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TakeFive with TweetReach – Richard Janes

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Richard JanesWelcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with influential members of the Twitter measurement universe. This week, we’re excited to speak with Richard Janes, Co-Founder and CEO of Fanology Social, a social media studio that utilizes storytelling to engage fans of celebrities and brands, such as Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell.

TweetReach: We’ve got one question we like to start everyone off with, to see all the different pathways people take into social media: How you got started with social media as a whole? Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Richard Janes: My background is in producing, directing and writing movies and TV. I had the opportunity to write for big studios such as Disney, saw my directorial debut distributed theatrically around the world and won an Emmy by the age of 25. My career was growing quickly– until the dreaded writer’s strike of 2007. Being a new kid on the block, fresh off the boat from England, my trajectory came to a quick stop.

We started holding Sunday brunches for our friends who had been laid off or directly affected by the strike. It was inevitable that our conversations would come back to the internet, the need for new distribution, power distribution amongst the “creatives” and, of course, the power of social media. My brain began to churn on the technology that was being born around us.

That year, looking to stay active, I produced a web series called Dorm Life. Initially, we exclusively distributed through Hulu. Since the show was based on a college dorm floor, it made complete sense to jump on social media. There, we had the freedom to creatively market and distribute the show. The feed and two-way conversation that developed between the show’s characters and fans was incredible– that’s when I had my “ah-ha” moment.

It become overly clear to me that social media just might be the answer to all the discussions our group of friends was having. During a backyard dinner party, Fanology Social was born.  It took a few years to raise our seed money, but in 2010 we opened the doors to Fanology HQ providing social media services to celebrities and brands.

We are completely enjoying the ride: telling stories, creating conversations and engaging audiences. Our clients’ fans now total over 60 million on Facebook and 28 million on Twitter.

TweetReach: You’re active in the entertainment industry. How are others in your industry embracing social media and measurement? How is your approach different from everyone else?

Richard Janes: Our traditional entertainment industry accounts are responsible for 50% of our business, however, I would argue that all our clients are embracing the idea of being entertainment providers to communicate their message through social media. As far as the traditional entertainment industry goes we are still at an embryonic stage of social media use. There appear to be three main buckets that our competitors fall into:

1. The agency that is focused on looking after celebrities and either driving all their social media traffic to a celebrities website where they monazite via low CPM adverts, or

2. The social media factory with hundreds of celebrity clients where they have a set formula that doesn’t deviate with each client, but at least it gets the celebrity building their audience.

3. Traditional ad agencies that approach social media as they do traditional advertising with the focus on the sell rather than the building of meaningful relationships.

What makes us different is that we are 100% focused on social media; we develop client-specific strategy and content (copy, graphics, videos and experiences) for each platform. First and foremost we are entertainment providers who have spent decades building content that evokes an emotional response providing continual value to the end user.

TweetReach: You engage clients like Shay Mitchell from Pretty Little Liars—both she and her show have a huge fan base that’s active on Twitter. How do you measure fan engagement around her and her character? What measurement benchmarks are important to you, and how do you use TweetReach to get them?

Richard Janes: Shay Mitchell is a great example of an actress who really ‘gets’ social media. She understands that she is where she is- and will achieve her lofty goals- ONLY as a result of her fans continued support.

Shay is really a dream client for us.

As part of our strategy, we support her in weekly Twitter parties around the show, which drives huge interaction from her fan base. For the season finale, our hashtag #PLLayWithShay received over 96,000 tweets,  177,000,000 impressions and trended worldwide for nearly two hours.

The average Twitter party runs an hour and after we are able to track the success through TweetReach Analytics. We love the immediacy of TweetReach!

As far as the benchmarks we use to measure success, it really varies from client to client and partner to partner. With our celebrity clients they have so many brand partners (from the TV shows and studios through to magazines, talk shows, and product lines they endorse) we have to have access to a wide variety of trustworthy data so that we can meet any of their insight requests at a give time.

From a brand perspective like Live Nation, it’s all about the click through to buy tickets.  But with Toyota, there isn’t the expectation that a click on a link is going to directly result in the purchase of a new Pruis C. Not yet anyway!

TweetReach: How do you look at and think about the mix of different social media networks when designing your social strategy—are you looking at incorporating more than just Twitter? What kind of different approaches might you take with different platforms, and what lessons do you think you can take with you from Twitter?

Richard Janes: We work across social media from Google+ Hangout’s with Jillian Michaels and Ashley Tisdale to Twitter parties with Shay Mitchell and Jesse McCartney, all the way through to a Redit AMA with Morgan Spurlock.

The key for us is developing a strong narrative on each platform that caters to each platform’s strengths and takes the fan on a journey, rather than through random updates where social media fatigue can set it. As far as immediate interaction, Twitter is the king and multiple updates work great in creating a two-way conversation, be it with a celebrity’s Twitter party, or working as a customer service tool for some of the IOS gaming companies we work with. When it comes to Facebook we have to be a lot more focused on our client’s updates; with Google+ SEO is making a big difference.

TweetReach: Have you looked at social media success or failure in other industries for pointers on how to apply best practices in your work? Any good examples?

Richard Janes: 100%, we are all pioneers and there is no point in having tunnel vision with the way we do business. We are constantly on the lookout for innovative work and you never know where that may come from: a massive agency with a huge budget, or a local musician who has come up with a great way to get all his friends turning up to a gig.

TweetReach: Good examples of social media work?

Richard Janes: Hummm …a good place to start is our website ;-)

TweetReach: Haha fantastic, Richard! Thanks for talking to us. And we’ll keep watching to see where Fanology Social takes its clients next!

British CEO and lifelong entrepreneur, Richard Janes, started Fanology Social after recognizing the power of social media. His award winning career as a writer/director has informed the companies underlying goal of employing storytelling as the main strategy of boosting clients engagement. 
 
A childhood actor, Janes ended up finding his place behind the camera. At the tender age of 23, he directed his first feature length film that was distributed internationally. Shortly after, Janes’ pilot went on to win an Emmy. He had the pleasure of writing feature screenplays for major studios such as Disney.
 
Since falling in love with social media, Janes and his team of Fanologists, have been recognized with various awards (DigiDay award, Webby nominated) and work with the top names in the social media circuit (Shay Mitchell, Ashley Tisdale, Toyota).
 
Please see www.FanologySocial.com for more details.

Written by Sarah

April 9th, 2013 at 11:01 am

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TakeFive with TweetReach – Brian Conway

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TakeFive with TweetReach - Brian Conway

Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with influential members of the Twitter measurement universe. This week, we’re excited to speak with Brian Conway, Account Supervisor for Weber Shandwick, about his experiences with social media and how his initial personal use of the medium lead to a deeper understanding for the impact and potential use it had for brands. He takes this insight with him into projects with current clients, such as American Airlines.

TweetReach: Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Brian Conway: My initial experience with social media was in the mid-2000s for personal use when platforms like Facebook and Twitter had really only made a name for themselves as being unique to the individual experience. It wasn’t until 2008 or 2009 that I started paying much closer attention to how those same individual messages aggregate over time to form a larger brand picture that can be pretty — or pretty ugly. The fact that individuals suddenly had so much influence over a company’s brand reputation and strategic direction was a huge eye-opener for me— that was my “ah-ha” moment. This understanding has since influenced how I’ve approached some of the community management and crisis roles I’ve held for a variety of clients.

TweetReach:How have you seen your clients approach Twitter as part of their digital strategy?

Brain Conway: Broadly speaking about Weber Shandwick, the number of clientele using Twitter and other social media platforms has exploded tremendously in the last three or four years. Nearly all use Twitter for some kind of public engagement, and that ranges from corporate news to marketing announcements to social customer service. Others still use it for listening only. Message reach and response is always important, but what we encourage companies to look for are individual conversations, sentiment, and reach of positive messages. Brand-building or brand regress happens over time, so any corporate Twitter strategy needs to take ongoing listening into big consideration. From my personal experience, I’ve been very closely tied to American Airlines’ social media program since 2009, and Twitter has become a hugely invaluable engagement resource, as well as a strong component of its award-winning social customer service program.

TweetReach: How important is measurement of engagement on Twitter to your strategy with clients? Do you have specific goals and campaign metrics that you use to measure performance and success?

Brian Conway: Measurement of social engagement, be it Twitter or any other platform, is as crucial as your digital strategy. After all, a company doesn’t devote budget and time to a platform simply for the sake of grins, right? I often advocate for a well-balanced approach to quantitative and qualitative measurement for clients, and it all starts with goals. If your campaign goals focus squarely on follower growth or message reach as a measure of success, it’s very easy to track those KPIs quantitatively. But, we believe our clients need to know not just how many conversations there were, but what was actually said and what it means for the company’s business objectives.

TweetReach: Along those lines, let’s talk about the measurement of reach. How do you weigh the importance of the quantity of a campaign’s reach (the overall size of the potential audience) vs. the quality of that reach?

Brian Conway: As I mentioned, it’s very important to have a well-balanced mix of quantitative and qualitative analysis for any social media campaign, proactive or reactive. Again, it all comes back to goals and what kind of success you want to achieve for your organization. Some social campaigns may lend themselves more toward KPIs like audience reach, impressions, sales growth, volume of submissions, awareness-generation, volume of tweets using your hashtag, and the like. Other campaigns may focus more on engagement. Some important qualitative questions to ask: What message points resonated best with our followers? Did our posts trigger any unexpected conversations? How does this Twitter campaign help us prepare for the next one?

TweetReach: Do you have any examples of how analytics have helped you adjust or improve your social media activities? Has this ever happened in the middle of a campaign?

Brian Conway: In one instance for a former client, we had pre-determined the entire course of proactive messaging for the client’s social media campaign. Almost halfway into the campaign, our tracking and reporting revealed significant conversations around a storyline we hadn’t even considered, and it gave us cause to revise our messaging strategy to make sure we spoke more about this other storyline people obviously wanted to discuss. When we reported our findings to the client, we were met with some understandable skepticism about changing our strategy, but in the end, we showed that adaptability and commitment to listening can contribute to campaign success— which is exactly what we saw.

Brian assists with the coordination and management of digital/social media programs at varying levels of strategic corporate engagement, including brand reputation management, outreach strategy, new business development, and crisis monitoring and program implementation. Currently, Brian supports a number of Weber Shandwick clients’ social media programs, including American Airlines and Essilor of America. Among Brian’s primary expertise are community management and message engagement, proactive social campaign strategy, social media crisis comnunications, and blogger relations strategy.

Written by Sarah

March 6th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

TakeFive with TweetReach – Beverly Robertson

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Beverly Robertson

Beverly Robertson

Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with influential members of the Twitter measurement universe. This week, we’re excited to speak with Beverly Robertson, National Director of the Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center at the March of Dimes (find them on Twitter here). We spoke with her about the incredible opportunity social media presents to disseminate health information, particularly as it pertains to the March of Dimes mission: healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Beverly hosts a Twitter chat with the hashtag #pregnancychat once a month, featuring revolving topics around health, pregnancy and babies. She also hosts ad hoc chats with the hashtag #preemiechats. More recently, The March of Dimes participated in a joint Twitter chat with the Center for Disease Control for Birth Defect Prevention Month (January) with the hashtag #1in33chat.

TweetReach: Welcome, Beverly! Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Beverly Robertson: Actually, I was in India back in ’07 and saw so many young women texting. Watching them, it struck me: what a tremendous opportunity for delivering health information. When I came back, I looked into creating a texting program for the March of Dimes and it was prohibitively expensive.  BUT Twitter was free, and women could access it through their phones if they wanted to.  March of Dimes joined Twitter in August of 2007.  My vision back then was to offer a pregnancy tip of the day. Everything has changed since then.

TweetReach: When did you start doing the Twitter Chats with March of Dimes? How important was measurement when you started them, and how has that evolved?

Beverly Robertson: We started doing chats on Twitter in April of 2010. In the beginning, I tracked stats as a matter of course– but we now rely on TweetReach to not only see our reach, but understand which topics resonate with our followers and what times of day are best to chat, as well as the importance of having guests.

TweetReach: What has surprised you the most about the chats? What about the data you get from measuring them?

Beverly Robertson: The most surprising thing is the interactivity- no, not even that- it’s the openness with which our followers not only share their personal triumphs and trials, but their gratitude to us as an organization.  Also, don’t host a chat at 3pm ET; people are at the bus stop picking up their kids! Simple really, but it was not on my radar.  The most interesting thing (not really surprising) about the data is it how far a simple retweet will go with the right people with a large following.  On a side note, beyond the chat reports, I love reading the Tracker reports. It is sometimes surprising to see who is talking about the Foundation and the reach the conversation has.

TweetReach: There are many different ways to measure activity, but how does March of Dimes gauge your success?

Beverly Robertson: We look at reach numbers, of course, but also the number of contributors and growth year over year.  I absolutely go back to compare the numbers over time and analyze the strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities of the chats– and make changes based on them.

TweetReach: Do you feel the approach or reliance on social platforms is different for a nonprofit organization? What would you recommend to one that is just starting on their social strategy, or is uncertain of how to even begin?

Beverly Robertson: Social Media is critical not only for delivering mission messaging, but in introducing the organization to a new audience, as well as keeping track of what people are saying about you and your mission. It also is critical to take the opportunity to thank your donors and volunteers publicly for all of their hard work and support.  I cannot tell you what a tremendous response we get for doing that.  My recommendation is jump in, but listen before you speak.

TweetReach: The last chat you held in December was on hyperemesis gravidarum, which the Duchess of Cambridge was recently diagnosed with. How do you typically choose chat topics? Did you find more engagement with this one since it related to a recent news event involving a well-known figure?

Beverly Robertson: Some of our chat topics are planned in advance based on a specific monthly activity (November is Prematurity Awareness Month, for example) while other are more spontaneous, like the hyperemesis one (Editor’s note: The March of Dimes held a Twitter chat on December 5, 2012, on the topic of hypermesis gravidarum, or severe, chronic and debilitating morning sickness).  With the flu being so bad this year, we are planning a chat on Flu During Pregnancy on Feb 1st.  I also see what people are talking about in my streams, or ask outright what topics our followers would like to have covered.  I did not find that the hyperemesis chat was better because it was in the news. I think a better lead time and more promotional opportunity is more critical to success than celebrity hype.

TweetReach: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us and share your thoughts and findings, Beverly!

Beverly Robertson is the National Director of the Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center at the March of Dimes. Under her leadership, The Center provides information in both English and Spanish via traditional, written and online inquiries as well as through social networking.

She is heavily vested in new media, leading the social media mission messaging team: tweeting on @marchofdimes, and @babytips as well as managing the blogging team for News Moms Need and Nacersano blog.  She holds webinars, workshops and speaks at many conferences on the benefits of social media and the need to engage the public, as well as the importance of Hispanic Outreach.  She keeps a watchful eye on non-profit uses for new technology.

Beverly has a MLS degree from Rutgers University, an MA in history, and an archival certificate from New York University.  She has a BA in Spanish from Ohio State University.

Written by Sarah

January 15th, 2013 at 11:36 am

Broadcast TV is realizing that customers come first

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This is a guest post by TweetReach Pro customer and all-around smart guy Evan Hamilton, Community Manager at UserVoice

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Lithium Network Conference. I heard a lot of great talks by leaders in community. But the most interesting speech was by Chris Blandy, SVP of Digital Media at FOX. He said something that stood out to me (paraphrased):

We’ve traditionally been a B2B company, but in the social media ere we’re having to become a B2C company. It’s a huge, important shift for us.

Here’s the thing: traditional broadcast media has always been a B2C business. Sure, you’re selling ads to businesses. That’s how you make money. But in order to do that, you have to make a successful B2C product: a network of television shows people want to watch.

It’s understandable that this has been unclear. When FOX launched they were only the FOURTH broadcast television network. Sure, they had to compete on programming, but only with three other networks. They could put a show on, and as long as it didn’t tank, they could focus on courting advertisers and making sure the content matched what they wanted, in content and format.

Today there are more than 20 broadcast television networks… not to mention lots of cable networks and web content. And their fans are audible, filling social networks, blogs, and fan sites with comments about the network. The entertainment industry can no longer assume they will have viewers. They need to focus on the real customers they always had: the viewers.

To FOX’s credit, they seem to be refocusing wholeheartedly. Chris used American Idol as the prime example of this. They’re building social spaces for fans to chat (one of the top posts on the forum is a criticism of a judge’s harsh words to an Idol contestant). They’re also building opportunities for their fans to continue to consume content, even between broadcasts, such as their live Twitter Q&A sessions with former Idol stars. And, in a big move for a company that would normally rely on Nielsen ratings, they’re measuring social media buzz while an event is on air (and off) and bringing that into their decision-making process.

But let’s be clear: it’s not about social making customers suddenly important. They’ve always been important. But as relative monopolies disappear and it becomes harder to hide from what they’re saying, broadcast media going to have to focus on their viewers with more intensity. This means not only listening, but acting on their feedback and keeping the relationship going beyond the 1-hour time slot. If you can master this, the advertisers will come.

Evan Hamilton is Community Manager at UserVoice, makers of modern, easy, web-based customer service help desk software. He writes frequently about focusing on your customers on the UserVoice blog. When he finds free time, he plays rollicking americana music at Kicking Tuesday.

Written by Jenn D

May 16th, 2012 at 10:42 am

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