Betfair, the online gaming and gambling site, is changing the game with regards to how companies approach their social media strategy.
Rather than assigning the responsibility for the company’s tweeting to a social media guru, or even spreading it amongst an in-house marketing team, Betfair have hired a team of comedy writers to create engaging twitter content.
The Betfair Poker Twitter feed very rarely mentions Poker – it’s full of topical references to the latest news and sports, along with a fair bit of random humour. The mixture of jokes and the occasional link to the Betfair site has already garnered around 15,000 followers – but will these now convert into customers?
Ben Carter, Head of central online marketing at Betfair is certainly hoping so. He’s quoted on the Brand Republic website as saying “It is something of a social experiment. We are effectively paying to acquire fans…the real question is what is the exact impact of this activity on our customers.”
Whilst the activity will certainly help to boost brand awareness of Betfair, will these followers turn into sales? If someone was already actively involved in online gambling, chances are they would be aware of Betfair; however a twitter feed such as this one might keep Betfair fresh in their minds and make them the brand of choice.
As for followers who’ve never dabbled in online gambling before, will this encourage them to give it a try? Probably not. However, if they do now want to give online gambling a go, Betfair might very well be the only company they’ve heard of in this field. And if Betfair continues to engage with them in this way, it begins to build up the important brand recognition that will keep them loyal.
It will be interesting to see how the number of followers for this feed grows or shrinks – if it grows and new customers grow, chances are it’s paying off. As any gambler knows, there’s no reward without an element of risk. So only by seeing this new strategy play out will we know if Betfair are holding a pair of aces in their hand or if they’ve just rolled snake eyes…
The New Year has gotten off to a flying start here at IMM-PR, not least because of our current special three-month trial offer for E-Marketing Campaigns.
There’s been a lot of take up from local businesses that want expert help and advice with a personal touch, and hey, that’s what we’re here for! I think what makes our offer so appetising is that it’s just £95 per month for three months (plus a small sending charge), with no obligation to continue after that. Even companies with really constrained marketing budgets can see the value in spending a little in order to get a targeted, branded and professional message out to their customer base.
The added benefit of the service is that after the email is sent we’ll compile a report on who has opened the email, and who has clicked on what links (including the links they’ve clicked on). This information can then be given to the sales teams to follow up, as these will be the customers most interested in your message.
I’ll update with more as we start to see some success stories from the campaigns, but in the meantime, if you’re interested just drop me a line.
One of the many services that we offer at IMM is event organisation.
Today, as part of this service, I was lucky enough to attend a “Q&A” event with Gordon Henderson, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, which we had organised on behalf of the Kent Science Park.
The premise of the event was that it gave local businesses the chance to ask Mr Henderson questions about Government policy, normally in relation to the effect it would have on their business. It was an open and frank discussion and seemed to me that it had the dual benefit of:
a) Keeping our MP informed of the daily challenges being faced by his constituents
b) Allowing local business leaders to speak directly to their voice in Westminster and get straight answers
One attendee had raised an issue with Mr Henderson about a difficulty he had encountered with a local Chamber of Commerce regarding import laws. Mr Henderson then raised the question directly with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, who is going to look into the matter personally.
After attending this event, I would strongly advise any business owners in the Sittingbourne and Sheppey area to try to attend the next one – which is going to be on the 17th February. It’s a real triumph of our democracy that we can have such access to our local representative, and have the opportunity for our voices to be heard.
In modern cinema, films can live or die based on the marketing campaigns behind them. If the marketing isn’t right, even the best film can be ignored; whilst with the right promotion behind it, even the worst film can be a huge success.
Sure, there’ll always be films like “The Shawshank Redemption”, which find their audience purely through word of mouth, but these are becoming increasingly rare. Nowadays, it’s a strong marketing strategy that can dictate whether or not you’re selling out screens in multiplexes across the world.
The first modern example of this was “The Blair Witch Project” and it’s intensive viral marketing campaign, which suggested that the film might actually be a documentary. In total the film reportedly cost $25,000 to make and ending up netting nearly $250,000,000. I don’t think anyone could call the promotion behind it anything but inspired.
And so we come to the genius of “The Dark Knight Rises”. The internet has already been buzzing with “leaked” set photos of a lot of the main characters in costume, with special focus on the new villains. And now Warners have announced that a six-minute prologue will be attached to the front of “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” in December, a full seven months before the film scheduled release.
It’s a good move to create buzz for the second most anticipated blockbuster of 2012 (arguably following “The Avengers”), and will also give the new Mission Impossible film a bit of boost in audience figures, as die-hard comics fans will happily pay for a film they might not have watched otherwise if it means seeing six-minutes of Batman on the big screen.
Of course this marketing strategy isn’t new, in fact Warners used the same trick to promote the second Bat-film “The Dark Knight” by putting a prologue at the front of “I Am Legend”. However, announcing the prologue for “The Dark Knight Rises” a full nine months before the film’s release is bold – that’s the length of a pregnancy. And just like expectant parents will be on tenterhooks throughout a pregnancy, Warners are hoping that their marketing strategy will keep fans and casual movie-goers alike on the edge of their (cinema) seats.
A recent industry report suggests that whilst marketers across the globe are insisting that Social Media is the future, there’s still a lot of mileage to be had from Search Engine Optimisation.
When comparing Search Engine Optimisation to Pay Per Click and Social Media, both B2B and B2C online marketers have said that it’s actually SEO that’s generating them the most leads. Despite it accounting for 57% of leads for B2B organisations and 41% of leads for B2C, only 33% of B2B marketers are planning to spend the majority of their budget on SEO and for B2C it’s just under 22%.
This is somewhat misleading though, as Search Engine Optimisation can be done cheaply by employing an online writer/webmaster who is an expert at creating optimised copy. Conversely, Social Media can quickly become costly (once you go down the promoted tweet/Facebook advert route anyway) and the possibilities of spend for Pay Per Click are only as limited as your budget.
So why is SEO so effective?
My personal opinion would be that because Generation Y (and going forward Generation Z) operate in an environment that’s entirely saturated by online advertising, they’ve programmed themselves to ignore it. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on a Facebook advert, and I’ve certainly never followed a promoted tweeter on Twitter. As for PPC, I automatically ignore sponsored links (unless the summary is really geared toward what I’m looking for), instead preferring to investigate the organic listings, as I both subconsciously and consciously I believe that their relevance is more “real”.
I’m not saying I’m typical of everyone in my age bracket, but it might go someway to suggesting why SEO is the most effective way to deliver leads online. I still think that both PPC and Social Media have a big part to play in business, but as with everything, it depends on the time and effort you’re prepared to put in to getting them right.
Regardless of the SEO/PPC/Social Media argument, I think we all need to take a long, hard look at our websites and question whether they’re as optimised as they need to be. And if they’re not, how much business are we losing because of it?
Being a happily married man, I’ve never had a need or a reason to go speed dating. Perhaps that’s why I found the idea of speed networking somewhat intriguing – it’s the same format as speed dating and gives a similar experience although obviously you’re looking to make business connections rather than romantic ones.
In the past I’ve been somewhat dubious of organised networking events for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can be a bit hit and miss as to whether you can find someone to talk to whose business might be relevant to you (or vice-versa). Secondly, there’s always a danger that someone might corner you and end up taking up your whole session. Then you leave the event thinking about what could have been, and wishing that you’d managed to have more relevant conversations.
Not so with speed networking.
After arriving at the Kent Science Park conference centre I was greeted with coffee and a bacon sandwich, and offered the chance to informally speak to a couple of my fellow attendees. We were then all sat down at a long table and the rules of the morning were explained. I would get four minutes with the person sitting across from me, which broke down as two minutes to pitch myself and my company to them followed by two minutes for them to pitch their company to me. At the end of the four minutes, we would all move one seat to our left and then repeat the process.
I found the whole set up brilliant. Besides the fact it meant I got to really hone my elevator pitch, it allowed me to have a conversation with everybody there. Sure, there were some instances where I was speaking to someone whose services weren’t relevant to me, but after our four minutes were up we both happily moved on to someone else.
At the end of the session there was the chance to sit down again with anyone that you had met with whom you’d like to discuss business with in greater detail.
If you’ve been to networking events in the past and are feeling disillusioned with them, I urge you to give Speed Networking a try. The next event at the Kent Science Park is on the 16th November and you can book a place here. You never know, I might see you there.
As Jason is off to pastures new, I will be taking over from him on the blog front – trying to keep you up-to-date with what’s going on in the wider world of PR and marketing and also talking about any interesting developments within IMM-PR. This leads me to this week’s entry, about our recent attendance at the South East Business Show.
Mixing with a wide cross-section of businesses throughout the South East (ranging from one-man operations to recognisable household names) it was a great opportunity to see the types of organisations that are still flourishing in the region, despite the difficult financial climate. It was especially relevant to us as our flexible set up means that we can work with small businesses to provide an ad-hoc press release as required, or we can work with larger companies on an ongoing basis to deal with all of their PR needs.
Speaking to people from all of these different companies was extremely interesting, and for me it really highlighted the variations between how some companies are geared up for PR…whilst others aren’t at all! It seemed that a lot of companies hadn’t really touched PR before and almost considered it “the elephant in the room” – they knew they should be doing it but couldn’t spare the time away from other jobs to deal with it. In the instances where companies had made the decision to take on PR activities, it was often being handled by senior people in the business. This can be somewhat of a double-edged sword – although they know their business inside out, PR may not be their core skill-set. It also means that one of the most senior people in the business is taking time away from their primary responsibilities to deal with the PR side of things.
Despite the fact that a lot of people are aware of this, many hadn’t even considered that they could outsource their PR activity to a specialist agency such as ours. The beauty of IMM-PR is that we work closely with companies to get to know their business and then use our expert knowledge of PR to develop their communications.
If your company has stories that you think are worth shouting about, or if you’re looking to develop corporate publications or a website but have no idea where to begin, speaking to us could help take that weight off of your shoulders.
Chances are you’ve seen this story which broke yesterday: but if not then the gist is that US clothing giant Abercrombie and Fitch has written to MTV, the producers of hit show Jersey Shore, to request that their stars don’t wear Abercrombie clothes in the show, because said stars are inconsistent with their ‘aspirational image’.
Now, the interesting question that this story raises in my mind is whether or not this is a legitimate concern over the integrity of the Abercrombie and Fitch brand or a fairly cunning (and clearly successful) attempt to generate some free publicity.
If you haven’t seen Jersey Shore then congratulations! However, if you have then you’ll probably know what the clothing firm is talking about – its stars enjoy a lifestyle that verges on the hedonistic to say the least and don’t really seem to embody the ‘preppy’ all-american image that Abercrombie has spent years (and millions) cultivating.
But then if this is a genuine complaint then why is it being so publicly made? Surely it’s the kind of negotiation that could be conducted quietly behind closed doors?
It seems to me that what this whole story has achieved is to generate exactly the kind of coverage each party wants. Abercrombie has been seen to make a very public declaration of what its brand stands for, and the kind of people they want to see wearing it; Jersey Shore has underlined its reputation as being shocking, controversial and out of control – all of which are the attributes which have made it such a huge hit.
One can’t help but feel that whether or not we see Mike ‘The Situation’ wearing Abercrombie and Fitch next year on the show is probably much less important to the clothing giants than ensuring they’ve made a big fuss about it in public, and got people like me talking about it.
So, another Social Media site enters the fray as search giant Google has recently unveiled its latest attempt to steal Facebook’s crown – Google+
For many business owners the news will not be warmly greeted. It’s taken long enough to come to terms with how Facebook and Twitter can be used to boost productivity, without having to worry about whether or not everybody is now going to abandon those platforms and flood to Google’s new offering.
Well, a little good news: that hasn’t happened – facebook seems to remain as popular as ever, and Twitter, with it’s focus more on breaking news and realtime updates has hardly been impacted at all.
The bad news, however, is that Google+ has become the fastest growing Social Media site ever launched – despite the fact that it is technically in testing and you still need to receive an invitation to sign up.
So what does this mean for your social media strategy?
Well, in the short term, probably not that much. At first glance Google+ seems like its geared up much more for individuals than for businesses, and this is unlikely to change any time soon (remember how long it took Facebook to embrace the fact that people wanted to set up business pages?!) However, you never know where these things will end up and the wiley among you will want to get a feel for how it all works so you can start preparing for the day when it is (possibly) relevant.
As with all new social media platforms success is far from guaranteed and we’re going to have a wait on our hands to see whether Google+ becomes a primary means of communication, or just a footnote in the history of the media. One thing’s for sure though, you should definitely keep an eye on it and if it feels right why not jump in – it certainly can’t hurt, and you may find yourself able to take advantage of having ‘been there at the beginning’
Last week I blogged about the importance of properly using internet video to promote your business. This week I’d like to actually use a bit of video to highlight another important aspect of a company’s marketing & PR mix: networking.
IMM-PR has been working with Kent Science Park for several years to deliver all aspects of the park’s marketing and PR. The speed networking events give the park the opportunity to play a role in supporting the local economy, while also bringing potential new tenants onto the site. IMM-PR has managed, organised and arranged every aspect of the speed networking events hosted at the science park and, as you can see from the video, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Networking is key to modern business development. People, as they say, buy from people and if you’re not able to get out, shake hands and make that good impression then chances are your potential customers will be taking their business to those of your competitors who they do see.
In fact, the only thing better than regularly attending networking events is taking ownership of a networking event! That way you’re guaranteed a seat at the table, you can market your event to attract the kinds of businesses you want to be doing business with and you generate the goodwill that naturally comes from helping other companies to do business.
Spaces are available each month on the KSP Speed Networking events – you can book you place through the park’s website.
If you’d like to talk to us about setting up and running your own business event then why not give us a call!