Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A Social Referendum?


As you are no doubt fully aware, 2014 is a mammoth year for Scotland, with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, and of course, the Independence Referendum to be held in September.

In this blog post, Account Manager Graeme Geddes, takes a look at how social media might play a role in the run-up to the referendum and how effectively both camps are using social media.

The indy referendum, as many are calling it, will be, no matter the result, a pivotal moment not just in Scotland’s history, and not even just Britain’s history, but across the world.

The ramifications of the result will be felt far and wide, with the likes of the Catalans watching closely as they continue their campaign for independence from Spain.

With so much riding on the vote and with the whole world watching to see its outcome, it’s no surprise that both camps, Yes Scotland and Better Together, are using every means possible to broadcast and justify their position.

As you all know, a substantial part of what we do at fatBuzz involves social media so it would be folly for us not to look at the social media campaigns being undertaken by both camps, and how big a role social media can play in the run-up to the big day - especially with the vote open to 16 and 17 year olds.

As we say to all our clients, social media isn’t a substitute for ‘traditional’ marketing, it’s an addition to it - and both Yes Scotland and Better Together are using offline mediums to portray their messages as well as online and broadcast.

A while ago I came across a discussion on the BBC News website between Joe Twyman, director of political and social research at Yougov, and Dr Mark Shephard from the University of Strathclyde. In the discussion both men gave their opinion on the role social media will play in the vote.

From the outset of the discussion Twyman gives the opinion that the idea of social media playing a big role in the vote is “overplayed”.

He believes the Yes Scotland campaign is the more active of the two camps via social media but is then quick to state that they’re behind in the polls, suggesting it’s having little impact on the campaign.

He also adds that if you were to ask people where they get their information on politics and public affairs they say the likes of “television, radio, newspapers, and social media falls some way behind that”, but does concede that it’s good for mobilising people.

However, Dr Shephard isn’t so quick to dismiss the power of social media, citing an incident during the Irish presidential election where a tweet during a television debate arguably cost a candidate.

He then continued to say that through reading the BBC’s Have Your Say’s discussion threads he’s found individuals who’ve said “they are being affected by the material they are reading” suggesting there’s room for social media in the vote.

But let’s not take their word for it, let’s look at the respective Facebook and Twitter accounts for both camps.

At time of writing Yes Scotland had a larger social community than that of Better Together with 149,435 Facebook likes as opposed to 119,597.

And this is a trend that continued over on Twitter too with Yes Scotland amassing 40,737 followers, way more followers than its counterparts who had 22,397 followers.

It would be naive to think that an evaluation on this topic can be done just by looking at the figures which I’ve touched upon, but it’s a good starting point.

From contacting those behind both respective online campaigns it’s clear the school of thought is social media’s here to stay in politics, and that it’s seen as a powerful and influential medium.

However the scale to which this is believed was apparent to me until I contacted Rob Shorthouse, Director of Communications at Better Together. He said:

“Social media is another powerful way of getting information to undecided voters. This is not restricted to just the new 16&17 year olds who will be voting in September - or indeed younger voters more generally. With the number of accounts of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and so on registered in Scotland, it is clear that a proper social media strategy will enable you to speak to people of all ages.

“We take this very seriously. We work with the digital team who advised President Obama in 2008 and 2012. We work very hard to make sure that we have a steady flow of interesting, appropriate content for all of our social media feeds.”

And Rob’s passion and outlook on the importance of social media in the run-up to the referendum is something Yes Scotland's Head of Digital, Stewart Kirkpatrick echoed:

“As we take Yes Scotland's positive independence message to each and every household, community and organisation in Scotland, social media will continue to play a pivotal role in what is the largest grass roots movement Scotland has ever seen.

“There is a wealth of information on the benefits of a Yes vote on our website and we welcome online interactions from those wanting to learn more about independence.

“We know from our own polling that the more people are informed about independence, the more likely they are to vote Yes. Social media provides us with vital access to inform major sections of Scotland's voters.”

It’s clear to see, from both sides of the argument, that there’s a real belief that social media harnesses the potential to be very powerful and useful, not only for this vote, but for many elections to come.

It’s worth bearing in mind that whether we want it or not social media WILL play a part in this vote. Why? Because those in charge want it to be and unless they suddenly shut their social media accounts down that’s how it’ll stay.

One observation I’ve made is that both camps seem to focus on the other. They seem to want to be negative about their opponent rather than positive about themselves, but no one really wants to read negative status updates on their timeline, that’s not really what social media’s all about.

Perhaps if there were a change in the way these groups used social media they’d see a difference in their numbers and engagement.

Let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time social media has been present during a political vote. Remember Barack Obama’s first Presidential election campaign?

Back in 2008 Obama embarked upon on his journey to the White House which saw him beat John McCain in the process, and a large part of that journey involved making great use of social media. It was seen as the first ‘social campaign’.

Obama identified that many young voters were disinterested in politics, and targeted social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and even running an advert in a computer game as a means to connect with them. Using this strategy saw a larger turnout amongst young Americans and is seen as a massive factor in his victory.

But let’s look at politics on a wider scale and not just elections, social media is and will continue to be influential. Most MPs and MSPs have Twitter accounts and the likes of Newsnight, Politics Now and even Prime Ministers Questions have hashtags all aimed at encouraging engagement and broadcasting thoughts and opinions via social media.

If you ask me, social media WILL play a part in the indy vote, I just don’t know how big a role it’ll play. One thing’s for sure I’ll be hashtagging and tweeting come the 18th of September!

What do you think? Do you agree with me, or is social media just not up to the job of playing a part in the biggest day in modern Scotland? I’d love to hear your opinion, get in touch with me and tell me at graeme@fatbuzz.com.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.



Social Media Podcast 64 - Facebook spread their wings and the Independence debate on social media channels

Play the podcast here:

In Social Media Podcast Edition No.64 the fatBuzz team are back for some chat and light hearted banter around the world of social media.  This time round we have  Gordon White, Malcolm White, Graeme Geddes, Cameron Wilson and the latest recruit to the company, Kenny MacMillan

It's kenny's first ever podcast so we have to forgive him lifting and laying his glasses so often during the recording!

Once again, Meilee Anderson has some useful contributions from America and we are grateful to her for keeping us informed about what's happening in the USA.

Once again there's a fair bit about Facebook but we manage to cover lots of other interesting topics too.  We even dip or toe into the Scottish Independence debate and come out without any fall outs - something we haven't really witnessed on social media channels!

We do refer to the Rolodex in the podcast and we promised to show what this is in the blog, especially for the younger listeners may not ever have seen one!  Listen to the podcast to find out where it fits in the conversation.
Visit Rolodex web site here.

Amongst other things we discuss the following:
  • The recent revival of print media
  • New layout for Business Pages on Facebook - visit the 29 Glasow Facebook Page
  • Cutting Products & Services pages on LinkedIn
  • The continuing problems with the reach on Facebook Read Mashable post
  • Facebook to fragment its functionality on mobile - Read article
  • Girl cost her parents $80,000 over Facebook post! - Read Article
  • The Voice USA - How the hit TV show is using Twitter on screen during the show
  • NYPD come off badly on Twitter with #MyNYPD
  • The apparent revival of podcast - Why?
  • QR Codes - Are the dead?
  • Why LinkedIn is not a Rolodex
  • The Independence debate on social media channels
  • What part did social media play in the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony controversy
  • Two US airlines experience mixed fortunes on Twitter in the same week
We hope you enjoy the podcast, please also share it with your friends and colleagues, you can do so using the share buttons at the top of bottom of this post.

Play the podcast here:

Would you like a presentation on social media and customer service?
We're offering a range of bespoke or generic presentations on the topic of social media and customer service, if you would like to find out more please go to the following link: Are you prepared to lose control?

Have you listened to the digital copyright podcast?
We continue to see people using images, video content and other files taken from the internet without consideration to potential copyright issues. We would encourage all of our listeners to download Social Media Podcast 50 which clearly outlines what you should and shouldn't do with images sourced online. Find it on iTunes now.


If there is a specific topic you would like us to cover in a future podcast please let us know. You can email gordon@fatbuzz.com or send us a message on Twitter @MediaPodcast or, you can post it as a comment on the Social Media Podcast Facebook page.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your on-line community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.

Monday, 28 April 2014

New vulnerability found in Internet Explorer

In the last few days, Microsoft have confirmed a vulnerability in their packaged web browser Internet Explorer. The vulnerability covers all versions on all Windows operating systems, so if you’re using IE then you are currently susceptible to exploitation.

In the words of Microsoft:

“The vulnerability is a remote code execution vulnerability. The vulnerability exists in the way that Internet Explorer accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website.”

According to FireEye [1], the vulnerability is affecting roughly 26% of the market share using IE 9-11 and based on Net Market Share’s figures [2], the vulnerability accounts for almost 50% of all web browsers, so there’s a strong possibility that many of our friends and clients will be vulnerable. There is currently no ETA on a fix for this, so we would recommend that you change your web browser straight away. You can go to http://www.browsehappy.com to pick a safe alternative.

This is particularly important for all users of Windows XP, as Microsoft have recently abandoned support for the platform, so any updates may not be forthcoming. Upgrading to the likes of Google Chrome will also give you a more rounded, complete experience within Windows XP, whilst most importantly making your computer more secure.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, by phone (0141 427 0727) or by e-mail


If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.



Friday, 25 April 2014

New Media Breakfast June - What business owners and marketers need to know about SEO in 2014



What business owners and marketers need to know about SEO in 2014

DATE: Friday 27th June 2014
TIME: 7.30am for 8.00am
VENUE: 29 Club, 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow

Too many blog posts over the last 12 months or so have proclaimed "SEO is dead!".

In this New Media Breakfast Tim Barlow from Attacat will explore the truths and myths that have led some to make this claim. In making a declaration of "Long live SEO!" Tim will highlight what decision makers need to know about the continuing evolution of Google and SEO.

He will look at strategies and tactics that have had their day as well as looking at those that continue to work and are likely to do so for a long time to come. The overall objective will be to help you understand what role SEO should be playing in your marketing mix and how to get the best return from the time and money you put into seeking to rank.

Tim Barlow is managing director and founder of Attacat, an online marketing agency in Edinburgh that is well renowned for helping innovative companies drive sales from search engines. Tim has guided the New Media Breakfast audience through the maze of search engine marketing over the last 5 years, so we are delighted to welcome him back in 2014.

Tim has long advocated a "No short-cuts" approach to SEO - a strategy that is repeatedly shown to be valid as Google and other search engines continue to take action against those that seek to flout the "rules".

Venue: 29 Club, 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow
Date: Friday 27th June 2014
Time: 7.30 for 8.00am
Cost: £10+VAT


If you are a 29 Member you can attend the breakfast free of charge. Please email fiona@fatbuzz.com with you membership number and she will add you to the attendance list.

We hope you can make it along to this event. If so, I look forward to seeing you on the day.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Southwest Airlines Flying High On Social Media



We’re forever telling clients, and prospective clients, about the power of social media and the impact it can have on your business.

In the same week we saw an American airline making the news for all the WRONG reasons, we’ve seen another hit the headlines for the RIGHT ones.

During meetings we regularly say to clients to try and get into the mindset of taking photos and videos in the workplace. When generating content for the likes of Facebook and Twitter, something as simple as a birthday can make for great, engaging content.

Then there are times where we see something which does more than just engage with the public, it also acts (inadvertently) as a sales message.

A video posted to YouTube of a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines falls perfectly into this category.

We’ve all been there, sitting on the plane waiting patiently, either excited about the holiday we’re about to embark on, or shattered from the one we’ve just enjoyed, for the pilot to get us all up in the air.

This is the time where our safety information is, usually mundanely, recited to us. Couple this with our state of excitement or tiredness, and it’s pretty common for us to miss or ignore the safety info. Not on a Southwest flight!

The attendant, whose name at the time or writing is still unknown, turned this ‘chore’ into a comedy routine. And while she spouted gag after gag, a colleague was ready smartphone in hand, to capture it all on video. Exactly what we tell our clients to do.

We’ve posted the video at the bottom of this post, so not to ruin it for you we won’t touch on every joke, but her routine included lines such as: “Position your seatbelt tight, low and across your hips, like my grandmother wears her support bra”, and “If we do make you that nervous in the next hour and half you're more than welcome to step outside. We don't discriminate at Southwest, we have a special smoking area just for you.” Brilliant.

So what makes this content good for Southwest Airlines? Just look at the plethora of positive comments about both the attendant and the airline underneath the video on YouTube, with one even saying “I should start flying with Southwest.”

This is just one example of how powerful social media, and a bit of imagination, can be for your brand. So what are you waiting for; go get your smartphone and capture all those great moments in your office.

Who knows, our next blog post may just feature you and your great social media marketing offering.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.



Saturday, 12 April 2014

Facebook moves the goal posts again, but they're not the only ones...



Once again Facebook has tweaked its news feed algorithm  in an attempt to "clean up News Feed spam" by targeting three broad categories of spamming behaviour; like-baiting, frequently posted duplicate content, and spammy links.

Facebook's announcement explains they are keen to ensure the right content is delivered to the right people through the News Feed.  Changes to the algorithm make easier to detect Pages that 'frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, Comments and Shares' which their research found were usually less relevant than stories from Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage engagement with their fans.

Other changes include the better detection of duplicate content posted over and over again, and 'spammy' links that take you to off Facebook to advertising sites.

All in all I think these are good changes that theoretically will improve the content on an individual's News Feed, however I can't help thinking they are also a further move to force Page owners to pay to boost posts to fans.  Facebook say the changes shouldn't affect the majority of Pages, some of which may even see an increase in the distribution of stories. 

I also note the use of the work 'frequently' (6 times) in their statement; this would suggest they are initially focused on the worst offenders rather than Pages that may be hosting an occasional campaign to find new fans.

On the Social Media Podcast (N0.63) we discussed with Meilee Anderson the benefit of competitions and incentives explicitly for existing Page fans to help establish an affinity between the fan and the Page, I don't really see anything in the recent Facebook announcement that would change the conclusions we reached during our chat.

The wider issue...
Facebook continually tweaks the algorithm, and we know a new layout for the timeline page is immanent.  This week Twitter launched its new look home pages and on the 14th April LinkedIn is dropping its Products & Services pages in favour of Showcase pages.  All of these platforms will evolve and changes will continue to happen that may or may not suit the user.

I have seen too many businesses that put all of their marketing efforts into social media platforms, particularly Facebook, that now have big problems because the reach of their content has diminished dramatically over the last few months.

It is essential to realise the need to own and control as much as possible.  It is also critical to accept social media is not a replacement for traditional marketing; your social media marketing should complement your other marketing activities - not replace them! 

I spoke in depth at the Edinburgh New Media Breakfast on Thursday about the things to consider when developing a social media strategy and choosing the right tools; I was amazed at the response and the feedback which suggest to me too many people are not developing a clear strategy before they jump into social media.

Among other things, I highlighted the need to identify:
  • your aims and objectives
  • the challenges within your business
  • how it will complement your existing marketing activities
  • how you will use social media
  • how you will use specific tools
  • the best solution for your business model
  • the target audience - who, where, when?
  • the essential tools
Part of the presentation explored longevity and how we can take steps to make your social media marketing efforts 'future proof' thus avoiding the problems now being experienced by many businesses that put all their time and effort in Facebook.  These are all things that should be given due consideration before embarking on a social media marketing journey.

I will be presenting the same presentation at the Glasgow New Media Breakfast on the 25th April, you are all most welcome to come along, I'm sure you'll find it interesting and thought provoking.  Full details on the April Media Breakfast Glasgow here... 

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.



Thursday, 3 April 2014

April New Media Breakfast - Choosing the right tools



to satisfy your objectives and your resources

DATE: Friday 25th April 2014
TIME: 7.30am for 8.00am
VENUE: 29 Club, 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow

Social media is very definitely here to stay and many companies are now realising social media marketing must be part of the overall marketing mix, however how big a part of the mix and which tools to use are the questions that must be addressed.

The ever changing landscape of social media makes it very difficult for organisations to put in place a robust long term strategy. Clearly, flexibility and the ability to adopt new tools as they emerge is the favourable route, but this will often dilute your efforts and drain the resources you have at your disposal. Apart from the financial implications, is it a good idea to spread yourself over multiple platforms?

So, how do you decide what are the right tools for you, both now and in the future, and what resources will you need to achieve success?

The April New Media Breakfast will explore some of the things that you need to consider when deciding on the tools that will form the backbone of your social media marketing. Amongst other things, we will look at the following:
  • Establishing the short, medium and long term goals
  • Resources - financial, manpower and skill sets 
  • Where is your target audience?
  • Prioritising the tools
  • Flexibility and ability to respond to future trends
  • Balancing the mix - what proportion of your overall marketing budget should be committed to social media?
  • Complementing the mix - what will work best with your existing marketing methods?
  • Can you depend entirely on social media marketing?
There are many things to consider when you enter into social media marketing and we aim to highlight some of the things to consider in order to help you to make a more informed decision about the short, medium and long term requirements of the strategy you employ.

Every business requires its own tailored social media solution so if you have a specific question relevant to this topic please send it to us. If you would like to ask a question please email gordon@fatbuzz.com and we will be happy to consider it as part of the presentation.

Gordon White, Managing Director, fatBuzz Ltd will be presenting the April New Media Breakfast presentation.

Venue: 29 Club, 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow
Date: Friday 25th April 2014
Time: 7.30 for 8.00am
Cost: £10+VAT


If you are a 29 Member you can attend the breakfast free of charge. Please email fiona@fatbuzz.com with you membership number and she will add you to the attendance list.

We hope you can make it along to this event. If so, I look forward to seeing you on the day.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.