Friday Wrap #83: Facebook rules, vanishing office messages, frigid real-time marketing, and more

Posted on January 10, 2014 7:37 am by | Content | Instagram | Visual Communication | Brands | Customer Service | Facebook | QR Codes | Social Media | Social networks | Twitter

Friday Wrap #82

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The holiday break is over and we’re all getting back into the swing of work. The first few days of 2014 have seen no shortage of news and reports of interest to communicators, and the first Wrap of the new year features some gems. As always, you can keep up with all the stories I collect on my link blog at LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.

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Adult adoption of social media continues to grow

More and more adults continue to adopt social media, with Facebook maintaining its status as the top platform even as an increasing number of adults tap into more than one social network per day. According to new data from the Pew Research Center, 73% of online adults use some type of social network and 42% use more than one. As reported by Intelligent HQ, 71% of adults use Facebook, up from 67% a year earlier. As for a second network, it’s a virtual four-way tie between LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. “Engagement is highest among Facebook and Instagram users,” Paul Milnes writes, “with the majority of people that use these sites visiting them at least once a day.” For those who still use just one platform, Facebook is the choice of 84% (compared to just 8% for LinkedIn, 4% for Pinterest, and 2% for Twitter or Instagram). Interestingly, Pew didn’t even include Google+ in the survey. Also left out: YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr and Vine.

Another reason recruiters should avoid screening recruits on Facebook

Seeking means of predicting the potential performance of a new-hire, recruiters have latched onto Facebook. Reviewing a candidate’s profile has become routine and some employers have even demanded account passwords, a practice outlawed by several states. New research, though, suggests that “Facebook is bunk as a job performance predictor,” writes Forbes’ Kashmir Hill. The study—from three universities and Accenture—found that “Recruiter ratings of Facebook profiles correlates essentially zero with job performance,” according to the researchers. Recruits whose profiles featured profanity, odd profile pictures, religious references, and sexual material got low ratings, along with people who “had traditionally non-white names and/or who were clearly non-white.” The researchers advise HR staff to “warn managers away from using Facebook to review their applicants.”

An ephemeral app for the business crowd

Snapchat’s popularity is undeniable—even brands are figuring out how to leverage the app that lets you view images and messages for only a few seconds before they vanish. Imitators have been popping up and now there’s one that targets a business audience. Confide, an iOS app, “is aimed at professionals who want to speak candidly about delicate personnel or legal matters without leaving a trail that exposes proprietary information,” according to Sarah Frier, writing for Businessweek. One of the app’s founders says it’s a better solution than slapping “Confidential, do not forward” on a memo. Frier points out the one big red flag I saw with the app: “Companies face heavy regulatory pressure to preserve—not destroy—business emails, financial records, and other documents.” Some corporate lawyers shut down instant messaging in their organizations because of the difficulty creating an archive. If Confide gains traction, its primary uses could well be unauthorized by employees who don’t want their messages retained even if the lawyers do. Still, one of the founders has been experimenting with Confide, noting that he sent out PR materials to a team that the company wanted to make sure wasn’t leaked, according to AdAge.

Marketers pile onto #PolarVortex hashtag

For a lot of marketers out there, there’s nothing like a good meme. With the Polar Vortex sending temperatures plunging and people using the #PolarVortex hashtag when talking about it, a lot of brands whose products have nothing to do with the weather just couldn’t resist the allure. Toothpaste brand Crest Asked, “Is eating ice cream your #PolarVortex?” That earned a whopping three retweets while restaurant TGI Fridays got only 1 with, “Fighting the #polarvortex one stacked burger at a time.” A review of questionable tweets from Digiday also features eye-rolling entries from Junior Mints, Corona, and AMC Theatres. Burger chain Wendy’s got credit for making a bit of an effort, photoshopping a Spicy Chipotle Sandwich into a screen shot of a weather app tweeted out sans the #polarvortex hashtag. It’s embarrassing to see what some big brands consider real-time marketing.

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Emotions explain why content goes viral

You may already have suspected this, but now there’s science to support it: “Emotions hold the secret to viral web content,” FastCoDesign reports. “Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content.” The study comes from a research team led by a National Science Foundation researcher; the study bolsters other studies that have reached the same conclusion.

Would you like email from people who don’t know your email address? (I didn’t think so)

Google has added a feature to Gmail that will enable any Google+ user to send email to your account by typing their name into the “to” field. That is (according to The Verge) “anyone on (Google’s) social network will be able to send messages to your Gmail inbox.” You’ll need to opt out if you don’t want just anyone to be able to drop you an email. Your Gmail address won’t be exposed unless you send a reply. So far, response has been critical. The setting is rolling out now, but the functionality won’t be enabled until later. Google promises to let users know when it’s active—by email.

Bid farewell to Facebook’s Sponsored Stories

It sounded like a good idea. You find a post on Facebook that touts your company’s product, so you pony up some money to make convert it into an ad. But they never gained favor with readers and, as of April 9, they’ll be gone, according to VentureBeat. But that doesn’t mean the concept will vanish, since “Facebook understands the value of word-of-mouth marketing—even when it’s a mouse click doing the talking. There’s money to be made if you ‘like’ the Starbucks page.” Google’s action is consistent with a statement in October that reducing the amount of Authorship snippets improves the quality of search results.

Google downgrades Authorship

Google giveth, Google taketh away. Google Authorship enabled people to connect search results of their material to their profiles, enhancing credibility and increasing the likelihood that a users would click the result. Now, however, Google is reducing the number of Authorship results included in Google searches, according to Mark Traphagen, writing for Virante Orange Juice. Traphagen writes that Google Authorship users are reporting that their “rich snippets for search results for their content have either completely disappeared, disappeared for some sites but not for others, or are showing in a new limited form with author byline but no author photo).”

Frustrated travelers increasingly turn to Twitter

If twitter isn’t part of your customer service mix—especially if you work for an airline—you may want to reconsider your strategy. Flyers experiencing travel woes are embracing Twitter as an alternative to the customer service phone line, with tweets about travel rising 54% between 2012 and 2013, with 12 million tweets per week. That number rose even more, to an all-time high, during recent storms. According to AZ Central, “the service is a natural for solving customer-relations issues at businesses such as airlines because it’s a real-time public forum and three out of four regular users use it on a mobile device.”  American Airlines dealt with some 13,000 tweets in a three-day period during the storm; the airline employs 22 people to handle the tweets and added extra shifts to manage the surge.

New Twitter experiment aims to boost engagement

A new Twitter account, @AchievementBird, will send you a direct message to let you know you’ve earned an “achievement” with a tweet. When (and if) it’s fully available to the public, the account will send you occasional tweets “about how one of your tweets has performed,” according to TechCrunch. A similar experiment—an account called @magicheadlines—advises you “where Tweets are embedded around the web.”

Can Clickable Paper succeed where QR Codes failed?

The assertion that QR codes have been a total failure is a bit overblown. After all, it costs marketers nothing to include them in materials already destined for print, from magazine ads to billboards. Even just a few scans produces a return on investment. But QR Codes have never taken off the way some thought they might. A new technology, Clickable Paper from Ricoh, is a two-year-old technology that might pick up the slack. According to Mashable, you can “click on an image without zooming in on a code or logo first. After clicking, you’re directed to a range of options, including an Amazon link, a YouTube video and a website; it also lets you tweet or share the information on Facebook.” Unlike QR Codes, it’s not free and there’s only one app—from Ricoh—for scanning Clickable Paper. At this point, if you’re interested in using it, you have to contact Ricoh.

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