Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

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.

Which Hashflags Waved Highest During The World Cup?

After a super exciting 32 days, the World Cup is finally over.

Not only was the game play throughout the tournament exciting, with 171 goals scored to tie for the most goals scored during a World Cup, but the social activity around the event was a whole event itself to try and keep up with.

One of the cool things that was abundant in the social media world during the World Cup was Twitter allowing users to display “hashflags” for the countries they were supporting. Launched just a days before the tournament started, Twitter allowed users to display country flags right in their tweets by simply typing in a # with the three-letter country code beside it.

List of all Hashflags from Bleacher Report

We thought that the hashflags were a genius way for both Twitter to get a little more involved in the World Cup (past the tremendous amounts of real-time talk during the matches) and for fans to show their support for the team they were cheering on. But how much were these hashflags used?

We took to MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to find out just how many times each hashflag was raised. We plugged in the hashflag hashtags and searched over the 32 days of the World Cup to find out.

What we found was actually quite interesting. As it turns out, how a team actually performed during the World Cup didn’t always correlate to how often their hashflag was used.

While Germany took home the World Cup, their hashflag was actually beat out by Argentina’s who came in second in the tournament. This may not be so surprising after seeing our post last week that showed Germany wasn’t getting as much support in social media from their homeland as Argentina was going into the finals.

The United States also showed great pride for their team during the tournament with their hashflag being the fourth most used of the 32 teams, beating out the Netherlands who actually placed third in the tournament.

For the full counts of each hashflag, see the chart below:

Total Counts For Country Hashflags Over 32 Days of World Cup Play

We also put all of the hashflag count numbers into a pie chart so that you could visually see the difference in the share of voice each country’s hashflag garnered throughout the World Cup.

Share of Voice for All World Cup Hashflags

We also thought it would be interesting to look at how each of the hashflags was used over time. It’s no surprise here to see that each country’s hashflag would spike in usage on days when they played a match. Below is a chart of all 32 team’s hashflag usage spread out over the 32 days of the world cup. Unfortunately, 32 teams in one chart makes it incredibly hard to read, so below that we’ve also broken down the charts to only include 8 teams, or 2 groups from the original group play round, at a time.

Popularity Chart of All World Cup Hashflags

Popularity of hashflags for Groups A & B

Sysomos MAP - Comparison Popularity Chart of Hashflags from Groups A & B

Popularity of hashflags for Groups C & D

Sysomos MAP - Comparison Popularity Chart of Hashflags from Groups C & D

Popularity of hashflags for Groups E & F

Sysomos MAP - Comparison Popularity Chart of Hashflags from Groups E & F

Popularity of hashflags for Groups G & H

Sysomos MAP - Comparison Popularity Chart of Hashflags from Groups G & H

Lastly, we hope that you were keeping an eye on our Sysomos #WorldCup Hashtag Tracker during the tournament. This dashboard was used to visually show where mentions of the official #WorldCup hashtag were coming from. In addition to showing where the hashtag was actually being used over the course of the tournament, we were also keeping a running tally of which countries were using the official hashtag the most. Now the the World Cup is over, we have the final tally and without further ado, here’s the top 10 countries that used the #WorldCup hashtag over 32 days of play:

Sysomos #WorldCup Hashtag Tracker - Top 10 Countries

We’re curious if any of these numbers above surprise you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

World Cup Finals: How Argentina and Germany Look in Social Media

World Cup 2014As of yesterday evening (in our local time zone) we now know that after 28 days of World Cup fever the entire world will be watching Argentina and Germany play in the finals.

This year’s World Cup has a been a very exciting one. Both in terms of the matches played and also the social media activity that has been going on during the tournament. This World Cup has seen a flurry of social media activity from fans cheering on their team to some incredible memes based on events during the tournament.

But what has the social activity around our two final teams looked like? That’s what we wanted to find out as we get set for the final match this weekend. So, we took to MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, to explore the mentions of Germany and Argentina.

The first thing we did for this quick analysis was to look at number of mentions of each team from the start of the World Cup (on June 12) up until yesterday. Here we found that Argentina has a greater share of voice across social media channels beating out Germany 61% to 39%. However, neither team seems to be lacking in mentions as Germany amassed 22,680,311 mentions in those 28 days, while Argentina saw 35,378,525 mentions.

Sysomos MAP - Share of Voice Comparison

Where all of those mentions were coming from is the interesting part though. When we broke down those mentions of each team by source, we found something very interesting. When both Germany and Argentina were being talked about in blogs and in online news articles, the two seemed quite even. In both blog posts and online news articles the split was 51% to 49% with Argentina getting just a few more mentions than Germany. Then, when we look at forum postings, we find that Germany mentions bested Argentina by almost 150,000 mentions. However, when it then came to Twitter (which is the leading social network for real-time World Cup chatter), Argentina saw almost 13 million more mentions than Germany did.

Sysomos MAP - Share of Voice Comparison by Source

The difference in Twitter mentions seems quite staggering at first, but then we found something interesting. We took a look at where mentions of each team were originating from across all channels.  When we looked at the mentions of Argentina we found that the country making the most noise was (not surprisingly) Argentina. Almost a quarter of all Argentina mentions came from their own country who has been showing their support throughout the World Cup.

Sysomos MAP - Breakdown of Mentions by Country

But then when we looked at where mentions of Germany were originating from, we found that most of them weren’t coming from Germany. In fact, Germany doesn’t seem to be that active in supporting their team… at least through social media. Germany actually came in 4th in terms of mention of their own country behind the USA, UK and Spain. That lack in social support from their own country can help explain the huge difference in mentions of each country.

Sysomos MAP - Breakdown of Mentions by Country

Some may argue though that it’s not the number of mentions that a team gets, but rather the intention behind those mentions. To understand the intentions behind those mentions we looked at the sentiment around each team. According to industry leading sentiment analysis engine Argentina has seen a 80% favourable rating during the World Cup. 22% of all mentions about Argentina have been positive, while 20% have been negative.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment

While Germany hasn’t seen as many social mentions during the World Cup as Argentina, they do have a much better favourable rating, coming in at 81%. While their favourable rating comes in just 1% higher than Argentina, the details show that they actually seem to have a larger percentage of their mentions being positive. Germany has seen 27% of all their mentions being positive and only 19% negative. So, just because they aren’t being talked about as much, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are worse off than their final rivals in any way.

Sysomos MAP - Overall Sentiment

One last interesting chart we want to share with you is our popularity chart, which shows the mentions of each team spread out over the time of the World Cup so far. We just found this one interesting because you can actually see what days each team played on just by looking at how their mentions spike on game days. Take a look:

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Comparison Chart

So who do you think is going to win the World Cup this year? Argentina or Germany? The team with the most social mentions or the team with the most positive sentiment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

And, for some more World Cup social media fun, be sure to check out our Sysomos #WorldCup Hashtag Tracker which is showing off where tweets containing the official #WorldCup hashtag are originating from in real-time.

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. 

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.

Where Does Twitter Think LeBron Is Heading? [Infographic]

If you’re a basketball fan you’ve likely heard about LeBron James over the past few days. Even if you’re not a basketball fan you’ve likely heard that as of July 1st LeBron will officially become a free agent.

Earlier this week, James made the announcement that he would not be optioning the final two years on his current contract with the Miami Heat. This means that as of July 1st any team from around the NBA can try to court King James to come and play for them.

Ever since the announcement was made, basketball fans all over the world have been speculating as to where the Power Forward may head next… if he heads anywhere new at all (he can still sign back on with the Heat with a completely new contract). LeBron’s name is being tossed around the internet with a slew of possibilities of teams from ones that seem like they could happen to ones that people would just love to see (like James coming to play for Raptors in our hometown).

So what are the most popular choices for where LeBron may wind up?

We used our powerful Sysomos software to look at Twitter conversations about LeBron James to try to figure out where the majority of people think he’ll be headed to for the 2014-15 season. We looked up LeBron’s name with appearences in tweets along side every NBA team to see which team was being favoured by the general masses. The following infographic shows the top 15 teams people are thinking he may head to.

NOTE: For this infographic we left out mentions of James along side the Miami Heat as they were seeing above average mentions for being the team he is leaving and the Cleveland Cavaliers as people are comparing this to when he left them in 2010.

Where Is LeBron Headed? A Sysomos Infographic

 

What do you think? Do you think the mass voice of Twitter is right? Where do you think LeBron James will be playing next season?

Digital Mistakes? Seriously, It’s No Big Deal

In all walks of life, mistakes happen. It’s a simple fact. The world of social media is not exempted from this nor are brands and the digital marketers who are behind them.

Making a mistake whether it is a bad tweet, update or a strategy that doesn’t pan out is probably the greatest fear in the industry. Well…maybe it shouldn’t be.

mistakesBefore making this argument, let’s just say that being scared of mistakes will sink your overall social media efforts. You can’t succeed in the digital world with a strategy full of half measures.

The trick is being willing to make the mistakes and learning from them. Failing to build a massive audience from a single strategy isn’t the whole story.

There’s no social media campaign that won’t have its rocky parts. Making sure they aren’t repeated in the future is a more important consideration.

You need to discover what works for your brand and what gets your audience excited and mobilized. There’s very little chance hitting it out of the park on the first try.

This leaves the only option: the old proven method of trial and error, which often comes with mistakes. 

For brands, they must have someone in charge who not only gets this reality but embraces it. Maybe it boils down to culture and personnel, as many things in social media do.

Social media is so volatile, the smallest change to something can transform failure into success. Just make sure you are making the changes and not your competitors.

Lets be honest…if social media was easy it wouldn’t be as powerful a tool.

Mistakes are part of the game. It is one of the reasons not to be scared of failure because they allow for honest evaluation and pave the way for future success.

Twitter Lets Users Hit the Mute Button

Twitter-Mute-ButtonEver wish you could just tune out certain users on Twitter without deleting them? Or maybe you’re tired of hearing about the Kim and Kanye wedding?

Well, Twitter has unveiled a feature just for you.

The new mute button will let you erect a wall around a user or topic who just doesn’t interest you. You can still follow someone even if you mute them, but this is clearly a distinct step in Twitter’s evolution.

Muting a user means none of their tweets will be visible to you, but they can still see your activity.

Having an option to mute and not unfollow will keep Twitter etiquette intact. It seems Twitter has found a happy medium.

By not unfollowing everyone who posts items you find uninteresting, you won’t have to worry about the reciprocated unfollow back.

This is just in time for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which will dominate feeds for the entire month. If you’re not a football/soccer fan, you’ll now be able to easily miss all the chatter on Twitter.

For brands, there could be some reason to be concerned, but this is a wake up call to make sure your content is relevant, compelling and not overwhelming.

These are important points we all must be remember from time to time. Now, all brands need to be cognizant that they can easily be muted. Good news for their audience numbers but never good to have your message fall on deaf ears.

Content is king and this is just another reason why this adage is not going away. Every digital marketer must create and curate content that will make your users not want to tune you out.

Social media is a struggle to stay relevant and embrace two-way communication. The fact your audience has a new tool to escape the conversation needs to be taken seriously.

The quest for content just got more challenging.