Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Is myApollo A Network To Watch In 2014?

The new social network myApollo seems to be making a bit of a name for itself these days. Rather than focusing on how people communicate digitally these days, myApollo is using technology to allow people to communicate differently. The network is focused on security, privacy and the ability to share large files with your peers.

Is this a network that digital marketers should be watching for in 2014? Click here to read the full article at our blog’s new home.

And don’t forget that all full content can now be found on our new home, the Marketwired Social Blog. Bookmark that page to easily find it, or you can subscribe to the new RSS feed by clicking this link and have all future content delivered right to you.

What Does 2014 Have In Store For Social Media

It’s that time of year. The time when everyone does their best to predict what the new year will have in store for all of us. And we’re no different.

Today, Mark Evans takes a look at some of his ideas are about what will happen in the world of social media in the year ahead. Some of these predictions include Google+ becoming a bigger destination for brands and users and that a new social network will take the world by storm. To read the full article, click this link to go over to our blog’s new home.

And don’t forget that we’ve moved all future content that used to appear on this blog over to the Marketwired Social Blog. You can subscribe to the RSS feed for new content delivered right to you using this link.

What Everyone will be Whispering about…

whisperTo start a new and exciting social network, you need to land upon an unique angle to attract the spotlight.

The amount of times  that brands have attempted to unveil the “next Facebook” is astounding, and generally has been a losing notion.

Digital marketers shouldn’t be looking for the next Facebook. They need something unique, new and a place  their audiences want to spend time on.

When something fits this bill, they should stop and take notice. From the networks that have popped up over the past few years, Whisper.sh might have the best opportunity of finding and engaging an audience over the next year or two.

How come? The reason may be it mirrors current society, user behaviour… and  it is quite unique.

So what is Whisper.sh you ask?

It’s a new social network that’s starting to get lot of attention. Basically, it allows users to share secrets. It’s similar to a digital version of Post Secret but with comes with an extra level where users can connect, share and converse.

It’s also an evolution of the very popular meme; a tactic beloved by digital marketers. Most important, it’s the anonymity that lets Whisper to differentiate itself.

The fact people can stay anonymous is a big departure from Facebook and Instagram. Whether this is an angle that can be replicated by others in an innovative way is something that only time will reveal.

Whisper is clearly catching on as illustrated by the three billion page views a month. The key question is what brands will be first to find the best way to connect with users through whispering? It is difficult to speculate what brands will jump soon but it interesting to consider.

Digital marketers tend to speak more into a megaphone than whisper, so it will be a challenge for them to use something that’s more subversive and off-brand than they might use.

Of course, this isn’t to say that it can’t be done.

In social media, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Medium or WordPress for Blogging?

mediumDuring a recent discussion on Twitter about design versus content, someone mentioned they planned to use Medium as their blogging platform.

It struck me as an interesting proposition because using Medium means you’re “renting” rather than owning digital real estate. No matter how good the service, you’re still using someone else’s asset rather than something you control.

I’m a big proponent of digital ownership – specifically, self-hosted WordPress for blogging – because if gives you power over your own destiny. You get decide if and when changes are going to happen to the look, feel, content and functionality.

And, at the end of the day, a self-hosted blog is a corporate “asset”.

To be honest, I don’t think own vs. rent is something many people think about when using services such as Twitter or Facebook. They spend a lot of time creating content and building a following but have no control over changes, updates or the rules of engagement.wordpress

If Facebook decides, for example, to change the look and feel (again!), you have to grin and bear it because there’s no way to decline.

So when it comes to blogging, why use Medium? For some people, it’s beautiful, well-design platform for longer-form content. It’s a destination where people can discover content not available in other places.

And the fact that Medium was started by Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams, gives it a good shot at being successful.

For some people – and maybe brands – Medium is an elegant and easy way to blog without the hassles of updates, plugins, hosting, etc. All you need to do is focus on creating content, which is a big challenge.

For individuals and brands who want control over their control, WordPress (or another blogging platform such as Joomla) is a better option because it an in-house entity that can be integrated into your marketing and sales arsenal.

 

What was the Best Social Network for Brands in 2013?

urlWell, it’s that time of the year. The time where we look back and explore what was great, what was mediocre and what we can maybe expect in 2014.

Every year, there is a new contender for the best social media network, and this year the race is that much tighter, especially with the proliferation of new networks that saw good traction.

And the winner is…..

According to  Business2Business, Instagram is the most valuable network to brands and digital marketers according to the numbers.

That’s right…Instagram.

The little network that everyone balked at when Facebook bought it for a $1-billion, has become a tier-one social media player. Without a doubt, 2013 was a huge year for Instagram.

The stats provided by Business2Business show how Instagram evolved over the past  year, and how brands have prospered.

  • Brands on Instagram saw an average of 7% growth in both followers and engagement.
  • Brands on Instagram in the U.S. saw a 1.5% lift in revenue.
  • Brands on Instagram in the UK saw a 3.6% lift in revenue.

Those are pretty gaudy numbers, but are digital marketers still having trouble believing the hype and power of Instagram? The answer is most likely, although it might not be that way for too much longer.

The growth for Instagram in the past year means digital marketers need to start integrating it into their strategies if they haven’t already.

It is refreshing to think that Facebook and Twitter might not be as dominating as they have in the past. The more viable networks, the more opportunities for digital marketers to connect with audiences.

With social media being the way it is, something tells me the conversation in December 2014 will be very different.

What do you think was the best social network for brands in 2013?

What was the Best Social Network for Brands in 2013?

Viral Videos Begin With Good Content

large__7996585036Every digital marketer wants to create a video that goes viral. It’s seen as a magical way to drive social media activity.

It is a challenging job which see many brands miss the mark….but not from a lack of effort.

Social media users tend to gravitate towards video in two ways. The first is obviously to watch, enjoy and get information (users tend to learn better through multimedia than text), while the second is sharing it with their networks.

A great video can  have a positive affect on  your entire organization. It is one of the top ways to get your fans and followers talking and sharing.

But here’s the problem:

Digital marketers might be wise to stop using the term “viral video” since you can never really create something with the intent for it to go viral. What we should be talking about is a brand creating videos that can be leveraged via social media to attract viewers.

So what is a branded video? And how should digital marketers proceed to create successful ones?

A branded video needs to be brand “lite” and on message . It should try to reflect a brand’s corporate culture and tell a story that entertains and matters. You can go any route with it – funny, informative or interview style. It can be specific or about just one thing.

But please make sure that it’s also the following:

  • timely
  • proper format
  • well written

Just because your ad goes viral doesn’t mean it can help your brand. There needs to be a connection, even if it is not overt.

If a brand decides to go the funny route, then make sure it is funny. This might sound obvious but think about how many sitcoms and comedies you’ve seen that just aren’t funny. Find writers, animators or actors who have the comedic understanding and timing.

Of course, if a company can push its brand to the background, it will be much better off. Consider Camp Gyno or Chipotle’s brilliant foray into animation as the best examples.

If you do a good enough job and you’ve engaged an audience leading up to its launch, then a video has a shot of going viral. Simply make creating good content should be the goal because it’s the first step.

Photo credit: Flickr

WestJet Thinks Outside the Box to Drive Social Success

westjet christmas miracleWith many brands firmly on the social media bandwagon, it’s increasingly difficult to rise above the crowd.

It wasn’t that long ago that simply being on social media was enough to provide a brand with differentiate. That first-mover advantage has quickly disappeared as having a social media presence has become table stakes for many brands.

So, now what? How do brand enjoy social media success when everyone else is battling for the spotlight?

The most straightforward approach is simply being super-engaged to attract and nurture a large community. By throwing in some interesting content, interactivity and some free goodies along the way, brands can have various degrees of success.

But if brands really, really want to stand out, they need to be creative and think out of the box. At the same time, they have to be willing to experiment and leverage social media as part of an overall marketing plan.

A great case study is WestJet Airlines, which recently set up a video terminals at airports in Toronto and Hamilton that gave flyers the opportunity to tell Santa want they wanted for Christmas.

When these people got off the place in Calgary, their requests – big-screen televisions, cameras, etc. – were waiting for them in the baggage area.

To capture the reaction, WestJet set up 18 cameras in Calgary’s airport. It then posted the videos on YouTube, and purchased ads on Twitter and Facebook to drive traffic.

The videos went viral and has attracted more 18 million views, providing WestJet with a huge social media and marketing win at a much lower cost than what it would have cost to advertise on television.

“In a social media environment, the sharing of it almost becomes the point itself: ‘Look what this company did, I find it engaging, I want to tell you about it,’” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s vice-president of communications and community relations, told the Globe & Mail. “It goes exponentially from there. It’s very alluring to marketers to say how can I engage in that?”

The key lesson for brands looking for social media success is exploring different ways to attract the spotlight. Not every brand has the budget or creativity to match WestJet but it should not stop brands from trying to be distinct or, at least, interesting when it comes to social media activity.

At the end of the day, brands are battling for attention on the social media stage. It’s a noisy, distracting and competitive marketplace so the ability to somehow capture the spotlight is becoming more important.

The New Social ROI

socialmedia-roiIn this blog, we’ve focused on the ROI ((return on investment) of social media, which makes sense given it is a topic that continues to attract a lot of attention.

Once again, it’s time to look into the ROI of social media once , and see how it’s evolved and where perceptions lie.

ROI matters and to think social media provides little or no return on the investment is flat out wrong.

Much of what social media has changed in the advertising, marketing and communications landscape is evident every day. What isn’t evident is how social media has evolved the ROI.

ROI has historically been a very straightforward equation. What the bottom line is in regards to the amount you invest. Sounds simple, right?

Social media changed the game by proving the value of conversation, communication and eventually leveraging the power of your audience to have a positive affect on your bottom line. Sounds less simple now, right?

The ROI is there, and organizations who use social media properly feel a pronounced return. It’s how we perceive the return that needs to change.

Audience building, conversation, insight, and of course, profits is the return you will receive. The first three are what lead to the last one, and the return just takes a bit more time.

It’s a new return on investment with social media, but it still pays great dividends. Digital marketers need to be selling the new ROI to their organizations, and keeping expectations intact.

Most can’t make the connections on their own, because it is such a radical change. It exists but is just a different road to get from point A to point B.

The problem lies in the perception of social media for those who haven’t bought in. Maybe the recent activities of social networks going public have helped quell that negative perception somewhat.

If not, the onus is on the digital marketers or digital marketing teams to prove ROI and show how the data, insight and connection to your audience does matter and will affect the bottom line.

Does Social Media Struggle to Grow with Audience?

facebook_twitter-e1383624551877More than ever, it appears social networks are running into problems with specific age groups who are outgrowing their platforms.

Many believe, for example, Facebook faces a crisis when it came to teenage users, while a recent article by All Things D, suggests Twitter might be facing the same demographic challenges.

What does Twitter do as a big part of its user base gets older, and moves on to other social networks?

This is also a problem for digital marketers, who invest time and money in Twitter and other social networks. It doesn’t lower Twitter’s value if you are seeking this age group, but it can be limiting.

Brands don’t necessarily have to grow with their audiences but they do need to invest in the right social networks to get the best results.

The question might also be, do you know what social networks appeal to what ages? Or do you just make assumptions without any research?

We have the habit of thinking that social media is just for “kids” (other than LinkedIn) but that has never really been the reality. Research is key as is removing any pre-conceived notions about users when it comes to social media.

Digital marketers need to understand the sandbox in which they are playing in, and who the users are. You can’t just target Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest if the demographic group you want to reach aren’t engaged there.

The key lessons are staying on top of user trends to see how your audience adapts as they get older. This can be a Pandora’s Box because as users become potential new customers for your organization, they then have to be targeted.

It’s not an easy task but nothing in social media is if you want to do it right.

If you do want to grow with your audience,  your digital strategy has to reflect the data that shows  users grow out of certain networks and into new ones.

Honouring Nelson Mandela Through Social Media

Nelson MandelaLast week the world lost a true hero. A man that stood for human equality and justice for all. A man who brought democracy to everyone in South Africa. Nelson Mandela.

Mandela’s life story is quite incredible. He spent the majority of it fighting to make sure that everyone in his home of South Africa got a fair say in politics and fair chance in life. Some of his actions to help make this happen were not taken lightly by the government and led to his imprisonment for 27 years. But that never stopped his campaign for equality. After being released from jail, Mandela went on to become the President of South Africa in the first ever multiracial election that allowed blacks and whites to vote evenly. This triumph also made him the first black man to hold office in South Africa. After stepping down as President he devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy and awareness to further human rights for everyone around the world.

He continued this revolution almost right up until he passed away at the age of 95 on Thursday.

Since the world learned of Mandela’s death there has been an astounding 14.9 million mentions of his name or tribute hashtags such as #RIPNelsonMandela across social channels. We found these mentions in 90,465 blog posts, 179,827 online news articles, 50,353 forum postings and 14,678,311 tweets. There has also been incredible 18,064 videos that have mentioned Mandela in their title or description since Thursday.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Activity Summary

Looking at these mentions plotted out over the past five days we can see that there was a collective of mourning tweets on Thursday when the news broke. These Twitter mentions continued at a high level over the following days overshadowing all other social channels.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Popularity Chart

When we remove Twitter from the popularity chart though, we can see that Mandela was being mentioned quite a lot through other channels. The difference here being that while Twitter was able to spread the news in real-time on Thursday, most news sites and blogs took the time to write lengthy pieces about the man that got published the following day.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Popularity Chart for Blogs, Forums and Online News

Mandela’s fame and influence had spread across the world throughout his lifetime, and this shows when we explored where mentions of him were coming from. The pie chart below shows where mentions about Nelson Mandela were coming from with all social media channels combined.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Country Distribution

However, to get a better sense of how Mandela’s influence spread across the globe, a look at the geo location heat map of tweets shows that no corner of the Earth was not saddened by the news of his passing.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Twitter Geo Location Heat Map

And people across all channels had nothing but fantastic things to say about Mandela’s incredible life. The most retweeted tweets about Nelson Mandela come from a range of sources from One Direction’s Harry Styles and Justin Bieber to Barack Obama to trusted news sources like ABC News and the BBC to The Nelson Mandela Foundation.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Most Retweeted Tweets

Key conversations from blogs show that people were telling the story of his life and mentioning his many accomplishments in furthering a just society for everyone.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Key Conversations from Blogs

These same of conversations were also coming from online news sources.

MAP, Powered by Sysomos - Key Conversations for Online News

Now that all of these stories of a great man’s life through struggle and triumph have been brought to major attention, let us hope that the world never forgets what Nelson Mandela stood for and what he taught us all.

Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.