Our quick guide to some of the interesting articles we’ve seen this week.
First of all, a very nice, indepth analysis of how Walmart is using its key social media channels – Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. A more than usually thoughtful article, and definitely worth a read if you’re in retail, or just want some inspiration generally. Of particular interest is the way that Walmart have used the Facebook Milestones function to showcase the rapid spread of their stores. They’re also using it for some good “soft” messaging – emphasising their CSR and focus on sustainability.
The growth of the main Walmart brand page vs the smaller pages created for local stores is also intriguing. Depending on your viewpoint, it either gives weight to the “digital bumper sticker” argument – that many people Like brands on Facebook as a way of just giving them a Thumbs Up, rather than because they want to engage more closely with the brand – or proves that the kind of expertise and resources available to Head Office are necessary to make a success of Facebook. Without studying the individual store pages it’s hard to know, but an interesting study nonetheless.
No, they never stop tweaking. This week, Facebook has announced that it is changing the way that it handles links in the News Feed, making them more prominent and with a lightbox view function on click. Full details here.
But the big news was the new Graph search. Having called the world’s press together for an announcement, the media were a little overexcited to say the least, and the big reveal was initially met with disappointment from those who were hoping for a big departure such as a Facebook smartphone. That said, it didn’t take long for the “is the new Facebook search going to slay Google” type headlines to start appearing.
Graph Search is primarily a way of mining more information from within the Facebook database, and leveraging the preferences of those in your social network to “short cut” finding things you want. It can also be used as a full Web search engine, although this is based on Bing search capability so personally we’d be, well, surprised, if the results pose any kind of a threat to Google at least for now.
Whilst Graph search offers some fun possibilities, it does also depend rather heavily on the quality of the social network you’ve built in Facebook and how closely that network reflects your “real world” likes and dislikes in the present. For example, my network is heavily biased towards keeping a sneaky eye on those I went to school with – but that was in a very different time and place, and that particular group of people wouldn’t be my first port of call if I was looking for a restaurant in New York (that’s what Twitter is for, isn’t it!).
If you want to sign up for early trials of the Graph search function, you can do so here.
Next up, a semi-serious article from Digiday suggesting some Twitter guidelines for execs who are the wrong side of 40. Some of them we’re not sure about (we love our emoticons and see that changing) but other guidelines make some good points – for example, we’d be very happy to see the back of the old “Tweets are my own opinions” biography cliche, which has transplanted awkwardly from other media.
A good proportion of clients coming to us for training do so because they’ve either just completed a website revamp, or are in the middle of it and want to launch their social media presence alongside the new site. We recognise these people by their short fuses and general resemblance to wrung out dishcloths. That’s an exaggeration, but it’s certainly true that the whole process is stressful for many and downright painful for a few.
HubSpot have just produced an excellent free template for tackling your website revamp in a structured way, which we’d definitely recommend to anyone about to start on a review project. Along with talking to us about web designers who can be trusted to do what they say, when they say…
And this week’s Giggle Prize goes to:
If you’re feeling a bit down after Christmas, have a look at our final link. From the makers of Awkward Family Photos comes the Christmas Edition…guaranteed to make you grateful that the whole thing is safely over with for another year. And also give you a good selection of “what were they THINKING?!!” pics with your afternoon coffee.
Our quick guide to the some interesting articles we’ve seen this week.
Some helpful thoughts from Flowtown on how specifically smaller businesses might make use of Instagram. Provided you can cope with adding another channel into your mix, and have “on the ground” staff with the right mindset to produce engaging and relevant images, Instagram is well worth considering.
Have you noticed that your Facebook post statistics are looking a bit poorly lately? We certainly have. Even taking the simple “X people saw this post” numbers which appear on each individual post, we’re seeing a fall of anything up to 70+ on the equivalent numbers from a few months back. This article from We Are Social has a lot of detailed data on the issue and some debate about what’s really going on here. As we noted earlier this week, Facebook have now launched a new option for Likers to see all of a page’s posts, but there’s no doubt that the task of getting your content in front of Likers has been getting harder recently.
An increasing number of us are connected to the internet almost round the clock, via our Smartphones. This is great for social media, but possibly less good for our mental and physical health. Mitch Joel’s piece on Sleeping with your Smartphone talks about the size of the problem and suggests we start observing better smartphone hygiene in bed!
In this week’s silliest slot, a (presumed) Twitter addict appears to have named their baby Hashtag. We’re really, really hoping this is a spoof.
The week’s biggest news was undoubtedly Facebook’s acquisition of the Instagram app. If you use Twitter much, you won’t have been able to avoid Instagram – it has a huge following from users who love its ability to render their whole lives in retro-cool imagery. (If I sound a bit jealous, it’s because until very recently the app was only available for i-phone, and I’m an Android user! – Kate). Predictably, Instagram users were underwhelmed by the news, to say the least – here’s a roundup of witty user reactions from Mashable.
It’s an interesting move though, and there was a huge amount of industry comment and speculation on the potential impact of Facebook’s purchase, and the implications for their future development directions. Read what everyone else thought here: Why did Facebook buy Instagram?
Further changes to Google’s Panda algorithm had a big impact on some sites in late March. If you’re dabbling in Search Engine Optimisation, now is a good time to get an updated view of what’s a good idea in terms of link building strategies, and what you need to start avoiding. Luckily, we found an excellent article delivering just that – 7 link building strategies to avoid
No, us neither. But it’s still around, and has had a good shot at a relaunch. We’re not convinced it has much hope of regaining the ground lost to Facebook at this point, but it’s interesting to see what they’ve been up to. The relaunch is all about nostalgia..
In the “interesting stuff” section this week, we note that 59% of adult internet users are on at least one social networking site. And to help digest the implications of that, we really recommend this article on the impact of social media on concepts of privacy in the US . It’s very thought provoking stuff, and crucial if you’re marketing to the younger generations. If you’re over 25, just because you wouldn’t share or participate or reveal something personal in the public space of social media, don’t rule out marketing campaigns which involve any of those – your target market see things VERY differently.
That’s all for this week, have a great weekend!
This week’s social media roundup is inadvertently brought to you courtesy of some big brand names, whose ill-advised marketing and PR gambits have kept Twitter busy all week.
We kick off with Snickers, who enlisted the use of Katie Price (aka Jordan)’s Twitter account to promote the chocolate. Initially, Katie’s 1.5million + followers were surprised to see her usual vacuous timeline (sample tweet: “get that horrid women (sic) out of bb, I dislike her”) filled with comments on quantitative easing and the Eurozone debt crisis. The mystery was solved, though…
Thereafter, normal service was resumed- including an explanation to Lord Sugar as to what had been going on. The mind boggles:
So, you might be temporarily overcome by an interest in significant world affairs, but a bite of a Snickers will restore you to brainless glory. As my Nan would say, “they just didn’t think it through”.
Next up, McDonald’s. Now, you’d think that any brand with an army of detractors the size of theirs would fight shy of introducing a hashtag which could be easily subverted, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t? You’d be right. Earlier in the week they began sending out tweets using the #McDStories hashtag, which was intended to promote the positive effects on farmers of growing for McDonalds.
It took precisely no minutes at all for the ever-mischievous Twitter community to pick up on the hashtag and start using it in ways that, as McDonalds was later to comment, “did not go as planned”. Like this:
You really have to wonder if McDonald’s marketing department is run by actual clowns. How else could they not have worked out by now that Twitter is not Hello! magazine? If you put something out there, you better be sure that you don’t mind the rest of the world joining in – and their agenda might not quite match yours.
And finally, the gym chain LA Fitness. For variety, this time the clowns seem to be in the PR department. One of their customers appealed to Guardian Money for help terminating a gym membership that she could no longer afford, following a series of exceptionally unfortunate events.
Now, you may or may not believe that people should always be held to contracts they’ve signed for the long term when, y’know, stuff happens, but it doesn’t take a business genius to work out that once the story goes to print nationally, there’s probably more to be gained from making a one-off exception than by demanding your pound of flesh. LA Fitness took the opposite view - and the story was picked up on Twitter. An avalanche of negative tweets followed, including many suggesting that more liberal-minded folks might like to boycott the chain. It’s now looking as though the family’s gym fees will be met by well-wishers, and LA Fitness is firmly installed as this week’s incarnation of evil.
New small biz social media case studies
Always good to get new case studies of social media success, especially from smaller businesses who’ve done it on a budget. This collection of 9 small business social media success stories is excellent, showcasing a wide variety of businesess from a photographer to a (female) carpenter. It’s a bit light on results, but there are some good ideas in there which might inspire you.
The art of Pay-per-click
Starting or running a Google Ads (pay per click) campaign? With the tight word restrictions, writing your ad can be a lot harder than you expect. Some good advice here from Hubspot on how to write great PPC copy
And just for fun….
This isn’t brand new, but we enjoyed it so it’s getting included anyway. 24hours of Twitter in London visualised - fascinating!
That’s it for now, have a great weekend and do feel free to share any thoughts or great articles you’ve come across this week in the Comments!
This week’s biggest story has been SOPA – the Stop Online Piracy Act being proposed in the US. You’ve probably heard it mentioned, and may be aware that Wikipedia, Reddit and a number of other large social sites closed down for a day on Wednesday 18th in protest and to raise awareness of what’s being proposed.
While most of us agree that content creators need some protection from unlicensed usage, as is so often the case when modern technology and the government and legislative processes meet, this proposal is a ridiculous knee-jerk overreaction which genuinely risks hitting the Delete button on key aspects of the internet. If you’re interested in learning more about SOPA and its potential effects, try this: SOPA will take us back to the dark ages
We’re still seeing some interesting end of year data coming in (see also our social media stats 2012 roundup). This infographic illustrates the top brands which were active on Twitter in 2011, and isn’t necessarily what you might expect. I mean, sure, McDonalds is a massive brand, but the scope of material for being interesting, educational or funny on Twitter isn’t exactly huge. Just goes to show, you can find a way to make it work even if all you have to talk about is dead cow.
More data out, too, about our favourite social media site, Google +. Apparently Google + users are spending only 5 minutes per month on the site – less even than the equivalent for MySpace, which is generally agreed to be dying on its ex-hipster posterior.
Although we take anything in the Daily Mail with a pinch of (cancer causing) salt, this article about the communication habits of couples stood out as something we really hope isn’t true. It seems that although we can all be in constant contact with everyone these days, one in four couples speak for less than ten minutes a day. With an amazing two thirds of people saying they’d rather spend time on Twitter or Facebook than eating with their partners, it seems as though a savvy marketer may have more chance of connecting with Joe (or Jane) Public than their partners do!
If you find yourself surrounded on all sides by “social media experts” and want to sort the wheat from the chaff, this is the best article we’ve seen yet to help you do so – and made us laugh out loud along the way. 10 questions to evaluate a social media expert.
That’s all for now folks – feel free to add any top posts we’ve missed, and have a great week!