Tag Archives: Social media

Tips on Social Media from our Bournville account

In the interests of Social Media and idea sharing, I would like to do a small post on our work with Bournville College.

bournvilleBournville College is a sixth form and adult education establishment just outside Birmingham city centre. They’re an extremely innovative college that were looking to use social media as a tool for connecting with current and prospective students. They contacted us on the matter and off we went.

As with all things, the campaign evolved and adapted throughout its duration. We had a water tight strategy but it is impossible to foresee trends and patterns in student viewing habits. Our campaign was based around the existing Bournville Blog that had been left dormant for sometime and we set up a bouquet of social media applications that were to satellite the blog acting as a referral tool and a real time conversational app.

bournville2As it is impossible to forecast the best social media apps for reaching students, we started with a blanket campaign over all the apps including Twitter, Bebo, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious. Each was given equal weight and attention until it became clear which ones were effective and which ones were not.

We applied the same ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality to the blog which was the ‘meat on the bone’ of the campaign. We initially wrote a new blog post every day with each post covering a different school subject everyday. We tried to make all posts appeal to inquisitive teens so we did posts on things such as the science behind a bacon sandwich and discussing what ‘Only fools and horses’ taught us about finance as well as live social reporting from Bournville’s open days and fayres.bournville3

Conversation was the foundation of our campaign and our main goal from start to finish was to create content that would provoke comments. Dialogue is the most important part of social media. Our initial posts, although well visited, were not gaining the frequency of comments we were hoping for. A more question based blogging style was to be used. We wanted to talk about relevant topics and ask the audience for their feedback. It was a great deal more successful and our blog and Facebook pages soon became forums for people to comment on.

With regards to applications and portals, there is no cast iron one that works for everyone. With our young audience we had anticipated a lot more from our Bebo page but it was Facebook, Stumble and Digg that were our big hitters, so we pulled out of the other applications and put our energies into making them a success. Twitter was a slight disappointment which I think may have been a result of Twitter being a more adult toy, certainly for our other accounts, particularly Bodies Revealed, Twitter has been an excellent conversational tool and information portal.Facebook

The question asking and dialogue through Facebook kept interest up during the summer holidays where we were expecting a down turn. Our social reporting was gaining a lot of hits and a small community was growing. As the campaign drew to its climax and prospectus downloads became the paramount target, our posts across all apps became a lot more sales driven.

In the end, Bournville received a record high enrollment and they will now be using social media as a regular tool for communication within the college.

We don’t profess to be social media geniuses but there were some valuable lessons we learnt on the way.

1. Always adapt – new trends and apps pop up all the time and devices you thought may be successful often may not be

2. Know you end and goal and stick at it – if you want comments, write posts that provoke comments

3. Reply to everything – it’s obvious but people don’t do it. Social media is two way and that is its sole purpose.

Without wanting to sound a bit shameless, Alma Aganovic of Bournville College had this to say about it all:

Social media is a very innovative marketing approach for the FE sector, with Bournville taking the lead, with Big Cat’s help. Using several social networking websites, as well as our own website blog, we have opened dialogues with potential students and the local community. This has in turn led to increased traffic on our website and an increase in downloaded brochures, both of which have been great news.

Working with Big Cat has been productive and enjoyable. We have monitored the campaign very closely, adapting activities to meet our targets. Big Cat have been very responsive and creative in terms of coming up with suggestions for adjusting campaign objectives, making the most of activities taking place at the College (e.g. Live blogging from Open Days etc). Following the success of the summer campaign, we are continuing to work with Big Cat this year to promote our Open Days. I have no hesitation in recommending this agency as a social media partner.

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Social Media killed the seminar

Seminars and conferences have been the staple diet of companies and yuppies alike since the 1980s. As well as providing a great excuse to go to another city on the company credit card, they are a forum where experts share their knowledge and ideas.
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The content within such conferences help identify and mould current and future trends. The latest ideas and technology are showcased there along with market patterns and new innovations.

They sound interesting don’t they? I can tell you first hand they’re not and I’m sure many will agree with me. They’re filled with awkward small talk, pretending to be interested and trying to concentrate after sinking two cheeky pints in the interval.Happy_Customer_with_Laptop_repaired

Social Media maps and compartmentalises all the content found in seminars as well as being able to share the information in real time to a mass audience. Some content is interesting, others less so.The important thing is it’s free, quick, easy and you only learn want you want to learn.

No more expensive trips, no corporate comms; turn on the tele, eat your dinner and get online. Learn the future in real time.

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Sharkey and George are back!!!

That time again… here to give you a sneak preview into the goings on in the Big Cat office.

The rain has been getting the Big Cat team down, so to cheer themselves up they decided to have a go-karting team building day! Its not safe for goldfish to go go-karting so we stayed in the safety of the board room. Well done to Nick Morgan & Julie Edge for winning the group race and Anthony Tattum for winning overall day!

go karting

We have seen some new faces in the office – Leila Campbell who sits with the events team and Sarah Stephenson who has been in the design studio. Its nice to see more ladies in the office.

This month has also seen the launch of departmental blogs. We did ask if we could have one but the boss said no – this regular post once a month is enough *sob sob*.

Events team has been working on events all over the city as everyone’s favourite venue The Old Library undergoes a refurbishment. This will include a new floor, new lighting system and a lick of paint amongst other things.

The PR, Social Media and events team had great news that they will be working together on 2 new projects. Events and Social Media will be working together on the West Midlands Police’s Safer Students campaign; the team working on this project will be making the road show interactive both physically and via the web to encourage trust in the police amongst the youth community.

Another departmental collaboration will be the Chamberlain Awards, the PR and events department will be working together to promote the ceremony and ensure the smooth running on the evening – I hope we get invited so I can wear my tux.

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Yahoo and Microsoft need to stop trying to take over and just join in

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Remember the good old days of computers and the internet, when no one had a clue what the damn thing was and it’s only function seemed to be a window for sleaze.

It was also a time when Yahoo and Microsoft ruled the waves. Microsoft provided the computers and Yahoo provided the easy way to surf the web. It was such a simple time, with so little competition and so much opportunity. The internet was of course in black and white then and the family would gather round at 7:30 to watch the Yahoo search engine in action.

yahoo-vs-google

Fast forward 10-15 years and the game is much different. Apple’s super-smooth style has lubricated Microsoft’s mundane perch until they slid off in a frenzied panic; Google now have a 92% market share, an unprecedented share of such a vast market, and social media has extended the boundaries of publication and word-of-mouth.

The internet is a very different beast now; it was more of a luxury item then, now we literally could not live without it. Every piece of information imaginable is available and near perfect communication can be had between individuals on the other side of the planet.

But what’s coming next and how can Yahoo and Microsoft reclaim what was once theirs? Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) et al has failed massively and stupidly; trying to gain a reasonable percentage of Google’s market share is near pointless and extremely risky. No, something new must be thought up, something huge, something that would create a new craze on the web.Facebook

The current trend in the web is social networking and blogging. They weren’t always so popular and eventually something will come along and take its place in the hearts of fickle internet users. It is Yahoo’s task to dream it up, sadly it don’t think it works that way. Yahoo have had their time and it was good while it lasted, also the nature of the internet suggests that it is independent companies and individuals that bring about the real change on the web.

User based content and systems has made the internet a democracy with Google as the God and rank organiser through meritocracy. Yahoo and Microsoft don’t seem to understand this side of the web and that now the user is king. It is not an autocracy for them to take over with a wave of their wand.

They need to embrace the new changes, allow freedom through their applications and join in as an contributor, not an all conquering leader.

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Big Cat Communication blog is launched

As promised last week, Big Cat’s seperate departments have started launching their own blogs.

We have lift off!

We have lift off!

The first to go up is our PR blog run by Natalie Hartland. She will be giving advice, comment, ideas and general thoughts from the world of PR and communications. The blog has its own twitter feed also.

Obviously it is a very much industry focused blog that will hopefully become a valuable resource for people in the sector.

Our marketing and events blogs are very close to launch and I will of course keep you updated on their happenings.

This blog will start to focus more on Birmingham and Social Media rather than trying to cover advice and comment from our four departments.

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Big Cat gets Little Fish

From a fly on the wall to a fish in a bowl, Sharkey and George, the newest members of the Big Cat family will be reporting to you from their home – the Big Cat boardroom!
fishy 
April has been an exciting month for us; we have settled in our new home, met our new family and even listened in on some top secret meetings!…

This month in the boardroom has been a busy one; the PR and Marketing teams are once again collaborating to finalise the social media strategies for a number of different businesses and governing bodies – obviously we only have a short memory so didn’t catch a lot (especially anything that Kenny said!)

Witness, our favorite rapper, dropped in to see us; he’s working with the West Midlands Police on a charity fun run. Personally I think that it should be a swim-a-thon, Witness wasn’t to keen on the idea, never mind.

We became very excited to overhear that some of the family will be working away from the office this summer. The Big Cat Events team will be working with Jägermeister at lots of cool festivals such as Download, Wakestock and Creamfields – if you see them make sure you say hello! We’d go but the mud is too thick to swim through.

p17-04-09_1455Our uncle Jason from the design studio is putting together a brochure for Wella, we have been lucky enough to see a sneak preview into next season’s new hair trends! Not sure any of those styles will suit us but we might give one a go, just incase some ladies come to visit us soon!

Next month we will be bringing more news from the boardroom….

Sharkey and George x

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Big Cat goes social – Birmingham Post

As some of you may be aware; ourselves and web whizzes, Substrakt, have joined forces to help deliver social media to regional companies and organisations. We have already collaborated on accounts with people such as West Midlands Police, NHS, Hare and Hounds and The Bull’s Head.

Yesterday, Creative Republic speaker Anna Blackaby wrote a piece documenting our new partnership in the Birmingham Post. I know its bad etiquette to document about yourself, but it is a nice indulgence from time to time.

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