Archive for the ‘United Kingdom’ Category


3 Ways Corporate Britain Can Improve Its Reputation Online

In United Kingdom on August 14, 2011 by @LauraEWilson Tagged: , ,

Today many of the most successful global brands have recognized that what they’re really selling is an experience. Years ago an “experience” in a business could only take place in person such as  in a store or restaurant or perhaps on the phone when ordering through a 1-800 number. Now (the smart) companies are trying to figure out how to give this same exceptional experience online through social media tools.

Many British corporations are way behind the curve in terms of providing an exceptional customer experience through social media. A new study by Conversocial, a company that provides companies with social media management, tracked  how well the top retailers in the UK use social media to engage with customers and it revealed some cringe worthy  results.

The Conversocial study tracked the level of customer service across social media networks among the top 10 “liked” companies on Facebook. Topshop  the most followed retailer in the UK and River Island  the second most followed company both had the worst track record of dealing with customer queries and complaints.

Customers who use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter for complaints can vent their frustration and issues with a company to thousands of people with one comment. It can spread like a wildfire of dissatisfaction everywhere if companies don’t respond appropriately.  Burying  your head in the sand and hiding from complaints only exacerbates the problem. Even if the product you sell is amazing, if your service and interaction with those online is horrible or non existent, your customers won’t be your customers for long. British company’s must learn to engage with these customers appropriately. Here are three ways that British corporations can improve the way they handle interactions with customers online.

1. Respond in Realtime

The beauty  of social media is that it allows a company to respond instantly and offer a solution or at the very least follow-up with additional questions about the problem. A great case study for customer service through social media is Boingo. Boingo online customer service representatives scan the web for mentions of the Boingo brand and reach out to customers that are offering both negative and positive feedback. Boingo finds people reporting or complaining about technical issues and often offers to connect by e-mail and fix the problem. If someone says something positive about Boingo you will often see a retweet or note of thanks in a sincere, non-corporate tone.

2. Be Human

This brings us to the next tip for corporate Britain which is to use a human voice. Customer service is about connecting in a sincere, human-like manner and this can be difficult to portray through something like social media that is faceless and when done poorly can lack a personal feel. Companies that do this well will have repeat customers who probably aren’t coming back for the product as much as they’re coming back for the service and the experience. A lot of this simply comes from empowering employees who speak on the company’s behalf on social media to use their best judgment. The reality is that with social media it’s in your employees hands to do what they think is best for the customer and for the company. No one wants a generic response that was sent to the masses. Let your social media representatives online personalize their responses.

3. Up The Wow Factor

If every single mention or comment of your brand online is negative you’ve probably got bigger problems than your social media strategy. Most likely not every comment about your brand online is negative. When an opportunity to reach out to a happy customer is there it is in the company’s interest to reinforce this positive experience. Sometimes it is the simplest act  that breeds customer loyalty.  Virgin Atlantic saw that I was tweeting about leaving for London and flying on their airline so they took a moment to wish me a happy trip. When a popular brand takes 30 seconds to do an act as simple as wishing their customer a great trip they will make a memorable impact on their customer. Will a simple tweet make me a Virgin customer for life? Maybe not but it made me a happy customer in the moment and got me talking even more about Virgin in a positive way.


Reaching the Masses via Social Media: What the Royals Got Right

In United Kingdom on August 13, 2011 by sdaniellebenjamin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

When you think of those people and groups that use social media well, there are a few types that easily come to mind: people in their late teens to mid thirties, the super internet savvy and… the royals?

Believe it or not, the Queen and her posse of royalty are fairly active via the social media networks. Granted, perhaps it shouldn’t have come at such a surprise considering more than 80 percent of the UK population is online. I just arrived in London this morning and started checking out various tourist sites and attractions. Of course, Buckingham Palace (and the dress) was top on my list. Low and behold, when I went to view the official website for The Royal Collection, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were effectively using a couple of social platforms to reach the masses.

What the Royals Got Right

Twitter: With over 225,000 followers, @TheBritishMonarchy is leading the way as it engages its audience of both the English and “fans” from across the world who love to follow the celebutante royals. By regularly tweeting information on events and activities taking place at the Palace, one can easily plan a visit around the daily schedules that most interest them. While this is a significant first step, the Monarchy may also consider more two-way conversation with their audience. When appropriate, answering questions or sharing thoughts based on Twitter comments they receive can be a way to show that they are in touch with those who follow them.

Flicker: No, we’re not suggesting that anyone do that to the Queen. BUT the Royal Collection website connects visitors to its flicker page where they regularly post photos of weddings, marches and other exciting happenings of the Palace. The visuals provide an easy storytelling opportunity that can be easily incorporated into the existing site as a way of moving the visitor through a historical narrative of a day in the life of a royal. In this way, the visitor isn’t just looking at pictures, but they can begin to imagine themselves living the “privileged” life.

How Can the Queen Take it Up a Notch?

  • Despite concerns that Facebook is declining in the UK, the immense popularity of this social media site makes it almost impossible to ignore this platform. Establishing a Royal Collection facebook page where people can “friend” the royals and have easy access to photos, page links and other interesting tidbits would be another way to invite the commoner into their world.
  • Just this July, YouTube had its biggest month of traffic ever in the UK. As video watching on mobile devices continues to grow, this opens up another avenue that the royals can employ to share footage with the people. Who wouldn’t love to see the changing of the guards or a celebratory event at the Palace… and then easily share it with friends and family across the country and the world via their smartphone or other mobile device?

I am so excited about my first time in London and my plan is to see as many sights and experience the city for all that it has to offer! The Buckingham Palace is definitely staying on my list and the social tools the royals use just make it easier for me to stay up-to-date and get the fullest out of my visit.


Next Stop for Bus Tours of London: Foursquare Checkins

In United Kingdom on August 13, 2011 by katielancos Tagged: , ,

Droopy-eyed and half-conscious, I finally arrived at Heathrow airport Thursday morning after a long flight across the Atlantic. While waiting to meet up with a friend who I will be staying with, I moseyed my way on over to the concierge desk to pick up some pamphlets and maps. He introduced me to “Bus Tours of London”, a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour hitting all of London’s major tourist attractions. Though intrigued, I did not sign up on the spot, and rather kept the pamphlet to ponder this decision some more.

While planning out my few days of freedom in the big city, I continued to think about this bus tour.

I am a Foursquare dork – and I will embarrassingly admit that I saw each of those bus stops as different venues for me to checkin to, rack up points, collect badges, let my friends back home know where I was, and most importantly, keep a log of my travels.

I then thought – why wouldn’t a company like this actually promote the use of a location-based social network like Foursquare?

Bus Tours of London’s business model is made for a game like Foursquare. Travelers get on and off buses, visit attractions, and share with their friends the things they are doing.

It would be a smart move for Bus Tours of London to be using foursquare in their tours and to promote their business for many reasons:

Tourists have smartphones…
London is the second most visited city by tourists in the world, and there is a significant part of that audience using smartphones. Many of those tourists are coming from the EU, U.S., and Australia, where their smartphone penetration are all respectively above 30%.

…and many are using Foursquare.
Last June, Foursquare hit 10 million users worldwide. Since Bus Tours of London’s audience would be made up of mostly tourists, all of these 10 million users could potentially be part of their audience.

London is no stranger to Foursquare.
Many London brands are on Foursquare. The History Channel, for example, set up a brand page on Foursquare allowing people to checkin to London attractions, get facts about its history, and earn badges along the way (their page currently has 225,603 followers). The tourist attractions where Bus Tours of London would stop are all on Foursquare as well. The great Buckingham Palace hits high with 7,826 checkins. Other top attractions include the London Eye (6,523), Picadilly Circus (7,026), Hyde Park (7,209), and Big Ben (3,712).

Foursquare is free to use.
It is free for both Bus Tours of London and their audience to use Foursquare. They could ask their visitors to checkin to attractions and give a shoutout to Bus Tours of London each time, or use a hashtag to indicate who they are with, and promote this fact on their maps. This would also give Bus Tours of London the opportunity to track who is using their service, thank them for their patronage, and even hold contests and reward users.

Advertising services around town like in the airport is a good tactic, as I did listen when the concierge told me about this program. But what was my initial answer to him? “Let me ask my friend first.” The rules of advertising have changed, and people more and more turn to their social networks for advice. Every time a rider tweets, checks in, or posts to Facebook, that is free advertising for you. Encouraging bus riders to push out content about your company to their network will increase online visibility – and credibility.


I Definitely Wish I Was At Topshop

In United Kingdom on August 13, 2011 by KHughes Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

London…mecca for many fashionista’s and home to the illusive Topshop. I’m sure that to most, Topshop is just another store, but for me, the thought that I will soon be stepping into one is like Christmas morning; the excitement is palpable. Recently, Topshop launched a digital marketing campaign, which makes me wish I was there even more.

For eight days only, in the select markets of London, Dublin and Liverpool from June 1st to 4th, and Manchester and New York from June 8th to 11th, Topshop launched a campaign entitled, “Wish You Were At Topshop.”  The premise was simple: provide in-store iPad 2’s to take pictures of shoppers wearing Topshop clothing and turn it into a digital postcard that stated “Wish You Were At Topshop.”  To make it an event, shoppers were also treated to complimentary makeovers, styling and refreshments.  After having their picture taken, they were able to choose from a range of backgrounds and then the image was uploaded directly to Topshop’s Facebook gallery.

This campaign was aimed at utilizing their current digital audience on Facebook, working to motivate fans to come into the stores and partake in the campaign. Topshop’s thought was that they wanted to engage their current Facebook fan base, and promote something that would stimulate them to come into the store, not just shop online.  As additional incentive, Topshop encouraged those who had their pictures taken, to edit and upload their personalized version to the Topshop fan page, in turn entering them to win a $1000 in-store credit.

Why I loved This:

If I had seen this campaign and was anywhere near a Topshop, I would have been there in a flash, showered and completely primped, of course. Topshop did a great job knowing their fan base and how to entice them to come into the stores.  I don’t know what it is about us fashion-goers, but we love a good photo op and the chance for “free” in-store credit at a favorite store.

They also did a great job utilizing popular digital trends that so many people are interested in, by creating an in-store digital experience, encompassing multiple digital trends that would attract their clientele.  The iPad 2, as well as the Instagram application used to snap the photos, are still fairly new digital trends and people very much enjoy playing around and experiencing what they have to offer.  Also, utilizing Facebook was key, as a large amount of their fan base is very active on this social media site.

Another important aspect of this campaign was the buzz beforehand. Topshop did a great job creating buzz for the campaign on both Facebook and Twitter, informing their fan base and stirring up excitement for “Wish You Were At Topshop.”

The premise for the campaign was innovative and simple; it allowed Topshop to increase traffic to their Facebook page and created a way to generate more “likes.”  In-store shoppers participating in the campaign would have to either be a fan or become a fan of Topshop’s Facebook page to be able to download, upload and see the photos online.

In effect, this campaign really killed two birds with one stone; they utilized their fan base on Facebook to bring shoppers into the stores and then utilized the campaign in the stores to generate a larger fan base on Facebook.  Genius, pure genius!

Why I Hope Topshop Implements This Campaign Again:

I would love to see Topshop continue this campaign.  It’s not the type of campaign that can be done endlessly however, because it would lose the fun, excitement and originality. Rather, I would love to see Topshop incorporate this in-store digital experience for each seasonal trend launch: winter, spring, summer and fall.

Not only did this campaign increase digital traffic to their Facebook page and increase store traffic, this campaign created a buzz, putting Topshop at the forefront of digital in-store trends.

Personally, I feel this campaign was a huge success, with over 3,300 pictures taken and uploaded to Facebook in just an eight day span. Topshop found a great way to reach their customer base, created a fun in-store digital experience and promoted their product by increasing their fan and customer base. This campaign really gives their clientele a moment to shine, while also letting them feel as if they are part of Topshop, not just a paying customer.  As a future Topshop patron, I would love to be part of the Topshop Facebook page and participate in a Topshop campaign.  That’s exactly what this campaign offers; it gives customers an opportunity to get involved with the brand.

Overall, I only have positive things to say about this campaign.  I hope that they continue utilizing this trend, so that maybe, someday, I will be able to partake!


2012 Olympics: Think Twice before Tweeting

In United Kingdom on August 11, 2011 by pris0fcourse Tagged: , ,

Twitter has become a much appreciated communication tool over the past five years. I’m excited to see how far social media is going beyond connecting to friends. In the past year alone we’ve seen very unique developments in social. To shortly name a

The 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London are following suit; the locker room conversations are going public! The committee have announced that competing athletes are free to tweet during the competition. I think this will increase the ratings and it will allow fans to know how the experience might feel like from the participants’ perspective as they read their favorite Olympics athletes’  tweets. Twitter users already generate a massive amount of activity. With the Olympic players joining in I’m predicting records will be shattered.

Sports in the United Kingdom play an important role in British culture, and many people make an emotional investment in their favourite sports. Social media is a great tool to express one another’s thoughts on sports and share opinions. 32% of British social media users think the most popular reason for consumers to follow a brand via social media is to feel ‘part of a group’.

Social Media in Sports –  Side Effects

Social Media in Sports has also gone wrong in a many occasions which have resulted in fines, suspensions and possible bans of Twitter. If used carelessly Twitter could instantly thorn the tweeter’s reputation. This is where the Olympic players can learn from and avoid uproars some of their fellow athletes have caused such as:

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney threatening a Twitter user who had been abusive, although he said it was a joke later.

Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny joking at Chelsea player Ashley Cole after an embarrassing penalty miss. He tweeted: Tweeps what do you think Ashley was aiming for when he took his penalty?” Followed by: “Is it an aeroplane? No, its just ashley throwing Chelsea out of the fa cup :D

Rugby player Danny Care’s criticism of the referee on Twitter possible causing a ban for the England players.

According to experts the blame is to be put on a lack of social media training. Personally I think it’s just common sense to watch what you’re putting out there as a well-known individual and possibly even a role model who represents a large association. Athletes in general use a lot of PR during interviews and they’re professional. Just because there is nobody  in front of you asking questions, doesn’t mean they don’t have access to what you’re putting out there.

Suggestions for Olympic players

One point of contact

The World Cup’s twitter page not only holds information about the tournament, but it also pulls out the top tweets which gathers World Cup tweets from roughly 150 players, journalists, organizations, and sites. Hashtags such as #fifa and #worldcup were used to keep the tweets organized and also specific country tags e.g. #eng for England. This method worked very well, because Twitter users are already used to tweeting with hashtags, so it was easily implemented. The site has over 10.000 followers. It’s a much easier way to follow the games through the athlete’s perspective, rather follow each of the participants one-by-one. is also a great center point to find all athletes who are active on Twitter. It’s a fast growing site and has had recognitions from different sports organizations and blogs. It’s also reliable and practical as they verify the authenticity of each athlete account.

A lot of athletes went on Twitter before the Olympic players and had some of the side effects that liveblogging can bring. Here are some suggestions for the Olympic participants to stay save and ways to better make use of it.

Basic Stuff

These are some basic ‘rules’ that may help avoiding controversy:

  • Don’t TUI (tweeting under influence)
  • Don’t TUE (tweeting under emotions)
  • Tweet facts, not rumours
  • TTT (Think Twice before Tweeting)

Make Your Life Easier

Some social media tools for convenient uploading and managing:

  • Friend or Follow — comprehensible overlook on mutual friends, followers and who isn’t following back
  • Socialcam — a simple way to upload media content from smart phones

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics I mostly followed Track and Field with superfast Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser and Asafa Powell. I can already imagine what Bolt would be tweeting “I beat the world record 4 years ago, let’s see what I can do with 4 years of training LEGO”. Or Powell “Bolt is my dude, but I can’t let that young cat beat me again”. Lol, wouldn’t that be
exciting. Either way I’m thrilled to see who will participate in Twitter and what will be going on in their minds while attempting to go for Gold.


#LondonRiots: Stop the Blame… Play the Game

In United Kingdom on August 9, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , , ,

Another crisis. More deaths. More fear. 2011 is the year for revolutions and riots around the globe. And more prominently, 2011 is the year social media became the scapegoat for revolutions and riots around the globe. First, Tunisia. Then, Egypt. Now, London?


Buildings burn on Tottenham High Road on August 6, 2011

I can’t deny (sorry, Malcom Gladwell) the significant role social media tools have played in organising people (for good or bad), but that’s exactly what they are – tools. They are not the reason why people revolt and riot. They are, however, revolutionising the way people live, communicate and mobilise.

The Numbers

  • Almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) and over a quarter of adults in the UK use smartphones (Ofcom Study – 2011)
  • 50% of the population (30 million people) use Facebook
  • 7.2% of the population uses Twitter and UK MPs spend 1,000 hours on Twitter per year.

So What?

More than ever before, people in the UK are connected to each other through their mobile phones and digitally through social networks. Today, as the riots and violence spread even further, there are two important ways the London authorities and media should leverage the very same tools they are blaming for fueling the riots… to save people from the riots and do good (i.e. fight social media with social media): 


What does this mean? Listening in social media involves reading, monitoring and understanding the conversations taking place online. Online communication is quick and offers a human lens to every situation. Every tweeter is a citizen journalist in times like these. Listening also offers authorities and media the opportunity to understand what people need in times of crisis — whether it be emergency police support or advice on places to avoid.

How can we do this?

  • Set up accounts on Monitter or HootSuite – platforms that allow you to monitor tweets in real-time, up to three hashtags at a time.
  • Search for Facebook groups and pages about the riots and understand what the majority of people are talking about. Are they in favor of the riots or mobilising to clean up the streets?
  • Look for maps created by people online that intelligently gather important data about the crisis. A good example of this is this visual map created based on the #londonriots hashtag and UK postcodes. Another great data source is crowdsourced maps, like this special edition Google Map that was created and updated live by @jamescridland, mapping reports of looting, rioting, arrests and citizen rowdiness. | Trending Topics on August 8, 2011


What does this mean? Every conversation is an opportunity to engage. Rather than act as higher level watchdogs and security agents on the crisis, social media allows for greater communication and engagement with the community. By using social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and mobile platforms, like SMS and Blackberry Messenger (BBM), there is a much higher chance of impactful and immediate mobilisation of positive efforts. Especially in the case of the authorities, there is an opportunity to create rapport with the people and develop a united front to do good together, similar to the recent situation in Vancouver.

How can we do this?

  • Live Blogging: Create a one-stop-shop source of information for people who can be accessed on smart phones and update it in real time. Include photographs, locations affected and video to communicate and tell the story effectively. The Guardian, a major UK-based newspaper, is doing an amazing job of communicating with its readers through its live blog.

  • Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and SMS: This is by far the most significant amount of blame I have ever seen attributed to BBM. As an extremely secure and rapid way of communicating with groups, this is an amazing tool to use in times like this. The Guardian is the first news outlet, and brand even, I have ever seen using BBM to gather on-the-ground information, as well as to broadcast important messages. Also, the authorities should partner with UK’s telecom corporations to send real time SMS alerts to citizens, warning of dangerous areas.
  • Twitter and Facebook: This is the most straightforward way to communicate for the media and authorities, many of whom are already on these platforms. Join the conversations that are already happening. Respond to important questions. Offer advice on how to act and where to go in dangerous situations. Find the people who are seeking to do good in times of crisis and offer real support. Be the authority, and be reachable.
  • Crowdsourced Maps: If they haven’t been created already, develop a map like the one above that details the locations affected and places at risk. The ultimate aim is to protect the people and this is a remarkably easy way to do it.

In a Google search for “London Riots + Blame,” over 10 million hits were found. Blame is being placed on everything from Twitter to Blackberry, even on the popular Grand Theft Auto video game. Instead of wasting time on blame, let’s play the same game and use these amazing tools for the good of the community.