The Social Penguin Blog’s Top Posts of 2010

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The last mince pies are being consumed and 2010 is coming to an end but before we close the door on another year it’s time to look back at some of the biggest posts to feature on my humble blog.

Unlike Lord Sugar I don’t make my protégées battle it out for the top spot on The Social Penguin Blog, natural talent will always shine through. This year we’ve had a whole host of brilliant guest bloggers who’ve written some cracking blogs and I’d like to personally thank them for all their hard work, Dave loves ya guys.

Kelly Forbes, our now regular analytics geek, blasted on to the scene in April with a great introductory blog; The Black Art of Twitter Analytics – Illegal Jacks Style. The post was about local Tex Mex and social media practitioner; Illegal Jacks and the key numbers behind their social media profile. The post proved popular because at the time there wasn’t a whole lot of people talking about social media metrics at the time and to see the theory applied to a local example appealed to a lot of people. What was even more astounding was that Kelly only used free tools and software available to anyone showing that anyone could do it with a little bit of knowhow.

Knowhow is something Kelly passed on in another of her popular posts Social Media Analytics – Our Guide by Kelly Forbes. Based on feedback from the Illegal Jacks post Kelly put together a post to try and show people how to gather some simple social media analytic data for themselves. Apart from teaching us some key things, like how often you should gather data or things to avoid when choosing an analytics tool, the post also talked us through some of the best free tools to use and their pros and cons. I guess a lot of people were still a bit confused by the whole idea of social media analytics because this post has been our most popular of 2010.

It hasn’t all been about numbers this year, that clever cookie Mike McGrail created a process for social media in business. The Social Media Process Diagram post looks at 9 key stages business should consider when using social media and has a helpful illustration Brian Solis would be proud of. The post is an excellent starting point for anyone looking to develop a social media strategy and it looks like posts offering practical advice are firm favourites as Mike was only just pipped at the post for the top spot with this blog.

Gurus…they really get up my beak. Mike and I started a campaign to rid the social media world of these peddlers of poop with the post Social Media – Cut Through the ‘Guru’ Puffin Poo. Mike argued (and I totally agree with the guy) that no one can really claim to be an expert in social media yet and there are certain characters out there that will pray on business’s lack of knowledge in the area; charging money for setting up accounts and applying some common sense. The thing is we know there is more to successful social media marketing than starting a Twitter account as Mike’s post on the Social Media Process shows, these gurus are just in it for a quick buck sullying the good name of all those hard working social media practitioners out there. Mike and I will be calling out all the worst shyster guru offenders and you can view a pretty funny video of what you can expect from some of these guys at the end of the post.

Our crusade against Gurus continues, in Social Media ‘Gurus’ – The Puffin Poo Won’t Go Away Mike wrote all about a company called MYSMB who claim to be able to train people to be ‘Social Media Managers’ after a series of modules. So easy even a 12 year old could do it, maybe for a penguin but I don’t think you humans have the proper grasp of communications strategy at 12 years old. The comments that came with this post got a little heated; the owner of MYSMB posted his rebuttal to Mike’s claims that you can’t teach someone who to be a social media expert in a few weeks (which you can’t). Respect to my friend Mike for naming and shaming these gurus, we’ll always be here to keep these guys honest.

Well that was our big stories in 2010, I do hope you enjoyed our offerings this last year. We’ll be back after the holidays with some great posts in the New Year, in the mean time I’m gonna relax and watch the Edinburgh Zoo penguin cam some more on Mikes laptop…it’s got more drama than Christmas Day Eastenders!

Enjoying reading The Social Penguin Blog? Why not subscribe? Also catch us on twitter and hook up on Facebook.

Social Media Review 2010 – Interview with Trey Pennington

05/09/2011 – We are truly saddened by the news of Trey’s death today. He was a true gent and the time he took to respond to our questions and the general feedback he gave us is testament to this. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. Rest in peace Trey.

Back in August we spoke to social media gent and globe trotting purveyor of fine words, Trey Pennington. His answers are always measured and insightful and Dave was desperate to hear from Trey again so I fired a few questions his way and as usual the responses deserve a post of their own…

Trey with some fella called Chris... (taken from Trey's blog)

Please describe what you do in no more than 140 characters?

I’m a marketing guy who helps small business owners discover, develop, & deliver compelling stories. I deliver inspiring stories to groups.

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Happy Holidays from The Social Penguin Blog!!!

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We hope you all have a fantastic festive period! Massive thanks to all of our readers, subscribers, writers and contributors for making 2010 a very special year.

Stay tuned for more social media goodness in 2011!

In the meantime, watch some people dressed up as Penguins (you don’t see us Penguins trying to dress up as humans do you?!?) dance and sing some carols…


Lots of love, Dave and the Penguin team x

My Three Social Media Wishes for 2011

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This wouldn’t be a social media blog without some kind of 2011 predictions post, however I’m not going to predict trends or make sweeping statements about the next Facebook ‘killer’ all I’m going to do is make a few wishes.

Wish no.1

I wish people would stop focussing on the social media ‘quick win’…

Jenni is a 16 year old X-Factor junkie with a penchant for glitter- laden lip gloss and gifting cute little lambs to her friends on Farmville. She uses Facebook to stay in touch with her 427 friends and share photos of their latest night-time escapades. It’s her world and has been part of it for an incredibly formative period of her life. Who says she wants to let your business in to that life? To earn a place in it you better work hard. Tossing her a 10% discount code may get you a little bit of recognition and maybe even a sale, but what happens after that? The competing producer of glitter laden lip gloss comes along and gives Jenni 15%. Relationship over. Jenni will use you and abuse you, swallowing up your sales margins and offering you no long term value. Forget about the quick win and work out how you are going to become one of Jenni’s friends. Make her feel special. Build a relationship that will ensure she tells her friends how great you are and that they need to invite you to their next party.  Be the new popular girl in town. Just don’t steal anyone’s boyfriend…

Jenni may or may not have lips like this. Whatever yeah!

Read on for wish numero deux…

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The Social Penguin Blog 2010 Review

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2010 is all but over and we’ve asked our readers and contributors for their views on social media in the past year and what they would like to see in 2011.  Read on for nuggets from some clever people from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Name – Shel Israel

What do you do? – I write speak & consult. I help organizations achieve business goals through social media.

What was your favourite social media story/moment of 2010? – I think this year was weaker than past two, but I like how Jack Holt at US Dept of Defense bypassed traditional press via Twitter.

What innovation would you like to see in 2011? – I’d like something like Facebook that respects user identity.

Do you think the term ‘social media’ will start to drop from our vocabs over the next year? – Absolutely not.

What exciting things does 2011 hold for you? – I’ve moved to wine country and look forward to championing social media to the sector.

We interviewed Shel earlier this year, read it here

Shel is the author of Twitterville

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Social Media Metrics Case Study – Illegal Jacks by Kelly Forbes


Back in April, Kelly Forbes looked at the social media noise created by Edinburgh based restaurant Illegal Jacks and their attempt to give away 1000 free Burritos in a day. In this post Kelly takes a look at Jacks current social footprint.  Read on for some great research and advice…

It’s been just over a year since Illegal Jacks opened its doors and sought to educate Edinburgh’s masses about the goodness of the burrito. To celebrate the 6 months in business mark Illegal Jacks came up with #Jacksfreeburritos, a special one day only thousand burrito giveaway that was widely publicised online through social media. Based on the publicity around that event I pulled together some social media metrics on Illegal Jacks which you can read about here. Statistics and metrics are always more relevant when you can compare them to something which is why I’ve decided to take another look at the metrics behind Illegal Jacks, using the same methods and tools as I did in April. Apologies to anyone with an aversion to numbers, there will be a lot on them here.

I’ve put the comparison in a nice handy table below (it’s less offensive on the eyes this way) we can see a side by side comparison of the metrics. You’ll notice that there are quite a lot of gaps in the figures, this is down to a couple of reasons; a tool used in April no longer exists; the tool didn’t exist in April for me to make an original calculation; I was too stupid to see the metric was important and calculate it in April. (Try not to be judgemental, I was young and there was no one to learn from.)

*Disclaimer* All the tools used for this are freely available online however as I don’t have access to any of Illegal Jacks accounts I can only do so much with the information I can get publicly. Account holders can access a LOT more information from these free tools and also from other important tools like and Google Analytics. The below metrics aren’t ideal but would be a fair example of the information you could gain through a simple competitor analysis in social media.


April 2010 December 2010 %
Follower Count 589 1679 +185%
Second Degree Followers 1,187,052 N/A
Facebook “Likes” N/A 1525
Average Reach* 1078 20938 +1844%
Average Impressions* 6337 28935 +356%
Average Retweet N/A 21%
Tweets per day (tpd) 50 45 -10%
Tweets per month (tpm) 1246 1127 -9%
Klout Influence N/A 65
influential followers (at time of calculation) N/A JJ_CampbellBartonian

*averaged from random 50 tweet sample

Read on for explanation and more great analysis…



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Enjoy Reading The Social Penguin Blog? Vote for Us!

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The nominations are open for The Social Media Examiner Top 10 Social Media Blogs, if you read our blog and find it useful or even entertaining, please do take the time to give us a quick mention. No pressure of course!

All you need to do is leave a comment on their awards blog post here.



Vote for The Social Penguin Blog!

Dave x

Why Twitter is an Absolutely Essential Resource For All

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I have been a user of twitter for over two years now and have gained so much from its. The Social Penguin Blog wouldn’t have attracted and maintained its readership without harnessing the power of it. I’m fairly sure I would not be working in my great role at The BIG Partnership without it, I connected with Allan Barr via twitter and the rest as they say is history. All pretty major elements of my life that have been built through the use of a social network that many still see ‘as a waste of time’.

In the past 2-3 months I have started to gain huge value from twitter on a practical level. I feel I have built a network that can pretty much answer any question I have. I may be looking for advice on a certain product before purchase, seeking information on latest travel hold-ups or tips for what the must-see things are in a destination I may be heading to on holiday. No matter what I ask I get an answer and I trust the information 95% of the time.

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Social Media in Retail – Everybody is at it this Christmas

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In this guest post, James Ainsworth takes a look at the surge of social media use by retailers in the lead up to Christmas. Read on for great stats and insight (and a festive slideshow!).

First things first, the title of this post is a slight exaggeration. Although, it always seems like everyone else is doing it and certainly it is true that more are doing it than ever before. Back in October, research conducted by LinkShare, suggested that 43% of Marketers intended to use social media in their Christmas campaigns this year.

Is this because it is cheaper than print and a whole World away from a TV ad spot budget? Maybe. Is it because it pays dividends to be active where the conversation is actually happening? More than likely. Is it because creating an engagement loop with existing and new customers is a sure fire way to generate advocacy, interest and sales? Let’s see…

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So, this year will be a very social media Christmas and we are already seeing some exciting examples of joined up marketing campaigns that integrate an aspect of social to get the message across.

  • Sainsburys are running a Christmas microsite whereby users can win a Sainsburys Christmas party if they can mobilise enough support from their friends via social networks.
  • Amazon vouchers can now be bought and given to friends from within Facebook.
  • Wagamamas have a somewhat addictive Christmas game.
  • Twinnings are setting up a tea subscription club and supplementing it with a newly created community of tea lovers and in-house tea experts.
  • Debenhams have shop floor assistants that will be tuned in to twitter to help customers in a pickle
  • Children can now harass their parents from every social angle as Argos introduces a Christmas Wish list Facebook app.

Christmas is also seemingly a time for drinking. Two of the biggest commercial indicators that Christmas is indeed coming are the ‘responsibility’ of Coca Cola and Starbucks. The former being the famous ‘Holidays are coming’ TV spot and the latter being for latte lovers anticipating the arrival of the Red Cups flavoured coffees each year.

This year, we Christmas loving monitoring mavericks at Alterian are going to throw ourselves head-first into the conversations on the web around the Starbucks Red Cup campaign and look to conduct some deep insightful reporting with our SM2 social media monitoring tool and in-house specialist resources. We will examine what the web is saying and how other retailers can extrapolate these findings to apply some new business actions themselves with their campaigns.

If you are in the retail business, how will you use the data that you capture from your Christmas social campaign in 2011? What will you do with the community your seasonal offering builds? Please do join in with the fun of Red Cup World and see how social media monitoring can deliver valuable insight on those magical Christmas campaigns, not just for Christmas but for life…

As a consumer have you been interacting with retailers in the social media space?

Enjoying reading The Social Penguin Blog? Why not subscribe? Also catch us on twitter and hook up on Facebook.


Top 10 Tips for Social Media Marketing

An acquaintance recently asked me what my top 10 tips for using social media are. A pretty big question right? Of course it’s one that is answered on every blog across the globe that covers social media, even so I thought it would do no harm to give my angle on it. Read on for my tips.

Number 1 – Cut the crap

Tell the truth, be transparent, don’t treat people like fools and respect those who take the time to interact. Your not God’s gift to the social media space. Yet.

Good advice

Tip Number 1 - Cut the Crap!

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