Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

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,

Build Awareness through Social Media

Donations-590x250With the popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and with the many causes that have flooded and leveraged social media to fundraise, it’s important that organizations ensure that they have raised awareness along with capital.

Social media offers the unique opportunity to know more about your charitable campaigns beyond the amount of dollars raised.

For instance, ALS’ wikipedia page views are up 18% since the Ice Bucket Challenge commenced. The Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t alone in this field, even though it has fully dominated most newsfeeds this summer.

Race for the Cure, The Big Dig, Charity Swear Box, amongst others have all raised funds successfully on social media. The hope beyond money is that the message of why these campaigns exist gets across to a large and engaged audience. Essentially, to go viral in some capacity.

Each campaign must monitor and measure their website analytics, where users are interacting with their website, Wikipedia and any other satellite websites where information of their cause is kept.

On top of all of this, you need to closely monitor social media activity. Every tweet, post and comment must be part of your measurement and determining success.

An interesting point to note is that the ALS Wikipedia page in other languages has generated an increase in traffic, proving that this sparked interest from around the world.

This is not to say that the money raised isn’t the real cause, but the real value lies in increasing awareness which can lead to ensuring spikes in fundraise don’t take nosedives in the future.

Social media has the power to get a message out to the large group of people and have it expand from there. This has to be part of the intention when crafting these online campaigns.

Once the Ice Bucket Challenge subsides, it’ll be fascinating to see how the next few campaigns handle the challenge. As well, will people have gotten the message of what the Ice Bucket Challenge was really about.

Did Social Media Betray Michael Brown?

0819_ferguson_social_970-630x420As the story of Michael Brown and the ensuing conflict and mounting tension between citizens and authorities in Ferguson, Missouri continues, it seems social networks have been either flooded with the story or left on the sidelines.

This incident paints a rather vivid image of how people connect and engage with certain networks. Maybe some issues just feel out of place whereas others blend naturally in.

Twitter has seen high activity of people sharing their thoughts, feelings and documentation of the events. While on Facebook, it has received far less attention – an alarming lack of activity in some regards.

This is by no means a reflection of the event itself, but really demonstrates and cements the belief that Twitter is first and foremost a news source and a place for people to gather and discuss world events.

It has been fairly well documented how Facebook seems to be absent of activity regarding Ferguson. Other networks as well seem to have content about everything but Ferguson.

This is a very important lesson for digital marketers everywhere. Each network has it’s own purpose and personality, and not everything will translate well across multiple platforms. 

It’s really up to users to how they want to use a network, and that in turn will define it. Facebook lends itself very well to aggregating the news and opinions but Twitter seems ripe for more debate and sharing of news stories.

A story of this calibre feels like it should be plastered and talked about in every corner of social media. Instead, it was mainly concentrated to one area, which of course just happens to be one of the giants of the industry.

What events like Ferguson prove is that Twitter is the home to important news stories, opinion and discussion. 

Social media is the tool to make build awareness and share stories. Why some work better than others is really just based on the user and perception.

It might be upsetting to some to see what was being shared on other networks while Twitter was full engulfed in the Ferguson situation, but by no means are users responsible  for this in any way. Every big story finds a home somewhere in social media.

The Summer of the Ice Bucket Challenge

dm_140806_headlines_icebucketThe summer of 2014 has been a big one for social media, but nothing has defined it more than the Ice Bucket Challenge; a campaign to help raise awareness and money for ALS research.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has dominated many social networks, especially Facebook where videos of those who accepted the challenge has filled user’s newsfeeds.

The idea is pure gold for digital marketers and PR companies. Best of all, it’s simple and easily went viral because it was for a compelling cause.

All people had to do was turn on a recording device, give a quick message which includes nominating others for the challenge, dump ice water on their head and upload to Facebook and other networks.

Pretty brilliant when you consider the concept and its popularity. The reports suggest that the ALS Association who is credited with the campaign has raised over 70 million dollars whereas normally they raise around 2 million by this time of the year.

Of course, the celebrity involvement didn’t hurt.

The danger now lies with those who plan on imitating the campaign. For other organizations who are looking for a boost in fundraising, copying this challenge might leave you feeling like ice water was poured over your head.

This is a classic example of catching lightning in a bottle. Altering it to fit your cause (since the use of ice water is meant to replicate the feeling ALS has on your muscles in some small way), will only have most people ignoring you altogether.

For digital marketers and PR practitioners, you need to try to get one step ahead and figure out how they can utilize social media and its rabid user base to elicit donations and awareness.

The Ice Bucket Challenge will be a digital marketing case study for quite some time and the desire to imitate will be there. You have to resist or risk having it blow up in your face.

Will the Social Bubble Ever Pop for Investors?

sentiments-435cs110112For the past couple of years, new social networks have emerged, old ones have evolved and several have gone public. During this time, many people have predicted the social media bubble would eventually pop.

Those who cover the tech space and the markets believe we were on the precipice of another 1999 burst.

According to a Mark Cuban interview, there will not be a repeat the dot-com boom/bust that happened more than a decade ago. He suggests that investing in social media and the technology sector is fairly secure.

This comes on the heels of a report from the Federal Reserve, which stated that valuations are stretched for smaller social media companies and some biotech stocks.

The Federal Reserve has a right to be cautious based on history and the volatile nature of the digital world. 

What this really illustrates is that social media isn’t a blip on the radar. It’s trending upwards as it engages more users and becomes part of the overall global fabric.

In fact, the strength and popularity of social media will only convince more networks to go public, following in the footsteps of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

This is a far cry from a few years ago when pundits thought Facebook would crash and burn after hitting the market. In reality, Facebook has monetized quite well and seen its stock hit a record high recently.

For brands, the message is crystal clear: investors are telling you it’s a good idea to invest your time and money in social media because the future looks bright.

If you are waiting for social media to fall off the cliff, it’s not going to happen. In fact, it might continue to climb up the mountain until it reaches a new peak. 

Does Engagement Matter More Than Followers?

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?

Sharing — It’s Based On Emotions

positive_realismTo truly understand social media, we need to keep delving into the emotional underpinnings of what and why people share.

A recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison examines the outlets used by people based on the emotional content of the message.

Researchers found people were most likely to share positive events via texting and Twitter.

These mediums are easy to access via smartphones when they are happening, and are non-intrusive — recipients can reply whenever they like.

About 70% of the events that people experienced and shared were conveyed via new technologies.

Study subjects — 300 university students who kept track of their communications via a daily diary — revealed that sharing using new technologies enhanced the emotional impact of these events.

So much for the good news, literally.

When experiencing negative events, people were more likely to pick up the phone and interrupt friends or family to share.

Add this tidbit to what Facebook recently discovered in its (debatably unethical) study that found a lot of negative information in a person’s newsfeed can inspire them to be negative themselves — and on the flipside good news triggers positivity.

Again and again, positive energy is demonstrating considerable social media power.

While research keeps fine-tuning our understanding of just how emotions work online, in the meantime the message is clear: good news travels fast online.