As you might recall, last week we wrote about Internet Week and one of the sessions that caught our eye was Sweet Retweets’ session on How news outlets write for the social web (and how you can pinch their ideas!) last Friday, held at the Google Campus. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to attend this event, but we managed to catch up with Sue Keogh one of the Sweet Retweets partners to pick her brain on the world of Social.
Can you tell us a bit more about your history / work experience with digital, content and online publishing?
I’ve been working on the web since 1997, starting off as editor on a music-based site for BBC Radio 2. After working at ITV.com as project manager I went freelance, joining the homepage teams for Yahoo! and later AOL. I now run a business, Sookio, offering editorial services such as copy-writing web content and social media and over the years have produced web content and social media campaigns for clients including Toshiba, Magic FM, Media Week’s Wall Blog, Lürzer’s Archive and a host of small businesses.
I work in partnership with fellow editor Christine Cawthorne from Crocstar Media to offer training in writing for social media through a series of workshops called Sweet Retweets. We go into businesses and train them to write more effective social media updates and develop strategies for upcoming campaigns.
How would you define the role of Facebook and twitter for Brands looking to engage in Social?
Facebook and Twitter are the Big Two when it comes to brands looking to engage in social. They offer a great platform to showcase their services, raise their profile, engage with people in their industry, gain feedback from customers…and keep an eye on competitors!
How would you define the role of Facebook and twitter for bloggers? Is there a difference?
Facebook and Twitter are the perfect platforms for bloggers hoping to get their content shared. They can develop relationships with fellow bloggers, readers, and product/service providers; this helps them find content for future posts and means they are engaged with people interested in their blog who will hopefully read and share their posts.
There is no difference in the opportunity for brands or bloggers. The difference is the way people respond. People may expect more of a personal touch with a blogger whereas with a brand, they may not expect them to respond to every comment they leave. Brands can be perceived as a bit more faceless (although social media is a great way of adding a human face to your product or service.)
What are the challenges for travel brands in social and content?
I ran a workshop with a niche travel company recently and the challenges they found were:
Time: how to find time to keep their social channels updated. I was suggesting that they plan their content a bit more, schedule more posts and aim for a good mix across the week. With the blog, you can plan posts for the next four months, write a batch in one go and then schedule them to go out at regular intervals. Then they don’t keep getting pushed to the bottom of the To Do list.
Finding what to say: the thing with social media is that you don’t have to talk about yourself all the time. I suggested that they posted useful posts relating to travel, news stories of interest to travellers, and to bring in more multimedia to make the most of their Facebook page. You can also encourage users to interact a bit more, asking people for recollections or recommendations for various destinations, trying a poll or a quiz like guess the location.
How do you think Social Media is shaping the world of Travel?
Things have really moved on since the days when you went to the travel agent ad picked your holiday from a small picture and couple of lines of text in a brochure. Social media is enabling travellers to get a taste of a destination before deciding whether to book the holiday – maybe they’ll read a blog post, or do a search on Twitter, or join the VisitX tourism page on Facebook.
Social media also gives people a right of reply which didn’t exist previously. If they have a complaint, they expect a response on Twitter straight away, and if they’re not satisfied they will not hesitate to tweet negative comments about your hotel, airline, restaurant etc. Just look at Ryanair’s social channels for proof of that one! So travel businesses do need to keep a close eye on what’s being said and develop a strategy for coping with negative feedback should it occur.
Any interesting Travel related Social Campaigns that have caught your eye?
I really like what Thomas Cook do with their Facebook page; I often use them as an example when training people in writing for social media. They make it fun by offering a nice mix of images and text, asking questions of their users and running quizzes. They also make sure they get those all-important likes, comments and shares which mean their content shows up in the news feeds of everyone who responds to a post. If you’re in travel and new to social media, follow them to get some ideas of how to do it.
One that catches my eye as an example of how not to do it is the Man In Seat 61. He’s got nearly 7000 fans on Facebook, yet he just auto posts content in from Twitter, which to me comes across as a bit lazy – especially considering he spends so much time on long train journeys, so it’s not like he hasn’t got the time! It wouldn’t take that much more effort and he’d be making much better use of the platform, for example he could create some really interesting photo galleries. He also tends to post flat statements rather than ask people about their experiences of the places he’s visiting, which would really encourage more engagement.
- 19 November, 2012 @ 15:49 [Current Revision] by Lezaan Roos
- 19 November, 2012 @ 15:49 by Alastair McKenzie