Sysomos Staff Makes Social Media Predictions for 2015

By Sheldon Levine - December 30th, 2014

Looking ahead in our crystal ballWith the year coming to a close tomorrow we know that you’re all looking forward to what 2015 is going to bring.

Here at Sysomos, we’re no different. We got some great things planned for 2015, but we also look forward to what surprises may come. And just like all of you, we’ve been trying to figure out as much of the year ahead that we can before it actually happens.

It’s not just our marketing department though that’s thinking about what’s going to happen in the world of social media for 2015, it’s our entire company. Everyone from our account management departments to our product and labs teams has an idea of what they think is going to happen next year.

We thought it would be fun to ask them what they think is going to happen in social media in 2015 and they were more than happy to share their predictions.

So, in no particular order, here’s some of our Sysomos team members’ social media predictions for 2015:

Candy Casillas (Enterprise CSM): Image and video content will dominate networks. The industry will be focused on providing analytics around image recognition. Clients will expect more predictive analytics. Modelling social data along with more traditional forms of data will also be very hot in 2015.

Alex DiRenzo (Social Media Specialist): I think influencer identification will continue to be a hot topic for businesses invested in social. Finding your influencers, listening to your influencers and being heard by your influencers is becoming increasingly important in social monitoring and is starting to trump just straight mention collecting and static reporting. I also feel that the big social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.) will continue to find new ways to monetize their platforms by making them more attractive to advertisers.

Lisa Kamitakahara (Product Manager): Companies will focus on improving social ROI from paid marketing and advertising programs and will leverage real-time location and mobile friendly video formats to drive this. Location based technologies like Beacon, NFC and BLE will become essential to delivering the right content at the right time to the right audience. TV will get smarter and more targeted – TV metadata, household billing/service purchase history and location provides a goldmine of addressable advertising inventory (think political advertising in key states/provinces, hyper targeted regional advertising eg. Car Dealerships, etc).

Nick Somers (Account Executive): Facebook will continue to frustrate companies (the pay to play model is a lit stick of dynamite), Instagram will boom in 2015 & everyone will scramble to find a way handle it. At least 2 major social brands will get hacked & have a crisis on their hands. And Apple will develop their own social channel for their fanboys.

Kristina Pyziak (Enterprise Account Manager): Image based social media listening is going to be huge in our industry in 2015.

Brendan Macdonald (Account Executive – Agencies): I believe big things are coming for Twitters Mobile platform (ironically also called MAP) in 2015. Twitter has a full team dedicated to this product and I believe the success of their Advertising revenues rests in the success of MAP. With smartphones basically becoming mini laptops, consumers are doing everything from this one device and this means they are also doing it faster. If Twitter can successfully optimize the mobile offering then I think they will start to rival Facebook in successful advertising and their product/platform in general. Marketers are starting to realize the power of paid campaigns on Twitter and if they can measure the ROI back to Mobile activations then this will be a big thing in the marketplace. Further to the above I think mobile payments and e-commerce will be huge developments within social. With Snapchat releasing Snapcash and Apple releasing Apple Pay I think e-commerce and mobile payments through any platforms (including social sites such as Facebook and Twitter) will become very real as well. The potential to measure successful engagements with promoted tweets by giving the consumer the ability to purchase will be very powerful data for marketers and easier access to the consumer.

Nick Patsiopoulos (Director, Product Management): I predict that 2015 will show the emergence of at least two new social networks that present the first real threats to Facebook’s dominance.

Hayley Neal (Social Media Specialist): The rapid growth of social media took numerous people, groups and industries by surprise- but was also expected by many. I believe that what happens in the social space in 2015 will play an even bigger part in a business’s creation of content, how they identify brand advocates and the search for influencers, as well as reporting around how people are connecting to the social space. Content will be very important for a company to find trends, key words and even aid in crisis management. My overall prediction for 2015 is “There’s an app for that” will have an even greater meaning to us as the mobile world is found to be exploding. Having the ability to connect on a PC, as well as on a mobile device, gives people the resources to connect to their business of choice whenever and wherever they like. Businesses will respond to this and we will see a spread of their message through the digital mobile world even more than in 2014.

Marta Montero (Social Media Specialist): Under the guidance of Twitter’s new leadership team and ever-changing landscape of ad targeting, Twitter will finally “get” advertising on their platform and profits will soar as a result.

Tracy Ruggles (Director, Product Management): Someone will figure out how to analyze a network for virality, apply social engineering principles, and produce viral hits at will. This will, in turn, wizen up the general populace and undermine the mathematical models behind virality, e.g., a self-aware network that will resist its own autonomic behaviours.

Anastasia Kedrova (Social Media Specialist): 2015 will be the year of images and image analytics.

Gustavo Chavez (Enterprise Social Media Specialist): I predict that 2015 will truly become the year of the Influencer. I see an increasing amount of forward-thinking enterprises, agencies and advertisers incorporating more formal strategies to transform peer influence into peer advocacy. B2C brand will be focusing more on consumers or external fans, while B2B organizations may emphasize on the successful execution of internal efforts such as Employee Engagement programs.

Mike Downing (EVP, Sales): Companies will force the issue….how will social drive revenue or increase customer satisfaction which results in revenue for my business. It will become a requirement and companies will begin to measure how they implement with very strict KPIs.

Nate Pallen (Social Media Specialist): More buy-in and spend on social media content will be followed by a huge increase in spend on paid amplification. Brands/advertisers will be looking at new ways of targeting, engaging, and measuring users.Social media networks will continue to shift focus to mobile experiences. Potential breakout sites will focus on images, images, images.

Me, Sheldon Levine (Community Manager): On top of  agreeing with most of my colleagues’ predictions above, I think that even though we see a lot of maturity coming in the social media space, a lot of people are just at the beginning. Even some of the ones we think are advanced. That’s why I think 2015 is going to be the year of experimentation in the social media space. I think that this coming year we’re going to see a lot of companies trying new and strange things, some of which will work and a lot that won’t. However, the big commonality in the failed and successful ones will be that professionals will be really smart about how they measure the outcomes of every interesting new thing they try.


Well, if you read through all of those predictions, thank you. We hope that you and yours have a fantastic new years and an amazing 2015, both in business and your home life.

We also want to know what you think is going to happen in the social media world in 2015, so leave us a comment below and let us know YOUR social media predictions for 2015.


Best of 2014: Can Vine 2.0 Make Six-Second Videos Sexy?

By Sheldon Levine - December 26th, 2014

Vine, the 6-second video network, came into our lives in late 2012. But this year they made some major updates to how the service works in an effort to attract more users and uses.

While this update did make the service more attractive to certain people, we still wondered if this update was enough to make 6-second videos work for personal branding and business.

We asked this question and it became one of our more popular posts of 2014. We’re still interested to hear what your thoughts are on the matter, so let us know in the comments.

This post was first published on May 5, 2014:
How much information can be delivered in a six-second Vine video?

People and brands who use Vine seem to be believe it’s an ideal vehicle for quick information blasts.

To be honest, I’m not convinced.

vineEven in a world plagued by short attention spans and the need to multi-task, six seconds seems, well, really short.

As someone who hasn’t embraced Vine, it’s hard to see how six-second videos deliver much value.

Nevertheless, Vine has lots of users who will be happy about the some new developments.

1. You will now be able to watch Vine videos on a desktop computer rather than only on a mobile device.

2. Vine’s Website has some new features, including navigation options that makes watching videos easier. This includes a popular now feed.

3. A search bar that lets users to search for video content by tag, person, or location.

The refreshed Website and new features are clearly aimed at making Vine more accessible and user-friendly.

At the end of the day, however, it really comes down to how individuals and brands see Vine fitting into the digital worlds.

Many people watching online videos that last less than minutes. For many videos created by brands, the sweet spot seems to be 60 to 120 seconds. [For insight into optimal length of a marketing video, check out this The Next Web post.]

So what about six-second videos? Is there a place for micro-videos? Do they have the potential to engage, entertain or educate?

If so, what is their core value? In other words, how do Vine videos fit into someone’s personal branding or corporate marketing arsenal?

Admittedly, I’m skeptical about Vine’s potential use cases. But it could be that Vine’s distinctness could make it an interesting option for brands looking to go against the grain.

When everyone is pounding away using the same digital and social tools, doing something against the grain may be a difference maker.

What do you think? Are you a Vine fan, or believe it delivers value?

Best of 2014: John Oliver Gets Spreading Information In The Social Age

By Sheldon Levine - December 22nd, 2014

A little over a month ago we set out to write a blog post about the popularity of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. However, along the way, we learned that John Oliver and his team are really masters of content in a social media world.

The team at Last Week Tonight has managed to get long form content shared more than almost any outlet we’ve ever seen and it showed us that content can come in many forms and lengths, but the key to getting it shared is really what’s inside the content.

Check out the lesson we learned from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that quickly became one of our staff favourites of the year.

This post was first published on November 11, 2014:
Last Week Tonight with John OliverYou can debate back and forth for days on whether Last Week Tonight is a news program or a comedy and entertainment show… or even both. But one thing you can’t debate is that John Oliver has been instrumental in opening the eyes of his viewers to subjects that they should probably know more about.

And when we say viewers, we don’t just mean the people who watch his show live on HBO, we mean everyone that has seen the numerous clips from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight since it debuted at the end of April this year.

Yes, the show we’re talking about is an HBO program, which means that viewers need to subscribe to HBO through their cable company to see the show live as it airs on Sunday nights. However, what John Oliver’s show has done that not many other shows do, especially ones on premium cable subscription channels, is found a way to make his interesting content very sharable by putting all of his segments up on YouTube.

And this is why we say that John Oliver gets it. He knows that if you want your content to spread it has to be three things; interesting, entertaining and sharable. Last Week Tonight is all three of these, which is why it got so popular so fast.

We used MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to dig a little deeper on the social phenomenon that is is John Oliver’s brand of entertaining news.

Since Last Week Tonight debuted at the end of April this year, the show’s name or John Oliver have appeared in over 818,000 social media posts.  Mentions have appeared in 14,496 blog posts, 17,346 online news articles, 26,152 forum postings and 760,222 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

There has also been, over the same time period, 11,973 videos posted that have John Oliver or Last Week Tonight mentioned in their titles or descriptions. And, to add to that, only 83 of those videos come from the show’s own YouTube channel.

Sysomos MAP - Video Activity Summary

While the number of mentions that John Oliver and Last Week Tonight have received since their show debuted is by no means an astronomical number, it’s really what was in those posts and how many people saw them that mattered. And what was in them, was videos from their YouTube channel.

You see, John Oliver and Last Week Tonight knew that not everyone has an HBO subscription. So they made their content easy to find and share somewhere else, the world’s second largest search engine, YouTube. And it’s been working for them.

We pulled up some of the stats from the Last Week Tonight YouTube page. What we found that the channel has over a million subscribers. Even better though is that the 83 videos posted to the channel have amassed over 150 million views. That’s not bad since the channel has only existed for just about 6 months.

Sysomos MAP - YouTube Channel Analysis

Even more impressive is when we looked at which of his videos were the most popular. The top five most popular videos from the channel weren’t the short funny little two minute videos. All five of them were the show’s longer form feature stories that average around 14 minutes in runtime.

Sysomos MAP - Most Viewed Videos On Last Week Tonight's YouTube Channel

Even more interesting though is when we go back to the social mentions of John Oliver and Last Week Tonight we started talking about. When we look at those mentions on our popularity chart, which plots out the mentions over time, we can see a bunch of large spikes in conversation. All of them, including the largest spike on August 18th, happen on Mondays, the day after the show airs on HBO. People would literally be waiting for the videos to go up the next morning so they could see them and share them.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart

So, what can you learn from John Oliver and Last Week Tonight?

The main take-aways we see here is that there is no magic length for how long a blog post or a video should be to optimize how much your content gets shared through social media. Your content should be as long as it needs to, as long as you can keep it interesting, entertaining and make it easily sharable. If you can do that, people will be anxiously waiting for your content so they can see it and share it.

And now, just for fun and so those of you not familiar with the show can understand what we’re talking about, here’s one of our favourite clips from the first season of Last Week Tonight (of course it has to do with the internet):


Best of 2014: Peter Shankman on Customer Intimacy

By Sheldon Levine - December 19th, 2014

In June this year we held an event in San Francisco for some of our clients that we called Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative.

We were very lucky to have the great Peter Shankman join us as our keynote speaker for the event where he imparted his wisdom (and great humour) on us and our guests. But before he spoke with us live, Peter did a great Q&A with us on the blog about how companies and customers interact, specifically through social media.

This was one of our more popular posts of the year, so here it is again for your enjoyment.

This post was first published on June 12, 2014:
Q&A with Peter Shankman, Social Media Specialist and Keynote Speaker at Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative

Peter ShankmanNext week, leading social minds from some of the biggest brands in the world will gather in San Francisco for Sysomos’ Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative. We sat down with the event’s keynote speaker, social media specialist and author Peter Shankman, to discuss the role of social media to build loyalty in the age of the ADHD consumer.

Q: Thanks for letting us pick your brain today. So how do companies achieve customer loyalty through social media?

PS: The first thing to understand is that customers have an overwhelming, burning desire to be loyal. But in order to be loyal, customers need to be loved first – they need a reason to be loyal.

The fact is, consumers today expect to be treated like garbage – like a number. But if you treat me one level better than a number, I’m yours for life. Take last week for example. I needed to find a place in Miami to watch the Rangers game and a local bar replied to my tweet. Just the fact that they did that made me want to go there to watch the game.


Q: Can a company use an interaction like that to measure success?

PS: At the end of the day, it must translate into revenue to be a success. Revenue comes with loyalty, but it doesn’t come with clicking a “Like” button.

Q: Are companies then misguided to rely on “Likes” and “Follows” as a measure of customer loyalty?

PS: The concept of “Liking,” “Friending,” “Following,” and “Fanning” is going away. The last time you friended someone in the real world was 2nd grade when you asked, “will you be my friend?”

If you go to a restaurant a lot you don’t need to “Like” it, you already do. The key for companies is to create an exceptional customer service experience, or as is often the case, an experience that merely reaches one level above what’s expected. Do that and customers will like you; they will love you; they will come back; they will bring friends and they will drive new revenue.

Q: Can you give an example from your career of how you created a customer experience that exceeds expectations?

PS: Take HARO for example. HARO succeeded in part because every user felt invested and that if they ever had a problem they could email me directly. When we used a customer’s suggestion, we sent an email saying ‘Hey Mark, we implemented YOUR idea.’ Even if 8,000 people had suggested the same thing, we sent an email to each one. When you do that customers become invested, and they will spend more money and be motivated to tell you exactly how you are doing.

Q: Do companies engage enough in two-way communication with their customers?

PS: The biggest misconception that companies have is that they can rely on analytics and numbers without ever talking to their customers. Why not call 10 customers each morning and ask them how they’re doing? Take advantage of all the people at your disposal who have given you their information.

Q: Is that how you stay in touch?

PS: I just listen as much as I can. I look at what people are doing.  What kind of phone are they using? What kind of apps are they using? There’s a wonderful service I use called Product Hunt, which sends me an email each morning with the best products and services voted on by its members. There are about 15-20 apps and services that are built into my life that I use on a regular basis.

Q: What applications do you find most effective to connect with people?

PS: Facebook is the network where people try too hard, Twitter’s the network where people won’t shut up and LinkedIn’s the network where people seriously need to take off their tie and have a drink. That being said, if you put all three together you get positive benefit from them. For me though, nothing in my life ever precludes me from checking email. Email is first. Email is the killer app. Email will never go away.

Q: Any parting words of wisdom?

PS: At the end of the day, the goal for the people you follow and the people who follow you is best summed up by Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs: We covet what we see every day.


The keynote speaker at Sysomos’ Social and the Customer Intimacy Imperative event on June 17th, Peter Shankman is currently a Principal at Shankman|Honig, a consultancy designed to help corporations, businesses, and retail operations create stellar customer service that resonates in our new “conversation economy,” driving revenue, repeat business, and new customers. An entrepreneur, author, speaker, and worldwide connector who is recognized nationally and globally for radically new ways of thinking about Social Media, PR, Marketing, Advertising, creativity, and just about everything else, Peter is also founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Marketing and PR Strategy firm located in New York City, with clients worldwide.

Best of 2014: What’s the ROI of Sharing Content on Social Media?

By Sheldon Levine - December 18th, 2014

Social media is a great place to form relationships with customers, potential clients and other people.

This is something we hear all the time. But if social media is meant for forming relationships, why is there so much content sharing going on through all the different networks?

This was a question we tackled in this staff favourite post from earlier this year when we explored why people curate and share content in social media.

This post was first published on November 10, 2014:
SharingFor all the talk about social media being a place to engage and have conversations, sharing content is probably what most people do the most.

The question is why so much sharing?

What is it about social media that makes it such an active medium to share interesting articles, photos, infographics, videos, etc. with other people?

Is it vanity? Is it goodwill? Is it a way to reward interesting, weird, different or high-quality content? Is it about personal branding?

It’s probably all of the above, as well as many other reasons. The reality is social media is a super-easy way to share content, while human beings are inherently information disseminators.

Telling people information about things we have found, seen or read is part of our personal make-ups. It’s what we do, so social media only serves to facilitate and accelerate this activity.

That said, a recent survey of Canadians using Twitter and Facebook showed some interesting differences in how we use different platforms.

On Twitter, for example, 79% of respondents said the reason they shared content was to endorse it. On Facebook, endorsing content was only cited by 32% of respondents.

Many of the other categories ranked fairly closely with the exception of “gain followers/build a brand”. Only 2% of Twitters users said they shared content to achieve this goal, compared with 11% of Facebook users.

One of the more interesting trends to watch in 2015 is how content curation will become more popular and valuable for brands and individuals.

While there are many reasons to share content, there is more interest in how shared content is packaged and tracked, and how it can deliver better ROI.

Platforms such as Pressly, which allow brands to create destinations to share their own and curated third-party content, will likely gain more traction so brands can have more control shared content.

At the same time, you will likely see more services such as, which lets people add a small “branding widget” when they share content via social media. It’s a way to gain a little more of the spotlight, other than the goodwill of sharing content.

In many respects, the social media sharing economy is evolving and moving in interesting directions. While people will continue to enthusiastically share, there will also be more ways to capitalize on this activity.

share social media

Best of 2014: New Twitter Rules After the Death of Robin Williams

By Sheldon Levine - December 16th, 2014

Social media has given everyone a voice. It allows people to say what they want whenever they want. However, this freedom has of course led to some people saying things that can be deemed as offensive.

This year, in the wake of a celebrity death that the whole world was paying attention to, Twitter invoked some new rules to their network that would allow people to have hateful and inappropriate material removed from the network.

It was an unfortunate incident that brought about this new rule, as you’ll read below, but many people are thankful for it.

While social media still remains a place for freedom of speech in most cases, this new rule was a welcome change for people who are being attacked through social media.

This post was first published on September 5, 2014:


article-2723742-207FF52400000578-54_634x422In the wake of Robin William’s shocking suicide last month, social media exploded with memories, kind words and warm wishes for his friends and family. Unfortunately, some of the tweets directed at his children were less than kind and thoughtful.

In light of his daughter, Zelda, being the victim of the harsh and cruel attention by certain users, Twitter has changed its rules as to what it deems to be inappropriate .

The new rule allows the family of the deceased to have hateful or inappropriate material removed. The Williams family worked with Twitter to create this rule and, unfortunatel,y it is a necessary one.

How big of a topic was Williams’ death on Twitter? There were about 63,000 tweets a minute on August 11, showing the range and power of Twitter and how many users were deeply affected by his death.

The posts that led to the rule change involved users sending Zelda Williams Photoshopped images of her father’s corpse and his cause of death.

Twitter is a newsfeed first and foremost but it also doubles as a place to share, reflect and learn. Williams’ death illustrates both  aspects, but it was wise of Twitter to create new rules to protect the loved ones left to read all of the messages.

All users and organizations know you are at the mercy of whatever is posted. There’s not much you can do when reading about a trending topic. You can ignore, retort or hope that others will come to your aide and defend.

The reality is that Twitter and all social media is a free medium where opinion flows every second in real-time. You have to be willing to absolve everything shot your way, but in this case it was too sadistic and personal.

Twitter is best served as a great and powerful newsfeed and arena for discussion. These negative moments are going to happen but Twitter should be applauded by not hiding behind that fact.


Best of 2014: Will The Buy Button Reshape Online Shopping?

By Sheldon Levine - December 15th, 2014

One big question that always seems to arise in business meetings around social media is “How has this helped our sales?”

Sometimes this can be a very easy question to answer, but a lot of the time it’s a lot more complicated. Social media has the ability to help people make purchasing decsions, but sometimes it’s hard to see the clear line someone followed from social media to actually buying a product in a brick and mortar store, or even an e-commerce site.

But what if you could press a “buy” button right from a tweet or a Facebook post?

The opportunity to do so really intrigues a lot of businesses, and that’s why a lot of people got excited about the possibility of these buttons becoming a reality.

Today’s “Best of 2014″ post is a favourite of some of our staff because they love this idea of being able to purchase something right from their favourite social network and think that a lot of our Sysomos clients are very interested in the idea as well.

This post was first published on October 1, 2014:


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.


Best of 2014: Who Goes First In The NFL Social Draft? [Infographic]

By Sheldon Levine - December 12th, 2014

Sporting events are always a big draw for people to jump on Twitter. To that end, football fans in America start getting excited for their season way before the first kick-off. They start getting excited months before when the NFL does it’s yearly draft.

We tried to predict the order that players would get drafted in based on the chatter around top seeded college players. As it turns out, online popularity doesn’t always make you the best athlete. In this year’s official draft the player that went first was Jadeveon Clowney, however, we had him ranked to go second. Our number pick based on online buzz actually got drafted 22nd.

However, this was still one of our most popular posts of 2014, so feel free to check out our picks based on buzz below and compare them to the actual draft order.

This post was first published on May 8, 2014:
It’s draft day in the NFL.

For many football fans, this is one of the most exciting days of the year. Today we find out which of the top college football players get to see their dreams come true as they get selected to play for NFL teams.

Analysts have been speculating over which players will go to which teams in which round of the draft for weeks. Maybe even months. But analysts aren’t the only ones who think they know what they’re talking about. There’s a lot of football fans out there and a lot of them think they know better than the analysts.

Today, before the draft kicks off (get it?), we want to put those fans’ voices to the test.

We took the top 10 ranked players on CBS Sports’ NFL Draft Prospects list and ran their names and Twitter handles through our MAP software to see how many times they were mentioned and their sentiment in the past month along side the word “draft.” The results of new ranking are in the infographic below.

Is the order different than the analyst rankings? Very.

Sysomos NFL Draft 2014 Social Prospect Rankings Infographic


Do you think the fans can know more collectively than the official rankings? Let us know in the comments before the actual draft takes place.

Best of 2014: Does Engagement Matter More Than Followers?

By Sheldon Levine - December 11th, 2014

The question in today’s post has been one that has plagued marketers since social media started to rise and “followers” became an everyday term. A lot of times you’ll hear people say something like “I’d rather have 50 engaged followers than 500 passive ones.” So what will it take to make people look more at engagement numbers than follower numbers?

This post was chosen by our staff as one of their favourites from 2014.

This post was first published on August 18, 2014:
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?

Best of 2014: Big Data = Big Social Marketing Opportunities

By Sheldon Levine - December 10th, 2014

Big data started to become a hot buzzword in 2013, but it showed no sign of slowing down in 2014. In this blog post from earlier this year we talked a bit about what big data is, what it means and how companies can start thinking about how to use it.

This post was first published on May 9, 2014:


There’s a lot of buzz about “big data”. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to expect it.
In simple terms, it’s based on the idea that brands can leverage large amounts of data to extract insight to make their businesses more successful.
img vspace=Big data is being applied in a wide variety of industries, and being propelled by startups trying to develop disruptive technology and services.
Rubikloud, for example, is looking to make a splash in the e-commerce market by giving marketers easy ways to see how their online operations are performing.
It should be no surprise that big data is alive and well within the social media world.
Given all the activity – the tweets, updates, posts, likes, etc. – there is an enormous amount of data being created, analyzed and crunched.
Sysomos is no stranger to big data. MAP, our flagship product, was developed on its ability to let brands monitor and visualize huge amounts of social media activity.
In many ways, however, big data’s impact on social media is still in the early days.
One of the biggest opportunities will be using big data to provide brands and individuals with more insight.
How do brands, for example, tap into the power of big data to discover and identify interesting changes, important trends and quirky behaviour.
It’s based on the idea that the better insight allows for better decisions, not only about social media but content marketing, e-commerce, etc.
When you think about it, big data has the opportunity to dramatically change the social media landscape. Using big data technology, brands will have valuable information at their fingertips in real-time.
It will mean less guessing and speculating about what’s happening and how the business is being impacted.
For digital marketers and social media leaders, big data will be a big challenge because it will change brands operate, make decisions and interact with consumers.
At the same time, it will be a big opportunity to gain more insight to improve social media operations and carve out a competitive edge.