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Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Giving social media users a voice helps them adapt to changes

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

By Matt Swayne

FacebookSocial media companies that give users a greater sense of control can ease them into interface changes, as well as curb defections to competitors, according to researchers.

“Several studies have looked into how social media companies have failed,” said Pamela Wisniewski, a post-doctoral scholar in information sciences and technology, Penn State. “What we need to think about is how social media companies can be more adaptive and how they can improve the longevity of their sites.

In a study of the reaction to the introduction of Facebook’s Timeline interface between 2011 and 2012, researchers found that users considered the mandatory transition to the new interface highly stressful. They also found evidence that suggests that giving users a voice can give them a sense of control to better adapt to new online environments.

Facebook’s Timeline interface allowed users to access posts by date, highlighted certain events and set privacy controls to remove, modify visibility or hide posts on their page.

Feeling out of control

The company initially provided a blog to release information to users, but then closed the blog, said Wisniewski, who worked with Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State, and Yunan Chen, assistant professor of informatics, University of California, Irvine.

Denying users the ability to use the blog as a place to voice their concerns and give feedback may have thwarted one of the positive strategies people use to cope with changes in their environment, the researchers said.

People who feel more in control become focused on solving problems and adjusting to the change, while those who do not feel they have control tend to focus on their emotions and resort to more negative coping strategies.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, said that 67 percent of users’ coping strategies in the Timeline transition were negative.

The users complained, threatened to switch to another social network and urged others to drop Facebook.

No feedback led to negative response

“Without giving people a way of offering feedback, you make them feel less empowered and they have more of a feeling of hopelessness,” said Wisniewski.

Some users did adapt more successfully and took positive steps to use the new interface, including learning about Timeline and finding new ways to customize it.

Companies that halt communication run the risk of allowing false information to circulate among users.

“Without providing more users feedback, not only was there more negativity, but a lot of the information that was causing the negativity was actually based on misinformation,” said Wisniewski. “Being more responsive and sharing information with users can stop some of this misinformation.”

Changing too many features leads to backlash

The researchers also said that changing too many features at once can confuse users and may lead to a harsher backlash.

“In the Timeline rollout, they added several other features at the same time as Timeline,” said Wisniewski. “These weren’t necessarily part of Timeline, but were thrown in at the same time.”

The researchers examined users’ perceptions and signs of coping strategies by reviewing 1,149 comments posted to Facebook’s Timeline release blog from September 2011 to April 2012.

 

For insights into social media, mobile strategy, digital technology, marketing and much more, join top thought leaders from brands that include Google, Yahoo, and Twitter – as well tech icon Steve Wozniak at the upcoming Digital Summit Atlanta, May 20-21.

 

opt-in feature. The interface became mandatory for Facebook users on May 21, 2012.

The National Science Foundation supported this work.

Facebook founders top list of ultra-wealthy techpreneurs

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

 Time Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg and two of his Facebook co-founders, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, occupy the top three spots in Wealth-X’s list of ultra wealthy technopreneurs aged 30 and under with a combined net worth of US$22.4 billion.

Zuckerberg’s net worth increased by US$3.7 billion to US$17.3 billion after shares of the world’s No. 1 social network soared on 24 July on mobile advertising revenue that ignited a 20 percent share rally. Co-founder Moskovitz, Zuckerberg’s former roommate and now CEO at Asana, an online shared task list, saw his fortune rise nearly US$1 billion to US$4.2 billion. Hughes, a Facebook spokesman until 2007 and now publisher and editor-in-chief of New Republic, the 98-year-old magazine he bought in 2012 for an undisclosed amount, is in third spot with a net worth of US$950 million, according to Wealth-X, the world’s leading ultra high net worth intelligence provider.

Below are the top 5 ultra wealthy technopreneurs:

Rank Name Net Worth
(US$ million)
Position Company Age
1 Mark Zuckerberg 17,300 Co-founder, chairman and CEO Facebook 29
2 Dustin Moskovitz 4,200 Co-founder Facebook/Asana 29
3 Chris Hughes 950 Co-founder Facebook/Jumo* 29
4 Andrew Houston 610 CEO and Co-founder Dropbox 30
5 Nathan Blecharczyk 500 Chief Technology Officer Airbnb 30

* In 2010, Hughes launched the charity-driven social network Jumo, which subsequently merged with social action publishing firm Good in 2011. Hughes has an advisory role in the company as he focuses on New Republic.

The men in the list have accumulated a massive US$25 billion between them, according to Wealth-X data, through growing their companies, mostly within the last decade. Wealth-X data also shows that eight out of the 10 men are based in California, reaffirming the status of the US West Coast as a hub for technological innovation.

For the full list, visit http://www.wealthx.com/?p=17815

Retailers see less Facebook fan engagement, numbers, despite more posts

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

FacebookFacebook saw the slowest growth for retailers during the first half of 2013, with a decline in fan engagement and numbers despite increasing numbers of brand posts published, says Expion’s Social Retail report.

 The report analyzed the top 50 retail brands performance in H1 2013, identifying two luxury brands, Tiffany & Co. and Victoria’s Secret, as leaders in Facebook engagement across the retail industry.

“Expion analyzed more than 16,000 posts from retailers in the first half of this year to take a deep look into which brands, and which content, are leading on Facebook today,” said Peter Heffring, CEO of Expion.  “Key findings showcase that compelling content is still king, and brands that organically are tied to style and pop culture, like luxury brands, tend to benefit from the strongest engagement with their fans.”

The repor unearths key social trends in the retail industry, as well as winners and losers across brands, posts and post types in terms of both engagement and volume. Walmart, Victoria’s Secret and Tiffany & Co. were the big winners.

  • 2013 is Slow Going: In H1 2013, the retail industry had its slowest growth period since 2011, with an actual decline in engagement and volume, despite an increase in the number of posts that were published.
  • Quality versus Quantity with Content Strategies: The report shows that brands publishing fewer highly effective posts are creating nearly as much volume as brands relying on a quantity-driven approach. We expect to see a greater dichotomy between these two strategies, and as Facebook becomes more saturated, the quality-driven approach should overtake the quantity-driven approach.
  • Growth Regression: While there was an even split across the 50 retailers in social volume growth – 25 saw positive growth and 25 saw a decline – eight of the top 10 brands experienced a decline, showing that the top retailers took a step backward during H1 2013.
  • Video Did Not Kill the Image Star…Yet: Despite video popularity across social media platforms like Vine and Instagram, posts with images still dominated Facebook. Images represented 80 percent of posts while video posts accounted for a meager 3 percent.
  • It’s a Luxe Life for Retail Fans: When looking at industry sectors, luxury brands were the highest performing in terms of total fan engagement, driven by captivating product images, often tied to pop culture.  Retail sectors such as drug stores, supermarkets and small-format value, which depend on mass appeal, fell to the bottom of the list.

To read the full FAVE 50: Social Retail Report, please visit: http://www.expion.com/retail-index-data-report/

Ebook guides SMBs to effective social media listening

Friday, May 31st, 2013

 social media“The Art of Social Media Listening: How to Use Social Media Listening to Build and Manage Your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages,” by Jennifer Finke ,  available via Amazon.com Kindle Edition, offers readers an overview of how to manage and grow a social media presence through active listening online.

Finke says she was annoyed when small business owners told her that they thought “managing” a social media page meant simply pushing out posts, tweets and pins.

“Clients and prospects would ask me to manage their social media efforts, yet they had little knowledge about the effort it took to do so properly. I delivered a presentation on this topic a few months ago to share my insights on the efforts involved in social media management, specifically social media listening.

Several of the participants encouraged me to turn my presentation into an eBook so I could share these practical social media tips more broadly,” says Finke, who is also founder of the Denver PR agency, Red Jeweled Media.

SMBs getting it wrong

Another motivation in writing this eBook, says Finke, is that she says she believes many small businesses are doing social media themselves and getting it wrong.

“The push out a Tweet and a Facebook post and then say, ‘I’m done with my social media efforts today,’ isn’t how social media management is done,” says Finke. “Social media takes time and active listening,” says Finke.

In the Art of Social Media Listening, Finke teaches small and mid-sized business owners and PR professionals how to:

  • Create social media objectives
  • Identify key influencers within their social eco-system
  • Actively listen online
  • Prioritize their social media listening efforts

“This eBook was written for the up-and-coming social media enthusiast, PR freelancer, and do-it-yourself entrepreneur in mind,” says Finke.

Finke adds that the eBook is a quick read because, “Social media listening shouldn’t be an arduous task.” Plus, she adds, “All the recommendations in my eBook are free to implement; I do not push expensive monitoring tools that entrepreneurs and PR freelancers can’t afford and may not need.”

To download a copy of the Kindle Edition of, “The Art of Social Media Listening: How to Use Social Media Listening to Build and Manage Your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages,” ($2.99), visit Amazon.com.

Facebook or face time? Give them the personal touch

Friday, May 24th, 2013
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, authors of The Barefoot Spirit.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, authors of The Barefoot Spirit.

It’s official: Email, texting, and social media are no longer just helpful supplemental business tools. They’ve taken over the whole game. Yes, technology has made many aspects of modern living more convenient and “connected,” but the pendulum has swung too far.

Now, people are reluctant to do something as simple as picking up the phone, preferring to shoot off an email instead. And face-to-face meetings—well, they’re almost unheard of.

This “technology takeover” is not without consequence, says Michael Houlihan. Misunderstandings abound. Relationships stagnate. Trust is at an all-time low. And all of these issues are at least partially due to the fact that genuine human connections have been replaced by mouse-clicks and keystrokes.

social media“Social media and technology do have their place, but they are not, and never will be, a substitute for in-person interaction,” confirms Houlihan, coauthor along with Bonnie Harvey of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand (coming in May 2013 from Evolve Publishing)

Having bootstrapped a business from the ground up, Houlihan knows what he’s talking about. He and Harvey are the founders of Barefoot Cellars, the company that transformed the image of American wine from staid and unimaginative to fun, lighthearted, and hip.

BarefootSpirit_3D_3402When they started their company in the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse, they knew almost nothing about winemaking or the wine business. The Barefoot Spirit tells their California-style rags-to-riches story in compelling and colorful fashion, and reveals just what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

“I can’t tell you how many retailers, suppliers, and potential customers I visited in person during those early years,” Houlihan admits. “What I can tell you is that I would have never gotten satisfactory results if I had tried to build those relationships via email and social media. The Barefoot brand would never have become a national bestseller without meetings, phone calls, and recurring personal visits that kept relationships all over the country healthy and up-to-date.

“People don’t just buy your product; they buy you,” he concludes.

SmartphoneandShoppingHoulihan worries that young people’s dependence on virtual communication has stunted the social skills they’ll need to attract customers. Through no fault of their own, they have inherited a world that provides a comfortable firewall insulating them from personal rejection—one in which they simply don’t have to communicate in real time. (“Could you learn to walk if you were handed a crutch at birth?” he asks.)

Of course, in a global economy, face-to-face meetings are expensive. When clients, vendors, and even employees are on the other side of the world, it’s not economically feasible to hop on a plane every time a meeting is needed. In these cases, says Houlihan, Skype is the next best thing to being there.

videoconferencing“Live video streams allow you to do just about everything short of shaking hands,” he notes. “I have begun to use Skype frequently in my own business dealings. I love that I can make eye contact with someone who is sitting on the opposite side of the country. We accomplish so much more when we become more than ‘just’ an email address or a disembodied voice to one another!”

If you make the time necessary for personal meetings—if not in person, then via Skype or, at the very least, on the phone—Houlihan says others will not only remember you, but they will appreciate the effort you put forth. Read on for seven specific advantages of real-time, in-person, face-to-face relationship building:

The time investment shows you really care. It’s a fairly universal truth that human beings want to be valued and appreciated. Spending time with someone else, whether that’s in person, face-to-face on a computer screen, or, if all else fails, via a phone call, is one of the best ways to convey these things.

In essence, an investment of time says, “While there are many other things I could be doing, I’m choosing to spend my time with you. That’s how important I think you are!” Minutes and hours spent with another person have the power to create a bond that money can’t buy.

“When you spend time with others, you find out what you truly have in common and you have an opportunity to share your opinions,” Houlihan explains.

“Plus, visiting someone repeatedly over a period of time can also provide valuable non-verbal clues to his or her values and concerns. In my own experience, I have been amazed by how helpful it can be to travel with someone, whether it’s a colleague or client. On any trip there will probably be instances that cause stress and anxiety, which presents an opportunity for both of you to see how the other handles a variety of situations and to learn to work together more effectively.”

You’re better able to give personalized attention. According to Houlihan, this is perhaps the biggest key to successful sales and the establishment of any long-term relationship. Think about it: It’s hard to multi-task on something unrelated when someone is physically planted in front of you, demanding your attention.

Unless you have no problem with blatant rudeness, you’re focusing on the other person, responding not only to what they say, but also to their mood, movements, and many other non-verbal signals. You will read these signs and adjust your behavior accordingly.

“Letters on a screen can’t compete with the personal touch,” Houlihan assures. “In my experience, when you use someone’s name along with eye contact and an attentive demeanor, they’re more likely to be agreeable and to give you the benefit of the doubt.

They know that your time is valuable and that you chose to give it to them. The next time they see you, they will be more relaxed and familiar in your company. And the more visits you have, the more your relationship with that individual strengthens. Trust me, people want to do business with people they know. You can get to know them much better offscreen.”

You’re more effective in general. When you’re talking to someone else in real time, you can make progress in real time and solve problems in real time. (Believe it or not, lobbing emails back and forth isn’t always the most efficient method.)

Thanks to facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice (see below for more information on each), you’ll usually find out more than just the basics when you have a verbal conversation. In fact, if you’re really observant, you may notice things about the other company or clients that they themselves aren’t even aware of!

“Always meet in person if you can,” Houlihan confirms. “When an important client or critical team member is on the other side of the globe, a face-to-face meeting once or twice a year can often be a smart investment.”

The rest of the time, if your communication is anything beyond a simple FYI, be sure to Skype or call.”

Facial expressions help get your message across… Did you know that the human face has at least 20 muscles that work in concert to create a myriad of telling facial expressions? When you put it that way, the process sounds complex, but amazingly (as you know!) we don’t have to consciously think about forming those expressions at all. This is a powerful argument for face-to-face meetings, whether they’re in person or via Skype.

“Observing those expressions during verbal communication can give you instant feedback about how your message is being received,” Houlihan points out. “You can quickly adjust your message on the spot to make it more meaningful or agreeable, and avoid possible misunderstandings. Facial expressions are also an invaluable way through which to express sincerity, interest, curiosity, happiness, and more.”

…So does your body language… Unlike looking at a posed profile shot or any still image sent over email, being face-to-face with another person gives you the opportunity to see the other person’s dynamic reaction and make adjustments to your own message. Real-time body language provides tons of non-verbal cues that are impossible to convey in a text or email.

“As humans and social animals, we are naturally wired to get this feedback instantly,” Houlihan says. “We’re also equipped to share our own feelings and attitudes through the way we stand, sit, gesture, and more.”

“It’s a good idea to spend a little time learning the basics of body language. For instance, if you know that hands in one’s pockets indicate boredom or disinterest whereas leaning slightly forward indicates interest, you’ll be able to respond more accurately to others and avoid sending messages you don’t mean to.”

…and so does your tonality. It’s happened to everyone: You send an email that’s laced with sarcasm or humor…which the recipient totally fails to pick up on. Oops! Now you’re left frantically doing damage control. According to Houlihan, that’s one major reason why texting, emailing, and friending can be great ways to communicate while failing to succeed at relationship building.

“When spoken, the same words used in a text or email can have a very different meaning based on the tone, inflection, and the emphasis that the speaker gives,” he says.

“It’s much easier to ‘get’ intentions behind the spoken word. And if the other person sounds reluctant, uncomfortable, or guarded, for instance, you can take advantage of the opportunity to ask why and discuss ideas that might never have been brought forward over email. So the next time you find your mouse hovering over the ‘compose’ button, think about reaching for your phone instead.”

Your vulnerability shows (and that’s a good thing!). In the virtual world, you can almost totally control the image you show to other people. You choose the pictures you post on your profile. You censor the information you do and don’t want to share in your messages, posts, and updates.

And usually, you can think about and edit what you want to say before pressing “send.” But in a real-time, face-to-face relationship, the other person can see you in 3-D and observe your dynamic, spontaneous behavior, including tone of voice, expression, dress, and body language. The other party sees your human imperfections and is aware that you are vulnerable to potential personal rejection.

“Imperfections and vulnerability make you appear more believable and sincere,” says Houlihan.

“Most people will overlook minor foibles in appearance and speech because you are literally there for them. It’s special! This can be a big advantage in the long run. And in the short run, you take precedence over all their virtual relationships.”

Despite his belief that people want in-person attention, Houlihan says Barefoot didn’t avoid technology as it developed—far from it. What’s important is to use these tools appropriately and not let them become crutches.

“A relationship can start through text, email, or social media; in fact, I encourage entrepreneurs and other businesspeople to utilize those resources,” he explains. “But in order to be lasting and dependable, a relationship has to grow in person. Yes, developing your face-to-face social skills will make you feel vulnerable at times. As is the case with learning to walk, though, feeling vulnerable is why we get so good at it!

“Like any skill, becoming personable takes practice,” he concludes. “A good way to start is to eliminate virtual communication when in-person communication is possible or more effective. So shake hands and come out a winner! Remember, genuine, lasting, and dependable relationships take time and physical presence. High touch beats high tech every time.”

Consumers do respond to online & TV ad calls to action

Monday, May 20th, 2013

social mediaThe effectiveness of social cues in advertisements varies by the medium the ad appears in, according to a Burst Media survey revealing how and why web users interact with brands via social media.

Among respondents who recall social media prompts in advertising, digital ads (61.0%) and television ads (58.7%) are most effective at driving interaction with a brand’s social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

These are followed by print ads (52.4%), radio ads (41.5%) and outdoor ads (39.4%).

Notably, two-thirds (67.6%) of 18 to 34 year-old respondents—including 73.9% of 18 to 34 year-old women—say digital ads that feature prompts to social media assets are effective at inspiring them to take action.

“We found that marketers who use social sharing and action prompts within advertisements create authentic interactions that drive further engagement,” said Mark Kaefer , marketing director, Burst Media.

“On the digital front especially, display, mobile and sponsored online content campaigns that include social media prompts can virally and exponentially extend campaign reach through consumer status updates, likes, tweets, pins and more.”

Survey Highlights

Web users interact with brands on social media for a variety of reasons.

  • More than one-half (53.8%) of women and 44.1% of men who interact on social media via cues in advertising cite “to show my support for a brand that I like” as a reason for doing so.
  • The gender divide is even wider with the next most-cited reason, which is to access special offers, coupons and/or promotions: 53.2% of women versus just over one-third (35.5%) of men cite this as a reason.
  • Notably, two-thirds (66.7%) of 35 to 44 year-old women cite the access to offers/coupons as a reason to interact with a brand’s social assets.

The majority (65.4%) of all survey respondents have at least one social media account set-up for personal use.

  • Facebook—at 53.0%—is by far the leading provider. Google+ follows a distant second, with one-quarter (25.6%) of respondents reporting they use the up-and-coming platform.
  • Three-fifths (58.6%) of respondents with social media accounts use them at least once a day, and another one-fifth (22.3%) check accounts at least once per week.

Interestingly, Pinterest and Instagram—as image and photo-driven social platforms—skew towards a female audience.

  • InstagramOne-fifth (21.9%) of all female respondents have a Pinterest account, versus only 4.8% of men. The disparity of Pinterest use between the sexes is even greater among 18 to 34 year-olds: 1-in-4 (25.5%) women in this segment have a Pinterest account, versus just 3.6% of men this age.
  • Instagram’s audience also skews more female than male—10.4% versus 5.8%, respectively. Again, the gender gap is biggest among respondents aged 18 to 34, as 20.8% of women this age have Instagram accounts, versus 8.4% of men.

Download the full “Expanding the Conversation: Leveraging Social Media for Brand Interaction” Online Insights report (PDF) athttp://burstmedia.com/pdf/burst_media_online_insights_2013_04.pdf.

 

 

Nike has most socially devoted fans on top ten list

Friday, May 17th, 2013
Nike sneakers

Nike Olympic inspired sneakers.

Nike is the U.S. brand to beat for Socially Devoted fans, dominating Socialbakers top ten U.S. list with four different Nike handles in Q1 2013.

Socialbakers, the global leader in social media measurement and analytics, monitors the most responsive brands on social media each quarter.

While @JetBlueAirways, representing airlines, and @NokiaCareUS, for telecom, take the #2 and #4 spots, respectively, they are surrounded by brands in banking, sporting goods, food, cloud computing and, a Q1 favorite, tax prep.

On Facebook, the most Socially Devoted U.S. brands in Q1 2013 were uniformly telecoms and airlines, industries where online customer service has become critically important to their business.

“Twitter enables a certain open conversation, and allows brands to address their customers’ needs immediately and directly.

More brands using social, Twitter

Twitter birdMore and more brands are appreciating the value of utilizing social media, and Twitter in particular, to relate to their customers and address their concerns.  These companies should be celebrated,” says Jan Rezab , CEO of Socialbakers.

Interestingly, @NikeSupport can also be found at #4 on the Worldwide list of Socially Devoted Twitter Brands, which is otherwise all telecom and airline.

Overall, worldwide, there has been an incredible increase in response rates on Twitter since Socialbakers began measuring (see graphic). Although the telecommunications, airline and finance industries tend to always score highly, the fashion and retail industries have been gaining traction too. It shows that companies now take Twitter seriously as a communication channel.

Here are the quarterly results:

Social media and review sites play major role for car buyers

Friday, May 17th, 2013

FacebookWith any luck, we won’t have to buy another car for a while, but when we do, we’ll definitely do online research before heading out to dealer lots. We have lots of company doing that.

Online dealership reviews on social media networks are now playing the most important role in the dealership selection process, according to the Spring 2013 Automotive Social Media and Reputation Trend Study released by Digital Air Strike, the nation’s leading automotive social media, online reputation and digital response company.

The bi-annual study included an in-depth analysis of how 650 U.S. dealers use social media and an online survey of 2,000 consumers who purchased a vehicle in the last 6 months.

The majority of car buyers said they consider review sites as “helpful” in their decision as to where to purchase a vehicle. The study found that 24% of consumers consider online review sites to be the “most helpful” factor, exceeding all other factors including the 15%of car buyers who consider dealership websites “most helpful”.

The study also showed that review sites are becoming increasingly important in organic search. 81% of car buyers who use review sites said they look at review scores in search results.

The dealer component of the study revealed that, on average, five review sites show up in search results. Car buyers use the top five sites 13% more than just 6 months ago.

Most popular review sites

The most popular review sites are Cars.com (61%, previously 55%), Edmunds.com (54%, previously 50%),), Google+ Local (37%, previously 44%), Yelp (14%, no change), and Yahoo (11%, no change) – the same rank order as the October 2012 study.

The study went on to reveal that there is a 43% probability that a consumer will search for a local dealer on Facebook using Facebook’s new Graph Search. The study revealed 67% of car buyers search for local business using mobile devices with 41% having “checked-in” to a local business using their mobile device.

Additional Facebook findings include:

  • There is a 59% probability that a consumer will trust a review from a Facebook friend more than reviews on other sites.
  • 27% of car buyers click on mobile ads on Facebook.
  • There is a 45% probability that a consumer will view the dedicated feed for brands in the forthcoming Facebook News Feed.
  • Clicks on automotive dealership Facebook ads more than doubled from October 2012 to April 2013 – from 16% up to 39%

Facebook may start running autoplay video ads in your newsfeed

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

FacebookFacebook is intent on making money, but also, it seems at times, on alienating its consumers. Are you ready for video ads in your newsfeed that play automatically?

Starting in July, Facebook plans to start running auto-playing video ads in your newsfeed.

Ad Age originally reported that Facebook was considering the video ads.

The company may start the videos without audio and give the user the option of playing it with audio.

Reports say it is leaning toward 15-second rather than more traditional 30 second ads.

It’s clear that Facebook needs to come up with ways to generate revenue from its hordes of users. But with all the social networks out there now chipping away at its base, it might want to think twice about alienating users with intrusive advertising.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already a bit flummoxed when I see newsfeed ads when I’m trying to catch up with friends. They’re tolerable, but I suspect autoplay video ads might push some users over the desert the platform edge.

So what do you think? Is this a good move for the social network, or will it just cause more trouble for the already troubled top dog in the social networking kennel?

–Allan Maurer

 

Linkedin dominates social recruiting, dwarfing Facebook, Twitter

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

LinkedInIf you’re job hunting, LinkedIn is the place recruiters are most likely to find you, not Facebook or Twitter.

According to the 2013 North American Social Recruiting Activity Report, only 22 percent of recruiters are using Facebook for recruiting in 2012, compared to a dominant 97 percent using LinkedIn and even 27 percent using Twitter.

The data, culled from actual social recruiting activity within the Bullhorn Reach user network of more than 160,000 recruiters, also showed that only 12 percent of recruiters were connected to all three major social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – in 2012. With 14 percent of recruiters using a combination of LinkedIn and Twitter for recruiting versus eight percent using LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter is once again more popular than Facebook as a recruiting channel.

Recruiters are more active on LinkedIn than on any other network. LinkedIn has the highest percentage of recruiters with enormous network sizes (15 percent have between 1,001-2,000 connections). Fifty percent of North American recruiters using Twitter for recruiting have fewer than 50 followers, and 26 percent of North American recruiters using Facebook have fewer than 200 Facebook friends.

Social recruiting gains momentum

“Social recruiting continues to gain momentum and it’s no surprise that LinkedIn remains the preferred network for recruiters given its early and fervent adoption,” said Art Papas, president and CEO of Bullhorn. “Social media helps recruiters reach a much larger pool of talent than they would through traditional means. In 2012, when we issued our first social recruiting activity report, it was mainly tech-savvy early adopters using Bullhorn Reach. Now it’s mainstream.”

In terms of views per job post in 2012, LinkedIn again led the pack. For any job posted on Facebook in 2012, Twitter drove 4.3 times more job views and LinkedIn drove 17.2 times more job views. In turn, LinkedIn drove 4 times more job views than Twitter did.

Interestingly, Facebook and Twitter drew a similar number of applications per job post despite Twitter job postings getting considerably more views. This suggests that while Facebook job posts get fewer average views, those who do view them may be more receptive to applying.

For recruiters utilizing all three social networks, the most heavily represented vertical was, by far, information technology. This was followed by recruiters in finance and banking, healthcare, and manufacturing. Information technology professionals are currently in very high demand in North America, which would account for recruiters specializing in information technology trying to reach as many potential candidates as possible through a variety of social networks.

To download the full report, please visit http://www.bullhornreach.com/content/resources/reports. To learn more about Bullhorn Reach, please visit www.BullhornReach.com.

Linkedin offers you a billboard to 20M people

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Jeff Sheehan

Jeff Sheehan

So, how do you get 195,000 followers on Twitter? Buy them? Bribe them? Offer them ice cream cones?

“Honestly, I worked my tail off,” says Jeff Sheehan, a marketing and social media consultant at  Sheehan Marketing Strategies, who is recognized as one of the Top 100 Marketers to Follow on Twitter, who now has more than 199,000 followers.

Sheehan, who has 30 years of high-tech global sales, marketing, and advertising experience marketing to Intel, Cisco, Apple, HP, and IBM, is a well known speaker in the Atlanta area on the use of Linkedin, Personal Branding, Social Media, and Marketing.

He’ll be talking about Linkedin at the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15, joining dozens of other digital media, marketing, advertising, and technology thought-leaders from brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, and many others.

“The power of social media is incredible,” Sheehan tells the TechJournal. “It levels the playing field and gives you the ability to position yourself regardless of your background. So anybody can be a somebody if they’re good at branding themselves online.”

Tips on using Linkedin

LinkedInAn expert at using Linkedin, Sheehan offers these tips on using the social network:

First, he says, “Be credible. Put up the best profile you can.” That means also including appropriate keywords – although he rails against people who overdo it the way sites used to overuse keywords for SEO. On his blog for instance, he cites one unnamed job hunter who was in social media less than a year but includes a whole long paragraph with nothing but the phrase “Social media marketing.”

You should, though, include a professional photo and a complete picture of what you’ve done.

Next, Sheehan suggests, you have to build your network. “Find people with common interests and ask to join their network,” he says.

Once you’ve acquired endorsements and recommendations on LinkedIn, it adds to your credibility, he says, although we’ve heard some dissenting voices regarding the value of endorsements.

Like your own billboard

After you establish your identity, Sheehan notes, Linkedin is “Like your own billboard with a potential audience of 200 million people. You can display your work and provide your network with material you think is relevant, articles, news.”

He warns, however, “Don’t spam people.” One person in his network “Puts out post after post after post,” he says, so Sheehan used the Linkedin “hide” feature. That keeps the person in his network, but he’s not longer bothered by all those superfluous posts.

“You want to keep people in your network,” he says. “The more people you are connected to, the easier you can be found. So it’s important to retain the size and integrity of your network.”

Longer shelf life

On the other hand, used judiciously, you can “Get a lot of visibility via Linkedin updates,” which have a shelf life a bit longer than the rapidly moving Twitter stream.

Twitter bird

Just call me Larry.

Sheehan, who has called himself a “Twitteraholic,” says he also sees great potential in Google+. “Google is going to continue to invest in it,” he says.

Facebook, he says, “Is mostly for friends and family.”

Pinterest, which had quite a buzz last year, “Is not as universal” as the other social networks, he adds. “It’s audience is 85 percent female. But it has benefited a lot of businesses.”

There are so many social networking tools, with new ones such as Instagram and Vine popping up all the time, that no one has time to manage them all.

“Pick your poison and figure out where you’re going to focus,” he says.

 

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter dominate social media brand ranking

Friday, April 19th, 2013

social mediaThe four most valuable social media brands in 2012 were able to defend their leading positions and increase their brand values, with Google+ rising fast.

The rankings are from the Department of Social Media Management of HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich, in cooperation with BV4 Certified Brand Valuation Experts.

Facebook takes the top of the current ranking with an estimated brand value of $ 34.320 billion, followed by YouTube with a brand value of $ 26.824 billion, and Twitter with $ 23.656 billion.

Less well known in the Western world is the Chinese network Qzone which, with a brand value of $ 16.336 billionn, is in fourth position.

Google PlusTop winner of this year’s ranking is Google+, which gained 14 ranks ($ 5.878 billionn).

Together, the thirty most valuable brands have a monetary value of nearly $ 200 bn

Trends positively influenced brand value growth

Actual social media trends had a positive influence on the strength and value development of the analyzed brands, fueling a growth of 59% compared to the top 30 brands in 2012: on one hand, the most successful social media brands such as Facebook and Twitter were able to further develop their dominance with regard to their financial brand values.

On the other hand, Chinese social media brands expanded their strength and value thanks to the impressive Chinese Internet usage statistics that are characterized by a rapidly increasing number of Internet users and an intensive daily use of social media networks.

Furthermore, the new brand arrivals Instagram ($ 2.101 bn, position 22) and Pinterest ($ 1.987 bn, position 24) clearly benefitted from users’ augmenting need to share pictures among their digital peers.

Finally, the trend of increasingly using mobile devices rather than PCs to access social media platforms is an additional factor that positively influenced the strength and value development of the most valuable social media brands in 2013.

The growing importance of social media brands

Brands are important intangible value drivers for consumer goods and service companies. Compared to corporate values, intangible values like brands are continually increasing.

This is also true for social network brands, which have spread rapidly throughout the world and were able to continue on this path to success. Some of the important value drivers of social media brands are global awareness, growing user numbers, omnipresence in the day-to-day life of consumers, as well as facilitation of simple and efficient communication.

The detailed report “The Most Valuable Social Media Brands 2013″ can be obtained free of charge at http://www.fh-hwz.ch/fsmmand http://www.bv4.ch . Follow the hashtag #socialbrands13

In a relationship? 10 things not to do on Facebook

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

FacebookNow that you’re in a happy, healthy relationship, there are some Facebook rules that need following to ensure it stays that way.

10 things to never do on Facebook if you are in a relationship:

1. Hide things from your spouse or significant other.

If you don’t want your partner seeing who you’re chatting with online, that’s not a good sign. Facebook should not be a secretive escape from your relationship.

2. Befriend someone of the opposite sex your partner is uncomfortable with.

If your partner is uncomfortable with you “liking” photos of your ex — or chatting with your super-flirty co-worker online — respect his/her wishes. Don’t engage in behavior that will feed insecurities or threaten your partner. If you’re not currently Facebook friends with an ex, don’t add him. Especially in a long-term commitment relationship, you should each trust and respect each other enough to let each other veto online friendships with members of the opposite sex you’re not comfortable with.

3. Keep up old photos of exes.

Even if you never go back and look at old photos, some of your friends might. Respect your new relationship and delete old online mementos of your past relationships.

4. Change your relationship status without talking to your partner.

Relationship statuses should be discussed prior to any online changes. (Don’t abuse the status, either. Wait until it’s serious enough that most of your friends already know you’re dating someone awesome.)

5. Deny the relationship.

If your Facebook page has zero evidence that you’re in a relationship — no pictures, statuses, links that hint that you’re attached — and your partner wants to be acknowledged, show him/her that you’re proud to be with him/her, and simultaneously let your flirtatious Facebook friends know that certain online behaviors are now officially off-limits, by giving an occasional nod to your significant other.

6. Add his/her friends or family as “friends” before you’ve met them.

This is just creepy.

7. Complain about your partner or make a fight public.

If you’re in a real relationship, have real conversations. Seek conflict resolution in person, not online — and especially not on a Facebook wall. Don’t use Facebook as a place to vent, be passive-aggressive, or to humiliate your partner. Ever.

8. Gush too much.

You’re in love. That’s great. But use terms of endearment and “I have the best boyfriend in the world!” statuses in moderation. Don’t alienate your loved ones — or incite major eye-rolling — by using Facebook strictly as an excuse to brag about your recent endorphin surge.

9. Post racy pics.

Don’t upload on-vacation bikini shots. Don’t share photos of your new man “just waking up.” Keep it classy. Respect your partner by not seeking attention from others with sexy poses and provocative statuses.

10. Have a shared Facebook profile.

Even if you’re married, the whole “2 become 1″ thing does not apply to Facebook. An old classmate might want to say hi without wondering which of you he’s talking to.

Arkansas-based Collective Bias posts $10.5M first round

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

social mediaCollective Bias, a social shopper media startup, has closed a Series A investment round led by Updata Partners for $10.5 million.

Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, Collective Bias is a social shopper media company that weaves organic social content into engaging, real-life stories to create millions of impressions leading to increased share of voice, SEO, and ultimately sales for brands and retailers such as Tyson, Nestle and Smart & Final. The company has satellite offices in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Toronto and London.

Collective Bias was named one of America’s Most Promising Companies in 2013 by Forbes.

The company concluded 2012 with its third consecutive year of triple-digit growth, along with validation from major Fortune 500 companies.

We only cover a handful of startup funding stories at the TechJournal these days, but Collective Bias touches a lot of the bases we cover here, social media, ecommerce, and Southeast and Southwest startups.

Social shopper marketing evolution

“We believe that social shopper marketing is the evolution of shopper media, and supplants tired traditional media like FSI’s, retail circulars and digital display advertising,” said John Andrews, co-founder and CEO of Collective Bias.

“This investment round provides Collective Bias with runway to extend our four year leadership role in this new media category. We will employ these dollars to robustly enhance our Social Fabric content management platform, enter new markets and grow our team.”

Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report indicates that “consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase.”

Collective Bias is based on the insight of Andrews and co-founder Amy Callahan that advertisers could create greater engagement with their shoppers through the channels in which they engage today – be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or a simple, pre-shop search.

Drive brand recognition

“Harnessing the power of social media to drive brand recognition, loyalty and sales are C-level priorities for consumer-focused companies, and Collective Bias has a record of delivering impressive results for its customers,” said Jon Seeber of Updata Partners.

James Socas, a general partner at Updata Partners, added, “Collective Bias’ combination of shopper marketing expertise and brand and retail experience are a powerful combination in the new era of marketing, and we look forward to helping them drive even more value and growth.”

Collective Bias operates Social Fabric, a proprietary community of over 1,400 shopping-focused influencers, blending members’ shopping experience and product usage through engaging stories that are published online and shared with like-minded friends and followers.

With an aggregate multichannel reach of more than 50 million, the Social Fabric community represents a true extension of the Collective Bias team, providing continuous, valuable feedback that has redefined the relationship between brands, retail clients and consumers.

The financing process was facilitated by Gridley & Company, LLC, a New York-based boutique investment bank that provides financial advisory services to companies in the digital and information services industries.

Social Fabric is a proprietary community consisting of approximately 1,400 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multichannel reach in excess of 50 million.

Mobile phones driving revenue growth for major digital stocks

Monday, April 1st, 2013

smartphonesMobile phones are expected to remain the main driver of advertising revenue growth for Internet information providers such as Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), and AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL).

With more and more people switching to smartphones and tablets, the shift to mobile is expected to grow even more. As a result, advertisers are likely to allocate more of their budgets to mobile advertising.

 

While we don’t generally cover the stock market this specifically at the TechJournal, we thought these reports would be of interest to many of you in digital marketing and other tech areas in which these firms are major players.

On Thursday, which was the final trading day of the month of March and the first quarter, shares of Internet information providers ended on a mixed note even as the broad market posted gains.

StockCall has taken an interest in these companies and you can now sign up to download the free technical research on YHOO, ZNGA, LNKD, FB, and AOL at

http://www.stockcall.com/registration

Yahoo!

YahooYahoo! Inc.’s shares struggled in Thursday’s trading session even as the broad market edged higher. Shares of the Sunnyvale, California-based company closed 0.26% lower at $23.53 on above average volume of 17.61 million.

Shares of the company had an excellent run in the first quarter of 2013, gaining more than 18%. In the last one year, the stock has now gained more than 50%, which makes it one of the best performing technology stocks. Yahoo’s shares are currently trading well above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Sign up today to read the free research report on YHOO at

http://www.StockCall.com/YHOO040113.pdf

Zynga

Zynga Inc.’s shares posted modest gains in trading on Thursday. The stock closed 0.30% higher at $3.36 on volume of 9.38 million. Shares of ZNGA are trading nearly 75% below their 52-week high of $13.15. However, the stock has had an excellent run in 2013, gaining more than 42%. The company’s shares currently face stiff resistance at around $4. Register to download the free technical analysis on ZNGA at

http://www.StockCall.com/ZNGA040113.pdf

LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn Corp.’s shares fell sharply on Thursday. The stock touched an intra-day low of $175.12 before finishing the day 1.02% lower at $176.06 on volume of 1.23 million. LinkedIn’s shares fell nearly 3% last week even as the broad market posted gains for the week.

For the first quarter, however, shares of LNKD gained more than 53%, compared to a gain of more than 10% for the S&P 500. The company’s shares are trading above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. However, the stock’s MACD has slipped below the signal line, which suggests that market sentiment is bearish on the stock. Free report on LNKD can be accessed by registering at

http://www.StockCall.com/LNKD040113.pdf

Facebook

FacebookShares of Facebook Inc. tumbled in trading on Thursday even as the broad market posted gains. The stock ended the day 1.95% lower at $25.58 on volume of 28.59 million. Facebook’s shares finished nearly 0.60% lower for the week. Its shares are currently trading below their 50-day moving average. The stock currently faces resistance at around $26. Register with StockCall and download the research on FB for free at

http://www.StockCall.com/FB040113.pdf

AOL

AOLAOL Inc.’s shares struggled in trading on Thursday. The stock fell to an intra-day low of $38.14 before finishing the day 1.81% lower at $38.49.

Despite the sharp decline in the session, AOL’s shares have gained more than 7% in the last three trading days. The stock has gained nearly 30% in 2013 so far, easily outperforming the broad market. Read the full free research on AOL by signing up to StockCall at

http://www.StockCall.com/AOL040113.pdf

Make the most of your Facebook marketing (infographic)

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

FacebookSmall businesses spend between $1,000 and $2,500 on their social media marketing. Marketing Weekly has created an infographic suggesting how small businesses can make the most of their advertising on Facebook.

According to a study by Vertical Response, 90 percent of small businesses use Facebook and 32 percent of companies post at least once per day. Enterprises don’t often have a lot of money to spend on marketing and have to make the most of cost-efficient initiatives and best practices.

You can find a larger version here. Click on infographic on the right.

infographic

Small businesses need to be on Facebook Pages, say experts

Monday, March 25th, 2013

FacebookFacebook now has a total of 15 million pages run by small businesses globally, a sizeable increase over the 13 million recorded at the end of 2012.

“Local businesses are playing a key part in Pages’ growth, with active local pages up 40% in 2012,” says Marco Reuter, business development manager at Numero Uno Web Solutions.

“In addition, the social network’s Pages Manager mobile application has attracted more than eight million users since launching in the fourth quarter of last year.”

Helps businesses become more discoverable

“Facebook Pages’ impressive increase among small- and medium-sized businesses cements its use as a potential SEO technique that can help local businesses become more discoverable and gain greater exposure on search engines like Google,” Reuter observes.

According to the experts at Numero Uno Web Solutions, Google answers approximately 100 billion searches per month—more than three billion searches a day—and 43% of all Google searches are local.

Claim your online real estate

This means the “what” (business category, brand, product) and “where” (address, city, province or geographic coordinates) are equally important. Furthermore, 74% of local searches on Google are done on mobile devices.

As the SEO experts conclude, in an effort to drive consumer traffic and increase search engine page results, small- and mid-sized businesses need to claim their online real estate on web sites that promote local information, like Facebook Pages.

Doing so is a great way for these businesses to connect with existing and potential customers who are using search engines like Google to find local information.

Google funds research into the “social” of Social Networks

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

GoogleGoogle has awarded a multi-year grant to Polytechnic Institute of New York University’s (NYU-Poly) Oded Nov to further his study of the role of design in shaping online behavior.

Nov, an assistant professor in the Department of Technology Management and Innovation, has long focused on social media, and the behavioral aspects of information systems. Working with Mor Naaman of the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, he will embark on an ambitious new two-year project to examine the factors that impact users’ interactions with and contributions to social media.

“In particular, we will focus on the impact of social traces created by users’ feedback and inputs – the social cues about the attributes of the users, their opinions and the community they form,” Nov said. “As in the physical world, your behavior online changes depending on the others around you.”

While in no way connected, this comes on the heels of Facebook reporting that your “likes” on the site reveal much about you – possibly your I.Q., sexual and political persuasion, and even drug use. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that social media’s interactive nature affects much as other communities we may belong to in the real world.

We’ll be interested to see if this study addresses how the apparently never-ending design changes on Facebook, Google+ and other social networks affects their use (other than sparking cries of protest).

Google bestows the Focused Research Award, as the unrestricted grant is known, upon scientists working in areas of key interest to the company as well as to the broader research community.

Facebook Graph Search could be vital to local businesses

Monday, February 25th, 2013

FacebookFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Graph Search on Jan. 15, and already marketers say it could be a vital tool, particularly for local businesses.

Although in its infancy, search experts at Sinai Marketing, a dental and legal marketing firm, are considering its SEO implications.

Graph Search is a new service where Facebook users can search their connections for information. Search results are based on information shared by friends and other users. Example: Planning a trip to Chicago? Conduct a Graph Search to find friends who live there.

Graph Search generates results based on data that is completed on users’ personal and business pages. The more friends and likes there are, the greater the chance a personal account or page will appear in relevant Graph Search results.

Lorrie Walker , an SEO writer at Sinai Marketing, shares tips for helping a page appear prominently in Graph Search for searches related to a business:

  1. Users should fill in as much information as possible about their business including keywords.
  2. Encourage others to like the page.
  3. Update often with photographs, links and comments.

Doing these things is similar to SEO techniques for websites, says Saeed Khosravi, Sinai’s operations manager.

  • Getting likes for a Facebook page is like getting backlinks for a website.
  • Using keywords on a Facebook page is like on – page optimization.
  • Being active on a page is like updating a website with fresh content.

A vital role for business?

“I think Facebook Graph Search is going to play a vital role for businesses because the results it gathers can be tailored based on where you live,” he says.

One characteristic that sets Graph Search apart from Web search, Khosravi says, is Web search helps people discover information on the Internet, while Graph Search enables people to explore information shared on Facebook.

It’s early in the Graph Search game, so determining its long – term SEO role is premature, Walker says.

A question she predicts will need to be addressed in the future is whether Graph Search will become important enough for SEO companies to track it along with Google and Bing.

Social media drives investor decision making, research says

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

social media logosOne-third (34%) of affluent investors are using social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and company blogs specifically for personal finance and investing (PF&I) purposes.

While most investors continue to rely on a variety of resources for investment information, nearly 70% have reallocated investments, or began or altered relationships with investment providers based on content found through social media, thus reflecting the importance of a strong social media strategy for asset managers and distributors.

These and other findings are included in a new report, Social Media’s Impact on Personal Finance and Investing, recently released by Cogent Research. The report is based on a nationally representative survey of over 4,000 investors with more than $100,000 in investable assets.

Investors using social media for research

Investors who use social media for PF&I purposes are using various platforms to form first impressions about providers, and their decision to use a firm’s investment solutions. Regardless of the platform, investors primarily turn to social media to conduct research on investing, products, and companies or to seek advice regarding investment decisions.

“Today’s investors’ are scrutinizing ‘traditional’ sources with content and commentary they are finding through social networks, and are becoming much more critical and conversant when it comes to their investment choices,” said Remy Domler Morrison, Project Director and co-author of the report.

A double-edged sword

“On a positive note, social media is also motivating investors to engage more with their advisors and investment firm representatives, which can lead to more asset gathering opportunities for providers.”

For financial companies, investors’ use of social media for PF&I can be a double-edged sword. While engaging in social media presents the opportunity to increase and develop relationships and trust, it also presents the risk of getting negative feedback.

“For every positive comment and favorable investment decision comes the possibility for damaging content. However, the larger risk to a firm is ignoring negative comments that may already exist.

Overall, there are significant opportunities to strengthen brand equity for firms that regularly pursue strategies to foster positive relationships with brand followers and address negative sentiment,” says Tony Ferreira, Managing Director at Cogent Research.

In general, investors recall a higher ratio of favorable to adverse brand-related content for several firms on social media, including Fidelity Investments, ING, and Vanguard.

Top 10 Brands with the Highest Ratio of Positive to Negative Impressions Via Social Media
BASE: Among investors exposed to respective brands on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter

Rank Provider
1. Fidelity Investments
2. ING
3. Vanguard
4. USAA
5. Charles Schwab
6. John Hancock
7. American Funds
8. Wells Fargo
9. T. Rowe Price
10. Janus