We Are Social's Monday Mashup #53


OFT crack down on disclosure
The Office of Fair Trading has cracked down on Handpicked Media – the blog advertising network – saying that the group was at fault for not disclosing that tweets and blog posts were paid for. The OFT was pretty clear of their position:

The integrity of information published online is crucial, so that people can make informed decisions on how to spend their money.

The fact that the OFT got involved in a case like this is pretty significant development in the UK’s social media regulatory landscape, and plays to our conviction that social media is not about paid media, but genuine word of mouth earned with an ethical approach.

Usage of social media continues to grow
According to a survey released last week by eMarketer, four in five US businesses will use social media next year – an almost 100% increase from 42% in 2008. Nevertheless, this increase is tied in with a clear message from businesses – that they want to see a clear ROI, rather than thinking social media is something just to throw money at.

The trans-atlantic social media media gap
However, according to a survey carried out by Loudhouse, British companies lag significantly behind their US counterparts in terms of social media – only 34% have a formal strategy for content marketing compared with 73% in America. But arguably more interestingly, the survey shows that UK companies are almost five times more averse to engaging in social media compared with US companies – suggesting that we clearly have some work to do here in our home market.

8% of online Americans use Twitter
Pew revealed last week that only 8% of online Americans use Twitter – far lower than the 24% figure once bandied around. The research found that Twitter is skewed towards a younger and urban demographic – it is used by 11% of people in urban areas, and is used by 14% of 18-29 year olds compared with 7% of those aged 30-49. Interestingly, Women are also more likely to tweet, with 10 percent using Twitter versus 7 percent of men and it is twice as popular among African Americans and Hispanics as it is with whites.

How easy is it to become ‘influential’ on Twitter?
Gartner have made an astonishing prediction – that by 2015, as many as 10% of people’s contacts in social media will be automated bots. And that future could be closer than you think – Adriaan Pelzer created four Twitter bots which tweeted at different intervals to see how easy it is to gain followers and Klout. They tweeted at various time intervals – from one minute, to thirty minutes depending on the bot.

The findings are clear: the more tweets an account sends, the more it is becomes ‘influential’ – in terms of followers, and more pertinently, Klout score. As we always tell our clients, metrics like follower counts and Klout scores are usefulwhen looking for influencers, but can never replace humans making a reasoned assessment.

Bazaarvoice hits 1,000 brand milestone
Bazaarvoice, the market leader in providing customer review functionality to ecommerce sites – hit the milestone of working with 1,000 brands last week, which re-enforces the importance in online word of mouth in people’s purchase decisions, and how seriously a lot of companies are taking it!

Facebook rules the World
Where once there was the British empire, now stands Facebook. The updated world map of social networks, shows Facebook is now the market leader in 115 out of 132 countries – with China, Japan, Brazil and Russia the only big markets it doesn’t dominate.

Foursquare continues to grow – and change?
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley revealed at LeWeb last week that the location-based service is at 2 million check-ins and is bringing in 25,000 new users a day.

Nonetheless, the big question overhanging Foursquare has been how will it cope with the emergence of Facebook Places. Foursquare’s answer is to overhaul the service – with an emphasis on discovery. They aim to do something similar to Amazon’s recommendations – to recommend users places to visit based on their previous check-ins. Time will tell whether it will work, but it does give it a selling point different from Facebook Places.

Dell launches Social Media Listening Command Centre
Last Wednesday saw Dell launch its Social Media Listening Command Centre. This is a really important step for the company (and we think a milestone for others too), with plans to offer online support in 11 languages by the end of the year.

100 million Facebook fans for Disney
Disney recently hit 100 million Facebook fans, and is currently gaining about 5 million more fans a week – astonishing growth since the company only started posting to Facebook properly in August 2009.

Sony Ericsson grow on Facebook and Foursquare
By giving away lots of prizes on Facebook, Sony Ericsson have really grown their fan page over the last six months. It appears their aggressive strategy has worked – with a four-fold increase in fans (to almost three million) over the last six months. And now they’re attempting to crack Foursquare by releasing sponsored badges. After their first badge a few weeks ago, they’ve followed this up with the Xperia Football Fan badge. As the badge includes tips for what to do at different stadiums – particularly recommending Arsenal’s stadium – I can wholeheartedly say that I will be trying to get this badge!

A tweet for a portrait
Orange did some really cool work on Twitter last week – using the #secretportraits hashtag they drew pictures of people based on their description of themselves in a tweet as well as their profile picture. This was a really nice campaign which generated some really positive sentiment.

Political blog has more readers than The Times
According to Guido Fawkes, the infamous UK political blogger, he now has more readers than The Times site (avec paywall). He says:

According to industry analysts Experian Hitwise their research suggests that approximately 54,000 people access The Times, with as few as 28,000 being paying customers. On Monday this blog served 75,233 pages, the average weekday readership is circa 60,000.

Social media changes protesting
The BBC produced a particularly interesting piece on how protesting has changed with the advent on social media. They hit on a crucial point – with the existence of hashtags, it’s easy to grow a community very quickly. But they missed how things have moved even beyond Twitter – with UCL students compiling a map all throughout last Thursday’s protest to help their fellow protesters avoid the police.

Vodafone’s not smiling anymore
Talking of protest, Vodafone launched their 12 Days of Smiles competition on Friday, which was supposed to give Twitter users some pre-Christmas cheer by giving away phones to people using the hashtag #mademesmile. But the competition was hijacked by pressure group UK Uncut – who disapprove of Vodafone’s approach to corporate tax – with pretty disastrous consequences: it became the top trending topic in the world (and the tweets appeared unfiltered on the Vodafone site) with the sentiment almost unequivocally negative. Vodafone probably aren’t smiling anymore…

Is flaming the future?
A group of Slovenian and British researchers working together have come up with startling findings – that negative messages (flaming) help generate much greater response levels on social networks. So, if flaming really is the way to get lots of comments, I should probably say that all the readers of this blog are idiots. Let’s now see what happens in the comments… 😉