Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

The Social Backlash Towards The Teen Choice Awards

TEEN CHOUCE 2014: Logo.In the world of social media, honesty and transparency is key and non-negotiable. This should be apparent to everyone who understands the medium and how to communicate within it.

For some reason, this approach was not clear to those who run the Teen Choice Awards. The backlash erupted after it was revealed how winners are picked.

Once fans discovered the award ceremony dedicated to performances, shows and movies geared towards teens was rigged, the digital gloves came off.

The lowdown is that teens vote for their favourites on teenchoiceawards.com. Then, the Teen Choice Awards gets to select the winner from the top-four vote getters.

How big did this issue get? The hashtag #TeensDontHaveaChoiceAwards was the top trending topic.

The whistleblower in the instance was Vine celebrity Cameron Dallas, who exposed the show to his 3.1 million Twitter followers. Dallas was a winner who claimed he found out about this six days before the awards show was to air.

Voters were up in arms on Twitter, referring to the awards as The Producer’s Choice Awards, and tweeting up a storm about the hours they have wasted in their lives voting for something that didn’t matter.

How the TCA rebounds for next year remains to be seen. Right now, it needs to repair its relationship with its fan base and voters and repair its overall image on social media.

This is a huge lesson for every brand in social media. You must always be transparent, and that doesn’t mean a quick disclaimer for legal purposes.

As important is if you ask people to care and invest their time, you have to be genuine about how their involvement matters. Pretending it matters has to potential to blow up in your face.

How TCA will engage fans for future voting will be interesting to watch, but right now they have a lot of work to do to fix a broken relationship.

Shark Week Puts Up Impressive Numbers Despite Backlash

Shark WeekAnother Shark Week has come and gone.

Everyone’s favourite week of television devoted to the worlds most cunning killing machine has just finished running for it’s 27th time. Yes, Shark Week has been an annual event on Discovery Channel since 1988 making it the longest running cable television programming event in history.

With such a long running history that pulls in millions of viewers a year, we were curious just how popular the event was on social media. To find out, we did a little digging on the social media numbers behind Shark Week by looking up mentions of it using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software.

We looked for mentions of #sharkweek OR “shark week” OR #sharkweek14 OR #sharkweek2014 and found 2,138 blog posts, 3,296 online news articles, 692 forum postings and 1,647,658 tweets between August 10-17.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

During the same time period we found 85,772 posts on Tumblr of all sorts that also made mention of Shark Week.

Sysomos MAP - Tumblr Activity Summary

And on Facebook, we were able to find over 17,000 public status updates that were talking about Shark Week.

Sysomos MAP - Facebook Activity

These are pretty impressive numbers. But as we did a little more digging, we found that people didn’t seem to be as in to Shark Week as you might have thought. When we looked at how some of those numbers above played out over time in our popularity chart we found that Shark Week was a big deal when the week kicked off, but then tailed off as the week went on. Sunday August 10th was the first night of Shark Week and was the day that saw the most people talking about it. As the week progressed though people were talking less and less about Shark Week.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart

Another disturbing thing that we found while looking at the numbers around Shark Week was that people seemed to be complaining about it. When we looked at the sentiment around the entire week of shark related programming we actually found that only 11% of the conversations about Shark Week came through as positive. At the same time, a whopping 40% of Shark Week conversations had a negative connotation.

Sysomos MAP - Sentiment Summary

Some of this negative talk may have been due to some of the programming that has come into play over the years during Shark Week is fictional stories about sharks, while it was traditionally a week about learning real facts about sharks. This year Shark Week kicked off with a special called Submarine Shark. The story was based off the tales of a giant shark in South Africa that was actually made up by reporters in the area to see if they could fool readers. The tale grew into an urban legend with people claiming to catch a glimpse of the shark, but no evidence ever surfacing. People felt duped because they thought they were watching a documentary about a real shark and took to social media to complain about it. However, Discovery Channel never claimed that any of it was real and the the Shark Week Twitter account even asked it’s followers if they believe that the shark exists.

Despite people’s feelings about getting tricked or knowing that some of the programming was fictional, there’s no doubt that the talk in social media definitely put up some good numbers and did its job of raising awareness for a week of “killer” programming.

Does Engagement Matter More Than Followers?

Pied_Piper2For social media success, what is more important: engagement or followers?

This question came up recently during a strategic planning session when an organization talked about how the number of Facebook followers surged after a recent contest.

While having more followers looks impressive, the digital marketing team was asking what it really meant. Does having more followers mean their social media efforts are more successful, or does it give them more opportunities to be successful.

It’s a quality versus quantity proposition.

Personally, engagement strikes me as a more important consideration, although size does matter. A vibrant and active community can provide brands and organization with a powerful platform to drive strategic and tactical initiatives.

A large community, however, that is inactive or not terribly engaged delivers far less value.

In an ideal world, it would be great to have engagement and big numbers but this is probably a luxury that few brands get to enjoy.

In a recent blog post in Marketing Magazine (U.K.), Matthew Burns talked about how brands such as Coca-Cola and Red Bull are taking a close look at the effectiveness of Facebook as an engagement platform.

“The brands that are huge on the social site are the ones that were fastest to appreciate Facebook’s strengths, but are now also first to be wary of its limitations: why pay Facebook to reach and engage fans if we can achieve similar objectives, mostly for free, on other networks?”

Burns discovered, for example, that Red Bull’s main Facebook page has 44 million fans but it generated only 330,000 interactions in July. This is less than one monthly interaction for every 100 fans.

As brands look to drive more engagement to extract value from their social media activity, Burns suggests brands will start to explore other platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

The focus on quality versus quality reflects the fluid and dynamic of social media. As brands looking to drive return on investment, they are constantly tweaking the dials and looking for competitive advantages.

The interest in engagement suggests there may be too much of an investment happening to build bigger and bigger audiences. It could be that some brands will start to redeploy their social media efforts to get more people actively involved.

If engagement gains more momentum as a social media “must-have”, it could do two things: force existing players such as Facebook to adopt, or open the door for new engagement-friendly players to seize a golden opportunity.

What do you think? Is social engagement gaining more momentum?

Hotel Issues Fines for Bad Reviews

union-street-ghSocial media is an honest medium for the most part. It’s a place where people go to connect and chat, and where they will tell their networks about their experiences – both positive or negative.

Business owners have been thrown into a new world, one where their fans, customers and potential customers are constantly discussing them. It’s not easy but it is a fact of doing business for now and the foreseeable future.

What you can’t do is fault or punish those who speak poorly of you. This might be the biggest indication that you don’t quite get social media.

A New York City hotel recently fined guests who gave them poor reviews. Union Street Guest House was backpedalling recently, as news of their policy towards negative reviews hit the web and went viral.

A hotel guest came forward and publicly posted how the hotel came after him to collect the fine after a negative Yelp review. The hotel has a clause that stipulates $500 will be held from deposit for any negative reviews posted online.

Needless to say, social media was not kind to the establishment and those who run it. It might be important to note that this hotel currently has a 1.5 Yelp rating.

This is a definitely a no no in social media, and if you are getting negative reviews or word-of-mouth than the thing to do would be to invest your energy in fixing your product or service, not dusting off the pitchfork and trying to collect fines.

Social media can be an enormous boon to your business, and negative posts should be seen as an opportunity.

With social media you now know what your customers are thinking, and if they aren’t satisfied than you have a place to connect with them and try to change their perception.

Everyday we are treated to examples of businesses that use social media to propel them to great heights. This is one of the more unfortunate examples, and one that should not be repeated.

Collective Mourning and Robin Williams

Robin WilliamsWe’ve talked numerous times on this blog about how social media can bring the world together over a single event.

Whether it was a finale of a much loved TV show, a sporting event, or, the unfortunate death of a beloved public figure, there seems to be a want for people to connect (if it’s just by sharing the experience or actually talking about it) over these events.

The latest event like this that we’ve witnessed was with the sad news of Robin Williams passing on Monday night.

Within minutes of the news becoming public social networks were flooded with mentions and talk of the actor. There are few people in the world who could say that they didn’t enjoy at least one Robin Williams film, whether it was a children’s favourite like Aladdin, something that made everyone laugh like Good Morning Vietnam or even a dramatic portrayal such as Williams in Good Will Hunting. The man had entertained the entire world at some point or another and we all knew that and it brought us together over his passing.

But an interesting article in the New York Times on Tuesday asked the question of why we collectively mourn through social media? While there was no definitive answer to the question because it could be many reasons; from showing respect to just feeling the need to express yourself about something or someone that moved you, but part of the answer may be so people can say, I was there, I was part of that… (sorry to call it this, but for lack of a better word) event.

And many many people were part of this event.

A simple search on MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, for mentions of Robin Williams or the most used hashtag around the talk of #RIPRobinWilliams shows just how many peoples’ lives he touched, when many had never actually met the man.

At the time of writing this (on Wednesday afternoon) there have been millions of mentions across social channels. We were able to find mentions in 29,914 blog posts, 66,700 online news articles, 14,548 forum postings and 7,199,489 tweets all since Monday night when the news broke.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

In addition to those channels, we also found 14,151 videos that have mentioned the actor in their title or descriptions since Monday night.

Sysomos MAP - Video Activity Summary

On Tumblr, the number of mentions in the same time frame showed 3,240,930 postings of various sorts.

Sysomos MAP - Tumblr Activity Grid

And the #RIPRobinWilliams hashtag has even been used 383,690 on Instagram.

Sysomos MAP - Instagram Activity Summary

None of these are insignificant numbers.

After seeing these numbers it’s hard to call this anything but an event that brought the world together in a collective manner. But why?

We don’t have the answer and you may not either, but we want to know your opinion in the comments. Is the death of world renown person an “event”. Has it always been? Or has social media changed our idea of what an event is or can be?

Let us know below and let’s start a conversation about this.

The Hunt for New Social Networks

weheartit-e1372454903105As every brand knows, social media is a daunting endeavour that takes time, money and, ultimately, bandwidth and resources.

The complexity for digital marketing and communications teams is actually much bigger than than many believe.

While everyone focuses on the top dogs – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and a few select others – there are other networks that need to be examined and, potentially, added to a brand’s digital strategy.

One of the keys for success is discovering networks (some of which have been previously discussed in this blog) so they can be leveraged to connect and engage with your audience.

To survive, brands have to adopt a hunt and gather approach that plays into where their target audience like to spend their time.

Here are some networks to investigate and see if they are a place where you can digitally communicate with your potential audience:

Shots

Everyone loves a good selfie. Well Shot is a social network where you can take and share all the selfies you want. Other messaging functions are available as well.

We Heart It

Think of We Heart It as the younger and more colourful version of Pinterest as it has many of the same capabilities. The idea is you “heart” things you like.

Medium

Medium is one of the coolest and most unheralded networks that has come to market in the last few years. A free market of stories and ideas and to date has been an unturned stone in the world of social media for brands.

Tinder

Actually, maybe it’s best we don’t go there.

Oh, and don’t forget there’s also Whisper, Secret and a slew of others.

The web is full of so many great and useful networks. It’s time that brands branched out and see out what works best for them and their audiences.

Happy hunting!

Fans Get Funny In Extra Extra Innings

Extra InningsI grew up on baseball thanks to my dad and grandfather. I love the sport, but I’ll also be one of the first people to admit that the game can sometimes be a little slow (especially compared to some other fast paced sports like hockey and basketball).

A regular baseball game takes 9 innings to play. On average, that will take about 3 hours to play. So imagine how fans felt when TWO baseball games over the past weekend went to 19 innings (which take a very long time to play).

On Saturday night the Boston Red Sox were in Anaheim to face off against the  Los Angles Angels. This game was tied 4-4 going into the 19th inning when the game finally ended thanks to a walk-off homerun from the Angels’ Albert Pujols. Being a night game, this specific game went until after 1am in the morning on the West Coast. That means if you’re a Boston die-hard fan, you had to stay up until 4am local Boston time to see your team lose.

Towards the end of the game, some fans started to get a little bored and maybe a little loopy, and even the reporters there to cover the game had hoped for an ending to come. Alden Gonzalez, beat reporter covering the Angels came up with this great tweet:

But if that wasn’t enough for baseball fans, the very next day the Toronto Blue Jays faced off against the Detroit Tigers in an afternoon game that also went to 19 innings to finish. This game as well took over 6 1/2 hours to play, so many fans were late for dinner despite having showed up at the ballpark just after lunch (for a 1:07pm start).

Taking a note from Gonzalez, baseball fans started to make jokes about how long this game was taking. What made this game different was that one of the people who started the trend of jokes on Twitter about the game used the hashtag #BeforeThisGameEnds. The hashtag quickly caught on and was actually trending on Twitter… probably sometime around the 14th inning.

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, I did a quick search and found that the #BeforeTheGameEnds hashtag was actually used 1,875 times on Sunday alone to make some jokes about things that might happen before the Jays vs Tigers game finally ends.

Sysomos MAP - Twitter Activity Summary

I also took a look at some of the most retweeted tweet that came from this funny hashtag and thought I’d share some of the better ones. Some of the jokes on the #BeforeTheGameEnds hashtag focused around baseball jokes that most fans would laugh at; such as:

Some of the jokes that were being slung made reference to other big sporting news:

Some of the tweets on the hashtag were just trying to be funny without any of the sports references; such as:

And, as is usual for Toronto fans, we started to make jokes about ourselves (and our sports teams in general) with tweets like:

Which is a reference to Toronto still being one of the few teams left to still use Astroturf on our baseball field.


Which references just some of the star Blue Jays that happen to be injured and not playing currently.

 

And, of course, no round of jokes about Toronto would be complete without someone getting a Rob Ford joke in:

So, while a 19 inning baseball game may take a long time to play and may not have a ton of action, it’s nice to know that social media can give fans watching a way to connect and have a good time with one another.

Sharing — It’s Based On Emotions

positive_realismTo truly understand social media, we need to keep delving into the emotional underpinnings of what and why people share.

A recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison examines the outlets used by people based on the emotional content of the message.

Researchers found people were most likely to share positive events via texting and Twitter.

These mediums are easy to access via smartphones when they are happening, and are non-intrusive — recipients can reply whenever they like.

About 70% of the events that people experienced and shared were conveyed via new technologies.

Study subjects — 300 university students who kept track of their communications via a daily diary — revealed that sharing using new technologies enhanced the emotional impact of these events.

So much for the good news, literally.

When experiencing negative events, people were more likely to pick up the phone and interrupt friends or family to share.

Add this tidbit to what Facebook recently discovered in its (debatably unethical) study that found a lot of negative information in a person’s newsfeed can inspire them to be negative themselves — and on the flipside good news triggers positivity.

Again and again, positive energy is demonstrating considerable social media power.

While research keeps fine-tuning our understanding of just how emotions work online, in the meantime the message is clear: good news travels fast online.

 

 

Social Media gets Hit by Another Sharknado

sharknado-2-bannerEvery large film studio, tentpole franchise or network television show feels entitled to not just the most profits, but the most buzz, including in social media.

The reality is that while most of these projects are heavily discussed online, sometimes it’s smaller fish that take a shark like bite out of the competition.

When Sharknado first aired, the film generated an amazing amount of online chatter. At the height of its popularity, it was mentioned in social media 5,000 times a minute. That’s impressive when you consider it was conceived as a silly B-movie.

These numbers made it the most discussed program on television. It didn’t matter if it was cable or broadcast, the world was talking about an Ian Ziering movie about tornadoes that carry deadly sharks that terrorize Los Angeles.

Sharknado 2: The Second One (yes, that’s the title) grabbed hold of peoples’ imaginations and the creativity of social media again. The tweets were relentless, and it’s easy to believe that Syfy has another hit on its hands.

The message is clear: the biggest budgets and marketing pushes don’t always equate to the greatest social media success.

This can be said about any product. Dollar Shave Club has a huge social following, one that might rival competitor Gillette, because it’s digital marketing and communications gets the world talking.

Maybe it isn’t about the money spent but knowing your brand and what you are selling. Syfy doesn’t pretend that Sharknado is “12 Years a Slave” but with sharks. It knows its audience and what they want to see.

Get creative and be inspired. You don’t need millions of dollars and the most compelling and polished product to get the digital social worlds ramped up. You just need something that makes users want to talk about it.

Not an easy feat, but well worth the trouble.

The #SMmeasure Chat Gets A New Home On It’s 4 Year Anniversary

So much to measureFour years ago, when Sysomos became part of the Marketwired family, we wanted to do something to bring our two online communities together. The result was a weekly Twitter chat that focused around discussing issues about social media and the measurement and analytics associated with it that we called #SMmeasure.

Almost every week for the past four years we’ve gathered fantastic groups of people on Twitter to chat. Some of these people have been joining us for all four year, some have joined us for short periods of time and moved on and new people keep joining in on the discussion every week. These people range in knowledge from those who have just started working with social media and want to learn how to measure it and some have been in the industry for years and join to help others and get new ideas from different perspectives. No matter who has been in the chat though, every one of these people has been fantastic and we thank each and every one of them (and you) for being part of the community.

If you haven’t ever participated in the chat, we invite you to join us any Thursday at 9am(PST)/11am(CST)/12noon(EST) on Twitter.

Something that has really blown us away over the years about #SMmeasure is how it evolved so naturally. What started off as a weekly chat with some likeminded people blossomed into a full-blown community of people who share ideas and articles through the use of the #SMmeasure hashtag all week long. Some of the people that share over the hashtag don’t even participate in the chat; they just found it a good way to communicate about measurement in the social media world. To them (and you) we say thank you as well.

Today, we’re going to evolve the #SMmeasure chat just a tiny bit more. For years we’ve posting the chat’s questions on the Marketwired Facebook page and using the @Marketwired Twitter handle to help amplify the questions in the chat. But in our effort to focus in on our communities’ needs on both sides of the Marketwired and Sysomos families, we’ll be handing most of the #SMmeasure duties over to Sysomos.

From next week forward (because this post is appearing on both the Marketwired and Sysomos blogs today) the questions for the #SMmeasure chat will be posted on the Sysomos Facebook page. As well, the @Sysomos Twitter handle will be taking a more active role within the chat starting today.

Now, since we’re talking about the #SMmeasure chat on the blog today, we also thought we’d post today’s questions on the blog as well. And, because we’re also celebrating four years of #SMmeasure, we thought we’d take the questions from our first two chats (we hadn’t figured out yet that 5 questions was optimal for the hour long chat yet, so those two combined give us 5 questions) and look at how everyone’s thoughts and ideas on social media measurement have changed since 2010. You’ll also notice how some of the discussions we had back then have become irrelevant in four years and how others are still being discussed and debated. We think it will make for a very interesting hour.

So, without further ado, here’s the questions for today that were also our questions for the first two #SMmeasure chats in 2010:

  1. What are the most important elements to measure in social media?
  2. What tools do you use to measure social media?
  3. What’s more important to you; followers/fans vs. brand mentions?
  4. Which ranks higher on the priority list; growing followers/fans vs. growing discussions?
  5. What would you rather have; a few key people mentioning your brand vs. having masses of random people?

Don’t forget to check the Sysomos Facebook page every week from our here forward for the #SMmeasure questions of the week and please join us in the chat today (or any time) on Twitter by adding the hashtag to your tweets.

In case you forgot already, the #SMmeasure chat happens on Thursdays at 9am(PST)/11am(CST)/12noon(EST). See you there!