Friday Wrap #61: Erasing history, Instagram fashion reveal, social business progress, social farmers2013-07-26
Image (c) CanStock PhotoYou have undoubtedly already heard about Facebook, which is suddenly a darling among investors again as its mobile advertising platform has taken off, stoking profits more in line with the market’s expectations when the company first went public. Data reveals that Facebook is beating out niche sites for local searches, and the number of mobile users in the U.S. and the U.K. jumped 20 percent last month alone. But while Facebook was basking in the limelight, other news was reported that may have slipped by unnoticed. The Friday Wrap is a rundown of some of those stories that I found particularly interesting. You can peruse the list of stories I pegged as Wrap candidates on my link blog, LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.
If you do something stupid online, you can always invoke copyright law to erase history
The story has already spread far and wide of the Federal Aviation Administration intern who released phony names of the crew of the ill-fated Asiana 777 that crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport. The story wouldn’t have gained the kind of legs it did if not for KTVU morning anchor Tori Campbell, who read the names aloud during her July 6 broadcast without catching on that they were a juvenile (and offensive) attempt at humor. In a bid to make its reputation even worse, KTVU has launched an effort to scrub the record clean of the gaffe by invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The station’s lawyers issued take-down notices to sites hosting the video, asserting copyright protections, although copyright violation certainly isn’t the reason they want the videos to disappear. Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog cites KTVU’s general manager, Tom Ramponi, claiming that most people had already seen the video and “at this point, continuing to show the video is also insensitive and offensive, especially to the many in our Asian community who were offended. Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through on our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by others.” Which is completely accurate, if my “carrying through on our responsibility” Ramponi means “trying desperately to make people forget we could be so stupid.”
The Great Google+ Debate continues: agencies remain skeptical
As Google+ reached its second birthday recently, it climbed into second place behind Facebook on the list of social networks with the most active users. A lot of smart people believe a presence there is essential. Others shrug it off based on a lack of activity on brand pages, along with other factors. eConsultancy looked at perceptions of Google+ in its UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report 2013 and found “striking differences between client-side and agency responses over the perceived impact of G+.” Nearly two-thirds of client-side respondents “stated that they don’t know if Google+ is having an impact on their search campaigns, compared to just 28% of agency respondents. This could of course be an accurate reflection of the situation, or it could be that agencies are less willing to admit they’re unsure of G+‘s influence over search results.” Still, 51% of agencies had a “neutral” view of the impact Google+ had on their client’s campaigns.
Fall fashion preview to hit Instagram first
The fashion world’s first look at Oscar de la Renta’s fall fashion lineup won’t come via Vogue this year. The iconic fashion house has opted to reveal its ads on Instagram. The campaign was rolled out Wednesday, weeks before it was scheduled to appear in the September issues of the traditional fashion mags like Elle, Town & country and Tatler, according to Rachel Strugatz in Women’s Wear Daily. “It’s an early test on the part of de la Renta — and another sign of how the digital world, and Instagram’s photo and video sharing platform in particular, are impacting the way fashion brands reach consumers,” Strugatz writes. She quotes the company’s CEO, Alex Bolen, noting that “One can measure clicks and see how much the cash register rings. Are we making decisions based on that today? Yes. Is it at this point a radical departure from best practices? No. But could experiences like this, if they are successful, lead to big changes? Absolutely.”
LinkedIn will let your company comment and like updates
On LinkedIn, you can leave a comment or like a status update, but up until last week, you had to do it as yourself. Thanks to a recent feature rollout, company page admins can now comment or like posts on their own company page as the company. “In other words, if our social media manager, Brittany, wanted to comment on or like a post appearing on HubSpot’s LinkedIn Company page, she can now do so as HubSpot instead of as Brittany,” according to HubSpot‘s Pamela Vaughan.
Social business is important; we’re just no good at it yet
A majority of executives ranked their companies’ social business maturity at three or below (on a scale of one to 10), and fewer than 20% ranked their organizations at seven or above, according to research from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Consulting. Nearly 40% called social business “important,” a doubling of the number who felt that way a year earlier. “The report finds that three major culprits are halting progress in social maturity,” according to Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog: “Lack of an overall strategy (28% of respondents), too many competing priorities (26%), and a lack of demonstrated business case or strong value proposition (21%).” Nevertheless, more than 70% of C-suite executives believe that “social business is an opportunity to fundamentally change the working dynamics.”
Favorite button gains fans on Twitter
Twitter users took advantage of the favorite button 1.6 billion times in May, a quadrupling of the button’s use in the same period a year earlier. “The rise in ‘favoriting’—or starring, as it’s also known—is a safer way to engage with others on the network,” explains Katherine Rosman in The Wall Streeet Journal. “Rather than retweeting risky comments or observations, users can more quietly add their approval or note their amusement by favoriting.” The rise in favoriting has given birth to Favstar, a website that ranks tweets and accounts based on the favorites directed at them. The site has attracted 3 million active users, including some paying for a premium version of the site.
Flipboard magazines come to the Web
Flipboard’s magazine feature is one of the smartest content moves I’ve seen from an aggregator. The magazines, which any user can create and maintain quickly and easily, have attracted 25 million new users since they were introduced. The ease of subscribing to these collections has made it simple for users to stay up to date on topics of interest to them, curated by others from stories they find during their flip sessions. (If you’re looking for one to try out, I highly recommend Scott Monty’s This Week in Social Media, another great wrap-up of the week’s social media news.) As of Tuesday, the magazines have moved beyond the Flipboard app and are available on the Web. “The web is still core to how many users behave, particularly around features like easy-access share buttons for distributing articles across social networks and email,” explains Eric Eldon in a TechCrunch report. “If you click on a Flipboard link that you see from a friend on twitter, for example, you’ll now open a dynamic web page instead of being directed to the mobile app like you would have been before.”
General Mills cereal-lovers Facebook group includes competitor product
People love their breakfast cereals, so much so that 313,000 cereal lovers have signed on to Hello, Cereal Lovers, a Facebook group that’s part of a broader General Mills effort that includes a website and accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. The company’s contributions to the content focus on General Mills cereal, but users are welcome to talk about any cereal, such as the recipe from a user made with a Post cereal. The company even retweeted a recipe using two competitors’ products. “Carla Vernon, marketing director for General Mills, said taking a ‘brand agnostic’ approach was suited to social media,” writes Andrew Adam Newman in The New York Times. “‘It is a new framework to consider now that we’re in great conversations with the people that buy and enjoy our products,’ Ms. Vernon said. ‘It’s important for us to be authentic and recognize what they want to share and hear about.’”
Farmers reduce waste via social media
When you hear the tired old argument that not everybody’s using social media, you can now reply, “Well, farmers are using it.” Cropmobster makes surplus produce available to anybody who wants to buy it at deep discounts, providing the farmer with additional revenues while ensuring that food doesn’t simply go to waste, which is what was happening before. The site was born after Nick Papadopoulos—general manager of Bloomfield Farms—“grew increasingly frustrated as he watched his employees repeatedly return from a weekend’s worth of farmer’s markets with unsold, top quality produce that would spoil before the next market day,” according to Voice of America‘s Rachel Dorhelm. Papadopoulos started making the food available at deep discounts via the farm’s Facebook page. “One week, the vegetables were snapped up by a group of homeowners in a neighboring community. Another week, a group of friends went in on it.” Since expanding to the website, “non-profits, restaurants and individuals have salvaged more than 20,000 kilos of food.”
Lexus Instagram video was crowdsourced
Instagram is providing marketers with some unique opportunities that require just a bit of outside-the-box thinking. Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus offers a great example, dishing up a “collaboratively created, stop-motion Instagram film that draws on the perspectives of 212 fans to show the vehicle in a range of angles and tones,” according to Joe McCarthy, writing for Luxury Daily. Lexus created the #WorldwideInstameet hashtag, inviting fans to share photos of the IS model, which were then stitched together into the video. The individual photos are also available at a microsite launched as part of the campaign.