(c) Can Stock PhotoThis week’s Wrap comes to you from Amsterdam, where I presented a session on crisis communications in the social media era at Ragan Communications’ PR/Social Media Summit. Fortunately, both the hotel room and the conference venue—ING House—have great WiFi. That matters, as you’ll see in one of today’s items, which I culled from my link blog at LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.
Should your boss be able to fire you for who you like?
Danny Carter worked suggestion that such communication has less than full constitutional protection would result in chilling the very valued means for communication the Internet has made possible.” Count me on Facebook’s side of the argument. One of the judges asked the sheriff’s laywer how clicking a like is any different from “putting a sign in a yard that says, ‘I Like Ike’?” The Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that yard signs are protected speech. Bloomberg News has the story.
Bad news for Google+
Yes, brands do need to be on Google+ if for no other reason than to avail themselves of the SEO benefits. But Google’s social network—which just introduced a new design that looks like a mashup of Facebook and Pinterest (Faceterest? Pinbook?)—is nevertheless “struggling to win over brands and businesses that have been its most loyal customers in the Internet search market,” according to Alexei Oreskovic in a Reuters piece. Not only are consumers more attuned to using Facebook and Twitter, they also spend more time on Facebook than on Google+ (for those who use Google+ at all). “The average U.S. visitor to Google+ spent 6 minutes 47 seconds on the site in March, versus more than 6 hours on Facebook.com, according to Nielsen Media Research, though the data does not include activity on the social networks’ mobile apps.” Of the 100 most valuable brands worldwide, 72 have a Google+ presence compared to 87 on Facebook. Many of those on Google+ aren’t updating their content—Pepsi, for example—even as they update regularly on Facebook. McDonald’s has a Google+ page—with absolutely nothing on it. A McDonald’s spokesperson said the company wasn’t active on the platform.
Social media creates Wall Street generation gap
Do investors trust social media? That depends on how old they are, according to a Marketwired report. “A generational divide is emerging, with people under 40 increasingly turning to and relying on social media to inform investment decisions,” a Bulldog Reporter article explains. In a news release, Marketwired CEO Jim Delaney said, “Nearly 40% of respondents use information from social media when making investment decisions, and the number jumps to 60% when looking at the next generation of decision-makers.” Respondents under 40 are most inclined to use social media to get investment information, and they’re three times more likely than other age groups to find the information they find credible. I’m compelled to point out that the report also finds that about half of the respondents to the Marketwired survey say their companies block access to social media, so 39% simply use their own personal electronic devices.
What’s the top hotel amenity for luxury US travelers?
Hot towel racks? Keurig coffee makers? Custom mattresses? Special salts to help you sleep? You’re getting colder. Internet access is the top most coveted feature with 54% of affluents both under and over 55; among those in high net-worth households, Internet access ranks even higher, at 57%. For those choosing a hotel for a vacation, a beach came in second, quality food third and privacy fourth, according to the Resonance Report on Affluent Travel and Leisure, as reported in Luxury Travel Magazine.
Agency execs find native ads perform better
Spending on native advertising—those articles that appear in a publication’s content stream but are labeled “sponsored”—is creeping closer and closer to spending on display ads, with a report by BIA/Kelsey anticipating more than $4.5 billion will be invested in native ads by 2017, compared to $6.5 billion on display ads. The report anticipates the growth despite reservatins by some over “the blurring of lines between content and advertising that occurs with native ads, particularly in the context of news sites,” according to an eMarketer report. The article also notes that U.S. agency executives surveyed late last year see native video ads performing better than conventional ads, while on the flip side, a MediaBrix study found found a high percentage of Americans believe native ads are misleading. Whether native advertising’s star will shine long is anybody’s guess, but with publications struggling for revenue while marketers need better channels to distribute their messages, it should remain hot for the foreseeable future.
Newspapers’ ebook experience offers insights for communicators
News organizations are publishing ebooks in their search for new revenue, according to Taylor Miller Thomas writing for Poynter‘s blog. “The ebook market’s growth has strengthened bonds between publications and readers, particularly for news organizations that choose to publish their ebooks in-house rather than work with a publishing company. Some news organizations’ ebooks are entirely new writing and reporting,” she writes, “while others repackage archived material as commemorative collections or primers about topics of interest.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s latest book is a novel; earlier ventures include cookie recipes featuring entries in a reader contest. The book sold well as a Mother’s Day gift. The New York Times publishes ebooks to serve as educational materials. As reader habits shift to ebooks, organizations should be exploring the medium as a channel for their messages. McKinsey & Company, for example, published a detailed report in the Kindle and ePub formats, making it easy to read on a Kindle or iPad. What are the opportunities for communicating via ebook in your company?
Vines earn four times the shares of other videos
Marketers are finding that Vines—the six-second videos produced using Twitter’s new platform—can be highly effective. Look at Lowe’s, which produced a dozen of the short-form videos to demonstrate clever ways to handle irksome household tasks (like unscrewing a screw with a stripped head by using a rubber band). According to research from Unruly Media, “five Vines are shared every second on Twitter, so the non-advertising world apparently digs the six-second videos, too.” Four percent of the top 100 shared Vines were brand-produced, compared to only 1% of the top 100 viral online videos, Christopher Heine writes for Adweek. Another finding: More Vines are shared over the weekend than during all of the weekdays combined.
Add Snapchat to the list of image-based marketing channels
Really? Snapchat? Isn’t that the tool kids use to send each other images that then vanish, keeping them from returning to haunt them later on down the road? Yep, that Snapchat. According to Say Daily, Taco Bell has become the first major brand to try the channel (which, of course, was screen-captured and shared on the web). “The gimmick was to announce the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito in a way that would go viral, so maybe that worked,” according to the article, which also notes that a New York City frozen yogurt chain distributed coupons via Shnapchat after those customers “sent in pictures of themselves enjoying (the company’s) product.” Since the promotion started, the company has received more than 1,400 snaps. Both case studies involve companies that “have only engaged with Snapchat users who have voluntarily added those brands as friends,” the article notes. The primary benefit of the channel compared to others: urgency. “That is, there is a certain do-it-now! quality to Snapchat because it is built around a structure that self-destructs (or at least pretends to.) This sense of urgency could compel users to act on a branded snap’s call to action more readily than they would a tweet or a Facebook whatever.”
Bing folds Facebook comments into sidebar results
Say what you will about Microsoft’s also-ran search engine, Bing. They do keep trying to differentiate the service from its mega-rival, Google. The latest: You can leave a Facebook comment on content directly from the search engine’s Social Sidebar. “This means you will be allowed to directly engage with your Facebook friends right from the search results,” Thom Craver explains in a post to Search Engine Watch. “The new tool will allow you to ask questions or provide comments or answers on posts that are relevant to the search…If you search for an event in your area and you have Facebook friends who are talking about attending, you can not only find that out easily with the Social Sidebar, but you can also join in the conversation without ever leaving the search experience.”