Augmented Reality – Do you know what it is?

To be honest I didn’t until an hour ago, but now I have a fair idea.

According to mashable.com ‘augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.’

So… Augmented reality has become one of the latest technologies (still emerging) available to allow you to enhance the customers experience of your product or service. With the invention of smartphones augmented reality applications have grown in number dramatically, even ‘Joe Bloggs’ is able to design and create his own augmented reality app these days.  Some apps that demonstrate great use of augmented reality are navigation apps, the ones that help you find the nearest tube station, tell you where you are and how to get to your destination. We all use them, I know I have and all without realising how much time, effort and great use of technology went into aiding me in getting to my destination from my very lost current location.

So what does it mean for organisations and brands – well merging reality with computer generated graphics has enabled them to offer improved brand interaction on a whole new level, this could be with a webcam or a smartphone. Another example of this is when you can put yourself into a virtual dressing room, I remember only a year ago brainstorming with the team at the lorries discussing such things and now it’s a reality.

Augemneted reality is going to change the way we do a lot of everyday tasks, and in my opinion this is most definitely for the better.

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Online presence – How important is it?

Everyone loves to jump on the social media bandwagon but they don’t always know how to monitor efficiently. Rookie error! If you’re looking to increase your online footprint, great! But first you must know how to monitor and analyse the impact of what you’re saying and what others are saying about you. There are many free and paid for tools and services available to help you keep on top of this.

Before enlisting some of these tools you must first conduct your own social media audit, reviewing  your current online presence. This will include websites, social networks and your search engine optimisation. This process should be pretty simple and easy to do, and once you’ve completed it, it will then be time to go a step further and choose the monitoring tool(s) you wish to use.

Here is a selection of online tools which can help with your audit:

Alexa – is one of the better online monitoring tools available. You create a dashboard where you can add your clients websites and recieve daily/weekly reports. The reports cover site traffic, social media interactions, search engine optimisation and contact information. Alexa also offers competitor monitoring which is great when reviewing where you are in the marker place.

Woorank – a free tool which provides you with an analysis of your clients website(s). You enter the client’s website URL and Woorank will provide data on SEO rating, popular pages, site visitors and much more. This tool provides you with insight into whether your website is performing well and even tells you how you can improve in certain areas.

Google Alerts – a free, easy to use tool that notifies you via email. This is a great tool for monitoring particular keywords or phrases, I used it whilst working on a product launch and during trade shows and it proved very useful.

Some other tools worth checking out are trendrr, howsociable, and Google trends.

Aside from these tools there are other ways of  of monitoring social media. Maria Ogneva, Head of Community at Yammer has devised ’10 Steps for Successful Social Media Monitoring’ which she implements on a regular basis when  listening, participating and contributing to the space.

1. Define an objective – have a clear goal in mind

2. Decide Where to Monitor – where you monitor should be driven by where your constituency hangs out. Figuring out where to monitor will help decipher what channels are best for listening and engaging.

3. Decide What to Monitor – tracking keywords is very important e.g.  company name, brand names, product names, competitor names, competitive product names and industry keywords.

4. Prioritise – triaging is very important, deciding the order in which to listen to messages based on importance. Separating messages into groups can also be useful.

5. Develop a Plan – crisis management plans as well as engagement plans are critical to successful online engagement.

6. Involve others – social media is the fastest moving form of communication we’ve ever had, the challenge is to respond to tweets, comments, etc. as quickly as possible with the message coming from the correct person within the company. Having a system in place to do this is a must.

7. Listen First – before you ever open your digital mouth, listen and observe the culture of the community. Before contributing you need to know the members, stakeholders, and community norms.

8. Inbound vs. Outbound Conversations – knowing when and how to share information is important. Outbound is pro-actively participating in discussions whereas inbound means people are talking to you about specific end goals. Both have distinctive rules of engagement, knowing what’s appropriate comes after listening and simply using common sense.

9. Build Relationships – following on from #7, amke sure you’re forming relationships with the thought leasers around you – identify influencers and conversation drivers. Grow and nurture the relationships and soon you will be a resource for others. The true definition of influence is when you don’t even have to ask others to do that.

10. Select Tools that Match your Strategy –  your checklist of what you need in a tool is going to be largely driven by your purpose definition in step #1, you need to know where you are heading and why.

So after reading my blog, doing an initial social media audit, implementing Maria’s steps and enlisting one or more online monitoring tools you will have covered most bases online. So just think first the internet and then the world!

Infographics Take Two!

My first attempt at infographics wasn’t too impressive so following a suggestion from a lecturer I’ve taken another shot at it,  and I have to say I’m definitely a lot happier with these ones. The information in the infographics is a list i’ve put together of what you need to prepare for a PR pitch.

I used www.wordle.net and www.gliffy.com to design two infographics using the same information, yet they turned out totally different. Take a look…

The first one was produced using Wordle, a very easy tool to use and it puts your information out in there in a visually attractive format. The drawback of this tool is that you can’t include phrases and there’s no structure to the way the words are displayed which means you would most probably have to explain the infographic.

Gliffy on the other hand is a slightly more complicated tool, the infographics it produces are more like charts and aren’t as visually appealing. It did however give me the chance to demonstrate the process in which you plan a PR brief/pitch.

So have my infographics educated you in any way?