Twitter + Google + Emoji = Search

A few days ago Twitter & Google joined forces via the power of the emoji. The principle is simple, tweet @Google with an emoji of choice, preferably food related, and Google will send you back relevant local results. So for example, you fancy a burger, you tweet a burger emoji to @Google and you get back local restaurant results. I decided to try it out – but went for a hobby rather than food in the first instance. The results were not quite as successful as I had hoped and I had to try again, this time with a strawberry rather than an equine. This time I got supermarkets suggested, though not in the right location so again, not quite as accurate as I had hoped but the principle is interesting. Using a popular method of communication and joining tech & channels together you get a new development on ‘traditional’ search. Go emoji search!



Read all about it – social & traditional media


Rarely does a day start without the radio on in the background. Midweek until 9am the default setting tends to be the Today Programme. I listened with interest recently as the presenters plugged a Facebook live streamed interview occurring later that day. Nothing new about this approach, BBC News amongst many others have been live streaming for months, but this does seem to be a new development for the Today Programme and is an example of how social media channels influence traditional media by showing how to engage audiences and tell stories.  Below are a few thoughts on why social media influences traditional press & why live streaming is proving to be such a hit …

Mobile – people spend more time in social channels than ever before. Nothing new here either and on average we spend around two hours a day in social networking sites now*. Therefore anyone in the business of getting the story out first simply has to have a social presence. For a long time now I’ve gone to Twitter first to find out more as a story unfolds and live streaming is simply adding another engaging dimension to this with an amazing ability to capture an audience as events unfold. Traditional media can only compete by publishing the content first via social channels or risk losing their audiences.

Technology – the battle for audience reach & engagement across the major social networks continues and is likely to only get more competitive. Many, many articles have been published looking at Snap/Instagram/Facebook live/Periscope and it seems almost certain that the level of duplication across the channels will continue. Put simply, thanks to social the general population now have the technology in their pocket to absorb and broadcast their own news as well as others to a huge audience 24/7. We’ve never had such personal access to live news before, nor have the broadcasters been able to get so close to their audiences.

Infrastructure – traditional news outlets have one major advantage over many other sectors in harnessing social audiences – they know how to produce content people want to see, and they are good at it. News networks have the infrastructure so many other businesses lack in this world of ever growing content appetite. They have the facilities, the teams on the ground with the experience & equipment they need to deliver 24 hour rolling news – they now also have the portals to broadcast this news straight into the pockets of the audience they are looking for. Few other organisations have this set up and this puts the media networks at an advantage in terms of using social channels to deliver compelling news content first. Long, long gone are the days that if a story breaks you have to wait for the news that evening to find out all the details.

Audience – we all want, and now can have real time stories as quickly as we want it. Whether you are looking for politics, sports, business or celebrity gossip doesn’t matter the fact is someone, somewhere is capable of broadcasting live what you might be looking for.

Live streaming has given us a new world of real time news coverage but leads to an interesting twist in the delivery. The fact that the technology exists and people are in social channels for so much of their lives brings about an interesting ethical dilemma as traditional editorial control no longer applies. How we should operate around subjects such as privacy when we can live stream anywhere we like is an interesting subject, but one for another day.

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Can anyone hear me? Why social listening matters


I was recently asked by a client to talk about the power of social media, a brilliantly broad brief. We opted for social listening as the subject, because social insight can influence so many areas of a business. Below is a summary of the resulting discussions…

  1. Issue management

Listening to customer conversations is a great way of understanding where underlying problems may lie and in this age where customers are savvy, competition is fierce and technology is advancing can you afford not to understand where your customer pain points are? According to the Huffington Post 67% of customers site bad experience as a reason for churn*. Listening to customer experiences via social channels can help you identify issues which could range from business wide problems, eg delivery time, to real time problems eg “your website doesn’t seem to be working”.

  1. Reputation management

Social customers are often the first to spot problems, discuss a poor experience and can be relied upon to tell you what you think of new campaigns and initiatives . Listening to the conversation will often be the first alert to any potential damage to brand reputation and being able to react quickly and with the right messaging to reassure as soon as possible can help limit brand reputation damage.

  1. Conversations, customer service & content

Everyone knows that when you have a great social experience you think more of the brand compared to feeling let down if the experience does not meet your expectations. Being able to respond and manage poor experience with excellent customer service will put most brands in a stronger position with their audiences. It seems that a lot of brands are putting effort & energy into content creation when they could also potentially be using social insight to understand customer needs and therefore assist in shaping business decisions.

  1. Trend spotting

Second guessing what your customers are next going to be interested in is a tricky business and comes with risks if you get it wrong. Being able to spot trends as they develop could help many businesses understand where to play in order to attract or retain customers. So for example, if a retailer could hear what their customers are talking about they could ensure they are stocking the latest, hottest tech, fashion or whatever is relevant to their customers, and ensure it is merchandised effectively to maximise sales.

  1. Marketing efficiency

I don’t know many marketing directors who are not looking to drive maximum efficiency from marketing budgets. Social listening is a great tool to enable efficiency, from spotting keywords for PPC & SEO to enabling content creation which will really fulfil customer needs and drive an action, social listening can give valuable, budget stretching insight.

  1. Perfecting products

Reviews are becoming increasingly powerful, according to Bazaarvoice 92% of customers trust the opinion of others above advertising**. The interesting thing reviews also enable you to do is understand the issues customers have, enabling you to fix issues. So for example you might be a retailer selling a product which gets continually poor reviews. The reviews tell you that the product has a fault or could be improved in some way which if resolved and the product gains positive reviews is likely to improve conversion.

If anyone would like further information about the services we offers please do drop me a line at


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Wish you were here: Qantas aims to inspire through ‘Out of office’

A photo by Xochi Romero.

Though a holiday can sometimes cause you to wonder if having time off was worth it, one of the most satisfying jobs many of us do before leaving is setting an ‘out of office’ message. This final detail is crucial now we live in a world where being ‘always on’ has come to be expected (the irony being that as I type this I sit on a balcony looking out over south beach while on a visit to family who just happen to live in Miami thank you very much for the loan of the apartment AJ & US!). Anyway, in order to tackle the apparent tedium of the out of office message which usually goes along the lines of ‘Hi, I’m away until xxxx, if your query is urgent please contact xxx or I will respond on my return’ (insert info as applicable), Qantas have come up with a social tactic to ‘inspire people’ into booking holidays (presumably preferably through Qantas) through a visual travel journal. You go to, sync your Instagram & email accounts and add holiday details eg dates, destination & message, then tagged images appear in your out of office.

Qantas Group Executive Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said the airline hoped the new out of office travelogue would inspire more colleagues, friends and family to travel the world.

“The traditional out of office message can be both generic and impersonal in nature and from our research, sixty percent of employees say they appreciate receiving something more creative,” she said. “We know that tips from friends and colleagues are the highest driver for people when choosing their next holiday destination, so we saw an opportunity to encourage travel through the millions of out of office emails being sent every day.

“There’s no better real-time platform than Instagram to promote global travel, especially when combined with Qantas’ vast domestic and international network which offers endless opportunities for original and inspirational images.

The tactic caught my attention because:

  1. It’s based on a universal truth, & data – everyone loves a holiday

I don’t know many people who hate taking a break therefore the campaign has a pretty universal appeal, at least to those who work in an office environment for a living. Qantas did some research into the area about how people book holidays & how they perceived the out of office message which gave them insight to build the campaign on.

  1. There is a common behaviour – setting an out of office message

One of the last things many of us do before we go on holiday is set our out of office message, therefore the campaign is recognisable to many.

  1. There is a blending of channels – email & social

Finding a genuine way to blend social with other channels is a nice way to drive awareness – this campaign brings the visual appeal found in Instagram with the direct message of email, increasing the chance of it getting noticed.

  1. It’s relevant & efficient – brand truth blended with customer action

Qantas fly you to beautiful destinations, people use Instagram to share their holiday experiences, and there need be no campaign end date as people book holidays all year round.

  1. It uses emotion to deliver a message – inspire & envy

I’ve not yet been on the receiving end of a Qantas out of office message but if I was I’m pretty sure I would either be envious of the fact that whoever I was trying to contact was away on their hols, or inspired to think about taking one myself.

Some considerations

  1. Would your company approve?

I’ve worked for businesses who potentially would not have seen the funny side of staff arguably gloating about the fact that they are away living it up – so depending on the company this might not be seen as professional. (Note – this is why I have not set this functionality up myself!)

  1. Moderation?

Most people I am sure would remember they had synced their Instagram account with their office email but there will always be cases where the 4am party shots pull through which may not be the best way to portray yourself! You have to tag images you want to be pulled into the out of office so this should help but there is a slight risk.

  1. Results?

I’d be interested in what the KPI’s of the campaign are – depending on whether the KPI’s are social brand awareness metrics or commercial traffic, conversion & sales it would be interesting to see how Qantas measure success.

If you are looking for social media strategy advice please do drop me an email at I’ll respond when I’m back from my holiday next week!

Picture credit Xochi Romero via


Five things I’ve learned…

I can classify the last four months as a roller coaster, and one of the best I have ever been on. Why? Because four months ago I left my job at John Lewis and set my own business up helping with social media, PR & content strategy. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the last few months…

People just want to help – especially those who have been through starting a business. I never fail to be amazed at how people are happy to put time aside to meet me and have a chat through their experiences. Thanks to everyone who has given me advice over the past few months.

You never know what might happen next – you can plan, and of course so you should, but being able to react and change plans quickly to be as flexible as you need is a must. I like the fact that your day can change on a whim but being super organised is key.

There are no boundaries – linked to the point above, because things change so quickly, being prepared for a scope to change or grow during the course of a project is a a huge opportunity.

Be prepared to learn, learn, learn – not a single day has gone by without me learning something new, and resolving a challenge is a great feeling.

And talk, talk, talk – people are happy to help, they are curious to hear your story and you have to set aside a lot of time to build relationships. Luckily I love meeting people and talking so no hardship here!

If you have any social media, PR or content queries please drop me a line


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