*If you’re not there
So, this is the week of SXSW, a geek mecca; the cool, the not so cool, the beautiful and the plain odd descend on Austin, Texas, for a week of panels, talks, launches, networking and most of all, partying. As a relatively young PR girl, I’m used to the stream of parties, big and small, but nothing seems to compare to this and I get the impression nothing will.
But, before I get sucked in to my jealous rage, let’s talk serious. Why go? For most companies, it’s a huge outlay of cost, so there needs to be a clear ROI. Well, firstly, everyone who is anyone (with the exception of me) will be there - from the wonderful Elizabeth Varley and the lovely Eileen Burbidge, to our very own PR Goddess Colette Ballou, the influencers are out in force and this is your chance to meet them, and bond over a beer… or three.
Secondly, it is THE coolest place in the world to launch in my opinion. Nothing says ‘we rock ’ quite like it, and chances are that your target market of early adopters are right there. Look at Foursquare, it launched at SXSW two years ago and thanks to the key influencers who started using it at the show, growth has sky-rocketed and continues to do so with this year’s tie-up with Amex among a slew of SXSW specific badges.
Thirdly, investors. What better way to expose your brilliant start up to the right people then to bond party with them.
So, for those in attendance, you’ve got an amazing week ahead of you, as I can tell from my Facebook steam which is full of RSVP’s for parties - from Soundcloud to Eventbrite. Jealous. My twitter feed is full of #sxsw. Jealous. My office was full of people talking about going. Jealous. And the worst is yet to come, we haven’t even got to the ‘oh, this one time at sxsw…’ yet; I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to cope. However, help is at hand in the form of a number of ‘we’re not at SXSW’ parties, which are taking place this week, including a live streaming of the show by Bambuser, tomorrow evening at TechHub, for members only register here if you haven’t already!
Screw it, I need to get away, I’m booking a holiday. I hear Austin’s good at this time of year….
Missed out on GeeknRolla yesterday? check out Mike Butcher’s Bambuser stream of the event.
GeeknRolla is the annual conference to bring together Europe’s technology startups to network with investors and talk about how they create and build themselves.
You can find Mike’s stream here.
Whether you’re just starting your social media journey, or are fully underway, such is the pace of technological and behavioural change that constant assessment and reassessment is a must. Social media does not stand still, and neither should your thinking.
Quick and meaningful
One of the tools we use to assess in a quick yet meaningful way is the Social Media Audit. It sounds pretty unsexy, doesn’t it? But it’s an exercise which provides a genuine insight into what is happening and not happening, what much be done, and where that sits within your industry and alongside your competitors. We often use this as a pre-strategy phase, to allow us to present a clear view of the “as-is” situation from a very objective standpoint, and to pave the way for defining future direction, opportunity and action.
How it looks
You can pretty easily audit yourself, but even better is to have a third party do it for you, for genuine objectivity. At a very high level it addresses:
What you get at the end of it is a clear view of where you are in social media terms, which you can then hold up against objectives. Is current activity working? Where is it not? Which areas need more or less focus? In addition, it will provide you with a list of immediate remedial work to be done – whether it’s tweaking a process to allow you to respond better, updating profiles, linking platforms or dealing with unmoderated comments. Sometimes these quick fixes can make a big difference.
As with most good social media activity, it’s as much about good planning and process as it about ideas and creativity. Making an audit a regular priority, whether quarterly, six-monthly or yearly, is simply good practice. How else can you be sure that your strategy is working, can be practically managed and is succeeding in setting you apart from the crowd?
On the 11th April, 6:30pm GMT, Ballou PR’s founder and president, Colette Ballou and San Francisco based account director, Elliot Tomaeno, will be descending on TechHub, London, to host an evening on how companies should approach PR in the US. Elliot will be addressing the unique issues surrounding the media landscape, protocols and how to pitch to US media in order to highlight the differences from Europe. Both Elliot and Colette will be on-hand to offer guidance and answer questions about the things that will make or break your PR efforts in the US. Make sure you RSVP here. The event is sponsored by our friends at MMC Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests growth capital in UK companies. Its portfolio includes Breathing Buildings, Creative Software and VC-Net among others. As some of you may be aware, we regularly hold these gatherings to help high-growth businesses understand how to tackle and explore a landscape that is often unfamiliar to them. For companies based in the UK and Europe, you won’t want to miss this friendly, lively, discussion. There will always be room for debate, advice and networking, so be sure to RSVP. For those of you based in France, Elliot will also be hosting a workshop in La Conserverie in Paris, taking place on the 14th April, RSVP here.
On the 11th April, 6:30pm GMT, Ballou PR’s founder and president, Colette Ballou and San Francisco based account director, Elliot Tomaeno, will be descending on TechHub, London, to host an evening on how companies should approach PR in the US. Elliot will be addressing the unique issues surrounding the media landscape, protocols and how to pitch to US media in order to highlight the differences from Europe. Both Elliot and Colette will be on-hand to offer guidance and answer questions about the things that will make or break your PR efforts in the US. Make sure you RSVP here.
The event is sponsored by our friends at MMC Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests growth capital in UK companies. Its portfolio includes Breathing Buildings, Creative Software and VC-Net among others.
As some of you may be aware, we regularly hold these gatherings to help high-growth businesses understand how to tackle and explore a landscape that is often unfamiliar to them. For companies based in the UK and Europe, you won’t want to miss this friendly, lively, discussion. There will always be room for debate, advice and networking, so be sure to RSVP.
For those of you based in France, Elliot will also be hosting a workshop in La Conserverie in Paris, taking place on the 14th April, RSVP here.
Care for the Community
As the tech scene continues to thrive in the UK, there’s been a move to create an open community, where everyone collaborates, helps and gives advice to the start-ups around them. Leading this charge is TechHub, a still relatively new space, aimed at building the foundations of a true tech community. Based in Old Street, Shoreditch, it offers start-ups desk space - either permanent or drop-in, alongside a budding events and networking calendar, so you don’t just get the tools to build your business, but the people too.
For start-ups, places like this are increasingly important - and they should be for anyone who works with them too. We are lucky enough to be based at TechHub in the midst of all the other start-ups (we’re here too!), which has given us all an insight into the way in which these companies work, how they view suppliers, the networking events they attend and most importantly, it enables us to gauge where their priorities lie.
Being close to the industry, you get to hear and go to some incredible events - not only will that help your team build their knowledge, but, frankly, it also builds your reputation as someone ‘in the know’. At TechHub, there are a number of events each week, from the open to all Silicon Roundabout lunches, hosted by the ever lively Mike Butcher, to the closed, members only, Government feedback sessions featuring David Willetts. In addition, you become a member of the industry - helping other firms to connect the dots in the industry, introduce you to people you may want to meet – and potentially give you some helpful advice along the way. This week we attended the audience with Dave McClure; thanks to the people we know (and to Colette being a 500 Start-ups mentor) we were told in advance they were going on sale so were able to grab some for the team. Opportunities like that don’t come along often, and yet again, we met some great people and learnt a lot from one of the most respected men in the industry. If you weren’t lucky enough to attend, you can check out the presentation here.
The point is, it doesn’t matter who you are - if you’re an event organiser, a PR, a marketer, a lawyer etc; if you want to work with this scene, immerse yourself in it. Care about it, learn about it, meet the people in it. Most importantly though, don’t just sell to it; we are strong believers in giving to the community and are happy to give some free advice to any start-up who needs it - and to prove that point, we’ll be hosting a ‘How to do PR in the US’ session at TechHub on the 11th April, so if you’re looking to branch out - swing by!
- Georgina Marriott
Tomorrow night (12th April), The Telegraph will be unveiling the winners of its Tech Start-Up 100, a ranking of Europe’s most promising start-ups. The 100 shortlisted companies can be found here, in a cool interactive interface that’s been arranged into categories.
Working with technology news blog TechCrunch Europe and a panel of expert judges, including tech figures such as Fred Destin, Dave McClure and LeWeb conference founder Loic Le Meur, the Start-Up 100 will establish itself as Europe’s most trustworthy ranking.
Hey all, in case you missed our ‘Doing PR in the US’ event yesterday at TechHub, we caught the whole thing on Bambuser. The slides are available here. The event was a huge success - we met lots of new people and hope to see you in some of our future events!
Last Tuesday the Ballou team was at the Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100 event in central London.
The event, organised by Milo Yiannopoulos from the Telegraph, was completely sold out, with at least 300 attendees, ranging from start-ups, investors and people in the media. Delicious cocktails and canapés were served throughout the night, adding a little extra to the networking and awards, always a welcoming touch.
And moving on to the actual awards,Spotify was crowned the hottest European start-up of the ranking, a much deserved victory for the Swedish-based music streaming service. Spotify successfully launched in eight European countries, both its computer and mobile app (available on most mobile platforms), and will soon be entering the US - which will hopefully be another success!
The category winners included:
Overall, the event was very well organised and was great for networking. We had a lot of fun meeting new people and start-ups - if you weren’t able to attend or speak to us, drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you. And well done to all the start-ups that made it onto the list!