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Five for Friday

Happy end-of-week, everyone, and welcome to today’s edition of Five for Friday! Lots of buzz-worthy headlines hit our feeds this week. Followed are a few that rose to the top for us:

Last week’s broadcast of the Primetime Emmys is said to have generated an estimated 1 million tweets, according to a new report from Bluefin Labs. Fans on Facebook contributed another 24,000 comments. In all, traffic levels represented a 148% increase in chatter over last year’s event. By comparison, music’s biggest night – the Grammy Awards – garnered 13 million comments; the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, 12.8 million… (Source: Bluefin Labs).

At this week’s Social Media ROI conference, it was revealed that Social Media advertising now accounts for 14% of all online ad spending. So far this year, ad spend by quarter on Facebook is estimated at $992 million; on Twitter, $65 million; and LinkedIn, $63 millionBased on those platforms (and a handful of others), total Social Media advertising revenues for the year are tallied at $4.5 billion and growing… (Source: Business Insider).
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two measures to block California universities and employers from seeking access to applicants’ Social Media accounts. The legislation comes amid growing questions about the legal and privacy implications of employee and student activities on the Social Web. The news – first published by the Governor via his Twitter account – was followed by a release that said the measures were “designed to stop a growing trend of colleges and universities snooping into student accounts, particularly those of student athletes”… (Source: Los Angeles Times | PolitiCal).

Ever on the trail of monetization, Facebook brought back their Gifts service this week, with one small tweak: the system now lets users buy real (vs. virtual) gifts for friends through the Network. The gifts – which include items from companies like Magnolia Bakery, Gund and Starbucks – can be sent from a user’s birthday reminders or from a friend’s timeline. The feature even gives friends the option of exchanging the gifts the receive. So far, the Gifts is only available to users in the US… (Source: Facebook).
A new report shows just how porous China’s infamous Great Firewall might be for local Internet users determined to access banned Social Media sites like Facebook. As we know, the country’s censors have deemed the Network unfit for local consumption; but that hasn’t stopped millions of Chinese from logging on. According to data published by GlobalWebIndex, there are currently 63.5 million Facebook users in China, up from 7.9 million just two years ago. This ranks the country third in terms of Facebook’s largest markets, right behind the US and almost tied with runner-up, Brazil… (Source: GlobalWebIndex).

And there you have ‘em: this week’s picks! What Social Media news caught your eye this week? Leave us a comment and let’s discuss!

Image courtesy of Marina Maher Communications LLC

Five for Friday

Good morning, all, and welcome to this week’s edition of Five for Friday!

In the wake of a new product announcement (and the release of an updated operating system), weeding through our feeds for stories that weren’t “Apple-related” was challenging for sure. That said, we landed on a handful of tasty nuggets – we hope you enjoy them:   

Despite growing concerns over productivity, privacy and their professional futures, a new study of journalists in the UK has found that more than 25% are “unable to work” without access to Social Media. Using Forrester Research’s Technographics Ladder as a basis for comparison, the study also revealed that journalists’ personal use of Social Media differs from that of the general user: journalists are far more active and play a key role in Social Media through content creation and networking. Their turn-to platform? Twitter… (Source: Cision).

Spurred on by the public’s increased reliance on ratings and reviews found online, a new report published by Gartner, Inc. predicts that some companies may soon opt to pay for positive “user-generated” feedback. By 2014, they say, between 10-to-15% of all Social Media reviews will be paid-for, resulting in at least two Fortune 500 Brands facing litigation from the Federal Trade Commission… (Source: Gartner, Inc.).

Now that they’ve piqued the interests of enough retailers and local merchants, Facebook will begin charging them to run Offers. Launched earlier this year, Facebook Offers allows businesses to push deals directly into the News Feeds of their fans. In the coming weeks, the Network will require vendors to pay at least $5 on related ads to promote each Offer to a targeted audience of fans and friends of fans. The exact cost will vary depending on the size of a Company’s fanbase. Kinda smart – let’s see if it sticks… (Source: Reuters).

English comedian Ricky Gervais is backing Just Sayin’, a new app that lets users share audio messages and listen in while celebrities chat with one another. Gervais, who’s signed on as “Creative Director,” sees tons of promise in a Social Network that based on the spoken-word: it has the potential, he says, of being more personal and more human. We think it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “fly on the wall” and hope it takes off… (Source: EW.com | PopWatch).

Businesses who use Twitter saw an upgrade to their Profile pages this week as a look and feel somewhat reminiscent of Facebook was rolled out. Designed to give users more control over how they present themselves to consumers, the move suggests that Twitter’s monetization strategies are converging with Facebook’s. According to one expert, “both companies are influencing each other in their attempt to find a sustainable way to use their massive, attention-grabbing digital networks to make money from users.” Will followers buy in or move on to the next “Big Thing?” Only time will tell… (Source: CNET | News).

Have a headline that hit your radar this week? Leave us a comment and let’s discuss!

Image courtesy of Marina Maher Communications LLC

Five for Friday

Happy almost weekend, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of Five for Friday! Between NYFW and big announcements at Apple, we had quite some time scouring our feeds for stories that we thought you might enjoy – followed are our picks:   

In addition to announcing what’s bound to be the must-have device for the foreseeable future, Apple confirmed that they will soon shutter Ping – the Social Network that was integrated into their iTunes platform. The service will be replaced an improved version of iTunes that will allow users to “like” songs via Facebook and tweet to share their purchases… (Source: PCMag.com).

Because sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram didn’t exist 11 years ago, the aftermath of 9/11 didn’t unfold in same the way an event does today. The memories of that day, however, were certainly kept alive through trending topics like #WTC and #Remember911. Even the NYPD got involved as they memorialized fallen officers through a Twitter campaign (#neverforget) that linked each tweet to a Facebook Page dedicated to those lost in the line of duty… (Source: Various).  

For hosting a clip that’s been blamed for inciting violence in Libya, Egypt and Yemen, video-sharing juggernaut YouTube was drawn into a bit of global drama that raised questions about the site’s responsibilities as the Web’s leading distributor of video content. Some media observers predict that the incident will prompt calls for the Google-owned company to play a more active role in curating the billions of hours of video found on their site; others cited the obvious limitations. A debate – and outcome – to watch out for, for sure… (Source: Various).

A new study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 46% of Internet users post original photos and videos that they themselves have created. According to Pew’s data, 12% of online adults favor Pinterest, 12% Instagram and 5% Tumblr… (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project).

According to the authors of a recent survey, companies and Brands who measure the effectiveness of their Social Media efforts by size of their fanbase are not only “misguided,” but “quite antiquated in their thinking.” Among the more meaningful metrics, they say, are “share of social conversations” and “social influence,” both of which are tough to prove on a go-to platform like Facebook where engagement and sentiment really matter… (Source: Forbes).

Have a headline to share? Leave us a comment and let’s discuss!

Image courtesy of Marina Maher Communications LLC

Five for Friday: Pharma Edition

Happy end of week, everyone, and welcome to Five for Friday! For this round of picks, we turned our sites to Social Media news in the world of pharma. We scraped our feeds and landed on the following – hope you enjoy them!  

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, it would be difficult to ignore the impact “the Internet” has had on public health. According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of US adults turn to the Web for health information. Of that percentage – and with women in particular – finding information through online and Social Media channels has been deemed “especially useful.” Let’s face it: with busy, demanding lives, a trip to the doctor’s office isn’t always possible – particularly if an “issue” seems more like an annoyance versus a threat. Per data that extends far beyond Pew’s, women tend to talk among themselves, often in online communities, before seeking the counsel of a professional. In situations where they avoid dealing with “ick topics” – like periods or light bladder leakage – they tend to internalize because they’re embarrassed. Discussing these issues online can be easier, without the awkwardness many might feel in face-to-face scenarios… (Source: PewResearchCenter Publications).

Update from Boehringer Ingelheim: Syrum, a Facebook game that we talked about back in June, has finally begun testing in advance of its September 13th launch. Designed to be “more than a marketing tool,” the game hopes to educate people about research and the complexities involved in creating and bringing a new drug to market. According to a description found on the game’s website, players will be tasked with putting an end to disease in the world. How? By  connecting with friends and running their very own companies, where developing drugs and conducting clinical trials are the primary objectives. Think Farmville for pharma. Sounds like fun… (Source: Boehringer Ingelheim).

In ‘game’-related news, GE Healthcare has launched a new global awareness campaign that uses gamification and Social Media to promote cancer prevention. The company’s Get Fit campaign invites users of Twitter, Facebook and Sina Weibo to collect points by tracking their progress against specific challenges or by posting comments on adopting a healthier lifestyle… (Source: GE Healthcare).

A recent consumer poll reveals that 54% of patients are “very comfortable” with their medical providers seeking advice from online communities. How else do HCPs use Social Media? Check out this infographic… (Source: mediabistro).

While we all recognize the power of Social Media as a healthcare tool with a variety of applications, many companies continue to steer due to a lack of guidance on how best to use it. In an article published by the Archives of Internal Medicine, Social Media was seen as a platform where “true online collaboration” could occur. The abridged, real-time format and relative permanence underscore its impact, particularly with regard to the patient-physician relationship. Their best advice? Follow the emerging guidelines, adhere to the FDA/HIPAA policies and separate professional material from personal material. Smart… (Source: Archives of Internal Medicine).

And there you have them, this week’s picks. If you have a headline you’d like to share, leave us a comment and let’s discuss. We’ll be back with more next week. In the meantime, enjoy the long weekend!

Image courtesy of Corbis Images

Five for Friday

Image courtesy of Mashable

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of Five for Friday!

We decided to mix things up this go-around by taking a look at Facebook, the Social Media juggernaut everyone seems to love to hate.

While concerns over privacy, stock perfomance and a never-ending stream of changes to platform have given more than one marketer a reason to doubt the importance of Facebook, we thought we’d explore a handful of opportunities that the Network presents to all of us. And so, without futher ado, followed are our tips…

With deeper support for multimedia content, there’s no question that Facebook has upped the ante when it comes to storytelling through Social Media. Still, there are brands out there who simply rely on the written (typed?) word: images rarely accompany their status updates and videos are few and far between. Our advice? Share more video! Bringing product benefits to life with experiential “how-tos” – or better yet, getting your super-fans to create them for you – is a great way to spike engagement and get more fans “talking about this.”

Related to the above: add a photo to your status updates. Remember that old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, it still holds true: brands that do Facebook well have all found ways to draw attention to themselves – not to mention spruce up the newsfeeds of their fans – by using images. Bonus points go to those who also add link, another element Facebook’s algorithm – EdgeRank – loves.

Our next tip has to do with striking that delicate balance between commerce and conversation. Another attribute shared by the most successful brands on Facebook is their ability to be, well, social. It’s important to remember that communities are made up of individuals whose interests extend far beyond the brands they “like.” To them, platforms like Facebook are venues where connections can be made, advice can be sought, opinions can be shared, and, yes, the occasional sale can be pitched. The key to it all is this: if you use your Page to talk to your fans about the things they care about, the things they want to talk about, you’ll create an environment where they feel valued and appreciated. Add to this your ability to place them at the center of your brand experience, and you’ll end up with a quality community that spreads your messages for you, an “insiders club” that others will want to join.

Further to the above, another aspect of marketing on Facebook that’s often overlooked by page owners is its ability to serve as a platform for focus-group testing and crowdsourcing. Brands all love to see their communities react to the release of a new product, the launch of a new contest, the announcement of a new face – all great reasons to engage, for sure! However, those who have really taken “like” to a whole new level are those who’ve involved their fans in the process behind each. By doing so, they’ve given their customers a shared sense of ownership in the brand and increase the probability that they’ll buy more and share more.

Lastly, embrace the fact that “Facebook magic” doesn’t happen by engagement – or “earned” media – alone. We all want our content to reach our fans. That said, we are in constant competition with news that’s being shared by their friends and by the other brands they “like.” The truth is, on average, only 16% of a brand’s content will ever reach its fans without some sort of “paid” (e.g., advertising) and/or “owned” (e.g., amplification from another Brand channel) push. A great solve for the reach conundrum is Sponsored Posts. Among Facebook’s newest offerings for brands, these paid-for units are an extremely cost-effective way of ensuring that your most important content gets seen by your largest possible audience. And who wouldn’t want that?

So there you have it – our Five for Friday: Facebook Edition! Have a tip to add to the above? Leave us a comment and lets discuss!

Five for Friday

 

Happy almost weekend, one and all, and welcome to Five for Friday!

With the London 2012 Olympics behind us, our feeds seemed a bit lighter this week. Still, we managed to capture a ton of great headlines, some of which we’ve handpicked just for you – we hope you enjoy them:

Good news for Google+ users: the service will soon introduce vanity URLs that will allow users to further customize their profile pages. According to Google, the new URLs will be short and easy-to-remember, a marked difference from their current format. Currently being tested with a few verified users, vanity URLs are expected to rollout worldwide very soon… (Source: PCMag.com).

The developers at Facebook are testing yet another marketing vehicle aimed at brands. Their latest product is designed to enable advertisers to push their updates to users who haven’t “liked” their Page. Promoted posts will appear in Newsfeeds but be labeled as “sponsored.” According to a statement issued by Facebook, “these ads may appear on both desktop and mobile” and will make it easier for businesses to reach more people… (Source: Mashable).

Social Media entrepreneurs Evan Williams and Biz Stone have unveiled a new publishing platform, Medium. Designed as a means of better indexing content on the Internet, Medium encourages users to post longer items – including photos – that can be organized and separated according to theme. These ”collections” can either be closed off to the public or open to contributions, with the highest rated posts displayed most prominently at the top. We’re currently kicking the tires on Williams’ and Stone’s Medium and – while certainly more complex than their Twitter – it does show promise. Definitely one to watch… (Source: Medium).

Looking to secure a stronghold in mobile, an area where some Social Media services are lagging, Pinterest has released a pair of apps – one for Android, the other for iOS – designed to support their increasingly popular pinboard tool. The move comes less than a week after the platform shed its invitation-only policy, opening its registration to the public… (Source: CNN).

If you had to guess which platform teens turn to for listening to new music, would you have answered “YouTube”? Well, according to a new study, that appears to be their go-to. At 64%, the video-sharing portal topped their list of sources, followed by radio (56%), iTunes (53%) and CDs (50%)… (Source: Nielsen).

So what stories caught your eye this week? Leave us a comment and let’s discuss!

 

Five for Friday

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of Five for Friday! Loads of headlines made it to our feeds – followed are a few that rose to the top for us:

The folks over at Immersive Labs have developed a software platform that’s designed to power the next generation of digital billboards. Once unveiled, their system will be able to gather anonymous demographic data on anyone who passes a billboard that’s been enhanced. Age range, gender and attention-level of a passer-by are among the elements that might be collected. According to CEO Jason Sosa, detection takes a tenth of a second and works from up to 25 feet away. There are currently more than 3 million digital billboards in the US alone… (Source: Singularity Hub).

In an interesting turn of events, Australia’s Advertising Standards Board has ruled that posts made on a Brand’s Facebook Page are effectively advertising, regardless of whether or not they were made by the Brand, its parent Company or a member of the public. Per their guides – which to date have no impact on how Brands and their Pages operate in the US – any posts that make false claims about a product, or include racist or sexist language, will leave companies vulnerable to being sued unless they are removed.  So, if, for example, a fan claimed that Smirnoff vodka was the purest Russian vodka or it could lead to success with the ladies, the Company would be liable on multiple counts. Why? Well, because Smirnoff is Australian and not Russian. That it’s “the purest” is subjective, and to imply that one would score would fly in the face of the advertising codes… (Source: The Telegraph).

Using a formula that adds the number of Twitter followers to the number Facebook fans, Forbes has published a list of celebrity Social Networking superstars. According to their calculations, Rihanna came out on top with 23.8 million Twitter followers and 59.6 million Facebook fans. She edges out Lady Gaga, who scored runner-up with 28 million Twitter followers and 53 million Facebook fans. Of Forbes’ top 10, most are musicians, with the magazine theorizing that these users might have taken to Social Media much earlier than their counterparts in film and television. Selena Gomez was the only actress to crack the top 10 and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo the only athlete… (Source: Forbes).

Celebrated US swimmer Michael Phelps – who leaves London as the most decorated Olympian with 22 medals – can also lay claim to another title: winning the most fans on his Social Media channels during the Games. Figures released on Friday showed that Phelps added one million Twitter followers at the London 2012 Olympics which started on July 27 to bring his total number of followers to 1.2 million and 800,000 Facebook fans. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who stormed to gold in both the 100 and 200 meters finals, was second in the list, adding 725,000 followers on Twitter to reach 1.36 million and attracting another 700,000 Facebook fans… (Source: starcount).

In flocking to Instagram, approximately 40% of the world’s leading Brands are hoping that their pictures truly are worth more than a thousand words – or perhaps a thousand customers. According to a recent study, the increasingly popular photo-taking/tweaking/sharing service is earning its Social Media stripes, carrying an impressive adoption rate among global companies. While still trailing behind parent company Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest (which, incidentally, opened its gates to the world this week), experts have labeled Instagram’s growth “very impressive,” particularly for a mobile-only offering. The platform is expected to reach 100 million users by early fall, a milestone that took Facebook four years to reach… (Source: Various).

And those are our picks – tell us about yours in the comments!

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