Four Reasons Community Managers Need to Know Paid Media

The convergence of social media and paid media means that Community Managers must add another string to their ever-growing bow.

Much in the way that using a tool like Radian6, Sysomos or Netbase to understand how a community behaves has become an essential skill, Account Executives right through to Directors, need to know what Paid Media can bring to a communications activity and how to execute.

The emergence of paid media as a communication tool in social media has meant that advertising budgets are being pushed more to the social media realm; recent GroupM research has suggested that this year more than 50% of ad spend will now be put towards digital advertising.

1. Organic reach is dying
The days of thousands and thousands of likes on Facebook posts are over. Facebook have all but ensured that if you want your content to reach the large fanbase you’ve spent the last five years building up, you will need to pay for the pleasure.

It’s easy to hypothesise that Twitter or Instagram will be the next platform to begin throttling organic reach – they need to because…

2. Platforms need to monetise to survive
Getting paid to get people in front of your content is one of the simplest ways to make a quick buck. But it is essential; without platforms there are fewer ways to connect with the switched generation and if the shareholders and investors don’t see a return, they’ll pull the plug.

People do not want to be bombarded by adverts; that means platforms need to make the content they *can* publish work harder.

3.If you don’t do it, someone else will
The landgrab for paid media ownership has been ever-shifting; whether it’s media, advertising, marketing, PR, social media or digital agencies, everyone sees the value that Paid media can bring.

To be able to run and maintain a paid campaign must be a requisite for anyone hoping to succeed in the digital communication space. If you’re unable to do it, someone else will and that means less revenue for your agency and could mean you’re overlooked for that big role you want.

As someone who has managed many different communities over the last eight years, I don’t want to sound the death knell for Community Management, but the reality is that many big brands are pulling that role in-house to dedicated teams. That leaves agency teams with fewer opportunities and a big question: what do we do if one of our main revenue drivers dries up? Become Paid media experts, could be one of the potential answers.

4. You learn about measurement *really* quickly
Social media is converging with direct marketing; what direct marketing is really good at is measuring success.

If you can learn the metrics that make paid media accountable, you’ll learn a valuable analysis skill that can be transferred into different roles and applied across different tasks.

If you are a Community Manager and don’t know how to publish a dark post on Facebook, letalone publish a promoted tweet, now is your time to learn and develop an expertise that will take you out of social media and into marketing.

If you are currently working in the social media space and do not have responsibility for Paid Media on your channels, go and claim it.

#fornicforpromotion Watford Players Tweet Support for Nick Cruwys

Watford players tweeted their support for Nick Cruwys, the Watford supporter who was attacked following the game with Wolverhampton Wanderers, in unison this evening (Friday night) prior to the home match against Reading tomorrow (Saturday).

The team, who have been in the news for sad reasons this week, showed their humility and respect in what has been a tough week for Nick’s family and all those associated with the club.

Having been at the Wolverhampton game and not seen any trouble, it was a shock to read the reports of what happened post-match. It has united, certainly the Football League, if not British football.

Bournemouth fans will show their support on Saturday too, by taking the lead of the 1881, a Watford fan group, and releasing 44 yellow balloons during their game.


As more arrests are made, It shows that the football in Britain can come together, despite rivalries, and that nothing is more important than life itself, not even football.

This is why I love my club.

The Ken Furphy art of Man Management

Ken Furphy, a former Watford manager between 1964-1971, passed away on January 17 this year. He made over 500 appearances for Darlington, Workington and Watford in a career that began at Everton in 1950.

He was seen as a progressive manager, particularly during his time with Watford; so much so that he allowed cameras to record a team meeting that took place prior to an FA Cup tie against reigning European champions Manchester United in 1969.

Watford, in the Third Division at the time, were given little hope against the might of the Red Devils.

Ken Furphy and his team conspired to get a totally unexpected 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. The team were inspired by their manager.

I wanted to share the video of the team meeting because it gives us an insight into how to get the best out of people.

  • Ken puts absolute trust in his players, having the faith in them to go about their job professionally, despite the relative gulf in class.
  • He provides simple, clear information to each player about what’s expected of them.
  • He outlines his player’s strengths and helps them manage where their opponent may have an advantage.
  • He uses positive language to re-affirm his belief in each individual’s ability.

What stands out to you about Ken’s man management style?

If you think #PR and #socialmedia should stay away from Paid Media, pack up and go home

Running Paid Media campaigns now must be considered part of the ‘must have’ armoury of PRs.

Much in the way that using a tool like Radian6, Sysomos or Netbase to understand how a community behaves has become an essential skill, Account Executives right through to Directors, need to know what Paid Media can bring to a communications activity and how to execute.

I do not believe that Paid Media should live with media buying or ad agencies. There is no better person placed to run a Paid Media campaign than a Community Manager.

They are engaging on behalf of their brand every day. They know what people in that community like, don’t like, react to and ignore.

In a previous role, I was working alongside another agency on behalf of a client. The client put the control of the Paid Media activity with the other agency, whilst we looked after the community management.

We noticed a sudden surge in negative commentary within our Twitter community. It was odd as generally the community were positive towards us. After investigation it turned out that some Paid Media activity had gone live, and it had terrible targeting; the agency running the activity had got it all wrong. We identified what the issue was, suggested changes, implemented the changes and subsequently the negative discussion declined to minimal levels.

Because we knew what the community wanted, the language that would be used by potential new community members and those people who did not like the company we were working with, we could optimise the Paid Media activity accordingly.

The targeting errors were so obvious to us because we knew the language that would resonate. We knew that because we were in the community everyday.

PR is all about communication. That means using the right visuals, presentation, tone and vocabulary to connect. Media buying agencies and advertisers can offer scale, but they can not offer innate understanding of behaviour; that’s not their role.

If you are a Community Manager and don’t know how to publish  a dark post on Facebook, letalone publish a promoted tweet, now is your time to learn and develop an expertise that will take you out of social media and into marketing.

Social media’s convergence into marketing continues as Facebook’s organic post reach diminishes to comical levels.

We’ve continually asked ‘who is responsible for running social media’; advertising; marketing; PR; brand comms… the last seven years have wielded no answers and now Facebook may be, inadvertently, starting to force marketers’ hands.

The answer is that we are all responsible for social media. Yes, you will put the power of tweeting into the hands of one person, who will report into a ‘social media manager’, but that function ultimately lives within the overall communications function and requires input from each unit.

If you are currently working in the social media space and do not have responsibility for Paid Media on your channels, go and claim it.

It will be so beneficial in the long run.

Cluetrain Manifesto: New Clues

David Weinberger and Doc Searls have updated The Cluetrain Manifesto, producing “New Clues“. 

The original manifesto, published in April 1999, set the standard for how people could and should engage on the Internet. David and Doc have seen the way that our behaviours (as people, marketers and companies) have evolved and presented a new standard .

I urge you to read and share this widely – I’ve copied the full manifesto below.


Hear, O Internet.

It has been sixteen years since our previous communication.

In that time the People of the Internet — you and me and all our friends of friends of friends, unto the last Kevin Bacon — have made the Internet an awesome place, filled with wonders and portents.

From the serious to the lolworthy to the wtf, we have up-ended titans, created heroes, and changed the most basic assumptions about How Things Work and Who We Are.

But now all the good work we’ve done together faces mortal dangers.

When we first came before you, it was to warn of the threat posed by those who did not understand that they did not understand the Internet.

These are The Fools, the businesses that have merely adopted the trappings of the Internet.

Now two more hordes threaten all that we have built for one another.

The Marauders understand the Internet all too well. They view it as theirs to plunder, extracting our data and money from it, thinking that we are the fools.

But most dangerous of all is the third horde: Us.

A horde is an undifferentiated mass of people. But the glory of the Internet is that it lets us connect as diverse and distinct individuals.

We all like mass entertainment. Heck, TV’s gotten pretty great these days, and the Net lets us watch it when we want. Terrific.

But we need to remember that delivering mass media is the least of the Net’s powers.

The Net’s super-power is connection without permission. Its almighty power is that we can make of it whatever we want.

It is therefore not time to lean back and consume the oh-so-tasty junk food created by Fools and Marauders as if our work were done. It is time to breathe in the fire of the Net and transform every institution that would play us for a patsy.

An organ-by-organ body snatch of the Internet is already well underway. Make no mistake: with a stroke of a pen, a covert handshake, or by allowing memes to drown out the cries of the afflicted we can lose the Internet we love.

We come to you from the years of the Web’s beginning. We have grown old together on the Internet. Time is short.

We, the People of the Internet, need to remember the glory of its revelation so that we reclaim it now in the name of what it truly is.

Doc Searls
David Weinberger
January 8, 2015

Once were we young in the Garden…

    a. The Internet is us, connected.

1. The Internet is not made of copper wire, glass fiber, radio waves, or even tubes.

2. The devices we use to connect to the Internet are not the Internet.

3. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and 中国电信 do not own the Internet. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are not the Net’s monarchs, nor yet are their minions or algorithms. Not the governments of the Earth nor their Trade Associations have the consent of the networked to bestride the Net as sovereigns.

4. We hold the Internet in common and as unowned.

5. From us and from what we have built on it does the Internet derive all its value.

6. The Net is of us, by us, and for us.

7. The Internet is ours.

    b. The Internet is nothing and has no purpose.

8. The Internet is not a thing any more than gravity is a thing. Both pull us together.

9. The Internet is no-thing at all. At its base the Internet is a set of agreements, which the geeky among us (long may their names be hallowed) call “protocols,” but which we might, in the temper of the day, call “commandments.”

10. The first among these is: Thy network shall move all packets closer to their destinations without favor or delay based on origin, source, content, or intent.

11. Thus does this First Commandment lay open the Internet to every idea, application, business, quest, vice, and whatever.

12. There has not been a tool with such a general purpose since language.

13. This means the Internet is not for anything in particular. Not for social networking, not for documents, not for advertising, not for business, not for education, not for porn, not for anything. It is specifically designed for everything.

14. Optimizing the Internet for one purpose de-optimizes it for all others.

15. The Internet like gravity is indiscriminate in its attraction. It pulls us all together, the virtuous and the wicked alike.

    c. The Net is not content.

16. There is great content on the Internet. But holy mother of cheeses, the Internet is not made out of content.

17. A teenager’s first poem, the blissful release of a long-kept secret, a fine sketch drawn by a palsied hand, a blog post in a regime that hates the sound of its people’s voices — none of these people sat down to write content.

18. Did we use the word “content” without quotes? We feel so dirty.

    d. The Net is not a medium.

19. The Net is not a medium any more than a conversation is a medium.

20. On the Net, we are the medium. We are the ones who move messages. We do so every time we post or retweet, send a link in an email, or post it on a social network.

21. Unlike a medium, you and I leave our fingerprints, and sometimes bite marks, on the messages we pass. We tell people why we’re sending it. We argue with it. We add a joke. We chop off the part we don’t like. We make these messages our own.

22. Every time we move a message through the Net, it carries a little bit of ourselves with it.

23. We only move a message through this “medium” if it matters to us in one of the infinite ways that humans care about something.

24. Caring — mattering — is the motive force of the Internet.
Fork Me!

    e. The Web is a Wide World.

25. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee used the Net to create a gift he gave freely to us all: the World Wide Web. Thank you.

26. Tim created the Web by providing protocols (there’s that word again!) that say how to write a page that can link to any other page without needing anyone’s permission.

27. Boom. Within ten years we had billions of pages on the Web — a combined effort on the order of a World War, and yet so benign that the biggest complaint was the tag.

28. The Web is an impossibly large, semi-persistent realm of items discoverable in their dense inter-connections.

29. That sounds familiar. Oh, yeah, that’s what the world is.

30. Unlike the real world, every thing and every connection on the Web was created by some one of us expressing an interest and an assumption about how those small pieces go together.

31. Every link by a person with something to say is an act of generosity and selflessness, bidding our readers leave our page to see how the world looks to someone else.

32. The Web remakes the world in our collective, emergent image.

But oh how we have strayed, sisters and brothers…

    a. How did we let conversation get weaponized, anyway?

33. It’s important to notice and cherish the talk, the friendship, the thousand acts of sympathy, kindness, and joy we encounter on the Internet.

34. And yet we hear the words “fag” and “nigger” far more on the Net than off.

35. Demonization of ‘them’ — people with looks, languages, opinions, memberships and other groupings we don’t understand, like, or tolerate — is worse than ever on the Internet.

36. Women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive? Meanwhile, half of us can’t speak on the Net without looking over our shoulders.

37. Hatred is present on the Net because it’s present in the world, but the Net makes it easier to express and to hear.

38. The solution: If we had a solution, we wouldn’t be bothering you with all these damn clues.

39. We can say this much: Hatred didn’t call the Net into being, but it’s holding the Net — and us — back.

40. Let’s at least acknowledge that the Net has values implicit in it. Human values.

41. Viewed coldly the Net is just technology. But it’s populated by creatures who are warm with what they care about: their lives, their friends, the world we share.

42. The Net offers us a common place where we can be who we are, with others who delight in our differences.

43. No one owns that place. Everybody can use it. Anyone can improve it.

44. That’s what an open Internet is. Wars have been fought for less.

    b. “We agree about everything. I find you fascinating!”

45. The world is spread out before us like a buffet, and yet we stick with our steak and potatoes, lamb and hummus, fish and rice, or whatever.

46. We do this in part because conversation requires a common ground: shared language, interests, norms, understandings. Without those, it’s hard or even impossible to have a conversation.

47. Shared grounds spawn tribes. The Earth’s solid ground kept tribes at a distance, enabling them to develop rich differences. Rejoice! Tribes give rise to Us vs. Them and war. Rejoice? Not so much.

48. On the Internet, the distance between tribes starts at zero.

49. Apparently knowing how to find one another interesting is not as easy as it looks.

50. That’s a challenge we can meet by being open, sympathetic, and patient. We can do it, team! We’re #1! We’re #1!

51. Being welcoming: There’s a value the Net needs to learn from the best of our real world cultures.

    c. Marketing still makes it harder to talk.

52. We were right the first time: Markets are conversations.

53. A conversation isn’t your business tugging at our sleeve to shill a product we don’t want to hear about.

54. if we want to know the truth about your products, we’ll find out from one another.

55. We understand that these conversations are incredibly valuable to you. Too bad. They’re ours.

56. You’re welcome to join our conversation, but only if you tell us who you work for, and if you can speak for yourself and as yourself.

57. Every time you call us “consumers” we feel like cows looking up the word “meat.”

58. Quit fracking our lives to extract data that’s none of your business and that your machines misinterpret.

59. Don’t worry: we’ll tell you when we’re in the market for something. In our own way. Not yours. Trust us: this will be good for you.

60. Ads that sound human but come from your marketing department’s irritable bowels, stain the fabric of the Web.

61. When personalizing something is creepy, it’s a pretty good indication that you don’t understand what it means to be a person.

62. Personal is human. Personalized isn’t.

63. The more machines sound human, the more they slide down into the uncanny valley where everything is a creep show.

64. Also: Please stop dressing up ads as news in the hope we’ll miss the little disclaimer hanging off their underwear.

Je suis Charlie.

65. When you place a “native ad,” you’re eroding not just your own trustworthiness, but the trustworthiness of this entire new way of being with one another.

66. And, by the way, how about calling “native ads” by any of their real names: “product placement,” “advertorial,” or “fake fucking news”?

67. Advertisers got along without being creepy for generations. They can get along without being creepy on the Net, too.

    d. The Gitmo of the Net.

68. We all love our shiny apps, even when they’re sealed as tight as a Moon base. But put all the closed apps in the world together and you have a pile of apps.

69. Put all the Web pages together and you have a new world.

70. Web pages are about connecting. Apps are about control.

71. As we move from the Web to an app-based world, we lose the commons we were building together.

72. In the Kingdom of Apps, we are users, not makers.

73. Every new page makes the Web bigger. Every new link makes the Web richer.

74. Every new app gives us something else to do on the bus.

75. Ouch, a cheap shot!

76. Hey, “CheapShot” would make a great new app! It’s got “in-app purchase” written all over it.

    e. Gravity’s great until it sucks us all into a black hole.

77. Non-neutral applications built on top of the neutral Net are becoming as inescapable as the pull of a black hole.

78. If Facebook is your experience of the Net, then you’ve strapped on goggles from a company with a fiduciary responsibility to keep you from ever taking the goggles off.

79. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple are all in the goggles business. The biggest truth their goggles obscure: These companies want to hold us the way black holes hold light.

80. These corporate singularities are dangerous not because they are evil. Many of them in fact engage in quite remarkably civic behavior. They should be applauded for that.

81. But they benefit from the gravity of sociality: The “network effect” is that thing where lots of people use something because lots of people use it.

82. Where there aren’t competitive alternatives, we need to be hypervigilant to remind these Titans of the Valley of the webby values that first inspired them.

83. And then we need to honor the sound we make when any of us bravely pulls away from them. It’s something between the noise of a rocket leaving the launchpad and the rip of Velcro as you undo a too-tight garment.

    f. Privacy in an age of spies.

84. Ok, government, you win. You’ve got our data. Now, what can we do to make sure you use it against Them and not against Us? In fact, can you tell the difference?

85. If we want our government to back off, the deal has to be that if — when — the next attack comes, we can’t complain that they should have surveilled us harder.

86. A trade isn’t fair trade if we don’t know what we’re giving up. Do you hear that, Security for Privacy trade-off?

87. With a probability approaching absolute certainty, we are going to be sorry we didn’t do more to keep data out of the hands of our governments and corporate overlords.

    g. Privacy in an age of weasels.

88. Personal privacy is fine for those who want it. And we all draw the line somewhere.

89. Q: How long do you think it took for pre-Web culture to figure out where to draw the lines? A: How old is culture?

90. The Web is barely out of its teens. We are at the beginning, not the end, of the privacy story.

91. We can only figure out what it means to be private once we figure out what it means to be social. And we’ve barely begun to re-invent that.

92. The economic and political incentives to de-pants and up-skirt us are so strong that we’d be wise to invest in tinfoil underwear.

93. Hackers got us into this and hackers will have to get us out.

To build and to plant

    a. Kumbiyah sounds surprisingly good in an echo chamber.

94. The Internet is astounding. The Web is awesome. You are beautiful. Connect us all and we are more crazily amazing than Jennifer Lawrence. These are simple facts.

95. So let’s not minimize what the Net has done in the past twenty years:

96. There’s so much more music in the world.

97. We now make most of our culture for ourselves, with occasional forays to a movie theater for something blowy-uppy and a $9 nickel-bag of popcorn.

98. Politicians now have to explain their positions far beyond the one-page “position papers” they used to mimeograph.

99. Anything you don’t understand you can find an explanation for. And a discussion about. And an argument over. Is it not clear how awesome that is?

100. You want to know what to buy? The business that makes an object of desire is now the worst source of information about it. The best source is all of us.

101. You want to listen in on a college-level course about something you’re interested in? Google your topic. Take your pick. For free.

102. Yeah, the Internet hasn’t solved all the world’s problems. That’s why the Almighty hath given us asses: that we might get off of them.

103. Internet naysayers keep us honest. We just like ’em better when they aren’t ingrates.

    b. A pocket full of homilies.

104. We were going to tell you how to fix the Internet in four easy steps, but the only one we could remember is the last one: profit. So instead, here are some random thoughts…

105. We should be supporting the artists and creators who bring us delight or ease our burdens.

106. We should have the courage to ask for the help we need.

107. We have a culture that defaults to sharing and laws that default to copyright. Copyright has its place, but when in doubt, open it up.

108. In the wrong context, everyone’s an a-hole. (Us, too. But you already knew that.) So if you’re inviting people over for a swim, post the rules. All trolls, out of the pool!

109. If the conversations at your site are going badly, it’s your fault.

110. Wherever the conversation is happening, no one owes you a response, no matter how reasonable your argument or how winning your smile.

111. Support the businesses that truly “get” the Web. You’ll recognize them not just because they sound like us, but because they’re on our side.

112. Sure, apps offer a nice experience. But the Web is about links that constantly reach out, connecting us without end. For lives and ideas, completion is death. Choose life.

113. Anger is a license to be stupid. The Internet’s streets are already crowded with licensed drivers.

114. Live the values you want the Internet to promote.

115. If you’ve been talking for a while, shut up. (We will very soon.)

    c. Being together: the cause of and solution to every problem.

116. If we have focused on the role of the People of the Net — you and us — in the Internet’s fall from grace, that’s because we still have the faith we came in with.

117. We, the People of the Net, cannot fathom how much we can do together because we are far from finished inventing how to be together.

118. The Internet has liberated an ancient force — the gravity drawing us together.

119. The gravity of connection is love.

120. Long live the open Internet.


2015 Social Media Trends Round Up

I’ve already shared my four 2015 social media trends to watch out for, (Frictionless Social Networks, Microvideo, Paid Media and Digital Convergence) but what does everyone else think will be the main developments in the digital space over the next twelve months?

I’ve gathered together five of my favourite prediction, top tip and trendhunting lists below. Have a read through: what stands out to you as being the most important evolution we should look out for in 2015?

Ten Trends for 2015 (via We Are Social)

5 social trends you can expect to see in 2015 (via Gigaom)

1. Chat as a Platform
2. Location based feeds and Yik Yak’s moment
3. Foursquare’s finale
4. Deep linking and app constellations
5. Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat come of age

What Comes Next? 5 Social Media Trends for 2015 (Ryan Holmes from Hootsuite)

1. Major social networks battle harder for your wallet
2. Niche social networks continue to rise … but will they last?
3. Shopping finally comes to social media
4. Smart devices get even smarter, to users’ benefit
5. Increasing demand for (truly) private social media gives way to the real thing

The 7 Top Social Media Trends That Will Impact Your Marketing In 2015 (via Business to Community)

1. Mobile as priority
2. Paid amplification
3. Social shopping
4. Vlogging
5. Social wallets
6. Interest-based, not people-based
7. Continued quest for personal privacy

Key Trends in Social media for 2015 (via Ogilvy)

So it seems that shopping, privacy and interest based platforms are emerging as the main themes to keep an eye on; whatever happens, we’re all bound to be wrong anyway ;)

2015 Social Media Trends: Digital Convergence

In this final post of four, I’m going to briefly look at the shape of digital, social media and agencies and how they will continue to evolve in 2015.

Previously I’ve looked at Frictionless Social Networks, Microvideo and Paid Media.

In this post I’ll take a look at how agencies are evolving and how we should expect the landscape to shift.

Digital Convergence

As new junior hires come into agencies with social media firmly a part of their daily lives, we’re going to see fewer and fewer large social media teams. Instead we’re going to see digital skills more evenly distributed throughout PR teams. It will no longer be that social media campaigns will be run by scruffy-jean-hat-wearing-longhairs (oh hai!), but from directly within the PR function.

This means that social media will become more integrated with PR activities and we’ll see more well-rounded campaigns for brands, companies and organisations as a result.

There will continue to be social media specialists who act in a support role, kind of a hub unit, much in the way that you have a dedicated content team serving all parts of the agency, but the days of large dedicated teams are over.

I’ve already been in a position where I’ve advised clients to take certain elements of their social media activities in-house rather than pay an agency to do so. It makes far greater logistical sense for an in-house Community Manager to be the face of the organisation, rather than a detached agency person who is better placed to offer counsel. Having that detachment can help you spot opportunities you might miss if you’re at the coal face every day.

This streamlining is sensible financially too – you can hire a Community Manager for less than an agency equivalent. They will be able to build better relationships with the relevant functions of your business.

Agencies, be they digital specialists or PR with a digital function, have a great opportunity to continue growing and offering innovative solutions to clients. The trick will be to ensure that the right people are using their skillsets most effectively. To that end we’ll see that core digital hub consist of more than social media communicators: analysts, content experts and tech folks will start forming cohesive units in their own right that service all client teams, rather than being a part of the client team.

That’s good for clients: they get a better service. And, it’s good for agencies: they get to offer more integrated services. And, even better, it’s good for practitioners: we can focus on being experts at what we love doing.

What do you see for agencies in the next 12 months?