Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Social Media Sneers at Subway Ads

subway-halloween-eat-light-hed-2014Another week and another brand feels the not so gentle lash of social media outrage.

This time the brand in question is Subway, who recently ran a series of ads about how Subway sandwiches can help women fit into their halloween costumes.

Both men and women took to Twitter and Facebook to label the commercials as sexist and old fashioned. Now, this post is in no way to pass judgement on Subway, it is merely to look at the swift hand of justice that belongs to social media.

The ads were slammed. There’s no way to sugarcoat that. Whether you think they were sexist or not, the social media activity reflected a very negative tone.

Many users were not kind to Subway, wondering what was going through the minds of those who produced the ads.

Social media reflects the pulse of our times. We are currently in a zeitgeist of questioning gender equality. This is a constant streaming conversation on many social media platforms.

like any brand that has encountered this trial by digital fire, Subway will rebound from this and best of all they will learn many valuable lessons.

One of these lessons is that regardless of the medium in which it airs, social media will judge your content. In 2014 and going forward, mediums are interlocked with social media. Even billboards are not a safe haven.

Another lesson is that you have to be aware of the important topics that are being discussed in the world. Before brainstorming ideas, check out social media and see what users are interested in and figure out what to put forward and what to avoid.

Social media expects brands to be modern and conscientious, respectful of both customers and non-customers. It’s not an easy job but it’s now the cost of doing business.

Just How Popular Is Ello?

ElloEllo seems to be the favourite new kid on the social media block as of the past few weeks. Yesterday on the blog Mark even wrote about how many users are claiming they’re moving over to Ello to “escape” Facebook.

But is it really possible for Ello to replace Facebook?

In my personal opinion, I’d say not quite. For one thing (and this is my personal thought), I think that Ello feels a lot more like Twitter currently than Facebook. And secondly, and probably most importantly, in order for Ello to actually replace Facebook in people’s lives, the exodus over to the new network would have to be enormous. The only way that Ello could replace Facebook is if all of your friends and contacts that you’ve connected with over the years all moved there. That will take a very long time… if it happens at all.

But even with my personal thoughts on Ello, I wondered just how popular Ello has actually become in the past few weeks?

On September 26th, just as Ello was starting to go viral, Vox (along with many other sources) reported that the network was receiving 31,000 invite requests an hour. That seems pretty popular to me.

To investigate further, I decided to see what conversations were happening on other social networks about this new social network (very meta, I know).

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, I looked up mentions of Ello over the past month. One hindrance to my search though was that I could only search for English conversations because “ello” in Spanish translates to “it” making it a very common word. So, please keep that in mind when looking at the information below.

If you follow the big names and outlets that talk a lot about social media, you may feel like you’ve been over hearing about Ello. However, when I conducted my search for conversations about the new network I found less than 350,000 mentions of it. In the past month, Ello only came up in 3,042 blog posts, 3,321 online news articles, 3,716 forum postings and 332,692 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

While those numbers may not be as big as people who are hearing about it nonstop may expect, it’s also interesting to note that the majority of those conversations have only happened in the past two weeks.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart Without Twitter Data

Since Ello is being dubbed the “anti-Facebook” it made sense for me to also search public Facebook data to see how much it was being talked about there. Again, the number of Ello mentions I found there was not quite as large as I initially thought it was going to be. That said, it has still accounted for 28,598 mentions in public status updates. Also interesting is that if you look at the three examples in the screenshot below, you’ll notice that a lot of the mentions are people posting a link to their new Ello account on Facebook. It’s interesting because people feel the need to use Facebook to tell their friends that they’ve joined the “anti-Facebook.”

Sysomos MAP - Facebook Activity Summary

As with any new social network, people want to understand it and why they should consider grabbing real-estate there. To help with that, there’s already been just over 1,000 videos created that try to explain Ello to others.

Sysomos MAP - Video Activity Summary

So, what are people saying about Ello so far? A look at both our buzzgraph and word clouds around the network show that “Facebook” seems to be one of the most used words when people talk about Ello. There is also a significant talk about Ello’s “manifesto”. This manifesto is what seems to be the appeal behind Ello, as it states that people will have more “privacy” as they will never sell your “data” for “advertising.” However, that’s also making people question how the network will stay in “business” for a sustained amount of time.

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph

Sysomos MAP - Word Cloud

The other thing that I found interesting about the apparent popularity of Ello revealed itself when I used our Influencer Community tool to see the groups of people that were talking about it. If you’re anything like me, and I assume you might be since you’re reading this blog, you probably follow a lot of sources online that talk about news and trends in the digital and social media space. Well, those are the types of sources seem to be the ones who are perpetuating the talk of Ello. If you look at the big blue community, it’s filled with popular sources for social media news like Forbes Tech, Gigaom and Medium, but also with social media influencers such as @briansolis and @AmyVernon. So, while it may seem to people who work in and follow the social media space that Ello is all the rage, it may really just be the social media people getting each other excited in a big circle.

Interesting as well is that the second largest community I found, in orange below, is a big group of celebrities (mostly from the music industry). When I investigated that group a bit further it seems that fans are tweeting to find out if their favourite celebrities are on Ello yet and where they can find them there.

Sysomos MAP - Twitter Influencer Communities

While the real fate of Ello is still up in the air, being that it’s only been popular for a bout two weeks now, it does seem to have a lot of fans. A look at the sentiment around the network shows that it’s 86% favourable.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment Summary

So, what do you think about Ello so far? Is it going to replace Facebook or is it just going to see some hype for a little while and then fall off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The Great Facebook Migration to Ello

Ello“Your social network is owned by advertisers”.

With this powerful mantra, a user enters into Ello, the social network trying to turn the social media game on its head.

Ello is born out of the rebellion towards Facebook and the policy change that require users to use their legal names, as well as the anger towards advertisers that have taken up prime real estate. (Check out this Guardian article about the “New Facebook”)

The response has been overwhelming. People are moving in droves to Ello (or, at least, trying to check out Ello, which is invite-only). Ello is seen as a digital sanctuary from brand invasion. Being labeled the “anti-Facebook” is one way to make a mark and leave an impression.

Ello is built on the foundation that popular social networks have become digital vessels to fool users and sell them as nothing more than data. It is a bit cynical and near-sighted one could argue, but that’s the angle that captured the imagination of social media users looking for something new and different.

To see such a strong response to the Facebook policy of users disclosing their legal names is refreshing on some levels. While social media networks don’t belong to the users, it is users that make them vibrant and interesting, and provide companies with lots of valuable data.

Facebook’s need for legal names is a problem for some people. The LGBT community, for example was vocal in their outrage, and there are people out there with genuine privacy concerns.

The exodus of users, especially those from the LGBT community and its supporters, has made headlines. It might – a big “might” – be the sign of a big migration if Ello can prove its worth over the long haul.

The promise of privacy from Ello and the vow to not be invaded by ads make it an intriguing option. It will be interesting to see Ello it can resists the urge to monetize, particularly if it raises more venture capital. If they build their user base, the potential for profits will be very real.

Ello “bohemian” utopia might be tested in the realm of inappropriate content, which will currently not be flagged. Ello does promise that these filters will be coming soon.

Like any social network, Ello will have to deliver on the content side of things while keeping its values intact.

Would you abandon Facebook for Ello? If so, why?

Big Growth and Big News

Now it’s not usually like us to toot our own horn, but we have some big news to share today and we thought this would be a good time to tell you a bit about what got us here first.

The first thing that we’re incredibly happy about is that in a few days the Sysomos engine that powers both our MAP and Heartbeat software will be processing 400 billion social conversations at any given time. That’s a 4 with 11 zeros behind it (400,000,000,000). That’s an incredible amount of data to process in mere seconds, but we do it every day.

And it’s just going to keep growing. On May 30, 2013 we looked at how many social conversations were happening in a day and found at that time 139 million conversations just across blogs, online news sites, forums and Twitter. Yesterday, we found that that number has grown to 401 million (that’s equal to over 4 terabytes of data a day). In a little over a year, the number of social conversations has more than doubled.

Sysomos MAP - Over 400 Million Social Conversations A Day

But we’re prepared to deal with this ever-growing world of social media by growing with it.

Since last September, we’ve grown our Sysomos family by 50%. We’ve added amazing teammates in every department of our company from accounts to engineering and all the way up to our executive team. All these people have been key in helping us to help you make sense of all those social conversations happening out there. In fact, we’ve had to grow so much because we’ve also grown over 500% on the accounts we’re helping, which we’re proud to say includes 8 of the top 10 brands on Interbrand’s list of the 100 best global brands.

And we’re not done growing.

Today, we’re very excited to announce that as part of this growth, we’ve added a new teammate to our team. As of today Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) will be joining our team as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sysomos.

Amber Naslund

Amber won’t say it herself, but she’s a big mover and shaker in the world of social media. She’s worked in the industry for over 8 years including experience with companies very similar to Sysomos. On top of her experience, she’s constantly being asked to speak at various events and conferences and even co-authored a book on how social media has impacted all business today, The NOW Revolution.

We’re incredibly excited to have Amber on our team and can’t wait to see what she has in mind to help Sysomos grow even more.

To learn more about Amber and find out what she has in mind for her new role, come back tomorrow when we’ll be posting a little Q&A with Amber.

Feel free to reach out to Amber at anytime on Twitter or in the comments below and help us welcome her to the team!

Will The Buy Button Reshape Online Shopping?

twitter_buy_buttonOne of the world’s most active and popular social networks is trying to venture into digital regions that most other networks have been slow to set foot within.

News emerged recently that Twitter was testing a button which would appear on tweets and allow a user to instantly buy something. The button would be embedded and ideally relevant to the post.

Some reports claimed that a non-operational Buy button appeared for some users earlier this year.

The testing involves a small amount of U.S. users who will see and have access to the Buy Button and its functionality. The number will grow as time goes on.

This is a huge development not just for Twitter but for all of social media. The immediacy of learning about products and services both from brands and their fans, then being able to buy is a radical shift.

This is certainly one way to bolster the economy along with the bottom line of many online retailers. The biggest winner in all of this will be Twitter, which would naturally grow from influencing buying decisions to being a shopping mecca.

If successfully deployed, it has the potential to shift Twitter from a social network to a leader in e-commerce. It has the potential to even be the leader in both.

The initial rollout of the button didn’t require the button to be part of an advertisement or appear as a sponsored tweet. Businesses won’t have to pay for the service of the button which means even more businesses will look to Twitter as the place they need to invest their time.

The ease of purchasing will drive users to see Twitter as the ultimate newsfeed and shopping mall meaning the potential is through the roof on many fronts.

The Buy Button should drive advertising dollars, user engagement and most likely a slew of imitators.

More On Timing Your Social Media Posts…

TimingYesterday here on the blog, Mark wrote about a an infographic that told people the best times to post to different social networks. The makers of that infographic, SurePayroll, are not the first people to try to tell the world about these “best times to post.” Buffer, the app that helps people share articles spread out over time, has made posts about this before and we even put out a report a few years ago that contained information on when Twitter users are most active, which could give you a good idea of when to post.

Seeing things like this give people a good idea as to when the majority of Twitter users seem to be most active, which could be a good place to start testing if those times work for your brand. However, I’ve personally always been a proponent of really knowing your audience, which means finding out what times are best for THEM specifically and not just everyone.

An example I’ve used many times when speaking to people about this topic is brands that focus on a younger demographic. While many reports and infographics show that peak times to tweet are somewhere between 9am-3pm Monday through Thursday, that’s not great timing for brands to reach teenagers as they should be in school at that time and (hopefully) not checking Twitter.

So, after reading yesterday’s post, I decided to put my theory to the test and to show the world.

In both our MAP and Heartbeat software we have a great feature that we call “Best Time To Tweet.” This feature looks at all of the people following a brand (usually your brand) to see when these specific followers are most active on Twitter. We then lay out a graph for you showing these levels of activity and suggest that some of these most active times of your followers would likely be the best time for your brand to tweet.

I picked a couple of interesting brands to highlight as an example below and show that each brand will have a unique best time to tweet that they can only really know by understanding their audience. The graphs below show that followers of a Twitter account are more active when the squares on the grid are a darker shade of blue.

In the sense of fairness, I started by analyzing my own Twitter handle. I live in Toronto and do a lot of my tweeting with the world during business hours. So, it was no surprise that a lot of my followers are active during those times too. As you can see, most of my followers are very active between 9am-5pm(EST) on weekdays.

@40deuce@40deuce's Best Time To Tweet

I then looked at our @Sysomos handle. While we have a lot of followers from around the world, it still seems that our followers are most active during business hours as well.

@Sysomos@Sysomos's Best Time To Tweet

But what about consumer based brands? Their target audience and followers may not be people doing business during business hours.

I started by taking a look at @CocaCola, a brand known around the world. Coke has no specific demographic as they want to reach anyone interested in a refreshing beverage from around the world. When I analyzed their Twitter followers, it appeared that they were most active in the afternoons, which is probably a good time for people to take a break and grab a Coke. So for @CocaCola, it might be best to tweet at people looking for that break.

@CocaCola@CocaCola's Best Time To Tweet

To test my theory about kids being in school during what others say are the peak times to tweet, I looked at the @DisneyChannel, a channel with children’s programming all day in the US. As it turns out, their followers are being most active on Twitter between 1pm-10pm(EST). That shows that their fans start to become active on Twitter when school is ending, so for them to tweet in the morning may not make sense, but hitting up that after school crowd would.

@DisneyChannel@DisneyChannel's Best Time To Tweet

I then started to experiment a little bit more with this.

The next brand I decided to look at was the @WWE, who has a very active Twitter account all day every day. When I analyzed their followers it turned out that they are most active on Monday nights between 8pm-10pm. That also just happens to be the time that RAW, their flagship TV show airs. So, for the WWE, it pays for them to be the most active while people are watching and tweeting along with RAW.

@WWE@WWE's Best Time To Tweet

Next, I looked at @TacoBell, the Mexican fast food chain. Now, Taco Bell is known to have a stereotype of having a special affinity from a late night crowd of teenagers and college students. However, it may not actually be such a sterotype. When I analyzed their account to see when their followers are most active, it turned out they were tweeting the most between 8pm-midnight almost all week long. So, rather than shrugging off that stereotype, it may actually be better for them to embrace it and to tweet when their followers really are most active.

@TacoBell@TacoBell's Best Time To Tweet

Some friends of mine on Twitter suggested that @EAT24 is a great brand to follow on Twitter. I had never heard of them (because they are US based and not in Canada where I can use them yet), but they’re an app that makes ordering pick-up or delivery food easy for people across the US. As it turns out, being an app for food they want to be available when people are hungry. When I looked at their followers, they were most active from about 11am-1am(EST), all times when people are hungry and thinking about ordering food. Interestingly, Friday afternoons are when their followers are most active, which also just happens to be when people are thinking about ordering food for Friday night after a long week when they don’t want to cook.

@EAT24@EAT24's Best Time To Tweet

Lastly, I decided to get a little worldly. I looked at the account for @Westpac, a bank in Australia. Australia is currently 14 hours ahead of my Eastern Standard Timezone. So, when I analyzed their followers to see when they’re most active it wasn’t surprising to find that their best time to tweet was in the middle of my night.

@Westpac@Westpac's Best Time To Tweet

Now, these are just a few brands on Twitter. Every brand will see that their fans or followers are active during different times of the day. Also, different social networks see activity at different times of the day. For some of these networks where you may not be able to see follower analytics as easy, testing may be the best way to find out when your best time to post to them would be.

So, we want to know, how do you know when the best time to post to a social network is for your fan base? Let us know how you determine it in the comments.

Why Timing is Everything With Social Media

Among the different tactical approaches to social media, quantity seems to rule the roost for most brands.

It’s based on the belief that whoever makes the most noise wins.

The problem, however, is when everyone is shouting to be noticed, it is difficult for anyone to capture the spotlight. It’s like going to a dinner party where everyone is trying to talk over each other, rather than having a civil conversation.

An approach to social media that is often overlooked or, frankly, ignored is timing. It’s about figuring out the best times to post on social media to connect with the biggest audience.

img vspace=Most social media tools are focused on instant-gratification (aka publish my updates, tweets immediately) or scheduling updates based on guesses more than science.

It means many updates appear when few people or no one is listening, which makes them ineffective and, in blunt terms, a waste of time and energy.

So when is the best time to be posting on social media?

While there is no one answer, SurePayroll put together an infographic that provides some insight into the “best” time slots for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

While the information on the infographic shouldn’t surprise anyone, the more important lesson is how brands need to think about when to effectively reach out to customers.

For some brands, being active on social media during the day makes sense because this is when customers are focused on work.

But within the working day, there are clearly better time to publish – e.g. lunch time, late afternoon.

For other brands, the best time to active social media may be at times when other brands are quiet.

A B2C brand, for example, could discover that posting content, tweets, etc. works best late at night when its target audience is chilling out at home.

So how do brands figure out the “best times”?

1. You need to know you target audiences, including the creation of buyer personas. This gives a brand tremendous insight into how its customers behave.

2. A willingness to experiment to see what and when works best. Sometimes, doing what seems to be the right way may be off the mark.

3. Looking at analytics to see what the data tells you.

How does your brand decide when do tweet, update, etc.? Do you have a plan of attack, or simply post when you think it’s the best time.

 

Social Media Goes Mad for the iPhone 6

li-iphone-crowdAs the world went bonkers for the release of the iPhone 6, social media was held hostage by activity that included opinions, features, flaws, stories and excitement.

The sheer amount of content that was produced over a roughly 2 week period about the Apple iPhone 6 was astounding, and since its release to the market it has not slowed down.

One video in particular made its way around Twitter and Facebook in particular. It was of the first purchase of the device in Perth, and the owner dropping it on the ground during a news telecast.

The amazing part is that Apple is not the most social company, stemming from Steve Jobs who wasn’t social media’s most ardent fan.

That hasn’t stopped Apple enthusiasts from using social media to share and connect over its products. Let’s be honest, very few fan brands build as much buzz for a launch as Apple, and social media is a huge part of that buzz.

Apple has become a vital part of the social media fabric, driven mostly by its fans, something that every brand wants to accomplish. Not an easy feat.

The buzz turned to hysteria as the the iPhone 6 rose to become one of the biggest technology launches of all time, something that was predicted by many on social media.

Yahoo! Finance created a system that could track and map social media posts. It would track a post and pin it to a geography. This allowed for the buzz to be quickly mapped. A user could zoom in on a map and then see the chatter specific to that area.

The enormous lines of people waiting to purchase the smartphone was relative to the social media activity. Both together paint a picture of brand loyalty the likes that few brands can claim as their own.

Maybe Apple knows a thing or two about social media after all.

Apple and U2 Jump the Shark

ABC_apple_u2_mar_140909_16x9_992Social media had its latest outrage and digital marketers had another important lesson recently courtesy of Apple and U2.

The crime was to “gift” U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence, to Apple iTunes users. Apple reportedly paid 100 million to U2 for the right to do this for their user base.

The kicker was that initially there was no way to delete the album. Shortly after its release and social media upheaval, Apple had to publish instructions on how to delete the album.

This is just the kind of thing that causes social media to explode, and it did just that once the album hit iTunes. It wasn’t even just about the quality of the album that had Facebook and Twitter talking.

It was something being forced onto a device that its owner was suppose to personalize and have reflect their likes and interests. Apple pioneered the deconstruction of albums into individual songs based on the belief that people make an emotional connection to a song.

The posts and tweets were relentless and the hope should be that other brands (including globally popular bands), realize that you can not force something on your audience and customers. They must choose to want something even if it is free.

Another takeaway from this incident is that your best laid plans can easily go to waste. It’s obvious that Apple felt they were delivering something of value only to have it blow up in their faces.

If this tactic worked and was planned and executed properly, this would have been a huge win for all parties involved. It would have exploded on social media but for positive reasons. Of course, this wasn’t the reality of what went down.

The greatest wound might be felt by U2 more than Apple when all of the dust settles. Nonetheless, this was a harsh lesson for Apple to have learned, and a very expensive one.

Reinventing Advertising for Social Media: It’s Not About You

This post first appeared on the Social Media Week global blog and is a companion for our talk at Social Media Week London happening today.
Social Media WeekSocial Media Week is here and we’re thrilled to be joining the conversation in London. For those of you just tuning in, the week-long conference provides the ideas, trends, insights and inspiration to help people and businesses understand how to achieve more in a hyper-connected world. We’re honored to have our very own Roy Jacques join powerhouses Tariq Slim (Twitter) and Selena Harrington (Microsoft Mobile) in three short presentations followed by a Q&A discussion that will explore the best ways for brands to embrace Social Advertising in their everyday activities.

Social media is forcing reinvention of every marketing decision – new goals, new messages, new channels, new metrics, new timelines, new analytics. Marketers have to embrace experimentation, creating learning environments that support quick execution, rigorous analysis and continuous improvements of results.

As social continues to proliferate every aspect of our existence, advertisers are among the most eager to take advantage of the opportunity to reach their target audiences. It’s not as simple as creating a Twitter account and blasting brand jingles, however. Roy’s presentation, “Reinventing Advertising for Social Media: It’s Not About You,” will discuss how advertising for social media is a two-way conversation between brand and consumer.

The good news is that today there are thousands of opportunities for customer connection, and a wealth of real-time, accessible information. Twitter alone sees over 500 million tweets per day, and an “always on, always listening” approach presents advertisers with spur-of-the-moment connections with customers that not only build brand reputation, but foster a community of brand champions who will take a brand’s message even further.

The challenge that accompanies these opportunities is that many are overwhelmed with data. Advertisers are drowning in it and are relying on archaic models of decision-making in this new age. The result: untargeted messages sail over the heads of target audiences and countless opportunities are missed (or worse, the wrong messages go to the wrong audiences and get categorized as noise). What’s a brand to do?