Friday Wrap #73: Wikipedia vs PR, PR research standards, LinkedIn drives traffic, WOM pays off2013-10-25
Greetings from New York, where I conducted a workshop today on employee ambassador programs and will speak tomorrow on crisis communication to employees—all part of IABC and Prescient Digital’s annual global intranet summit. Here’s this week’s wrap-up of research and articles of interest to communicators that may have escaped your notice. I collect all the articles I’ll consider for inclusion in the Wrap in my link blog at LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.
Wikipedia deletes 250 accounts linked to paid editing
Wikipedia has rules, and one of the most sacrosanct is its no conflict-of-interest rule. Wiki-PR offers to help brands circumvent those rules by editing on their behalf and claims considerable success, charging $500 to $1,000 to write articles and $50 per month to maintain them. Now, Wikimedia director Sue Gardner has issued a statement asserting that hundreds of editing accounts associated with Wiki-PR have been deleted; more than 250 have been either blocked or deleted, according to the statement, reported in Ars Technica. As further evidence that the rift between PR and Wikipedia is widening, the article (by Joe Mullin) quotes longtime Wikipedia editor Kevin Gorman labeling Wiki-PR’s efforts as “lame spam;” he adds that he’s worried about “what happens when an unethical outfit manages to start getting major clients and start controlling articles that our average reader assumes are not written by corporate flaks (sic).” The idea that PR professionals might actually add value to Wikipedia by ensuring accuracy is an alien concept to most of Wikipedians, and it’s not likely to get better soon. Your best bet: Play by the rules, even if that means inaccurate information never gets updated and valid articles get deleted.
Wikipedia’s star may be setting
It could be that brands won’t be as anxious to be listed in Wikipedia in the not-too-distant future, rendering concerns about the item above moot. MIT Technology Review‘s Tom Simonite (also the author of another Review article cited later in this week’s wrap-up) explains in a piece headlined The Demise of Wikipedia that the community of editors has shrunk by one-third in the last six years, a trend that isn’t slowing. “Those participants left seem incapable of fixing the flaws that keep Wikipedia from becoming a high-quality encyclopedia by any standard, including the project’s own,” Simonite explains. The reason: “The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage.”
Four top companies to test interim PR research standards
You can’t find four more recognizable big-name brands than General Electric, McDonald’s, General Motors and Southwest Airlines, so it’s noteworthy when those four companies agree to test a set of interim public relations research standards issued by the Coalition for Public Relations Research. Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog reports that “The release of the interim standards is part of a six-stage process designed by the Coalition. Following this stage, the Coalition will review, revise and propose adoption of the standards.” The initial set of standards address traditional media measurement, digital and social media measurement, the marketing funnel, and ROI.
The top source of traffic to corporate websites? LinkedIn
LinkedIn accounts for 64% of referral traffic to corporate websites, according to research from Investis IQ. Steve Rayson writes on Social Media Today that the amount of traffic from LinkedIn is more than from all other social media platforms combined. Twitter is gaining influence, up 4% to 14%, but Facebook’s influence has fallen by 50% in the last year. Which leads to the obvious question: How big a part of your communications effort is LinkedIn?
Great word of mouth correlates with success
Some of the world’s top brands in their categories also earned the highest word of mouth scores, according to ForeSee research. According to Tanya Irwin, writing for Marketing Daily, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Avon and Amazon earned the best word of mouth scores, while brands that are suffering overall posted among the lowest scores. Apple’s score of 65 compares to Blackberry’s 39. Amazon earned the highest score of all retailers with 67; the Gap came in at 32. If your company is struggling and you don’t have a strong word of mouth effort in place, you might want to reconsider your strategy.
Is your logo paying off for you?
Research reported in the the MIT Sloan Management reveals that some logos provide huge benefits while others barely make a dent in a company’s efforts to impact brand perceptions. According to C. Whan Park, Andreas B. Eisingerich and Gratiana Pol, “The enhanced identification benefit offered by a brand logo (in other words, making it easier to identify a brand in the sea of competing offerings) has no significant impact on customer brand commitment and only a small impact on company financial performance. In contrast, when they express a brand’s symbolic, functional or sensory benefits, logos have a significant positive effect on customer commitment to a brand — and thereby a significant impact on company performance in terms of revenues and profits.” The article requires free registration.
eBay’s curation effort elevates importance of images
You rarely see an eBay listing that doesn’t include pictures, but nobody talks about eBay when they talk about online images. To combat that and draw interest back to the etailing site, eBay has outlined its plans to let users curate collections a la Pinterest. AdAge‘s Natalie Zmuda writes, “Many of the new features, like the ability to follow users or curate collections, are reminiscent of features utilized by Pinterest and Etsy.”
Twitter experiments with private feeds
Twitter has introduced two experiments that allow users to subscribe to “private and personalized feeds alongside the public one,” writes Tom Simonite in MIT Technology Review. “Opting in to the experiments involves following two special Twitter accounts, which then send personalized messages using the service’s direct message function,” he explains. One is @magicrecs, followers of which get direct messages recommending other accounts and tweets of interest. The second, @eventparrot, “sends its followers personalized updates on breaking news via direct messages.” You have to wonder, in light of the impending IPO, if these kinds of utilities might be offered to brands seeking to establish alternative types of connections with customers. Simonite speculates that we could see accounts that send local weather forecasts, music suggestions and notifications of local deals.
BBC inserts videos into paid tweets
Leveraging a Twitter program called Amplify, the BBC Global News has inked a deal to produce a short-form video series under the #BBCTrending label to appear in Twitter streams beginning later this fall. Jeanine Poggi explains in an AdAge piece that the videos “will be distributed to BBC International’s 4.8 million Twitter followers and pushed further as Twitter sells from its suite of ad products, such as promoted tweets, to help with distribution.” While other Twitter media partners have used the service to tweet clips from existing TV shows, this is the first time original programming has been developed for Twitter distribution. You can see a sample here.
Twitter is tops with teens for shopping
When asked about their favorite social networks when it comes to retail behavior, 26% of teens chose Twitter, while 23% picked both Facebook and Instagram. The figures represent a 10% decrease for Facebook since the last time the survey was conducted six months ago, when granddaddy of social networks was in first place. Even Twitter fell 4% since the last survey. Instagram ate into both their shares, according to Zoe Fox in a Mashable article.
Brands produce 40% of the most-shared Instagram videos
Brands may not be dominating Instagram videos, but they are responsible for a sizable portion of the videos people share, according to a study from Unruly Media. Some 80 brands are using the platform, Adweek‘s Christopher Heine says. Among the top 10 are GoPro, Wendy’s, Starbucks and Topshop.
Tweets with hashtags earn more retweets
Hubspot research finds that tweets that contain hashtags are retweeted 55% more than those that don’t. Ayaz Nanji reports in MarketingProfs that Hubspot’s Dan Zarella “examined a dataset of more than 1.2 million random tweets to find correlations between the use of non-alphanumerical characters and the number of retweets.” Tweets with quote marks also improved the likelihood of a retweet, by 30%.