Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Google+ Earns High Marks For Customer Service

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Each year the American Customers Satisfaction Index is released which ranks different vendors in different industries according to how happy its customers are. This is the first year the ACSI has measured Google+, Twitter and Linkedin. Google+ scored a 78, which earns it the highest rank for social media sites. FaceBook came in last with 61 points. Except for Google+, Pinterest beat the other social networks.

google+

The features that set Google+ apart are the lack of ads, a superior mobile service and a commitment to privacy. These stand in contradistinction to how people think of FaceBook, which is about intrusive, irrelevant and frequent ads. FaceBook has also been heavily criticized many times for a lack of concern about the privacy of its users.

This difference in approach does not, however, make Google+ the clear winner for the social media agency’s efforts. It does mitigate the likelihood of Google+’s collapse as some predict. The social network is still growing and as more and more people find it a more peasant experience than FaceBook—except for the absence of people—then it is possible that Google+ becomes more frequented by many users. That growth will then make people check it more often and turn it into an important social network for brand messaging.

The lack of clutter might also make a brand’s efforts on Google+ more effective than FaceBook. There is less to distract customers, and the lack of ads means users are seeing brand messaging inside newsfeeds where updates about friends are also seen.

Google+ earns highest ranking for social media sites

Best Metrics For Facebook Page Optimization

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The social media agency is constantly on edge to prove its value to clients. The lack of immediate conversions is a problem, but a larger issue is how to show that the Facebook pages for brands are getting traction and actually improving the awareness of the brand. Amy Porterfield has an essay where she points out the three metrics provided by Facebook Insights that the social media agency ought to pay attention to.

facebook-metrics

The first metric to watch is Engaged Users. An engaged user is one that clicks on a post. Some users that are responsive will be lost in this measure, but there is a guarantee that these reflected users are engaged. Each post is broken down by Facebook Insights, and the social media agency can use this measure to see what type of post is gaining the most traction with fans. Commonalities like calls to actions and questions being asked can be measured and this metric can then help answer which of those are working best.

Traffic coming in from external referrers is the next metric. Even Facebook pages need to be geared to draw people in to it. FaceBook Insights allows this to be tracked. If the number is low, then the social media agency can take appropriate actions such as optimizing the page for search engines and by including social buttons on other web sites.

The final metric offered is the Talking About This score. This metric will catch all of the engaged users and then some. It measures all of the people who over the past 7 days had any sort of engagement with the post by clicking, sharing, commenting or liking. The best way to boost this number is to ask fans to share with their friends. Fans are often willing to do so.

The social media agency is increasingly inundated with metrics and things that need to be done on a daily basis. This essay helps simplify  matters and helps direct the agency to places that can produce the most and best information about its efforts.

How to optimize your Facebook page

Amazon Working on a Mapping Application

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Amazon has been rumored to be working on an Android based smartphone. This week Amazon purchased UpNext, which is company that models the world into 3D maps. UpNext has been prioritizing 3D mapping on tablets and smartphones, and this acquisition fuels speculation that Amazon’s smartphone is in the works. Because of the inherent mobile qualities of a smartphone, mapping is an increasingly necessary and competitive function for user’s discrimination among options.

amazon-buys-upnext

The Amazon Appstore is currently closed to Google Maps, offering Mapquest instead. This acquisition could make a stronger competitor if Amazon does develop it fully.

This means there is another mapping database the social media agency needs to add to its portfolio. Even though Amazon does not yet have its own mapping software, being an item in UpNext’s database will make the transition easier. As of now the software is not terribly powerful and not focused on locating businesses, but that will change if Amazon hopes to monetize tis efforts.

An Amazon smartphone will be good news for social media agencies. The smartphone will be designed to make shopping for products seamless. The problem for businesses will be showcasing, where customers see items in a store and then buy the product from Amazon instead. Of course this is not an issue for the brands that sell on Amazon. The social media agency will need to design mechanisms to reward a non-showroomed purchasing. Fortunately, social media can offer a channel for celebrating non-showrooming behaviors and the social media agency can help handle this transition into a world where Amazon also offers a smartphone.

Amazon Buys UpNext, Will We Soon See Kindle Maps?

Facebook Needs Metrics For Marketers

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Brands want to market themselves on FaceBook. Marketing firms are only too happy to take money from those clients. The problem is that nobody yet knows how to measure effectiveness for those efforts. The problem is not necessarily on FaceBook’s end. There is a lot of transparency; the problem is how to value those metrics. This will pose a problem for FaceBook as it tries to scale its advertising out to more people and to mobile devices.

facebook_logo

Most marketers use FaceBook as a marketing vehicle, but much fewer of those who answered a Citigroup survey said they actually advertise on the social network. While all of this sounds pessimistic for the social media agency, there is a silver lining. Brands are confused and few social media agencies can provide clarity. An articulate message about long-term branding instead of looking to click-throughs and conversions will help ease brands’ concerns and sell a pitch where other digital marketing firms cannot provide a confidence-building message.

In time FaceBook will develop metrics that prove its worth as a branding vehicle. More and more studies are being conducted and finalized, which do demonstrate the value of FaceBook branding on a brands’ sales. The prudent social media agency will stay abreast of these reports and look for ways to refine them hoping to establish a solid correlation between its efforts and increased sales for the clients.

Does Facebook Advertising Work?

FaceBook Releases Find Friend Nearby

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Find Friends Nearby is FaceBook’s latest app for its mobile version. If two people have the feature turned on, then FaceBook will ping a user that another user is nearby. Ideally this will help build connections among people who recently met each other, but may not know much more about each other to be able to send a traditional friend request.

Facebook

One of the benefits for the social media agency is the ever widening network users will accumulate. By making it easier to bring in slight acquaintances, then the preferences displayed by a user will gain a larger and larger audience. This is especially important to the social media agency because new evidence suggests the preferences of weak ties of people are more effective than the preferences of close friends.

This app may also be a forerunner of FaceBook’s entry into conferencing software. If conferencing is able to move from laptops and desktops into the mobile arena, then it will be a boon for those advertisers associated with the conferencing software.

The app is very new so there is little research about adoption rates or effectiveness. FaceBook has also not been forthcoming with how far “nearby” extends. The service is also an opt-in service, which is unusual for FaceBook and may limit its functionality significantly.

Facebook Releases New App to Find Friends Nearby

Empty FaceBook Pages and the Empty Dance Floor

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Creating the FaceBook page for a brand is the easy part for the social media agency. Creating conversations and bringing fans on board, however, is where the agency earns the money. The problem is that these engagements are difficult to create. Great content is not necessarily the solution because if there are no fans to see the content, then there is nobody to recognize it is worthwhile. What is needed is a way to jumpstart conversations.

online conversation

Patrick Randolph, the VP of Business at Talkwheel, has a new essay about overcoming this very problem. He offers up an instructive analogy. The empty FaceBook page is like the empty dance floor. Nobody will go out there if it is empty and yet it remains empty. Before offering the solution Randolph says this is also the Google+ problem. Because Google+ and FaceBook are substitutes for each other (as opposed to complimentary services like FaceBook and Twitter) then one cannot succeed and that loser will be Google+.

How then does a social media agency overcome the empty dance floor? It reaches out to communities that are already proven to enjoy talking. The agency then needs to help them communicate better. Calling in favors from family and friends is also important. People who come by and see a conversation will not know that the conversation is among people that see each other regularly. The visitor will simply see a conversation and think this must be a worthwhile location.

Better communication on Social Networks

Apple Launches Maps and Local Search

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

At its Developer’s Conference Apple announced a map app that will come baked into iOS 6. This service will look and behave a lot like the mapping service we are used to from Google. The service will offer local search as well as real time traffic patterns and turn by turn directions. The learning curve on it will probably be close to non-existent because of people’s familiarity through Google’s offering.

apple map application

For now the local searching and the reviews will be served by the Yelp service. Another interesting feature of this service that Google’s will not offer is the integration of third party apps into the maps. There is no clarification of what this will look like, but rather it seems to be a hedge allowing for creative approaches by non-Apple developers.

The social media agency needs to be aware that a serious competitor to Google’s maps and local search is about to enter the fray. The immediate way to hedge against this is to prepare a brand’s presence on Yelp. Actively recruiting reviews is necessary. Google’s integration of Zagat and Zagat-like ratings into its reviews makes it easy to choose a competitor at a glance on the map. Once the iPhone users of the world have this new iOS, then the social media agency needs to make sure its clients are well represented on those handests.

Apple updates iOS with new map app

New data About Twitter Usage

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released its latest findings about Twitter usage. Since early 2011 the total number of Americans using Twitter has remained fairly stable, except that the number of people who use Twitter on a daily basis has doubled from 4% to 8%. What is really useful about the data is the demographic breakdowns of those users.

Twitter Users

Twitter still has a very high adoption rate among African-Americans. 28% say they have used it and 13% say they use it daily. That’s a significant bump from the American average and something the social media agency needs to keep in mind if that is a demographic being targeted.

Young adults use Twitter more frequently, 26%, than their older counterparts, 14%. That number has shown significant growth over the past year. In May 2011, the 18 to 24 year old demographic only used Twitter 9% of the time. That is almost a 200% growth over the past year. Part of that growth is attributed to the proliferation of smartphones into the younger demographic.

Another interesting data point is that Twitter tends to have higher adoption rates among the least educated and the lower incomes. Of the annual household income brackets, it’s the lowest one that scores highest on usage. 19% of households earning less than $30,000/year use the service.  The number also tracks to education levels. 22% of people without a high school diploma use Twitter. These numbers could reflect the growing usage among teenagers, although that does not necessarily explain household income except that teenagers may not be able to correctly answer that question.

This data is useful for the social media agency to better hone targets and campaigns. Depending on target demographics Twitter may not be the most advantageous channel, but for some groups it might be precisely the channel to use.

8% Of U.S. Online Adults Now Use Twitter Daily

FaceBook Releases Internal data About Brand Engagement

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

FaceBook conduced a month-long study of 23 brands, which measured more than 1200 posts. The study was looking to see what sorts of posts produced the most engagement, measured by likes, shares and comments.

facebook1

“By far, the biggest predictor of engagement was that the post was on a topic relevant to the brand,” is the ultimate conclusion of the study and a common-sense approach. The brand was, after all, liked for a reason and sticking to that message is already proven to be important to viewers. Other methods that have shown success, even thought the finding says they are not necessarily predictive of engagement, is to ask viewers to comment. The prompts for comments work best when it is posed as a question that begins with why, where, when or how. Without those words the prompts are seen to be less effective.

To propel a post into a user’s timeline, and hence seen by that user’s friends, is to post photos or videos. Those posts are more likely to garner likes or shares, which is a necessary step for the elusive ‘going viral.’

While this is not a conclusive list for the social media agency, it is helpful. The study is careful to elaborate that some brands have more success going into unusual areas, the Skittles campaign for example, than other brands. The social media agency will need to play with its clients to see which work for them.

FaceBook reveals data that offers insight on rules of engagement

Pinterest Is Still Valuable for Brands

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Not only is Pinterest growing in popularity, but it also boasts a better conversion rate than when a customer finds a product on a different social network. The reasons are still not entirely known, but there is speculation. The social media agency needs to take its clients onto Pinterest and possibly even use that as the main social network as its platform. Users are able to use Pinterest to share onto FaceBook and Twitter, so a focus on Pinterest does not leave the other networks in the cold.

pinterest-facebook-twitter

One of the concerns with Pinterest is the domination by women. That number is changing though. From January to March the percentage of men on the service rose from 20% to 28%. Most of these users are making a decent income. Almost half make between $25k to $50k each year. The next largest group resides in the $50k to $75k income bracket. One thing to note, however, is that a product’s pin is twice as likely to be shared if it does not include a price.

The most important data to consider is about the percentage of internet purchases derived from the main three social networks. FaceBook is still dominant but its dominance is slipping. From the second quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012 the percentage of referrals from FaceBook fell from 89% to 82%. Twitter’s relevance dropped precipitously from 10% to 1%. Pinterest seems to be the network stealing those numbers as its share rose from 1% to 17% of all purchases referred by a social network.

The social media agency needs to develop a Pinterest strategy. This strategy would also help on the other networks as images become more and more important to a brand’s attempts to recruit sales and conversions.

Measuring the interest in Pinterest