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TREND-AFRICABefore moving to London, I spent four years living in Nairobi, Kenya. A few years back, while getting ready for an anniversary weekend, I distinctly remember receiving a phone call from my boyfriend’s brother (who was in London) asking whether we were safe. Immediately confused, we started scanning the internet to see what happened. Minutes later twitter posts appeared about a terrorist attack at Westgate Mall. The date was September 21, 2013. At the time, it did not surprise me that Twitter had the news before anyone else. But looking back, I see it as a clear signal of the rising influence of social media throughout Africa, a trend that only continues to grow.

It would be a stretch to say Twitter is used by every Kenyan, or that Meru grandparents are posting regular pictures of their kids on Facebook. But since the first tweet was sent from Kenya in 2007 to receiving its own local feed in 2013, over 5 million tweets have been sent from the country. Twitter is the third largest social media platform in Kenya with Facebook dominating and Linkedin a far second. Over 4 million users in Kenya, (around 10% of the population), make Kenyan social media a force to be reckoned with. These online users represent urban populations with growing pocket books, and a thirst for information from around the Globe. Of course, Kenya is one of fifty four African nations with online chatter, and while social media has not penetrated all nations on the continent, the numbers continue to rise. So what does this emerging social media trend in Africa imply for the future of online marketing and communication? Here are a few interesting insights I picked up from the Kenyan market.

  1. Mobile is king. We hear this everywhere, but it is even more relevant in nations like Kenya where development has skipped the personal computer all together. I took a ten hour bus and forty five minute motorbike to visit my friend’s family in rural Kenya near Lake Victoria. While they had no electricity on their compounds, guess what, they had cell phones! The police station nearby had a shop where people could pay 20p to charge their phones. Ninety-nine percent of internet usage in Kenya comes from mobile devices. Personal Computers are too expensive, and electricity is too scarce. As CNN says, not only is Africa a mobile first continent, but it is a mobile only continent. This means mobile marketing is the way forward, and in markets like Kenya, think Facebook and Twitter communication. Not everyone has a smart phone, and Kenyans often access twitter and Facebook via SMS. Safaricom (the largest mobile provider in Kenya) answers immense amounts of customer service via Twitter. In these formats, online chat is available via SMS, a necessity in a country where not everyone can afford smart phones. Realizing this, Google recently started offering g-chat via SMS as well. Do not forget mobile money. Through Mpesa (a mobile product that allows people to pay for things via their mobile phone), Kenya has the largest usage of mobile money in the world. Since credit cards are limited to the extremely wealthy, Mpesa has allowed people around the country to gain access to financial institutions without formal bank accounts. Find a way to connect your products to mobile money, and you can sell to the masses.
  2. Market research is possible, and it must be taken with a grain of salt. With only around 10% of the population in Kenya, there are a lot of people missing from the online conversation. But those who are present are more likely to be your customers – the urban middle class youth. It is also important to note that these youth are incredibly influential on the wider population. But remember there is a huge gap with reference to the elderly, and the very poor, so if you are looking for information on them, social media may not be the best method.
  3. Cultural sensitivity is paramount. CNN found this out the hard way after talking about Obama’s visit to a ‘hotbed of terror’ ~ Nairobi. Nairobians responded with over 75,000 tweets in one day to the hashtag #SomeonetellCNN forcing a senior executive of CNN to fly to Nairobi and apologize. They still are in jeopardy of losing a marketing deal from the Kenya Tourism Board. This means whether you are selling products in Africa or not, be careful about stereotyping a continent, or making assumptions in your communications. People are not forgiving to being stereotyped, and are loyal to brands that show respect. Earn yourself the next generation of brand loyalists, and be smart about how you talk about different nations, there are several twitter wars going on between Uganda and Kenya, and people do not like being lumped in a bunch!

While I was there for the awful Westgate Attack, rather than deeming Nairobi as a hotbed of terror, I saw a nation willing to fight back and use Twitter to do it.

If you want to learn more about how social media is changing the world, come to the #PreCommerce summit in London and hear insights from world-class industry experts and leaders, in spaces from health and technology to government intelligence. The Summit will be a great platform to geek out about how social media helps us understand the world!

Twitter’s milestones over the past nine years are nothing short of remarkable. Now Twitter can add another feather to brag about, again changing up the media landscape.

You’ve likely heard (from a little bird?) that Twitter has eliminated the 140 character limit on direct messages (DM). For some, this isn’t a surprise. The social media powerhouse made an announcement via their blog in early June, and public relations (PR) pros couldn’t wait to see what kind of impact this would have for media outreach. This may appear to be a “whoop-de-doo” kind of announcement, but take note: this opens up a whole new method of communication with journalists and influencers alike.

More often than not, journalists will tell you (very adamantly, actually) that email is the preferred channel of communication. But, on occasion, we like to ruffle feathers and change it up. Here are three ways this impacts the game:

Communication with Journalists

Many media professionals are on social media—for both personal and professional reasons. And even a nice ‘I love you note’ will garner some replies on Twitter. But what about a pitching a story idea via DM? Go for it. This new DM format also allows for better, more substantial communication. Being in a “chat” format has opened up more opportunities to engage genuinely.

A key thing to remember is that we’re all human – don’t be afraid to engage in something outside of “work” tweets. Who doesn’t like getting a retweet or two?

Reaching Influencers

Here’s an example: a client wanted to reach fitness influencers (not necessarily individuals who blog), who were heavy Twitter users. Armed with large amounts of followers, these Tweeter’s didn’t have to have a traditional blog or news site to make a big impact on the world of fitness. The challenge? Actually communicating with these individuals, all through their go-to channel, Twitter. The team carefully crafted a DM, getting creative to stay under 140 characters or sending separate messages, and hoped for the best. Those days are long over.

Pushing the Boundaries of Communication

An item to consider: Just because you can, should you? Even if your close friend sends you a 500 character DM on Twitter, chances are you will text him “what gives bro?” Just like a traditional email pitch, if you can’t be clear, concise and to the point, rethink your story.

Look for the changes on Android and iOS apps, twitter.com, TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac. The new format will continue to roll out over the next few weeks. Happy Tweeting!

Screenshot_2015-08-21-09-32-36

Andrea Kramer and Christiana Pascale

When we look at millennial habits, social networks have become a remarkably important part the Millennials’ digital life.

We all know “The Facebook” first started as a community platform for college students. Today, the social network has over one billion registered users that connect and share information on a global scale.

Similarly, Twitter began as a source of ‘microblogging’, in which users could send out 140-character blurbs on anything they wanted. It has now transformed into one of the fastest and most viral opportunities to communicate breaking news and information.

A new source of information

Social media is becoming more than just a place for people to connect. It’s a reason for discovery, it’s a way to absorb knowledge, it’s shareable.

A survey conducted by the American Press Institute measured the use of several social networks as pathways to news-like information. Interestingly, they found that each social network is now considered a news platforms my proper definition.

Eighty-eight percent of Millennials surveyed stated that they occasionally got their news from Facebook, while Pinterest (36 percent) and Twitter (33 percent) were close to follow.

More often than not, Millennials engage more actively with news that’s already on social networks than developing their own social content. They tend to click on regularly read news that has been shared or viewed by people they know, which is ironic, since the original purpose of social media is to provide users the opportunity to connect with people to see what they’re talking about or interested in.

The fact that more Millennials are looking to social networks as a trusted source of information makes social media an extremely powerful tool.

More Millennials are getting their news

Social media is a powerhouse

In addition to being a resource for news and information, social media has also exposed Millennials to different opinions and views. This generation is constantly looking to social media for insights into purchasing decisions, political views, and social views.

Goldman Sachs Data Story on Millennials found that 34 percent of people aged 18-35 turn to their online networks when making purchasing decisions. Unsurprisingly, this generation tends to do more online shopping than in the store, and brands that have little-to-no social presence are often overlooked when making purchasing decisions. If they aren’t being talked about online or among their social network, people will move on to brands that have a presence.

In recent years, political candidates have seen the impact social media has on Millennials’ lives and they have started to use that in their favor. President Barack Obama is one of the first presidents to have an active social media presence, in which he uses Twitter to inform and connect with his supporters.

Snapchat is a social platform that has seen a fast growth among the younger audiences, 71 percent of its core user base being between 18-24. Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, recently joined the social messaging app in a move to reach this audience, those who will potentially be voting for the first time in the 2016 elections.

Most recently, we have seen social media set the stage for social activism. Many Millennials are now looking at social networks as a way to raise awareness of philanthropic efforts and initiatives, because they can reach a larger audience, at a faster rate.

In 2014, NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin was taken out of Gaza for reporting the killing of four Palestinian boys by the Israeli Defense Force. The lack of media reporting on these issues in Gaza was quickly noticed, and the hashtag #LetAymanReport was developed to alert the world of the situation. Within 24-hours, Mohyeldin was back in Gaza and continued reporting on the whole story.

Similarly, events such as the death of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have sparked movements like “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” to shed light on issues of racism and police brutality in our country. Millennials have the ability to voice their concerns and opinions like no generation has before them and social networks give them the power to do so.

Also notable is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which took to social media to raise awareness around amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive disease marked by degeneration of the nerve cells that control voluntary movement. The social campaign, which encouraged people to dump a bucket of ice water on themselves, raised $115 million last year. It was so successful that the ALS Association has partnered with major organizations, like Major League Baseball, to implement the challenge every August until a cure is found.

Millennials have the power to inspire, facilitate change, and illicit choices.

Millennials are a force to be reckoned with and they don’t plan on slowing down. Social networks give them a platform to connect, learn, share, and educate. Their affinity for technology and their passion to have a voice has reshaped the way they view and use social media. In a time where you can Tweet, share a status update, Instagram, Vine, or Snap thousands of people at any moment, the Millennial voice is more important and impactful than ever.

sam hershman blog postI was recently asked if social media impacts the way I live because it is what I “do” for a living, or if what I do for a living influences how closely I pay attention to the impact of social media on society.

So my simple answer? Social media is my job and social media helps me do my job. I don’t think there can be a clear cut divide between how social media impacts my life vs. how it impacts my job because it is no longer the future of communications – it just is how we communicate.

Every morning I wake up, reach for my iPhone and immediately open up as many apps as possible to scroll through all the activity that happened in the social sphere overnight. Of course I’m looking on Instagram to see where my favorite food bloggers went to dinner so that I can add to my (lengthy) restaurant list, who Snapchatted me about their latest adventure (that I may or may not find interesting but reply back with a Snap of my own story, of course) and what breaking news and social media updates are trending on Facebook (processing how this news will impact my workday – as a Social Media Strategist). Is this not how most millennials start their day?

Last year, a reported 83% of Fortune 500 Companies are active on Twitter, 80% have a Facebook Page, and 97% are present on LinkedIn. These numbers are growing rapidly each year, and it is pretty much a given that social media engagement should be built into a brand’s marketing strategy.

So that’s where my team comes in – we are the experts who help build these strategies and manage engagement, directly communicating with followers to represent and support the growth of the brand.

To break it down, here’s some tricks of the trade that should be considered in a day’s work:

Defining Transparency

Nothing is a secret anymore, and as long as you have Internet connection, anything you want to share, is shareable. This can be great for several reasons: transparency, breaking news, it’s instant customer service for brands, to make a statement, etc. But here’s the kicker – since everything is SO closely watched these days, everything that you say can come back to haunt you. Defining transparency on social is a must across any industry, especially for brands – and don’t forget about personal accounts! In the world of social media, you are always representing your company, your organizations, your family, your friends, yourself.

Is this Relevant to Me?

Even something so random and miniscule to the average person’s everyday life, can go viral in a matter of seconds thanks to social media. So what does this mean? Just because others are sharing it, doesn’t mean that you should necessarily get involved. If it’s something that is relevant to you and you can promote it in a way that makes sense for your audience, then go for it; it could be a nice opportunity to jump into that conversation. But do recognize that there are some things better left untouched. Each day, I pay attention to what others are sharing and learn how to translate that into what my clients should be sharing, and what they should steer away from (and that’s when I think…thank goodness someone else did it first).

Who’s Paying Attention?

No matter who you are or what you’re doing on social media, it is critical to understand your audience. For personal accounts, odds are that’s just your friends and many of your “closest” acquaintances. For brands, recognizing who your target audience is helps reassure that you’re sharing content that is interesting and relevant to your followers.

What’s the Latest?

Every day, a new social update is “announced, rolled out or launched.” Staying on top of these social changes is very important, not only to someone who is in the social media industry, but also for users with personal accounts. So much of our work and play revolves around social media, and you don’t want to fall into a trap where you didn’t know that Facebook came out with Facebook Messenger and you don’t know how to inbox your friends anymore with important info, or that Pinterest rolled out a “Buy Now” button and you can very easily buy your top pinned items right from the platform with one click. It’s more than just “social media,” it’s connecting with friends, a world of online purchasing, a way of discovery. Starting my day with a social sweep set’s me up for success.

On September 14th, a global panel of social experts from across industries will converge in London for the #PreCommerce summit, hosted by W2O EMEA, with a special focus on how we work, live and create in the digital time. Social media has forever changed our world and it’s our responsibility to evolve with it! Register for free here.

And with that I say: Stay Social!

And just like that, the social updates you knew from June are tweaked, more defined and bound to change again before next month. It’s a beautiful world of social that we live in, but you’ve got to keep up with the trends. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube have made some big changes to their platforms in July and we’re sharing the Social Scoop here!

Facebook: ‘See first’ -Good for Users, Bad for Marketers?

What It Is

Last month, Facebook announced it was launching a new feature called ‘See First’ in which users can select who/what they want to see at the top of their News Feed. The concern for brands, is will your Page be on users’ ‘See First’ list

How It Works

  • ‘See First’ allows users to prioritize up to 30 Pages, friends, and/or groups they want to see first in their News Feed
  • Everything is set up through the user’s News Feed preferences, where they can:
    • ‘prioritize who to see first’
    • ‘unfollow people to hide their posts‘
    • ‘reconnect with people you unfollowed’
    • ‘discover new pages’

What It Means For Brands

While this new feature is great news for consumers, it’s not so great for brands. Quality of content is always key, but brands will have to revisit their social strategies and step up their game in order to avoid falling by the wayside. Getting content in front of your followers will be the challenge, but once your brand has made it into your followers ‘See First’ list, you’ll know that your content is impacting the right people. While brands cannot tell their followers to list their Pages as ‘See First,’ there is a twist here. This new update brings changes to Facebook’s algorithm, in which Facebook’s “Discover New Pages” will choose similar pages as suggestions for users based on the Pages they have liked. Brand recommendations are based on user experience now, so targeting the “Discover New Pages” section should be part of your strategy.

Facebook: The Floating Video Has Arrived

What It Is

Video, on video, on video. Facebook understands the power of the video and they’re letting everyone know. This month Facebook is testing out a new feature that allows users to detach a video from their News Feed and move it to a different location within the browser to view while scrolling through other content or to save for later. This is only available on desktop as the feature rolls out to some users.

How It Works

  • The option will be built into the video player so that when users click the icon, the video will detach from it’s original source, and allow users to drag the video to a different/preferred section of the website browser
    • Users select the small box, within the larger box on the video screen in the lower right corner to detach the video and enable it’s relocation

What It Means For Brands

Users can watch more videos at one time, as they can continue to scroll through their News Feed, and pull out the videos they want to reserve for later viewing. This feature encourages users to view longer and remain on Facebook “video” for all of their video viewing needs, so the more video content you produce and share on Facebook, the great chance you have that consumers are watching all of your content.

Facebook: Taking Another Step Forward In E-Commerce

What It Is

Facebook is building shops within Facebook Pages that allow brands to showcase their products directly on their Page. This is another part of Facebook’s push into e-commerce, which also includes money transferring through Facebook Messenger and the buy-button, introduced earlier this year to increase the online experience, from discovery to purchasing on one platform.

How It Works

Within the “Shop” section of the Facebook Pages, businesses now have the opportunity to showcase their products directly on the Page. Users can make their purchases without leaving the site.

What It Means For Brands

This new feature gives brands a secondary platform to connect with its primary audience. Users spend roughly 80% of their time on mobile apps, smartphones, tablets, or computers and Facebook has created a way for brands to utilize this by putting buying options on the Pages platforms.

Snapchat: Talk About Updates!

What It Is

Snapchat is making a LOT of moves (at once)! The days of ‘hold-to-view’ is a thing of the past, users can now “Add Nearby” friends (in bulk) to their snap contacts when in close proximity of others, and a new two-factor security authentication feature makes it harder to hack another user’s account.

How It Works

  • Viewing: Users can simply tap on a snap they want to view without holding down on the picture for the entire viewing time. Users can also tap through snaps or swipe down to close the story.
  • “Add Nearby:” Under ‘Add Friends’ there is now a tab called ‘Add Nearby,’ which allows users to add contacts (either one at a time or in bulk) who are in close proximity to that user.
  • Security: The newest security feature can be enabled from the ‘Login Verification’ menu in the app’s main settings.

What It Means For Brands

This new update makes it easier for users to view content on Snapchat. Again, content is key – advertisers don’t want to worry about their ads being skipped over because users can tap through or swipe down to exit their content without actually viewing it. The ‘Add Nearby’ is a nice opportunity for brands that are using Snapchat to connect with users who are in close proximity to their businesses, and in return, users can discover brands that are on the platform that they may not have realized have a Snapchat presence. Additionally, the new security authentication should be built into a brands social strategy and required for all community managers and admins to keep accounts safe and hack-free.

Snapchat: ‘Stories’ Has A New Look

What It Is

Snapchat has redesigned their Stories section, prioritizing content from media partners over pictures from a friends.

How It Works

  • When users open Snapchat, the updated Stories ‘tab’ features (in this order) personal stories, ‘Discover,” ‘Live,’ recent updates and all stories
  • Users will still see friend content, but they will have to scroll down to find it
  • “Discover’ content still exists on its own tab

What It Means For Brands

Now media content very hard to ignore. Snapchat is continuing to find ways to monetize its app and this is their way of boosting engagement without disrupting the activity from it’s core user base. Surfacing content in more areas of the app will help with ad revenue (more viewing opportunity) as well as boost user interest in branded content.

Twitter: Are Your Tweets Being Indexed On Google?

What It Is

In May, Google and Twitter announced their partnership, enabling tweets to show up in Google search results on mobile devices. Since then:

  • Stone Temple conducted a study that looked at several factors which may be influential in Google’s tweet selection
  • The data showed that tweets from profiles with higher follower counts were appearing more often in Google search results
  • Tweets with higher social authority based on Followerwonk’s metrics for social authority also showed up more often

What It Means For Brands

Of course it wasn’t going to be as simple as just tweeting and having your content show up on the top of Google search results! Google has made it clear that a brand’s Twitter presence and authority will provide major value to SEO. It also means that handles with a lower following and less authority may still be missing out on having their tweets indexed.

Twitter: Say Hello to Auto-Expanded Link Previews

What It Is

Twitter continues to strive for visual excellence, rolling out auto-expanded link previews (to a small amount of users) that will show content previews automatically for links provided in tweets.

How It Works

  • Expanded previews are a new Twitter card opportunity that the platform has rolled out to advertisers (Summary card with a large image)
  • Advertisers must enable the card in order for users to see the auto-expanded links

What It Means For Brands

Brands have a higher chance of engagement when posts include a large image. Tweets with auto-extended links will allow brands to tweet out richer content that’s more visually appealing to followers, but keep in mind, it’s going to cost you!

Twitter: What’s With All the White Space?

What It Is

Twitter has removed wallpapers from users’ home and notification timelines – everything is white. Users can only see background images while logged-in and on public pages (i.e., Tweet pages, list pages, and collection pages).

What It Means For Brands

By removing the ability to have user’s change their background, Twitter has taken away the uniqueness of each user. They have essentially unbranded everyone – so once again, your content is key. There is nothing else that drives people to your Twitter Page at this point, other then your content and brand interest.

YouTube: Mobile Videos Are Lookin’ Good

What It Is

YouTube is focused on ‘mobile, mobile, mobile’ and their latest update reflects just that. They have redesigned their mobile app to optimize a vertical video mode to display better content. In addition, they have streamlined their app to include tabs that focus on a user’s homepage, videos users subscribe to, and account pages.

What It Means For Brands

More than half of YouTube’s views come from mobile devices. With this new update, brands have the opportunity to engage more users with mobile friendly versions of their videos, keeping users on their channels longer from their mobile phones, and giving them the freedom to continue to explore brand channels directly from their mobile device. YouTube (and the rest of the video sharing world) has discovered that vertical videos better fit the aspect ratio of smartphones and now brands have the ability to utilize this to optimize video viewing. But just keep in mind – you’ll have to size your videos to ensure they match the new mobile sharing specs.

Special contributions to Chantelle Patel, W2O Shared Media Intern

 

 

Social media changes came in left and right in June and the top dogs are making big moves! Facebook once again has updated their algorithm, ‘Lightning’ is Twitter’s latest project and Snapchat geofilters are now worth a price. Here’s what you missed in June:

Facebook: “See First” Could Change the Way People See Content

What It Is

Facebook announced a change to their algorithm (which is currently being tested) that will allow users to select people/Pages that interest them to show up at the top of the News Feed.

How It Works

  • Users can turn on the feature from a friend’s profile or a Page
  • It allows users to filter the News Feed
  • When a user selects ‘Following’, it will prompt them with ‘Unfollow’ or ‘See First’
  • Until now, users have only been able to Friend/Follow and unfollow other users/brands entirely
  • Once ‘See First’ is selected, everything the person/Page posts will show up at the top of the user’s News Feed so they don’t miss a thing

What It Means For Brands

This feature could be a huge asset for brands that have a following on Facebook. Currently, brands are in a constant battle to have their content viewed (over competitors) by users on most social media platforms. “See First” would provide the opportunity for brands to highlight their content to ensure user feeds aren’t filtering out their content and in return, it’s a great way for users to hone in on content that is important to them. This update highlights the significance of paid media advertising, because to avoid filtration of content, paid media will provide brands with that extra reach push.

Facebook: Algorithm Changes Factor Video Engagement

What It Is

Facebook made another change to their algorithm, factoring in actions taken on videos.

How It Works

  • Users can enjoy video without engaging with it, so now, Facebook is rewarding Pages that post videos in which users turn the volume up on the video or expand the video to watch in full screen and enabling high definition
  • Should a user partake in the above interactions with a video, Facebook has updated the News Feed to infer that the user liked the video and will show users similar videos to that, to push out content that the user is interested in viewing and engaging

What It Means For Brands

This change is set to happen shortly, but Facebook does not anticipate that Pages will see changes in distribution. While that is a strong factor, it is still just as significant as ever to produce content that is engaging and immediately captivating so that viewers will want to “interact” with your Page video. Also keep in mind that the content you are sharing is most similar to your competitors, so this would be a good time to see what they’re doing, and do it better!

Google: “Buy” Button is Coming to Search

What It Is

Google will soon feature a “buy” button along side their paid search ads. Their goal is to provide more than just a link to users, but a direct buying option, giving users the opportunity to take direct action from their google search ads. The “buy” button is about improving conversations on mobile, to help advertisers earn more across mobile devices with the on-the-go buying experience.

What It Means For Brands

The “buy” button will only be available on mobile searches for now and will appear alongside the paid search ads, but not organic search results. While this new feature may not be applicable to all brands, consumer and retail brands will benefit from this opportunity, driving people to their site straight from their Google search. Of course the catch is that brands will need to put paid dollars in to advertising with Google, but Google has said they have no intention to be a retailer, so consumers will still be pushed directly to your website.

Instagram: The Next Move in Ads

What It Is

Instagram announced they will be making sponsored advertising available to all business, regardless of their size. In addition, ads will feature a call to action similar to Twitter’s functionality with Twitter Cards, driving users straight to source.

How It Works

  • Each sponsored post will have a call to action button attached to it
  • It will be located on the same line as the “like” and “comment” button
  • User capabilities will include “shop now,” “install now” “sign up,” and “learn more” all directly from the post, really revamping the user experience on Instagram

What It Means For Brands

This development completely changes the way brands can target their content on Instagram. People want to see ads that mean something to them and in return, advertisers want to get their content in front of the correct audience to effectively deliver their message. These new features will allow brands to create an actionable post, converting more followers into more buyers. The platform will be working closely with Facebook in the next year to enable advertisers to reach people on Instagram based on select targeting options.

Instagram: An All New Way to Search & Explore

What It Is

Instagram has enhanced their Explore page to include trending tags (hashtags) and places, making search easier and more powerful for users.

How It Works

  • The Explore page surfaces trends as they happen in real-time by allowing users to view trending hashtags and places. There is also a curated collection of content that will be regularly updated.
  • Search now spans discovery to people, places, and tags at one time. Users will be able to search any topic and see Top and Most Recent Posts that have been updated, down to the second.

What It Means For Brands

People now have an easier way to find and see everything that’s being posted around trending topics. This is especially interesting news to brands, particularly surrounding campaigns or branded hashtags, to ensure that your content is populating among trending conversation. Additionally, if your brand does not currently have a customized hashtag, you can explore the conversation and develop a post to become a part of that topic. The same goes for places – if your company has an office for example in Los Angeles and there is a big event going on in that area, be sure to take advantage of posting an image from that location (with a trending hashtag!) to participate in real-time discussion. Instagram also mentioned that there will not be ads alongside images in the trending feeds and sponsored ads are not available for trends.

LinkedIn Elevate: A New Way for Employees to Share Content

What It Is

LinkedIn introduced LinkedIn Elevate to brands. This new feature helps companies encourage their employees to be brand advocates by giving them the tools they need to create and share content. It has three basic functionalities: content curation, easy social sharing, and measuring impact. This feature is only available to select companies at this time.

How It Works

  • Content Curation: The app recommends stories from Pulse and Newsle based on an algorithm designed to show employees relevant stories that reflect their presence on LinkedIn
  • Easy Social Sharing: Makes it easier to share on LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Measure Impact: Allows the employee and companies to review statistical information about their content sharing, so that employees can see the impact they’re social sharing is having on the overall engagement of the Company Page

What It Means For Brands

According to LinkedIn, when any employee shares content on LinkedIn, the company they work for receives six job views, three Company Page views, and one Company Page follower. Employees drive tremendous value to a Company Page and are responsible for about 20% of the overall engagement. LinkedIn Elevate gives employees the knowledge to be thought leaders and share information about what they do and who they work for, which in return, helps companies better hire, marketing and sell.

Twitter: Video Autoplay Has Landed

What It Is

Twitter is making some big changes, including the elimination of click to play! Native videos, GIFs and Vines are now playing  automatically on Twitter as users scroll through their timelines.

How It Works

  • Native videos, GIFs, and Vines uploaded and Tweeted will play automatically when scrolling through timelines
  • When the video is clicked on, it will resize to a larger view and continue playing with sound from where it left off
  • This feature is currently available on web and iOS, with Android following

What It Means For Brands

Brands will now be able to capture the attention of current and new followers with powerful and engaging videos. Twitter has acknowledge that Promoted Videos would continue to deliver high impact, engagement and meaningful views for partners (no worries – your dollars won’t go to waste), so paid advertising is still as important as ever when developing social strategies. Additionally, since videos are playing on a repeated, automatic notion, brands will want to ensure that video content is unique and compelling so that users remain captivated and don’t continue to scroll through, with the first few seconds being super engaging and eye catching.

Twitter: “Project Lightning” is Going to Change the Way We Look at Tweets

What It Is

“Project Lightning” is a major new feature that will bring event-based curated content to the platform so that users can follow live events in one spot. Rather then getting lost in the Twitter timeline, the content will be handpicked high interest tweets that will live on its own tab.

How It Works

  • Users will be able to select the tab that will direct them to a live events screen (current events, breaking news, cultural events and experiences)
  • When a user opens an event, they are taken to a selection of tweets that have been hand selected by Twitter editors
  • Twitter will have guidelines for what constitutes “Project Lightning” material and will aim to feature only 7-10 top events a day
  • Users will also be able to follow an event directly, which will curate tweets in their timeline

The Best Part!

Users can access ‘Lightning’ events on and off Twitter. Tweets will be viewable on Twitter.com, on the mobile web, in the Twitter app, and as embeds on other webpages.

What It Means For Brands

It is crucial that brands share strong, unique content to drive engagement, which means the need for rich, creative images and videos is important in every tweet. With this new update, brands will also want to revisit their current social strategies, as the urgency for agile and timely approvals on content will be imperative to real time event progression. In addition, paid media will largely contribute to content exposure in real time. Promoted Tweets give your brand exposure and magnify your content reach, which with Project Lightning, will translate into users both on and off of Twitter.

Twitter: Ads Targeted at What Apps You Download

What It Is

Twitter shared a new tool, only available to advertisers, called “installed app category targeting,” which allows advertisers to target their ads to users who have installed similar apps.

How It Works

  • Twitter has added a “search or browse for installed app categories” section for targeting on the back-end. Marketers can go in and manually search apps or pick from a list of App Store or Google Play categories.
  • Twitter provides an analytics dashboard that gives insights into how users are responding to those ads

What It Means For Brands

Brands will now have a new way to target potential users similar to “who to follow” suggestions. This tool allows marketers who are interested in driving installs of their app to target users that are using apps similar to theirs in order to reach the maximum potential demographic. Knowing exactly who your audience is becomes a huge advantage to app makers. Additionally, Twitter is providing an accompanying metrics dashboard that provides insight into how users are responding to the ads.

SnapChat: Could Geofilters Be a New Source of Revenue?

What It Is

Snapchat’s geofilters are fun, colorful ways for users to let people know where they are, and now Snapchat is hoping to turn these location-centric digital stickers into revenue. Businesses can make their own geofilters – for a price, of course

How It Works

  • Half of Snapchat’s several thousand geofilters are user generated, but the social platform is now prompting brands to partake in ‘paid-for’ stickers that are distinguished with a small ‘sponsored’ imprint
  • Brands and Snapchat will collaborate on the design
  • Geofilters can be applied to an image or video when the user has turned on their location services

What It Means For Brands

This move to use geofilters is a clever way to disguise advertising as a fun and whimsical add-on for users. It opens a huge door for brands to get their fans to show support without making them feel like they are promoting something. Right now, Snapchat charges $20 per 1,000 views of a video ads –  but have yet to reveal the cost and duration of a sponsored geofilter. This is a great opportunity for brand exposure, especially for those that target teens and millennials, who’s audiences then save their Snapchat images to their camera roll and share across multiple social channels for their followers to see.

A special thanks to summer intern, Chantelle Patel, for her contribution this month!

For more: The Social Scoop – June 2015

 

 

 

What’s the Big News?

We wanted to fill you in on some major ground breaking Twitter news. The news surrounds the top secret project that Twitter is currently working on which will forever change the way we look at tweets. Twitter revealed “Project Lightning,” a major new feature that will bring event-based curated content to the platform so that users can follow live events in one spot looking at handpicked high interest tweets.

While Twitter is good at quick, live updates, they don’t make it easy for users to follow along – it takes too long for users to figure out what is happening, then decide who to follow for reliable information.

So what is their solution? Develop a tab/button that lives in the center of the mobile app bar, dedicated to providing useful information to users in real time. This is Project Lightning.

How Will It Work?

Events won’t appear in the normal Twitter timeline, but rather when using the app, users can select the tab that will direct them to a live events screen. Events are considered anything that is happening that is interesting – current events, breaking news, cultural events (sporting, awards) and experiences. If people are tweeting about it – it’s an event.

When a user opens an event, they’ll be taken to a collection of tweets. This is NOT a feed, but rather a selection of tweets that have been handpicked and curated by Twitter editors, who will be packaging the tweets and content each day into stories that users will be interested in following. Twitter editors, all who have a newsroom background, will use data tools to sift through events and content to understand trends. They will place emerging news and experiences in front of users – and yes, Twitter will have guidelines for what constitutes as Project Lightning material. Twitter hopes to post seven to ten events per day for the entire Twitter audience, but the goal is to expand the data tool’s capabilities to other organizations so that they can then share information with niche demographics.

Users can also opt to follow an event directly on Twitter, which means that curated tweets will be dropped right into the timeline, which would be outside of the event tab. This does not mean that a user now follows the accounts of which the news originates, unless they choose to do this separately – when the event ends, tweets will no longer appear in a user’s feed.

What Will It Look Like?

These packages are built around images and videos, which will appear full screen and users can swipe through them, as to be fully immersed in the experience. A timeline bar across the bottom of the screen will show how far along a user is in the live event, tracking in real time.

project

The Best Part of All of This

Users can access these ‘Lightning’ events on and off Twitter! It does not matter if a user is logged in –  tweets will be viewable on Twitter.com, on the mobile web, in the Twitter app, and as embeds on other webpages. If Tweets are embedded on other webpages, the content will be updated in real time and shared live across multiple online sources.

 What it Means For Brands

Even people who do not have a Twitter account can now view event tweets! Twitter is developing a way to reach users on every platform – in real time. The collections/events will be a core part of the logged in experience, but users can easily access them from multiple sources. This will get Twitter content in front of significantly more people, which means your brand needs to stand out to be pushed in front of the right audiences. It won’t matter how many people are logged in to Twitter, but what will matter is how you present your content so that people see your tweets.

It is crucial that brands share strong, unique content to drive engagement, which means the need for rich, creative images and videos is important in every tweet. With this new update, brands will also want to revisit their current social strategies, as the urgency for agile and timely approvals on content will be imperative to real time event progression. This isn’t a feature that you can take your time with – you’ll need to be part of the conversation as it hits. Community Managers should also be following these Lightning events as well, tracking live conversation and then producing quick ad-hoc content to turnaround for live sharing. In addition, paid media will largely contribute to your content exposure in real time. Promoted Tweets give your brand exposure and magnify your content reach, which with Project Lightning, will translate into users both on and off of Twitter.  This is big!

For more information, please reference:

 

Later this week, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting will kick off. Earlier in the month, research from W2O Group was published by ASCO, examining the use of social media by physicians. It’s an endeavor that will be extended later this week when we release our third Social Oncology Project report.

Our research found, unsurprisingly, that there is a lot of chatter by physicians about cancer on Twitter.

Nearly 140,000 tweets mentioned one of dozens of cancer-related keywords, and more than 5,000 physicians took part in this rolling, public dialogue. But we should be well past the point of being amazed that physicians are taking to social media; it’s a rare professional organization that doesn’t see Twitter use as a key tool to educate physicians and other doctors. For both practice management and public health, engagement on platforms such as Twitter can no longer be ignored.

But in looking deeper, we found that all voices are not equal in conversations about cancer. While those 5,000 doctors all tweeted at least once, there was an elite group of 19 who recorded more than 1,000 cancer-related tweets over the course of the year. That’s a milestone that is impressive, but almost baffling: these are, generally, in-demand oncologists with demanding day jobs. Where are they finding the time to dash off dozens of tweets a week?

So we asked. And here are the answers.

website_photo[1]DR. DEANNA ATTAI, Assistant clinical professor of surgery at UCLA, president of American Society of Breast Surgeons:

We know there are huge knowledge gaps and we feel it’s our duty of sorts to try to close that. I think also for me–and this accounts for the volume–is that my audience is both patients/public and docs, where many docs don’t interact much with the patient communities. It’s a real challenge as I do have my true day job (patient care) as well as my new job (ASBrS president) but I just think it serves too great a need (perhaps an inflated sense of worth?) to just let it go. There is satisfaction is seeing patients have their questions answered, become empowered, and then get to witness them mentoring and educating others. And the the satisfaction for MD engagement is seeing docs transition from being social media skeptics to the “ah ha” moment when they recognize the value.

ago1KktK[1]DR. MICHAEL FISCH, Medical director of medical oncology for AIM Specialty Health:

I find that I am able to use twitter as a way to find useful information that cuts across broad topics in oncology. For example, given my interest in cross-cutting oncology topics, how else might I expect to keep up on this array of information? Twitter allows me to harness my colleagues to guide me, through their mentions and retweets, to high-value articles and influential pieces in the lay press. Of course, there is some initial “activation energy” that it takes to learn any new thing (like a new kind of smartphone), but once you have the basics figured out, things get very efficient.

7c2b2cf6756ab7535e0184962d9f6bea[1]DR. JACK WEST, Medical oncologist and founder/president of cancer education nonprofit GRACE:

The main motivation sharing information is that this is the information that I appreciate getting from other people. I have learned a lot from tweets I’ve come across, I want to share the things that I think are of value to other people. There have been many practical benefits as well, such as developing relationships with various thought leaders in oncology through twitter, finding at least one of the board members for GRACE (Sally Church) via Twitter, and even ultimately being selected as web editor for JAMA Oncology largely because of my online presence. But at the end of the day, the primary motivation is just to share information that you would want to receive yourself. We want to be valuable contributors to our community, in this case an online cancer community.

To track what Drs. Attai, Fisch, West (and thousands of other oncologists) will be discussing on Twitter during #ASCO15, please subscribe to W2O Group’s “Complete Response” newsletter, delivered every morning of the conference. Complete Response will curate and package the tweets and links most-shared by the most important group of ASCO attendees: oncologists. 

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Third paragraph of release should read: …as a part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 51st Annual Meeting, which is taking place in Chicago from May 29 to June 2 (instead of …as a part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 50th Annual Meeting, which is taking place in Chicago from May 30 to June 3).

“These new data show that social media is mainstream for a large number of oncologists. Social media use by cancer patients and oncology physicians has moved beyond early adopters and is increasing at scientific meetings”

Tweet this

The corrected release reads:

NEW ANALYSIS OF CANCER-RELATED TWEETS SHOWS EMERGENCE OF PHYSICIAN ‘SUPERUSERS’

— More than 5,000 Doctors Generated 138,000 Tweets About Cancer in 2014; Data to be Featured by #ASCO15 –

Much of the conversation among physicians on Twitter about cancer is driven by a small number of doctors, according to a new analysis of digital behavior of U.S. physicians that found that the top 1 percent of physician Twitter users, by volume, contributed more than a third of all tweets about cancer during 2014.

Physicians in the United States generate nearly 400 tweets a day about cancer on average—some 138,000 over the course of a year—but scientific meetings and awareness months can meaningfully boost the volume of conversation by as much as eightfold.

The analysis, based on MDigitalLife’s database of verified U.S. doctors and their Twitter handles, will be included as a publication-only abstract as a part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 51st Annual Meeting, which is taking place in Chicago from May 29 to June 2.

“These results show two related trends. First, the pool of physicians talking about Twitter online is growing, with more than 5,000 different doctors entering the dialogue during 2014. Second, there is a smaller group of superusers who are driving much of the conversations,” said Greg Matthews, Managing Director, MDigitalLife, at W2O Group. “In that sense, the physician community mimics many other classic Internet communities, and it will be critical to understand how those digitally connected doctors impact the way that information flows to patients and other professionals.”

The analysis also found that tweets about breast cancer were more common than any other cancer type, representing more than 19 percent of all cancer-related tweets, followed by lung cancer (9 percent) and prostate cancer (7 percent).

“These new data show that social media is mainstream for a large number of oncologists. Social media use by cancer patients and oncology physicians has moved beyond early adopters and is increasing at scientific meetings,” said Michael Thompson, MD, PhD, a co-author on the research and a hematologist/oncologist for Aurora Cancer Care and Medical Director of Early Phase Cancer Research at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. “The next step will be to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of huge amounts of data to improve the efficiency of implementing new therapies in clinical practice.”

The analysis used W2O Group’s proprietary MDigitalLife database, the world’s first and only database that maps physicians’ digital properties to their official government registries. This ensures attribution of data (earned media and data such as Medicare billing, referral and prescription data) is accurate. The W2O Group uses this asset to aggregate and analyze millions of data points to understand physicians’ attitudes, behaviors and connections on any topic.

The use of social media has become an increasingly important topic among oncologists; the 2014 ASCO annual meeting included a presented titled “Appropriate Use of Social Media in Medical Practice,” which suggested social media use could help physicians “engage patients [and] lay public on key topics.”

The analysis of 2014 tweets was done by Brian Reid and his colleagues at W2O Group, including Matthews and Kayla Rodriguez, with the assistance of Thompson.

About MDigital Life

MDigitalLife reveals how physicians around the world are using digital and social media to improve the health of their patients, the success of their practice, and to regain their voice as a critical player in the health system. Digital communication tools have become increasingly important in the health system, yet little effort has been put into quantifying the type and volume of online conversations. MDigitalLife is the world’s first and only database that maps physicians’ digital properties to their official government registries. This allows the team to aggregate and analyze millions of data points to understand physicians’ attitudes and behaviors on any topic. Additionally, MDigitalLife has incorporated physician demographic data (e.g., medical school and graduation year) and clinical behavioral data (referrals, prescriptions and Medicare billings). For more information on MDigitalLife, please visit mdigitallife.com.

About W2O Group

Founded and led by Chairman and CEO Jim Weiss, W2O Group is an independent network of complementary marketing, communications, research and development firms focused on integrated business solutions to drive change and growth through “pragmatic disruption” for the world’s leading brands and organizations. W2O Group’s network includes WCG, Twist, BrewLife and W2O Ventures with 11 offices in the United States and Europe. For more information, please visit http://w2ogroup.com.

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