This week’s case study has been written by Gordon Jenkinson of Jenerate.
Bacardi Ireland distributor, Edward Dillon & Co, traditionally used normal micro sites such as www.blive.ie to promote their sponsorship of music events on the Internet throughout the year including the hugely popular Oxegen and Electric Picnic festivals.
In 2008 they looked at the possibility of using social networking to get better targeting and some viral penetration to a wider audience. Given the target audience and the fact that Bebo and MySpace were not receptive to alcohol advertising, Facebook was chosen as the platform upon which to build an interest in the brand, to run competitions in association with the Blive events and generally to help spread the word on the Bacardi Blive sponsored events throughout the year.
A Facebook profile page was set up and maintained as well as a Facebook application to manage competitions and acquire information for the Bacardi eCRM database. The general idea of the competition was a chance to win VIP tickets for you and your friends through a custom built Facebook application.
To encourage the viral spread of this through Facebook in the run up to the events the winner was the Facebook user that had the most friends with the application added to their profile. This gave users control over winning the competition rather than it being a pure lottery.
User positions were updated hourly and notifications sent to entrants on a regular basis telling them how many more friends they needed to add to get to first place. This information had the desired effect and entrants realising they only needed 10 more friends to get to the winning position started sending it around to increase there position. As well as this, they could see the top 5 people and also there current position at any time throughout the competition.
Banner advertising on popular Irish sites and flyers handed out throughout the year were used to seed the initial entrants and get the competition going. Other spot prizes for fans of the page and users of the application were given out between the events to encourage participation and interaction with the Bacardi Ireland Facebook presence.
As part of the competition sign-up, entrants were asked some brand questions to gauge brand recognition and opinions. Details were collected and stored in the Bacardi eCRM database and used for future campaigns and event notifications.
The final result was an almost four fold increase in the number of competition entrants and an even bigger increase in term of brand interaction across the Bacardi Facebook profiles and the blive.ie website.
A large aid to this interaction was the use of Facebook photo galleries where people were photographed at Blive events and encouraged to tag themselves in the Facebook albums. These photos were not only available on Facebook but also pulled directly from Facebook into the blive.ie website. These photo galleries created significant post event traffic to the Blive.ie websites as well as interaction and sign-up to the Bacardi Facebook pages.
One of the main lessons learnt from this successful experiment with Facebook was to create an application that runs with or without Facebook. As part of the process visitors were asked if they had a Facebook account and were directed to the normal competition site or to the Facebook one. Almost as many entrants came through the normal site as through the Facebook application.
Also, the integration of the Facebook photo albums using the Facebook API allowed the viewing of tagged photos within Facebook or from the normal site. It’s also useful to copy or mirror interactions with Facebook pages onto your normal site this allows visitors to what would normally be a static site to see some comments, events and other banter focused around the brand.
With the introduction of Facebook Connect late last year the options for this type of website integration to Facebook is even greater, allowing completely Facebook-integrated websites.
The other more complex aspect is ensuring that the promotion of the Facebook pages and application are sufficient to seed it and the rewards for sign-up are clear and worthwhile.
Monitoring of visitors and the decisions they make is very important. This was monitored using analytics during the campaign and the sign-up pages and the navigation from the initial page through to competition sign-up were optimised for more competition entries.
The IIA supports responsible drinking and encourages readers of this post to visit www.drinkaware.ie.
Garrendenny Lane Interiors is a home business based in Carlow. Owned and run by Lorna Sixsmith, it offers a new and unique way to shop for your home. Rather than browsing in a standard shop in town, Lorna’s background in Interior Design allows her to provide a personal service where products can be displayed in a relaxed “home” environment. Not having a shop front in the town does mean that Lorna faces some additional challenges in promoting the business.
Interior design is a relatively new career choice for Lorna, having worked as a teacher, lecturer and head of department previously. Within those roles, she had to plan, deliver, work to targets, (persuade teenagers to complete coursework – easier said than done!), work to time scales and lead teams. While her current business has many of the same requirements – working from home means that these tasks are all done by her and at any hour of the day (or night).
The website was launched in late 2007 and the online shop (www.garrendennylane.ie) opened in August 2008. It stocks items such as kitchenware, bed linen, accessories for children, gifts, tea sets, clocks and candleholders. Such a wide variety of products can make search engine optimisation tricky on a small site.
Lorna first heard about blogging via an Enterprise Board training course and had her web developer integrate the blog into the website to get the most benefit from incoming links. Lorna freely admits that IT is not her strong point – but this does not hold her back from running a successful blog.
Some of the benefits of blogging provides for her business are:
- A better opportunity to reflect her expertise in the Interior Design business on a regular basis
- Information is available to customers 24 hours a day
- Customers have the opportunity to see some of the latest projects
- Constantly updated content keeps customers returning
- The blog and twitter account provides direct access to customers in a way that is difficult with static web pages
- It’s easy to post photos and descriptions of new products without producing a catalogue type interface
- Products can be promoted in a more personal way – without the bland description a traditional online shop may have
- The blog offers more opportunities for search engine optimisation
- Twitter allows customers comments and questions to be dealt with immediately
Lorna spends up to one and a half hours per week writing for her blog (circa three posts per week) and spends about the same time following other people’s blogs. This will be good news for business bloggers that are concerned blogging will take up too much time. Almost 32% of the respondents to the IIA Business Blogger Survey noted that they spent four to eight hours per week on their blogging activities. Lorna recently appeared on RTE’s Not Enough Hours program – where she claims the amount of blogging she does was exaggerated. The program did highlight the difficulty of balancing a work and home environment.
From the first day the blog articles were a mix of personal items, product reviews and tips. Lorna felt that this mix would be most suitable for her target customers because it enhances the personal service she provides. She feels the personal touch is very important for her business – both online and for direct contact. While the blog articles provide a behind the scenes view of her business she also provides an unusual twist on the theme. Customers can send photos of a room (via email or twitter) and get interior design advice by phone and email. The importance of seeing the products is not forgotten either as she sends samples via the post.
It’s not yet clear how useful Twitter will prove as a long term business tool for GarrenDenny Lane Interiors. While it provides direct contact to customers (especially home users outside of normal business hours) Lorna is aware how some users seem to be addicted to it. The majority of her customer contact is via the blog, email or phone calls. Currently she monitors activity on Twitter but only occasionally “tweets”. While also using Google Adwords, Online Directories, LinkedIn and Facebook to promote the business, Lorna says the blog is the focus of her activities. She does admit to being new to Twitter and has not ‘worked’ it properly yet.
One of the major issues for businesses is which metrics can they use to measure the success of a business blog. The IIA Business Blogger Survey found that the top ways that Irish businesses measure the success of their blogging activities include receiving positive feedback from customers and being referred to positively in other, more traditional, media. On both these counts Lorna has been successful with her blog but says she still has a lot more she wishes to achieve. Specifically she says she needs to write articles with a higher focus on potential search engine optimisation.
Her success rate so far has been excellent – she says 30-40% of her business has come via her blogging activities. Her blog has helped her gain customers(*) and make sales in the UK and in the US as well as Ireland. The exchange rate has meant that sales to the UK have drastically reduced but she says the export sales she gets are related to the blog. Lorna also guest writes for an American blog and sends a monthly newsletter that helps remind her customers of her online presence.
With house hunters and home decorators becoming increasingly Internet savvy it’s important for businesses like Garrendenny Lane to not just have an online presence but to be available for their customers and to give them direct access to real people. Lorna is leading the way in showing what a small business can achieve.
(*) How does Lorna know she is gaining customers via the Blog? At this point one might expect details of Google Analytics accounts, cookies and other tracking mechanisms but Lorna uses the most reliable method of all – She talks to her customers. When a customer contacts her with queries – she makes a point of asking them how they found her.
Thanks to Emmet Ryan of Villa81 who made this video which sums up the launch yesterday of “Join the Conversation: The Guide to Blogging for Business“.
I am delighted that the IIA Social Media Working Group are launching “Join the Conversation: The Guide to Blogging for Business” today. Being a member of the working group (and we are all volunteers) I know how much work went into the guide and all the agonizing that was done over the tiniest details . I hope you find it useful and inspiring. However the whole group would love if you could share your thoughts and feedback in the comments here or via twitter, by email, by skype; whichever is your preferred medium!
I have prepared a social media press release for those of you who might like some background information on the guide and those involved. This includes links to media, images, content and a Delicious page with all manner of related content. It might be worth grabbing a feed for this as I will add to it as more content appears online. I hope you find this a useful way of sharing information and I would love any feedback you have on this approach.
A big thank you as well to IIA Member Company Vermillion Design who developed the design of the Guide. It is designed to work best on screen but can be printed also.
This week’s case study has been written by Joy Redmond, CEO of Flexitimers.
Karina Heavey is no ordinary marketer but a marketer who has recently harnessed social media to affect change and create a community of pro-active people not content to sit back and wait for the recession to go away.
In August 2008, Karina formed the 121 Business Network Ireland group on LinkedIn in response to her dissatisfaction with the business networks available at the time, having identified that there wasn’t an appropriate group focussing exclusively for members based in Ireland.
She didn’t actively promote or push the group until a turning point came in January 2009 when she was made redundant from a senior marketing position in SPSS. Although a highly competent and experienced marketing professional with a Masters from UCD, Karina prior to this had no online social media expertise or experience.
She felt there was both an opportunity to learn while giving something back and believed that if she brought people together, opportunities would arise for all. Soon she extended the brand to marketing with the intention of creating a community of people with an interest in marketing. Believing that the marketing associations valued the speakers at their events more than their individual members, Karina wanted her network to value and reward its members.
First on her to-do list was to proactively build the group membership on LinkedIn. To achieve this, she joined 50 marketing groups on LinkedIn, filtered the members by region (Ireland) and keyword (marketing) and arrived at a list of 600 prospects. Again her marketing know-how allowed her to write a compelling personal invitation that resulted in 350 registrations within one week. Karina personally approves every request for membership to ensure the group ethos is not diluted.
Knowing the difficulty in engaging discussion and networking online and the importance and power of personal relationships; the next task was to organise monthly face-to-face meet-ups where members could informally build relationships (not pitch), have fun and feel valued.
Her experience of event management came into play and after researching several city centre hotels, the Mint Bar in the Weston Hotel was chosen as the preferred venue for two reasons -its central location and their promise to provide a space free of charge every first Wednesday of the month. Again her marketing training taught her that consistency was key and so the “First Wednesday” club began. There were 25 attendees the first night in February and numbers have doubled month on month since with the same people returning and bringing more people and spreading the word.
The First Wednesday club is also marketed via her website/blog which provides interviews with marketers, round-ups of the First Wednesday club and competitions to encourage more interaction both online and offline. One interesting application merging both online and offline activity is the video reel of corporate logos representing the attendees of the First Wednesday Club.
Karina then created a Facebook page to extend the group’s reach where visitors are met with a Welcome video and members receive a welcome email that sets the rules, expectations and protocol for the group. There is a space entitled ‘Opportunities Exchange’ where members can promote/trade opportunities, jobs and business deals with the effect of minimising spam on the discussion board.
Karina is not content to limit the network to Dublin and has set up regional managers in Cork and in Limerick. The 121 Cork Network is going to launch that regions ‘First Wednesday Club’ next month and she’s seeing her memberships growing in Sligo, Kildare and Mayo.
A sense of fun and achievement, continuously improving and progressing an idea through its ongoing successful destinations while facilitating important social and business communications is what Karina perceives to be the key benefit of all this social media activity.
Karina herself has been rewarded for her efforts and has proactively raised her profile with an RTE interview live from bizcamp, a podcast interview on The Persuaders and a feature in The Sunday Tribune. What’s more, she has created her own opportunity by being recently hired as Digital Campaign Manager with IIA Member Company TradeDoubler, no easy feat for a marketer with little or no digital expertise less than six months ago and in an extremely difficult economy.
Karina has become a role model and inspiration to many and like her 121Marketing Network, proves that there are still opportunities out there and with positive drive and enthusiasm success still awaits those who create their own luck.
The IIA Social Media Working Group not content with the imminent launch of Join the Conversation: IIA Guide to Business Blogging in Ireland next week are forging ahead with their work on the next set of guides. Expect to see guides on social networking, podcasts and RSS in the very near future.
Last Thursday some members of the group and other interested parties came together in The Digital Hub to workshop the draft guide to podcasting for business. You can listen to the whole workshop on a set of three podcasts available from the IIA. You can grab them from our website or ITunes. (N.B. The latter link will attempt to open your iTunes)
A big thank you to Krishna and her team in Biz Growth Media for recording and editing the sound files from the workshop.
Karlin Lillington, the Irish Times technology journalist, who has recently started podcasting herself, came along and has a written a great summary of the thoughts that were shared that evening.
If you would like to read the draft of the Guide to Podcasting for Business you can check it out on our wiki. We welcome any comments or questions that you might have on the wiki itself.
And just for Friday larks you can also hear me be a total eejit in the podcast. Brian Greene, who gives some excellent guidance and tips, asks something along the lines of, “Can I make a point about the importance of silence?” and I say “Yes please do.” Nice one, Roseanne!
blogging, irishblogs, social media, Social Media Working Group, Guest Blogger, employer branding, personal branding, IIA website, Web 2.0, new technology, Beat the recession
The IIA’s Social Media Working Group is pleased to be able to present a short selection of business bloggers in Ireland. This list was gathered together as part of our recent research into business blogging in Ireland. We asked each of the participants in that research if they would like to be featured as a case study and the following are the bloggers that graciously agreed.
As you will see the blogs stretch across many sectors of business in Ireland, including financial services, marketing, member associations, professional services, recruitment, retail, technology and a number of individual consultants. While this list is not exhaustive it will hopefully give a flavour of the types of business blogs that exist in Ireland.
We will happily add other blogs to the the complete list which will be maintained on our dedicated wiki. Simply email email@example.com if you would like your business blog to be included.
If you are interested in finding out more about the potential benefits of blogging to your business, then join us on April 22nd at our “Join the Conversation – Business Blogging” breakfast briefing in Dublin city centre.
Irish Mortgage Brokers – http://www.mortgagebrokers.ie/blog
The MortgageBrokers.ie blog mainly deals with economics and business related issues with a strong focus on mortgages and market trends. As an Internet-drive sales company, Irish Mortgage Brokers see their blog and website as central to the growth of their business.
No Nonsense Car Insurance – http://blog.nononsense.ie
The No Nonsense Car Insurance blog offers tips on buying insurance, saving money and talks about a range of other topics that No Nonsense feel their customers would be interested in. The blog has so far delivered increased visibility on search engines and has seen an increased profile for the new brand.
PaddyPower Trader – http://www.paddypowertrader.com
The Paddy Power Trader blog supports financial markets traders (many of whom trade from home, some of whom are novices) with education, views on the market and examples of ‘how the professionals do it’. Paddy Power see blogs and community as a unique selling point of their service, engendering loyalty, attracting new customers, improving stickiness and increasing average spend per client.
RaboDirect – http://www.rabodirect.ie/blog/default.aspx
The RaboDirect blog was established to give customers and potential customers the chance to comment on the kind of things being talked about everyday at RaboDirect; the changing financial climate, existing products, new products or what customers think of them in general. RaboDirect sees their blog as an important part of their strategy in helping to build trust in their brand.
FBD Insurance (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/fbd_ie
FBD Insurance launched its Twitter activity to support their mission to be a customer-focused insurance company, seeking to replicate online the familiar approach developed through their nationwide local office network. The Twitter activity has helped to manage customer feedback and generate leads to the FBD website for the car and home insurance products. Twitter has helped the company to build a positive perception of the brand as progressive, innovative and customer-focused.
Applied Signs and Display – http://applied-signs-and-display.blogspot.com/
The Applied Signs and Display blog presents news, opinion and information on all manner of topics relevant to their business and their varied customer base. The blog features an ongoing ‘Product Glossary’ series and they host guest bloggers from the fields of Design, Event Planning, Exhibiting and Sales, as well as General Business and Marketing within an Irish context.
Biz Growth News – http://www.bizgrowthnews.com
The Biz Growth News blog covers resources and tips to build buzz about your brand and your business both offline and through digital marketing communications and social media. It does so through multimedia using articles, podcasts, photographs and online video’s. The blog has enabled the company to extend it’s reach internationally and has enabled the organisation to attract clients and establish strategic joint ventures from across the globe. The blog is authored by the company founder and they also syndicate their blog posts across Twitter, Facebook, Linked in and other social networks where their customers are congregating therefore attracting more visitors and readers to the site.
CadaMedia – http://blog.cadamedia.ie
The CadaMedia blog is a news and events page for clients and a general discussion area for internet users in the Southeast. CadaMedia were the 1st in Ireland to mention the new VAT Rates and it brought them in thousands of hits. The blog has provided their customers with a less formal way of getting in touch and asking questions.
Channelship – http://www.channelship.ie/blog/
The goal of the Channelship business blog is to share useful information and opinions gathered from business networking events, seminars and people in Ireland and abroad. The team also enjoys commenting on the highlights of their daily activities. Channelship have found it to be fantastic way to interact, learn, meet new people and promote their company, enhancing their PR and Google rankings.
Interactive Return – http://www.interactivereturn.com/blog
The Interactive Return Online Marketing blog is used to provide insights and news to the Online Marketing industry, paying close attention to trends in Ireland. Blogs includes company news, industry news, advice and best practices for their areas of expertise, and opinions on current industry topics. Their website has seen an incredible increase in traffic due to blogging activities. They have added credibility to their client case studies and are being received positively in social media.
iQ Content – http://www.iqcontent.com/blog
The IQ Content blog is updated by a group of staff within the business, posting thoughts, observations and opinions on the world of usability. The blog has delivered inbound leads and sales calls, has helped to attract new staff and has supported building a positive brand perception.
Made In Hollywood – http://www.madeinhollywood.ie
The Made in Hollywood blog is supports the core business of creating objects from polystyrene foam(EPS). The aim of the blog is to show readers how versatile and manifold are the uses of EPS, as well as featuring particular projects. The business hope that the blog, which has just launched, will be able to add interest and improve SEO with added content, as well as engaging with customers to make sure they are delivering the correct product/service to them.
Red Cardinal Limited – http://www.redcardinal.ie
The Red Cardinal team blog about Internet marketing and search engine optimisation.
Newsweaver – http://www.newsweaver.co.uk/emailnewsletters
The “…Email Matters!” blog has been running for two years. It is written by denise cox, Newsletter Specialist for Newsweaver. Newsweaver is Europe’s leading email newsletter software provider. In 2007 Newsweaver won the IIA’s Best Business Blogger Net Visionary award. The aim of …Email Matters! is to help any marketer interested in best practice for best results in their email marketing. Posts always pertain to email, and generally cover examples, benchmarks and statistics, best practice, legal updates and tips. The blog has proven to be an excellent retention tool – with clients providing feedback that they find it very useful. It has also helped to attract new customers. The blog has helped with the Google ranking for the company website. Also, having embedded a discreet link at the end of each blog post to a free trial offer of Newsweaver software, they have seen many new leads come through this link. The blog has given the author, denise cox, a visibility in the international email marketing/ESP field, and has resulted in requests to speak at conferences, contribute to publications and appear on panels around the world.
Irish Internet Association – http://blog.iia.ie
The Irish Internet Associations blog An association blog that seeks to promote the products and services of member companies and promote IIA events. The blog has helped to increase credibility among members of the association.
Junior Chamber International Dublin – http://jcidublinpresident2009.blogspot.com/
This is the blog of the president of the President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Dublin and is intended to keep members up-to-date on activities and events throughout the year. This blog has just been launched an it is anticipated that it will help to raise the profile of the organization, building credibility online with their members, partners and sponsors.
Moore Group – http://mooregroup.wordpress.com/
A specialist business blog, the Moore Group blog deals with archaeological, environmental, energy and heritage issues. One of the principle goals of the blog is to disseminate the results of their work (a legal obligation) and to inform our stakeholders on archaeological and environmental issues and new knowledge, as well as to sometimes entertain.
FranchiseYourBusiness.ie – http://www.irishfranchiseblog.com
The Franchise Your Business blog provides information on franchising in Ireland. Within a short space of time the blog has helped the business achieve higher search engine rankings for their preferred search terms.
Sensei Learning and Performance – http://www.sensei-winbeforehand.co.uk
The Sensei Learning and Performance blog talks about all things business-related. Favourite topics include social media; customer services; education/brain/learning; personal and professional development; emotional intelligence; assertiveness and confidence. The blog has helped to bring in bookings, raise the company’s profile, inform people of services and provide a human face to the business. Feedback from customers is that they love it.
CV Café – http://cvcafe.com/blog
CV Café decided after reading up on blogging that there was no other way to go for their business. They started blogging recently and are planning to use it to get their name out.
Flexitimers – http://www.flexitimers.com/flexible-future
Flexitimers use their business blog to engage companies on the benefits of flexible staffing. The have a separate blog, FlexiTimes, which is to engage professionals looking for flexible work. The key benefits that the business has seen to date include improved search engine rankings and greater engagement with the online community.
RecruitIreland (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/recruitireland.
RecruitIreland began to microblog on Twitter to give the website a personality and to answer questions from candidates and companies who are recruiting with a view to differentiating themselves from the competition. The activity on Twitter has generated sales leads in addition to feedback and suggestions from candidates about how to do things differently or feedback about usability which they see as invaluable. Overall the Twitter activities make them more accessible and interactive and gives them another invaluable way to communicate with their users.
Working Nine to Five – http://officejobsireland.wordpress.com/
The Working Nine to Five blog features career tips, issues that may arise in the working environment, recommended events, books or work practices and sometimes just light observations on working in the office. The blog has provided the core business AdminJobs.ie an additional medium to create a personality to their business. It has also allowed the business to communicate on a personal level with their site visitors.
Curious Wines – http://www.curiouswines.ie/blog
The Curious Wines blog talks about anything related to wine but is presented in a light-hearted, accessible manner. Topics include everything from sector comment, to educational pieces, to recipes and food-matching, to book reviews, to their promotions. The blog has helped build a small community interested in their business and brand. For a new brand it was essential to provide a public face and personality in a cost effective manner – blogging is allowing them to achieve this.
Ice Cream Ireland – http://www.icecreamireland.com
The Ice Cream Ireland blog is the business blog of Murphy’s Ice Cream. In addition to dozens of recipes the blog provides news and updates to customers on the business’s activities and new products. The blog has brought customers to their retail shops, helped facilitate comments, complaints, and suggestions and sense of community among customers. The business has received much publicity as a result of the blog and a book deal for an ice cream cookbook “The Book of Sweet Things” came directly as a result of the blog.
Nice Day Designs – http://www.nicedaydesigns-ruth.blogspot.com/
The Nice Day Designs blog provides insights into the processes of the author’s design business. Ruth Crean is a young designer and artist based in Limerick. Because she is selling hand craft she feels it is important to give people a narrative and a face to the product they are buying. As a direct result of her blog Ruth was approached by RTE1’s Nationwide, and therefore received national advertising for free, this in turn has led to other media attention. The blogs has also helped to build up a very positive and accessible identity to her business.
PuddleDucks – http://blog.puddleducks.ie/
The purpose of the blog is to post information about the PuddleDucks business and website, along with information on running the business that might be useful to others. It is a mixture of product information, how PuddleDucks utilise online marketing tools and snippets of news about running a home business. The PuddleDucks blog has provided the business with better visibility and brand recognition. Building awareness among the blogging community has shown positive benefits through networking opportunities.
Rangoli Jewellery – http://rangolijewellery.blogspot.com/
Rangoli Jewellery is run by Aisling Nelson; a bridal jewellery and hair accessories designer. The blog is designed to share ideas and inspiration with existing and potential clients and to elaborate on special commissions that the designer has undertaken. The blog helps to provide a more of a human face to the business. The main website is a catalogue, whereas
this forum allows the owner to engage more with existing and potential clients while sharing information about current or future projects.
Rules of Golf – http://www.barryrhodes.com
This blog provides miscellaneous content for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Golf. The objective is to widen the market for the author’s CD and book products. Barry Rhodes is developing a worldwide following in his narrow niche market at practically no cost.
Tast.ie – http://www.tast.ie
Initially a personal food blog featuring a large catalogue of delicious recipes juxtaposed with a small amount of personal content about the author’s family. With the assistance of the Offaly County Enterprise Board, Tast.ie grew into Spicendipity.com, an artisan food business which sells homemade, 100% natural spice mixes, baking mixes and a range of sauces over the Internet.
Worldwide Cycles – http://www.worldwidecyclesblog.com
The Worldwide Cycles blog presents the view from behind the counter of a bike shop and from the saddle whilst on the road. The blog has helped the business raise its national profile, enlarge its catchments area and increased sales of high end products.
BH Consulting – http://www.bhconsulting.ie/securitywatch
BH Consulting’s blog provides expert commentary and insight into information security issues that would be of interest to the Irish Business community. The blog has delivered business leads, media coverage and helped secure a book-writing deal.
Blacknight – http://blog.blacknight.com + 17 others
The Blacknight blogs cover a variety of topics, from promotional / marketing through general news and technical topics. The blog has won numerous awards as well as generating PR and press coverage for the business.
EchoLibre – http://blog.echolibre.com
These technologists blog about things they are passionate about; PHP, MySQL, CouchDB, Linux, Apache – web development standards. They also write about building web apps and working with web technology. EchoLibre see their blog as one of the easiest ways they have of establishing a reputation and credibility. As a young company they see this as very important.
Saastek – http://saastek.com/company-blog/
The Saastek blog deals with software and technology for small to medium businesses and offers reviews of Enterprise 2.0 software. The blog has helped to increase Google ranking. It also helps the business crystallise their thinking about particular products and trends and has been useful in attracting customer to their website.
Toca Sports – http://www.tocasports.com/blog
Toca Sports, a sports technology company, blog about everything from upcoming events to posting training videos to general interest pieces in the area of video analysis. Toca Sports see their business blog as a great way to kep people up-to-date with company news and events. They see it as a way of being less ‘corporate’ and allowing them to create a more human interaction with their potential customers.
Darragh Doyle – http://thisiswhatido.org
Darragh’s blog presents its audience with a mixture of articles, interviews, photos, reviews and stories. Business specific he highlights charity campaigns, publicises, works with and reviews art and cultural events and talks to and about people. Virtually all his opportunities come via his blog as he has no need for a corporate website.
Keith Bohanna – http://keith.bohanna.com
Keith Bohanna is an internet consultant and trainer and in his blog talks about himself and his business. The positive outcomes he has seen include engagement with his peer community and his personal brand development.
Keith Shirley – http://www.keithshirley.ie
Keith Shirley’s blog is mainly about the practical uses of IT and technology for small businesses. The blog has helped Keith pass on information to customers that is helpful but does not fit directly into daily business. The blog has opened up new business opportunities and helped with networking and raising Keith’s profile.
Krishna De (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/krishnade
Through sharing links to articles, resources and events, this micro blogger has developed a network of followers in Ireland and overseas. She has also found that it has helped her connect and engage directly with some of the most influential marketers in the world, something that would have been much harder to make happen before social media communications were available. She recommends and has created a specific Twitter landing page on her blog to provide information and resources for her Twitter followers.
Mr. Yap’s Blog – http://mryap.com/blog/
This blogger uses his blog to share experiences and offer advice and opinion on usability. He uses it to find new business, network and seek employment. Blogging offer his new prospects supplementary information to his resume and interview.
Reverb Studios – http://www.reverbstudios.ie/blog
The Reverb Studios blog covers mostly IT, Technology and Internet-related topics as well as some Current Affairs. The blog has been up and running since about autumn 2007 and since then it has attracted a massive increase in traffic from only a handful to around 4,000 unique hits a month. This has lead to a much higher profile and brand for Reverb Studios and has created networking opportunities and sales leads.
At the start of 2009 we undertook a survey among Irish businesses that already have blogs. We asked them a number of questions to try and understand the objectives of their blogging activities, what results they were seeing and how much time and effort they put into managing their blogs.
We will be discussing the results in detail at the Business Blogging breakfast briefing on April 22nd, but in the meantime here are the high-level survey results:
While I’m not suggesting that you spend $695.00 on the report Podcasting: Into the Mainstream from eMarketer. (Do by all means if you like 🙂 ) eMarketer does share some interesting statistics about the growth in popularity of the podcast among US internet users.
The US podcast audience is ballooning, and eMarketer projects that growth will continue at least through 2013. By then, there will be 37.6 million people who download podcasts monthly, more than double the 2008 figure of 17.4 million.
As a percentage of Internet users, podcast downloaders are expected to grow from 9% in 2008 to 17% in 2013.
Much of the time where US internet use goes, Irish internet use follows. (Though not always!) For businesses podcasting can be a very effective way to show your expertise in your area; share tips with your customers about your products and services; and to develop customer loyalty among many other benefits. The IIA Social Media Working Group are going to workshop the draft of their Guide to Business Podcasting. This is an opportunity to participate in the creation of this guide and hopefully learn something new in the process. Both newbies and old hands are welcome but please register.
If you would like to get an idea of how the workshop will shape up, appropriately enough you can listen to the podcast of the workshop of the draft Guide to Business Blogging created by Krishna De last December. Krishna will also be facilitating this workshop so expect plenty of nuggets!
This is written by Campbell Scott of IGOPeople.com. All comments, queries and case study suggestions welcomed via comments below. Thanks! – RS, IIA.
Our previous case study gave an excellent overview of some of the social media tools that are available to businesses, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Youtube etc. This case study is based on observations about how O2 Ireland have embraced the use of social media, to get closer to their customers (and potential customers). This summary records some of the interactions with customers that have taken place, some of these on IGOpeople.
O2 were well aware that their brand, products and services, pricing etc. were all being talked about online by their customers. These discussions were taking place on blogs, discussion forums and social networks. Many people would have posted comments which were negative in tone, complaining about specific problems or the way they had been treated by O2 as a customer. For O2, the challenge was how to engage or join in the conversations taking place. Many of the comments in discussion forums are anonymous, or take place in a tone and context where O2’s response or involvement in the discussion may not be particularly welcome.
O2’s answer to this problem was to take the brave move of creating their own, open user discussion forum, where customers could ask questions and seek help, voice their opinion or complain. Registration was a requirement, to help O2 get in touch with members privately if required. This was a very positive move which was received well by O2 customers. As this was new territory for O2, they did demonstrate some early naivety, by correcting the content of some members posts, but their customer community was tolerant of this, as it was a new environment where everyone was learning.
Although the O2 Forum has developed from these early days and is now a popular and active community, O2 have extended the range of social media tools they use to reach customers, including Bebo, Twitter and now IGOpeople (links take you directly to the O2 profile page). We’re delighted to have O2 as part of IGOpeople, but everyone can learn from some of the specific conversations they have become involved in.
O2 have jumped straight into IGOpeople, posting regularly about items of interest to their customers – promoting shiny new phones and new product releases. This week, they offered customers the opportunity to direct any questions they may have to the Head of Customer Care – not something that is available to a consumer every day of the week!
However, the thing that is impressed me about O2, is the willingness to reach out to customers. There are a number of conversations where they acknowledge their shortcomings and state how they will fix things up, or recognise the need to make changes in the future. Their answers don’t always give you the answer you might demand, but they are there to listen and consistently discuss the issue, in a really honest and believable way – even if the answer isn’t quite what you want.
Here are some nice examples of the conversations they get involved in