Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

What was the Best Social Network for Brands in 2013?

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

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

And the winner is…..

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

That’s right…Instagram.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was the Best Social Network for Brands in 2013?

Does Social Media Struggle to Grow with Audience?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discovering Your Audience Isn’t An Exact Science…Yet

target audienceTo succeed within the digital world, there is little doubt that social media plays a key role. In fact, you could argue it is among most important ingredients.

The reality is you can’t simply throw things at a wall and hope they stick. All digital marketers need to understand their target audience’s behaviour, traits, needs and wants.

Trying to discover and connect with your digital audiences is not easy because the average user is increasingly being bombarded by brands from multiple places.

So how can a digital marketer outflank the competition? It’s the ability to know users on a personal level.

While this approach takes time and effort, digital marketers can effectively leverage technology and expertise to measure sentiment and behaviour in ways that we weren’t able to do using traditional marketing and advertising.

A good example is technology such as Sysomos MAP and Heartbeat that analyzes users Twitter posts to determine sentiment. This gives brands the ability to deliver more personalized messages and a more targeted approach.

Beyond advances in technology, there are tools to figure out the best consumers to target and pursue. Without the technology, there is a greater margin of error, which means marketers have to invest a lot more time to figure out users on an individual basis.

Is this possible? Yes.

Yes. Is it necessary? Yes.

That doesn’t mean it is easy. Every digital marketer has to be testing new technology, learning about user’s wants and needs, and ultimately creating tactics that can help connect them with the most desirable users.

Facebook: All the News Fit to Read?

FacebookAn article on CBC.ca earlier this week suggests that one-third of Americans get their news from Facebook.

It’s an interesting and intriguing accomplishment for Facebook and, as important, something  digital marketers to keep in mind strategically.

What’s interested is how many people see Twitter as the place where a big news story is most likely to break. While this may still be accurate, it is interesting to see how Facebook has emerged as another popular place to get the news.

So why has Facebook become the place where people get their news? It might simply be the amount of time they spend scrolling through their newsfeed.

It would e difficult for a big news tory not to be posted by someone within your network shortly after a story comes out.

The CBC article theorizes that as people use Facebook to share personal experiences, they also come across the news. Of course, this is probably not an accident.

For digital marketers this doesn’t mean Facebook is the most sought after means to receive news.

If you want to get a news story out to the masses, Facebook shouldn’t necessarily be the first choice to publish. It does have to end up there though.

Another takeaway is user experience: . Users of Facebook can get and retain things that appear in their newsfeed, making activity all that more important.

All in all, Facebook is social media’s greatest giant and people are using it for so many more reasons than we tend to think. Digital Marketers need to take note and act.

Keeping Track of Teens on Social Media

We published a post recently highlighting the growing activity of seniors on social media.

Now, it appears as if teens are also changing their social media attitude and behaviour.

On the surface, many presume  teens are less loyal to a particular social network, as well as relying on peer influence.

The leading social networks for teens are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,  myspace, YouTube, Tumblr, Googel+ and Pinterest.

Mashable had a story about teen activity on social media, and the results both cement current beliefs and presents some surprises.

By a wide margin, Facebook still accounts for the highest number of teen accounts and users.

The most surprising aspect of this data is  only 7% (as of 2012) of teens have YouTube accounts. I would have easily guessed it would be closer to 30% based on how enthusiastic teens are about videos.

This might have to do with parent restrictions or there may be even more variables at play, but it is nonetheless surprising.

As a digital marketer or PR practitioner whose digital plan involves connecting with teens, you have to really keep track of their activity.

Beyond this, you have to find the best ways to communicate with them – contests, video, podcasts, etc…

No matter what is being said of Facebook, it is still the teen choice to engage and communicate.

Is the Growing Mobility of Social Media Good for Brands?

Is the growing use of social media on mobile phones good for brands? Does it change the rules of engagement?

These are interesting questions in the wake of a recent report by eMarketer that estimates 28 million people in the U.S. will use Twitter on a mobile device year. On the surface, it seems fairly impressive given it’s a 22% increase from 2011.

But it’s important to keep things in perspective as Twitter mobile users will account for only 11.4% of mobile devices users and 8.8% of the total population.

At the same time, eMarketer estimates Facebook will have close to 100 million people use a mobile devices to access the service.

However you want to slice and dice the numbers, the growing use of mobile means brands will have to take a different approach to social media.

Given the smaller amount of real estate and how people use mobile devices, brands will have to explore ways to engage and connect with consumers in ways that deliver quicker and relevant experiences.

For example, someone may not want to spend a lot of time scrolling through their Twitter timeline but they will want to know what’s happening and who’s engaging with them. And they will want the ability to publish (text, videos and photos) quickly and easily.

The same goes for Facebook, which will have to meet the needs of mobile users in different ways. Maybe people won’t want to spend a lot of time looking at their news feeds, but connecting with friends will still be important.

From a financial standpoint, the key issue is how well Twitter and Facebook will be able to monetize their mobile presences.

From Facebook’s latest quarterly results, it looks like it is making solid progress but there is still a lot of work to be done to figure out how Facebook can effectively meet the needs of advertisers.

The same goes for Twitter, which is looking to drive revenue growth as it positions itself for a much-speculated IPO. The question is how does Twitter integrate advertising into a mobile experience given it doesn’t have much real estate and, at the same time, it can’t impact the user experience too much.

Mobile is an exciting but challenging place for lots of companies looking to deliver products and services that meet the needs of on-the-go consumers.

For Twitter, Facebook and other social media services, the key consideration right now is making sure they deliver user-friendly mobile experiences to lots of people.

With a large audience on board, they can then focus on how to make mobile pay off financially.

Chopped get Chopped by Social Media

The popular Food Network competition, Chopped, had quite an eventful foray into social media.

For those who don’t know, Chopped pits chefs against one another where they must prepare a meal using ingredients found in a mystery basket.

Recently, Chopped did the smart thing and took to social media to let viewers and fans choose the ingredients for an upcoming episode.

Host Ted Allen called the ingredients chosen by social media networks Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter as “cruel”.

What wasn’t cruel was using social media and dividing up the selection process by courses and network. That was just plain smart, like pairing wine with food.

Here is what each social network chose for the chefs:

Pinterest for the appetizer:

imitation crab meat, durian, lime gelatin, crunchy cheese curls

Facebook for the entree:

whole chicken in a can, canned clam chowder, potato tots, skirt steak

Twitter for the dessert:

kale, cottage cheese, marrow bones, fruit cocktail

I guess we can learn that Facebook has the kindest users and Pinterest the most sadistic or comical. Of course, you have to wonder about Twitter users and the selection of marrow bones for dessert.

You have to get creative and think outside of the box in social media, and The Food Network gets a Michelin Star for their work in this instance.

Chopped must have seen an uptick in viewership during that episode, and this social media campaign is to thank. Anyone who voted and had their vote selected would be very interested to tune in to see the mayhem that their selection caused.

 

 

The Web Goes Social

Our use of the internet continues to evolve and social media dominance of our time online continues to grow.

According to a survey by GlobalWebIndex,Canadians devote 25% of their online time to social media sites — that’s 1.21 hours a day.

Overall, an estimated 17.7 million Canadians use social media sites at least monthly. News sites took second place with 13%  of Canadians’ online time or 0.63 hours a day. Online TV and radio took 11% and 9% respectively, while blogging and microblogging collectively consumed 15% of total time online.

Not surprisingly Facebook tops the list when it comes to social media consumption, capturing an impressive 93.9% of social media users.

But social media’s true power lies beyond the numbers: all other online pursuits included in this time-use survey can be tied into social media. Many of us get linked to news stories via sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

But these sites also allow conversations about crises, politics and celebrities as well as debates over the merits of the quality of the story itself.

The watching of TV, meanwhile, is seeing a rise online, while the live tweeting of popular TV events has become a new trend in watching the medium.

And what’s the biggest driver of blog readership? Social media posts.

Clearly, social media has attracted a growing number of eyeballs online. That growth has yet to peak as more social sites come onboard and capture the imagination of the public.

But truly, the medium’s real power lies in its ability to touch just about everything happening on the vast electronic expanse of the Web.

What’s the Big Deal About Facebook Hashtags?

The big news from the social media world recently is that Facebook will now use click-able hashtags.

The embrace of the hashtag had been speculated for months so the announcement came as no surprise.

Before we get into why this matters for digital marketers, it’s important to keep in mind that many people have been using hashtags. Given this reality, it made sense for Facebook to jump on the bandwagon rather than continue to resist, even if the hashtags is closely associated with Twitter.

In making the announcement, Facebook said hashtags were introduced as a way for people to have a “simple” way to see “what’s happening or what people are talking about”:

“To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.

Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.”

So what does this mean for users? Here are a few things to consider:

1. The hashtags are searchable, making conversations more transparent. This is good for marketers because it will be easier to find specific conversations. It’s also good for Facebook by making content stickier and easy to discover.

2. This should create an even wider social network be leveraging the power and utility of the hashtag as a way to mark and find content.

3. There will be a feed dedicated to hashtags, which could create new channels to share and discover content.

Why does this matter for digital marketers?

You will now need to strategically integrate several social networks and understand how to leverage a much bigger audience. And you will have to think broader and act with more powerful strokes when it comes to tactical implementation.

Time will tell how you have to adjust tactically but now is the time to pay attention and figure out the best ways to adjust.

As well, it is important to remember the blending, blurring and perhaps merging of different social network may be on the horizon.

Social Media: From Afterthought to Front of the Line

When social media began hitting stride, it was introduced to marketing and communications department as a mere afterthought. It was something to do but not worry too much about.

It took awhile for social media to get  the respect it  deserved.

Now, social media isn’t just a solitary tactic amongst a larger strategy…it is the strategy.

Every brand and agency has to enter the digital world with a plan in place, and pay attention to all details.

Everything else can arguably be considered secondary to an extent.

A misstep in social media can be devastating for any campaign, so you have to also be knowledgeable, and understand not just your audience but your digital audience. A sense of how they communicate and interact is pivotal.

Right now, all digital marketers need to be honest and review their plan to see if it really has a chance to succeed. The best chance going forward is definitely through social media.

Most important, you need to change the perspective of key people in your organization. Moving social media to the forefront is not always easy, but getting buy-in is step number one.

There will most definitely be some awkward conversations to start, but framing social media as an investment and not a expense or pipe dream will pay off in spades.