Friday Wrap #23: Predicting Twitter trends, American Apparel’s gaffe, a social research center2012-11-02
(c) Can Stock PhotoThe weekend approacheth, but not before we look back on the last five days and the posts and articles that made an impression. If you’re interested in the pool from which these items were drawn, you can always dip your toes in at Links From Shel.
An algorithm for predicting Twitter’s trending topics
If somebody was going to come up with a formula for figuring out which topics will trend on Twitter 90 minutes before they do, you’d think it would be the quants at MIT. Indeed, researchers say their algorithm is 95 percent accurate, according to a Poynter Institute post. “Basically, it sounds like the algorithm learns to recognize the low-level data patterns that precede a topc making ‘the jump’ into a conversational trend,” writes Jeff Sonderman.
American Apparel and lessons learned
Some brands just never learn. Over the last few years, retailers and fashion houses have found themselves in hot water for promoting themselves on the backs of some kind of emergency. This time around, it’s American Apparel, which suggested that customers affected by Hurricane Sandy might take advantage of a sale “in case you’re bored during the storm.” Lest you think this was directed at people outside the storm area tired of news reports, the offer was available only in storm-affected states. Melissa Agnes is just one of several who wrote about the gaffe, calling it “the opposite of being sincere and compassionate.” She adds, “The whole Twitter-sphere lit up with tweets of disgust and outrage.” Agnes’s advice? “Always focus on sincerity and compassion in a crisis. When in doubt, ask yourself: ‘Am I going to come across as self-promotional and pompous, or as though I really, truly care about my clients and their needs during this time?’”
Twitter Tests Like and Star Buttons
Twitter’s traditional Favorite button may be giving way soon to a replacement: either Like or Star, both of which are being tested. ClickZ reports that it’s more than semantics. Whatever they end up calling it, you’ll be able to share with others your appreciation for a tweet and save it in a list. Of even more interest is the potential use of the feature to create social ads, similar to Facebook’s Sponsored Stories.
New app reveals social marketing campaigns
Former MapQuest exec Perry Evans has launched Perch, a mobile app that aggregates social media activity “specific to a certain location and also specific to a certain type—in this case, accounts that are associated with businesses,” writes Heather Clancy in ZDNet. She quotes Evans saying, “Perch brings all of the data collected from Facebook, twitter, Foursquare, Yelp and hundreds of deal sites into one place and takes the guesswork out of digital marketing.” With the app, you can track posts from merchants’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, get alerts about Yelp entries for your (or your competitors) business, get updates about local check-in specials, get details about daily deals, and analyze all of it.
IPR opens free online research center
The Institute for Public Relations has launched a free online research center with more than 30 articles or books about social media from PR research literature. According to the IPR press release, “Plans are underway to add information about social media research from practitioners and academic disciplines including journalism, mass communication, business and the social sciences.” The site is at www.instituteforpr.org/scienceofsocialmedia.
P&G goes big with QR codes
Print ads from Procter & Gamble will contain QR codes designed to sell—not just promote—products from brands like Secret, Pantene, Tampax and Gillette. The campaign, dubbed “Have you tried this yet?” will demonstrate to customers how these products “fit into personal care, family and home needs,” writes Lauren Johnson for Mobile Marketer. In the campaign, copy appears next to an image of the product explaining briefly what it does, while the QR code is prominent in the lower left-hand corner of the page. Scanning it takes customers to a mobile site at www.pgtryit.com. From the site, you can learn more, read user reviews, find online coupons, share tips, enter contests, and shop for the product at online retailers like Target, Walmart and Amazon. Johnson notes, “The Procter & Gamble QR code campaign shows how mobile is increasingly playing a strong role in multichannel campaigns.”
Charitable contributions now part of Facebook Gifts
Facebook announced last week that it’s testing the a new Facebook Gifts feature that lets you “make a charitable contribution in celebration of a friend of a family member.” In a Facebook Newsroom post, Jared Morgenstern notes the timing is good since “so many people are looking for new ways to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, or assist those most in need around the holidays.” Facebook has partnered with 11 nonprofits for the test, including the American Red Cross, Blue Star Families, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. If you haven’t seen Facebook Gifts yet, hold tight. Morgentstern says it “continues to roll out more broadly every day.”
CIPR lists all members online
Don’t look for PRSA or IABC to follow suit any time soon, but the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in the U.K. has announced that it will provide a list of all its members beginning December 1 “as it seeks to highlight their accountability to the CIPR code of conduct, with the aim of improving regulation of the industry,” according to Matt Cartmell, writing for PRWEEK. In advance of the new feature, the organization is creating a sample entry along with a the code of conduct and other content designed to spur a discussion “in which members can raise any concerns they have about the move.” CIPR’s Jane Wilson told PRWEEK, “The aim is to reinforce the structure of professional self-regulation provided by the CIPR…We want employers, clients and others to be able to identify regulated professionals who have made a clear commitment to accountability.”