Blog

On the eve of tomorrow’s EU referendum vote, Britain braces itself for a momentous decision in deciding whether the country should “remain a member of the European Union” or “leave the European Union.”  Week after week we have been tracking the data and while polls continue to show a tight vote we’re ready to make a call on the Twitterendum.

Brexit_GIF3

Come tomorrow, we believe that UK Twitter would crown the #StrongerIn campaign victorious.

BrexitWk26

At least on Twitter, the results are quite conclusive. The Brexit camp enjoyed a lead during a large part of the campaign, with far more outspoken supporters. Every ‘leaver’ contributed an average of 9.63 tweets to the cause, twice as many as Bremainers. However, in the end, raw account numbers proved far more important.

Brexit Analysis

Since the official campaign launch, the #StrongerIn camp has carved a growing lead in the total number of supporters, consolidating its lead in urban centers. This trend accelerated dramatically in the last three weeks, which experienced a sharp increase of unique accounts pledging their allegiance to staying in the EU. The effect of this swing is impressive, with the ‘stay’ camp ending with a 17% lead in unique accounts over ‘leave’ by week 26, having almost doubled its lead in the final three weeks.

Brexit4

So there you have it. A look at extremely an extremely complex political vote through the somewhat reductive lens of Twitter conversation. While the correlation between the Twitterendum results and the actual referendum outcome of the remains to be seen, I’m not suggesting that Twitter is representative of the totality of the British voting public. But it might serve as a good indicator, an alternative tool to augment traditional polling.

We plan to compare the actual results of the referendum to our model and investigate potential connections in the weeks following the final vote. In the meantime, happy voting!

Read More

Earlier this month I began to explore the correlation between Twitter analytics and Britain’s possible departure from the EU. Things are heating up in the Twitterendum, but not necessarily getting any clearer. The volume of tweets in the five weeks following our last post was effectively the same as the previous twenty combined. This represents an huge increase in the raw number of tweets, but also in unique contributors, meaning a lot more people are being drawn into the debate.

Brexit_GIF

In spite of the increase in activity, the Twitterendum results remained remarkably static. The number of ‘stay’ unique accounts remained around 10% higher than their opposition whilst Brexiters continued to generate more per capita tweets than Bremainers, around 20% more content.

Week24_Brexit2

In the ‘leave’ camp, Burnley, Eastbourne and South Northamptonshire all doubled down on their positions. The number of ‘stay’ supporters increased dramatically in Woking and Manchester, however, though they are now more contested, both still generated a far greater number of ‘leave’ tweets.

Only one new joiner stood out – Oldham. Instead of making gains in key decisive swings of opinion, the Brexit camp found success in edging several smaller Local Authorities. Doncaster, Sunderland and Kingston upon Hull all moved from ‘undecided’ to ‘leave’.

Similarly, the ‘stay’ camp continued to reinforce its position in university towns and Labour strongholds. All ‘stay’ frontrunners from our last update increased their #StrongerIn scores.

London continued to be the centre of extremely heated debate with the total number of tweets only just favoring the stay camp. However, in terms of unique users it enjoyed one of the highest ratios of Bremainers: Brexiters in the entire country…perhaps unsurprisingly. The animation we’ve included shows London’s gradual movement from undecided firmly into the ‘stay’ camp, mobilizing more and more ‘stay’ supporters with each passing week.

The remaining most populous centers experienced very similar phenomena. Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds all recorded surges in the number of unique ‘stay’ supporters, while simultaneously recording disproportionate levels of ‘leave’ tweets.

Analysis1v2_Brexit2

From this, it seems like the race is rather contested… though the higher proportion of unique accounts means that the ‘remain’ camp is pulling slightly ahead. What will the results show on the eve of the vote? Will there be any correlation between Twitter trends and the final referendum results? Join us next week!

Lucas-Galan-headshotLucas Galan currently serves as the Head of Analytics Productization at W2O Group’s London office. Connect with him on LinkedIn!

 

Read More

Similar to the rest of the country, we at W2O Group have been glued to our TVs, phones, tablets and laptops watching the NBA postseason.

Who could blame us? The theater and caliber of play throughout the past several weeks has been some of the best basketball that the league has seen in years. The series of games that preceded the finals captivated homes, cities and fans across the country, whether you were watching the underdog Toronto Raptors battle it out against King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers – or if you were engrossed watching the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder each give it 100% in a seven-game series. The NBA postseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

The Analytics Formula

As irresistible as we find the competition, we find the analytics surrounding the sport just as alluring.

Similar to our clients, we had preconceived notions of which fans would be the loudest  and in some respects were shocked by the story the analytics told us. The exclusivity our analytics provided us for this project exemplifies how we position our clients to dominate against the competition… just like the pros.

The focal point of our curiosity stemmed from which teams had the loudest fans during the regular season. Thanks to our amazing analytics team, we were able to take a deep dive into the data and discover which fans were making the most noise.

For this analysis, we defined the “loudest” fans based on how actively they engage with their teams on Twitter. Engagement was calculated as total retweets plus favorites of content posted by each NBA team. Additionally we accounted for the following metrics:

  • City population (market size)
  • TV households in market area
  • Number of tweets posted from each team’s offical Twitter handle during the regular season

The Results: The Loudest

This approach identified the following teams as having the loudest fans on Twitter: the Warriors, the Spurs and the Thunder.

(We cannot say we are surprised that the Warriors were included in the top three. There is no doubt that our CEO Jim Weiss and our San Francisco headquarters’ team members have contributed heavily to the conversation.)

Based off of our analytical approach, the Spurs had the highest engagement rate per potential fan, making them the loudest Twitter fan base in the NBA with a “noise” index of 100. The Thunder rank second with a noise index of 70 with approximately 1.44% of total fan engagements in the regular season vs. Spurs. Finally, the Warriors rank third with a noise index of 55.2 with approximately 1.28% of total fan engagement in the regular season.

W2O_LoudestNBATeams_1024x512 (1)

Below are the top 10 loudest fan bases on Twitter in the NBA.

NBA_LoudestFans_IndexEngagement

It is key to take into account outside factors such as number of cumulative tweets posted and city population. Although raw numbers are helpful, often times, they do not tell the complete story. If we only based engagement levels off of the raw data, retweets and favorites, the Warriors would have the loudest fans, followed by the Spurs, and the Thunder would round out the list.

NBA_LoudestFans_CumulativeEngagement

However, our team understands the need to level the playing field when discussing pro teams. Some market sizes are larger than others (i.e. San Francisco) and some teams are not as active as others on Twitter. Note the Chicago Bulls sent 2,767 tweets during the regular season vs. the Warriors who sent 8,031. All of this context affects the bigger picture. Numbers always tell a story; we are lucky to have an amazing group of authors in our analytics team.

The Results:  The Most Appreciative Fans

We also wanted to know which teams’ fans engaged the most with tweets from the team’s official Twitter account following a win. Based on engagement rate per win, the following teams have the “most appreciative fans” in the NBA:

1. San Antonio Spurs

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 84

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 71.2%

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 69%

4. Sacramento Kings

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 66.7%

5. Milwaukee Bucks

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 49.1%

It is easy surmise why the Spurs, Thunder, Kings and Bucks had appreciative fans throughout the regular season. The Spurs and Thunder were both top contenders throughout the playoffs. The Thunder going seven games against the reigning league champs, the Warriors. The Kings had a great season with new talent on its roster, and the Bucks handed the Warriors its first loss of the season. However, the Philadelphia 76ers had an embarrassing season, winning only 10 games out of 82. They nearly set a record for least amount of games won in a season, only narrowly escaping that fate by winning more games than the 1973 76ers who went 9-73.

Whether it was relief, sarcasm or praise, Philly’s fans made some serious noise on Twitter on the rare occasion the 76ers were able to deliver a win.

76ers Fan

The Results:  The Least Appreciative Fans

Reversely, the following teams’ fans had the lowest engagement rate per tweet following a win, deeming them the “least appreciative fans” of the NBA:

1. Brooklyn Nets

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 3.9%

2. New York Knicks

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 6.3%

3. Orlando Magic

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 7.6%

4. Los Angeles Clippers

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 9.1%

5. Boston Celtics

Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 12.6%

Perhaps it is easy to recognize why the Nets’ fans are least appreciative: the franchise only won a pitiful 21 games out of 82. However, the Clippers had a fantastic season, winning well over 50 percent of its games, yet its fans did not seem too impressed on Twitter. Even when the Clippers play excellent basketball, its fans do not have much to say about it via Twitter.

Looking Forward

As the NBA prepares to wrap up its 70th season, we enjoyed looking back on the highs and lows of the season through the lens of analytics.

W2O always appreciates the incredible power our analytics can provide and the stories they are able to tell us, whether it is for our clients or our own passion projects. Our suspicions might be confirmed or we might be surprised, but we are always informed and empowered to create a strategy that places our clients in a position to succeed. Have any questions about our analytics? Contact Us

Jon Carillo HeadshotCreative for this project was provided by Jon Carrillo, a graphic designer at W2O Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn and if you don’t mind the occasional rant about the San Antonio Spurs follow him on Twitter at @JonnyCTweets!

Read More

If tweets were referendum votes then, come June 23rd, the UK would be departing the EU. Looking at the period beginning early 2016, spanning the official launch of both the ‘Brexit’ and ‘Bremain’ campaigns, and culminating in the London mayoral election, it is clear that the latter, #StrongerIn Bremain campaign enjoys a small but significant lead in the number of unique accounts pledging support. However, it is the Brexiters that appear more ardent in their beliefs and more vocal in their call to arms, tweeting roughly twice as much as their Bremain counterparts.

To try to gain a greater understanding of the distribution of Brexiters and Bremainers throughout the UK, the socioeconomic context in which they exist and the correlation (if any) between Twitter activity and actual referendum outcomes, we have created a model that combines the absolute number of tweets, the number of unique accounts and the total populations for each local authority district (LAD).

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 16.48.28

LADs known to have concerns regarding high levels of immigration and demonstrating above average support for UKIP, the country’s Eurosceptic and right-wing populist party, were (somewhat predictably) Brexit strongholds. Burnley, Eastbourne, Hartlepool and Bournemouth all ranked highly in Brexit ratios and all fit this profile. However, UKIP voting alone was not a definitive predictor of Brexit performance.

Clacton, Boston, Thurrock and Rotherham all recorded high levels of UKIP support in the 2015 election but do not appear at the forefront of the Brexit campaign as fewer residents utilise Twitter and those that do tweet with low frequency.

Brexiters also tended to lean Conservative and showed strength in traditionally Conservative strongholds such as Woking (one of the safest Tory seats in the country), Northamptonshire South and West Dorset. The results for Manchester, however, ran counter to this idea of traditionally more conservative populations favouring a departure from the EU. An ultra-safe Labour seat and beacon of multiculturalism, its inhabitants had relatively more unique Twitter accounts and total numbers of tweets in favour of the Brexit campaign – though, admittedly, the number of the Bremain accounts was also high.

The #StrongerIn camp was, in general, more predictable, led by university towns with a strong base of Labour support (Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff and Exeter were frontrunners). Scottish urban centres also leaned in this direction. Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland’s most populous cities, showed a predominance of support for the remain campaign by unique Twitter account numbers but almost even number of tweets for both camps.

5

These results come from a preliminary analysis of the data and it may be that as the volume of referendum-related Twitter content increases in the approach to June 23rd, so the results shift. Of the top seven most populated places in the country, only one – Manchester – sits definitively in either camp. The other six remain undecided but with strong showings from each camp. It is in these large urban centers where the Twitterendum will be most intense, and we expect this to be highly contested in the coming weeks.

Gif 6

1

4

Of course, tweets are not votes. Twitter users do not reflect the UK population as a whole. Twitter users account for roughly a quarter of the population (23%) and tend to skew young and urban. Perhaps most pertinently, Twitter may be less representative of the British because of something inherent to Britishness. Twitter is very much a public soap box and, for a nation so often aligned with a strong sense of propriety, it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

So, while the Twitterendum results should not be used as an analogue to real voting attitudes, these observations can still provide an interesting barometer through which to measure the winds of sentiment sweeping the nation. As the debate heats up in the coming weeks and traditional media becomes saturated, we’ll continue to turn to this model to see what further insights we can glean, so please join us for regular updates of our Twittterendum coverage!

Lucas Galan headshot

Lucas Galan currently serves as the Head of Analytics Productization at W2O Group’s London office. Connect with him on LinkedIn!


Learn more about W2O Group:  About  Work  Contact

Read More

Less than a decade ago, we experienced an explosion of new social media channels. This led to the birth of the social media listening industry. In the early days, if we could just capture what people were saying, we were thrilled. We stared at pie charts and looked at graphs and learned the basics of what our customers were really doing online.

Fast forward to 2016 and the world has changed. Social listening doesn’t cut it. Audience intelligence is replacing it.

We all know in real life that listening is valuable only if you are listening to the right people. We don’t treat all opinions as equal or react to every comment unless we want to drive ourselves insane. Instead, we are moving toward an ability to identify the exact audience that matters so that we can listen to what our audience cares about and we can know what content it prefers, which channels are its favorites, what time of day its members go online, what their patterns of behavior are and what they mean to our brand.

In 2016, the trend away from social listening and toward audience intelligence will be driven by five changes in how we view listening and its next-generation cousin, intelligence. They are listed here:

  • The Importance of Non-Verbal Listening: When we are in a sales situation, we know that as much as two-thirds of what we learn is non-verbal. The non-verbal equivalent online includes search queries, downloads, retweets and likes, shares and other non-verbal communications that are critical to understanding reality. We must account for behavior in new ways in our listening approach.
  • The Ability to Build the Right Profiles: There are many false positives in listening, ranging from spam to simply tracking the wrong information. Analysts today must be craftspeople who can build profiles that focus exactly on what you want to learn about. These profiles are highly precise and contain a range of keywords and phrases.
  • Measure the Conversation, Not the Instance: When consumers react online they often share and talk across multiple channels over a period of time. Our ability to identify their patterns helps us build the right trail of measurement. Think of a conversation starting in Twitter, going to Instagram and ending with comments on Facebook. If you measure Twitter only, or look solely at Instagram, you have just a partial picture. Consumers follow patterns, so you can see their trails over time. As we do offline, we tend to walk the same path over and over again.
  • Compare and Contrast Audiences: If you are tracking each audience, you can see how it differs on the same topic from another group. What are cardiologists saying vs. general practitioners? What are enterprise IT leaders in cybersecurity saying vs. your employees vs. CIOs? If you compare and contrast audiences, your ability to see new insights greatly increases.
  • Understand Your Data Sources: We need to ensure that the data we are measuring really represents where your audience is. Know what channels you are receiving data from so you can see if it matches up with the location of your customers. And be careful to determine if you are paying twice or thrice for the same data vs. different providers. It’s time for us to engage in de-duplication of data so we don’t overpay for the same data. After all, we need more resources to improve our audience intelligence.

This article originally appeared in the January 11, 2016 issue of PR News.

Read More

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of sitting in on a panel titled, Millennials Unplugged: What Are We Learning from Millennials? Moderated by my colleague, Bob Pearson, the panel was part of an event put on by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and hosted at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. Joining Bob on the panel were Natalie Malaszenko, SVP of Marketing at Overstock.com and Founder/Provocateur of MoStrategy, LLC, Maureen Craig.

Bob-Natalie-Mo panel

As the title suggests, the focus of the panel was what we (brands/marketers/communicators) can learn from Millennials. It’s clearly an important topic due to the fact that in the U.S., Millennials just overtook Baby Boomers as the largest demographic in the country. This not only changes the way marketers need to market, but also how employers think about the needs of their employees. I spent a little time covering this very topic in one my recent Marketingland articles discussing the real meaning of what it means to be “mobile first.

During the panel, Bob asked (and occasionally answered) questions of Natalie and Maureen. All three did a great job keeping their answers informative and pithy. A few of the key soundbites I took away were:

  • Millennials want to engage with brands differently. They are willing to do it emotionally.
  • It’s important as a brand to have heart, soul, purpose when story telling with Millennials. The key is to the find balance of analytics/insights with gut instincts.
  • Bob mentioned a recent article where Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest announced the visual search tool for the social image site making it a “search engine for experiences.”
  • Metrics are important to understand how customers are consuming content along their journey – but how does this impact how we measure?
  • With so much data, importance on using gut to guide is stronger than ever. Also critical to look at how the consumer’s (and in particular, Millennials) media is shaped.
  • At the end of the panel Q&A, Bob referenced the impetus of the panel which is a blog series he created with his 19 year old daughter, Brittany. The format for Millennials Unplugged is that they pick a topic and then both answer from their own points of view, often with other Millennial voices pulled in.

For the second half of the panel, Bob fielded audience questions through a tool called Pigeonhole. Not only was it a cool technology but made it easy to field questions from the audience in an orderly and weighted fashion (the audience gets to vote on the relevance of each question).

Here were a few that piqued my interest:

How has cutting the cord impacted TV advertising dollars when engaging Millennials?

  • Mo – Millennials get a kick out of Boomers and GenXers anachronistic use of tv (similar to land line phone).
  • Natalie – key word is storytelling. Ads need to be created with storytelling in mind and that ads could/should have life beyond tv.

Beyond the headlines of 3-second attention spans and lack of brand loyalty, what are some positive opportunities for marketers in learning from Millennials’ habits and expectations?

  • Natalie – key is to enable Millennials’ behavior vs. trying to change it.
  • Mo – takes offense at the idea of a three second attention span (not accurate). She thinks of Millennials as t-shaped – tremendous depth and huge reach (via new social/digital platforms). Can apply what they’ve learned from Call of Duty to shopping for groceries. What can we do to congratulate that and take advantage of that?

How do you value sharing vs. reach & frequency?

  • Natalie – don’t diminish importance of reach and frequency but sharing is the ultimate metric. It is a sign of passion.
  • Mo – her company is constantly looking at what it takes to encourage a climate of sharing.
Read More

In the past six years, I can count on one hand — one finger, actually — the number of times I’ve attended a conference and not been an active participant in the Twitter conversation onsite. It was 2009, my laptop was at the office, and I did not yet have a smartphone. You can bet that was the last time I traveled without multiple devices, a smartphone being one of them.

As a millennial — yes, one of those — I began my career at a time when Twitter was only for the tech elite, Facebook was still “The Facebook,” and LinkedIn was a glorified resume. Now, similar to how no one can remember a time when anything got done without email, I can no longer fathom — nor want to — a world where social media wasn’t a driving force behind how business gets done, and done well.

In my past life as a healthcare conference producer, social media wasn’t yet the widely adopted medium for communication and collaboration that it is today. Speaking faculties and conference agendas were created from research and whatever publications and articles were available online, and events were publicized via mass email campaigns and cold calling. Just a few years later, the landscape had already changed drastically.

In my next role as an editorial content producer at a technology publisher, hashtags were the new sources for news stories, LinkedIn was the first point of contact, and QR codes were all the rage. To stay timely, topical and relevant was to keep up with the rate of change in social media adoption and use. Today, that thinking still holds true. Only now, the cost of not participating is something that individuals and brands alike can no longer afford.

We’ve all heard that “content is king,” and from a content generation perspective, Twitter is one of the most valuable — and all too often, underrated — sources. If someone had told me back when I was putting together conference agendas that there would soon be a channel that would provide, in real-time, insights on the topics and trends that your target audience cares most about, I might have traded an arm or leg for access. Now, that information is just a screen tap away.

But the wealth of benefits that Twitter provides goes well beyond social intelligence — topic and audience targeting, influencer analysis, idea generation and the like. While it’s true that the incredibly rich data that Twitter provides — when paired with the right analytics, active listening tools and analysis in place — creates an unmatched opportunity for social optimization and ROI-inducing initiatives, to me, the most valuable aspect of the channel has been the relationships that is has allowed me to cultivate. And for that, I could not be more appreciative.

While conferences and networking events might have previously been where industry colleagues would be introduced to one another for the first time, now, these onsite interactions are simply an extension of the relationships that began through a series of 140 character posts. The number of times I’ve approached — okay, ran toward — industry colleagues with whom I’ve connected on Twitter first, and recognized solely from their profile picture, is a bit embarrassing. But the amazing opportunities, incredible learning experiences, professional connections, and friends, that I have made, simply because we were engaged via the social medium first, makes it all worthwhile.

Case in point being earlier this year, at W2O’s #HITsmCIO event at HIMSS’15 in Chicago, where provider innovation, information and technology chiefs gathered together to discuss the proliferation of social media in healthcare. UPMC’s chief innovation officer, Rasu Shrestha, M.D., one of the Twittersphere’s most active — an quite frankly, awesome — digital health leaders, shared that when it comes to hospital and health system use of social media, “it’s less of a question about whether you should do it; it’s can you afford not to.” I would have never gotten the opportunity to meet, know, and most importantly, learn from, Dr. Shrestha in the same capacity if not for Twitter, where his perspective perfectly echoes what we advise our clients, friends, and ourselves, regarding social media engagement.

For House of Cards fans, during one of his infamous first-person narratives to the camera, Frank Underwood noted that “imagination is its own form of courage.” For anyone who has yet to take the leap or see the value in social media from a personal perspective, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it. Imagine yourself interacting with and learning from individuals you had previously only read about, fostering relationships with an unmatched network of thought leaders, and carving out a voice for yourself in the space. It might take a bit of courage to put yourself out there, but just imagine the possibilities.

And for those brands who have yet to harness the power of social engagement and intelligence — from healthcare and digital health, to technology and pharma, through B2B startups to well-established B2C staples — the time to imagine how these social channels can drive opportunity and incredible value for your business is now. Remember, it takes imagination — and courage — to see innovation and opportunity where others cannot, and social media engagement is no exception.

For more information on how social commerce and SoMe intelligence is driving change, enabling opportunity and creating a competitive advantage across the marketing and communications landscape, be sure to follow #PreCommerce on Twitter for updates and notable information from W2O’s EMEA annual PreCommerce Summit, taking place in London on September 14, 2015.

Please see here for more information on the event. In the area? Come join us – registration is free!

Read More

Social Scoop Option 1And just like that summer is coming to an end, but one thing we know for sure, is social media never stops. Most of the top dogs had something to say in August, particularly Facebook and Twitter rolling out many new features in beta-test that we should see available to all users later in the year. Here’s what happened in August.

 

Facebook: Auto-Play Ads Expand Beyond the News Feed

What It Is

Facebook’s video ads will now start appearing beyond the News Feed. In April last year, Facebook launched Audience Network, an ad platform to rival Google’s AdMob and Twitter’s MoPub. It has evolved since then to include auto-play video ads, which has now been made available to 3rd party publishers that plug into its mobile ad network.

What It Means For Brands

With this opportunity, brands will be able to have lucrative ads that are available to their users across different channels (at a price). In addition, they won’t have to worry about users feeling overwhelmed by noise because it reduces the need for multiple types of ads on the platform itself.

Facebook: “Donate Now” Button Available to Nonprofits

What It Is

Facebook added a “Donate Now” Button to their call-to-action options for nonprofits to include on their company Facebook Pages and link ads.

How It Works

All nonprofits have the opportunity to select the “Donate Now” option on their Facebook call-to-action list, making it easier for donators and supports to give back directly from Facebook. When users click on the button, a disclosure note will appear that confirms that this donation is not endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook. Should the user choose to continue, they will be directed to a donation page from the 3rd party site.

What It Means For Brands

This is wonderful opportunity for nonprofits who are active on Facebook to further engage with supporters. The new call-to-action button also gives donors direct access to a donation page, which is a step forward for nonprofits to gain more charitable contributions.

Facebook: GIFs Are Coming to Ads and Page Posts (Maybe)

What It Is

Facebook started supporting GIF media in user posts back in May, but has recently starting rolling out GIF ads to brands/businesses.

How It Works

GIFs are being tested for posts and boosted posts for a small percentage of Facebook Pages. They will not be supported as Facebook ads in the sidebar, but only as part of a brand’s News Feed post. Facebook is evaluating the user experience with GIFs before rolling it out to all Pages – which it may decide to pull them altogether and not move forward with this new roll out.

What It Means For Brands

Any new capability to advertise, is a new opportunity for brands. GIFs are very loud and in your face, so you have to be careful about the message you’re sharing so that it’s not too “annoying” to users. If Facebook receives negative feedback about GIFs in News Feeds (hindering the user experience), they will be removed. But they are exciting and open a new door to creative adverting, something that all brands should be interested in exploring.

Facebook: ‘LIVE’ is a Step Up in Influencer Activation 

What is It

Facebook recently revealed ‘Live’ for Facebook Mentions, a new way for verified public figures to share live video with their fans directly from their smart phone. With this new feature, public figures can take their fans/the Facebook audience behind the scenes, host live video chats, share announcements, and then some.

How It Works

It’s fairly simple to start a live broadcast from Facebook Mentions

  • Click on the Post and then select the ‘Live’ video button.
  • Add a description to your broadcast (this is very important so that fans understand what you’re sharing), then select ‘Go Live.’
  • Once the broadcast is up, you will be able to see how many viewers are tuning in and you can comment directly on the stream to questions as they surface. Should you want to hide the comments, you can do so.
  • To end your broadcast, select the ‘Stop’ button
  • Once your video has ended, it is automatically saved to your Facebook Page for fans to view later. If you choose to remove the ‘Live’ video content, that is an option as well.

What It Means For Brands

While brands themselves are not public figures, it’s a great opportunity for those that you endorse and partner with to optimize on ‘behind the scenes’ moments at your branded event, visits to the office, photo shoots, during campaign awareness initiatives, etc. Brands should keep ‘Live’ in the back of their social strategies when partnering with public figures to help encourage engagement and promote every branded opportunity. Note – this feature is only available to verified public figures.

Facebook: “M” Will Be Your New BFF

What It Is

Facebook introduced “M” to select users in San Francisco, a virtual assistant that will roll out as a feature within the Messenger app. “M” can make you a dinner reservation, purchase a gift for your best friend, and book your last minute weekend getaways. In addition to using artificial intelligence, “M” is backed by actual people, dubbed “M” Trainers.

How It Works

Facebook users can tap the small button at the bottom of the Messenger app to send a message to “M.” The software will decode the message and ask follow-up questions to the user in the message thread, and send updates to the user as the task is completed. Users will not know if a human or software has helped them. “M” has no gender. Right now “M” doesn’t pull in social data from Facebook to help complete the tasks, but Facebook reps say this could change.

What it Means For Brands

It’s no surprise that Facebook plans to capitalize on this one day soon, but how can it help businesses? If Facebook sees that one business/brand is getting a bunch of inbound requests, it can partner with the business to provide a more direct service over the Messenger app. Businesses could have a presence inside the app directly, boosting the transparency in customer service with consumers. Might not be a bad idea to start thinking about revamping your customer service strategy on social media…

Instagram: Ads API Has Been Activated

What It Is

Instagram officially switch on its advertising API and now it’s ready for business. In most recent times, brands were required to contact an Instagram marketing sales representative directly in order to advertise on Instagram – which was also very rare to get approved and only those willing to spend an arm & a leg were investing.

How It Works

Starting soon, (all) marketers will be able to build Instagram ads and promote their posts on the platform. Instagram campaigns will launch alongside other digital ads and brands will be able to cross-promote, plan and monitor their Instagram activity (including photos that aren’t promoted through paid) using third-party platforms.

What it Means For Brands

Brands can now use the same advanced campaign tools that they are using to monitor engagement on Facebook, which is a huge move in the right direction for Instagram. Brands will be able to deliver relevance-driven ad campaigns that increase ROI by reaching/targeting the right audiences.

Instagram: Thinking Outside the Square

What It Is

Instagram announced that in addition to square posts, users can also share photos and videos in portrait and landscape orientations. Square format has always made it a bit tricky for users to confine their photo into the strict space orientation, prying users to download other apps that “insta-size” photos and videos, to then upload to Instagram. They’ve now moved away from this, because while square made them a bit of who they are, they know that the visual story and freedom to express creativity should come first.

How It Works

When selecting a photo or video, users can tap the format icon to adjust the orientation of the frame to portrait or landscape. Once the photo is live, the full sized version of the image will appear in the feed as planned.

What it Means For Brands

With this new visual freedom, all users (brands included) can pay less attention to the size and cropping of their images, and focus more on the actual story that is to be told through imagery. With video too being more widescreen for viewers, this opens up a new door to cinematography on the platform. Additionally, brands will have more freedom with the orientation of their Instagram ads, which will enable them to capture more of the overall message they aim to convey.

Instagram: What’s This Partnership With Hootsuite?

What It Is

Instagram is quite against letting users schedule posts ahead of time, but Hootsuite rolled out a feature that almost lets users schedule content to be posted to the social platform.

How It Works

Instagram doesn’t allow for uploading via an API, which is why it’s very challenging for users to schedule content. What Hootsuite has done is allow users to schedule content for Instagram, however it is not published from Hootsuite – it is essentially a reminder to post content at a set time and Hootsuite will send a push notification to the user at the time they have set to schedule the content and they will be directed to he Instagram app (the image carries over too) to publish the post manually.

What it Means For Brands

The feature is great for brands because it allows marketing teams to effectively share the same Instagram account (with multiple team members running the channel), as well as managing Instagram campaigns in a more organized manner within a scheduling tool. With everything under one dashboard, you can better schedule, view and engage on social media.

Snapchat: Data-Saving Mode For Those on a Budget + Placeable Emoji!

What It Is

Snapchat’s newest feature allows users to save on data usage by turning on a “Travel Mode” setting. When enabled, all Snapchats, Stories and Discoveries will only be available if users tap them, rather than automatically loading them when users open the app. This is just another way for the platform to connect and appeal to their younger audience who may be on data plans. Additionally, Snapchat also introduced placeable emoji, making it easier to users to add emoji to their snap stories

How It Works

  • Travel Mode
  • Users can go to their ‘Settings’ tab and select ‘Manage’
  • Under ‘Travel Mode’, users can choose to turn on/off the feature to allow Snaps to automatically load
  • Placeable Emoji
  • Users can tap the post-it note button towards the top right of the snap screen, which will bring up all of the available emoji to be placed directly onto the snap. Emoji can be resized and dragged to all directions of the screen and there is no limit to the number of emoji that you use.

What it Means For Brands

The happier people are with Snapchat, the more time they will spend on the platform and the more interested they will be in the content that is being shared. If your brand has a Snapchat or plans to add a Snapchat account to your social strategy in the near future, consider this as another opportunity to engage with fans who are using the platform. Keeping users happy will entice them to spend more time exploring Stories and hopefully following brands on the platform, which is good for you. Additionally, with the new emoji, brands can be more conversational and creative with content sharing on the platform.

Twitter: Keeping Users Engaged With Web Notifications For DM

What It Is

Twitter introduced a web notification feature, alerting users via a pop up window in the upper right hand corner of the desktop screen, that they’ve received a Direct Message (DM) on Twitter.

How It Works

Upon clicking on the pop-up notification, the DM will open and let users read and reply directly, even when they’re in a different screen on their web browser. The company also noted that they’re making a change to their mobile app for Android, making it easier to DM people.

What it Means For Brands

This update is Twitter’s attempt at keeping users engaged on Twitter. Brands will benefit from this notification window because it is a way of staying on top of DM messages from followers, so as not to miss a private message when community managers are not directly monitoring Twitter at that time.

Twitter: Platform Offers Promoted Tweets, Videos & More, Beyond Twitter

What It Is

Twitter is offering marketers the opportunity to advertise their promoted tweets and videos with ads that appear in other apps. This update comes in conjunction with Twitter’s purchase of MoPub last year, which allowed marketers to buy mobile app-install and app-engagement ads on Twitter.

How It Works

Twitter marketers can use MoPub’s network of thousands of apps to extend their promoted tweets and videos beyond Twitter during campaigns, using new ad formats as well which include video, native ads and banners. Marketers can participate in real-time bidding to buy promoted tweet and video ad inventory through MoPub. This new landscape allows for marketers to reach their audience outside of Twitter, but directs them back to their stream for additional messaging, content, and amplification.

What It Means For Users

When a marketer promotes a tweet or video on an app in MoPub’s network, the user will be able to see the promoted tweet and video and then can retweet that promoted tweet by clicking on the tweet within the app, which takes the user back to Twitter to actually share the update from their account.

What it Means For Brands

Currently, when marketers run an ad on Twitter, they reach an audience of 300 million monthly active users – with the new offering, they can potentially reach over 700 million users by running the ad through the Audience Platform. Twitter has made this process very easy for marketers – all a brand needs to do is provide one image or video and then Twitter will handle the placement of the ads on the back-end. While this is just a beta-test right now, the ability to reach users outside of Twitter allows brands to market more strategically and reach their audience in many more avenues. This will also force brands to prioritize a strong mobile approach to paid advertising to reap these benefits. As the testing continues, additional apps will join and open up the market visibility to reach the right users in corresponding apps.

Twitter: Testing, Testing…Funky New Photo & Video Editing Tools

What It Is

Twitter is testing funky new photo and video editing tools in an effort to give users more creativity with their media sharing. A few celebrities (who were present at MTV’s VMA Awards) appear to have access to the unreleased editing feature from Twitter.

How It Works

Photo editing is limited to filters and cropping (for all users) right now, but it looks like stickers, doodles, text and more could be coming soon. It isn’t clear if this new Twitter update will be a standalone app or something that users will see rolling out to their Twitter accounts.

What it Means For Brands

We already know that photo and video updates are rolling out left and right, and we also know that people love filters and stickers. This move from Twitter is a great way to keep people engaged on the platform, instead of opening their photo sharing apps for this type of content sharing. This would be a solid opportunity for brands to engage with their audiences in more unique ways via multimedia sharing, especially customized content for different (targeted) audiences during campaigns or events. More to come on this!

YouTube: Google Wants More Control Over Ads

What It Is

Google wants more control over how marketers buy ads on YouTube, revealing in early August that they will remove ad buying through DoubleClick Ad Exchange (or AdX) before the end of the year.

How It Works

Advertisers, who previously purchased YouTube ads through the software’s programmatic network, will now need to go through Google’s AdWords or DoubleClick Bid Manager. DoubleClick AD exchange goes through Google’s third-party ad tech firms, and Google decided they want more control over how advertisers buy YouTube ads.

What it Means For Brands

Google’s intention of gaining a tighter grip on how marketers advertise on YouTube will allow the social mogul to invest more in creating the most effective advertising and buying experiences possible. The problem here for marketers is that ad-tech vendors depend on YouTube’s technology to power ad campaigns for brands and agencies and in return of this, brands get better metric data on how well their ads are performing on Google. Now the third-party tech vendors will have to look elsewhere to find video inventory.

For more information, please view a detailed #Social Scoop here.

 

Read More

Lifecycle of a Technological Revolution_today

With the revolution of media and technology disrupting the marketing industry, and business models altogether, marketers are trying to navigate through the storm. On the communications side, TV dollars are shifting to digital. But, digital ads aren’t nearly as effective nor transparent as we want them to be. The traditionally distinct and siloed roles of marketing communications (once upon at time, just known as ‘advertising’) and PR are converging.

Because of the advent of social media, and the frustration with traditional and digital advertising, marcomm is moving into earned media with influencer marketing, native advertising and more responsive campaigns and editorial content teams. Because of the rise of the new influencer – everyday people and celebrities using blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope and other platforms to create personal media companies – PR is expanding beyond traditional media relations and ‘the pitch’, and into influencer marketing, sponsored content and responsive editorial content teams as well. It’s a race to the middle where the lines are blurred. That’s why agencies and publishers are partnering to create wholly new content companies that service brands.

If we take a step back from the race, though, things haven’t changed much since 2009. The big three: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had launched and matured as three distinct and valuable social communications platforms for users. Since then, other social platforms have launched – Foursquare (and Swarm), Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, SnapChat, Meerkat and Periscope being the most touted. But, each of these just feels like an iterative evolution of the discontinuous leaps that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube made. Platforms, and the content they enable, shifted to become more visual, shorter and ephemeral. When Meerkat and Periscope launched, didn’t it feel like they already existed? And, the fundamental rules for how to engage audiences on those platforms is the same; we must adhere to the Reciprocity Theory.

So, I actually take a contrarian point of view: innovation has slowed in media technology. We’re at the tail end of our current technological revolution’s lifecycle, moving past the discontinuous revolution and into the iterative evolution. While folks in the industry are making claims that: “Advertising is dead.” Or that, “Data will tell us what content to make, so we don’t need creatives anymore.” I’m claiming that we need creative more than ever. The discipline just needs to evolve too. As the roles of advertising and PR converge, storytelling becomes an even more critical discipline for marketing.

Just pushing the message through TV and radio and print and display ads is lazy creative and lazy advertising. Great creative has always been about great storytelling. Now we just tell that story across new media platforms/channels in partnership with the new social influencers and in partnership with our customers. Sometimes those influencers and customers are the same. Great creative (‘the story’) is the glue that holds the story together, wherever we’re telling it. It’s what inspires people to participate.

In the late 2000s in the entertainment industry, we began exploring transmedia storytelling. This is where we would develop a core story – characters and the world in which they lived. And, then we’d plan out those stories across media (books, graphic novels, movies, TV, web series). It was a shift away from the linear model of: writer publishes book –> studio buys book and makes movie –> network turns movie into TV series. Instead, we developed it all at the same time. They lived together as extensions, or chapters, of the same story instead of separately as different and distinct adaptations of the story. This style of storytelling became particularly popular in the fantasy/gaming/comics genres, as we could delve deep into the story of a world we were creating.

Now, in marketing, we have the opportunity to take the same approach. How do we create a core story – the story of our brand, which reflects the story of our customers and employees – and tell that story through new (and traditional) media platforms and people? Like a vision, the story we tell requires an intuitive leap of faith. It must inspire. It must create new possibilities. Is that so different from great advertising fifty years ago? Maybe. Maybe not. But, in an increasingly ephemeral world, wouldn’t it be nice to have some moments that impact and last?

—–

This post originally appeared on The ReciprocityTheory blog.

Read More

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!

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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!

Read More

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

 

 

Read More

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

 

 

 

Read More

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:

 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Follow W2O Group on Twitter
Find W2O Group on Facebook

Contact

Contact Us

Read More

W2O Group’s 3rd Annual HIMSS Social Conversation Report: Not your mother’s #HIMSS15 social media analysis

What do you get when you mix tens of thousands of healthcare IT’s most influential experts with today’s increasingly social conference atmosphere? An incredibly unique and unmatched opportunity to identify key trends in digital health and health IT overall, and a perfect laboratory to study industry conversation and market shifts through social data analysis.

For today’s healthcare and technology business leaders, using social media to understand how market conversations are trending and how to reach and engage with top influencers is no longer optional. And when it comes to the intersection of healthcare technology and social media, the HIMSS Conference and Expo is undeniably where it’s at, and the power that lies in its corresponding social data and conversation analysis is truly greater than ever before.

HIMSS’15 convened more than 43,000 of the health IT industry’s forefront thought leaders, influencers, movers and shakers and garnered nearly 83,000 tweets – or more, depending on the timeframe of measurement used – all driving social engagement on and around the #HIMSS15 hashtag.

Having been locked in the basement since the event, our W2O analytics wizards have been diving in and churning through the plethora of social data from this year’s conference. Drawing out notable takeaways and offering expert analysis, our #HIMSS15 Social Conversation Report helps today’s business leaders and healthcare communicators target their engagement strategy, optimize their social investments and better understand the ever-changing digital health ecosystem.

HIMSS’15: Social conversation analysis

So just what was the beat on the HIMSS’15 social street? How has the conversation grown in relation to prior events? What individuals and companies have made the biggest leaps forward with their #HIMSS15 social footprints in relation to previous events? How are physicians and patients factoring in to the social conversation? Let’s find out!

Per the below, between 2012 and 2014, the HIMSS social conversation rose consistently year over year. While 2015 saw continued growth in social conversations overall, it also saw a steep decline in the number of unique individuals who were a part of that conversation. Further, the rate of year over year conversation growth slowed from 55 percent between 2013 and 2015 to 11 percent between 2014 and 2015. Could the astronomical rise of social conversation at HIMSS be leveling off? (Fig. 1)

Fig 1 Conversation Slow Down

Fig 1.

Note: Want to know how the top health tech brands performed in terms of social impact and influence at HIMSS 15? For a rich analysis on the most influential companies at this year’s event, as well as more detail around those key social influencers driving the conversation around electronic health records (EHRs), telehealth, mobile health and wearables, please reach out to W2O Practice Leader, Rob Cronin, here, or see below for additional information.

Another interesting fact that we came across in our analysis was related to the relatively small proportion of tweeps who were driving social engagement for the conference as a whole. In looking at the chart below, 50 percent of the HIMSS social conversation was driven by just 4 percent of the individuals engaging, and just the top 1 percent drove 30 percent of the conversation. This is slight a change from 2014, which saw 50 percent of the conversation driven by 3 percent of the individuals engaging in conversation, and the top 1 percent of individuals driving 3 percent of the conversation. This tells us that, though it has increased slightly, it is still a very small group of “power users” and engaged tweeps who are driving at least half of the HIMSS social engagement (Fig. 2). This is yet another illustration of the 1-9-90 rule of influence that W2O Group has measured and reported on across multiple industries (Fig 3).

Fig 2 - Few Individuals Drive ConvoFig. 2

Fig 3 - 1 9 90Fig. 3

There is no denying that connectivity between patients and caregivers is increasing as providers continue to embrace health IT adoption and include in the care delivery process. And as the industry moves to a value based care framework, whose success is rooted in interoperability and the expanded use cases for EHRs and health data, it is not surprising to see a rise in the number of clinicians becoming active participants in the health IT conversation. And as we’ve seen per the tremendous growth in our own MDigitalLife Health Ecosystem (#healthecosystem), more and more physicians are, in fact, becoming increasingly active in the healthcare social media space.

When looking at the HIMSS’15 conversation, we were pleased to see this trend was reflected here as well. In spite of the slowdown in total HIMSS social conversations overall as compared to past years (see first image above), as we see below, physician participation in the HIMSS conversation continues to steadily rise, both among physicians who have participated in the HIMSS conversations in past years, as well as among newcomers to the conversation. (Fig. 4)

Fig 4 - Physician RelevanceFig. 4

Additionally, the #HIMSS15 hashtag was used by nearly 350 unique practicing physicians. As a point of comparison, in the past year*, the #MGMA14 hashtag was only used by 22 unique practicing physicians, #ACHE2015 by 21 unique practicing physicians and #ACC2015 by 52 unique practicing physicians. The #ASCO2014 hashtag, however, was used by 441 unique practicing physicians; though the attendee make up of that event is primarily clinicians, a stark contrast to HIMSS.

Key takeaway? The fast growing and relatively high physician engagement rate at HIMSS shows just how invested clinicians are in advancing the health IT conversation.

As for the new kids on the HIMSS block, we looked at who “stepped up to the mic” this year in terms of the HIMSS conversation (see slide #6 in embedded deck below). A few highlights in terms of the individuals and solutions who increased their engagement in the HIMSS conversation the most this year are:

Individuals:
Michael Crone: New to the HIMSS scene. Business development at Emids. Engagement was primarily retweets.
Bill Bunting: Went from near zero to hero this year. Director of healthcare solutions at EMC.
HIT Conference Guy: Also a new kid on the HIMSS block. Active content curator.
La Lupus Lady – Well known patient advocate. Minor participation a couple years ago, but active this year.
Regina Holliday: Not new to the space, but Regina more than doubled her participation in the HIMSS social conversation since last year. Data access for all!
Vendors:
ClinicSpectrum: Medical billing services provider new to the HIMSS conversation. Took first place for vendor participation growth.
TruClinic: Telehealth platform. Active social participation.
Dell: The company stepped up its social presence at the conference, engaging attendees and encouraging them to stop by their booth.
Intel Health: Account has existed since 2008, yet this was their first time participating in the HIMSS conversation.
Mayo Innovation: First time tweeting at HIMSS as well. Demonstrative of Mayo Clinic’s increasing digital footprint and growing social reach.

In terms of the HIMSS tweeps who were mentioned most in the #HIMSS15 conversation, as you’ll see below, HIMSS, Healthcare IT News, Brian Ahier, Farzad Mostashari and Deloitte garnered more social mentions from individual accounts tweeting at the event. However, Regina Holliday garnered more mentions among leading digital health influencers – or, those who are the most influential socially across the healthcare IT landscape on Twitter — including: Wen Dombrowski, Dave deBronkart and John Sharp. These individuals, who are all actively engaged in conversations around the patient role in HIT advancement — are a further indication that patient engagement is becoming an increasingly integral part of the health IT conversation. (Fig. 5)

Which social handles were mentioned most in 2015?

Fig 5 - Most Mentioned Handles

Fig. 5

When looking below at hashtags that had the biggest spikes in use as compared to previous HIMSS conversations, #engage4health and #physicians saw growth in number of mentions. While the former supports the increased focus on – and importance of – patient engagement, the latter highlights physicians’ increasing alignment with and participation in the health IT conversation. Another hashtag to note is #dataindependenceday, the popularity of which is a testament to the strength of Regina Holliday’s message of enabling health record data access for all. It is also worth noting that #HITchicks usage grew this year, a hashtag that supports women leadership and female participation in healthcare IT and the HIT conversation. (Fig. 6)

Which hashtags had the biggest spikes in use?

Fig 6 - Most Mentioned HashtagsFig. 6

Additionally, #HITsmCIO was another new-to-the-scene hashtag this year. This @W2OGroup-initiated tag focuses on health system CIO engagement in social media, and was created to celebrate and educate on how health IT leaders are using SoMe to drive improvement throughout the industry. Including social powerhouses CHIME CIO of the year, Sue Schade, from the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers (@sgschade), Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer at UPMC, Will Weider, chief information officer at Ministry Health Care (@CandidCIO) and David Chou, chief information officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (@dchou1107), the #HITsmCIO community is harnessing the power of social to drive innovation and quality across the healthcare continuum. For more details, including a summary of our first-annual reception held the night before HIMSS on April 12, 2015, please see here.

In terms of health IT solutions providers who stepped up their website-engagement-via-social game, Deloitte was highly successful at driving users from social media onto its own digital properties. Conversely, although Walgreens and IBM successfully garnered conversation, they were not nearly as successful at driving individuals to their respective sites via their #HIMSS15 social participation. (Fig. 7)

A few notable mentions include:
Healthcare IT News: The premier publication of HIMSS. Created substantial content during the conference.
HIMSS Conference: A highly shared, in-conference resource.
Deloitte: The content winner of the conference – by a long shot. Created highly sharable content that drove attendees to share infographics, blog posts, research findings and poignant social media posts.
HIT Consultant: Created a mix of sharable and rich conference-focused content throughout the conference.
• MedCity News: Conference-focused editorial content drove shares.
YouTube: A mix of interviews and promotional videos were shared more this year.
Forbes: Bruce Japsen, John Osborn, Larry Husten, Louis Columbus, Matthew Herper and Nicole Fisher drove numerous articles shares within the health IT community.

Which domains were shared the most in 2015?

Fig 7 - Most Shared DomainsFig. 7

Another trend we followed was around the domains which garnered the greatest gains – in terms of social shares per user – from 2014 to 2015. Translation: we looked at the site properties whose number of shares increased the most from previous years to 2015. Once again, Deloitte was highly successful at driving shares of owned digital properties, but also improved significantly since its efforts in 2014. Other significant improvements include, HIT Consultant, MedCity News, HIMSS, Healthcare IT News and HealthIT.gov. (Fig 8)

In looking closer at Health IT.gov, the federal site shared more content – including more of its own content and links to its own site properties – and took on a more active role as an industry educator and social engagement leader at this year’s event. Another account who stepped up their game, in addition to Deloitte and HealthIT.gov, was HIT Consultant, who was very successful increasing the amount of content shared that drove traffic back to its online properties. Lastly, Cerner was notably the only EHR vendor included on both our list of top shared domains and biggest domain share increases from 2014 to 2015. This showcases a great opportunity for EHR organizations across the board to improve and refine their content and social engagement strategy to connect with this influential audience.

Which domains saw the greatest increase in number of shares in 2015?

Fig 8 - Domain Share IncreaseFig. 8

It wouldn’t be HIMSS without an announcement around meaningful use! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their draft meaningful use rule – that reduces the requirement that providers have 5 percent of their patients electronically download, view and transmit their medical record to a single patient – days before HIMSS, and as expected, this drew a lot of conversation on the topic. Regina Holliday, Sherry Reynolds, Mandi Bishop, Susan Brown, Charles Webster and Wen Dombrowski, among many others, were all active participants in the meaningful use conversation at HIMSS 15, with CMS, the ONC and Brian Ahier adding to that list of those who were also mentioned the most in relation to MU at HIMSS. (Fig. 9)

Meaningful use: Who drove the conversation?

Fig 9 - MU Convo DriversFig. 9

As noted previously, patient engagement was another topic gaining traction in the HIMSS 15 conversation this year, and we wanted to know who the most active tweeps were from an engagement standpoint, as well as who was mentioned most by others in patient-related conversations.

Not surprisingly, patient engagement strategist and health technology consultant, Jan Oldenburg, drove the conversation around patient engagement, followed closely by patient data rights advocate Regina Holliday. Clinicspectrum and Get Real Health were two of the solutions providers most active in the patient engagement conversation. (Fig. 10)

Patient engagement: Who drove the conversation?

Fig 10 - Patient Engage Convo DriversFig. 10

Not only has the conversation around patient engagement as it relates to HIT increased at this year’s event, but patient-related topics are also heavily rooted in discussions around health records and health data information ownership, with patient engagement being increasingly aligned with notions of transparency and access. In looking deeper at the health records/patient empowerment conversation, overall, we see that conversations about health records continues to rise, and is actually one of the key conversations related to patients at HIMSS’15.

As can be seen below, access, support, rights, own and need are all among the top terms used in the patient and patient engagement conversation at HIMSS’15. Additionally, the number of conversations about these topics rose incredibly fast since 2014, and with data and records appearing near the top of the list as well, it becomes clear that patients are increasingly associating empowerment and engagement with health data and EHR/EMR records access. While there was a slight dip in the number of people talking about patient engagement from 2014 to 2015, it still remains the single most discussed topic surrounding the patient perspective/experience. (Fig. 11)

Patient empowerment and data ownership: A growing trend

Fig 11 - Patient Empowerment TrendFig. 11

While survey also ranked very high in terms of growth, there are always a good amount of these documents released at events, and this year was no different. One such survey that received a lot of social engagement was Deloitte’s Survey of US Physicians, which provided data-driven insights on how physicians view the healthcare system healthcare reform. Last, but certainly not least, as can be seen in the continued increase of electronic as part of the patient-focused conversation, the divide between the business of health IT and those whom it is built to truly benefit is definitely shrinking.

And there you have it! Well, most of it, as we saved some of the real meat for those data geeks and organizations looking for a deeper analysis on key trends and eye-opening takeaways – including influencer and engagement metrics around mHealth, wearables and telehelath – as well as more insight around which companies were the biggest winners – and losers – in the social engagement and social influence game. For a deeper dive into the research and to set up media briefings, please contact:
• Rob Cronin, Practice Leader, Technology and Digital Health (@robcroninNY)
• Jen Long,
Group Director, Technology and Digital Health (@jensparklong)
• Jenny Laurello,
Senior Manager, Technology and Digital Health (@jennylaurello)

W2O Group’s HIMSS’15 Social Conversation Report

And for more @W2OGroup research, including our analysis of socially active hospital and health system CIOs (#HITsmCIO), please see here and visit our MDigitalLife Health Ecosystem to learn more!

Read More

I have always enjoyed reading what David Cassak, Editor-in-Chief of The MedTech Strategist, has to say about medical devices and innovation.  Recently, I participated in a column written by David that was published in the April 13th issue of The MedTech Strategist.  Enjoy, Bob

The Column

The argument that digital health proponents often make as to why they healthcare industry needs to step up its game – and quickly – when it comes to digital technologies is simply that if the whole work is incorporating digital technology into its day-today existence, how can healthcare not follow along? If virtually everyone on the planet has made smart phones and similar devices integral to every day functions, healthcare can’t help but become part of the phenomenon.

Can a similar argument be made for Social Media? If Facebook and Twitter have become major media of communication, shouldn’t healthcare companies find a way to incorporate those channels into their communications efforts as well? As the accompanying chart suggests, medial device companies – to take just one segment of the healthcare industry – lag far behind consumer and tech companies in their use of Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook and generate dramatically fewer hits on Google and YouTube (See Figure 1). To be fair, more and more device companies are incorporating Social Media into a broader strategy that embraces a direct-to-consumer approach. Companies like sleep apnea specialist ResMed Inc., for example, diabetes company Dexcom Inc. or cold-therapy company MyoScience Inc. are not only aggressively using Social Media, they’re bringing on staff marketing folks who specialize in the media (See, “MysoScience: The Promise of Cold Therapy,” The MedTech Strategist, February 27, 2015)

Areas of online Influence

But effectively using Social Media isn’t simply a matter of racking up the most “likes” or hits. Bob Pearson, president and CIO of W2O Group, an integrated marketing agency powered by analytics, notes that all B2B and B2C populations follow what he calls “the 1, 9, 90 model” – i.e., “less than 1% of a population creates content, approximately 9% shares or moves content and 90% lurks and learns and benefits, via search mainly.” And he notes that device company customers – namely, hospitals and physicians – “are online, learning from each other today,” making it incumbent on medtech companies to begin to understand the 1% and 9% who create or share content “well enough to understand what [those customers] desire/need/ask about.” He says, “Patients, payors and other parties are often following each other and are learning form their communities.” More, he notes, providers aren’t just following providers. Thus the critical question Pearson poses is “What is the social media network that is shaping the market’s perception of a given device?”

Pearson insists that “it’s not all that important how many Facebook ‘likes’ a device company has.” That’s a nice metric, but largely irrelevant, he says. Rather, more important is whether device companies have “defined the exact audience that is shaping the market’s perception and activity related to a disorder or disease, a device or your company.”

Indeed, he says that while device companies are amazing at understanding which physicians are most important, how to train them and build relationships, nearly all such activities today are done in person and offline. “That same experience should continue online,” Pearson says.

But device companies can’t make customers and other influencers come to them. They “must become expert at Audience Architecture to identify, build and interact with their audiences in a highly engaging/content driven relationship.” In short, rather than just chasing “likes” or followers on any given social media channel, it’s about understanding your audience and how they’re participating in social media in all of its ramifications, and in particular, how that audience perceives and understands individual medical devices.

Read More