Friday Wrap #64: Upbeat stories get better engagement, Google+ goes internal, bye-bye Tag, and more2013-08-24
(c) Can Stock PhotoSocial media was front and center in the news this week. Facebook announced it was leading an initiative to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world that doesn’t have access, while the Huffington Post made waves by announcing it would no longer permit the posting of anonymous comments. In the midst of these stories, other announcements and posts may have slipped by unnoticed. These are the ones I found most intriguing, although you can see all the stories I collected on my link blog, LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.
Upbeat stories get more traction
Consuming the news used to be a depressing affair. “Don’t they ever report any good news?” used to be a common lament. As more and more people get their news through news feeds containing links shared by their friends, colleagues and family, though, the news is getting more positive. According to Eliana Dockterman, writing for Time, “the success of sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy, whose philosophies embrace the viral nature of upbeat stories, hints that the Web craves positivity.” That’s bad news for the scores of bloggers, Twitter users and denizens of other social channels who have honed their snark and sarcasm skills, but good news for organizations looking to earn engagement with their content. “Researchers are discovering that people want to create positive images of themselves online by sharing upbeat stories,” writes Dockterman. “And with more people turning to Facebook and Twitter to find out what’s happening in the world, news stories may need to cheer up in order to court an audience. If social is the future of media, then optimistic stories might be media’s future.”
Demographic details: Adults vs. teens in social media
A NextAdvisor infographic based on recently-released data from the Pew Reseach Center draws some clear distinctions between teen and adult uses of social media. “Teens are still dominant users when it comes to social media. But, us adults reign when it comes to the coolest social media platform out there right now: Instagram. Pinterest is also a platform adults rule,” writes Marion aan’t Goor on the ViralBlog. The data also asserts that 94% of teens use Facebook, contradicting numerous accounts of teens fleeing the dominant social network. Be sure to take a look at the infographic for more data.
Google courts businesses looking for internal social media solutions
Google made several announcements last week, which makes it understandable that the launch of Google+ API Domains didn’t get much coverage. But for companies looking for internal social networking solutions, it’s a big deal. Andrew Leme, writing in Wired, explains the feature will allow companies to develop enterprise tools over the Google+ platform, consolidating Google+ “as a solution that aims to meet the needs of the enterprise user not only in making connections and social relations within the corporation.” Companies can also cobble together tools for enterprise “communication and collaboration – a niche which has never attracted interest from Facebook.” Can you see Google+ as the core of your social intranet?
Brands and even the intelligence community turn to Tumblr
The U.S. Intelligence Community has launched a Tumblr blog as part of an initiative to be more transparent. The introductory post, written by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “The goal of IC ON THE RECORD is to provide the public with direct access to factual information related to the lawful foreign surveillance activities carried out by the Intelligence Community.” Clapper adds that future posts will address how intelligence is collected, how it’s used, and the oversight process. Currently, the site is “relatively spare,” according to C|Net‘s Dana Kerr, “and has a handful of posts about declassified documents, speeches, testimony, and more.” Tumblr may seem like an intriguing choice. Other government blogs use a more traditional blogging interface. The TSA blog, for example, is published on Google’s Blogger platform. But seeing that its current content is less about original content and more sharing of existing documents, it makes sense. After all, one-third of the top global brands listed by Interbrand have a marketing presence on Tumblr, writes Mark Walsh for Online Media Daily. “Of the 31 brands on Tumblr, 27 are also on Pinterest and Instagram, indicating that they are at least experimenting with each of these networks to share visual content. Nearly seven in 10 brand posts feature original content with the balance being reblogs of other Tumbler posts.”
Microsoft shuts down Tag
No, QR codes are not dead. But they’re not at the peak of health, either. QR codes drive enough traffic to be useful given they don’t cost anything to incorporate, but they haven’t gained significant traction in the U.S. So it’s no surprise that Microsoft Tag—launched three years ago as a more colorful, appealing alternative to QR codes—is closing its doors. The reasons? “Code readers haven’t come pre-loaded on major smartphone platforms and users have hardly been incentivized to download them—most of the time, they send you to a poorly optimized mobile website featuring a branded video or some other form of advertisement,” explains Mashable‘s Lauren Indvik. Microsoft is licensing the Tag technology to another QR code provider so existing codes will still work.
If you want people to “like” your content, get someone to like it first
No less an authority than the Journal of Science reports that getting someone to give your content a Facebook like right after it’s published—or even liking it yourself—increases the odds that others will like it by 32%. “Researchers also found this content scored 25 percent higher when calculating the total amount of positive votes than content that received no votes at all when it was first published,” writes Joshua Sophy on Small Business Trends.
Snark applied to the self-policing of the social media space
According to a message posted to a Twitter account purportedly owned by Al Qaeda soliciting ideas about how to spread its message was suspended after other users mocked the tweet with a flood of their own. Security analyst JD Berger asked followers to hijack the hashtag employed in the tweet, and they (and others) responded “by besieging the terrorists’ hashtag with satirical suggestions, including one from a user who counselled the extremists to release a film entitled Dude, Where’s My Car Bomb?” according to The Independent‘s Nick Renaud-Komiya. While this particular action is absolutely commendable—not to mention hilarious—organizations should be on guard that their own hashtag marketing campaigns could be subject to similar treatment if they raise the community’s ire enough.
Brand advocates drive word of mouth
Usually in this space I like to spotlight new research, but this post on Branding Strategy Insider by Derrick Daye does such a good job aggregating various research to make a compelling case that it earned a spot in this week’s wrap. The point may seem a like a blinding flash of the obvious, but that doesn’t mean leadership will commit budget dollars to it: “Brand advocates are vital to social media marketing strategies because of the word of mouth (WoM) they generate.” So it’s worthwhile to see the treasure trove of evidence Daye has gathered. Some of Daye’s conclusions from the collection of data includes the fact that word of mouth is the most influential driver of purchase decisions, investing in word of mouth marketing produces a measurable payoff, and positive word of mouth saves money.
Should user engagement be based on daily visits instead of monthly?
Whenever we rank social networks based on their active users, the standard metric is monthly visits. Facebook may drive a change to that common benchmark though, according to Kurt Wagner, writing in Mashable. “During the company’s Q2 earnings call,” Wagner reports, “there was an entire menu of them: Daily actives worldwide (699 million), mobile daily actives (469 million in June), and even the number of active users during America’s daily primetime television hours (88 to 100 million).” Then, last week, Facebook debuted its daily active user count for the U.S. during the previous week (128 million), heightening the expectation that daily active users will become the new default metric. A spokesman cautioned not to expect daily active user counts routinely but, as Wagner says, Facebook’s actions “seem to demonstrate its dedication to using the new metric.”
If this works, PR agencies may buy used vans and hit the road
New York PR agency VP&C has taken an analog approach to pitching its clients wares: a road trip. Driving a 2007 Sunseeker motor home, five of the agency’s executives and staff began the trip to Des Moines, with several stops along the way, where they will show off products from clients like Mohawk Carpet, J.C. Penney, Q Squared and Rocky Mountain Hardware. “The agency is inviting reporters and editors to visit the motor home at each stop to learn more about the products,” writes Stuart Elliott for The New York Times. “For instance, the visit to Des Moines is intended for meetings with editorial staff members of magazines published by the Meredith Corporation.” Why the gasoline-consuming approach to generating earned media? Generating buzz, says agency principal Esther Perman.