Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Best of 2014: Does Engagement Matter More Than Followers?

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: Cadbury’s Big Social Bet on Black Forest Chocolate

As we draw closer to the end of 2014, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of our most popular posts of the year. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting our best posts of 2014 that have been determined from looking at Google Analytics, social shares and a few that our team members have chosen as their favourites.

We’re kicking off our best of 2014 series today with this great post below that highlighted how Cadbury, the infamous chocolate makers,  heard an uprising from their Facebook fans in Australia to bring back a fan favourite flavour that had disappeared. The chocolatiers used social media as a focus group to get to know their fans and what they want better, and then used social media to give it back to them.

The following was originally published on May 12, 2014:

 

img vspace=Brands across the world have probably run into the situation where their Facebook audience has demanded something to the point where they need to act. 

If they didn’t act, it definitely got them thinking.

This isn’t a negative things by any means, it actually illustrates a fanbase’s passion, and how it can lead to solid social media activity. 

Cadbury was monitoring their Facebook page when they realized a high number of requests from fans in Australia for their popular chocolate bar, Black Forest, which hasn’t been available for some time.

This forced them to consider bringing it back as part of a new $7-million campaign geared towards Australia that features TV ads, new packaging and flavours for their  historic product line.

The most vital aspect of the campaign is social media.

Besides the fact it was all prompted by social media, social media will be the platform that launches the integrated campaign. Cadbury is making a huge enormous investment ,and the success will reside in the activity that happens during and after launch.

Cadbury seems to put a lot of trust into sentiment and how social media opens a window into what your fans and customers think and want.

The social media side of the campaign is fairly inventive and intriguing.

Cadbury will assign a personality to each of the 17 flavours. From there, it will create new and specific content. The hope is their fans will be compelled to share and discuss. The quality of the content will be key.

Integrated campaigns are becoming more popular. How many times have you been watching something on TV (an ad or a show) and you are asked to tweet using a hashtag, watch a video, or to go online to give your thoughts.

Cadbury uses Facebook as a vehicle for two-way communication with a foundation of real time market research. The success of this campaign will be determined by their online fans. You can be sure that other brands are watching closely.

No Such Thing As Hard And Fast Rules for Social Media

twitter

According to Forrester Research, many brands are wasting their time with Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s clear that Facebook and Twitter don’t offer the relationships that marketing leaders crave,” said Nate Elliott, a vice-president and principal analyst, concluded in a report, Social Relationship Strategies That Work.”

“Yet most brands still use these sites as the centerpiece of their social efforts — thereby wasting significant financial, technological, and human resources on social networks that don’t deliver value.”

Instead, Elliot suggests brands enhance their Websites to make them more community-focused and interactive. This would give their Websites a digital presence that drives more engagement than Twitter or Facebook.

A few thoughts about Elliot’s thesis:

1. For some brands, Twitter and Facebook are services with high amounts of engagement, enthusiasm and participation. Good examples are Starbucks, Oreo and WestJet. It provides them with the justification and ROI for social media activity and resources.

2. The role and value of Websites shouldn’t be under-estimated because brands own this piece of digital real estate, whereas they “lease” space on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. It counters the notion that Websites are, for some reason, becoming dinosaurs.

The reality is every brand has different products, goals and ways to engage with consumers.

For some brands, social media is a no-brainer because it gives them ways to build relationships and get consumers involved with the brand and each other. This is particularly true for business-to-consumer brands.

For these brands, Twitter and Facebook offers plenty of value that complements their Websites. In an ideal digital world, there is virtuous circle between social media and Websites. Each party involved in the marketing and sales activity supports each other.

At the same time, there are brands that get little benefit from social media, including Facebook and Twitter – despite their size and presence. Their products, marketing and consumers are not natural fits for social media. It’s not the way these brands sell or their consumer buy. As a result, social media isn’t part of the mix – and that’s okay.

At the end of the day, a brand has to decide what works for them to support their strategic and tactical goals – be it sales, leads, customer service or brand awareness.

For some brands, social media is a no-brainer. For other, it’s a non-starter. It’s the way business works.

Regardless of whether a brand is all over social media or treats it as untouchable, the common denominator is the value of Websites – something the Forrester report accentuates.

A brand’s Website is their digital doorway where they welcome existing and potential customers, as well as other stakeholders such as analysts, media and partners.

As a result, a company’s Website needs to be engaging, information, insight and an effective tool to support the business. It’s where business happens.

If I had a choice between investing in social media  and a Website, the Website would win hands down.

But for most brands, it’s not an either/or proposition. They need a Website and they need some kind of social media presence. It’s just a matter of finding the right mix for each business.

More: MarketingLand and Business Insider provide coverage of the Forrester Report.

Customer Service Begins and Ends in Social Media

social-customer-care-1The last decade has delivered a lot of evidence that the customer experience begins and ends in social media. The digital experience tends to sandwiches the actual in-store or online shopping portion of a purchase.

Expectations exist that if a customer has a question, inquiry or complaint that it will be satisfied on a popular social network. It has become a great risk for companies to not have a presence and be constantly monitoring.

The truth is, that no one is simply throwing complaints into the social media void. They are doing so to be heard and to in a sense be rewarded.

The reason social media can placate our need to be satisfied and appeased by those we give business to, is because as a digital user base we have grown accustomed to instant gratification.

A study by JD  Powers and Associate noted that two-thirds of US consumers reached out to a business through social media in 2013. This put businesses in a very public position where they had to respond and repair almost immediately.

This is not an easy climate for businesses to navigate in. There’s the requirement for resources and technology that can streamline this new customer service model. As of now, it is still heavily reliant on people monitoring almost 24/7.

The hidden issue beyond customer service is brand protection and users know how to use social media to push businesses’ buttons.

In fairness, for a long time businesses use to have their customers spend a long time on hold waiting for a service rep who may have not even been able to help. Call it customer retribution, with social media as the new equalizer.

if customer service was ultimately satisfactory across the board in the old model, then social media wouldn’t have taken over so quickly. It was needed and now it is necessary.

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

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 Snip.ly, 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

Social Media Debates Push for Change

Picture_1_400x400When news broke that CBC had fired Jian Ghomeshi and that he was subsequently suing the public broadcaster for 50 million dollars, Canadians immediately swarmed to social media to weigh in with their opinions.

When Ghomeshi posted an open letter to Facebook about his sexual preferences and the part they played in his dismissal, the conversation shifted and more users entered the digital arena to debate the issue.

When the story unfolded even more victims came forward telling their story, the online dialogue blew up and even shifted into a full-out debate on the issues that surround this headline grabbing story.

Ghomeshi’s attempts to go on the offensive and get ahead of the story on social media, ultimately proved unsuccessful. In the end, social media proved to be his enemy as the voice of the victims and users flooded the networks muting the original post aimed at labeling CBC as the villain.

Currently, Canadians are finding themselves knee deep in several intense social debates, including the one about Ghomeshi. There’s the ISIS debate, the one about security in Ottawa, about intelligence and privacy, amongst others.

The Ghomeshi story has taken a hold of the attention of many Canadian users and has proven that social media is the perfect avenue for open debate.

Regardless of the topics, opinions are welcome and hopefully they are thoughtful (of course, no one governs this on any given thread). Amongst these opinions, an astute observer can get a sense of public opinion.

The Ghomeshi discussion has become fuel for many other discussions, all of which are in-depth, intense and hint at Canada being a country on the precipice of some sort of identity change.

When this change happens, it’ll be on us to prove that the fire was originally lit within the confines of social media and it was users who fanned the flames.

No Stopping the Facebook Juggernaut

According to a new survey by Piper Jaffray, teenagers are losing their fascination with Facebook.

Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, Piper Jaffray found that Facebook use among 13 to 19-year-olds dropped to 45% from 72%.

social media, facebook IPOThe news attracted a lot of media coverage but investors shrugged it off given Facebook is trading just below a 52-week high.

In the past, I haven’t been convinced about Facebook’s ability to drive ultra-growth but I have now realized it is a juggernaut with the ability to adapt and innovate.

And if Facebook is unable to innovate internally, it buys what it needs – e.g. Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp.

As important, Facebook is maturing and expanding as a business. Armed with huge amounts of user data, Facebook is the leading place online for advertisers to target specific groups.

If you’re an advertiser, for example, interested in 35-to-year-old males in Seattle who play chess, you can micro-target them on Facebook. That’s powerful data for advertisers that want a return on investment.

At a conference last week in Toronto, Gary Vaynerchuk was enthusiastic about Facebook as an advertising platform.

In particular, he talked about the value of “dark posts”, which are posts that don’t appear on a timeline but can be access via a direct link or by clicking on an ad. (Check out this post by Duct Tape Marketing to learn more about why dark posts are the best approach to Facebook advertising.)

You may not like how Facebook keeps changing the rules of engagement in how the service works. And you may have problems with how much of your data is being leveraged to make the platform attractive to advertisers.

But the reality is people use Facebook because it is a user-friendly way to keep in touch with friends and family. It has become a part of your personal digital presence, as much as having an email address.

And while people may gravitate to Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter as alternative to Facebook, they don’t offer the same utility as Facebook so they can’t be replacements.

Whether or not you’re a Facebook fan, you have to give Facebook a lot of credit for being agile, aggressive and unafraid to changes thing to keep the platform and business moving forward.

This is not an organization content to rest on its laurels. The $2-billion acquisition of Oculus, which develops virtual reality technology, shows how Facebook is already looking over the horizon strategically.

I would suggest that anyone who believes Facebook has peaked or lost its mojo should think again. The Piper Jaffray survey is interesting but it doesn’t really suggest there are crack in the Facebook armour.

What do you think? Is Facebook still the dominant social media player, or do you see signs of trouble?

social media usage

 

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?

Social Media Shaming Backfires

102005906-tip2.530x298Shaming by social media comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes. Rarely though is it a good idea to shame someone publicly, even if you are certain that they deserve it.

This school of thought extends to users shaming other users, users shaming brands and organizations and can even includes brands shaming customers or potential customers.

PYT, a popular burger restaurant in Philadelphia, had to learn this lesson the hard way when they posted to Facebook the receipt of Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy showing the $0.20 tip he left on a $60 meal.

The strategy backfired as users on Facebook thought the move by PYT was classless and some even spoke about their own experiences at the restaurant which might have led to the poor tip.

It’s hard to sympathize with the owner of PYT who admitted to posting the receipt. The restaurant left itself open to criticism and negativity by taking this route.

In fairness though the post did generate close to 3000 likes as of Tuesday, but overall the conversation was slanted towards disapproval and overall negativity.

A silver lining to this story is that the receipt is on eBay where bidding was up to $100,000. The owner has promised to share some of the money with his staff in lieu of a tip.

The lesson for all businesses is to respect your customers and think twice before taking any harsh feelings public via social media. You have to really consider if this is the best route to take, because many times it is just a can of worms waiting to be opened.

You also have to be honest with yourself before posting. In this case, did the owner ask the staff what happened? Did they consider that the tip was the result of bad service, food or maybe even something else.

This is an interesting story and an even more notable cautionary tale amongst the many for businesses in social media,