Avoid Trendjacking at all Costs

By Mark Evans - July 14th, 2014

XHK0Kyo-360Every day in social media there is a topic that grabs the attention of users across all platforms. For the past month it’s been the World Cup along with strife in the Middle East.

Last Friday though, the topic of Lebron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers was all the rage. Users from all over the world and many popular platforms were discussing it and its implications as the story continued to break.

For brands who wants to build their social media presence, it’s always a good idea to get involved in these conversations where appropriate.

What you always want to avoid is what is commonly referred to as “trendjacking”. This is where a user or brand elbows their way into an online conversation and tries to take over. It never feels natural and organic and has the potential to do more harm then good.

This doesn’t mean you have to get involved in every conversation and it is sometimes best to stay away from the serious stuff unless it directly correlates. When entering into more serious territory it’s best to not promote in any way.

If you are a digital manager or managing the social media account of a brand, than by all means get involved in big stories of sports, culture or community. The idea is to be part of the conversation without hijacking it.

Your content or posts need to be original and relevant, and the ultimate goal is to get involved without turning other users off.

The Lebron James signing is a great example because many brands on Twitter kicked into creative overdrive in order to take advantage of the increased activity. Some brands prospered from it and saw their clever posts retweeted, and others had to delete their tweets before the digital ink dried.

One of these brands was Tide, who came up with a funny tweet about how their product can “wash away the last four years”. It is believed they removed it because by using an image of Lebron’s jersey they could have encountered from legal trouble.

Just remember, it’s okay to get involved but as a brand you have no ownership over a conversation.

Facebook Feeling the Heat over Psychological Experiment

By Mark Evans - July 11th, 2014

Facebook-Emotional-Manipulation-400x300Facebook is in full-on apology mode after they secretly conducted a psychological experiment on 700,000 users which manipulated their newsfeeds.

Many believe it was scientifically unethical along with violating the rights of Facebook users.

The experiment that was conducted was part of a larger ongoing study stemming from 2012, where researchers randomly selected close to 700,000 of Facebook’s 1.3 billion user base.

From there, they displayed either more positive or negative posts. Then they observed whether this prompted users to write more positive or negative posts themselves.

Not only was the research done in a secretive manner, it was also communicated rather poorly afterwards. The communication of the research may have been the biggest impetus for the backlash. 

The issue now is why did Facebook even attempt to control or alter its user’s emotions? There’s no clearcut answers, especially since Facebook is being very tight lipped beyond continually saying they are sorry.

The information is valuable from a scientific and societal aspect, but there are potential ways that it could have helped Facebook when it came to selling ads or boosting posts.

The information could potentially be implemented into their monetized advertising strategies. Of course, this is just a theory.

There’s a great lesson here for digital marketers. When it comes to users and your fans, be honest and try not to get caught with your pants down after the fact.

Users protect their rights and are very vocal when they feel violated. Digital marketers need to recognize this and ensure that they are respectful of user’s rights and in no way attempt to deceive them.

Facebook arguably built the world’s largest and most passionate user base, and they also got bit by it.

Do you think this is a lesson learned for Facebook or do you expect to see more “psychological studies” at some point in the near future? Are you now worried that your newsfeed might be manipulated?

World Cup Finals: How Argentina and Germany Look in Social Media

By Sheldon Levine - July 10th, 2014

World Cup 2014As of yesterday evening (in our local time zone) we now know that after 28 days of World Cup fever the entire world will be watching Argentina and Germany play in the finals.

This year’s World Cup has a been a very exciting one. Both in terms of the matches played and also the social media activity that has been going on during the tournament. This World Cup has seen a flurry of social media activity from fans cheering on their team to some incredible memes based on events during the tournament.

But what has the social activity around our two final teams looked like? That’s what we wanted to find out as we get set for the final match this weekend. So, we took to MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to explore the mentions of Germany and Argentina.

The first thing we did for this quick analysis was to look at number of mentions of each team from the start of the World Cup (on June 12) up until yesterday. Here we found that Argentina has a greater share of voice across social media channels beating out Germany 61% to 39%. However, neither team seems to be lacking in mentions as Germany amassed 22,680,311 mentions in those 28 days, while Argentina saw 35,378,525 mentions.

Sysomos MAP - Share of Voice Comparison

Where all of those mentions were coming from is the interesting part though. When we broke down those mentions of each team by source, we found something very interesting. When both Germany and Argentina were being talked about in blogs and in online news articles, the two seemed quite even. In both blog posts and online news articles the split was 51% to 49% with Argentina getting just a few more mentions than Germany. Then, when we look at forum postings, we find that Germany mentions bested Argentina by almost 150,000 mentions. However, when it then came to Twitter (which is the leading social network for real-time World Cup chatter), Argentina saw almost 13 million more mentions than Germany did.

Sysomos MAP - Share of Voice Comparison by Source

The difference in Twitter mentions seems quite staggering at first, but then we found something interesting. We took a look at where mentions of each team were originating from across all channels.  When we looked at the mentions of Argentina we found that the country making the most noise was (not surprisingly) Argentina. Almost a quarter of all Argentina mentions came from their own country who has been showing their support throughout the World Cup.

Sysomos MAP - Breakdown of Mentions by Country

But then when we looked at where mentions of Germany were originating from, we found that most of them weren’t coming from Germany. In fact, Germany doesn’t seem to be that active in supporting their team… at least through social media. Germany actually came in 4th in terms of mention of their own country behind the USA, UK and Spain. That lack in social support from their own country can help explain the huge difference in mentions of each country.

Sysomos MAP - Breakdown of Mentions by Country

Some may argue though that it’s not the number of mentions that a team gets, but rather the intention behind those mentions. To understand the intentions behind those mentions we looked at the sentiment around each team. According to industry leading sentiment analysis engine Argentina has seen a 80% favourable rating during the World Cup. 22% of all mentions about Argentina have been positive, while 20% have been negative.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment

While Germany hasn’t seen as many social mentions during the World Cup as Argentina, they do have a much better favourable rating, coming in at 81%. While their favourable rating comes in just 1% higher than Argentina, the details show that they actually seem to have a larger percentage of their mentions being positive. Germany has seen 27% of all their mentions being positive and only 19% negative. So, just because they aren’t being talked about as much, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are worse off than their final rivals in any way.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment

One last interesting chart we want to share with you is our popularity chart, which shows the mentions of each team spread out over the time of the World Cup so far. We just found this one interesting because you can actually see what days each team played on just by looking at how their mentions spike on game days. Take a look:

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Comparison Chart

So who do you think is going to win the World Cup this year? Argentina or Germany? The team with the most social mentions or the team with the most positive sentiment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

And, for some more World Cup social media fun, be sure to check out our Sysomos #WorldCup Hashtag Tracker which is showing off where tweets containing the official #WorldCup hashtag are originating from in real-time.

The Real Currency of Social Media

By Mark Evans - July 9th, 2014

social_currencyThe majority of popular social networks are free and you should always expect them to be free. While this creates large user bases and high levels of activity, the social networks prosper from the activity.

Much like the world outside of social media, nothing is ever actually free. In fact, social media is only free because users and their activity are the real commodity. 

Data in the form of what users post, tweet and publish is what social networks and organizations who communicate, market and advertise on them deem to be valuable.

If a social network knows you are engaged or recently had a baby or work in a certain industry or even that you like fashion, well that data becomes invaluable in terms of selling the network as a viable advertising platform.

So you can see how a user technically becomes the currency of social media, and why all of the past talk of certain social networks charging a membership fee was completely fabricated.

Most social networks have privacy settings and options to tailor or remove ads. They don’t even target your directly but just the market segmentation that you fall into.

In many ways this is a good thing. You are going to be targeted by advertisers in social media, so why not have ads that might actually appeal to you.

This doesn’t mean the ads that appear are always a perfect fit, this is all dependent on your activity. Ultimately, it is based on something you did on the network.

The argument about selling any type of data will always exist, but a user does have control over what they post or what is even made public. The current advertising model might actually be the perfect medium between both sides – the advertiser/social network and the user.

Next time you are logged into your favourite social network, look at the ads and how they seem to be oddly tailored to you or some of your recent activity. 

Sysomos MAP and Heartbeat Updates: Tumblr, YouTube and Facebook

By Sheldon Levine - July 8th, 2014

Let’s just say we’ve been busy. Very, very busy. 

At Sysomos, we’re always working behind the scenes to make our technology better. Whether it’s delivering greater speed and accuracy, or more data and more potent analytics, our ongoing mission is to provide you with the best social intelligence out there — so that you can make the kinds of business decisions that drive future success. With that in mind, we’d like to share some of the major enhancements we’ve made lately, including the addition of Tumblr to our ever-expanding data set.

We’ve put Tumblr on the MAP. 

Earlier this year we announced our partnership with Tumblr. Today we’re thrilled to announce our all-new Tumblr integration, which gives you the ability to glean insights from the full breadth of Tumblr’s data, has been added to MAP. In fact, you can search for mentions using text-based queries among all eight Tumblr data types — from photos, text, audio and video, to quotes, answers, links and chats. And you can evaluate those mentions using Overall Sentiment, Word Cloud and Buzzgraph analytics. Perhaps best of all, you can get started right now.

Sysomos MAP - Tumblr Search Results

Sysomos MAP - View Tumblr Posts

Sysomos MAP - Tumblr Buzzgraph

 

You’ll love (not just ‘Like’) more Facebook results in MAP.

Enter search terms as usual and you’ll notice something right away: a lot more Facebook results. Why? We’re now pulling in tons more Facebook data. More data = more results. And that’s the kind of math everyone loves to do.

Run YouTube Analytics without skipping a Heartbeat.

You can now view no less than 17 of the most popular YouTube Channel metrics — including Geographical, Playback, Traffic Sources and Device, as well as Basic and Daily metrics — right from within the Heartbeat platform, without having to log in to YouTube.  All that’s required is a one-time permissions process in which your YouTube Channel administrator (maybe that’s even you) grants Heartbeat access to retrieve the metrics. Here’s a sample of how some of these new metrics will look in your Heartbeat:

Sysomos Heartbeat - YouTube Views

Sysomos Heartbeat - Youtube View Duration By Country

Sysomos Heartbeat - Youtube View Duration by Device

 

As always, if you’re already using MAP or Heartbeat please contact your account team with any questions.

If you’re not already using MAP or Heartbeat, please feel free to contact us to learn more about these great new updates and our software overall.

How to Measure the Success of Social Content

By Mark Evans - July 7th, 2014

For many brands, sharing content (owned and curated) is an integral part of their social media strategies?

But how it success measured? And, as important, how do brands measure the success of content sharing relative to growing their businesses?

social mediaIn a survey done by Ipsos OTX for the Association of National Advertisers, the leading metric for content success is “Likes”, followed by click-throughs and retweets.

The common denominator among the “Big Three”? They’re all soft metrics with a loose connection to return on investment or moving the sales needle.

The question is whether this is the reality of social content, or do brands need to embrace more business-focused metrics to justify ROI?

In many respects, it comes down to how brands want to approach social content. For many brands, the focus is providing value-added content to drive awareness and engagement. The idea is content builds affinity, which could eventually get people into the sales funnel.

Some brands take a more aggressive approach by sharing content that offers value but, at the same time, starts to get customers thinking about how a related product could fit into their lives.

In many respects, the two approaches reflect how brands are doing social sales – some are being blatant about selling, while others are happy to be part of the conversation.

In the coming months, social content will likely attraction more attention, particularly around the value of curation. More brands are realizing curation is a great way to share content without having to create it all themselves.

Along the way, it only makes sense for the ways to measure social content will change as brands look for better ROI to justify activity.

 

 

 

Was Gallup’s Social Media Poll Flawed?

By Mark Evans - July 4th, 2014

gallup-on-social-media-_-social-jumpstart-1192x600In a recent blog post, we looked at the results from a consumer gallup poll, The State of the American Consumer, which did not paint the rosiest of picture of social media, especially from the marketing and communications perspective.

Essentially, the results showed (not necessarily proved) that consumers do not rely on social media to make buying decisions. It is a finding that seems to go against popular opinion and other data.

The biggest issue with the survey is the fact the findings are from late 2012 and early 2013. As most know, a year or longer in the world of social media can feel like a decade. Things move that fast.

These finding would have been tough to swallow last year or the year before, even more so given it is 2014.

In fairness, the last year and a half has seen Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Snapchat all grow in terms of their advertising capabilities and user base. 

Vine was a complete non-factor in late 2012, and it is now a part of most user’s daily or weekly activity, as well as most brands’ digital campaigns.

The methodology of the report includes issues about the questions that were asked and the fact it was sent to potential respondents via traditional mail.

The question now is why bother? It would be important to consumers, companies, users and social networks to have this information. Why create and disseminate something that is so inherently flawed.

The data seems to be dated, which undermines the findings. There were suspicious elements of this research, but now it seems like it is not a worthy analysis of social media and consumer behaviour.

This would be a tough poll to base any present or future social media marketing and communications decisions on. Like with many elements of social media, it is best to proceed with caution.

The World Cup Rocks the Social Media Landscape

By Mark Evans - July 2nd, 2014

Santos v Atletico MG - Brasileirao Series A 2014This one might not exactly be filed in the surprised post, but it still deserves mentioning and honouring: the 2014 FIFA World Cup set a social media record recently, which is quite the accomplishment when you think about it.

This was predicted back in early June, and there weren’t many experts and pundits who disagreed. The activity has been relentless and through the roof. The Luis Suarez memes alone could force Twitter and Facebook servers to break from exhaustion.

It’s staggering to actually think about the millions of users online, all around the world, in many different timezones, all logged into one network talking about the same thing.

Passion is such a driver of social media, and there are few who are more passionate than football fans. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can all attest to this as being true.

Consider this, prior to its June 12 kickoff, 90% of the world had contributed 19 million social mentions across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr and Flickr.

Just how globally loved is the World Cup? Asia is producing the most social activity with a 48% share, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa. For individual countries, Germany has had the most Twitter engagement.

Not to be overlooked is the social popularity of the individual players, which trumps most professional athletes around the world. Many of the players themselves have millions of followers, most of whom make up the World Cup audience.

It might have helped that this year’s tournament is taking place in Brazil, a country with a high level of social media activity. There are over 86 million active users on Facebook, and roughly 10% of its population is on Twitter.

While the Super Bowl is the annual king of social media, the World Cup should destroy its numbers in everyway and everywhere besides the U.S. 

Gaudy numbers indeed and there’s still two weeks left to go!

Five Key Takeaways From San Francisco

By Sheldon Levine - July 1st, 2014

Today’s post was written by our CEO, Jim Delaney

Social And The Customer Intimacy Imperative

The other week’s Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative event (#SysomosCII) was a resounding success for the Sysomos team. We brought together some of the brightest minds and biggest brands, and cultivated an outstanding discussion about the next frontier of social: the intersection of data, predictive analytics and revolutionary customer experiences. I cannot thank our speakers and attendees enough for such an inspiring conversation.

The Customer Intimacy Imperative is an age-old problem, but the solution is a moving target that continues to shift as technology advances and culture evolve. The sheer amount of raw data available through social networks means that brands, large and small, MUST engage through social channels or risk devastating consequences of irrelevance and ineptness.

Whenever I’m in the company of other leaders at industry events — either as a host or a participant — I’m always amazed by how much I learn. While I could go on for days about all the kernels of wisdom that were shared last Tuesday, I’ve whittled my list down to five key takeaways from #SysomosCII:

1)     Look forward, not backward: No longer is it enough to look back to see what happened and why it happened. Customers want brands to anticipate their needs. The social web is a focus group of hundreds of millions providing insightful data that brands can use to anticipate future needs.

2)     LOTS of data: Too much data perhaps. Social is pervading the marketing team into other reaches of business. The data is driving new business models as innovative brands are leveraging social data in the decision making process. (@RMB, @chuckhemann, @znh)

3)     Analysis gap: Either in talent or technology, brands need to better understand the “social cocktail” globally in terms of differences between cultures and market segments. The skews of relevance are paramount to help determine ROI. (@RMB, @chuckhemann, @znh)

4)     Be able to take a punch: Social data is disruptive to traditional marketing. Expect questions. (@MasonNelder)

5)     Audience is a privilege: The fundamentals of marketing still apply today. We want customers to trust us and communicate with us. Respecting the customer-brand relationship will foster loyalty, and loyalty will drive revenue… ROI! (@petershankman, @jbmustin)

These takeaways barely scratch the surface of what the future of marketing might look like. But you can be sure that we’re going to see some amazing new developments in the coming months that will define that future. In the meantime, stay tuned as we continue to share insights from #SysomosCII.

Should Blog Comments Be Rewarded?

By Mark Evans - June 30th, 2014

As Twitter and Facebook have become more popular as ways to share and react to content, the blog comment has lost a lot of its mojo.

Sure, there are some blog post that generate a lot of comments but the enthusiasm for comments is nowhere close to what it was like five or six years ago when blogs were shiny and new.

blog commentIt would be interesting to quantify the number of blog posts that attract comments, but I would guess that most posts don’t get any comments.

It’s not that the content is bad or doesn’t deserve a reaction; it’s just easier to do something on Twitter or Facebook. That’s just the reality of social engagement these days.

Let’s take the position, however, that blog comments are a good thing to drive conversation and the exchange ideas.

Using this as our thesis, what about the idea of rewarding blogs for attracting comments, and people for leaving comments.

What if Google and other search engines embraced the blog comment as a front and centre SEO pillar?

In theory, it would encourage more people to leave comments on blogs, and be a great way to motivate bloggers to keep writing posts.

Of course, there would have to be some way to stop the spammers and link-builders from abusing this approach to comments.

It would likely require some kind of effective link and comment analysis to make everything work, but you figure Google has enough technology to make it happen.

For some people, this idea may be far-fetched, illogical or unnecessary. After all, updates on Twitter and Facebook may be enough boost for blogs because they help to attract a bigger audience.

But there is something romantic about blog comments. They require someone to make an investment in reading a post, and then crafting a comment.

In a world world where people are time-strapped, comments required effort, thought and intent. It’s why they have so much value for bloggers.

What do you think? Should there be some way to reward blog comments?

More: Here’s Google’s Matt Cutts on comments made on forums and blogs.