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23 June 2015 17:08
Just consider how the meaning of ‘monitoring social media’ has evolved from an optional to a critical aspect for many businesses. The approaches to social monitoring have changed, and businesses must adapt. Key social, cultural and technological shifts have impacted the media sector. Are you keeping up with the changes?
In the past, social media was considered as a ‘gadget’ and not a concern for companies, organisations, and different institutions. The earlier adopters of social media monitoring were mainly public relations and advertising agencies, who used this monitoring as an additional means to manage their clients’ online brand reputation.
As the amount of information grows, particularly in social media, monitoring can become time consuming and less relevant. Therefore, analytics are becoming more and more important. Analytics are more focused on aggregated information, providing trends, summarized reports, tonality or competitive information. Moreover, clients are tired of dealing with multiple tools.
Nowadays, too many companies choose the monitoring and measurement tools before planning, measurement and evaluation takes place. In the future, social media will be used in every field of life and organisations will take the time to do cross departmental planning. Marketing, customer service and PR teams will join together to use similar frameworks, tools and metrics that can be used for integrated reporting and strategy.
To read more and find out some tips and easy strategies that you can use to understand and manage your social media monitoring, please download the step by step guide to social media monitoring & analysis.
04 June 2015 2:00
An Opinion piece from Walter Patanella – CEO News Intelligence, Kantar Media – Introduced during the AMEC Summit “Winning the Game”
People have been sounding the death knell for PR for far too long. If PR were dead, it would be gone. The fact is, PR is still here, day-to-day tasks may have changed but it is no less important to most businesses. PR is not dead. The future of PR is bright, and here is why……
Have you ever added an effervescent tablet to water? Instantly the surface is shaken, thousands of bubbles rise to the top and the substances mix together. Everything is changed. The arrival of digital media brought effervescence to the communications industry – initially PR and marketing pros were like the bubbles, scrambling around, bumping against each other, each looking for ownership.
Now, this effervescence has slowed down and many of the PR and marketing bubbles have mixed together to share skills. Maybe the PR team are drafting in their marketing colleagues to help turn their latest press release into a visually delightful infographic, or the marketing team are drawing on their PR colleagues’ experience to craft the perfect message for their upcoming Adwords campaign. PRs have more variety in their work now than ever before – whether that variety is caused by taking the opportunity to collaborate with others or by upskilling, working in new areas and become leaders in creating a new definition of PR.
A (Budget) Winning Performance
We have more data at our fingertips than ever before. What’s more, we’ve been measuring media data for long enough now to see significant patterns emerge. Imagine, if we were to gather all our life experience and offer it to an intern, just starting out in the business. It’s a valuable gift, and in many ways, existing data is just that.
Data tells you about much more than your own performance, it tells you about your audience. Kara Segreto, Chief Marketing Officer of Prudential Retirement said “Data makes storytelling stronger – when you match behavioural, psychographic and demographic data, you get empathy. Only then can you tell stories that touch people”. If you can harness the power of data, you can create hyper-targeted, tailored campaigns that really speak to your audience. Not only do data-led campaigns have built-in performance benchmarks but they are rooted in clear metrics, as opposed to vague promises of “awareness” or “buzz”. Metrics which can easily be tied back to business results: shifting from “Smart” data to “Impact” data, or using other words, from insights to action. Never before have PR professionals had such an opportunity to prove their success….or argue their case for increased investment based on solid, unquestionable links to business results.
Mastering user intent is becoming key for brands who want to be seen and search engines are rewarding those who think about user needs. Audiences no longer think in terms of keywords, when they search they have a question that needs to be answered and here, PRs can use their relationship skills to become masters of SEO. Firstly, PRs are experts at generating quality content and understanding audience requirements. By creating online content that answers audience questions, they can have a more effective impact on SEO than through keywords alone. Also, PRs can use their press relationships to their advantage by securing stories on reputable news sites. These sites have greater domain authority and will help, not only generate quality inbound links but also boost a brand’s profile in the process.
Bringing a human element to communications isn’t just good for SEO. Audiences love purposeful brands – 91% of consumers would switch to a brand that supported a good cause over one that didn’t. The opportunity here for PRs is to use their relationship building skills to speak to their client’s audience. To make brands, not just purposeful, but authentic. PRs need to think fast to come up with fresh, relevant ways to engage with their audiences. Newsjacking is a tried and tested way of driving real-time engagement but for the real wins, PRs will have to go a step further by combining the immediacy of newsjacking with the authenticity of a purposeful brand to create a fully immersive, emotive, personal brand experience.
Automate to Create
PR people are creative by nature – but creativity alone isn’t enough and finding the time to form a cutting-edge campaign can be a challenge even for those who work at the fastest of paces. As technology advances, PRs can leverage the tools available to them to automate some of the more repetitive aspects of their job.
Don’t panic! I am not suggesting that PR can be automated. I am simply saying that, for those mundane tasks, ask yourself if there’s an app for that.
Find yourself a media contact tool that will allow you to search for topics of interest and assemble media contact lists – this will save you hours of manually searching for the right contacts. Use an email tracking service to monitor your replies and enrich the data with how many opens and clicks your email has had. Not only will this give you added insight but save you having to deal with complex excel sheets. Look to automate your reporting too, use a tool that will allow you to automatically generate infographics from existing data. Not only will this save you time compiling reports, it will delight your clients or managers as they’ll get to see their results in a more appealing, easily understandable way.
Stop having to keep one eye on your social media accounts by setting up monitoring with tailored alerts so you can go on with your day, knowing that if an issue occurs, you’ll be alerted to it. Go a step further even, by incorporating a service that will allow you to schedule your social media posts in advance – liberating you from time-specific updates. Invest your new-found time into more creative tasks and with dedicated space to think, find new ways to surprise your clients with unconventional PR plans.
Be the next big thing before it happens, don’t just capitalise on existing news.
01 June 2015 14:13
As we mentioned in our post « Social Media in the era of consolidation », it is likely that the future of social networks will be two-tiered. Shaped on one hand by a small group of social leaders, including Facebook and Twitter, and another group, the challengers, which will propose concepts for all tastes and interests.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we have illustrated our thinking in the gifographic below
28 May 2015 15:07
Over the past few years, social media has experienced continued growth and as a result has become one of, if not the main channel for brands to be heard. With so many platforms available for brands to choose from, from Facebook and Twitter to a multitude of new niche social platforms, the business potential within social media has become obvious for many companies… but also more complex! The fragmented media landscape makes PR, marketing and communication professionals’ job more challenging than ever before.
How can we adapt to this challenge? Whether your brand has an account on these social platforms or not, your audience, your clients, prospects or stakeholders may still talk about you on their social media profiles. According to a recent study, social media penetration should reach one-third of the world’s population by the end of 2015!  Wherever the conversations take place, monitoring has become a vital starting point in order to keep a close eye on what people are saying about your company or your market. Today, brands have to constantly monitor and control their reputation, anywhere, and on any device. Brands also need to think beyond the specific channels they choose for their communications strategies to capture all references to their campaigns – evaluating the full impact of their communications across all media channels.
However monitoring is not enough: the more data you have, the more essential analytics tools become. Monitoring social for direct mentions does not provide the full picture. To make sense of big data, metrics and added value are vital. Through social analytics, businesses can see exactly how their audiences are interacting with them and keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
There is an unprecedented demand for social analytics however, despite the availability of lots of analytics tools, businesses still have problems in showing the return on investment of social media to develop their strategies and tactics. Not all stakeholders speak digital, social metrics require interpretation to provide information that actually makes sense and demonstrates performance. Tools can collect and analyse data to a certain degree but have their limits: they may not provide the metrics you truly care about but random vanity metrics which don’t meet your specific needs. In addition, if you don’t get aggregated data across all sources, it can be difficult to evaluate your social media activities globally. So, if youwant to measure the right things, you need to think about the end result, be clear about your goals and how you’ll achieve them.
This being said, it doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. When managed well, social media monitoring and analysis are an exceptionally powerful way to enhance your brand reputation as well as all your business activities. This guide provides some details, tips and easy strategies that you can use to understand and manage your social media monitoring and analysis more effectively.
22 May 2015 15:45
It is difficult to discuss digital strategy without mentioning the issue of social fragmentation, a challenge which all communication and marketing professionals are faced with. Nevertheless, the time of consolidation seems to be here.
The audience: the sinews of war
In order to ensure their sustainability, social networks must reach a critical size. One figure summarises it all: 1,44 billion, the number of active Facebook users. This figure is impressive… but still way below the real total. In fact, together, WhatsApp and Instagram have more than 900 million active users and are also brands owed by Mark Zuckerberg’s firm. Therefore, the scope of the Facebook brand is wider than it appears at first sight.
In this context it’s hard to exist as an outsider, especially given that the main social media leaders have significant financial windfall that allows them to buy out any social network in vogue and even poach the talent which designed these new networks, a strategy known as acqui-hire. A buyout implies the willingness of both parties: $3 billion dollars was not enough for Facebook to buy out the ephemeral social network SnapChat…but that didn’t matter! The social media conglomerate from Menlo Park was quick to develop its own app in response – Slingshot, allowing users to exchange ephemeral photos and videos.
In short, while the new players may have all it takes to sell us the new concepts of tomorrow, they often lack the audience. However, to bypass the problem, there is a solution: capitalise on an audiences that already exist. A concrete example? Periscope, a live-streaming app that graphs itself onto the audience of Twitter or Meerkat, its direct competitor, which now integrates with Facebook.
Towards a Digital Lab, new trends incubator?
We are evolving in a more and more app-centric world. It’s no surprise that the popular social media networks are mobile applications that do not offer an online version. Is this a sign of an ephemeral fad?
Everything indicates that the future of social media will be two-tiered. Shaped on one hand by a small group of social leaders, including Facebook and Twitter, and another group, the challengers, which will propose concepts for all tastes and interests.
The social leaders will dig into this incubator according to their desires, sometimes buying these networks, sometimes duplicating the service for their own network. They will further consolidate by becoming focal points in the media ecosystem and thus, bring more coherence into cross-media brand strategies.
From time to time, all the same, a new social network will succeed in integrating into the club of elites. But in a highly competitive world, being the first to launch a new concept will no longer suffice. It must offer an innovative service that is difficult to appropriate or duplicate. Foursquare has borne the brunt of this ruthless world…what social network hasn’t incorporated geolocation into its platform?..
23 April 2015 16:16
Online video is on the rise – it’s estimated that by 2017 video will account for 69% of all online traffic. Most importantly, original video content provides great returns – 71% of marketers who created video said that it outperformed other content in terms of conversion.
Video has never been easier to create – a quick online search will show hundreds of free apps that can turn your mobile device into your own editing studio. Once the creative work is done though, how can you be sure that your video gets seen?
Easy! I’ll just put it on YouTube….?
Putting your content on Youtube is undeniably a good option. For years YouTube has been synonymous with online video. Indeed, it is still a huge player in the industry – every month 1 billion unique users visit the site, watching 6 billion hours of video. In addition, 100 hours of content are uploaded every minute. However, YouTube is now facing some serious competition, namely from Facebook.
Facebook’s native video option has been expanding rapidly since its inception – last year Facebook reported 1 billion video views per day and in November 2014, for the first time, the number of brands natively posting video to Facebook surpassed the number of brands posting to YouTube. Facebook has also altered its algorithm to give preference to videos directly uploaded to their platform as opposed to links shared from YouTube.
Easy! I’ll just put it on Facebook instead….?
Given Facebook’s rapid success with video, it is a safe bet that your content will be seen if you upload it to Facebook. Not only does Facebook give native video priority, it also plays it automatically so you can be sure that at least a few seconds of your piece will be seen. Facebook lends itself to virality too, automatically bringing videos that might be of interest to the user to the surface in their news feed, where on YouTube, the user is more likely to have to deliberately search for something in order to find it.
Facebook video does have its drawbacks though. While the viewing statistics for native video on Facebook are impressive, the criteria are not the same as on Youtube. Facebook counts 3 seconds of autoplay as a view, whether or not the user actually chooses to turn on the sound or play the full video, whereas YouTube requires at least 30 seconds of the video (or the full duration if it is less than 30 seconds) to be played before it counts as a view. Also, given that Facebook is a closed network – a video’s reach is confined within the network. Facebook isn’t as easy to search as YouTube either, so users looking for specific content will have a more difficult time finding it on Facebook. It’s also worth keeping in mind that while Facebook boosts Facebook videos, Google boosts YouTube videos.
So which is better….?
Both! Don’t limit yourself to one platform, extend your reach and reap the benefits of both. Just remember to treat your video like any other piece of content, adapt it for your platform, re-purpose it, make it shareable and snackable!
Post long-form video to YouTube – YouTube users are used to watching longer content on the platform – and make sure to give it a name that is easily searchable for people looking for content on your industry. Use the embed code from YouTube to display your video on your website and blog, this way you can easily keep track of views.
Make a snackable version of your video and upload it to Facebook. Give it a striking opening and don’t forget to include text if necessary for clarity– remember Facebook videos are silent until a user turns on the sound so make sure your video has the hook to make your audience listen! You can also use your Facebook video as a teaser for longer content – include links at the end of your video to guide the viewer to the full version on your website or on YouTube.
With your distribution strategy complete – make sure your movie is up to scratch. At the end of the day, regardless of how well you publicise your content, unless it resonates with your audience it is essentially useless. Make it useful, informative, funny or emotive. Remember, if you really want your content to move, make sure it moves your audience.
08 April 2015 10:54
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to pain. Pain leads to suffering”. Star Wars fans and movie buffs alike will be familiar with this famous quote from Yoda and, admittedly, while it’s a little extreme to say that this concept is directly applicable to measurement of Dark Social, it isn’t too far wrong. A great deal of fear surrounds the area, but instead of this fear pushing communications experts to learn more about the dark side, it’s keeping them away. Unsure of how to measure Dark Social, many are just ignoring it completely and – whether they’re aware or not – their results are suffering because of it.
Shares, I am your father.
Dark Social; it sounds mysterious, sinister even, but if you’re looking for something complex or “cutting-edge”, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Dark Social is actually quite a dated act. In essence, it’s the Daddy of social media sharing, it’s what people did with information they found online before they had access to public sharing platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’ve ever copied and pasted a link and sent it to a friend, or group of friends, by email or private message, then you’ve contributed towards Dark Social activity.
You underestimate the power of the Dark Side
With billions of people using public social networks, you could be forgiven for thinking that measuring Dark Social won’t have much of an impact. You’re wrong. Think about the number of times you share links privately, as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Now imagine, as a brand, not monitoring any content that is shared this way….
Unlocking Dark Social information for your brand can be highly beneficial, not just in terms of brand awareness but also in terms of campaign targeting. Usually, when sharing of this kind happens it’s on a one-to-one or one-to-few basis. People are sharing information they don’t need to tell the world about but that is highly relevant to the person who’s receiving it. Understanding this would allow brands see what’s resonating with their audience more clearly and help with better audience segmentation and targeting.
As all Dark Social sharing happens in private, it’s difficult to ascertain the exact volumes, but RadiumOne states that 69% of all sharing activity, at a global level, takes place via Dark Social. Putting that in simple terms – if you ignore Dark Social, potentially, you’re reporting on less than a third of your social media shares! But with these private networks being beyond the reach of normal analytics tools, how can a brand monitor their mentions on Dark Social?
Use the source
While you will never be able to identify the source of all your visitors, examining your direct traffic links on Google Analytics will help you identify visitors that find you via Dark Social. Usually, when a visitor comes to a site directly, they’ll do so by typing a short URL into the address bar e.g. www.kmni.co.uk . If you see long URLs in your direct traffic listings, e.g. www.blog.kmni.co.uk/great-blog-post-about-social-media-that-you-should-read-now, it’s unlikely that the user typed this in manually. A more likely explanation is that they received the link after someone copied and pasted it into an email or private message. When the user clicks on this link, they’re generating website traffic from a dark origin.
Another way of tracking your content is to use customised and shortened URLs. Google’s URL Builder tool will allow you to create custom URLs for your content that include relevant information, making the traffic from these links easier to identify and your results easier to segment. Using a link-shortening service like ow.ly or bit.ly on your custom links (which can become a bit unwieldy!) will give you even more insights into your content and how it is being shared.
Finally, take control of sharing at the source. Make it easy for your audience to share content in a measurable way. Adding share buttons to your piece is an easy option that will give you insight into the number of times a piece has been shared. Try to focus on giving options that fall into the Dark Social category, like “Share by Email”, and particularly mobile-friendly options e.g. “Share on Whatsapp”. Sharing buttons mean users can pass on content with a single click – it’s a much easier process than copying, changing platforms, and then pasting. The added bonus for you is that it’s more measurable too!
Many advocate the disabling of the copy and paste function on your site, so visitors can only share using the share button. While this gives you more control over sharing statistics, ultimately it could come at a great cost. Due to the frustration of not having the option to copy and paste, your audience may abandon the sharing process altogether. While it is important to have as much knowledge as possible about who is sharing what kind of information about your brand and where they’re sharing it, it should never be at the cost of the content itself being shared!
Share Wars: A New Hope
Recently, a breakthrough was made by Alexis Madrigal, who originally coined the term Dark Social, and Chartbeat, a web traffic tracking app. They discovered that a large proportion of shares, previously categorised as Dark Social, had come from mobile apps like Facebook and Reddit. This breakthrough will have a huge impact, with between 10%-50% of traffic, previously categorised as Dark Social, now becoming traceable. Although there are still some unknown elements of Dark Social, we can hope that as research into the area continues, we will gain more and more understanding of how people share, what they share and why.
Dark Social isn’t as sinister as it sounds – it’s something we all do – many of us on a daily basis. While measuring your complete social impact can seem like an impossible task, exploring the area of Dark Social isn’t. Adding sharing buttons to your content, customising your links and exploring your direct traffic can all provide extra insight that was previously hidden in the dark. Combining your Dark Social statistics with your results from social media, press and broadcast for a panoramic view of your media presence will leave you as a force to be reckoned with! So go forth and analyse, and may the force be with you.
01 April 2015 14:18
Time and time again, we ask ourselves, is there a science to creating great content? The answer, well it’s elementary….
16 February 2015 11:16
Not so long ago, in a land not so far away, all events would start with a familiar phrase…“And before we begin, please switch off all mobile phones”. Speakers could judge their success and the resonance of their message through body language, eye contact and the number of hands raised at the end of the session. Times have changed. Now, we actively encourage attendees to use their phones at events and often (although not always!) the best speakers can be identified as those whose audiences are hunched over, tapping away on their mobile devices.
Being physically present at an event no longer provides the maximum opportunity to learn and to network. The most successful attendees are those who can multi-task – be present in the room while simultaneously making an impact online. However, there is a fine line between making positive impact and a negative one. It is vital to do your research, know the audience attending the event and adapt your social media style accordingly. Also it’s worth keeping in mind whether you’re representing yourself or your company, keep your tone and content within any guidelines which may have been set. If in doubt, check with your communications team and add a “personal opinions” disclaimer to any non-corporate accounts.
Originality is key to making an impact on social media, and this goes for events too. At some point or another we’ve had an event attendee clog up our feed by endlessly repeating quotes from speakers. If a speaker has something interesting to say, quote them, but add your own comments too – this way you’re enriching the content, demonstrating your expertise and standing out from the crowd. If you see another user making an interesting point, don’t be afraid to start a conversation with them, reach out and connect!
Of course, it’s not just the attendees who have had to expand their skill set. Event organisers now need to think about creating an online space to match the physical event. Hashtags are essential for any successful event, making it easier for attendees to connect and share thoughts, while branded hashtags have the added advantage of increasing brand exposure to an online audience who may not be able to attend in person.
More and more organisers are preparing online content in advance so that attendees have access to important information on the day and also making speakers’ content more shareable. While on the day, they’re dedicating a resource to monitoring the conversation online and resolving any issues or answering any queries.
While maintaining a successful social media presence at an event can be hard work, the rewards are there too. Not only does it increase your opportunities to form valuable connections and gauge the event’s success – it also lives on long after the event is over. Post-event analysis of social media coverage can be beneficial to both the attendees and the organisers as there is time to review, recognise successful strategies, identify opportunities and follow up.
However, one thing above all, is worth remembering when it comes to social media at events. While positive social media impact can be beneficial – don’t ignore other attendees at breaks or networking sessions in favour of sending extra tweets. Remember to be as charming in real life as you are online!
04 February 2015 14:59
There’s no denying that 2014 was the year of ephemeral messaging. Snapchat, probably the best known platform of its kind, reached 100 million monthly active users with 700 million snaps being sent every day. These statistics are even more impressive when you consider that, a little over three years ago, Snapchat didn’t even exist! While Snapchat is the most famous ephemeral platform, we’ve seen an abundance of other similar messaging services appear on the scene, including Wickr, Blink and Facebook’s Slingshot – albeit with varying degrees of success.
Given the popularity of the likes of Snapchat, it isn’t surprising that the marketing community began to experiment, distributing their content ephemerally with a view to reaching an ever-growing audience. One of the world’s most recognisable brands, McDonalds, took to the platform in February for the US launch of a new burger, while other brands and publishers, from Audi to Mashable, have also toyed with creating self-destructing content in a bid to extend their communities.
The buzz around these platforms is undeniable, one only needs to search on Google to see hundreds of thousands of results – but as a tool for the communications expert, will ephemeral messaging services go the distance or will they, like the messages they enable, disappear after the first view? Despite the buzz, in reality only 1% of communications professionals currently use ephemeral messaging as a tool to communicate about their brands. Furthermore 85% have no plans to use them in 2015, according to website socialmediaexaminer.com. So why is something that is being discussed at such lengths, not being used to the same extent?
The difficulty with using ephemeral messages for marketing is the exact thing that makes them popular in the first place – messages cannot be tracked. While marketers can see their message has been viewed, they have no real way of knowing within the app if the content resonated with the viewer. If the message is a video, it’s difficult to ascertain if the full duration has been watched and thus, if the entire message has been communicated. As marketers are pushed more and more to demonstrate the return on investment for social media activity, they can’t afford to essentially shout into the abyss with no tested way of demonstrating return. Many will argue that if a campaign appeals to the audience, they’ll save it and share it by posting to other networks. However, this in itself means that an ephemeral campaign may not be deemed as a success until its content becomes permanent – defeating the whole spirit of ephemerality in the first place.
Then there is the reputation of the platforms to deal with. Many associate Snapchat and its cohorts with “sexting” or other risqué behaviours. This instantly raises a barrier for more “family friendly” brands – which cannot risk, or do not want, such close associations with a “sexting app”. Not to mention the privacy concerns. The numerous hacking scandals within Snapchat’s short history are also a deterrent for brands.
That’s not to say that ephemeral communication is going away. The phenomenon has undeniably changed the way we think about communicating and with platforms like Wickr – an encrypted, ephemeral messaging service, gaining popularity among the business community, the evolution of ephemeral media looks set to continue. However, whether there is a future for ephemeral platforms as marketing aids remains to be seen and by 2016, for the marketers at least, it could be a case of ephemeral by name, ephemeral by nature.