matches, and I even provided the details of local TV coverage for fans who couldn’t attend in person.

This went along swimmingly until I got a message from Facebook HQ telling me that I had no rights over the page and my administration access was suspended. The message said I could submit an appeal outlining why I should be granted access, which I did on the basis of the page being a “fan” page. I even suggested that the title of the page be changed to “Fans of the Socceroos”. Naturally I staked no claim whatsoever to any IP such as the Socceroos logo.

Lo and behold, Facebook never replied.

What can I deduce from this? Obviously some clever dick in the FFA had the bright idea of jumping on the Facebook bandwagon – and the easiest way to do this was to hijack the fan page that I had lovingly curated.

The irony is I would gladly have handed them the reins if only they had the professionalism to ask.

But they didn’t. Suffice to say it left a bad taste in my mouth.

A different approach

The sorry affair was a faded memory as I watched Grace Gordon from Soap Creative present at last month’s SMCSYD.

Bubble O' Bill ice creamGrace was busting social media myths when she mentioned a brand that piqued my interest: Bubble O’ Bill.

For those of you who are not aware, Bubble O’ Bill is an ice cream that was first launched in the US in the 1980s, but achieved peculiar success in Australia soon after.

In 2009, customer Nick Getley liked the brand so much he created a Bubble O’ Bill page on Facebook that – at the time of writing – has 844,276 fans!

Switched On Media tells us how it came about:

The history of the Bubble O' Bill fan page

It is the penultimate sentence that resonates with me:

Overwhelmed by the warm support for this Aussie icon, Streets Ice Cream contacted Nick and offered to work with him to make the page official.

Take a bow, Streets. You approached social media in the spirit that was intended, and now you are reaping the rewards.

The difference between right and wrong

So what does this have to do with e-learning?

Well, as time goes by, e-learning is increasingly converging with social learning through social media. The two marketing cases outlined above teach us that when we implement a social media strategy, there is a right way and a wrong way.

The right way is to be inclusive, collaborative and supportive. If you empower your champions to follow their passion, they will lead the charge on your behalf.

The wrong way is to be draconian, faceless and isolationist. If you burn your champions, you will lose your allies.

The proof of the pudding

So to conclude, let’s compare fan bases.

The fan bases of the Socceroos and Bubble O' Bill pages on Facebook (01/12/10)

The Socceroos, the pride of a nation, has 144,378 fans on Facebook.

Bubble O’ Bill, the ice cream cowboy with a bubblegum nose, has 844,276 fans on Facebook.

Whose social media strategy will you adopt?

UPDATE 05/04/16: Upon learning of my story, the FFA’s recently appointed Head of Digital & Fan Engagement, Rob Squillacioti, reached out to me. Although my unfortunate experience occurred before his appointment to the FFA, as a gesture of goodwill he offered me a couple of tickets to the upcoming Australia vs Greece match in Sydney. I accepted Rob’s offer and look forward to cheering for the Socceroos.

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I stand corrected

8 November 2010

I wasn’t impressed at this month’s SMCSYD meeting.

I mean, it was professionally organised and delivered as always, but I just didn’t buy into what the presenters were saying.

The topic was How can social media analysis help predict results? and several highly regarded social media strategists recounted their work in mining Twitter and other online forums leading up to the Australian election.

The central message was: Look, there are heaps of voters on Twitter. If we can sample their sentiment, and combine that data with how well we think the two major parties are campaigning online, we should be able to predict who will win the election.

Twitter birdI didn’t just scoff, I tweeted:

I don't know about this. Most twitterati are staunchly leftwing. Will twitter use really affect their votes?

My rationale was that if most people on Twitter lean heavily to the left, so will their vote, and nothing stated or debated on Twitter will change that. Therefore the Twittersphere is not representative of the broader citizenry, so any analysis of it will be redundant.

Someone following the #smcsyd hashtag politely challenged my assumption that most Twitterati are staunchly leftwing. Fair enough, but when a photo of Tony Abbot in his budgie smugglers elicited sneers and giggles from the audience, I knew I was on the right track.

Then something unexpected happened… one of the presenters showed us how his analysis predicted an even result. This is impressive not only because I didn’t see it coming, but also because the election result was so tight that it produced a hung Parliament.

Whooshka!

How did that happen?!

Was Tony Abbot’s online engagement so effective that it shored up his stats against the lefty chatter? No – the presenters claimed his social media campaign was poor.

In that case, if my assumption was correct, the analysis should have predicted a landslide victory for Labor. The fact it didn’t happen could only mean one thing: my assumption was wrong.

Ass

OK, I decided to take a dose of my own medicine and collect some facts. So I ran a strawpoll comprising one simple question:

How left-wing or right-wing are you?

I provided five response options on a Likert scale: Very Left, Left, Center, Right or Very Right.

With some retweeting help from my twiends, I received a grand total of 20 responses. Not very scientific, I know, but here are the results nonetheless:

Strawpoll results: Very Left 10%, Left 35%, Center 15%, Right 40%, Very Right 0%

As you can see, my tiny sample of the Twitterati is uncannily balanced. Not only does a substantial proportion of the population consider itself politically centered, but a large proportion considers itself right-wing.

So why did I think the Twitterati were a bunch of tree-hugging GMF-fearing border-opening closet communists?

Upon reflection, I think one reason is that the only political tweets I ever seem to see are left leaning. Why that is the case, I do not know. It might just be coincidence.

Another reason, however, is that the Q&A TV show seems to televise mostly left-wing tweets. Heaven forbid I accuse Australia’s ABC of bias, although others more illustrious than me have done so in the past. More likely Q&A attracts a strong left-wing following, and I suppose that subconsciously influenced my view of the Twitterati in general.

Cartoon straightening out the left bias of the ABC's Bananas in Pyjamas

Anyway, something that one of the SMCSYD presenters said that I whole-heartedly agree with is that the Twittersphere is a niche demographic.

This view is supported by the analysis which isolated the hottest subjects of discussion as being the National Broadband Network and the proposed Internet Filter. Of course people who spend time online are going to have a heightened interest in these issues.

So while the rest of the public probably couldn’t care less, Twitter is clearly an important battleground in the war that is politics.

Pollies take note!