How to quantify a social media strategy

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While many businesses invest in social media to tap into coveted target markets, very few can quantify its return on investment. With this ever-evolving tool becoming an essential part of marketing strategy, it’s imperative to show its value – not only to increase effectiveness, but to ensure dollars are spent efficiently. Here’s how to get started:

First, identify your company’s key performance indicators. To start, look at the KPIs your company tracks for other strategies (i.e., finances or growth). Then, align these KPIs with your social strategy so you can understand what metrics are important to impact the bottom line. With social media’s evolution, metrics have gone farther than how many likes you receive, and into engagement or conversions. At the end of the day, it’s not about impressions or reach, but about what converted these customers and delivered a sale.

Next, track your conversions to follow customers along the consumer decision journey. You can implement this through tracking scripts or Google Analytics. By setting up tracking scripts (through Facebook and Twitter, for example) you can easily monitor successes taking place during and post-campaign. One way we track scripts at Cousins Subs is through online ordering conversions. While we have a myriad of partnerships and campaigns, we attempt to tie in an online ordering element. Through tracking scripts, we can determine how many people converted to purchases/sales. To retain and convert your intended audience, you must be informed about their behavior. With Google Analytics, you can set tracking tags on the URLs you use in campaigns, while also monitoring completed actions and website behaviors. Through these tactics, you’ll be better informed of your target audience.

Lastly, upon completion of these campaigns it’s equally as valuable to follow up and report on the KPIs you set. This allows you to make improvements for future campaign success.

The spheres of social media and its users change daily. What may have worked for one campaign may not be effective for the next. To better understand what’s working now and what might work in the future, it’s necessary to benchmark and understand the successes/failures from each campaign.

Via: BizTimes

Would Public Relations Survive Without Twitter?

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It’s no secret Twitter is a great tool for publicity.

More than 500 million Tweets are sent each day according to this very cool counter on Internet Live Stats. Most, if not all, tweets are sent by publicists trying to promote their products or embedding links to press releases. (Just kidding, it’s probably only 400 million.)

Journalists love Twitter and use it to break news, promote their articles, blogs, opinions, upcoming and already aired TV appearances, and more. Since PR professionals need to follow the media, it’s obvious they must master this tool as well. We covered how PR professionals use the social media platform in a previous column, and these tips include:

  • You want to tell the public something about you, your business or your client such as a new product, an award, an upcoming event, or introduction into a new market; or to keep your audience updated during a crisis or emergency.
  • Find out what your competitors, clients, friends, media or influencers are tweeting about.
  • To meet new influencers, clients, friends, competitors or reporters and follow them and get them to follow you.

A well-written article from TrendKite adds some additional tips including “monitor for journalists looking for a source” and “monitor and protect your reputation.”

But Twitter may not last forever, at least in its current form.  In October, Twitter (TWTR) announced they were looking for a buyer. As of today, it hasn’t been purchased, and the stock continues to bounce around from $15 to $18 a share.

Since Twitter is so important for the practice of PR, and because it is used so widely, that begs the question: if it does get sold, or decides to fold, or it mutates into something else, how will that change how publicity professionals do their jobs?  I asked four professionals in public relations and the media industry for their thoughts on the subject.

“I’m a big fan of Twitter, but much of that is because it brings me so much enjoyment personally. I use my Twitter feed as a news feed, as a public square to learn what people are saying, and to connect socially with friends and acquaintances.

A Twitter blackout would do some damage to the way I do PR. I have a dedicated professional account, @sciencewriter, and I use that to deliver research news to the public, to interact with journalists, and to find journalist whom I haven’t met who appear to be interested in the topics I’m involved with. Because Twitter is a social medium, it has a casualness and—with the great majority of people who aren’t part of the angry troll mob—a friendliness that you wouldn’t always get in an email exchange.

Journalists, by and large, tend to enjoy Twitter, too. So as a PR professional, I want to be where the journalists are. To make Twitter work for you professionally, you do need to achieve a critical mass of interactions, which is this case is measured in number and quality of followers. You build this up in two ways: by providing good content, and, just as important by putting in the time to read and interact with your timeline, and to curate your follow list.

The ROI of this won’t make sense, or will always run in the red, until you hit this critical mass. After that Twitter is absolutely worth doing for PR, but the question is, do you have the resources available to build up your Twitter critical mass?”

– Steve Tally, Purdue University, Senior strategist for STEM, Purdue Public Affairs @sciencewriter

“As PR professionals, being flexible and adjusting to change is like second nature. Twitter is an amazing communication tool, especially because it gives us PR pros a great opportunity to have quick chats with media and learn more about them, personally. However, if it was no longer around, we’d figure out another way to learn more about media and stay connected. Instagram is a great back up for that purpose. As a professional, I used to use Twitter as my news feed because I follow all my favorite media folks on Twitter. However, Snapchat’s Discovery tool has become a great way to quickly catch up on national news and I certainly see myself using that tool more in the future, as media are moving towards Snapchat to get in front of younger audiences. ”

– Nicole Rodrigues, CEO, NRPR in Los Angeles, @NicoleRPR

“If Twitter disappeared tomorrow I’d dust off my fax machine and go back to how things were done in the 90s. Twitter’s fundamentally altered how journalism works in an irreversible way. Journalists demand a platform to send and receive information in real time, and the PR industry needs to be there for the party.”

– Greg Galant, CEO, Muckrack, @gregory

“Part of me would shed not one salty tear if Twitter receded into memory as other vital communications tools, like the Etch a Sketch, did.  Don’t get me wrong — I still feel awed at how Twitter has allowed PR people to self-publish quickly and cheaply, reaching thousands of people at once.  But with or without Twitter we need to pitch stories with sentences and storytelling, not just micro-bursts of 140 characters.”  – Peter Winicov, Director, Media Relations, The Wharton School,

University of Pennsylvania, @pwinicov

Any more thoughts? Tweet me at @robwynne.

Robert Wynne owns a public relations agency in Redondo Beach, CA. He is a former journalist who wrote for Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times.

Via: Forbes

Twitter tries new measures in crackdown on harassment

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Twitter is trying to shake its reputation as a haven for online harassment.

The social media company announced a new set of features Tuesday to combat hateful and abusive content.

The changes include preventing serial abusers from creating new accounts, a new “safe search” function and blocking potentially abusive and “low-quality” tweets from appearing in conversations, Twitter’s engineering chief Ed Ho said in a blog post.

Twitter (TWTRTech30) is working on identifying users that have been permanently suspended and prevent them from creating new accounts, Ho said. This new measure specifically targets “accounts that are created only to abuse and harass others,” he said, a problem that has long plagued the platform.

The new safe search function prevents tweets that are abusive, or from blocked and muted accounts, from appearing in users’ search results. Those tweets can still be found if people want to see them, but they “won’t clutter search results any longer,” Ho said.

And Twitter will now collapse tweet replies that are potentially abusive or low quality — like duplicate tweets or content that appears to be automated. But those tweets “will still be accessible to those who seek them out,” Ho said.

Twitter’s decision to hide or collapse abusive content, rather than delete or ban it, is in keeping with its long standing position as a defender of free speech and “people being able to see all sides of any topic,” as Ho said at the very top of his post.

Although the company frequently updates policies on abuse and harassment, it remains unclear when Twitter decides to take action. It has in the past “issued warnings that also require the deletion of tweets,” according to a statement Twitter gave after suspending Milo Yiannopoulos, the tech editor of conservative site Breitbart, from its platform.

In a BuzzFeed survey of 2,700 Twitter users, about 90% of respondents said the social network did nothing after they reported abuse.

After a banner year for vitriol and harassment on Twitter, users lobbied CEO Jack Dorsey for a more efficient way to cut down on abuse and get rid of people who use the platform to harass others.

In November, the company rolled out a reporting tool that let users mark tweets as hateful andan improved mute feature. And last week, it introduced another reporting tool for people experiencing targeted harassment.

Via: CNN

New Instagram Story Update Is Set To Helping Your Brand

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Instagram may have arrived late as a traffic source for brands and publishers, but it’s already showing early signs of success, driving new visitors to their sites and even outperforming its parent company, Facebook.

For years brands, publishers and other have tried to push people from the Facebook-owned photo-and-video-sharing app to their sites. Outside of ads, and excepting a recent test with some retailers, Instagram didn’t offer much help to companies looking to use it to drive traffic. So they had to find workarounds. They put links in their Instagram bios. They scrawled short-code URLs on their pictures. And they typed out links in their captions.

Then last month, Instagram finally introduced an official alternative to these hacky workarounds: the ability for verified profiles to insert links in their Instagram Stories.

Almost a month after the launch, 15 to 25 percent of the people who see a link in an Instagram Story are swiping on it, according to a handful of brands and publishers that have been experimenting with the feature.

Within the first two days of adding links to its Instagram Stories, “we saw over a quarter of a million views” for those link-laden slides, said Jay Rockman, director of marketing and business development at anonymous social platform Whisper. As of Wednesday, Whisper’s total view count had hit 1.25 million, with 15 percent of those viewers swiping on the links to visit its site.

Clothing brand MeUndies has seen similar success, with swipe-through rates averaging 15 to 20 percent. Each day the brand gets around 350 clicks to its site from the link in its Instagram bio; from the links in its Instagram Stories it’s getting 400 to 600 clicks, according to MeUndies’ head of brand marketing, Steph Young. “We’re seeing a lot more clicks probably because of the convenience; it’s right in the Story,” she said. It’s not only that Instagram is driving more traffic to MeUndies’ site, but that most of that is new traffic. Of those people who swipe through to the site, 90 percent of them are people who had never visited its site before.

For starters, a lot of people may not be accustomed to swiping on links in Instagram or even aware that it’s an option. Instagram teases the links by adding “See More” and an arrow at the bottom of Story slides carrying a link for people to swipe down to see the attached web page. But the callout is small, small enough to not obscure the slide but also small enough to go unnoticed. And people may not know what more there is to see if they do swipe down or that swiping down will open Instagram’s in-app browser.

 

Via Marketing land

How Facebook Live is changing the game

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Facebook Live’s most recent update introduces a number improvements that give publishers and brands more control and flexibility over live broadcasts.

A selection of the most important updates includes:

  • Broadcasting from a web browser. Broadcasting from a web browser. Users can now go live on Facebook straight from the web browser, via their laptop or desktop computers. This will be beneficial for certain types of broadcasts like daily vlog that require little more than a simple webcam, and reduces one of the barriers for going live on Facebook.
  • Live contributors for Pages. A new “Live Contributor” role is now available in Pages, which will allow admins to give specific individuals the ability to broadcast live on that Page. Before this, only admins could go live from a Page. This new feature will make it easy for multiple contributors – such as journalists, analysts, or other guests – to broadcast.
  • Enhanced video metrics. Profiles with at least 5,000 followers will receive enhanced insights on their live videos, including metrics on total minutes viewed, total number of viewers, total engagement, as well as aggregated insights for all videos over 7-,30-, and 60-day periods. These insights will help prominent personalities and public figures to better understand how their video content performs.

If 2015 was the year that brands and advertisers embraced online video, then 2016 saw the medium take the next step as live streaming took off.

Live streaming video refers to broadcasts in real time to an audience over the internet. While the concept of live streaming has been around for years, mobile-first video platforms with user-generated content have just recently begun to make serious waves thanks to improved video quality, faster broadband speeds, and enhanced mobile technology.

Online video has become a key part of the strategic business model for both brands and marketers as they seek more innovative ways to capture consumer attention. Creative live streaming video initiatives and campaigns are a way for companies to cut through the digital clutter and have emerged as the medium of choice not only for person-to-person sharing, but also for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) communication.

Brands are increasingly using live streaming to reach audiences. Its importance has grown significantly thanks to substantial investments by social platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter to build and enhance their live-streaming platforms.

And advertising dollars are likely to follow. 88% of agency respondents stated that they “might” or “definitely will” invest in live stream video advertising over the next six months, according to a recent Trusted Media Brands survey.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on live streaming video that examines the eruption of online video from the perspective of both consumers and advertisers and assesses how live streaming is emerging as the medium’s next catalyst for growth.

Here are some key points from the report:

  • Live streaming video will further accelerate streaming videos overall share of internet traffic. Streaming video accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic, and this share is expected to jump to 82% by 2020, according to Cisco’s June 2016 Visual Networking Index report.
  • Live video’s value comes from its unique ability to add an authentic human element to digital communications. As a result, brands are leveraging three main streaming methods to connect with their viewers: tutorials, product launches, and exclusive and behind-the-scene footage.
  • Advertisers will continue to invest heavily in online video, especially as live streaming video gains traction. Already in the US, digital video ad revenue reached $7.8 billion in 2015, up 55% from 2014, according to figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau.
  • While live streaming is still in its early stages, brands are leveraging micropayments, mid-roll video ads and direct payments from social platforms, to monetize their live streaming videos.
  • The success of live streaming video hinges on brands overcoming a lack of measurement standards in the space, as well as changes in social media sites’ algorithms that affect what content users see.

 

Via BusinessInsider

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook fake news didn’t sway election

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SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Zuckerberg addressed growing criticism of Facebook’s ascendant power to sway public opinion, saying the “small amount” of fake news that spread on the social network during the election did not influence the outcome.

“To think it influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” Zuckerberg said Thursday evening during the Techonomy conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Zuckerberg said people underestimated support for president-elect Donald Trump. “I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news,” Zuckerberg said. “If you believe that, then I don’t think you have internalized the message the Trump supporters are trying to send in this election.”

Read More Here

Vine Is Closing Down, and the Internet Can’t Stand It

By | Apps, Social Media, Technology | No Comments

If you picture social video as a colorful ecosystem full of emoji and chat bubbles, you really should try to think of it more as a jungle — a place where the strong eat the weak.

Periscope ate Meerkat. Instagram’s new video features might be chewing on Snapchat. And Facebook Live is trying to gobble up everything in sight.

The latest casualty is Vine, a six-second video app owned by Twitter. The app spawned some stars, among them the singer Shawn Mendes, and improved upon the best thing about Twitter — funny tweets — by adding audio and visual snippets. Some of it was total nonsense, and that’s why it was so great.

Read More Here

5 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From The Presidential Election

By | Business, Digital, Media, Social Media, Technology | No Comments

Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

The presidential election is almost at an end and most of the country couldn’t be happier at that fact. But businesses might be looking at the presidential election in a different way. There are a lot of marketing lessons that can be learned from both candidates, in both a positive and a negative way.

This guide is going to go into the key marketing lessons that can be learned from the 2016 presidential race.

Read More Here

Instagram Debuts Ephemeral ‘Stories’ In Battle With Snapchat

By | Apps, Business, Digital, Media, Social Media, Technology | No Comments

 

instagram-stories1

Instagram doesn’t only want to be the place to share perfect photos.

In a major product change, the Facebook ngIf: ticker FB -1.00% ngIf: show_card end ngIf: ticker -owned company is making a push to encourage more frequent, in-the-moment sharing. On Tuesday, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company began rolling out a new ephemeral sharing tool called “Instagram Stories” that heavily mimics the core Snapchat feature of the same name. Stories lets users add full-screen photos and videos, overlayed with text, emojis, filters and bright drawings in a slideshow of content that disappears after 24 hours. Users can choose to save the clips to their camera roll or share them on their traditional Instagram profile, where they can still post filtered photos and videos per usual. Users can capture clips for Stories through an in-app camera, or share camera roll content that is up to 24 hours old.

Read More Here

Hands on with India’s £3 smartphone

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Getting your hands on the world’s “cheapest smartphone” is not easy.

Freedom 251 is an Android phone advertised by the Indian company Ringing Bells at 251 rupees (£2.77).

In the hand, it feels somewhat like Apple’s iPhone 5.

And, surprisingly for its price, its specifications are quite impressive:

  • camera on both front and back
  • 4in (10.2cm) wide
  • 1GB Ram
  • 8GB internal storage, expandable to 32GB
  • quad-core processor providing more processing power when necessary but making less use of its battery at other times

There are two models, one black, one white.

Freedom 251
Image captionThe Freedom 251 features a camera and flash on its rear

As I handle the handset, it seems to work like a basic smartphone.

But it is hard to really test its capabilities, as it has very few applications, covering only basic tasks, such as:

  • calculator
  • music player
  • web browser
  • email

At the demo, the company told me the final model would be made available for scrutiny only after 30 June. Later, on Tuesday afternoon, it said that date had been delayed until 7 July.

Some people are worried.

Questions are being asked about whether the company will be able to deliver the millions of handsets it says it can.

One member of the Indian parliament, Kirit Somaiya, has even suggested a “huge scam” is being perpetrated, while the head of the Indian Cellular Association has said the sale seemed to be “a joke or a scam”.

Mohit Goel, the founder and chief executive of Ringing Bells, denies the allegations of fraud.

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