Archive for August, 2012

Talk Shop with Jeremiah Owyang: The Value of Social Media

The Adobe Social product team is hosting a Twitter chat for all of us social media practitioners to talk metrics.

  • What do you use as baselines to measure – likes, comments, share of voice?
  • What do your execs want you to deliver?
  • How will we measure social value in the future?

Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) from Altimeter will join, and so will other top social marketers.

If you are looking for answers or have some good social metrics firsthand experience to share, then join us.

When: Thursday, September 6th 10-11am PDT (6pm BST / 7pm CET)
Where: Twitter – #socialvalue; #AdobeSocial

Oh and during the chat three lucky people could get a $250 Amazon.com gift card. To enter, simply join in the discussion and tweet using the hashtag #SocialValue. To win, you must follow @AdobeSocial on Twitter and live in the United States.

Don’t miss it!

Interest Targeting Is the Next Step for Brands Advertising on Twitter

By: Asma Stephan

Twitter has expanded their ad program with the use of interest targeting. While Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts give brands some ability to target users, the potential reach of these campaigns was limited to Tweeters who shared interests with current followers.

According to today’s announcement on the Twitter blog, interest targeting will not only help brands broaden their reach, but also more precisely target their audience.

For a broad reach, brands can target users using a comprehensive list of over 350 different interest categories, such as Home and Garden, or Style and Fashion or Hobbies and Interests.

This puts Twitter’s ad campaigns in a better position to compete with Facebook’s targeted ad offering, which features a similar checklist of categories. Brands who’ve seen success targeting niche audiences on Facebook would do well to incorporate interest targeting on Twitter.

Alternatively, brands can target a custom segment of specific Tweeters and any followers with shared interests. They can specify any relevant Twitter handles associated with the product, event, or initiative the brand is interested in promoting in order to reach a tight-knit network of Twitter users.

Targeting a set of users this way offers an especially provocative possibility: allowing brands the ability target their competition’s followers.

Though Twitter hasn’t released any hard data about the success of interest targeting, they report promising results, saying:

“[Beta advertisers] have seen significantly increased audience reach; others have creatively defined custom audiences to reach a very specific set of users. Across the board, they are seeing high engagement rates because they are reaching users who are interested in their content.”

Precisely reaching an audience with highly customized, highly targeted promotions is the holy grail of social media marketing. Twitter’s latest offering could prove to be a huge step in the right direction for brands.

What is your take on Twitter’s interest targeting? Do you already use Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts? Does this launch make you more likely to create a Twitter marketing campaign? Tell us in the comments below!

Getting Graphic: Best Practices for Images in Social Media

Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vfsdigitaldesign/">VFS Digital Design</a>

Photo credit: VFS Digital Design

Sharing pictures has been a part of social media since its inception, but in the past year there’s been a distinct shift: visual images are a central part of the message now. Whether it’s the latest meme, an inspiring quote, a “how to” photo montage, or an infographic, visual images are taking center stage in how we communicate with each other online.

Not only are Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ all shifting their formats to make images more central to the user’s experience, but the two fastest growing social media networks – Pinterest and Instagram – both put pictures, not text, front and center. The message is clear: If you’re trying to get content out and you’re not thinking about the visual aspect, you’re leaving out a critical component.

So how do you adapt? Ekaterina Walter’s recent piece in Fast Company talks about how some are responding. Here’s my top tips on how to get more visual:

It’s Not An Afterthought – Think about how you’re going to express yourself visually as an integral part of your message. Make sure the image you’re using is directly relevant to the central point you’re trying to get across.

Don’t Forget Humor – When appropriate, taking the funny approach can score big points. Use http://memegenerator.net/ for quick and easy access to a range of current meme themes.

Make it Easy – Make it easy for people to pin or otherwise share your images. Don’t upload a huge image and then rely on the code or a 3rd party tool to resize it for you – take the extra minute or two to right-size your graphic before uploading it.

Get Right With Rights – Not everyone is a gifted visual creator and/or has access to a graphics team to create images for you. Luckily, there’s a lot of great visual content on the web that you can use. Even if you’re budget challenged, there’s good, free content options out there. Flickr, for example, allows you to only search for images that have Creative Commons licenses (http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/). However, make sure that you’re only using content that’s appropriately licensed, and always give credit where credit is due when you use other people’s images.

Finally, as with all good things, remember that quality beats quantity. A crappy graphic thrown in to increase your Facebook Edgerank is worse than no graphic at all, because it won’t generate the positive responses and interactions you’re looking for.

It’s never been more true that a picture is worth a thousand words. So go ahead, get visual! It’s not just good for your content, it’s also more fun.

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Twitter in Real-Time Events

When it comes to real-time events, life with Twitter is not always like a box of virtual chocolates.

Whether it be the premiere of Breaking Bad, the excitement of who won at the Oscars, or sharing loud and proud that your country took gold for the most recent Olympics, Social Media can be both your best friend, and your worst enemy. Why, do you ask?  Let’s take a look at a few recent publicized events to explore why it’s so fun to share, and why sometimes you’ll avoid technology at all costs during your special events.

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Twitter in Real-Time Events

Here are three recent events: a television/movie event, a politically fueled event and an international culture event; to showcase how Twitter specifically has changed the way we both experience and interact with real-time events in an age of Social Networking.

Television/Movie Events: e.g. 2012 Breaking Bad Season Premiere
The build-up of Walter White’s fate for the final season premiere of one of America’s top television series, Breaking Bad, was highly anticipated. But what sort of effect could Twitter have on the show? The largest issue at hand for most Television/Movie events is fans in the first time-zone/country getting to experience and discuss the event via Twitter and other networks first. Fans and participants living in locations where the event premieres are lucky. For those waiting to experience the event for themselves however, it is difficult to avoid the multitude of comments, posts, tweets, photos, and more that flood the Internet upon the launch of the event.

Dish Network (smart cookies) offered to stream the premiere live around the country to subscribers to make less of the “East vs. West” Coast spoiler issue. However die-hard TV fans either watched (and heavily participated in the conversation on Twitter) live, or dvr’d the show with the hopes of avoiding all contact with the outside world on social media when the premiere began on the East Coast. Other tactics that were used to fend of the multitude of spoilers were creating filters and lists to weed out posts surrounding the subject and unsubscribing from fans that began to talk about the program. When fans were able to watch the event premiere in their time zone, the amount of excitement, and level of discussion online dropped immensely.

Politically-Fueled Events: e.g. London Riots of 2011
Many cannot forget the outrage and rampage on London and other major cities in England as angered citizens (mostly youths) took to the streets last year and left a trail of destruction and defacement behind them. Some sources blamed the spread of the movement on Twitter while others blamed the prolific use of mobile devices. No matter what angle is taken, it’s clear both the occurrence, as well as the monitoring, and finally the ending of these events came about with the help of the same tool: Twitter. Although the members of the Riots were able to interact with one another through tweets, posts, and the like, the general public was also able to monitor the progress of these events, and avoid many hairy situations by choosing another transit route. In the same vein, authorities were able to monitor the whereabouts, and activity of those acting out. Citizens also went a step further and used these same tools to organize for good – as rioters had done to cause mayhem.

To many the Riots would not have occurred with such force had the ease at which participants were able to message one another, organize, and get the word out of their plan as it was through Twitter. This same perspective however, goes for ending the Riots and apprehending those at fault. Authorities were able to track down participants through their Tweets and profiles as well as monitor the progress of those acting out. Citizens were able to create groups through lists and #hashtags to follow to spur the cleanup of neighborhoods damaged by fire and looters, and some were even able to assist authorities put a stop to events springing up around the city. The playing out of the Riots in their entirety would not have been the same without Social Media.

International Cultural Events: e.g. 2012 Summer Olympics
You knew it was coming. The effect of social media, especially Twitter, on how we experience real-time events around the globe has never been as prevalent as we recently observed with 2012’s Summer Olympics. On the positive side, fans of the games around the world we able to interact and bond with one another over the same subject in real-time. Athletes, announcers, media reps, and fans were all conversing together as the games progressed, responding to every event, mood, photo, and story that was shared. Even for those that were unable to follow the games on television live streaming of the events were run, chats on Twitter were lively, and the events could be experienced almost as if followers were able to see the events as they panned out.

For those who wished to follow the games on their own time zone, or were unable to watch the games in real-time, participating in the conversation was a bit more of a hairy experience. Many fans of the games that wanted to watch the delayed broadcasting had to cut themselves off from social networking, and even publicized media, to avoid learning the results of the events. With more tweets occurring and more users talking about the same topic internationally than ever before, this was no easy task.

From each of these real-time events, we can glean both pros and cons to the use of Twitter in terms of real-time events:

Pros:
- Small/Local events can have a higher impact as it gains more awareness and support online
- Higher volume/depth of discussion about the event(s) on Social Networks is possible through groups, chats, #hashtags, search and more
- Can be used to gather people and their enthusiasm for the event together (for good and bad, unfortunately) in the moment
- All participants in the conversation were able identify one another on some level from recognizing tweets an athlete or celebrity wrote to pinpointing which Twitter User wrote about an act of vandalism they committed
- Internet Networks (such as Dish Network) stream premieres/events live online allowing viewers around the country/world to tune in together
- Fans/followers get the opportunity to discuss in real-time
- The general population is able to get up-to-date information about the event, quite often faster than they can through National/International Media
- Tools to help filter, aggregate, and share social media messages in time with delayed/different time-zone broadcasting is under way

Cons:
- Difficult/impossible to avoid Social Media messages containing results/new information learned
- Time-Zone lag time allows viewing of the event in different time zones to be ruined by fans announcing details online
o Especially true in international event cases
- News/messaging taken-in by participants in the discussion can be unverified/false
o Rumors can develop and spread quicker as well
- Social Media participation and reactions to re-screenings, coverage, and delayed broadcasting of events is significantly lowered due to the amount of spoilers
- Events can escalate quickly with many fans jumping on the bandwagon, for better or worse
- Fans and followers lose some of the excitement in watching or learning about the real-time event due to hearing event news

Overall, our feelings are still the same; Twitter is here to stay for good. It’s important to create awareness about and be aware of the pros and cons of using such a powerful discussion tool during live events as we do on a regular basis. Having and learning how we want to present ourselves, our brands, and participation in conversations locally, nationally, and internationally is still a process we are discovering. Whether that’s a positive thing is for you to decide.

 

New Facebook Targeting And What It Means For Brands And Marketers

This article was co-written by Grahame Lesh and Rebecca Moring

Imagine a perfect world, in which people only receive the Facebook posts that they are interested in… Well, we’re not quite there yet, but Facebook is setting about creating a far more custom experience for Fans.

Facebook has started to add similar targeting functionality to Page Posts which we believe will be slowly evolving into the same targeting that is available with a Facebook Ad. Admins in the near future (Facebook is gradually rolling these features out in the next few weeks) will be able to target different posts to different groups. Brands and marketers will be able to target certain groups of consumers with different products, post times or use of language. According to Techcrunch, Facebook is adding the following targeting criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interested In
  • Relationship Status
  • Education
  • College Grad: College Name, Major
  • In College: College Name, Major, Years
  • In High School
  • Workplace
  • Plus the old options — Language, and Location: Country, State, City

*TechCrunch – 31st July 2012

This is huge for brands and marketers, particularly if they have a diverse demographic and product range. Why? Here’s why…

Why This Is Awesome For Marketers

  1. Marketers can now send targeted product posts at times when their target audience is most likely to be online.
  2. Targeting will allow marketers to change their content depending on whom they are talking to; publishing relevant content that will resonate with specific audiences.
  3. Targeted posts will have a better chance of being seen by relevant users. Due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, only a small percentage of a Page’s fans will see any specific post. With better targeting, Marketers will be able to expand the percentage of relevant users who see each post.
  4. Users outside of your targeting parameters will not be put off by irrelevant content. Therefore, marketers will be able to avoid the negative sentiment that can come with promoting certain items to the entire fan base of a Facebook Page.
  5. The ability to test out the effectiveness of different targeting strategies will help marketers better understand their audiences.

Why This Is Awesome For Brands

  1. Brands with multiple, segmented brand pages may be able to consolidate to one main page and target relevant content accordingly.
  2. Brands with a diverse offering of products will be able to promote each product to it’s target demographics without showing irrelevant material to a large portion of its fan base.
  3. This targeting will provide more information about the brand’s customer and audience demographics and therefore, could drive product development and enhancement.
  4. Targeting will allow brands to increase post frequency to relevant users without running into social media fatigue.
  5. Brands will be able to increase engagement by developing more detailed and refined content that is tailored to the nuances of their specific audience.

While the demographics of a marketer’s audience have always mattered, they now become even more important. In addition to topics and timing, demographic segments will now need to become part of a content calendar to keep messaging more relevant. Within an audience, topics of interest, the time of optimal activity on Facebook, and overall demographics will vary, and these new Facebook targeting capabilities give the Page manager the ability to target these different demographics with only the content that is relevant to them.

The Cons

The one big caveat, however, is the difference in structure between this new Targeting and Facebook’s old location-based Targeting. Whereas Facebook’s previous targeting options restricted the posts you see in both your personal News Feed and on the Page’s Timeline, these new Targeted posts will only be restricted and targeted in the users News Feed. This means that Page managers must be aware of how their users consume their content (which they can track in Facebook Insights) and must strategize based on that information.

Another pitfall would be to become over-reliant on Post Targeting and miss potential customers. For example, if your brand wants to reach couples who are about to get married and you only target people who have updated their relationship statuses to ‘Engaged’ you may be missing out on a large swathe of Fans who have not updated their information.

The new targeting functionality is a welcome addition to Facebook’s ever-growing repertoire, and we’re thrilled to be incorporating this functionality into Adobe Social. If you know your audience demographics well, know how they are consuming your content and what they want to hear, then targeting will only help you achieve greater success.

Update: Facebook Page Admins will begin to find that they now have the new Facebook Page Post Targeting option. We’ve now got a few more specifics from Facebook about this new tool, which we’d like to share with you.

Page Post Targeting is being been rolled out to all Pages with over 100 fans and will be available both natively on Facebook and through 3rd party publishing tools via Facebook’s API.

To use Page Post Targeting, Page Admins must go to the Page composer as usual and select the cross-hairs icon.

Once you have chosen your target, Facebook will advise how many people fall into this category –- Note that Facebook will only allow targeting of groups of 20 or more. If the catchment should fall below this, you would be required to broaden your target audience. You also still have the option to use Promoted Posts to ensure your Reach is maximised.

Remember that this new targeting function only applies to the news feed, so any targeted posts you publish will be visible to everyone who visits your Page. You do however; have the option via the pencil (edit) icon in the top right-hand of the post, to select ‘Hide from Page’.

Facebook also have advised, that if you wish to turn your post into a sponsored story, targeting will have to be reset manually.