Good use of social media linked with brand perception and purchase intent
The J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study, released last week, has recorded a link between good use of social media and a number of factors affecting businesses' bottom lines. The study of over 23,200 online customers found that of those who were considered 'highly satisfied', with satisfaction judged via a number of factors on a 1,000 point scale, 87% indicated that their social interaction with the company had strengthened purchase intent. Among those who were 'less satisfied', one in ten stated a negative impact on their likelihood to purchase from the company.
Consumers worldwide getting social with brands
The extent to which consumers interact socially with brands varies globally, according to research by Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor. In India, for example, 40% of internet users agreed strongly that they were likely to check brand pages regularly, followed by 39% in Brazil and 35% in Indonesia. European figures can be seen in the graph below:
Social network popularity varies across different US demographics
The popularity of different social networks amongst US Internet users varies by demographic, according to research by the Pew Research Center. 26% of black users claimed to use Twitter, in comparison with 19% of Hispanic users and 14% white. A similar trend was apparent on Instagram, with each demographic displaying 23%, 18% and 11% respectively. The whitest social network is Pinterest, where the 18% of white users survey outweigh the Hispanic 10% and black 8%. Twitter is also shown to be more popular in urban areas, whilst Pinterest is most popular amongst those who earn between $50,000 and $74,999.
Mobile Twitter use in the UK
Twitter have released a set of figures about UK mobile usage of the network. The overall figures are impressive: 80% of Twitter users access the platform via a mobile, with 66% using it in front of the TV, 50% before bed and 1 in 3 during their commute. The network is truly social in an offline sense too, with a third of users accessing the platform whilst in social situations, such as interacting with friends. Finally, the news is good for brands; 67% of mobile users follow brands on Twitter, 45% are likely to recommend the brand to someone they know and 25% follow more than ten brands.
More women are using social around meal planning
US women are increasingly using social media as a tool for meal planning. Not only did nearly half admit to using their smartphone more while shopping, but particular social networks like Pinterest are providing sources of culinary inspiration: 30% reported using Pinterest at least once a week, with 75% of those stating that it provided aid with trying new dishes. In fact, Pinterest was one of the top five recipe sources amongst US mum Internet users, even more popular than finding ideas through friends.
Facebook looking to movies, TV, books and fitness as sharable content
Facebook's VP of partnerships, Dan Rose, has been discussing what content he thinks will be big for sharing on the network in the upcoming year. He stated:
2013, we think, is going to be the year of movies, books and fitness.
It is fairly straightforward to see how this could work for film and fitness, with Facebookers already regularly sharing the films they watch on Netflix, or whenever they've completed a run with various sports apps. Apps like Goodreads have been mentioned as ways to share the books one has read, though it would perhaps be more prudent to look into automatic sharing with e-readers to promote the desired behaviours. Rose added that the platform is in talks with the likes of Dish Network and Comcast to create a social TV programming guide.
Facebook introduces 'buy tickets' button for events
Facebook have introduced a new feature for events: a button that reads "buy tickets", linking to an off site location for users to complete a transaction. Whilst those planning an event were previously able to include a link for the same purpose, the new button adds emphasis, highlighting the option to those visiting the event page. It is worth noting that it is still necessary to leave the page in order to go through with the order, though. The new feature, currently available only to pages, will look as below:
Eventbrite have announced seamless integration with the feature, allowing users to take advantage of it simply by clicking 'Publish to Facebook' from within the Eventbrite page. They have also announced that, once the button is rolled out to all users, they will extend their service to mirror this.
Facebook push 'Gifts' feature on Valentine's Day
For last-minute Valentine's Day gifts, it's hard to beat petrol station flowers. That stellar romantic advice aside, an alternative was offered this year by Facebook, who pushed their 'Gifts' feature by promoting limited edition $1 Valentine's Day presents at the top of Newsfeed. Those who have listed themselves as 'in a relationship' received messages like the below, mentioning their partner by name and encouraging them to purchase a gift, whilst more generic messages were sent to others.
Facebook allowing you to promote friends' posts
In a further attempt at monetisation, Facebook are allowing users with fewer than 5,000 friends or subscribers to promote and share their friends' posts. The post will then appear in Newsfeeds, with a reference to who sponsored it. The platform are continuing to experiment with the cost of promotion, but InsideFacebook have identified $7 as a rough average.
Posterous to shut down on 30th April
Since being acquired by Twitter, blogging platform Posterous has decided to shut down for good, with staff set to concentrate on their partnership with the microblogging website. They have released details of how to download all of your posts, along with recommendations for the importer tools of WordPress and Squarespace in aid of those who wish to continue blogging.
Improved Twitter synchronisation from American Express
American Express have upgraded their save-by-tweet service, which allowed users to save deals by tweeting a certain hashtag, into a pay-by-tweet equivalent, which allows items to be purchased through exactly the same mechanism. Firstly, users sync their AmEx card to Twitter. Then, when they one of the offer/product hashtags, they tweet it to claim whatever may be stored with it. All they then have to do is confirm the payment. The simple process is explained further in the below video.
Over 100,000 Vines posted to Twitter last weekend
Twitter users posted 113,897 Vines to the platform during the weekend of the 9th-10th February, an average of 3,324 per hour. These high figures, in part a result of a busy weekend that included New York Fashion Week, the Grammy Awards and a hurricane hitting the Northeastern US, display a swift initial uptake of the app. Whilst the figures might not quite match the 1.3 million photos uploaded to Instagram during Hurricane Sandy, they amount to a tenth of that number - certainly impressive for what is still a very new app. It will be interesting to see if Vine can continue to grow at the same rate; if so, it may well end up being a very valuable asset for Twitter.
The use of Vine at New York Fashion Week
A large amount of the Vine activity this week came through New York Fashion Week, with large institutions such as the Wall Street Journal making use of the video-sharing application. The newspaper curated content from a variety of social platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, into a page that included the videos. A similar piece of activity came from designer, Matthew Williamson, who used the app for sharing content live from the catwalk, enlisting the help of photographer Sean Cunningham to ensure a professional finish. The content, starting with the introduction below, can be found through the hashtag #MatthewMagnified or at the @MWWorld account.
— Matthew Williamson (@MWWorld) February 14, 2013
Grammy Awards encourage fast work from brands
Hot on the heels of the Superbowl, when Oreo were lauded for their quick work in producing a tweet about the blackout, the Grammy Awards have seen similar action from brands. This time, Oreo produced a cute picture of one of their biscuits in formal attire, but were outdone in the reaction stakes by the likes of Mastercard and Spotify:
— Priceless (@priceless) February 11, 2013
Heineken helping find reservations with #tweetforatable
Heineken USA decided to help out Valentine's Day stragglers by booking tables for them at "cool, man of the world" restaurants. By tweeting with the hashtag #tweetforatable, Twitter users are entered for the chance to win a reservation at a top restaurant. Even before Valentine's Day, Heineken were claiming to have received 1,000 entries, with reservations still available on the day.
GE run #IWantToInvent campaign for Inventors' Day
Inventors' Day is designed to celebrate those who come up with the out-of-this-world ideas that have shaped the course of human history. To celebrate, GE gave Twitter users the opportunity to be an inventor for a day; of tweets that came in with the hashtag #IWantToInvent, the best were chosen and sketched by a professional illustrator. They hashtag was used 2,600 times and GE themselves received 1,400 interactions, including tweets from other brands like Trident, Tropicana and Ritz. An example of the images can be seen below, whilst GE have collected all the sketches into a Facebook album.
KLM produce personalised 'Must See Map' through social
Dutch airline KLM have created a campaign that collects tips and recommendations from your friends via social media to produce a personalised 'Must See Map', which you can use when visiting your destination. A nice example of how to combine social and print.
Skittles building a rainbow from sweets, streaming activity online
Confectionery brand Skittles are creating a rainbow online, to be made out of batches of sweets that will be added in innovative ways every ten minutes. The activity will be live streamed via a number of webcams, with the resultant video added to YouTube. In addition, 100,000 fans will be able to claim their own sweet within the rainbow, which they can personalise by adding a message.
Lipton targeting younger audience with Instagram competition
Tea brand Lipton have created a four-week Instagram competition, which encourages the submission of photos that celebrate a different one of Lipton's core values each week, such as #LiptonBrightness. There will be weekly prizes up for grabs, as well as a grand prize of an all-expenses-paid safari for two in Kenya. The campaign is running across 11 countries, aimed at engaging 22-30 year olds, as opposed to Lipton's current older demographic.
We Are Social produce Plus Size campaign for F&F
In conjunction with British Plus Size Fashion Weekend, We Are Social have created a campaign for F&F clothing with the tag line 'Feel Fabulous with F&F'. The activity was introduced by inviting three bloggers to become reporters for BPSFW and providing them with an F&F outfit to wear during the event. These bloggers will then write posts about the experience, as well as selecting top fashion picks to be seen by F&F Facebook fans. This is to be supported by Twitter activity, in which the clothing brand will encourage users to tweet using the hasthag #FeelFabulous in order to receive a £25 voucher.
BMW bring child's drawing to life
Lots of kids draw. Lots of kids love cars. Not many kids get their drawings turned into a state-of-the-art design by a car manufacturer. However, BMW have changed that for one lucky child, whose drawing was turned into a full prototype for a seriously futuristic looking car, complete with the four-year-old's chosen specifications. They then posted the image to their Facebook page, with the following message:
Eli, we think you might be onto something. Our marketing department worked a little photoshop magic to bring your dream to life. We’ll be sure to pass this on to our product designers. Thanks for sharing your idea and for being a BMW fan.
Tesla Motors and NY Times clash via social media
A slightly less charming automotive story now, as Tesla Motors and the NY Times clashed via social media. The newspaper had reported problems with Tesla's new Model S, which the car manufacturer then responded to in a long, frank blog post, full to the brim with irrevocable data in defence of their vehicle. Tesla then posted their blog to Facebook and Twitter, encouraging and engaging in discussion with a fairly neutral tone. Their founder, Elon Musk was more partisan, taking to Twitter to vehemently argue against the claims. As a result of all this, CNN got involved and found no problems with the car, which goes to show how a quick and full response to criticism can create a shift from negative to positive.
Makers Mark bows to Twitter pressure to not dilute bourbon
Bourbon manufacturer Makers Mark last week announced plans to reduce the alcohol content of their bourbon, in order to allow for a shortage caused by increased demand. However, they received such backlash on Twitter that they have been forced to backtrack, tweeting that they will retain the beverage's original strength. This should act as a lesson in the power of Twitter for swaying the actions of brands, as shown by the graph below, depicting Twitter mentions of Makers Mark from the day before they announced the change:
Social media and US politics
Last week, President Obama's 'State of the Union' address created a lot of excitement across social media, particularly in the realm of real-time Twitter advertising. First of all, a number of organisations purchased promoted tweets with the hashtag #SOTU in the time leading up to the event, with nonprofits including Chevron, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bankrupting America, Heritage Foundation, the National Association of Manufacturers and Society for Human Resource Management looking to steer online conversation towards their interests. During the speech, the @BarackObama and @whitehouse accounts both live tweeted much of what the president said, including additional content where relevant or effective. The action on Twitter continued further after the event, with mockery of Republican Senator's response to the speech, in which he hurriedly sipped at his water. However, his response managed to make a joke out of the issue and deflect criticism:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 13, 2013
Poland Spring, too, released a humorous tweet about the incident. However, they did so a couple of days later, rather than in real-time and, as such, were largely criticised for a failure to understand social media. However, the fairness of this has been disputed, with arguments cited in their defence including 'unrealistic expectations' and the fact that this was not a crisis, so did not require immediate action. Despite all this, Twitter was not the only lively platform. In the following days, Obama hosted a Google+ hangout, called 'Fireside Hangout'. For a feature that is sometimes derided, having such a high profile event displays that the potential that still remains.