Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Automation has its limits

robot2-225x300If you’re running a comprehensive social media strategy on numerous platforms, you have to automate. Using a social media management tool such as Hootsuite, Dlvr.it or any of the many others available, becomes essential for keeping track of your posts, having post do double-duty between different networks and scheduling content evenly through the day, and even for evenings and weekends.

But a well-organized automated system is not all joy. Too much automation can make your social media content feel, well, automatic. By definition, social media is social, with real people behind electronically transmitted words and images. Here are some best practices for keeping your automated tools well in line.

Always customize. Automation tools make it easy to send out the same content between multiple platforms. Too easy. Not only is Twitter different from the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn in terms of tone, but your audience and followers are different. And if they’re not, and some clients, customers or fans follow you on multiple sites, they’ll end up seeing the exact same content again and again.

Follow up. While you might automate your posts, you can’t automate your conversations. After scheduling your content, stick around to get involved in the conversation.

Don’t go crazy. Overscheduling your social media channels just tires your followers out. (And turns them into non-followers.) Again, it’s too easy to schedule content, but resist piling on too many posts or tweets in a day.

Be in real time, sometimes. When big news in your industry hits, or you truly have something fresh or spontaneous to say, say it.

 

Does Social Media Belong in the Classroom?

social_media_classroomSince 2010, digital technology has been implemented and featured in many classrooms across North America. Sometimes in small ways but more so in grand ways evolving how students learn.

Now is the time for social media to take a seat at he front of the class.

We live in innovative times with social media at the forefront, and the potential advantages to our education system is remarkable.

Blogging, Google+, Twitter and Facebook have become essential learning tools and it seems like they are not going away anytime soon.

Not only is the knowledge of how to use these social networks key, but ensuring that young people understand how to use them safely needs to be taught.

Social networks are great tools to learn and connect. Google+ and Twitter can allow you to bring different perspectives into your classroom from all over the world. It fits the budget of every school since it is essentially free.

If you are discussing certain current events, why not bring in an expert or someone experiencing it without having to fly them in. 

Allowing students access to the world and different viewpoints that they just can’t get from textbooks is a game changer. Consider the authors, CEOs or historians who would be willing to join in for an hour or do a Twitter Ask session.

The same can be said for having students learn about different industries and companies. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Social media can be powerful tools for collaboration, opening doors for students and teachers to work with peers to share and learn. Social media expands the classroom in so many ways.

Herein lies a great opportunity for brands to connect with young users, but the opportunity isn’t to sell. It’s to brand and communicate and also to learn. Incredibly valuable as you can imagine. It doesn’t just have to be on career day either.

No one is hindered by time and geography anymore because. Learning should not the last stone left unturned by social media or the digital world, and all indications are that it will not be.

What Goes Viral?

stock-partyThis past weekend, a teen from Mississauga did what lots of teens have done in the past: announced a get-together on Facebook. Somehow, this innocent announcement of a small, private event spiralled out of control. The word spread via social media, the party eventually developed its own hashtag, and even a paper flyer went out (put together by persons unknown).

The teen’s parents ended up calling the police when droves started arriving at their home. For four hours, if you can believe it, police stationed themselves at the house and turned prospective partygoers away. The cops even sent out their own social media messages, warning visitors that they’d be met with a police cruiser upon their arrival. They claimed their word prevented even more visitors. But still.

This party gone wild is yet another example of a social media message inexplicably going viral and having real-world consequences. There are other viral instances no one wants: the politician saying something sexist, the athlete caught on video, drunk at a party. Marketers, meanwhile, would love to know just how to command an audience in the millions for their story, video or image.

So academics and social media groups have put their minds to studying the phenomenon; trying to crack the viral code so those who want to go big can do so. Here’s what the research says:

-Positive material spreads faster than negative, according to one study. Rage has the most velocity, according to another.

-Evoke emotions: shock, awe, pity, alarm. Further to the above, really — emotional content is what people want to share.

-Be practical. Service-style information gets traction. Makes sense: we all want to know how to do stuff like get healthier, live better and make more money.

-People share what they think others want to know or hear about. This really puts the social in social media.

-Studies are showing that long posts attract the most links. Meanwhile, multimedia content is more likely to go viral than text-based material.

-Be funny. Humour has been working in traditional advertising for decades. In online content, it’s key for everything but the most serious content.

If that seems like a lot of bases to cover, that’s because it is. In truth, we don’t yet fully understand what turns a get-together into the biggest party in town. But we’re getting closer to understanding the odd modern phenomenon that is viral content.

 

Avoid Trendjacking at all Costs

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

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?

The Real Currency of Social Media

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

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.

Was Gallup’s Social Media Poll Flawed?

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.

Are Users Tuning Out?

0_0_620_http---offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk-news-OKM-D1477D22-9BB5-E71C-291739D0F19EE0A5The biggest danger in social media is your audience may not engage with your content.

If social media becomes more like traditional one-way communication, it will have lost its magic.

The question brands have to ask themselves is “are users tuning me out?”

A recent Gallup poll, “The Myth of Social Media” discovered that 62% of those surveyed believe social media has no influence on their buying decisions.

The other interesting (albeit not surprising part) is that companies invested a whopping 5.1 billion dollars on social media advertising in 2013; a number the report claims will jump to 15 billion dollars by 2018.

When you boil it down, Gallup’s survey suggests users are not using social media to engage with brands. 

For brands, here’s the deal: your target audiences will use social media and they will probably discuss or research your products. You have to be present or risk missing out.

94% of participants said they use social media to connect to family, while 29% claimed they use social media to follow trends and get product reviews and information.

On the whole, the numbers are staggering but they don’t paint the bleak picture some would suggest. You can interpret reports and surveys in many different ways.

One thing to note is the report confirms the unfathomable activity levels of social media, something no brand or user can ignore.

As well, a key takeaway may be that buying and boosting ads on social networks should be less important than creating and curating content that engages your audience.

This last part isn’t news to anyone and, by no means, should you refuse to allocate advertising dollars to social platforms. The point is your digital strategy has to be built around honest and genuine engagement.

Digital marketers need to review this report and others to surmise what is the best way for them to proceed.

Is Facebook Too Eager to Beat Snapchat?

Slingshot-App-Store-640x579Facebook isn’t shy about how badly it wants to crush its competitors. They’re willing to spend big bucks to make sure they own the social media throne. This aggressive approach has done them wonders, but it does backfire sometimes.

A few weeks ago, Facebook released Slingshot, a new app they’ve created to take on Snapchat. 

The only problem is Facebook didn’t intend to launch it, and the app wasn’t quite ready.

Slingshot is now widely known, so the question is: what is it exactly?

The app is designed to let users connect with other users by taking a photo crafting a message or drawing something, but only after another user connects with you.

You can also write or draw on images and photos, similar to Snapchat. What isn’t clear is whether you can place a time limit before a “message” automatically deletes. 

Slingshot has a lot of the same elements of Snapchat, and it doesn’t appear bashful about acknowledging these features aren’t meant to sink the popular network.

There are schools of thought that believe Facebook has lost many of its teenage and younger audience to Snapchat. 

It’s not surprising they want to reclaim that demographic, which helped propelled them to social media stardom as they succeeded with colleges and universities.

The confusing part is how did Facebook accidentally launch an app? It’s not like you just press a button and suddenly it appears on the app store.

While it was only briefly available, could this have been part of a greater PR plan to build buzz?

Let’s just say it wouldn’t be shocking if this was true, and can you blame them? Lots of people and tech sites and forums have been talking about it, which aligns with Facebook’s strategy for social media domination.

What do you think? Was Slingshot “accidentally” released?