Many marketers ignorant of social media conversation around their brand
Alterian's annual survey of 1500 marketers brought with it surprising findings, with 70% of marketers having little or no understanding of the conversation surrounding their brand. The good news, we suppose, is that 80% thought that their brand was at risk from not tracking online conversations enough. You don't say....
FTSE100 companies growing use of social media
As the graph below shows, FTSE100 companies are using social media more than ever.
50% more are using Twitter compared to twelve months ago, and there has been a 200% increase in the number of company blogs, but these 'large percentage' increases merely indicate how few companies were engaged in social media twelve months ago. The truth is, even on Twitter - the platform with the biggest uptake - the percentage of companies using the service is below 50%. There's no getting away from one startling conclusion: The FTSE100 has some catching up to do compared to their American counterparts.
Women using online communities and social networks very differently
Some interesting research from Burke has found that women find online communities a lot more useful than Facebook.
As the chart shows, women love social networks like Facebook and Twitter - but for entertaining them and looking at family photos. When they're interested in buying a product, they're far more interested in what internet users think of it, and they also find these communities useful for finding out which new products on the market are best. Which goes to show, just as we've always said, forums and communities should not be forgotten and are a vital part of a brands social media strategy
Facebook launch Sponsored Stories
Last week Facebook launched Sponsored Stories, a new way for advertisers to get to their target audience, which will could be available on a self-serve basis soon. Based on the idea that people trust recommendations from their friends, companies can now choose to take certain user actions - such as check-ins - and feature them in the right-hand column of the news feed. The thinking behind Sponsored Stories - and why Facebook thinks it is the future, is explained in this video:
There could be a backlash coming though, as there is no opt-out feature to stop advertisers using your check-ins.
Facebook Deals launches in Europe
Facebook Deals launched in the UK and Europe today, three months after it launched in America. By checking in at certain locations, users can access Deals, with some very generous opening offers. The first few companies to be involved include Starbucks, Argos and Yo Sushi - with individual Deals including free food and drink, and charitable donations from companies (Argos and Benetton thus far) for checking in. But the Deal of the day has to go to Mazda - for checking in at certain dealerships, they're offering £4,000 - or 20% - off the price of an MX-5. That's quite a substantial saving and underlines the great selling point of Deals - people were already using Places but now they can be rewarded for doing so, which should drive usage figures up enormously. It will be interesting to see how location-based services (like Foursquare) and deal services (like Groupon) react to this.
LinkedIn to float on the NYSE
Confirming rumours from earlier in the month, LinkedIn has announced it will float on the New York Stock Exchange this year with an IPO worth an estimated $175 million. It will be the first social networking company to undertake an IPO, but with investor confidence in social networking companies clearly high, this may well be just the start.
Tenth most followed microblogger doesn't use Twitter
That Oprah Winfrey was overtaken as the tenth most followed microblogger last week wasn't surprising - after all, she has only ever tweeted 152 times. What's more interesting though was that she was overtaken by Yao Chen - a Chinese woman who doesn't use Twitter. Her 'followers' come through the Chinese service Weibo, illustrating the rapid growth of social media in China.
Obama continues to impress with his use of social media
One important factor behind Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 American Presidential Elections was his impressive use of the internet - particularly social media and email. He seems to be going back to his roots - in the wake of his State of the Union address last week, he answered questions via YouTube and after the speech senior advisors took questions on what he had spoken about. This is real online engagement, and he's doing it exceptionally well.
US Embassy in Indonesia invests $100k in Facebook page
One of the more bizarre things to come out of Wikileaks recently is that the US embassy in Jakarta spent $100,000 on its Facebook page. But with more fans than all the State Department and all the other US embassies put together, perhaps their naivety could actually pay dividends?
Bacardi to shift most of its digital spend to Facebook
Over the next two years, Bacardi plan to pare back their spending on traditional digital properties and instead invest 90% of their digital budget into Facebook. What took them so long?
Old Spice to choose superfan to promote next ad
Having created the most viewed ads of last year, Old Spice is trying a new tactic this year - they're going to disseminate their next ad to an audience of one. It has certainly generated conversation in social media, and with them looking for a superfan with a strong social media presence, it seems pretty likely that the video will go viral.
Ford launch new social media campaign
Ford have launched a car-race across America where teams need support from social channels. With the team that wins getting $100,000 and Ford Focuses up for grabs for their 'supporters', this will probably end up very popular indeed...
Taco Bell fight back against criticism
After they came under fire for selling beef which was 'only 88% beef', Taco Bell is fighting back with responses on their Facebook Page, Twitter profile and the Youtube video below to try and stem the tide of negative sentiment. Whatever you think of their beef, it's fair to say their video is a bit corny... (BOOM!)
Social media helped X Factor's audience engagement
Seven years after it first launched, the X Factor reaches 25% of its audience through social media, mainly through younger demographics posting about it on Facebook and Twitter. It will be interesting to see in the years ahead whether other programmes can attract similar levels of audience engagement (as Question Time already has).
Kellogg's launch new cereal variety through Facebook
Kellogg's said last week that they would launch Krave Milk Chocolate through their Facebook page - the first time they have launched a product through social media. They will offer them free packs through an online sampling mechanic, and will hope to develop positive word-of-mouth about the cereal. Pah! There are more creative ways to launch a product using social media...
Orange's Winter Warmer
Orange ran a nifty campaign last week with a simple mechanic to cheer people up:
Send a winter warmer to a friend - tweet #WinterWarmer with your friend’s name or Twitter name. We’ll ask you for their address and race over to your mate with a van full of hot chocolates and scarves. Follow us on Twitter to find out when we’re out and about in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton delivering scarves and hot chocolate to your grumpy chums.
As the video below shows, it generated lots of positive sentiment on Twitter, with people delighted by the presents they received:
TripAdvisor to face legal suit?
TripAdvisor is one of the world's biggest online travel resources but dragon Duncan Bannatyne is threatening to sue the site for publishing defamatory reviews, after somebody compared one of his hotels to Fawlty Towers. Emma O'Boyle of TripAdvisor defended the site from his complaints:
We offer hoteliers the opportunity to respond to every review written on TripAdvisor. However, in the case of Bannatyne's hotels we have had several worrying examples of individuals being intimidated by Bannatyne and his hotel representatives. TripAdvisor has a zero-tolerance approach on bullying as we defend the freedom of speech. We also take fraud very seriously and will investigate these occasions thoroughly
It certainly touches on an interesting issue relating to anonymous reviews on the internet - and how they affect brands.
How to damage your brand with one tweet
When Ian Prior tweeted on Thursday that The Guardian had a big football exclusive coming up, a variety of factors came together to create enormous buzz, with browsers being repeatedly refreshed as people wondered what the story could be. The hashtag #guardianexclusive was the second trending topic on Twitter as people speculated what the story was. And then the story turned out to be mediocre. The Guardian went from an online oracle for football fans to a site which was (at least temporarily) hated. It goes to show how one misjudged tweet can damage a brand's name...