February 6, 2015
A new report by Shareaholic this week highlighted the following: Social media has become the number one driver of ALL website referral traffic. In 2014, the figures rose from 22.71% to 31.24%, a massive increase over this time period.
This is a significant opportunity to consider; although this growth may not be sustainable, it is definitely something for businesses to focus their marketing campaigns on now.
Which channel is the biggest referrer? Unsurprisingly, Facebook is still tops by a wide margin (24.63% in December 2014 vs. next best channel Pinterest at 5.06%). Despite the challenges of decreasing reach resulting in increasing media spend and younger audiences leaving etc., Facebook remains the channel of choice to get the word out about your business. Not to mention, social media traffic referrals grew by 59.58% in this same time period.
What does this mean for marketers? If social media is now the number one referral method where both good and bad feedback can go viral, your business needs to ensure the following is in order:
• Customer satisfaction – expectations of service are high and fans are now posting their grievances on social media pages. If your business is not able to deal with criticism and complaints effectively, it will ultimately affect your sales negatively.
• Moderation – social media trolls are active and can be vicious. Moderation is key towards managing press and ensuring negativity is dealt with appropriately.
• Quick response times – customers are online 24 hours a day. If they can’t reach you immediately, they will move on quickly to the next best seller.
• Community growth – engagement is key towards building your brand, and will contribute to healthy sales. An engaged community will lead to strong brand awareness, driving clicks to your website.
A focused social media strategy will ensure your website will be seen, ultimately leading to increased sales and return on investment
January 23, 2015
“It wasn’t like that in my day….”
“When I was your age…”
These idioms are now applying to social media too. Channels are changing quicker than we can take a selfie. The younger generation is continuously finding new ways of communicating and moving on from previous popular sites whilst the older generation is started to get socially active more than ever before.
An American report entitled “Social Media Update 2014” (see link here) concluded that whilst Facebook remains the most popular social networking site, others are growing at a higher rate. What does all of this data mean? What are the current trends?
Let’s look at social media by age group:
Users of social media are bound by terms and conditions and age restrictions. The youngest user of Facebook is required to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (and older in some jurisdictions) and Twitter restrictions clearly states that the site is for users over 13. Do these age limitations stop the youngest users from interacting on social media? This guide on how young kids should be in order to join Instagram is viewed over 400 times a day, so this is clearly on the minds of parents and tweens. We shouldn’t assume that all youngsters follow the guidelines and avoid social media; rather the opposite.
An article in the Telegraph (see here) found that “Teenagers are moving away from ‘traditional’ social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in favour of mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.” It would seem that teenagers want something instant and immediate, and don’t have time for Facebook which may now be seen as ‘uncool’. Whilst the jury is not out as to whether teens have abandoned Facebook and Twitter, the trend seems to be moving towards this age group using other apps as well. A common sense media article highlights the sites that teens are most likely to use.
For this group, it’s all about the photos.
Instagram is now more popular than Twitter (source), and this age group is partly responsible. According to the report mentioned above, half of online adults aged 18-29 used Instagram, and more than half use it every day. However, as Business Insider pointed out, Facebook can’t be ignored and is still the most popular social network with 58% of all age groups saying they have a personal profile page.
30-49 year olds
According to Pew Research Internet Project (see here) for adults age 30-49, a whopping 82% of them use social networking sites. This is only marginally less than 18-29 year olds, of which 89% use social networking sites. However, it is important to note that this is the only age group in the Social Media Update report that dropped in Facebook usage – could this mean that as usage is up, maybe this group is looking elsewhere as well?
Although Facebook was originally launched at Harvard for college students, the user demographic has changed and continues to change! By 2014, according to the Social Media Update, more than half of online adults 65 and over are now using Facebook, which is the biggest jump amongst all of the age groups. Online usage of all social networking sites increased but not as significantly as on Facebook.
Interesting trends! Is it worth breaking down the data to see where best to focus your social media marketing in 2015.
December 15, 2014
Facebook Pages are giving marketers additional capabilities on their brands’ pages with a set of new call-to-action buttons.
Call-to-action options, including Book Now, Contact Us, Shop Now & Sign Up, will help brands actualise the value of their communities. A welcome move, especially after the challenge of reduced organic reach that Facebook Communities managers have been faced with.
It is an interesting move that Facebook are placing this call-to-action button in such a prominent position (next to the Like button), encouraging marketers to consider Facebook as the social gateway to their other online activity.
Initially the call-to-action buttons will roll out in the States, followed by the rest of the World.
Facebook have followed the success of call-to-action buttons on other assets including Facebook ads.
Marketers should use the opportunity to test and optimise the new functionality with the curiosity, discipline and critical eye of any good eCRM social media professional.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long talked about offering more action orientated options communities. We expect more action-orientated buttons to follow later on in 2015
November 19, 2012
Mark Zuckerberg recently proclaimed at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference that he believed that Facebook’s future lay with mobile devices: “We think we’ll make a lot more money than on desktop”. With click-through rates already 14 times higher on mobile devices this news is hardly unexpected. Zuckerberg admitted past mistakes Facebook had made with mobile apps for multiple devices; yet asserted that his company had learned from these mistakes and Facebook is “now a mobile company.”
With more than half of Facebook users already using mobile devices to access their accounts (including Facebook’s CEO himself), this is a key area for development. It is critical for Facebook to get mobile technology right if they want to secure their success and the loyalty of their investors.
So what should we expect for Facebook in 2013? There have been a number of rumours circulating that Facebook is looking to create its own mobile devices, however Zuckerberg has firmly denied this rumour. We believe that mobile advertising will become increasingly better targeted towards individual users, as Facebook collects more information about users through engagement. What is clear is that Facebook will continue to push new features for brands to drive revenue through mobile ads and that we will see an increase in commercial activity. With Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook is “just getting started” at agency:2 we are eagerly monitoring and responding to each new development.
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Zuckerberg-Facebook-future-is-mobile-3858141.php [accessed 12/11/2012].
http://allthingsd.com/20120810/facebooks-future-in-mobile-advertising-its-all-about-wi-fi/ [accessed 12/11/2012].
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Zuckerberg-Facebook-future-is-mobile-3858141.php [accessed 12/11/2012].
http://allthingsd.com/20120810/facebooks-future-in-mobile-advertising-its-all-about-wi-fi/ [accessed 12/11/2012].
April 12, 2012
The London Games begin in just over 100 days’ time involving many thousands of spectators, participants and sponsors:- the physical architecture is more or less in place, the infrastructure pretty much on track, the athletes are reaching the apex of their training, games volunteers have been recruited, and trade in tickets, travel and accommodation is ramping up.
Heralded as the ‘Social Games’ (following on from the ‘twinter olympics’ in Vancouver 2010) the challenge for one of the most tightly-protected super brands is to nourish authentic social engagement around what is arguably the biggest show on earth. A snapshot of the twittersphere shows that push marketing is in evidence: – the obvious messages are getting traction [who IS coming down to the CocaCola Olympics Gig in Hyde Park]; along with issues that reflect the UK national news agenda [anti -cuts 'street parties' to rival Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Olympics?]; and the troubled global backdrop [somali Selectors worry will people they choose now still be alive come July?].
The learning from recent Games is that the three ‘Cs’ – conversation, collaboration and community – that underwrite successful social campaigns can be achieved with planning, structure and insight. Not all of which is yet in evidence in official Olympic channels.
By Rachel Moses
December 9, 2011
Back in March 2011 we reported on a significant day in the history of digital and social media marketing and advertising. When the ASA’s (Advertising Standards Authority) remit was extended to cover all brand owned websites, their social media pages as well as video and mobile campaigns.
The changes to the Cap Code meant the ASA had the power to regulate all online and mobile marketing communications and ensure compliance with the Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (The CAP Code). This covers all businesses, regardless of size, and extends to other non-paid-for space online under your business’ control (e.g. messages you post on social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook).
This Code also extended to cover not just what the brands themselves posted but also rules on how brands should not retweet messages or Like comments on Facebook that a user has written which are incorrect as they will still be liable based on them endorsing the content.
The intention was to make all online communications more transparent and ensure people reading online content are receiving honest and truthful messages. However, since the laws have been implemented brands have still unintentionally broken the law within social media, and the IAB has had to launch guidelines to help brands comply with consumer protection law around the payment for content to promote products within a social media environment.
Recently Saville Home Management was found to have Tweeted misleading and unsubstantiated claims on the Twitter feed of cmRENT estate agents that “cmRENT have 93 Rental properties available” and “cmRENT have 105 Rental properties available”. They were reprimanded by ASA and the offending tweets were removed.
It is clear that brands need to be more mindful of the laws that have been put in place and agencies need to be offering their clients greater guidance as to what is and isn’t allowed as part of the Cap Code. At agency:2, as one of the Founders of the DMA, we have constantly adhered to strict ethical guidelines. We are proud of always working ethically and legally for the good of our clients – brands must be increasingly aware that whatever they post on social platforms must be transparent and clear.
December 1, 2011
At it’s first-ever U.S. press conference yesterday, Spotify unveiled their new app platform, which they hope will be the next big step in social music.
The platform allows third-party developers to use the streaming service’s music library and community to create personalised and tailored services for their users. Initially the Spotify Platform is only launching with a dozen apps but more are expected to appear shortly.
Spotify have so far confirmed they have partnered with the likes of Rolling Stone, Last.fm, Billboard, Songkick and The Guardian, as the online music service aims to build on its current offering and enhance the user experience.
An app launching its own app platform is a fascinating move and also an exciting one – it should allow companies and services to use Spotify in new and inventive ways.
For music publications such as Rolling Stone and Billboard, apps offer a way to allow users to read a review while silmultaneously listening to the album. However there are even more exciting and compelling ways that services can use Spotify. Let’s take the example of the Last.fm app within Spotify.
Last.fm is the world’s largest online music catalogue, powered by your scrobble. Spotify has long allowed users to integrate their Spotify listening to their Last.fm accounts. Now, the integration is bolstered with customised playlists. The new Last.fm app allows users to generate related song playlists based on the track they are currently listening to – by clicking “Similar Tracks Playlist,” Last.fm will generate a playlist of similar tracks of music available to listen to or subscribe to within Spotify and suggestions for users.
That’s not all – the “Now Playing” section of the Last.fm app allows users to get more information about a track or band.
The future of social music?
Having launched in America, begun its subscription model and formed a partnership with Facebook it has been a busy year for Spotify. These new apps will help to continue to build the brand and add a new and exciting dimension to Spotify’s user experience.
November 29, 2011
The last year has seen the rise of ‘social’ within search. The huge growth of social media, together with search engines now increasingly focussing on providing the best possible user experience, has resulted in a greater prominence being given to social platforms when search engines return results.
Google, Yahoo and Bing now index social comments and use this information to tailor and personalise users’ search results. Google’s ‘+1’ button now has a large impact on page rank, while Bing has partnered with Facebook to display data from the Facebook ‘Like’ button as well as users’ profiles.
One of the most important effects of this shift towards social is the impact content now has on improving your brand’s online visibility. The phrase being constantly repeated is that ‘content is king’.
Brands therefore need to devise a highly effective social media content plan that takes into consideration the importance of search optimisation. This means creating fresh content which is optimised with relevant keywords and encourages people to share, retweet and engage with it across the social web.
Yet, competition is fierce. There are 27 million pieces of online content shared daily and 1 in 5 social media messages include links to content on the web.
So, as a brand, how do you stand out? With SEO success focusing increasingly on a brand’s social presence it is not enough to just ‘have’ content.
Your content needs to provide something unique and valuable to your audience. Ask yourself: does it convey your brand accurately and provide value to your audience?
The aim is to create active content so that your audience are participating and interacting. Onsite this could be encouraging them to comment on posts and rate articles, while offsite you need to maximise the number of social reactions, such as Facebook ‘Likes’ and tweets.
Here are my recommendations on key considerations when creating content:
WHERE you say it
Social media offers a range of tools that will provide unique insights which allow you to understand your audience. It’s vital you use these tools to research, monitor, understand your audience and make sure that you are where your audience are and using the most relevant and effective platforms.
Your social media content plan should reflect this. It also needs to be continuous and flexible as well as multi-channel. Brands must leverage a range of relevant channels. Twitter and Facebook seem the obvious choices but there are several channels that will help boost your SEO – these could include blogs, LinkedIn, Q&As, podcasts as well as virtual events. Also consider creating a presence on video sites, photo sites, social bookmarking sites and review sites. These will all help to boost the amount of ‘high quality’ content you have and boost your search optimisation.
WHAT you have to say
When creating content, think about the user’s online journey – how will they find your content? This is where search engine optimisation is vital. With the rise of social search, investing in original, quality content is essential to your SEO success.
Google itself has stated that their algorithms are aimed at helping users easily find high quality content. The launch this year of Google Panda, a major upgrade of their ranking algorithm, has resulted in what can be seen as a transformation in search optimisation.
Preference is now given to websites that publish high quality, original content on an ongoing basis. There is also a new focus on social mentions so that the more times people retweet, +1, ‘Like’ or share your online content the higher it ranks.
It means that brands must have a strategy in place for creating regular, relevant and optimised new content as well as growing and engaging your presence on social media networks.
Keywords, meta-tags, alt tags, anchor tags, page titles and heading structures all need to be optimised with the keywords that are most relevant for your brand. It is also vital to be aware of what your competitors are doing and what keywords they rank for and bid on. Putting in place an effective content marketing strategy that is fully optimised and continually updated will have a significant effect on your ranking position on search engines.
However, remember that optimisation of your content shouldn’t be to the detriment of the quality of the user experience or how compelling the content is – it needs to be both optimised so that search engines will find it and compelling enough that your audience will read and share it.
HOW OFTEN you say it
It’s often said that the secret to social media is timing. This means that you must schedule your social media activity and make sure you post at the optimum times for your audience.
Brands often ask how frequently they should post on their Facebook Page and when is the best time to post. The answer is that each campaign and brand is different. As a rule of thumb early mornings as the working day commences, lunchtimes and early evenings straight after work provide the most engagement. Facebook’s Insights data provide an invaluable understanding of how often and when your fans are engaging with your content – and help to ensure that you connect with your audience at the optimum times. Posting at these peak times will have an impact on the viralability of your content, with people more likely to connect with it and share it.
When it comes to frequency there is a delicate balance to be found: post too often and, though you will see an immediate increase in impressions, you will also see a loss in fan numbers. Post too infrequently and you will miss out on opportunities to reach your fans. In general, tweeting 1 – 4 times per hour and posting at least once a day on Facebook will provide the best results.
HOW you say it
As a brand you will have a tone of voice that permeates your organisation. When you create a social media content plan you need to consistently communicate this tone of voice across all platforms.
There are several fundamental factors and ideas that you should focus on when creating your content plan: use your brand narrative to tell a story through social channels. And present this story in a fresh and interesting way by using a range of media – videos, polls, photos as well as text.
One of the most important things, and one that many brands often seem to forget, is that social media is about having conversations. Be engaging, start conversations with your audience and build a real community – this will make your audience much more receptive to your brand and more likely to share and comment upon the content that you are posting.
You must use your content to associate your brand with specific topics and segments that are relevant to your brand and will position you as the experts within your field. It must also be entertaining, informative, and deliver some quantifiable value such as exclusive deals or products.
Quality AND quantity
The rise in the importance of social media to search requires brands to devise a content strategy that provides both quality AND quantity. The real time nature of social media means that content has to be posted frequently in order to stay ahead of your competitors. However, if you want to really stand out your content must also be compelling enough for your audience to engage with it.
Creating optimised content that is tailored both for your audience and for search engines will result in conversations, sharing and high visibility on search engines – in other words, social media success for your brand.
October 13, 2011
Facebook has recently released a new set of tools in order to give marketers deeper insights into how well their Pages are engaging and reaching Facebook users. Facebook have promised that these new analytics will help page owners better understand engagement on their brand pages – and, ultimately, make those Pages more useful to brands.
The Facebook Page Insights tool has now been expanded to provide marketers with additional information about their audience. Now, not only will marketers be able to understand the number and ‘Likes’ and impressions on their Page, but they will also be provided with more detailed information such as Friends of Fans, which is designed to show the maximum reach, and Weekly Total Reach, which combines the total exposure to the brand, either via paid or non-paid activity. Most interestingly to brands could be the ‘People Talking About This’ metric which is designed to show conversations happening about a brand across Facebook.
Are ‘People Talking About’ your brand?
The ‘People Are Talking About This’ metric will perhaps prove the most appealing to brands. This metric is based on the total numbers of ‘Likes’, shares and comments relating to a Page during the previous 7 days.
It takes information including the number of people ‘Liking’ your Page; the volume of people ‘Liking’, commenting on, or sharing, the content you have posted on your wall/Page and how many users answered a question you posted, who have RSVP to your events or checked in at your location.
The most important thing to note about this metric is that it is not only visible to the administrators of the Page – it is also visible to page visitors as a public facing metric.
The number appears on the left hand side of the page under the total number of ‘Likes’ and is calculated through an algorithm which analyses ‘Likes’, comments, shares and other Facebook actions to do with your Page. The aim is to help your fans understand how engaging a Page is, in a way, giving Facebook users a transparent version of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.
It’s all about engagement
These tools and metrics reflect the company’s increasing emphasis on the value of ‘sharing’ and the weight Facebook place on engagement between brands and users. Facebook mark a continuation of their growing belief that the amount people share on Facebook and how much they engage with a brand Page as a stronger indication of the value of the Page than simply the total number of users.
These new metrics will force brands to develop a truly effective engagement strategy in order to leverage the power of sharing and use peer recommendations as a brand marketing tool. Pages have never been just about the number of ‘Likes’ and this metric helps to further reinforce this idea.
By focusing on engaging with your target audience rather than just on volume the end result will be a win-win situation for both brands and users. Users will see the quality and value of Facebook Pages improve, while brands will, ultimately, have a more engaged Facebook community who feel an affinity with the brand.
September 23, 2011
F8 has now happened. It was an event that was heralded as one that would ‘change the world of social media’ – and that has proved to be true. The Facebook that we know and love has been transformed – with big changes gradually being rolled out. Here we explore how these changes will affect brands:
Facebook becomes an entertainment hub
Facebook’s motto for the F8 conference was ‘Read. Watch. Listen’ – and that neatly sums up the changes that have been made. They have unveiled extensive changes to the social network – including key tie-ups with companies such as Spotify, Netflix, Zynga (who made Farmville) and The Guardian to create a new breed of apps, including video, music, films, and TV apps.
Facebook has now become an entertainment hub allowing users to watch films, listen to music and read newspaper articles via an app without ever leaving the social platform.
Maximising engagement through social apps
It is clear that what all these new features are attempting to do is make it as easy as possible for users to spend long periods of time on Facebook. They are doing this by lowering the barriers to connecting with friends and family and delivering more tailored and rich media content.
To this end, Facebook have introduced a ‘Ticker feed’ which shows all updates in real time at the top right hand corner of your newsfeed page. They also announced a completely redesigned profile page, tagged ‘The Timeline’.
Zuckerberg introduced the new ‘Timeline’ feature which will enable users to give a ‘more complete story’ of who they are. This Timeline is an online scrapbook which he said will “help you tell the story of your life”.
The Timeline presents a stream of information about you. You are, in effect, creating a profile of ‘who you are’ through the photos you’ve posted, all your status updates and the apps you’ve used. Split into multiple columns, the timeline shows all of your updates in one place on an endlessly scrolling page.
Timeline is currently in beta (you probably don’t want to access it straight away unless you’re a developer as it is currently experiencing bugging issues) and will be opt-in to start. However, it will soon become the new default profile page for all users.
How this is good news for brands – a new class of apps
Zuckerberg also explained that Facebook was focusing on making a ‘new class of Open Graph applications’. These apps mean that users can access content such as music and newspaper articles directly within Facebook and let users share what they listen to, watch and read with friends.
This is great news for brands. Based on the ‘Like’ social plug-in developers can now customise ways of sharing their content with new created ‘Listened’, ‘Watched’, and ‘Read’ buttons which will see content posted in users’ timelines or the newly developed live ‘ticker’ stream. So a user’s friends will see the latest music their friends are listening to on Spotify for example, or the film they’ve just watched on Netflix.
The result is that brands have gained an important new way to target Facebook users through advertising. So, by utilising these new buttons – which tells advertisers what musicians, films or publications not only a user likes but also what their friends like – advertisers are being given even more insights into the make-up of their audience. So advertisers on Facebook’s Ads API or those who work with Facebook’s Sales team will be able to reach relevant consumers who might not have directly Liked a Page.
To give an example, rather than just targeting a user who has Liked Lady Gaga’s Facebook Page, brands will be able to target anyone who shared one of her songs through Spotify or any of their friends who clicked ‘Listened’ on a story about her.
These changes will also have an impact on Facebook’s Sponsored Stories ad format. Marketers will now be able to target Sponsored Stories to people based on the content they have shared from apps, such as Netflix or Spotify.
The potential for this type of granular targeting is huge for brands. Though at launch, it is only music, video and readable content that will feature these new feedback buttons, David Fischer, Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, told All Facebook that the site is considering releasing more, including a ‘Want’ button for products. This will provide unique opportunities to more and more industries, such as ecommerce, with shopping brands gaining ‘Wants’ on new products they can promote on Facebook.
Brands need to be more engaging than ever
Facebook also introduced a new ‘lightweight’ sharing feature, in order to give its users the ability to share more things without cluttering their friends’ newsfeeds. This means that all ‘lightweight’ information will be shown on the Ticker feed only. So status updates, photos and posted links to articles will be shown on the newsfeed, while Likes or your score on the latest game will be shown on the Ticker feed in real time.
This is to ensure that your newsfeed contains only the most valuable and relevant content. For brands this means that they must have a robust and effective strategy in place to deliver compelling content that will engage fans and optimises how much they interact with you.
The changes announced at F8 provide a challenge to brands – but also opportunities. They must create truly compelling content that fans want to engage with. This is all about increasing your Facebook EdgeRank – in the face of these new updates it will be vital to alter and optimise engagement strategies and ensure your brand is one that fans want to see in their newsfeeds.