Friday Wrap #86: Facebook is a requirement, newsrooms don’t deliver, Twitter is a news source

Posted on January 31, 2014 10:28 am by | Content | Brands | Business | Facebook | Marketing | Mobile | PR | Social Media

Friday WrapThe Friday Wrap is my weekly culling of articles and posts I’ve collected that could be of interest to communicators, but that you may have missed in your own scans. I collect all the items I’ll consider for the Wrap at my link blog,, which you’re welcome to follow.

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Facebook is not optional

That’s the conclusion of SHIFT Communications’ Christopher S. Penn after reviewing Facebook’s 2013 fourth quarter and annual reports. With 1.23 billion montly active users, the social network reaches 44% of the global Internet-enabled population. Almost 80% of Facebook users access the service from a mobile device at least once a month; a quarter use only a mobile device. “If your conversion efforts are not mobile-friendly, you are effecitvely throwing away 25% of your Facebook marketing dollars completely, and making it unpleasant for 3 out of 4 potential customers,” Penn writes. As for algorithm updates that affect the content that appears in users’ news feeds, look for more updates “that transform Facebook into almost purely a pay-to-play for companies looking to get eyeballs.” The bottom line, Penn says, is that “Facebook is not optional for anyone in PR or marketing doing a social media campaign. End of discussion.”

Company newsrooms still fail to deliver what journalists want

A new report finds that business newsrooms—those sites designed to accommodate the media—fail to meet journalists’ needs. For example, while 83% of journalists want images, only 38% of PR practitioners include images with news content on their sites. According to PRESSfeed CEO Sally Falkow, who produced the report, newsrooms fail to populate their sites with that journalists “are looking for, and things they think are important, and things that make their jobs easier for them.” Among the findings: Only one-third of sites include video galleries, 39% have image galleries (and 49% don’t meet image quality standards required for publication), only 13% provide include video with news content, and only 37% offer embed codes with their video. PR Daily‘s Russel Working quotes me in the article noting that the results aren’t far different from the results of the Middleberg/Ross studies of the late 1980s and early 1990s, in which reporters very similar preferences for newsrooms. If you want good coverage, making the resources journalists need seems like an obvious place to start. It continues to befuddle me that companies don’t invest in so basic an online resource.

Twitter wants to be a primary source of news

When reporters go hunting for news, Twitter wants to be one of the first sources they turn to. There’s no doubt people post items to Twitter that qualify as news and that haven’t been reported anywhere else. But there’s a lot of misinformation, too, and filtering through the firehose of tweets is a daunting task. Twitter hopes to solve that problem with a news alert system CNN is using. Dataminr for News closes the gap “between the eyewitness wanting to be heard and the journalist wanting to listen,” according to Vivian Schiller, Twitter’s new liaison to the news industry, wrote in a blog post. “Dataminr’s tool helps newsrooms identify breaking news and verifiable sources on Twitter - quickly and accurately.” CNN claims it is reporting at least two stories a day that have surfaced through Dataminr. The tool eventually will roll out to news organizations worldwide.

Facebook’s Paper app to launch on Monday for iPhone only

If you like Flipboard, wait until you get a load of Paper. That’s the early consensus from those who have seen Facebook’s new standalone iPhone app which is a “complete reimagining of Facebook itself,” according to The Verge. “Once you’ve used it, you may never want to open the standard Facebook app again. It may not replicated every feature of Facebook’s main app, but it does fulfill the majority of people’s needs,” writes Dieter Bohn. “Simply put, it’s much, much better.” This may come as a shock to those who assume Facebook is at the beginning of a long decline based on the complexity of its interface. By offering a horizontal scrolling set of screens and an easier way to post items, Facebook has simplified the way people can use the site. Still, you have to wonder why it’s limited to the iPhone, considering Android has captured more than 80% of the global smartphone market.

Below the fold

Can’t we engage more than 4.7% of our brand’s fans?

According to EngageScience, that’s the best we’re able to do. Only 4.7% of a brand’s fans produce all the referrals that are the holy grail of social media marketing. “As much as we like to talk about them, customer advocates are a rarefied segment,” according to SmartBlog on Social Media. We have to do better, since more than 90% of consuemrs trust earned media like recommendations from friends and family. The key is to arm fans with greater motivation, content and opportunities that enable them to act.

How trustworthy are online reviews?

We already know that some companies try to game online reviews, from paying people to post positive reviews to posting negative reviews about competitors. Now comes word from YouGov that 21% of Americans who have reviewed a product or service never bought, used or tried that product or service. A lot of other interesting data came out of the survey. For example, about a third of those who have never written a bad review claim they’ve never had a bad enough experience to warrant it, while 15% subscribe to what their mothers told them: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.”

Flipboard redesign gets closer to real magazines

While Facebook is adopting a Flipboard-like approach to its Paper app, Flipboard is introducing a redesign to highlight “the best and most popular content from across your subscriptions,” says TechCrunch. Applied only to the Cover Stories section for now, the new design looks more like a traditional magazine, listing stories in a table-of-contents fashion that is far more appealing that the “chaotic mess” that has often characterized the section. The redesign also introduces better organization of articles by subject matter rather than just the source of the article.

LinkedIn connections get a visual twist

If you’re not convinced that the online world is shifting toward visual content, take a look at “How You’re Connected,” a new feature from LinkedIn that provides “a visual enhancement that explores your path to a contact,” according to Mashable. “When looking for an introduction to someone you may not know yet, you will now not only see ‘who’ in your network knows them on their Profile, but also ‘how’ they know each other to help you decide the best contact to request an introduction from,” Udi Milo, a product manager at LinkedIn, wrote in a blog post.”

Now you can search Twitter for videos, pictures and news

Twitter has introduced new search filters to help you find people, photos, videos, and news, according to The Verge. “You can also filter results to include tweets only from people you follow, or tweets that are near your current location.” Included in the video search is a toggle that will limit your search to just Vine videos.

Psst: You should take a look at Whisper

When a new app is launched, it’s often greeted with reviews that argue they hold no promise for marketers. That was one of the first reactions to Jelly, which (of course) has attracted a lot of marketers. Now there’s increasing buzz about Whisper, launched in mid-2012 which lets users share messages and secrets anonymously. According to Mashable, Whisper bills itself as a “private, anti-social networking app” because it doesn’t save, store or collect any information about users, opting instead to protect anonymity. “Whispers” are sent as images with text superimposed. Sounds like a marketing opportunity to me, especially considering there were already 2 million users when the Android version was released in May. The Mashable piece offers a one-stop guide to using the app.

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  • 1.I've had Whisper for quite a while. It's interesting to watch the kinds of things that people post - mostly of a very personal nature. David Armano caught one post and questioned whether our friends at - wait for it - Oreo were there.;

    Scott Monty | January 2014

  • 2.I appreciate this post, especially the section on Facebook, which quite frankly I have become disillusioned with. Yes, Fb is entitled to find a sustainable revenue model and paying to promote seems to be doing this for them right now. It is just not the way it was supposed to work (ie. your fans would see your posts in their news feed without you paying for it). The 'organic' aspect has been stripped away and I see this change happening across the board. I guess the real test will be if all brands (including B2B) benefit from the new approach and if they stay on social channels or find other ways to redirect traffic to their own site where they can shape their brand conversation better.

    Anita | February 2014 | Toronto

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