Digital Knowledge Day 2013: Don’t work in silos

First, I need to be upfront and say this is a shameless plug for a conference which Search Integration, the awesome consultancy I work for, is hosting in April.

So, with that bias declared, I can go on to say that this is not a conference to miss; especially as the theme ‘Don’t work in silos’ is still, and so, relevant in digital marketing today. This resonates with me, as I’ve been in too many projects and jobs where, despite a underlying acknowledge of the importance of the web, there is still a lack of a coordinated approach in presenting a company digitally. As my colleague Christofer Brugge writes on our blog, it can be as simple – though as critical – as colleagues not talking to each other, or not having an adequate awareness of each other’s activities. Digital Knowledge Day 2013

In a previous job I worked at a university where the system for presenting the education we offered (essentially our product) was ring-fenced by a blinding complexity of multiple databases, restricted windows of opportunity for developing content and a general disconnect with the marketing efforts of the university. This was a ‘silo’ effect – however much the website was developed the database content sat in the background driving the customer experience no matter how much it was dressed up. This effect rippled through the organisation, where the even the offline catalogue format was steered by the database as well.

With that kind of experience in mind, the line up of speakers we’ve got is particularly cool – they worked with the silo effect head on, and come up trumps. They include Tracy Green, Head of Online Services for the UK parliament (fresh from implementing a new content management system across several websites, as well as launching an award winning mobile intranet site – what’s not to like?), Olle Ahvne, Marketing Communication Manager for Ericsson (again, an award winning strategist) and Karin Zingmark, PR manager for Viasat (who has led Viasat’s explosion onto social media). We’ve put together so many awesome speakers – check them out!

(BTW, for you non-Swedes, the conference will mostly be in Swedish).

What: Digital Knowledge Day 2013

When: April 10th 2013

Where: Hotel Rival,Stockholm, Sweden

Complete your booking here!

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Killer Facebook Data (That you can’t get from insights…or anywhere else for that matter)

Here’s some killer statistics from the Facebook page which I curate which fits both the ‘shock and awe’ and ‘frickin’ useful’ categories:

Between August 2011 and January 2012 friends of the page left 348 posts.
60% of these were related to making an application, or a question about our degrees
– 30% of them were practical questions about studying at Malmö
– 10% were links to events, jobs or other content

Simple take home? 90% of the posts we received in that 6 month period were about applying, splendid!

These data tell me that our page is totally supporting the current goals we have for Facebook – our strategy is to specifically focus on using Facebook for customer service and encourage prospective students to contact us via the wall.

How did we get these data? The hard way – my awesome colleague @idarosqvist went through our page with a pen and paper categorising the posts we had received. Definitely not the world’s most glamorous task but it results in some simple, easy to understand numbers which gives both insight (we’re on target with our strategy) and a set of data which allays the fears of those who worry that our page’s wall is full of random nonsense.

If you’ve got a billion friends, and a wall to match, then this probably is not for you; but if you’ve got a ‘regular’ page then taking a foray into your wall, armed with pen and paper, may give you some great insights and some awesome data to report.

(We didn’t look at comments, that would have taken too much time. The sentiment of the posts was largely positive or neutral, as tends to be the case with comments as well).

Facebook Timeline Arrives For Pages

Timeline has arrived for pages, and can now be enabled immediately (or automatically comes into effect on the 30th March). There’s already a few Swedish university pages, who are early adopters including  Umeå Universitet, Umeå University and Högskolan Väst. Here’s a few of my thoughts.

Look and Feel.
The new pages just look far better, the presence of the larger picture makes for a better visual impact and creates more opportunities for associating the page with campaign imagery used elsewhere.

Umeå university's Swedish Facebook page with timeline activated.

Commenting.
This is the part which worries me. All the pages I’ve looked at, which have timeline activated, now show comments in a separate box called ‘Recent posts by others’ with a truncated  snippet. If you’re using the page as a service platform, as my employer does, then there could be a risk that the first time visitor does not get to see that posts are answered quickly and with good answers. Timeline places a greater emphasis on posts from the page owners which may not be the main priority of all pages – this has implications for your content and posting strategy on Facebook. Tabs also, are not as obvious as they were previously.

Posts by page friends receive less priority in the new Facebook timeline layout (click for a bigger image)

Landing pages are now a thing of the past but you can get more data from a page’s insights tab, as a page friend. The completely awesome allfacebook blog is an extremely useful source of information about this, but it’s also worth checking out Facebook’s own guidelines for Timeline (which includes what you can and cannot do with the picture).

Swedish University Facebook Pages Review – Posts in January 2012.

Here’s the data for January for the Facebook activity of Swedish universities, ranked by the number of posts left on their walls. December was relatively quiet in comparison to January; some pages received more than double the number of comments in January, compared to December.  (December’s data will be presented in a review of the previous 12 months which I’ll prepare next month.) International pages are the most active, which is no surprise, given that this is the main application period. 5 university pages still do not allow posts to be left.

In January, the pages with the most posts were Malmö (112 posts) and Uppsala’s (104 posts) English Facebook pages. Uppsala experienced considerable gains from last month, with an increase in 30% in the number of posts. Lund University’s page is ranked 3rd, with 67 posts.

Malmö University

112

Uppsala University

104

Lund University

67

Linne Universitet

64

Uppsala universitet

41

Linköping Universitet

33

Lunds Universitet

21

Högskolan i Borås

21

Umeå universitet

21

Umeå University

20

Högskolan i skövde

18

KTH

17

Malmö Högskola

14

Mittuniversitetet

12

Jönköping University

11

Karlstads Universitet

9

SLU

9

Göteborg Universitet

9

Högskolan i Halmstad

8

Mälardalans Högskola

8

Chalmers University of technology

8

Högskolan Dalarna

7

BTH officiell

5

University of Borås

5

Linnaeus University, Sweden

5

Högskolan Kristianstad

4

Mid Sweden Uni

4

Karlstad University

3

Högskolan i Jönköping

2

Högskolan Väst

1

Ranking of Swedish University Facebook pages, by posts left by page friends during January 2012 (+/-5)

What’s the Value of this?
Well, that kinda of depends on you. If the aim of your Facebook activities is to build a relationship between yourself and prospective students then you’ll probably want to see lots of posts on your wall. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in profiling your university online then you may be more  interested in comments and likes – though posts will still be important – in getting a more viral effect for your content. So, only a few comments may not necessarily mean bad things (and you may well be being awesome on other channels) but it could equally be a sign that, currently, you have not given any compelling reason why people should connect with you on your wall. In a subsequent post I’ll be showing a simple way of evaluating a page, and presenting the results, to get a handle on the type of posts being left.

November Review – Facebook Page Comments – Swedish Universities Ranking

Here’s the November ranking for Swedish universities’ Facebook pages – based off the number of comments which their friends left on their walls, during the last month. This does not include comments left on posts by the page, or additional comments in a longer discussion. I’ve divided it into English and Swedish language pages.

Swedish language Facebook Pages

Overall, Linne Universitet’s wall saw the biggest increase in posting, with a growth of 20% since last month. There’s some international activity on the wall, which contributes to the growth, but the content seems to be mostly from students on campus; for example the sharing of blog posts or for sale notices.  The Karolinska Institutet, The Royal College of Art and Stockholm’s Universitet’s walls remain closed for posts.

Linne Universitet

60

Lunds Universitet

29

Linköping Universitet

27

Uppsala universitet

22

Högskolan i Borås

22

Högskolan i skövde

19

Mittuniversitetet

17

Högskolan i Halmstad

16

Mälardalans Högskola

13

Umeå universitet

13

KTH

11

Karlstads Universitet

11

Malmö Högskola

11

Högskolan i Jönköping

11

Högskolan i Jönköping

11

SLU

10

Högskolan Dalarna

6

Göteborg Universitet

6

BTH officiell

3

Högskolan Kristianstad

2

Högskolan Väst

1

English Language Facebook Pages

Malmö University sits at the top of this part of the ranking, with a page where posts are almost entirely questions about studying at Malmö, or how to make an application. Lund University, in second place, also has a wall dominated by questions about applying to Lund.  Uppsala, whilst enjoying fewer posts, shows a similar trend towards questions about making an application. Stockholm University and the Stockholm School of Economics walls’ remain closed.

Malmö University

56

Lund University

48

Uppsala University

22

Jönköping University

14

Umeå University

13

Chalmers University of technology

6

Karlstad University

6

Karlstad University

6

University of Borås

2

Some Quick Reflections

A few things occurred to me when I was preparing this month’s ranking.

Number of friends versus number of posts
A high number of friends is obviously great for reach and getting your content visible across the web. Lund University, for example, gets a high number of likes and shares for some of their posts which presumably leads to a healthy amount of inbound traffic to their page, and website. But, once again there’s little relationship between number of friends and number of posts;  Lund University has 5 times as many friends as Malmö University, yet they both have similar levels of posts.

Exceed expectations
The student’s question that you ignored or dismissed with a short, terse answer? There’s another university giving them red carpet treatment.  In the last month I noticed, on several different occasions, the same student posting the same question on different university’s walls (yes, your customers are fickle – get over it). The tone and level of support tended to vary. Enough to make them not choose your university? Hard to say; but maybe enough to drop you from 1st to 2nd choice. Exceed the expectations of your Facebook friends, the extra effort does not cost much and will reap rewards.

Don’t be shy about your social ecosystem
Chances are, the page I include here isn’t your only one – you’ll have an ecosystem of different pages representing Faculties, programmes or research activities, for example. Quick tips – make sure your pages are liking each other;  don’t rely on the Facebook search engine to show up your other pages. Also, encourage cross posting from one page to another;  get administrators from a particular page to post, using their own page’s identity; when appropriate this is a powerful way of drawing attention to the competence and presence you have on Facebook.

New recommendation on cookie use – browser settings rather than banners

The IAB in Sweden (the trade association for the digital and interactive marketing industry) have, this month, released a set of new recommendations on how website cookies should be used. These place the emphasis on the website visitor’s browser setting to determine whether cookie will be used, and move away from the website banners that have been previously promoted as a solution.

These recommendations are a response to the Electronic Communications Act (Sweden), which is itself a response to the EU directive concerning on-line privacy. This directive requires consent from a website visitor before cookies are placed on their computer;  but – as I’ve posted previously – this breaks many important tools for ensuring a good visitor experience. Not least, it directly impacts the use of Google Analytics.

The IAB guidelines say the following:

– Cookie use, and type, should be clearly identified on the site
– Clear information should be given about what cookies do and their purpose

The awesomeness (but also what I expect will be the controversial element):

– If a user’s browser is set to accept cookies this means they have granted consent for cookies to be used (if the website clearly identifies which cookies are being used)
– If a user’s browser rejects cookies, then this must be respected

They promote the use of a standardised badge, to help users find out what cookies are used and make their own choice.

I need cookies to do my job – that is, to make the user experience better; these recommendations seem like a sensible solution for everyone. Unfortunately, I doubt that the EU will entirely agree – particularly given the apparent disagreement between EU ministers on how this directive should be enforced.

(You can see this slow car crash unfolding by checking out all my posts on the cookie directive).

What do you think? Will this work – is this an alternative to the opt-in banners which seem to be popping up?

IAB recommendations in Swedish and English.

Facebook Page Friends – Monthly review of Swedish university Facebook pages

Following on from my post below, looking at comments, here’s the ranking of Swedish university Facebook pages by numbers of friends. There’s a tendency for more growth taking place on the English language pages, which is not unsurprising, given that many Swedish universities now have opened for international applications.  On the Swedish Facebook pages, there’s a range of growth rates, with some pages looking positively stagnant. KTH is notable, with their continuation of brisk, rapid growth.

Swedish University English Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of Friends on November 7th

(percentage in brackets is the increase from last month)

Page

Number of Friends

Lund University

9783 (7%)

Stockholm University

5483 (4%)

Umeå University

5201 (4%)

Jönköping University

3439 (2%)

Chalmers University of Technology

3082 (5%)

Stockholm School of Economics

2475 (2%)

Malmö University

1855 (5%)

Uppsala University

1370 (7%)

Royal Institute of Art

1086 (2%)

Mid Sweden Uni

779 (6%)

University of Borås

497 (5%)

Swedish Universities Swedish Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of Friends on November 7th

Page

Number of Friends

Linköping Universitet

8695 (2%)

Umeå Universitet

6171 (1%)

Linne universitet

5953 (1%)

Uppsala Universitet

4651 (5%)

Högskolan i Borås

3476 (1%)

Lunds Universitet

3444 (6%)

KTH

3392 (15%)

Högskolan i Skövde

3071 (1%)

SLU

2961 (2%)

Karolinska Institutet

2781 (8%)

Mitt Universitet

2645 (2%)

Mälardalans Högskola

2462 (5%)

Högskolan i Halmstad

2250 (2%)

Högskolan Väst

2223 (2%)

Stockholms universitet

2028 (6%)

Malmö Högskola

1520 (4%)

Karlstads universitet

1427 (5%)

Högskolan Dalarna

651 (2%)

BTH

587 (2%)

                      Högskolan i jönkoping                                 497 (6%)
                      Högskolan Kristianstad                                 442 (8%)