Archive for wowsignalcomms

Good tweets make good news

Photo tweeted by Chris Hoy

A lovely story in this weekend’s Scotsman newspaper, Sir Chris Hoy and his wife Sarra celebrating their baby son coming home from hospital.  It had all the right elements a nice photo, gratitude from both parents for the care received from hospital staff, and thanks to all well wishers.

Scotsman story part 1

Scotsman story part 2

Interestingly, the story was entirely written from tweets sent by Chris and his wife Sarra, with the photo also coming from Chris’s Twitter account.

Chris Hoy tweets Sarra Hoy tweet

Nothing controversial and I’m sure the Hoys were really pleased it was covered and included all the things they wanted to say. It is a nice example of how providing good content on social media can generate a much wider audience for your news. Making it easy for time-poor journalists with pages to fill is a good way to get your news shared.

The Scotsman probably keep a very close eye on Chris Hoy’s Twitter account but you can always name check news outlets or journalists in your tweets to draw attention to a story you’d like covering.

This was essentially a press release split into three tweets.

Don’t forget this can also work the other way and journalists can just as easily take bad news, critical tweets, and controversial comments from accounts of staff or members of the public and do exactly the same thing.

So make sure you are monitoring and engaging in comments about your organisation, tweeting about the good stuff and responding to anything that needs an answer; you could not only reach thousands or even millions of tweeters but newspaper readers too.

Blues head to the top of the social media table

Today is Trevor Francis Day #TFday; a celebration of one of Birmingham City’s favourites who became the game’s first million pound player when he was sold to their opponents today, Nottingham Forest.

Trevor Francis courtesy of Birmingham Mail

Trevor Francis courtesy of Birmingham Mail

My love for Blues started early, had my dad had his way, I would have been named Trevina Francesca in honour of the hat trick he scored on the day I was born!

Times have moved on a bit since then, Chelsea spent more than £16million on agents fees last year. This season social media is more important than ever for football clubs to engage with their fans.

Birmingham City may not be able to match the all singing all dancing second screen TV match day app of Manchester City. But their understanding of great social media means they have top flight accounts. They get the balance of content, tone, and integration into their overall communications. The figures are impressive 200 000 Facebook likes and 80000 Twitter followers but more importantly they way they use the channels, their interaction with fans, and their approach are key.

So what can we learn from how they do it?

Different channels work better for different things, BCFC’s Facebook page is a place for fans to chat to each other, feedback to the club, share tips on away grounds, and something all fans love reminisce about the good old days! The club does post updates on match days but thanks to Facebook’s newsfeed not appearing in time order, it doesn’t always make sense, by Saturday night it can be that a popular pre-match post will appear above one with the final score on!

Twitter works perfectly for match updates and the club do minute by minute updates so fans around the world can follow the action in real time. The club are very adept at using hashtags, regular ones include #bcfc, #keeprighton (the club’s song), #bcfclive and #bcfcawaydays. They also create them for special events, for example the new manager Gary Rowett #rowettreturns, and with success; #TFday has reached 3/4 million accounts at the time of writing. They use hashtags already popular on Twitter to increase their reach; #throwbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday are perfect for reviving memories of past glories. The club also took part in #bidtoremember.

Many of the players have Twitter accounts, the club retweet their post match thoughts as they tweet them, giving fans a chance to interact directly with their heroes. Several staff at the club have accounts too including the head of retail @wayen_cowen, allowing the club to promote special offers, @BCFCticketlady who provides social media customer service, and until recently @_andywalker_ who has been responsible for much of the club’s social media success. He has now moved on to the FA. These personal touches really help fans to feel involved in their club and connected to what is going on.

Like all football clubs, Birmingham City are lucky to have great content for their youtube channel particularly player interviews and match highlights. They package them really nicely and promote them via Facebook and Twitter.

Steven Knight and Gary Rowett

Steven Knight and Gary Rowett

The club aren’t afraid to use the same content in different places where appropriate. This very popular photo of manager Gary Rowett with Peaky Blinders writer Steve Knight was both tweeted and used in the programme.

Tweets are used to create an article in each programme. The club also do a weekly news story on their website of the top 5 most popular social media posts on each channel.

As I found working at the Environment Agency, when there are issues and they receive a lot of negative press coverage, the reaction on social media is usually less negative and more supportive. Even after an 8-0 drubbing fans bounced back and really rallied round as rumours grew that Gary Rowett was to be the new manager.

Last year Birmingham City came top of the Championship teams in the Sport Social Media Index. If only they could have a few league points for the quality of their social media!

Claire Turner
@clairet18 (aka Trevina Francesca!)

I’m dreaming of a West Jet Christmas

Twas the month before Christmas, when all through the world,
Not a person was stirring from WestJet’s Youtube.

With just nine weeks until Christmas, one thing I’m really looking forward to is West Jet’s Christmas promotion.

Two years ago they did a fun and popular flash mob video, it has now reached 1.5million views and was well received, and I’m sure they were pretty pleased with how it went.

Last year they went so far and above that I’m not sure how they will follow it. They produced one of the best videos I’ve ever seen.


Passengers waiting to board West Jet flights tell Santa, via a video link, what they want for Christmas. While they are en route over 150 West-Jetters (West Jet staff), volunteering their own time, source and wrap the requested presents. When the passengers reach their destination, out come the presents on the luggage carousel, including a “big tv”. The man who said he needed new socks and underwear was particularly disappointed when he realised what was happening!

West Jet got this so right, the idea is brilliant and the execution is perfect to create a truly heart warming video that is a fantastic advert for their company.  They said they would donate flights to a needy family if they got 200,000 views. They managed that in a few hours. Within two days two million people had seen the video. After a week, 13 million people in over 200 countries had viewed it. To date over 36million people have watched it. The bloopers video has had more views than the 2012 flash mob video had in total.

West Jet is a company that prides itself on treating staff and customers well, and this epitomises that. It shows them listening to their customers, getting to know them, providing exactly what they want, delivered by staff who are prepared to give up their time to keep customers happy. For them it’s a gift that keeps on giving, costing a fraction of a traditional TV ad, generating millions in positive press coverage, and no doubt encouraging many people to fly with them this year just in case in happens again.

The only headache for the West Jet communications team is how they can possibly top it this year? I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

By Claire Turner



Twitter tips – don’t just save them for a rainy day

This week’s rain reminded me of one of the days (one of the many, many days) spent in incident mode at the Environment Agency. During one of the wettest years on record, rain didn’t just mean an unpleasant journey to work or being stuck inside; the question ‘what are you doing at the weekend?’ was really a polite way of asking which shift you wanted to be put down for!

The pdf below shows a day in the life of the @envagencymids Twitter account during full-on flooding, with my training notes attached. After several months of weekend shifts, we were desperately trying to maximise the number of people we could call on to help manage our social media accounts. This document formed part of the training.

The day in question, 25 November, saw a peak of 156 flood warnings in place, problems with a new flood defence at Kempsey, and despite being a Sunday was an incredibly busy working day.

My top tips for managing twitter during an incident based on just a little bit of practice are:

Start early with a clear summary of the latest situation – @envagencymids most popular tweets were sent around 6am, they were then widely shared by the twitter accounts of local, regional and national news as well as many individuals.

Create lists of official partner accounts so that anyone managing your accounts can easily see who to retweet and name check – when you look after an account regularly you get to know that @wmerciapolice cover Herefordshire but you don’t want to be trying to find that out in an emergency situation.

Don’t be afraid to publicly ask for retweets from partners, since the riots in 2011, police forces tend to have by far the most followers of public sector organisations in an area, and as long as it’s relevant they will happily share your messages.

Don’t be afraid to repeat key messages, people don’t mind a regular prompt to check their flood risk, and a link to how to prepare. If you manage an account you will be looking at twitter all day, most ‘normal’ people don’t, so will miss a percentage of what you put out. They might be seeing that key message for the first time, even if it’s the third time you’ve mentioned it that day.

Try to reply to all tweets even if it’s just to acknowledge them, people like to know there is a human being behind the account they can interact with, particularly if they are worried about their own home or area.

Sign off at the end of the day (whatever time that may be). @envagencymids had some really nice responses to bed time tweets, lots of thanks and compliments, and also stopped worries about people expecting responses in the middle of the night. @Londonmidland never fail to do this as well.

Now , where’s my umbrella…

A day in the life of @envagencymids

By Claire Turner @clairet18

In defence of social media with a sense of humour

In amongst the furious Twitter traffic at the conclusion of the #USA #BEL game last night came a great tweet from @NYTSports. Sadly the author must be one of the few Americans who get sarcasm! The tweet

Too bad soccer's so boring

Too bad soccer’s so boring


brought a hailstorm of condemnation from people who just didn’t get it, and how many of them there were.  The poor person behind the account couldn’t have predicted the fuss it would make.

All the best Twitter accounts sound like they come from real people, who are passionate about what they are doing, with a sense of humour where appropriate, and this is a perfect example of this.  If not everyone likes it or gets it then so be it.

But true to the saying there’s no such thing as bad publicity this has drawn attention to what a fantastic account it is. A quick scroll through the rest of their tweets shows the dedication and knowledge behind the account. It offers brilliant up to the minute commentary and analysis like this:

Tim Howard analysis

Tim Howard analysis

So to the @NYTSports tweeter who’s notifications must have been pinging away long into the night with irate replies, I say keep doing what you are doing, it’s great. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, especially if they don’t have a sense of humour!


By Claire Turner @clairet18